Sunday, April 22, 2007

Sabet's Working background as Attorney General (Video)

The Afghanistan government and most Afghans have always blamed Pakistan and Iran for their involvement in Afghanistan’s affairs. But the issue of Afghanistan’s Attorney General and Tolo TV goes way beyond the neighboring countries of Pakistan and Iran.

Click on headline and watch skyreporter's video in regard to Sabet's past.

Harper Claims Ignorance Of Beatings At Tolo TV

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper claims to be unaware of what happened at Kabul’s Tolo TV offices Tuesday night – despite the fact that the man who ordered 50 armed police to raid the station, Afghan Attorney General Abdul Jabar Sabet, enjoys Canadian residency. As well, has been submitting detailed questions about Sabet to Mr. Harper’s office since April 5th, two weeks before the raid. Spokespeople for Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Peter MacKay, have been receiving the same detailed questions since mid March. Specifically, the questions deal with Sabet’s role in the Kabul Airport heroin scandal, his mysterious status in Canada and his work with Information Minister Karim Khoram to restrict media freedoms. (See the AFGHAN HEROIN series of film reports here at Strange, then, how Mr. Harper answered QR77 Radio’s Dave Rutherford Thursday, when asked this question in relation to the violent raid: “This isn’t what we’re fighting for, is it?” (Canada has 2,300 troops fighting the Taliban in Kandahar province.) “I’ve just sort of heard about it,” the Prime Minister said, “I’m not aware of what the details are.” Which is simply not true – phoned the Prime Minister’s office two days earlier, about three hours after the Tolo TV raid took place, to ensure his staff was aware of the incident. A detailed email account was sent two hours later, followed by a further email and phone call the next day. And an article in the Ottawa Citizen Thursday morning - before the radio interview. And “details?” How about seven journalists taken away by police and beaten, some with rifle butts. Three held in Sabet’s office. No search or arrest warrants issued. Protests the next day at the Afghan parliament. Even more revealing, though, is what the Prime Minister went on to tell Dave Rutherford’s listeners. ““In Afghanistan there is an extremely free press,” he said. “There’s all kinds of media outlets.” Mr. Harper continued: “President Karzai is constantly criticized in the media and in the national parliament. And look, as I told him, you have that and you don’t even have the CBC.” This last reference, to Canada’s respected public broadcaster, is a regular complaint of Mr. Harper’s Conservative Party, namely that the CBC is biased and out to get him. One expects anything of a politician, but to be reading from Sabet’s script? While Canadian troops are fighting and dying to promote democracy in Afghanistan? But of course all of this begs the question: if Mr. Harper, as one of President Hamid Karzai’s leading foreign sponsors, is not against Sabet’s violent assault on Afghanistan’s leading private TV station, is he for it? Significantly, neither the Canadian Embassy in Kabul nor any of Mr. Harper’s ministries has joined the United Nations in condemning the raid. The U.N. mission in Kabul released a morning-after statement expressing concern about “police actions against Tolo TV and the accompanying manhandling and detaining of Tolo TV staff.” The U.N. insisted: “Complaints against the media must be dealt with in accordance with established legal norms, not by unlawful physical intervention.” But nothing like the U.N.’s statement came from Messrs. Bush, Blair or Harper. Which explains why President Karzai himself found it easy to keep mum over the outrageous breach of democratic rights perpetrated against Tolo TV. If Karzai’s patrons – his bankers and protectors – aren’t too troubled by jackboot tactics to silence the media, well then, why shouldn’t he just sit back, have another puff and savour the possibilities of suppressing the media. Oh – except for one small thing. The people of Afghanistan are fed up to the teeth with a government that displays only chronic and contemptible incompetence and corruption. Hamid? Mr. Harper? You are public servants. Do something today to earn the public trust. Like punishing those who would send policemen into the night to rifle-butt unarmed young reporters, whose only crime is searching for the truth in the mess we’ve all made of Afghanistan.


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