December 14, 2009

Harper government defended torturer

CANADA - Ousted governor of Kandahar Asadullah Khalid has been torturing people for years, and according to documents dating back to 2006 the Canadian government under Stephen Harper has not only defended him against allegations of torture, but has actually conspired with him to conduct interrogations.

The diplomatic memos were never meant for public eyes, but clearly indicate that the Canadian military and diplomats operating in Afghanistan's Kandahar province not only were complicit in handing over prisoners to Afghan authorities to be tortured, but they did so conditionally with payment attached.

Essentially what it boils down to is the concept of "outsourcing torture".

With all the fuss about Guantanamo Bay / torture in the United States and Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, the Canadian government chose to act differently and instead of torturing prisoners themselves decided to pay Afghans to do the torture for them.

When it was first learned governor Asadullah Khalid was torturing prisoners he was nearly removed from office in 2006, but the Canadian military/diplomats defended him and denied he was involved in any form of torture. Stephen Harper himself, when asked on the matter by Afghan president Hamid Karzai, denied Khalid was involved in torture. Thanks to his government's efforts the charges were buried under a layer of bureaucracy before eventually coming back to the fore and proven to be true.

And now these memos have come to public attention, showing the Canadian government not only knew these allegations against Asadullah Khalid were true, but that they were also involved in ordering the torturing to be done.

It is just another embarrassing episode of inquiry over Afghan prisoner abuse, a story which continues to unfold.

The latest report on this matter is uncensored and gives a lot more details about Asadullah Khalid, who in previous government reports had his name blacked out. Khalid was finally ousted from office in 2008 under charges of corruption, drug running, bribery and torture.

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