Mapp’s reassurances on torture fall short

It’s not good enough for Defence Minister Wayne Mapp to say he has “no information” that any of the 58 people arrested on the SAS’s joint operations with the Afghan Crisis Response Unit have been subsequently tortured.

He admitted that 15 of them had been sent to facilities run by the Afghan intelligence service, the National Directorate of Security (NDS), which comes in for the harshest criticism in this month’s UN report on the Afghan government’s treatment of “conflict-related” detainees. When interviewed by the UN half of those detained by the NDS said they had been tortured, most of them badly tortured. Mapp told the NZ Listener that “it appears” most of those 15 Afghans were sent to the NDS Kabul facility 17/40, which the UN says has torture allegations against it. The UN is following up these allegations.

Some of these 15 prisoners would likely have been transferred from 17/40 facility to most notorious NDS Kabul prison Department 90/124, which the UN says engages in systematic torture, including shock treatment and sexual assault. Department 90/124 specialises in interrogating “high value” suspects generally captures by special forces (including international forces)  –  and it seems the prime special forces unit operating in Kabul, targeting high value suspects, is the SAS/CRU unit.

There don’t appear to be any procedures to stop such transfers of prisoners. All our SAS does is note the names of the SAS/CRU prisoners and where they are first placed, and passes this information on to the NATO/ISAF office – which doesn’t have a system to follow up individual prisoners.

Most of the 58 prisoners taken by the SAS/CRU are presumably first detained in an Afghan National Police (ANP) facility. However, the UN reports significant transfer of prisoners between the ANP and the NDS, so several of these ANP prisoners probably ended up being tortured in the NDS 90/124 prison. If they had stayed in ANP custody they would have been better off – only 33 percent of ANP prisoners are tortured, according to the UN survey.

It is hard to see how our government can avoid contravening the Geneva Conventions and the Convention Against Torture by allowing our SAS to continue to operate in this environment.

5 Comments Posted

  1. ‘Not taking Prisoners’ is also known as a ‘Black Flag’ Op Sam – can’t take ’em prisoner if they’re dead.
    Really it’s time NZ got a little warm on the idea of common sense – we can be allies of the US without joining their wars (plenty of other do/are).
    No Blood for Oil
    No Blood for US Strategy eh?
    We are selling our young a terrible lie.

  2. keith…

    ..was it the (as it turns out cia-engineered/bullshit) petition to the un about gadaffis’ crimes/atrocities…

    ..signed by the heads of 70 ngo’s..

    ..that sucked you into that web…?

    ..i’ve been puzzling for the reason for some time..(as you may have noticed..)

    ..and this is the nearest i have come to an explanation for your totally out of character actions… supporting a cia-coup…

    ..if so you really need to watch this interview with the engineer of that

    “…How the CIA Used “Libyan Expatriates” To Engineer Consent For Regime Change

    One of the main sources for the claim that Qaddafi was killing his own people is the Libyan League for Human Rights (LLHR) –

    – an organization linked to the International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH).

    On Feb. 21, 2011, LLHR General Secretary Dr. Sliman Bouchuiguir initiated a petition in collaboration with the organization U.N. Watch – and the National Endowment for Democracy.

    This petition was signed by more than 70 NGOs.

    Then a few days later, on Feb. 25, Dr. Bouchuiguir went to the U.N. Human Rights Council in order to expose the allegations concerning the crimes of Qaddafi’s government.

    In July 2011 we went to Geneva to interview Dr. Sliman Bouchuiguir…”



  3. As I read Mapp’s comments, he can assure us they aren’t complicit in torture, because they don’t take prisoners. It’s the people who are standing beside them on joint operations who are deemed to be the people who took the prisoners.

    “Nuffin’ to do with us, mate. We just work here.”

  4. If Wayne Mapp cannot reassure the New Zealand public that our forces are not complicit in the torturing and abuse of prisoners then there is only one solution, send them home!

  5. Where’s Wayne’s Brain?
    Various Govt. Employees are prepared to conduct torture and murder on NZ citizens in New Zealand….if he wants a Stat. Dec. today
    Just Say So.

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