For those who don't know, Jack Idema is an unsung hero, former special forces soldier, and Green Beret, featured on the cover of the Hunt for Bin Laden by Robin Moore, who has come close to capturing and/or killing Osama Bin Laden at least 7 times. He has a long history of working in counterintelligence and human intelligence, long before the WoT (War on Terror).
The WoT made it 'vogue' to be in counterintelligence. So we find along the way, people like Joe Cafasso, At Fox News, the Colonel Who Wasn't, who tried unsuccessfully to tranform himself into a military counterterrorism analyst.
Let's begin with this: I've been following this story from my blog, Cao's blog, since September of 2004. I didn't really pick it up or get in contact with any of the people involved until some time later, but you can see all the posts at my blog on the Jack Idema story here.
There was an article about Idema that flashed across the news wires on May 29, 2007, which demonstrated that the media is still not only determined to get Idema's story wrong, but completely prepared to outright lie about it.
The sources who were interviewed for the AP story were either ignored or misquoted and Sidiq was completely contradicted by General Gada.
There’s a nice little spin on this headline: American convict decides to stay in Afghan jail despite president’s pardon
Don’t you just love it. “American Convict”. How about “political prisoner”? That’s what he is, according to the Afghans. Who exactly is categorizing him as an “American convict”? He wasn’t convicted of anything. As a matter of fact, they still don’t have a copy of what the charges were, even though there were Americans standing as defense counsel present during the first trial. Robert Fogelnest, Ed Caraballo’s attorney, said at an interview at Democracy Now that he’d like to know what those charges were, even though he took that trip to Afghanistan and sat at the trial, nobody knew what was going on, and there was no translation given to the Americans so they COULD understand what was going on. No defense witnesses were allowed to be called, and the evidence was removed from the evidence room, although Skibbie (another of Caraballo's attorneys) embarrassed them to return some of it. In short, it was a sham of a ‘trial’, and they used the news reports as evidence instead of calling witnesses. Now think about how ridiculous that is when you go through the following.
Even though Matt Apuzzo, who’d dealt Idema and his situation a fair hand with a previous article, supposedly contributed to this report, it doesn’t sound very accurate to me, and I’ll explain the reasons why, and link to some of the posts at my blog which include an audio of one of the alleged ‘torture’ victims, as I walk through it. Let’s set the record straight here; Apuzzo never saw the final story, in fact, he was upset about it. The guy that wrote it, it turns out, is Jason Straziuso who showed up at Pulacharke to see Jack last week and Jack had his Northern Alliance soldiers throw him out. Poor Jason. No pics, no big interview.
The AP should know better after all the false reporting they’ve done over the last three years on this story, but then, they have a certain ideology they can’t seem to stray very far from; adoring the terrorists, and putting down American forces. And additional news about Jason, hot off the Kabul pipeline: it turns out that Jason’s translator is a guy named Amir Shah, a former Taliban Ministry member, who wrote the first garbage from Mashal and Jalali, that people were hanging upside down in the basement of a house that had no basement. Where are those pictures, people? Because they sure would have taken them if any of this had happened, and they would have been broadcast it all over the news, and all over the internet, just like the Abu Ghraib photos.
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) – An American citizen imprisoned in Afghanistan for running a private jail for terror suspects has a new passport.
The passport was delivered only after a Federal Judge threatened them, and after destroying his old official one, after they sent out letters blocking visas to every single destination he could go to.
It’s true he was “An American imprisoned”, but it should probably read “An illegally imprisoned American”, because they were repeatedly declared innocent of what the press was convicting them of–’torturing innocent Afghans’, but the American government time and again forced their hand in numerous ways in order to keep Idema sitting there. And now, there are videos of every single Judge, saying so. Look here, and here, just for starters, or look at the list of Jack Idema posts here, which grows day by day, and week by week as this thing continues to drag on and unfold, and as reporters do their best to obfuscate the real situation, with the help of Taliban informants.
As far as torture, there is evidence out in plain sight that it was Idema and his team, including the Afghans who were with him, who were tortured early on:
Photo credit: Source unknown, I blew up the photo so you could see his black eyes, still visible to the press. I found the same picture at , Gehlkinghe, a weblog in a foreign language that published it without attribution.
Photo credit: Source unknown although I found it at another foreign website, presumably in French, InteretGeneral.info
And this is the tip of the iceberg as far as the extent of their injuries. The trial was postponed in order for their injuries to heal and become less visible to the press; and few in the press reported a word about it, even though they looked as though they’d suffered considerably. In fact, the New York Times reporter, Carlotta Gall, saw Idema bleeding and barely able to see, and never reported a word of it.
When you consider that they’ve lost teeth because of their beatings (Bennett 8, Idema 2), Idema had severe burns from their pouring boiling water on his crotch, torn rotator cuffs and two detached retinas, among other injuries, and the press didn’t report a word of it, it just adds to the mounting evidence that the press is just spreading terrorist propaganda for the enemy.
As far as ‘for running a private jail for terrorist suspects’, that is also disingenuous, because there were 40 other safehouses just like Jack’s, in and around Kabul where people were doing the same thing, and turning the terror suspects over to Bagram AFB.
Plus, ‘for running a private jail’ is a little odd, since, as Ed Caraballo’s lawyer said at Democracy Now, they never saw what the charges were; and if somebody has seen them, Fogelnest said he would like them sent to him so he could them! Even after sitting in court, he didn’t ever find out what the charges actually were.
Now, whether or not Idema actually has a passport in his possession is another matter. You see, he technically has a passport now, but it’s no good. First, they refused to return his original passport, because it might be embarrassing for them, so they made him sign for a new one. He wrote a book on the passport form he had to sign, including refusing to swear the oath because he still held a military rank in the United Front. Imagine that, they gave him a passport? Must be a first in history!
The Embassy is saying, in essence, ‘you’re free to go’, ‘you’ve been issued a passport, but hey, we wrote letters to all the foreign embassys objecting to his travel visas, saying he is ‘dangerous’, so just try to leave! So that’s going to ‘help’ a lot, isn’t it?
And I have to ask, exactly who, other than Osama Bin Laden, is Idema a danger to, exactly? Is he a danger to himself? No. Is he a danger to the Embassy? No, he’s trying to get out of there. Is he a danger to terrorists? Under the right circumstances, I suppose he is, but I don’t suppose with all the security today in airports that he’s going to be able to carry a loaded kalishkov or live grenades or molotov cocktails onto the plane.
Oh, I get it, he’s a danger to Bin Laden, Mullah Omar and Gulbideen Hekmatyar! That must be who they’re protecting!
His dog has been vaccinated for overseas travel. But two months after being freed by presidential decree, Jack Idema remains in his Afghan cell.
Yes, that is true, the dog has been vaccinated. But the agencies and governments involved (and I assume entities behind the curtain also) keep inventing new things that are required for Nina to travel, with no notice. They’ve threatened that if Nina doesn’t have what is required, (and the requirements change from day to day, it seems), she will be destroyed. Let’s not forget that Jack told a Federal Judge if they kill the dog, they’d better kill him first. And, it was the Afghan Generals that helped get the dog ready to travel. The US, instead of helping, did everything to block it.
So as far as I know, Nina is being blocked from travel, and Idema only got his passport after considerable drama, and a US Federal Judge’s intervention on this monkey business; the end result is-he can’t get a travel visa to any country that is accessible from Kabul, thanks again to the US Embassy.
The reasons why, like most of Idema’s dramatic personal story, are murky and complicated. They include a visa dispute and a compensation claim by one of his victims.
This story is not ‘murky and complicated’, if you’ve been following it. It is really very simple: The US Government is determined to see that Idema doesn’t leave Pulacharke, not to mention Afghanistan, even though the Afghans have freed him.
The Afghans freed him and declared him innocent many times before the March date that the AP cites-I know for a fact his release was secretly ordered by the Afghans on January 7, 2007, without the US knowing. The US Embassy has tried numerous times to send people in to take Idema to another prison cell in handcuffs, under the same conditions as Bennett; in handcuffs and with nothing but what he is wearing – but luckily, apparently they haven’t convinced the Marines to start shooting at him yet.
The ‘visa dispute’ and ‘compensation’ claim by Sidiq are both stupid and are allegations, not facts. The only dispute is between Jack and his own government; and they’re doing everything within their power to see that he doesn’t return any time soon.
They also involve documents that Idema says would finally prove his claim that he was a hired mercenary hunting al-Qaida suspects on a mission sanctioned by U.S. counterterrorism officials _ a claim that American authorities have denied.
The US Government wants Idema to leave, just like Bennett did, with the clothes on his back – because they’re determined to find those documents. Are they out of their minds? Do they honestly think Idema is going to let those things just lie around for these people to confiscate?
As far as a ‘hired mercenary’, no one has proven that Idema accepted a dime for what he was doing. He has repeatedly said that he has paid for this with his own money and served in the Northern Alliance as an unpaid officer. This puts him in a better light than the Flying Tigers and everyone called them heroes! The rules, according to the Geneva Conventions, about a mercenary, leave Idema out of the mercenary category; these AP writers should do their homework before they spread lies like this. Perhaps the government is hoping that they can use press reports in the court cases against him to prove that he is not what he’s always claimed to be. Oops, guess what? The government is already circulating the AP report as their evidence, because they’re too smart to file sworn affadavits!
But all evidence that I’ve seen, including court documents and affadavits from Afghans, point to another conclusion.
Idema’s Afghan lawyer and prison officials say Idema could be just days away from leaving the country. But Idema, a former Green Beret from Fayetteville, North Carolina, has appeared in no hurry to quit a prison cell that by local standards is top of the line.
His self-described prison «suite,» has its own kitchen, a private bathroom, couches, rugs, TV, Internet access and a small staff. He is also friendly with prison guards aligned with the Northern Alliance, the coalition of anti-Taliban militias that helped the U.S. drive the hardline militia from power in late 2001.
«He is allowed to keep a dog, weapons and a cook. Why? Because the anti-Taliban factions of the Afghan government have never, not once, considered him a prisoner, but a temporary guest,» Idema’s U.S. lawyer, John E. Tiffany, said in a recent court filing.
This is something that really galls his detractors; because it proves once again that he’s who he’s always said he was, and that he is not guilty of having done anything except capture real terrorists. Think about it. More than 35 high-ranking Afghan officials have already signed affadavits and letters to this effect, most of which have been entered in the courts. The AP has access to this information, yet they continue to cherry pick what it is they say about all of this in order to paint an unfavorable picture of Idema. In fact, no journalist has ever quoted any Afghan Government Official Affadavit against the US Embassy, although they are numerous, and lengthy.
Afghan former Taliban Judges were bribed by the United States government with cars and vacations to keep Idema there, and the US government hasn’t answered Idema’s Habeas Corpus petition in over three years, even though the Afghans have released him numerous times. There have been more than 17 attempts by Al Qaeda on their lives, that have left more than a dozen dead, Bin Laden has a price on Idema’s head, and that by itself should tell you something, IF NOT VOLUMES.
His connections in the Afghan government go all the way to the palace, and as it said in one affadavit, he is considered to be part of Commander Massoud’s family. Referencing “Kingdom of Heaven”, if you really understood what was going on in Afghanistan and the middle east in regards to Islam, you would realize that this is a very important position to be in, and the reason why Jack can walk through a crowd of Al Qaeda and Taliban terrorists on Pulacharke’s grounds, and they all give him visible signs of respect. This is worrying to the American government, which seems to be clueless on how to successfully fight this war.
In one of the scenes in Kingdom of Heaven, it is sure that Bloom’s character is going to be killed as Bloom’s character brings a small group of men to fight Salahidin’s enormous army; it appears as though they’re consciously moving to be slaughtered. But Salahidin’s forces spare his life.
The concept applies in the story of Jack Idema at Pulacharke.
Idema is one of three U.S. citizens arrested in July 2004 and imprisoned at Policharki prison for abducting several Afghans and holding them in a makeshift jail in Kabul. Brent Bennet, another former soldier, was released last September, as was freelance journalist Edward Caraballo, who was filming their activities, in May 2006.
That would be Ed Caraballo, the four time Emmy-award winning journalist, who the Committee to Protect Journalists did nothing about, even though Peter Bergen and others say that Ed was simply blameless; he was just documenting what they were doing. He was not just filming their activities, but doing a story on the Northern Alliance with the consent and approval of the US Department of Defense.
As I said above, there were at least 40 others like Jack’s safehouse in Kabul where terrorists were being questioned before being turned over to Bagram.
Idema’s detention is just the latest episode in a personal history that includes three years in U.S. jail for fraud in the 1980s. He claims to have fought with Northern Alliance forces against the Taliban and was featured in a book about the Afghan war called «Task Force Dagger: The Hunt for bin Laden.»
That’s kind of funny, too, that they would keep bringing up the wire fraud charges. The principles in that case were let go and allowed to keep the material. Idema was charged as an ‘accessory, but if it really was a crime, why were the principles let go? Here is the true story about the wire fraud charges. Oh, and claimed to be working with the Northern Alliance. Now that’s funny, considering hundreds of released pictures of him leading and advising Northern Alliance Soldiers and carrying an NA Military Advisor ID Card.
Some of the Afghans Idema imprisoned in 2004 claimed they were beaten and their heads held under water. However, Idema says he never mistreated prisoners and the prosecution offered scant evidence at his sometimes chaotic Kabul trial, where he wore khakis and sunglasses and was initially sentenced to ten years in jail.
“some of the Afghans Idema imprisoned in 2004 claimed…” That’s interesting, none of the ‘witnesses’ testified to this at the trial, not a single one, so who are they? Who are these unnamed people the press is claiming that Idema beat and waterboarded? THE THREE TERRORISTS THAT GAVE A PRESS CONFERENCE?
Here’s what the high profile Taliban Judge Sidiq, admitted Deputy to the Wanted Terrorist, Gulbideen Hekmatyar said on an undercover tape:
I am talking as the delegation of 8 people. Now, if you want, without any requirement, I am ready to announce everywhere that Jack was blamed for torturing us, but we were in one room, and we never saw anyone tortured by him, 7 people were together, there was no torture, we never saw, not beating, not slapping, not even a pinch. NOTHING. We never saw this, but they lied. We were completely fine.
Sidiq was found with documents connecting him to Mullah Omar and Hekmatyar on his person, plus explosives, and a taxi that tested positive for explosives by ISAF, and in spite of his visible position as a Supreme Court Judge, that didn’t mean he was an ‘innocent Afghan’.
Jalali and Mashal also said he was ‘arresting people with long beards’. Only 3 of the 11 that Idema and his team captured had long beards.
Idema told The Associated Press by cell phone from Policharki that it might be hard for people to understand why he has remained after President Hamid Karzai’s decree in late March that freed him.
Idema says he never said that, because Karzai was not the one who freed him.
But he said he risked arrest by Afghan intelligence agents and that departing would harm his chances of recovering documents, tapes and computer files that show his alleged relationship with U.S. officials.
Idema says he did not say that. He said ‘by the NDS guys that were working for the Embassy.’ And perhaps they are worried about his ‘recovering documents, tapes and computer files’, and this is why they are going through all the mail that is coming and going from Pulacharke?
«My car is parked outside right now,» Idema said. «I could drive through the Policharki gates right now. Then what happens? I get arrested. (The intelligence service) will arrest me for not having an Afghan visa and they’ll torture me and kill me. If I’m lucky, I’m only going to be tortured.»
He said the Embassy and the NDS. The AP ignored the two sworn statements filed in Federal Court in which Afghan officials said that was the NDS/US Embassy plan.
The actual documents were ordered to be returned by Amrullah Saleh; but the Embassy has stood in the way of those documents being returned to him.
A U.S. federal judge in April said the United States had to respond to a lawsuit by Idema alleging that the State Department and FBI illegally kept him imprisoned, directed his torture and destroyed evidence. Idema said he has audio recordings and documents to back up his claims.
Well, Idema wasn’t bluffing or lying like the US Embassy, because some of those audio recordings are available here.
The U.S. Embassy in Kabul responded by saying that since Idema had been freed by Karzai, his claims no longer had merit.
That isn’t exactly true. Idema has been declared innocent by the Afghans, not simply ‘pardoned’. And his claims DO have merit, because even though the Afghans issued an order to have his original documents, property, passport and equipment returned, the US Government is denying him that right.
«Mr. Idema’s habeas claim is moot because his criminal sentence has expired and because his continued presence in Policharki prison is due to his refusal to leave without his personal belongings,» the U.S. said in a court filing.
Again, smoke and mirrors! The Embassy has the passport and blocked hiim from getting visas from any other country that you can reach from Kabul, and ordered the NDS to seize him and what he has, including Nina, at the airport! Too bad for them, he got tipped off first.
The U.S. said it has secured Idema a passport and helped him with travel information for him and Nina, a dog that Bennet had adopted. Idema, who is insisting on taking the animal with him, said it had received shots so that it could travel.
Idema’s Afghan lawyer, Rahim Ahmadzai, said Idema also wants US$500,000 (¤372,000) of equipment _ computers, cameras and weapons _ and a special passport returned from the Afghan government.
Interesting how he would wind up with all of that when he entered Pulacharke with just the clothes on his back. How do you supposed he got into the most notorious prison in the world with nothing, and has ended up with that much property in a foreign land?
Hey, it’s even better than that, the $500k in property is the military equipment he had before he was arrested, it doesn’t include what he has with him now. Riiight. This guy is a wannabee mercenary poser. Not even in an alternative universe could that line of BS that make any sense.
Doesn’t this make one think that something else is amiss here?
«Jack’s attitude is he wants compensation for that, otherwise he doesn’t care if he has to spend the next 10 years in prison,» said Ahmadzai.
Another issue has been compensation demanded by one of the men Idema held in his prison.
The man, a senior judge called Sadiq, had originally wanted US$13,000 (¤9,700) in compensation, but told the AP that he gave Idema a letter on Friday forgiving him.
Sidiq wants bribe money. And why not? He’s seen people end up with cars and vacations, paid for by the US Government; people in Afghanistan can just pay a judge a bribe and walk out of jail, no matter what their crimes. Sidiq already got a car from the Embassy, but now he wants the taxi paid for that ISAF seized and blew up on the explosives range. Too funny! Sidiq is right, we should be reimbursing the terrorists for the explosives and bombs we take from them so they can go out and buy more!
Afghan law, as Fogelnest (Caraballo’s one time lawyer) said at Democracy Now, is new. Their constitution is new. Experienced judges go by the same rules they did when they were under the soviets; which is basically like a kangaroo court under Saddam Hussein. Fogelnest actually studied up on it so he could teach lawyers and judges what their laws are, and went over to Afghanistan with a grant to help them improve their legal system.
«Because I’m an Afghan Muslim, I forgive all these things,» said Sadiq, who goes by one name. «I’m not his enemy, he’s not my enemy.»
Huh. That’s new, because before the AP called him Mulawi Sidiq, and before that, he was Mullah Sidiq, and now he just wants to be “Mr. Sidiq”, the poor victim.
Abdul Salam Ismat, a senior Afghan justice official, said compensation claims usually cannot keep someone jailed.
Compensation claims is not what this is about.
«For us, he’s completely free. He’s not a prisoner. But Mr. Idema’s story is that he’s safer inside Policharki, so he’s staying there,» Ismat said. «We could have kicked him out on the street after he was pardoned, but that might not have been well received by the international community.»
General Salam Ismat is not a Judge. He is a Northern Alliance General in the Ministry of Justice, who said something far different than that in defense of Jack, including how Jack helped save his village, and was put in writing by a Lieutenant General (stay tuned because it’s on its way to Cao’s blog in the next few days).
He’s completely free, without a valid travel passport, because he can’t get a visa anywhere, and he has to forfeit by force everything except what he is wearing. So all claims regarding that point are ridiculous obfuscation and lies.
The US Consul told Jack to give up, leave Nina and his property because it wasn’t worth dying for. I can’t actually quote Jack’s response, it was full of swear words.
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