One of our Junior Cape Crusaders brought an interesting piece of the Bergen article to our attention.
"Before he would agree to be interviewed, the litigation-happy Idema asked me to sign a document that I would keep copies of the tapes of my interviews, in the event that he might decide to sue Rolling Stone."
Mr. Bergen does not say whether he signed the document or not and does not disclose what other details were in that document besides keeping copies of the taped interview. Now Mr. Bergen we are sure that all would love to hear what else was exactly in that document you appeared to have signed.
Discouraged Forward.....Junior Cape Crusaders!!!!!!
Today we will meet four very important people. Mr. Obvious, Mr. Contradiction, Mr. Fact and Mr. Research !! Lets take a look how Mr. Obvious, Mr. Contradiction, Mr. Fact and Mr. Research play an important role in this critical analysis of a new report on our imprisoned POW Hero General Jack by the legendary Peter Bergen! Please feel free to use our General Jack library on the right side of the webblog....
THE SHADOW WARRIOR
(Rolling Stone Magazine May 5, 2005)
How did Jack Idema, a convicted con man and former Special Forces soldier, end up in an Afghanistan prison? A true story from the dark side of the War on Terror
By Peter Bergen
Pul-e-Charkhi prison, a vast crumbling Afghan fortress twenty miles outside of Kabul, is not an easy place for an American to wind up. Its dank cell blocks house scores of Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters. Pul-e-Charkhi is also home to Jack Idema, a former U.S. Special Forces sergeant, who, in one of the more bizarre twists in the war on terror,was arrested in Kabul last year and charged by Afghan authorities with running his own prison – a sort of freelance Abu Ghraib – where he was accused of torturing eight Afghan men he said were terrorists.
[So far so good]
Only in the freewheeling atmosphere of post-Taliban Kabul could an American civilian like Idema swagger around town at the head of an armed, uniformed force on a mission to hunt down terrorists. Three years after the rout of the Taliban, the city is enjoying an unprecedented boom, yet it remains consumed by fears of terrorist attacks [Mr. Fact here: Let's not mention the number of assassinations both attempted and real while still needing a armed escort to travel south of Kabul] .
The hulks of burned-out planes that once littered Kabul airport have finally been cleared away, but de-mining teams regularly sweep the runways. A couple of miles from the airport you enter a city where speeding SUVs driven by menacing gun-toting bodyguards weave through epic traffic jams [Mr. Obvious: Ever see someone who was not a menacing gun-toting bodyguard?] Building sites rise seemingly on every corner, construction that is partly fueled by Afghanistan’s substantial heroin economy; embassies and Western-owned enterprises are sheltered behind enormous blast barriers and miles of razor wire. Kabul’s pleasantly edgy vibe has attracted its fair share of war junkies and mysterious guys in dark shades who aren’t about to tell you what they do for a living. [Mr. Research: Yeah its called OPSEC something that our imprisoned POW Hero Leader General Jack called a "LIVE SHOT"] Ground zero for this crowd is the Mustafa hotel, a dingy joint where drinks are served by giggling Thai women from the massage parlor conveniently located inside the hotel. The king of the Mustaf a scene, until his arrest last July, was Jack Idema, who first arrived in Kabul in fall 2001, shortly after the defeat of the Taliban. Idema told those who were curious that he was doing humanitarian work or that he was a security consultant for journalists covering the war against the Taliban or that he was a special adviser to the Northern Alliance. If he really wanted to impress you, he might also tell you what his ultimate goal was: to be the guy who captured Osama bin Laden [Mr. Research here: Let's not mention the 25 Million].
Before his arrest, Idema was regarded around Kabul as something of a blowhard. It was only after he was detained that Idema’s criminal history and chronic litigiousness, which included abetting wire fraud and unsuccessfully suing film director Steven Spielberg, became widely known, as did his penchant for threatening journalists and, on one occasion, shooting in their vicinity. It was perhaps inevitable that Idema, a convicted felon, was going to get into some kind of trouble in Afghanistan. [Mr. Research here: Yep our imprisoned POW Hero Leader General Jack's criminal and military record was never reported before his arrest! We guess Google must have its search engine screwed up? We counted no lest than 23 hits. It was more like reporters were NOT doing their Mr. Fact-checking....]
And ! so he did, in a story that has unfolded like a movie written by a twenty-first-century Graham Greene, powered by a dark Middle-Eastern techno soundtrack by Deep Dish. Idema straddled the civilian and military worlds in Afghanistan, a balancing act that attracted little comment until his arrest. [Mr. Fact here : Let's not mention the threats to reporters who were on to the story and were threatened by Jack] That’s because in today’s U.S. military, functions that were once handled by the uniformed services have increasingly been taken over by civilians. In Afghanistan, American contractors do everything from guarding local bigwigs, including President Hamid Karzai, to conducting Al Qaeda interrogations. [Mr. Fact: Like this has never happened before in any other war's this country has had?]Cruising around town in his SUV, with his wraparound shades, AK-47, beard and almost-but-not-quite U.S. military uniform, Idema was able to convince a surprisingly large number of people in Kabul that he was a supersleuth terrorist hunter with connections to the most secretive units in the American military.
The strangest thing of all is that Idema, a convicted con man who served four years in federal prison in the mid-Nineties, is telling the truth when he says that his terrorist-hunting operation in Kabul was known both at high levels of the Afghan government and within the murky world of U.S. military intelligence. What’s more, he may indeed have disrupted a plot to assassinate officials in the Afghan government and carry out bombings in Kabul. [Mr. Obvious here.... Yes Mr. Bergen even a blind squirrel once dropped into a bag of nuts can find some.] Jonathan K. Idema was born in 1956 in upstate New York, the only son of adoring and prosperous parents. [And you wonder where this article is going?] As a child, Idema saw the John Wayne Vietnam War movie The Green Berets and immediately decided to drop his dream of becoming a veterinarian in favor of becoming a Special Forces soldier. Idema enlisted in the Army in 1975, when he turned eighteen. [Mr. Obvious: Seems to be a repeat of what our imprisoned POW Hero Leader General Jack' says on his website] He was too late for Vietnam – the last U.S. troops had just pulled out – but he qualified for the Special Forces, an elite unit that trains indigenous fighters in foreign countries.
Idema served on active duty for three years as a radio operator and weapons specialist and later in the Reserves, holding the rank of staff sergeant when he was discharged in 1984. Though Idema’s military record reflects qualification as a pistol expert and badges awarded for scuba and parachute training, there are no indications that he ever heard a shot fired in anger while he was in the military [Mr. Fact: One for Mr. Bergen here]. Moreover, a 1994 North Carolina probation report quotes a military evaluator describing Idema as “the most unmotivated, unprofessional, immature enlisted man I have ever known,” and a letter of reprimand cited Idema’s “gross immaturity characterized by irrationality and a tendency toward violence.” The reprimand came after Idema “attempted to physically attack a senior commanding officer.” [Mr. Fact: Two for Mr. Bergen here] From this unremarkable military career, Idema has woven the tapestry of an extraordinary life story that, if it is true, makes him one of the giants of unconventional warfare. He said that after he left the Army, he worked as a U.S. military adviser in hot spots such as El Salvador and Honduras during the mid-Eighties and claimed that while he was stationed in Honduras he was part of an American “SMU – Special Mission Unit.” Though he won’t reveal exactly what this means, he said that secret military records exist – “the ones that they don’t want to give anyone” – that would confirm his career as an American covert warrior .[Mr. Fact: You mean Mr. Bergen did not ask the Pentagon to verify this? Special Missions Unit A/K/A The Secret Army of Northern Virginia Circa 1986ish of which are required to have the permission of the US Ambassador and the CIA's Chief of Station before undertaking operations and only a reporter would believe this story of Stupor Secret files] Some of Idema’s stories can be verified. During the Eighties, he trained guards to protect U.S. government interests in Haiti, and he worked in some capacity with the Thai military, exploits supported by documents provided to me by his former business partner, Thomas Bumback [Too bad no one ever PRINTS these so they can truly be verified].
During this period, Idema and Bumback ran a company that oversaw a counterterrorism training school, the Counterr Group, in upstate New York, which catered to a wide range of clients, including the then-president’s son, Ron Reagan Jr. [Mr. Fact: WoW that's it? Very thin on Mr. Facts..] While he was running his counter-terrorism school, Idema was also racking up an impressive number of brushes with the law, including a 1982 arrest on a charge of possessing stolen property, a 1986 charge of resisting arrest and assault with intent to physically harm, a 1988 arrest for disorderly conduct and a 1990 arrest for assault involving discharging a firearm. But federal records indicate that there were no convictions in these cases [Mr Fact: Yes and unfortunately Mr. Bergen does not say why these were not convictions and like this does not speak to to any other issues as in character]. In 1991, Idema traveled to Lithuania, which had just split away from the Soviet Union, to train local police forces. [Mr. Contradiction here; Our imprisoned POW Hero Leaders Internet site NGU Films details how he traveled to Lithuania "as an undercover intelligence source and it was a exposition not a training assignment and he discovered this at a bar drinking with his new found russian friends bad Mr. Fact checking Mr. Bergen.] There, Idema said he discovered a black market worth millions of dollars in backpack-size nuclear weapons, known as special-atomic-demolition munitions, an ideal weapon for terrorists. David Albright, a former U.N. weapons inspector who is one the world’s leading authorities on the proliferation of nuclear weapons, told me that experts view such stories of a black market in so-called suitcase nukes as “myths.” [Fact three for Mr. Bergen] Be that as it may, Idema said he briefed a senior Pentagon official, Timothy Connolly, [Mr. Fact: Again very short on Mr. Facts while Mr. Connolly refused to answer questions about Mr. Idema for a news outlet back in 2001 stating he had enough problems] about suitcase nukes in summer 1992. According to Idema, that then led to a contentious meeting in December 1992 with a senior FBI official, who wanted access to his Lithuanian sources, which Idema refused to provide because he believed the FBI had been penetrated by Russian agents [Yep so our imprisoned POW Hero Leader overlooked the 90 others ways to get this information to our government]. “That,” he said, “started a shit stormof biblical proportions.” In Idema’s account, the FBI then set out to destroy him, tarring him with more than fifty counts of wire fraud that put him in federal prison for four years during the mid-Nineties. However, U.S. law enforcement officials actually began investigating Idema in May 1991, more than a year before he supposedly refused to hand over his Lithuanian sources to the FBI. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms noted in a report filed during the course of the investigation that Idema was “known to have a fictitious major’s ID from the Army” and was “disbarred from Army contracts on June 18, 1990 . . . after he misrepresented his business as being owned by a [minority].” [Fact Four for Mr. Bergen]
Between 1994 and 1997, while Idema was locked up in a series of federal prisons, he entered into an intense correspondence with a woman he had never met, the wonderfully named Viktoria Running Wolf, who would eventually become his wife. Running Wolf, an attractive blond in her early forties living in Fayetteville, North Carolina, told me that when she first met Idema a few months after his release from jail, “I knew right then I was going to have my hands full. I knew it from the time he said hello.” With Running Wolf at his side, Idema started putting his life back together. Both dog lovers, they hit upon the idea of setting up a hotel for pets, The Ultimate Pet Resort, in Fayetteville. And then came the 9/11 attacks – a life-transforming event for Idema. “I had a house and a hot tub, and I had a beautiful wife. I was making good money,” he said. [..ah...and Jack was not paying his debt to those he defrauded?] “And then they blew the fucking World Trade Center up; my whole life changed. I’m a fucking New Yorker.
[Mr. Obvious, Mr. Contradiction, Mr. Fact and Mr. Research here..... Where do you start on this one? Did Mr. Bergen do any research or did someone else write this article?]
I’m going to kill every goddamn one of them until I drop dead.” His wife supported him in his mission. “A lot of us put yellow ribbons on our cars or flags on our houses,” she said. “My husband decided to go over to Afghanistan and hunt the bad guys.” Shortly after the 9/11 attacks, Idema called a friend, National Geographic television producer Gary Scurka, asking him if he wanted to document some humanitarian work he was planning in Afghanistan. Things started going wrong almost from the start of the project. In October 2001, Scurka and Idema set off for Afghanistan via Uzbekistan, where they were detained for not having visas. Scurka recalled that Idema worked his contacts in the U.S. government and “American officials got us out of detention.” [Mr Facts... like Mr. Facts big time! No mention of the hoodwinking at our Embassy in Tashkent Mr. Bergen?] The pair then traveled to neighboring Tajikistan, where they hooked up with thirty-two-year-old cameraman and director Neil Barrett, a laid-back Englishman whose first impressions of Idema weren’t favorable. “This is the guy who is going to take us into Afghanistan?” Barrett remembered thinking. He added, “One of his first comments to me! was: Did I have an exit strategy? And I’m thinking, ‘I have walked into a fucking movie.’ ”Idema and the national geographic team crossed the Tajik border into northern Afghanistan, where they were planning to make a documentary about Ed Artis, a fifty-six-year-old Californian who runs a private charity, Knightsbridge International, which specializes in delivering relief to some of the world’s most dangerous places. Artis quickly came to loathe Idema. Even though Idema was ostensibly there to deliver humanitarian supplies to the Afghans, Artis said Idema had another agenda: to provide Northern Alliance fighters with military supplies, which jeopardized Artis’ efforts to deliver desperately needed aid to thousands of Afghan civilians. “He’s the dumbest fuck I’ve ever met,” said Artis. (Idema and Artis are now tied up in litigation.) On the fourth day of filming, Barrett and Scurka were near the front lines between the Northern Alliance and Talib an positions on a hill that began taking incoming Taliban fire.
Scurka recalled that he heard “the crack of artillery, and a telltale whistle got very noticeable. Then the shell hit. For a split second I thought my leg was blown off.” Scurka was evacuated back to the United States, which put an end to Idema’s role in the documentary project since Artis refused to be part of any film that involved him. And so Idema’s first foray into Afghanistan ended up being a fiasco, but even his detractors will concede that Idema is not a man who is easily deterred. [Mr. Obvious here...no mention of our imprisoned POW Hero Leader General Jack saving Gary Scurka? Or the FACT that the Partners agreement was broken? My my... Mr. Bergen ..you are not doing your Mr. Homework!] Several weeks later, in December 2001, Idema showed up at the battle of Tora Bora in eastern Afghanistan, where bin Laden and hundreds of other members of Al Qaeda were holed up in mountain hideouts. It was at Tora Bora that Idema began making a number of contacts with journalists, who were pleasantly surprised to find a Special Forces-type dude who would actually talk to the media.[Mr. Obvious here... and that did not raise any red flags?] But it was Idema’s longstanding relationship [Fact Five for Mr. Bergen] with Robin Moore, the author of titles ranging from The Green Berets to The French Connection, which would burnish his image as an authority on the Afghan war. Moore’s 2003 best-seller, The Hunt for bin Laden, described by the Washington Post as “fast-paced and immensely entertaining,” portrayed Idema as he sees himself: an American icon.
Idema, who had arrived in Afghanistan calling himself Keith and was now going by Jack, was both an important source for the book and provided many of the photographs used to illustrate it, including his photo on the cover. In the book’s acknowledgments, Moore even thanks “an anonymous Green Beret” for “day-and-night rewrites in the final months.” The anonymous Green Beret is, of course, Idema. In one passage, as the war against the Taliban is winding down in the winter of 2001, Idema is back at his favorite spot, the rooftop of Kabul’s Mustafa hotel, which he has christened “Jack’s Tora Bora Cafe.” In a sentimental mood, fortified by vodka, Idema! thinks back over the war: “God I hate it when a war ends.” . . . His teary eyes glassed over from the booze. . . . In January, Jack uncovered an Al Qaeda plot to kill President Clinton. In March, standing in the middle of a Kabul street armed with a Russian assault rifle and 600 rounds of ammunition, Jack held off Islamic fundamentalists for four hours as they tried to take eighteen foreign citizens hostage. Despite the fact that Idema said all this is true, there are no independent news accounts that support these vivid exploits. [Fact Six for Mr. Bergen]
But one scrape that Idema is known to have been a part of is missing from Moore’s book. Here is how Tod Robberson, of the Dallas Morning News, described it in his newspaper: “This reporter was five feet away from Mr. Idema on April 20, 2002, when he drew a pistol during an argument and fired a bullet that went through a couch and lodged in a wall behind me . . . missing my heart by about eight inches.” [Fact Seven for Mr Bergen...ah...can you say attempted MURDER Mr. Bergen?] When I asked Idema whether he had indeed shot in Robberson’s direction, he didn’t deny it, insisting that, “He wasn’t even close. Trust me, he was on the other side of the room.” Another American journalist, who was present at the incident, confirmed the details of Robberson’s account.
Idema’s relations with other members of the media would prove to be more congenial and, occasionally, lucrative [Especially with Uncle Dan]. He was the source for hours of Al Qaeda videotapes purportedly discovered by the Northern Alliance, the highlights of which were broadcast by 60 Minutes II in January 2002. The 60 Minutes II story showed Arabs performing paramilitary training in the small Afghan town of Mir Bacha Kot and also featured Idema as an expert on-camera commentator. “I didn’t know what to make of him,” said Dan Rather, the correspondent on the story. “But I rather liked him. . . . He’s an adventurer, but an adventurer with a conscience.” Last October, New York magazine raised the possibility that the Al Qaeda videotapes Idema supplied to 60 Minutes II were faked, seemingly plausible scenario given Idema’s previous fraud conviction. [Bye Dan!...BTW Dan we hear that 60 Minutes II is going to be cancelled in the next two weeks. Seems that CBS is still Rather bothered by your last stand!] But when I visited the town of Mir Bacha Kot, about a half-hour north of Kabul, Deputy Police Chief Mohammed Araf told me that Arabs had indeed used the town as a military base under the Taliban, and the buildings in Mir Bacha Kot match those on the Idema-supplied tapes. A journalist from a leading U.S. media organization who evaluated the tapes told me he had no doubt they were authentic but passed on them only because Idema was demanding tens of thousands of dollars for them. [Mr. Obvious, Mr. Contradiction, Mr. Fact and Mr. Research all jumping in here! Since when does another UNNAMED journo for a UNNAMED U.S. Media outlet know shit about authenticity of any AQ Tapes? What? Mr Bergen does not have any US intel Sources? What afraid to name this so-called bigwig terror-killer newsie? This is a BIG SHAME ON YOU MR. BERGEN THE AQ EXPERT!] In Afghanistan, Idema was finally doing the things he had always claimed to be doing in Central America during the 1980s: accompanying local guerrilla forces into battle in an exotic land, just like John Wayne in The Green Berets. For much of the year following the 9/11 attacks, he traveled the length and breadth of Afghanistan, establishing ties with military commanders in the Northern Alliance.
In March 2002, Susan Glasser, a reporter for the Washington Post, met with Idema at his house in Kabul. Operation Anaconda was then under way in central-eastern Afghanistan, in which several hundred American soldiers and their Afghan allies were trying to encircle Al Qaeda and Taliban forces dug into mountain redoubts. Glasser said Idema showed her an SUV loaded with boxes of what he said were medical supplies that he was going to deliver to the Afghan forces. The supplies were all marked fort bragg, the North Carolina headquarters of Special Forces, seeming to suggest that Idema still had some kind of tie to the Green Berets. In summer 2002, Idema returned to the States after his mother died unexpectedly. [Mr. Research here...and no one ever inquired about these packages from Fort Bragg though it was plain on the Hunt for Bin Laden website that it was all Viktoria...Vicky...Mrs. Fraudster and her merry friends!] Viktoria Running Wolf remembered her husband wasn’t happy to be leaving Afghanistan. “He had found a new niche in life and it showed on his face,” she said [ he may have found a new Thai babe as well..boom boom mamasan]. “He was the most bitter human being when he came home that I have ever met.” Idema began planning his return to Afghanistan during the winter of 2003. His old Afghan sources had tipped him off to active terrorist cells in Kabul. On this trip, Idema would be accompanied by Ed Caraballo, a forty-three-year-old director and cameraman from the Bronx, who got his start directing TV-CBGB, a cable show about the East Village punk scene in the early Eighties, and who later went on to establish a solid career in the news business. CNN anchor Anderson Cooper [Note here for those of you who do not know Mr. Cooper's mother....its Gloria Vanderbilt] told me that when he was a correspondent at ABC News in the late Nineties, “I continually hired Ed because he was the best cameraman that I ever worked with.”Caraballo told me that he had been planning to make a documentary about Idema for some time before he set out to Afghanistan in April 2004. “He’s definitely a newsworthy subject,” Caraballo said, “whether he’s an angel of mercy or an angel of death – and perhaps he could be construed as both.” [We smell the makings of a docudrama coming] Also along for the Kabul trip was an Idema protégé, Brent Bennett, a mild-mannered twenty-eight-year-old from Northern California who’d been working at Running Wolf’s pet resort. Bennett “was completely infatuated with Jack,” said Running Wolf. [Why can't you use her real name Bergen? You know Vicky Boyette?] “He wanted so much to have this purpose other than the pet resort and the girls in his life.” As Bennett, a former soldier in the 82nd Airborne, explained it, Idema had “done a lot of things I’ve always wanted to do, and then I asked him if he’d bring me along to Afghanistan. . . . .Who wouldn’t want to stop terrorists?” [There is always one in a crowd]
Once in Kabul, Idema rented a two-story house behind a high wall in a quiet residential area. According to an account in the New York Times, inside the house there were two clocks, one showing the time in Kabul and the other the time at Special Forces command in Fort Bragg, while a piece of paper tacked to a wall listed “Missions to Complete,'' from “Karzai'' to “Pick up laundry.''Idema got to work on setting up his terrorist-busting operation. At least one U.S. military official seemed convinced that Idema was doing good work. In a videotape surreptitiously record ed by Caraballo in Kabul in spring 2004, here’s what Capt. B.J. Donnelly
had to say about Idema: “[He] works on counterterrorism out of New York for guys way, way, way above my pay grade. . . . Basically, these guys are rolling up AQ [Al Qaeda] like it’s nobody’s business.” Idema said he was also assigned a Defense Intelligence Agency liaison in Afghanistan, but a U.S. military spokesman in Afghanistan did not respond to requests to confirm whether this is true.
[Mr. Obvious, Mr. Contradiction, Mr. Fact and Mr. Research here! Lets take a look at some of this in a different light! Like how reporters try and trap people.....This part of the transcript is from the left leaning Democracy Now website when it interviewed Robert Fogelnest, attorney for Caraballo ] http://www.democracynow.org/static/idema.shtml
AMY GOODMAN: That was former green beret Jack Idema speaking with someone who George Shim identified as his supervisor from General Boykin's office. Yesterday, we reached George Shim, who works as an assistant to General William Boykin.
GEORGE SHIM: General Boykin's office.
AMY GOODMAN: Hi. Is this George Shim?
GEORGE SHIM: Speaking.
AMY GOODMAN: Hi, it's Amy Goodman. I'm calling from Pacifica Radio and wanted to ask you about your conversations with Jack Idema. I just wanted to ask when he called you, how many times you had sp - I mean, was it a regular -- on a regular basis that you were speaking to him from Afghanistan?
GEORGE SHIM: On a regular basis? No. I can tell you that -- hold on. I'll give you this much as and then you really do have to go through the public affairs office.
AMY GOODMAN: Thanks very much.
GEORGE SHIM: His emails started -- first email that I have from him is June first; but that's not the date that it was went. Let me just open it. May. The first emails that I got from him.
AMY GOODMAN: And what did he say?
GEORGE SHIM: Just basically that he was doing whatever, claiming to do stuff in Afghanistan and, as I explained to him before, I was the U.S.D.I. We do policy work. We don't do the type of work that he claimed to be doing. [Overlooked this one didn't you?]
AMY GOODMAN: What was he claiming to be doing?
GEORGE SHIM: You know, being in Afghanistan looking for terrorists.
AMY GOODMAN: Um-hmmm.
GEORGE SHIM: So, I -- I told him that he needed to contact folks that were in Afghanistan, not here in Washington, D.C. -- can you hold on for a sec?
AMY GOODMAN: Sure.
AMY GOODMAN: That was George Shim in General Boykin's office. We'll talk about General Boykin's controversial past. And also we'll speak with a Pentagon spokesperson as they directed us to do. We'll hear more videotape and speak with both the lawyer -- one of the lawyers in the case, continue speaking with Robert Fogelnest, as well as the brother of the jailed journalist Edward Caraballo, will speak with Richard. This is Democracy Now! [break]
AMY GOODMAN: Juan has written two columns in the New York Daily News, the last one today, again about a case where last week, a court in Afghanistan convicted three Americans of torturing Afghans in an illegal private prison. The alleged ringleader of the operation, a former Green Beret named Jonathan "Jack" Idema, sentenced to ten years as was another former US soldier, Brent Bennet, and a four-time Emmy Award-winning journalist, who was following them in Afghanistan, was also sentenced. He is Edward Caraballo. We're going to go back to the conversation with Jorge Shim, the assistant to General William Boykin. He put me on hold and he came back.
JORGE SHIM: Amy?
AMY GOODMAN: Hi, Jorge.
JORGE SHIM: My boss told me. I told him who was on the phone and he overheard the conversation. He wants you to call public affairs.
AMY GOODMAN: Could you tell me who your boss is?
JORGE SHIM: General Boykin.
AMY GOODMAN: General Boykin just heard the conversation. When you spoke to Jack and you referred him to your supervisor in that conversation, when he was ...
JORGE SHIM: Amy, I don't want to get in trouble with my boss. He's standing right here next to me. He wants you to call public affairs?
AMY GOODMAN: Can I talk to Lieutenant General Boykin?
JORGE SHIM: No. I'm sorry, you can't.
AMY GOODMAN: Could you just tell me your supervisor that you had Jack get on with, that time when he was talking to you?
JORGE SHIM: There is no supervisor. It's General Boykin. General Boykin is the boss in the office. But he never once spoke to Jack Idema.
AMY GOODMAN: One time you said, let me -
JORGE SHIM: I'm getting off the phone right now.
With regards to Capt. B.J. Donnelly:
B. J. DONNELLY: I wanted to tell you why I wanted to facilitate this meeting because Jack and I have been talking. Jack works in counterterrorism in New York for guys way, way, way above my pay grade, and I think that this link-up would be beneficial for what they're doing, what you are doing and what we're all doing. And so, I think we should start with, you know - [Sounds like our imprisoned POW Hero Leader General Jack was laying it on thick with the good Captain here just as he did with Harrington "Jack works in counterterrorism in New York" ...hmmmm wonder if that good old Counterr Group Badge was flashed or maybe even the Tashkent letter that Mr. Bergen conveniently overlooked]
B. J. DONNELLY: Basically these guys are rolling up AQ like it's nobody's business. And they can roll them up. They've got some actionable intelligence. They have locations. These are things that we can work with. I think we can get a relationship going. It can only speed up the process of what we're trying to do as far as reconstructing the country.
And finally from Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Conway
AMY GOODMAN: That was Jorge Shim of General William Boykin's office. We did speak with Pentagon Spokesperson, Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Conway to talk about whether or not there was a connection between the Pentagon and Jack Idema.
AMY GOODMAN: Lieutenant Colonel Conway, could you just explain Jack Idema's relationship with the Pentagon?
CHRISTOPHER CONWAY: Well, Mr. Idema, like the other two American citizens, who are on trial in Afghanistan, did not represent the department of defense, nor did we employee, sponsor, or sanction them.
JUAN GONZALEZ: But I'm sure you're aware of the taped conversation that they released at the trial, or they tried to release at the trial in Afghanistan, of the conversations with Jorge Shim and someone else over there in General Boykin's office.
CHRISTOPHER CONWAY: Correct. I am familiar with that, however it would be incorrect to classify the alleged conversation that he had with the individual on that tape as anything other than an attempt by Mr. Idema to try to contact the Pentagon.
JUAN GONZALEZ: Yes. Yes. Even the remark about trying to create a firewall between him and General Boykin?
CHRISTOPHER CONWAY: Again, this was an attempt on Mr. Idema's part to contact the Pentagon. He was not in regular contact with DOD. As a matter of fact, his contact with DOD was vastly one-sided and sporadic, as he attempted to create a relationship with the Department of Defense
As spring turned into summer, Idema was back in his element. In Fayetteville, he was just another working stiff taking out the garbage and helping out the wife. [Mr . Obvious, Mr. Contradiction, Mr. Fact and Mr. Research here again..... says who Mr. Bergen? Regular working stiff? SHAME ON YOU!] In Kabul, he was running his own paramilitary operation, which he took to calling Task Force Saber 7 and outfitted in uniforms with American flags on the sleeves. Indeed, Idema claimed to have solved the world’s biggest mystery: the exact location of Osama bin Laden. In faxes sent last March to officials at the Pentagon, Idema said he had tracked bin Laden down to a specific address in the Hayatabad sub urb of Peshawar, Pakistan. But according to Ismail Khan, the highly regarded Peshawar bureau chief of Dawn newspaper, the address that Idema gave the Pentagon officials did not exist. Idema had more success with a series of raids of suspected terrorist hide-outs in Kabul early last summer. Cmdr. Chris Henderson, a spokesman for Afghanistan’s International Security Assistance Force, known as ISAF, told reporters that Idema had called in bomb-disposal teams from ISAF to check houses and vehicles in Kabul on three separate occasions in June. According to Henderson, those bomb teams found traces of explosives in two instances and suspicious electronic components in the third case, seemingly substantiating Idema’s claims that some of the Afghans he had arrested were planning terrorist bombings. [Mr. Facts here.... Mr. Bergen you nicely glanced over the entire statement of Commander Henderson who was also quoted as saying "Cmdr. Chris Henderson, a spokesman for the International Security Assistance Force, said the group's leader, Jonathan K. Idema, called in bomb-disposal teams, complete with a sniffer dog, from the international force to check buildings three times in June. He said the international troops were deceived by the men's "American-style" uniforms and their apparently professional approach. The peacekeeping troops "believed they were providing legitimate support to a legitimate security agency," Commander Henderson said."]
It was Idema’s decision late last June to arrest Afghan Supreme Court judge Maulawi Siddiqullah that put in motion the chain of events that landed him in jail. He had planned the dawn raid meticulously, worrying that the warren of narrow Kabul streets leading to Siddiqullah’s compound might be a death trap. “I’m fucking envisioning Somalia right now,” he said. “All I can see is Mogadishu and fucking rockets hitting us from every side.” For backup, Idema called in a contingent of German soldiers who were supported by a helicopter nbuzzing overhead, in a show of overwhelming force. The operation went smoothly, netting Siddiqullah and one of his brothers, who, Idema said was plotting to assassinate Yunus Qanooni, Afghanistan’s then-education minister. While it’s clear that a number of U.S. military officials both in Afghanistan and Washington knew about Idema’s activities, and even approved of them in a wink-and-a-nod kind of a way, Idema’s freelance operation simply became a public embarrassment around the time that he snatched the Supreme Court judge. After the judge’s arrest, U.S. officials put out wanted posters for Idema around Kabul, stating that he was “armed and dangerous and that he was “interfering with military ops." [Mr. Facts here again....the detain on sight order was placed out on Idema late 2001 ], at this point, was laying low, as he was holding the judge and seven others in his Kabul town house. Within a few days, local authorities caught up with him and arrested the members of Task Force Saber 7 on July 5th. Idema’s wife recalled that she was in her Fayetteville home “having coffee, watching the Today show, and I see my husband’s picture on the TV being led out in frigging handcuffs. . . . I’m going, ‘Holy shit!’ ” After Idema’s arrest, Afghan officials told reporters that he’d had only the most casual of contacts with the Afghan government, yet the record shows that he had a wide range of dealings with Afghan cabinet officials, diplomats and army officers. Afghan officials also briefed reporters about the beatings Idema had administered his prisoners, and how he hung them from the ceiling by the feet.
These allegations came just a few months after the revelations of the abuses perpetrated by American soldiers at the Abu Ghraib prison i n Iraq, which gave added traction to the notion that Idema was running a freelance bounty-hunting and torture operation. During his trial, Idema's former prisoners testified that they had been beaten, hooded, given little food and had their heads dunked in a bucket of water to the point that they almost passed out. But none of those witnesses were cross-examined, and Idema and his colleagues denied using anything other than standard, nonviolent interrogation techniques. On a cloudless October day, I was escorted through the clanging corridors of Pul-e-Charkhi prison for my first meeting with Idema. A month earlier he had been sentenced to ten years in this dingy dungeon. I was led to a prison waiting room and, suddenly, in strolled Idema, uncuffed. I wasn’t prepared for how short he is, maybe five nine. He was like a bantamweight boxer, a coiled, nervy guy in shades who started peppering me with hostile questions. Before he would agree to be interviewed, the litigation-happy Idema asked me to sign a document that I would keep copies of the tapes of my interviews, in the event that he might decide to sue Rolling Stone.
Idema was followed in by cameraman Ed Caraballo, an intense, observant, birdlike presence dressed in a traditional shalwar kameez, who fingered a set of prayer beads as he told me that he had recently converted to Islam. Next came Brent Bennett, a shaggy bear of a young man who let Idema do most of the talking. Over the course of three days of interviews with the members of Task Force Saber 7, I came to understand them a little better. Parts of the interview were conducted in the waiting room, until we were moved because prison officials were concerned that we might be attacked by Al Qaeda members jailed on the same cellblock. We were then led down a gloomy corridor lined with heavily bearded prisoners, who all looked like Taliban leader Mullah Omar, to a claustrophobic six-foot-by-six-foot cell that was home to the three Americans. Despite the privations, Idema seemed to be having a blast in jail, bossing the orderlies around, kibitzing with prison officials and generally treating the maximum-security prison as if it were a neighborhood Starbucks. The first thing that Idema wanted to tell me was that conditions in the jail were very difficult for Caraballo. “Brent and I are soldiers,” said Idema. “This is nothing for us. I have to tell you, Ed is fucking horrible. It is really, really bad for Ed. He looks great to you right now, but trust me, he is not coping well.” When I talked to Caraballo, however, he seemed philosophical about his fate. “I’m not the first journalist to be incarcerated,” he said, “and I won’t be the last. . . . The only regret is not being able to see my daughter. She’s three.” When I asked Idema who was sponsoring his operation in Afghanistan, an endeavor that required the rental of a house, vehicles, office equipment and payment for his Afghan helpers, he gave the following unhelpful answer: Figure it out on your own. I’ve always basically said, ‘Fuck off’ to that. But I will tell you, there are angels and organizations that believe in what we do.” [Mr. Facts here Mr. Bergen...... no mention of the court ordered restitution while Mr. Idema was playing 007?]
Central to Idema’s worldview is that the FBI has been pursuing a vendetta against him for years, a vendetta that accounts for his conviction on the fraud charges in the mid-Nineties and for his present incarceration in Afghanistan. “The last thing the FBI wanted was me rounding up these terrorists,” he said. Halfway through the second day of my visit, prison officials interrupted the interview to say that they were moving the Americans. We all then loaded into a van and were driven to another part of the prison, where we were taken to Task Force Saber 7’s new living quarters: a spacious living-dining room outfitted with a satellite television and carpeted with garish rugs, leading to a separate bedroom and bathroom. Greeting us in the living room was Abdul Salam Bakhshi, Afghanistan’s director of the Bureau of Prisons, surrounded by prison officials wearing elaborate uniforms of the type worn by doormen at grand European hotels. Bakhshi then presided over a stilted ceremony handing over the quarters to Task Force Saber 7. Idema choked back tears as he thanked the officials.
The improvements in the living conditions of Idema and his colleagues indicated that Idema continued to enjoy the support of certain high-ranking Afghan officials and also a realization in certain quarters of the Afghan government that justice had not been served in the case. [Mr. Obovious here ....and so you Mr. Bergen never sought out the Minister of Interior or Defense for any comments?] Indeed, the trial of Idema and his colleagues this past summer had played out like a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta as directed by Woody Allen. In a courtroom mobbed by the international media, incompetent translators made the proceedings largely incomprehensible to participants, and Idema himself interrupted the trial with loud outbursts and impromptu press conferences. At one point, he even appeared to have converted to Islam, declaring with his hand on the Koran, “There! is no God but the one God, and Mohammed is the messenger of God." This seemingly spontaneous conversion was greeted by shouts of Allahu akbar! – God is great! – in the courtroom, a chant led by none other than Supreme Court Justice Siddiqullah, Idema's former prisoner. As the case made its way through Afghanistan’s labyrinthine legal system, more exculpatory information kept coming to light. In July, a U.S. military spokesman admitted that an Afghan prisoner turned over by Idema was detained at Bagram Air Base, outside of Kabul, for several weeks.
This admission indicated that U.S. military authorities in Afghanistan were generally aware of Idema’s activities. Defense attorneys contend that further exculpatory evidence emerged at a hearing in mid-August when defense lawyer Michael Skibbie played a videotape shot by Caraballo that showed one of Idema’s prisoners, under no apparent duress, confessing to a plan to kill Yunus Qanooni, the Afghan education minister. Skibbie also showed a subsequent video of Qanooni congratulating Idema for thwarting the assassination plot and offering him additional Afghan government help to arrest other terrorists. [Mr Facts here Mr. Bergen..... no mention of Mr. Qanooni's statement of being duped by Mr. Idema?] Bizarrely, the judge presiding over the case, Abdel Basit Bakhtiari, then publicly conceded that Idema was indeed saving the lives of important Afghan officials. “You have saved the life of Minister Qanooni, and the people you have arrested were terrorists and Al Qaeda,” the judge said. “But what we want you to prove first is the legitimacy of your operation in Afghanistan." [Mr. Obvious.....Well DoH! The Judge was trying to be merciful and you find this strange?] During the trial it was also revealed that the FBI had taken a substantial number of documents and videotapes from Idema’s Kabul house after his arrest last July and that the bureau withheld these materials from defense lawyers without explanation for three weeks. In a case that was supposed to be about the need for Afghanistan to uphold its own laws, this was curious, since the FBI has no jurisdiction in the Afghan legal system. Additionally, Caraballo said some videotapes he’d recorded that would have helped Task Force Saber 7’s case were erased during the time they were held by the FBI: “Three conversations . . . [about] the support the Department of Defense has for [Idema], praising him for his good work.”
Finally, on the last day of the trial, Idema’s lawyer, John Tiffany, played tapes of two conversations between Idema and staffers in the office of Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin, a senior Pentagon official, who had recently attracted press scrutiny for delivering speeches in uniform to church groups suggesting that the war on terrorism was really a war against Satan. In one conversation, a Boykin aide is heard telling Idema, “We passed all your information to the J2 [intelligence] staff here and to DIA [the Defense Intelligence Agency]. And we were trying to protect our boss [Boykin] from getting associated with it, because he doesn’t need any other scrutiny right now by the press.” In another conversation, a Boykin staffer told Idema, “I told General Boykin you called. I gave him the information.”These conversations indicate that Idema’s terrorist-hunting operation was known of at high levels in the Pentagon. [Yes if you consider a policy analyst in Boykins office as part of the highest level of government? Plainly the POLICY unit was passing data as it would normally do to the J2 staff. Seems like Mr. Bergen did not contact J2 to find out why Jack was not reporting directly to them.]
[Mr. Research here....please note who these high levels of Government really were Mr. Bergen? Oh that is right you did not do your Mr. Homework!] But Idema did not have written authorization from either government for his activities, and in the end that would prove to be his undoing. As Mohammed Nahim Dawari, the prosecutor in the Idema case, explained to me, “Idema presented himself like a film star. He tried to deceive Afghan officials. He used the ID of the U.S. government to pretend he was an American soldier. If Idema wanted to come on a mission in Afghanistan, then he needed proper authorization from the U.S. government. If he had the proper authorization, then we would not have arrested him.” [DoH!]
On September 15th, 2004, Judge Bakhtiari sentenced Bennett and Idema to ten years each. Idema’s wife told me that when she heard the news, “I just fell to the floor. I just fell to the floor drunk. For two days straight.” Caraballo was sentenced to eight years.! His punitive sentence was especially perplexing. “All Eddie did was document what Idema was doing,” said Robert Fogelnast, his lawyer. “Eddie got an all-access backstage pass to the war on terrorism in Afghanistan. The American government has chosen to bury Eddie Caraballo alive.” Puzzlingly, the Committee to Protect Journalists, the New York organization that is supposed to advocate for mistreated journalists around the world, has done nothing to protest Caraballo’s sentence. [Mr. Obvious and Mr. Facts here..... mistreatment of journalists? Hell compared to others in the same situation he is living like a king! One of the reasons why many international groups have a problem fighting for them is because others in the same position are being treated like dogs. While he was not reporting on the war he was doing a PRIVATE GIG! Can you tell us Mr. Bergen what media outlet Caraballo was working for?]. In an effort [why not use another phrase here Mr. Bergen? How about feeble effort] to try and clear up some of the mysteries surrounding the Idema case, I interviewed Afghan Supreme Court Justice Siddiqullah, the most prominent of Idema’s former prisoners. Siddiqullah, a jovial, heavily bearded forty-nine-year-old cleric, was wearing Islamic dress and a white turban shot through with gold filigree when I met with him in the spacious downtown Kabul office where he resolves tribal disputes.
He described the morning last June when Idema arrested him. At! 6:30 a.m. there was a bang at his front door, he said. The judge then stood up and mimed out how somebody “acting like James Bond” – Idema, of course – came into the house waving a weapon, shouting, “Hands up! Hands up!” Also taken into custody were two of Siddiqullah’s brothers as well as four other relatives and a family retainer – the eight prisoners who would be discovered by Afghan authorities when they later busted Idema’s jail. Siddiqullah told me, “The first night, around midnight, I heard the screams of four people. They then poured very cold water on me. I tried to keep myself from screaming, but couldn’t. Then they played loud, strange music. Then they prevented me from going to the bathroom; a terrible situation.
I was hooded for twelve days.”I asked the judge why he thought his family had been targeted by Idema, to which he replied, “No clue.” When I asked him if I could meet with any of the other members of his family who had been abused by Idema, he became strangely evasive. Eventually he said that I could come to his home. Once there, he pointed out the bullet holes in the ceiling that Idema’s team had made the morning of the arrests. Siddiqullah then introduced me to his brother Malikyar, whom Idema had said is a terrorist. Siddiqullah told me that Malikyar had been tortured, that his rib was broken and that a cigarette was stubbed out on his hand. But Malikyar behaved in a weirdly hostile manner to me and refused to answer any questions about his treatment by Idema. Then Siddiqullah admitted in an aside that he himself was once affiliated with Hezbi-Islami, the party of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a one-time U.S. ally who has been branded one of the most wanted terrorists in Afghanistan. [Mr. Obvious, Mr. Contradiction, Mr. Fact and Mr. Research here..... my my... Mr. Bergen for someone who purports to be an expert on this stuff no mention that most afghan's belong to one party or another and that had very little meaning in the first place...its all about tribes Mr. Bergen...can you make it any more plain what your trying to do here?] Now I was getting seriously confused, [Mr. Facts here....you have written how many books on the Taliban and AQ and you have reported on terrorism for how long and your confused on what?] especially when I thought back to Siddiqullah’s earlier suggestion to me that, as far as he was concerned, the whole Idema case could have been resolved if his family were paid 900,000 Afghanis in compensation, about $20,000. My discussions with Siddiqullah added to my growing skepticism about aspects of the case against Idema and his colleagues. I traveled back to Kabul in January to interview the three judges who were hearing the appeals of the members of Task Force Saber 7. Sitting in their office in the Supreme Court, we all huddled around a wood stove that was barely warding off the intense chill of Kabul’s winter. [Mr. Facts here....Well Mr. Bergen its seems that either you do not understand Afghan Law or you rather overlook it for another motive.]
The chief judge, Mohammed Ismail Abid, explained that the whole Idema affair had mushroomed needlessly out of control because of all the attention it had received in the media. “In my opinion, Jack was trying to help against Al Qaeda and terrorism,” said the judge. “We did not want to make this a big case. We wanted to deal with it diplomatically.” It seemed to me that the judges were broadly sympathetic to Task Force Saber 7’s case and were keeping an open mind about the evidence. The judges said that they had recently ordered the release of four Afghans who had been helping Idema, all of whom were employees of Afghanistan’s Ministry of Defense and one of whom was a major. This admission established that the Afghan government had given some kind of official sanction to Idema’s activities. One of the judges also conceded that one of the people Task Force Saber 7 had detained, a man named Sher Jan, was concealing explosives when he was picked up, an indicator that Idema’s terrorist-busting operation had met with some success. However, one of the judges, who had said nothing during the conversation as he fiddled with his prayer beads, finally turned to me to ask, “I have one question for you: Can Afghans open a private prison in the United States?” The question wasn’t really meant to be answered. [Mr. Facts here...it sure can be answered Mr. Bergen!!! If some one in this Country impersonates a law enforcement officer and illegally imprisons someone and interrogates them its called KIDNAPPING and ASSAULT! YOU CANNOT DO IT HERE IN THE UNITED STATES IT'S A FELONY!]
I then went back to Pul-e-Charkhi prison to spend another couple of days with Idema and the others. Their cell had now taken on the comfortable look of a frat-house rec room. Scores of DVDs lined a shelf near a television, and a selection of Christmas cards decorated a table. The comfort of the cell belied the fact that two weeks earlier, the three Americans had been the target of an Al Qaeda-led prison riot that resulted in the deaths of four guards and four prisoners. According to a guard named Torialy, an Iraqi prisoner who went by the name of Bokan recruited three Pakistani prisoners to seize weapons from prison officials in an operation to take out the Americans. “If we didn’t kill them, they would have killed Mr. Jack,” Torialy said. Another guard told me, “Two of them were Osama’s men.” As prison officers traded automatic-weapons fire with the rioting Al Qaeda prisoners, the members of Task Force Saber 7 barricaded themselves in their cell. After a twelve-hour standoff, the four Al Qaeda prisoners were killed, along with the Afghan guards who, Idema said, “died defending our lives.”Despite the recent efforts by fellow Iraqi and Pakistani prisoners to kill them, the members of Task Force Saber 7 remain cautiously optimistic that the appeals process might eventually spring them from Pul-e-Charkhi. [Mr. Obvious, Mr. Contradiction, Mr. Fact and Mr. Research here....any thought about if Jack was paying off the guards Mr. Bergen and again why not ask the Minister of Interior?]Indeed, in April an appeals court cut Idema's sentence from ten years to five, Brent Bennett's from ten to three, and Ed Caraballo's from eight to two. They are now all appealing their cases to the Afghan Supreme Court. Caraballo told me that whether he gets out of jail soon or at the end of his sentence, he intends to complete his Idema documentary “if the FBI doesn't find some way to send me to Guantánamo or somehow stop me from making my film."
When I asked Idema what he planned to do once he was finally released, he said, “Go home and see my wife. Come back . . . because I have total sense of mission. That’s all I fucking see. . . . One day, I’ll finally get bin Laden in front of a machine gun.”
A note to Peter Bergen.... we have seen some slanted, opinionated and opportunistic writings but you either have not done your Mr. Homework or you had another motive writing an article like this. We sincerely wonder if this had to do anything with Ted Kavanau? Mr. Bergen you should be ashamed of yourself! Yes report the facts either pro or con. But to overlook facts and not report them or glance over them does no one any justice. But that's HOLLYWOOD! Mighty thin on actual facts Mr. Bergen....mighty thin.......What was your real motive for writing this story? You can't tell us you flew all the way to Kubal to just write this? SHAME ON YOU!