Skip to comments.Afghans Arrest Americans in Abuse Case
Posted on 07/08/2004 1:21:25 PM PDT by jjm2111
Afghan forces arrested three Americans, including a purported former Green Beret, after raiding a jail they were allegedly running in the Afghan capital and finding prisoners hanging from their feet, officials said Thursday.
The U.S. military, facing a widening inquiry into prisoner abuse, quickly distanced itself from the three, who had been posing as American agents before being detained Monday. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said Thursday "the U.S. government does not employ or sponsor these men."
Afghan officials also dismissed claims by the apparent ringleader, Jonathan K. Idema, that he was a "special adviser" to their security forces, saying the three had posed as military agents on a self-appointed hunt for terrorists.
The Americans and four Afghans who were detained along with them "formed a group and pretended they were fighting terrorism," Interior Minister Ali Ahmad Jalali said. "They arrested eight people from across Kabul and put them in their jail."
Another Afghan security official said intelligence and police officials who raided the group's house Monday found the prisoners strung up by their feet.
"They were hanging upside down," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. He said a report showed the men also were beaten.
Jalali said the Americans had no "legal link" to any Afghan or other authorities.
Still, officials said they were seen regularly around Kabul wearing military uniforms and armed with assault rifles.
Idema, described in media reports as an ex-special forces operative known as "Jack," first appeared in Afghanistan (news - web sites) in late 2001, when U.S. and allied Afghan forces routed the Taliban.
He featured prominently in a top-selling book, "The Hunt for Bin Laden," which says he fought for 10 months alongside the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance.
He also offered his services to Western television networks, including an apparent al-Qaida training video.
On Thursday, police gave an Associated Press reporter a business card apparently handed out by Idema.
The card bears an Afghan flag with a small Stars-and-Stripes at its center and a Northern Alliance flag. "Special Adviser" is printed on the bottom and "Jack" is scrawled in the Dari language at the top. None of the three phone numbers worked.
In Washington, Boucher confirmed Idema was one of the men in custody and identified another as Brent Bennett. He gave no other details.
One police official said Idema's group appeared to be behind the disappearance of a man in west Kabul three weeks ago.
The missing man was identified as Abdul Latif, and his wife told authorities she believed he had been taken into custody by members of the NATO (news - web sites)-led force that patrols the capital, said the police official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
He said three foreigners, dressed in military uniforms, returned to the house earlier this week, where police confronted them.
He said a man called Jack told the officers he had orders to arrest a terrorist before he could blow himself up in a government building. The three said they belonged to "an important network," but gave no other details, the police official said.
Jalali said all eight prisoners found Monday were released. It was not clear how long they had been held.
There was no sign of Latif, however, at his house in a quiet residential street of Kabul's Khoshal Khan district.
Two men who answered the door Thursday said they were refugees who had returned recently from Iran and the previous tenant's wife had recently moved out.
Idema and the two others were seized by Afghan police and intelligence officers in downtown Kabul on Monday. Jalali said the men were operating in Kabul under the guise of working for an export company.
On Thursday, uniformed Afghan intelligence officers refused to admit reporters into the house where the eight prisoners had been found in the city's Kart-e-Parwan district, which was barely visible over a high wall topped with barbed wire.
Residents said foreigners had lived there and they had noticed nothing suspicious.
The U.S. military took the unusual step Monday before news of his detention was widely known of distancing itself from Idema, saying in a statement: "The public should be aware that Idema does not represent the American government and we do not employ him."
A spokeswoman would give no details of Idema's activities, insisting Afghan authorities were leading the investigation.
U.S. Embassy spokeswoman Beth Lee said Thursday the Americans had been visited by U.S. officials, but she had no information on whether the United States had sought to take them into custody.
Associated Press Writer Stephen Graham in Kabul contributed to this report.
However, I just LOVE the press' need to draw lines to Abu Ghraib. We are fighting a war with brutal people; teddy bears aren't going to make them talk.
Looks like someone out there trying to work for that reward money....
How so? Is Dari some secret American Special Ops language?
Yes sounds like privateers... unless they can produce a Letter of Marque however, they are acting illegally.
Yup, bounty hunters. And why not, the bounties are huge! Still, watch the MSM try to pin this on Bush.
'teddy bears aren't going to make them talk'
Have you tried it? /sarcasm
This guy has Strange Ranger written all over him
This from NY Daily News a while back.... and remember, the real guys don't talk about it.
"Geraldo Rivera should be glad he got out of Iraq without a broken nose, according to a former Green Beret who says the Fox News star has a history of jeopardizing military operations.
Ex-Army commando Keith (Jack) Idema isn't surprised that military officials accused Rivera of leaking their positions on the air. Idema tells us that, when he served as an adviser to Northern Alliance forces in Afghanistan, he was ready to "punch out"
Rivera for allegedly putting his coalition comrades at risk with his newsgathering.
Idema, who figures prominently in Robin Moore's best seller "The Hunt for Bin Laden," was retired when he flew to Afghanistan in December 2001 to help Gen. Hazrat Ali.
"We had two- and three-man sniper teams hiding out in the mountains" of Tora Bora, recalls Idema. "Geraldo found out about it from the [anti-Taliban] mujahedeen soldiers. We were paying them between $25 and $100 a month. Geraldo put the word out that he would pay any Afghan who deserted the U.S. Army $100 a day to point out where the snipers were so he could get pictures of them."
Not surprisingly, Idema says, it wasn't hard to find volunteers. "Here are a couple of snipers hidden in this cave, and Geraldo comes prancing up.
Of course, now everybody knows where they are.
"One of my muj told me about him. I got into my damn car, drove to the hill where the media was camped to find Geraldo. He'd just left. Several of us were drawing straws about who would knock him out and escort him out of the place."
Rivera also caught heat in Afghanistan when he erroneously claimed to be standing on "hallowed ground" where U.S. soldiers had been killed by friendly fire.
A spokesman for Fox said the newsman couldn't be reached for comment. Maybe we'll hear from him once he's settled into his new digs in Kuwait."
No, and you have a point. Perhaps the US Military only distanced themselves from these guys because of their military background. I'm not sure. Perhaps an element of the Afghani police is pro-jihadi and is hoping to create another Abu Ghraib style scene.
I'm sure more info will surface.
Ex-commando sues Fox News over terror tape
A former Army Special Forces commando who claimed to have exclusive video of an al Qaeda training camp is suing Fox News Channel. J. Keith Jack Idema claims that Fox News never paid him for the tape, which the network aired repeatedly, and never returned it to him. He seeks more than $2 million in damages.
The 45-year-old Idema journeyed to Afghanistan in October 2001 on a sort of self-sponsored combat and humanitarian mission after being turned down to re-enlist. He claimed to have filmed the 52-minute tape during his nine-month stay in Afghanistan, where he said that he became a Northern Alliance adviser.
Idema alleges that he gave Fox News the videotape on the conditions that it be returned, not copied and used only once a usage agreement was in place.
Idema appeared as a pundit for the network, which he also claims reneged on an agreement to pay him for combat zone reporting. Author Robin Moore chronicled Idemas story in The Hunt for Bin Laden.
Turned down for re-up..... hmmmmmmmmmmmm
Curiouser and Curiouser.....
Sounds like someone out to make some big money!
Stay safe and play the UBL Lotto often !
Someone played one too many games of Splinter Cell...
Yeah, there is that billion-dollar hit contract on bin Laden... my understanding is that contract is still open.
Hmm. Something's not right here. Perhaps he has a case of Stolen Valor.
I have a feeling this guy was deep cover. His past is so murky ...it would confuse an enemy.
Earlier this year, a number of US cache finds in Iraq contained munitions and US Military uniforms. Yes, a most curious story. But were he "deep cover"; he'd be "deeper" than this. This is the work of novice "deep", IMHO.
I think the man's a fraud artist.