Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Tin Soldier An American Vigilante In Afghanistan,Using the Press for Profit and Glory
Columbia Journalism Review ^ | Jan/Feb 2005 | Mariah Blake

Posted on 05/25/2005 5:46:04 AM PDT by robowombat

Tin SoldierAn American Vigilante In Afghanistan, Using the Press for Profit and Glory By Mariah Blake

In April 2004, a former U.S. Special Forces soldier named Jonathan Keith Idema started shopping a sizzling story to the media. He claimed terrorists in Afghanistan planned to use bomb-laden taxicabs to kill key U.S. and Afghan officials, and that he himself intended to thwart the attack. Shortly thereafter, he headed to Afghanistan, where he spent the next two months conducting a series of raids with his team, which he called Task Force Saber 7. By late June, he claimed to have captured the plotters, and started trying to clinch a deal with television networks by offering them “direct access” to one of the terrorists who, he said, had agreed to tell all.

Idema, who was paying an Emmy Award-winning cameraman to document his activities, even distributed a sample tape of himself arresting people and interrogating hooded suspects. In one scene he is shown blocking a road and emptying passing vehicles. “Put your fucking hands up or I’ll blow your fucking brains out,” he screams at a group of men who have shuffled bewilderedly off a bus and are standing with their flimsy tunics whipping in the wind.

In exchange for footage and access, Idema wanted a minimum of $250,000 and prominent play. He asked that ABC send Peter Jennings or Cristopher Cuomo to cover the story. Ultimately ABC turned the story down, as did CNN. A CBS spokesperson, Kelli Edwards, says the network “never seriously considered” it, although Idema was regularly e-mailing Dan Rather’s office and in June the network sent two employees to Idema's Kabul headquarters to pick up the sample tape.

It appears that Idema still hadn’t sold the taxicab story by July 5, when his situation took a turn for the worse. The Afghan police raided his headquarters and discovered eight prisoners, some of them tethered to chairs in a back room, which was littered with bloody cloth. The men later told reporters that they had been starved, beaten, doused with scalding water, and forced to languish for days in their own feces. Afghan authorities determined that none of the detainees had links to terrorism and set them free. Idema, on the other hand, was arrested, along with two other Americans (the cameraman and a former soldier) and four Afghans, and charged with running an unauthorized prison and torturing its inmates. After a cursory trial, he was sentenced to serve ten years. (This case is on appeal.)

For all its outlandish twists, the saga of the taxicab plot was not extraordinary for Idema, who over the years had fed the press a variety of sensational material that seemed to shed light on the shadowy world of secret soldiers, spies, and assassins. This time the story never ran, but Idema has been a key source for numerous questionable stories that did. A self-proclaimed terror-fighter who has served time for fraud, Idema took a willing media by storm, glorifying his own exploits, padding his bank account, and providing dubious information to the American public.

In January 2002, Idema sold CBS sensational footage, which he called the “VideoX” tapes, that purported to show an Al Qaeda training camp in action. The tapes became the centerpiece of the bombshell 60 Minutes II piece, “Heart of Darkness,” reported by Dan Rather and touted as “the most intimate look yet at how the world’s deadliest terrorist organization trains its recruits.” Idema also sold video stills to a number of print outlets, including The Boston Globe. MSNBC, ABC, NBC, the BBC, and others later replayed the tapes. Questions are now emerging about their authenticity, some of which were detailed in a piece by Stacy Sullivan in New York magazine in October.

Idema also served as an expert military commentator on Fox News and was a lead character in Robin Moore’s best-selling book The Hunt for Bin Laden, which was supposed to chronicle the exploits of U.S. Special Forces in Afghanistan. And he fielded hundreds of interviews with major newspapers, television networks, and radio stations, which seemed to take his swaggering claims — that he was an active-duty Green Beret in Afghanistan, an undercover spy, an explosives expert, and a key player in the hunt for Osama bin Laden — at face value. Idema used the platform the media provided to spread dubious information, much of it with crucial implications for national security and foreign policy. For example, he claimed to have uncovered a plot to assassinate Bill Clinton; that bin Laden was dead, and that the Taliban was poisoning the food that the United States was air-dropping to feed hungry Afghans. (In fact, people were getting sick from eating the desiccant packed with the food.)

Idema’s career as a media personality reached its peak during the final breathless weeks of the run-up to the war in Iraq. Much of the information he provided during that period echoed the Bush administration’s hotly contested rationale for war. He told MSNBC that the link between Iraq and Al Qaeda was “common knowledge” on the ground in Afghanistan, and claimed in an interview with WNYC radio’s Leonard Lopate that “Iraq has been involved in supporting Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations with money, with equipment, with technology, with weapons of mass destruction.” He told other wide-eyed journalists that there was ample evidence linking “Iraq, Iran, and Saudi Arabia to Al Qaeda and to the attacks on September 11,” and professed to have firsthand knowledge of nuclear weapons being smuggled from Russia to all three members of the “axis of evil” — Iraq, Iran, and North Korea. Few in the media questioned Idema’s claims, much to the alarm of some who knew him.

“The media saw this outfitted, gregarious, apparently knowing guy, and they didn’t check him out,” says Ed Artis, chairman and founder of the humanitarian organization Knightsbridge International, who met Idema in Afghanistan in late 2001 and later tried to warn the government and media organizations that Idema was misrepresenting himself. “They ran story after story that furthered the cachet of a self-serving, self-aggrandizing criminal.”

Idema’s U.S. office is tucked inside a hulking brick warehouse in Fayetteville, North Carolina — home to Fort Bragg, America’s largest military base and command center for the U.S. Army Special Operations. There’s little to distinguish the building from its industrial surroundings except the dark-tinted windows, and the red “Restricted Access” plaque that clings to the front door. Inside, the cavernous space is cluttered with evidence of Idema’s Afghan mission: crumpled boxes of medical supplies, a lime-green presentation board bearing an organizational chart for Al Qaeda, a massive topographical map of Afghanistan. Movie posters of scowling, leather-clad action heroes plaster the surrounding walls, including a particularly large one from Men in Black over Idema’s desk. It shows two movie stars clutching super-sized guns and reads, “Protecting the Earth from the Scum of the Universe.”

The décor reflects Idema’s decades-long quest to fashion himself an action hero. He joined the Army in 1975 and qualified for the Special Forces, but his performance was often lacking. In an evaluation report dated July 7, 1977, Captain John D. Carlson described him as “without a doubt the most unmotivated, unprofessional, immature enlisted man that I have ever known.” In 1978 he transferred to a reserve unit where he served until 1981, when he was relieved of his duties, in part for his “irrationality” and “tendency toward violence.” His military records indicate that he never saw combat.

After leaving active-duty service, Idema ran a series of businesses related to special operations — including a counterterrorism training school and a traveling special-operations exposition — in partnership with another former Green Beret, Thomas Bumback. During this period, which spanned the 1980s and early ’90s, he claims to have been involved in a series of “black ops,” or secret military missions.

He was also compiling a long arrest record on charges including bad checks, assault, possession of stolen property, and discharging a firearm into a dwelling. Then, in 1994, Idema was tried and convicted of defrauding fifty-eight companies of about $260,000, according to The Fayetteville Observer. He served three years in prison. It was while awaiting sentencing that Idema launched his first media offensive, trying to sell a story about nuclear material being smuggled out of Russia. Gary Scurka, an investigative journalist and recipient of numerous prestigious awards, eventually produced a 60 Minutes piece based, at least in part, on information Idema had provided.

Over the next decade, Idema continued to court the media with help from a faithful cadre of friends — among them Scurka, the best-selling author Robin Moore, and Edward Caraballo, the cameraman who would later be imprisoned with Idema in Afghanistan. He met with little success, though, until September 11, 2001, when a shell-shocked public, desperate to make sense of the senseless, began groping for information. Idema gladly obliged.

On September 12, 2001, Idema appeared on KTTV, Los Angeles’s Fox affiliate, which billed him as a “counterterrorism adviser.” He told audiences that three Canadian jetliners might have been hijacked, along with the four U.S. planes. By late October, Idema was in Afghanistan, telling associates that he planned to help two humanitarian groups — Partners International Foundation and Knightsbridge International — distribute food to hungry Afghans, and he brought along a National Geographic film crew, headed by Scurka, to make a film about his efforts. (Both aid groups say he misrepresented his plans in order to get them to cooperate.)

Idema, a stocky man who even in the Afghan hinterlands kept his salt-and-pepper hair died black, quickly adopted a quasi-military look — dark sunglasses, dust-colored fatigues, a black-and-white kaffiyeh draped around his neck. The style reflected his expanding repertoire of roles. Along with the human rights work and the documentary making, he claimed he was offering military advice to the Northern Alliance, which was fighting the Taliban. Meanwhile, he sold a variety of services to reporters, telling them he was Donald Rumsfeld’s special representative to the Northern Alliance, or insinuating that he was working for the CIA or the Army Special Forces.

By December, Idema was serving as a commentator for Fox News, which paid him $500 per appearance, and charging journalists $1,000 a head for tours to Tora Bora, the sprawling cave complex where U.S. forces were battling Al Qaeda troops. According to reporters, the trips included press conferences with Idema himself. Some of Idema’s media schemes showed extraordinary enterprise. In one case, he reportedly lured a local warlord named Hazrat Ali to the Spin Ghar Hotel in Jalalabad for a press briefing and charged reporters $100 each to attend. It later emerged that he had told Ali that the journalists were Pentagon officials.

It’s not difficult to understand why Idema — a self-proclaimed government operative with a silver tongue, striking looks, and a love of the spotlight — would appeal to reporters who, in late 2001, poured into war-ravaged Afghanistan desperate for stories. The war was being fought largely by Special Forces soldiers, who call themselves “quiet professionals” and assiduously avoid the press. Lack of information bred a sense of urgency. “The media were in a frenzy,” explains Artis of Knightsbridge International. “They were interviewing each other about what they’d interview someone about if they had someone to interview.” Idema also seems to have capitalized on the U.S. military’s increasing reliance on contractors, and the confusion over who had authority to speak on the government’s behalf.

In addition to courting reporters, Idema sometimes threatened them. Tod Robberson of The Dallas Morning News reported that Idema shot at him “point-blank” during an argument. And some journalists were put off by his violent tendencies and overblown swagger. A group of photographers referred to Idema, who adopted the nickname “Jack” in Afghanistan, as Jack Shit.

After only two months in Afghanistan, Idema claimed to have found what would become the lynchpin of his widening media offensive: seven hours of footage that purportedly shows Al Qaeda training camps in action. Before long, Idema had sold video stills to several publications and enlisted the William Morris Agency to auction off the first-time U.S. broadcast rights. “The intent is to sell the tapes to the highest bidder at terms that are ultimately satisfactory to Mr. Idema,” explained a letter signed by Wayne S. Kabak, chief operating officer of William Morris, and hand-delivered to Fox News’s New York offices on January 9 — one day before the auction was slated to take place. The terms included giving Idema “on-air credit as the person who procured these tapes” and the right to refuse any bid under $150,000.

These conditions, along with Idema’s dark past, gave some networks pause. NBC Nightly News was put off by the hefty price tag and the lack of signs of authenticity, such as a logo from As-Sahab, Al Qaeda’s video production house, which appears on the tapes Al Qaeda releases to the public. “There was no way to verify them,” says Robert Windrem, investigative producer for NBC Nightly News. “It was either you trust Keith Idema or you don’t.”

CNN backed off precisely because it decided Idema could not be trusted. This was after the network’s national security analyst, Ken Robinson, searched Google and LexisNexis and discovered that Idema not only had a criminal record, but also liked to batter his rivals with lawsuits. In addition to turning down the tapes, the network decided to shun Idema as a source. It was the only network to do so.

On January 17, CBS’s 60 Minutes II ran a story about the tapes. Dan Rather traveled to Afghanistan to interview Idema and visit the dusty, bullet-scarred compound called Mir Bacha Kot, where the filming had been done. At a time when workers were still sifting through the gnarled wreckage of the World Trade Center, the story reinforced the prevailing sense of panic. Men in camouflaged tunics and ski masks were shown storming buildings, staging drive-by shootings, and laying siege to golf courses. Sometimes the men laughed as they rehearsed maneuvers, which Rather interpreted as evidence that they approached their grim mission with “glee.” The footage also contained numerous exchanges in English, “a sign,” Rather told viewers, “that they want to take scenes like this to the West.”

ABC, MSNBC, NBC, and the BBC subsequently paid thousands of dollars to air the training-camp footage, according to Idema’s bank records. These records, interviews with Idema’s associates and Idema’s own e-mails, suggest that money from media activities, including the tapes, helped fund his 2004 operations in Afghanistan.

Along the way, Idema gave varying accounts of how he got the tapes. He told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Eric Campbell that he bought them from one of his intelligence assets after a series of “back-alley meetings at midnight.” In contrast, he told NBC’s Today show that he and a group of Northern Alliance fighters “took over” Mir Bacha Kot, then went to the house of the camp’s commander, where they found some of the tapes. They then hunted down “soldiers” (presumably Al Qaeda recruits) to get the others.

Tracy-Paul Warrington, former deputy commander of a Special Forces counterterrorism team and a civilian intelligence analyst for the Defense Department, believes there’s a good reason Idema’s story changed. “In a nutshell, the videotapes are forgeries,” he says. He explains that the tactics shown in the tapes (such as the way the trainees handle their weapons) were developed in the 1970s but abandoned shortly thereafter, and are not used by modern-day Al Qaeda troops. Also, Warrington points out that the tapes depict mostly raids, whereas “Al Qaeda almost exclusively uses bombs.” Finally, Idema claimed in most accounts to have found the tapes around Mir Bacha Kot, an area that Warrington contends was already under coalition control and had been thoroughly searched by coalition forces. “This man who was convicted of fraud says he finds these tapes where nobody else found them,” says Warrington. “That should have set some alarm bells off.”

There are conflicting reports about the CIA’s stance on the tapes. A retired senior special operations officer with nearly two decades of counterterrorism experience says that while he was on active duty he learned from a CIA contact that the agency had evaluated the tapes. “They did a voice analysis and a technical analysis,” reports the man, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “Not only were they staged, but you could single Idema’s voice out directly.” On the other hand, the CIA public affairs office says the agency “did not conduct voice analysis of the tape or draw any conclusion regarding its authenticity.”

CBS employees received the tapes from Idema directly, and vetted them on the ground in Afghanistan at a time when the country was still in shambles and the network’s Kabul bureau was operating out of a house with spotty phone service. The network’s spokesperson, Kelli Edwards, says CBS nevertheless went to great lengths to ensure the tapes were authentic before airing them. This included “confirming with U.S. military officials that the camp in the video was, in fact, an Al Qaeda training camp . . . showing the tapes to three former British Special Forces officers, who verified the tactics being practiced in the video were consistent with those of Al Qaeda, and to a top U.S. military official in Afghanistan who told us that, in his opinion, the video was authentic.” The network says it can’t reveal those officials’ names because they offered their opinions on condition of anonymity.

Of all the networks, CBS had the longest-standing relationship with Idema. It had used him as a source or consultant on two projects before his arrival in Afghanistan. The first was the 1995 nuclear-smuggling story, called “The Worst Nightmare,” which was produced by Scurka and aired on 60 Minutes.

Scurka had initially heard that Idema, who was then awaiting sentencing on fraud charges, had a lead on a hot story about the smuggling that he had picked up while operating his traveling exposition. Idema agreed to share information with Scurka. Scurka, meanwhile, lent a sympathetic ear to Idema’s story about an injustice he felt he had suffered. Idema claimed the FBI had framed him on the fraud charges because he had refused to tell the agency where he learned about the nuclear smuggling, fearing leaks could hurt his sources.

The 60 Minutes piece, and a companion story in U.S. News & World Report, won that year’s Renner Award from Investigative Reporters and Editors, Inc. Idema never got any credit, though. This came as a blow to Scurka, who has maintained Idema was a key source and that CBS decided to cut any reference to him largely because he was imprisoned for fraud by the time the story aired. Edwards, the CBS spokesperson, suggests Idema’s contributions didn’t necessarily merit credit, since the final story, which took six months to investigate, was “much different than the story we initially began pursuing.”

After “The Worst Nightmare” aired, Scurka and Caraballo started work on a film about Idema, called Any Lesser Man, “the Real story of one lone Green Beret’s private war against KGB Nuclear Smuggling, Soviet spies, Arab terrorists, and the FBI,” according to promotional materials. Despite years of effort, they were never able to scrape together enough money to complete it.

In 2000, Idema hooked up with CBS again. This time he and Scurka served as consultants to 48 Hours, then anchored by Dan Rather. They worked on an investigative story about Colonel George Marecek, a highly decorated Special Forces officer accused of murdering his wife, Viparet. But the two were eventually fired from the project. “48 Hours determined they had taken on an advocacy role for the defense,” explains Edwards of CBS. Indeed, Idema and Scurka had opened a “Free Marecek” office in Wilmington, North Carolina, where the trial was taking place, and one witness alleged that Idema and another man came to his house to harass him the night before he was slated to testify. Idema also told several associates he was detained for impersonating a police officer in an effort to get into a Detroit prison and convince a convicted serial killer to confess to Viparet’s murder. Despite concerns about Idema and Scurka’s objectivity, in December 2000, 48 Hours ran a story on Marecek, with much of the exculpatory evidence drawn from their research.

After being sacked by 48 Hours, Idema and Scurka launched a Web site called Point Blank Network News, or PBN, where they ran their own version of the Marecek story. The piece won a 2001 National Press Club award for online journalism. Despite the media attention, Marecek was convicted.

If the coverage of the Al Qaeda training camp tapes lent Idema credibility and renown, his old friend Robin Moore further lionized him by making him one of the lead characters of his blockbuster book, The Hunt for Bin Laden, published by Random House

Moore, a seventy-nine-year-old with clear blue eyes and bushy eyebrows, wears houndstooth blazers and leans on an ivory-handled cane. Like Idema, he has long straddled the divide between the media and military camps. To get access for his first best-seller, The Green Berets, he went through the grueling Special Forces qualification course, something no other civilian has ever done. He later covered the Vietnam War for Hearst Newspapers, and, because of his combat skills, was allowed to travel with operational detachments that were closed to other reporters. This meant he was sometimes forced to fight. On his living room wall Moore has hung a black-and-white photo of himself gripping the sagging body of a Vietnamese boy he had killed.

It was after seeing The Green Berets, a 1968 film based on Moore’s book, that twelve-year-old Keith Idema decided he would join the Special Forces. But it wasn’t until years later, when he was peddling special operations equipment, that he actually met Moore. Over time, a deep bond developed between the two men. “Robin is . . . not only my friend,” Idema wrote Scurka while he was imprisoned on fraud charges. “He is my idol, almost my creator in a way.”

Idema got involved in The Hunt for Bin Laden book project in July 2002, not long after returning to the United States. Moore said he asked Idema to help with the book because at the time he was one of the few people in the United States with up-to-date knowledge about the situation on the ground in Afghanistan. Idema, he says, was only supposed to help ensure the book’s accuracy. But he soon started adding information.

According to Moore, Idema wrote only select sections of the book. Marianne Strong, the agent who represented Moore on The Hunt for Bin Laden, tells a different story. “Jack wrote the book,” she says. “Robin Moore started the book, but Robin Moore couldn’t write the book, for a number of reasons” — among them a case of Parkinson’s disease so advanced that he has difficulty signing his name. Idema, in fact, gets a credit line on the cover of the British version, and has filed a claim with the Library of Congress for sole copyright on it and on the American version. He also receives a portion of the royalties. A review of a manuscript draft of The Hunt for Bin Laden provided by Moore and dated June 1, 2002, just before Idema returned from his first trip to Afghanistan, suggests that the truth lies somewhere in between Strong’s and Moore’s accounts. Idema doesn’t appear to have written the whole book, but the manuscript did change dramatically after he got involved.

The Hunt for Bin Laden was published on March 3, 2003, and within weeks it was number four on The New York Times bestseller list. To date, it has sold nearly 150,000 copies. The book portrays Idema, by turns, as a superhuman warrior, undercover spy, and rough-and-tumble cultural ambassador. He rescues injured children, removes bullets from “dozens” of Northern Alliance soldiers, and embarks on intelligence-gathering missions that the CIA shuns because they’re too dangerous. Armed with a Russian assault rifle, he holds a band of hostage takers off for hours. He also uncovers a plot to assassinate former President Bill Clinton, nearly nabs Osama bin Laden, and captures a trove of documents detailing the Qaeda leader’s “terrorist plans.”

Some of the heroic scenes don’t match eyewitness accounts. This includes a detailed description of Idema rescuing his longtime friend Gary Scurka, who was hit by shrapnel in a Taliban artillery attack. The book describes Idema taking command of the chaotic situation, fixing the sloppy bandage applied by journalists Tim Friend and Kevin Sites, and whisking Scurka to safety. Others who were present — including Friend and a former Special Forces soldier, Greg Long — describe a different scene. They say Sites, Friend, and Long applied a proper dressing. Friend, in fact, had worked as a surgical technician for six years. But when Idema arrived he ripped off the bandages and put on new ones, as the National Geographic cameraman recorded his every move. “It was only in retrospect that I realized he was acting for the camera,” Friend says.

Moore had collaborated with Idema on several projects before The Hunt for Bin Laden, and even secured an agent for a book, Any Lesser Man, about Idema’s life. He also contributed $2,500 to the film project of the same name. During that period, Moore, highly respected by Green Berets, started getting warning e-mails from members of the Special Forces community. “Mr. Idema is not near the man/hero that he is being made out to be,” wrote retired Captain William J. Adams in August 1999. “Lots of information provided by him doesn’t wash according to eyewitness accounts and his demonstrated performance on active duty.”

In the media push that followed the release of The Hunt for Bin Laden, Idema became its spokesman. This period, which marked the crescendo of his career as a media personality, came during the run-up to the Iraq war, and in the dozens of interviews Idema fielded, he often doubled as an expert on the looming conflict.

Many of Idema’s claims, such as the Iraq-Al Qaeda connection, have since been discredited by the 9-11 Commission and UN weapons inspectors, but by billing him as a government official, the media lent them credence. NPR called him a “U.S. intelligence operative,” while Northeast Public Radio dubbed him “the longest-serving Green Beret in the Afghanistan war.” Others implied that Idema was working in an official capacity by saying he played an “integral” role in the hunt for Osama bin Laden and that he fought “alongside” U.S. Special Forces, or by calling him as a “former Green Beret who served in Afghanistan.”

As Idema was blazing a trail through the talk show circuit, Ed Artis, who felt that Idema’s actions in Afghanistan had put his employees in danger, went on a fax and e-mail blitz to alert the media that there were questions about Idema’s credibility. (Idema has since filed suit against Artis.) Several shows canceled interviews after receiving the warning, something Strong, the book’s agent, resents. “The Hunt would have made it to number one if it weren’t for that,” she says.

Around the same time, Wayne Lawley, then the president of the Special Forces Association, a fraternal organization for past and present Green Berets, sent an e-mail to association members about the book saying: “The knowledgeable reader may be irritated by fiction used to fill in research and outrageous claims by Keith Adema [sic], one of the book’s advisors.” The message was far more measured than some of the replies it prompted. Idema “is doing all he can to besmirch the name of Special Forces, and all we stand for,” wrote Billy Waugh, a former Green Beret and CIA operative, who has detailed his own experience in a 2004 book called Hunting the Jackal. “This man has lied to the nth degree, and all for self-aggrandizement.” Gradually, Moore came to see Idema in a similar light. “He wants to be the hero of every story,” Moore says. “He tries to portray himself as a hero, even if he has to lie.”

A series of events caused the shift in Moore’s opinion. A “Hunt for Bin Laden” Web site registered to Idema began advertising an upcoming Robin Moore book about Idema entitled An Army of One. Moore said the site was unauthorized and that he never planned to write such a book. Idema also charged about $10,000 worth of books to Moore’s account at Random House. Moore says Idema did this without his permission and that Idema also slipped the names and post office boxes of two groups into a list of charities that appear in the back of the British version of the book (because a percentage of the royalties were to be directed to these groups). One of the addresses was for U.S. Counter-Terrorist Group (Counterr), the umbrella organization for Idema’s own Afghanistan operations. (At least one reader sent a donation to Counterr, according to Idema’s bank records.) The other address was supposed to be for a charity that helped the families of killed or wounded Green Berets, but North Carolina’s postal inspector determined that the post office box was actually controlled by Idema, and was investigating him for mail fraud before his Afghan arrest.

Moore eventually submitted a host of corrections that he wanted made to The Hunt for Bin Laden, based largely on input from Special Forces contacts, but many were never incorporated. Carol Schneider, Random House’s spokesperson, said the publisher made all changes that it received in time, but a number of them came after the deadline had passed. Then, in late October, Robin Moore gave Random House a proposal for a scathing second book on Idema, Smoke and Mirrors: Jonathan Keith Idema and his Great Media Swindle, but Random House turned it down. “I’m not going to do this,” Bob Loomis, vice president and executive editor for the publisher, said to Moore, as cjr’s reporter sat listening over a speakerphone in Moore’s living room. “It’s too negative on Jack. It reflects badly on The Hunt because of his role in it.”

Idema headed back to Afghanistan in mid-April 2004, accompanied by Caraballo, who would claim after their arrest that he was a journalist working on an independent documentary. But according to bank records, Idema was paying him.

Idema’s lawyer, John Edwards Tiffany, says that by the end of April Idema had arrested his first prisoner, whom he turned over to U.S. officials on May 3. But two months later the man was released after the United States Central Command determined that he was not the high-ranking Taliban official Idema had claimed he was. The command began to investigate Idema, and shortly thereafter Wanted posters for Idema went up in Kabul. He and his cohorts nevertheless made a series of arrests in June, according to Tiffany. It wasn’t until July 5 that Afghan police finally nabbed him, along with Caraballo, the former U.S. soldier Brent Bennett, and four Afghans who were working with them. At the time, the Abu Ghraib scandal was raging. Idema claimed he was working with the knowledge and approval of the U.S. government (something the Central Command and the State Department adamantly deny) and presented some evidence to support this claim during his trial. But none of it seems to point to definitive links to the Afghan or U.S. governments. Among the material is a video of meetings between Idema and two Afghan ministers. But both reportedly said they met with Idema to discuss his claims about the taxi-bomb plot only because they believed he was a member of the U.S. military. Tiffany also played tape-recorded conversations of Idema purportedly talking to officials in Deputy Undersecretary of Defense William G. Boykin’s office. In one of the conversations, recorded after the Wanted posters for him went up, Idema threatens to give some unidentified material to the press. “Someone’s got to do something within twelve hours or I’m going to e-mail this fucking thing to Dan Rather,” he warns. “Do you think I would rot in prison if there’s a problem?”

Most of the evidence, though, is one-directional communication, with Idema offering information or asking for assistance. There may be a reason for this: According to Bumback, and Idema’s own e-mails, Idema had been trying desperately to secure a Pentagon contract, but hadn’t been able to do so. Bumback says that’s why Idema largely relied on the media to fund his operations. “Somebody had to replenish the till,” he says. “Uncle Sam wasn’t doing it.”

Despite his problems, including a December shootout in his cell block, Idema continues to hatch ever-more creative schemes to ensure that history portrays him as a swashbuckling hero. From his jail cell he is telling associates that he plans lawsuits against Tod Robberson of The Dallas Morning News and the freelance journalist Stacy Sullivan, two reporters who have written investigative pieces about him since his arrest in Afghanistan. Idema made it clear in a recent letter to one of his attorneys (who was instructed in the letter to distribute it to other members of Idema’s inner circle) that his goal was to influence future coverage. “Whatever we sue them for doesn’t matter,” he wrote. “It puts all the others on notice that 1) we will and can sue; 2) I still have fangs, and lawyers, even from an Afghan prison cell; 3) other people better check their stories . . . .” Idema is also apparently trying to sway coverage by making reporters sign detailed contracts in order to get an interview with him. Tiffany, Idema’s attorney, says at least one journalist has already done so. Idema wouldn’t speak with cjr because the magazine refused to sign such an agreement.

Meanwhile, Idema is negotiating with an agent regarding a film about his exploits. And Strong, Moore’s former agent, recently received a 12,000-word installment of Idema’s book, which she said she has already discussed with dozens of publishers. Its working title: Army of One.

Perhaps these developments explain the optimism pouring out of Idema’s Afghan prison cell. “When Caesar crossed into Italy with his legion . . . he said, ‘let the dice fly high,’” he wrote in a recent letter. “Well, we did, and although we are down, I know I will prevail in the end.”

Mariah Blake is an assistant editor at CJR. Additional reporting on this story was provided by A. G. Basoli in Afghanistan. CJR gratefully acknowledges support for this article from the Fund for Investigative Journalism.


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events; Philosophy; Politics/Elections; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: 48hours; 60minutes; 60minutesii; abc; afghanistan; alqaedatrainingcamp; anylesserman; armyofone; assahab; assassinationplot; assassinationplots; bbc; bennett; billclinton; billywaugh; blackmail; bobwindrem; bookdeal; bookdeals; bostonglobe; brentbennett; bumback; caraballo; cary; cbs; clinton; cnn; cristophercuomo; cuomo; danrather; desiccant; donaldrumsfeld; donrumsfeld; edartis; edcaraballo; edwardcaraballo; fayetteville; food; fooddrops; foodpoisoning; foxnews; freemarecek; friend; garyscurka; georgemarecek; greenberet; greglong; hazratali; heartofdarkness; huntforbinladen; huntingthejackal; idema; jack; jackshit; jennings; kabak; kevinsites; knightsbridge; kttv; lawley; leonardlopate; long; lopate; marecek; mariannestrong; media; mediablooper; mediabloopers; mediaspin; meninblack; mirbachakot; moore; moviedeal; moviedeals; msnbc; nationalgeo; nationalgeographic; nationalpressclub; nbc; npr; nuclearsmuggling; nuclearweapons; oef; pbn; peterjennings; pif; poisoning; rather; rathergate; robberson; robertwindrem; robinmoore; rumsfeld; russia; saber; scurka; seebs; sites; smokeandmirrors; specialforces; spingharhotel; stacysullivan; stolenvalor; stolenvalour; sullivan; taliban; taskforcesaber; taskforcesaber7; tfsaber7; thebostonglobe; thehuntforbinladen; theworstnightmare; thomasbumback; timfriend; todrobberson; tombumback; torabora; trainingcamp; videox; viparet; waugh; waynekabak; waynelawley; wayneskabak; williammorrisagency; windrem; worstnightmare

1 posted on 05/25/2005 5:46:04 AM PDT by robowombat
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: robowombat

So, in other words, the MSM once again failed to properly vet their sources.


2 posted on 05/25/2005 5:49:19 AM PDT by A Balrog of Morgoth (With fire, sword, and stinging whip I drive the Rats in terror before me.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: robowombat
LONG.

He joined the Army in 1975 and qualified for the Special Forces ... Captain John D. Carlson described him as “without a doubt the most unmotivated, unprofessional, immature enlisted man that I have ever known.”

Anybody else see a contradiction here? I thought it was really difficult to qualify for SF, and that the process weeded out "unmotivated, unprofessional, immature" men.

3 posted on 05/25/2005 5:51:04 AM PDT by Restorer
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: robowombat
" ... former U.S. Special Forces soldier named Jonathan Keith Idema ..."


Former? Yeah ... former since 1981.

But what the hey. Once a U.S. Special Forces soldier ... always a U.S. Special Forces soldier ... right?

4 posted on 05/25/2005 5:55:19 AM PDT by G.Mason ( It's people like you, that make people like me, people like you!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: robowombat
What an embarrassment to the Special Forces...
5 posted on 05/25/2005 6:06:14 AM PDT by 2banana (My common ground with terrorists - They want to die for Islam, and we want to kill them.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: G.Mason

EXACTLY....

Columbila Journalism Review= Commie Pinko Nutcases whose views are inherently contary to the principles for which this country was founded.


6 posted on 05/25/2005 6:06:45 AM PDT by in hoc signo vinces ("Soylent green is people!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: Restorer
Anybody else see a contradiction here? I thought it was really difficult to qualify for SF, and that the process weeded out "unmotivated, unprofessional, immature" men.

Some POS do make it, unfortunately...

7 posted on 05/25/2005 6:07:17 AM PDT by 2banana (My common ground with terrorists - They want to die for Islam, and we want to kill them.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: 2banana

True.

Assuming this article is accurate, your characterization is too kind.


8 posted on 05/25/2005 6:09:53 AM PDT by Restorer
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: robowombat

Blah, blah, blah, get to the point, Mariah!


9 posted on 05/25/2005 6:27:13 AM PDT by DTogo (U.S. out of the U.N. & U.N out of the U.S.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: 2banana

This guy has been an opportunistic loose cannon for quite a while. Notices about him from the SFA and SOA have been going out since he started his dog & pony show. Only ones he fools are the loose boweled media. This is actually a damn accurate story.

Read Billy Waughs book for the skinny.


10 posted on 05/25/2005 6:52:35 AM PDT by Khurkris (This tag-line is available on CD ROM. NRA.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: robowombat

Interesting piece.


11 posted on 05/25/2005 7:06:23 AM PDT by Robert DeLong
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Khurkris

Here is some more interesting details on this charlatan from the October 25, 2004 issue of New York Magazine.:

Operation Desert Fraud"

When Idema got wind of Moore’s efforts to change the text, he retaliated in what was becoming a reflexive fashion: He issued a press release and filed suit. The release declared that a shadowy group of Special Forces soldiers, jealous of the attention lavished on Idema, “allegedly threatened and coerced 77-year-old Robin Moore, who suffers from Parkinson’s disease, into submitting the changes to the already copyrighted bestseller.” Idema also sued the aid groups Knightsbridge and Partners International, claiming that they had also pressured Moore into changing The Hunt for Bin Laden. Idema initially alleged that the two aid groups had injured his reputation by causing Fox News to drop him as a regular commentator—but he was also suing Fox, on much the same grounds. Most of the suits were thrown out of court.

Moore and Thompson say they soon learned that they were victims of financial chicanery as well as what appeared to be an enormous media scam. The Hunt for Bin Laden contained an appendix encouraging readers to donate funds to assist Special Forces and their families and Afghan civilians. Moore says that Idema included an entry for the training camp he had founded in upstate New York, the US Counter-Terrorist Group. In the appendix, the group’s stated mission was “to help the Northern Alliance and to fight al-Qaida.”

Flush from the book’s success, Thompson and Idema (who had since relocated to Fayetteville) formed a promotional company, The Hunt for Bin Laden, LLC. As he worked in closer business quarters with Idema, Thompson says, he saw the man’s behavior grow increasingly erratic. In a deposition, Thompson said that Idema destroyed the interior of his own house with a samurai sword, that he choked his girlfriend in a fight, and that he forged a letter on Fox News stationery for use as evidence in his lawsuit against the network. A subpoena from the U.S. Attorney’s office also arrived, followed by a letter from North Carolina’s postal inspector, charging Idema with mail fraud for using a post-office box registered to the company to solicit funds for the US Counter-Terrorist Group. Thompson says that after he noticed $18,000 from the company had gone missing, he drove down to Fayetteville to close the company bank account; he says that Idema followed him there and threatened to kill both him and his girlfriend.

While Idema was thumping his chest in this fashion, officials from Knightsbridge and Partners International tried to warn American authorities that they had a rogue operator on their hands. One letter from Knightsbridge to the chief of public affairs for Army Special Operations Command said that Idema was a threat both to senior Knightsbridge officials and to “the over all mission of the United States and the Coalition” in Afghanistan. Both aid groups say the alarms they raised went unacknowledged.
But Jack Idema, in his new incarnation as quote-ready ground warrior, was about to hit the media jackpot, in a moment of serendipity that would seem utterly implausible in a work of fiction. Robin Moore, the bard of the Green Berets, arrived in Afghanistan in December, and Idema wasted little time in tracking him down and nominating himself as a source for Moore’s new book, to be titled The Hunt for Bin Laden. Moore—in his seventies, and debilitated by Parkinson’s disease, moving slowly across Afghan war zones with the aid of a cane—was shadowing a group of Special Forces called A-Team Tiger 02, which was preparing to seize the Taliban stronghold of Mazar-e-Sharif in concert with the Northern Alliance.

Moore and Idema didn’t spend much time in the field together—it behooved Idema to keep a low profile among active Special Forces, for obvious reasons. Instead, Idema focused on ingratiating himself to other reporters, who had descended on Afghanistan en masse. He boasted to war correspondents about the many Al Qaeda suspects he had apprehended, and embroidered his banter with tales of Special Forces daring in Central America. And it was more than just his speech that was growing too colorful for its own good. One heated argument over war coverage at a party ended with Idema’s firing a pistol at Dallas Morning News correspondent Tod Robberson and barely missing his left arm. Many reporters began to regard Idema as a fraud and a menace. Still, he was quoted in many major newspapers as a Special Forces operative or a Green Beret. And come January 2002, when he produced the Al Qaeda training videos, all appeared to be forgiven: Under representation from the photo agency Polaris, Idema sold the footage to 60 Minutes II for a undisclosed fee—and the rest of the press corps—including NBC’s Dateline and the Today show—scooped up the sensational footage in the network’s wake.

Moore, meanwhile, learned that Idema had ordered hundreds of copies of The Hunt for Bin Laden from Moore’s account with Random House and never paid for them. “He got [the books] from my account and sold them at full price,” Moore says.

But, as ever, Idema met mounting adversity by going on the offensive. In March 2004, when Moore, Thompson, and Moore’s girlfriend were having lunch at Manhattan’s Metropolitan Club, a bike messenger showed up to serve Thompson and Moore’s girlfriend with papers for yet another Idema-filed lawsuit, seeking $4 million in damages.

A month later, Idema was back in Afghanistan. He set up shop in a rented house in Kabul, telling the landlord he intended to start a rug-exporting business. Instead, he founded a paramilitary outfit called Task Force Saber 7, complete with its own fatigues and military insignia. Once more he had a former soldier, Brent Bennett, and a TV cameraman, Eddie Caraballo, in tow. They hired four Afghans, and began rounding up Afghan civilians to interrogate about ties to Al Qaeda. On at least three occasions, nato forces assisted Idema in his raids. On at least one occasion, troops took into custody a suspect Task Force Saber 7 had apprehended.

Idema’s new Afghan campaign was all the more brazen, since Knightsbridge and Partners International had greatly stepped up their efforts to alert American authorities—from the embassies to the CIA to the State Department—that Idema was anything but the crusading soldier he pretended to be.
But Idema came to serious notice only when he committed the same oversight that the guards at Abu Ghraib did. On April 30, he e-mailed several Stateside friends with news of Task Force Saber 7’s efforts. The e-mail included jpeg photos of Idema and company in interrogation mode, some of which were extremely graphic. One recipient was very disturbed by the images and forwarded the e-mail to American authorities. This time, there was a response: By mid-May, wanted posters were plastered across Kabul bearing Idema’s name and image and charging him with interference in sanctioned military operations. Finally, Afghan police forces surrounded Idema’s house on July 5, when, they claim, they discovered the infamous chamber of civilian abuse within.

At his trial in Kabul, Idema repeatedly denied that he had tortured anyone and alleged that he had been operating with the American military’s full knowledge and consent. Court officials and the press dismissed these claims. But at least some of the evidence Idema’s defense team presented hinted that there might be some truth to what Idema said. One videotape purports to show Idema talking with officials from General William Boykin’s office about an impending assault on a terrorist cell.

The tape could, of course, have been faked—Idema’s other exploits certainly cannot rule out such an explanation. But the presiding judge at his trial in Afghanistan, Abdul Baset Bakhtyiari, gave it only a cursory hearing before pronouncing Idema guilty. This was the pattern with most defense evidence throughout Idema’s trial—a practice that drew no protest from the U.S. government, which normally monitors trials of American citizens abroad.

John Tiffany, the New Jersey defense attorney representing Idema, has filed an appeal. “It’s unconscionable. The government announces $25 million rewards for terror suspects, then acts surprised when people run over to Afghanistan to hunt them. People like Keith Idema are indispensable to this war.”

This may be truer than any official of the U.S. government or military cares to admit—Afghanistan is rife with military subcontractors of no particular, or fixed, affiliation. Idema’s troubles may stem largely from mistaking the warrior-for-hire model of combat for the real thing.

Then again, wars like this one are also indispensable to people like Keith Idema. Long before he arrived on the scene in Afghanistan, Idema was in destructive thrall to notions of solitary, Rambo-style heroism. It seems clear as well that as Idema plied his peculiar brand of combat make-believe before more and more media outlets, the stakes became incalculably higher. Even when he began to realize his cross-media strategy of self-promotion was unraveling as The Hunt for Bin Laden came in for serious critical scrutiny, Idema did not run for cover, as more sensible con men might. Instead, he replenished his morale with another tour of far more dubious duty on the Afghan fronts. There’s a certain tragic symmetry in Idema’s goading himself into ever greater and more reckless acts of self-dramatizing valor; in that sense, Idema was very much his own worst enemy.

But then, when one reviews the performance of Idema’s many enablers in the press and the publishing world, the affair shrinks into a signature brand of media-driven American farce. Here, too, Idema’s attorney Tiffany supplies a fitting (if unwitting) comment as he insists the military had to know of Idema’s conduct: “My client was all over the media. He was an expert on news programs. He was on the cover of a best-selling book.” In Keith Idema’s war, that may indeed be the ultimate grounds for exoneration


12 posted on 05/25/2005 7:27:50 AM PDT by robowombat
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: robowombat
How much do these networks pay for fact-checkers? Minimum wage? Or do they have fact checkers?
13 posted on 05/25/2005 7:39:07 AM PDT by cookcounty ("We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the Courts" ---Abe Lincoln, 1858.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: All
From my Blog: If you're looking for pieces on Jack Idema and his team, please click on this link. I have read this over numerous times and I just have to laugh at what passes for "journalism" these days. I thought I'd start picking apart the inflammatory lies of "Tin Soldier" by Mariah Blake from Columbia Journalism Review--you know, just for kicks. Again, her piece is going to be in bold type because I'll be quoting from other articles and sources to punctuate certain points. It's odd, isn't it, how simply easy (and fun) it is to pick apart the flagrant misinformation that's spread by the media on just about any issue. They are becoming completely irrelevant. What's more is--they seem to be living in an Alice and Wonderland kind of dreamworld because they justify what they do to the 'nth' degree, when they have no facts to back them up. It's quite entertaining what's being taught as far as Journalism Standards and "ethics" in Journalism school. So the next time you read a piece about the high and mighty ethics and standards of one--oh--Columbia Journalism Review--you might try to remember how "reliable" and "factual" the crap really is. Let's begin by acknowledging up front that Zalmay Khalilzad an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Columbia University from 1979-1986, which might explain quite a bit about this piece to begin with. Ok, now for some fun.
In April, 2004, a former US Special Forces Soldier named Jonathan Keith Idema started shopping a sizzling story to the media.
Is that so? So in those few sentences you have set the stage and have pinned him as some sort of of a con man "shopping a sizzling story"...
He claimed terrorists in Afghanistan planned to use bomb-laden taxicabs to kill key US and Afghan officials, and that he himself intended to thwart the attack.
So he if I'm to swallow what you're saying here, I'm to follow the assumption that Jack had a crystal ball and planned all this out head of time? Where is your proof that he was saying this before the fact or are we to accept what you're saying merely at face value? That's the problem with so much of this, the statements are made but no verfiable facts are offered so we're just supposed to blindly believe and go along with it.
Shortly thereafter, he's headed to Afghanistan, where he spent the next two months conducting a series of raids with his team, which he called Task Force Saber 7. By late June, he claimed to have captured the plotters, and started trying to clinch a deal with television networks by offering them "direct access" to one of the terrorists who, he said, had agreed to tell all.
hmmm. My recollection of these early events are that Idema was in Afghanistan in 2001, before these events and it was reported by your buddies in the AP. You know, Nahrin Earthquake (where he was depicted as a hero), Anaconda (where he was depicted as a hero), etc. But all that aside, here's the true story in a nutshell: Gulumsaki was nabbed getting off a bus, and was caught red-handed with a letter from his brother at Gitmo in his pocket. The real news is what all of that intelligence led to. And contrary to news reports and blogging frauds, CBS had a representative present who was recording everything in addition to Caraballo. You see, CBS originally had an interest in this story. They were interested in reporting on how Idema's methods were different than those demonstrated by the idiots at Abu Grhaib. In essence, their intention was to report that Abu Ghraib was the exception and not the rule.
In exchange for footage and access, Idema wanted a minimum of $250,000 and prominent play. He asked that ABC send Peter Jennings or Cristopher Cuomo to cover the story. Ultimately ABC turned the story down, as did CNN, a CBS spokesperson, Kelli Edwards, says the network "never seriously considered" it, although Idema was regularly e-mailing Dan Rather's office and in June, the network sent two employees to Idema's Kabul headquarters to pick up the sample tape.
That's interesting, because Idema didn't talk to anyone but CBS about this. It was Caraballo who had a relationship with ABC and nobody talked with CNN. And to be sure, there is so much more to CBS's involvement in this story! CBS wanted to confirm reports that Idema and his team had captured the brother-in-law of bin Laden's chief of security and the terrorists responsible for the murder of Canadian ISAF Corporal Jamie Brendan Murphy. Corporal Murphy had been murdered in a bombing on Darlaman Road in Kabul on January 27, 2004. Once CBS confirmed this, they saw it as an important story against the war on terror. Idema told CBS that approval for the story would have to be obtained by the Department of Defense before he could discuss his relationship with Bagram or Task Force 180. Idema told CBS that any story should focus on the United Front Military Forces' continued efforts to combat Al Qaeda and why Massoud's UFMF needed continued American supported in their counter terrorist operations. CBS's bureau chief, with the approval of Andrew Hayward and others, were inside Sabre 7's compound during the period when several terrorists were in custody an awaiting transfer to Bagram. CBS's Michael Brandenberg was at the compound on numerous occasions, and even spoke directly with Osama Bin Laden's chief of security's brother in law. CBS said they wanted to show how co-opting a terrorist accomplished more than humiliation by untrained interrogators. Idema allowed CBS to transmit interrogation video back to the US from the CBS Kabul office.
Idema, who was paying an Emmy Award-winning cameraman to document his activities, even distributed a sample tape of himself arresting people and interrogating hooded suspects. In one scene he is shown blocking a road and emptying passing vehicles. "Put your fucking hands up or I'll blow your fucking brains out," he screams at a group of men who have shuffled bewilderedly off a bus and are standing with their flimsy tunics whipping in the wind.
Jack did not pay Caraballo to be a cameraman in Afghanistan. My sources tell me that Jack did not even want to bring Caraballo, or any journalist, and the Army asked him to bring three different journalists, all of which Jack turned down. Wow, Mariah, pretty dramatic screenplay you're writing there. I wonder why you completely turned around on this. You didn't mention how impressed you were with Idema and how you were talking about how great Idema was after viewing those tapes. Jack dictated a legal contract and within a day or so, there was a response from Columbia Journalism review that it didn't meet with their "objective" hoity-toity "truth telling" standards. HA! And that they would not comply. AND, they contacted Polaris images to get the same photographs licensed for use that Stacy Sullivan had used in HER hit piece. So someone is trying to cover for Stacy Sullivan's putting her neck out there on this one. The clip where their robes were 'whipping in the wind" (if I'm not mistaken) was the one where Ghulamsaki was caught red-handed with the Red Cross letter from his brother at Gitmo in his pocket as he got off a bus. The only reason that Idema and his men got the guy was because they had excellent intelligence on where he would be and when. Some guys claim they just drive around and see what happens. Idema isn't one of those. These captured terrorists were working with and/or for; Osama bin Laden, al-Qaida, Gulbideen Hekmatyar, Hezb-i-Islami, and the Taliban. Specifically, these terrorists had participated in, supported, and/or personally conducted terrorist bomb attacks against foreign and domestic persons in Afghanistan. A prime target of these terrorists was U.S. military forces at Bagram Airbase north of Kabul in Afghanistan. In fact, the American FBI later confirmed Task Force Saber/7’s intelligence reports that several of the terrorists were going to drive fuel trucks into Bagram and explode them into U.S. military barracks in a terrorist bomb attack similar to the bombing of the U.S. Marine Barracks in Beirut in 1983 in which 244 U.S. Marines were killed. Using a rare incendiary explosive to detonate fuel tanks on the gas trucks entering Bagram daily, and taxis, the terrorists expected to kill more than 500 American soldiers, two ministers, and two ambassadors in at least five separate coordinated attacks. These same terrorists had already made at least one attempt on the Defence Minister, and two failed attempts on the 3rd Corps commander, General Attiquallah Lodeen, a close friend and trusted ally of the United States and a candidate for Parliament. Several of the captured terrorists were directly involved in the killing of Canadian Lance Corporal Jamie Murphy on January 27, 2004 in Kabul, the killing and wounding of election and aid workers in Nangahar and other provinces in Afghanistan, the attack of NATO ISAF forces in Kabul, and were currently planning and coordinating the assassinations of several of Karzai’s key political opponents in the Jamiat Party, including his Minister of Defense, Minister of Education, several Corps Commanders (former Northern Alliance Generals), and at least two Afghan Ambassadors (in Delhi and London) who supported the U.S. War on Terror. The Minister of Education, Yunis Qanooni, was the lead opponent to Karzai in Afghanistan’s new election under the Bonn Agreement, and was a prime target of the terrorists, along with Marshall Fahim, the Minister of Defence, and General Rashid Dostum. All of the terrorists had been arrested by Task Force Saber/7 with either actual explosives, detonators, bomb parts, and/or bomb plans in their possession, as well as documents and correspondence proving their links and association with the Taliban, Hezb-i-Islami, and al-Qaida, including handwritten maps and diagrams of a past bomb attack on General Lodeen, a Shabnama “night letter” calling for a jihad against Americans authored by none other than Mullah Omar himself, and in the case of a terrorist named Ghulamsaki a coded Red Cross letter from his brother (Mohammed Asef), an al-Qaida detainee in Cuba. Additionally, one of the terrorist’s taxis tested positive for explosives by German ISAF bomb teams. The physical evidence against the terrorists was irrefutable, conclusive, and backed-up by incriminating videotaped statements, undercover surveillance, informants, and extraordinary physical evidence. I'm sure you reported the lies [instead of the real story (which I find more interesting and compelling about Jack's character than the lies)] -that other journalists and probably your editor had decided upon. But contrary to the picture you're trying to paint, THAT is what REALLY happened.
It appears that Idema still hadn't sold the taxicab story by July 5, when his situation took a turn for the worse. The Afghan police raided his headquarters and discovered eight prisoners, some of them tethered to chairs in a back room, which was littered with bloody cloth. The men told reporters that they had been starved, beaten, doused with scalding water, and forced to languish for days in their own feces.
Give me a break. The red cross reports showed absolutely no evidence of torture except for one guy--some abrasions on his ankle because the flexicuffs were on too tight, and he was struggling to get out of them. No pictures emerged of the "bloody cloth", either. And do you think if there were pictures of actual torture that the media wouldn't have had a field day broadcasting them? As far as I recall, the actual complaint was that he wasn't allowed to take a PISS for 12 hours, and that violated Islamic law. That's a little bit different than languishing "for days in their own feces". All of the other things were later done to Jack and his men at Saderat after they were taken into custody on July 6. Of course, there was one picture that was put up at ABC Australia that showed Jack stitching up the terrorist Sherajan. Someone wrote that what he was doing in that picture was some weird kind of Nazi torture technique of removing brain tissue or some garbage. Actually, people at Bagram said he had fixed up that wound rather well and it was healing nicely. So those reports of Jack "torturing innocent Afghans" is so far off the mark it's breathtaking. Sharajan was also captured in May, long before the events that led up to their arrest on July 6. CBS' Michael Brandenburg was at the compound on numerous occasions, and witnessed the interrogation of Al Qaeda terrorists at the compound. Idema allowed CBS' representative to watch the interrogation of Corporal Murphy's killers, and view each of the terrorists in custody. Brandenburg was also allowed to speak directly with the brother-in-law of Bin Laden's Chief of Security, who was cooperating fully and willingly. CBS employees saw the methods of interrogation, the physical condition of the terrorist, and the conditions of the terrorists' detention, and knew that no torture was occuring. They didn't, of course, admit this after Idema's arrest because that would have indicated they were present and knew how Idema was conducting the questioning of the terrorists. So instead of telling the truth, they withheld information and proof that these men were innocent of the charges, and instead, put out the same lies the others were reporting.
Afghan authorities determined that none of the detainees had links to terrorism and set them free. Idema, on the other hand, was arrested, along with two other Americans (the cameraman and a former soldier) and four Afghans, and charged with running an unauthorized prison and torturing inmates. After a cursory trial, he was sentence to serve ten years. (This case is on appeal.)
Yes, the taliban kangaroo court allowed the terrorists to go free, and in August, there was a bombing at Bagram. Immediately after the "guilty" verdict, they filed and appeal and in the second trial they were declared completely innocent. The taliban judge (in the first trial), the former soviet communist interpreter and all the rest--didn't follow any of the rules of law...and later, the two main guys who were touting the story of abuse (Jalili and Mashal) resigned their posts (to save face) and ran off because they were exposed as the Taliban. Judge Sidiq was exposed as the taliban, linked to Hekmatyar (a buddy of Bin Laden's). There was a vast difference in the terrorist interrogations done by Idema and the experienced intelligence agents working with him as compared to the young interrogators at Abu Ghraib and other locations. CBS' Bureau Chief said Heyward wanted to compare Idema's effective interrogation techniques with the poor techniques used at Abu Ghraib. CBS said they wanted to show how co-opting a terrorist accomplished more than humiliation by untrained interrogators. Idema allowed CBS to transmit interrogation video back to the US from the CBS Kabul office. Just a few hours after Michael Brandenburg left for the last time, Idema was arrested by anti-UFMF forces, at the request of Interior Minister Ahmad Ali Jalali (exposed later as Taliban or officially "former" Taliban) of "running a torture chamber", "torturing innocent Afghans", and other illegal conduct. Three other false claims by Jalali were that Idema had "innocent Afghans hung from the ceiling in his basement", that the terrorists were being "abused, tortured and starved" and that Idema and his men were "rounding up innocent Muslims with long beards" (only 3 of 11 had long beards). CBS and other news networks piled on and reported Jalali's false claims and similar false allegations by Jalali's spokesman Lutfullah Mashal. Ahmad Ali Jalali was a former Voice of America radio news translator in Washington, DC. Jalali, a vehemently anti-UFMF (Northern Alliance) Pashtun from the south, is alleged to have had a prior relationship with CBS News and Fox News. CBS News had also worked with Lutfullah Mashal in the past. Mashal was a former translator for journalists during the 2001/2002 war and had close connections with the Taliban. Idema had warned both CBS and FOX about Mashal's Taliban connections in 2001 and 2002, yet they still employed Mashal and worked with him during that time. Interestingly enough, since these events have taken place, Mashal and Jalali "resigned". Don't these so-called journalists realize how transparent their attempts are at this fakery and fraudulent news reporting? Note how several of these pieces have come out where they use the same terms, and the same so-called "sources" and "experts" who have turned out to be complete lying frauds. It's like a handful of journalists are using a handful of lying sources, and writing the same lies to cover for each other while destroying the reputation of someone who's a legend in SF Ops and deserves much better than this. After what he did--I think he deserves at least a medal! And instead, he got imprisonment and torture with FBI agents laughing in the hallway. Something is terribly wrong with this picture.
For all its outlandish twists, the saga of the taxicab plot was not extraordinary for Idema, who over the years had fed the press a variety of sensational material that seemed to shed light on the shadowy world of secret soldiers, spies and assassins. This time the story never ran, but Idema had been a key source for numerous questionable stories that did. A self-proclaimed terror-fighter who has served time for fraud, Idema took a willing media by storm, glorifying his own exploits, padding his bank account, and providing dubious information to the American public.
Oh that one is rich. Painting Idema with the same brush as assassins and spies really indicates to me that you don't understand the job of a Green Beret, or the work of special forces. Or who we're fighting, or war in general. It didn't seem to me that the AP had any problem with his record before this, when he single-handedly rescued 300 women and children after the earthquake in Nahrin. Take a look at the archived articles here. What this seems to boil down to, Ms. Blake, is media whores talk the line that sells papers. Even if it's a lie. What happened to journalists doing RESEARCH for a piece --and providing factual information? Idema may have made some money over the years, but he has also spent much of his own money--to the point where he's virtually homeless--to fight terrorism and help the people in Afghanistan. But of course telling the truth about the man isn't as juicy as telling lies that portray him as a 'rogue bounty hunter'. I'm not sure about that, really...I'd rather see the real story told...and unfortunately I'm only seeing it because of my own research. What a sad commentary about the media!
In January 2002, Idema sold CBS sensational footage, which he called the "VideoX" tapes, that purported to show an Al Qaeda training camp in action. The tapes became the centerpiece of the bombshell 60 Minutes II piece, "Heart of Darkness", reported by Dan Rather and touted as "the most intimate look yet at how the world's deadliest terrorist organizaton trains its recruits." Idema also sold video stills to a number of press outlets, including the Boston Globe. MSNBC, ABC, NBC, the BBC, and others later replayed the tapes. Questions are now emerging about their authenticity, some of which were detailed in a piece by Stacy Sullivan in New York magazine in October.
Boy you apologists are really quick to stroke each other off, aren't you? Gotta love that one. There are no "questions about their authenticity" except those in the media, like you, who are trying to perpetrate this fraud on the public. And it would also seem that Stacy Sullivan, up until this point, was hanging out there all alone with that ridiculous piece "Operation Desert Fraud" --so someone at the Columbia Journalism Review had to come in and "rescue" her by printing the identical false accusations, using the same questionable lying fraudulent sources! Here's Peter Bergen's response to those lies. Last October, New York magazine raised the possibility that the Al Qaeda videotapes Idema supplied to 60 Minutes II were faked, a seemingly plausible scenario given Idema's previous fraud conviction. 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. Now consider that what Bergen is saying about Idema asking tens of thousands of dollars for those tapes is true (I don't believe it for a second.). What do you suppose is the dollar value of the lengths to which he had to go to get that footage? Or the personal sacrifice that he and his family have made in order for him to do this difficult work? Is money any compensation? Probably not. Do you realize that Idema doesn't have very much at all at present, and do you know the reasons why? Idema hasn't asked for a dime from any journalist for those tapes. But even if he had--he's virtually homeless because he's been using his own money to fight this war on terror, and to help the Afghan people. To me, the claim that he's in this for a buck is disingenuous at best. As a matter of fact, it also seems to me as though it's the people on the other side who are trying to make a buck off him while he's in prison and can't defend himself.
Idema also served as an expert military commentator on Fox News and was a lead character in Robin Moore's best-selling book "The Hunt for Bin Laden", which was supposed to chronicle the exploits of U.S. Special Forces in Afghanistan. And he fielded hundreds of interviews with major newspapers, television networks, and radio stations, which seem to take his swaggering claims--that he was an active-duty Green Beret in Afghanistan, an undercover spy, an explosives expert, and a key player in the hunt for Osama bin Laden--at face value.
He IS all of those things. And for your all of your elitist bluster, you've missed one key point about being a Green Beret. Being a Green Beret is something you earn through your training and courses you've taken. It's an honorary award that President Kennedy began to bestow on SF operatives. IT NEVER GOES AWAY. From Wikipedia: Their official motto is De opresso liber ("To liberate the oppressed"). The Green Beret was originally unauthorized for wear by the U.S. Army. It was legitimized by President John F. Kennedy who encouraged the wearing of the beret by the Special Forces. Preparing for an October 12, 1961 visit to the Special Warfare Center at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, the President sent word to the center's commander, Brigadier General William P. Yarborough, for all Special Forces soldiers to wear the beret as part of the event. The President felt that since they had a special mission, Special Forces should have something to set them apart from the rest. In 1962, he called the Green Beret "a symbol of excellence, a badge of courage, a mark of distinction in the fight for freedom." The Green Beret is an AWARD. All other headgear and uniforms are issued when you are assigned to a unit. Dr.'s are not called former doctors, Rangers are not called former Rangers, nor are SEALs called former SEALs, because these are awards which have specific requirements, such as graduating specific schools. I've never seen any article declaring that Idema is active military--to the contrary; he's a Green Beret, and a specialist in several areas as was described in this post. C'mon, Miss Blake, do your homework. Well actually if you'd done your homework, this piece would have turned out very differently, that is obvious.
Idema used the platform the media provided to spread dubious information, much of it with curcial implications for national security and foreign policy. For example, he claimed to have uncovered a plot to assassinate Bill Clinton; that Bin Laden was dead, and that the Taliban was poisoning the food that the United States was air dropping to feed hungry Afghans. (In fact, people were getting sick from eating the dessicant packed with the food.)
Oh that's interesting, Miss Blake. The Guardian reported on this in 1998 and is it a coincidence that Jack Idema isn't mentioned in the article??? I don't ever quote the Guardian because it's a socialist rag, but listen to this:
Counter-terrorism and intelligence sources say Ramzi Yousef, who was convicted of the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Centre in New York, was due to carry out the killing in Manila. He allegedly told FBI agents escorting him to New York for his bombing trial that he planned to kill Mr Clinton by blowing up his motorcade with a missile or explosives, but gave up because the security was so tight. Yousef, it is reported, did not say Mr Bin Laden was behind the plot. But one of his co-defendants, Walk Khan Amin Shah, once a senior aide to Mr Bin Laden, allegedly said the order had come from the Saudi millionaire, who now lives in Afghanistan.
Would those counter terrorism sources be Jack Idema? They don't name their source of that information in the article by name. BTW, the only place I can find the information about Jack claiming the Taliban was poisoning the people is on the websites which are stupid enough to have spread around your bullshit article. Ted Kavanau tells me that the dessicant story is actually quite different than you describe. Actually, if you'd bothered to check, it was document in several places. In Jon Lee Anderson's "The Lion's Grave":
His first mission was to provide ground assistance to the air drops of U.S. humanitarian aid rations. He had also conducted an investigation into the rumors circulating among Afghans that the rations were poisoned. “I found out who did it,” Jack said, “and it was not Al Qaeda or the Taliban. And there wasn’t any poison. The people were eating the desiccant” –the preservative drying agent—“that comes in little packets in each ration pack. It says “Do Not Eat” in English, French, Spanish and Chinese. But not in Farsi or Pashto. They thought it was spices! So there were some severe injuries and several presumed deaths. One guy who died ate the Handi Wipes, the desiccant—everything. These people, I mean they don’t even have napkins, how do they know what a Handi Wipe is? I gather he thought it smelled good, so he ate it.” Other people had become ill, Jack found, because many of the ration packs had exploded on impact, and the food inside had been exposed and become contaminated. Jack said that he wrote a report that was sent to DOD, and about a week later the problems were sorted out.
And in Hunt for Bin Laden.
Even though they had six DZs (drop zones) mapped and ready to receive food drops, the Air Force continued to drop the food packs blind, suing what was referred to as "flutter method," an untested procedure where the HDRs were simply dumped out of the back of cargo planes. Idema was not happy with the way food drops were being conducted and started firing off messages to his friends at Fort Benning, Fort Bragg, and the Pentagon. While he waited for a response he started collecting airdropped food packs. Recovering some from the mountains and the desert floor, he paid the Afghans $5 each out of his own pocket so they could purchase rice instead. The Afghans had claims the HDRs were making them ill. Once Idema had a selection of HDR samples from across northeastern Afghanistan, the investigation quickly took an unexpected turn. The packs had desiccant in them, a drying agent and moisture retardant that was packaged in small paper pouches and looked just like Afghan medicine or the spice packets in Russian noodles. Afghans started eating the desiccant. Sick Afghans started eating even more, thinking the U.S. was kindly dropping medicine. Idema's civilian team fired off a report that Afghans were getting sick from desiccant. One village even claimed a man had died. (HDRs were printed in English, French, German and Spanish, nonexistent languages in remote Afghan villages. Eventually the Air Force started dropping cartoon leaflets that explained how to eat the food.) Colin Powell received a copy of the team's email and wanted answers. Natick Labs in Massachusetts initiatially denied the report and told the Pentagon and Powell that there was no desiccant in the HDRs. Washington believed them. The message returned to Idema's team from "higher up" said the team was wrong, their intel was bad, and they were basically out in left field and unreliable. Pissed off, Idema went back to the drawing board. Twenty-four hours later he was emailing digital pictures of desiccant packs via INMARSAT. In the process he discovered something far worse. The HDRs had been packed in Texas, Indiana, and South Carolina at low altitudes. They had been dropped at altitudes far exceeding ten thousand feet. The sealed packs expanded in the air, and then hit the ground at terminal velocity, exploding the sealed food inside and causing slight tears in the other protective plastic wrapper. Exposed to the rugge Aghan terrain and harsh elements, the food inside rapidly spoiled and became contaminated. Digital pictures were transmitted through INMARSAT to Fort Benning's Battle Lab. Idema got word that Donald Rumsfeld had demanded answers from Natick. The following day the team was excstatic, a Natick official admitted the presence of desiccant and the more important contamination problem, stating that government contrators had violated DoD (Department of Defense) product specifications.
Yeah, here's a "rogue" warrior criminal guy who a) doesn't care about the Afghan people and b) has no contacts in Washington. Give me a break. Idema never told anyone that the Taliban was poisoning the food that the Americans were dropping into Afghanistan as humanitarian aid to starving people. You could easily speculate that the American government itself started to talk that way--in the beginning when they were denying that desiccants were in the food. Here's an SF Operator from comments [thanks, Dan]:
I would like to add that ANYONE that doubts your facts can contact ANY member of TIGER 03 (JSOTF Codename for ODA 595- 5th Special Forces Group (ABN), Fort Campbell, KY). If you check the early October 2001 Reports from the DOD, I think you will find that it was the DOD PAO and an ASD who stated at a PRESS CONFERENCE that THEY believed the Taliban was poisoning the airdrops in Northern Afghanistan (I was already in the ISOFAC preparing to deploy when we were briefed on it). During the press conference the DOD was defending dropping food and not bombs on Northern Afghanistan, which was of course the RIGHT thing to do because these people were, and are still, our allies, even if the American State Department has now deserted them and has us working with the new ANA (a joke of a Keystone Cop army). Jack Idema went into Northern Afghanistan with a primary mission to find out who WAS poisoning the food drops and to get more food drops to the Northern Alliance and get the right kind of food landing on actual drop zones instead of USAF "blind drops." This was secretly coordinated by the DAT at both the American and Afghan Embassies in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. Jack Idema found out the real cause of the poisoning and HDR problems. Idema FIXED the problem single handily, through initiative, ingenuity, and pure guts. Make no mistake about it, four of the men on my team currently here in Afghanistan know for absolute fact that Jack Idema’s version of the HDR story is true.
Kavanau called the Pentagon and they denied these packets were packed in that food. PLUS, there were several reporters who claimed they broke the dessicant story FIRST and were pissed that Idema picked it up as though it were his. That's the only problem here--Idema never said the Taliban was poisoning the food. That's utter BS, but it goes along with the rest of the BS flavor of this piece. I can pick holes in every single paragraph of this thing... I'm going to stop at the piece de resistance...just a few more to go...This next one is priceless...
Idema's career as a media personality reached its peak during the final breathless weeks of the run-up to the war in Iraq. Much of the information he provided during that period echoed the Bush administration's hotly contested rationale for the war. He told MSNBC that the link between Iraq and Al Qaeda was "common knowledge" on the ground in Afghanistan, and claimed in an interview with WNYC radio's Leonard Lopate that "Iraq has been involved in supporting Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations with money, with equipment, with technology, with weapons of mass destruction." He told other wide-eyed journalists that there was ample evidence linking "Iraq, Iran, and Saudi Arabia to Al Qaeda and to the attacks on September 11," and professed to have firsthand knowledge of nuclear weapons being smuggled from Russia to all three members of the "axis of evil"--Iraq, Iran and North Korea. Few in the media questioned Idema's claims, much to the alarm of some who knew him.
This is too much, :lol:. The "rationale for the war" is not, nor has it ever been "hotly contested". An neither is the Saddam/Iraq/Al Qaeda/Bin Laden Connection. Only where the myth plays dramatically--in the no-account clueless world of the media. What familiar about all of this is how FDR was demonized in the press for the war with the nazis. At the time, Joe Kennedy tried to talk him out of it; saying that Hitler had it "in the bag". Clare Boothe Luce was the wife of Time Magazine Founder Harry Luce, and she was also a playright. Clare Boothe Luce said that FDR "lied us into war" with the nazis. So this is all eerily familiar. And as usual, the leftists are on the wrong side of history. Because as it's been pointed out before, they've been wrong about every single conflict we've ever been engaged in. But I digress. A couple of words on the Saddam Hussein/Al Qaeda Connection, one of which is husseinandterror.com
*Photographs taken by Malaysian intelligence in January 2000 place Ahmed Himat Shakir, an Iraqi intelligence operative, at key planning meetings with Al Qaeda members for the bombing of the USS Cole and the September 11 attacks. * In 1992, according to Iraqi intelligence documents obtained after the war, bin Laden met with Iraqi intelligence officials in Syria. * Sudanese intelligence officials told me that their agents had observed meetings between Iraqi intelligence agents and bin Lade3n starting in 1994, when bin Laden lived in Khartoum. * Michael Scheuer, the former head of the bin Laden unit at the CIA and a sharp critic of the Bush administration, writes in his 2002 "Through our Enemies' Eyes" that bin Laden "made a connection with Iraqi's intelligenc service through its Khatroum station. * Examining the bin Laden-Iraq-Sudan nexus in the early 1990s, Weekly Standard writer Stephen Hayes reports: "In Sudan, bin Laden decided to acquire and, when possible, use chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) weapons against Islam's enemies. Bin Laden's first moves in this direction were made in cooperation with NIF (Sudan's National Islamic Front), Iraq's intelligence service, and Iraqi CBRN scientists and technicians. He made contact with Baghdad with its intelligence officers in Sudan and by a [Hass al-] Turabi-brokered June 1994 visit by Iraq's then intelligence chief Faruq al-Hijazi; according to Milan's Corriere della Sera, Saddam, in 1994, made al-Hijazi responbielf ro "nurting Iraq's ties to [Islamic] fundamentalist warriors. Turabi had plans to formulate a "common strategy" with bin Laden and Iraq for subverting pro-U.S. Arab regimes, but the meeting was a get-acquainted session where al-Hijazi and bin Laden developed a good rapport that would flourish in the late 1990's. * Bin Laden met at least eight times with officers of Iraq's Special Security Organization, a secret police agency run by Saddam's son Qusay, according to intelligence made public by Secretary of State Colin Powell, speaking before the UN Security Council on February 6, 2003. *Bin Laden met the director of the Iraqi Mukhabarat, Iraqi's external intelligence service, in Khartoum in 1996, according to Powell. * An al Qaeda oeprative now held by the US confessed that in the mid-1990's, bin Laden had forged an agreement with Saddam's men to cease all terrorist activities against the Iraqi dictator, Powell said. * Saddam's relationship to bin Laden was documented while the arch terrorist was based in Sudan from 1991 to 1996, Patrick Fitzgerald, an US attorney in the Clinton US Justice Department, prepared an indictment of bin Laden. "Al Qaeda reached an understanding with the government of Iraq that Al Qaeda would not work against that government and that on particular projects, specifically including weapons development, al Qaeda would work cooperatively with the government of Iraq." This is substantially what Powell would tell the UN years later, on the eve of the war.
From Disinformation, by Richard Miniter, Page 110, 2005 Regnery Publishing. And this is only a small part of the list. You've got Meetings, Money, Training Personnel...the list of connections is extensive. And on and on and on. Look, if I can come up with this stuff, why can't a journalist who's supposed to be "connected" with tell-all sources? Oh yeah. I forgot. Journalism isn't about reporting facts, it's about spinning the news according to the party line. IN this case, it's about furthering "no wmd", "Bush lied, men died", etc.. So the party line on Idema was to paint him as a "rogue warrior", a backyard "paintball" enthusiast who had fantasies of 007, but who was really a criminal. I think that about sums it up. Needless to say--outside of the blind lying elitist journalist circles, there is no doubt a clear connection between Bin Laden, Al Qaeda and 9/11. And there is also no doubt that Idema has an extensive background in counter terrorist operations, is a former Special Forces soldier, and a Green Beret. At any rate, we all know the suitcase nukes story is true; this ABC News Clip from 1999 describes the fact that Bin Laden was actively pursuing obtaining nuclear weapons, declaring it is the duty of muslims to possess these weapons. Weaving in the baseless statement that the rationale for the war was hotly contested is merely the continued perpetration of the big lie on the American public. Blake's piece demonizes one of the greatest patriots of our time; Jack Idema. I'm pretty sick of this, and I'd like to see just one large pundit--just one big blogger to pick up this story--because right now, all "news outlets" are pretty sad in my estimation--as perveyors of truth, as far as reporting anything at home or abroad accurately, fairly, or taking the best interests of our national security at heart.
"The media saw this outfitted, gregarious, apparently knowing guy, and they didn't check him out," says Ed Artis, chairman and founder of the humanitarian organization Knightsbridge International, who met Idema in Afghanistan in late 2001 and later tried to warn the government and media organizations that Idema was misrepresenting himself. "They ran story after story that furthered the cachet of a self-serving, self-aggrandizing criminal."
Whew. Put your boots on, and pull up your pantlegs. Let's take a look at this last paragraph. Who exactly is Ed Artis? Since I've taken up this story, people are coming out of the woodwork who are surprised he hasn't gotten people killed, surprised he hasn't gotten himself killed, and more importantly, are anxious to see the truth be told. Knightsbridge International is a supposed "humanitarian" organization that is supposedly doing good deeds. You can read about Artis' and Laws' exploits at several websites online. They talk about how Knightsbridge is a cross between Mother Teresa and Indiana Jones. If that doesn't make you roll your eyes back into their sockets, Artis' talks about being a Knight of Malta, that sounds impressive, doesn't it? But the fact is- Americans don't have Knights of anything. There are no American knights --except for the Knights of Malta, which you can join if you pay them $5,000. There are some definite similarities that I can see between Knightsbridge and George Galloway's Miriam Appeal. Artis has reportedly taken money people thought they were paying for humanitarian work to hire photojournalists to record his exploits on film. Artis, according to my sources, has a $400,000 or so home in California, which he had quick-claimed deeded to his wife in order to avoid problems with litigation. Miriam Appeal, which was originally put together to supposedly cure a little Iraqi child of leukemia, is still collecting funds, long after the little girl was cured, paying for, in part, Galloway's lavish lifestyle. The Global Coalition to End Human Trafficking NOW has some interesting things going on, not the least of which is an investigation for charity fraud. Curiously, Christine Dolan started up another organization in order to continue defrauding people out of their money, called The International Humanitarian Campaign Against the Exploitation of Children. Dolan's group claims connection with Knightsbridge. In addition to that, Ed Artis has claimed -under oath--that the medals he has worn to formal events (like at an event at West Point, for example)--are fake. During 1994, Artis scammed his way into a war zone and hitched a ride on a C-130, claimed he was "Airborne" so he could get to the capital, broke in and stole documents. He certainly isn't all that he claims to be, and you'd wonder why he'd want to steal documents and what he'd possibly be using them for? Another member of the smear Jack cabal said Artis "has helped more people than you can imagine'. Yeah, I wonder what the definition of "helped" is. Refusing to give the food you've stashed for your flabby self to starving people because all you're really looking for is pictures and movies taken of yourself "rescuing them"? Endangering a man by telling the media about his dangerous (and secret) mission, the times of the flights, etc., in order to brag that "mercs" would meet him at the airport? Supposed "Knights of Malta" who had "vowed" to "help" and would join him at New Orelans, New York, Brusssels, Kanshasa, Goma--who never showed up? But were hungry to get their hands on bloody machetes off the battlefield and sell them at a high price? Reminds me of the stories of him in Afghanistan--buying black turbans and smearing them with chicken blood and dirt, in order to claim he'd taken them off dead Taliban or Al Qaeda and turn around and sell them. What kind of sick minds come up with this stuff? Sure, it's sounds heroic to go to third world countries and provide any manner of relief--set yourself up as a "knight" which appeals to the elitists and opens their pocketbooks. Buy yourself a PHD from a papermill and claim you're a "doctor"--But it's also disgusting when the entire reputation--all the medals, the fake vatican passport, etc., are entirely fraudulent. When he went to Africa, he was taken into a combat zone and promising everyone he ran across, apparently not aware how dangerous things were, that he could get them a vatican passport. And from what I gather they didn't look real--they looked childish. He has (over the years) somehow managed to avoid getting people killed--which is something the people he's dealt with in places like Afghanistan still wonder at. Someone that clueless-that determined to pay for photojournalists to film him handing out blankets--and willing to re-shoot it--much like John Kerry--so he could get the best footage--is who the real man is. A man who gets almost a sexual pleasure out of self-promotion, and has a laundry list of fake exploits he's willing to wave in your face. He is Walter Mitty in the flesh. In just the first little more than a page--there are lies in every single paragraph of this piece! There is something wrong with this picture.
Idema's U.S. office is tucked inside a hulking brick warehouse in Fayetteville, North Carolina--home to Fort Bragg, America's largest military base and command center for the U.S. Army Special Operations. There's little to distinguish the building from its industrial surroundings except the dark-tinted windows, and the red "Restricted Access" plaque that clings to the front door. Inside, the cavernous space is cluttered with evidence of Idema's Afghan mission: crumpled boxes of medical supplies, a lime-green presentation board bearing an organizational chart for Al Qaeda, a massive topographical map of Afghanistan. Movie posters of scowling, leather-clad action heroes plaster the surrounding walls, including a particular large one from Men in Black over Idema's desk. It shows two movie stars clutching super-sized guns and reads, "Protecting the Earth from the Scum of the Universe". The decore reflects Idema's decades-long quest to fashion himself an action hero. He joined the army in 1975 and qualified for the Special Forces, but his performance was often lacking. In an evaluation report dated July 7, 1977, Captain John D. Carlson described him as "without a doubt the most unmotivated, unprofessional, immature enlisted man that I have ever known."
In reality, John D. Carlson was a 26-year old captain who was an ROTC guy who spent a year or so in the army and got out...where is he now? And where did that "evaluation report" come from? And who really wrote it? There is no such "evluation report". John D. Carlson doesn't exist anymore and what's a certifiable fact is--John D. Carlson was a guy who might have SAID that, but he didn't write it in any report. If he did, I'd sure like to see it, because I'm certain that it was one of those fakeries made up by a certain "Colonel" who's been very good at contacting the media and feeding them fake military documents to discredit Idema. Carlson wasn't even in a position to "evaluate" Idema.
In 1978 he transferred to a reserve unit where he served until 1981, when he was relieved of his duties, in part for his irrationality and tendency toward violence. His military records indicate that he never saw combat.
Too bad you haven't seen his DD214A. The DD214 shows the first time you get out. After that, it's the DD214A. Sure, he'll punch someone in the nose--somebody who deserves it, and I can't blame him. I've even heard that he allegedly pulled off a shot with a firearm at someone. So what if he did? Can't say I haven't seen that happen, either. I work with a guy whose hip was shot off by an elephant gun at a shooting range. He had a hip replacement when he was something like 25. And he was shot by his own relative, and there's still some question as to whether or not the incident was "accidental". So...stuff happens. Maybe not to pansies, but this guy is no pansy. Was the whiner hurt by the shots Jack allegedly pulled off, or was he just freaked out? And do you suppose with Jack's training he could have hit the mark, had he the inclination? Just think about that for a second. It's also an interesting observation that you took such detailed notes of your surroundings when you were stealing documents from his office. You certainly haven't noted any of the "facts" where he's concerned. Here again, we have a case where just about every line is manufactured by the Smear Jack Cabal or just complete garbage, so I'm going to wrap it up right here.
14 posted on 12/20/2005 6:24:32 AM PST by Caoilfhionn (Hold fast to the Bible as the sheet anchor of your liberties-Ulysses S. Grant)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: Caoilfhionn; All
Picking it up from where we left off, let's keep ripping up Mariah Blake's garbage hit piece from the Smear Jack Cabal on Idema called "Tin Soldier".

See the rest WITH PICTURES at my blog right here.

The reason I didn't post it here is because there are copyrighted images there that I have permission only to use at my site.

The entire piece by Mariah Blake was meant for the sole purpose of discrediting this man, and he's been doing this work for over 27 years and is no "mercenary" or "hired gun" or "bounty hunter", as they portray him to be. This guy is a highly trained special forces operator.

Shame on the lefties who portray him as a criminal, and shame on the people on the right who haven't picked up the torch for him. He is an American citizen, was declared innoncent over a year ago by the Afghans, but the State Department has insisted he be held anyway, so he's been defined as a 'political prisoner'.

Why aren't more people asking questions of our government as to why they were tortured with members of the FBI standing in the hallway laughing about it? Why aren't more people holding our government accountable for treating American citizens in this despicable manner?

I thought the military was supposed to 'leave no man behind'. In this case, both sides have abandoned not only Jack Idema, but Brent Caraballo (the journalist) and Captain Brent Bennett. There's something wrong here, and it's time people started asking some hard questions and demanding a congressional investigation.

15 posted on 12/31/2005 12:39:21 PM PST by Caoilfhionn (Hold fast to the Bible as the sheet anchor of your liberties-Ulysses S. Grant)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: Caoilfhionn

Hmmmm. Interesting. Bookmarked for indepth reading later.


16 posted on 12/31/2005 2:57:59 PM PST by shezza (41 days)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson