Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The Free Jack Idema Blogburst



In concentrating on the gross injustice of the illegal imprisonment of U.S. Special Forces soldier Jack Idema, his right-hand man Brent Bennett and journalist Ed Caraballo, it's possible to forget about Idema's contribution to the WoT. This would be a mistake, as understanding what Jack does and how he thinks is an important part of the story.

So. In 2001, Jack Idema, then in his mid-forties, was enjoying retirement from the U.S. army. When 9/11 occurred, he contacted the military immediately and had himself placed back on the active service list and shipped out to Afghanistan. He arrived two weeks after the twin towers fell, with orders to organise air-drops supplying the Northern Alliance, who then controlled only the northern 10% of the country.
This was at the beginning of the two-month period in which a coalition of U.S. Special Forces, British SAS and Northern Alliance troops swept across the whole of Afghanistan, routing Al Qaeda and the Taliban.
Here's Idema's take on what it was like to participate in this action:
So Massoud’s forces, Buldock and some of the other guys like Captain Mark Mitch who was in Dostrum’s area up in the northwest of Afghanistan, they did a remarkable job, they really did. And quite frankly, it shocked the conventional forces and it shocked the Pentagon at how fast.
This is the difference between Iraq and Afghanistan: 100,000 of Massoud’s mujahideen picked up weapons and stood next to us and fought. In Iraq not a single Iraqi picked up a weapon to fight the Iraq government. So there’s a huge difference here; this is a country that wanted liberation, I talk about Afghanistan, and they were willing to die for that liberation, and all they needed was our air support and our advice. And we gave it to them. The bombing started October 12th and on November 12th, Kabul fell. And after Kabul fell, we headed to Tora Bora and other places. I took one of the Northern Alliance groups into Tora Bora later on into Shahi Khot and Anaconda, and it was really a (cuts out) as far as an unconventional war.
It's tremendously important we remember that without Special Forces troops like Jack Idema, the push to liberate Afghanistan would have been delayed by the months it would have taken to get conventional forces in place. Instead, the Taliban were removed from power with remarkable efficiency, and, compared to the losses conventional forces would have suffered, at the cost of remarkably few coalition lives.

This is why men like Jack Idema matter. See, no one would have blamed him if, after a long and distinguished career in the service of his country, he'd decided to leave the WoT to younger men. Instead, Idema fought hard to get back into the game, then harder still to capture and kill as many Islamist terrorists as he could. Moreover, when the first stage of the war was over, Jack elected to stay on in Afghanistan, working with the Northern Alliance in its efforts to ensure a stable and free society flourished there.
As this excerpt from a UPI report on the rescue of Afghan officials from an Islamist mob shows, this was and is important and necessary work:
The mob moved so quickly that the 100-200 policemen deployed near the airport could not move quickly enough to control the situation, according to Shergai.
"Jack," as the special advisor to the Afghan military is known, managed to rescue the President of Afghanistanís Ariana Airlines, Robullah Amain, who had escaped from the mob and was surrounded in a terminal office. Along with seven Afghan commandos, Jack rescued Amain, Haji Timor the airport manager and five others and escorted them to safety.
An ISAF spokesmen claimed that a small team of British soldiers supposedly helped to save the national airline executive from certain death.
Ariana President Robullah Amain confirmed that in reality, it was an American Green Beret and his Afghan soldiers.
Karzai has made increasingly urgent calls during the past several days for an expansion of ISAF forces in Afghanistan. But the UN mandated European peace keeping mission is becoming increasingly discredited even in Kabul.
And yet. Idema remains stuck inside Pulacharke prison while the war he should be fighting, and, remarkably, still wants to fight rages on without him.

So what can we do? Well, anyone reading this with their own blog, and who believes the WoT still needs fighting, can sign up for the weekly Free Jack Idema Blogburst by emailing Cao or Rottweiler Puppy for details. I'd urge everyone to do this, as we're still terribly short on takers. If you want to know more about the story, Cao's Blog has a large section devoted to Jack Idema. There's also a timeline here, and, of course, a huge amount of information is available over at SuperPatriots, without whose work none of us would have learned about Jack's story.

Finally, PLEASE NOTE: The SuperPatriots and Jack images on this site are used with WRITTEN COPYRIGHT PERMISSION and any use by any third party is subject to legal action by SuperPatriots.US





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3 comments:

CuriousHamster said...

This will, I suspect, be a rather unpopular comment. Apologies in advance.

My first instinct was that he was "black ops"; if you're captured, we will deny you work for us. That sort of thing undoubtedly does happen. But those guys know the score and you wouldn't really expect them to start shouting that the government are lying if caught.

I read here that in 2001, after his first spell in Afghanistan, Idema was a regular guest on a radio talk show on Newsmax. Not sure you get many active special forces guys doing that sort of thing. I know active SAS guys would be out on their arses if they started doing radio interviews between missions.

One time Green Beret seems fair enough. Not sure he was on active service in Afghanistan when arrested.

That's my view of the situation anyway. I admit that I haven't looked into it a great detail though.

Devil's Kitchen said...

My first instinct was that he was "black ops"; if you're captured, we will deny you work for us. That sort of thing undoubtedly does happen. But those guys know the score and you wouldn't really expect them to start shouting that the government are lying if caught.

This is also my feeling. However, I don't think that it is he who has initiated this blogburst. The reporter, however, should definitely be freed.

I think what I dislike about the whole situation is the way that the US government - which could have him extradited to face trial in the US if they desired - has deliberately, and with malice aforethought as it were - abandoned one of theirs to the tender mercies of the Afghan prison system.

If this were a Bond film, 007 would have been sent to get Jack out, no matter what the cost. I mean, Jack would probably turn out to be the baddie at the end, but you know what I mean...

You'll have to address specific queries to Rottie though, I'm afraid. He writes these missives and I allow a cross-post (the reason being was that I thought, having read the first few bursts at Rottie's, that the whole think stinks and if I could stir up trouble posting it, then so much the better. Think of it as being the sole manifestation of my altruistic streak...).

DK

Rottweiler Puppy said...

"This will, I suspect, be a rather unpopular comment. Apologies in advance."

No, actually you're asking the right questions.

"My first instinct was that he was "black ops"; if you're captured, we will deny you work for us. That sort of thing undoubtedly does happen. But those guys know the score and you wouldn't really expect them to start shouting that the government are lying if caught."

First off, Idema wasn't part of a black op. He was working openly with the Northern Alliance hunting terrorists, and there was nothing particularly secret about his mission.

As to the U.S. cutting people loose if they're captured (the term is 'plausible deniability'), yes, I think this would have applied to Idema, and I think he would have accepted this. But. (And this is a big 'but'.) What happened was that Idema was actually arrested by FBI agents, who also disappeared evidence of his innocence and colluded with the 'ex'-Taliban who tortured him. See, the deal with plausible deniability is that you keep your mouth shut if an enemy captures you -- It doesn't apply if your own government betray you. Actually, Idema first spoke up reluctantly, and only when it became obvious that the FBI and State Department were actively working against him in order to pacify the Taliban elements in the provisional government whose feathers Idema had ruffled.

"I read here that in 2001, after his first spell in Afghanistan, Idema was a regular guest on a radio talk show on Newsmax. Not sure you get many active special forces guys doing that sort of thing. I know active SAS guys would be out on their arses if they started doing radio interviews between missions."

This is true of the SAS, and true of anyone working on a black op. However, Idema seems to have been assigned to work with the press. Certainly, around the time Tora Bora fell, he was babysitting journalists, getting them in and out of the war zone and turning al-Q training tapes over to them. And certainly, if the war itself is being conducted exclusively by Special Forces personnel, someone will have to give journalists something. That seems to have been part of Idema's job in 2001-2002.

"One time Green Beret seems fair enough. Not sure he was on active service in Afghanistan when arrested."

You can't be an ex-Green Beret. Once you earn the title, it's yours to use for life, whether you're on the active list or not.

DK wrote: "I think what I dislike about the whole situation is the way that the US government - which could have him extradited to face trial in the US if they desired - has deliberately, and with malice aforethought as it were - abandoned one of theirs to the tender mercies of the Afghan prison system."

This isn't an issue. Idema was cleared of all charges on his retrial over a year ago. The U.S. State Department have leaned on the Karzai government to keep him in prison since then. Idema really is being held illegally -- He has no charges to answer, either in Afghanistan or the U.S.

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