Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The Free Jack Idema Blogburst

First off, we have some good news. After two anxious weeks without hearing from the three Americans illegally-imprisoned in Afghanistan, the SuperPatriots have finally been able to confirm that Jack Idema, Brent Bennett and Ed Caraballo are doing okay.

Well, actually, Jack and Brent are doing more than just 'okay' -- They're well-protected by friends from the Northern Alliance and, in spite of the Karzai government's attempts to house terrorists alongside them, still have their quarters in the annex very much to themselves.

Jack's and the NA's best efforts notwithstanding, though, one person who isn't doing so well is Ed Caraballo:

But Caraballo, an Emmy Award-winning cameraman who said he was filming a documentary on the two others when they all were arrested, has been attacking prison guards and acting unstable, officials said.
Caraballo, who has converted to Islam and now goes by the name Najib, split from the men and lives separately, in Cellblock 1.
Almost three weeks ago, prisoners rioted and seized control of Cellblock 2 and tried to take over Cellblock 1. Many were said to be Al Qaeda and members of the Taliban. During the riot, Caraballo used his mobile phone to call reporters and say he was about to be beheaded.
Certainly, Ed's mental state has become a major concern of late -- Last week he even attempted to run out of the prison compound and had to be forcibly restrained. Right now, he is being kept under close watch by Northern Alliance personnel, who are becoming extremely concerned about Ed's state of mind.

Now, it has to be remembered that Caraballo is the least equipped of the three Americans to face the rigours of imprisonment. Unlike Jack and Brent, Ed isn't a soldier. He's a journalist. Back in 2004, he was making a documentary about Jack's work when he was arrested and accused of assisting with the 'torture' of Afghan prisoners. Of course, it should go without saying that since no torture actually took place, and no evidence was ever brought against any of Jack's team, this accusation is scarcely credible -- The Taliban judges who handled the 2004 case might just as well have accused Caraballo of helping Jack pull the wings off a flying pig.

What's more, Ed isn't some kind of two-bit hack -- He's a four-times Emmy Award winner, who's worked for CNN, CBS, NBC, ABC, HBO and with Anderson Cooper, Dan Rather, Mike Wallace, Peter Jennings, Diane Sawyer, Connie Chung, Chris Cuomo, Robert Krulwich, Leslie Stahl, and John Miller, the man who personally interviewed Osama bin Laden.

Yet, as Ed Caraballo slowly collapses under the pressure of his unlawful imprisonment, the rest of MSM, who set up squawking about human rights abuses at a moment's notice, are completely silent about his plight. Indeed, a search for 'Ed Caraballo' over at Reporters Without Borders, an organisation specifically set up in order to highlight the imprisonment of journalists, reveals the following:

Your search - Ed Caraballo - did not match any documents.
Nothing. Not one mention of Ed in two, long years. Not one mention of the fact that his conviction, along with Jack and Brent's, was quashed on appeal over a year ago, and that all three men are being held in a legal limbo. Not even a word about Ed when, three weeks ago, he was forced to give an interview from Pulacharke with an Islamist's sword to his throat. Well, so much for RWB's stated aim of protecting the right of journalists to 'seek, receive and impart information and ideas regardless of frontiers'.

And so much for Ed Caraballo.

So what can we do? Well, anyone reading this with their own blog 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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