Wednesday, July 21

Forgotten War. merc or hung out to dry

As you may or not be aware 3 american were arrested in Afganistan, alledgedly running a jail in Kabul. According to this article by the AP.
Thu Jul 8, 5:21 PM ET
By AMIR SHAH, Associated Press Writer

KABUL, Afghanistan - Afghan forces arrested three Americans, including a purported former Green Beret, after raiding a jail they were allegedly running in the Afghan capital and finding prisoners hanging from their feet, officials said Thursday. The U.S. military, facing a widening inquiry into prisoner abuse, quickly distanced itself from the three, who had been posing as American agents before being detained Monday. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said Thursday "the U.S. government does not employ or sponsor these men."

Afghan officials also dismissed claims by the apparent ringleader, Jonathan K. Idema, that he was a "special adviser" to their security forces, saying the three had posed as military agents on a self-appointed hunt for terrorists.

The Americans and four Afghans who were detained along with them "formed a group and pretended they were fighting terrorism," Interior Minister Ali Ahmad Jalali said. "They arrested eight people from across Kabul and put them in their jail."
I seem to remember discussion questioning whether or not Idema really was a member of the green beret proper, or a quartermaster attached to a GB unit. Idema claims to have been working under the auspices of the US and Afghani Forces, which both camps vociferously deny. I though about working this story when it first broke (and this place was like a shiny new toy I couldn't keep my hands off of), but it was getting a pretty good flogging in blogistan, and I didn't have anything to add. I mean we had the standard wierdness we have grown accustomed to in the war on terror. Funny business, Am I or am I not a legitimate soldier or a mercenary rouge. You bet Rumsfeld was wetting his pants and hoping that it would put the fire out. This morning, BBC news has this on its front page.
A US citizen arrested in Kabul over an alleged freelance counter-terrorism operation says he was working with the knowledge of the US defence secretary.

Jonathan K Idema said the US government had abandoned him. Washington says he was a mercenary. Mr Idema was speaking shortly before he went on trial with two other Americans, Edward Caraballo and Brent Bennett.

The trial, on charges of torture, kidnapping and running a private jail, was adjourned on Wednesday for 15 days
I've got to hand it to Karzai. I mean these guys are already on trial (is there a sixth ammendment to the Afghani constitution?), haven't been dissappeared into the memory hole at some remote iraqi prison. I am sure that our administration can't be too happy about the following:
Mr Idema told journalists before the trial he had evidence to prove he was working for the Pentagon.

He claims to have helped prevent several attempted terrorist attacks and said he had regular e-mail, phone and fax contact with Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's office and other senior Pentagon officials
Now of couse this guy could be lying his ass off, and you can expect that the mighty media will spin it this way, but I have my doubts. There has never been the level of privitazation of US logistical operations in wartime. Halliburton, Brown and Root, and other's, supply (or are supposed to) food, housing, amunition, private security forces (a nudge is as good as a wink to a blind bat), communications and the sorry list goes on. Sun Tzu would beat the fire out of Rumsfelds pant's and then throw wolfie and feith out of the window. and I don't even want to know what the oval office would look like when he was done with the Dauphin. My point is, that given the way these idiots have run things, that the abuses at Abu Ghraib run much further up the chain of command, and take a right turn on Pennsylvania avenue. I am inclined to wait for the proof of guilt
Steve goes into much more depth on this issue and is inclined to disagree. Check it out.