Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Free Jack Idema Blogburst 12/13/2006

One of the most appalling aspects in the case of illegally-imprisoned U.S. Special Forces soldier Jack Idema and his recently 'freed' comrade Captain Brent Bennett has been the way the U.S. State Department has treated them.

Throughout their ordeal at Pulacharke prison, these men have been subjected to what can only be described as a campaign of petty (and not-so-petty) vindictiveness. Thus:
Last year the Northern Alliance made sure Jack and his men had a great Christmas, in spite of the the US Embassy. This year Rice's State Department is up to their old tricks again.

US soldiers around the world were treated to spectacular Thanksgiving Day dinners. Incarcerated US citizens around the world were visited by US Embassy officials, brought Turkey and stuffing and holiday cheer, except in Afghanistan, where US Consul Edward Birsner issued a confidential memo prohibiting any US soldier from visiting Jack Idema.

ISAF and NATO followed suit at the US State Department's request and issued a directive prohibiting any coalition force member from visiting Pulacharke Prison. Two Military Police officers in civilian clothes assisted by Karzai's intelligence police were posted at Pulacharke's main gate to determine the identity of anyone attempting to ignore those directives.

We find that odd. Perhaps the US State Department should spend more time hunting suicide bombers and terrorists and leave those who are bringing turkey for Jack alone. Go worry about someone else.
This really is a surreal situation -- As Taliban and al-Qaeda terrorists murder as many U.S., British and NATO troops as they can in South Afghanistan, valuable resources are spent on setting up Operation Turkey and Stuffing. Memos are sent out to troops and undercover operatives are stationed outside Pulacharke (from where, we will remember, four high-level terrorists escaped just three weeks ago), all in order to -- what? Prevent one man eating lunch?!! Our tax dollars at work, folks.

Of course, this unintentionally-comic attempt to prevent Jack enjoying his Thanksgiving dinner is only the latest in a long list of petty cruelties. In his time at Pulacharke, Idema has been denied:
  • Access to clean drinking water.
  • Access to mail from family and friends.
  • Access to Red Cross care packages.
The fact that Jack continues to receive enough essential supplies to keep him healthy and alive is entirely because of the willingness of his Northern Alliance and SF friends to play a game of cat-and-mouse with the State Department in order to smuggle water, food and medicine into Pulacharke ...

... Though, if Brent Bennett's experiences since his forced-ejection from Afghanistan are anything to judge by, the State Department don't just deny American heroes turkey dinners -- They can also prevent them returning home:
Brent Bennett has been denied a US passport to return to the country he was born in and fought for. The only details we can give are that Brent spent Thanksgiving with some commandos in a foreign country.
Shameful. Utterly, utterly shameful.

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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The Free Jack Idema Blogroll:
The Pink Flamingo Bar & Grill, The Lone Voice, Kender's Musings, Irate Nate, The Devil's Kitchen, Cao's Blog, Big Dog's Weblog, Theodore's World, NIF, Rottweiler Puppy, Right For Scotland, Freedom Folks, The City Troll, Sacramento Boxing, Causes of Interest, Concatenation of Events, Hyscience, Stuck On Stupid, The Daily Blogster, You Don't Know Jack and Right Wing Nation.