Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Free Jack Idema Blogburst 4/11/2007

After almost three years of illegal-imprisonment, it looks as though US Special Forces soldier Jack Idema is on the verge of being freed:
An American prisoner held in Afghanistan for allegedly running a private prison was scheduled to be released from his Afghan prison as the State Department and the FBI faced a Tuesday deadline to answer allegations that they ordered his torture and manipulated the Afghan judicial system.

Jack Idema is the last of three U.S. citizens imprisoned in Afghanistan in the alleged operation. Idema said they were hunting terrorists as part of a mission sanctioned by U.S. counterterror officials.

Idema's attorneys filed a lawsuit in Washington in 2005 challenging his detention. Idema accused the State Department and FBI of illegally keeping him imprisoned in a deplorable Afghan prison, directing his torture, destroying evidence and ultimately trying to have him killed. He said he has audio recordings and documents to back up his claims.

U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan had said he was "deeply troubled" by the allegations and had given the U.S. government until Tuesday to respond.

"Petitioners allege that United States officials ordered their arrest, ordered their torture, stole exculpatory evidence during their trial and appeal, exerted undue influence over Afghan judges, and either directly or indirectly ordered judges who found petitioners innocent not to release petitioners from prison," Sullivan wrote.

The U.S. Justice Department, which represents the government in court, did not respond to the Tuesday deadline. Instead, government attorneys asked that the case be thrown out because they say the Afghan government granted Idema amnesty and commuted his sentence.
Of course, this is absolutely fantastic news for Jack, his family and all those of us who've campaigned for his release over the past three years. While we wait on final confirmation that Jack is free, however, it really is worth considering the reason all this happened.

For the past two years we've pointed out that the US State Department in Afghanistan has some serious explaining to do over its handling of the Idema case; that US Government officials colluded with Jack's team's 'former' Taliban captors in subjecting Task Force Sabre 7 to brutal tortures and, after the September 2004 convictions, they routinely denied Jack and Brent access to mail, care packages, medical supplies and even clean drinking water.

We've also pointed out that it was the US State Department which moved to keep Jack and Brent in custody after they were cleared of all wrongdoing on appeal in early 2005. As long as these people were never called upon to answer any of the charges against them, they were quite happy to leave Jack Idema rotting in the Afghan prison system, forgotten and alone.

Only, here's the thing: U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan had the moral courage to demand answers as to how all this could happen to an American citizen whose only 'crime' was hunting the men responsible for 9/11.

In an effort to avoid giving any answers, the State Department appears to have ordered Idema's release. The coldly-calculated reasoning at work here is that if Jack is a free man, then Judge Sullivan may stop asking inconvenient questions.

Whether or not this turns out to be the case, however, it should be obvious that the timing of Jack Idema's release points to the guilt of the men and women who saw to his imprisonment. For the first time since June 2004 it is they, and not Jack, who'll wake up each morning wondering what unpleasant surprises the future has in store.

Thank God he is finally coming home. Please pray for a safe return home for Jack. It's about time...

Update: Cao has an article you just have to read. She also has many links to the news coverage of Jack's release. Here is article she wrote the day before announcing his release. Please visit her site.

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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, Right Wing Nation, Ron's Musings, Right Voices, 7.62mm Justice, Special/Blown-It, And Rightly So!, Causal Nexus, Death To The Swiss and A Real Man.