Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Justice for Jack Idema Blogburst 5/9/2007

It's been a very eventful week in the case of still-imprisoned US Special Forces soldier Jack Idema.

While Jack's passport remains in the hands of the State Department and Jack remains stuck in Pulacharke, the legal proceedings back in the US have kicked into high-gear:
MINUTE ORDER. Respondents shall file a reply to [48] Petitioners’ Response In Part and Request for Reconsideration by no later than May 16, 2007. Signed by Judge Emmet G. Sullivan on May 8, 2007.
This effectively gives the US Government one week to either produce Jack Idema or explain why he is still unable to return to the US.

This is, of course, the second time Judge Sullivan has made this demand of the State Department -- Last time around, the story the US Embassy in Karbal ran with was that since Jack had been released by Afghan authorities, they weren't responsible for, or able to, march him into a US courtroom. This was only technically true. On paper, Jack has, indeed, been held by Afghan authorities, and has, indeed, been 'released' from their 'custody'. What the State Department failed to point out, however, is that this happened way back in March 2005, when an Afghan Appeals Court overturned the original convictions against Jack and Brent and ordered the men released.

Since that time, Jack Idema has been held, not by Afghan authorities, but by goons loyal to Karzai acting at the behest of the US Embassy.

Perhaps sensing that the whole 'released man won't leave prison' line wasn't going to work indefinitely, this week saw the State Department walking into Judge Sullivan's court with a different, though equally hair-brained, excuse:
"Moreover, because Mr. Idema effectively controls his own freedom at this point – and could effectuate his release by arranging for his travel out of Afghanistan – his continued detention pending deportation should not provide the basis for continued habeas jurisdiction. As set forth above, the Afghan authorities have indicated that while they intend to deport Mr. Idema, they expect him to make his own travel arrangements. Birsner Decl. And the U.S. Embassy in Kabul is prepared to assist Mr. Idema in making such arrangements, including assisting with procuring Mr. Idema a passport, making flight arrangements, and even providing Mr. Idema a loan in the event that he cannot pay for a flight himself. All that it would take for Mr. Idema to be released from custody, therefore, is his taking the necessary steps to get a passport and a plane ticket out of Afghanistan."

It really is quite difficult to know where to begin with this. Perhaps by pointing out that there appears to be a rather large discrepancy between the State Department's previous claim that Jack was free and their present insistence that he is yet to be 'released from custody'. So that's one thing.

Another is the bizarre claim that although Afghan authorities are desperate to deport Idema, they're willing to have him occupy a wing of their most maximum-security prison on the grounds that neither they nor the US authorities can be bothered to put Jack on a plane. Seriously, there are guilty six-year-olds capable of devising more believable excuses than these.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, Jack Idema remains stuck in Afghanistan, unable to return home until the passport his own government stole from him is returned.

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 Lone Voice, Kender's Musings, Cao's Blog, Rottweiler Puppy, Causes of Interest, Stuck On Stupid, You Don't Know Jack, Right Voices, Causal Nexus, A Real Man and GM's Corner.

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