Update to This Week’s Column

There’s an interesting development in the Jack Idema case, the subject of this week’s syndicated column. Idema is the ex-Special Forces soldier arrested for running a private torture chamber in Kabul.

As the invaluable Asia Times reported:

During a press briefing on Wednesday at the US State Department, spokesman Richard Boucher repeated that the United States had had no official contact with Jonathan Idema, the leader of three US civilians on trial in Afghanistan accused of kidnapping and torturing suspected Afghan resistance fighters.

“That’s their story now,” I wrote. That story is already changing. Now they admit that Idema wasn’t quite as “off the reservation” as the Pentagon would like us to believe. Sez the BBC:

The US military has admitted it detained an Afghan man handed over by a US citizen accused of running a freelance counter-terrorism operation.

A military spokesman said the prisoner was handed over by the American, Jonathan K Idema, in May.

A BBC correspondent in Kabul says that the disclosure is embarrassing for the US, which said it had had no links with the alleged American mercenary. “We did receive a detainee from Idema or his party,” said Major Jon Siepmann, spokesman for the coalition forces. “The reason we received this person was that we believed that he was someone that we had identified as a potential terrorist and we wanted him for questioning,” he said. But forces strenuously deny that Idema was working for the military in any official capacity and insist that he is a mercenary. They argue that they were not aware of Idema’s “full track record” prior to his arrest earlier this month along with two other Americans and four Afghans.

Don’t be surprised if it ultimately turns out that Idema was on the books after all. Should that happen, neither he or we should hold our breath for an apology.

Nor should the three innocent Afghans found hanging by their feet in Idema’s home.

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