The US military has again been caught using illegal mercenaries and bounty hunters to carry out assassinations and torture - this time in Afghanistan.
USA uses mercenaries to do dirty work
The US government usually refuses to recognise the rights of "unlawful combatants" but these men will receive a fair trial because they are American. This is a case of pure racial discrimination, and it demonstrates the double-standards that the world is learning to expect from the new form of American regime that has risen to power.
The men in control of America like to think of themselves as cowboys, paying hired-guns Wild West style, and offering bounties on their enemies - "dead or alive". In the real Wild West, as in modern times, sometimes its the bad guys who win.
BBC News, "Kabul 'bounty hunter' accuses US", 21 July 2004.
[ http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/3912403.stm ]
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.
None of the Americans spoke officially in court on Wednesday but three witnesses did appear.
The men are accused of running a prison at this Kabul house
They were from among the eight Afghans who were found at the alleged private jail the Americans were said to be running.
One, Sher Jan, said: "They pulled me out of my house one morning, hooded me and broke a rib with a gun... They poured hot water on me too."
A second, Ghulam Sakhi, said he was tied upside down for a period during 18 days in the private prison.
The peacekeepers said they were fooled by the US-style uniforms and professional approach of the men.
BBC News, "US admits 'bounty hunter' contact", 22 July 2004.
[ http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/3916075.stm ]
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.
He is facing charges of torture, kidnapping and running a private jail.
The Guardian (UK), "Rumsfeld knew all about me, says American 'jailer' held in Kabul", 22 July 2004.
[ http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0,12271,1266419,00.html ]
The saga of "Jack" Idema, the American arrested for running a private interrogation centre in Afghanistan, took a new twist yesterday when he claimed that he was acting with the knowledge and agreement of Donald Rumsfeld's office.
Mr Idema, who has been accused of having a makeshift jail in which detainees were hung by their feet, claimed that US authorities "condoned and supported" his freelance activities.
"We were working for the US counter-terrorist group and working with the Pentagon and some other federal agencies," said Mr Idema, whose full name is Jonathon Keith Idema, before the opening of a court hearing in Kabul, according to Reuters.
He told reporters: "We were in contact directly by fax and email and phone with Donald Rumsfeld's office.
"The American authorities absolutely condoned what we did. We have extensive evidence to that ... We're prepared to show emails and correspondence and tape-recorded conversations."
From New York, Mr Idema's lawyer, John Tiffany, told the Guardian: "We have documentary evidence regarding the US government's knowledge of my client's intended activities in Afghanistan."
Mr Tiffany said his client was not denying he had taken people into custody but would claim he had done so with the authorities' full knowledge.
Mr Tiffany suggested Mr Idema would never have been arrested had it not been for the publicity over treatment of prisoners in Abu Ghraib jail in Iraq. But a US defence department spokesman in Washington denied Mr Idema's claims yesterday. "He is nothing to do with us," he said. "Idema does not represent the US government and we do not employ him." US military authorities in Afghanistan have also denied Mr Idema was acting with their knowledge.
One detainee, Ghulam Sakhi, yesterday said in court he had been tied upside down during some of the 18 days he was held. Another, Sher Jan, said: "They pulled me out of my house, hooded me and broke a rib with a gun ... They poured hot water on me, too."
"The Insider" mailing list article, 21 July 2004.
Tags: Afghanistan, American, bounty, hunters, American, mercenaries, unlawful, combatants, illegal, prison, torture, , conspiracy theories.