Sunday, August 05, 2012

Jack Idema: Part 16

31 august 2004

Prosecutor Dawari reviews evidence against the Super Patriots
This is part 16 of the series. If you’re looking to catch up – Part 15Part 14Part 13- Part 12Part 11Part 10Part 9Part 8BPart 8Part 7Part 6Part 5Part 4Part 3Part 2 and Part 1.
the capital is rocked by deadly explosions targeting Karzai’s private
security firm (Dyncorp), Afghanistan’s “trial of the century” was
supposed to have concluded but it has been postponed once more, this
time for 10 days.

According to the Associated Press,
the delay is because Bennett and Idema’s lawyers just arrived in Kabul.
I had received a tip-off that John Tiffany was on his way and so it
looks like he finally got there. Other than that, there’s not much new
in the commercial media.

It also
seems like Idema asked for the trial to be moved to the United States
but his motion was denied as his group is facing Afghan charges, not
American ones. I guess Idema wanted to get his Perry Mason moment
recorded by Court TV, but alas it seems his wish won’t come true.

As such, I thought it was time to clear up a few things and do a little more investigation.

I had
heard that Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) Barbara Kocher
(Eastern District of North Carolina) was pursuing Idema and his company
(Counterr Group) for failing to pay the court ordered restitution from
Idema’s conviction in the 90′s for wire fraud. A little birdie told me
that Ms. Kocher was in the process of/had issued a warrant for Idema.
I did a
little searching on the Internet and it seems that Ms. Kocher has
indeed been pursuing Idema and the Counterr Group. Idema formed
Counterr Group back in the 1980′s after he was kicked out of the
military. They were, off and on, a training facility for security
professionals, law enforcement and anti-terrorist operatives. The
original site was in Red Hook, New York but had to be moved after Idema
lost a lawsuit (dealing with loud noise violations). The Counterr Group
briefly moved to Poughkeepsie but then eventually packed up and went to
North Carolina.

I’m not
sure that Counterr Group ever got to set up shop in North Carolina. By
the early 1990′s, Idema was in the paintball and non-weapon military
gear business, which eventually led to his federal conviction after he
and his girlfriend, Patricia Dawn Glosson, used a series of shell
companies to create fake lines of credit to purchase supplies.

Idema got out of prison, he began focusing more on the media arm of
Counterr, which became known as PBN or Point Blank News. In conjunction
with PBN, Caraballo, Gary Scurka, Ken Kelsh and Idema’s “wife”
Viktoria, they made a series of documentaries, one of which won a
fairly prestigious award.

Group still exists however, even if a training facility does not.
Counterr maintains three separate post office boxes in Fayettesville,
ostensibly for differing purposes. One was supposed to be for people
wanting to donate to the people of Afghanistan, one was to receive
funds from the sales of such items as the “captured” Al-Qaeda tapes and
one was strictly for those wishing to contribute to Counterr’s
“anti-terrorism” activities. And one little piggy went to market :)

The three
“divisions” of Counterr are known as “Counter Terroist Group, Counterr
Group Academy and Counterr Group Relief Fund. Don’t be fooled however,
as all three different post office boxes go to the same people.

that Idema is still supposed to pay the court over 200,000 dollars and
money that he received as part of Counterr should have been paid
towards that, but wasn’t. It is the bank records of Counterr Group that
AUSA Kocher is after. She sent a subpoena to the Bank of America, where
Counterr Group (all three of its “divisions”) did its banking.

You know
from my previous investigation that, on paper, Idema owns nothing.
Everything from Counterr Group to his house to his girlfriend
Viktoria’s “pet spa” is owned by the Isabeau-Dakota Corporation. This
is a shell company set up by Idema’s father around 1990.

Idema, an
only child, has apparently been supported by his parents for most of
his adult life, enabling him to dally in his hobbies such as paintball
and Special Forces non-weapon gear. Idema, knowing he always had the
safety cushion of his parents’ money to fall back on, had time to set
up fantasy training camps and other activities of that sort.

Group’s website and listed location (Robeson Street in Fayetteville)
are both registered to Thomas Bumback, a retired sergeant from the US
Army who has been a long time friend of Idema’s. Bumback, you will
remember, also wrote several glowing reviews of “Hunt for Bin Laden”,
the Moore/Thompson book that used a picture of Idema on the cover. It
seems Bumback is the only close friend of Idema’s in North Carolina
without a criminal record, which may explain why Bumback’s name appears
on all the legal papers concerning the Counterr Group.

I did
some research into AUSA Kocher’s case and discovered that Idema and his
buddies are trying to quash the subpoena for their bank records. The
court documents are public record and available online, but the
government charges a fee to view them.

I thought
I’d print a relevant extract so we can all take a look at it. The
italics and capitalizations etc. are in the original document but I
cleaned up some of the awful syntax (couldn’t help myself).

Counterr Group writes:

bank was served with a subpoena (Exhibit A) by the Assistant United
States Attoreny in Raleigh, North Carolina, which requested a broad and
far-reaching range of financial documents including ALL business,
personal and financial records in the possession of Bank of America.

This organization has been working with federal agencies to interdict
terrorist operations in the United States and abroad. One organization,
the FBI, has demanded the identities of Counterr Group’s covert sources
in Afghanistan, Pakistan and other regions. These sources were
developed by J.K. Idema while he was fighting in Afghanistan after
9/11. Considerable pressure has been placed on Idema and Counterr Group
for these sources. If Counterr Group, or Idema, were to release the
identities of their sources, it would clearly endanger their lives.
They would be targets of al-Qaida
because the FBI station in Kabul is compromised by interpreters who
provide information to the enemy. The FBI has been advised of this, yet
apparently ignored it. Further, the release of the names of sources who
are providing information beneficial to the safety and security of the
United States would be counter-productive to national interests. The
information is being relayed to the FBI and other federal agencies, on
a daily, sometimes hourly basis. As outlandish as this may seem,
Counterr Group is prepared to provide irrefutable evidence in camera to the Court.
Furthermore, it was an absolute unethical and complete “fishing
expedition” designed to harass Idema and Counterr Group and put
pressure on them to cooperate with the FBI and release the identities
of their sources and was overly broad and oppressive.
I should
mention that this was all (apparently) written by Bumback and filed on
April 14, 2004. He goes on for about 30 more pages, most of them copies
of other stuff, but does manage to squeeze in his opinion that AUSA
Kocher is on a “destructive vendetta”. Insulting a federal prosecutor
is hardly the way to impress a judge.

signed the final draft of this document but I don’t know when -
certainly no later than April 14, 2004 which helps narrow down the
timeframe of when exactly he left the United States for Afghanistan via

The legal
citations are impressive but the fluency of the language of the writ is
a little off the mark. I don’t think a very competent lawyer has
written this. It has more the flavor of a jailhouse petition, which
sometimes can be very relevant but often contain less impressive
writing skills.

We know
from excellent reporting by Greg Barnes that Bumback sits in the Bat
Cave and works on all of Idema’s lawsuits. I downloaded the entire list
of cases Idema is involved in and it is quite lengthy.

The rest
of Bumback’s petition concerns a law which says jurisdiction must be
within 100 miles of the affected parties. Bumback is arguing that his
bank records are more than 100 miles away from AUSA Kocher’s office and
therefore does Kocher’s office does not have jurisdiction.

What I
wanted to focus on however was that here we can see Idema repeating the
same claims he made in July: that the FBI and other governmental
agencies knew what he was doing in Afghanistan.

pretty significant so let’s look at it again. Idema has been saying for
at least four months that he was in regular contact with the government
about his activities. Notice Idema said, “on a daily, sometimes hourly

When I
worked with law enforcement, we used to have an “operating theory” that
if someone sticks to a strange story for a very long period of time,
without changing details, that person might be telling the truth as
improbable as it might sound. I have indeed seen some strange stories
be later confirmed.

Do I know
that Idema was dialing up the Pentagon on a frequent basis? Do I know
whom he spoke with and what they discussed? No, of course not. But
Tiffany, Idema’s lawyer, said almost immediately after his (Idema’s)
arrest that tapes and other evidence exist of this high-level
communication between the Super Patriots and whoever. In other words,
Tiffany wasn’t saying that based on the stuff the FBI seized at the
Honeycomb Hideout, he was talking about something that Bumback probably
has stashed inside the Bat Cave.

meanwhile has been hollering about how the FBI took tapes proving
contact between the Super Patriots and the DOD, CIA and the FBI
themselves. And very dutifully, in every article from the American
press, there is always a paragraph reminding the reader that the
American government knew absolutely nothing about this guy and no way
on earth did they ever hire him or work with him.

smells awfully rotten in Denmark…. err, Kabul. And it’s not the smell
of roasting Dyncorp offices. It’s an open secret that Karzai, who used
to employ ethnic Tajik bodyguards, now spends millions of dollars on
Dyncorp to protect him. I’m not busting on the guys making a dollar, I
just wonder where those millions are actually coming from (my own
pocket I believe) to pay their salaries.

Dyncorp in Afghanistan follows the same path as attacking Vinnell in
Saudi Arabia and Blackwater in Iraq. It’s far more coordinated than
just a few guys firing off a “lucky” mortar round. Before you can get
to the king (Karzai/Bremer/Abdullah) you have to get through his Royal
Guard (Vinnell/Dyncorp/Titan/EO/Steel Corp/etc). Or through
his “Praetorian Guard” to be technically more accurate.

Which all
goes to show you just how Wild West the country of Afghanistan still
is. The anti-Dyncorp bomb went off in Kabul. Mortar fire still rains
down in Kabul on a regular basis. Things are not stable, and a man
looking to get a risky job done might just hire a Buckaroo Banzai
outfit like the Super Patriots.

By the
way, you know the real name of Idema’s group is “Task Force Saber 7″.
The term “Super Patriots” was made up by me before I knew their secret
decoder ring real
name. I just have this image of little Keith snuggling down in his bed
at home under the American flag sheets, dressed in his warm American
flag jammies. As he turns off the light and adjusts his sunglasses for
sleep, he smiles to himself and dreams of bagging Osama bin Laden and
appearing on the Tonight Show and later getting a movie made based on
his life starring Rulon Gardner as “Captain Jack”.

Which I
note, by the way, is not such a bad fantasy. I can think of a lot
worse. I have personally met a lot of people who have done a lot worse.
I just think the American press is getting confused about Idema and
judging him by American standards. This man was operating in
Afghanistan as an independent and those are the standards you have to
judge him on.

question however becomes a whole lot more grave if the American
government was part of this. There’s a whole basketful of different
standards for them, and rule #1 is they should not lie about the
physical health of their own citizens abroad. Shame on you!

fantasy is very different than anything that would appeal to me. I’ve
never toted a gun in anger in my life. But when the FBI opens the door
and says, “hey you, want to make 25 million bucks?”, that just might
tempt a guy who cannot get a job (or else the gov’t will garnish his
wages), who loves guns, sunglasses and Soldier of Fortune and has a
few buddies and a dad with some starter cash.

Idema took the FBI up on its offer and hired a porter, a gardener, a
cook and an interpreter and off they went. Oh yeah, plus a personal
cameraman to document his team of sherpas as they hunted the wily

move on to an article that appeared in the Russian press (in the United
States), NRS, which is based on an earlier New York Sun piece as well
as some information from Agence France Press. My Russian skills aren’t
as good as they could be, but we’re lucky that reader kitzelpie translated this one for us. Thanks!

Trial of “New York Rambo” in Kabul
The last time that Tom Croce, a former employee of New York civil
police organizations, saw Jonathan Keith Idema was on Sept. 11 last
year during the ceremony commemorating the victims of the 9/11
terrorist acts. Croce saw Idema at the edge of the pit, where he was
sobbing without restraint as he read the list of the victims’ names.
Idema, who was born in Poughkeepsie, north of Manhattan, is now on
trial in Afghanistan, where he is charged with abducting and torturing
Afghan citizens whom he had under surveillance in connection with
terrorism. On trial along with him are Brent Bennet and Edward
The Afghan and American authorities see 48-year-old Idema the same way
– as a dangerous adventurer, a former Green Beret with a criminal past,
who has taken it upon himself to meat out justice. In Afghanistan, he
represented himself as an agent of the American special forces, charged
with apprehending Bin Laden and his aides.
Testifying in the Afghan trial, Ghulam Sakhi said that Idema beat him,
doused him with boiling water and held him under water in order to get
the information he needed.
On the first day of the trial Idem insisted that he is a
terrorist-hunter hired by US authorities, and that several attacks
against high-ranking members of the country’s new government had been
averted with his assistance to the American special forces in
”The American authorities knew absolutely everything about our activities,” the
said. “And they supported them entirely”
The Coalition forces in Afghanistan insist that they had no kind of contact with
Idema, known in Afghanistan by the nickname Jack, professed to have
maintained direct contact with the office of Defense Security Donald
Rumsfeld and that he can present evidence of doing so in the form of
electronic mail, fax and telephone records.
So the French press agency is reports, adding that, according to Idema,
he maintained contact with Rumsfeld’s office through high-ranging
Pentagon employee Kevin Anderson ..
Idema was arrested on 5 July by the Afghan authorities at his personal
jail, where he held those he’d apprehended. The arrest apparently was
made at the behest of the American authorities.
The aforementioned Tom Croce, who had worked as an investigator for the
NYC department of prisons, says that he has known Idema for 18 years.
He is inclined to believe Idema’s testimony and poses the question: “He
has worked in Afghanistan from one and a half to two years. They
couldn’t have not known what he was up to. So why did they decide to
arrest him just now?”
Croce met Idema in 1986 at a training camp in Brooklyn’s Red Hook,
where both underwent training for participation in anti-terrorist
Idema created his Counterr Group Academy company, which then was hired
by a Washington firm providing security for the Watergate government
complex. The contractors were to train the complex staff in the use of
firearms. According to Croce, Idema trained a small group of people,
which included the young Ronnie Reagan.
Young Reagan, who was supposed to write an article about the camp for
Playbay, somehow missed his target, after which Kroci made him do 20
push-ups. Caraballo, who is representing himself as a journalist, also
worked in Idema’s camp.
Croce recalls that Jonathan impressed him as an instructor capable of inspiring
his students to do something significant.
At the end of the 80’s he closed up his camp and headed to North
Carolina, where he engaged in the sale of non-weapon military equipment
and then included in his business’s inventory everything one needs for
the increasing popularity of the game of “Paintball” – where pneumatic
pistols shoot balls filled with paint.
In 1992 or 1993, according to Croce, Idema set out for Lithuania where
he trained the local police. He supposedly uncovered a conspiracy for
contraband nuclear weaponry in the Baltic Republic. Rumor has it that
he even sued DreamWorks film company for stealing his personal history
and using it for the film “Peacemaker,” in which George Cloony played
the leading role. The court threw out the suit and fined Idema up to
Croce says that for a short time he was Jonathan’s neighbor in North
Carolina, where his friend was found criminally responsible for
fraudulently obtaining his clients’ credit. As Newsweek has reported,
Idema was found guilty and sentenced to three years imprisonment.
For several years before the 9/11 tragedy, Idema went to the aid of
Colonel George Marecek, a former Green Beret who was accused of killing
his wife. Idema took upon himself a personal investigation of the
circumstances of the killing, but in 2000 the judge pronounced Marecek
Shortly after 9/11 Idema flew off to Afganistan, where he allegedly
helped the Northern Alliance and the Americans in operations against
the Taliban. In Kabul, everyone soon learned of him. He often offered
protection and transportation to journalists and sold them videos made
in al-Qaida training camps. His story was described in the best-seller
“Task Force dagger: The Hunt for Bin Laden”. Idema, his chest bare, was
photographed for the book’s cover.
Croce says that Jonathan is a cheerful man who loves to tell stories of
his adventures, albeit tongue-in-cheek. Croce was alarmed seeing him
crying at last year’s memorial.
”It got so awkward for me that I wanted to look away,” he says. Croce
insists that Idema is a real patriot, and that this feeling was
nurtured in him when he was in the Green Berets, in which he served
during the late 70’s. According to Newsweek magazine, he served in the
10th Army Group of the Special Forces as a radio operator at the rear
“Keith is one of the most patriotic and God-fearing people I know,”
Croce declares. But these qualities do not fully explain Idema’s
character. There are others which could have got him into his current
”Keith can be a handful,” Croce reports. “He likes to do everything himself.
That is why the military declined his services.”
Idema, at 5 foot 8 inches, appeared in court in a military-style shirt
and sunglasses. He had grown a beard, in order to avoid drawing
attention to himself on the streets of Kabul.
Croce reports that he spoke on the phone not long ago with Jonathan
Keith Idema’s wife, who lives in North Carolina. She told him that the
Afghan police broke Keith’s rib and that she fears for his life.
The trial is in recess for now, as Judge Abdul Angela Baset Bakhtiari
has given Idema and his accomplices 20 days to prepare their defense.
“I would not want to see him rotting in an Afghan prison,” Croce concludes. “He’s
a real patriot, not some kind of criminal.”
A lot of
what Croce and this article reported on is just blather.  I mostly
included that because it ties Croce in with the rest of this gang, as
well as putting Caraballo in Idema’s camp several years ago.

A lot of Caraballo’s friends and supporters write to me and tell me he
is a good guy. I’m not disputing that, I’m just pointing out that
Caraballo has known Idema for years and has a flair for the kind of
life Idema lives (or brags about living). Hey, I know it’s fun for guys
to go out in the woods and shoot off a bunch of big guns.

Ok, now onto a correction. It’s a big one and an important one.

This is the original Super Patriots photo.
I have been erroneously referring to man #5 in that photograph as Vivek
Katju. I am wrong and I now know for certain he is Masood Khalili.

Let me
explain. A few weeks ago, a little birdie whispered in my ear and told
me man #5 was the Afghan ambassador from India. Or at least that’s what
I thought the birdie said. It turns out he is the Afghan ambassador to India. Quite a big difference!

I made a
common error that is fatal in policework. Never assume you know
something you don’t. I looked high and low for a photograph of Katju
and couldn’t find one, so I just gave in and assumed
I had the right guy. Never do that! It wasn’t long before I treated my
assumption as a fact. Luckily, another little birdie told me about my

Who is
Masood Khalili? To begin with, he’s yet another ethnic Tajik, the same
as Yunus “George Clooney” Qanuni and his running mate, Mohammed Qahim
“Lean Mean Warlord Machine” Fahim. While they both share important posts in Karzai’s
government, mostly that was due to respect for their soldiers and
military capabilities rather than a shared political platform. Fahim
had the troops and Qanuni had the police and security men.

Time for a super quick micro history of Afghanistan! There will be no questions

1992 – Soviets pull out of Afghanistan, CIA quits funding the mujis.

1992-1996 – a more or less “elected” government runs the show, headed by Rabbani.
1996 – Talibanis come screaming into Kabul, chopping necks left and
right, supported by Pakistan (and to a lesser extent, Saudi Arabia).
2001 – 9/11 and then invasion, shortly thereafter leading to Northern Alliance
kicking the Talibs out of power.

When the
Talibanis began their long running campaign of Burqas n’ Beards in 1996,
the future members of the Northern Alliance were really the Northern
Warlords, who fought each other all the time. Eventually they realized
they’d never get a good slice of Afghanistan with the Talibs in power,
so they “united” and picked a leader.  That leader was the “Lion
of Panjshir”, Ahmad Shah “La La” Massood. He had been enormously crafty
at fighting the Soviets and was chosen to lead the fight to oust the
Long Beards.

Shah Masood didn’t make it to see the last chapter of his country’s
occupation. Errr… occupation by Pakistani-funded Long Beards. Anyway,
someone in Al-Qaeda didn’t like Masood sniffing up their caboose and
used a Trojan Horse trick to blow Masood’s head off right before

About the
only person who survived that blast was our man Masood “Touchy Feely”
Khalili, although he had to squeak around in a wheelchair for a few
months. T. Feely was a good friend of Masood’s and later supported
Masood’s family, including his only surviving son. I know many people
who have met or known Mr. Khalili and they all tell me what a generous,
open hearted guy he is. Since I’ve never met the guy before, I’m
willing to take your word on it. The photo essay (see here) is quite touching.

Khalili’s appearance in the Super Patriot picture has a couple of
serious implications. To begin with, one of the charges against the
Super Patriots is illegally entering the country.
We know that Idema and his gang flew to India first and then connected
to Kabul, Afghanistan. According to Idema, he was met there by Khalili
and the Kabul airport’s director. Idema was repeatedly questioned in
court about how he entered Afghanistan and refused to answer. Why? If
someone official let him in, shouldn’t he say so? Or is he trying to
protect someone?

Did Khalili let him in or authorize him to come in? I don’t know. I tracked down
the airport director’s name, Haji Temour, but I don’t know anything else about him.

It was
while researching the airport director’s name that I came across an
interesting fact. The civilian Kabul airport is not actually
administered by the Afghan “government” but by ISAF. Those are the initial for the task force that NATO soldiers are operating
under whilst in Afghanistan.

When Idema arrived in Kabul, the airport was actually under the control of the
German Air Force. I wanted to make sure about this fact so I kept searching until I found this
nice lady’s personal webpage
where she documents her humanitarian visit to Afghanistan. Notice that
she landed in Kabul in March (2004), whereupon she photographed the German troops guarding the airport (look at the flag).

now you’re a Super Patriot. You get off the airport in Kabul, meet with
your friend Khalili and are joined by the airport’s director. You
yourself are wearing Army surplus gear tailored to make you look like
an ex-Special Forces soldier who is “in country” to make some security
money or execute a “black” operation (or whatever the lingo is).

Together you head to the airport gate, which is guarded by well-meaning
German troops. The airport director had to be familiar to these guys.
Together with an Afghan VIP, wouldn’t you think those Germans might
wave them through without the normal procedure? I don’t know here, I’m
just guessing.

way, Idema had to go through ISAF to get out of Kabul Airport and he
later called upon ISAF three times to help him sweep for explosives
(which by the way were
found). We know that the ISAF soldiers were neither Canadian nor
American. Now I’m starting to think those ISAF troops might have been
Germans or under the command of Germans.

Perhaps Idema’s group isn’t the only one “escorted through” the gates
without all the hassle of normal paperwork and stamps. Maybe that’s why
the Germans thought he was legitimate, because he had entered the
country accompanied by two Afghan big cheeses.

Good old Victoria Burnett
of the Financial Times (a British paper) has seen the original
photograph of the Super Patriots (link goes to Google cache). This
confirms yet again that it is now certain that Khalili is man #5 in the

possibility also remains that perhaps Khalili was there to greet the
Super Patriots at the behest of someone else: perhaps an Afghan
official or perhaps an American. I have been trying to track down the
real identity of man #1 from the photo and I have heard rumors he might
be a Company man. I’m still not sure where he fits into all of this,
but I will keep searching until I find out. If you want to tell me who
he is, I can respect your confidentiality (click here).

The Super Patriots are being charged with illegally entering the country. The
truth is that someone
let Idema into the country via Kabul airport, bypassing the normal
procedures and rules or else there wouldn’t be anything to charge him
with. The question is, “who?”. The two choices are the American
government or the Afghan government, both of whom strenuously deny ever
hiring or authorizing Idema and his group. That my friends is quite a

I will keep digging into this story but will cut off part 16 here. Thank you
for your patronage and stay tuned for more!


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