CBGB oh my fucking unbelievable God, I’m in an Afghanistan prison. Eddy Caraballo, a Bronx-born, Emmy-winning filmmaker who famously documented the ’80s punk scene on the Lower East Side, just got an eight-year bid from an Afghan judge for allegedly participating in torture. He was in Afghanistan filming mercenary Jonathan “Jack” Idema, a former Poughkeepsie felon who was a loose-cannon, Green Beret mercenary supposedly on the hunt for Osama bin Laden.
Check out this Los Angeles Times story on the trial and sentencing. It points to a lot that’s fishy, including complicity by U.S. officials—none of whom testified, incidentally, on behalf of Idema, Caraballo, and others who were convicted. Authorities had busted them in July, discovering tortured Afghans with them. (Rumsfeld probably decided that it wouldn’t be such a good idea to have U.S. officials stand up for Americans accused of torturing Arabs.) The story notes:
The defense presented several videotapes shot by Caraballo, including one showing Idema meeting a man. The man, who Idema said was an American Army captain coordinating counter-terrorism activities in Kabul, said Idema’s group was “rolling up AQ [Al Qaeda] like it’s nobody’s business.”
The defendants presented video footage showing them being greeted at Kabul airport by senior Afghan government officials, including the city’s security commander, the airport manager, and an aide to the former king, Mohammad Zaher Shah.
As for Idema, he’s a big-talking tough guy who brags about killing and claims that he was “chief tactics and firearms instructor” for Ron Reagan Jr. in 1984. See Richard S. Ehrlich‘s extensive Asia Times interview, “Idema: Trigger-Happy and Troublesome.”
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on September 16, 2004