Jonathan Idema, a fighter
His name was Jonathan Keith "Jack" Idema, and he believed in what he was doing. Others thought differently:
"Idema was a former soldier who reinvented himself repeatedly as he ran cons from Fayetteville to Uzbekistan. At various times he claimed to be a businessman, author, "superpatriot" terrorist hunter, drug and gun smuggler, bodyguard, security consultant, CIA paramilitary operator, Pentagon-backed special operator and, finally, charter boat captain."
He also set up his own private prison in Afghanistan, where he tortured his prisoners.
Read an overview of his life: Fayetteville con man dies in Mexico, News Observer>>
A story in New York Magazine explains how he was able to manipulate the media:
"How does a freelance torturer claiming false military credentials turn up in American living rooms as an expert on the war on terror? The short answer is that, like other con men, Keith Idema made a very powerful impression. Even in that 2002 broadcast, Rather allows, in his voice-over, that Idema is "controversial" but goes on to claim that his most troubling qualityhis "murky past"is what "makes him perfectly at home in Afghanistan’s freewheeling Wild West atmosphere." The anchor might also have added that Idema has made himself at home in all sorts of places: on military bases, at the head of a fictional company, in Lithuanian police-training camps, in dealings with U.S. embassies, andas Idema now allegeswith American military officialdom. And at every stop along the way, Keith Idema increased his mastery of the fine art of press manipulation."
Read more: Operation Desert Fraud. How Keith Idema marketed his imaginary Afghan war. New York Magazine>>
Mr. Idema appeared on MSNBC news promoting the book "The Hunt for Bin Laden". He worked on the book with Robin Moore, a well-known author who wrote "The Green Berets". Mr. Moore later disavowed the book when it turned out that much of Mr. Idema’s material was fabricated.
Jack Idema: One Man Army
Mr. Idema died of AIDS at his home in Mexico in January 2012. He was 55.
An obituary: Jonathan Idema, Con Man and Afghan Bounty Hunter, Dies at 55. The New York Times>>