There’s a reason the History Channel has produced hundreds of documentaries about Hitler but only a few about Dwight D. Eisenhower. Bad guys (and gals) are eternally fascinating. Behind the Bastards dives in past the Cliffs Notes of the worst humans in history and exposes the bizarre realities of their lives. Listeners will learn about the young adult novels that helped Hitler form his monstrous ideology, the founder of Blackwater’s insane quest to build his own Air Force, the bizarre lives of the sons and daughters of dictators and Saddam Hussein’s side career as a trashy romance novelist.
Tue, 19 May 2020 10:00
Robert is joined by Danl Goodman to discuss Jack Idema, the greatest conman of The Afghan War.
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Hello, I'm Erica Kelly from the podcast Southern Fried True crime, and if you want to go from podcast fan to podcast host, do what I did and check out spreaker from iheart. I was working in accounting and hating it. Then after just 18 months of podcasting with Spreaker, I was able to quit my day job. Follow your podcasting dreams, let's break or handle the hosting, creation, distribution, and monetization of your podcast. Go to spreaker.com. That's spreaker.com. Hey there, it's Ebony Monet, your co-host for the San Diego Zoo's Amazing Wildlife podcast. In this special episode, we're speaking with Doctor Jane Goodall about the fascinating journey that led to her social discoveries on chimpanzees. So four whole months, the chimps ran away from me. I mean, they take one look at this peculiar white ape and disappear into the vegetation. Bing wildlife on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you get your podcasts. In the 1980s and 90s, a psychopath terrorized the country of Belgium. A serial killer and kidnapper was abducting children in the bright light of day. From Tenderfoot TV and iHeartRadio, this is La Monstra, a story of abomination and conspiracy. The story about the man who simply become known as. Lamaster. Listen for free on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. Robert Evans podcast. I don't have any time for an introduction. I have had a thought, a critical thought that I think must be analyzed before this episode, and it relates to to Africa by Toto. As in the opening strains of the song, the singer notes that it's going to take a lot to get whoever he's singing the song about away from him, and that there's nothing that 100 men or more could do. But with social isolation in place, I think we have to assume that whoever is singing the song Africa by Toto, like whatever character that is, is in fact isolated from the person that they said they could never be separated from. Which leads the question, how many men? More than 100? Is the COVID-19 epidemic powerful, then that that this is this is critical. To analyze, nothing else matters. We're canceling the rest of the episode until we figure this out. Sophie, it's more than 100 men, clearly. Yeah, yeah, we're not canceling the episode. This is an episode with DJ Daniel. I'm not cancelling that joy. I'm gonna keep running the numbers on this, but while I do that, Dan, you're a fan of a lot of things, right? You you're you're big into fandoms, all sorts of stuff that you're a fan of. Are you a famous? Are you a fan, Dan? Of the war in Afghanistan? Are you in Afghanistan? Get it. Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God. That was so good. I'm so proud. OK, thank you. I take it back. Nice job. OK, well, I mean, I'm. I'm a fan of no wars, but. You know, have a feeling by the end of this I will be even less a fan of this one. Well. The war in Afghanistan is a real I I think people like it's been going on for so long that now we all just think about it as this, like, endless, slightly draining and expensive but mostly forgotten disaster that we just can't seem to escape from. And I think we've forgotten what a ******* crazy time the beginning of the war in Afghanistan was like it was. It was one of the dumbest times and places that that has ever collided together as a result. Of what I what I can only call army grifters like this was a huge part of the early warning, like it still is but now, like the grifting is done by giant corporations. But in the early days, when, like, U.S. troops were first into the country, there were a ton of just random ******** who would roll into Afghanistan with whatever weapons they could manage to smuggle across international borders and just try to do some ****. And it it we don't we don't talk about them anymore. But it's one of the funniest things that ever happened. And I I want to tell you about a couple of these guys. Before we get to the main subject of our episode, so please yeah, the first one of these beautiful ******** I want to talk about was Gary Brooks Faulkner. Now Brooks was a or Gary I should say was a Greeley, Co native who traveled by boat and a series of overland routes to try to make his way into Afghanistan and single handedly capture Osama bin Laden. Now he had to travel on a boat and via smuggling himself across borders because he was trying to get into Afghanistan with a pistol and knife. Night vision goggles, Christian evangelical literature, and a samurai sword that he all brought from what? That that's his biz. Bin Laden Kit was a pistol and knife. Night vision goggles. Like, OK, so pistol, yeah. You're going to want you a gun of some sort, right? And knife. Practical. You're in the mountains. You always going to want a knife. Night vision goggles. Sure. Christian evangelical literature. OK, I doesn't seem practical, but go off. And then Samurai sword, which really, I think keesey window. What Gary imagined he'd be doing. He just wanted that slung over his shoulder, striding across the back. So that when, you know, the sun was beating down on him and you just saw the silhouette of a weirdo cosplayer coming into this town in Afghanistan, he would be, yeah, have that sort in the silhouette, off to the side. Yeah. You know, he imagined like getting into a duel with a couple of Taliban guys. And yeah, he had such dreams. Gary did. But unfortunately, Gary never quite made it to Tora Bora, to samurai fight the Taliban. Instead, he was arrested almost immediately in Pakistan. Because ohh yeah, so. The good news is that obviously once the media heard that some guy with a samurai sword had been arrested in Afghanistan after leaving ******* Greeley, Co to go cat kidnap the world's greatest terrorist, it was it. It made the news. So he was sent back home by Pakistan and he got kind of famous and he did appearances on the view and the Late Show with David Letterman. Yeah. He was described as the Rocky Mountain Rambo, even though he saw no action of any kind and was in fact, on dialysis the entire time. So, Oh my gosh, I feel comfortable saying if the police in Pakistan hadn't arrested him, he would have almost certainly died even without the Taliban's help. And with and with not a word to the world about his presence or actions just disappearing off of this earth. Yeah, his kidneys would have just given out as he was. Trying to hike up the ******* Khyber pass with a samurai *** **** Cortana like. Ohh man. So you love to hear about it, but he obviously, like, all that matters is that he got famous for trying to take on bin Laden with a samurai sword in a time when America was maybe the least rational we've ever been. So everyone loved ******* Gary Faulkner. They were fans. OK, OK, yeah. And the time of Willenium, we were OK with the guy with a samurai sword going into kick bin Laden ***. That was yeah. Yeah. Now during the media tour he did after his arrest. Wochner revealed that he was an ex-con who'd spent 12 years in jail on a number of larceny and burglary charges, and he kind of brilliantly pivoted off of this to claim that as a skilled thief, he had precisely the kind of talent necessary to track down a terrorist mastermind, you know? That is the way you sell that **** to Hollywood. I mean, I most certainly, especially in all these interviews you're doing. It's just like there I was, but Oh my gosh, the only thing that's missing is a wife who wouldn't give him custody. Like an ex-wife who wouldn't like you. You add that in and you've got ******* 90 minutes solid. I love that. Oh my God. ******* early 2000s. Nicolas Cage would have been the right dude to play this character, definitely. So hand flick somewhere in there. It's like dismissing somebody just yeah, yeah, Faulkner's a fun one, even told so. During his interview with Letterman, Gary Faulkner told that he didn't need to worry about whatever bodyguards Osama bin Laden had. Because, quote, I'm a thief, which is bulletproof logic. Yeah, for sure. OK, now, the unfortunate coded of the story of Gary Faulkner is that as a felon he was not able to legally possess a firearm, which became a problem for him when he was arrested for shooting a man in self-defense back home in Colorado. So that. Things didn't work out great in the end for Gary Faulkner. Ohboy, now another beautiful Afghan war grifter, was the Syrian born Matt Meason, a naturalized U.S. citizen who also attempted to kill Osama bin Laden. In 2005, he got on a plane from Detroit to Syria. Apparently they're just used to be a direct like Detroit to Damascus route, the two Big D's, and he was stopped by authorities when they realized he was traveling with $13,000 in cash, a Taser, bullets, pepper spray. Body armor and three Geiger counters 3. The bullets. Because he's like, he's like, I'm going to be able to find with all this cash. I'll be able to buy a gun when I hit Syria. But I better bring my own ammo. Yeah. And and and I better bring three Geiger counters. Now he had a reason for that. I mean, OK, fair. Oh my gosh. Yeah, he's he claimed that he was his cover was that he was a private investigator studying the illegal uranium trade and he was going to use the Geiger counters to help him lure in a legal uranium buyers or something like that. It never really made much sense. This, this is, this is, this is truly, this is. I mean, you know, all these guys are heroes. Yeah, Speaking of Heroes, former British Special Air Service soldier Collin Berry was the smartest of all these grifters, except for the guy we're about to talk about. He traveled to Afghanistan under the cover of working on housing projects for an engineering firm, and this seems to have been as a way to hide his activities, trying to provide Intel for MI Six, who he claims approached him for aid and may in fact have done so. In any case, Barry's time is a secret agent in Afghanistan. Came to an end when he shot 2 random Afghan citizens to death in a hotel bar in Kabul. He was jailed for murder. Now, that little bit about the story where it's like this guy with no evidence claims he was working for MI 6 and maybe he was. All of these guys make claims to having worked for like MI 6 or the CIA or the Defense Department or something like that. And almost all of them actually did to some extent. Because here's here's the thing. At the start of the war in Afghanistan, so number one, by the time like we invaded in Afghanistan, the State Department had about $340 million in bounties out for the top 30 terrorism suspects worldwide. So there were 10s of millions of dollars out for dudes who could capture Al Qaida ************* or Taliban ************* right? Sure, 10s of millions of these bounties were paid off, so there was that kind of money going out. But there was also the militaries of multiple nations were active in Afghanistan and none of them knew a *** **** thing about Afghanistan. So anyone who could come in and make a good pitch about how they could gather useful Intel or do something else that was necessary had a real good chance of making 10s of millions of dollars. Because again the like the the coalition was just ******** cash into the open mouths of anyone who could credibly claim to be fighting terrorism. And no one knew anything like it was even like it was a Wild West at that point, right, in terms of the the counter terrorism industry. So you could just roll in the country and if you looked right and talked right. You could suddenly have ******* CIA dollars, like, flowing down your ******* mouth. It was it was a fun time. Sounds like. Sounds like a fun time. Yeah, so for for a few years, Afghanistan was a grifter paradise, and no one exploited it more entertainingly than Jack edema. Jonathan Keith Edema was born in 1956 in Poughkeepsie, NY his parents were upper middle class and doting, and Jonathan was their only son. His father was a former marine and a veteran of the Second World War. Jonathan grew up beloved and worshipped and surrounded by the sort of comfort and care that few children are fortunate enough to enjoy. When he was 12 years old, he watched the John Wayne Classic, the Green Berets. Have you seen that movie, Daniel? I actually have not seen the green Berets. Sidenote, side note, can I put in a request for the fans? Anybody wants to remix the gangsters paradise by Coolio and do grifters paradise? Please, please. There we go on Twitter. Yeah, yeah, make it happen. Also, shout out the city of Poughkeepsie. I'm familiar. I've heard of Poughkeepsie, but I don't. Daniel. Familiar with OK, Daniel, you missed him yesterday. Called Beyoncé Beyoncé I the highlight of my day yesterday. Honestly, I'm always a fan. When the fans came after you for agape as well, that was a really funny. I loved that. I mean, it's just so great. I immediately text Jamie Loftus in the middle of recording and said guess what, guess what, dentastix. And we've been laughing about it for two days. It's wonderful. I am so angry right now. Mostly. Mostly I am angry at the way the state of New York names towns, that that is completely fair. Yeah, I it's wrong. And I I don't think we should lean into that anymore. So agreed, agreed. You're on, you're on blast. New York. More, more, more Main mainland name. So the movie The Green Berets was kind of the first movie about special forces. Like, now there's like a ******* ton of those movies. It's like in every action movie, heroes got to have some sort of special forces background. But like, this was the first time, like, special forces were kind of new in Vietnam. Like the idea that you would have these dudes and the green Berets was a movie about them, and it was a very a big hit. And it became John Adina Adima's very favorite movie as a little boy. And seeing this film convinced him to give up his earlier dreams of being a veterinarian and instead join the military and become a green beret himself. He enlisted as soon as he was able to do so in 1975, but tragically he was too late to fight and maybe die in Vietnam, but he did well enough on his entrance. Ask that he qualified for the special forces. He was helped in this by the fact that the post Vietnam Special Forces had endured a serious manpower shortage since new recruits had been scared off from joining. For some inexplicable reason, Jonathan was accepted even though he had bad eyesight. He did a three-year active duty term as a radio operator and a weapons specialist and then spent some time in the reserves reaching the rank of staff Sergeant before being discharged in 1984. One of the difficulties here is that even among credible sources descriptions of Jack Adima's. I'm in the military very widely. This paragraph from a Rolling Stone article on the man is probably as close to accurate as you're going to get in a story about this con man's military career. Though Adima's military record reflects qualification as a pistol expert, and badge is awarded for scuba and parachute training, there are no indications that he ever heard a shot fired in anger while he was in the military. Moreover, a 1994 N Carolina probation report quotes a military evaluator describing edema as the most unmotivated, unprofessional, immature, enlisted man I have ever known. And a letter of reprimand cited Edemas gross immaturity, characterized by irrationality and a tendency towards violence. The reprimand came after edema attempted to attack a senior commanding officer. So Jack edema is in the special forces, but you would not call him like, he's not, he's not good at it. I mean, if he's attacking his officer, you can't. Come on, man. There were very few rules right after Vietnam. There were like, nobody wanted to be in the military. It was a real **** show. Well, there you go. Now, while he was still in the reserves, Jonathan, which is the name he still went by at the time, spent several Amos year, aimless years wandering around the small town in New York he lived in. Who pronounces the name of their town wrong? Because they're jerks, you know, just kind of trying to figure out what to do with his life. See, all John had ever wanted to do was fight in a foreign war, but the accursed years of relative peace after Vietnam made that almost an impossible impossibility. Eventually Jonathan settled on a way to still do cool looking army type stuff without actually serving in the military. He founded a counterterrorism training school in the town of Red Hook now. John had no real qualifications to do this, other than the fact that he'd been very bad at being in the special forces. The exact extent of his work is unclear, but journalists eventually confirmed that he trained guards to protect U.S. government facilities in Haiti and did some amount of like vaguely described work for the Thai military. The president's son, Ron Reagan junior, used his facilities at some point, and I we don't really have a clear idea as to why. And training people in vague counterterrorism techniques was not John's only activity during this. He was also breaking the law constantly. In 1982, he was arrested for possession of stolen property. In 1986, he was charged with resisting arrest and assault with attempt to physically harm. He received a 1988 arrest for disorderly conduct and a 1990 arrest for assault involving discharging a firearm. He was never convicted for any of these crimes, and we don't really know what happened, but you couldn't stop this dude from getting arrested. So you kind of go off, go off, just, you know, live your truth, get arrested. And this is clearly going to end in some fantastical manner. So every move is just like I'm supporting it all the way up. And I mean it. It ends in Mexico, which I think we all know in our hearts, but great. I can't say if if Jonathan was good or not. It actually training people in counterterrorism, but he was terrible at running such a business legally. His camp generated numerous noise complaints and was eventually shut down over a zoning violation. Adima moved next to Fayetteville, NC, location he picked for its proximity to Special Forces headquarters near Fort Bragg now rather than selling terrorism. Training this time, he instead set up a store dedicated to selling non lethal military equipment and a side business running a series of special operations trade shows. They proved good at getting different manufacturers on board and filling big rooms with fancy military equipment and people who wanted to look at it. Now, some of these people were actually special forces veterans or members of the Defense Department, but most of the people who show up to these trade shows were soldier of Fortune readers. They're guys who just wanted to, like, look at guns and stuff. Yeah, there's like, yeah. So great episode. Thank you. Thank you. And Great magazine on fully unproblematic magazine. Yeah. So let me tell you something. When I had to battle that seal underwater, I used my knife fighting techniques that I learned in the underwater knife fighting technique section of Soldier of Fortune. That's the OK after me. And I needed to defend myself for the listeners. I'm absolutely kidding. I have never harmed no single ill in my life when I went on this. Daniel, you. We don't need to lie. Seals are a threat, and the only way to deal with them is underwater knife fighting. I am. I focus always on practical prepping. And so, like, you want to have some extra food, you want to know how to deal with, like, a bleeding wound, how to, like, staunch blood flow, and you need to know how to beat a seal in a knife fight. Those are. Those are. Basic practical steps we can all take. Love it. So Speaking of practical steps, so the reality of the situation is that John Adima used his connections that he built in his counterterrorism training school to like, fill up convention rooms with cool military gear and people would pay to go gawk at it. And you know, it was, it was a decent business. That's the reality of what happened. Now, John Adima would go on, however, to speak about this. Somewhat differently, he would claim in the future that after leaving the army he worked as a U.S. military adviser in El Salvador and Honduras. There's no evidence for this. He claimed he worked as part of a special Mission Mission unit and refused to ever elaborate as to what that job entailed. No records support any of this. No record support that he did anything but failed to run a training center and then lead a bunch of nerds through a ******* Convention Center. And when confronted with the fact that there was no evidence of him doing all this, bad. Special OPS stuff. He would tell journalists that the records of his actual military service were secret records, which he described as the ones that they don't want to give anyone. Which is really, really handy. So. The trade shows that John ran generated enough interest from legitimate experts that edema eventually met up with a subcontractor who was able to get him a real job training real cops in the former Soviet Republic of Lithuania, who we all knew know is like the king of doing a good background check on a guy. That's what that's what I hear. 1991 Lithuania. Yeah. What? You know what I'll say here? I hear the trade shows are great places. To get. Products. I can't. I can't tell what you're possibly trying to lead me into here. Daniel. Daniel also have possibly services if one of those services is enlisting in weird armies and potential terrorist organizations. I don't know what either of you were trying to do, but on an unrelated note, it is time for an ad plug. 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I've never seen less enthusiasm for a great idea in my life. We're back. And we're on the Internet, and now we're going to talk about ************* Jack Adima some more. So he manages to, like, kind of leverage his, his, his various experiences into a job training cops in the former Soviet Republic of Lithuania. So he rolls there in 1991, right after the USSR ends. And the reality seems to be that he spent a brief period of time teaching cops in a very poor nation dealing with the collapse of its. Right, previous government. The reality for John Adima, though, is that he stumbled immediately upon a multimillion dollar black market and backpack nuclear weapons. These devices, known as Special Atomic Demolitions Munitions, did exist in government stockpiles, and there were constant rumors after the end of the Cold War that a number of them had escaped the fall of the USSR. But there's no evidence anywhere that such a device wound up on any nation's black market. The general incompetence of authorities worldwide, and the fact that no one ever no terrorist group ever got such a weapon as evidence that these were nothing more than rumors. But John Adima knew that the story of Russian suitcase nukes was a good one. So he started reaching out to senior Pentagon officials while he was still in Lithuania and telling them that he'd stumbled upon the secret nuke market now. Secret nuke market. Yeah, and I don't know if you know this, Daniel, but if you start talking to Defense Department officials about the fact that you know where a bunch of nuclear weapons are being sold for cash, you will probably wind up having conversations with the FBI. That's just shocker. Well, that's gonna go. I feel like, yeah, I feel like the the easiest way to get a conversation with the FBI is to, like, make them believe you might know about stolen nuclear warheads. That's a they're going to be interested in that one. So the Bureau demanded to sit down with Jack Adima and then demanded that he tell them who his sources were, which is a pretty reasonable demand given the fact that he's talking about backpack nukes. But Adima refused to give them any. Concrete information, because, in his words, he believed the FBI had been penetrated by Russian agents. Now, here's how Rolling Stone describes what happened next. By Ademas account, the FBI then set out to destroy him, tying him with more than 50 counts of wire fraud that put him in federal prison for four years during the mid 90s. However, U.S. law enforcement officials actually began investigating a dema in May 1991, more than a year before he supposedly refused to hand over his Lithuanian sources to the FBI, the ATF noted in a report filed during the course of the investigation. Edema was known to have a fictitious majors ID from the from the Army and was disbarred from army contracts and June 18th 1990 after he misrepresented his business as being owned by a minority. So this is all very winding because Jack lies about everything and a lot of this is pre the Internet really coming around. But what happened is Jack committed mass wire fraud in a number of different ways, both from like stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from different companies and like investments and also running fake. Businesses that he just used to funnel money and loans through, and doing stuff like lying to the government to get army contracts to provide them with equipment by pretending his business was owned by a minority. So he wound up getting in a lot of trouble, investigated by multiple federal agencies and convicted with 50 counts of wire fraud, and going to prison for four years. And he later claimed that this is because he'd stumbled upon a nuclear weapon market in Lithuania that the FBI had a. Not wanted him to shut down for some reason. Anyway. It's a dumb story, but that's what happens, yeah. That's where I found it. But they were like, no, no, it's not important. We swear, edema, this guy's story. There's so much that's hard to understand about, like, what happened here because he's he's again, he's just lying constantly. I mean, yeah, I was going to say it just sounds like every everybody's take, hearing the lies and saying, like, OK, and then not doing anything about it. And he just keeps spinning more and more webs, a lot of spider webs. Yeah. Yeah. And he goes to jail. And in his words, it's because the FBI wanted to destroy him. And in the FBI's words, it's because he just couldn't stop committing. Wire fraud. So edema spent, yeah, 1994 to 97 in a series of federal prisons. He kept up his correspondence with the outside world, though, and managed to get in contact with Jim Morris, a writer for soldier of Fortune magazine and a former special forces major. Morris believed Adima stories of being hunted by the FBI and took up the cause of defending him in a series of editorials. These actually convinced some mainstream reporters to look into the story. And one of these reporters was Ted Kavanaugh, a former founding partner of CNN. He brought the story to the executive producer of Eye. Eye with Connie Chung on CBS, and they sent a real journalist, Gary Skurka, to interview edema from prison. The resulting documentary wound up focusing on arms dealing in Lithuania and had actually, like, almost nothing to do with John Adima but at one square cut and an award for investigative reporters in 1995. So Skurka felt bad because, like edema. He felt that edema had helped him get on the trail of a real story, because obviously there was a lot of ******* illegal weapons training going on in former Soviet bloc nations. But he had like, he got cut from the documentary because there were no ******* suitcase nukes being sold, right? But skurka, you know he likes John Adima. Yeah, he had lied about that. But Skurka likes this guy, and he feels bad that he got cut from the documentary, and he feels kind of angry that CBS executives ordered all footage of Edina cut Adima cut from the final product because they realized he was a grifter. But Skurka kind of falls under this guy's spell, and he stays in touch with his jailhouse source throughout Ademas sentence. And promises to help him out when Jonathan gets freed. Now, Adima had other non journalist pen pals. During this time. He started exchanging letters with a woman named Victoria Running Wolf, who was a 40 ish blonde woman from Fayetteville, and the two had first met a few months after edema got out of prison, but they'd like spend exchanging letters and she fell in love with them while he was jailed. So we know immediately that this is going to go well. You've got a grifter who falls in love with a woman in prison, Victoria later recalled. Quote I knew right then I was going to have. The hands full. I knew it from the time he said hello. Yeah. O being the sort of fellow who's constitutionally incapable of not scheming, edema convinced Victoria running Wolf to invest with him in the ultimate pet resort, a hotel for pets. And as far as I can tell, this might have actually been a legitimate business. And I have to emphasize the, as far as I can tell apart, because the only only one of the sources I found talks about this in any kind of depth. And I personally suspect that this must have been some kind of a con, too, but it just hasn't been unraveled. But maybe he yeah, yeah, this is Khan city up. In here, maybe he had a pet resort, it's impossible to say. Umm. Speaking of schemes, Jonathan Adima and his journalist Paul Skurka got together once he was out of prison and using skurka's credibility as an award-winning journalist, they succeeded in getting an assignment with 48 hours on CBS reporting on the story of retired Green Beret Colonel George Marecek. Now Colonel Marichak was and still is one of the most highly decorated special forces soldiers in history. And he also murdered. **** out of his wife. In 1991 he was convicted. Yeah, he was convicted of this murder so many times. This guy ******* Merrychef gets convicted of murder the way most people like go in for ******* colorectal cancer screenings. Like it's it's yeah, so he's murdering multiple people and then getting out for the same. No, he just kills up to this. So he kills the **** out of his wife and he gets tried for it, but he succeeds in because he's this decorated soldier building up, particularly him, like the right wing. Media ecosystem, like Soldier of Fortune is big on this. He gets a bunch of people to be like, no, he's innocent, he was framed, you know, he didn't do it like, this is just like a scheme against this American hero. So he keeps getting retries, of course, and he keeps getting reconvicted too, because he obviously did it. It's. Yeah, it's so he's out of prison now. And alive. But he was convicted of murder multiple times. But a lot of people think he's innocent. It's a very strange story. Maybe we'll cover it someday. Out of prison and alive. Yeah. He's currently out of prison, although, again, was convicted. I don't know, somewhere in the US, if you look up ******* George Merrick, you'll figure it out. I'm just going to leave it alone. Yeah. Don't marry him. I can tell you that much. I don't think. I don't think that's going to. Yeah. No. So, John adima. Sees that this special forces Colonel has become like the center of this, this like media blitz, and sees that there's ******* money in it, and he shoves his journalist Paul Skurka onto the story, and the two get to work investigating the murder. But as soon as CBS sees what they're working on, it like drops them immediately because they've realized that neither of these guys have any sense of objectivity about the case. And we're not in any way going to report critically on what had happened. And I'm going to quote now from the Columbia Journalism Review. Edema and Skurka had opened a free merit check office in Wilmington, NC, where the trial was taking place, and one witnessed alleged that Adima had another man came to his house to harass him the night before he was slated to testify. Adima also told several associates she was detained for impersonating a police officer in an effort to get into a Detroit prison and convince a convicted serial killer to confess to the murder. So there's I want to talk as a journalist here. So many layers. As a journalist, obviously objectivity. It's gets compromised all the time. There's really no way in being perfectly objective, especially you wind up sympathizing with people all the time that you report on, however. If you are impersonating prison and breaking into a jail to trick a convicted serial killer into confessing to a murder, your journalistic objectivity has been, I would say, compromised beyond the point of acceptability. Amen to that. That's a we all have a different line as reporters, but I think that crosses everyone's life. I wouldn't. I'm. I'm not a reporter myself, but yeah, I agree with you. Yeah. So Skurka and Adima, now that CBS has been like, whoo, no, we don't want any of this form a news website of their own, point blank news and Start publishing an investigation there. And it might have been good work. They won a National Press Club. Award for their coverage, and I have no idea what they actually wrote about. It's impossible for me to actually analyze this coverage, but they want to ******* award for it. So maybe maybe what they did was good. I don't know. My gut is saying that Skurka was a good reporter who just got conned by this guy, and he might have actually put up some good work about the case. But it's it's really ******* hard to say. And it's made harder to say because right when skurka and edema were working at this, Jonathan Skurka had another side hustle, which was filing hundreds of frivolous lawsuits against 60 minutes, U.S. news and World Report, and every other journalist who wrote articles about the fact that he, like, tried to con the FBI into thinking he had suitcase nukes in Lithuania. So. He just starts suing people left and right for reporting on the fact that he'd been jailed for a while, wire fraud, and was lying. That it it it it. It's very, very like any of these guys. He files so many lawsuits that trying to, like, track down what they were all about and what they were claiming was impossible. He also filed a plagiarism suit against DreamWorks, claiming that the George Clooney, Nicole Kidman movie The Peacemaker had in fact been based on material they stole from a movie treatment that he had started to write but not written. OK, yeah, I just want. Behind ambassadors, fans, and to know that there's been like a solid, like 30 seconds of just me shaking my head at these foolish, frivolous actions and lawsuit. Because this is just. Yeah, and he's he's right now, like, kind of. We would never have written a story about this guy if if this was all he did. Because right now it's just mostly tricking this one journalist into thinking he had something to say and filing a bunch of ******** lawsuits and go to jail for wire fraud. And this is kind of the state of affairs with Jonathan Adima as it existed on September 11th, 2001. Are you aware of that date, Daniel? Yes, I am, Robert. I am aware of that date. Yeah, it was. It was, you know, several days before the release of big trouble, the Tim Allen film that changed America. I think we can all say that after big trouble came out, nothing was ever the same to agree. Yeah. Now, there. You may not be aware of this, but there was also a terrorist attack on New York that same day, and it was pretty significant, too. Yeah. Yeah. And John Adima, was he really? He really was hit hard by the towers falling. And by all those planes being yeah, as he would later say, they blew up the ******* World Trade Center and my whole life changed. I'm a ******* New Yorker. I'm going to kill every *** **** one of them until I drop dead. Now the them that he was talking about in that interview was Al Qaeda, but also less specifically in the Afghan people he could possibly get his hands on. And his wife, Victoria running Wolf was totally supportive of this later telling a journalist a lot of us put yellow ribbons on our cars or flags on our houses. My husband decided to go over to Afghanistan and Hunt. The bad guys which? Is one way to describe what John Medina did. Bless her heart. Yeah, bless her heart. It's weird. The only things you find about her or her being utterly supportive of him and then her disappearing completely from his life. God. And there's a story there that's not great. Yeah, isn't that isn't that the isn't that the Dennis system? Just like, yeah, it's just you get really close, you connect, and you just disappear entirely. That's that's the secret. That's the move. Right? He disappeared the fan repeatedly. Yeah, so. Before he went to Afghanistan, though, Jonathan Adima decided to get on TV and start establishing his bona fides as a terrorism expert. Now, nowadays, every ******* TV channel has countless terrorism experts. There's more terrorism experts in the world than there are ******* terrorists right now. But in the immediate wake of 911, which was again the release of big trouble, the Tim Allen movie terrorism was something that Americans suddenly cared an awful lot about, possibly because the movie Big Trouble. Focused on a Russian suitcase nuke getting out into the hands of some terrorists who get it on a hijacked plane. There's there's a CIA plot in the movie Big Trouble based on the Dave Berry Book Big Trouble and People Need to know about it. Daniel. Ohh Robert. So the thread is so long. It is, it is. And that's how you know it's true. Lee? Hmm? So just. John Adima, 911 happens, and adima is like, all right, I got to get on TV. Terrorism is going to be, like, the big thing for the next forever. And I've got to establish myself early as a TV expert because there's gonna be some ******* money in that, and he is not wrong on this. And on September 12th, 2001, edema showed up as a guest on a local Los Angeles Fox News affiliate, written as a described as a counterterrorism adviser. He told audiences that he'd come across evidence that. Yeah. He told evident audiences that he'd come across evidence that 3 Canadian airliners had also been hijacked by al Qaida, along with a total of four American planes. Now this was ******** but nobody was really fact checking at all on 912, so it it played well in the immediate wake of fear and terror after the attacks and the release of big trouble. Now, while he was doing media appearances, John Adima also reached out to his all his old friend Skurka. He informed him that he was headed over to Afghanistan straight away not to kill a bunch of people. But to perform vaguely defined humanitarian aid work, he told Skierka that he had set up a deal with an NGO called Knightsbridge International, which was run by a veteran named Ed Artist and focused on, like, delivering aid to the most dangerous places on Earth. So this was like, on its surface, a good story is like, this former green Beret wants to have his journalist friend come with him to Afghanistan to help this NGO made-up of veterans deliver aid to Afghanistan. Like, as a ******* journalist, that's a great tale. So skurka pitches this, yeah. Good story. Yeah. Yeah. So skurka pitches this to national geographics TV division, and he claims, Skurka claims that he told them that edema was a convicted felon and that the two were friends. And Nat Geo decided that the story was still worth doing now. So they they approved this, and he gets funding to do it. So they're they're going to ******* Afghanistan? Yeah. Do it now. It was not easy to get into Afghanistan. In late 2001, Skurka and Adima had to charter a plane with a group of other aid. Workers and reporters from Tajikistan to Kabul in late 2001, and I found a really fun article on time by Kirk Spitzer, who's a veteran war correspondent and was on that flight. And here's what he has to say about John Adima's behavior during the trip over to Afghanistan. Let's get it the plane blew a tire on takeoff from the Dushanbe airport and was not replaced until late in the day. It was agreed that rather than risk flying over the 20,000 foot Hindu Kush at night, in midwinter with a dodgy pilot and a plane with no instruments. We should wait until the next day, but among the passengers was a group of displaced Afghans frantic to get home, who angrily demanded that we take off right away. Adima, who was also a passenger and was dressed in his customary paramilitary gear in dark sunglasses, poured fuel on the fire by shouting that he knew the codes at the Bagram airfield. He said that once we were over the runway, he could radio down to the control tower to get American troops to turn on the lights. This was pure fantasy, of course. There were no codes. There was no way to communicate with American. Troops from a broken down Russian built cargo plane and American ground controllers certainly would not turn on the lights for an unidentified plane that happened to show up in the middle of a war zone. If that plane took off that afternoon, everybody on board was going to die, including Ediba. It wasn't until several of us dragged Adima aside and impressed on him the seriousness of the situation that he finally conceded that maybe he didn't really know any codes or radio frequencies after all. We called the the flight off and everyone lived. For another day, as did edimus flights of fantasy. So every now and then you get like stories about this guy from people who weren't liars, and they're always like that. That's that's the best. I love that there is truly like, yeah, it wouldn't happen at this point anymore because you know, everybody, everybody's too real and takes it too seriously. And I mean, or rather, when we rephrase that, everybody's too real. It takes too seriously. I would hope they do, but it's like, you can't have any ******** anymore in these. 3 situations, but I love the genre of real bad guy that was like actual 90s villains that people were just like. Looking at them like, are you? Are you serious right now? Is this person? How did this person even get here? They were able to get past the one to two layers of security to get to Level 3 when people were like, wait a minute, what? Yeah. I mean, I think the actual good guy, they actually existed. Yeah. The explanation of how he gets into a place like this is the thing that I think a lot of people don't really get about war reporting. Like, I get a lot of questions about, like, how did you go to Iraq? How do you get to Ukraine? Syria? You you buy a plane ticket and you walk. There's often remarkably little in the way of people stopping you from doing anything and places like that. And yeah, that's kind of what John Adima takes advantage of. He just gets on this plane, almost gets everyone. Killed by being like, no, I know the codes to the airfield and he's just lying the whole time. But now he's in Afghanistan with a National Geographic documentary production team. Yeah, and he manages to link up with Ed artist and the other aid workers at Knightsbridge in November of 2001. And once they're all together, it immediately becomes obvious to the folks from National Geographic that Ed Ardis was not as on board with this documentary as Adima had LED them to believe, and that John Adima himself had no actual desire to report on humanitarian aid work. Instead, he wanted to get into a gunfight as quickly as ******* possible. Let me Adam. Yeah, alright, here's these aid guys. I'm going to go ******* find some shooting. Yeah, so one of the members of the team of the the documentary team, a special forces vet named Greg Long, recalled later that Ademas attitude changed 180 degrees as soon as they got into the country. So while Ed artist and his Mens tried to deliver life saving aid in the documentary team, tried to film that, John Adima got to work attempting to hook up with the Northern Alliance, an insurgent group battling the Taliban. Adima ignored the work. He'd come to Afghanistan. Do and started tracking the movements of Northern Alliance troops and attempting to make contact with them in hopes that he could sell them weapons. It's just now that's that's that's the that's that's our man right there. That that's our man right there. He stopped participating. What were they selling? But what were they selling? Ohh, he didn't have anything to sell. Let's let's go to ads. Mint Mobile offers premium wireless starting at just 15 bucks a month. And now for the plot twist. Nope, there isn't one. Mint Mobile just has premium wireless from 15 bucks a month. There's no trapping you into a two year contract. You're opening the bill to find all these nuts fees. 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This fall on revisionist history, is there anything that we haven't talked about, or I should have asked you or you'd like to add that seems relevant? You should have asked me why I'm missing fingers on my left hand. A story about sacrifice. I think his suffering drove him to try to alleviate suffering. And the shocking discovery I made where I faced the consequences of writing a book I thought would help people? Isn't that funny? It's not funny at all. It's depressing. Very depressing. Revisionist history is back with more. Listen to revisionist history on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you get your podcasts. I've never seen less enthusiasm for a great idea in my life. We're back from ads, and in the break, Daniel had to take an important phone call, and I found that the iron bars I ordered had finally arrived. Yeah, everyone's everyone's having a good day. Top shelf break and now she's happy. I'm going to put bars on my windows like a crazy person and just go increasingly unhinged and it's going to be nice. You're probably doing the right thing, to be honest with you. Yeah, I am now eating a banana on video chat while we're recording. OK, alright, alright. First of all, gotta keep analyzing the bananal. Speaking of bananas, I love *** **** it, Dan. Speaking of bananas. Let's talk about John Adima. So hell yeah, yeah, yeah. Well Ed artists, who was again that veteran running Knightsbridge, the the the aid organization and his men delivered, yeah life saving aid, edema, attempted to sell weapons to a militant group in Afghanistan. He stopped participating in any sort of discussions about the actual documentary that he'd gone here to make and stopped doing anything at all to help with the humanitarian aid that is extensively traveled to Afghanistan to deliver the fact that thing to sell weapons. That's, I mean you know you literally the opposite. Of of delivering at, like, humanitarian aid now. The fact that edema had changed plans completely and was now getting involved with the actual fighting, of course endangered all of the NGO workers he was traveling with. Artists would later tell our reporter he's the dumbest **** I ever met. Artists also, yeah. What a great quote. Artists also recalled that immediately after arriving in country in order to film a documentary about providing humanitarian aid to the people of Afghanistan, John Adima announced his desire to quote kill every ******* Afghan I see. Now. Come on, man. I'm not an expert at, at, at, at, at, at providing humanitarian aid, Daniel. You know, that's not really my bag. But I think that's poor form that yeah. Yeah. That's not how really it goes down. That's not really involved in the killing part is not part of the No. For example, when I volunteer at soup kitchens to provide food for the homeless, I don't talk about the secret item where I island where I and other millionaires hunt homeless people for sport. You know, we do it, but you don't talk about it when you're trying to provide humanitarian aid. It's rude. Oh yeah. Now same total, yeah, yeah, all of now, yes, yes. Now, next. According from New York magazine quote, Adima was more than simply obsessed with the Afghan War. He was, as other journalists on scene ever counted, absurdly keen to capture dramatic war footage, even if it meant fudging their record of events. A November 11th edema and his three companions, Skurka, long and the cameraman, were scouring for war footage on a hill near the Taliban front lines. Adima left the group again, hoping to find Northern Alliance troops to hang out with in the meantime, Adima's. Entourage, which had met up with reporter Tim Friend, who was then with USA TODAY, and a freelance TV journalist named Kevin Seitz, started drawing fire from the Taliban. Skurka got hit with shrapnel in his right leg as the group helped skurka down the hill and set about dressing his wound wound skis. Cameraman was capturing the scene on film, and this was when edema returned, trailing clouds of camera ready military glory. Just when we finished dressing skurka's leg, Keith runs up screaming, friend recalls. He reaps, rips off the bandages and redresses the wounds, basically. Was acting in front of the camera, so ******* his friend gets shot in Afghanistan and, like, while they're dressing the wounds, he runs up from trying to befriend the Northern Alliance and sells them guns, tears off the combat dressings and reapplies them so he can be caught on camera helping his friend. Fantastic. It's awesome. It's awesome. That's just, that's just the best skirkee head-to-head host. Side note, I just want to throw this out there. The smartest person in this whole group that I've heard so far is skurka's cameraman. Oh yeah, we do not have this person's name. No, no, this person does very cleverly omitted themselves from the recounting of all of this, only in the way that they have all of the footage and none of the notoriety. It's perfect. Well into the camera and there has to have been a moment where he was. Like in that all maybe when his he watched his boss, like, have a wound ripped open by chadima so that he could. You know what? I think I'm pulling my name from this. I don't need. I don't. I don't need this one on the roll. Yeah. Uh. Skirkee had to head home to recover, and, horrified at the fact that he'd been traveling with a con man artist, contacted him and National Geographic to withdraw his consent to have any of their footage used if John Adima were in any of it. So Skurka had to cut together a documentary that cut his friend John Adima out of it entirely. Which of course, ****** *** John Adima he'd gone to Afghanistan to build a name for himself as a globetrotting heroic terrorism expert, and the fact that he had been cut out of the feature entirely severely hammered his exploits. To make matters worse, now that National Geographic was out of the picture, John Adima had no one to record him. So he did what all good con men do. He pivoted, and I'm going to read again from New York magazine. He began calling himself Jack and telling journalists that he was working as an advisor in Northern Alliance troops. He also described himself as a green beret and claimed he was helping special forces round up Taliban and al Qaeda suspects. Back in New York, Ted Kavanaugh, the TV producer who had originally put Skurka onto Ademas Lithuania story, set him up. An appearance on the Barry Farber show, a syndicated conservative talk radio program. Before long, edema was turning up regularly via satellite telephone. On American television. He would occasionally call himself a green Beret, clearly implying he was on active duty, and sometimes he would claim falsely to be working for Partners International, which, like Knightsbridge, had severed all ties with edema. These were the two groups who went there to film. Mainly, though, he mischaracterized himself in tellingly vague terms, even as he boasted about his high octane military credentials. You must be held in high regard. He told Fox News host Linda Vester via satellite phone on November 2001. Because I think you're the only person ever to get an interview with a special forces qualified guy inside this country. So you see what happens there is he loses his access to the legitimate journalist he traveled there with because he ***** everything up for them. And he just starts reaching out to reporters and basically saying, hey, you know how everyone who's actually doing anything is too busy to talk to journalists on the phone from the middle of Afghanistan? You got all the time in the ******* world, baby. And I will pretend that I'm still in special forces if you will put me on TV and it that's what he ******* does. Yeah, now people who actually knew Jack edema and knew that he was full of **** attempted to warn the government that there was actually a scammer in Afghanistan, passing himself off as a military expert and doing God knows what. To further his unclear but definitely shifty goals, Knightsbridge reached out to American authorities about Adima writing Army Special Operations command that the rogue operator was both a threat to aid workers and to the overall mission of the United States and the coalition in Afghanistan Partners International, who's another aid group that Adima had ******. Down with did the same thing, but Afghanistan was a chaotic place. In late 2001. The warnings went unheeded, as there were too many journalists in country during the height of the war for the warnings to spread very far. Jack also repeatedly sued Ed artist and Knightsbridge International, locking the aid worker and his charity in a series of interminable lawsuits and distracting them from actually saving lives. But a demon never got distracted. He was in Afghanistan to grift reporters and whoever else he could find, and that is exactly what he did. There are numerous stories of edema. During this. The reporters who were savvy enough to catch on to his ******** early started calling him by the very appropriate nickname Jack ****. Nah, it's good. That's good. Good. Now look at Kim Singh put up. Paul Lashmar and Nick Mio are journalists who are reporting in Afghanistan for the independent during this period of time. And I want to close this first episode with one of their recollections about a particularly fine Jack Adima caper quote. Some of us first met Jack in 2001, when the Taliban had retreated from Kabul. Victorious Northern Alliance fighters were parading in the streets and US and British forces were pouring into Bagram Air Base, a dapper man in a black T-shirt and combat trousers, a Glock pistol strapped in his shoulder holster. Eddie McGrath gave a graphic account of his supposed experiences as a former U.S. Army Green Beret who trained with the SAS as an adviser to the Tajik and Uzbek Uzbek militias, how he helped plan the operation to take out the Afghan capital. The meeting took place at the Mustafa. Hotel then being built in the city center. It was another example of the seemingly endless carpetbagging opportunities that on offer. The owners were, and continue to be, a family of Afghanis. Patriots from New Jersey. The hotel named after one of three brothers sipping whiskey, then retailing at $140 a bottle at the supermarket Off Chicken St Adima, offered to organize a convoy to Tora Bora, where the Taliban and al Qaeda were making was thought to be their last stand, and where the Americans were confident Osama bin Laden was trapped. After making a few checks with the British military, some of us decided to decline. Offer those who went were robbed at gunpoint 1/4 of the way through the journey by their guards and made their way bedraggled back to Kabul. Jack professed to be outraged. He would take this matter up immediately with his good friends in the Afghan government and the bandits would be executed. None of this ever happened. He was just selling reporters to bandits and I'm sure getting a cut of what they stole from them. Yeah, that. He's a fun guy, so fun. I love it. He's a good guy and the people. The fun thing about John Adima is that the grifts were really just starting at this point, like he was he he he was just kind of dipping his feet into the great Afghan con game. And in Part 2, we're going to talk about what happened after he got his feet all the way in the water. That's not a great way to phrase this, but that's what I said. So the episodes over, Dan. I mean, this is a wonderful start, as I feel about the political system these days. When is an adult gonna step in and pull the strings out and just pull this person away? Take the the cane from the side of the stage and just rip yank them out of here. So excited for that moment to eventually happen because this man is just going off as it were. Yeah, yes, you can find Daniel on the Internet. Where's your twitch? Daniel? What do you do? You're doing video games. You're video games? Yeah. Yeah, do the video games. I mean also, you know, what I mainly do is I edit podcasts for you and for the network. So make sure that you continue to listen to behind the ******** and the women's war and you listen to worst year ever and you listen to it could happen here if you haven't already. Listen to all the shows on the iHeartRadio network because that's a lot of my work and I appreciate you all so much. You can follow me on Twitter at DJ under score Daniel. You can follow me on twitchalsotwitch.tv. DJ under score Daniel, come find me at play video and the Daniel is. LDJ, under score, DNL. And yeah, we play lots of games. We do stuff like Jackbox I play a lot of Rocket league. I'm really into Half-life, Alex. Right now. The new VR game. It's mind-blowing. Anyway, come check me out there and thank you. Check him out. Yeah. Thank you, Sophie. Yes. Check Daniel out and check yourself out. But no one else, because going outside is dangerous. Amen. Yes. Lock yourself in your rooms. Listen to more podcasts. Buy the products advertised by those podcasts. Yes. And together. We can build a new humanity, a humanity based entirely around staying inside and listening to podcasts. You can follow this podcast at Bathurst Pod on Twitter and Instagram. You can follow Robert at irate. OK you can listen to him on all those shows. He will just list it, especially the Women's War, which is officially out. And you can buy merch on our teepublic store. Somebody on Twitter specifically told me that I should shout out the General Anderson shirt. It's awesome. It's so good. Yeah, baby. Hello, I'm Erica Kelly from the podcast Southern Fried True crime and if you want to go from podcast fan to podcast host, do what I did and check out spreaker from iheart. I was working in accounting and hating it. Then after just 18 months of podcasting with Speaker, I was able to quit my day job. Follow your podcasting dreams, let's break your handle the hosting, creation, distribution, and monetization of your podcast. Go to spreaker.com. That's espr E aker.com. Hey there, it's Ebony Monet, your co-host for the San Diego Zoo's Amazing Wildlife podcast. In this special episode, we're speaking with Doctor Jane Goodall about the fascinating journey that led to her social discoveries on chimpanzees. So four whole months, the chimps ran away from me. I mean, they take one look at this peculiar white ape and disappear into the vegetation. Bring wildlife on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you get your podcasts. In the 1980s and 90s, a psychopath terrorized the country of Belgium. A serial killer and kidnapper was abducting children in the bright light of day. From Tenderfoot TV and iHeartRadio, this is La Monstra, a story of abomination and conspiracy. The story about the man who simply become known as. Lamaster. Listen for free on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts.