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FourScore Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-24-09 11:59 AM
Original message
Free John Walker Lindh, Bush's and Cheney's First Torture Victim!
Free John Walker Lindh, Bush's and Cheney's First Torture Victim!
Submitted by dlindorff on Fri, 2009-04-24 16:45.

By Dave Lindorff

Enough is enough. Its time to free John Walker Lindh, poster boy for George Bushs, Dick Cheneys and John Ashcrofts War on Terror, and quite likely first victim of these mens secret campaign of torture.

Lindh is in the seventh year of a 20-year sentence for carrying a weapon in Afghanistan and for providing assistance to an enemy of the United States. The first charge is ridiculously minor (after all, its what almost everyone in Texas does everyday). The second is actually a violation of a law intended for use against US companies that trade with proscribed countries on a government no trade list like Cuba or North Korea. Ordinarily, violation results in a fine for the executives involved.

As I wrote in an article in the Nation back in 2005 (http://www.thenation.com/doc/20050214/lindorff ), Lindh was put away for so long on these minor charges not because he was a traitor or terrorist, but because he was living proof, back at the time of his trial in 2002, that the US had begun a program of brutal torture in the so-called War on Terror.

Lindh, in fact, was never really an enemy of the US. Son of middle-class white parents in suburban San Francisco, he had developed an interest in Islam which, following his graduation from high school, he decided to pursue by traveling to Pakistan. In 2001, still just 18, he began studying at a madrassa, or religious school. There he learned about the struggle of the Taliban in neighboring Afghanistan to free that nation of the influence of warlords who had collaborated with a brutal Soviet occupation. Attracted by what he saw as the nobility of that struggle, and with a youthful sense of adventure, Lindh volunteered. In August of 2001, at a time that Bush administration officials were negotiating about a possible oil pipeline deal with Afghanistans Taliban government, and talking about providing funds for a program to get farmers to shift away from opium cultivation to more useful cash cropsa time, that is, when the Taliban were not considered Americas enemyLindh crossed the border and started training to be a fighter.

A month later, of course, the World Trade Center in New York, and the Pentagon in Washington, were struck, and the US launched a war against both Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. Lindh, who was still just in training, found himself suddenly in the wilds of the Hindu Kush, with American planes bombing and with US Special Forces troops firing at him and his companions. Whether he wanted to be there or not, he was in no position at that point to change sides. You dont just walk away from a group like the Talibanespecially if you are an American to begin with, and youre deep in the bush.

Eventually, a malnourished, dehydrated, and wounded (in the leg) Lindh was taken prisoner along with a group of Taliban fighters by American forces.

At that point, when the Americans discovered they had an American amont their captives, Lindhs situation worsened dramatically. Stripped naked and duct-taped, blindfolded, to a gurney, he was then placed inside an unheated metal shipping container. Left there for days in the cold and dark, Lindh was removed once daily and interrogated. His interrogators allegedly tortured him, as well as threatening him repeatedly with death. His pleas to see an attorney were mocked, and word that his parents had already arranged for representation was withheld from him (a situation that led a government lawyer involved in his case to protest and ultimately resign).

At some point during this abuse, Lindh caved in to his fears of death at the hands of his captors and signed a confession to being a traitor to America. At that point he was flown back to the US, where Attorney General Ashcroft touted him as the American Taliban, initially vowing to try him for treason (which carries a death sentence).

What changed things dramatically, as I reported in 2005, was a decision by Federal District Judge T.S.Ellis to permit Lindh and his defense teamover strenuous government objections--to challenge that confession letter by introducing evidence that Lindh had signed it will being subjected to torture at Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan. The judge ruled that Lindh would be able to call witnesses from Guantanamo and from among the soldiers where he had been held in Afghanistan. Suddenly, the Justice Department, in the person of Michael Chertoff, then head of the Justice Departments criminal division and in charge of terrorism prosecutions, offered a one-day-only, take-it-or-leave-it a plea deal. Chertoff (acting with an alacrity that stands in marked contrast to his sluggish response time several years later when faced, as secretary of homeland security, with the Katrina disaster in New Orleans) offered to drop the serious charges in return to a guilty plea to the two minor charges, but only ifand this is the keyLindh would cancel the scheduled evidentiary hearing into torture. Under the offered deal, Lindh would also have to sign a letter stating that he had not been intentionally mistreated by his American captors, and waiving any right to claim such mistreatment or torture any time in the future. Lindh agreed, but following sentencing, Chertoff also added a gag order, technically a special administrative measure, barring Lindh from even talking about his experience for the duration of his sentence.

It is now clear why Chertoff went to such hurried great lengths to completely silence Lindh. His wasnt just the first trial in the War on Terror. Lindh was the first victim of the secret Bush/Cheney torture program.

Now that we have the trail of memoranda that set that wretched torture campaign in motion, its time for the Obama Justice Department to free Lindh. If President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder think Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens suffered from malicious prosecution and were willing to drop charges against him, they certainly should toss out the case against Lindh, who besides being innocent of the original serious charges leveled against him, was a victim of war crimes perpetrated by his own fellow Americans, and authorized by his own government. His arrest, conviction and sentencing are a travesty of justice, and perhaps, given that torture is a criminal offense in the US Code, even constitute a crime of cover-up. He should be the first witness in any official investigation by Congress or the attorney generals office into the origins of the Bush/Cheney torture campaign.

Free John Walker Lindh!

http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/node/42003
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NNN0LHI Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-24-09 12:00 PM
Response to Original message
1. I bet a dollar to a donut he wasn't the first
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Captain Hilts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-24-09 12:03 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. He might be the stupidest. nt
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marketcrazy1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-24-09 12:06 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. he belongs in jail
he made his bed....................
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Divine Discontent Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-24-09 12:25 PM
Response to Reply #4
10. but wouldn't one being tortured physically sorta make it an issue to consider that payment in full
for the reasons they were incarcerated? I don't believe (I could be wrong) his crimes up to that point were grotesque. I just feel that if one is tortured, when we're not a country that tortures people (cough cough), they should just be put in either a super low correctional facility or let out with lifetime probation (with his crimes) where they have to go meet with a PO once a week or month. My goodness, doesn't torture mean anything to some people? It's evil, sadistic and straight from the devil imho.
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stillcool Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-24-09 12:59 PM
Response to Reply #4
12. How do you know what he did?
Is he guilty of being in the wrong part of the world?
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marketcrazy1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-24-09 01:53 PM
Response to Reply #12
20. HOW DO i KNOW WHAT HE DID?
I could ask YOU the same question... neither you nor i KNOW what he did. but I do know what he said... he joined the Taliban, he received combat training, he received explosives training and he took up arms along side of men who were killing or tying to kill U.S. soldiers. now he SAYS he refused to engage in attacks on U.S. servicemen but he seemed to have no problem with fighting against our Afghan allies... did he ever engage in combat? I dont know. but the fact remains he willingly took up arms and joined with an enemy of the United States. and he KNEW by his own admission they were our enemies, that makes him a traitor in my book. he got what he deserved.
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stillcool Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-24-09 02:02 PM
Response to Reply #20
23. and do you know if he was tortured..
Edited on Fri Apr-24-09 02:04 PM by stillcool
to get him to say what he did? Isn't that the point of torture? Do you think he is guilty because of the geographic location, or his desire to follow the Muslim faith?
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marketcrazy1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-24-09 02:14 PM
Response to Reply #23
31. I beleive he made some of those statements
while he was still in the hospital where he was "discovered" and no I do not know if he was "tortured" but I strongly suspect he was not treated very kindly by his military captors, at least initially, and why should that be so shocking, considering their friends were fighting and dying while engaging an enemy he was a part of! seeing him there fighting along side the enemy sure would have pissed ME off! ( and does )
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stillcool Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-24-09 02:16 PM
Response to Reply #31
32. oh..so you believe the story..
after all, why would they lie about things like torture and false confessions?
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marketcrazy1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-24-09 02:19 PM
Response to Reply #32
34. yes I beleive the story
I do not oppose parole when the time comes but I would oppose any "special considerations"
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stillcool Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-24-09 02:29 PM
Response to Reply #34
38. You believe...you're not even open..
to examining facts as they emerge. Enough said.
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marketcrazy1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-24-09 02:33 PM
Response to Reply #38
39. when some "facts" emerge
I will examine them. enough said!!
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stillcool Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-24-09 02:34 PM
Response to Reply #39
40. You mean 'facts' like torture?
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marketcrazy1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-24-09 02:37 PM
Response to Reply #40
42. I mean FACTS pertaining DIRECTLY to this individual
you know.... actual proofs as opposed to allegory.... those kinds of facts.
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-25-09 03:05 AM
Response to Reply #42
51. The facts pertaining to this individual are that he was a religious tourist
to a country when that state was one of our allies and that he was caught there when we declared war. He did not travel there for the purpose of taking up arms against the United States.

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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-24-09 02:08 PM
Response to Reply #20
28. They weren't our enemies when he got there.
What was he supposed to do, ask the Taliban for a ride to the airport?

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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-24-09 02:06 PM
Response to Reply #4
26. Yeah, he belongs in jail because while he was in Afghanistan
we went to war with our former allies.
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TahitiNut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-24-09 02:24 PM
Response to Reply #26
35. Yeah. How dare he do something the CIA wasn't able to do? The chutzpah!
His treatment is an abomination.
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alfredo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-25-09 11:30 AM
Response to Reply #4
56. At the least he should have the gag order lifted and a new trial.
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hlthe2b Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-24-09 12:05 PM
Response to Original message
3. I agree Lindh should be freed...
Edited on Fri Apr-24-09 12:05 PM by hlthe2b
He was railroaded all the way through. He was just a dumb naive' kid caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. Enough is enough.
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polichick Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-24-09 12:08 PM
Response to Reply #3
7. That's how I saw it.
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mike_c Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-24-09 12:07 PM
Response to Original message
5. yep-- K&R....
Lindh was railroaded so that the Bush administration could have a media circus to stoke the outrage against "terra-ists."
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-24-09 12:08 PM
Response to Original message
6. although I agree he should be paroled, this piece is laughable
it's like reading parody. my reason for seeing him freed, is simple: he's dont enough time, but I hardly see him as some innocent. He was a privilged kid who decided to play a dangerous game. he got caught.
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RaleighNCDUer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-24-09 01:16 PM
Response to Reply #6
13. And what was his 'dangerous game'? nt
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-24-09 01:29 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. joining up with the Taliban
and Lindorff is incredibly full of shit when he talks about how the Taliban at that time weren't the greatest enemies of the U.S. While that may be technically true- or not- the Taliban was no better an organization in 2001 prior to 9/11, than they were after. And that was widely known.
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RaleighNCDUer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-24-09 01:37 PM
Response to Reply #14
15. IOW, you bought the propaganda.
I get it.
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-24-09 01:40 PM
Response to Reply #15
17. no. I actually read and researched the Taliban.
do try educating yourself. it's clear you're in dire need of doing so. May I kindly make a recommendation, where you could start? Ahmed Rashic's 1999 book on the Taliban- and so named- is an excellent primer. It's not hard reading for people like you, though it does have a lot of footnotes. There is a cure for ignorance, my friend. It just takes some application.

cheers
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RaleighNCDUer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-24-09 02:25 PM
Response to Reply #17
36. "People like me"? What the FUCK is that supposed to mean?
I know all about the Taliban - and they were NOT the enemy of the US prior to our invading their country. They were hateful, sure, they were despicable misogynistic fundamentalist Islamists - but no worse than the Saudis or the Sudanese - neither of whom we have invaded.

And the fact remains, they are 75% OUR creation - we encouraged the Wahabists to go to Afghanistan to fight the Soviet, we funded them and armed them, both directly and through Pakistan's ISI, and our press lauded them as heroes for ten years. Why wouldn't Lindh be confused?

I suggest you look beyond the government's proclamations and educate yourself about exactly how and why the Taliban came to power, and what their relationship to the world at large was before Bush's war.
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-24-09 03:10 PM
Response to Reply #36
43. tut, tut, tut, ;my friend
temper, temper. Try not running around accusing people of swalling propaganda when you have zero reason to believe they have. And do try to control your temper. Perhaps you should go read Skinner's post.
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RaleighNCDUer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-24-09 03:21 PM
Response to Reply #43
44. You're the one who started with the insults.
Edited on Fri Apr-24-09 03:30 PM by RaleighNCDUer
Because you cannot support your prejudicial hatred. If you believe that Lindh is evil because he got conned, then I have every reason to believe you swallowed government propaganda - because that is what THEY said.

Temper shmemper - look at the fucking facts.

ON EDIT: I notice you did NOT address what 'people like you' was supposed to mean. Who, or what, do you think I am? Do you know ONE thing about me?

Your prejudice is showing.
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-24-09 06:42 PM
Response to Reply #44
45. lol. it's not nice to prevaricate, friend.
and it's a nasty little habit. like putting words into my mouth that I never uttered. I never said anything about Lindh being evil, and I clearly stated that I think he should be released. And I certainly did not start with the insults. It's quite clear that you did precisely what you falsely accused me of. pathetic.

Prevaricating is a very intellectually and morally bereft form of argument, my dear.
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RaleighNCDUer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 02:00 PM
Response to Reply #45
60. Bullshit, again.
Post 6: "I hardly see him as some innocent"

And yet, he committed no crime against US law, and did not attack the US in any way - therefore, to believe he should EVER have been locked up in a US prison you must believe him to be inherently evil - because we do NOT lock up innocent people.

He was accused of giving aid to an enemy for the accident of joining an organization that subsequently became an enemy to the US while he was off fighting opium dealers in Northern Afghanistan. The Taliban was created by the US, armed by the US, and prior to resisting the US invasion of Afghanistan had NEVER taken any action against the US - why, then, should he have seen them as an enemy to the US?

Post 17: "It's not a hard reading for people like you, though it has a lot of footnotes."

Since you refuse to explain just what you meant by that comment - which preceded any personal invective towards you - I can only assume you were insulting my intelligence.

So, you are accusing me of doing exactly what you yourself are doing.

How very republican of you.
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hlthe2b Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-24-09 01:39 PM
Response to Reply #14
16. Guilty of being stupid.... what crimes did he commit?
The Bushies* drummed up charges as though he was going to be charged with treason and hung at dawn. He had no choice to plead to lesser crimes given the mob mentality and never even got a trial.

Regardless of guilt or innocence, he's been locked away far long enough.... There are still many that will fight his release because they sure as hell do not want him or his lawyers talking.

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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-24-09 01:42 PM
Response to Reply #16
18. and if you'd read my first post, ;you would have seen that I advocate
paroling him. He's been in jail long enough. As to his guilt or innocence, you know no more than I.
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hlthe2b Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-24-09 01:44 PM
Response to Reply #18
19. If you had read mine, that is exactly what I said...
except I didn't insult everyone posting on the thread who likewise believes he should be released as you did in your original post.
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-24-09 02:01 PM
Response to Reply #19
22. I insulted no one here.I. And I don't take lightly to your false accusation
I said what I thought of the article posted. That is NOT insulting posters on this thread.
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hlthe2b Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-24-09 02:04 PM
Response to Reply #22
25. I misread and I apologize... I thought you had said the thread was
laughable... Mea Culpa.
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-24-09 02:07 PM
Response to Reply #25
27. no problem, thanks very much for the apology.
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annm4peace Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-24-09 12:08 PM
Response to Original message
8. freed, he probably didn't even get a real trial
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rcrush Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-24-09 12:09 PM
Response to Original message
9. Disturbed and confused kid used by the military and the administration to
To scare the shit out of people and further their war plans.
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Dogtown Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-24-09 12:37 PM
Response to Original message
11. Sorry!
Edited on Fri Apr-24-09 12:39 PM by Dogtown
Bush's 1st torture victim was a frog.

Cheney's was probably his mother, birthing that mutant ginormous head...


EDIT: but, yeah, Lindh needs to be released.
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-24-09 01:59 PM
Response to Original message
21. here's what I dislike about this article.
and it has nothing to do with Lindh who I actually have a lot of sympathy for. It has to do with his misrepresentation of the Taliban. Lindorff, is all about making the Taliban sound like some noble freedom fighters. Yeah, they fought the Russians, but that's hardly the whole story. They also fought and assassinated Massoud who may have been Afghanistan's best hope. Painting it as the noble Taliban against brutal war lords is just not accurate.

Furthermore, the Taliban was indeed considered a hostile entity by the U.S. State Department in 2001.

I agree completely that Lindh should be freed and that his conviction is rooted in disgusting practices, including torture. That doesn't mean that this kind of "reporting" stands up to scrutiny.
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rug Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-24-09 02:04 PM
Response to Reply #21
24. No, the Taliban are reactionaries but Lindh's confession was the direct result of torture.
His plea should be vacated and the charges dismissed.
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-24-09 02:09 PM
Response to Reply #24
29. I have no problem with that. I think that's an appropriate move
but that's not the point of my post.
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Usrename Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-25-09 10:11 AM
Response to Reply #29
55. Right, your post was about the evildoers.
I think we get it.

If all these Muslim countries would just learn to be subjugated by other more powerful countries then there wouldn't be any real need for Islamic fundamentalism. Why can't they just see that. Look how well things are turning out for the Palestinians, for example.

Right?
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-24-09 02:09 PM
Response to Reply #24
30. You bet! And the creepy thing was, they showed us tape of him
in the middle of his abuse and we didn't even realize what we were looking at. I'll never forget that.
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TahitiNut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-24-09 02:28 PM
Response to Reply #30
37. I realized what I was looking at the whole time. I never doubted he was tortured.
I never supported the way he was treated and opposed the appalling sentence. At the VERY most, he could have been sentenced to a year -- but the appalling attacks on him disgust me.

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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-24-09 02:37 PM
Response to Reply #37
41. I thought he was druggy from getting medical care, i.e., pain meds.
The whole thing didn't even dawn on me until much later. :(
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DevonRex Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-24-09 02:17 PM
Response to Original message
33. You know that every damned conviction is going to have to be reviewed
by Holder's JD, right? And we may even wind up letting some really bad people go because of what the * Administration did. * fucked the US up royally.
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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-24-09 11:06 PM
Response to Original message
46. Dumb kid has bad luck; dishonest propaganda blitz ensues. I doubt anyone official
will ever have enough political courage to touch this issue, unless something remarkable happens

Aside from the "confession," I doubt there's much real evidence Lindh committed a crime. Most of us can't and won't understand his stupid sympathy towards the Taliban -- but of course the Bush Administration was actually giving the Taliban hard cash during some of that period, and of course the Northern Alliance was also a group of asinine thugs. He came into Northern Alliance custody after being captured, apparently without ever firing his weapon, and he came into American custody after a war-prisoners' revolt, during the whole of which time his own arms apparently remained securely tied behind his back. Lindh's very bad luck was that the Administration needed potent symbols and could portray him as a traitor who had joined extremists to attack the US: this seems not actually to be the case, but the story has been well-circulated and his confession (induced by whatever treatment) solidified the propaganda. The fact, that it is difficult after 9/11 to understand the sympathies he developed before 9/11, has left him without many political friends

I think the only thing that could jar this "case" loose again is a meticulous and unbiased examination of the documentary record, large portions of which probably still remain classified: that would involve at least several years of hard work with FOIA requests and lawsuits, and it could produce an important study of the political and military dynamics of the early Bush years
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-25-09 12:57 AM
Response to Reply #46
48. He went to Afghanistan as a religious pilgrim, not to attend terrorist training.
Edited on Sat Apr-25-09 12:57 AM by EFerrari
I still can't figure out what he was supposed to do when he heard we declared war on Afghanistan. He was lucky not to be killed on the spot. But, seriously, what do you do? "Guys, looks like I have to go home."
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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-25-09 01:47 AM
Response to Reply #48
49. That's my impression. But he may later also have undergone some
training against the so-called Northern Alliance. Post 9/11, the public position of W-Administration was that the Taliban were officially enemies and the Northern Alliance officially friends. Given the gross accumulated weight of W-Administration propaganda, a detailed description of the known events with a careful timeline is essential: otherwise, the kid's actual thinking and intentions are completely obscured by the later political climate in the US and the shifting policy positions here
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-25-09 01:54 AM
Response to Reply #49
50. Exactly. When I try to put myself in the shoes of this person
at every point, there is never some clear, heroic path he could have gone down and stayed alive for more than five minutes. He was made into some kind of villainous icon that seems to have nothing to do with his actual situation but we can't know with the information on hand.
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The Magistrate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-25-09 03:51 AM
Response to Reply #50
54. Indeed, Ma'am
A lot of this boy's story is 'if it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have had no luck at all' league stuff. By my lights and standards he was dumb as a box of rocks, but that is all. When he went to that part of the world, there were no official enmities; it was no crime to undertake the travels he did. People in Moslem countries can be incredibly welcoming to foreigners who show respect for their culture and seek to learn of it in even the smallest degree. My own mild experience was that my being able to name in Arabic the items desired in a grocery store invariably resulted in the storekeeper offering them to me free of charge once he had them down from his shelves, in delight at so obvious an American's employing even the rudiments of his tongue, and strenuous insistence on my part was required before he would consent to take my money. It was not an act or haggling trick, it was true feeling. What the reaction to a genuine convert, seeking instruction in the faith, must have been can only be imagined. The outpouring of affection must have been dazzling, certain to turn the head of any adolescent, and particularly one with some disorder in his family and school experience. The sense of acceptance and belonging at long last must have been overwhelming. There is little doubt in my mind he was marked down by 'talent scouts' as a potential asset of great value, but the little fish know nothing of the sharks in the deep waters. That he was led deliberately into enlistment in jihad, with little concept of what he getting into, and no idea of what long-term plans others were making for him, seems certain to me. He would have been handled delicately; no one would have wanted to take the chance of spooking him by a rushed and clumsy approach. No one is liable for the designs others have on him or her. And then in short order the world around him changed, and he was, as you say, out in the bush in the company of armed men, and all of them now enemies of the United States. No way out of that alive save to go along, and no one can really expect anything else. There is no doubt once captured and noticed, he was tortured: as Mr. Nut observed above, it was obvious from the photographs made public at the time. There is no justice in the sentence he was given.
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-25-09 04:34 PM
Response to Reply #54
58. The story is like a sad update of "Little Big Man".
I hope Mr. Holder will review his case and soon.
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ConsAreLiars Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-25-09 12:48 AM
Response to Original message
47. Steve Earle- John Walker's Blues
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ISFNTRaXRiI

Artist: Earle Steve
Song: John Walker's Blues
Album: Jerusalem

I'm just an American boy raised on MTV
And I've seen all those kids in the soda pop ads
But none of 'em looked like me
So I started lookin' around for a light out of the dim
And the first thing I heard that made sense was the word
Of Mohammed, peace be upon him

chorus:
A shadu la ilaha illa Allah
There is no God but God

If my daddy could see me now chains around my feet
He don't understand that sometimes a man
Has got to fight for what he believes
And I believe God is great, all praise due to him
And if I should die, I'll rise up to the sky
Just like Jesus, peace be upon him

chorus

We came to fight the Jihad and our hearts were pure and strong
As death filled the air, we all offered up prayers
And prepared for our martyrdom
But Allah had some other plan, some secret not revealed
Now they're draggin' me back with my head in a sack
To the land of the infidel

A shadu la ilaha illa Allah
A shadu la ilaha illa Allah
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dreamnightwind Donating Member (863 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-25-09 03:45 AM
Response to Original message
52. I agree, free him!
Just another sorry attempt by Bush/Cheney at using someone, no matter the personal cost, as P.R. in the war on terra. Like Pat Tillman, and that girl soldier/heroine who was "rescued" but was really just in an Iraqi hospital getting treatment and hadn't been a heroine after all, the John Walker Lindh case stinks any way you look at it.

This kid was a slightly misguided idealist (well, not necessarily true, just how he appeared to me) who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Bush/Cheney wanted the story. The fact that he came from the liberal Marin County of California was perfect, the repugs hate everything about Marin. And they made a lot of noise about it, too.

Also Bush/Cheney wanted to scare anyone who would even think of opposing their wars.

Obama, what are you waiting for?
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Maru Kitteh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-25-09 03:47 AM
Response to Original message
53. I would like him to see a fair trial.
I have pre-formed opinions, but I won't be on the jury panel, so it's OK.

About 10 years sounds appropriate to me.

Mr. Lindh swapped spit with people who would bind and lash your mother with a whip that tore her skin - for stepping foot onto the sidewalk without a man.

Every player plays a role. He chose poorly.
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RaleighNCDUer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-27-09 10:10 AM
Response to Reply #53
62. Which is guilt by association only.
HE never whipped anyone. He never broke a US law.

Why, then, should he be in a US prison?
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kentuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-25-09 12:39 PM
Response to Original message
57. It is time.






.
















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crazylikafox Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-25-09 06:32 PM
Response to Original message
59. And let's free the Justice Dept. whistleblower who tried to stop his torture
"THE TRIALS OF JESSELYN RADACK"

"...Since then she's lost two jobs -- pushed out of her Justice post and then fired from the firm that had taken her in -- and now finds herself unemployed and in limbo. Her personal challenges are daunting: under criminal investigation, ailing from multiple sclerosis, and expecting a third child in January. But far from singing the victim's song, Radack appears composed and stalwart, telling her story with short, chopping hand strokes and near-encyclopedic recall.

And her story grows more ominous as new details emerge about how far the government will go in pursuit of one of its own.

Radack's troubles began in December 2001. She was working in the Justice Department's Professional Responsibility Advisory Office, a special branch created by the department in 1999 to advise on potential ethics conflicts. The government in Afghanistan had just captured Lindh, the "American Taliban." In a series of e-mails, Radack advised John De Pue, a counterterrorism prosecutor, that since Lindh's father had hired James Brosnahan of Morrison & Foerster, she didn't think the Federal Bureau of Investigation could question Lindh alone. Others at Justice disagreed, and Lindh's statements became the basis of a 10-count indictment."
http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=1056139907383

"WHISTLEBLOWER AT THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE":

"In December 2001, while working at the Professional Responsibility and Advisory Office of the U.S. Department of Justice, Radack received an inquiry from the FBI about whether Lindh could be questioned without the presence of counsel. Radack responded that this was not permitted by law, since Lindhs father had already retained a lawyer for him. The FBI nevertheless questioned Lindh without the presence of his lawyer. Radack thus advised that the confession should be sealed and could not be used in a criminal case against Lindh. The prosecution ignored her advice and used the evidence. Furthermore, Attorney General John Ashcroft stated that to our knowledge, (Lindh) has not chosen a lawyer (at the time of interrogation)

Two weeks after the governments complaint against Lindh was filed, Radack received a blistering performance review. It did not mention the Lindh case, but it severely questioned her legal judgment. She was advised to find a new job, which she did with a private law firm...

Senator Edward M. Kennedy later said: "It appears she (Radack) was effectively fired for providing legal advice that the (Justice) Department didn't agree with."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesselyn_Radack


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scarletwoman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 02:21 PM
Response to Original message
61. I absolutely agree. Sorry I saw this too late to recommend.
I believe Lindh is the victim of a great injustice. He may have been stupid and naive, but that's not a criminal offense. What's criminal is how he was railroaded.

sw
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