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The Info List - John Walker Lindh



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JOHN PHILLIP WALKER LINDH (born February 9, 1981) is a U.S. citizen who was captured as an enemy combatant during the United States' invasion of Afghanistan
Afghanistan
in November 2001. He was captured and detained at Qala-i-Jangi fortress, used as a prison. He took part in the Battle of Qala-i-Jangi , a violent uprising of the Taliban
Taliban
prisoners, during which the CIA
CIA
officer Johnny "Mike" Spann was killed, together with all but 86 of the estimated 300–500 prisoners. Brought to trial in United States
United States
federal court in February 2002, Lindh accepted a plea bargain; he pleaded guilty to two charges and was sentenced to 20 years in prison without parole.

A convert to Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam
in California
California
at age 16, Lindh traveled to Yemen in 1998 to study Arabic and stayed there for 10 months. He later returned in 2000, then went to Afghanistan
Afghanistan
to aid the Taliban
Taliban
. He received training at Al-Farouq , a training camp associated with al-Qaeda , designated a terrorist organization by the United States and other countries. While at the camp, he attended a lecture by Osama bin Laden . After the 9/11 attacks , he remained there to join opposing military forces after he learned that the U.S. was allied with the Afghan Northern Alliance
Northern Alliance
. Lindh had previously received training with Harkat-ul-Mujahideen
Harkat-ul-Mujahideen
, an internationally designated terrorist organization based in Pakistan.

Lindh went by the name SULAYMAN AL-FARIS during his time in Afghanistan, but prefers the name ABU SULAYMAN AL-IRLANDI today. In early reports following his capture, when the press learned that he was a U.S. citizen, he was usually referred to by the news media as just "John Walker".

CONTENTS

* 1 Youth, conversion and travels * 2 Capture and interrogation * 3 Trial * 4 Imprisonment * 5 In popular culture * 6 See also * 7 References * 8 External links

YOUTH, CONVERSION AND TRAVELS

Lindh was born in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
, to Marilyn Walker and Frank Lindh. He was baptized a Catholic
Catholic
, and grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland . When he was 10 years old, his family moved to San Anselmo, California
California
. Lindh suffered from an intestinal disorder as a child. At age 14, his health improved. He enrolled at Redwood High School as a freshman. He then transferred to Tamiscal High School in the Tamalpais Union High School District
Tamalpais Union High School District
, an alternative school offering self-directed, individualized study programs. While there, he studied world culture, including Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam
and the Middle East. Lindh left the school and eventually earned an equivalent of a high school diploma by passing the California
California
High School Proficiency Exam at age 16.

As an adolescent, Lindh participated in IRC
IRC
chat rooms with the IRC nickname "Mujahid". He became a devoted fan of hip hop music and engaged in extensive discussions on Usenet
Usenet
newsgroups , sometimes pretending to be an African-American rapper who would criticize others for "acting black". Spike Lee
Spike Lee
's film Malcolm X impressed him deeply and sparked his interest in Islam.

Although his parents did not divorce until 1999, their marriage was in serious trouble throughout Lindh's adolescence. His father often left their Marin residence for extended periods to live in San Francisco with a male lover, as he was an acknowledged homosexual. Frank Lindh said he and Marilyn had been effectively separated since 1997.

In 1997, at the age of 16, Lindh formally converted to Islam. He began regularly attending mosques in Mill Valley and later in nearby San Francisco. In 1998, Lindh traveled to Yemen and stayed for about 10 months to learn Arabic so that he could read the Qur\'an in its original language. He returned to the United States
United States
in 1999, living with his family for about eight months.

Lindh returned to Yemen in February 2000 and left for Pakistan to study at a madrassa . While abroad, Lindh sent numerous emails to his family. In one, his father told him about the USS Cole bombing
USS Cole bombing
, to which Lindh replied that the American naval destroyers being in the Yemen harbor had been an act of war, and that the bombing was justified. "This raised my concerns," his father told Newsweek
Newsweek
, "but my days of molding him were over."

At the age of 20, Lindh decided to travel to Afghanistan
Afghanistan
to fight for the Afghan Taliban
Taliban
government forces against Northern Alliance fighters. His parents said that he was moved by stories of atrocities allegedly perpetrated by the Northern Alliance
Northern Alliance
army against civilians. He traveled to Afghanistan
Afghanistan
in May 2001. Tony West, his lawyer, explained it as follows: "One of the first things he told Army interrogators when they questioned him on December 3, 2001, was that after 9/11 happened, he wanted to leave the front lines but couldn't for fear of his life. John never wanted to be in a position where he was opposing the United States
United States
(and never thought he would be), and in fact he never opposed any American military."

CAPTURE AND INTERROGATION

Lindh was captured on November 25, 2001, by Afghan Northern Alliance forces after his foreign fighters unit surrendered at Kunduz
Kunduz
after retreating from Takar. He and other fighters were to be questioned by the CIA
CIA
officers Johnny "Mike" Spann and Dave "Dawson" Tyson at General Dostum
General Dostum
's military garrison, Qala-i-Jangi , near Mazār-e Sharīf . During the initial questioning, Lindh was not advised of his rights and his request for a lawyer was denied.

After being detained, Lindh first said that he was Irish. While being interviewed by the CIA, he did not reveal that he was American. Spann asked Lindh, "Are you a member of the IRA ?" He was asked this question because, when questioned by Spann, an Iraqi in the group identified Lindh as an English speaker. Lindh had been told to say he was "Irish" in order to avoid problems. Moments later, around 11 am, the makeshift prison was the scene of a violent Taliban
Taliban
uprising, which became known as the Battle of Qala-i-Jangi . Spann and hundreds of foreign fighters were killed; only 86 prisoners survived. According to other detainees interviewed by the journalist Robert Young Pelton for CNN
CNN
, Lindh was fully aware of the planned uprising, yet remained silent and did not cooperate with the Americans.

Sometime during the initial uprising, Lindh was shot in the right upper thigh and found refuge in a basement, hiding with a group of Arab, Uzbek, and Pakistani detainees. On the second day, the Red Cross sent in workers to collect the dead. As soon as they entered, the workers were shot by the prisoners, who killed one. The Northern Alliance repeatedly bombarded the area with RPG and grenade attacks, and set alight fuel it poured in. Finally, on December 2, 2001, Northern Alliance
Northern Alliance
forces diverted an irrigation stream into the middle of the camp to flush the remaining prisoners out of their underground shelters, drowning many in the process. Lindh and about 85 survivors from the original 300–500 were forced out of hiding. Northern Alliance soldiers bound Lindh's elbows behind his back.

Shortly after his recapture, Lindh was noticed and interviewed by Pelton, who was working as a stringer for CNN
CNN
. Lindh initially gave his name as "Abd-al-Hamid" but later gave his birth name. Pelton brought a medic and food for Lindh and interviewed him about how he got there. During the interview, Lindh said that he was a member of al-Ansar, a group of Arabic-speaking fighters financed by Osama bin Laden . Lindh said that the prison uprising was sparked by some of the prisoner guards smuggling grenades into the basement, "This is against what we had agreed upon with the Northern Alliance, and this is against Islam. It is a major sin to break a contract, especially in military situations". A U.S. Army Special
Special
Forces operator, fresh from three weeks of combat, gave up his bed so that the wounded Lindh could sleep there. Pelton repeatedly asked Lindh if he wanted to call his parents or have the journalist do so, but Lindh declined. Lindh photographed after being transported to Camp Rhino
Camp Rhino

After capture, Lindh was given basic first aid and questioned for a week at Mazār-e Sharīf. He was taken to Camp Rhino
Camp Rhino
on December 7, 2001, the bullet still within his thigh. When Lindh arrived at Camp Rhino, he was stripped and restrained on a stretcher, blindfolded and placed in a metal shipping container, which was procedure for dealing with a potentially dangerous detainee associated with a terrorist organization. While bound to the stretcher, he was photographed by some American military personnel. At Camp Rhino, he was given oxycodone/paracetamol for pain and diazepam .

On December 8 and 9, he was interviewed by the FBI and was mirandized on December 9 or 10. He was held at Camp Rhino
Camp Rhino
until he was transferred to the USS Peleliu on December 14, 2001 with other wounded detainees, where his wound was operated on and he received further care. He was interrogated before the operation on December 14. While on the Peleliu, he signed confession documents while he was held by the United States Marine Corps
United States Marine Corps
. On December 31, 2001, Lindh was transferred to the USS Bataan , where he was held until January 22, 2002. He was flown back to the United States
United States
to face criminal charges. On January 16, 2002, Attorney General John Ashcroft
John Ashcroft
announced that Lindh would be tried in the United States.

In 2002, former President George H. W. Bush
George H. W. Bush
referred to Lindh as "some misguided Marin County hot-tubber". The comment provoked a minor furor and prompted a retraction of the statement by Bush. Lindh's attorney told the press that his client had asked for a lawyer repeatedly before being interviewed by the FBI but he did not get one, and that "highly coercive " prison conditions forced Lindh to waive his right to remain silent . Although the FBI asked Jesselyn Radack , a Justice Department ethics advisor, whether Lindh could be questioned without a lawyer present, they did not follow her advice to avoid that scenario.

TRIAL

On February 5, 2002, Lindh was indicted by a federal grand jury on ten charges:

* Conspiracy to murder US citizens or US nationals * Two counts of providing material support and resources to terrorist organizations * One count of supplying services to the Taliban * Conspiracy to contribute services to Al Qaeda * Contributing services to Al Qaeda * Conspiracy to supply services to the Taliban * Using and carrying firearms and destructive devices during crimes of violence

If convicted of these charges, Lindh could have received up to three life sentences and 90 additional years in prison. On February 13, 2002, he pleaded not guilty to all 10 charges. The court scheduled an evidence suppression hearing, at which Lindh would have been able to testify about the details of the torture to which he claimed he was subjected. The government faced the problem that a key piece of evidence – Lindh's confession – might be excluded from evidence as having been forced under duress (i.e. torture).

Michael Chertoff
Michael Chertoff
, then-head of the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice , then directed the prosecutors to offer Lindh a plea bargain . Lindh could plead guilty to two charges: supplying services to the Taliban
Taliban
(50 U.S.C. § 1705(b), 18 U.S.C. § 2, 31 C.F.R. 545.204, and 31 C.F.R. 545.206a) and carrying an explosive during the commission of a felony (18 U.S.C. § 844(h)(2)). He would have to consent to a gag order that would prevent him from making any public statements on the matter for the duration of his 20-year sentence, and he would have to drop any claims that he had been mistreated or tortured by U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan
Afghanistan
and aboard two military ships during December 2001 and January 2002. In return, all other charges would be dropped. The gag order was said to be at the request of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld
Donald Rumsfeld
.

Lindh accepted this offer. On July 15, 2002, he entered his plea of guilty to the two remaining charges. The judge asked Lindh to say, in his own words, what he was admitting to: "I plead guilty. I provided my services as a soldier to the Taliban
Taliban
last year from about August to December. In the course of doing so, I carried a rifle and two grenades. I did so knowingly and willingly knowing that it was illegal." Lindh said that he "went to Afghanistan
Afghanistan
with the intention of fighting against terrorism and oppression," fighting for the suffering of ordinary people at the hands of the Northern Alliance. On October 4, 2002, Judge T.S. Ellis, III formally imposed the sentence: 20 years without possibility of parole.

The government invoked the Son of Sam law and informed Lindh that any and all profits made from book deals or any movies about Lindh's experience would be automatically transferred to the federal government. Lindh, his family, his relatives, his associates and his friends will be unable to profit financially from his crimes and/or experiences. Lindh's attorney, James Brosnahan, said Lindh would be eligible for release in 17 years, with good behavior. This is because, although there is no parole under federal law, his sentence could be reduced by 15 percent, or three years, for good behavior. Lindh agreed to cooperate "fully, truthfully and completely" with both military intelligence and law enforcement agencies in the terrorism investigation.

IMPRISONMENT

In January 2003, Lindh was sent to the U.S. Penitentiary, Victorville , a high-security facility northeast of Los Angeles . On March 3, 2003, Lindh was tackled by inmate Richard Dale Morrison. He assaulted Lindh at prayer, causing bruises on his forehead. On July 2, 2003, Morrison was charged with a misdemeanor count of assault.

Lindh was held in Federal Supermax
Supermax
ADX Florence
ADX Florence
in Florence, Colorado for a short time. He is currently serving his sentence as prisoner 45426-083, with a projected release date of May 23, 2019, at the Federal Correctional Institution at Terre Haute, Indiana
Terre Haute, Indiana
in the Communication Management Unit .

In April 2007, citing the reduced sentence for the Australian prisoner David Matthew Hicks , Lindh's attorneys made a public plea for a Presidential commutation to lessen his 20-year sentence. In January 2009, the Lindh family's petition for clemency was denied by President Bush in one of his final acts in office. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, all "special administrative measures " in place against Lindh expired on March 20, 2009, as part of a gradual easing of restrictions on him.

In 2010, Lindh and the Syrian-American prisoner Enaam Arnaout sued to lift restrictions on group prayer by Muslim inmates in the Communication Management Unit. On January 11, 2013, a federal judge ruled in their favor, saying that the government had shown no compelling interest in restricting the religious speech of the inmates by prohibiting them from praying together.

According to an internal report by the National Counterterrorism Center , Lindh told a visiting television news producer that he has not renounced extremist violence. Lindh secured Irish citizenship in 2013 through his paternal grandmother, Kathleen Maguire, who was born in Donegal
Donegal
.

IN POPULAR CULTURE

This article NEEDS ADDITIONAL CITATIONS FOR VERIFICATION . Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources . Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (June 2017) (Learn how and when to remove this template message )

* In a National Geographic documentary, Taliban
Taliban
Uprising, the only video of Lindh speaking since his capture is shown. * The documentary Good Morning, Afghanistan
Afghanistan
by Damien Degueldre features the Battle of Masar-el Sharif, where John Walker was being held and later transferred by the Northern Alliance
Northern Alliance
to US Special Forces Operatives. * DJ Krush
DJ Krush
and Anticon recorded the song "Song for John Walker" for the 2002 album The Message at the Depth
The Message at the Depth
. * Steve Earle
Steve Earle
recorded a song about Lindh entitled "John Walker's Blues". It was released on his 2002 album Jerusalem . * The 2003 graphic novel Johnny Jihad by Ryan Inzana is based loosely on Lindh's story. * The 13th-season premiere of the true crime television series Law and Order is based on the Lindh case. * In episode seven of the first season of the television series Entourage Vince is offered a role in a fictitious movie based on "the John Walker Lindh
John Walker Lindh
story".

SEE ALSO

* Biography portal * United States
United States
portal

* Detention of five Americans in Pakistan (Dec. 2009) * Adam Yahiye Gadahn * Yasser Esam Hamdi * Bryant Neal Vinas

REFERENCES

* ^ Original Indictment John Walker Lindh
John Walker Lindh
Indictment * ^ Statement of Facts U.S. Department of Justice * ^ Truth About John Lindh (speech) Frank Lindh * ^ Mayer, Jane (2008). The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals. New York, NY: Doubleday. p. 73. ISBN 978-0-385-52639-5 . * ^ "Cageprisoners: The Ballad of the Fleas". pub. September 24, 2010. Retrieved September 25, 2010. * ^ A B C Tyrangiel, Josh (December 8, 2001). "The Taliban
Taliban
Next Door". Time magazine . Retrieved August 1, 2009. * ^ A B C D E F G Frank Lindh (July 10, 2011). "America\'s \'Detainee 001\'". The Guardian. Retrieved July 11, 2011. * ^ Best, James (September 3, 2003). "Black Like Me: John Walker Lindh\'s hip-hop daze". East Bay Express. Retrieved October 26, 2010. * ^ John Lindh Usenet
Usenet
Postings John Lindh * ^ Backer, Larry (2005). "EMASCULATED MEN, EFFEMINATE LAW IN THE UNITED STATES, ZIMBABWE AND MALAYSIA". Yale Journal of Law and Feminism. Yale. 17 (1): 8–9. SSRN 618863  . * ^ "Liberal Parents, Lost Children". American Enterprise Institute Public Policy Research. American Enterprise Institute: 7. March 1, 2002. Retrieved November 14, 2009. * ^ Rico, John (April 2009). "Can John Walker Lindh
John Walker Lindh
Go Home Now?". GQ Magazine. p. 2. Retrieved November 15, 2009. * ^ Josh Tyrangiel (December 9, 2001). "The Taliban
Taliban
Next Door". Time magazine. Retrieved May 26, 2008. * ^ Thomas, Evan (December 16, 2001), "A Long, Strange Trip To The Taliban", Newsweek
Newsweek
, archived from the original on May 7, 2012, retrieved May 7, 2012 * ^ A B "John Walker Lindh\'s Parents Discuss Their Son\'s Story". Democracy Now. July 31, 2009. Retrieved March 22, 2010. * ^ Tom Junod (July 1, 2006). "Innocent". Esquire. Retrieved January 30, 2010. * ^ "John Walker Lindh\'s plea with Tony West, Defense Attorney and Co-counsel", Washington Post, 18 July 2002. * ^ Buncombe, Andrew; Penketh, Anne (2004-06-10). "Rumsfeld \'told officers to take gloves off with Lindh\'". The Independent
The Independent
. Washington: Independent Print Limited. Retrieved 2014-08-27. * ^ A B C D Truth About John Lindh Robert Young Pelton, As shown on British Channel 4 news. * ^ " FindLaw
FindLaw
- United States
United States
of America v. John Philip Walker Lindh - Grand Jury Indictment". findlaw.com. * ^ "3 Relief Workers Shot in Riot Aftermath". LA Times. Retrieved 6 December 2012. * ^ A B Taliban
Taliban
Uprising National Geographic Documentary * ^ Lucas, Dean. "Famous Pictures Magazine – American Taliban". Retrieved June 26, 2012. * ^ "Walker: Prison uprising was \'a mistake\'". CNN. December 20, 2001. * ^ A B "Government\'s Opposition to Defendant\'s Motion to Compel Discovery of Documents Filed In Camera" (PDF). Findlaw News Document Archive. findlaw.com. * ^ A B "Report of Proceedings by Investigating Officer, AR 15-6" (PDF). DOD. Retrieved December 13, 2011. * ^ "U.S. denies torturing American Taliban". Japan Today. August 1, 2007. Retrieved August 1, 2007. * ^ A B "Lindh\'s rights were violated, lawyers say". IOL. 2000. Archived from the original on January 23, 2008. Retrieved August 1, 2007. * ^ Tony West Attorneys for defendant John Walker Lindh
John Walker Lindh
(June 13, 2002). "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA vs JOHN PHILLIP WALKER LINDH – CRIMINAL NO. 02-37-A" (PDF). UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT. Retrieved August 1, 2007. By the time Mr.Lindh arrived at Camp Rhino
Camp Rhino
, it was night and the temperature was cold. Immediately upon arrival, soldiers cut off all of Mr. Lindh's clothing. He developed frostbite. Completely naked, wearing nothing but his blindfold and shaking violently from the cold nighttime air, Mr.Lindh was then bound to a stretcher with heavy duct tape wrapped tightly around his chest, upper arms, ankles and the stretcher itself. Next, he was placed in a windowless metal shipping container, about 15 feet long, 7 feet wide and 8 feet high, but not before military personnel photographed Mr. Lindh as he lay naked on the stretcher. * ^ Asbury, Anne (2002-01-15). "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA v. JOHN PHILIP WALKER LINDH". justice.gov. Retrieved 2014-08-27. * ^ PAUL J. McNULTY UNITED STATES ATTORNEY (April 2, 2002). "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA vs JOHN PHILLIP WALKER LINDH – CRIMINAL NO. 02-37-A" (PDF). UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT. Retrieved August 1, 2007. On December 14, 2001, Lindh was flown from Camp Rhino
Camp Rhino
to the USS Peleliu where he received the following treatment: 12 days after his US capture in Afghanistan
Afghanistan
, he was operated on by the Peleliu’s senior surgeon to remove the bullet lodged in his leg; he received daily medical treat