If you don't put Israel first, you're considered a traitor.
Thinking About Lindh, Fonda
by Charles Reese
Whenever you think of John Walker Lindh,
who just entered a plea bargain with the U.S. government, also think of Jane Fonda and ask
yourself, "What's the deal here?"
Jane Fonda, for those of you of recent
birth, was an actress who gave 10,000 times more aid and comfort to the enemy, North
Vietnam, during the Vietnam War than Lindh ever could have given to the Taliban. Please
note that Fonda was never anti-war; she was always pro-North Vietnam and Viet Cong.
Yet Lindh, who joined the Taliban before
it was our enemy, has been vilified, arrested and darn near lynched for being an alleged
traitor. There is no evidence that Lindh, during the two months he was in the Taliban
after the United States decided to shift sides and join the Northern Alliance, ever harmed
a single American.
Not so with Jane Fonda. She was aiding an
enemy that killed about 57,000 Americans and wounded another quarter of a million. She
went to Hanoi and posed for propaganda pictures on a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun.
She made broadcasts to American soldiers urging them to desert. American POWs who refused
to meet with her were beaten, and when those who did meet with her tried to slip her a
note so she could tell their families they were still alive, she turned the notes over to
the North Vietnamese, who punished those POWs with further beatings and torture. At least
that's what some of the POWs say about her.
When American POWs got the word out that
they were being tortured, Fonda used her celebrity to publicly brand them liars, and after
the war, when genuine anti-war people like Joan Baez tried to raise money to condemn
communist brutalities, Fonda flatly refused, saying at one point that she would never
utter a word of criticism of a socialist government.
Yet, for all that, Fonda was never
arrested, never, so far as I know, even questioned, never vilified by journalists with the
exception of a few hard cases like me (I wrote at that time that I wouldn't spit on the
woman if she were on fire, and I still wouldn't). Fonda, a mediocre actress, was quickly
given an Academy Award by the left-wingers in Hollywood and made a millionaire by stupid,
airhead Americans who bought her exercise tapes. I marveled at the time that there could
not be much of a future for a country that made a heroine out of a traitor and villains
out of its own soldiers.
I just thought that all of you
super-patriots who are so eager to lynch a young man whose religious beliefs put him in
the wrong place at an unlucky time should be reminded that when it comes to prosecuting
treason, there is no greater hypocrite than the U.S. government. Apparently, people who
provide aid and comfort to left-wing enemies get a free pass, there being so many leftists
ensconced in this country in various entertainment-journalistic-government nests.
It's always been fashionable to support
Fidel Castro, never the anti-communist Cubans. Americans have made the Chilean communist
Salvador Allende a martyred hero, while the true hero of Chile, Gen. Augusto Pinochet, is
vilified. You should note that when Nazism collapsed, there was a worldwide hunt and
attempt to punish Nazis. When the communist empires collapsed, no such hunt or punishment
was attempted, yet communists murdered millions more people than the Nazis. Just where are
those red killers? Where is the communist Auschwitz?
Lindh is no enemy of America, and even
Osama bin Laden is more of a nasty annoyance than a threat. The threat to America's future
will come from within, from all those people who think that Jane Fonda was greater than
white bread and that Castro is George Washington with a Spanish accent.
US TORTURE OF JOHN WALKER LINDH EXPOSED AS FRAME-UP CONTINUES
Defense attorneys for John Walker Lindh filed documents describing how, after
barely surviving atrocities that claimed the lives of hundreds of his companions, the
so-called American Taliban was tortured while the FBI wrangled statements out
of him in violation of his Fifth Amendment right not to be a witness against himself. The
new filings are for a crucial hearing on July 15 to determine whether statements made by
Lindh after his capture with an Afghan Army unit will be suppressed or allowed into
evidence at trial.
Lindh, who turned 21 three months ago, was found barely alive among the handful of Taliban
prisoners who survived the US-backed massacre at Qala-i-Jangi fortress near
Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan late last November. The upcoming suppression hearing is widely
viewed as pivotal in the case. Prosecutors acknowledge that they have little evidence
outside of Lindhs own statements to support their charges that he conspired to
murder US citizens and illegally supported terrorist organizations. The charges carry
sentences ranging from decades to life in prison. Trial is set to begin in Alexandria,
Virginia, within a few miles of the Pentagon, on August 26.
The defendants papers include a Proffer of Facts in Support of Defendants
Suppression Motions based principally on information turned over by the government
in discovery, supplemented with information from news stories and details
provided by Lindh himself. (The proffer can be found at http://www.lindhdefense.info/20020613_FactsSuppSuppress.pdf)
The defense document explains that Lindhs journey to Afghanistan was part of a
phenomenon which dates back to the 1980s, when Afghan and foreign mujahideen, funded
in large part by the Untied States fought against Soviet troops. After rejecting an
invitation to participate in operations outside Afghanistan, Lindh became a member
of the Army of the State of Afghanistan and joined the Taliban front lines in the
Takar region of Northern Afghanistan on September 6, 2001, the week before the terrorist
attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. He stayed there until early November,
when forces under the control of the notorious warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum, backed by US
firepower, routed the Taliban troops.
Lindhs unit retreated on foot 50 miles to Kunduz in two days. There was little food
and water, and the weather was very cold. Lindh and about 100 others became separated from
the main group, and were mistaken for Northern Alliance soldiers when they tried to
reunite. About one-third of the men with whom Lindh was traveling were killed by the
resulting friendly fire.
Lindhs unit surrendered to Dostum after 10 days trapped in Kunduz. A deal was made
for the soldiers to receive safe passage to Herat, then still under Taliban control.
Instead, the prisoners were taken to the Qala-i-Jangi fortress outside Mazar-i-Sharif. One
of the detained Afghan soldiers detonated a grenade as he was being unloaded from a truck.
As a result, the remaining prisoners, including Lindh, were crammed into a basement, and a
grenade was dropped down an air duct, killing and wounding several men. Dostums
guards made the prisoners stay in the basement. Unable to find a space in which to lie
down, Mr. Lindh spent the night without sleep, crouched near a corner that was used as a
toilet by the other men in the basement.
The next day, the prisoners were led out of the basement and into the yard. Their arms
were bound behind their backs, and they were made to sit in rows. Dostums guards
walked among them, randomly hitting and kicking prisoners. Lindh was struck in the back of
the head and almost lost consciousness. CIA agent Johnny Mike Spann and
another agent, working with Dostums men, singled out Lindh and questioned him at
gunpoint. The episode was captured on videotape and records the Americans saying to Lindh,
The problem is, he needs to decide if he wants to live or die, and die here ... were
just going to leave him, and hes going to f-ing sit in prison the rest of his
f-ing short life. Its his decision, man. We can only help the guys who want to
talk to us. Lindh remained mute throughout the questioning.
Later that day a prisoner again detonated a grenade. This time, Northern Alliance troops
opened fire, mowing down the rows of bound prisoners with automatic weapons. In the
ensuing pandemonium Spann was killed under circumstances that have never been made public.
It seems not unlikely he was caught in Northern Alliance crossfire. In any event, there is
no evidence that Lindh had anything to do with his death.
Lindh was shot in the leg while fleeing the carnage. He lay on the ground for 12 hours,
surrounded by corpses and pretending to be dead, while US aircraft bombed the compound,
blowing living and dead prisoners to bits. In the middle of the night, Lindh and several
other survivors in the yard made their way back into the basement. Wounded, starving and
freezing, Lindh was trapped there for the next seven days. Dostums troops
periodically dropped grenades down air shafts, killing many. One wounded Lindh with
On the fourth day, Northern Alliance troops poured gasoline into the basement and ignited
it, incinerating several men. Then Dostums soldiers fired rockets into the areas of
the basement where the men had fled to escape the flames, littering the area with body
On the sixth day, Dostums troops flooded the basement with near freezing water.
According to government disclosures, an eyewitness said that the water was about
waist high for one full day. Those who were too injured to stand drowned, and the water
was full of blood and waste. According to the proffer, Mr. Lindh and others
were forced to drink the water to stay alive. Unable to stand without assistance, Mr.
Lindh alternated between leaning on a stick and a fellow soldier to keep from falling
under the water and drowning. At least once, Mr. Lindh tripped over a dead body and was
submerged in the freezing water, which resulted in his suffering hypothermia.
On December 1, wounded, starved, frozen and exhausted, Lindh emerged from the
basement with the other survivors, less than 85 of the more than 300 prisoners brought to
the Qala-i-Jangi fortress the week before. Dostums forces bound his arms behind his
back once again, and he was crammed into a metal shipping container with other wounded and
sick prisoners for six hours, doubled over with abdominal cramps caused by drinking the
polluted water in the basement.
Lindh was transferred to an open-air truck full of dying prisoners and learned that there
were media and Red Cross representatives in the area. One told him that Dostum would have
killed all the survivors were they not there. Still wet from the basement, Lindh was
driven three hours through the cold night to Sheberghan, where he was taken by stretcher
into a room about 10 feet by 10 feet, where he was left with approximately 15 other dead
or dying prisoners.
It was there that CNN correspondent Robert Pelton found Lindh and began questioning him on
videotape. According to the proffer, Lindh at first refused to be interviewed, but
relented after Pelton arranged for him to receive food and medical attention from the US
military. He was moved into a room without other prisoners. While armed US soldiers stood
guard, a medic removed Lindhs clothes and began treatment. As he answered Peltons
questions, Lindh was receiving morphine and other medications intravenously. The interview
was widely shown on CNN during the month of December.
Pelton told Lindhs parents about his predicament. They quickly retained prominent
San Francisco trial lawyer James Brosnahan, who immediately faxed demands that the US
government not interrogate Lindh until they consulted him, and offered to travel to
Afghanistan to meet with his new client. Although these letters were faxed to US Attorney
General John Ashcroft and other government officials on December 3, Brosnahan was not
allowed to speak to his client until January 25, almost two months later, moments before
Lindhs first court appearance in the United States.
Following the Pelton interview, Lindh was interrogated by a member of the US Special
Forces at Dostums compound without first being advised of his right to remain silent
and his right to counsel. The next day, the same Special Forces officer bound Lindhs
hands with rope and placed a hood over his head. Lindh was taken to a schoolhouse in
Mazar-i-Sharif, where he was held in a room with the windows covered so that he could not
tell the time of day. Round-the-clock armed guards taunted Lindh with epithets like shitbag
and shithead. Lindh was given some food, but was always left hungry. Military
interrogations began again, lasting several hours and continuing for several days. Lindh
was not advised of his constitutional rights, and when he asked for a lawyer, he was told
none was available. His bullet wound was left untreated, to preserve the chain of
custody of the bullet for its use as evidence at trial.
On December 7, heavily armed US soldiers blindfolded and handcuffed Lindh, scrawled shithead
across the blindfold, and posed with him for photos. One US soldier told Lindh that he was
going to hang, and then the pictures could be sold and the proceeds donated to
a Christian organization. Another told Lindh that he wanted to shoot him then and there.
Lindh was cuffed so tightly that his wrists were scarred, and his hands were numb for
Lindh was flown to a Marine airbase in the Afghanistan high desert dubbed Camp Rhino.
According to a statement provided in government discovery, a Navy doctor claims a US
Special Forces officer told him at Camp Rhino that sleep deprivation, cold and
hunger might be employed while Lindh was interrogated. That certainly seems to have
been the case. Once at Camp Rhino, Lindhs guards stripped him naked, and fastened
him to a stretcher with duct tape and placed him in a metal shipping container. Conditions
inside the container would have tested the endurance of anyone, much less someone in Lindhs
weakened condition. There was no light, heat or insulation. Two small holes provided all
the ventilation. Guards taunted Lindh through the holes, threatening to spit in his food.
Lindhs hands were tied together. At first he was fully exposed, but eventually the
guards covered him with a blanket and placed one underneath him.
For two days, Lindh was provided minimal food and medical attention. He was freezing cold
and in constant pain because of the wrist restraints that were too tight. The loud noise
of an electric generator echoed in the container. He could not move. Lindh was not even
released from the stretcher when he needed to urinate. Instead, guards propped him
On December 9, Lindh was dressed in a hospital gown and taken into a room or tent. When
his blindfold was removed, an FBI agent presented him with a form waiving his
constitutional rights. The note Lindhs parents sent to him through the Red Cross,
advising that they had retained a lawyer for him, was not delivered. Although Brosnahan
was still trying to reach him, the agent repeated than no attorneys were available.
Desperate to improve the conditions of his confinement, Lindh signed the waiver and
answered the FBI agents questions.
The FBI interviews continued for two days. There is no tape or transcript of the
interrogations, only the agents summary. After the interrogations, Lindhs
conditions improved somewhat. On December 14, he was transferred to the USS Peleliu, where
he was treated for dehydration, hypothermia and frostbite. The next day the bullet was
removed from his leg. There was no further questioning.
Under existing legal precedent, especially the landmark Miranda decision recently
reaffirmed by the US Supreme Court, none of Lindhs statements can be considered
voluntary and therefore admissible over a Fifth Amendment challenge. This outcome was in
fact discussed in a series of US Justice Department emails that were leaked to the media
after being turned over to United States District Judge Thomas S. Ellis III, who refused
to release them to the Lindh defense.
According to the email, one Justice Department lawyer wrote to another on December 7, the
day Lindh landed at Camp Rhino, that The FBI wants to interview American Taliban
member John Walker some time next week.... Walkers father retained counsel for him.
The FBI wants to question Walker about taking up arms against the US. I consulted with a
Senior Legal Advisor here at PRAO and we dont think you can have the FBI agent
question Walker. It would be a pre-indictment, custodial overt interview, which is not
authorized by law.
The government prosecutors will no doubt be filing their own papers soon, disregarding
this assessment and arguing that Lindhs Camp Rhino waiver of his constitutional
rights to remain silent and consult an attorney was voluntary. In presenting
their claim to Judge Ellis, they will be pushing on an open door. Ellis has openly sided
with the prosecutors at every hearing in the case so far, and can be expected to do so at
the suppression hearing as well.
At the last hearing, which was held on June 17, Ellis summarily denied seven separate
defense motions, rejecting claims that Lindh was a legal combatant entitled to Geneva
Convention protections, and that his activities with the Taliban were protected by the
First Amendments guarantees of freedom of religion and association.
Demonstrating that he has already judged Lindh and found him guilty, Ellis dispensed with
the last argument by stating that The First Amendment freedom of association is no
license to provide terrorists with support. He then refused to move the venue of the
trial from near the Pentagon, where almost 200 people were killed on September 11, or to
dismiss the case because of the prejudicial and inappropriate pretrial comments made by
Perhaps the most interesting defense motion called for Ellis to dismiss the charges
against Lindh because of selective prosecution. Lindhs lawyers filed
voluminous documents establishing that he is the only person ever prosecuted for
supporting the Taliban, even though many firms and individuals had continued doing
business with the Taliban after Clinton issued the executive order Lindh is accused of
The most obvious example is the Unocal pipeline project, which was not finally abandoned
until August 2001. The prosecutors opposition to the motion states: the
defendant himself notes that some of his evidence suggests that the government
supported Unocals pipeline project, which would have brought natural gas from
Turkmenistan to Pakistan by crossing through Afghanistana route purportedly
preferable to alternative routes through Russia or Iran. The defendant cannot possibly
suggest that the executive branch of government may not consider the national interest
when deciding whether to bring criminal charges.
In other words, the oil monopolies and other sections of the corporate elite could violate
the law with impunity, because their drive to reap profits by currying favor with the
Taliban was deemed to be in the national interest. Lindh, on the other hand,
can be condemned to lifetime imprisonment because he lacks the connections to the Bush
administration enjoyed by the oil executives and makes a convenient scapegoat.
Despite his riveting personal drama, Lindh himself is a relatively insignificant figure.
His presence in Afghanistan had no effect on the outcome of the US military campaign, and
there is no evidence that he had any involvement in terrorism or fired a single shot at
He is being prosecuted not only to make an example of him and intimidate others who might
oppose US policies, but also to condition public opinion to even more repressive and
dictatorial measures, such as those presently being used against Jose Padilla. The
Brooklyn-born man, alleged to have participated in a dirty bomb plot, is being
held incommunicado in a military brig without even the pretenses of due process.
Plea deals happen in cases large and small because both sides have too much to gain by
making them and too much to lose by not making them. That's about the simplest way to
explain why both federal prosecutors and John Walker Lindh and his legal team decided that
now was as good a time as any to end his conspiracy and terror-aid case.
John Walker Lindh copped a plea early Monday morning because his lawyers feared that U.S.
District Judge T.S. Ellis III would rule against them on the key suppression motions that
were supposed to take the rest of the week to litigate. Adverse rulings by the judge would
have meant that all of Lindh's statements in Afghanistan would have been shown to jurors
and that would have dramatically increased the government's chances of convicting
"Jihad Johnnie," as some law enforcement types derisively call Lindh.
The defense also sensed, correctly, that the jury pool in Virginia, in the figurative
shadow of the Pentagon, would not likely have spawned jurors sympathetic to Lindh. No
matter how much he now looks like an All-American when he sits in court. And Lindh's
attorneys also knew, and had been reminded recently in the case of fellow American Taliban
Yasser Esam Hamdi, that the federal appeals court with jurisdiction over the case, the 4th
U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, is no friend of criminal defendants. So if Lindh would have
been convicted on any charges after trial, his chances of having those convictions
overturned on appeal would have been virtually nil.
Prosecutors, meanwhile, cut the deal when they did because they were concerned about the
public relations beating they would take once it became clear just how badly Lindh was
treated by his military captors. Even if the goverment prevailed during the suppression
hearing and was able to use Lindh's statements against him at trial, there always would
have been a cloud hanging over those statements. Moreover, as prosecutors conceded after
the plea deal was entered, the heavily-briefed case had taken a toll on the government's
"limited but vital" legal resources. Believe it or not, the mighty federal
government sometimes can be matched, brief for brief, argument for argument, case cite for
case cite, and in this case it was. The scorched-earthers got their earth scorched.
The feds now can use resources formerly devoted to the Lindh case to help prosecute
Zacarias Moussaoui, alleged to be part of a terror conspiracy. And Richard Reid, alleged
to have tried to blow up a plane with a shoe bomb. They also can pump Lindh for
information about his time with the Taliban to see if he can offer any usable intelligence
information which will help U.S. soldiers or law enforcement officials track down more
terrorists. They can run stuff by him as they discover it. They can turn him from a
nuisance to an asset and that's a large reason why the feds were willing to forego rolling
the dice and have a jury decide Lindh's fate.
The deal represents other concessions for the parties. It signals a concession from the
government that there really wasn't much "there" in the case against Lindh,
regardless of what Attorney General John Ashcroft said publically shortly after Lindh was
captured. There was no evidentiary link, for example, between Lindh's actions and the
death of CIA Agent Johnny "Michael" Spann, who was killed in a prison riot at
the same time Lindh was in custody. Without such a link, the government's conspiracy case
against Lindh might have foundered. And apparently there was no evidence linking Lindh to
any terrorist activities that led to any deaths, and without that evidence, the
terror-related charges might not have prevailed.
Lindh, meanwhile, has conceded through the deal that he was a member of the Taliban and
that he carried weapons in anger against their enemies. He's also conceded that his
statements to CNN and to military authorities would have been incriminating to him and
probably would have convicted him at trial. He's conceded that he wasn't just a misguided
youth, a young man who made a mistake, when he joined up with and then stayed fighting for
the Taliban after Sept. 11. Twenty years in federal prison may not seem like a long time
to some people, but it's a pretty hefty sentence for someone who never actually harmed
anyone while in the midst of a war.
The deal is a surprise. Not because it happened but because of when it happened. I always
figured there might be a deal at the end of the suppression hearing, after the judge had
officially weighed in on Lindh's statements, or at the eve of trial. I always suspected
that prosecutors would be afraid to make Lindh the first, official, legal "face of
terror." I always figured that Lindh's lawyers would be afraid to beg for mercy from
such a law-and-order jury pool. I never figured the deal would come so soon and so
suddenly, before any suppression evidence was ever heard.
But we should have known something was up from the way the attorneys acted when they
entered the courtroom Monday morning. Defense attorneys were almost giddy. Prosecutors had
a spring in their step. James Brosnahan, Lindh's lead attorney, joked with reporters and
so did Lindh's father, who looked as relaxed as I have ever seen him.
When U.S. Attorney Paul McNulty came to the courtroom bar he strode toward Brosnahan and
glad-handed him the way you see it in the movies. Even Lindh himself, at the center of the
storm, flashed a huge smile when he saw his family as he walked into court. Before the
deal was announced, it all looked like nervous energy or gallows humor in advance of what
everyone figured would be a hard-fought, nasty, week-long hearing. When the deal was
announced, it all made perfect sense.
By Andrew Cohen
ï¿½ MMII, CBS Worldwide Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Saturday, March 11, 2017
Copyright @ 2007 by Fathers' Manifesto & Christian Party