Unrepentant "American Taliban" John Walker Lindh approaching release from prison

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Unrepentant "American Taliban" John Walker Lindh approaching release from prison

[Note: video below plays automatically, so go pause it below until you get to that part.]


In terms of red meat, this is perhaps the rarest steak I've ever served up:

John Walker Lindh, a former American Taliban militant convicted in 2002 for supporting the terrorist organization, is due to be freed in May.

The former Islamist fighter, dubbed “Detainee 001 in the war on terror,” was arrested in 2001, just months after the Sept. 11 attacks and the start of the war in Afghanistan. Then just 20 years old, he was among a group of Taliban fighters who were captured by U.S. forces.

Within a year, Walker Lindh was convicted of supporting the Taliban and sentenced to 20 years in prison -- even as some hardliners urged authorities to consider treason charges that could have resulted in the death penalty.

Walker Lindh’s release later this year is likely to be met with headaches for security services across the globe, especially since he has since acquired Irish citizenship and plans to move there -- even though he hasn’t denounced radical Islamic ideology and has even made pro-Isis comments to the media.

Before I go into the debate about whether setting him free is just, stupid, appropriate or anything else though, some additional context for what the years since 2001 have done to mellow Lindh.  In short, nothing.

In 2016, the National Counterterrorism Center found that Lindh was continuing to 'advocate for global jihad', according to documents obtained by Foreign Policy

He was also continuing to 'write and translate violent extremist texts', it added. 

The document also claims that in 2015 Lindh told a television news producer 'that he would continue to spread violent extremist Islam upon his release'.

During his sentence, Lindh filed two suits against the Bureau of Prisons so that he could continue practicing the tenets of Islam. 

In 2013, Lindh won the right for communal prayer. The following year, he argued that he should be allowed to wear his pants above the ankle.

The Foreign Policy article mentioned above has some more specifics:

Now 36 years old, Lindh is set to be released in less than two years. And he’ll leave prison with Irish citizenship and a stubborn refusal to renounce violent ideology, according to the U.S. government. Foreign Policy obtained two government documents that express concerns about Lindh: One details the communications of Lindh and other federal prisoners convicted of terrorism-related charges, and the second, written by the National Counterterrorism Center, addresses the intelligence community’s larger concerns over these inmates, once released.

“As of May 2016, John Walker Lindh (USPER) — who is scheduled to be released in May 2019 after being convicted of supporting the Taliban — continued to advocate for global jihad and to write and translate violent extremist texts,” reads the National Counterterrorism Center document prepared earlier this year.

The document, which cites various Federal Bureau of Prisons intelligence summaries, claims that in March of last year, Lindh “told a television news producer that he would continue to spread violent extremist Islam upon his release.”


The renowned attorney who represented Lindh in his 2002 trial, James Brosnahan, had “dropped” his client, according to the intelligence summary. (Brosnahan did not respond to a request for comment.)

Frank urged his son “to mend fences with Jim,” referring to his former lawyer, adding that Brosnahan would likely demand that Lindh explicitly reject violence.

“We can discuss this in our next phone call, but one thing I anticipate Jim will absolutely demand is that you be willing to condemn, in all sincerity, publicly if needed, and without any reservation whatsoever, depravity of any kind, whoever commits it,” he wrote...

But John Walker Lindh refused. Replying to his father, he wrote: “I am not interested in renouncing my beliefs or issuing condemnations in order to please Brosnahan or anybody else.”

The Bureau of Prisons document says that “inmate Walker Lindh made pro ISIS statements to various reporters and was subsequently dropped by counsel.” It does not indicate which counsel, nor does it cite any specific statements.

Um, pro ISIS statements is not a great sign of his repentance. 

Compare that with his statements at sentencing:

Since returning to the United States, I have learned more about the Taliban, such as reports of the Taliban's repression of women, which I did not see or hear of while I was in Afghanistan, and which I believe is strongly condemned by Islam. I have also become aware of the relationship between the leaders of the Taliban and Osama bin Laden's organization. Bin Laden's terrorist attacks are completely against Islam, completely contrary to the conventions of jihad and without any justification whatsoever. His grievances, whatever they may be, cannot be addressed by acts of injustice and violence against innocent people in America. Terrorism is never justified and has proved extremely damaging to Muslims around the world. I have never supported terrorism in any form and never would. I went to Afghanistan with the intention of fighting against terrorism and oppression, not to support it. Although I thought I knew a good deal about the Taliban when I went to the front line, it's clear to me now that there were many things of which I was not aware. I made a mistake by joining the Taliban. I want the court to know, and I want the American people to know that had I realized then what I know now about the Taliban, I would never have joined them.

Anyway, this is setting off debates all over the place, with even FoxNews people disagreeing over the release. 

First, veteran and Fox News personality Pete Hegseth, who, as one might expect, doesn't pull any punches in discussing how Lindh has applied for and received Irish citizenship:



Elsewhere on FoxNews, James Jay Carafano has a different take:

John Walker Lindh, the former “American Taliban” will soon be back on the street. Captured on the battlefield in Afghanistan in 2002, he was convicted of providing material support to terrorism and has been in prison ever since.

He is scheduled for release in May, even though he has never denounced the Islamist cause. This has led many to ask, “Now what?” I’d respond with another question: So what?

America is a nation of laws and the law must guide our treatment of Lindh. He was lawfully incarcerated. Come May, he will have done his time. At that point, he is due all rights consistent with the terms of his release.

That Lindh might someday decide to go back to the battlefield as an illegal combatant really doesn’t enter the calculus of the law. The U.S. doesn’t pre-detain people because think might be a future national security threat. We leave that to paranoid tyrants.

Should we start losing sleep in May, knowing Lindh is out there somewhere? Not really.

For one thing, it’s quite likely that he will move to Ireland, where he claims citizenship. Irish officials have told the media that they’ll let him in if he gets there. All he’ll need is a passport, a ticket and U.S. permission to hop an international flight.

If that happens, he’ll be walking Irish, not American, streets. And that will be the last we see of him.

Well....I suspect he won't be walking the streets of Belfast too long.  In fact, anyone want to bet he tries to relocate somewhere else within a year? 

I don't know that he poses an actual existential threat from being a soldier wherever he wants to go, but in terms of propaganda, this guy will be a gold mine for whoever he ends up with.

Posted in the burner | 64 comments
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He was captured on the battlefield as an enemy combatant. He should have received the death penalty for treason. Good luck. Ireland. You'll need it. 

The first time he promotes jihad in the U.S.A., it's my guess, he'll be back in jail for violation of parole. He'll be tried again and his sentence will be a lot longer than the first one. Our security agencies, also my guess, will use Lindh as an unsuspecting pawn to see whom he attempts to contact here and in other countries.

He is very easily mitigated.

He needs to be taken out on a one way hunting trip with an unloaded rifle walk through the thick underbrush while other hunters sit in there tree stands, with fully loaded rifles and there should be a bounty on his head. Maybe he won't want to get out then.

Free him totally in the middle of the Atlantic ocean and let him swim to the country of his choice

Oh well, he served his time (thanks to the liberals) we have to let him go but that's okay. While I agree with the many, he doesn't deserve to be set free and I would hope that we aren't paying for his flight to Ireland. Let him figure out how to get there on his own, but I guarantee, I'm certain Ireland knows what they are getting and he will be followed intensely (by US intel as well). One day this punk-a$$ will find his way into another opportunity for our finest to erase him from this earth. You will hear about this sorry individual again; details about how he meets his end.

Only in America can a TERRORIST go free!!!! Only in America can a TRAITOR be pardoned by the president!!!! What in hell is this country coming to??!!


Let an almighty U.S. Army soldier take care of him. The best fighting force in the world!

Can you please tell me why we even have a word called treason if we don’t enforce the penalty anymore. Someone should have pulled the trigger!

He's a traitor and as such he deserves the best bullet that money can buy.

Yes, he has served his sentence as prescribed by US law. And now he is set to go free. Will he be threat to others after he is released? Probably. And do we have laws made to incarcerate those who have proven to be a threat? Yes. This is the juxtaposition regarding this person. He has served his current sentence for the previous threat. So, until he actually does something more than espouse words, something that demonstrates he is still a real threat, he has to be let go. Otherwise the US is no better than any other tyrannical regime that locks people up because the government does not like what is being said. Remember the Constitution? Right to free speech. You and I may not like it, but this is what we veterans severed to protect. And once that right is taken away then we all are in danger or losing all of our other Constitutional rights.

We continue to not learn from the past. 9/11 was evident on how far terrorist will do anything to kill innocent people. Not learning from the past, condemns America to repeat it. The idea of releasing brainwashed terrorist back into the world reveals our sincerity to protect the nation is nothing more than a farce. The lives of servicemen who have lost their lives will continue to have no significance as time goes on, allowing terrorist to believe that Americans don't take their security against them seriously.

ISIS organized a systematic organization for the auction of slaves and rape victims.
People critical of the US holding prisoners indefinitely should remember that POWs are usually traded back to the other belligerant at the end of a war. Al Qaeda has never entered into negotiations to end their war and exchange prisoners.
Matt Damon, in discussing "POW" habeas corpus rights, is forgetting that they are not criminals, which is what habeas corpus is for. We do not say that captured soldiers are criminals because we don't want to execute every private first class who is defending his country. What are we, Russians?
These people in Afghanistan were generally not guilty of a crime in the US.
The leader of the Benghazi attack was released from Guantamano.
According to the primary Geneva Convnetion, a person carrying a weapon on a battlefield not wearing a uniform or insignia, may be treated as a spy, and shot after a tribunal affirms this.
Not shooting combatants out of uniform may have been an error on the part of the US. It would have saved the US a lot of time, money and bad press.


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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.