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Overview on John Walker Lindh

Discussion in 'Channel Zero' started by DITDxCULT, Dec 13, 2001.


    DITDxCULT Senior Member

    Joined: Dec 13, 2001 Messages: 1,192 Likes Received: 0
    Read this, then give you thoughts about this whole topic

    The strangest culture clash of the war in Afghanistan took place on a bright Sunday morning in late November. In the Qala-i-Jangi prison fortress, a few miles west of Mazar-i-Sharif, CIA agent Johnny ("Mike") Spann was sorting through 300 surrendered Taliban soldiers in an attempt to determine which of them were al-Qaeda members. Dressed in blue jeans, with an AK-47 strapped across the back of his black sweater, Spann passed through several rows of Taliban before crouching in front of a prisoner who had been separated from the rest, a mass of tangled hair and tattered clothes once named John Walker. "What's your name?" Spann asked. There was no response. "Hey," he said, snapping his fingers twice in front of Walker's dirt-caked face. "Who brought you here? Wake up! Who brought you here? How did you get here? Hello?"

    Walker didn't answer. In a bit of CIA showmanship, Spann and his partner, known only as Dave, held a conversation within obvious hearing distance of Walker. "I explained to him what the deal is," Spann told Dave. Dave played the bad cop: "He needs to decide if he wants to live or die. If he wants to die, he's just going to die here. He can die here if he wants. He can f_____g die here. Or he's going to be f_____g spending the rest of his f_____g short life in prison. It's his decision, man. We can only help the guys who want to talk to us." But Walker still wouldn't talk.

    A few hours later, Spann became the first American casualty in Afghanistan, when dozens of surrendered Taliban soldiers overwhelmed their guards and staged a revolt. During the uprising, John Walker escaped, delaying the world's discovery of an American Taliban, but only temporarily. After a week spent starving in a basement deep below the prison, Walker and 85 comrades were flushed out when their dungeon was flooded with ice-cold water. Spann was gone, but his questions for John Walker remained: Who brought you here? How did you get here?

    Walker's childhood neighbors said the things neighbors always say in these situations. "They were an average American family," and John "was a sweet, quiet boy." It happens to be true. John Walker Lindh was a middle child named after John Lennon and Chief Justice John Marshall. He spent his first 10 years in Silver Spring, Md., in the happy, unremarkable manner that most parents wish for their children. "We were loud, normal kids," says Andrew Cleverdon, a boyhood friend of Walker's. "We played football and basketball, rode our bikes." John's father, attorney Frank Lindh, took the bus to his job at the Department of Justice. Marilyn Walker was a stay-at-home mom who kept her maiden name. They played with their three kids, went to Mass at St. Bernadette's Catholic Church and held a "Kentucky Derby Day" every May.

    In 1991 the family moved to San Anselmo, Calif., in opulent, socially liberal Marin County. John was gentle and shy. He played the flute, had close relationships rather than a big circle of friends, and told people that he wanted to help the poor when he grew up. After a semester at a local high school, John transferred to Tamiscal High, an alternative school with 100 students and a self-directed, individualized course of study. As a freshman and sophomore, Walker studied world arts and culture, including Islam and the Middle East. Marilyn Walker had left Catholicism and become a Buddhist; John was intrigued by religion too. "She opened all those doors for her kids," says Bill Jones, a family friend, "instead of dragging her kids into Catholicism like she'd been dragged into it."

    Apparently it was The Autobiography of Malcolm X that inspired Walker to convert to Islam. He talked with his parents about his plans. Frank Lindh, now a lawyer with Pacific Gas & Electric, was accepting. Marilyn Walker had reservations. "She was concerned," says Marilyn's friend Stephanie Hendricks. "You have a 16-year-old kid who gets involved in any kind of religion in a passionate way, and you're going to want to know more about it, right?"

    John did not have a driver's license and was still in high school, so attending prayer services five times a day was out of the question. On Friday nights, though, he would change out of his Western clothes and attend services at the Islamic Center of Mill Valley. Abdullah Nana usually drove him there. Nana, now 23, recalls that when he first saw Walker, he stood out immediately, not simply because he was a white man in a mostly Indian congregation but also because he was "on his own," meaning already devoted to Islam and without a referral from another Muslim. The two teenagers struck up a friendship and frequently spent the 20 minutes between Walker's house and the mosque in rapt discussion of the Koran.

    In 1998 Walker passed a proficiency exam and graduated early from Tamiscal High. He asked that the name on his diploma be changed to Sulayman Al-Lindh. He never picked up the certificate. Soon he told Nana that he had found an Arabic-language school in San'a, Yemen, on the Internet. "The language spoken in Yemen is closer to the holy language of the Koran and the sayings of the Prophet," explains Nana. Walker also felt it would be easier to practice Islam in a Muslim country. In December 1998 he left for the Middle East.

    From the ages of 16 to 18, John Walker had transformed himself from a quiet, smooth-cheeked American teenager to a devout, bearded Muslim studying in Yemen. That he could grow the requisite beard was something of a miracle. Were his parents really onboard with all this? With the new name? The move to Yemen? Frank Lindh says yes. "He was always intellectually coherent, and he had a wonderful sense of humor," Lindh told reporters. "And none of that changed when he converted to Islam. I never had any major misgivings."

    When Walker returned to California around Christmas 1999, he found his parents had separated. He saw Nana and told him that Yemen hadn't met his expectations. "They weren't as orthodox as he thought--they weren't as strict on Islam as he thought," says Nana. But to Abdul Wadood, a 20-year-old Muslim friend who also met Walker at the Mill Valley mosque, John sounded fulfilled. Through his e-mail communications, he told Wadood he felt "free" because he didn't have any material possessions. Wadood says his friend never experienced culture shock because he was so "open-minded." But Walker may have also been a bit too trusting. He just "let anybody in," says Wadood.

    When the U.S.S. Cole was bombed in October 2000, Walker was back in Yemen. In an e-mail exchange with his son, Frank Lindh said he felt terrible for the victims and their families. John's reply suggested that the attack may have been justified because the Cole was docked in an Islamic country. Lindh dismissed the exchange as a "father/son debate, much like my dad and I used to have over [the] Vietnam war." A month after the Cole bombing, Walker left Yemen for Bannu, a village in Pakistan's northwest, to attend an Islamic school, or madrasah. Pakistan's madrasahs specialize in teaching students to memorize the Koran. They are also reputed to provide thousands of soldiers for the Taliban.

    John Walker's last contact with his family was in May 2001. He told his mother he was leaving Bannu and "moving somewhere cooler for the summer." He asked his father for money, and Frank Lindh sent him $1,200. It wasn't long before Marilyn Walker wondered just where her son had gone. In early summer, she contacted John's madrasah. According to the Marin Independent Journal, a teacher there wrote her back on July 27, saying John, whom he called Sulayman Faris, arrived at the school on Nov. 30, 2000, and "impressed [everyone] with his character" during his stay. On May 15 he was apparently turned over to the care of the missionary who had originally brought him to the school. No one knew where John was.

    Sept. 11 came and went, and still John's parents heard nothing. Finally, on Dec. 1, Marilyn Walker and Frank Lindh saw their son on television. As the footage played, Marilyn Walker burst into tears. John was filthy and had a bullet wound in his leg. In a husky voice and accented English, John told CNN where he had been the past six months. "I was a student in Pakistan, studying Islam, and came into contact with many people connected with the Taliban," he said. "The people in general have a great love for the Taliban. So I started to read some of the literature of the scholars, the history of Kabul. My heart became attached to that." John said he had been sent to an Arabic-speaking al-Qaeda camp, where he learned to shoot a Kalashnikov. He saw Osama bin Laden several times. He answered the call to jihad and fought in Kashmir and Kunduz. Then he became a prisoner of war.

    John Walker's case is strange, but it may not be unique. The Defense Department is looking for two other Americans rumored to have fought for the Taliban. Walker is now in the custody of the U.S. military, and late Saturday the Pentagon said he is being held at Camp Rhino in Afghanistan. "What we really want is some communication with them as to how he is," says the family's recently hired attorney, James Brosnahan. The family's concern is not the government's top priority.




  2. Mr.LonelyHeart

    Mr.LonelyHeart Member

    Joined: Aug 31, 2001 Messages: 994 Likes Received: 0
    I just think it's ironic how supposedly simple, devout and holy he was...yet didn't have any qualms with constantly milking his rich mommy and daddy for his skrill...
    the whole thing is sad and pathetic to me
  3. he should be treated like a prisoner of war
    he should recieve no special treatment
    i dont feel sorry for him or whatever happens to him

    DITDxCULT Senior Member

    Joined: Dec 13, 2001 Messages: 1,192 Likes Received: 0
    Thats the first thing I thought of too.
    He was all like "Mommy and Daddy, I feel so free without all of my material possesions,...can you please send me $1500"
  5. he probably needed the money to buy the GAP faded/broke in looking sweater... shit, i bet GAP makes that shit over there, lol
  6. Mr.LonelyHeart

    Mr.LonelyHeart Member

    Joined: Aug 31, 2001 Messages: 994 Likes Received: 0
    but fuck -is homie really worth all the attention?..I mean sure it's kinda fascinating in a way...sorta like roadkill can be fascinating
  7. beardo

    beardo Guest

    i dont know what to think. my disdain for media sensationalism is at an all time high, i can tell you that for sure.

    exactly, lonelyheart.. fuck this guy, just kill him if he was involved, i dont need to hear all the bullshit.
  8. bobobi11

    bobobi11 Elite Member

    Joined: Dec 15, 2000 Messages: 2,807 Likes Received: 0
    I got to go with the gut and agree that he should be treated as a prisoner of war.
  9. usedtolove

    usedtolove New Jack

    Joined: Sep 19, 2001 Messages: 48 Likes Received: 0
    i dont agree with his politics..but he gets a handclap for conviction
  10. got tha feva

    got tha feva Guest

    I agree he shouldn't be treated any differently. He's not even American as far as I'm concerned. If you bite the hand that feeds you, you're obviously not going to get fed anymore. He was given the chance to study anything he wanted to, be what he wanted to be, have an inspirational mother that was free to study whichever religion she wanted which in turn gave him the curiosity which got him interested in Islam... He could have lived a life without material possessions here, he could have done anything here, but he gave it up. Not only did he give it up, but he became part of something that wanted to destroy what we're about. Fuck that, and fuck him.

  11. T.T Boy

    T.T Boy Dirty Dozen Crew

    Joined: May 18, 2001 Messages: 21,803 Likes Received: 41
    he gets no sympathy from me. he left america and he joined them andhe knew what he was doing. no special treatment for him. hes a p.o.w in my eyes.
  12. CoreyHaimIsMyRoleModel

    CoreyHaimIsMyRoleModel New Jack

    Joined: Jun 26, 2001 Messages: 38 Likes Received: 0

    geeeeesh! this guy looks like me!
  13. Pistol

    Pistol Dirty Dozen Crew

    Joined: Jul 12, 2001 Messages: 19,363 Likes Received: 299
    What would have happened if say, perhaps a round get's accidently discharged into homeboy's skull. Accident. POW I guess. The weird thing that could cause problems for this kid is the fact that he gave up is citizenship to the US. I don't know if he took legal actions or was just talking. But no doubt being a US citizen has it's advantages. If not he could technically be tried in a Tribunal. But considering his low rank. They would'nt waste time or money on this scrub.
  14. he's not a pow. he's a straight up traitor. traitors get hung... no special treatment.
  15. Smart

    Smart Dirty Dozen Crew

    Joined: Apr 14, 2000 Messages: 17,017 Likes Received: 177
    I find it ironic that this peaceful kid answered the call to jihad in 2 places other than Afghanistan... my guts tell me that his parents $1200 bought a months worth of ammo for his whole company, of course, by then I think he was 'divorced' from his family and basically fucking the christians to get over... I really don't care what happens to him but if he's gonna die, he'd better get dead on American soil, I want him back alive...