Talk:John Walker Lindh

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Former good article nominee John Walker Lindh was a good articles nominee, but did not meet the good article criteria at the time. There are suggestions below for improving the article. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
February 21, 2007 Good article nominee Not listed
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Name of non-white American Taliban[edit]

(In contrast, at least one non-white American Taliban fighter has been held in incommunicado detention or interned in a US military brig as an enemy combatant by presidential order, instead of being tried, in a similar way to José Padilla).

who is this person where are they now? PBS 19:13, 9 Mar 2005 (UTC)
See Salim Hamdan. Martin | talkcontribs 03:41, 26 June 2007 (UTC)
I think the original quote probably referred to Jose Padilla. Salim Hamdan is not an American, as Padilla and Yasser Himdy are. Concerning Padilla's race... worthless concept. But, FWIW, I doubt whether most people to whom this matters would question calling a hispanic guy non-white.
Bush Presidency spokesmen have been trying to spin that guys originally described as Taliban were really members of al Qaida -- David Hicks, "the Austalian Taliban", Omar Khadr, "the Canadian Taliban" being other examples. Geo Swan (talk) 07:30, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, and it is important that distinction is made because the Taliban only enslaved an entire nation, murdered those who didn't follow their brand of Sharia law, destroyed ancient monuments, denied women the ability to go to school, etc. The Taliban are obviously so much better than al qaeda. Give us a break. The Taliban aided and abetted al qaeda, period. There is no meaningful distinction in the cases you mention, particularly when you consider these individuals took up arms against the United States and its allies. So please, spare us your gratuitous shots at the Bush administration.—Preceding unsigned comment added by 96.28.75.230 (talk) 16:47, 10 July 2010 (UTC)

Unreferenced[edit]

The article is good, but the #Trial section needs a lot of citing. KiloT 22:18, 13 October 2006 (UTC)


The Nation, February 14, 2005. Source: Lindh's lead lawyer. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 121.44.113.94 (talk) 20:03, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

In the news, request for reduced sentence[edit]

Here is a news story regarding said request. Perhaps this information could be made into a sentence or two for the article?-Andrew c 22:24, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

Speculation[edit]

The two paragraphs in the Trial section starting "The court scheduled..." strike me as highly speculative. The content deals with evidence suppression and the motivation behind a plea deal. There are no references for this material; can someone offer sources to clarify exactly why the players chose to offer/accept the plea? Gerta 19:03, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

"Jihad Johnny"[edit]

If this appellation is at all noteworthy, which I doubt, then it belongs in the body of the article, not boldfaced in the lede. The term gets 54 Google News Archive hits, compared to 9,430 for "walker lindh" and 4,760 for "american taliban"; furthermore the majority of the 54 hits are found in letters to the editor, press releases from rightwing groups, or even mainstream papers criticizing its use on FOX news, etc. Eleland 13:12, 15 September 2007 (UTC)

What would a complaint about "rightwing groups" be without a lame attack on Fox News? Seriously, do you people use a template? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 96.28.75.230 (talk) 17:01, 10 July 2010 (UTC)

Whatever you think of Fox News, its pretty much a given that their viewpoint is American-centric and somewhat to the right. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 144.75.138.52 (talk) 01:30, 14 July 2010 (UTC)

Wrong statements[edit]

<<Editors: the introductory sentence is clearly incorrect. The body of the story includes the list of criminal charges against Lindh in federal court. None claim that he was a fighter in any way at all and it is reasonable to believe that, had he been a fighter, one or more charges would have mentioned that. He certainly was a Taliban sympathiser. The Taliban was at the time, the government of Afghanistan. -- Warriga 08:22, 17 October 2007


That he was a Taliban sympathizer is of little note. The United States government sympathized with the Taliban, having given them 4 million dollars in March of 2001. Also, being captured by our "allies" does not make the detainee an enemy. -- 22:17, 22 October 2007 22:17, 22 October 2007

<<As well, the claim that he was captured in November 2001 is clearly mistaken, as the body of the story shows. He was captured by the Northern Alliance in October, and handed over to US forces in November. >> -- Warriga 08:22, 17 October 2007

I changed "... while fighting there for the Taliban." to "... while serving as a soldier for the Taliban." This coincides with Lindh's own statement: "I provided my services as a soldier to the Taliban ...". Comments? --TCav (talk) 13:55, 4 September 2008 (UTC)

Lindh didn't "fight with the Taliban"-- see the official US charge sheet reproduced on this page. And the gay section seems a slur[edit]

1. The introduction to this page claims that Lindh fought with the Taliban. There is no evidence to this effect. He certainly did not fight against US or other Coalition forces, because he had been captured by the then-Northern Alliance forces before any Coalition units were anywhere in the area. The US federal charges against Lindh. cited in detail on this page, include no suggestion that Lindh fought against anybody.

2. The entire section on Lindh's "'alleged homosexuality'" seems a pointless and overwritten slur that should be removed or at least, edited sharply. Cited as references for the idea are stories in TIME magazine and the Guardian newspaper of London, England. The TIME story was published in the issue cover-dated October 7, 2002 and the Guardian daily newspaper article is dated October 7, 2002 and obviously sourced from the newspaper's Washington correspondent. That citation is worthless.

As to the TIME assertion, the alleged homosexual acts would have been between Lindh and a Pakistani businessman named Hayat. The assertion is a claim by the article's authors and is not supported by the quotes from Mr Hayat, which the Wikipedia page suggests. Hayat is quoted at some length in the TIME article and is seen to have limited and childlike English. He says that Lindh loved him very much but says nothing to suggest there was any sexual liaison between them. According to TIME, Hayat had made Lindh's acquaintance as part of a delegation of Muslim missionaries to California in 1999. Later (the lengthy TIME account does not say when), Lindh wrote and phoned him to ask him to find a place in a Moslem religious school in Pakistan -- which Hayat did. It does not seem homosexual for a religious man, which Hayat clearly is, to say that Lindh loved him very much. He certainly felt love for a foreigner who had left his home and family to study the beliefs of his religion.

3. The TIME piece was researched in depth and bears six separate reporters' bylines. It makes no mention whatsoever of Lindh bearing arms against anybody. He did once in Pakistan loose off a couple of AK47 rounds during a bird hunt, to no harm to any bird. The AK47 is freely available in Pakistan, and held by many Pakistanis for household protection and hunting. Lindh left the gun behind when he went to Pakistan, and the TIME story -- written after Lindh had been found guilty of a federal offense and sentenced to 20 years' imprisonment -- made no mention of his ever having his hand on any other firearm at all.

Warriga 09:38, 28 October 2007 (UTC)

I changed "... while fighting there for the Taliban." to "... while serving as a soldier for the Taliban." This coincides with Lindh's own statement: "I provided my services as a soldier to the Taliban ...". Comments? --TCav (talk) 13:56, 4 September 2008 (UTC)

ADMAX transfer[edit]

The article says he was kept in a medium security prison but then transferred to a Supermax facility. Why? The way the article is written it sounds as if it was a punishment for being the victim of an attack. 70.15.116.59 (talk) 05:20, 17 December 2007 (UTC)

He was transferred for his own protection. {atriotic prisoners wanted top beat him u, thus proving the superiority of the American Way. One got through in the original institution, and injured him. 121.44.113.94 (talk) 20:02, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

Neutrality dispute[edit]

Whoever added the neutrality dispute tag: Exactly what is under dispute, and what part of the talk page discusses that dispute?

As far as I can tell, while the article is missing some facts (how he got from school in Pakistan to fighting for the Taliban forces against the Northern Alliance), those that are there are presented neutrally. None of the common unsubstantiated allegations from either side are presented as facts, and most aren't even mentioned. The homosexuality rumor is presented only to be debunked. His interment and interrogation are described dispassionately, without using loaded words like "torture" except to describe his claims. There's no attempt to tar his family as "hot-tub hippies," or to attack Spann's family or the Bush administration for using him as a scapegoat.

In short, the article seems as NPOV as could reasonably be expected. Since there's no explanation for why the tag is on the article, and no documentation for the dispute on the talk page, it should be removed. --76.200.101.233 (talk) 01:42, 27 January 2008 (UTC)

I feel the neutrality of the article is definitely questionable. Characterizing him as a "scapegoat"for the Bush administration is surely a biased statement. Spann was portrayed in the article as a bully and his murder was mentioned but it was made to appear as if the only person that said Lindh was involved was discredited. He was part of the uprising and Spann was brutally murdered. There is nothing negative about Lindh whatsoever in the article without it being mentioned that the allegation was "proven false". —Preceding unsigned comment added by Melissaky (talkcontribs) 03:06, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

  • I think an allegation that the article isn't 'neutral' is actually being quite kind: it is completely biased towards this man. Referring to him droolingly as 'John' - is this an encyclopedia or a site catering to terrorist fancruft? 86.146.44.42 (talk) 09:05, 18 July 2008 (UTC)
  • I think it's the exact opposite and quite biased against him. "yet he chose to stick with his friends: murderers and known terrorists." sounds like a line out of a Fox News hit piece.75.141.234.236 (talk) 13:43, 17 November 2008 (UTC)
  • I'm the one who added that line. I don't listen to FOX news. My source comes from Robert Young Pelton. He stated those exact words. He is the first one to interview John Lindh upon capture and he's the one who provided him with the best care he has seen since his capture. It is also FACT. The one leading the group John was associated with was an al-Qaeda member from Iraq, I forget his exact name. Therefore, a terrorist. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Jlcoving (talkcontribs) 14:48, 17 November 2008 (UTC)

Without Parole?[edit]

The article states that Lindh was sentenced to 20 years in prison without parole. As far as I know, parole has not existed in the Federal Prison system for several years. Does anyone else have any insight on this? Illinois2011 | Talk 05:11, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

JWL to be released[edit]

Wikileaks.org has just published a photo of him with mouth sewn closed and cheeks penetrated by steel wire (yes that medieval).

http://wikileaks.org/w/images/thumb/500px-Us-detainee-wired-2004-08-06.jpg

Therefore JWL was tortured and unusually punished and thus his trial and verdict is null and void under US law and international treaties, to which the USA is party. I hope the public evidence of atrocities forces USA to leave the afghan people alone and quit the crusader oppression. 82.131.210.162 (talk) 17:28, 18 July 2008 (UTC)

That photo is not of Lindh. It's a photo of a guy who has had surgery on his jaw. The wires are holding his face together. It's not an example of torture. And you're an idiot.
I am sure you mean that in a descriptive way and not a perjorative way( Martin | talkcontribs 03:35, 30 August 2012 (UTC))

Can we take out "while fighting there for the Taliban"?[edit]

There's nothing in the entire wiki that supports this statement, and while he was charged with "Using and carrying firearms and destructive devices ...", nothing in his plea bargain statement can be interpreted an admission of "fighting." Two others have already objected to this statement, in Wrong statements and Lindh didn't "fight with the Taliban"-- see the official US charge sheet, and no one has posted any opposition to the change. Can we do this? --TCav 20:09, 13 August 2008 (UTC)

Done --TCav (talk) 23:33, 3 September 2008 (UTC)


Right, Johnny was just toting that AK47 around Afghanistan 'cause he's really an operative for the NRA.

You liberal fucking morons are too god damn much.

Seriously, what exactly do you think he was doing, jackass? He was, get this "USING and carrying firearms and destructive devices..." (emphasis mine). What do you think he was using them for, to tenderize meat? Lindh himself admitted, upon capture, that he fought with the Taliban. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 96.28.75.230 (talk) 17:06, 10 July 2010 (UTC)

WHOA! Major changes![edit]

I believe a major revert needs to happen to remove the rather un-encylopedic additions of User:Jlcoving. He has added significant unsourced material which is inappropriate to a biography. Including in the allegations added are that Lindh "Lindh was fully aware of what was about to happen (the uprising), yet remained silent and did not cooperate with the Americans", a serious allegation which absolutely requires a source. Additionally, the rather POV part "he chose to stick with his friends: murderers and known terrorists" which not only is unsourced, but it is hard for me to see how it could be sourced with anything less than a quote from Lindh himself since it involves Lindh's opinions of others. I'm going to do the first revert, but I hope others will put their opinions in on this issue. -- Cjensen (talk) 21:04, 17 November 2008 (UTC)

Wow. Well I had sources for everything, so they are about to be added. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Jlcoving (talkcontribs) 00:04, 18 November 2008 (UTC)

I've added numerous sources so far for most everything I added. I'm going to bed because I have class in the morning (yay for Criminal Law and then Torts, lol). However, in the future, if you dispute something I added, please don't revert EVERYTHING I put down. Some of it, like the proper way Mazar-e-Sharif is written, was unnecessary to remove. I know there is a thing here and there I haven't added a source for, but I will tomorrow when I have a chance. Also, I don't know how to source it, but there are numerous statements I've read from other captives stating Lindh knew the uprising was about to happen. If nothing else (and I know this isn't enough), do you think he would be the ONLY captive who didn't know after he fought with them on the front lines for so long?

Also, I thought it was pretty established that Frank Lindh is now openly homosexual and that's the reason for the divorce from his wife? I can find numerous sources for this, but none concrete like say a court document, so I have not yet added/sourced it again.

Sorry everyone for how many times my name shows up on the "history" page. I've had to do a lot of editing and I'm not yet proficient in wikipedia editing to do it all in one swoop. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Jlcoving (talkcontribs) 01:01, 18 November 2008 (UTC)

Your "source" is apparently some guy who went to Afganistan and talked to some guy. Do you have a real source (see Wikipedia:Biographies_of_living_persons#Sources)? You say he "chose to stick with his friends." How is it that you know they were his friends? Is there a quote from Lindh somewhere where he says this? I don't see any other way you could know whether he was friends with some one... -- Cjensen (talk) 09:14, 18 November 2008 (UTC)

Ok, well, maybe I'll change the wording to "brothers-in-arms" or "fellow Taliban fighters". However, it seems kind of ridiculous to think that he trained with them, fought with them, was supplied weapons by them, was thanked by Osama bin Laden, surrendered with them, and then chose to suffer with them (Northern Alliance shot bullets into their hiding spot, threw oil and then burned it, gassed it, then subsequently flooded it with water under 50 degree's to which he and his no-way-possible-they-could-be-friends chose to stay there for another day or so under those conditions), yet had no friendship with them.

I don't see why everything John Lindh says and claims is accepted as fact, yet everything that is presented to the contrary requires some sort of act of congress to show proof. Robert Young Pelton is not "some guy who went to Afghanistan". He's the first one to interview Lindh upon capture and had been in country reporting on the war and the Taliban for long before Lindh was. If you do not accept anything he says, then the only thing left is solely what Lindh himself says. I'm not here trying to fight or stir something up with you or anything, I just think both sides need to be presented.

As far as his claims of abuse, torture, and poor medical treatment, I added sources far to the contrary in the form of sworn statements of every soldier that had contact with him upon his capture until he was transferred to the U.S. navy ships. I didn't delete every claim he made or anything like that, but simply added both sides to the story.jlcoving (talk) 15:22, 18 November 2008 (UTC) 69.114.251.156 (talk) 06:26, 24 November 2008 (UTC)

Speculation[edit]

The entire entry strikes me as a biased, train-wreck of an article and clearly not nearly up to Wikipedia standards. For example-

"Although he claims he never fired his weapon, he contradicts himself by his previous statements. While fighting in the trenches of Takhar, he had been issued an AKM rifle and two hand grenades. During the fighting in the trenches, his AKM malfunctioned and he was then issued a new RPK rifle. In order for a rifle to malfunction, it must be fired. Therefore, despite his later claims to the contrary, he at least fired his weapon once in aggression towards the U.S.-backed Northern Alliance."

How does the author know it was not a tin can that Walker Lindh shot at? Does he have a witness the shot was fired against the Northern Alliance or indeed fired at all? It appears the author is playing an amateur detective or a Sherlock Holmes. Also, there is no section discussing any of the criticism regarding the case, evidence, trial, or long prison sentence.



Is there no depth to which Islamist apologists will not sink?

Right, Jihad Johnny only used his AK47 for plinking, and when it stopped working for mere peaceful popping of tin cans, he traded it in for an RPK light machinegun 'cause he figured he would get closer to Allah by mortifying his flesh via toting a few extra kilograms of steel around.

Johnny is a traitor, and quite clearly so are more than a few of the fuckwit Wiki-tools posting here.




Ok sure, maybe he was "firing at a tin can" in the trenches of a battlefield; I'm sure that's why his fellow Taliban fighters continued to trust him and allow him to fight (excuse me, peacefully travel along with hundreds of Taliban fighters while simply going along for the experience?). However, it seems kind of unlikely. If "Wikipedia standards" dictates that the only material allowed to be presented is first-hand, observed material, I don't see how scores of articles I've read live up to that muster.

I deleted that line to satisfy you, though.

As for knowing whether or not it was the Northern Alliance he was firing at, well it is very well known in that battle that it was the Taliban vs. Northern Alliance. I don't think that is disputed by anyone. It is further fact, by Lindh's own statements, that his weapon MALFUNCTIONED (if you have ever fired a weapon, you know that you must first actually FIRE it before it can malfunction.) In firing a weapon while, by his own statements, he was in the trenches of Takhar during a battle with the Northern Alliance, he is therefore firing against the Northern Alliance. I don't see how that is not very clear?

Further, why would they issue a new rifle to someone when he was just "firing at tin cans", or anything except the enemy?jlcoving (talk) 14:43, 24 November 2008 (UTC)

Who the HELL is this jlcoving idiot and why is he being allowed to turn this Wiki entry into a freaking episode of "24"?! Will someone get to the bottom of this and fix it and tell this guy that no one is demanding you be a cheerleader for JWL's innocence, but his Chuck Norris version of what happened to Spann is just plain absurd for God's sake. What a meshugga. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 75.194.131.232 (talk) 03:25, 18 December 2008 (UTC)

I am a law school student in Indianapolis. I'm not even going to bother replying to you outside of this though: If some "higher power" decides to change what I have added, I will gladly re-evaluate everything and add new sources. I could care less about making Spann out to be a "Rambo". I do care about the fact before I edited, that the only image given of JWL was that of some innocent, poor child. That is all.

Actually, further, what exactly have I added that is like "24" or "Kiefer Sutherland"? Besides the account of the uprising and Spann's death, what do you disagree with? Because I have added a good bit more and changed a lot since my original updates. jlcoving (talk) 15:18, 18 December 2008 (UTC)

Please use credible sources and not grief-stricken family members.[edit]

Wow. I am at a loss for words. What a mess this Wiki entry is and I am glad someone alerted me to it. Grief-stricken family members of victims can't be counted as unbiased sources regarding the circumstances of their deaths under such controversy. Likewise, the Arlington National Cemetary's Memorial, nor any eulogies can be considered impartial. Please, folks, use credible sources.

Mike Spann's death was well documented by Time Magazine shortly after the events and it is one of the very few news reports on the subject that did not suffer the "mysterious" redactions regarding many of the events the Bush administration found itself entangled in. Mike Spann engaged in activities that could be considered illegal according to international law (note I emphasized "could be").

I've added more credible information regarding Mike Spann's death and referenced the Time Magazine article verbatim.

http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,186592-1,00.html

Someone please curtail Keifer Sutherland's Wikipedia access. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Shiblizaman (talkcontribs) 04:38, 18 December 2008 (UTC)

Kiefer Sutherland reporting in. I look forward to communicating with you in the future. :) jlcoving (talk) 15:24, 18 December 2008 (UTC)


Wait, so you're whining about grief-stricken sources yet I'm guessing you have no problems citing stuff by JWL? Clearly he's uh.. of sound/unbiased mental capacity right? Fact is there aren't going to ever be any rock-hard sources for this type of issue. You have your indigenous sources, your rare US sources - both of which are filtered through the media/leaks, etc. Honestly what do you expect? A blow-by-blow unbiased account from a respected journalist that witnessed the whole thing? You guys crack me up. Hilarious, typical wiki-ism. (Kittensof1984 (talk) 06:16, 24 June 2009 (UTC))

ok, while likely true, I think the line about him being "a total douche" is somewhat gratuitous and should be deleted. 222.230.126.96 (talk) 12:44, 29 August 2011 (UTC)Yoko

Image[edit]

I think the image is a little extreme for it to be on the top of the page. Can we at least move it to the bottom and reduce it's size??? Or find an image where the subject is fully clothed (like a mug shot or something). --Miagirljmw14 Miagirljmw~talk 21:52, 28 December 2008 (UTC)

The image was removed from the article. I cannot see any discussion or consensus to entirely remove the image. Therefore I am getting it back from commons. Kc27 (talk) 14:04, 15 August 2010 (UTC)

POV[edit]

This section seems pretty POV:

Lindh initially gave his name as "Abd-al-Hamid" but later gave his birth name when interviewed by Robert Young Pelton for CNN. Pelton brought a medic and food for the American and interviewed Lindh about how he got there. Mr. Pelton also brought Lindh home with him and a U.S. soldier who had been in combat for three weeks gave up his bed so Lindh would have a nice place to sleep that night. Within two hours of his arrival, he was wrapped in two comforter blankets for warmth. One soldier provided him with a small heater. [14][15] Repeatedly Pelton asked Lindh if he wanted to call his parents or have Pelton do so, which Lindh replied in a hostile manner or refused. [16] Despite all of this, Lindh's parents continue to paint Pelton as a terrible person and the one "responsible" for the "image" of their son.

Someone should probably change it. 75.71.69.49 (talk) 05:31, 12 January 2009 (UTC)


Foregrounding of Spann[edit]

Why is Johnny "Mike" Spann mentioned in the brief introductory paragraph of this article? The obvious and strong implication is that JWL was implicated in Spann's death, and that this is of great significance to Lindh's case or biography. In fact, there was never any formal charge that JWL participated in the uprising or had anything to do with the death of Spann. JWL's brief encounter with Spann is mentioned later in the article. This sentence should be removed from the introduction. Rational kernel (talk) 14:41, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

Well actually it's noteworthy because when the uprising started, JWL was actively being interviewed by Spann. I don't think there is an "obvious or strong" implication that he was "involved" in Spann's death just because it states:
"He was captured during the Battle of Qala-i-Jangi, a violent Taliban prison uprising where American CIA officer Johnny "Mike" Spann was killed."
It's simply stating JWL was captured during the Battle of Qala-i-Jangi and that during that battle, the first American casualty in the War in Afghanistan was killed. I think it would be more prejudicial if I had included "while interrogating JWL" when writing the introduction.
And there were never any formal charges by the government, but they didn't need to -- they had him on other charges and they knew that. However, there were multiple people who were captives who stated later that JWL DID have knowledge of the planned attack before it happened and did not say anything.
Anyways, just my opinion.jlcoving (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 18:12, 3 August 2009 (UTC).

The fact that JWL was one of many prisoners who was interrogated by an American who was later killed does not mean that the American should be mentioned in the very first paragraph of JWL's biographical entry in a reference work. The death was not by JWL's hand, nor with his apparent cooperation, and in fact there is no evidence that JWL participated in the "violent uprising" at all (your claim that the government "didn't need to" charge him with Spann's death is highly dubious--do you actually think that if the government had the evidence to charge JWL with the death of an American, they would have refrained from doing so and instead charge him with much less serious crimes?). Spann's connection to and significance in the context of JWL's life was extremely marginal. Mentioning Spann so prominently here seems to be nothing more than an effort to "honor Spann," as the website from which you have posted so much of your information implores us to do. The Wikipedia article on JWL is simply not the place to do that. Rational kernel (talk) 19:40, 4 August 2009 (UTC)


I don't think it's prominent at all and before you no one else has raised that concern (that isn't saying no one else feels that way or that you are wrong to think that). I think it should be there and that's my opinion and you have yours. I'm not claiming anything except that -- my opinion that it should be included. And my information comes from far more than the website dedicated to Spann, sir. I don't think the way it is presented and included shows any bias or implication that JWL was involved with Spann's death.

Again, just my opinion...

jlcoving (talk) 23:52, 4 August 2009 (UTC)


JWK Lindh is a controversial figure and his lawyer (Brosnahan) and father continue to try to influence public opinion on their sons motivations and actions. I make it pretty clear that his actions and words sync up and that America's naivetee about the difference between taliban (a pashtun group) vs al qaeda (a primarily arabic-speaking group of foreigners) has been brought up to speed.

JWK was NEVER a member of the taliban for obvious reasons, language and nationality being the most obvious. Also the constant debate of "victim" vs "killer" is negated by the multiple opportunities he had to surrender and not participate in violence.

My interview of him still stands as his most vocal and accurate depiction of his mindset and should not be confused with the opinions of his lawyer, family or the media they feed drivel to. If he has had a change of heart that's cool but he made a bad deal since his jihad buddies either went home or to Gitmo and then free.

Mike Spann and his father Johnny Spann are a key part of his legacy because Johnny correctly believed that JWK could have warned his son, which led to his death. That is conspiracy to murder. Johnny was denied the truth due to a lack of a trial. Did JWL kill Mike Spann? No. But the trial would have revealed a much darker JWL than his brief appearance supposed. Did he travel all the way to Afghanistan to kill people? Yup. Did he sit at the foot of Bin Laden and subscribe to his jihad jibberish? Yup.

So if you need cites you have the full pre-trial transcripts, my very public interview and my backgrounder on the internet on what actually happened. I would discourage citing well-intentioned, pardon-friendly but second hand PR hack scenarios written by people in Esquire and other mags. The facts and his words are quite sufficient to understand his motivation without re-inventing JWL's motivation and innocence. I notice that people who never met Lindh or met his cohorts victims have an equal voice with those who saw the effects of his murderous ilk.

RYP (talk) 04:53, 29 August 2009 (UTC) RYP


I assume you are Richard Pelton; all I have to say is thank you, thank you, and thank you. I've done most of the editing that is present on the article now (well, everything that disputes the saintly image of JWL and presents the more realistic, verifiable image) and I had to fight for every sentence (using transcripts, other court documents, your interview, et cetera) because people just couldn't accept that Saint John Walker Lindh could commit sin. They would constantly delete until I was able to put up a source for virtually everything. Thank you for responding. jlcoving (talk) 17:58, 29 August 2009 (UTC)

What the fuck is up with some of the people here trying to absolve Lindh of his guilt? It seems that some believe he is guilty of nothing more than being a misguided youth; that he was brought up by liberal parents in a liberal community seems to have more than a little to do with this attitude toward Lindh. The fact he allied himself, before and after 9-11, with a group, the Taliban, that aided and abetted the terrorist organization that murdered 3000 individuals seems to be irrelevant to some of the morons here. It is hypocritical, to say the least, to make some sort of POV objection and then turn around and engage in the most tortuous logic I have ever seen in order to claim Lindh didn't fight against either the United States or its allies. Shooting at cans in the middle of a warzone? Claiming an indictment that states Lindh USED weapons and destructive devices is not evidence he took up arms and fought with the Taliban? Give me a fucking break; you are arguing semantics, and doing a shitty job at that. The guy aided a murderous terrorist organization. Fucking deal with it.

Claims/allegations by Johnny Spann[edit]

This document, "False and misleading statements by Mr. Frank Lindh omits many known facts: Article of appeal" by Johnny Spann (PDF) is listed among the external links. There, Mike Spann's father makes some claims that aren't discussed in the article, namely that, quote:

  • 2. John Walker Lindh was a member of, and trained with Al Queda. Al Queda is a league of foreign fighters who are trained by Osama Bin Laden. Members of this group of fighters are typically not citizens or natives of Afghanistan. John Walker Lindh was not allowed to join the Taliban, because he did not speak any of their languages like Dari or Postum, and was not a Afghan. But was allowed to join and train with the Al Queda. (page 1)
  • 6. John Walker Lindh stated that he had knowledge of the plans for the 9-11 attacks against the U.S. He stated that he knew that Al Queda members had been sent to the United States to carry out suicide missions. (page 1)

(bold and italics by me)

Since not even the US government regards Lindh as an al Qaeda member (but merely as training at al-Farouq and fighting for the "... Taliban, an entity that was providing sanctuary and protection for al Qaeda"), I think this claim is unfounded, but I see why it would stick. A clarification would be welcome - what unit was Lindh actually a member of?

Then Johnnny Spann goes on to claim that "Lindh stated he had foreknowledge of 9/11", although Spann speaks more vaguely of "suicide missions" in the next half-sentence. This also is not reflected in the court documents I read, but where did Mike Spann's father get this idea? (Edit: some clarification about that here.)

It would be nice to have some recollection of media misinformation that is either untrue or controversial, or allegations like this will crop up again forever. 95.89.65.85 (talk) 18:03, 21 January 2010 (UTC)

I think Johnny Spann, Sr. (the father of the Spann that was killed) simply mistyped what he meant. He probably meant to say "Al-Ansar" or the "55 Brigade", which IS the unit of foreign fighters (such as Lindh) trained and funded by Al-Qaeda. JWL was merely one of many other terrorist-trained foreigners fighting on behalf of Al-Qaeda via Al-Ansar/55 Brigade; which in turn fought with the Taliban. Others have joined the brigade from similarly troubled parts of the world: Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Southeast Asia and Indonesia. There are Muslims from western China (Uigurs), Russia (Chechens) and the Balkans (Bosnians). JWL was just one of the few American's (few in comparison to the amount of Arab-world foreigners). So to answer your question, JWL was a member of the unit Al-Ansar or the 55 Brigade, which was funded and trained by Al-Qaeda as a foreign-fighters unit. jlcoving (talk) 22:32, 21 January 2010 (UTC)

the photograph of him in custody[edit]

unnecesssary and pointless. come on. seriously. there are dozens of articles where if you put a 'shock picture' like this, they would be deleted as not encyclopedic. I.e. pictures of torture in the CIA article. .. or at the very least, they would be considered POV . how about some consistency here? Decora (talk) 15:57, 11 April 2011 (UTC)

National Geography / Popular Culture[edit]

Hi, before an edit war got underway, I figured I'd avoid it and post here. User Zhurlihee removed for the 2nd time this line under "In Popular Culture":

  • In a [[National Geographic|National Geographic]] documentary, Taliban Uprising, the only video of Lindh speaking since his capture is shown.[1]


National Geographic has been around since 1888. It has circulation in 33 languages and over 50 million people receive the magazine monthly. They have won numerous awards in a plethora of different categories. The National Geographic TV channel is available in over 143 countries, seen in more than 160 million homes and in 25 languages. I don't see how it could possibly not be considered part of "popular culture"? I accept there is the possibility that I'm wrong though, which is why I'm posting here for the opinion of others. Does "popular culture" only include George Bush and "Steve Earle"? The latter of which I had never even heard of before; I'd argue far more people (by magnitudes of 100x) know about National Geographic than Steve Earle. Also, Law & Order is over as of May 2010, whereas NatGeo continues.

Furthermore, the only video of Lindh speaking since his capture is pretty important information for this article. I argue the NatGeo bulletin should be kept. jlcoving (talk) 23:53, 26 May 2011 (UTC)

The National Geographic source is used multiple times in the article and I would consider it journalism as opposed to pop culture. Its not that I am opposed to its inclusion, quite the contrary as its used several times in the article, I just don’t think it fits the pop culture label. ZHurlihee (talk) 13:43, 27 May 2011 (UTC)

Jewish father?[edit]

Is his father jewish? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 50.103.186.154 (talk) 21:09, 7 July 2011 (UTC)

Budding revert war over the paragraph about Lindh not announcing his citizenship[edit]

I think this pargraph---the subject of several reverts at this point---should come out. It is not supported by the references.

What the references say is that Lindh was in the custody of General Dostum's forces and remained silent while being interrogated by the two CIA agents present. The paragraph in question is a very distorted version of that account. However these references are both interviews with Lindh's father, so it is not even clear that they, themselves, are unbiased account. My own feeling is that this is a minor point in the whole story, it is not supported by the references, so it can simply come out. M.boli (talk) 02:37, 23 March 2012 (UTC)

The correct source for this is cite #18. Young had personal, direct experiences with him and with the people who interrogated him from the NA and the US/coalition soldiers and knew the circumstances of the surrender and subsequent events which show he had many opportunities to say something and chose not to. The last part about him not even renouncing his US citizenship has video evidence of it, but there are many sources for that information. I am updating the cites to include #18.jlcoving (talk) 03:38, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
Pelton, the author of ref #18, is a reporter. But the document itself is a screed.
Regardless, it strikes me that you know more about this topic than I do, and you are an experienced editor, so I am happy to defer to your judgment. By the way, I didn't find any bibliographic data for #18 (in a few minutes) despite there being many copies on the web. So I was unable to flesh out the cite. M.boli (talk) 05:27, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
Yes it definitely isn't an ideal source, but unfortunately since these events took place in a very secretive, distant battlefield (Mike Spann was the first US casualty in the War in Afghanistan), the fine details of the event are limited to only a few sources, thankfully an experienced and respected English-speaking journalist was there shortly after events to record them. And yes unfortunately I know way more about this subject than I ever intended to. There were MANY previous edit wars, although I say more towards vandalism, which were mainly just people reverting edits on bias (same types of information -- anything negative towards Lindh -- was only thing removed) and saying the cites weren't right and making me have to go through sometimes hundreds of pages of documents (like the AR15 field investigation) and find the page number, paragraph, and line for them to prove the integrity of the cite to get them to stop. So needless to say I learned a lot about the case and read through most of the sources listed.jlcoving (talk) 06:47, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
Yea, in the small amount of wiki-gnoming I have done on this article---mostly cite maintenance---the pattern is clear. You deserve a lot of credit for working through the complexities and keeping the article from decaying into mush. M.boli (talk) 12:44, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
Well thank you I appreciate that. After reading through this 'Talk' page last night it reminded me how much BS I went through on this article with some people and making me have to explain why THEY were wrong when it was, as you mentioned you've seen, clear bias edits. So I appreciate that recognition at least! jlcoving (talk) 16:49, 23 March 2012 (UTC)

Trivia[edit]

I believe the Law+Order episode is S13Ep1 (2002): American Jihad. Wil Horneff played the American/Muslim "youth" charged with Murder after having returned from Pakistan. The L+O Episode page doesn't give a synopse, but it's on NOW on TNT (US Eastern Zone, 2-3 PM).

Not sure what would be needed for sourcing so I put it here instead of just editing it in.

Pls forgive lack of log in, it was just a quick "OMG I know that!" kind of thing ;) 71.49.108.207 (talk) 18:41, 24 August 2012 (UTC) (VulpineLady)

Murder of Red Cross Workers[edit]

The part of the article I don't think is accurate, or at least appropriately referenced, is: On the second day, the Red Cross sent in workers to provide treatment to the wounded and try to get them to surrender. As soon as they entered, they were murdered by those inside.[1][dead link]. History

  • The link was marked as a dead link by someone in 10/2012.
  • I removed that information because I did a pretty detailed online search without finding any information to support what is said about the Red Cross worker's murders.
  • Jlcoving undid my revision stating: The episode of National Geographic, titled "Taliban Uprising", clearly states this information.
  • I presume Jlcoving didn't read my comments and realize that the link was dead so it couldn't have stated the information he said it did. Right after he undid my correction he made another edit where he added a working link. While searching for information, before I originally deleted that part of the article, I did find and watch the 3:38 video clip titled "Taliban Uprising." That video makes no mention at all of any Red Cross workers being murdered.
  • I wasn't going to delete this part of the article again but the editor specifically said the information is in that video but, like I mentioned before, that video mentions nothing about the Red Cross or any similar type of murders. This is the link to the reference.  You must then click the link to the video. This is a direct link to the video itself .
  • I'll put on message on Jlcoving's Talk Page so he/she can provide better information.

If anyone sees where the last reference used (that's linked right above) says anything to back up the previous editors stated, or any other references that do, please fill us in. Thanks. ─ Matthewi (Talk) • 08:24, 3 December 2012 (UTC)

Here is a press report. It is somewhat different than the deleted account. It says that three people working for the Red Cross to collect the bodies had been shot, two killed. M.boli (talk) 13:18, 5 December 2012 (UTC)

Correction: the article says 1 killed. I just edited the article to reflect this. M.boli (talk) 20:47, 6 December 2012 (UTC)
Reynolds, Maura (November 30, 2001). "3 Relief Workers Shot in Riot Aftermath". Los Angeles Times. .
I was going to go through and find the exact portion of the full-length episode (not just the 3:38 video clip) that 100% clearly stated this, but M.boli's cite seems to satisfy the need. I will add M.boli's cite as well as reinstate my own, unless there is an issue with this? The episode I am referring to is the full episode of "Taliban Uprising", not just the 3:38 video clip. I could post a link to the full episode in torrent form, but I don't think that is allowed? The portion of the episode, "Taliban Uprising", that states this is towards the end when they are going over what happened after the Taliban and Al-Qaeda linked soldiers took refuge in the "pink house."jlcoving (talk) 19:34, 6 December 2012 (UTC)
    • ^ Cite error: The named reference Taliban_Uprising was invoked but never defined (see the help page).