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Author Topic: John Walker Lindh's Family Asks For Commuted Sentence
Jutsa Notha Name
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John Walker Lindh's Family Seeks Reduced Prison Sentence for Son
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ABCNews April 4, 2007 Two young, Western men captured on the wrong side of an Afghanistan battlefield in December 2001.

Two plea bargains.

Two vastly disparate sentences.

That was the message Wednesday from the parents of John Walker Lindh and his attorneys, who held a press conference in San Francisco to ask President Bush to reduce or commute Lindh's 20-year sentence.

Since Hicks is not a US citizen and the list of charges is different, is this even a reasonable thing for the family to ask other than for reasons of bitterness their son did not receive the presumed leniancy that Hicks is getting?

What I don't see mentioned in the article or the Wikipedia article on him, and I could very well be misremembering on this mark, but Lindh not only joined the Taliban forces but also walked into an American embassy and turned over his documentation of American citizenship. He essentially renounced his citizenship prior to joining a group who eventually faced US forces in war. Once again, I may be misremembering, but when he was found he was armed with an AK-47 (Kalashnicov) and two grenades. There is no evidence that I've heard that he opened fire on any American, but he was detained by Northern Alliance militia at one point and then involved in a prisoner uprising that cause the death of at least one American CIA operative. Everything that I've heard of the individual seems to indicate to me that he's an outright traitor who has gotten lucky with a reduced conviction and a relatively light sentence in the context of the allegations.

Maybe I am missing or mistaking something, but if someone who was naturalized and made a citizen through immigration performed those acts, they would be breaking their oath of citizenship in the US. I realize that being born to US citizenship does not require that such an oath be made, but I was under the impression that such an oath is implicit in being a citizen, in which case Lindh's actions are enough to at least revoke citizenship, if the government does not wish to use the punishment for a traitor (which is death). That would still put Lindh in the status of "enemy combatant" and subject to the miltary tribunals' decisions on the issue, as far as I am aware, and since he would not have citizenship status his sentence would not be able to be commutted anyway. However, from what this article seems to imply Lindh is still considered an American citizen, which again seems a large kindness on the part of his sentencing given accusations against him and the circumstances surrounding his detainment. Given the state of America during the time of his detainment, he was lucky to have not suffered worse, and were he to be placed in an American jail at this time he would almost certainly not survive his sentence (similar to Tim McVeigh).

I am curious as to what others think of this. I tend to think he has already had many concessions made due to his being born a citizen, but whether it is actually due to that he has still already had many concessions made already. Yet his family asks for more. Does this seem reasonable?

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The Pixiest
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If he renounced his citizenship, he should be deported to his new country (Afghanistan?) or sent to Guantanamo.

If he didn't renounce his citizenship, he is a traitor (was that how he was convicted?) and serve out his sentence.

I don't have any symapathy for the man.

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Jutsa Notha Name
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He did not officially have any citizenship to any other country, if I recall correctly. That is most likely why he was tried as an American citizen. He was not convicted as a traitor, he plea bargained down from his original list of charges, which would have had him almost absolutely considered legally a traitor and the subsequent penalties.

I do not necessarily have sympathy for him either, but I am more concerned at the implications if his family manages to get the sentence commuted. I was seeking the opinions of others on the topic because I do not know for sure what a wider range of individuals than who I communicate with on a daily basis in life feels about this.

I suspect not many feel much at all. I think this story might be very low key and not registering much public opinion.

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Icarus
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I don't have a lot of knowledge about this. I am baffled by the leniency of Hicks's sentence, but, again, I don't know all the details. But since Hicks's sentence was passed in Australia and Lindh's was passed in the US, I don't see the relevance. It's only inconsistency when the same body handles similar cases differently. My kids don't have much success pointing out what other parents let their kids do. My knee-jerk instinct is that 20 years is not such an awful sentence for someone who was prepared to do battle for an enemy. Despite his renunciation of terrorism, the article says part of his conviction involved carrying explosives. That makes his renunciation suspect to me. I'm not without sympathy for Lindh, but I don't think being released from prison at this stage in his sentence is appropriate, based on my limited knowledge.
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aspectre
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Hicks was tried&convicted&sentenced by the American military.

Considering that Lindh "confessed" under a massive dose of dreamweaver drugs (opiates), and the only people who claim to have witnessed either the "confession" or "his signature" upon it are a couple of FBI agents who also claim they had made no records of their interrogation...
...I'd permanently imprison the FBI agents and all of their supervisors up the chain of command, as well as the prosecution team and all of their supervisors up the chain of command, as well as the sentencing judge and all of the appeals judges who've allowed the travesty of a trial to stand.

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Jutsa Notha Name
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I have a difficult time believing your claims. Do you have any corroberating information?
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aspectre
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Just research the news reports between the time of his capture and his sentencing.
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Kwea
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quote:
Originally posted by aspectre:
Hicks was tried&convicted&sentenced by the American military.

Considering that Lindh "confessed" under a massive dose of dreamweaver drugs (opiates), and the only people who claim to have witnessed either the "confession" or "his signature" upon it are a couple of FBI agents who also claim they had made no records of their interrogation...
...I'd permanently imprison the FBI agents and all of their supervisors up the chain of command, as well as the prosecution team and all of their supervisors up the chain of command, as well as the sentencing judge and all of the appeals judges who've allowed the travesty of a trial to stand.

Yet again I am reassured that you aren't in power.
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Jutsa Notha Name
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If I recall the news reports when he was captured, the reports had him captured in Afghanistan, not the US. So, I suppose my first question would be how did you get information the FBI was out there in Afghanistan, since they only have jurisdiction within the United States? Further, he was captured with weapons on his person, also reported then and on to his sentencing. He maintains he joined the Taliban for religious reasons, not to fight the United States, but his sentence is due to his actions and time of capture, not his intention when he renounced his citizenship. He was interrogated by the CIA, just so you are aware. He also admitted to being guilty of the charges he is in jail for. He was asked what he believes he is guilty of in court, and he stated he was guilty of service to the Taliban militia and for carrying the rifle and two grenades. Was he drugged in court as well?
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Jutsa Notha Name
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I am not, nor do I think anyone who has followed the story has, accused Lindh of actually fighting against American forces in battle. From the evidence available from reports of his capture and trial, he took up arms for the Taliban because he believed their cause was just in fighting the Northern Alliance warlords. Before that he had been flown to the Taliban training by a Pakistani man who sponsored him, allegedly for religious training. His mistake was not going to Afghanistan. He may very well have not known what would happen on 9/11. It is reported he was captured while cowering in a basement, and though he was armed he was not violent at the time of his capture. That does not excuse him for his actions of joining the Taliban militia, and if allegations of having gone through an al Qaeda training camp are true it is doubtful he didn't know of 9/11. Still, he is in jail for what he has been charged for, not for what some people may have assumed based on sparse media reporting.
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Storm Saxon
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Hicks engaged in a plea deal wherein he agreed to drop his charges that he was tortured and agreed not to talk about aspects of his case for a year after release.

Hicks is also something of a huge thorn in the side of John Howard. Many Australians are angry that the U.S. kept him and didn't turn him back over to Australia. So, the lenient sentence may be a bone thrown to John Howard/Australia, where Australia's alliance with the U.S. in Iraq is very unpopular.

http://tinyurl.com/37eont

http://tinyurl.com/2fjbjz

http://tinyurl.com/ys9cjv

http://tinyurl.com/25oozb

Edited for clarity

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Jutsa Notha Name
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Interesting links, Storm Saxon. It looks to me like the brevity of Hicks' sentence bears more skepticism as to what outside factors are in play than it does Lindh's length of sentence.
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brojack17
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I agree 100% with Pix.
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