Who is John Walker Lindh?

John Philip Walker Lindh (born February 9, 1981) is an American man who was captured as an enemy combatant during the United States' invasion of Afghanistan in November 2001.  

Where is John Walker Lindh from?

Lindh was born in Washington, D.C., to Marilyn Walker and Frank R. Lindh. He was baptized a Catholic and grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland. When he was 10 years old, his family moved to San Anselmo, California.

What was John Walker Lindh early life before imprisonment?

Lindh was born in Washington, D.C., to Marilyn Walker and Frank R. Lindh, as the middle of three children in the family. He was named "John" after John Lennon, who was murdered two months before Lindh's birth. He was baptized a Catholic and grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland. When he was 10 years old, his family moved to San Anselmo, California. Lindh suffered from an intestinal disorder as a child. At age 14, his health improved. He enrolled at Redwood High School as a freshman. He then transferred to Tamiscal High School in the Tamalpais Union High School District, an alternative school offering self-directed, individualized study programs. While there, he studied world culture, including Sunni Islam and the Middle East. Lindh dropped out of the school and eventually earned an equivalent of a high school diploma by passing the California High School Proficiency Exam at age 16. As an adolescent, Lindh participated in IRC chat rooms with the IRC nickname Mujahid. He became a devoted fan of hip-hop music and engaged in extensive discussions on Usenet newsgroups, sometimes pretending to be an African American rapper who would criticize others for "acting black." Spike Lee's film Malcolm X impressed him deeply and sparked his interest in Islam. Although his parents did not divorce until 1999, their marriage was in serious trouble throughout Lindh's adolescence. 

Why did John Walker Lindh join the Taliban?

The story behind his involvement in the Taliban might be his keen interest in Islam, to begin with, and somewhere his parents as well. The reports, like wiki, suggest that his parents had a very bad relationship throughout Lindh's adolescence. His father often left their Marin residence for extended periods to live in San Francisco with a male lover. Lindh completely got out of the radar of his parents after Frank Lindhe and Marilyn separated since 1997 and quickly after, at the age of 16, Lindh formally converted to Islam the same year where he might have gotten more companions to be with. He used to regularly attend mosques in Mill Valley and later in nearby San Francisco. In 1998, Lindh went to Yemen and stayed for about 10 months to learn Arabic so that he could read the Qur'an. after that, he returned to his family for about eight months only to travel back to Yemen in February 2000 and left for Pakistan to study at a madrassa. While abroad, Lindh exchanged numerous emails with his family in one of which,  his father told him about the USS Cole bombing, to which Lindh corresponded blaming the American naval destroyers being in the Yemen harbor as an act of war, and that the bombing was justified. Moving on, At the age of 20, Lindh decided to travel to Afghanistan to fight for the Afghan Taliban government forces against Northern Alliance fighters. We might say at this point he was like brainwashed where violence means to be carrying out GOD's will. 

What were John Walker Lindh charges?

Lindh was held responsible for 10 criminal charges, 2 of which was illegally aiding the Taliban and carrying explosives both of which carry 10 years of imprisonment under US Federal Law. The remaining charges were dropped that included conspiracies to murder Americans that could have led to him being given a life sentence without the possibility of remission. After his plea bargain followed several days of negotiations. He was sentenced only 20-years imprisonment.

What's the controversy about John Walker Lindh being innocent?

Lindh is entirely innocent of any involvement in the terror attacks, or any allegiance to terrorism. That is not disputed by the American government. Indeed, all accusations of terrorism against John were dropped by the government in a plea bargain, which in turn was approved by the US district court in which the case was brought.  However, Lindh accepted the certainty of a 20-year jail sentence by changing his plea to guilty on two of the 10 charges he faced. Lindh pleaded guilty to illegally aiding the Taliban and carrying explosives, both of which carry 10-year sentences under US federal law. In return, the government dropped charges, including conspiracy to murder Americans, that could have led to him being given a life sentence without the possibility of remission. However, he was decided not to be charged with the capital crime of treason. 

What citizen rights are being revoked from John Walker Lindh?

Under the conditions of his release, Mr. Lindh is barred from owning an internet-connected device without permission from the probation office. He is also barred unless otherwise approved, from any online communications not in English and may not communicate with any known extremists. Mr. Lindh is prohibited from owning a passport and from international travel, too, a ban that prevents the immediate possibility of a move to Ireland. Mr. Lindh obtained Irish citizenship through his grandmother while in prison. Under the terms of his release, he must also undergo mental health counseling.

When did John Walker Lindh got released?

Mr. Lindh was freed on probation after serving 17 years of a 20-year sentence for providing support to the Taliban, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons. 

Is Lindh still a risk?

At his sentencing in late 2002, Mr. Lindh said that he condemned “terrorism on every level, unequivocally” and had made a mistake in joining the Taliban. But assessments in recent years suggest that he may not have fully rejected extremist views.  But still, there are concerns that Lindh has not abandoned his extremism which can be learned from the Foreign Policy magazine published US government documents in 2017 stating that the prisoner "continued to advocate for global jihad and to write and translate violent extremist texts". And in March last year, Lindh "told a television news producer that he would continue to spread violent extremist Islam upon his release", the documents allege. More recently, The Atlantic magazine's journalist Graeme Wood wrote letters to Lindh while he was behind bars and  describes him as "unrepentant"."His more than 17 years in captivity seem, on the basis of this correspondence, to have converted Lindh from an al-Qaeda supporter to an Islamic State supporter," Mr. Wood wrote.