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American Taliban's case raises questions

Posted: Thursday, July 18, 2002

John Walker Lindh, son of affluence, advantage and privilege, will have 20 years to ponder just why he turned his back on the country that afforded him the best it had to offer. Lindh, dubbed the American Taliban, entered a surprise plea of guilty to charges of aiding the theocrats who once ruled Afghanistan....

By entering the plea, Lindh also sidestepped murder charges filed in connection with the death of a CIA agent killed in a Nov. 25 prisoner uprising. Johnny Michael Spann was shot and killed during an uprising at Mazar-e-Sharif after interviewing Lindh, who was indicted on charges of conspiring to kill Americans. Spann's death was cited as an overt act in the conspiracy. The plea bargain contains no references to Spann. ...

Noting that Lindh also agreed to cooperate with American intelligence authorities, prosecutors were touting the agreement as a good deal. A prosecutor noted that the plea bargain was proof that the criminal justice system can be an effective weapon in the war on terror. ...

We are left to wonder what a jury might have done. Second-guessing the lawyers involved in a plea agreement is pointless now. It's done. Lindh goes to prison to ponder his life, and the war on terror in which he played a role continues.

-- Austin (Texas) American-Statesman

July 16



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