Saturday, January 19, 2002

John Walker Lindh is an interesting victim of the new American colonialism. He was seeking something in his life, and turned to Islam. This led him to study with the Taliban in Afghanistan. Unbeknownst to him, the Taliban were negotiating with the United States regarding the building of an oil pipeline. The Taliban naively didn't believe the U. S. threats that unless the Taliban gave in and accepted the U. S. position, the U. S. would obtain what it wanted through war. Lindh was studying with a group who were, at the time, almost an ally of the United States (the Taliban received millions of dollars in U. S. aid in the spring, and were an on-going negotiating partner of the U. S.). All the while, the U. S. planned to replace the Taliban with the Northern Alliance, and used the 9-11 terrorist attacks to create a very flimsy excuse for attacking the Taliban (claim without evidence that bin Laden did it, then attack the Taliban for 'harboring' bin Laden). Suddenly, Lindh finds himself in an army that is in a war with the U. S. What is he supposed to do? He's in Afghanistan, with nowhere to go. If he tries to desert or refuses to fight, they will kill him. Apparently he expressly refused to fight against American forces, and fought, if he fought at all, against the Northern Alliance. The new American colonialism involves dropping lots of bombs on civilians while using proxies to fight the ground wars. The proxies are directed by covert U. S. agents. Lindh, in fighting the Northern Alliance, may have unwittingly been fighting Americans (whose military status was closer to espionage agents than soldiers). When he is captured, he is interrogated by CIA agents, who were almost certainly committing war crimes (not to mention the as yet uninvestigated war crimes involved in the U. S.-British-Northern Alliance slaughter of most of his co-detainees). Lindh is then treated as a 'battlefield detainee', not a prisoner of war, and presumably treated so badly that his 'confessions' are worthless (just think about it - almost all the people he was captured with were bombed and slaughtered in front of his eyes and his subsequent 'confessions' to the same people are supposed to be voluntary?). The geopolitical games of the new colonialism played by the United States shifted the ground right under Lindh's feet (is the perfidity of U. S. foreign policy a defense to criminal charges?) and put him in an impossible situation.