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December 2001

Johnny Walker: Only One Life To Give
By Stephen Simac

  Marin terrorists used to be confined to mountain bikers or skateboarders but now the little county that could has it's own official terrorist. Johnny Walker, not the whiskey but the Taliban terrorist has emerged from the packs of pot smoking Marin teenagers as the new Benedict Arnold.
   More than half the country, displaying the lynch mob mentality that made America great, wants to string him up on the plains of Afghanistan. The rest want him tried before executing him for treason.
  There are only a few problems with that charge, minor technicalities really.  Treason is specifically defined in the Constitution of the united States as waging war on our country, or adhering to it's enemies and giving them aid and comfort. It must be proven by an overt act with at least two witnesses.
  Law is all about technicalities, American laws constitutionally are required to use them to protect the innocent, but only those who can afford justice are provided it.
  The crime of treason is one of the few actually described in the constitution. It was so tightly defined because the framers had a long understanding of the tyrannous use of the charge by the British crown.

New, New War Against Terrorism
   Let's take this step by step. America is not at War, no matter how many times they call the bombing of Afghanistan a WAR. Congress must declare war and so far they haven't. Bush could have gotten a declaration of War after 9/11; he's gotten almost everything else he wanted.  Instead he chose a congressional cheerleading resolution under the War Powers Act to sanctify his military actions instead. Thus we have no legal "enemies," only people we don't like.
   Bush has stated that America is not at war with the people of Afghanistan, no matter that our carpet bombing has killed an estimated 4,000 civilians and maimed many more.
   Even the evil Taliban weren't America's enemies if they had only given up Osama when he threatened them. Bush wouldn't provide evidence to them showing Osama's involvement, still they offered to deliver him to another nation for an international trial. That wasn't good enough when plans to invade Afghanistan had already been in the works since early summer and possibly for as long as four years. The Taliban wanted too big a percentage from the Unocal oil pipeline planned for Afghanistan.
   Vengeance is not Justice, Infinite or otherwise and America's murderous bombing of Afghanistan can not be justified by international laws or treaties. In fact the whole bombing campaign is tenuously based on a self-defense clause of NATO.
   Since the Taliban came to power through American plotting and Pakistani aid, our government reserved the right to remove them, like so many other puppets gone bad.
   Until Sept. 11, the United States was the main supporter of the Taliban with both financial and humanitarian aid, often routed through Pakistan's intelligence agency, the ISI.   The state department gave them $43 million in July for eradicating opium poppy growing, not opium sales.

Religion Rules
   This was after the Taliban had already blown up the giant Buddhas, banned women from working and going to school, and executed or dismembered thousands for minor infractions, for which we are now rightfully condemning them.
  Johnny Walker became a Muslim in Marin, described in the NY Times as a "haven for politically correct Californians who drive Porsches and raise children who are made muddle headed by too much freedom."  His parents did allow him the freedom to make his own religious choice, a constitutional right.
  Now they are bummed that he took it so seriously, maybe wishing he'd become a pothead like most Marin teens. At the time they were probably relieved that it wasn't Scientology, or God forbid the Moonies.
   Johnny changed his name to Suleyman something, traveled to Yemen to study Arabic, but they weren't pure enough for him.  Idealists are never satisfied. The Taliban's " Muslim purity" beckoned and he ended up in Pakistan at a madrassah.
   At some point he allegedly penetrated the Al Qaeda training camps, something the CIA was unable to do. The CIA previously complained that they'd failed at this because of those clannish Arabs and their agents' inability to speak any foreign languages, even igPay atinLay.
   Along with thousands of other Pakistani Pushtuns, he obeyed the orders of the rabid imams to join the jihad and marched off to Afghanistan. The jihadi went off to fight with the Taliban against the Northern Alliance, while the mullahs stayed home.
    At this point, backing out was probably not an option for Walker, without getting his throat slit as a spy.  So Johnny joined the Taliban after marching over mountainous terrain for a week on scanty rations.    Proving at least that not every Marin kid in his generation is as spoiled as they are made out to be.

Pushtun Up Daisies
   If his experiences were similar to the other Pakistani volunteers who made it back alive described, he spent his time waiting to be ordered to the front lines to be shot at by the Northern Alliance or bombed by Daisy Cutters.
   When the battle for Mazar-i-Sharif looked lost, he was abandoned to his fate with his other Pakistani comrades by the Taliban forces they'd come to help. The Taliban slipped out the back door, leaving the volunteer jihadis behind to their fate as prisoners at the hands of the Northern Alliance. These warlords were even more notorious for brutality than the Taliban. Especially with foreigners.
   It would be hard to convict him for providing comfort to the enemy since the volunteers were mainly useless eaters to the Taliban. Even if he had taken up arms against the Northern Alliance, instead of merely wanting to, these troops were not American or legally our allies.
   In fact they were heavily supplied with arms and materiel by the Russians, also not our allies, although they have been going along with the Bush program.  Yes, US advisors were assisting the anti-Taliban forces but our bombing sorties seemed to target their side as often as the Taliban side.  
   Recall that the Taliban came to power with the gratitude of the Afghanistan people in 1996 after 7 years of vicious, lawless behavior by the Northern Alliance warlords and their gangs.  The initial Taliban action took place when their mullah intervened because two warlords were arguing over which one would keep a young Afghani boy to rape.
    Now the US has never met a warlord too brutal to support but if Johnny gets a trial, any defense lawyer worth his retainer is going to bring this up.
    The Taliban were supplied by Pakistan even after Sept. 11 yet Pakistan is officially America's ally in the war against terrorism. It's all so confusing, Johnny can be blamed for not keeping track of who's who in the Great Game to control Eurasia.
   The administration has been wavering over whether he's a "poor kid" or another Timothy McVeigh.  They change their minds over what to charge him with weekly.

Dumb And Dumber Vs. Hannibal
    His defense lawyer should bring up the role of the CIA agents filmed questioning John Walker and other prisoners, setting off a slaughter.
   The video of CIA dead hero Johnny "Mike" Spann questioning an almost comatose Johnny Walker after he's been captured appears to show CIA complicity in a planned extermination of prisoners of war.
   In English, "Mike" starts the interview by asking a slumped over Johnny "What do you speak, Irish, Pakistani?" Assuming this is an example of CIA foreign language expertise, American taxpayers aren't getting much for their intelligence dollars. Hot tip to the CIA, most Irish, even the terrorists speak English, some may have a smattering of Gaelic, but Irish is not a language and neither is Pakistani.    He threatens Suleyman Abdul "Paddy" Johnny Walker Lindh with imminent death unless he offers some explanation for why he's there.  "Mike" offers to let the Red Cross rescue him if he talks, instead of leaving him to the Northern Alliance. Johnny doesn't answer, head slumping back to his dirty chin.
   Then "Mike" apparently admits on camera that he's aware the NA is planning to kill all their foreign prisoners. "All right, you can spend the rest of your short fucking life here in this fucking place.  He had his fucking chance, right?"  He says to "Dave", who nods.
   The interrogation has its tender moments. "Mike" is snapping photos of the dirty face of "Paddy" while an Afghani guard's hands can be seen gently lifting his head up and brushing his hair back.
   Not content with one frustrating interview, Mike and Dave saunter into the Quala-i-Jhangi fort turned prison where they arrogantly question more Taliban prisoners with their elbows tied behind their backs.
   These prisoners have a little more fight left in them. When he asks one "why are you here?" the prisoner shouts, "to kill people like you!"   Stories conflict at this point, and the video hasn't been released.   Either the prisoner blows him up with a grenade or bites off a chunk of his face, knocking him down where other prisoners beat and kick him to death.
    The prisoners grab his weapons, other heavy weaponry loosely stored in the prison, and kill the few guards watching this training exercise of CIA interrogation. "Dave" flees with the television cameramen and the interpreter and immediately calls in airstrikes on the prison compound.
   The slaughter of prisoners goes on for days, evidently justified because they had taken up arms after surrendering. Nevertheless testimony about the disproportionate massacre will play poorly in any trial of John Walker. Since it's not a war the Geneva Conventions don't apply, but sometimes the truth hurts a prosecution.

Ducks In A Barrel
   Northern Alliance soldiers, US and British special operations troops killed as many prisoners as they could for days after any resistance had ended.  This included bombing and strafing from the air, shooting prisoners trying to surrender or with their arms still tied behind their backs, shooting rockets down culverts, pouring oil into basements where prisoners holed up and setting it on fire, drowning them out by flooding the basements, and shooting anyone who tried to surrender.
   Amazingly 85 prisoners survived out of roughly 900, by hiding out deep in the compound, with no food for a week, except a dead horse the survivors scrounged. The media had arrived in force by then, so those still alive were not executed summarily.
   Johnny reportedly confessed to a Newsweek reporter and CNN cameraman, at length and lucidly although he was starving, in shock and wounded. Something about the media that makes 'em open up.  CIA take notes. Almost everything we "know" about his actions and thoughts between Marin and Mazar-i-Sharif is based on this version of reality. He's been locked up since then, even his lawyer has been denied access. Hopefully they've cleaned his face by now.
   It will be interesting to see if any of his "CNN confession" holds up in court. Yes, Johnny was guilty of religious fervor and stupidity, but if those were crimes most Americans would be serving life sentences.    He served in a foreign army, so he could be stripped of his citizenship. As a foreigner he could be tried in one of Bush's unconstitutional military tribunals. Then it would all be secret.
   If found guilty by two out of three hooded judges, it's a tossup whether he would be shot, sent to prison, or put to work translating Osama bin Laden's videotape collection. 
 

 

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