View Full Version : John Lindh, Patriot

Monday, August 5th, 2002, 01:05 AM
John Lindh, Patriot

July 16, 2002
I yield to nobody in my regard for patriotism, which is why I’m a bit troubled by the prosecution of John Walker Lindh, the American-born Taliban fighter. Lindh has now plea-bargained, accepting a 20-year prison sentence for the “crime” of defending his country against invaders. Among the charges is that he was carrying grenades and an AK-47 (broken down) when U.S. forces arrived in Afghanistan.

Just as I consider I have the right to defend my country from attack, I consider that Lindh had the right to defend his adopted country. He was no terrorist, by any stretch of that rubber word, and he had no part in the September 11 attacks on American soil.

Many Americans wanted nothing less than a death sentence for Lindh. They consider him a traitor who owed his allegiance to the United States; the press describes him as “a 21-year-old Californian,” never mind that he left California in his teens (having been born elsewhere) and considers himself an Afghan.

Don’t we have the right to emigrate? Is this the Soviet Union? So Lindh skipped the tedious paperwork and inconvenience of changing his citizenship under U.S. law. That’s a technicality that doesn’t affect his moral right to leave. So why all the moral indignation?

The angry mob insists that it was treason for Lindh to fight back against an invasion by the government he was born under, even after he had long since renounced it. In fact the U.S. Government considers it criminal even for natives of other countries to resist American invasions.

Once upon a time, when I was a Cold War conservative, I might have been among those hoping Lindh would get the hot seat. I thought it was my patriotic duty to support American military action, on grounds that it was somehow-or-other “defending freedom.” I didn’t want to know the details of this defense; if innocent people sometimes got killed, well, that was accidental, unavoidable, unintended. We meant all for the best. We mustn’t “handcuff” the brave men who were fighting for our liberty against the evil forces in this world.

When liberals talked of “bloated military budgets,” I retorted that too much defense was better than too little, which might be fatal. In short, I was willing to give the military a blank check. Not that this stopped me from complaining about high taxes. I blamed those on the welfare state.

Liberals tend to do the same thing from another point of view. They support the welfare state without looking too closely at the details. Waste? Fraud? Excess? Small prices to pay for “compassionate” government. They blame high taxes on the military.

Both sides, liberal and conservative, loyally support a limitless government as long as they feel that the government has its heart in the right place and is an instrument of the principles they believe in. The details hardly matter. And each side grudgingly accepts the package deal of a mammoth state that does what they disapprove of, as long as it also does things they approve of. Liberals accept militarism as the politically necessary cost of socialism; conservatives accept socialist programs as the politically necessary cost of militarism. It’s a very expensive symbiosis.

Today the militarists have the upper hand. September 11 decided that. The great majority of patriotic Americans are willing to let the government do what it thinks it must militarily, including curtailing freedoms at home. Sometimes you have to abridge freedom in order to preserve it, don’t you?

We have heard this argument since Lincoln’s presidency. And it still works. The U.S. Government has grown incomprehensibly vast because it’s so much easier to wave the flag than to read the Constitution. We have hypnotized ourselves into a state of mind that believes that when our government is rifling through Granny’s suitcase or prosecuting an eccentric kid, it’s defending our freedom.

These hypnotic slogans recall the words of William Blake: “To generalize is to be an idiot.” Who needs facts when you have such compelling generalizations to keep the herd in line?

John Walker Lindh has learned the perils of living outside the herd. He went his own way, even if it was only to join a different herd in which his individuality was submerged.

His original herd still claims his soul. It doesn’t mind that he renounced Jesus Christ, his Savior — but to renounce his government! Now that’s a mortal sin.

Joseph Sobran


Monday, August 5th, 2002, 04:10 AM
Terrorist is indeed a rubber word...and thanks to the media and the average American's idiocy, it means everything and nothing.

Yes, an American has the right to renounce his citizenship, and not fight for America--and it is wrong for us to convict such a person for acting properly, as far as his morals lead him.

The fact we *did* prosecute him suggests something far more sinister--that perhaps our government merely mouths the words for the values we hold dear...in which case our discussion will get ugly real fast.

Monday, August 5th, 2002, 06:27 AM
It's all a technicality issue. Walker should have formally renounced his citizenship prior to initiating his training at an Al Qaeda training camp. Because he didn't, he is essentially a treasonist for enlisting in a foreign, hostile army currently engaged in a form of warfare with the United States (this was just after the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole in Yemen).

Monday, August 5th, 2002, 06:32 AM
Because he didn't, he is essentially a treasonist for enlisting in a foreign, hostile army currently engaged in a form of warfare with the United States (this was just after the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole in Yemen).

If that were true then you could say the same thing about the American pilots in the U.S. Army who volunteered to fly for Britain against Germany, before the U.S. had even entered the war on either side. Likewise, the despicable kikes who hold dual citizenships in the U.S. and Israel while advocating and carrying out the destruction of the Palestinians. The fact is , that the Afghans didn't attack us. We attacked them. It is their country being bombed. How many kikes do you see over there invading Afghanistan? Technicality issue my ass!

Monday, August 5th, 2002, 09:38 AM
The United States considered him a part of Al Qaeda, not the Taliban. Al Qaeda had previously bombed two of our embassies, a marine barracks and recently the U.S.S. Cole. Though it was not an actual "war" per say, they were an enemy army and Walker Lindh enlisted with them. Under our rules regarding treason, that makes him a treasonists.

The United States giving soldiers to Britain (who were our allies at the time) to fight Germany is not an instance of treason, because Britain was obviously not our enemy. Moreover, I think treason reflects on an individual's choice to enlist in a foreign army. If it's against the wishes of the United States, then it's considered treason.

Monday, August 5th, 2002, 05:22 PM
The United States giving soldiers to Britain (who were our allies at the time) to fight Germany is not an instance of treason, because Britain was obviously not our enemy. Moreover, I think treason reflects on an individual's choice to enlist in a foreign army. If it's against the wishes of the United States, then it's considered treason.

If you had told the founding father's that Britain wasn't our enemy you would have had an argument there. The U.S. had no more business fighting Germany in WWII than they did in WWI. Germany had done nothing to us, any more than Iraq has done anything to us, and in fact the U.S. was pro-German before WWI until the kikes conned Wilson into entering the war and launched an anti-German propaganda campaign here in this country.
As for the wishes of the illegitimate "United States government" it is not the duty of an American to defend the "government." It is the duty of Americans to defend the CONSTITUTION!

Tuesday, August 6th, 2002, 12:34 AM
Originally posted by Strapu
John Lindh, Patriot
July 16, 2002
I yield to nobody in my regard for patriotism, which is why I’m a bit troubled by the prosecution of John Walker Lindh, the American-born Taliban fighter. Lindh has now plea-bargained, accepting a 20-year prison sentence for the “crimeEof defending his country against invaders. Among the charges is that he was carrying grenades and an AK-47 (broken down) when U.S. forces arrived in Afghanistan. I could care less about Lindh, although I have no great regard for him. He's just another screwy California kid, and he did meet with and give aid to Osama, who is indeed America's worst enemy, so I say at the very least let's complete the paperwork for him and dump his ass in a middle eastern hell hole. Now then, much more compelling reading on this subject:

Terror pact forged by cruise missiles

Al Qaeda had bad days, but U.S. attack tied bin Laden, Omar
Then-ambassador to the United Nations, Bill Richardson, center, is
greeted by Taliban officials at Kabul's airport, in this April 17,
1998 file photo.

By Alan Cullison and Andrew Higgins

KABUL, Afghanistan, Aug. 2 E In April 1998, shortly after Osama bin
Laden called on Muslims everywhere to slaughter Americans, a group
of senior U.S. officials traveled to the Afghan capital to try to
break the ice with the Saudi exile’s Taliban hosts.

THE TALIBAN GAVE the Americans a brisk tour, showing off a concrete
traffic booth from which they had hanged a former Afghan president. Then
they drove their visitors past a ragtag honor guard waving rifles to a
shabby hall equipped with a multivolume set of Thomas Jefferson’s
writings. The Taliban were trying, in their way, to please: It was a
Friday, the day for public executions and amputations in the football
stadium, but on this Friday, the Taliban gave the executioners the day
“The whole thing had a certain surreal quality,Erecalls Karl
Inderfurth, who was an assistant secretary of state and part of this
first, and last, senior U.S. mission to Taliban-ruled Afghanistan.

The most surreal feature of all, though, remained carefully hidden.
Behind a facade of Islamic solidarity presented to the visitors raged a
bitter struggle between two standard-bearers of radical Islam: the
Taliban’s Mullah Mohammed Omar and Mr. bin Laden.

A relationship that appeared smooth and even symbiotic to the
outside world was rent by disillusionment, anger and petty one-upmanship.
A country the U.S. considered a terroristsEparadise was, in the view of
many of the terrorists who arrived there from other lands, more like a
hell: They couldn’t trust the locals, the food was bad, they considered
the Taliban leader a bumpkin, and their work was stymied by the
near-medieval backwardness of the place.
“This place is worse than a tomb,Ewrote a bin Laden associate from
Egypt to comrades back home, after checking out Afghanistan. The country,
he said in a message stored on a computer found by The Wall Street Journal
in Kabul, “is not suitable for work.E
The Taliban, in turn, grumbled that Mr. bin Laden was arrogant,
publicity-seeking and disrespectful. The rift ran so deep that some of his
entourage of Arab revolutionaries expected to get booted out of
Afghanistan, as they had been earlier from Sudan. Indeed, by the summer of
1998, according to a former Saudi intelligence chief, Mullah Omar had
agreed to send Mr. bin Laden packing.
But then came the 1998 lethal bombings of two U.S. embassies in
Africa, to which the U.S. replied by raining down cruise missiles on a bin
Laden camp in Afghanistan. The retaliation had fateful consequences. It
turned Mr. bin Laden into a cult figure among Islamic radicals, made
Afghanistan a rallying point for defiance of America and shut off Taliban
discussion of expelling the militants. It also helped convince Mr. bin
Laden that goading America to anger could help his cause, not hurt it.

Today, thanks to the war in Afghanistan following Sept. 11, Islamic
militants have lost their arid haven for training, networking and
plotting. U.S. bombs have flattened the Afghan camps that trained fighters
for battle in Kashmir, Chechnya and other local conflicts. Yet, in another
paradox of American response to terrorist violence, the rout has forced
what many of the militants wanted all along: relocation away from a
treacherous backwater. Those targeting the West didn’t need shooting
ranges so much as access to reliable electronic communications, false
documents and the “infidelEcountries in their sights.

Mr. bin Laden first took refuge in Afghanistan in May 1996,
bringing his three wives, 13 children and troop of bodyguards after Sudan
expelled him. His protector was a friend from the anti-Soviet struggle of
the 1980s, a warlord named Yunis Khalis who was loosely allied with the
Taliban. But Mr. bin Laden quickly began to irritate more-moderate Taliban
officials, who had no interest in a global jihad and favored rapprochement
with both the wider world and the Taliban’s remaining foes in the north.
Mullah Mohammed Khaksar, then Taliban intelligence chief, says he
told the al Qaeda leader that Afghanistan wanted peace, not more conflict,
and “he should just go somewhere else. He got mad and we never spoke
Mullah Khaksar, who now supports the U.S.-backed Afghan government
of Hamid Karzai, says many Taliban officials were unhappy with the Arab
and other foreign militants, but most kept quiet. “Some were afraid for
their position,Ehe says, “some for their incomes, and some for their
By 1998, Mr. bin Laden had also fallen out with Mullah Omar,
despite efforts to curry favor with the Taliban’s paramount leader by
building him a villa in Kandahar.
Rahimullah Yusufzai, a Pakistan journalist who met with Taliban and
al Qaeda leaders many times, says Mullah Omar, a taciturn village cleric
who lost an eye fighting the Soviets, particularly resented Mr. bin
Laden’s flamboyant grandstanding Ehis blood-curdling declarations against
America, phony fatwas for which he had no religious authority, and news
conferences scripted to exaggerate his power. Taliban leaders, Mr.
Yusufzai says, were “very bitter in private.E
The Pakistani attended one of Mr. bin Laden’s press events in May
1998, at a camp in the Afghan region of Khost. Smuggled into the country
by Mr. bin Laden’s followers, the reporter was kept waiting for several
days and then driven for five hours over trackless terrain to an
encampment swarming with armed men. Mr. bin Laden made a dramatic entry in
a Japanese-built pickup, protected by about two dozen bodyguards, and,
after a burst of celebratory gunfire, delivered a tirade against the U.S.
and Israel.

It was impressive, the Pakistani journalist remembers, but also
“total theater.EHe says the place they ended up was just a short distance
from where they started Ethe five-hour journey a ruse to make it seem Mr.
bin Laden controlled a remote and secret stretch of Afghan territory. The
throng of armed men, he adds, weren’t al Qaeda fighters but local Afghans
recruited as extras. “I speak the language so I could talk to them. They
were ordinary Afghans,Ehe says. Mr. bin Laden had “stage-managed the
whole thing.E

Playing now:

The press event infuriated Mullah Omar after he learned of it from
a BBC report. Mr. Yusufzai says he got a phone call back in Pakistan from
the Taliban leader, who grilled him about how he had entered without a
visa and about what Mr. bin Laden had said.
“How can he hold a press conference without my permission? There is
only one ruler. Is it me or Osama?Ethe journalist remembers Mullah Omar
demanding. Mr. Yusufzai says Mr. bin Laden later apologized to Mullah Omar
and promised not to hold any more news conferences without permission.
Some Arab militants, meanwhile, were voicing dismay at their
chiefsEchoice of real estate. One deplored Afghanistan’s remoteness, bad
roads and poor telephone lines, many of which, he said, were bugged. “A
leader can’t follow up company activities from there,Ehe wrote, in an
Arabic-language message stored on the PC found in Kabul last fall.
The “company,Eas activists called al Qaeda and its affiliates, set
up a Web site but had to use a server in China EAfghanistan had none.
Equipment was brought in from Britain and the U.S. Even the spiritual
guides who provided religious cover for terror were elsewhere: in London,
Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

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A top lieutenant, Morgan al-Gohari, complained that the Afghans
“change their ideas and positions all the timeEand “would do anything for
money.EHis letter to Ayman al-Zawahri, the No. 2 al Qaeda boss, asked,
“Is it safe to live among these people? ... Can any of your work be done
there in view of the lack of facilities?E
Far more suitable, operatives suggested, was Europe. Britain seems
to have been a particularly popular destination: Dr. Zawahri issued an
order ruling that “a brother may travel to LondonEto collect funds, but
“may not stay there or seek asylum.E
Tariq Anwar, a militant normally based in Yemen, wrote a mocking
account of trying to make a telephone call during a trip to Afghanistan.
“The first stage involves arranging a car [as we don’t have a car].... The
second stage involves waiting for the car [the car may be hours late or it
may arrive before the agreed time].EThe next stage, he wrote, “is the
trip itself, in which we sit like sardines in a can. Most of the time I
have one-eighth of a seat and the road is very bad.EThe final stage was
reaching “a humble government communications office,Ewhere “most of the
time there is some kind of failure, either the power is off [or] the lines
are out of order.E

The complaints about the penury masked a deeper suspicion: that the
village mullahs heading the Taliban were too unlettered to run Afghanistan
on their own. Arab militants looked down on the Afghans because they
didn’t speak Arabic, the language of the Quran, and therefore could
embrace Islam only “emotionally,Esays Abdel-Fattah Fahmy Ahmed, a veteran
Islamist released from jail in Cairo earlier this year. He says Mr. bin
Laden and Dr. Zawahri saw Afghans as “a simple people with a simple
culture.... They didn’t believe the Taliban had an ability to grasp
contemporary reality, politics and management.E
Mr. bin Laden’s grandstanding made already-tense relations with the
locals worse. A July 1998 letter from two Syrian Islamists who had moved
to Afghanistan, written in Arabic and stored on the computer found in
Kabul, said the al Qaeda chief “has caught the disease of [TV] screens,
flashes, fans and applause.E
His “obstinacy, egotism and pursuit of internal battles,Ethey
continued, had alienated the Taliban leader and strengthened a “corrupt
streamEwithin the Taliban that was keen to do a deal with the Americans.
The writers mocked Mr. bin Laden’s promises to use his money to build
roads and revive the economy. The Taliban “got only promises which the
wind blew away,Esaid the two Syrians, Omar Abu Mosaab al-Suri and Abu
Khaled al-Suri. “You know the truth.E
The long letter said that Mr. bin Laden’s “troublemakingEhad so
frayed relations with Mullah Omar that the Taliban had shut down one Arab
camp. And “talk about closing down [all] the camps has spread.EIn short,
it said, addressing Mr. bin Laden, “We are in a ship together, and you are
burning it.E
Americans following Afghanistan saw none of this. They sometimes
picked up rumors of friction between the Arabs and Afghans but had no way
to confirm them, says Mr. Inderfurth. Bill Richardson, the former U.S.
ambassador to the U.N. who led the 1998 delegation to Kabul, says he tried
to persuade the Taliban to hand over Mr. bin Laden and make peace with
their foes but got nowhere, even though at the time he called his visit a
“The Taliban basically said, ‘We will not turn him over, but we
will keep an eye on him for you,EEMr. Richardson says. “My sense was
that there was some kind of collusion between the two.E
In fact, Taliban/al Qaeda relations were near a breaking point.
Two months after the U.S. visit, Mullah Omar had a secret visit in
Kandahar from Prince Turki al Faisal, then head of intelligence for Saudi
Arabia, one of only three countries to recognize the Taliban government.
Prince Turki says the Saudi government, angered by Mr. bin Laden’s fiery
proclamations, had “decided that enough is enough.EIt asked Mullah Omar
to hand over the al Qaeda leader so he could be put on trial in Saudi
Arabia for treason, a crime punishable by death.

Mullah Omar, the prince says, assented to the Saudi demand, asking
only that the two countries first set up a joint commission of Islamic
scholars to formulate a justification for the expulsion. A month later,
Prince Turki says, the Taliban leaders sent an envoy to Saudi Arabia to
reaffirm the deal. In preparation, the Taliban replaced Mr. bin Laden’s
team of Arab bodyguards with Afghans loyal to Mullah Omar.
But shortly afterward, the plan came unstuck when the U.S., in
retaliation for the bombing of its embassies in East Africa, fired 79
cruise missiles into Afghanistan and Sudan, Mr. bin Laden’s previous
sanctuary. President Clinton, then mired in the Monica Lewinsky mess,
returned to Washington from a Martha’s Vineyard vacation for a televised
address, telling the nation: “Our mission was clear, to strike at the
network of radical groups affiliated with and funded by Osama bin Laden.E
Even before he spoke, Dr. Zawahri got on the phone to Mr. Yusufzai
in Pakistan to declare himself and Mr. bin Laden safe.
Mr. bin Laden was not only safe but also more secure Eand an
international celebrity, his face and cause suddenly famous from Karachi
to Kansas. The U.S. strike helped turn a loose association of Soviet-war
alumni and other militants into a magnet for funds and recruits, says Hani
al-Sebai, a London-based Islamist. Before, he says, “there was no al
Saudi Prince Turki says that, accompanied by the head of Pakistan’s
intelligence agency, he visited Afghanistan again less than a month after
the U.S. raid Eand found the Taliban attitude had “changed 180 degrees.E
Mullah Omar, he says, was “absolutely rude,Einsulting the Saudi royal
family as American “lackeysEand refusing to discuss Mr. bin Laden. Prince
Turki stormed out of the meeting. The deal to send Mr. bin Laden back to
Saudi Arabia was off. Also void was Mr. bin Laden’s pledge to curb his
thirst for publicity.
The al Qaeda chief soon held another of his media spectacles, this
time with the Taliban’s support. The U.S. had used missiles, Mr. bin Laden
said derisively, because Americans were “too cowardly ... to meet the
young people of Islam face-to-face.E
Al Qaeda hatched plans to milk the missile attack for propaganda
and profit. A promotional video featuring the area damaged by the raid
soon went on sale in Islamic bookshops in Europe and the Mideast. Al
Qaeda’s military chief composed letters to ABC, CBS and CNN offering to
sell footage of Mr. bin Laden “openly threatening America.EThough the
computer found in Kabul contains copies of the letter, it’s not clear it
was ever sent; the networks say they didn’t receive it.
Three months after the U.S. retaliatory attack, the Taliban said
they had examined the U.S. accusation that Mr. bin Laden was behind the
embassy bombings and determined he was “a man without sin.EAll hopes they
would expel him were gone.

A year later, after Gen. Pervez Musharraf took over Pakistan in a
military coup, the State Department’s Mr. Inderfurth paid the new
Pakistani leader a visit and asked him to intercede with the Taliban. Mr.
Inderfurth says Gen. Musharraf said he would go to Kandahar and stay until
Mullah Omar agreed to curb Mr. bin Laden, “even if this means taking a
backpack and sleeping on the floor.EGen. Musharraf never went to
Kandahar. A Pakistani embassy spokesman in Washington says Mr. Musharraf
sent a number of emissaries to try to get Mullah Omar to sever ties with
Mr. bin Laden, but when he refused, the Pakistani leader decided not to go
Mullah Khaksar, the former Taliban intelligence chief, says
Washington also dropped the ball. He says that while visiting Pakistan in
1999 for treatment for an old bullet wound, he made contact with the U.S.
consulate in Peshawar and said he wanted to talk about ways to rid
Afghanistan of Mr. bin Laden and other terrorists. Mullah Khaksar says an
American diplomat told him the U.S. didn’t want to get involved in
internal Afghan politics. Mr. Inderfurth and Michael Sheehan, who was the
State Department’s counterterrorism coordinator, say they know nothing of
such an exchange.
These were times of much tension inside Afghanistan. A truck bomb
blew up outside Mullah Omar’s Kandahar compound in August 1999, wounding
his brother. Taliban troops in the field suffered setbacks against the
Northern Alliance forces of Ahmed Shah Massoud, who controlled one corner
of Afghanistan. And the U.N., at America’s behest, ordered the Taliban’s
foreign assets frozen and its airline grounded until it evicted Mr. bin
The foreign militants took advantage of these troubles to draw
closer to their hosts. Mullah Khaksar says the truck bomb, which many
blamed on Mr. Massoud, “was a good opportunity for Osama. He went to
Mullah Omar’s house and promised that [al Qaeda] would take revenge on his

Foreign militants rallied to help the Taliban’s troops. “If there
was a piece of territory the Afghans couldn’t conquer, the Arabs would do
it for them,Esays Mullah Khaksar. “They never cared for their own lives.E
The U.S., with no embassy in Kabul, labored to keep open channels
of communication. U.S. officials met with Taliban envoys in Islamabad, New
York and Washington to demand Mr. bin Laden’s surrender, and one managed
to get the reclusive Mullah Omar on the phone. The conversations, says Mr.
Sheehan, “grew more and more harsh, more and more blunt.EAfter the U.S.
uncovered plans for millennium attacks by Mr. bin Laden’s confederates,
Mr. Sheehan phoned the Taliban foreign minister with a stern message: “If
you have an arsonist in your house, you become responsible for his
Al Qaeda, meanwhile, was working to poison Taliban attitudes. An
unsigned Arabic letter addressed to Mullah Omar in 2000, found on the
Kabul computer, urged the Afghan rulers to shun all contact with “infidelE
Al Qaeda’s propaganda department churned out reports attacking the
U.N., the Taliban’s main contact with the wider world. It denounced the
U.N. charter for promoting equality between the sexes and among countries,
asking: “How can Muslim and non-Muslim states be equal?EAnother text was
titled “Critique of the U.N. as an Infidel Agency.E

Mr. bin Laden began a simultaneous campaign of flattery. He hailed
Mullah Omar as Islam’s new caliph Ea lofty title not used since the
collapse of the Ottoman Empire Eand Afghanistan as the kernel of a new
caliphate, a vast and pure Islamic state that would embrace central Asia
and beyond.
Cloaking their Afghan presence in religion, al Qaeda chiefs claimed
to be following the example of Muhammad, who led his followers in a
hijrah, or migration, from Mecca to Medina in the seventh century. Dr.
Zawahri wrote to radical clerics abroad urging them to “migrateEto
Afghanistan, to “the land of glory and freedom, where the dear mujahideen
gather, to the school of faith and jihad.E
He appealed to an Egyptian Islamic scholar named Dr. Fadl, who,
disgusted with Islamist infighting, had retired to herd goats in Yemen.
Dr. Zawahri pleaded with him to come to Afghanistan and lend his authority
to the world’s “largest gathering of contracting companiesEEjihad jargon
for terror operators. Dr. Fadl, who had once accused Dr. Zawahri of
plagiarizing his writings, declined.
While big-name Islamic scholars stayed away, hundreds of youthful
Islamists answered the migration call, enrolling in Afghan training camps
affiliated with Mr. bin Laden, though not always controlled by him. A
questionnaire inquired about their affiliations. “The applicant must give
correct information,Esaid the form, stored on the Kabul computer, adding
that al Qaeda “reserves the right to take all steps if information given
is incorrect.E
Over tea in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, a 24-year-old Islamist recently
told of visiting Afghanistan three times before Sept. 11, meeting Mr. bin
Laden and several of the Sept. 11 hijackers. The activist, asking not to
be named, said he picked up tips on poisons and explosives, but most
important was the camaraderie. “In Afghanistan, everything changes. Your
mind opens up. You begin to think globally,Ehe said.
This rapture could also turn rancid. “The food was always bad.
People got sick. People were always tired,Esaid the Saudi, who said he
fell seriously ill from the water. Discipline was harsh. He said two
militants who were discovered having a homosexual affair were executed.
Al Qaeda’s bosses mostly shunned fraternization with the locals,
shuttling between houses in Kabul’s embassy district, an enclave in
Kandahar and camp colonies in the outback. Concern with security shaded
into paranoia. An al Qaeda report in June 2000 said training camps should
have two types of security officers: one to supervise the head of each
camp and a second to monitor the first Eknown only to the organization’s
overall chief.
Wahid Dullah, a Kabul shopkeeper living opposite a walled compound
that Arab militants rented early in 2001, says the first thing they did
was reinforce the door. Then they built a concrete security booth. They
made calls from a long-distance telephone office, whose owner says they
argued over payment and accused him of cheating them.

Some foreign recruits, far from home and distressed by the
hardship, seem to have snapped under the strain. A Malay-speaking militant
wrote a rambling, barely coherent appeal to fellow Muslims that was stored
on the Kabul computer: “Don’t forget to wash the plaque [from your teeth]
otherwise it will smell and people around you will faint.... Alas,
defender of the faith, let’s go to war. Fight everywhere, even in the
toilet. But don’t get carried away ... ha ha ha.E
With al Qaeda’s ties to the Taliban improving after battles with
the Northern Alliance and the U.S. missile strike, members of Mr. bin
Laden’s entourage began to enjoy privileges denied to ordinary Afghans.
One was the right to roam the country with weapons. A travel pass signed
early last year by Mullah Abdul Jalil, the Taliban’s deputy foreign
minister, reads, “This armed Arab guest ... has the right to go everywhere
(including secret offices) as he pleases. Nobody has the right to stop
Mullah Khaksar, the former Taliban intelligence chief, says that in
the last year Mr. bin Laden held numerous secret meetings with Mullah
Omar, who had become “so influenced by Osama that he was ready to
sacrifice his people, his country, everything for him.EThey sealed the
bond with an act of dramatic vandalism: the destruction of ancient Buddhas
carved into a cliff.
The Taliban had taken potshots at the giant stone figures before
but managed only to dislodge a hand. The Arab militants lobbied for a
mightier assault and, in March 2001, took part in an operation that
blasted the 1,500-year-old monoliths to oblivion. A video of the
destruction, with a soundtrack of joyous chanting, is stored on the Kabul
Al Qaeda chiefs congratulated Mullah Omar on the elimination of
“dead, deaf and mute false gods.EThey urged that he work to liquidate as
well a “living false god,Eidentified as the permanent members of the U.N.
Security Council: Russia, China, France, Britain and the U.S. “Thus we
call upon you to reject this living false god ... and destroy it just as
you previously destroyed its dead brother,Esays a message stored on the
A militant Kuwaiti cleric, writing on al Qaeda’s Web site early
last year, offered a simple defense of the country that was offering
sanctuary to the militants. Afghanistan’s worthiness was self-evident, he
argued: After all, it had been hit by American missiles and survived.
In the end, the distrust, discomfort and sometimes despair felt by
many al Qaeda militants failed to derail the relationship between Mullah
Omar and Mr. bin Laden. Fused together by U.S. missiles and common
hostility to the outside world, the university-trained Saudi millionaire
and the barely educated Afghan village cleric had become one.

Thursday, November 20th, 2003, 10:43 PM
Patriot?.Probably not. Poofter? - apparently. Fighting for theTaleban for the love of both the Quran and his Pakistani boyfriend.

Lindh was infamous for "religion and rogering' on the North-west frontier" - Now thats a literary combination, someone should make a B-movie out of it?.