Lies, Damn Lies and English 1B at SJSU

On April 16th, Frank Lindh, the father of John Walker Lindh, spoke via teleconference to an English 1B class at San Jose State University in California.  John Walker Lindh (aka: The American Taliban and Johnny Jihad) was charged with and pleaded guilty to

(1) engaging in a conspiracy, while outside the United States, to kill nationals of the United States outside of the United States, namely, United States nationals engaged in the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2332(b); (2) providing, attempting to provide, and conspiring to provide material support and resources to designated foreign terrorist organizations, namely, al-Qaeda and Harakat ul-Mujahideen (“HUM”), in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 2339B and 2; and (3) engaging in prohibited transactions with the Taliban, in violation of Title 31, Code of Federal Regulations, Sections 545.201 and 545.204, Executive Order # 13129, Title 50, United States Code, Sections 1702 and 1705, and Title 18, United States Code, Section 2.

Affidavit in Support of a Criminal Complaint and an Arrest Warrent, United States of America v. John Walker Lindh

Here is a video of the class presentation by Frank Lindh.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Frank Lindh Speaks at SJSU“, posted with vodpod

[hat tip:  The Jawa Report]

When I took English 1B, I remember a writing exercise that involved analyzing propaganda.  We selected a political advertisement and were required to describe what ideas the ad intended to convey and how the ad used images and language to spin the topic for a specific purpose.  Did SJSU Lecturer Richard Flynn have the same intention with this exercise, or is this just a hideous example of political indoctrination in Lower Division classes?

Frank Lindh claims that his son is presumed to have been involved with the events of 9/11.  Rubbish.  The charges in the affadavit above are quite specific.  Walker Lindh was convicted of being an enemy combatant and providing material support to a terrorist organization for his actions in Afganistan (The Case of the Taliban American, and The Taliban Next Door).

Here is the SJSU English Department’s description of English 1B:

Assignments shall emphasize those skills and activities in writing and thinking that produce 1) the persuasive argument, and 2) the critical essay, each of which demands analysis, interpretation, and evaluation.

It would be nice to see some of the analysis, interpretation and evaluation that will comprise Flynn’s students’ critiques. If Flynn’s class assignment was to analyze Frank Lindh’s propaganda and revisionist history involving his son (The Real Story of John Walker Lindh), then kudos to Richard Flynn. But, after listening to some of the student comments in the video, it does not appear that critical thinking was a part of the exercise. Lindh’s revisionism includes describing his son as “scholarly” even though he was a student in an alternative high school (i.e., couldn’t cut it in traditional high school) and eventually dropped out.   Lindh describes his son’s life as a “spiritual quest” even though that quest landed him in the middle of a prison uprising in Afganistan. The Crusades could be described as similar “spiritual quests,” except they involved White Christians fighting Islamists not White Islamic converts fighting against their own country.

The course description also says that English 1B addresses:

Diversity: Assignments (both reading and writing) shall address issues of race, class, and gender when appropriate, and the perspectives of women and diverse cultural groups shall be incorporated into course instruction and materials in an inclusive and comprehensive manner whenever possible.

Lindh’s English 1B teleconference may be one of the rare instances in American academia in which a privileged White male is the topic of sympathetic discussion. Oh, but I forget: (1) John Walker Lindh converted to Islam, (2) that now qualifies him as a member of a “diverse cultural group,” and thereby (3) he has achieved victim status and, in the minds of some, justification for his misguided acts.

Additional Reading:

US v. John Walker Lindh Grand Jury Indictment

Statement of John Walker Lindh to the Court

UPDATE: Additional Information

This has been added as a point of contrast to John Walker Lindh and actions that JWL freely chose to take.

Honor Mike Spann

mike_colorized

Advertisements

22 Comments

Filed under academia, Academic Indoctrination, John Walker Lindh, Mike Spann, Political Correctness, Politics, San Jose State University

22 responses to “Lies, Damn Lies and English 1B at SJSU

  1. Richard Flynn

    I loved your article on my classroom activity on John Walker Lindh. The accusations of being a revisionist and propagandist ring pleasantly in my ears, especially as they come from a woman who is so ignorant that her lead quotes charges the government dropped for lack of evidence as the very charges for which Lindh plead guilty.

    Such wholesale ignorance on the part of someone whom I find disagreeable is always welcome.

    Thank you so much. If the purpose of propaganda is to tell boldfaced lies, I must admit your lead shows you are a gifted propagandist.

    May your good work continue to amuse your enemies.

    [up]Yours,

    Rick Flynn

  2. Simona Simon

    Wow, that is so funny Mr. Flynn. I think this woman does not understand the complexity of the case, as I didn’t either when we first started studying it. I can’t say I agree with John 100%, and I have expressed that and will continue to, but to judge him so quickly without looking at all of the facts, well, I think all she needs is more research and an open mind. My political views are conservative in many ways and I tend to not be open-minded. However I can say after looking at the research, such as the Pelton interview among other documents, that he was not given a fair trial.

    I don’t agree with her accusing you of “political indoctrination”. I could have written a paper on how John did everything wrong and why he is an evil person, and I know you wouldn’t have been able to do anything about it because it would have been my opinion. What she doesn’t know is that throughout studying this case you have also been teaching us how to structure our papers well as far as coming up with a good solid thesis, main topic ideas that support the thesis, and examples and illustrations that support those topics. If my thesis was “John Walker Lindh should remain in prison for the rest of his life” and I was able to write a solid essay with a thesis, topic sentences, and examples, I truly believe that would have mattered more. Also, our studies in fact did involve analysis, interpretation, and evaluation. Hello!!!

    To the blogger, you seem angry. I am very passionate about certain things also, and in the beginning I didn’t feel sorry for John. You should read more on the subject, like why and how he ended up in Afghanistan. Also, why he went to the Middle East in the first place. I don’t care much for his reasons, but what we need to know is that they were not evil. The story is more complicated then you think. I was very sad and angry after 9/11, and would have gladly seen every terrorist in the world go down in flames, but I don’t think John was one of them. Sorry.

    • Rick Flynn

      Simona:

      You’re right, I did seem angry to the blogger and I should not have forgotten my manners, but mostly I was just having some fun, taking a couple of sarcastic pot shots for kicks.

      I should have noted that blogger, like you, may be coming to the story with preconceptions that are commonly held–not really a fault of hers or yours or mine.

      My apologies for sounding angry–that’s always dumb–and my thanks to you for stressing just how much thinking and studying the class did on this issue.

      And you are right, by the way, in writing that I would easily give a good grade to a paper that sent John Lindh to the gallows, as long as that paper were well-researched, and I have given grades to such papers as long as they understand that John’s guilt rests solely on assumptions which are quite arguable.

      Over the past six years in teaching this on and off, I’ve found fewer and fewer believing he was guilty of much anything. Last term at SJSU there was one student and going further back there have been one or two at most in classes of 20-25 students.

      This is why I think if the Senate Judiciary Committee to a fresh look at this case, there’s a great chance John Walker Lindh would be sent home fully exonerated.

      Thanks for writing this thoughtful response and for correcting me on my angry tone.

      Yours,

      Rick

  3. Rick Flynn

    Oops, it looks like you may have meant the blogger was angry–well, apologies don’t cost a penny.

    • Simona Simon

      You’re welcome by the way. I have learned a lot in your class, and it has been a pleasure being in it. 🙂 You’re quite a funny guy!!

      You were just reacting, and your reaction was not surprising, so don’t worry.

      See you tomorrow.

      -Simona-

  4. retractablehornsandtail

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I was quite willing to believe that you were unbiased:

    “If Flynn’s class assignment was to analyze Frank Lindh’s propaganda and revisionist history involving his son (The Real Story of John Walker Lindh), then kudos to Richard Flynn.”

    You have only proven otherwise.

    BTW: Did Simona get extra credit for helping you with CYA?

    • Simona

      No, Simona didn’t get extra credit. You are a very insulting person. Don’t be so angry “retractablehornsandtail”. Relajate.

      How do I spell it out for you, w-e w-e-r-e n-o-t f-o-r-c-e-d o-r c-o-e-r-c-e-d i-n-t-o l-e-a-n-i-n-g t-o-w-a-r-d-s a-n-y p-a-r-t-i-c-u-l-a-r s-i-d-e. Did you get that?

      If I expressed any doubts about John that might have made sense, which I have, Mr. Flynn would not try to just prove them wrong. We stuck very closely to facts, articles, interviews that were conducted with John, and a lot of other research material. We looked at both sides of this issue. Sometimes the truth isn’t always what you think or want it to be “retractablehornsandtail”. We did a lot of reading on this subject, so why don’t you go back and revisit John’s path from when he first left the U.S. until he was captured. What research have you done?

      And do me a favor, stop being so aggressive, because this blog is about to get nasty.

  5. Rick Flynn

    Lest you get too eager and believe your own lies when you write,

    “I was quite willing to believe that you were unbiased:
    ‘If Flynn’s class assignment was to analyze Frank Lindh’s propaganda and revisionist history involving his son (The Real Story of John Walker Lindh), then kudos to Richard Flynn.’

    You have only proven otherwise and it’s silly of you not to notice.

    1) Consider the line above the title on your article:

    “Think What We Think…Or Else: Thought Control on the American Campus”

    Taking the high road of the unbiased with that one?

    2) Then consider your title:

    “Lies, Damn Lies and English 1B at SJSU”

    With that?

    3) And then consider your lead question:

    “Did SJSU Lecturer Richard Flynn have the same intention with this exercise, or is this just a hideous example of political indoctrination in Lower Division classes?”

    4) And your nice little insinuation:

    “If Flynn’s class assignment was to analyze Frank Lindh’s propaganda and revisionist history involving his son (The Real Story of John Walker Lindh), then kudos to Richard Flynn. But, after listening to some of the student comments in the video, it does not appear that critical thinking was a part of the exercise.”

    5)Your concluding remarks:

    “Lindh’s English 1B teleconference may be one of the rare instances in American academia in which a privileged White male is the topic of sympathetic discussion. Oh, but I forget: (1) John Walker Lindh converted to Islam, (2) that now qualifies him as a member of a “diverse cultural group,” and thereby (3) he has achieved victim status and, in the minds of some, justification for his misguided acts.”

    Do you expect my admiration when you insult me, my students and in doing so mangle the story of John Walker Lindh with your ignorance?

    After that, you’re trying to tell me that I have a problem with bias?

    All I noted was your ignorance and how disagreeable it was and you are to me.

    Apparently, you are hard of hearing when it comes to your own voice and not much better when listening to others.

    Small wonder you have such a shaky understanding of Lindh’s case, of me and of my students.

    And BTW, shame on you for suggesting:

    “BTW. Did Simona get extra credit for helping you with CYA?”

    My students get credit for reading carefully and writing strong essays. Compared to you, this gives them a leg up.

    Yours,

    Flynn

  6. Simona

    You just ruined late-lunch “retractablehornsandtail”. Thanks.

  7. SusieHernandez

    To the author of this article:
    wow!! I cannot get passed the disbelief of reading an article written by a person as ignorant as yourself. Truly you have not done your research. FYI: we are encouraged to use ACADEMIC SOURCES for all of our writing!!!
    Also you are a very narrow minded person who might as well have been one of the prosecutors involved in convicting an innocent man such as Lindh. Unlike yourself, we are encouraged to question the material and not be easily influenced by what we see on T.V.
    You weren’t even aware that those charges were dropped because of the fact that they had no EVIDENCE to support them!
    I hope you had fun demeaning our teacher, who’s main focus has always been to teach us to “develop sophistication in writing analytical, argumentative, and critical essays”.
    Maybe you should take a course from him, he teaches us to READ MATICULOUSLY, that might help you from being so misinformed about everything you chose to blab about!

  8. CP3Protege

    To Susie:
    Tuche! Tuche indeed.

    • retractablehornsandtail

      And do me a favor, stop being so aggressive, because this blog is about to get nasty.

      Who’s aggressive, Simona? You’ve just posted six comments on a personal blog that no one forces you to visit.

      You weren’t even aware that those charges were dropped because of the fact that they had no EVIDENCE to support them!

      Susie, why did JWL plead guilty?

      I hope you had fun demeaning our teacher…

      The post was a critique of comments made in the video. It had nothing to do with your teacher. That is, it wasn’t about your teacher until he made it about himself by posting to my blog.

      I cannot get passed the disbelief of reading an article…

      That should be “cannot get past…”

      he teaches us to READ MATICULOUSLY…

      But, obviously he doesn’t teach you to spell METICULOUSLY.

      Tuche!

      You are taking English 1B aren’t you? The word is spelled “touche.”

      Maybe Dr. Flynn should spend less time on politics and more time on English language skills.

  9. Rick Flynn

    Now you’re attacking my students for spelling errors–nice work!!!

    Good of you to notice they forgot to spell check.

    Have you ever thought of teaching spelling–might be a good line of work.

    We all love you!

    R

  10. susie

    um..yes you did make it about my teacher and our class when you started criticizing what our teacher chooses to teach and the way he way he chooses to do so…and FWI my point was not to impress you with my spelling abilities. i got my message across to you and that’s all that matters…also you are a very annoying person..and i don’t think your user name “retractablehornsandtail” fits you all that good…it’s more like permanent horns n tails!

    • susie

      oops..my bad.. i meant FYI. i just wanted to let you all know before “retractablehornsandtail’ throws a fit over my mistake. haha

  11. Bia

    This is all so hillarious. The blogger has no clue about the truth behind the case and the comments are so funny yet smart. *laughs*

    I just wanted to address the blogger’s question about one of the comments.
    ~~~
    “You weren’t even aware that those charges were dropped because of the fact that they had no EVIDENCE to support them!

    Susie, why did JWL plead guilty?”
    ~~~

    To retractablehornsandtail, (*this is the funniest screen name btw*)

    Read these quotes please. “Lindh, who is now twenty-two years old, pleaded guilty last summer to having aided the Taliban regime.”

    “It’s not just Lindh’s defense team who considered the prosecution flawed. The weakness of the case was signaled by Judge Ellis, who, in a sentencing hearing after the settlement, noted that the case linking Lindh to Al Qaeda “was not strong” and that there was “no evidence” tying him to Spann’s death.”

    These are from an article from The New Yorker. You can read the whole thing on this link: http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2003/03/10/030310fa_fact2?currentPage=all

    Here is something else you should read: “ALEXANDRIA, Va.–John Walker Lindh pleaded guilty Monday in federal court to taking up arms as a soldier in the Taliban army, and agreed to cooperate with the U.S. government in its efforts to capture and prosecute terrorists.

    In return, the government, which once flaunted the ragged-looking captive as the face of terror in Afghanistan, dropped all charges against the young man from Northern California for conspiring to kill Americans and absolved him of any responsibility in the death of CIA Officer Johnny Spann. ”

    (*from: http://media.www.gsusignal.com/media/storage/paper924/news/2002/07/16/News/John-Walker.Lindh.Enters.Guilty.Plea-1758647.shtml)

    Basically –if you still don’t understand any of that– he plead guilty to being a part of the Taliban but the rest of the charges involving him with Al Qaeda and 9/11 were all dropped.

    🙂

  12. Simona

    Retractablehornsandtail, did you really not expect a response to your judgements and comments?

    Just as you found out about the class and disagreed, I found out about your blog and disagreed. You need to really step into someone else’s shoes and get an idea of what your comments look like and how they can be interpreted. Just imagine you are not you, and read the beginning of your blog. Then, continue to read your responses. You sound aggressive, and I am reacting.

    Also, you obviously wanted people to read your blog, yet you tell me I wasn’t forced to read it? Be honest with yourself, are you really surprised, really…? So do me a favor, please don’t tell me I wasn’t forced to read this blog. If that is the attitude you are going to take, well then, you weren’t forced to POST this blog…yet you did. Unless you were expecting to be the ONLY person reading this blog, you knew this was coming.

    You have offended me, so yes, I am not Jesus, and I won’t turn the other cheek.

    As I said, you were also not forced to post this blog, however you did. You did it because of your extreme opinion, and if you are entitled to such extreme opinions, I am also entitled to an extreme reaction. However, maybe if you started off intelligently with an open mind, you would not be receiving such reactions. And guess what, you continue to be offensive, even on your last post. Again, I urge you to do further research on the matter.

    So you think your slick, you posted that John was charged with:

    Engaging in a conspiracy, while outside the United States, to kill nationals of the United States outside of the United States, namely, United States nationals engaged in the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2332(b); (2) providing, attempting to provide, and conspiring to provide material support and resources to designated foreign terrorist organizations, namely, al-Qaeda and Harakat ul-Mujahideen (”HUM”), in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 2339B and 2; and (3) engaging in prohibited transactions with the Taliban, in violation of Title 31, Code of Federal Regulations, Sections 545.201 and 545.204, Executive Order # 13129, Title 50, United States Code, Sections 1702 and 1705, and Title 18, United States Code, Section 2.

    This case ended with a plea deal, so technically yes, John did plead guilty to 1 out of about 10 charges. (Don’t forget, the other charges were abruptly dropped because people were busy accusing/charging him but not coming up with enough evidence to convict). The reason that John plead guilty because there were polls taken at the time, which was aroung 9/11, with results showing that most people either wanted to see him get the death penalty or life in prison. He had NO chance in trial, and he had a high risk of being handed a death sentence.

    When John joined the Taliban, it was before 9/11. Also, before 9/11, our country sent aid to the Taliban, the very army that he was guilty for joining. The sad day that the towers went down, everything changed, but his reasons for joining the Taliban remained the same. He joined to fight the Northern Alliance, and if you think this is a lie, they even made a deal with General Abdul Rashid Dostum for safe passage at one point through a region in Afghanistan in exchange for money. So, let me see, was the Northern Alliance the U.S.?
    NO. He had heard of General Dostum’s disgusting treatment of many Muslims, and that affected John. It motivated him to help out, and that is why he decided to join. That is the ONLY reason he decided to join.

    After 9/11, he could not leave the Taliban because they shot deserters. Even though he felt much discomfort and isolation with any celebration that might have taken place by the people he was with, he couldn’t leave because they would have considered him a spy, and he would have surely suffered drastic consequences, say for instance….DEATH. We will never know how that made him feel, and what we would have done in that situation.

    What “materials” did he provide to the terrorist organization? Can you produce these materials? Don’t forget, we were helping the Taliban before 9/11. So they became public enemy #1 overnight, and all of a sudden John’s the a#$hole? There is no evidence that he conspired to kill Americans. He was a victim of the 9/11 climate, and many of us were angry and looking for people to blame.

    Just because he pleaded guilty, it doesn’t mean he was. To him, 20 years seemed sweeter than death. I would not want to die at the young age of 20.

    I’m tired, but there will be more…

  13. Simona

    And Susie, you are too funny.

  14. retractablehornsandtail

    Here’s my final comment on the subject.

    When JWL was captured, he could’ve let his American interrogators know that he was American. He didn’t. He could’ve said: “Hey, I came here to explore my Muslim religion, language and culture, but I didn’t realize what my companions were up to. I didn’t sign on for this, help me go home.” He didn’t. He kept silent. This leads me to believe that he was a willing accomplice who supported the Taliban’s agenda. I can only view his silence as implicit consent and agreement with what his companions were doing.

    If it’s any consolation, I think Patty Hearst is equally guilty, and she should’ve faced the same fate as JWL. She didn’t because of her family’s money and social position, and her self-serving willingness to flip on her SLA companions. JWL obviously didn’t flip on his companions. But, he was a willing participant in the activities that led to his arrest and his guilty plea acknowledges that. At least he didn’t wimp out like Patty.

    That said, I’m closing comments on this thread.

    Many of you have much to say on this subject. I suggest that you sign up for a FREE WordPress account. You can design your own website focused on the topic about which you are obviously very passionate. Good luck to you. Live long and let the First Amendment prosper.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s