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U.S. troops took photos of blindfolded Walker Lindh

lindh
Defense attorneys have used this previously known photograph of Walker Lindh as proof that he was tortured before making incriminating statements.  


From Barbara Starr
CNN

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Attorneys for John Walker Lindh are expected to renew their request for photographs and videotapes of their client after the Pentagon said Friday it found more photos of a blindfolded and shackled Walker Lindh with U.S. Special Forces in Afghanistan.

Walker Lindh is one of two Americans captured by the United States and held with others suspected of fighting on behalf of the ousted Taliban regime.

The pictures of Lindh appear to be souvenir photographs. One official who has seen the images told CNN on Friday that Special Forces troops are shown "posing" with their prisoner. Another source familiar with the photographs said a profanity is written across Walker Lindh's blindfold.

The Geneva Convention prohibits activities that might humiliate prisoners.

"There is nothing sinister here. It's just plain stupid what they did," a senior defense official said. One source said the matter "will be looked at," but Defense Secretary Rumsfeld told reporters he has not ordered an investigation. He also said he has not seen the images.

Walker Lindh co-counsel Tony West told CNN, "We have not yet received the photograph" in question.

These photographs have not been made public. A previously released photograph shows Walker Lindh naked on a stretcher, blindfolded and handcuffed.

The snapshots were stored electronically and found on a computer as the Defense Department responded to court orders to produce all photos and documents related to Walker Lindh. The orders were part of the discovery process in the federal case against him.

Walker Lindh's lawyers have said in court papers they were aware that hundreds of photographs, including what they characterized as souvenir- type photos, had been taken of their client.

The attorneys have argued that Walker Lindh has not -- as the government has claimed in court papers -- been treated like any other American. And because of the way he was treated, the lawyers said Walker Lindh's statements to military interrogators and the FBI should be thrown out.

Walker Lindh's lawyers have suggested the only reason he talked with authorities was because he believed his conditions would improve if he cooperated with authorities.

As proof, the legal team said after Walker Lindh talked with the military, he was no longer bound naked to a stretcher and kept in a shipping container. They have also said his conditions improved after he spoke with the FBI.

The defense team also said their client asked for an attorney before he spoke with the FBI, but that an agent told him no attorneys were available. Walker Lindh's lawyers said that, by then, the lawyer hired by Walker Lindh's family had already requested a visit with him.

Walker Lindh's legal team has told the court that home videos and still camera shots taken by soldiers and later discovered by the military were confiscated and their recordings and images destroyed as soon as a superior learned of their existence -- before attorneys filed discovery motions.

Walker Lindh's lawyers have asked for any other videos of Walker Lindh that may still exist. His attorneys have accused the government of destroying evidence, some of which might show how their client was treated. While the government has denied that claim, a federal judge recently issued a preservation order for all evidence, including videos and photographs.

In another matter, the government Friday responded to a defense motion requesting an interview with a man identified as CS-1, a CIA officer who was present with the late CIA officer Johnny "Mike" Spann when the two interviewed Walker Lindh after the prison uprising at Mazar-e-Sharif.

In its court filing, the government refused to produce CS-1 -- short for "confidential source one" -- saying he declined the interview request. The defense can now move to subpoena CS-1, but the government could try to quash any such subpoena.

-- CNN National Correspondent Susan Candiotti contributed to this report.



 
 
 
 






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