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April 28, 2003 6:29 PM   Subscribe

Mike Hawash Charged with conspiracy to levy war against the United States, conspiracy to provide material support to al Qaeda and conspiracy to contribute services to al Qaeda and the Taliban. Heavy. 5 days ago, a now near-famous letter was removed from a website that had recently been trumpeting his cause. Today, the Feds allege terrorism. -- Of note: the frequent allusion to "secrecy" and "secret warrants". Is this ammo for the pro-PATRIOT crowd? Any changing opinions on Mefi?
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly (62 comments total)

 
Google Cache of letter here. I do hope that some kind of truth emerges in this case.
posted by grimley at 6:38 PM on April 28, 2003


grimley, what if the truth that comes out is that, by current legal standards Hawash is guilty? At least as guilty, say, as the Lackawanna or Detroit groups, most of whom have caved and taken plea bargains with jail time.
posted by billsaysthis at 6:55 PM on April 28, 2003


So now we know. Mike Hawash hates freedom.
posted by drstrangelove at 7:02 PM on April 28, 2003


If he's guilty, he should be convicted. That wouldn't change the fact that he was denied due process of law.
posted by lbergstr at 7:03 PM on April 28, 2003


you know, if you organize enough police roadblocks to pull over all the cars and search all the drivers, and if you break into enough houses, sooner or later you're going to find illegal drugs. maybe lots of them. maybe, just maybe, you'll even arrest a few terrorists. because habeas corpus and all that other liberal legalistic crap used to protect everybody. even bad people.
but for example take a look at the Malvo sniper case, the whole concept of Miranda Rights is going out of the window ( I just love this: Prosecutors do not dispute that Malvo, who was 17 at the time of the interrogation, initially asked police, "Do I get to see my attorneys?" and quickly added, "My attorneys told me not to say anything to the cops until they got there."
But they say those statements fall well short of the clear demand for a lawyer needed to stop questioning.
)

"Do I get to see my attorneys?"
"My attorneys told me not to say anything to the cops until they got here."

Jesus Christ.
posted by matteo at 7:22 PM on April 28, 2003


Frankly, I don't see how the fact that they've finally gottena around to charging him makes this any better a situation.
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 7:23 PM on April 28, 2003


-a
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 7:23 PM on April 28, 2003


Frankly, I don't see how the fact that they've finally gotten around to charging him makes this any better a situation.

The most frightening thing to me is that the investigation was begun when a neighbor called to report him as being "suspicious": growing a beard, attending a mosque. The PATRIOT ACT has been touted as simply a strengthening of existing structures, but this comes nowhere near the threshold at which a judge would previously have written a warrant.

That being said, Hawash is one of the first Americans being held by the PATRIOT, and if conviction=success in the eyes of most, this could be seen as an early success story.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 7:50 PM on April 28, 2003


What success story? So far, he's suspected of donating to a group who donated to al-Qaida. He was seized, held without due process while they drummed up enough evidence to charge him. Last time I checked, he's innocent until proven guilty (not like that matters when you're tried in the court of public opinion, of course.)

As for the donations themselves, I hate to say it, but we've all done that - every time we paid taxes from 1979 to 1989. They were our friends when they were fighting the Soviets. We funnelled $6 billion dollars (yep, billion) worth of weapons to bin Laden's crew, along with at least a quarter billion in cash, because they did our dirty work during the end of the Cold War.
posted by FormlessOne at 8:28 PM on April 28, 2003


you know, if you organize enough police roadblocks to pull over all the cars and search all the drivers, and if you break into enough houses, sooner or later you're going to find illegal drugs. maybe lots of them. maybe, just maybe, you'll even arrest a few terrorists.

So where are all these roadblocks? Where are the hundreds of arbitrary searches and detainments? If the government is arresting so many people that pure probabilities dictate that some of them are terrorists, where are the Muslim and Arab concentration camps? Where are the lists of disappeared dissidents? You have no answer because it isn't happening. You have no answer because the reality is that so few people are being unfairly arrested, and the authorities are doing such an efficient job of fighting terrorism, especially given the circumstances and tactics of the enemy itself, that this one single person, this Mike Hawash, has been the subject of double- if not triple-posts on metafilter alone. The black helicopters are kidnapping poor peaceful Muslims left and right, but you screaming bobble-head chicken littles can only find one person to wail and moan about, and he got phone calls, and he got to talk to his wife and lawyer, and he got tons of real media coverage, and now he's been charged with several crimes. Its not fair, is it? Every chance you get to prove your bogus, twisted, conspiracy-fueled propagandistic worldview blows up in your pinched little cynic faces because the rest of us, the rational majority, just isn't evil enough to satisfy your apocalyptic orwellian dreams. So sorry to disappoint.
posted by techgnollogic at 8:37 PM on April 28, 2003


technollogic, do you think you could tone it down a little?
posted by languagehat at 8:42 PM on April 28, 2003


Hawash did something very suspicious, that being going out and trying to enter Afghanistan to fight with the Taliban against the US. From what I've heard, he went to China and couldn't get in.

If the defendant, Maher Mofeid "Mike" Hawash, did go to China with intentions of going into Afghanistan and fighting American forces, then he is very likely to end up getting a conviction. Unless he was in Oregon the entire time, then his shot at acquittal isn't that great.

They were our friends when they were fighting the Soviets.

Of course mujaheedin = Al-Qaeda = Taliban, right? Sure, the US gave alot of support to the Afghani resistance, but it's a stretch to turn that into "we gave money to Al Qaeda and the Taliban in the 80s". For one, neither group existed at that time in the 80s.
posted by RobbieFal at 8:43 PM on April 28, 2003


bla bla bogus, twisted, conspiracy-fueled propagandistic worldview bla bla

Wow. It's like Bill O'Reilly without the warmth and charm.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 9:05 PM on April 28, 2003


techgnollogic, while I basically agree with your point that the rights-violations have been blown out of proporition and that we aren't in some kind of orwellian scenario, that's not the whole issue. There is a reason why we want people's rights upheld in all cases, as opposed to 'just' the vast majority: next time it could be any one of us who gets their rights trampled. Even if the odds are in our favor.

Anyway, that's why I think this case is important. There is a good deal of reason to think that Hawash isn't guilty as charged; and yet he's being treated like he's already convicted. It's bad, but not terribly worrying when somebody like Jose Padilla gets this kind of treatment -- but when an upstanding family man and tech nerd starts getting the short end of the stick, it's cause for alarm.
posted by Mark Doner at 9:05 PM on April 28, 2003


What's you argument then, techgnollogic? If the government only violates the constitution sporadically, and they only target individuals, it's okay? That's what I get from your post.
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 9:07 PM on April 28, 2003


you screaming bobble-head chicken littles ... your pinched little cynic faces... the rest of us, the rational majority

technollogic, do you behave this unpleasantly in person? And would you mind not doing so here?
posted by argybarg at 9:18 PM on April 28, 2003


If the government is arresting so many people that pure probabilities dictate that some of them are terrorists, where are the Muslim and Arab concentration camps?

Duh.
posted by waldo at 9:28 PM on April 28, 2003


It's bad, but not terribly worrying when somebody like Jose Padilla gets this kind of treatment -- but when an upstanding family man and tech nerd starts getting the short end of the stick, it's cause for alarm.

Was this sarcasm? I'm not quite sure.
posted by srboisvert at 9:43 PM on April 28, 2003


Again, Padilla may be a very bad person. The problem here is that there is no legal distinction between Mr. Padilla and you or me. As far as the courts are considered, the only distinction between Jose Padilla and George Paine is that Attorney General John Ashcroft says that Padilla is a bad man who must be kept in solitary confinement indefinitely. Mr. Ashcroft calls Padilla an "enemy combatant", despite the fact that he was detained on American soil by a law enforcement agency.

If the FBI decided to grab me at my local subway stop, as they did Mike Hawash, and call me a "terrorist" or "enemy combatant" then they could do the very same thing with me that they have done with Padilla. They could transfer me to the custody of the US Navy Shore Patrol or the US Army Military Police or the US Air Force Air Police and have me dissapear into a solitary confinement cell.

posted by homunculus at 9:52 PM on April 28, 2003


Technollogic seems peeved that people are even on the look out for decaying freedom; Everyone just sit back, relax and watch TV. There is no cause to be alarmed. We are here to protect you! That fact that stories like this appear frequently on Metafilter is not a confirmation that everything is just fine and dandy; it's a result of there still being a large number of concerned, upstanding citizens out there keeping watch over what is happening.
posted by Jimbob at 10:01 PM on April 28, 2003


The sky is falling!
posted by ZupanGOD at 10:27 PM on April 28, 2003


ZupanGOD: Not yet, no, but that whole bit I heard this evening while watching The Trials of Henry Kissinger about liberal democracy and the rule of law's being "inevitable" is suddenly sounding like so much quasi-religious dogma. It's not inevitable. It's hard work, and speaking out about trials involving secret evidence and such is an essential part of that work.
posted by raysmj at 10:56 PM on April 28, 2003


I can't wait until the DOJ begins detaining members of political opposition parties. Oh, wait.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 11:14 PM on April 28, 2003


If the defendant, Maher Mofeid "Mike" Hawash, did go to China...

Thank you. Now that I see that his real name is foreign and sinister-sounding, I can view him as the dehumanized caricature of evil he truly is.
posted by boltman at 11:22 PM on April 28, 2003


If the defendant, Maher Mofeid "Mike" Hawash, did go to China with intentions of going into Afghanistan and fighting American forces, then he is very likely to end up getting a conviction. Unless he was in Oregon the entire time, then his shot at acquittal isn't that great.

Well, it's more complicated than that. While the paper trail alleged in the affadavit which resulted in an arrest warrant does appear to paint a picture of someone who was in China at the same time as others from the "Portland Six" this evidence doesn't appear on the surface to rise above being circumstantial.

And just from a moral standpoint, the fact that the investigation against him was sparked by neighbors worried about his friends, his new beard, and his trips to Mosque should make people ill.
posted by theonetruebix at 11:37 PM on April 28, 2003


should make people ill.

Not necessarily if he is guilty of the charges brought against him, which should make other terrorists and their supporters ill.

techgnollogic put things in perspective rather well.
posted by hama7 at 12:36 AM on April 29, 2003


Sure, the US gave alot of support to the Afghani resistance, but it's a stretch to turn that into "we gave money to Al Qaeda and the Taliban in the 80s". For one, neither group existed at that time in the 80s.

Sure, the US gave a lot of support to Saddam Hussein, but he was a good guy when he was gassing Iranians. It was only when he invaded Kuwait that he became a bad guy.

(Hint: the highly-trained, well-armed groups that became the Taliban and formed Al-Qaeda were made up of the same people as the 'Afghani resistance', and had the same fundamentalist outlook at the time the US was bankrolling them. There is a continuity there: it wasn't as if the Taliban stumbled upon the thousands upon thousands of AK-47s that the CIA dumped in Afghanistan.)

In a debate on Oct. 11, 2000, Mr. Bush sided with the critics of secret evidence. "Arab-Americans are racially profiled on what's called secret evidence," Mr. Bush said, adding that the government should "do something about that."

I remember that debate. I wonder if Dubya does. Or hama7, who increasingly embodies the ugly image of the xenophobe expatriate? (Again, I find Robert Bolt's words for Thomas More instructive.)
posted by riviera at 1:39 AM on April 29, 2003


Is it illegal for someone to fight against their country on foreign soil? Seriously, I don't know the answer. And wouldn't his crime be more like attempted treason?

And on a slightly less related note, Machiavellian ends-justify-the-means practitioners are a bigger threat to freedom than terrorists.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 1:54 AM on April 29, 2003


And on a slightly less related note, Machiavellian ends-justify-the-means practitioners are a bigger threat to freedom than terrorists.

Tell that to the victims of September 11th.

Oh wait, they're dead - sorry.
posted by Beholder at 2:37 AM on April 29, 2003


Here's a short summary of the document which charges Hawash. Briefly, there are six people (now generally known as the 'Portland Six') who have been charged by a grand jury with conspiracy to levy war against the US, conspiracy to aid Al Qaeda, and conspiracy to aid the Taliban. Their trial is scheduled for October 2003. Hawash is alleged to be closely involved with these six people.

The main points from the affidavit from the Federal Task Force (read it in full here (pdf)) are below. I'm trying to be as neutral as possible in what I'm laying out. Where I say something like 'he stayed', I mean 'it is alleged that he stayed', or 'evidence exists that he stayed...' - I'm sure you get the idea:

- Hawash travelled to China in November 2001. He did not travel with any of the 'Portland Six' but they travelled to China via Hong Kong at around the same time, and stayed in China over roughly the same period.
- before going, he purchased hiking and outdoors gear from a couple of REI stores.
- he told his airline he was staying in a guesthouse in Hong Kong on his way to China. In the same building, in another guesthouse, two members of the 'Portland Six' (PS) were staying. There is no evidence Hawash actually stayed there.
- he stayed in a hotel in Urumqi, China and another in Kashgar, China, where other members of the PS were staying, and at the same time that they were there. They were in rooms 302, 303, and 304.
- Hawash and four members of the PS also stayed at the same hotel in Beijing.
- a witness staying at the hotel at Urumqi at the same time as Hawash and the others identified members of the PS but did not identify Hawash
- Hawash returned alone from China via Hong Kong.
- a witness in Seattle states that Hawash was close friends with two of the PS and there is evidence that he helped another start a gardening business
- another witness states that in Spring 2001 (so before Sept 11), Hawash started to wear more 'Eastern' clothing and visit the mosque more often and grow a beard.
- Hawash's wife and mother-in-law both stated that Hawash travelled to China on business.
- Hawash wrote a cheque to one of the PS for $100 on Sept 8th 2001.
- on October 9th 2001 (week or so before travelling to China), Hawash turned the family home over to his wife's name.

So there you go... there appears to be quite strong evidence that Hawash stayed with the other members of the PS in China, and that he knew them beforehand. There is not, as far as I can tell, direct evidence that he was going to China in order to go into Afghanistan or to fight. There's some circumstantial evidence that this was the case, based on the evidence against the people he was staying with.
posted by humuhumu at 4:21 AM on April 29, 2003


*sighs*

I'll try to spell it out more clearly for our friends technollogic and hamas heaven:

I'm not saying that there are roadblocks everywhere _right now_: I'm saying that if you bend the democratic rules every good American should cherish and be grateful for, you can accomplish good anti-crime results. dictatorships all over the world have a very good anti-crime record. is that the America you want for the future? less rights and more effective anti-crime action?

certain rights protect everybody -- the good and, unfortunately, the bad guys.
it's not about Hawash' or Padilla's guilt -- they may very well be guilty, I don't know, it's up to a jury to decide during a trial, if they are actually indicted. it's about everybody's right to a certain process, things like you have to know what are the charges against you, etc.
I know that this loss of basic legal rights is happening -- right now -- to dark-skinned people with strange names who worship a strange God, and maybe some good law-abiding White Christians feel less threatened. but we're all in this together -- Hawash, Padilla, everybody. we have the same rights, you can't create a precedent of people staying in jail "sine die" until the feds find evidence against them, if there is any

go ask a big-city cop or a DA: there are bad people, like mobsters for example, who are known to be criminals. the cops know it, they see them every day on the streets. but these bad guys are not in jail, are free like you and me. you know why? BECAUSE THERE IS NOT ENOUGH EVIDENCE TO CHARGE THEM OF A CRIME. and therefore they're enjoying a freedom they don't deserve. do you advocate that the cops arrest them anyway? or better yet, they put some drugs in their cars, so that they can finally nail them? it's a scary, scary thought.

The often quoted (these days) Benjamin Franklin ("Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety") actually has a point, you know? or was Franklin a apocalyptic Orwellian dreamer, too? actually, I prefer Franklin's and Jefferson's company to techgnollogic's and hamas heaven's, but I'm sure it's just me. I suggest you report "suspicious activity" at your local mosque to the authorities, so you can finally feel safer
posted by matteo at 4:50 AM on April 29, 2003


Beholder's addendum to Godwin's Law: "Tell that to the victims of September 11th."
posted by ?! at 5:15 AM on April 29, 2003


1: "I don't like the color you've painted this room..."

2: "Tell that to the victims of Sept. 11!"

3: ?????

4: Profit!!

</meme-sausage> (on preview: ?!)

But, seriously, while you have a fairly small chance of being killed by a terrorist in the new future, you have a very much larger chance of having to live in a country where people can be picked up and detained indefinitely on the Justice Dept's. say-so without any judicial oversight. And, if there's anything to this whole PATRIOT II thing, where people could be stripped of their citizenship. That's if the afore-mentioned Machiavellian-types have free-reign. Hell, when a Republican Senator says the JD is being too secretive about its use of its new powers, I'd say there's cause for a modicum of concern.
posted by rocketpup at 5:35 AM on April 29, 2003


I'm waiting to be arrested for supporting terrorism, because one of these day the government will find out I've been giving my money to the Lebanese bodega on the corner for "milk" and "bread."
posted by Mo Nickels at 5:51 AM on April 29, 2003


Human rights (in which I include the civil rights guaranteed by the Consitution of the United States) trump all other concerns, including the saving of lives.

If any rationale is allowed to trump human rights, that rationale will be used to trump human rights, until those rights are meaningless.

We had this discussion in the torture thread back in March.

Disagree with me if you want, but I'm right on this one.
posted by Cerebus at 6:01 AM on April 29, 2003


And on a slightly less related note, Machiavellian ends-justify-the-means practitioners are a bigger threat to freedom than terrorists.

Tell that to the victims of September 11th.

Oh wait, they're dead - sorry.
posted by Beholder at 5:37 AM EST on April 29


Beholder:

In this case they were one and the same. That both constitute a serious threat to civil rights is the crux of this very debate.
posted by Tystnaden at 6:21 AM on April 29, 2003


Metafilter: Disagree with me if you want, but I'm right on this one.

(btw I do)
posted by gottabefunky at 7:05 AM on April 29, 2003


(agree that is)
posted by gottabefunky at 7:05 AM on April 29, 2003


The reason the people Franklin were referring to are a bigger threat to democracy than the random terrorist is because the message is so much more subtle and pervasive than outright murder and mayhem, yet the ends are essentially the same: the gentle erosion of a culture by the slow escalation of fear and doubt in itself.

Perhaps we have too many freedoms, perhaps we could sacrifice a couple for our own safety. As long as it's the other guy's freedom's that are sacrificed. After all, most of us don't have to worry about being detained, do we? We're not part of the Justice Department's focus group. But once the genie is let out of the bottle, we all will be affected. Tomorrow the country will still look pretty much the same as it does today. But over time, with consistent complacency, our country as we know it will become unrecognizable, and in a few dozen years we will attribute it to cultural senility. "Didn't things used to be different around here?" "No, Pops, it's the same as it ever was."

rocketpup - Got a good laugh out of that one.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:43 AM on April 29, 2003


Is it illegal for someone to fight against their country on foreign soil?

Or, more to the point, is it illegal to intend to?
posted by monkey.pie.baker at 8:53 AM on April 29, 2003


"Is it illegal for someone to fight against their country on foreign soil?

Or, more to the point, is it illegal to intend to?"


What part of the charge of "conspiracy to levy war against the United States" do you have trouble understanding?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:18 AM on April 29, 2003


What part of the charge of "conspiracy to levy war against the United States" do you have trouble understanding?

Why a charge as serious as this could not have been investigated with a proper warrant and so on and so forth, and why he "had" to remain uncharged for so long. I may be wrong, but I imagine that once one is in custody, they cease to be a flight risk.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 10:48 AM on April 29, 2003


very chance you get to prove your bogus, twisted, conspiracy-fueled propagandistic worldview blows up in your pinched little cynic faces because the rest of us, the rational majority, just isn't evil enough to satisfy your apocalyptic orwellian dreams

You certainly seem snotty enough.
posted by sonofsamiam at 11:00 AM on April 29, 2003


ignatius: I could imagine a scenario whereby you grill a man for days to "turn over" on the "bad guys." If he doesn't supply evidence you simply charge him with "consorting in the same general hotel as suspected terrorists." A real warrant would mean you'd have to show evidence before your fishing expedition.
posted by ?! at 11:02 AM on April 29, 2003


ignatius: I could imagine a scenario whereby you grill a man for days to "turn over" on the "bad guys." If he doesn't supply evidence you simply charge him with "consorting in the same general hotel as suspected terrorists." A real warrant would mean you'd have to show evidence before your fishing expedition.

at the least this shows that, so far, judges are not yet willing to write warrants because someone grows a beard.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 11:22 AM on April 29, 2003


In a debate on Oct. 11, 2000, Mr. Bush sided with the critics of secret evidence. "Arab-Americans are racially profiled on what's called secret evidence," Mr. Bush said, adding that the government should "do something about that."

He DID do something. More of it.
posted by Dirjy at 11:37 AM on April 29, 2003


In a debate on Oct. 11, 2000, Mr. Bush sided with the critics of secret evidence. "Arab-Americans are racially profiled on what's called secret evidence," Mr. Bush said, adding that the government should "do something about that."

Ahh, the tremendous about-face done by most conservatives of late. I am perplexed by this new logic that the only arena in which we really have a right to privacy is gun ownership.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 11:46 AM on April 29, 2003


I am perplexed by this new logic that the only arena in which we really have a right to privacy is gun ownership.

You register your guns not private.
posted by thomcatspike at 12:17 PM on April 29, 2003


We're all guilty of something... Maybe we should all just surrender to the authorities until they figure out just what we've done.

sigh
posted by LouReedsSon at 12:22 PM on April 29, 2003


You register your guns not private.

Yes, but it is noteworthy that the one area in which privacy has been increased since 9-11/PATRIOT is as regards handguns. What you check out at the library, and apparently your facial hair as well, is the governemnt's business, but whether or not you are a demonstrably crooked arms dealer is no longer worth keeping tabs on.

Well, now that was off-topic, wasn't it?
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 12:36 PM on April 29, 2003


Human rights (in which I include the civil rights guaranteed by the Consitution of the United States) trump all other concerns, including the saving of lives.

Does anyone else have a problem with that statement? In the pantheon of human rights, I would think the right to NOT be killed is pretty much the most basic one of all. The right to be alive is pretty much the fundamental core of it, and any other rights must derive therefrom.
posted by John Smallberries at 12:46 PM on April 29, 2003


Well, now that was off-topic, wasn't it?
No, because I know where you coming from with the about face reference. ;)


Hawash is accused of traveling with the other defendants to China in an attempt to enter Afghanistan and fight against U.S. forces. Hawash returned to the United States in November 2001 after failing to enter Afghanistan.
The complaint says Hawash claimed his travel to China was related to his personal software business.


Has the other defendants been identified yet; if so have they been tried yet?

The slowness of his due process made some signal to this. Last night on the news, this news piece was spun/said with the signal itroduced then here are the charges on Hawash. They went on to explain, because of his friend's wide campaign for the truth, here it is. Yet it also sounded like, well if his friends had never been so public with their campaign, then the public & his friends would not know of his true guilt & character. Again mention this because it was like they were protecting Hawash from the public, yet why?

Is it because of these "other" defendants that they decide to lie keep his charges secret to the public?
posted by thomcatspike at 1:02 PM on April 29, 2003


John Smallberries: (OT: I use the name 'John Bigboote' as a handle in CounterStrike)

If you're up to it, slog through the thread on torture I linked to for the most complete articulations of this concept. I recognize that the temptation to trample the rights of suspects is strong when there is suspicion of the immanent death of innocents. However, to do so is to presume absolute foreknowledge of events.

Consider: I have in custody a man I suspect of being party to the planning of a terrorist attack I know will be taking place tomorrow. If I can get him to spill his guts, I think I can save lives.

By the nature of reality, there is a non-zero chance that I'm wrong about the man (i.e., the suspect is truly innocent). There is a non-zero chance that he knows nothing of value (i.e., he's a peon rather than a planner). Finally, there is a non-zero chance that the nature of the plan would preclude useful pre-emption anyway (i.e., the attack is now inevitable).

Do you torture the information out of him? Is it worth the risk that you're wrong on any of the above assumptions? What if it were you in the handcuffs? If you somehow win this bet, what happens next time? And in the next, less immediate, less dangerous situation?

You should see where this leads, I hope.
posted by Cerebus at 1:38 PM on April 29, 2003


But we're not talking about torture here people. We're talking about someone who was arrested, allowed to talk to his wife and children, and has now been publically charged. These are two different things.
posted by pjgulliver at 1:47 PM on April 29, 2003


Maybe they are, and maybe they aren't. The only reason we know about this case is that somebody with money and guts made a lot of noise.

He has now been publicly charged after having been arrested on secret evidence contained in a secret warrant, and having been held for 39 days. And, only because a judge told the FBI and co. that they had to charge him or release him.

Not the finest example of law enforcement here in the US, if the evidence cited is any indication of the strength of their case.
posted by Irontom at 3:05 PM on April 29, 2003


Has the other defendants been identified yet; if so have they been tried yet?

Tried, no, but the other defendants are the "Portland Six". They were all detained months ago. It had not even been hinted at before that Hawash was being investigated in relation to the "Six".

I posted this because I really did fear that people would start to look at this as a PATRIOT victory, and even in the bullshit local (Portland) media it isn't that ubiquitous.

And his supporters have not given up, for whatever that is worth. Again, unless this is as trumped up as it seems -- I mean the guy is only accused of wanting to do something bad -- I don't know any judge that wouldn't write proper, constitutional warrants to wiretap this guy.

More extra-constitutional arrests to come...
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 3:37 PM on April 29, 2003


Technically, the Portland Six are scheduled to go on trial in October. But the Feds are hinting that further (1) charges and/or (2) suspects might be forthcoming, a move which could push that date back still further.

FYI here is what happened in Portland this morning regarding the Hawash case.
posted by theonetruebix at 3:50 PM on April 29, 2003


Here's a nice little story about the Patriot Act in action.

"You have no right to hold us," Asher insisted.

"Yes, we have every right," responded one of the agents. "You are being held under the Patriot Act following suspicion under an internal Homeland Security investigation."

The USA PATRIOT Act was passed into law on October 26, 2001 in order to facilitate the post 9/11 crackdown on terrorism (the name is actually an acronym: "Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act.") Like most Americans, I did not recognize the extent to which this bill foregoes our civil liberties. Among the unprecedented rights it grants to the federal government are the right to wiretap without warrant, and the right to detain without warrant. As I quickly discovered, the right to an attorney has been seemingly fudged as well.

When I asked to speak to a lawyer, the INS official informed me that I do have the right to a lawyer but I would have to be brought down to the station and await security clearance before being granted one. When I asked how long that would take, he replied with a coy smile: "Maybe a day, maybe a week, maybe a month."

We insisted that we had every right to leave and were going to do so. One of the policemen walked over with his hand on his gun and taunted: "Go ahead and leave, just go ahead."

posted by homunculus at 4:20 PM on April 29, 2003


Chilling link, homunculus. And people called me paranoid when I predicted that this kind of thing is exactly what we could expect.

pjgulliver, Smallberries: Now how do you feel?
posted by Cerebus at 7:00 AM on April 30, 2003


I've always been concerned about the patriot act, I think its an infringement on civil liberties. I am an ACLU member. Not that anyone really cares, but if you scroll through all my old posts you can find me posting concerns about USA Patriot all over the place.

On the other hand, I don't know if the "Mike" Hawash story is the best example of the potential evils of the act, as it seems in this case he was treated fairly. I would view Jose Padialla, a case where a federal judge has repeatedly ruled the defendent has the right to access council and the government has continually rebuffed the judge, as a far more dangerous precedent. Actually, I think if you look at the "leway" (relative term, I know) given to Hawash, you can see government being more responsive in this case than they were a year ago.

Lastly, I think arguments about torture, random police checks on roads, and America being a full-fledged police state only serve to inflame opinion and drown out the really pertinent arguments and concerns many of us have about the much less imposing, but still frightening, elements of USA Patriot...
posted by pjgulliver at 7:33 AM on April 30, 2003


On the other hand, I don't know if the "Mike" Hawash story is the best example of the potential evils of the act, as it seems in this case he was treated fairly.

The only evidence I could see for this case, was, Birds of a Feather Flock Together. Not a crime just an educated phrase. If you notice in the article posted by Ignatius, down at the end about his life.

Hawash came to the United States in 1984 and attended the University of Texas at Arlington, where he earned undergraduate and master’s degrees in engineering.

There have been several connections with people supposedly connected to terrorist attacks from Arlington. Wonder too if he may have been used for cover/decoy by some of his contacts who he calls friend.
posted by thomcatspike at 2:28 PM on April 30, 2003


Darn it, first paragraph should be in italics, whoops.
posted by thomcatspike at 2:29 PM on April 30, 2003


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