Mike Hawash Pleads Guilty
August 6, 2003 12:18 PM   Subscribe

Mike Hawash pleads guilty to conspiring to provide services to the Taliban and will testify against his friends that attempted to travel to Afghanistan after September 11, 2001. After the previous MeFi threads about Mike here and here, this ought to be quite a suprise for some. No update yet on the Free Mike Hawash site.
posted by schlyer (30 comments total)
 
his friends
posted by thomcatspike at 12:23 PM on August 6, 2003


They flipped him. Regardless of his guilt or innocence, this looks like the logical result of doing the old legal/serving time cost/benefit analysis.
posted by anathema at 12:28 PM on August 6, 2003


I guess Hawash's innocence was kinda like the 150,000 looted pieces from the Iraqi National Museum.
posted by pjgulliver at 12:30 PM on August 6, 2003


The issue that most people had a problem with wasn't that he was accused of terrorism, it was the failure of ordinary due process. Secret warrants and imprisonment without charges being filed against him were what bothered me and should bother most people.
posted by substrate at 12:32 PM on August 6, 2003


Yes, substrate. Unfortunately, this news tends to dilute that fact. Although it shouldn't.
posted by anathema at 12:35 PM on August 6, 2003


substrate To me it was whom he associated with, not what evidence they had. Guilt by association is not a crime, true?
posted by thomcatspike at 12:37 PM on August 6, 2003


Guilt by association can be used to open a criminal investigation under the RICO statutes to fight organized crime, its been this way for a while. My understanding is that USAPATRIOT essentially allowed the government to start using RICO-like powers to investigate terrorism.
posted by pjgulliver at 12:39 PM on August 6, 2003


But it is good news that they caught the guy, right?

Guilt by association is not a crime, true?

No, but it's going to draw attention every time.
posted by Witty at 12:39 PM on August 6, 2003


No, but it's going to draw attention every time.
True, the saying was in my first comment.
posted by thomcatspike at 12:51 PM on August 6, 2003


> I guess Hawash's innocence

The Hawash argument has never really been about guilt vs innocence. It was about due process. Thanks for trolling though.
posted by skallas at 12:54 PM on August 6, 2003


Now that we know Mike Hawash was guilty of something, it completely justifies his extraconstitutional seizure by federal officials who refused to confirm he was being held in custody for five weeks. My homeland is so freaking secure these days I can't stand it.
posted by rcade at 12:55 PM on August 6, 2003


Thats not accurate rcade. Look thru the old threads, the first of which was only 11 days into his being held, and he'd already had contact with his family at that time.
posted by schlyer at 1:14 PM on August 6, 2003


Exactly. This wasn't a "I admit freely that I was a terrorist", this was "I'd rather take the plea bargain than spend another two years in jail during due process and twenty years in prison on circumstantial charges."

What's sad about this is that this case will be used to push forward the PATRIOT Act as a useful tool of securing America insted of the hobnailed boot of fascism it truly represents. This guy was a U.S. citizen, taken without cause as a "material witness" and held until enough evidence could be found to justify the charge under which he was held.

Under that arrangement, anyone can be arrested and held until enough evidence is discovered to charge them with a crime - any crime - to justify the arrest. "Innocent until proven guilty" is gone, because you're treated as guilty until the prosecutor runs out of things with which to charge you, at which point you're now innocent.

The plea bargain makes it worse - we'll never really know if he pled guilty to escape a long trial and the possibility of a longer sentence on the small amount of alleged evidence, or if he pled guilty because he did indeed aid conspirators in a terrorist plot. The best part - I think that's what the government wants, an atmosphere of insecurity, because that will encourage others to plea bargain and bump up Ashcroft's figures o'success.

I, for one, welcome my new fascist masters.
posted by FormlessOne at 1:19 PM on August 6, 2003


Keep the Washington Post's recent articles about the Justice Department threatening that people who actually mount a defense against such charges may be removed from the criminal court system and stuffed into a hole without a trial and without access to legal aid until the DOJ gets bored, the defendant dies, or the feds execute them.

"We had to worry about the defendants being whisked out of the courtroom and declared enemy combatants if the case started going well for us," said attorney Patrick J. Brown, who defended one of the accused. "So we just ran up the white flag and folded."
posted by NortonDC at 1:28 PM on August 6, 2003


Under that arrangement, anyone can be arrested and held until enough evidence is discovered to charge them with a crime - any crime - to justify the arrest.

Yea, we hear this all the time. But just ANYONE WON'T be arrested and held until enough evidence is discovered to charge them with a crime. You can pretend that everything is out of control and reckless, but the fact is they will still target and focus on those people that deserve the most attention.

The plea bargain makes it worse - we'll never really know if he pled guilty to escape a long trial and the possibility of a longer sentence on the small amount of alleged evidence, or if he pled guilty because he did indeed aid conspirators in a terrorist plot.

Then you have a problem with plea bargains in general, because that's how they ALL turn out.
posted by Witty at 1:48 PM on August 6, 2003


Yea, we hear this all the time. But just ANYONE WON'T be arrested and held until enough evidence is discovered to charge them with a crime. You can pretend that everything is out of control and reckless, but the fact is they will still target and focus on those people that deserve the most attention.

You're marked cynicism doesn't match your over-inflated sense of well-being.
posted by velacroix at 2:01 PM on August 6, 2003


"You and the others in the group were prepared to take up arms, and die as martyrs if necessary, to defend the Taliban. Is this true?" U.S. District Judge Robert E. Jones asked Hawash during the hearing.

"Yes, your honor," Hawash replied.


This guy will find it hard to appeal or claim miscarriage of justice, no?
posted by dash_slot- at 2:08 PM on August 6, 2003


I, for one, welcome my new fascist masters.

it's 'overlords', dumbass.
posted by angry modem at 2:16 PM on August 6, 2003


Appeal what?
posted by anathema at 2:50 PM on August 6, 2003


Yea, we hear this all the time. But just ANYONE WON'T be arrested and held until enough evidence is discovered to charge them with a crime. You can pretend that everything is out of control and reckless, but the fact is they will still target and focus on those people that deserve the most attention.

You are right.

Just the muslims will be arrested (They are suspected terrorists).

If the DOJ runs out of muslims, then the pot smokers will be arrested (Remember the government ad, if you do drugs you support terrorism).

Then the atheists (After all we atheists should be stripped of our citizenship on general principle).

But the bible-loving God-fearing conservative right doesn't have too much to worry about ... well ... at least for the duration of this administration.
posted by gruchall at 3:00 PM on August 6, 2003


But just ANYONE WON'T be arrested and held until enough evidence is discovered to charge them with a crime.

Has Jose Padilla been charged yet?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 4:31 PM on August 6, 2003


pj-
He was guilty, but of a made-up crime. Is this guy a dick? Yeah. He lied to his family and friends while going off to China for the wierdest reason imaginable. But he only wanted to sneak into Afghanistan, join the Taliban, and fight the Americans. He never got out of China, because a pass was snowed over or something. They only had camping equipment, not weapons or war plans or whatever, and no material evidence was produced in trial that tied him to the "Portland 6." That sort of thing ought to be part of the indictment.

the Portland Tribune, a free nondaily (but not the "alternative weekly" type of paper, either), has done a number of good stories on Hawash in recent months.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 4:46 PM on August 6, 2003


In other counterterrorism news:
Police in Florida are creating a counterterrorism database designed to give law enforcement agencies around the country a powerful new tool to analyze billions of records about both criminals and ordinary Americans.

Organizers said the system, dubbed Matrix, enables investigators to find patterns and links among people and events faster than ever before, combining police records with commercially available collections of personal information about most American adults. It would let authorities, for instance, instantly find the name and address of every brown-haired owner of a red Ford pickup truck in a 20-mile radius of a suspicious event.
posted by homunculus at 5:03 PM on August 6, 2003


Has Jose Padilla been charged yet?

Nope.
posted by homunculus at 5:05 PM on August 6, 2003


But he only wanted to sneak into Afghanistan, join the Taliban, and fight the Americans. He never got out of China, because a pass was snowed over or something.

Another example of the peculiar justice of John Ashcroft.
posted by homunculus at 5:38 PM on August 6, 2003


I just wanted to say that I really like the word "hobnailed".
posted by majcher at 5:50 PM on August 6, 2003


re: padilla

congratulations, John Ashcroft. what a proud day for the USA!

i think he's an f'ing liar.
posted by mrgrimm at 6:25 PM on August 6, 2003


Has Jose Padilla been charged yet?
Is this the same Joe in the article?
posted by thomcatspike at 12:08 PM on August 7, 2003


left off; Know not the same; but seems like a name like Padilla would not be so common.
posted by thomcatspike at 12:10 PM on August 7, 2003


FWIW, www.freemikehawash.org now reads "Aug 6: Mike pled guilty today to one count of his three-count indictment. He admitted attempting to enter Afghanistan with members of the "Portland 6". We hope that justice has been served, and our focus now shifts to support for Mike's family in this difficult time".
posted by turbodog at 12:59 PM on August 7, 2003


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