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Maher Hawash Sentenced
February 10, 2004 9:59 AM   Subscribe

Update: Maher "Mike" Hawash, former Intel software engineer, who was previously discused here & here, was sentenced in Federal court yesterday.

Of the five men sentanced, Maher recieved the lightest term of eight years.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood (26 comments total)

 
What does this prove? Are we really ready to throw away the Constitution to satisfy wingnut paranoia about the "tar-rists"? Gawd Bless Amurka. Let's roll.
posted by drstrangelove at 10:17 AM on February 10, 2004


Judge Robert E. Jones, who last November called Battle and Ford an "insult" to the Muslim faith, noted on Monday that one of his court officers was a U.S. military pilot in Afghanistan when the group tried to enter that country.

"You might have killed my extern sitting right here," Jones said, "That is a very, very serious act."


recalling his pride when he voting in his first election.

Can Judges judge the future/unknown? Seems this comment did not involve the trial at hand. The honest truth would have been: you could have been killed by your own country, the one you took pride in while voting. Then leaving it at that. The man on trial should be the focus, not some nonsense: "I have a crystal ball in my pocket that knows all, but winning lotto #'s, that's why I will make false conclusions".

Or, being the courts are a Judge's domain, he may address the court as he wishes?
posted by thomcatspike at 10:23 AM on February 10, 2004


drstrangelove - what in the world are you talking about?
What part of the constitution was thrown away? Is there an amendment I wasn't aware of that said "The government shall not encroach on a citizen's right to enlist in a foreign army and fight in opposition to American troops"?

They committed treason, in the oldest and truest sense of the word, and were sentenced to prison terms averaging something like a decade, with chance of parole. Seems sensible to me.
posted by kavasa at 10:32 AM on February 10, 2004


What does this prove? Are we really ready to throw away the Constitution to satisfy wingnut paranoia about the "tar-rists"? Gawd Bless Amurka. Let's roll.

Elegant and cliché-free as ever, nofundy drstrangelove.

What does it prove? That someone admitted guilt in a federal crime and is now serving a sentence. Did you read the article?

And how exactly does this qualify as "paranoia" when Hawash was found, by his own admission, to be culpable in trying to fight U.S. forces in Afghanistan??

Not to say there isn't a fair share of irrational paranoia in the U.S. right now, but doesn't this case justify some fears about the "enemy living among us", to use a cliché :) ?
posted by dhoyt at 10:35 AM on February 10, 2004


Don't worry about drstrangelove, kavasa. The poor thing wasn't beaten enough as a child.
posted by jonmc at 10:36 AM on February 10, 2004


As I recall it, the initial outcry over this was that it was thought he was charged with donating to a charity which (unbeknownst to him) was funnelling the money to terrorists. Obviously, this was not the case, at which point it became something less of a story.
posted by tingley at 10:47 AM on February 10, 2004


Can Judges judge the future/unknown?

That seemed to be the whole point of the trial. Just because he was found guilty we are somehow expected to forget that due process is important.

kavasa-
You're forgetting that these men never actually did anything. They were only ever accused of wanting to sneaked into Afghanistan to join the Taliban. They all failed (not that the conspiracy alone wasn't a crime, or that they shouldn't have been prosecuted).

The thing that is bothersome about this case is not the fact that people were prosecuted for what has since been proven to be a criminal conspiracy. That seems about par for the course, hopefully. The problem is that this case was prosecuted under the more hardcore provisions of the PATRIOT Act, and Hawash himself was imprisoned--without any access to his family or the press--for weeks and weeks before any allegations were even made (let alone formal charges filed). I've said all along that this case is an outrage not because Hawash is innocent (he's not), but because he's guilty: The government had been following him well before he left for China (which is as far as an of them got), and it would follow that they had enough evidence to get a regular warrant to arrtest him in accordance with his 4th Ammendment rights. In short, I can see no reason why this case couldn't have been prosecuted constitutionally, but I can see many possible ill-effects of this manner of prosecution being applied to less slam-dunk cases.

Let's not forget that Hawash was convicted in a real court of a real crime, not one of them military tribunal dealies, so all the secrecy and extra-constitutionality was completely out of order, and that ought to serve as a lesson. If we give our law enforcement toolkits for secrecy and evasion of our rights that they don't need, they can't be expected to just refrain from using them. With open discussion in Washington about using PATRIOT to enforce drug and trade laws, we could be experiencing a fundamental shift in our criminal justice system away from due process rights. And with people already falling over themselves to commend these changes, I'd say they're definitely on the way.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 10:50 AM on February 10, 2004


kasava: "They committed treason" Can YOU offer proof of that or you're just assuming the article tells all the truth ? You know there's a difference between what you think, what I think, what everyone else think and what really happened. The difference is, we don't really know and we're just reading stuff on the net.

So that we may read as well about The Case of Abdallah Higazy involving a 30 year old graduate engineer student with a radio, the FBI not being a perfect investigation machine , a polygraph, and an american pilot who later claimed back his radio.

On preview: jonmc: ehehe right, have you stopped beating your wife already ?
posted by elpapacito at 10:53 AM on February 10, 2004


in other related news,

Secret arrests after 9/11 will stay secret
The Supreme Court says it will not hear an appeal by groups seeking access to information on illegal immigrants held after the Sept. 11 attacks.


The Justice Department has acknowledged that it detained more than 1,200 people in connection with the investigation into the 2001 attacks.

The detainees fit into three categories:

• Those arrested on suspicion of being involved in terrorism and then detained for immigration violations.

• Those arrested and held on federal criminal charges.

• Those held as material witnesses.

Members of the latter two categories were entitled to government-supplied defense lawyers, but alleged immigration-law violators subject to deportation had to find their own legal counsel.


meanwhile, Jose Padilla's still in jail.


but one does not want to ruin the beautiful NeenerNeenerFilter
cockfest


oh, yeah:
'Our dreams are now dust'
Former terror suspects patch up lives in Pakistan
Still haunted by their arrest in Canada





"I am on hiatus. (kinda)"


yeah, kinda.
;)




posted by matteo at 10:54 AM on February 10, 2004


so was there anything special about the case that meant he would not have prosecuted under pre 9-11 law? i thought the point was that he was treated in a way that would have been illegal before they made all the anti-terrorist legislation.

supporters claiming he was innocent look silly - it's not nice to be screwed over by a friend - but people protesting at the way he was treated still have a point, surely?
posted by andrew cooke at 10:56 AM on February 10, 2004


Fighting for the rights of the guilty (or even accused) is very difficult in a soundbite culture. If you're anti-war, then you like Saddam. If you're anti-death penalty, then you like murderers and rapists. It's going to be very difficult to get the public to care about this sort of thing.
posted by callmejay at 11:09 AM on February 10, 2004


callmejay: that works both ways. To many on the left, if your pro-death penalty, you're a bloodthirsty ghoul. If you're not unilaterally for pulling out of Iraq, you're a "pro-amuruka" neo-con, if you have doubts about affirmative action, you're a racist (which is the liberal version of calling someone a "communist,"; a scarlet letter that's almost unremovable)....see where I'm going?
posted by jonmc at 11:15 AM on February 10, 2004


I agree, jonmc. My comment was about the culture as a whoe, not right v. left.
posted by callmejay at 11:21 AM on February 10, 2004


...although I did frame my post from the standpoint of the left.
posted by callmejay at 11:22 AM on February 10, 2004


Then we're on the same page.

And culture is a whoe, and a bitch, too. :)
posted by jonmc at 11:23 AM on February 10, 2004


MetaFilter: Turning typos into memes ;)
posted by wendell at 12:22 PM on February 10, 2004


"You might have killed my extern sitting right here," Jones said, "That is a very, very serious act."

no, excuse me honorable judge dipshit, but "might" anything is not an "act", serious or otherwise. "that would have been a very, very serious act" had it occurred anywhere but in the judges imagination. what utter horseshit.
posted by quonsar at 12:25 PM on February 10, 2004


"Can YOU offer proof of that"

You mean beyond their own admition that they commited treason?
posted by y6y6y6 at 12:33 PM on February 10, 2004


excuse me honorable judge dipshit, but "might" anything is not an "act", serious or otherwise.

I think that the judge meant that what they did was a serious act because of its possible consequences. Kind of like how drunk driving is a crime even if you don't actually hit anyone.
posted by kindall at 12:34 PM on February 10, 2004


no, excuse me honorable judge dipshit, but "might" anything is not an "act", serious or otherwise.

Telling, that your reserve all your ire for the judge merely mediating the case rather than for the men who admittedly sought to take up arms against us and who would've just as soon put a bullet in the likes of you, if given the chance. You're obviously free to spin it however you'd like, but your diversionary attack on the judge isn't going to fool anyone.
posted by dhoyt at 12:49 PM on February 10, 2004


wasn't trying to fool anyone, i simply wasn't addressing the defendants or their behavior, in any way shape or form. my comment addressed the ridiculous remarks of the supposedly impartial judge, who apparently equates his imagining of his externs death with the actual actions of the defendants, which did not result in or intend or in any way involve the extern.
posted by quonsar at 1:01 PM on February 10, 2004


"I think that the judge meant that what they did was a serious act because of its possible consequences. Kind of like how drunk driving is a crime even if you don't actually hit anyone"

but, using the same analogy, is drunk driving still a crime if somebody takes the keys from you before you go outside to start the car?

Hitting somebody with the car while drunk is one crime, while actually driving drunk is another.
posted by Woney at 1:15 PM on February 10, 2004


Welcome to the world of pre-emptive logic.
posted by moonbiter at 6:34 PM on February 16, 2004


Whatever, kavasa. As long as you are comfortable with the fact that a US citizen was held without being charged or having access to legal representation, I guess you won't mind if the rest of the Constitution is ripped apart.
posted by drstrangelove at 7:27 PM on February 16, 2004


Whatever, kavasa. As long as you are comfortable with the fact that a US citizen was held without being charged or having access to legal representation, I guess you won't mind if the rest of the Constitution is ripped apart.

I agree 100%, but I want to add that most egregious aspect of this is not simply the circumstances themselves, but that tehy were completely unnecessary. Somehow, I imagine that if PATRIOT were not passed in five minutes by legislators who admit they didn't read it, it may have had some accountability or record-keeping function by which Justice would now have to show why they couldn't have pulled this off without all the bullshit. Hawash was the last arrested, the local cleric that was smeared in the press was never charged (though he was arrested at the airport for having traces of dynamite in his suitcase, only to be released when another round of tests proved the allegations unfounded). I don't see how the integrity of any related investigation would hae been corrupted without giving the government the right to secretly arrest or wiretap you and me.

Bah.

quonsie-
You're right that they never hatched their plan, and all they "did" was fly to China (and, in Hawash's case, buy a bunch of hiking boots and tiny can openers and other stuff that looks incriminating when you're basically being charged with hiking in China), but concocting a criminal conspiracy is certainly a crime in its own right (one of which they were convicted by a legitimate civillian criminal court). I am not a constitutional lawyer (paging monju), but I would guess that a criminal conspiracy to commit treason may in fact itself constitute treason.

There was some awesome, narrative-forwarding reporting on this story all along in the Portland Tribune, which is a really quite good free local semi-weekly.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 11:05 PM on February 16, 2004


First they came for the terrorists, and I did nothing because I was not a terrorist.
Then they came for the software engineers, and I did nothing because... hey wait a minute!
posted by spazzm at 7:37 AM on February 17, 2004


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