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Former Intel Employee 'Disappeared' by U.S. 1541

pmodern writes "Wired has this story about Maher "Mike" Hawash a former Intel programmer who is being held by the DOJ for suspected terrorism. Anyone familiar with the Kevin Mitnick saga will not be surprised that he hasn't been charged and has been locked away in solitary. 'For nearly two weeks, he has been held as a so-called "material witness" in solitary confinement in a federal lockup in Sheridan, Oregon. The designation allows authorities to hold him indefinitely without charging him with a crime.'" See also a NYT article and the Free Mike Hawash website.
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Former Intel Employee 'Disappeared' by U.S.

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  • Cheap Joke (Score:5, Funny)

    by The_Rippa ( 181699 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @04:18PM (#5663480)
    I wonder where the goverment got their "Intel" from.

    No seriously folks, I'm here all week
    • Possibly true... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by t0ny ( 590331 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @04:54PM (#5663890)
      Now, since we dont really know any facts in the case, its quite possible their accusations could be true.

      However, this whole holding without disclosure thing is what makes me uneasy. If they do have credibly accusations, they should be disclosed, or at the very least make the fact that he is being held a matter of public record. If they can just come in the middle of the night and take someone from their home with no accusation, or warrant, or justification, what makes them better than any other totalitarian regime?

      I know the American way of life is something valuable to protect, but you cant protect it by violating the very rights and freedoms it stands for. IMO, Bush's vision for America is as bad as Saddam's vision of Iraq.

      Im all for John Kerry's "Regime Change".

      • by afidel ( 530433 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @05:05PM (#5664050)
        Exactly, secret arrest are counter to everything a free and open society stands for. Secret arrests and detention without charge both erode seriously at the basic foundations of what makes this country work.
      • by MAXOMENOS ( 9802 ) <maxomai AT gmail DOT com> on Friday April 04, 2003 @05:08PM (#5664106) Homepage
        They haven't made any accusations. That's the trouble.
        • by t0ny ( 590331 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @07:25PM (#5665494)
          They haven't made any accusations. That's the trouble.

          They have made accusations, that is why the person was taken. The difference is they have not made publicly disclosed accusations.

          Thats the problem: if they have a reason for taking this person, is it valid? Is it justified? Just taking somebody because they went to high school with a suspected terrorist is hardly justified. But if you went on 'vacation' to Afghanistan three years ago with this person, that could be justified.

          But since they are giving out no information, or even saying if this person is being held, that becomes a serious issue.

      • Re:Possibly true... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Lord Ender ( 156273 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @05:16PM (#5664197) Homepage
        Right. You think Bush somehow enacted the legal loopholes that allow the government to keep someone like this. News for ya: Bush doens't make the laws. He signs them but your representatives make them. And probably the laws that allow them to do it were around long before bush. People like you make me laugh. Anything any government agency does is somehow blamed on Bush. Feh.
      • by binarybits ( 11068 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @05:33PM (#5664414) Homepage
        Bush's vision for America is as bad as Saddam's vision of Iraq.

        Yaknow, I'm not a big fan of Bush, but there's a world of difference here. Bush's vision for America doesn't include purges, torture, gassing of civilians who oppose his rule, widespread suppression of dissent.

        Bush sucks, but let's have a sense of perspective, eh?
        • by Sanction ( 16446 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @05:43PM (#5664538)
          Well, not as far as you may think. In Patriot 2 they want the power to strip someone of their citizenship based on accusations, so they don't have the usual constitutional protections. This makes purges really easy. As to torture, what about the two who have died in interrogation in Guantanamo, the ones who haven't even been charged yet. As to gassing civilians, it was the gassing of a Kurdish village full of Iranian troops during the Iran-Iraq war. Deplorable and agains the Geneva Convention, but not to suppress dissent. The current administration may not be doing any of those nasty things, but they are working very hard to remove the safeguards that keep them from doing them currently.

          So, my perspective is that we have a chance to stop a police state from forming, but only if people stop saying crap like "well, it could be worse, look at those guys." Those guys got that bad because nobody stopped it up front.
          • Re:Possibly true... (Score:5, Informative)

            by Iguanaphobic ( 31670 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @10:56PM (#5666532)
            This is a repost from above. Some AC posted it and it was immediately modded offtopic. Thought people should see it in context.

            It's the fall of 1983. Michael Jackson is riding high with Thriller; Ronald Reagan is obsessed with a red menace in the jungles of Central America; humiliated U.S. troops have just slouched out of Beirut following a series of suicide bombings, and America's newest nemesis, the Ayatollah Khomeini is locked in a vicious conflict with America's soon-to-be ally, the secular 'socialist' dictator Saddam Hussein. The fight is vicious indeed. In November 1983 U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz receives an intelligence report describing how Hussein's troops are resorting to "almost daily use of CW [chemical weapons]" against the Iranians. A month later, Ronald Reagan dispatches a special envoy to Baghdad on a secret mission. The identity of the envoy is intriguing. He's not a diplomat or a member of Reagan's cabinet - he's a private citizen, the CEO of a Fortune 500 company.
            On Dec. 20, the envoy meets with Saddam Hussein. But he is not there to lecture the dictator about his use of weapons of mass destruction or the fine print of the Geneva Conventions. He is there to talk business under orders from high. Reagan had just signed a secret order instructing his charges to do "whatever was necessary and legal" to prevent Iraq from losing the war.
            The envoy informs the Iraqi leader that Washington is ready for a resumption of full diplomatic relations, according to a recently declassified State Department report of the conversation, and that Washington would regard "any major reversal of Iraq's fortunes as a strategic defeat for the West." Iraqi leaders later describe themselves as "extremely pleased" with the visit.
            The envoy was Donald H. Rumsfeld, then the CEO of pharmaceutical giant Searle.
            The meeting is widely considered to be the trigger that ushered in a new warming of U.S.-Iraq relations, which allowed the shipment of dual-use munitions, chemical and biological agents and other dubious technology transfers. But for years what exactly was said between Rumsfeld and Hussein in that now infamous meeting (see pic) has been shrouded in secrecy.
            No one knew, until last week.
            In a new investigative report from the Institute for Policy Studies entitled Crude Vision: How Oil Interests Obscured U.S. Government Focus On Chemical Weapons Use by Saddam Hussein released last week, researchers Jim Vallette, Steve Kretzmann, and Daphne Wysham expose the real reason Donald Rumsfeld was sent to Baghdad: Hewas sent by Reagan himself to pressure Saddam Hussein to approve a highly lucrative oil pipeline project from Iraq to Jordan.
            Examining recently released government and corporate sources, the researchers document for the first time how a close-knit group of high-ranking U.S. officials (including Sec. of State Shultz and Attorney General Edwin Meese) worked in secrecy for two years attempting to secure a billion dollar pipeline scheme for the Bechtel corporation. The Bush/Cheney administration now eyes Bechtel as a primary contractor for the rebuilding of Iraq's infrastructure.
            Bechtel's pipeline would have carried a million barrels of Iraqi crude oil a day through Jordan to the Red Sea port of Aqaba.
            "The men who courted Saddam while he gassed Iranians are now waging war against him, ostensibly because he holds these same weapons of mass destruction" said Jim Vallette, lead author of the report. "They now deny that oil has anything to do with the conflict. Yet during the Reagan Administration, and in the years leading up to the present conflict, these men shaped and implemented a strategy that has everything to do with securing Iraqi oil exports. All of this documentation suggests that Reagan Administration officials bent many rules to convince Saddam Hussein to open up a pipeline of central interest to the U.S., from Iraq to Jordan."
            What happened to the Aqaba deal? What trade-offs were made? Who were the players? What impact did it have on current U.S. policy?
        • by autopr0n ( 534291 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @05:58PM (#5664708) Homepage Journal
          Bush's vision for America doesn't include purges, torture, gassing of civilians who oppose his rule, widespread suppression of dissent.

          Well, lets see. For one thing, thousands of Arab-Americans and people from other Islamic countries have been locked up without charges

          Torturing the camp X-ray people has been brought up, and they already doing things to 'compel' people to testify without causing pain (like keeping them awake, spraying them with water)

          Rumsfeild is trying to rewrite the rules of engagement to allow the use of riot-control gasses in battle, violating the same chemical weapons ban that we're supposedly in Iraq to prevent. Certainly some civilians will be hit. Also, such chemicals are widely used against civilians during protests.

          And widespread suppression of dissent? That seems to be happening on it's own.

          Bush isn't at the same level as saddam, but most of the things you mentioned are happening to some extent.
        • by t0ny ( 590331 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @06:04PM (#5664772)
          Bush's vision for America is as bad as Saddam's vision of Iraq.

          Yaknow, I'm not a big fan of Bush, but there's a world of difference here. Bush's vision for America doesn't include purges, torture, gassing of civilians who oppose his rule, widespread suppression of dissent.

          Bush sucks, but let's have a sense of perspective, eh?

          Now I realize that, at the moment, things are as bad as all that. However, being a longtime politician, Bush realized the legal issue refered to as a "Slippery Slope": its a situation in which things can get steadily, legally, worse, by justifying the decline on a previous (and poorly considered) precident.

          Today they come for the supposed terrorists. Tomorrow they come for the foreigners. Then they come for the political dissidents. Then, they come for you.

        • by Ninja Programmer ( 145252 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @08:02PM (#5665750) Homepage
          • Yaknow, I'm not a big fan of Bush, but there's a world of difference here. Bush's vision for America doesn't include purges
          The INS has been removing/deporting foreign residents of middle east descent [] in record numbers lately. Even those with only the most minor documentation issues, and who otherwise behave as model americans.

          • torture
          Tell that to the 500 or so "enemy combatants" in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba []. The very few people who have been released from this US concentration camp are reporting that they were tortured.

          • gassing of civilians who oppose his rule,
          Well how about the genetic devastation that has resulted from their use of depleted uranium in their amunition []? You don't hear about it on TV, but do a little research into it and you'll see for yourself, that the US has subjected Iraqi civilians to more WMDs than Saddam ever has.

          • widespread suppression of dissent.
          There have been *millions* of protestors in the US dissenting. They have been been abused by law enforcement [] (including physical assault, improper arrests, and red tape attacks like the denial of march permits []), they get no coverage on the corporate mainstream media, and such dissent is constantly derided as "anti-american".

          Just a few minutes with google dude. There's no excuse for not knowing this stuff.
      • Re:Possibly true... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Mysticalfruit ( 533341 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @05:45PM (#5664562) Homepage Journal
        I think we should take 60 people...

        25 of them would be the children of people in the senate
        25 of them would be the children of people in the house of represenatives

        The other 10 would be a mix of the loved ones of the President, Vice-President, John Ashcroft and a couple random cabinet memebers from the administration.

        The FBI should just go busting in the doors and take them as "Material Witnesses" and hold them for 90 days.

        During that time, they'd be held at an "undisclosed" location and be treated exactly the same as other "Material Witnesses".

        I think it would be funny to see several senators sweating all over the TV set wondering if their loved ones will ever get out of jail and that there being held without everything being charged...

        You watch how fast counter legistation gets passed...
      • by dbc ( 135354 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @09:06PM (#5666078)
        1. The government has not accused him of a crime, he is being held as a material witness.

        2. While I don't know this guy directly, I did work at Intel and I did know of this guys work. And I *do* know some of his close friends, as in members of his wedding party, very well. We are shocked.

        This whole think stinks. He is a citizen. If they came for him, they can come for you or me. If they terrorized his wife and children, they can do it to yours and mine. Mike needs due process, he is not getting it.

        As far as I can tell, he made good-faith donations to the "wrong" charity. Now because he wanted to support good works in poor countries, he is held in solitary confinement, without charge.

        While we do not know the facts behind any alleged criminal activities that led to his detention, one fact that is abundantly clear, Mike is *not* getting due process. He is not getting the kind of treatment that any citizen of the US of A has a right to expect and demand.

        The last time I served on a jury, the defendant was a 2-time convicted felon up on child rape charges. That citizen got due process, the respect of the court, and an opportunity to defend himself. It sickens me to compare that case with the Mike Hawash case.

        For the sake of everthing good, this man needs due process.
  • by TerryAtWork ( 598364 ) <> on Friday April 04, 2003 @04:19PM (#5663486)
    I notice the USA takes every excuse to remove civil liberties.

    I sincerely believe that the USA will become what it wants to be in it's belly - a xenophobic police state.

    • Lucky for you, you live in Canada or I would have you arrested on making Anti-american (terrorist) statements!!
    • by jkujawa ( 56195 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @04:26PM (#5663572) Homepage
      The USA doesn't want to be a xenophobic police state. The morons in power want us to be a xenophobic police state.

      King George was not elected. Don't forget that.
      • by Anonvmous Coward ( 589068 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @04:39PM (#5663700)
        "King George was not elected. Don't forget that."

        Same problem if Gore was in office. The reason that anything fishy could have happened is that the election was ridiculously close. The only way an election could be that close and controversial is if the American People didn't like either candidate.

        To put it another way, "King Al" wouldn't have been elected either. That's why a decision by the gov't had to be made, one or the other. To be honest, I think the voting system needs a "none of the above" vote. That would have made the 2000 election rather interesting.
    • by Dixie_Flatline ( 5077 ) <> on Friday April 04, 2003 @04:31PM (#5663621) Homepage
      As a Canadian it looks to me like the US is ALREADY a police state. Homeland security? Citizens of Arab descent have to register? Next thing you know, Homeland security is dressed in brown, and the Arabs all have to wear a red moon on their sleeves.

      I even heard a story about an older couple that got into trouble because while their house is in Canada, the only road leading to it crosses into US territory by a few inches. INCHES. So they've got special permission to use the road, but if they need a plumber, he needs to go to a border crossing before he can drive down that road, then he has to go back to the border crossing to get 'back' into Canada. Xenophobic? I think they're already there, too.

      (By 'they', I in no way mean 'American People'. The people patrolling your borders and making your laws are starting to go a little crazy, and I don't think that's anything that you expected.)
    • Xenophobe (Score:3, Funny)

      by twitter ( 104583 )
      I sincerely believe that the USA will become what it wants to be in it's belly - a xenophobic police state.

      You only say that because you hate foreigners.

    • by cybermace5 ( 446439 ) <> on Friday April 04, 2003 @04:40PM (#5663714) Homepage Journal
      Now look here, buddy. Our personal freedoms are nowhere near gone, while we still have a couch to sit on, a TV to watch, and pork rinds.

      And we don't have that really annoying Canadumb accent? Where they end each sentence with a question?

      And the caps with earflaps are not stylish, I'm sorry, someone just had to say it.
  • by sogoodsofarsowhat ( 662830 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @04:19PM (#5663487)
    Thinking this is a free country. And for posting this we will need you to be a 'material witness' come along quietly and noone has to get hurt, much. :)
  • by Savatte ( 111615 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @04:21PM (#5663506) Homepage Journal
    he will not receive the massive support and protest that mitnick received, simply because of his name. Kevin = American, where as Maher = sounds like something from one of those countries we are at war with. Kinda sad, really.
    • by Gannoc ( 210256 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @04:24PM (#5663539)
      he will not receive the massive support and protest that mitnick received, simply because of his name. Kevin = American, where as Maher = sounds like something from one of those countries we are at war with. Kinda sad, really.

      Whereas I, on the other hand, think that a guy with a wife and children is going to receive more support than a creepy dork who may or may not have been able to start WWIII.

    • Also, Keven was part of the "Hacker Community." Maher was a suit at Intel. Still, I'd hope more civil liberties groups would take notice, as this is obviously yet another violation of human rights. I'd rather if governments didn't get away with this sort of thing on a regular basis. Either charge him with something and give him his normal legal rights, or stop lying to the people and change the name to the Tyrannical States of America.
    • I don't think any of us were behind Kevin because he was an American per se. I was behind Kevin because he was being treated unfairly in a way that I could see myself being treated one day.

      This guy is even easier to identify with because there isn't even any presented evidence of his (lack of) guilt. He might well be Bin Laden's mole inside Intel, making 387 co-processors for embedded systems that round wrong to thwart US technology, but we'd never know, because we're not allowed to know.

      This idea that au
    • by Cyno ( 85911 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @05:00PM (#5663976) Journal
      Kinda reminds me of Bill Maher.. I like that guy.

      American or not. Native or not. He's human and I accept him as a fellow citizen.

      Solidarity, tolerance, freedom, justice and peace... these are the things I want to have associated with America in the hearts and minds of all people.

      But that's not easy when half of us want homeland security, revenge and money. Those desires paint a very different picture of America than what most of us think of when we see that red, white and blue flag blowing in the wind.

      What do you associate with America and the flag today after all we've been through?
  • quote (Score:3, Insightful)

    by geckosan ( 78687 ) <> on Friday April 04, 2003 @04:21PM (#5663514) Homepage
    Internal security, the age-cry of the oppressor.
  • NYT article (Score:5, Informative)

    by macshune ( 628296 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @04:23PM (#5663528) Journal

    PORTLAND, Ore., April 3 -- For the last two weeks, Maher Hawash, a 38-year-old software engineer and American citizen who was from the West Bank and grew up in Kuwait, has been held in a federal prison here, though he has not been charged with a crime or brought before a judge.

    Relatives and friends of Mr. Hawash, who works for the Intel Corporation and is married to a native Oregonian, say he has no idea why he was arrested by a federal terrorism task force when he arrived for work at the Intel parking lot in Hillsboro, a Portland suburb. The family home was raided at dawn on the same day by nearly a dozen armed police officers, who woke Mrs. Hawash and the family's three children, friends said.

    Mr. Hawash, who is known as Mike, has yet to be interrogated and is being kept in solitary confinement, his supporters say.

    Federal officials will not comment on Mr. Hawash, though they have been pressed by Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon, and by a group of supporters led by a former Intel vice president, for basic information about why he is being detained.

    In a statement after his arrest, the F.B.I. said he was being held as a material witness in an "ongoing investigation" by the Joint Terrorism Task Force. Federal search warrants in the case are sealed.

    The case has drawn the attention of civil liberties groups nationwide, who say Mr. Hawash's case is an example of how the Bush administration is holding a handful of American citizens without offering them normal legal protection.

    Although at least two American citizens are being held without normal legal rights as "enemy combatants," Mr. Hawash has not been categorized as such. As a material witness, he is being held to compel testimony. But supporters say he has not been told anything about what the government may want from him.

    "Our friend has fallen into some kind of `Alice in Wonderland' meets Franz Kafka," said Steven McGeady, the former Intel executive, who started a legal defense fund and a Web site for Mr. Hawash.

    "You hear about this happening in other countries and to immigrants and then to American citizens," Mr. McGeady went on. "And finally you hear about it happening to someone you know. It's scary."

    Mr. Hawash's family thought at first that his arrest was connected to two donations he made three years ago to an Islamic charity, Global Relief Foundation, whose assets were frozen last year when federal authorities said it was linked to terrorism. But now relatives say the contributions may not be related to his arrest, and he may be asked to testify about six people charged here last year with aiding terrorism.

    Asked about the charitable donations -- which totaled a little more than $10,000 -- Mr. Hawash told the local newspaper, The Oregonian, in November: "We believed that they are doing good work. It's a well-known organization."

    Civil liberties groups say material witness statutes are being abused by the Bush administration to hold people like Mr. Hawash indefinitely. "The government doesn't have and should not have the power to arrest and detain someone without charging them," said Lucas Guttentag, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Immigrants Rights Project. "If this kind of thing is permitted, then any United States citizen can be swept off the street and locked up without being charged."

    Since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the courts have made conflicting rulings on the legality of holding material witnesses without charging them. A federal judge in Manhattan, Shira A. Scheindlin, said such detentions were "an illegitimate use of the statute," but another ruling in the same court, by Chief Judge Michael B. Mukasey, said detaining witnesses to compel testimony was a legitimate investigative tool.

    Attorney General John Ashcroft has defended the tactic, saying it is "vital to preventing, disrupting or delaying new attacks."

    The Justice Department has not said how many Americans have been held without charges in terro

    • Re:NYT article (Score:5, Insightful)

      by symbolic ( 11752 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @04:50PM (#5663832)
      The case has drawn the attention of civil liberties groups nationwide, who say Mr. Hawash's case is an example of how the Bush administration is holding a handful of American citizens without offering them normal legal protection.

      The fact that this can happen at all is a frightening commentary on the current state of the U.S. federal government.
    • Scary quote (Score:5, Insightful)

      by JaredOfEuropa ( 526365 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @05:04PM (#5664043) Journal
      "You hear about this happening in other countries and to immigrants and then to American citizens," Mr. McGeady went on. "And finally you hear about it happening to someone you know. It's scary."

      Of course the next step is that they will come for you. Food for thought for those people who think that the end justifies the means when it comes to fighting terrorism.
  • Scenic Bypass (Score:4, Informative)

    by Jon Abbott ( 723 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @04:23PM (#5663529) Homepage
    You can bypass the NYTimes registration and read the article here []...
  • Media (Score:3, Insightful)

    by elgrinner ( 472922 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @04:23PM (#5663531)
    What will be interesting is the media coverage. I mean, most people in the US are probably not aware that such a thing is possible and might, just *might* be a bit angered about this kind of StaSi-type of behaviour. Or maybe they'll just think "wow, great! Got another one of those terrorist bastards!"
    I think one should seriously consider the option of moving to Russia...
  • by Lysander Luddite ( 64349 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @04:23PM (#5663534)
    Note he is not being held for suspected terrorism, but as a material witness. AFAIK none of the stories I have read have seen any charges against him.

    Three years ago he did donate $5K to an organization that is now being investigated for links to funding terrorist organizations, but that is not the same as being held as a suspected terrorist.

    One must wonder if he didn't have rich friends if his case would even be noticed by anybody.

    • by The G ( 7787 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @04:27PM (#5663580)
      Ashcroft is one of the big proponents of using "material witness" detentions as a way of avoiding habeus corpus. It's not being mentioned in the press because the press would rather not digify that sort of procedural bullshit. They've called it what it is: Detention without due process or habeus corpus. The press have a duty to try to be objective, but that doesn't mean they have to be gullible.
  • Warblogging (Score:5, Informative)

    by Forager ( 144256 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @04:24PM (#5663538) Homepage [] has been covering Hawash's story, as well as the Total Information Awareness story for a good while now. "George Paine" is a well-informed writer and his links are usually pretty good.
  • by 4of12 ( 97621 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @04:25PM (#5663553) Homepage Journal

    this story breaks the surface of the mainstream media to become a potential source of embarrassment about how the Land of the Free and the Home of Brave is treating detainess, then Plan B will be put into effect.
    mumble, mumble, protecting citizens from terrorists, mumble, mumble, Arab descent, mumble, mumble, hacker, mumble, mumble.
    and it will be time for a commercial break on CNN.
  • hmmmm (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Triv ( 181010 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @04:27PM (#5663579) Journal

    Sound familiar to anyone else? Oh yeah, there was the case of Jose Padilla [], an american citizen who was being held as a 'material witness' to some unknown crime, prevented from seeing his lawyer (violating the write of habeas corpus)transferred to a military brig outside Charleston, SC as an 'enemy combatant' and has yet to be charged with a crime.

    Ain't it great when the government starts repeating itself?

  • by cperciva ( 102828 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @04:28PM (#5663586) Homepage
    After 9/11, Bush made two statements:
    1. "Terrorists hate America because America is a land of freedom and opportunity."
    2. "We intend to attack the root causes of terrorism."

    Sounds like everything is going according to plan.
  • Democracy? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by miffo.swe ( 547642 ) <daniel.hedblom@g m a> on Friday April 04, 2003 @04:28PM (#5663588) Homepage Journal
    "For nearly two weeks, he has been held as a so-called "material witness" in solitary confinement in a federal lockup in Sheridan, Oregon. The designation allows authorities to hold him indefinitely without charging him with a crime."

    With tools like that, who needs dictatorships? Just lockup anyone likely to compete about power of state. No chance of getting caught since everything is stamped "top secret". You simply cannot lay power like that in the hands of people. No matter what it WILL be abused!

    The US is imploding far faster than anyone would imagine. Remember how Rome fell and why for a cluebat.
  • Disappeared? Really? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 04, 2003 @04:28PM (#5663592)
    "Disappeared" would imply that no one knew where he was.

    There are regimes in the world that actually do this, like Iraq and Iran. Some of the South American governments were infamous for this.

    So, the issue might be that he is being detained without due process or habeas corpus rights, but please don't confuse the issue and say the US government "disappeared" him.
    • by aminorex ( 141494 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @05:06PM (#5664082) Homepage Journal
      I agree that the use of the term 'disappeared' as a verb
      is no longer appropriate in the Hawass case. However, there
      are roughly 1200 people who have in fact 'disappeared' from
      the U.S. who are believed to have been removed by INS or DOJ
      in the past year and a half.

      The U.S. has reserved and excercised the assumed right to
      designate any individual, whether a citizen or non-citizen,
      as a terrorist, and to kill them. The U.S. has also reserved
      the right to designate any person, citizen or non-citizen,
      domestically or abroad, as an enemy combatant, regardless
      of whether or not they were engaged in active combat, and
      to detain them indefinitely without access to legal

      These powers are reserved to the office of an unelected
      official who has repeatedly expressed a preference for
      dictatorship over democracy, and has waged war against
      non-beligerent nations on false pretexts, without a
      declaration of war by the Congress, as required by the
      founding laws of the United States. This act is defined
      as a Crime against Peace, by the Principles of the Nuremberg
      Tribunal, VI(a)i. When the Nazi government of Germany did
      this, those responsible were hung by the neck until dead.
    • by Flamerule ( 467257 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @05:20PM (#5664242)
      Your objection is noted. But let's be clear: it's a trivial difference between seizing someone and placing them in an unknown facility, and seizing someone and holding them incommunicado in a known facility.
      Some of the South American governments were infamous for this.
      Heh. South American governments like Chile, under Pinochet? Whose disgusting coup, subsequent tyrannical dictatorship, and years of oppression and murder by his secret police were conducted with the support and aid of the CIA, NSA, and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger []?
      So, the issue might be that he is being detained without due process or habeas corpus rights
      It rolls off the tongue so smoothly, doesn't it? No due process, habeas corpus... no big deal.
      please don't confuse the issue and say the US government "disappeared" him.
      It's not confusing at all; the difference is trivial. At this point, all the U.S. has going for it is that Mr. Hawash will not be killed by his captors. Give it 5 more years, though, and maybe we'll be rapidly closing in on 1984's Oceania.
  • by robbo ( 4388 ) <slashdot@simra. n e t> on Friday April 04, 2003 @04:29PM (#5663603)
    It seems to me that the only reason why slashdot would post this story is the fact that he's an Intel employee. If he weren't an engineer and worked at Wal-Mart, the story would be ignored. Makes you wonder just how many 'detainees' there are in the states, not counting Guantanamo, of course. ;-)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 04, 2003 @04:30PM (#5663616)
    Bush, the closest thing to fascist we've ever had.

    Just remember what it was like 3 years ago: Economy was good, we had jobs, the President was brokering peace between Israel and Palestine, and our biggest worry was that the President had consentual sex with his adult intern. Oh my.

    Today: Economy is crashing, > 6% unemployment rate is common in urban areas across the country, we're in a questionable and bloody war for oil, the same people [] who bolstered Saddam [] into power are in control today, Israel and Palestine aren't even on the map, the Bush administration is silencing political critics, and the government wants to investigate your private life to make sure you are not a terrorist [], headed by Big Brother [] himself.

    So much has been lost in just 3 years.

  • by Gannoc ( 210256 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @04:31PM (#5663620)
    Not that I think that ./ is an objective news site, but since this has absolutely nothing to do with technology or online rights, he did not "disappear".

    They know where he is. A lawyer has contact with him. They're not going to burn his body and later deny he was ever taken into custody.

    Is it a good situation? No, I think it should be ruled unconstitutional, its following the letter instead of the spirit of the material witness law.

    When you use terms like "disappeared" to describe it, though, not only do you sound like a wacky radical, but you also insult the people in oppressive countries who actually have been killed/locked away for life without trials or explainations.

    • by ErikTheRed ( 162431 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @05:08PM (#5664101) Homepage
      Perspective disclosure regarding my comments: I'm a conservative non-republican who grudgingly voted for Bush.

      More or less what I was going to post, but you beat me to it :). What happened to this individual, while unfortunate and in my opinion indefensible, is nowhere near what happens to those "disappeared" under totalitarian regimes. Say what you want, but I seriously doubt he's going to be tortured, killed, and buried in an unmarked mass grave. When people with extreme political views (and this applies to the right, the left, and everyone in between) exaggerate their claims in this manner they completely destroy their credibility, at least with those of us who have an IQ higher than our shoe size and are actually capable of some critical thought.

      I'm not terribly comfortable with the way the government is handling this, but I think we need to acknowledge that we are fighting a new type of war (with a group of violent extremists rather than a readily identifiable nation-state) and that some new rules will be necessary. There's no way in hell that putting all of the "enemy combatants" (Padilla) and the "material witnesses" (like the gentleman mentioned in this article - and I think that holding people like this as "material witnesses" is an egregious perversion of the intent of that rule) through the criminal justice system will work. My initial thoughts (and IANAL) regarding American citizens that are caught up in these situations are as follows:

      The government must provide sufficient evidence to hold the suspect. If the information cannot be made public (and I absolutely believe there will be many situations where this will legitimately be the case), then there should be a special grand jury that is cleared to view the secret information and decide if the government has sufficient evidence to hold the suspect. The whole "we're the government and we think this person is bad and you'll just have to trust us" is absolutely unacceptable. A federal grand jury comprised of citizens with Top Secret clearance would not be the easiest thing to convene, but far from impossible and a small price to pay for helping to uphold our nation's ideas of justice.

      The government must be liable and accountable for any damages caused by false arrests and detentions. They must publicly acknowledge the mistake and clear the person's name, and should be penalized in a manner that creates a significant disincentive for them to arrest people without being very, very sure of what they are doing.

      I'm sure that people with far more legal wisdom than I possess can refine these ideas further, but they're a start.

  • by Ian Peon ( 232360 ) <ian AT epperson DOT com> on Friday April 04, 2003 @04:32PM (#5663633)
    First they came for the Jews
    and I did not speak out
    because I was not a Jew.
    Then they came for the Communists
    and I did not speak out
    because I was not a Communist.
    Then they came for the trade unionists
    and I did not speak out
    because I was not a trade unionist.
    Then they came for me
    and there was no one left
    to speak out for me.

    Pastor Martin Niemöller

    2003: s/Jews/Terrorists/
  • by Fritz Benwalla ( 539483 ) <> on Friday April 04, 2003 @04:34PM (#5663645)

    ...and worse, but no one did anything about it.

    The loophole that the framers of the statutes knew about fully, and no one else paid attention to is that supposedly rigorous limitation of powers are based solely on a definition that is set by the authorities.

    Law enforcement is limited in what they can do with or to you *until* they define you as a terrorist. Then they have broad leeway.

    This same creep happened in the RICO statues. They were passed specifically to go after a very traditional definition of "organized crime." The problem became law enforcement's increasing willingness to broaden the definition of "organized crime" to what used to be called merely conspiracy.

    So it's not necessarily the powers that are given to law enforcement, but the flimsy, overly broad cicumstances under which they can use them that we build into the statues.


  • by Fnkmaster ( 89084 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @04:35PM (#5663666)
    Some claim that "slippery slope" arguments are all a logical fallacy. But surely there is a place at which the slope becomes so steep we can deem it slippery enough that we shouldn't tolerate it any more. I am all for protecting civilians and ensuring domestic security, but do we have to deny people access to lawyers and due process to do that? I thought that our forefathers agreed a long time ago that due process was a good concession, a middle ground between the "ultra-secure", but extremely-unfree police state and Wild West anarchy.

    I am not saying that I am strictly opposed to "ethnic profiling" - the fact is that a certain subset of people are more likely to commit large scale terrorist acts on US soil, and if there is suspicion, we should certainly act on that suspicion. But suspicion alone should never give the government the right to detain somebody who is a legal resident or citizen in violation of due process protections. We should speak out loudly, clearly, and rationally against this to our representatives. I don't want to speak specifically about this case, because we just don't know enough about the details, but the general principles of justice and basic civil rights must be upheld.

  • by autopr0n ( 534291 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @04:37PM (#5663679) Homepage Journal
    Of similar ethnicities. It's sad that we only care when it happens to someone who has powerful (or at least well connected) friends in the tech industry.

    Not that I'm bitching that it's on here, but it's important to keep in mind that this is not an isolated incident.

    After 9/11 there was a guy imprisoned for several weeks because he was arab and booked a flight on 9/11... several hours before the attack (i.e. late sunday night). After the three weeks the FBI asked him a few questions, and then let him go.

    The comparisons with mintnik are somewhat apt, but at least he was charged with an actual crime, and guilty of it too. He may not have had a bail hearning, but he did appear before a judge.
  • by HeelToe ( 615905 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @04:39PM (#5663696) Homepage
    What scares me most about this whole ordeal is no one has any mechanism through the legal system to get him out. Not only is the government tight-lipped about why they have him, when they showed up in force to take him, they claim they have a warrant, which is sealed. There's not even any attempt at demonstrating legitimacy. This means that without some identified party legitimately responsible for the warrant, there can be no satisfaction it is even valid.

    "We have a warrant for your arrest. Give yourself up, you're surrounded and outgunned."

    "I want to see the warrant."

    "Sorry, it's sealed. I can vouch for its legitimacy."

  • UPSA (Score:4, Funny)

    by spoonist ( 32012 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @04:40PM (#5663705) Journal

    A sign I recently saw at JFK airport after returning from a trip abroad:

    Welcome to the United Police States of Amerika

    All fruits, vegetables, meat products, and inalienable rights must be declared to the Customers officer. In order to gain adminttance to the United Police States of Amerika, these products must be surrendered. Failure to comply will result in civil or criminal action.

  • by Upright Joe ( 658035 ) <> on Friday April 04, 2003 @04:44PM (#5663762) Homepage
    Yaser Hamdi [] and Jose Padilla [] have been locked up now for around a year(Over a year in Hamdi's case I think). Both have been refused access to a lawyer and neither have had charges filed against them. These are american citizens. This could happen to you. This could happen to somebody you know.

    Our own government is locking people up without due process or just killing them [] to save the hassle. Something really has to be done. Write your congressmen, join the ACLU [](I did yesterday), participate in protests even if it feels stupid at first. The only way we're going to keep our rights is to actively work to defend them, especially with facists like Bush, Ashcroft, and Rumsfield at the helm.
  • by davebooth ( 101350 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @04:45PM (#5663788)
    Land of the Free*

    *Some restrictions apply. Void where prohibited

  • by somethingwicked ( 260651 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @04:46PM (#5663796)
    I am disgusted by the ability of the government to hold people uncharged.

    Scratch that. I am DISGUSTED by the CLAIM that they can hold people uncharged. They may be doing it but I totally question their right to do this.

    The sad thing is that many of the people they are holding LIKELY could be charged, but there is such a burden of proof now (There wasn't enough evidence to convict O.J.?!?!) that I believe prosecutors are using this as a hold'em until we can charge them card. It's a tough call if they really are dangerous, but I don't think it is right to hold them if you aren't charging them.

    HOWEVER, I have serious doubts that NO ONE has questioned Mr. Hawash??? What sense does that make?

    MAYBE, MAYBE this is true. Or maybe it is deeper than that.

    Maybe the government has questioned him on things he doesn't want to tell his workers and family about. And the government is stuck because they can't jump out and tell the nation while at the same time claiming they have right to hold him secretly (their fault).

    If Mr. Hawash is innocent, I will be the first to say this is miserable and disgusting treatment.

    But suppose he is guilty of something...It is wrong to hold him without charging him. Period.
  • It's disgusting (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Munra ( 580414 ) <> on Friday April 04, 2003 @04:47PM (#5663798) Homepage
    [Note, this is more of a general rant rather than specifically about Mike Hawash but my point still stands.]

    It's disgusting how America and Great Britain can be allowed to go against so many international conventions and strip people of any rights.

    There are specific conventions on how to treat suspected criminals, or terrorists, which should be adhered to. Rather than follow conventions, America decided to put people suspected of terrorism in a deliberate state of limbo where they can do anything they want.

    These people are not given any legal representation, they do not even need to be accused of any crime (and given than some were released without charge it's probably fair to say not all are guilty of any crime at all), there are no standards for their conditions, they do not need to be treated humanely, they do not need to be allowed visitation from independent organisations (such as Amnesty, Red Cross, etc) and they do not have to be put to trial. They can be held in this state of limbo for as long as they administration want them to be.

    For a country (or countries if you include Great Britain - but they contravene human rights to a far lesser extent, and not as written above) that prides itself on its freedom of speech and human rights, it's disgusting that they treat anyone in this way. And it's even more disgusting that they are one of the premier countries to point out international breaches by other countries - particularly when it favours the situation they're in.

    My view on the problem with American society is that although everyone pretends to be friendly and respectful of each other and their views, it's very much each person for themself. People don't think that they'll ever be in a situation when they'll need help, so don't support actions to benefit those who do.

    For example, the death penalty. It's all very well saying "Fry them!" or whatever, but when you're accused and found guilty of a crime you didn't commit, or you get found guilty because you're black, poor and can't afford proper legal representation, it's a whole new story. Abortions: it's all well and good to say no to abortions but when it's your daughter, your sister or you who's pregnant and shouldn'tt to give birth for whatever reason, it's different. When your family member/friend is dying from Parkinson's or some other degenerate disease, you'll be wishing the government would allow stem cell research, or at least sooner. I've forgotten who it was but when one president got some degenerative disease which could be potentially eradicated with enough research into stem cells (which don't use any fertilised eggs), although he had been staunchly against the research his whole life, the first thing the first lady did was speak directly to President Bush to try get it allowed.

    The shear selfishness - while not always apparent/transparent - of many American's is shocking. What if you were accused of some terrorist charge which you didn't commit? Put away on an island with no contact to anyone - even a lawyer, for a simple misunderstanding.

    "Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph."


    (Karma bonus abused!)
  • Half the story. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Jimithing DMB ( 29796 ) <> on Friday April 04, 2003 @04:55PM (#5663900) Homepage

    I noticed in that entire article that there was not one comment from he or his wife or anyone closer than a coworker (who may or may not be a good friend).

    A few things though. He is being held in solitairy confinement as a "material witness". Perhaps they want him to testify against the charity. If he were to claim that he had no idea they were sending money to terrorists then it could make a great case for fraud against the charity.

    It may be that the people who run this charity with ties to terrorism want him dead. So perhaps he is somewhat willingly hanging out in solitairy. Note that he's not in general population, perhaps that is why. Normally people don't START in solitairy confinement.

    In any case, I don't know. The article is rather sensationalistic. There's a lot of information we simply do not have and cannot speak of. I certainly hope that he makes it through this ordeal. If it becomes clear that he is in fact being held entirely against his will for doing nothing wrong, then I will champion his cause. Until then I refuse to take a position either way.

    And yes, what the government did to Mitnick was horribly, horribly wrong. But don't start acting like we don't have the power to change any of this. We do. Tell your friends and neighbors Kevin's story. Tell them how he did not intend to cause any damage and that any damage he did cause was indirect. Tell them how he was held without being charged for years. Tell them how he was held without a trial for years after that. But by god do NOT start championing the cause of someone that nobody really knows anything about (hell, for all we know he actually COULD be a terrorist) because then it really weakens your argument against the wrongs that were committed against Mr. Mitnick.

  • Articles V and VI (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Johnny Mnemonic ( 176043 ) <> on Friday April 04, 2003 @05:05PM (#5664052) Homepage Journal

    Amendment V
    No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

    Amendment VI
    In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

    Ashcroft has done more damage to our country and our constituion than the terrorists could ever have dreamed of doing. The terrorists have won, and the current administration has done nothing but help them. I believe a regime change is needed indeed--vote against the regime in 2004.
  • by Lendrick ( 314723 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @05:21PM (#5664260) Homepage Journal
    Better hope you've never donated to Greenpeace.
  • by CormacJ ( 64984 ) <> on Friday April 04, 2003 @05:24PM (#5664300) Homepage Journal
    I grew up in Northern Ireland. In 1971 the UK governement decided that it could defeat terrorist by using internment []. What happened was that the goverment identified who they thought would be likely IRA terrorists. There was no actual evidence involved, just people that the government didn't like. Snatch squads were sent out and people were taken and imprisoned without trial.

    This is no different to what the US goverment is doing now.

    The one thing that came out of internment in Northern Ireland was that it actually promoted support for the very terrorist organisation it was designed to crush.
  • by writertype ( 541679 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @08:27PM (#5665890)
    I mean, geez, people, this has been going on for literally years now (two, at the least). Why do we suddenly get riled up when it's an Intel emplyee? If you haven't figured out that it could happen to _you_, then I'm sad for you.

    Honestly, this isn't a troll. This simply should have dawned on people a year or two ago.
  • by archnerd ( 450052 ) <nonce+slashdot DOT org AT dfranke DOT us> on Friday April 04, 2003 @09:37PM (#5666222) Homepage
    If PATRIOT II passes, and you contribute to his legal defense fund and then he is found to be a part of a terrorist organization, you can lose your citizenship! Scary.

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