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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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  • 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

  • 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 []...
  • 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.
  • 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 bcboy ( 4794 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @04:38PM (#5663693) Homepage
    > Uhm. Not wanting to be picky, but Americans voted the current administration in power

    This is false. Even if the votes had favored Bush (they didn't), the SC decision was to ignore the vote based on the fact that the press had already declared Bush the winner. Doing otherwise, they argued in an incredible example of NewSpeak, would cast doubt on the election results. Doubt is certainty!
  • Re:hmmmm (Score:3, Informative)

    by Triv ( 181010 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @04:46PM (#5663793) Journal
    Possibly planning a bomb attack, yes. But one witness to it has repeatedly fooled the authorities and the other has recanted his testimony. Ari Fleischer said it wasn't a plot, more like "loose talk."

    Regardless, Padilla is being held without charges in a military brig. His case started the same way - being held as a material witness for some unnamed crime. I don't care if he planned to blow up the entire country, he's got rights, and being held without the ability to see a lawyer and without being charged is a violation of those rights.

    And finally, Padilla was supposedly in on a plan to plant a "Dirty Bomb" somewhere in the 'states. That's not much of an explosive, it's a radiation hazard. Just to get your facts straight.

  • Re:It's... (Score:5, Informative)

    by EllisDees ( 268037 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @04:57PM (#5663934)
    If it's illegal based upon the fifth amendment, it's completely, mind-bogglingly illegal based upon the sixth:

    "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."
  • by sander ( 7831 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @05:02PM (#5664006)
    Huh? the 'start ww3' was just a complete and total fabrication by fbi. there is no and has been no evidence that us missile control systems have ever been accesible from teh civilian side of this planet, much less that you can get to them via network or modem. He didn't even ever get anywhere near classified, never mind actual secret documnets, and actual command systems are sure to be much more protected.
  • Re:Possibly true... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Ravenscall ( 12240 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @05:22PM (#5664272)
    Actually, John Ashcroft was the primary author of the USA PATRIOT act, it passed congress, most representatives not bothering to read it (And I will be thankful to Dennis Kucinich to my dying day to making a stand against it), and then Bush signed off on Ashcrofts approval.

    Oh, BTW, this is the same Ashcroft that lost an election to a dead man and Bush appointed.

    So yes, Bush ahd a LOT to do with this particularly foul piece of legislation.
  • by TulioSerpio ( 125657 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @05:28PM (#5664359) Homepage Journal
    I'm shame of this, but I beleave Argentina "invent" the word. Here we have 30000 desaparecidos. The US goverment know this, and did nothing. Don't know if Saddam is worse than Videla (our dictator in the 70s), but Videla couldn't did what he did without the OK of the US goverment.
    I do think the US can made it worse. The US made bad bad things in other countries, and imagine a dirty war IN the US.
  • Re:hmmmm (Score:5, Informative)

    by Loki_1929 ( 550940 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @05:32PM (#5664411) Journal
    " Abdullah al-Muhajir is being held in relation to having possibly planned a bombing attack. Glad i could help you."

    His name is Padilla; read the court documents. Using his Islamic aka doesn't make him any more guilty, nor any less deserving of his rights as an American citizen. I suspect that the reason you like using his aka is because it makes you feel better about the government's ridiculously illegal attitude about the whole thing.

    Secondly, all suspects are being held in relation to having possibly commited or attempting to commit a crime; hence the title "suspect", from the word: suspected. Being suspected of a crime is in no way an indication of guilt; in fact, it is just the opposite. In this country, you are innocent until proven guilty beyond any reasonable doubt by a jury of your peers.

    Thirdly, Senators on the Senate Intelligence Commitee who have seen the sealed report detailed the "evidence" against Mr Padilla have commented publicly that the evidence is very weak. As one put it, (paraphrasing) 'I'm all for locking up the bad guys, but you've got to have evidence.'

    Fouthly, unlike John Ashcroft's doomsday-sounding press counference, which talked of stopping a terrorist plot in progress, the Bush administration, through the deputy secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, said that there was no bomb, there was no target, there was no plan outside of some "loose talk". Jose Padilla is accused of travelling to foreign countries (oh no, not that), possibly meeting with some Al Qaeda opperatives (good Lord, not that freedom of association thing again), and possibly doing some research online about so-called "dirty bombs". Hell, I looked online for information about dirty bombs after seeing this horrifying announcement mentioning radiation, mass death, and mass destruction. What did I find? That probably every death caused by a "dirty bomb" would be caused by the explosion; not radiation exposure. Experts commenting on the prospect of a dirty bomb's radiological effects said basically that those exposed to the radiation of a dirty bomb would have more to fear from smoking than they would from the radiation. In other words, the radiation would be at such low doses as to cause little more than minor radiation poisoning.

    Glad I could help you

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 04, 2003 @05:37PM (#5664469)
    We have had similar episodes in US history. Roosevelt sent the Japanese to internment camps in 1942. Lincoln suspended habeas corpus during the Civil War, enabling the jailing of hundreds of persons, maybe over a thousand, without any charges filed.

    The Patriot Act has at least 2 precedents in US history: 1798 and 1916 Sedition Acts. You should google them sometime. Definite eye openers.

    The trend is that during times of war or other crisis, civil liberties get short shrift. After the crisis is over, things tend to go back to normal. We'll see how it goes this time.
  • by SubtleNuance ( 184325 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @05:44PM (#5664550) Journal
    Huh? The "representatives" are Republicrats themselves(!), who take their marching orders from the party leadership. Simple... they do not 'invent' priority - they dance the jig the piper (GWB) plays. Do you *listen* to these people spew their Newspeak? its very obviously from the Ministry of Truth(TM)... they get their Talking Points up-to-the-minute im sure. How exactly do you think your "Democracy" in the US works...(????)

    FURTHER, government agencies are a DIRECT result of presidential policy - from the directors and appointments to new high-profile hires to the lowliest of bureaucrat - they ALL enact the wishes of The GWB Regime. Feh? Feh is right pal.

    FURTHER YET, even though the laws may have been around prior, it is EXCEEDINGLY obvious that loose interpretation of law is something that can be used to reach a goal. Case in Point: The fictional "non-combatant" never-never-land that GWB has invented to end-run Geneva conventions (care to debate this? its the opinion of 99% of non-americans worldwide, red cross, amnesty int., many american law professors etc etc etc). Case in Point: The interpretation of UNSC Res.1441, GWB says it is a sanction for war, but again, everyone outside of the GWB camp says "nope - try again." (this says nothing of sanction from EARLIER resolutions, none of which permit the magic "any necessary means"). This says nothing of a weak justice system to make things right wrt his lawbreaking.

    Defending GWB as a 'cog' is just a little naive (though he is too stupid/ignorant to defend himself from the influence of the neocons around him...)

  • Re:Possibly true... (Score:5, Informative)

    by egoff ( 636181 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @05:51PM (#5664624)
    They didn't only not bother reading the Patriot Act before passing it, they weren't even allowed [] to discuss before voting on it!
  • Re:Yay for America (Score:3, Informative)

    by aminorex ( 141494 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @05:53PM (#5664651) Homepage Journal
    Being a Canadian does very little to protect you from
    the abuses of the American government. In as much as the
    U.S. has assumed the power and authority to kill any person
    on earth at the unchecked command of the President, your
    life is safe only as long as you do not offend him. The
    nation of Canada and the Canadian way of life is secure only
    so long as it is not offensive to the purposes and plans of
    his power base, which is not the American electorate, by the
  • Re:Possibly true... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Iguanaphobic ( 31670 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @05:53PM (#5664653)
    Bush's vision for America doesn't include purges, torture, gassing of civilians who oppose his rule, widespread suppression of dissent.

    Purge [], torture [], gas civilians [] and suppress dissent [].

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

    In order to have perspective, you need information. Too bad Bush is controlling that [] too.

  • Local coverage (Score:2, Informative)

    by zbik ( 194004 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @06:37PM (#5665091)
    See also this article [] in the local paper.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 04, 2003 @07:06PM (#5665363)
    An an Australian, I have to mention the two Australian citizens held without trial or access to legal counsel, in Gauntanamo Bay. One was taken captive in Afghanistan, and the other seized in Pakistan (and most likely is a case of mistaken identity).

    These people have actually been disappeared. They have no rights, no laws can help them, their government has forsaken them and they are being held in a US military prison camp which has no laws governing it. They've been held for over a year now, I think, and still no charges have been laid. Surely by now the US have tortured these guys enough to get the info and confessions they want?

    People are disputing the difference between the US and Iraqi regimes. This is fair enough - they were once poles apart. Now, the treatment of US citizens and especially foreign nationals, makes me wonder how far the US regime has moved towards the Iraqi one. Rights are being thrown out the window, the US constitution is ignored by the powerful, the presidential election is widely considered a farce, stories of war crimes against Afghani Taliban POWs are appearing...
  • 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.
  • I declare! (Score:2, Informative)

    by lobotomy ( 26260 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @08:46PM (#5665993)
    With a little bit of editing, the following text can be brought up to date. Any good editors out there?

    When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

    He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
    He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
    He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
    He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
    He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
    He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
    He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
    He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
    He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
    He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
    He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standi

  • I say we lock you up. Just have, what is essentially the 'secret police' come and hold you indefinitely. Oh, what's that? That law is meant for those 'other' guys?

    If we want to stop terrorism we need to get it at the source. When we get attacked instead of concluding that it must be because they are jealous of our suburbs, or that they 'hate our freedom', or the classic claim that they are just inertly "evil", and therefore randomly decided to fly planes into our buildings; we need to look the real reasons why such a thing took place. And then do our best to correct the mistakes made, or at the very least don't repeat them again.

    Let me give you a little timeline of events:

    1953: U.S. overthrows Prime Minister Mossadeq of Iran - U.S. installs Shah as dictator.
    1954: U.S. overthrows democratically elected President Aroenz of Guatemala - 200,000 civilians killed in the process (the equivalent of 50 September 11th attacks)
    1963: U.S. backs assassination of South Vietnamese President Diem
    1963-1975: American military kills 4 million people in Southeast Asia. (the equivalent of 1,000 September 11th attacks)
    1973: U.S. stages coup in Chile - Democratically-elected President Salvador Allende assassinated - Dictator Augusto Pinochet installed - 5,000 Chileans murdered under his rule
    1977: U.S. backs military rulers of El Salvador - 70,000 Salvadorans and four American nuns killed by the U.S. backed military rulers (the equivalent of 17 September 11th attacks)
    1980's: U.S. trains Osama bin Laden and fellow terrorists to kill Soviets - CIA gives them $3 billion
    1981: Reagan administration trains and funds "contras" - 30,000 Nicaraguans are killed by the U.S. backed contras (the equivalent of 7 September 11th attacks)
    1982: U.S. provides billions in aid to Saddam Hussein for weapons to kill Iranians (he later uses these weapons to kill his own people, sheesh, If you can't trust an "evil," war criminal, homicidal, dictator, who can you trust?)
    1983: White House secretly gives Iran weapons to kill Iraqis
    1989: CIA agent Manuel Noriega (also serving as President of Panama) disobeys orders from Washington - U.S. invades Panama and removes Noriega - 3,000 Panamin civilians die in the process
    1990: Iraq invades Kuwait using weapons provided by the United States.
    1991: U.S. enters Iraq - Bush reinstates dictator of Kuwait
    2000-2001: U.S. gives Taliban ruled Afghanistan $450 million in 'aid'
    September 11th, 2001: Osama bin Laden uses expert CIA training to kill 3,000 Americans.

    Yeah, it was because they 'hate our freedoms' *sigh*

    What we need to do is stop this imperialistic shit, not start turning on our own people with 1984 style acts (e.g. the 'Patriot' Act). If the terrorists goal was to take away our freedom they supposedly hate so much, then, sadly enough, they have already won on many fronts.
  • Re:Possibly true... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Rick the Red ( 307103 ) <> on Friday April 04, 2003 @09:31PM (#5666200) Journal
    This procedure is quite ancient in US law.
    1776 is quite ancient in US law. Read the article. This law dates from 1984 (ironic, ain't it?). Not what I'd call ancient.
  • 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 gestapo4you ( 590974 ) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @12:28AM (#5666939)

    When Democracy Failed:

    The Warnings of History

    by Thom Hartmann
    March 17, 2003

    The 70th anniversary wasn't noticed in the United States, and was barely reported in the corporate media. But the Germans remembered well that fateful day seventy years ago - February 27, 1933. They commemorated the anniversary by joining in demonstrations for peace that mobilized citizens all across the world.

    It started when the government, in the midst of a worldwide economic crisis, received reports of an imminent terrorist attack. A foreign ideologue had launched feeble attacks on a few famous buildings, but the media largely ignored his relatively small efforts. The intelligence services knew, however, that the odds were he would eventually succeed. (Historians are still arguing whether or not rogue elements in the intelligence service helped the terrorist; the most recent research implies they did not.)

    But the warnings of investigators were ignored at the highest levels, in part because the government was distracted; the man who claimed to be the nation's leader had not been elected by a majority vote and the majority of citizens claimed he had no right to the powers he coveted. He was a simpleton, some said, a cartoon character of a man who saw things in black-and-white terms and didn't have the intellect to understand the subtleties of running a nation in a complex and internationalist world. His coarse use of language - reflecting his political roots in a southernmost state - and his simplistic and often-inflammatory nationalistic rhetoric offended the aristocrats, foreign leaders, and the well-educated elite in the government and media. And, as a young man, he'd joined a secret society with an occult-sounding name and bizarre initiation rituals that involved skulls and human bones.

    Nonetheless, he knew the terrorist was going to strike (although he didn't know where or when), and he had already considered his response. When an aide brought him word that the nation's most prestigious building was ablaze, he verified it was the terrorist who had struck and then rushed to the scene and called a press conference.

    You are now witnessing the beginning of a great epoch in history, he proclaimed, standing in front of the burned-out building, surrounded by national media. This fire, he said, his voice trembling with emotion, is the beginning. He used the occasion - a sign from God, he called it - to declare an all-out war on terrorism and its ideological sponsors, a people, he said, who traced their origins to the Middle East and found motivation for their evil deeds in their religion.

    Two weeks later, the first detention center for terrorists was built in Oranianberg to hold the first suspected allies of the infamous terrorist. In a national outburst of patriotism, the leader's flag was everywhere, even printed large in newspapers suitable for window display.

    Within four weeks of the terrorist attack, the nation's now-popular leader had pushed through legislation - in the name of combating terrorism and fighting the philosophy he said spawned it - that suspended constitutional guarantees of free speech, privacy, and habeas corpus. Police could now intercept mail and wiretap phones; suspected terrorists could be imprisoned without specific charges and without access to their lawyers; police could sneak into people's homes without warrants if the cases involved terrorism.

    To get his patriotic Decree on the Protection of People and State passed over the objections of concerned legislators and civil libertarians, he agreed to put a 4-year sunset provision on it: if the national emergency provoked by the terrorist attack was over by then, the freedoms and rights would be returned to the people, and the police agencies would be re-restrained. Legislators would later say they hadn't had time to read the bill before voting on it.

    Immediately after passage of the anti-terrorism act, his federal police agencies steppe

  • Re:Secret arrests (Score:5, Informative)

    by mr100percent ( 57156 ) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @12:54AM (#5667040) Homepage Journal
    Yes, we have some forms of "torture":
    1. We ship them to a torture-friendly country like Jordan, Morocco, Egypt, or Pakistan.
    2. We conduct our own "Stress and Duress []" techniques.

    The Washington Post released a shocking report [], but nobody really paid attention during Christmas season.

    Now we have the death of 2 afghan prisoners in US custody, ruled a Homicide [] from "blunt force trauma"[Beating] by the Army investigators. This is the first kind of fatality in US custody, since the US government officially states it does not "torture" people.

    Now that Sheikh Muhammad has been captured, the newspapers are debating the ethics [] over whether it should be legal to torture him for information. Israel's and our official policy is to not torture anyone, even if there's a hidden ticking bomb somewhere. However, this doesn't stop them from getting shipped-- I mean "rendered" to the custody of Jordan, Morocco, Egypt, and Pakistan, who do perform that.

    Such efforts were successful in the past; in 1995 an Al Qaeda agent was arrested [] in the Phillipenes. They knew he was in on a major operation, but they didn't know what. So they tortured him the old fashioned way, breaking his ribs and burning his testicles. After two weeks he broke, and revealed the plan to hijack 11 planes. Of course, a poll on AOL's front page voted 70% Yes to using some form of torture. Editorials aren't so rosy either, one says we should kill terrorists and smear them with pig fat so they won't get into heaven somehow.

    I seem to remember the philosopher Nietzche who said "Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster." That means we shouldn't sink to their level or worse. Who would be the barbarian then? We seem to be ignoring the "innocent until proven guilty" law, even though it's better to let ten guilty men walk free than let one innocent one suffer. The US will never officially condone any cruel or unusual punishment, but Israel taught them that sleep deprivation, chaining in uncomfortable positions, harsh lights, and interrogation by women will usually yield results.

    May I remind you that Saddam tortures children [] in front of their fathers to make them confess. That's horrible. However, I'm a bit worried about Sheikh Muhammad's two young sons, 9 and 7, being arrested by the CIA and flown to America [] to help pressure their father to confess. Of course, the US won't deny that the man himself is being subject to "Stress and duress" [] right now. "Let's just say we are not averse to a little smacky face. After all, if you don't violate a prisoner's human rights some of the time then you aren't doing your job?" said a CIA officer, admitting they honed their interrogation techniques since Vietnam.

  • by fenix down ( 206580 ) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @04:11AM (#5667750)
    You missed that boat. Those checks were cut before we even hit the ground over there. Who the hell put USAID in charge of that stuff anyway? Weren't they the CIA front that let them get into places by posing as aid workers? They're just not trying anymore. They put the Scientologists in charge of the oil well fires, for fuck's sake. [] That's just sad.

"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"