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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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  • 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.
  • quote (Score:3, Insightful)

    by geckosan ( 78687 ) <ewalle@@@gmail...com> on Friday April 04, 2003 @04:21PM (#5663514) Homepage
    Internal security, the age-cry of the oppressor.
  • 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 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.

  • by Fly ( 18255 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @04:25PM (#5663547) Homepage
    It must be nice to the spokesperson for "the USA." Go home, troll.
  • Wow (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ratajik ( 57826 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @04:25PM (#5663554) Homepage Journal
    So, basically, three years ago he donated 10k to a charity.

    This resulted in "arrested by FBI agents at about 7 a.m. March 20 as he arrived for work at the Intel plant in Hillsboro, Oregon. During his arrest, a squad of armed agents in bulletproof vests stormed his home, seizing computers and files. His wife, Lisa, and their three children were asleep at the time"

    The charity was "Global Relief Foundation, a Muslim charity that purported to fund mosques and schools in the United States, as well as West Bank medical facilities. "

    And now he can be held indefinitely without charging him with a crime?

    Err.. Wow. All I can say is I really hope there's something we don't know here. If this is actually what happened, then anyone can be arrested, at any time, without reason. They'll FIND something to do it for, no matter if it makes any sense or not.
  • 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.
  • Re:Media (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Lysander Luddite ( 64349 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @04:27PM (#5663573)
    Sure they know. Remember Jose Padila? His case was in the media for what, 2-3 days?

    The American public are sheep. As long as wholesale roundups of middle class whites aren't done and it remains a few people with dark skin, the public won't give a damn.
  • 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.
  • Democracy? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by miffo.swe ( 547642 ) <daniel.hedblom@g m a il.com> 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.
  • 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 [washingtonpost.com] who bolstered Saddam [captionthis.com] 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 [darpa.mil], headed by Big Brother [nytimes.com] 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 Dixie_Flatline ( 5077 ) <vincent...jan...goh@@@gmail...com> 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.)
  • by Fritz Benwalla ( 539483 ) <randomregs@@@gmail...com> 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.

  • Closer Still (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ian Peon ( 232360 ) <ian AT epperson DOT com> on Friday April 04, 2003 @04:36PM (#5663672)
    2003: s/Jews/Arabs/
  • by sogoodsofarsowhat ( 662830 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @04:37PM (#5663674)
    CAll it what you want. It is not RIGHT and it doesnt sit worth a damn with THIS RED BLOODED AMERICAN. If we allow this then we are NO BETTER than the 'evil doers' in the world. Im all for getting the bad guys, but not if it means trampling on the basic principles of this country. If hes guilty of a crime charge him, if not cut him free. Holding someone indefinetly is SIMPLY NOT ACCEPTABLE. And yes I am a REPUBLICAN, AND YES I THINK ASHCROFT IS A NAZI!
  • The golden rule... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by chipwich ( 131556 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @04:37PM (#5663675)
    We seem to be moving toward the dark ages:

    What kind of a government claims to lead the world in human rights thought, but can hold individuals in such a way that the rule-of-law cannot be applied to them?

    Oh, yes, its the same government that can judge you by what you read, not what you do (eg, the USA Patriot act).

    Hasn't anyone in US politics ever heard of the golden rule? Do unto others as they would do unto you...

    Would any American (let alone a politician) ever want to be reborn as an innocent Iraqi civilian undergoing "collateral damage"? As an American Indian? As a black slave?

    Current US politics of dividing the world into "Good" and "Evil" is not benign. It is a philosophy which ultimately threatens us all.
  • by heXXXen ( 566121 ) <cliff@pc[ ]per.com ['hop' in gap]> on Friday April 04, 2003 @04:38PM (#5663692)
    America is not a democracy. It is a republic, we elect officials to think for us. Bush did not win the popular vote, but he did win the electoral vote, which is all that matters in this nation. One of the reasons for the creation of the electoral college was to prevent against "mass insanity". What happens when the guy that gets voted in to office is insane?
  • 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."

  • by Kierthos ( 225954 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @04:40PM (#5663707) Homepage
    The thing is, how do we know this guy has a legit tie to terrorists? He donated a large whack of cash to a charitable organization. I would like to suggest that even if the organization in question does have terrorist ties, it's hardly likely that they would advertise the fact. Even before 9/11, the Feds would not ignore someone who said "Donate money to my organization, because we fund terrorist assholes!"

    Furthermore, the little phrase "innocent until proven guilty" should still mean something. Even if Mr. Hawash is complicit in assisting a group that assisted in funding terrorists, it must be proven first. The fact that the government is using these tactics suggests that their evidence is weak and/or non-existant. Considering the federal actions against the organization that Mr. Hawash donated money to, it's hardly likely that if any terrorist connection existed that those terrorists would not have already done whatever they needed to be done to hide any links on their end.

  • by Ravenscall ( 12240 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @04:40PM (#5663712)
    He gave a large amount of money to a legiteamite charity that is fighting its listing as a terrorist organization. The vevidence used to freeze its assets is shaky at best, and would never survive a judicial review, so the DOJ has been dragging its feet, anbd trying to force through legislation that totally suspends any rights to Habeus Corpus that we have left.

    As for 9-11, you are obviously of the "Oh my God! Heathen Muslims are trying to kill America because they hate Freedom" clique.

    Get informed, then make assertions.

  • by MSBob ( 307239 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @04:42PM (#5663733)
    Lest we forget Adolf Hitler also couldn't win elections so he strongarmed himself into power and subsequently worked the media machine to rally people in his support. Oh, and he used the Reichstag fire to instill collective paranoia and push through his "Peace and Prosperity Restoration Act".

    "Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it."
    -- F.D.Roosevelt

  • Re:It's... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Grax ( 529699 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @04:42PM (#5663742) Homepage
    The damn thing about it is that it is illegal based on the fifth amendment. Unfortunately there are some judges out there incapable of comprehending plain english. "No person shall... be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law"

    I haven't had the time or excuse to investigate how judges became confused on this issue but the material witness statute plainly and obviously violates the fifth amendment and must be overturned.

    Judges also seem to be blind when it comes to the "property" clause above as they allow property to be seized (by the DEA, IRS, etc) without due process and the owner must sue to have any hope of getting their property back.

    Of course the lawmakers are also to blame. They did swear to protect and uphold the constitution, yet they insist on trying to break it whenever they don't find it convenient.
  • by Upright Joe ( 658035 ) <uprightjoeNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday April 04, 2003 @04:44PM (#5663762) Homepage
    Yaser Hamdi [cnn.com] and Jose Padilla [chargepadilla.org] 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 [mit.edu] to save the hassle. Something really has to be done. Write your congressmen, join the ACLU [aclu.org](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 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.
  • 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.
  • by Pharmboy ( 216950 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @04:50PM (#5663834) Journal
    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.

    It is sad that people say "yea, but its almost the same" with some self rightous attitude.

    Ask the Human Shields that are coming out of Iraq. They are freaked out at how the people were abused. They learned they don't know shit about Iraq, and that their own misconceptions were 100% wrong. They SAW what was going on, and it blew their mind that some leaders really DO oppress people that way. Some people just don't understand what "evil" means. The civil liberties violations in the US do not even compare, except by idiots.

    People who equate this matter with the brutal oppression that occurs regularly in the Middle East are completely ignorant of what is going on. This IS unconstitutional, but he hasn't had his teeth bashed out, his wife raped or his children killed. It should be fought here in US, but to say he "disappeared" is insulting. Not to the US, but to those in Iraq, N. Korea, Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia among others, that know what the hell "disappeared" really means.

    More FUD about our "nasty govt" from editors whose real goal is to protest a man, not a war.
  • 2 sides (Score:2, Insightful)

    by stratjakt ( 596332 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @04:50PM (#5663839) Journal
    Any facts about this case from unbiased sources?

    (NYT is no more than an editorial rag and Wired and Slashdot always have been)

    I mean, perhaps he truly IS a material witness. Maybe the guy knows something.

    You dont get picked up by the feds just for wearing a turban, no matter what michael or some columnist in the NYT tells you.

  • by Com2Kid ( 142006 ) <com2kidSPAMLESS@gmail.com> on Friday April 04, 2003 @04:50PM (#5663845) Homepage Journal
    • Come on, people. He's a member of a terrorist sleeper cell.

    Up until the Patriot Act, saying that would have first involved something called the burden of proof.

    What good is America if what makes America free is destroyed in the process of making America safe?

    By committing these sorts of actions, we show disrespect towards the lives of all those who have died to keep this country free. Are we not as well willing to sacrifice out lives for this great nation? Or are we such pitiful weaklings that the nary is the threat of 'terrorist actions' waved against us that we all surrender our rights, our liberties, and our very heritage, for a sleep free of worries of death?
  • by N8F8 ( 4562 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @04:51PM (#5663856)
    I see most of the comments here are just a bunch of USA bashing crap. If you are one of these guys, here are some questions:

    1) If you aren't from the US, does your country fair better on civil liberties? Prove it?

    2) Do you have any facts in this case? Have any idea why he's being held? If not, why should the US government give YOU all the evidence available in an ongoing investigation?

    Please stop whining about things you don't have a clue about.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 04, 2003 @04:52PM (#5663867)
    Considered Grandaddy Senator Bush helped fund the actual Nazi's, and had a business SIEZED for funding them during war (a bank in which he was a partner), AND the fact that the Bush family at the time was into eugenics (aka Nazi Bullshit)... of course the comment is old.

    But as you stay, still stylish.
  • He made a very large donation to a charity that has known connections to terrorist groups.

    You know, we could stamp out a lot of terrorism in Britain and Ireland by bombing the shit out of Boston, Chicago, and New York, oh yes. And arresting the hundreds of thousands of Irish-Americans that fund terrorist organizations.

    As a native Irish-born person, what really bugs me about this current "War on Terror" is that it's really a "War on Wog Terror". Various Irish-American charities [google.com]s have funded a sustained, vicious, crippling terror campaign within Ireland and Britain for decades, yet even in the current paranoid climate the Irish-American lobby is so large that the Bush Gang didn't proscribe these "charities" even as it curtailed the activities of many Muslim charities (some legitimate, some terrorist funding fronts).

    If there were as many Arab-Americans and there are "Irish"-Americans, bet your arse this War On Terror would be targeted differently.

    This was printed in a UK paper a year or so ago, but seems to be no longer available online.

    To prevent terrorism by dropping bombs on Iraq is such an obvious idea that I can't think why no one has thought of it before. It's so simple. If only the UK had done something similar in Northern Ireland, we wouldn't be in the mess we are in today. The moment the IRA blew up the Horseguards' bandstand, the Government should have declared its own War on Terrorism. It should have immediately demanded that the Irish government hand over Gerry Adams. If they refused to do so -- or quibbled about needing proof of his guilt -- we could have told them that this was no time for prevarication and that they must hand over not only Adams but all IRA terrorists in the Republic. If they tried to stall by claiming that it was hard to tell who were IRA terrorists and who weren't, because they don't go around wearing identity badges, we would have been free to send in the bombers. It is well known that the best way of picking out terrorists is to fly 30,000ft above the capital city of any state that harbours them and drop bombs -- preferably cluster bombs. It is conceivable that the bombing of Dublin might have provoked some sort of protest, even if just from James Joyce fans, and there is at least some likelihood of increased anti-British sentiment in what remained of the city and thus a rise in the numbers of potential terrorists. But this, in itself, would have justified the tactic of bombing them in the first place. We would have nipped them in the bud, so to speak. I hope you follow the argument. Having bombed Dublin and, perhaps, a few IRA training bogs in Tipperary, we could not have afforded to be complacent. We would have had to turn our attention to those states which had supported and funded the IRA terrorists through all these years. The main provider of funds was, of course, the USA, and this would have posed us with a bit of a problem. Where to bomb in America? It's a big place and it's by no means certain that a small country like the UK could afford enough bombs to do the whole job. It's going to cost the US billions to bomb Iraq and a lot of that is empty countryside. America, on the other hand, provides a bewildering number of targets. Should we have bombed Washington, where the policies were formed? Or should we have concentrated on places where Irishmen are known to lurk, like New York, Boston and Philadelphia? We could have bombed any police station and fire station in most major urban centres, secure in the knowledge that we would be taking out significant numbers of IRA sympathisers. On St Patrick's Day, we could have bombed Fifth Avenue and scored a bull's-eye. In those American cities we couldn't afford to bomb, we could have rounded up American citizens with Irish names, put bags over their heads and flown them in chains to Guernsey

  • 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 Anonymous Coward on Friday April 04, 2003 @04:54PM (#5663899)
    This isnt about "justifying" terrorists. This is about a legal process that we have established in this country, and people that are trying to undo that process.
  • by jawtheshark ( 198669 ) <slashdot@j a w t h e s h ark.com> on Friday April 04, 2003 @04:56PM (#5663923) Homepage Journal
    You do realise that what you are saying is extremely scary? I mean, essentially it was the "media" that chose your president? Ouch!
  • Re:NYT article (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cpt kangarooski ( 3773 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @04:58PM (#5663954) Homepage
    There has been no proof that the organization he donated to is or supports a terrorist organization, however. The government is just saying so and hasn't actually proven it. Certainly the organization involved is denying it -- what if they're right?

    And besides which, we don't know that that is why the government just grabbed him. They aren't saying anything about that either.

    So yeah -- I'd say that it is kafkaesque. The government is basically kidnapping people without alleging any reason for doing so, and even if they did allege such a reason, without proving it.

    If you think that's just, then what's to stop them from kidnapping you? They might claim that you gave money to terrorists. Even if it isn't true, if you have no opportunity to challenge that aren't you still up shit creek without a paddle?
  • by tfurrows ( 541222 ) <tfurrows&gmail,com> on Friday April 04, 2003 @04:59PM (#5663967)
    Amen. Might I add that the "Kevin" reference/comparision is ridiculous. This guy represents nothing that Kevin did, and his "material witness" status isn't even IT related. What in the WORLD is this story doing on Slashdot?
  • 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?
  • by chill ( 34294 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @05:00PM (#5663977) Journal
    So, you would have favored simply recounting and recounting until the vote turned out how you like it?

    There are RULES to an election -- including deadlines and not trying to have the counters use ESP to guess what people intended.

    As a Florida resident (at that time), and Libertarian who voted for neither Gore nor Bush, I've had enough of ignorant people bitching about the election.

    1. The "Butterfly Ballot" was chosen by an experienced DEMOCRAT; used successfully, without incident, in several other areas of the country; was published beforehand in the local newspaper; passed a review of BOTH parties without challenge.

    2. "Hanging Chads" were the best. Finally, Florida counties will get rid of the antiquated systems and get something a bit less prone to human error and manipulation. Voting is't tough, and there were people there to assist. Multiple rehandlings of paper punch ballots damage the ballots, skewing the actual vote. More recounts would have meat more UNCOUNTED votes as the ballots would have been damaged beyond proper use.

    3. "More People Voted For Gore". Actually, I think the majority of Americans DIDN'T VOTE AT ALL! For those that DID vote, this ISN'T A PURE DEMOCRACY aka MOB RULE. This is a Republic, and the electoral system is much harder to manipulate than pure majority vote. It isn't the first time it happened, and it won't be the last time that a President was elected with less than a majority.

    GET OVER IT! Both major political parties (Democrats & Republicans) are lying, sniviling, cheating, vote-whoring, ballot-stuffing scum.

    Don't like it? Look at the maps where the votes were close (Oregon, Iowa, Florida, etc.) and organize voter education, registration and participation there. There IS another election coming up...

    Check out http://www.lp.org/ [lp.org] for an alternative to the 2-party bullshit.
  • by pyrrho ( 167252 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @05:02PM (#5664001) Journal
    >Am I the only one that still remembers 9/11

    no, but perhaps you are the only one that remembers nothing else.
  • by Sebastopol ( 189276 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @05:02PM (#5664014) Homepage

    1. regexp error:
    forgot global mod...


    2. you mean Arab, not Terrorist, I don't think you intended to compare jews and terrosists, right?

  • Re:Intelligence (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 04, 2003 @05:03PM (#5664019)
    I think the most important question you should be asking yourself is that if you were arrested tomorrow on suspicion of being a terrorist, incarcerated indefinitely and without charges away from your work and family, would you want someone to take up your case and create a "freelordbad.org"?
  • 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.
  • by ChemicalSpider ( 651461 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @05:04PM (#5664049)
    I would also have to point out that sometimes our 'inalienable' rights come into conflict with each other. I have the right as an American citizen to ask my government to protect me from terrorists. However, the gentleman in question has the right to due process. What happens, though, when the government things that allowing due process will infringe on my right to safety?

    Another such example is the right to free exercise to religion, where sometimes one's right to free exercise is circumscribed by a generally applying law. This law is infringing my right, but according to current interpretations of the Establishment Clause, to allow me an exception to the law would also be a violation of the first amendment. See U.S. Supreme Court case Sherbert v. Verner (374 U.S. 398), pay special attention to the Opinion of Justice Stewart in how the two clauses of the first amemdment come into conflict.

    But that's why we have judges. They are not puppets - they make judgement calls based on evidence they have, which you may not. I'm not trying to say that the government is acting correctly in this situation, but I would advocate examining a few possibilities before attacking one side or the other.
  • 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.
  • Articles V and VI (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Johnny Mnemonic ( 176043 ) <mdinsmore@@@gmail...com> 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 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 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 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 Pharmboy ( 216950 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @05:09PM (#5664111) Journal
    All bad things have small beginnings.. and even though it may be somewhat reactionary it is the duty of the people to point out the wrongs and just as importantly *what they can lead to* .. and sometimes the only way to show that is an end result...

    Like I said, I agree its a problem. I agree people should speak out. But if you act as if this problem is as bad as Saddam's treatment of his citizens, no one will take it serious. You have to put it in perspective. I mean, the author lost my respect by OVERREACTING in the description. It tells me he has another agenda, so I am not as likely to listen to him.

    As to other posters: You can NOT just run and scream, calling John Ashcroft a nazi and expect to get taken serious. I think Ashcroft is very wrong on MOST issues regarding liberties. I also believe he is a good man with the best of intentions, but the wrong ideas.

    Anyone who just goes into a name calling frenzy HAS OTHER MOTIVES. They obviously don't care about the truth, they care about pushing an agenda, and LIKE IT when something like this happens, because it appears to substanciate their narrow view of the world. Just like the fools who WANT American casualties so they can say "told you so". Thats a pretty fucking expensive told you so, and frankly, you would have to be a sick person to want that. Same here.

    Its about trying to convince everyone that Conservatives\Bush Team are bad, so they dig up any story that appears to support their theory, with no regard to fact or perspective as to the real problem. These efforts are entirely too transpearant.
  • Re:Who to fear? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Loki_1929 ( 550940 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @05:14PM (#5664165) Journal
    " I wonder if Americans are more afraid of terrorism or of government actions."

    As an American citizen, John Ashcroft provokes more apprehension in me than Osama Bin Laden. What does that tell you?

    Why, you ask? Simple. Both are actively trying to strike at the heart of this nation's greatness; one is succeeding.

  • by einstein ( 10761 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @05:15PM (#5664174) Homepage Journal
    um. that's the point. you have to raise a stink when it's only 2, or next it will be 4, then 8, then 16...

    and your .sig.. subscribe and your wish shall be granted.
  • by Shagg ( 99693 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @05:20PM (#5664239)
    You think Bush somehow enacted the legal loopholes that allow the government to keep someone like this.

    You're right. Bush didn't make the loophole, he's just the one exploiting it.
  • 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 [fas.org]?
    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.
  • Re:Often Times... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vidarh ( 309115 ) <vidar@hokstad.com> on Friday April 04, 2003 @05:21PM (#5664253) Homepage Journal
    He is being held as a material witness. He has not been charged with a crime. He has not been named a suspect of a crime. Still he is being held under a law that allow him to be kept with close to no contact with the outside world for an indefinite amount of time without due process.

    THAT is the issue, not whether or not he is a "good guy". Even if he turns out to be a criminal, he is still treated in a way that violates fundamental principles of justice, and that is quite reminiscent of tactics used by dictators to silence anyone they don't like.

    Why kill and be brutal when holding someone in an unknown location without any requirement for a court hearing is just as effective?

    THAT is the issue - that the US government is now step by step emulating more and more of the tactics of the very people they claim they are trying to protect Americans and the world against.


    And of course it's always nice to try to pretend it's the same people who complain about two seemingly mutually exclusive things. But I think you'll find that quite a lot of the people who are now crying out about human rights abuses in the US weren't that surprised when 9/11 happened. My first reaction was "that's what you get for pissing off an entire people".

    Making enemies all over the world is just begging for thousands of people to start thinking about ways to hit back. Becoming more oppressive and more agressive (as with the Iraq war) may stop a few threats now, but it also make thousands more angry enough and desperate enough to start thinking about how it would be to copy the 9/11 terrorists.

    I keep hearing "appeasement never work with terrorists", but what you need to realise is that what is terrorism to you and me is considered freedom fighting by the people doing it. Every strike against them validate their beliefs. Every death makes it easier for them to recruit.

    You can splinter a terorist group, but unless you remove the root cause, there will only be more. Until the US government sees that the way they keep angering hundreds of millions of people is what is feeding the terrorist threat in the first place, and start taking a gentler tone - not to the terrorists, but to the groups of people from which the terrorist recruit, you will always have the terror threat hanging over you. Appeasement not towards the terrorists, but towards the countries and peoples that are weary, suspicious and downright angry at the US government because of decades of US foreign policy.

    A more even handed approach towards the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, for instance, would do a great deal to make it harder for fundamentalist muslim terrorist groups to recruit. Similarly, a more patient approach against Iraq would have done the same.

    Instead the present US government seems to keep doing everything it can to whirl up more hatred.


  • by Lendrick ( 314723 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @05:21PM (#5664260) Homepage Journal
    Better hope you've never donated to Greenpeace.
  • Re:Media (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Keith Russell ( 4440 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @05:23PM (#5664282) Journal
    Remember Jose Padila? His case was in the media for what, 2-3 days?

    Padilla was illegally detained for suspicion of building a dirty bomb. How many people do you know who combine hazardous radioactive materials and explosives in their basement? His civil liberties are being violated. He can't have access to counsel (the fight over which has been in the news lately, BTW). But a potential bomber won't get much public sympathy.

    Hawash, OTOH, was illegally detained for contributing to a charitable organization, because that organization was later accused of "having links" to terrorists. Here's an educated family man and naturalized US citizen being incarcerated for doing something millions of Americans do, and are encouraged to do, each year. That's a cause the public can get behind.

    Here's a far-fetched scenario for you. Comrade Ashcroft is cozy with RIAA and MPAA. What if he decides that the EFF is "aiding and abetting" theft of intellectual property? Have you given to the EFF? OK, that's a lot farther down the slippery slope than ties to Al Qaida. But religion and politics are the low-hanging fruit for oppressors.

    "Are you, or have you ever been, a member of a group we don't like?"

  • not that your ignorant comment is deserving of any acknowlegement, but here goes. If they had listened to the FBI agent that reported Atta and his buddies getting flight training lessons and compiled a case and arrested them, and put them on trial for consipracy to commit mass murder, that would have been wonderful. If they had rounded them up for being brown and jailed them without charges or access to council, then yes I would have been very angy. I guess that makes me guilty of sedition, and subject to being held without charges. I'm just a nasty Thought Criminal anyway.
  • by CormacJ ( 64984 ) <cormac...mcgaughey@@@gmail...com> 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 [ulst.ac.uk]. 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 vidarh ( 309115 ) <vidar@hokstad.com> on Friday April 04, 2003 @05:31PM (#5664389) Homepage Journal
    He as not been arrested, he is being held as a witness.

    And your assumption that they won't come after you because you don't make donations to terrorist organizations is extremely weak. The US government now have the power to hold you as a material witness regardless. The question is whether you do something that someone with the power to carry it off dislike enough or not.

    The current government may not be extreme enough to be willing to go much further than they currently do, but now the law is there. It will still be there if someone crazy enough gets into power.

    That is the very reason for your constitutional protections in the first place. They're not there to protect you against a government that is reasonable and just, they're there as a safeguard in case of a government that is willing to take shortcuts and abuse their power.

    Maybe he is getting what he deserves - however, the point is that nobody gets to verify whether or not he is getting what he deserves, or whether he is being held because somebody think he might be involved in something without a shred of evidence, or simply because someone don't like him, because the law they are using to hold him allow them to hold him without without giving him any chance at due process whatsoever.

  • I used to laugh... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by devphil ( 51341 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @05:31PM (#5664402) Homepage

    at the scene in the recent The Count of Monte Christo movie, where the police of Napoleonic France come to arrest the hero.

    "I place you under arrest."

    "For what crime?"

    "That information is secret." *clink*

    When the crappy movie was first released, I remember one of my more airheaded friends crowing about how glad she was that "nonsense like that can't happen here, cuz this is AMERICA." (Moron.)

  • 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?
  • Re:AS A JEW (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 04, 2003 @05:33PM (#5664418)
    Obviously you like to jump the gun on these things...

    The quote was written well before this current situation, and it shows how people's hatred of a general group can lead to severe problems.

    Screw the fact that you are a jew, I am a Slavik, yiptedoo. It means fuck all. What he is getting at is the fact that people are being arrested because people like you insist on keeping these artificial divisions between us in society.

    "He's arab, so he's likely to be a terrorist"

    is just as bad as

    "He's Jew, so he's likely to be a communist"

    The point that the quote gets to is the fact that we need to protect all of these groups from this discrimination.

    So... in reality... you are the "fucking racist moron" ironically. Because you insist on dividing us based on race, and not looking deeper into the quote.
  • by Xerithane ( 13482 ) <xerithaneNO@SPAMnerdfarm.org> on Friday April 04, 2003 @05:36PM (#5664456) Homepage Journal
    Where did I say there wasn't a reason for his detainment? I'm saying cough up the reason and press charges or let him go. The government can't legally hold you indefinitely without telling you what you've done wrong and what you're being charged with. Check the bill of rights, I think it's the sixth amendment if I'm not mistaken...

    Well, you are wrong. The government can hold you indefinitely, but they will tell you and your lawyer why they are holding you, which the article does state. Everybody else is under a gag order so it can't get out. Keep in mind he is not being accused of committing a crime, but he is being held as a material witness. This means he is in danger of either being harmed, taking off, or disrupting the investigation.

    These are valid reasons for detainment, and a federal judge was convinced he fell into one of those three categories. I personally have faith that it was done with a good, sound reason, and it will most likely turn out there was a good reason.

    5 guys in Portland also got "disappeared" by the government, much to the dismay of their neighbors and families. They said that they took a trip to the middle east to visit their family. Instead, after looking at the flight information, they flew to Afghanistan and helped the Taliban setup defenses (I'm not sure exactly what they did, the newspapers didn't report that. It was a very brief write-up saying that they flew to the middle east, travelled to Afghanistan, and helped with preperation) prior to the US attack.

    Suddenly the public outcry stopped, and everybody went about their business. If this guy does turn up to be involved with financially backing a terrorist group, unbeknownst to his family and friends, what will they say? Will they apologize for all the slanderous comments they made? Doubtful.

    All I am saying is that the government is well within their rights, and this has nothing to do with the new bills being placed in the War on Terrorism. This happened to mafia members long before terrorism was a thought in the American mind.
  • If this guy were a terrorist planning on planting a bomb somewhere and the FBI got a tip (but no proof), what should they do? They can do some research, try to find out what he's doing, who he's working with, etc... and while they're trying to figure it all out, he goes and blows up a building or a bridge killing hundreds of people. Then you have an outcry from the people when it comes to light that the FBI was told he was dangerous but didn't act on the tip.

    On the other hand, they can do some preliminary checks to see if the tip might hold promise, then take the guy, search his things and do a thorough investigation while they have him, making sure he doesn't fulfill any nefarious schemes during the investigation.

    If it turns out the guy is clean, they'll let him go when they know for sure. He could lose a few weeks or months of his life, very bad to be sure. Or, if it turns out he was on the verge of blowing up the entire intel plant he was working at the next day, it's a dang good thing they took him when they did. And when working against terrorists, you don't want the terrorists to know how much you know, or how you came to know information. So logically, much of it must be kept secret.

    Does it suck? Yes. Is there a better way? Maybe, but it's a tough choice where the primary goal is to thwart as many attackes and save as many people as possible.

  • 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.
  • Fowl Diminutive (Score:1, Insightful)

    by BubbleMage ( 618293 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @05:44PM (#5664552)
    Ahh... the sky is falling! Get a grip. Geez, the regular posters here the very epitome of Pavlovian predictability. A few points: 1) A news article or sound-bite is NOT the full story. You do not have all the information. 2) You can't generate an informed opinion on fragmentary information and anecdotes from "friends", especially about legal cases. 3) There are very specific and effective safeguards in the system--one of them being a free press, no matter how biased or asinine they may sometimes appear--to prevent the Brownshirts from marching outward into the countryside and beating randomly selected citizens with big sticks. Fear not; your illegal .mp3 collection is quite safe. 4) WE ARE AT WAR. Deal with it. Fin.
  • Re:Democracy? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Watcher ( 15643 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @05:45PM (#5664570)

    Of course if the Republicans announce that they're suddenly all in favor of gun control, I'm moving to Canada immediately.

    Great idea. Run to a country where the gun control folks already have more control than the worst US states.

    The day I see a republican administration embrace the gun control lobby, I will get very scared. I think we all will, because that means things are rapidly falling on a slippery slope, Hollywood anti-gun proselytizing notwithstanding.

  • by magarity ( 164372 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @05:54PM (#5664662)
    Well, he's head of the government

    Actually, he's the head of the executive branch of the government.

    he isn't fighting any of this stuff. It may not be his fault, but it's his responsibility

    And as head of the aforementioned executive branch it is exactly his job to enforce/operate within those laws enacted by the legislative branch and not contested by the judicial branch. So any problems with the laws really lie with the legislature. If there are bad loopholes then the legislature needs to amend them. It is not up to the executive branch to do that kind of thing at all. That's why the police arrest bums for digging in dumpsters for cans on the charge of collecting garbage without a license and why the judge throws out the case.
  • by Sevn ( 12012 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @05:55PM (#5664671) Homepage Journal
    America is far too keen on pushing it's views down everyone else's throats and bombing/threatening anyone who doesn't agree with them.

    This reminds me of a quote from a few years ago
    before our current repressive republican regime.

    "The US is the jehovah's witness of the world, but
    we have bombs instead of bicycles."

    I want to credit Carville with that, but I'm not
    100 percent sure he said it.
  • 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.
  • Logical fallacy (Score:2, Insightful)

    by GCP ( 122438 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @06:00PM (#5664724)
    Bush's vision for America is as bad as Saddam's vision of Iraq.

    This is a perfect example of what I call "one equals a million" reasoning. For every example of a number between zero and a million that you can give me, I can give you a number between zero and one. Therefore one is really no different from a million.

    Saddam has been in power for decades. He has brutally tortured tens of thousands of people for the crime of not wanting him to be dictator for life. His prisons ring with the screams of little children being viciously tortured in front of their parents. He doesn't stand for an election against political opponents. He wins his election by 100% to 0% and has his opponents and their entire families tortured and murdered.

    I see no evidence that this is Bush's vision for America. I'm not one of those who thinks that the secret arrest of someone suspected of plotting mass murder of civilians is "just as bad" as the murder of the entire familiy of someone suspected of wanting a different president.

    I oppose many of the Bush administration's policies and decisions, and I think it's quite appropriate to seriously question such things as secret arrests. But in doing so, it seems to me that the debate should be about the issue itself (dangers from government vs. dangers from terrorism, etc.)

    But I have little patience for people who short-circuit reasoned debate by resorting to foolish comparisons of Bush and Saddam that could just as easily prove that a surgeon is just as bad as Jack the Ripper, or being exposed to secondhand smoke is essentially what Hitler did to the Jews, or that one equals a million.

  • by axxackall ( 579006 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @06:02PM (#5664753) Homepage Journal
    he USA doesn't want to be a xenophobic police state. The morons in power want us to be a xenophobic police state.

    And who did give the vote for such morons? The people deserves the goverment it elects.

  • 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.

  • Re:Fowl Diminutive (Score:3, Insightful)

    by presearch ( 214913 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @06:22PM (#5664956)
    ...There are very specific and effective safeguards...to prevent the Brownshirts from marching outward into the countryside and beating randomly selected citizens with big sticks....

    That's the point with bringing this out in the open.
    Systematically, the current US government is removing these safeguards. This isn't speculative paranoia, the PATRIOT act (and other related legislation, with more coming) is reality.

    ...WE ARE AT WAR. Deal with it...

    Yes, it does need to be dealt with. Amazing how "We're at war" is suddenly supposed to make existing laws inadequate or not applicable. No discourse, no dissent. Rally 'round the flag boys!

    What a wonderfully convenient concept. No wonder that we are now told that we've always
    been at war (since 9/11) and will always be at war for the foreseeable
    future (with Iraq, Iran, Syria, Eastasia, Eurasia, whatever, wherever, forever).

    The US fabricates this war and then hey, we're supposed to just deal with it.
    The thing that is difficult to deal with is the unprecedented
    shock and awe of the tremendous bullshit storm blowing in from DC.

    We're at war...coming soon to the county detention center near you.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 04, 2003 @06:43PM (#5665160)

    On the other hand, they can do some preliminary checks to see if the tip might hold promise, then take the guy, search his things and do a thorough investigation while they have him, making sure he doesn't fulfill any nefarious schemes during the investigation.

    This is very true. When the FBI does this, it's called an "arrest". But the FBI says they aren't arresting him, thus this guy doesn't have the rights arrestees get.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 04, 2003 @06:46PM (#5665187)
    I'll remember that when the brownshirts come for you. Oh wait, you're probably white.
  • by pwtrash ( 593047 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @06:49PM (#5665222)
    One problem is that the 9/11 nightmare has made us accept a pre-emptive society. As Americans, we have always recognized that there is a trade-off between security and freedom. We have consistently made the choice for freedom. That's why you can't be arrested for looking like you're about to rob someone. You can only be arrested after you rob someone. It sucks for the robbed, but it prevents this kind of power abuse.

    It is illegal to conspire to murder or cause terror. In these cases, however, the govt. must still present an accusation and evidence that you have actually done something (i.e., conspired). This still accepts the notion that freedom demands that there be evidence of conspiracy beyond a reasonable doubt. Someone accused of conspiracy is entitled to the same due process.

    If there were evidence that this guy has done something knowingly wrong, they wouldn't have to hold him under the material witness rule. No judge in the country is going to grant bail to a suspected terrorist with significant evidence weighing against him. The fact that he is being held the way he is indicts the govt.

    We need someone to help us understand that as scared as we are, we can't trade freedom for security. Pre-emptive arrests, pre-emptive war -- they are a bad, bad road.

  • by HalfFlat ( 121672 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @06:57PM (#5665288)

    It is easy to pick on the US because it is the most prosperous, visible and free of any state in the world.
    But it's not! That's the whole point of articles like these ... they demonstrate that the US is not an island utopia of freedom in a sea of despots. The US is certainly visible, and on average is certainly propserous. But you'll find more freedom in most other Western democracies than you will in the US, I'll wager. Certainly you'll get more in (for example) Australia, and as far as I know, in Germany and Canada too.

    Having a nice bill of rights doesn't mean squat if they aren't respected.

    The sooner US citizens as a group realize that their country isn't the best in the world, the sooner they can do something about improving it. This patriotic blindness is bad for the US, and it's bad for the rest of the world too.

  • Re:Logical fallacy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by t0ny ( 590331 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @07:08PM (#5665382)
    He doesn't stand for an election against political opponents. He wins his election by 100% to 0% and has his opponents and their entire families tortured and murdered.

    And Bush rigged an election in ONE state. Big things start small. Rig a national election by changing it in one state, next election you can rig two states, then four, and within twenty years you have control of the entire political apparatus.

    I see no evidence that this is Bush's vision for America.

    So you think that Bush's approval of taking anyone, even US citizens (like Joseph Padilla of Cicero, IL), without a formal disclosure of charges (or even an acknowledgement that he is being held), is any different? Personally, the only difference between what Saddam and Bush are doing is how the detainee is treated; but both are losing their liberty, and any of their protections (and even STATUS) under our laws.

    Institutionalize this bastardization of our liberties, and see how fast we descend into torturing and mistreating captives. Hell, we already have abuses with legitimate criminals being abused. Just think what would happen to people who are legal non-entities....

    I'm not one of those who thinks that the secret arrest of someone suspected of plotting mass murder of civilians is "just as bad" as the murder of the entire familiy of someone suspected of wanting a different president.

    But its just a shade of difference. Who decides if a person will be taken? What balances on this power are in place? What discression is being used? How do we know people are being taken legitimately?

    Even if it isnt being abused right now, it can (and likely will) eventually be abused by somebody, for some reason, and it will only get worse. Q uis custodiet ipsos custodes [antville.org]? Read the article and tell me, given human nature, if you think people can be trusted with that kind of power will never abuse it.

    For this very reason I have always thought it more appropriate that people abusing positions of power should be dealt with MORE harshly, rather than less (as we do in this country). For example, a politician taking a bribe is not only accepting a bribe, but betraying the public trust. A policeman murdering a person is not just commiting murder, but betraying the public trust.

    But I have little patience for people who short-circuit reasoned debate by resorting to foolish comparisons of Bush and Saddam that could just as easily prove that a surgeon is just as bad as Jack the Ripper, or being exposed to secondhand smoke is essentially what Hitler did to the Jews, or that one equals a million.

    So tell me, what is the difference between wronging one person, and wronging hundreds? If I murder one person, and that carries a life sentence, does that mean anything over and above that is the "bonus round"? And remember, Hitler started small. It began with an unsuccessful coupe (or in Saddam and Bush's case, a successful one). The there was the conquest of a small country (the Rhineland for Hitler, Kuwait for Saddam). If Saddam went unchecked, he would have swept thru the Middle East just like Hitler swept thru Europe.

    Their regimes were based on intollerance, Hitler's of Pro-Arayan, Saddam's supposed pro-Muslim (but meanwhile very intollerant of anything but Sunni), and Bush's of rabidly Pro-NeoConservative. To tell you the truth, I dont think any of them really bought into the rhetoric they were spouting, but only using it as their vehicle to power: the important thing was that others were buying into their rhetoric, and were willing to blindly support them. Were any of them directly responsible for all of the abuses done under their regime? No, IMO, but that hardly excuses them. If you nudge a boulder down a hill, that hardly excuses you when it runs through a house and kills a family eating dinner. If you cant calculate the possible effects of your actions, you should be at the helm. Frank Herbert wrote that abolute power doesnt corrupt, it attracts corruptable people: this is my point, and this is the danger.

  • 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.

  • by arkanes ( 521690 ) <arkanes@@@gmail...com> on Friday April 04, 2003 @07:27PM (#5665514) Homepage
    Well, he IS a citizen, so that's bullshit.

    Even if he's not, I don't care how much proof or evidence they have, secret evidence and secret tribunals are an abomination of the justice system and have no place in a free society. There is NO justification whatsoever. That's not liberal bias, that's basic democratic thinking.

    Furthermore, denying non-citizens the rights of citizens is the height of hypocrisy - it shows that we don't really believe in the rights espoused in our Constitution, but simply obey them.

    One more time, just to be clear - it doesnn't matter what information they do or do not have. I don't presume to guess. The step they took is unjustifiable in and of itself.

  • Re:Democracy? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 04, 2003 @07:37PM (#5665585)
    You claims that citizens have the right to revolt. Most of the 1st 10 admenments to the Constitution guarantee many rights that are helpful to those wishing to revolt. Those rights were added because the British were so good at removing thouse same rights in the 1770s. The only catch is you have to win or else you have to deal with that treason issue. Of course there is the interesting question of bringing treason charges to members of the goverment that directly violate the consitution as well but right now, there is no procedure to do that at the high levels.
  • by Dissonant ( 125475 ) <unless.37@com> on Friday April 04, 2003 @07:38PM (#5665594)

    This could be the only way to effect any real change in this country. If those in power are immune to the suffering of their constituency, how can we expect them to care, much less do anything about it?

    See here: A Prayer to Afflict the Comfortable with as Many Afflictions as Possible [everything2.com]

  • Re:Logical fallacy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jmv ( 93421 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @08:01PM (#5665742) Homepage
    Actually, if I had to compare the situation to another country, I'd probably choose Germany in the early 30's. There were no concentration camps yet, but there was a rapid erosion of rights and freedom, while the nationalism was rising. In both cases, the result was to blame others (jews, in this case arabs) for the problems. Now, I'm not saying that the situation will evolve the same way (that led to WW2), but it sure it something to be concerned about.
  • by metachimp ( 456723 ) <tadish DOT durbin AT gmail DOT com> on Friday April 04, 2003 @08:12PM (#5665806) Homepage
    You are wrong, sir.

    They want us to get our bases out of Saudi, and allow them to have their pan-Islamic 'caliphate'. They don't care whether we convert to Islam or not, they want us to stop meddling in their affairs. Al-Queda is not a missionary group out to make converts to Islam at the point of a bayonet.
  • 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 Anonymous Coward on Friday April 04, 2003 @08:55PM (#5666032)
    I have to post as AC.

    I was once Mike's intern at Intel. I cannot tell you how FUCKING SHOCKED I am to hear this. I sit here, and shake my head in disbelief.

    This is the man responsible for architecting the MMX architecture, and is responsible for the beginnings of gaming on the PC architecture. He has contributed many great things to modern consumer computing.

    To say that he contributed to terrorist groups is utter bullshit. I can't remember how many times we had pleasant lunches with Israeli Jews. (Shit, he used to work in Haifa, Israel). He was also learning Hebrew at the time I worked with him, because he "wanted a greater appreciation of the Jewish language and culture."

    Vote out this fucking administration. I'm so serious.
  • by Grizzlysmit ( 580824 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @09:46PM (#5666264)
    I hate to tell you guys, but your country has become a police state, not a real real bad people disapeared left right and centre one, not yet but if due proccess can be subverted then a police state it is. I'm an Aussie I could Just say only in America, and assume that it doesn't affect me, but if one western nation can go this way how safe are the rest of us. This has to be stopped guys, for the sake of the people of the US, and for the sake of us all.
  • Re:Secret arrests (Score:3, Insightful)

    by junkgrep ( 266550 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @09:50PM (#5666282)
    ---1: No torture (yet) is officially sanctioned in the US.---

    You mean... within our national borders. If we have to have sub-Americans do our dirty work for us, then it's just fine.

    ---3: A more credible and much more independent judicial system where if you are disappeared, at least your lawyer can still file paperwork for you and try to get access to you.---

    Maybe: but it was pretty up in the air for awhile there, and the governments case WAS that we shouldn't allow lawyers to muck up the executive's perogative.

    Anyway, I don't think any sane person can possible compare Iraq to America. That doesn't mean we don't have some major things to worry about. It's not like the very basis of our society defends itself.
  • Re:Secret arrests (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mbogosian ( 537034 ) <matt@aCOWrenaunl ... minus herbivore> on Friday April 04, 2003 @10:31PM (#5666460) Homepage
    1: No torture (yet) is officially sanctioned in the US.

    No torture that the public is aware of. There's no oversight to say, "no one's being tortured". We wouldn't know.

    2: Far fewer informants (20% of the Iraqi population is estimated to be a paid informant for a secret police agency).

    Does ratting out a fellow citizen to the IRS for a reward count? I'm sure our numbers would go way up if we included that. Granted, it probably wouldn't be 20%, but give it time....

    3: A more credible and much more independent judicial system where if you are disappeared, at least your lawyer can still file paperwork for you and try to get access to you.

    So long as your last name isn't Mitnick or you aren't labelled as a "computer terrorist".
  • by Iguanaphobic ( 31670 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @10:41PM (#5666477)
    Congress, you may recall, was panicked by envelopes of anthrax and facing threats of political reprisal, passed the PATRIOT Act overwhelmingly over a year ago, with two copies of the 342-page act printed for the perusal of 535 members. Most who voted for it had no idea the extent of the new, extra-judicial wiretap powers granted to law-enforcement in the bill, secret searches of homes and businesses, or the virtually all-encompassing definition of "terrorism, or the amount of data-sharing license given to federal, and even state and local agencies.

    Not to mention that this major piece of legislation was somehow drafted in only 33 days from the instigating incident (9/11) and passing in congress (10/25). Good thing all those congress critters were running so scared from the anthrax. Someone might have had an independent thought otherwise.

    Where did they determine that anthrax came from anyway?

  • Re:Secret arrests (Score:4, Insightful)

    by einhverfr ( 238914 ) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {srevart.sirhc}> on Friday April 04, 2003 @11:00PM (#5666549) Homepage Journal
    Anyway, I don't think any sane person can possible compare Iraq to America. That doesn't mean we don't have some major things to worry about. It's not like the very basis of our society defends itself.

    My point was that we could be in a situation much like that of Iraq were it not for the check-and-ballance system that we have. Of course, the executive branch seems be attacking some of these ballances, but this is why that is so important.

    The Framers understood that the dominant threat would come from within. That a nation is strong against external threats so long as its government is fully endorsed by its people. That an opressive regime would mean either civil war or occupation by a foreign power. Indeed every government rules with the permission of its people. Just with some of them that permission is more tentative than others.

    If we had a runaway executive branch, it would be a small matter of time before we would have a Stalin, a Hitler, or a Saddam as our leader. What keeps this from happening is the tripartite balance that the Constitution sets out. If this happened, however, it would mean problems for US econimically, as well as militarily.

    So maybe I was a bit too.... sarcastic in how I made my point, but I think that it is important to realize that an erosion of our judicial system is *the* threat that we face today.
  • by HeghmoH ( 13204 ) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @01:58AM (#5667316) Homepage Journal
    no it doesn't, the Justice Department is the judicial branch.

    Nope, Justice is executive. The judicial branch handles the actual deciding of whether somebody has broken the law or not. That means courts, judges, and all that fun stuff. The function of Justice is to serve as prosecutors for cases which the government wishes to prosecute. This is not a judicial function; the courts do not bring people into court on their own. This function of prosecuting people falls under enforcing the legislative branch's wishes, which is the executive branch's job.

    the US government system is based on repetative checks and balances. a law is introduced, passed or killed by congress, signed or vetoed by the president, the veto can be reversed by congress, the signed law can be contested and removed by the justice department, congress can repeal the law.

    Yes, I know all that, I'm not a complete moron. However, a law that's been vetoed is much harder to pass than a law that hasn't. Getting 67% support to override a veto in congress is probably an order of magnitude more difficult than getting 51% support to simply pass a law the first time. The Justice Department has no function in removing existing laws, except perhaps to challenge a law in court so that the court would remove it. (I don't even think they do that, does anybody know?)

    The reason Bush gets so much blame is because of the amount of power he has. Congress is made up of hundreds of people, with no single strong figure leaping out. Likewise, the judicial branch has no central figure, and their role is also quite passive. (E.g. the Supreme Court can't simply remove an unconstitutional law on their own, someone else must challenge that law first.) However, in the executive branch, all power (plus a considerable amount of legislative power, given the President's veto power and that the President is often something of a de facto leader for the majority party in Congress) is concentrated in a single man. That man is currently George Bush.

    Does Bush deserve all the blame for the current sorry state of these laws? No. Does he deserve a lot of it? You bet! Being a central, highly-visible power means that he has responsibility for these things, even if his power is not 100%. They may not even have been his idea at all, but he has the power to stop these kinds of laws and the responsibility to use that power.
  • by fenix down ( 206580 ) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @04:24AM (#5667772)
    And the important part there is that he hasn't been questioned by anybody, either.

    All this bull is just the FBI and the CIA shitting their pants over the possibility that somebody will figure out how incompetent they are, so they go nuts and arrest everybody wearing pants because Osama sometimes wears pants.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 05, 2003 @06:50AM (#5668041)
    But if you went on 'vacation' to Afghanistan three years ago with this person, that could be justified.

    Is that supposed to be a serious suggestion? Holding someone without charge might be justified provided they went on vaction witha friend who's suspected of something? If they suspect the man himself of something then they can charge him and bring him to trial, if not they have no business holding him against his will.
  • Re:Secret arrests (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mraymer ( 516227 ) <mraymer@@@centurytel...net> on Saturday April 05, 2003 @07:27AM (#5668071) Homepage Journal
    This information has put me in shock and awe, so to speak. I had no idea we had already stooped so low.

    Doesn't the US government realize that any form of torture is ultimately self-defeating?

    Doesn't the US government realize that positive reinforcement (i.e. Tell us what we want and you can have a nice meal, anything you want... ) is far more effective than "Tell us what we want or we're going to beat the shit out of you."

    I keep feeling like I've watched far too much Star Trek, and when I look at the way things really are here in the US, I'm shocked that we brag about being "Land of the Free" and so on.


  • I used to be a conservative, but then went to work for local government (county). About a year later, I became a Libertarian.

    Republicans want to spend your money helping business people. Jobs=good.
    Democrats want to spend your money helping poor people. Less poor=good.
    Libertarians don't want professional 'do-gooders' blowing our tax money on their political friends. Its my money, I'll decide which cause to help out, thank you very much.

    In the USA, you pay about 40% to the government (tax).... what's no longer in your wallet?

    Way back when, if the government didn't have so much money, we would not have been able to afford sticking our nose in other people's business. It was our using the Afghans to hurt the USSR that got us into the 9/11 terrorism mess.

The best defense against logic is ignorance.