...I'm okay with being REALITY-based.

Monday, April 28, 2003
      ( 12:53 PM )
Mike Hawash Charged

Reuters just released this story. Mike Hawash has now been charged with "conspiracy to levy war against the United States, conspiracy to provide material support to al Qaeda and conspiracy to contribute services to al Qaeda and the Taliban."

Tomorrow was the deadline a judge had set for the government to either charge him or release him. Until now, he's been held secretly for a month in prison with no charges against him and no contact with the outside world. The charges against him have to do with the other people arrested last year here in Portland and accused of trying to join Al Qaeda.

I have a deep distrust for anything that comes out of John Ashcroft's office, and considering Mike's reputation here, and the fact that this entire situation has been clouded in secrecy, I am not convinced just because the government has charged him with anything that they actually have evidence.

The problem is going to be whether Mike is afforded his consitutional rights as a U.S. citizen to due process. At this point, I'm not going to hold my breath that the government is going to provide him with a fair trial, much less reveal their "secret" information on him. I feel awful for his family and friends right now.

What is going to happen with the scheduled support rally for tomorrow morning? As soon as I find out, I'll update here.

UPDATE: here is an excellent article about the secret warrants and searches and wire tapping that can now be conducted on U.S. citizens under the "anti-terrorism" laws. What is going on here is that you can be arrested, charged and convicted without ever knowing what the basis was for the government spying on you without your knowledge. And this is NOT about immigrants or illegal aliens, people. This is about US CITIZENS.

UPDATE 2: KATU has posted the statement from the Justice Department on Mike's charges. KGW doesn't have much more but gives the basis for the secret investigation as being that a few of the "Portland 6" were seen wearing "ethnic garb and shooting shotguns" in Skamania. This doesn't jive with the lifestyle of Mike Hawash, and I will be very curious to see what the actual evidence is linking him to these yahoos. Besides the fact that they are a bunch of numbskulls, why the Justice Department feels all the resources being used on them are necessary is beyond me, considering the fact that they never had an actual "plot" against anyone or anything here in the U.S. and they weren't even bright enough to follow through with their political fervor to fight with the Taliban. Which leads me back to Mike - it escapes me how a man of his stature, reputation and links to his community would participate with this group, much less even have these political leanings to the extent he would conspire in such a way. I will be anxious to hear a statement from his family or attorneys. There is no word on whether now that there have been charges if a gag order remains in place on the secrecy of the whole thing.

UPDATE 3: The Free Mike Hawash Organization will have a statement soon. When I see it, I'll post the link here. The website makes the point that Mike has neither been indicted nor has his case been heard by a Grand Jury. The website claims this is a case of guilt by association.

UPDATE 4: Here is the Statement of Friends of Mike Hawash. They reiterate my thoughts on the absurdity of Hawash wanting to travel to Afghanistan to fight. This will be an interesting case in how the government tries to pull off secret trials against US citizens with secret evidence, gained with secret warrants. I only hope Mike and all the others like him will get his deserved fair trial.

| -- permanent link