Aid and comfort to the enemy

Aid and comfort to the enemy
: Former Intel engineer Maher “Mike” Hawash has pleaded guilty to aiding the Taliban and has agreed to rat on fellow terrorists; he’ll serve a minimum of seven years.

Hmmmm. I seem to remember lots and lots of sites defending him and decrying our bully government for taking him away in handcuffs.

So now he admits he’s guilty.

Hawash pleaded guilty to conspiring to provide services to the Taliban. Prosecutors agreed to drop charges of conspiring to levy war against the United States and conspiring to provide material support for terrorism.

“You and the others in the group were prepared to take up arms, and die as martyrs if necessary, to defend the Taliban. Is this true?” U.S. District Judge Robert E. Jones asked Hawash during the hearing.

“Yes, your honor,” Hawash replied.

Anybody have a spare “suspected terrorist” button for Mike?

  • Chris Josephson

    Wonder how long it will be before the ‘Free Mike Hawash’ sites update their news? Hate to be so cynical, but I can just hear the conspiracy theorists now spinning his confession to be the ‘fault’ of the CIA, FBI, or that catch-all for blame ‘The World Wide Zionist Conspiracy’.
    I’m not holding my breath his supporters will believe he’s guilty. Somehow it will be blamed on the US and/or Israel. (We have left the reality of this dimension and have all entered the Twilight Zone.)

  • Or, Chris, it could be possible that some of us still think “innocent until proven guilty” is more than just a phrase from cop shows on TV. I still do decry our government for putting him away without due process, and I’d say anyone who doesn’t probably isn’t fit to vote due to their lack of respect for American legal tradition.

  • infamouse

    “I still do decry our government for putting him away without due process, and I’d say anyone who doesn’t probably isn’t fit to vote due to their lack of respect for American legal tradition.”
    Answering a violation of civil rights with another violation of civil rights is not the best policy.
    I’m surprised he pled guilty. From everything I read, it did indeed sound like they had the wrong man. Troubling, indeed.

  • ordi

    “innocent until proven guilty” So how many times does a guy have to admit his own guilt in a court of law before that proves it to YOU????????????
    I admit I have not followed this case but you said “I still do decry our government for putting him away without due process,”
    I thought when one appeared before a JUDGE that one was in the process of getting DUE PROCESS. I also thought that after being charged with certain crimes the accused sometimes was “put away” until his day in court.
    You said, I’d say anyone who doesn’t probably isn’t fit to vote due to their lack of respect for American legal tradition.
    It appears you do not fully understand our justice system, so are you also unfit to vote too???

  • Chris Josephson

    Well, I’m glad nobody died and left some people around here boss. So, I lose my right to vote based on reiterating *his* confession that he *is* guilty? Nice world some would create.
    Innocent until proven guilty applies until the person is found guilty -or- confesses. HE HAS CONFESSED. How have I violated innocent until proven guilty? Should I call him a deluded liar?

  • That’s right, he’s confessed, that’s enough for me to consider him guilty. The problem was when he was thrown in jail incommunicado without being accused of a crime, without getting to call a lawyer, and without being arrested.
    Find out more about the story and see if you don’t disagree with how he was incarcerated *before* he confessed.

  • Anil, I agree with your civil rights point 100%, but there can be no fitness test for voting privileges above and beyond citizenship (and ‘sanity’, but let’s not get into that here!). Who would be the one to decide who votes and under what set of standards? Maybe you were just venting…

  • Charlie

    I obviously don’t know anything more about Mike Hawash’s guilt or the lack thereof than anyone — well, maybe a few of !Kung people in Africa — but there is one point here: this is another place where someone copped a plea rather than face the draconian penalties available if he were convicted under all those terrorism laws.

  • KMK

    Don’t give in now Anil. I’ve come to respect your championing of the underdog. Glenn Reynolds wrote this about the Jose Pailla case “You also see in this case the way in which threats of “terrorism” are allowing prosecutors to extract plea bargains in dubious cases. One consequence is that when the Justice Department gets a plea bargain, you can’t automatically assume that it’s proof the underlying case was especially good, just that the accused was afraid to roll the dice.” In this case 7 years instead of 20. The 1984 material witness statute was designed to get testimony from unwilling witnesses or flight risks. Since Sept. 11, authorities have used the statute to detain suspects indefinitely without charging them with any crime. His possible crime? Hawash donated about $10,000 at a local mosque in 2000, the Global Relief Foundation, a Muslim charity. Two years after Hawash made his donations, the charity was accused of links to terrorist organizations, and the Treasury Department froze its assets. The charity denied the accusation. The US Attorney’s affidavit also said he tried and failed to enter Afghanistan from western China in late fall 2001. Accusations are not proof beyond reasonable doubt. I don’t know about the rest of you but I kinda like the proof beyond reasonable doubt before sending someone off to jail. I’m not saying I know he’s innocent and the confession doesn’t really clear it up for me. I once pleaded guilty to failure to observe a street sign $30 (which I hadn’t) in order not to pay for a speeding ticket (I wasn’t speeding). The officer couldn’t produce proof I was speeding and I couldn’t produce proof I wasn’t. $30 allowed the officer to save face and me to avoid a fine and possible ins. ramifications. I know a terrorism charge is way different then a speeding ticket but, I plead guilty to something I didn’t do because I was “afraid to roll the dice.”
    I wonder if his attorney reviewed the US code and discovered the law requiring that material witnesses be paid $40 compensation for each day that they are incarcerated and do not appear in court.

  • bill

    “Wonder how long it will be before the ‘Free Mike Hawash’ sites update their news?”
    Looks like they updated yesterday….
    hate to be so cynical, but it sounds like some find it easier to practice mindreading and to spout kneejerk accusations then to click the actual site.
    Rather than entering the Twilight Zone, why not consider that after zealously defending a “friend” they now have to deal with the fact that they were lied to and decieved. Dramatically speaking, much more interesting than imagining conspiracy theories.
    There are plenty of interesting aspects to this story and case worthy of discussion (which many above have mentioned) without make sh*t up.

  • KMK

    bill – I couldn’t find an update on the site. Could you point me in the right direction?

  • John Thacker

    I definitely agree that a guilty plea can be obtained even when someone’s not guilty. OTOH, I really wasn’t convinced by all his defenders, who only offered what you would expect from friends– “He was a nice guy, had a nice wife, cute kids, so he couldn’t have done it.” “He was a software engineer, so he couldn’t possibly have done it.” “He’s just been targeted because he’s Muslim.” (As if the last makes sense when there are so many Muslims in the US.)

  • Mike G

    As I say in another thread, it would not have been difficult for Hawash to show that the government was wrong because their case surely rested on the fact that he was overseas, attempting to get into Pakistan from China. He was probably arrested by the Chinese, he presumably generated all kinds of paperwork showing he was over there.
    If it was all untrue, if he never left the US or only did so to visit somewhere not in the middle of a war, then all he would need to disprove it would be one credit card receipt, one Intel timesheet, one hotel receipt from the Westin Bangkok, one phone record– and one lawyer to leak it to one newspaper. That NONE of that happened to me creates a pretty strong presumption that the government had all the case it ever needed to pick him up and try him. The fact that they didn’t share it with any of you is not proof that they didn’t have it.

  • mj

    To address KMK’s point, there’s a difference between paying a $30 fine and going to prison for 7 to 10 years. Innocent people don’t accept prison time as aprt of a plea bargain.

  • KMK

    mj – Are you serious?
    Earl Washington jr., 40 had confessed to police in 1983. Even though much of his confession did not match with evidence found at the scene, Washington was convicted and sentenced to face the death penalty. He was just a few days from execution in 1994, when the governor commuted his sentence to life in prison because of questions regarding the DNA evidence. He spent 18 years behind bars before being released.
    Go here and look for yourself.
    I would list more but you couldn’t have been serious. I did say “I know a terrorism charge is way different then a speeding ticket”.

  • Agree with Anil, that wether he was guilty or not is not the primary issue in the case. He is an American citizen and his rights were abused in the process of the case, he wasn’t given access to a lawyer. That worries me deeply about the future of this country.

  • Mike G

    Do Muslim terrorists worry you too, Thomas? Just checking.

  • Lori

    Well… I don’t know. I’d have to say that 7-10 yrs in prison sounds like a much better deal than… oh, say… LIFE! Hmmm… ever consider that maybe the guy decided the cards were stacked against him & at least this way he’ll get to one day see his kids again… without an armed gaurd present?
    Maybe, maybe not… but it’s not as if these things have never happened before.