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What's Up With New Mike Hawash Photo

Media Bias Indeed
I was watching the news tonight, and they were doing a story on mike Hawash being charged as a terroist, instead of the normal photos of the clean shaven family man, they're now using a scary photo of a menacing looking Mike with a Talabani beard. What the hell! Were they saving this photo for a special occasion? Every news broadcast I saw tonight is using it exculsively! They must have repeated the word terroist 25 times in one story. Anyone who hasn't been following this story will take one look at that photo and decide right then and there that he must be Osama's brother. It's funny how the U.S. mdia acts all smug and important when they are the laughing stock of the world. This new photo thing is obvious bias. "Yes my sheep come to me, there are terrorist everywhere I will protect you, just shut up and let daddy take care of the bad man."

Now I see what you mean 29.Apr.2003 02:20


I saw the photo on the KATU site. You are right.

Editorial policy? 29.Apr.2003 07:21


This does appear to be a standard. Remember the photo's of Taliban John, where he's almost always shown as bearded and filthy, despite enough time having passed for him to be cleaned up in the hospital. Too, Richard Read is still displayed in that mug shot that makes him look like Walt Disney's Goofy character.

Can I visit your world? 29.Apr.2003 07:44


How ignorant can you be? Don't you think that the photo used on the Hawash site was used to portray the image desired? Happily married man with his All-American looking wife?!? Ya, it is only the "corporate" media that uses things to obtain the desired results.

Obviously 29.Apr.2003 08:02


Obviously Mike Hawash's family and friends use a nice photo of him to depict him in a nice way. No one disputes that.

The ugly photo of him with a beard (it is just not a good photo) is more of interest because the news agencies not only used it, but made a conscious decision to switch from using the nice one.

Why are you not smart enough to see that?

Let's see what everyone is discussing 29.Apr.2003 08:04

believe what you see

Haawash didn't grow this in 6 weeks!! This took time.

Just maybe the "clean-cut" Hawash is the propaganda and this is the REAL Hawash!!!

Let's see what everyone is discussing
Let's see what everyone is discussing

Same guy 29.Apr.2003 08:09


Don't get carried away. Despite all this talk about image, he is the same guy whether he wears a beard or not. I don't change my character when I get a haircut, do you?

didn't your mama 'splain about judging a book 29.Apr.2003 08:36

i resemble that remark

I think we got serious problems here if someone can look like a normal person of any Middle Eastern background and somehow it becomes some swarthy suspicious terrorist look...

And doing a little spring cleaning to keep the squirrels from nesting under your nose becomes a possible "act of propoganda"...

At the moment I look remarkably like this photo (since the preoccupation seems to be with what facial hair indicates about one's ability to find Afghanistan on a map), and I'd love to see someone read a bunch of c**p into that.

I'm also planning on looking less like the photo soon, and I'd like to see someone read a bunch of c**p into that too... it's... almost... conceivable to simply get tired of wearing cracker crumbs now and again, is it not?

Such prejudice can try taking root if it wants, and I'll happy to be a thorn in its side just by being me... since it sort of leaves me no other choice to begin with...

The beard isn't the point. 29.Apr.2003 08:50


The point isn't that he grew a beard. The mere fact that "growing a beard" is considered to be a terrorist trait should scare the shit out of everyone. The point is that the news media immediately switched the photo being used when it was announced that Hawash was being indicted for terrorism. They obviously had both photos the whole time, but now that the story has taken a different turn they are scrambling to show that they are a good patriotic corporate news source. It's amazing how easy it is to condemn someone for something that is simply alleged. Whether Mr. Hawash is actually convicted or not will make little difference. He is now a terrorist in the eyes of most Americans. When did we burn the bill of rights?

Haircut 29.Apr.2003 08:52

Bad Penny

I do not change my character when I get a haircut. I will argue however, that people percieve my character differently based on how my hair is cut and how my face is shaved. Not to mention based on every other aspect of my appearance. That is why it makes a difference which photo is used.

O.J. Hawash 29.Apr.2003 09:47

Using my own brain

Remember how the media provided the darkened O.J. photo when he became the suspect? That is just like bringing up the photo of Hawash with a beard.

1. Innocent until proven guilty.

2. Cultural and "racial" attributes should not create a terrorist profile.

This is O.J. bullshit on the part of the media.

Booking photo 29.Apr.2003 10:33


At the rally this morning, an OPB reporter said that the "new" photo was Mike Hawash's booking photo (unclear whether from March or from yesterday). He asked me if I thought it was responsible journalism for the media to show the most recent photo. A booking photo could make anyone look scary or suspicious, just by the nature of it. I think they're exploiting that look; e.g. look at the Oregonian's web page War on Terror:  http://www.oregonlive.com/special/terror/ He doesn't stand a chance at a fair judgement when they link it up like that. War on Terror, Remembering 911, Red White and Blue. I hope they don't come for you next because you've grown a beard and associated with the wrong people.

Today's (4/29) Story on Mike in WS Journal 29.Apr.2003 10:47


Wall Street Journal

American Mystery -- Immigrant's Path: From Tech Success To Terror Charges --- Mike Hawash Worked at Intel; The U.S. Says He Wanted To Join the Taliban --- An Unusual Trip to China

By Scot J. Paltrow

29 April 2003

PORTLAND, Ore. -- As Maher "Mike" Hawash arrived for work at the Intel Corp. facility in Hillsboro, Ore., on March 20, Federal Bureau of Investigation agents, with guns drawn, surrounded him in the parking lot, bundled him into a car, and whisked him off. That morning agents armed with assault rifles and wearing flak jackets also raided his house, scaring his wife and young children and carrying off financial and computer records.

Mr. Hawash's incarceration in a federal prison as a material witness in a terrorism case prompted six weeks of protests by an increasingly angry group of current and former Intel employees, as well as friends and neighbors of Mr. Hawash. They saw their friend and colleague, who was born Palestinian and Muslim, as a loyal naturalized American citizen. He came to the U.S. when he was 20, became a citizen in 1990, married an American Christian woman and had three children, to whom he was devoted. He was held with no charges and no explanation from the government.

Yesterday federal prosecutors spelled out their charges. In a criminal complaint, they charged Mr. Hawash, 39 years old, with conspiracy to wage war against the U.S, and conspiracy to provide support to al Qaeda and the Taliban. Mr. Hawash was accused of traveling to China, along with several other Portland-area residents who were previously charged, with the intention of going to Afghanistan to fight against U.S. forces after Sept. 11, 2001.

Mr. Hawash's prosecution is shaping up as one of the biggest mysteries of the government's terrorism cases in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks. The case shows how difficult it is in terror cases to separate suspicious behavior from truly nefarious activity.

Of the more than 40 individuals held as material witnesses, and more than 200 others being prosecuted on terrorism charges, no other individual has galvanized the outpouring of support in the U.S. that he has. Earlier this month, about 150 of his friends, former colleagues and neighbors held a protest in front of the U.S. District Court in Portland. Yesterday, shortly before the charges were announced, some of his supporters rallied near the federal court in Seattle.

Unlike many of the other defendants and material witnesses, held in custody to ensure they don't flee, Mr. Hawash had fully integrated himself into the mainstream community where he lived. In many respects he had attained the American dream. He owned his own home and was respected at microchip-maker Intel, one of the U.S.'s preeminent high-tech giants. He was exceptionally popular and known in the community for his volunteer activities.

But if the federal government's accusations are true, Mr. Hawash had another, hidden side, one that led him to travel with five other Muslims from the Portland area to the province of Xinjiang in Western China and to make an unsuccessful attempt to enter Afghanistan in October 2001.

Many of Mr. Hawash's supporters didn't know that he traveled to China in 2001. They don't deny that he paid off his mortgage and put his house in his wife's name before he left. The question is: Why?

Steve McGeady, a former Intel executive who was once Mr. Hawash's boss and heads the support group, insists that "the evidence is weak and amounts to guilt by association." He calls the charges "baseless."

Leora Gregory, an Intel executive who helps oversee a plant in China, and a friend of Mr. Hawash, says she finds it impossible to believe that he had planned to join the Taliban. "It's so hard to believe that he would wage war against the country that housed him as a citizen and housed his family," she says. "It's not the guy I know. It just doesn't add up."

Mr. Hawash started working for Intel in 1992 as a software engineer on cutting-edge digital video software. With an Intel colleague, he co-wrote a book on advanced video graphics. When his father, a carpenter in Nablus, on the West Bank, became ill, Intel made special arrangements for him to work in 1994 at an Intel facility in Israel, according to a former Intel supervisor. His close friends say that after he returned to Portland about two years later he continued to have Jewish Israeli friends. Intel eliminated Mr. Hawash's division in 2001 and he lost his job. But the company took him back as a contract employee. An Intel spokesman said that the company is aware of the charges against Mr. Hawash and that it has no comment.

Far from being a hothead on politics, Mr. Hawash's friends say, he was unusually pacific, even-keeled, and sought to calm others upset by world events. He was known for building and donating furniture for school auctions, volunteering as a youth soccer coach, and donating his time to turn a garage into a learning center for children at a local, secular community center.

Ms. Gregory describes Mr. Hawash as "magnetic" and "fun." In an interview before the charges were filed yesterday, she said she would be surprised if he had been involved in anything violent, because "he often said `why do people have to fight'. Instead he always concentrated on trying to help people improve and do things that would improve, not be destructive."

As a measure of his popularity among Intel colleagues, she recalled a seemingly interminable round of going away parties for him before he left for Israel in 1994. At one, five Intel staffers had their hair cut to imitate Mr. Hawash's then-unusual short style.

The support group formed on his behalf launched a "Free Mike Hawash" Web site, alerted media around the world to his plight, raised thousands of dollars for his family and organized demonstrations.

Rohan Coelho, a close friend of Mr. Hawash's -- he introduced Mr. Hawash to his future wife and was best man at their wedding -- said before the charges were filed that he couldn't conceive of Mr. Hawash setting off to do anything violent or anti-American.

But to friends such as Mr. Coelho and Ms. Gregory, it appears that Mr. Hawash was deeply influenced by the recent death of his father, and in the aftermath underwent a religious reawakening.

According to the criminal complaint, Mr. Hawash allegedly went to China six weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks with a mostly down-on-its luck group of five fellow Muslims from Portland. Those individuals, and the wife of one who is accused only of wiring money to her husband in China, were charged in October 2002 with conspiring to make war against the U.S. by attempting to aid the Taliban and al Qaeda. They have all pleaded not guilty and denied the charges.

The charges stem from an alleged attempt to reach the Taliban to aid the ultra-orthodox Islamic regime in defending Afghanistan against the American military attack. They traveled from Portland to China, but quickly abandoned their plan because they couldn't reach Afghanistan. Evidence so far made public indicates that they never made contact with the Taliban, and most simply returned home to Portland.

Michael W. Mosman, the United States Attorney in Portland, declined to be interviewed about the Hawash or Portland Six cases.

Mr. Hawash is being held in the Federal Correctional Institution in Sheridan, Ore. His lawyer, Stephen A. Houze, declined to comment except to say that he planned to ask that Mr. Hawash be released on bail at his arraignment today.

Mr. Coelho, a former Intel software engineer, said in an interview before the charges were filed that some time around October 2001, Mr. Hawash left the U.S. for "a couple of weeks," telling friends and family that he was going to visit his mother and sister in Nablus. Mr. Coelho said that when Mr. Hawash returned, he said that he hadn't been allowed into the West Bank. He didn't want to talk much about his trip.

The trip followed a marked change in Mr. Hawash, after which he increasingly turned toward his ancestral religion. Until his father's death in early 2001, friends say, Mr. Hawash had routinely fasted during the holy month of Ramadan. But otherwise he seemed to pay little attention to religious observance. After his father died, Mr. Hawash stopped drinking alcohol, grew a beard, and made a pilgrimage to Mecca, according to his friends.

The transformation resulted in strains on his marriage. "As Mike became a lot more Muslim, the change was something Lisa had to struggle with," Mr. Coelho said, adding that she felt that he was no longer "the person she first married." It got so bad, Mr. Coelho said, that one night the couple fought and Mr. Hawash ended up sleeping in his car. Mrs. Hawash couldn't be reached.

Just before he left on the October 2001 trip, moreover, Mr. Hawash took several steps that suggest he thought he might not return. He paid off the mortgage on his house, for example, and transferred its title to his wife. But Mr. Coelho says Mr. Hawash said he paid off the mortgage simply because the Koran forbids Muslims to borrow money at interest. And he said Mr. Hawash transferred title to the house because he wanted to get his affairs in order in case he got stuck in the West Bank indefinitely, due to continuing violence and uncertainty about the border.

In an affidavit filed in court with the charges, the FBI said that Lisa Hawash had told them that her husband said he was going to China to look for business opportunities. But the FBI said that his telephone records showed no phone calls to China before he left.

Mr. Coelho and other friends say that Mr. Hawash, like other Palestinians, might have reasons to be angry with Israel and the support it has received from the U.S. When Mr. Hawash was a child, his family was exiled for a time by Israel to Kuwait, the friends say. In recent months an Israeli tank has been stationed in front of Mr. Hawash's mother's house, often firing shells over her roof at Palestinian targets.

Nevertheless, Mr. Coelho says he can't imagine Mr. Hawash engaging in violence. He says that as his friend became more religious, Mr. Coelho, a devout Catholic born in India, challenged him about whether Islam, with its requirement for jihad, or holy war, prescribed in the Koran, wasn't a violent religion. "He said actually `no'," Mr. Coelho recalls. "He said the religion is about peace and charity."

Ms. Gregory, the Intel executive, recalls that when Mr. Hawash returned from making the pilgrimage to Mecca, he complained bitterly about fellow Muslims who he said had pushed and shoved as the pilgrims approached the holy places, in contravention of what he said was supposed to be the religion's spirit of peace and cooperation. "He told me that there was a whole class of people who didn't seem to understand what it was all about," she says.

Friends also say they find it hard to believe that Mr. Hawash would have accompanied the individuals charged in the earlier indictment. While the Portland Muslim community is small, estimated at from 7,000 to 10,000 individuals, and closely knit, the five defendants who allegedly set off to fight for the Taliban were people with menial jobs who associated with few people outside of the Muslim community, and weren't the type Mr. Hawash normally spent time with. They included a nurse's aid, a bagel-maker and someone who sold cellphones and taught physical education part time at a local Muslim school.

But the FBI affidavit states that neighbors told FBI agents that they had seen several of the defendants in the Portland case at Mr. Hawash's house in the month or so before their alleged departure for China and that one of them had done yard work for the Hawash family.

As with the detention of Mr. Hawash, the case against the Portland Six also has drawn criticism from civil libertarians and others who feel that the government has been overly zealous. When the six were indicted in October, Attorney General John Ashcroft called the event "a defining day in America's war against terrorism," and said that "a suspected terrorist cell within our borders" had been "neutralized." Evidence that has emerged so far, however, appears to give little support to the contention that the group was a real terrorist cell. Despite months of intensive surveillance of the defendants by the FBI before their arrests, no allegation has been made that they were plotting any violent action after they returned home from China. Justice Department spokesman Bryan Sierra said that the department views sleeper cells to be any group that "conspires to support terrorists," regardless of whether it was planning any violent action here.

The criminal complaint and lengthy affidavit in the Hawash case offer little actual evidence of what Mr. Hawash's intentions were. The sole exception is a partial transcript of a conversation recorded by a confidential FBI source with one of the other defendants in the case, Jeffrey Leon Battle. In it, Mr. Battle said a "Palestinian" who was "married to a white woman . . . left with us to go fight."

Assumptions being made 29.Apr.2003 11:14


First, my own prejudices: I'm a guy that grows his beard (untrimmed) for a month or two, then shaves it all off and starts over. I think Hawash looks fine in both pictures, even if (unsubstantiated) the beard was grown as a statement of solidarity with relatives who the US government considers its enemy...or, wait, no the Iraqi people are our friends...or wait, no, it's OK for US soldiers to fire on civilians in some cases and kill over 2000 total...or, whatever is expedient under the circumstances. (Will be interesting to see how Hawash is treated for just going to China, potentially with other ideas in his head, vs. the US soldier who actually killed other US soldiers in the fragging incident, presumably based on similar ideas.)

blacklogic says that the media "obviously had both pictures the whole time". I don't know why that's obvious: I wouldn't put it past the government to supply the press with the new picture with the new charges, thinking it might help their case. Even if the news media DID have the second picture the whole time and they had run that one from the start, the screaming from the image conscious people here would have presumably been even louder had the more "American" alternate come to light. I would ask them if the media ever had the "right" to run the bearded picture of Hawash. One could argue that the bearded picture is not damning in itself, but only because of public opinion regarding Iraqis and terrorists and current perceptions of Good vs. Evil.

It is a good illustration of the media message -> public opinion -> media message cycle, which is often reinforced (and sometimes initiated) by government propaganda. I think Indymedia is a somewhat successful attempt to break the cycle at the media point.

I am making assumptions. 29.Apr.2003 11:56


Of course I'm making assumptions regarding how long the media had pictures of Hawash with a beard. But if he grew a beard after he came back from his trip to China, then the entire time he was under FBI surveillance he would have had a beard. This would include any pictures taken when they first took him into custody. I can't believe that no other photos were taken of him with a beard until the most recent "booking" picture circulating through the media.

oops 29.Apr.2003 12:11


I seem to have confused Iraqi "enemies" with Afghan or Palistinian or Muslim "enemies". It's hard to keep straight these days who I'm supposed to fear or hate or "liberate" this week. In any case, I think my points still stand.

to shave...or not to shave 29.Apr.2003 13:47


Growing a beard to express your solidarity with other Muslims is NOT a crime.

That being said, I think Bush and his boys want us to hate everybody...hence our inability to organize.

As I see it, there are no enemies, just a whole bunch of gullible US citizens who don't understand how little freedom we really do have. As for Bush and his boys, I'm sure that they are under the unenlightened perception that they're fighting for whatever they hold dear (money, oil, indulgence, greed, etc.).

My thoughts on this peace movement...if I want pro-war sympathizers to be tolerant and accepting, I must be tolerant and accepting. Whatever I want, I must carry that character myself. No need to sell myself short either. I will fight like hell to keep the Bill or Rights and peace alive.

For those who don't believe that Ashcroft is focused on robbing us of our freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution, just visit the ACLU website and read for yourself.

What does he really look like? 29.Apr.2003 14:37


If the mainstream media really cared about presenting the news objectively, they would show a current picture. They do not and are not. See  http://portland.indymedia.org/front.php3?article_id=63083&group=webcast for a better idea of what Mike looks like today (as if that should actually matter).

Nice watercolors 29.Apr.2003 21:05


Nice watercolors. Thanks Gollum for posting them. Somehow I think it does help to see him as he looks today. Isn't easy to imagine one's self in his position when you see those court illustrations?