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Hawash Pleads Guilty

PORTLAND - Mike Hawash, one of the so-called "Portland Seven" plead guilty to charges he conspired to wage war against the United States.
PORTLAND - Mike Hawash, one of the so-called "Portland Seven" plead guilty to charges he conspired to wage war against the United States.

More details to come. . .

homepage: homepage: http://www.katu.com/news/story.asp?ID=59693

Update, but no news 06.Aug.2003 10:44

hanna

August 6, 2003

Hawash Pleads Guilty

PORTLAND - Mike Hawash, one of the so-called "Portland Seven" plead guilty to charges he conspired to wage war against the United States.
Hawash, a 39-year old U.S. citizen of Palestinian descent, originally plead not-guilty to the charges in May.

Hawash, a software engineer, and six others who were arrested last fall are charged with conspiracy to wage war against the United States and conspiracy to provide material support to al-Qaida and the Taliban.

On October 3, 2002, a federal grand jury in Oregon indicted Jeffrey Battle, Patrice Lumumba Ford, brothers Ahmed and Muhammad Bilal, Habis Al Saoub and October Martinique Lewis with the same charges filed against Hawash. All but Al Saoub are in custody, and are scheduled for trial in January 2004.

Hawash is accused of traveling to China in October 2001 with the five other men who have been indicted in a failed attempt to enter Afghanistan to fight U.S. forces.

Federal officials say they have evidence Hawash traveled with the group.

"He traveled to the same cities. And indeed, actually stayed in three different accommodations that the others stayed in at the same time. And indeed stayed in the same room as Mr. Battle," then-FBI special agent in charge, Charles Mathews said in May.

In a 41-page complaint, the government said Hawash's phone records from his home and business show no calls to China prior to his trip.

In addition, the court document indicates Hawash put his house title into his wife's name and gave her power of attorney.

More details to come. . .


KGW coverage 06.Aug.2003 10:58

hanna

You need to register in order to read KGW's coverage. Here's their picture of Hawash.

Hawash Agrees To Plea Bargain 06.Aug.2003 11:43

hanna

PORTLAND - Maher "Mike" Hawash, one of the so-called "Portland Seven" charged with terrorism related crimes, pleaded guilty this morning to conspiring to provide services to the Taliban, but will not face other charges in exchange for testimony against other suspects.

Hawash, a 39-year old software engineer who worked for Intel, had initially pleaded innocent to charges of conspiracy to wage war against the United States, conspiracy to provide material support to al-Qaida and conspiracy to contribute services to al-Qaida and the Taliban.

In exchange for testimony, federal prosecutors agreed to drop charges of conspiring to levy war against the U.S. and conspiring to provide material support for terrorism. Hawash pleaded guilty to conspiring to provide services to the Taliban.

He will serve a minimum of seven years in federal prison under the deal, which was approved by U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft.

Hawash agreed to testify in federal court, before grand juries and before any potential military tribunals.

Federal agents grabbed Hawash, 38, from a parking lot outside his work at Intel Corp. in February and simultaneously searched his home. He was held as a material witness, but federal officials would not confirm publicly they held him until charges were filed five weeks later, in what supporters called an abuse of civil rights.

In a 41-page affidavit released in April, the U.S. Attorney's Office accused Hawash, a naturalized U.S. citizen, of growing angry with the United States after the Sept. 11 attacks, then conspiring with at least five other Muslim men to join the fight in Afghanistan against U.S. troops.

Hawash accompanied the group as it tried and failed to enter Afghanistan from western China in late fall 2001, according to court documents. The Taliban were a militant Muslim organization that controled most of Afghanistan until the American invasion in 2001 following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that year.

Kent Robertson, chief of criminal prosecutions at the U.S. Attorney's office in Portland, has declined to say why his office chose to hold Hawash secretly as a material witness before seeking an indictment.

The FBI appears to have begun investigating Hawash after receiving tips from some of his neighbors, according to the affadavit.

Five of the other six suspects in the case - October Lewis, Jeffrey Battle, Patrice Lumumba Ford and brothers Ahmed and Muhammad Bilal - all have pleaded innocent to charges of conspiracy to wage war against the United States, conspiracy to provide material support to al-Qaida and conspiracy to contribute services to al-Qaida and the Taliban.

Battle, the Bilals, Ford and Habis al Saoub - who remains at large - also face firearms conspiracy charges while Lewis and Ford were charged with money laundering. Battle, Ford, al Saoub and Ahmed Bilal also face firearms possession charges.


predictable 06.Aug.2003 13:55

seen too many innocent people plea bargain

If you're facing charges that could carry the death penalty best to take a plea if it just means going to prison. All the more reason plea bargaining should be illegal. It's sad because from his supporters you would think he would have had the money to fight the charges. But I guess being in isolation for months will scare the shit out of you and make you want to do just about anything to just get through it. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out further.

To Predictable 06.Aug.2003 15:05

Pat Kincaid

1) re making plea bargains illegal. Why not ask the defense bar if they'd like that idea? If not going to trial - and 99% of all defendants don't want to go to trial - the first thing they are looking for -is- a plea bargain.

2) as for confessing to something he didn't do. As part of his plea - Hawash will have to elocute to exactly what he did - and say that in pleading guility - it is not only an admission that he committed these crimes, but that it is equivalent to being found guilty by the jury.

I can't figure who's stupider - you or the people who formed a support group to defend this scumbag.

PK

The first two articles 06.Aug.2003 15:27

anonymous

So the first two articles in this thread are inaccurate. He did not plead guilty to waging war against the US, right? Maybe they should be taken down then?

plea bargains 06.Aug.2003 15:33

concerned

It's not a stupid idea to get rid of the concept of plea bargains. There are 3 groups of people that push for plea bargains
1) people who are guilty of crimes and want more lenient sentences
2) prosecutors who don't have a case but want to get a conviction by offering reduced sentences
3) people who are innocent but face harsh sentences (like the death penalty) if found guilty

For all I know Hawash could be in any one of those categories. If he really was guilty, and this is his choice than so be it. I would have rather seen a trial where the evidence was actually presented. But, as with all plea bargains, the subject of guilt or innocence becomes irrelevant. His plea is not conditional on whether he says exactly what he did; it's conditional on whether he says what the prosecutors want him to say. Believe me, I've seen people plead to crimes they didn't commit because it was a better deal than paying for the trial to prove their innocence. All that matters is whether you tell them what they want to hear, not whether you tell them the truth. And in a case this high profile, the prosecutors could not afford to go to trial if there was a chance Hawash would be found innocent. They needed a guilty verdict or a guilty plea, and the fact that they went for the plea tells us something either about the strength of their case or the other political forces involved.

Hawash the Informer 06.Aug.2003 17:08

Watchman

The comments don't address the real reason why Hawash AND THE GOVERNMENT agreed to the offer. A plea bargain is a two way street. The government got Hawash to agree to testify against the other six defendants. With his testimony, his previous clean record, he is the perfect informant. The others will go down now, perhaps with plea bargains too. The government faced in Hawash a legally well-armed defendant. He had lawyers to spare, unlike most of the other six. Now the government doesn't have to face Hawash's lawyers, and they can steamroll the other six with his testimony.

In the event that Hawash has second thoughts, and retracts his plea bargain, the fact that he agreed to it in the first place will work against him, so he really can't go back, like others have tried (and mostly failed).

It would have been worth it to the government to let him off with a misdemeanor, just to get his testimony against the other six, but overall, he made a pretty good deal.

The interesting part will be the quality of his information in the prosecution of the other six. My guess is that one or two of them will have their charges dropped, but the rest will get hammered, just like the Lake Erie six got flattened.

In the game of prosecution vs. good lawyers, the prosecutors took the long view, let Hawash mostly skate (what do you bet he does nowhere near the seven years) and now will try to lock up the rest of the six for long terms.

I score this one an immediate victory for Hawash, and a loss for the rest of the Six, and a strategic win for the Government. The interesting analysis at the end of game will be what effect the Patriot Act played in tying the hands of Hawash's defense team. That will come out eventually, and will be quite telling.

The Watchman, scorekeeper this time.

To Concerned 06.Aug.2003 17:48

Pat Kincaid

Prosecutors want plea bargains because the time and money spent if everyone went to trial would choke the system. Criminal justice budgets would have to go through the roof to pay for all of that.

Prosecutors also like them because as in this case, you can offer something to get someone to flip on their co-defendants.

Defendants and their lawyers want them because 1) most people arrested and go to trial are in fact found guily and 2) they might very well be in jail while awaiting a trial that could be months if not years in the future.

Scumbag? 06.Aug.2003 18:24

anonymous

I bet he's cleaner than you. You have to wash before you pray, five times a day, or is it six?

He pled guilty to providing material support to Al Qaeda. That might simply mean that he contributed to a charity that ended up going to Al Qaeda, knowingly or not. That doesn't make a person a scumbag.

Please remember people, if he wanted to "kill Americans" as Bush and his people keep saying in reference to people suspected of being in "terror cells" he would have stayed right here.

Did he have devotion to his religion? Certainly. Did he feel it was under threat? Possibly. Did he feel he had to do something to help defend it? Possibly. Do you know HOW he planned to defend it?

NO.

To Anonymous 06.Aug.2003 18:56

Pat Kincaid

Actualy, 'scumbag' doesn't even cover the hafl of it.

He's going to elocute to attempting to go to Afghanistan post Sept. 11 - not just give money to charities. That meant he bought tickets, packed his luggage, sat on a plane, all to aid the Taliban/Al-Queda. That is "defending his religion"?

I especially love the part of the indictment that states he "became angry with the U.S. post Sept. 11th". If true, and I wouldn't be surprised if he again elocutes to it, that's a pretty incredible statement. Then again, most of the people on here felt that way -before- Sept. 11, so perhaps he isn't as bad as I thought. Nah.. it's just that you're worse.

PK

Worse, yeah right 06.Aug.2003 19:28

anonymous

I'm a very bad person.

Maybe you know exactly what he was up to, but I doubt it, and I freely admit that I have no idea myself. So I'm not going to say someone is guilty just because I choose to guess what his intentions were. Everyone knows he went to China. He bought tickets, he packed luggage... you seem to think that proves something. All it proves is that he went to China. It is probable that he was trying to get into Afghanistan. But we don't know what his INTENTIONS were.

If they can prove that he was going to pick up a gun... but they can't now can they? If they could, they would have charged him with something else.

You know, when I say "defending his religion" I'm guessing he may have had that sentiment, but I don't know, and I am also NOT IMPLYING that it meant picking up a gun. I just don't know, and neither do you. You do not know what he meant to do once he got inside Afghanistan. And whatever he intended to do, he didn't do it.

You think it's an incredible statement for him to say that he became angry with the US post Sept. 11? Are you high? Does that have anything to do with crime? That is his feeling and his opinion, and he probably has reasons you couldn't dream of and wouldn't care about. The US may have been very good to you. It's not good to all people (aren't there some soldiers in Iraq that are angry at the government about now). People aren't wrong because they don't share your opinion, they are just different. And an opinion doesn't make a criminal. Don't you agree American? That's what America is all about, isn't it? Freedom of thought of speech, etc.?

I'm so glad I live in America. I hope it stays as free as it was meant to. But it won't as long as people like you think that expressed anger at America (you don't even know for what) implies guilt of a crime.

To Anonymous 07.Aug.2003 04:11

Pat Kincaid

>You do not know what he meant to do once he got inside Afghanistan. And whatever he intended to do, he didn't do it.

>I'mso glad I live in America. I hope it stays as free as it was meant to. But it won't as long as people like you think that expressed >anger at America (you don't even know for what) implies guilt of a crime.

His alleged anger at the US post 9-11 certainly isn't a crime, but it certainly is motive. Motive certainly informs actions.

Aren't you going to feel stupid when he stands up in open court and admits to trying to aid the Taliban/Al-Queda?

Maybe you won't notice.

To: Pat Kincaid 07.Aug.2003 05:19

anonymous

I won't feel stupid, because I didn't claim to know.

"Maybe you won't notice."

Why do you think that?

From what I've noticed in the news reports and the plea agreement, he admitted to wanting to help the Taliban. There was no word about Al Qaeda.

To Anonymous 07.Aug.2003 15:34

Pat Kincaid

>From what I've noticed in the news reports and the plea agreement, he admitted to wanting to help the Taliban. There was no word about Al Qaeda.

That's so silly I'm actually struggling for a metaphor or analogy here. Al Queda and the Taliban were as close as lips and teeth in Afghanistan. To say you wanted to help the one, but not the other is a non-sequitur.

if they were as close as you say... 07.Aug.2003 15:57

unconvinced

Then it should have been easy for the prosecutors to get a guilty plea on both, don't you think? The truth is that they were not close after 9/11, or even before. Afterall, the Taliban tried to warn us of the 9/11 attacks because they knew it would give the US a pretext to invade and remove them from power (revenge from big oil who had negotiated with them and failed for years to build their precious pipeline). I think the Taliban said of Al Queda something to the affect of, "it was like a guest burning down the house". The Taliban certainly didn't have a problem with Al-Queda operating in Afghanistan (not that they could have stopped it if they had wanted to) but they had a big problem with inviting US aggression, hence the 2 were not close (although, with the continues US presence in Afghanistan maybe they'll begin to work together now against their common enemy).

Watchman, I think your analysis is accurate and you and others are right, it will be interesting to see how the rest of this plays out.

Silly 07.Aug.2003 16:12

anonymous

I would suggest that it is highly feasible that one might see it as an injustice that the most powerful nation in the world would go in and invade a very poor country with no real army (not much more than bands of tribal fighters). It is also feasible that one might identify with that country because of shared religion, and identification with the underdog. It is also feasible that Mr. Hawash might not have understood the connections between the Taliban and Al Qaeda, seeing that most of the world did not at that time.

It is very well known that a lot of young fighters for Al Qaeda itself didn't even understand what that organization was. They were isolated students in religious schools in Pakistan. They were told by some manipulating users that they were going to fight for Islam. Of course they would go, it was their duty. But they ended up in hell. They were devoted to Islam, not Al Qaeda. They were misled and used.

It seems that you have some kind of illusion that everyone on the other side is in on it... every little guy out there knew what the master plan was and had his own evil hand in the plotting. Things only work that way in comic books.

You might recall that most of us didn't understand the connections between Al Qaeda and the Taliban at that time. To suggest that Hawash did is kind of silly.

To Anonymous 07.Aug.2003 16:40

Pat Kincaid

Are you joking? Everyone understood the connection between the Taliban and Al Queda prior to Sept. 11th. Clinton had even launched 2 dozen cruise missles into a camp in Afghanistan to kill Bin Laden following the twin African embassy bombings.

To Anonymous P.S. 07.Aug.2003 16:43

Pat Kincaid

Remember all those people waving pictures of Bin Laden around right after 9-11? They knew exactly the connection between Afghanistan and Al Queda.

PK

sadly I know Pat isn't joking 07.Aug.2003 16:53

unconvinced

Most of the US had never heard of the Taliban prior to 9/11, and what they were told, throughout the 80's and 90's were that they were freedom fighters that our CIA was arming and training and that they were our allies in the cold war and in the war on drugs. As for your example Pat, yes, you've shown the extent of your understanding, that the Taliban and some Al Queda operatives were in Afghanistan. But being in the same country hardly constitutes much of a link. According to the government, there are Al Queda sleeper cells in this country, does that mean there is a link between Al Queda and the US government? They're in the same country aren't they? If you want to discuss this you're just going to have to do better than that. You could have mentioned links between training of Taliban and Al Queda members (while neglecting the role the US played in training and arming the Taliban in the first place). You could have mentioned any number of financial links (again neglecting the flow of money to the Taliban from the US). But instead you want to make some claim that because their were Al Queda camps in Afghanistan that supporting the Taliban was supporting Al Queda, sorry, you're just going to have to do much better. Do some research and come back with a well-reasoned, well-sourced argument.

Forgive them for they know not 07.Aug.2003 20:43

We love you ggg

Forgive those who spew forth hatred from their filthy mouths and keyboards. Remember, In order to imagine such violence, they must have had that same violence visited upon them, again, and again, and again. Pity the poor souls.

time to do some reading 07.Aug.2003 22:46

concerned

The warnings from the Taliban Foreign Minister are well documented. Do some reading.

 http://www.cooperativeresearch.org/wot/sept11/explicitwarnings0701.html

Concerned 07.Aug.2003 23:53

anonymous

Thanks for that link. It is quite disgusting that the ambassador is in prison now... I wonder if he will get a trial, or will they just wait for him to die quietly there? But then, what can they try him for? What crime did he commit?