From Dan Gillmor comes this update on the plight of Mike Hawash. (For more information,& ;visit the Free Mike Hawash site.)
Well, at least it’s now official information that the federal government is holding Maher (Mike) Hawash, an engineer who has worked for years at Intel, in an Oregon jail. Hawash, a U.S. citizen who was born in the Middle East, has been held since March 20 as a “material witness” — not charged with a crime — in a case the feds won’t discuss in any way.
His detention, like so many others, appears to be an abuse of a 1984 law that the Bush administration has used with a vengeance to hold people it may (or may not) suspect of being in league with bad folks. Unlike many other such jailings, all shrouded in the kind of secrecy the Bush people love so much, this one has attracted some powerful attention.
One of Hawash’s friends is Steve McGeady, a former Intel vice president who was Hawash’s boss for years. (Hawash was laid off and had been working as a contractor at Intel, a common situation in today’s troubled tech industry.)
McGeady has set up a “Free Mike Hawash” Web site with considerable background on this case. McGeady told me the other day that this case is “like Alice in Wonderland meets Franz Kafka’‘ — and his analogy resonates.
It appears that Hawash is being held in part because he donated money to a charity that was later determined by the federal government — possibly incorrectly — to have provided financial aid to terrorists.
On Monday, a federal judge did what the government wouldn’t do: acknowledge that Hawash was being held. But he let the government keep holding its prisoner for at least the next three weeks.
If Intel, the company, is doing anything to help Hawash, the assistance isn’t apparent. But as I said last week, I hope a prominent immigrant, whose name is almost synonymous with the company, will take note of this situation. His name is Andy Grove. [Dan Gillmor’s eJournal]
Speaking of Kafka, it’s criminal that Steven Soderbergh’s Kafka is not available on DVD.