Friday, March 12, 2010

"Jihad Jane" case counters stereotypes, raises questions about effects of Web


Eugene Robinson has an interesting OpEd in the Washington Post today, “’JihadJane’ shows why we need equal opportunity checks”, link here. He mentions an earlier “screed” (I know that word!) by Newt Gingrich justifying profiling (and he uses the active verb “to grouse” in connection with Newt -- English teachers, note!).

“Jane”, unlike Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, was apparently a loser who appointed herself to a cause that somehow, she thought, contributing to purifying the world. We used to hear rhetoric from people like her in the early 70s, from people who rejoiced at the absolute justice imposed by Chairman Mao with the Cultural Revolution (Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge weren’t quite known yet.) Curiously, she arrived to a mode of thinking that sometimes we have seen with “privileged” young men (as with 9/11).

A lot is written now about extremist websites in English that draw “unstable” people from western countries, including America. ABC News has a story by Eamon McNiff “'Net Posse Tracked 'Jihad Jane' for Three Years: Civilian Monitors Warn of Others Like 'Jane' on the 'Net Who Are More Dangerous”, link here. There is also a “You Tube Smackdown” (and "Quoth the Raven") movement that is discussed here on a fellow blog.

Of course, one wonders how this could play out in the "free entry" debate, particularly if the legal system around the world expects service providers to assume more prospective responsibility (the "Italian Job" problem, discussed here Feb. 24, 2010.

Update: March 13

Karen DeYoung has an important story on p A2 of The Washington Post, "U.S. citizen accused in Yemen killing had been under FBI watch", link, about Sharif Mobley, accused of a kidnapping in Yemen, had worked in maintenance in a nuclear power plant.

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