We’re fighting them over there so we don’t have to fight them over here. That, you’ll recall, was the message pounded home in the early days of the Long War — essentially the same tired old cold war line trotted out by the neocons and revamped for the age of terrorism. If we don’t stop them in Central America, the (Sandinistas, Cubans, Salvadoran rebels) will be in Texas soon enough.
As it turned out, the Sandinistas never made it to Baja California, but an alarming development — or perhaps I should say alarmist — seemingly indicates al-Qaeda may have made inroads in the US. In the past few weeks we’ve witnessed the advent of a truly weird phenomenon: al Qaeda-in-America. Detailing the background of an American woman arrested in Ireland and linked to an alleged murder plot, the Press Association reports:
"Ms Paulin-Ramirez’s arrest is one of four developments in the past week that involved Americans in alleged terror plots abroad. Al Qaeda spokesman Adam Gadahn appeared in a video, Sharif Mobley of New Jersey tried to escape his detainment in Yemen, and Colleen LaRose, who allegedly went by the name Jihad Jane to recruit others online to kill Vilks, was named in a federal terror indictment"
As regular readers of this column know, Gadahn was in the news also due to his alleged arrest in Pakistan last week. Initial reports, however, proved inaccurate, and the confusion was due at least in part to the fact that the individual arrested by Pakistani police is also an American, like Gadahn, with a similar name, and said to be from Pennsylvania. So let’s add the previously unknown Abu Yahya Mujahdeen al-Adam to the list: not counting Major Malik Hasan, the Ft. Hood shooter, that makes five.
So, what happened to "we’re fighting them over there so we don’t have to fight them over here"?
Ms. Paulin-Ramirez is a very odd case, and the veracity of the charges against her — that she’s a terrorist, a member of al-Qaeda, and was involved in a murder plot — seem very dubious indeed, in light of the recent decision by the Irish police to release her without charges. Colleen LaRose, a.k.a. "Jihad Jane," another American woman — like Ramirez (a.k.a. "Jihad Jamie"), blond and blue-eyed — is also supposedly connected to the same alleged murder plot: a scheme to kill the Danish cartoonist Lars Vilks, author of cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed as a dog.
The release of Ramirez, however, throws a shadow of suspicion on these charges, and the shadow lengthens considerably when one considers their apparent source; the anti-Muslim fanatics over at "The Jawa Report" — a blog linked to wacko extremists like Robert Spencer, the Islam-hating polemicist, and the frothy-mouthed Pamela Geller, whose associations with European fascists have been amply documented by Charles Johnson.
An indictment [.pdf] against LaRose was made public last week: in it, US prosecutors allege LaRose vowed to kill Vilks, "or die trying," and attempted to recruit assassins over the Internet on behalf of al-Qaeda. She also apparently traveled to Sweden to inquire about obtaining residency. It looks like the "factual" basis of the indictment is founded on information provided by the Jawa crowd, i.e. it is built on a foundation of sand. If this plot was real, then why has Ramirez been released?
Justin Raimondo [send him mail] is editorial director of Antiwar.com and is the author of An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard and Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement.