Earlier today I opined about the story of Julio Pino, a professor of Latin American History at Kent State University and convert to Islam. At the time, I had some rhetorical questions about the story. Some odd things have happened that have me asking a new set of questions.
First, a little more background. Bill Sloat linked to KSU's press statement about the matter. It includes the following:
- When the issue came to our attention, we investigated the issue and found the following:
- n We have no evidence that this Web site is authored by Pino – that is not his picture on the site, and it contains no reference to him or to Kent State. In any case, there is no connection between this site and the university.
Which is what I noticed surfing through the site today. As it happens, I had lunch today with a fellow blogger and we got to speculating about how Pino got linked to the site in the first place. Red speculated that someone must have found a Pino-penned story or op-ed through a Google search and jumped to the conclusion that the whole thing was a Pino operation.
So I searched for Pino to try and figure it out. And at the same time I went back to the website itself. (The FireFox tabs are both a blessing and a curse to someone with ADD.) That's when the weirdness hit. When you plug in or click-through the link to the site -- globalwar.bloghi.com -- you get about a second of this:
That's DefendAmerica.mil, the Department of Defence's news website for the Global War on Terror. No matter how I try to get to GlobalWar, it shifts over to DefendAmerica.
I did some more searching. Google is now lousy with right-wing blogs denouncing Pino, calling for his head, exhorting the villagers to take up pitchforks and torches and march up to the castle. About what you'd expect. I also noticed a bunch of blogs denouncing Pino on BlogHi.
As it turns out, blogHi is a free bloghosting service that appears to be based in Germany, though all the pages I found were written in English. Incidently, check out what's number one in their Most Popular Blogs tonight:
Not surprising, given the publicity. What's a little more surprising is that the next five blogHi blogs in the list have anti-Pino postings from last year. Apparently Lover of Angels, the screen name of Global War's proprietor was making quite a name for himself in the blogHi community. You can check out posts from Soccer Mom, MovingOut, and SmallDoseofReality. The last one is especially revelatory as it includes an extensive comments war between Lover of Angels and everyone else in which Lover is acting, well, quite unprofessorial. And frankly doesn't sound very authentically jihadi, either. All this leads up to a petition for Pino to be removed based on his work on Global war. Again, this was all happening in 2006
And I would also point out that someone took the trouble to reserve the domain juliopino at blogHi to construct a one-post satire site.
But in all that, I can't find an original piece of evidence saying that the real life Professor Julio Pino is the man behind the online entity Lover of Angels. All I find is a bunch of people on an obscure bloghost saying that it's so. And they might have been prompted to by whoever was running Lover of Angels. In his spit-flying comments to the Small Dose post, he refers to himself as a college professer and makes it clear he has done so in the past.
Even the page about Pino on David Horowitz's Discover the Networks -- a website that can make the mooniest bat look sane by comparison -- mentions nothing about the GlobalWar site. So did Pino get linked by anything other than the postings on blogHi?
Did anyone ask any questions about that? Like did they ask Prof. Pino if he was in fact Lover of Angels? Did they attempt to compare the rantings on Global War with Pino's writings which apparently run to the intemperate?
And did anyone think it odd that this guy:
Used as an avatar, this guy:
(Incidently, Little Green Footballs reports that the photo on the site is of a 9/11 highjacker of Flight 93.)
People are saying, over and over and over, that Pino was the guy behind the site. Where does that come from? And by the way, who has hijacked the site now? This time, I'm not just asking rhetorically. I have emails out. Let you know if I find out anything.