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Kent State denies ties to jihadi site

Department head says professor contributed news but isn't creator
By Carol Biliczky

Beacon Journal staff writer

An Internet story on Wednesday identified a Kent State faculty member as the author of a jihadist news service on the Web.

The Drudge Report story accused Julio ``Assad'' Pino of posting ``Global War'' at

Pino, 46, a Muslim convert and associate professor of history at KSU, did not return phone calls seeking comment.

His department head, John Jameson, defended him as a good teacher and said the allegations in the story appeared to have been blown out of proportion.

He said Pino told him he provided news stories to the Web site but didn't accept any ownership of it.

The Web site does not name the originator, but a photo of a bearded man there is not of Pino, the description of the originator does not fit Pino and none of the postings on it can be tied to Kent State, Jameson said.

While Pino did operate a pro-Palestinian Web site in the past, he told Jameson he gave it up ``when the hate response got to be too much,'' Jameson said.

The jihadist Web site ``doesn't have any connection to Kent State,'' university spokesman Ron Kirksey said. ``We object to our name being used in connection with it.''

The turmoil began Wednesday when a column by Mike S. Adams on conservative, Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard, was posted on the Drudge Report, a collection of news stories from throughout the world.

``All we want is to get Allah's pleasure,'' the jihadist Web site reads. ``We will write `Jihad' across our foreheads, and the stars. The angels will carry our message through the world.''

Adams accused Pino of ``drawing a paycheck from the people of the State of Ohio while trying to launch a jihad against people like me.''

One recent posting on the Web site was, Crusaders Can't Take Anymore in Afghanistan, Adams said.

Pino is a specialist in Latin America and has a doctorate from the University of California at Los Angeles.

He joined Kent State in 1992 and a few years ago received tenure -- in essence, lifetime employment -- for his research and writings. At Kent, he has taught courses such as The '60s + A Third-World View and Comparative Third-World Revolutions.

He is no stranger to controversy.

Last year he was the target of an Internet petition that labeled him a ``walking, talking time bomb'' and sought to get him fired with comments like, ``Remove this traitor from our educational system'' and ``Get this murderer out of the country!''

In a 2005 letter to the student-run Kent Stater, Pino responded to students who questioned why Muslims were burning American flags.

``You are a nation that permits the production, trading and usage of drugs, gambling, the sex trade, spreads diseases that were unknown to man in the past, such as AIDS, and turns women into commodities for sale,'' he wrote.

``The ill done to the Muslim nations must be requited. The Muslim child does not cry alone; the Muslim woman does not cry alone; and the Muslim man is already at your gates.''

In another letter that year, he called Bush a ``cocaine cowboy''... ``who has added an extra 100,000 corpses to the pile of brown-colored corpses, collected like Indian heads in the Old West.''

In 2003, Pino was charged with disorderly conduct at an anti-war rally at Kent State. He said the charges were an attempt to harass protesters.

The most controversial incident may have been in 2002, when he wrote a column in the Kent Stater that eulogized an 18-year-old Palestinian suicide bomber. He said he was trying to explain why suicide bombings occurred in Israel.

KSU English professor Lewis Fried took offense and urged then-KSU President Carol Cartwright to fire Pino. She refused, saying the university supported free speech.

``A university stands for the sustaining of life and not of murder,'' Fried said Wednesday. ``I'm not opposing free speech, just murderous free speech.''

Kirksey said the university had received about 100 calls and e-mails, some of them threatening Pino, in the most recent incident. University police had been notified, he said.

Carol Biliczky can be reached at 330-996-3729 or
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