Jim Kouri
"Jihad Jane" headed for slammer
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By Jim Kouri
February 2, 2011

The Pennsylvania terror suspect dubbed "Jihad Jane" by cops and news reporters pleaded guilty on Monday to the charges of plotting to kill a Swedish cartoonist, providing material support to terrorists, and other criminal charges, according to a report from the Terrorism Committee of the National Association of Chiefs of Police.

The 47-year old Colleen LaRose, during a hearing in Philadelphia federal courtroom, admitted her role in a plot with others Islamic terrorists to kill the artist who had created a newspaper cartoon that portrayed the Prophet Mohammed in a way that was deemed offensive to Muslims.

LaRose, who has been in U.S. custody for more than a year, is facing a life sentence when she appears before a federal judge again on March 3.

Prosecutors said LaRose, who is from Pennsburg, Pennsylvania, used Internet screen names such as "Jihad Jane," "Fatima LaRose," "ExtremeSister4Life" and "SisterOFTerror."

Federal investigators had accused her of using multiple e-mail and YouTube accounts, other web sites and various online usernames and passwords to publish violent, radical Islamist literature and videos. She also used the Internet to raise money for terrorists.

LaRose originally pleaded not guilty in March 2010 after a federal grand jury indictment alleged that she recruited men online to wage "violent jihad," or holy war, in Asia and Europe.

Her case disturbed U.S. policymakers by revealing the threat of American citizens becoming radicalized by terrorist groups and being employed as suicide bombers, mules (people used to carry contraband) and participants in terrorism plots.

"Today's guilty plea, by a woman from suburban America who plotted with others to commit murder overseas and to provide material support to terrorists, underscores the evolving nature of the threat we face," said David Kris, assistant attorney general for national security.

According to the indictment, LaRose bragged to co-conspirators that being a blond, white woman would allow her to avoid detection as an Islamic terrorist.

She has a personal history of broken marriages and petty crime. In 2009, she reportedly traveled to Europe where she planned to train at a terrorist camp and then find and kill the Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks who drew the controversial Mohammed cartoon that resulted in outcries and riots within Muslim nations.

The indictment revealed that LaRose posted a comment on YouTube in 2008 that she was "desperate to do something somehow to help" the suffering Muslim people.

The charges against her became public in March after the arrest of seven other people in Ireland in connection with a suspected plot to kill the man they said dishonored the holy prophet Mohammed.

Justice Department officials said LaRose received a direct order to kill the cartoonist and agreed to carry out her murder assignment.

If the case had gone to trial, prosecutors claimed they would have proven that LaRose worked "obsessively on her computer to communicate with, recruit and incite other jihadists."

A second American woman, Jamie Paulin-Ramirez of Colorado, was among those arrested and has pleaded not guilty to similar charges in federal court in Philadelphia of plotting to kill Vilks. Her trial is scheduled for later this year.

© Jim Kouri

 

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Jim Kouri

Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police... (more)

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