February 14, 2011

7/7 Jihadi Quietly Released

I can understand the frustration of the families of victims killed in the 7/7 London bombings at the release of Mohammed Junaid Babar after only 5 years in custody. However, the analogies in the British press between the release of Babar and Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi are rather silly. Al-Magrahi was convicted of murdering 259 people in cold blood. Babar's crime was that he helped facilitate people and equipment to an al Qaeda training camp in Pakistan.

Further, al-Megrahi never fessed up to his culpability in the mass murder claiming a conspiracy against him until the end. Babar, on the other hand, turned states evidence and testified on numerous occasions against his former al Qaeda colleagues. Babar's help to the state may also have been key in preventing another 7/7 type attack in the UK.

Does this make Babar a saint? No. Babar was clearly a former traitor to the US. Regardless of whether or not he was truly repentant or whether he was just trying to reduce his potential 50 year jail sentence the outcome is the same: lives saved.

Moreover, the analogy between Babar and al-Megrahi further breaks down in that the terrorist behind the Lockerbie bombing was released to line the pockets of British Petroleum. Even seen in the worst possible light, Babar's motives for testifying against fellow members of al Qaeda were not pure .... but nevertheless he was released because his testimony helped prevent terrorism.

Now, having said that is five years enough? Given that Babar was a US citizen aiding and abetting the enemies of the United States in a time of war, the initial charge should have been treason and the potential sentence should have been death. A plea bargain starting from that position probably would have -- and maybe should have -- resulted in a longer sentence.

But, we don't know the extent to which Babar helped the FBI and CIA in preventing acts of terrorism. If the reports in his sentencing hearing are to be believed, he was very helpful.

The Guardian:

An American jihadist who set up the terrorist training camp where the leader of the 2005 London suicide bombers learned how to manufacture explosives, has been quietly released after serving only four and a half years of a possible 70-year sentence, a Guardian investigation has learned.

The unreported sentencing of Mohammed Junaid Babar to "time served" because of what a New York judge described as "exceptional co-operation" that began even before his arrest has raised questions over whether Babar was a US informer at the time he was helping to train the ringleader of the 7 July tube and bus bombings.

Lawyers representing the families of victims and survivors of the attacks have compared the lenient treatment of Babar to the controversial release of the Lockerbie bomber, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi.

Hat tip: Howie's lonely arse.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 11:52 AM | Comments |