Tuesday 15 March 2016

Babar and the elephant in the room

The Victoria Derbyshire programme (BBC Two/BBC News Channel) gave over the bulk of its one-and-a-half hours yesterday to an extended interview with Babar ("I joined Taliban in good faith but I was naive") Ahmad.

The interview was broadcast shortly after Andrew Gilligan posted a piece at the Telegraph headlined "Babar Ahmad - a convicted terrorist - is pulling the wool over the liberal media's eyes: Freed from jail, bin Laden’s fund-raiser appears to be contrite, but falls back on the old 'good faith’ excuse". 

The BBC is evidently part of the 'liberal media' then.

One odd thing I noticed was that, just around the time the interview was being broadcast, the programme's official twitter feed sent out eight 'plugs' for it. They tweeted it to four very specific campaign groups and four BBC home affairs reporters...and they did it (chronologically-speaking) in this order:


  1. The interview was a joke. Ahmad whinging, obfuscating and excusing himself. Key question not asked due to lack of enquiring journalists : You say you did not understand the nature of Bin Laden. What did Bin Laden's 1998 blowing up of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, killing 224 and injuring more than 4000 - the vast majority of whom were Africans, not Americans - tell you about the nature of Bin Laden?

  2. Anon: The judge who sentenced him after seeing all the evidence against him, including classified material, ruled "“[Babar] never supported or believed in or associated with Al-Qaida or Osama bin Laden.” [p.50 of official court transcript] She also said, "“[Babar] was never interested in what is commonly known as terrorism.” [p.49]

    If you have any evidence that when Azzam.com advocated support for the Taliban government, Ahmad knew that Bin Laden had claimed responsibility for the 98 Embassy buildings, then you should send it to the judge and tell her she was mistaken.


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