Khan’s Terror Link Confusion

If you’ve never heard of Babar Ahmad a quick glance at why he is being detained while awaiting extradition to the US gives you a pretty good idea about the sort of man the Americans think he is:

“BABAR AHMAD, a resident of the United Kingdom, provided, and conspired to provide, material support and resources to persons engaged in acts of terrorism in Afghanistan, Chechnya and elsewhere. Specifically, AHMAD provided, through the creation and use of various internet websites, email communication, and other means, expert advice and assistance, communications equipment, military items, currency, monetary instruments, financial services and personnel designed to recruit and assist the Chechen Mujahideen and the Taliban, and raise funds for violent jihad in Afghanistan, Chechnya and other places.”

Ahmad came to prominence when it was revealed his meetings with his old friend Sadiq Khan were bugged by the spooks. The first time the new Shadow Justice Secretary went to visit Ahmad was as a friend in 2004 and he went again in 2005 “as his MP”. As one fellow MP commented at the time “I’ve never gone to visit a constituent in prison for whatever reason, ever.”

Around the same time the story about Khan’s relationship with Ahmad broke in 2008, a page mysteriously disappeared from Khan’s website. A cached version of what he wrote in June 2006 is still available though. Crucially it stated “I have known Babar Ahmad for over fifteen years. We both grew up in Tooting.” Given Khan was 36 at the time it puts him meeting Ahmad in his early twenties. But that isn’t what he told the House…

Khan’s links to Ahmad  go far beyond the professional and his campaign to have Ahmad freed went beyond his role as his local MP. On the 12th July 2006 a month after writing on his website that he had known Ahmad for 15 years, Khan told a House of Commons debate on the UK-US extradition treaty “Babar Ahmad is of a similar age to me and, like me, he was born and raised in Tooting. I have known him on and off for the past 12 or 13 years.” That would have him meeting Ahmad in his mid twenties…

Fast forward to 2008 and the bugging story breaks. Khan is under fire and the Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman is put in an awkward spot where he quite clearly does not defend him. But it was the added detail that Guido finds most interesting:

“Asked if the Prime Minister was happy that a Minister of the Crown had close ties, all be it professional, with people connected to the 9/11 attacks and organisations that some believed should be banned, the PMS replied that Mr Khan was a Whip, and therefore part of the Government. In this case he was acting as a constituency MP in relation to, as we understood it, somebody he had known since childhood.”

“Since childhood” is a new one, a direct contradiction of what Khan had said previously and something that is seconded by someone who might just know the truth – Sara Ahmad, Babar’s little sister who said in 2008 “Sadiq Khan has been a friend of Babar’s since they were boys and a wonderful supporter since his arrest.” Another direct contradiction to what Khan told the House. What is it about his relationship with Babar Ahmad that make him so sketchy with the details, resulting in three different versions of events.   How long has Sadiq Khan known Babar Ahmad? Did Sadiq lie on his website, to the House, or was it to the former Prime Minister?  More importantly, why?



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GuidoFawkes Quote of the Day

Chuka has been trying to spin the Siemens row:

Chuka Umunna: It’s no different from Sky News quoting a business leader.

Adam Boulton: Except yours says ‘VOTE LABOUR’ at the bottom.

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