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Moazzam Begg, Released from Gitmo in 2005, Part of Christmas Bomber’s Radicalization?

John on December 30, 2009 at 10:56 am

A connection has already been made between two former Gitmo detainees and the Christmas Day bomber. Now there is another similar connection to add to the growing list.

In January 2005, the Bush administration released British Muslim Moazzem Begg from Guantanamo Bay over the objections of the Pentagon, the CIA, and the FBI. Bush apparently did this as a concession to Tony Blair who was taking heat from anti-war activists at home:

With a new book about his experiences and a small blizzard of media attention, Mr. Begg, a 37-year-old Briton of Pakistani descent, has emerged over the last few months as a minor celebrity in his home country.

Human rights groups have hailed his courage. University students have invited him to speak. Journalists have generally taken at face value his claim that he is an innocent man, unlawfully seized and arbitrarily held…

Pentagon officials say Mr. Begg trained at three terrorist camps, “associated” with an array of operatives of Al Qaeda and was ready to fight American-led forces in Afghanistan but fled into the Tora Bora mountains when the Taliban lines collapsed.

One of the students who apparently invited Begg to speak is the man we now know as the Christmas Day bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. According to the Daily Mail:

[W]hile president of the Islamic Society at UCL in 2007, Abdulmutallab organised a week of events under the banner ‘War on Terror’, including a discussion entitled Jihad V Terrorism.

A poster advertising the week carries the name Umar Farook and includes events featuring former British Guantanamo detainee Moazzam Begg entitled Bring Our Boys Home.

Of course Begg remains something of a celebrity on the anti-war left. He speaks at many locations. But the Pentagon has never retracted its claims about his ties to al Qaeda. Given that there are now credible reports Umar Abdulmutallab had ties to al Qaeda and to former Gitmo detainees, his interaction with Begg in 2007 seems like a dot worth connecting.

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Category: Islamic Jihad |

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