The 28-year-old Islamist terrorist who was shot dead by police after murdering two people on London Bridge last Friday swore in a BBC report nearly a dozen years ago that he was not a terrorist. Roughly four years after giving that interview, he was convicted for his role in a terrorist plot to bomb the London Stock Exchange. But remember, "I ain't no terrorist," said the terrorist:
Usman Khan, the 28-year-old who killed two people at London Bridge on Friday, refuted claims in a 2008 BBC interview that he was a terrorist following a raid on his home by anti-terror police https://t.co/pMJXoD2G2a pic.twitter.com/SrH4gWCsDv— Reuters (@Reuters) December 1, 2019
Astoundingly, following that conviction, Khan was released from prison on an expedited time table. Why? Because he'd become, according to authorities, a model case (or a "poster boy") for a British rehabilitation program -- via The Telegraph:
Learning Together, a Cambridge University programme, worked with Usman Khan in prison and after his release and used him as a case study to show how they helped prisoners. Khan even wrote a poem and a thank-you note to organisers after they provided him with a computer he could use without breaching a licence that banned him from going online.
Next comes the grim punchline:
"Just months later the 28-year-old used his connection to the rehabilitation initiative to get permission to travel to London and kill two of those people who were trying to help him."
He said he wasn't a terrorist, then he was convicted of terrorism offenses, then convinced the system that he was no longer a threat, then committed a terrorist act, stabbing five people while wearing a realistic-looking but fake suicide vest. A comprehensive failure. With the UK general election less than a week-and-a-half away, this incident has become a political flashpoint. The opposition obviously blames the conservative government as responsible under the buck-stops-here principle. But there's a...small complication with that line of attack:
The 28 year-old was initially sentenced to an indeterminate sentence for public protection — a measure introduced by the Labour government in 2005 — for his part in an all-Qaeda-inspired plot to bomb the London Stock Exchange and establish a terrorist training camp. The Imprisonment for Public Protection regime was later scrapped by the Conservative-led coalition in 2012. Khan was convicted in February 2012, before the indeterminate sentence was abolished. Yvette Cooper, who served as shadow home secretary from 2011-2015, questioned in a series of tweets why he had been released from prison and said the government had been “warned” against ending IPPs. Priti Patel, the Conservative Home Secretary, hit back saying that the law had been changed “to end Labour’s automatic release policy” and blamed Labour for introducing the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act in 2008.
Radical left-wing Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, whose party implemented the automatic parole eligibility provisions that led to Khan's release, has questioned the decisions of the parole board. This posture sparked a pointed reply from the Tory Home Secretary:
The Parole Board could not be involved in this decision @jeremycorbyn. Your party changed the law in 2008 so that Khan was automatically released irrespective of the danger he posed. Very concerning that you want to be PM but don’t understand this.https://t.co/uqUBggmEbg— Priti Patel (@patel4witham) November 30, 2019
This is a fair counterpoint, but not one that the Labour opposition is in any position to make: "Questions are now being asked as to why there were no provisions implemented by the Tories after removing the indeterminate sentences for public protection which would have ensured the Parole Board intervened before Khan's automatic release." I'll leave you with one thing that virtually all Britons agree upon is the incredible heroism of a handful of civilians who grabbed makeshift weapons -- including a fire extinguisher and a whale tusk -- to stop the attacker from inflicting more damage. Absolutely extraordinary: