4/3/10 The Day after Good Friday: Zubaydah

From the ACLU’s A Ponzi Scheme of Torture

Chapter 4, Part 3  3/20/2010


(this same link in a form which does not jump all over the page when the mouse attempts to scroll over it here:  http://www.thetorturereport.or…  )

Timeline Summary of Binyam Mohamed and Abu Zubaydah:

April 2002.  Binyam Mohamed arrested in Pakistan.  Interrogated by the British Secret Service MI6. Tortured in Moroccan secret prisons.

Sept 2004 Binyam Mohamed sent to Guantanamo, from Bagram, Afghanistan. Although declared an

“enemy combatant”  Nov 2004, Binyam Mohamed decides not to participate in the military Tribunal created by President Bush in Oct 2001.

2005  Binyam Mohamed charged with conspiring against the U.S., with “Usama Bin Laden (a/k/a Abu Abdullah), Saif al Adel, Dr. Ayman al Zawahiri (a/k/a “the Doctor”), Mohammad Atef (a/k/a Abu Hafs al Masri), Abd al Hadi al Iraq, Zayn al Abidin Muammad Husayn (a/k/a Abu Zubayda hereinafter “Abu Zubayda”), Jose Padilla, and Khalid Sheikh Mohammad” to commit acts of terrorism.

Zubaydah, the vanishing man-

(Binyam)Mohamed was formally recharged with conspiracy on May 28, 2008. The charge sheet is virtually identical to the one issued on November 4, 2005, except that Richard Reid’s name has been removed from paragraph (e) and every reference to Abu Zubaydah has been purged from the document. Where before “Binyam Mohammad then traveled to Birmel, Afghanistan and was introduced to Abu Zubayda” and “Abu Zubayda promised him training in Pakistan building remote control devices for explosives,” for example, now “Binyam Mohamed then traveled to Birmel Afghanistan, and trained on building remote control devices.” “After arriving in Lahore, Binyam Mohammad and Jose Padilla met with Abu Zubayda in private and discussed plans for attacks against the United States” and “Abu Zubayda stated he preferred Binyam Mohamed conduct an ‘overseas’ operation instead of going back to Afghanistan” became “After arriving in Lahore, Binyam Mohamed and Jose Padilla plotted attacks against the United States. After these discussions, Mohamed and Padilla agreed to be sent to the United States to conduct these operations rather than returning to Afghanistan.”23 [23]

Sept 22, 2008. Lt Col Darrel Vandeveld, US military Tribunal prosecutor, requests to resign his military commission, stating he had ethical qualms about continuing to prosecute Guantanamo detainees without evidence being made available for the defense.

Oct 20, 2008.  Pentagon dropped all charges against Binyam Mohamed and four other detainees whose original charge sheets had linked them to Abu Zubaydah.

Oct 21, 2008. The United Kingdom notifies the Foreign Office they are about to hand down notice on releasing CIA documents for Binyam Mohamed’s attorneys.

Oct 22, 2008.   The British courts rule.  A British – US diplomatic tug of war over who goes first, releasing what classified documents, trying to hide the torture evidence, results. This year, a few paragraphs were released, showing that the British govt. secret services did know of Binyam Mohamed’s incarceration.

Jan 22, 2009.  President Obama orders Guantanamo closed, bans torture, forms task force to review all cases.

Feb 23, 2010.  Binyam Mohamed finally freed and returned to the UK.

from Binyam Mohamed’s Statement the day he was released:

….For myself, the very worst moment came when I realised in Morocco that the people who were torturing me were receiving questions and materials from British intelligence. I had met with British intelligence in Pakistan. I had been open with them. Yet the very people who I hoped would come to my rescue, I later realised, had allied themselves with my abusers.

I am not asking for vengeance; only that the truth should be made known, so that nobody in the future should have to endure what I have endured.

from the ACLU’s “A Ponzi Scheme of Torture”

Abu Zubaydah


When Attorney General Eric Holder announced on November 14, 2009 that the Obama administration intended to try five of the most notorious Guantánamo detainees in federal court for planning the September 11, 2001 attacks and five more before military commissions, conspicuously absent from either list was Abu Zubaydah. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was there, slated for trial in New York, and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, who is to appear before a military commission in connection with the U.S.S. Cole bombing. But Abu Zubaydah, the man the Bush administration identified as the “third or fourth man in al Qaeda” and the ringleader of the Padilla-Binyam Mohamed “dirty bomb” and apartment bombing plots, was once again not scheduled for prosecution of any kind.

In fact, the only proceeding Abu Zubaydah has been afforded was a Combatant Status Review Tribunal hearing on March 27, 2007, a month after Jose Padilla was declared competent to stand trial on the conspiracy charge in Miami. At the closing unclassified session of that hearing, Abu Zubaydah’s Personal Representative read the following statement:

(statement of Abu Zubaydan, March 27, 2008)

“In the name of God the Merciful. Mr. President and Members of the Tribunal, I would have liked to have spoken to you today on my own, but I have been having seizures lately which have temporarily affected my ability to speak and write without difficulty. Therefore, I asked my Personal Representative to speak on my behalf. I hope from you justice, and I know that is what you seek.

Do not make the mistake [redacted] when they first arrested me on 28 March 2002. After months of suffering and torture, physically and mentally, they did not care about my injuries that they inflicted to my eye, to my stomach, to my bladder, and my left thigh and reproductive organs. They didn’t care that I almost died from these injuries. Doctors told me that I nearly died four times. Then they transferred me in a way that a normal, ordinary person would be embarrassed to be treated, [four line redaction]. They did this to me because they thought I was the number three leader in al Qaida and a partner of Usama Bin Laden, as is mentioned in the unclassified Summary of Evidence against me.

After a few months went by, during which I almost lost my mind and my life, they made sure I didn’t die. Therefore, year after year, I am losing my masculinity. Even my beard is falling out, not from injuries but from the lack of treatment. [Redacted[ discovered after all of this that I am not Usama Bin Laden’s partner, and that I am not number three in al Qaida, and that I’m not even in al Qaida.  

After this, I started feeling the symptoms of my 1992 injury to my head, including the complete loss of my memory and an inability to speak, read, or write. But these abilities slowly came back to me although I still have shrapnel in my head. Also, another form of torture was when they wouldn’t give me my diary, which caused me to have nearly 40 seizures. The mental anguish that came from broken promises in which they said that they would give me my diary back contributed to the seizures. Most importantly, my diary can refute the accusations against me and it can show that I am personally against the sort of acts that were committed.

Dear Members of the Tribunal, in saying all of this, I am not trying to gain your pity. I am only trying for you to see the big picture, the true picture not the picture depicted by the media, which the CIA found out too late. Therefore, I would like you to know this truth before you make your decision. I know this is not a criminal trial, as you say, but all I hope from you is that you try me for something that I am proud of having done, not something I didn’t do or am against, nor something that would shame me before the world.

I am not here to lie to you, or cheat you, or to lie to myself by saying that I am not an enemy of your injustice. I have been an enemy of yours since I was a child because of your unjust acts against my people, the Palestinians, through your help and partnership with Israel in occupying our land and by killing our men and raping our women and kicking out our people and turning them into refugees for more than 60 years. Until now, half of my people are refugees in refugee camps. I cannot deny that, since back when I was a child, I liked a lot of things in your country and your history and your culture. I am not lying by saying that, but it is the truth.

My moral position is not against the American people or America, but against the government which I see as a partner in oppression. A partner of a killer is also a killer. I also resent the military that is used by this government to inflict this oppression. In other words, dear members of the military, I am against you. My words are not hypocrisy, and I do respect you. I believe that even my enemy should be respected.

I don’t deny that I am an enemy of your injustice, but I deny that I am an enemy combatant. I never conducted nor financially supported, nor helped in any operation against America. Yes, I write poetry against America and, yes, I feel good when operations by others are conducted against America but only against military targets such as the U.S.S. Cole. But, I get angry if they target civilians, such as those in the World Trade Center. This I am completely against, [one line redaction] My diary will prove that some of our accusations were not in my plans. How can I plan for operations that I don’t believe in? What you call plans about what Bin Laden did on 9/11, I wrote in my diary in response to Bin Laden’s action, noting that he had many choices on how to conduct war which are wrong in Islam, such as race war, killing civilians, burning cities, and targeting civilians in markets. This is what people of war do, and I am sorry you are one of them. This is the truth. If someone reads my diary with a biased mind, he will misinterpret my meaning.

Dear Members, this is what I have for you. As you have noticed, it wasn’t a defense that contained much evidence [one line redaction] I also do not have a lawyer to defend me in front of this Tribunal. Take notice that if a lawyer was present, he would not have allowed me to say what I said because I said the truth without reservation.  And I am willing to be hung for it for something I have done. I am not a lawyer to defend myself. I can’t even speak clearly, temporarily, God willing. It is only to demonstrate to you. ”

The Commission President asked Abu Zubaydah directly whether he had anything to add to the statement. “No,” Zubaydah answered. The President went on, “In your statement, you mentioned months of torture. Has anything that you provided us today regarding your written statements related to those that times that you have been tortured?”

ABU ZUBAYDAH: No. [conversation between Detainee and Language Analyst discussion the President’s question] Actually, most of what they say I did in first months they take against me even for some things or like this they take I was-I was nearly half die plus what they do torture me-it-There I was not afraid from die because I do believe I will be shahid [Language Analyst translates] martyr, but as God make me as a human and I weak, so they say yes, I say okay, I do I do, but leave me. They say no, we don’t want to. You to admit you do this, we want you to give us more information. This part I can’t because I don’t know. I say, “yes, I was partner of Bin Laden. I’m his number three in al Qaida and I’m his partner of [Ahmed] Ressam.” I say okay but leave me. So they write but they want what’s after, more information about more operations, so I can’t. They keep torturing me, tell my why them self they discover you are not torturing. So some, not all, some what you have here even me say of me here in the paper, it is from FBI. But I don’t know of the dealing; I was in the hands of FBI or CIA. But FBI people when I met them in the last month, I [one line redaction] And they have my part-four part of my diary and the origin is with them. So who’s torture me taking over information. Maybe they are FBI, maybe are CIA, I don’t know, till now. So here they say FBI-FIB, they not talk about the CIA, so I don’t know.

(Commission) PRESIDENT: So did you make statements during that treatment?


PRESIDENT: And what you said, was it correct, was it incomplete or was it not correct or untrue in any way?

ABU ZUBAYDAH: They say “this in your diary.” They say “see you want to make operation against America.” I say no, the idea is different. They say no, torturing, torturing. I say, “okay, I do. I was decide to make operation.” This first part the second part, okay. What is the operation? I not have the specifics; I talk about open idea. So most of this here the CIA, they admitted that I admitted too. [two line redaction] They start asking again and again about this thing. I tell them no. [one line redaction] I was like this, I was like this, I want to finish this. And something they not believe all what I do, say in that time. Some they believe, some they not believe. I don’t know what they need or not need. They only ask and I answer.

PRESIDENT: In your previous statement, you were saying specific treatments. Can you describe a little bit more about what those treatments were?

ABU ZUBAYDAH: [17 line redaction]

PRESIDENT: I understand.

ABU ZUBAYDAH: And they not give me chance all this. [68 line redaction] they start tell me the time for the pray and slowly, slowly circumstance became good. They told me sorry we discover that you are not number three, not a partner even not a fighter.

(Commission) PRESIDENT: So I understand that during this treatment, you said things to make them stop and then those statements were actually untrue, is that correct?



Footnote#54. Verbatim transcript of Combatant Status Review Tribunal Hearing for ISN 10016, Abu Zubaydah, Closing Unclassified Section, pp. 22 – 30, available at http://www.aclu.org/pdfs/safef…



Abu Zubaydah, born in 1971 in Saudi Arabia, spent teenaged years in the West Bank, went to Afghanistan in 1991 to fight the Russians, (where he got a head injury and memory loss from shrapnel), and was arrested in Faisalabad, Pakistan on March 28, 2002.   He was so severely wounded by 3 gunshots from an AK 47, a physician was flown in from the United States to operate.   Previously to his arrest, by 1999 the US Government was running surveillance on him based on his alleged activities as an aide to Osama bin Laden.

Allegations against Zubaydah were made and later recanted by Ahmed Ressam, aka Benni Noris the Algerian attempted “Millennium” bomber.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A…    Former journalist Judy Miller of the NY Times, notorious for writing about Saddam Hussein’s “weapons of mass destruction” before the US invasion of Iraq, also wrote about the “Millenium” plot.

Zubaydah was also convicted in absentia by Jordan for an alleged bombing plot, however, the mastermind of that conspiracy, that he was supposed to be working with, one Palestinian – American “Khalil Deek,” who was arrested in Peshawar, Pakistan, and deported to Jordan, was released in 2001 without being charged or going to trial.  In 2003, a journalist named Jason Burke writes that Deek was “in fact, an agent for the Jordanian secret services.”  In 2005, another journalist, Jonathan Randall will also suggest that Deek was a Jordanian mole agent.   http://www.historycommons.org/…

He (Zubaydah)  was named the “number 2” or a “very senior” official in al Qaeda by then Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, President George W Bush, and former members of the Bush administration intelligence agencies such as the CIA.

Abu Zubaydah was waterboarded at least 83 times in the summer of 2002, upon the orders given by former VP Dick Cheney.

It has recently been shown by bloggers Marcy Wheeler at FDL, and Jason Leopold at Truthout, who studied government documents, that the Jonathan Yoo and James Bybee “torture memos” giving the go for government “enhanced interrogation,” were written for the Bush administration, after the fact.   https://www.docudharma.com/diar…

The Government of the United States, in court documents recently declassified in late March 2010, has recanted all charges that Abu Zubaydah was a member of al Qaeda or had anything to do with the Sept 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

An extraordinary article by Mr. Zubaydah’s attorney, Brent Mickum, was published in the Guardian UK Monday, March 30, 2010.

Titled “The Truth about Abu Zubaydah,”  it was vetted by the CIA prior to publication, and some of it is redacted, which is marked by brackets [….].  

Zayn al-Abidin Muhammad Husayn, more commonly known as Abu Zubaydah, is my client….  These facts really are no longer contested: Zayn was not, and never had been, a member of either the Taliban or al-Qaida. The CIA determined this after torturing him extensively and […].

[…] Pulitzer Prize winning author David Suskind has reported that a knowledgeable CIA source wryly told him: “We gave [Abu Zubaydah] the best medical help in the world so we could start torturing him.” Abu Zubaydah was tortured so vilely that even attorneys who are familiar with the administration’s illegal actions over the years would be appalled. The government will not allow me to tell you what techniques of torture it approved for use on my client, but suffice it to say that given Zayn’s treatment, it is not surprising that the videotapes of his torture were destroyed. Just recently, the government revealed that 90 of the 92 videotapes that the CIA destroyed related to our client.

More importantly, the government is conducting a surreptitious but systematic purging of any reference to my client from the charge sheets and factual returns of other prisoners whose cases were being prosecuted. Abu Zubaydah has been linked to nearly 50 prisoners and former prisoners through media accounts and official Guantanamo Bay documents. Of these, approximately two dozen have either had their charges dropped or have been released from custody, including British resident Binyam Mohamed, who was recently released to British authorities without any charges. Before charges were dropped against Binyam Mohamed, Sufyian Barhoumi, Ghassan al-Sharbi and Jabran Sard al-Qahtani, each had their charge sheets redrafted to remove every reference to Abu Zubaydah.  Internationally, several individuals alleged to have known Abu Zubaydah have had their charges dropped, been released, or received other relief from their handlers.

Unlike Maher Arar and Khaled el-Masri, whose countries championed their return, no country is extending a hand to help a stateless Palestinian, given the administration’s public statements about him. Unless the Obama administration allows me to negotiate openly on his behalf and provide officials with an actual account of his activity, he will continue to fade from view, which is, I fear, exactly what the administration wants.

edit: link added for above quote  http://www.guardian.co.uk/comm…


The Book of Job 14:1-14:

A mortal, born of woman, few of days and full of trouble,

  comes up like a flower and withers,

  flees like a shadow and does not last.

Do you fix your eyes on such a one?

  Do you bring me into judgement with you?

Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean?

  No one can.

Since their days are determined,

  and the number of their months is known to you,

  and you have appointed the bounds that they cannot pass,

look away from them, and desist,

  that they may enjoy, like labourers, their days.

For there is hope for a tree,

  if it is cut down, that it will sprout again,

  and that its shoots will not cease.

Though its root grows old in the earth,

  and its stump dies in the ground,

yet at the scent of water it will bud

  and put forth branches like a young plant.

But mortals die, and are laid low;

  humans expire, and where are they?

As waters fail from a lake,

  and a river wastes away and dries up,

so mortals lie down and do not rise again;

  until the heavens are no more, they will not awake

  or be roused out of their sleep.

O that you would hide me in Sheol,

  that you would conceal me until your wrath is past,

  that you would appoint me a set time, and remember me!

If mortals die, will they live again?

  All the days of my service I would wait

  until my release should come.


  1. …. but a necessary reckoning if we want peace.

  2. When so many would rather look away.

Comments have been disabled.