Gitmo prisoner's secret diaries leaked

2013-11-08 09:35
A guard looks out from a tower at the detention facility of Guantanamo Bay US Naval Base in Cuba. (AP)

A guard looks out from a tower at the detention facility of Guantanamo Bay US Naval Base in Cuba. (AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Washington - Al Jazeera America published on Thursday part of the secret personal diaries of one of Guantanamo's most high-profile prisoners, with records of meetings with al-Qaeda's chieftains.

The six volumes of Abu Zubaydah's diaries, (which span more than a decade from his student years to just before his March 2002 capture) were a key element of the George W Bush administration's justification of its "war on terror".

US officials often use the accounts to justify holding prisoners at Guantanamo without charge or trial, but they have never before been made public.

Washington once considered Abu Zubaydah to be al-Qaeda's number three leader, water-boarding him 83 times in a single month and subjecting him to other so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques," though it later dialled back its portrayal of the suspect as a senior operative.

The CIA had asked to be able to water-board Zubaydah, a Saudi-born Palestinian whose real name is Zayn al-Abidin Muhammad Husayn, fearing he was withholding information about imminent terrorist attacks.

Al Jazeera said the documents (a copy of the government's English translation of the diaries) were obtained from a former US intelligence official who worked with the CIA and FBI on al-Qaeda issues.

The diaries reveal Abu Zubaydah's ambivalence but also his passion over his decision to join Osama bin Laden in the early days of al-Qaeda.

"Yesterday and only yesterday I decided to go to Afghanistan," Abu Zubaydah wrote in an entry dated 6 January 1991, in describing his intent to return to India to complete his studies after receiving training during the trip.

Terror figures

"The intent is bona fide, God willing. Almost everything is ready except I am scared of the circumstances. Yet I trust in God, and we seek refuge in him."

Al Jazeera published the first of six volumes of the diaries with plans to subsequently release the remainder.

He also acknowledged his inner conflict between seeking martyrdom and wanting family life.

"In spite of my yearning for sooner martyrdom, yet it is the truth that I am not denying; I am longing to a good wife, a small house, a child and the word 'Papa,'" Abu Zubaydah wrote.

And the diaries' value to US officials was clear in their account of key terror figures Abu Zubaydah met.

On that list were al-Qaeda's current leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, 1993 World Trade Centre bomber Ramzi Yousef, late al-Qaeda military leader Mohammed Atef, the Taliban's spiritual leader Mullah Omar and bin Laden.

Zubaydah has hinted that the capture of his diaries by US authorities was even worse than water-boarding, and caused him to suffer 40 seizures.

"The mental anguish that came from broken promises in which they said they would give me my diary back contributed to the seizures," Abu Zubaydah told in his Combatant Status Review Tribunal hearing in March 2007.

"For me, it is bigger than what the CIA [did to] me."

Read more on:    cia  |  al-qaeda  |  osama bin laden  |  george bush  |  human rights  |  9/11 attacks

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Man scores date with tennis superstar after Twitter bet

It’s a modern day Cinderella story, but one American man took ‘shoot your shot’ seriously in 2017.


You won't want to miss...

Who are the highest paid models of 2017?
10 gorgeous plus-sized models who aren't Ashley Graham
5 top leg exercises for men
10 best dressed men of 2017
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.