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The al-Qaeda Leader Who Wasn’t
The Shameful Ordeal of Abu Zubaydah
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The allegations against the man were serious indeed.

* Donald Rumsfeld said he was “if not the number two, very close to the number two person” in al-Qaeda.

* The Central Intelligence Agency informed Assistant Attorney General Jay Bybee that he “served as Usama Bin Laden’s senior lieutenant. In that capacity, he has managed a network of training camps… He also acted as al-Qaeda’s coordinator of external contacts and foreign communications.”

* CIA Director Michael Hayden would tell the press in 2008 that 25% of all the information his agency had gathered about al-Qaeda from human sources “originated” with one other detainee and him.

* George W. Bush would use his case to justify the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation program,” claiming that “he had run a terrorist camp in Afghanistan where some of the 9/11 hijackers trained” and that “he helped smuggle al-Qaeda leaders out of Afghanistan” so they would not be captured by U.S. military forces.

None of it was true.

And even if it had been true, what the CIA did to Abu Zubaydah — with the knowledge and approval of the highest government officials — is a prime example of the kind of still-unpunished crimes that officials like Dick Cheney, George Bush, and Donald Rumsfeld committed in the so-called Global War on Terror.

So who was this infamous figure, and where is he now? His name is Zayn al-Abidin Muhammad Husayn, but he is better known by his Arabic nickname, Abu Zubaydah. And as far as we know, he is still in solitary detention in Guantánamo.

A Saudi national, in the 1980s Zubaydah helped run the Khaldan camp, a mujahedeen training facility set up in Afghanistan with CIA help during the Soviet occupation of that country. In other words, Zubaydah was then an American ally in the fight against the Soviets, one of President Ronald Reagan’s “freedom fighters.” (But then again, so in effect was Osama bin Laden.)

Zubaydah’s later fate in the hands of the CIA was of a far grimmer nature. He had the dubious luck to be the subject of a number of CIA “firsts”: the first post-9/11 prisoner to be waterboarded; the first to be experimented on by psychologists working as CIA contractors; one of the first of the Agency’s “ghost prisoners” (detainees hidden from the world, including the International Committee of the Red Cross which, under the Geneva Conventions, must be allowed access to every prisoner of war); and one of the first prisoners to be cited in a memo written by Jay Bybee for the Bush administration on what the CIA could “legally” do to a detainee without supposedly violating U.S. federal laws against torture.

Zubaydah’s story is — or at least should be — the iconic tale of the illegal extremes to which the Bush administration and the CIA went in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. And yet former officials, from CIA head Michael Hayden to Vice President Dick Cheney to George W. Bush himself, have presented it as a glowing example of the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” to extract desperately needed information from the “evildoers” of that time.

Zubaydah was an early experiment in post-9/11 CIA practices and here’s the remarkable thing (though it has yet to become part of the mainstream media accounts of his case): it was all a big lie. Zubaydah wasn’t involved with al-Qaeda; he was the ringleader of nothing; he never took part in planning for the 9/11 attacks. He was brutally mistreated and, in another kind of world, would be exhibit one in the war crimes trials of America’s top leaders and its major intelligence agency.

Yet notorious as he once was, he’s been forgotten by all but his lawyers and a few tenacious reporters. He shouldn’t have been. He was the test case for the kind of torture that Donald Trump now wants the U.S. government to bring back, presumably because it “worked” so well the first time. With Republican presidential hopefuls promising future war crimes, it’s worth reconsidering his case and thinking about how to prevent it from happening again. After all, it’s only because no one has been held to account for the years of Bush administration torture practices that Trump and others feel free to promise even more and “yuger” war crimes in the future.

Experiments in Torture

In August 2002, a group of FBI agents, CIA agents, and Pakistani forces captured Zubaydah (along with about 50 other men) in Faisalabad, Pakistan. In the process, he was severely injured — shot in the thigh, testicle, and stomach. He might well have died, had the CIA not flown in an American surgeon to patch him up. The Agency’s interest in his health was, however, anything but humanitarian. Its officials wanted to interrogate him and, even after he had recovered sufficiently to be questioned, his captors occasionally withheld pain medication as a means of torture.

When he “lost” his left eye under mysterious circumstances while in CIA custody, the agency’s concern again was not for his health. The December 2014 torture report produced by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (despite CIA opposition that included hacking into the committee’s computers) described the situation this way: with his left eye gone, “[i]n October 2002, DETENTION SITE GREEN [now known to be Thailand] recommended that the vision in his right eye be tested, noting that ‘[w]e have a lot riding upon his ability to see, read, and write.’ DETENTION SITE GREEN stressed that ‘this request is driven by our intelligence needs [not] humanitarian concern for AZ.’”

The CIA then set to work interrogating Zubaydah with the help of two contractors, the psychologists Bruce Jessen and James Mitchell. Zubaydah would be the first human subject on whom those two, who were former instructors at the Air Force’s SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape) training center, could test their theories about using torture to induce what they called “learned helplessness,” meant to reduce a suspect’s resistance to interrogation. Their price? Only \$81 million.

CIA records show that, using a plan drawn up by Jessen and Mitchell, Abu Zubaydah’s interrogators would waterboard him an almost unimaginable 83 times in the course of a single month; that is, they would strap him to a wooden board, place a cloth over his entire face, and gradually pour water through the cloth until he began to drown. At one point during this endlessly repeated ordeal, the Senate committee reported that Zubaydah became “completely unresponsive, with bubbles rising through his open, full mouth.”

Each of those 83 uses of what was called “the watering cycle” consisted of four steps:

“1) demands for information interspersed with the application of the water just short of blocking his airway 2) escalation of the amount of water applied until it blocked his airway and he started to have involuntary spasms 3) raising the water-board to clear subject’s airway 4) lowering of the water-board and return to demands for information.”

The CIA videotaped Zubaydah undergoing each of these “cycles,” only to destroy those tapes in 2005 when news of their existence surfaced and the embarrassment (and possible future culpability) of the Agency seemed increasingly to be at stake. CIA Director Michael Hayden would later assure CNN that the tapes had been destroyed only because “they no longer had ‘intelligence value’ and they posed a security risk.” Whose “security” was at risk if the tapes became public? Most likely, that of the Agency’s operatives and contractors who were breaking multiple national and international laws against torture, along with the high CIA and Bush administration officials who had directly approved their actions.

In addition to the waterboarding, the Senate torture report indicates that Zubaydah endured excruciating stress positions (which cause terrible pain without leaving a mark); sleep deprivation (for up to 180 hours, which generally induces hallucinations or psychosis); unrelenting exposure to loud noises (another psychosis-inducer); “walling” (the Agency’s term for repeatedly slamming the shoulder blades into a “flexible, false wall,” though Zubaydah told the International Committee of the Red Cross that when this was first done to him, “he was slammed directly against a hard concrete wall”); and confinement for hours in a box so cramped that he could not stand up inside it. All of these methods of torture had been given explicit approval in a memo written to the CIA’s head lawyer, John Rizzo, by Jay Bybee, who was then serving in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel. In that memo Bybee approved the use of 10 different “techniques” on Zubaydah.

It seems likely that, while the CIA was torturing Zubaydah at Jessen’s and Mitchell’s direction for whatever information he might have, it was also using him to test the “effectiveness” of waterboarding as a torture technique. If so, the agency and its contractors violated not only international law, but the U.S. War Crimes Act, which expressly forbids experimenting on prisoners.

What might lead us to think that Zubaydah’s treatment was, in part, an experiment? In a May 30, 2005, memo sent to Rizzo, Steven Bradbury, head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, discussed the CIA’s record keeping. There was, Bradbury commented, method to the CIA’s brutality. “Careful records are kept of each interrogation,” he wrote. This procedure, he continued, “allows for ongoing evaluation of the efficacy of each technique and its potential for any unintended or inappropriate results.” In other words, with the support of the Bush Justice Department, the CIA was keeping careful records of an experimental procedure designed to evaluate how well waterboarding worked.

This was Abu Zubaydah’s impression as well. “I was told during this period that I was one of the first to receive these interrogation techniques,” Zubaydah would later tell the International Committee of the Red Cross, “so no rules applied. It felt like they were experimenting and trying out techniques to be used later on other people.”

In addition to the videotaping, the CIA’s Office of Medical Services required a meticulous written record of every waterboarding session. The details to be recorded were spelled out clearly:

“In order to best inform future medical judgments and recommendations, it is important that every application of the waterboard be thoroughly documented: how long each application (and the entire procedure) lasted, how much water was used in the process (realizing that much splashes off), how exactly the water was applied, if a seal was achieved, if the naso- or oropharynx was filled, what sort of volume was expelled, how long was the break between applications, and how the subject looked between each treatment.”

Again, these were clearly meant to be the records of an experimental procedure, focusing as they did on how much water was effective; whether a “seal” was achieved (so no air could enter the victim’s lungs); whether the naso- or oropharynx (that is, the nose and throat) were so full of water the victim could not breathe; and just how much the “subject” vomited up.

It was with Zubaydah that the CIA also began its post-9/11 practice of hiding detainees from the International Committee of the Red Cross by transferring them to its “black sites,” the secret prisons it was setting up in countries with complacent or complicit regimes around the world. Such unacknowledged detainees came to be known as “ghost prisoners,” because they had no official existence. As the Senate torture report noted, “In part to avoid declaring Abu Zubaydah to the International Committee of the Red Cross, which would be required if he were detained at a U.S. military base, the CIA decided to seek authorization to clandestinely detain Abu Zubaydah at a facility in Country _______ [now known to have been Thailand].”

Tortured and Circular Reasoning

As British investigative journalist Andy Worthington reported in 2009, the Bush administration used Abu Zubaydah’s “interrogation” results to help justify the greatest crime of that administration, the unprovoked, illegal invasion of Iraq. Officials leaked to the media that he had confessed to knowing about a secret agreement involving Osama bin Laden, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (who later led al-Qaeda in Iraq), and Iraqi autocrat Saddam Hussein to work together “to destabilize the autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq.” Of course, it was all lies. Zubaydah couldn’t have known about such an arrangement, first because it was, as Worthington says, “absurd,” and second, because Zubaydah was not a member of al-Qaeda at all.

In fact, the evidence that Zubaydah had anything to do with al-Qaeda was beyond circumstantial — it was entirely circular. The administration’s reasoning went something like this: Zubaydah, a “senior al-Qaeda lieutenant,” ran the Khaldan camp in Afghanistan; therefore, Khaldan was an al-Qaeda camp; if Khaldan was an al Qaeda camp, then Zubaydah must have been a senior al Qaeda official.

They then used their “enhanced techniques” to drag what they wanted to hear out of a man whose life bore no relation to the tortured lies he evidently finally told his captors. Not surprisingly, no aspect of the administration’s formula proved accurate. It was true that, for several years, the Bush administration routinely referred to Khaldan as an al-Qaeda training camp, but the CIA was well aware that this wasn’t so.

The Senate Intelligence Committee’s torture report, for instance, made this crystal clear, quoting an August 16, 2006, CIA Intelligence Assessment, “Countering Misconceptions About Training Camps in Afghanistan, 1990-2001” this way:

“Khaldan Not Affiliated With Al-Qa’ida. A common misperception in outside articles is that Khaldan camp was run by al-Qa’ida. Pre-11 September 2001 reporting miscast Abu Zubaydah as a ‘senior al-Qa’ida lieutenant,’ which led to the inference that the Khaldan camp he was administering was tied to Usama bin Laden.”

Not only was Zubaydah not a senior al-Qaeda lieutenant, he had, according to the report, been turned down for membership in al-Qaeda as early as 1993 and the CIA knew it by at least 2006, if not far sooner. Nevertheless, the month after it privately clarified the nature of the Khaldan camp and Zubaydah’s lack of al-Qaeda connections, President Bush used the story of Zubaydah’s capture and interrogation in a speech to the nation justifying the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation” program. He then claimed that Zubaydah had “helped smuggle Al Qaida leaders out of Afghanistan.”

In the same speech, Bush told the nation, “Our intelligence community believes [Zubaydah] had run a terrorist camp in Afghanistan where some of the 9/11 hijackers trained” (a reference presumably to Khaldan). Perhaps the CIA should have been looking instead at some of the people who actuallytrained the hijackers — the operators of flight schools in the United States, where, according to a September 23, 2001 Washington Post story, the FBI already knew “terrorists” were learning to fly 747s.

In June 2007, the Bush administration doubled down on its claim that Zubaydah was involved with 9/11. At a hearing before the congressional Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, State Department Legal Adviser John Bellinger, discussing why the Guantánamo prison needed to remain open, explained that it “serves a very important purpose, to hold and detain individuals who are extremely dangerous… [like] Abu Zubaydah, people who have been planners of 9/11.”

Charges Withdrawn

In September 2009, the U.S. government quietly withdrew its many allegations against Abu Zubaydah. His attorneys had filed a habeas corpuspetition on his behalf; that is, a petition to excercise the constitutional right of anyone in government custody to know on what charges they are being held. In that context, they were asking the government to supply certain documents to help substantiate their claim that his continued detention in Guantánamo was illegal. The new Obama administration replied with a 109-page brief filed in the U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia, which is legally designated to hear the habeas cases of Guantánamo detainees.

The bulk of that brief came down to a government argument that was curious indeed, given the years of bragging about Zubaydah’s central role in al-Qaeda’s activities. It claimed that there was no reason to turn over any “exculpatory” documents demonstrating that he was not a member of al-Qaeda, or that he had no involvement in 9/11 or any other terrorist activity — because the government was no longer claiming that any of those things were true.

The government’s lawyers went on to claim, bizarrely enough, that the Bush administration had never “contended that [Zubaydah] had any personal involvement in planning or executing… the attacks of September 11, 2001.” They added that “the Government also has not contended in this proceeding that, at the time of his capture, [Zubaydah] had knowledge of any specific impending terrorist operations” — an especially curious claim, since the prevention of such future attacks was how the CIA justified its torture of Zubaydah in the first place. Far from believing that he was “if not the number two, very close to the number two person in” al-Qaeda, as Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld had once claimed, “the Government has not contended in this proceeding that [Zubaydah] was a member of al-Qaida or otherwise formally identified with al-Qaida.”

And so, the case against the man who was waterboarded 83 times and contributed supposedly crucial information to the CIA on al-Qaeda plotting was oh-so-quietly withdrawn without either fuss or media attention. Exhibit one was now exhibit none.

Seven years after the initial filing of Zubaydah’s habeas petition, the DC District Court has yet to rule on it. Given the court’s average 751-day turnaround time on such petitions, this is an extraordinary length of time. Here, justice delayed is truly justice denied.

Perhaps we should not be surprised, however. According to the Senate Intelligence Committee report, CIA headquarters assured those who were interrogating Zubaydah that he would “never be placed in a situation where he has any significant contact with others and/or has the opportunity to be released.” In fact, “all major players are in concurrence,” stated the agency, that he “should remain incommunicado for the remainder of his life.” And so far, that’s exactly what’s happened.

The capture, torture, and propaganda use of Abu Zubaydah is the perfect example of the U.S. government’s unique combination of willful law-breaking, ass-covering memo-writing, and what some Salvadorans I once worked with called “strategic incompetence.” The fact that no one — not George Bush or Dick Cheney, not Jessen or Mitchell, nor multiple directors of the CIA — has been held accountable means that, unless we are very lucky, we will see more of the same in the future.

Rebecca Gordon, a TomDispatch regular, teaches in the Philosophy department at the University of San Francisco. She is the author of American Nuremberg: The U.S. Officials Who Should Stand Trial for Post-9/11 War Crimes (Hot Books, April 2016). Her previous books include Mainstreaming Torture: Ethical Approaches in the Post-9/11 United States and Letters from Nicaragua .

(Republished from TomDispatch by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: 9/11, Abu Zubaydah, Torture 
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  1. alexander says:


    Truly UN-believable, Ms. Gordon.

    Is this what the United States has been reduced to ?

    Utterly beyond the pale .

    • Replies: @Boomstick
  2. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    ISIS is led by a Jew named Miller.
    Jews did 911 and all world wars since the time of Napoleon.
    Why waste time on what Jews do
    Round them all up and set them to hard labor for life without parole.
    Christ called them the Synagogue of Satan.
    Nothing has changed.
    Also remove all those who suck up to Jews.
    Those who do not say Jews did 911 are traitors and unfit to live in the USA.
    He who calls the USA “Homeland” is as stupid they indeed look.
    Nature does not lie.
    Watch this get deleted buy those who suck up to JEWS.
    You wonder why we have a Jew problem??
    It is because gutless cowards that run websites like this.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @Wally
  3. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    It’s disappointing to see trolls under such an important story. But then again we’re humans after all.

  4. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Imagine some other country had done this with an american: kidnapping, torturing, blaming for all kind of misdeeds, holding in prison without trial… we would speak of a counry of the axes of evel. Is it possible that us is the empire and others are the yedi?

  5. Even if this is all true, sorry, I don’t care. It’s time for us to stop worrying about the human rights of our enemies, that concern has become a corrosive rot that is weakening our entire culture. I save my concern for members of my tribe only.

  6. “None of it was true.”

    I’m shocked. Shocked, I tell ya!

    P.S.: The US has not been reduced to this; it’s been this from the beginning. In fact, even before this land was the U.S. it was a chamber of horrors to one degree or another, e.g., the witch burnings.

  7. bjondo says:

    amurderkans are a nasty bunch of scared sissies
    only israelis – ultra demented jews
    are nastier, more cowardly sissies

  8. He’s a Saudi? Hmm, I’ll spare my sympathy for somebody more deserving

  9. In addition to the alleged failings of the Bush administration in this case, why are not those of the Obama administration noted? After all, this administration has had more than seven years to conduct trials, whether before military commissions, Federal district courts, or some other sort of tribunal yet to be devised. It hasn’t done, because Obama is more interested in making political points about Guantanamo than about giving its inmates their day in court.

    There is no excuse for this. The Sioux Uprising of 1862 began on August 17, 1862, killing some 800 settlers, often gruesomely:

    “Mr. Massipost had two daughters, young ladies, intelligent and accomplished. These the savages murdered most brutally. The head of one of them was afterward found, severed from the body, attached to a fish-hook, and hung upon a nail. His son, a young man of twenty-four years, was also killed. Mr. Massipost and a son of eight years escaped to New Ulm.”

    “The daughter of Mr. Schwandt, enceinte [pregnant], was cut open, as was learned afterward, the child taken alive from the mother, and nailed to a tree. The son of Mr. Schwandt, aged thirteen years, who had been beaten by the Indians, until dead, as was supposed, was present, and saw the entire tragedy. He saw the child taken alive from the body of his sister, Mrs. Waltz, and nailed to a tree in the yard. It struggled some time after the nails were driven through it! This occurred in the forenoon of Monday, 18th of August, 1862.” (Charles Bryant, Indian Massacre in Minnesota [1864])

    These atrocities were put down by the Army by late December. Around 1000 Indians were taken prisoner. The worst offenders were hanged on December 26, 1862, after trial and conviction by military commissions, whose verdicts were personally examined by President Lincoln. Two Indians who escaped to Canada were later taken prisoner, returned to the United States, and hanged in 1865.

    Similarly, VE Day took place on May 8, 1945; the principal Nazis had been tried and convicted at Nuremberg between November 20, 1945, and October 1, 1946. Those upon whom sentence of death had been passed were hanged on October 16. Subsequent trials of lesser Nazis were carried out in the American zone from 1946 through 1949.

    The lack of action by the Obama administration in the cases of the Islamic franc-tireurs contrasts most unfavorably to these episodes.

    • Replies: @Stogumber
  10. Stogumber says:
    @C H Ingoldby

    “I save my concern for members of my tribe only.”

    I don’t think that this is a clever solution. American governments are not only interested in fighting against international “terrorism”, but as well “home terrorism” and you may well end your life in solitary detention as a “home terrorist” (albeit the government has dropped its accusations).

    Granted, those leftist lawyers or journalists like Gordon are interested only in countering the fight against international “terrorism” and not the fight against “home terrorism”, and they wouldn’t come to help you. Notwithstanding, from a legal point of view these subjects are intertwined.

    • Replies: @C H Ingoldby
  11. Stogumber says:

    I have read a lot of different atrocity propaganda, where people are told to have nailed unborn babys to a tree. It’s a rather complicated way of acting, and I’m sure that there are at least some cases where this didn’t really happen but was borrowed from former atrocity propaganda or urban legends.
    It would of course be more plausible if this can be founded on Sioux’ beliefs or customs. But is it really well documented in this case?

    • Replies: @Crawfurdmuir
  12. Rehmat says:

    Sorry to blow-up your ‘jingoism’ Rebecca Gordon – all the source you have quoted, are spring from evil Zionist tree. For example, former CIA director (2006-2009), Gen. Michael Hayden is an Israeli mole. Hayden also served as director of NSA (1999-2005) and deputy director of National Intelligence. Currently, Hayden is on the advisory board of LIGNET, an Israeli advocacy group – and a principal at the Chertoff Group. The Chertoff Group is founded by Rabbi Michael Chertoff, former head of Department of Homeland Security (DHS), who is one of the principal player behind 9/11. Chertoff is a US-Israel dual citizen and son of one of the founding member of Israeli Mossad.

    As for al-Qaeda is concerned, like ISIS, it’s also a US-Israel illegitimate child given birth to demonize Muslims and Islam for Israel’s interests.

    “Al-Qaeda itself doesn’t exist, except in the fevered imagination of neocon and Likudnicks (Israeli Jew fascists), some of whom, I suspect, it’s a myth, but find it extremely useful as a bogeyman to spook the public and the politicians to acquiesce in otherwise unacceptable policy initiatives at home and abroad….. R. T. Naylor, June 21, 2003.

  13. Wally says: • Website

    Come on simple minded hasbarist Zionist, can’t you do better than this? Your ploy is obvious.

  14. @Stogumber

    There are plenty of accounts of Indian atrocities, and if these are copied from antecedent propaganda, I don’t know what the latter would have been, or (assuming it existed) if people who testified to having witnessed it in 1862 on the Minnesota frontier could possibly have known of it.

  15. @Stogumber

    ”@ Notwithstanding, from a legal point of view these subjects are intertwined.”

    That is completely irrelevant, the system is completely rigged. Arguing for ‘justice’ for some foreign Muslim fanatic on the naïve hope that somehow this will mean justice for citizens is foolishness. Reality is not a matter of fine principles, it is a matter of identity. ‘Who, Whom’, that is all that counts. The enemies of the West know that, we need to know it as well.

    • Replies: @alexander
    , @Escher
  16. alexander says:
    @C H Ingoldby

    Interesting comment.

    By suggesting that:

    “Reality is not a matter of fine principles, it is a matter of identity.Who, whom’, that is all that counts. the enemies of the west know that, we need to know it as well”

    You are making the case that individuals can be guilty or not guilty of crimes merely on the basis of their “identity” and not their actions.

    You must be a very sick man, Mr. Ingolby, a very sick man.

    Perhaps you are suggesting too, that an individual can be guilty of murder merely because his eyes are brown, and not hazel ?

    Or perhaps you are suggesting that all men who are under five foot four are serial rapists, where all who stand above ,are not ?

    Perhaps all red heads are ax-murderers simply because their hair is not blond ?

    maybe everyone with freckles is a child sodomist too ?

    Do you see how grotesquely fraudulent your statement is, Mr Ingolby ?

    How profoundly fascist and evil, as well ?

    Once a society begins to condemn as “guilty” individuals merely for their “identity”, and not their “actions”, the abdication of every principle on which our nation was founded, has begun.

    What a travesty of our country’s most sacred ideals, your ideas are, Mr. Ingolby.

    Indeed ,what a travesty they are, to all Mankind.

    • Replies: @C H Ingoldby
  17. Escher says:
    @C H Ingoldby

    Not liking or wanting to be around foreigners does not mean that they can be kidnapped and used as Guinea pigs to develop torture techniques. What if it were them doing the same thing to your family members?

  18. al Baghdadi was/is in that familair threshold of leader. He learnt from the best but through his imprisonment, he learned to cajole both sides while waiting for the best time to use his power of authority and knowledge to where he is today.

    Didn’t John McCain want to meet with him when he went to Syria? Didn’t bn Laden get weapons from Washington to fight the “enemy”? Wasn’t Egypt the best frenemy of USA?

  19. And the vicious, murderous sub-text here is that the torture would have been acceptable if he had been “an Al-Quada leader. ”

    • Replies: @Astuteobservor II
  20. @Bill Jones

    daaaaaaaamn. I did a double take and realized you are right. that made me sad. I need some ice cream.

  21. @C H Ingoldby

    The enemy is the military industrial complex and their nuclear waste that WILL, with absolutely no doubt, render this planet lifeless for millions of years. 400,000 ton of the shit with NO plan to keep it out of the environment. Your “Tribe” will suffer and die sooner rather than later. This is not my intention, it is simply a fact.

  22. KA says:
    @C H Ingoldby

    Two things are sure – one is that the perpetrators and executors of these savegery don’t have the religious ethnic patriotism that makeyou upset and underlie the passion of your comments,and second they don’t have the patriotism based on legality,morality ,honesty and concern for the future generations that make this author upset .
    It is careerism. They created a mob culture in post 911 world and they willingly lent themselves to be guided and propelled by the mob .

  23. @alexander

    @alexander ” “Reality is not a matter of fine principles, it is a matter of identity.Who, whom’, that is all that counts. the enemies of the west know that, we need to know it as well”

    ‘You are making the case that individuals can be guilty or not guilty of crimes merely on the basis of their “identity” and not their actions.’ ”

    Yes, that is precisely the case I am making. In war what matters is membership of a tribe, not individual actions. To the Muslim fanatic, all Westerners are guilty by virtue of being Western. In these circumstances, the moral highground is a grave for fools.

    You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you.

    • Replies: @alexander
  24. I thought I’d check this , ”in the 1980s Zubaydah helped run the Khaldan camp, a mujahedeen training facility set up in Afghanistan with CIA help during the Soviet occupation of that country. In other words, Zubaydah was then an American ally in the fight against the Soviets,”

    Whoops, no, he went to Afghanistan in 1991, so, no, he wasn’t an American ally, he had nothing to do with the CIA or the war against the Soviets.

    I hereby call bullshit on this entire article. ‘Zubaydah’ is just another anti-Western Jihadi. To hell with him.

  25. alexander says:
    @C H Ingoldby

    Mr. Ingoldby,

    Brutally,….. sadistically,…… torturing a man for a heinous crime he did NOT commit….. is not synonymous with Western culture, Western values, or Western civilization…..

    It is pernicious fraud.

    It is , at best, (by that I mean, done by accident) indicative of the “Fatuousness of evil” we are overcome by , post 9-11, and at worst, ( by that I mean, done deliberately )..

    The very pinnacle of a hideous and sinister inhuman malevolence.

  26. Boomstick says:

    Indeed it is un-believable.

    Even an FBI agent opposed to the use of enhanced interrogation concedes that Zubadydah gave up the names of agents planning terror attacks in the US. That’s a neat trick for someone supposedly not affiliated with al Qaeda.

  27. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @C H Ingoldby

    If, as you postulate, “this is all true,” then “worrying about the human rights of our enemies” is a topic for a completely different story. This story is about a man who was not our enemy. That was the key point of the story.

    Reading comprehension training may be available through Head Start or a similar social service agency in your area. Good luck.

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