by Florian Flade
“From the American Bastille which is called Guantanamo prison in Cuba. I send to you my honorable brother, and to all the brothers around you who I know and those I don’t know and to anyone who says no and refuses the humiliation which America, the mother of all injustices, and its allies who tries to impose on us, a letter rejecting them and their allies (…) and this American Bastille will fall the same way the French Bastille fell after the French revolution (…) with the revolution brought about by Islam” -
These are the lines of a man who has been a prisoner in America´s War on Terror for the last eight years. The author of this recently published letter from Guantánamo, was tortured and abused by CIA interrogators. He is the victim of the so-called “waterboarding” interrogation technique which was praticed on him at least 83 times.
The former US-Administration called Zayn Abideen Muhammad Hussain (39), commonly known as “Abu Zubaydah”, many names. The Saudi-born Palestnian was allegedly a “major player” (Michael Sheehan) in the global Jihad against the West, a “close associate to Osama Bin Laden, if not number two” (Donald Rumsfeld), “one of al-Qaeda of al-Qaeda´s top leaders” and “al-Qaeda´s chief of operations” (both George. W. Bush).
Now intelligence sources believe Abu Zubaydah, who was captured March 28th 2002 in the Pakistani city of Faisalabad, was never part of al-Qaeda´s inner circles. The CIA at the time of his arrest regarded him as a high-value prisoner and sent him on a journey into several countries, every time being questioned in secret CIA prison cells, ending up at Guantánamo Prison
In one of of the CIA Black sites in Thailand, Abu Zubaydah, was interrogated with the harsh techniques including “waterboarding”, a simulation of drowning (or as Writer and selfproclaimed victim of waterboarding Christopher Hitchen says: “It is drowning”). The interrogators present at that time concluded Abu Zubaydah does not know more than he already revealed but officials at the headquarters ordered them to use waterboarding.
As early as 2008 CIA sources claimed that Abu Zubaydah was waterboarded at least 83 times in the single month of August 2002. In the timespan of just one week, agents waterboarded him ten times.
Former CIA-agent John Kiriakou, who was part of the interrogation team that questioned Abu Zubaydah, told the media in 2007, within 35 seconds the prisoners was ready to talk: “As if you would have turned the switch.” Perhaps, Kiriakou stated, the information Abu Zubaydah gave to the CIA under torture, were helpful in preventing al-Qaeda terror attacks. Some might have led to the capture of 9/11-organizer Ramzi Bin al-Shaibah.
Later Kiriakou argued: “Now we know that Zubaydah was waterboarded eighty-three times in a single month, raising the questions about how much useful information he actually supplied.”
Indeed there are some within the intelligence community sticking to the fact that Abu Zubaydah never knew anything useful. In an article on April 18 2009, The Times quotes former CIA agents who said Abu Zubaydah revealed nothing new after torture was used on him. In fact he was more an experiment for the Anti-Terror-Units of the US-Intelligence instead of a valuable source of information about al-Qaeda. In the whole 9/11 Commission report just ten pieces of information are linked to Abu Zubaydah´s interrogation memos.
“I would describe it this way,” said one former National Security official, “He was an experiment. A guinea pig.There were many enhanced interrogation [methods] tested on him that have never been discussed before we settled on the 10 [techniques].”
From the interrogation memos released by the Obama-Administration, is now
known Abu Zubaydah had not only suffered from waterboarding. His captors stripped him of clothes, kept him in cold cell and were keeping him awake at night for several days in a row.
The early interrogations of Abu Zubaydah were recorded on video tape to gain insight into his “physical reaction” to the techniques used against him. Later this analysis was shared with officials the CIA and the Justice Department, who used that information to help draft the August 2002 torture memo stating what interrogation methods could be legally used on terror-suspects.
Former CIA officials said some videotapes showed Abu Zubaydah being sleep deprived for more than two weeks. Private contractors hired by the CIA to study how Abu Zubaydah responded psychologically and physically to being kept awake for that amount of time. By looking at videotapes, they concluded that after the 11th consecutive day of being kept awake the prisoner started to “severely break down.” The torture memo concluded that 11 days of sleep deprivation was legal and did not meet the definition of torture.
Eight years after his capture, Abu Zubaydah is still imprisoned and treated as a high-value inmates at Guantánamo Bay, eventhough Red Cross and US Military officials found out he suffers from the result of the torture.
On October 15th 2009 he wrote a letter to the former Gitmo-prisoner and now Human Rights Activist Moazzam Begg. This document – the Arabic original as well as the English translation – was released by Mr.Begg several days ago on his website “cageprisoners.com” but was deleted short time later. Mr.Begg could not be reached for the question on why he decided to erase the Abu Zubaydah-letter from the page.
Revealed in the lines written by the Gitmo-prisoner # 10016 is the image of an unbroken warrior, still not willing to give in to his captors. Close to a 100 waterboarding sessions have not led Abu Zubaydah to break down and call off the will to fight.
Abu Zubaydah wrote:
“I send you this letter with pride even if I am in their captivity – and the captivity is a humiliation in itself. Obviously my enemy is trying to humiliate me but I stay proud as long as I don’t humiliate myself to my enemy and give in to them.
I didn’t surrender to them, they only managed to capture me after they shot out one of my eyes and they shot out most of the left hand side of my body to the point where that part of my body is paralyzed, but Allah had Mercy on me and saved my body and I didn’t give in to their terrorism.
Even during the worst time of their torture I was always telling them that killing our brothers is martyrdom for the sake of Allah for them, in fact they have given life to brothers ideas. And its beginning is their resistance and as you know, killing ideas and beliefs is harder a thousand times than killing people and we only fight you because of your injustice and oppression, not because you reject the message of Islam.
If defending my religion, family, honor, land and my money is considered terrorism then let the whole world witness that I am a terrorist, and if I kill you to take your land or money or rape your women, then this is terrorism indeed and this is not what I represent, but it is what you represent worldwide and internationally.
And this American Bastille (Guantánamo) will fall the same way the French Bastille fell after the French revolution. The difference is that the French one was a symbol of injustice and control by those who thought they were the elite over the masses. As for the Americans, they are the symbol of injustice and the attempt of state control by those who falsely consider themselves elitist over countries with less modernization, science, or progression or wealth will fall with the revolution brought about by Islam.”