Abu Zubaydah : biography
Abu Zubaydah ( Abū Zubaydah; born March 12, 1971 as Zayn al-Abidin Muhammad Husayn) is a Saudi Arabian citizen currently held in U.S. custody as an enemy combatant in Guantanamo Bay detention camps, in Cuba. He was arrested in Pakistan in March 2002.
Abu Zubaydah has been in US custody for more than ten years, four-and-a-half of them in the CIA secret prison network. President George W. Bush originally bragged about his capture, as the CIA thought he was a high-ranking member of al-Qaeda. They transferred him among prisons in various countries as part of their extraordinary rendition program. During interrogation in the Bush administration years, Zubaydah was water-boarded 83 times http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/20/world/20detain.html?_r=0 NY Times and subjected to numerous other enhanced interrogation techniques including forced nudity, sleep deprivation, confinement in small dark boxes, deprivation of solid food, stress positions, and physical assaults. These have been prohibited by the Obama administration. Videotapes of some of Zubaydah’s interrogations are amongst those destroyed by the CIA in 2005.
In August 2010 it was reported that Zubaydah was first transferred to Guantanamo with three other high-value detainees in September 2003. Concerned that a pending Supreme Court decision might require revealing data about him, the CIA took back custody and transferred the four men from Guantanamo in March 2004.
It was not until September 2006 that these four, together with ten other "high-value detainees" were transferred to Guantanamo. He and other former CIA detainees are held in Camp 7, where conditions are the most isolating. At his Combatant Status Review Tribunal in 2007, Zubaydah said he was told that that CIA realized he was not significant. "They told me, ‘Sorry, we discover that you are not Number 3, not a partner, not even a fighter,’ "said Abu Zubaida, speaking in broken English, according to the new transcript of a Combatant Status Review Tribunal held at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.", Washington Post, 16 June 2009, accessed 21 January 2013He has never been charged.
On March 28, 2002, CIA and FBI agents, in conjunction with Pakistani intelligence services, raided several safe houses in Pakistan searching for Abu Zubaydah.Andy Worthington, The Guantanamo Files, Pluto Press, 2007, TIME Magazine, 8 April 2002John Burns, . New York Times, 14 April 2002, The Seattle Times, 2 April 2002 Abu Zubaydah was apprehended from one of the targeted safe houses in Faisalabad, Pakistan. Hindustan Times, May 28, 2008 The Pakistani intelligence service had paid a small amount for a tip on his whereabouts. The United States paid far more to Pakistan for its assistance; a CIA source later said, "We paid $10 million for Abu Zubayda."Jane Mayer, The Dark Side, 2008, p.141 The Pakistan ISI built a new headquarters on 35 acres outside Islamabad with the money and also bought a helicopter.
During the raid, Zubaydah was shot in the thigh, the testicle, and the stomach with rounds from an AK-47 assault rifle. Not recognised at first, he was piled into a pick-up truck along with other prisoners by the Pakistani forces, until a senior FBI agent identified him.Risen, James. State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration, 2006 He was taken by the FBI to a Pakistani hospital nearby and treated for his wounds. The attending doctor told John Kiriakou, the co-leader of the CIA group who apprehended Abu Zubaydah, that he had never before seen a patient survive such severe wounds.Brian Ross, , ABC News, December 10, 2007 The FBI and CIA flew in a doctor from Johns Hopkins University to ensure Abu Zubaydah would survive during transit out of Pakistan.
His pocket litter supposedly contained two bank cards which showed he had access to Saudi and Kuwaiti bank accounts; most al-Qaeda members used the preferred, untraceable hawala banking. According to James Risen, "It is not clear whether an investigation of the cards simply fell through the cracks, or whether they were ignored because no one wanted to know the answers about connections between al Qaeda and important figures in the Middle East – particularly in Saudi Arabia." One of Risen’s sources chalks up the failure to investigate the cards to incompetence rather than foul play, "The cards were sent back to Washington and were never fully exploited. I think nobody ever looked at them because of incompetence."