Abu Zubaydah


Abu Zubaydah : biography

March 12, 1971 –
Mohamed Harkat

Abu Zubaydah supposedly knew Mohamed Harkat “since the early 90’s” The Globe and Mail, December 18, 2002 and claimed Harkat ran a guest house in Pakistan.Court upholds Harkat’s security certificate CTV News, March 22, 2005 Mohamed Harkat’s attorney sought access to Abu Zubaydah for testimony relating to Harkat’s trial, but the US refused to respond to his requests. Edmonton Sun, August 26, 2007

Originally in Harkat’s Canadian trial, however, Abu Zubaydah’s claims were not part of the charges brought against Harkat. Globe and Mail, February 23, 2008 After CIA director Michael Hayden’s public admittance of Zubaydah’s waterboarding, Canadian officials deleted all references to Zubaydah’s statements in its public dossier. National Public Radio, March 7, 2008 A spokesman for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service stated “The CSIS director has stated publicly that torture is morally repugnant and not particularly reliable. CSIS does not knowingly use information which has been obtained through torture.” The NPR News Blog, March 6, 2008 Mohamed Harkat was released on bail by Canadian authorities. Reuters, Swiss Info, June 9, 2006Terrorism suspect released on bail Dose Canada, May 24, 2006

Ahmed Ressam and the Millennium Plot

In April 2001, Ahmed Ressam was convicted of plotting to detonate a bomb at the Los Angeles International Airport. Ahmed Ressam had trained at the Khalden camp before coming to the United States to undertake his mission.

Abu Zubaydah said in his CSRT testimony that he recommended to the leader of Khalden Camp that Ressam be allowed to train there. Abu Zubaydah testified that he facilitated Ahmed Ressam’s travel to the camp, as well as to Algeria once Ressam’s training was complete. The U.S. Government alleged, in Zubaydah’s summary of evidence, that Ressam identified Zubaydah as the leader of the Khalden camp and an associate of Usama Bin Laden “equal to and not subordinate to UBL.”, Department of Defense The U.S. Government further alleged that Ressam said Zubaydah had “known of Ahmed Ressam’s operation, although not specifically the date and exact target” and that Zubaydah wanted Ressam to acquire “fraudulently-obtained Canadian passports” for himself and five others, in order to facilitate their travel into the United States to “possibly bomb several cities.”

Zubaydah said he tried to procure Canadian passports for Ressam and other trainees, but not for "terrorist-related activities.”. Zubaydah denies ever having participated in the planning of the Millennium Plot or encouraging Ahmed Ressam to attack American targets or civilians. This connection was not mentioned in Ressam’s criminal trial.Ressam Case Documents, Accessed via PACER, December 2008 Ressam’s confessions were referred to by his attorney at his sentencing to try to mitigate his sentence, and Ressam later recanted them.

Abu Zubaydah’s mental health

Some people are concerned about Abu Zubaydah’s mental stability and how that has affected information he has given to interrogators. Ron Suskind noted in his book, The One Percent Doctrine: Deep Inside America’s Pursuit of Its Enemies Since 9/11 (2006), that Zubaydah was mentally ill or disabled due to a severe head injury. He described Zubaydah as keeping a diary "in the voice of three people: Hani 1, Hani 2, and Hani 3" – a boy, a young man and a middle-aged alter ego. Abu Zubaydah’s diaries spanned ten years and recorded in numbing detail "what he ate, or wore, or trifling things [people] said." Dan Coleman, then the FBI’s top al-Qaeda analyst, told a senior bureau official, "This guy is insane, certifiable, split personality." According to Suskind, this judgment was "echoed at the top of CIA and was briefed to the President and Vice President." Coleman stated Zubaydah was a "safehouse keeper" with mental problems, who "claimed to know more about al-Qaeda and its inner workings than he really did."

Joseph Margulies, Abu Zubaydah’s co-counsel, wrote in an OpEd in the LA Times: "Partly as a result of injuries he suffered while he was fighting the communists in Afghanistan, partly as a result of how those injuries were exacerbated by the CIA and partly as a result of his extended isolation, Abu Zubaydah’s mental grasp is slipping away. Today, he suffers blinding headaches and has permanent brain damage. He has an excruciating sensitivity to sounds, hearing what others do not. The slightest noise drives him nearly insane. In the last two years alone, he has experienced about 200 seizures. Already, he cannot picture his mother’s face or recall his father’s name. Gradually, his past, like his future, eludes him.", Los Angeles Times, April 30, 2009