Abu Zubaydah


Abu Zubaydah : biography

March 12, 1971 –

Interrogation of Abu Zubaydah

Abu Zubaydah was interrogated by two separate interrogation teams: the first from the FBI and one from the CIA. Ali Soufan, one of the FBI interrogators, later testified in 2009 on these issues to the Senate Committee that was investigating detainee treatment. Soufan, who witnessed part of the CIA interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, described his treatment under the CIA as torture., New York Times, April 22, 2009 The International Committee of the Red Cross and others later reached the same conclusion.Michael Isikoff , Newsweek, 25 April 2009, Congressional Testimony, 13 May 2009, International Committee of the Red Cross, February 2007

Because of the urgency felt about the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, the CIA had consulted with the president about how to proceed. The General Counsel of the CIA asked for a legal opinion from the Office of Legal Counsel, Department of Justice about what was permissible during interrogation.

August 1, 2002 memo

It was later discovered that in August 2002, the Office of Legal Counsel, Jay Bybee and his assistant John Yoo drafted what became known as the first Torture Memo. CNN.com, July 24, 2008 Addressed to CIA acting General Counsel John A. Rizzo at his request, the purpose of the memo was to describe and authorize specific enhanced interrogation techniques to be used on Abu Zubaydah.. New York Times, April 28, 2009

Journalists including Jane Mayer, Joby Warrick and Peter Finn, and Alex Koppelman have reported the CIA was already using these harsh tactics before the memo authorizing their use was written,, The Washington Post, April 22, 2009, Salon, July 17, 2008 and that it was used to provide after-the-fact legal support for harsh interrogation techniques.David Johnston and James Risen , New York Times, June 27, 2004 A Department of Justice 2009 report regarding prisoner abuses reportedly stated the memos were prepared one month after Abu Zubaydah had already been subjected to the specific techniques authorized in the August 1, 2002, memo. The Public Record, February 22, 2009 John Kiriakou stated in July 2009 that Abu Zubaydah was waterboarded in the early summer of 2002, months before the August 1, 2002 memo was written., BBC Panorama, July 13, 2009, BBC, July 13, 2009

The memo described ten techniques which the interrogators wanted to use: "(1) attention grasp, (2) walling, (3) facial hold, (4) facial slap (insult slap), (5) cramped confinement, (6) wall standing, (7) stress positions, (8) sleep deprivation, (9) insects placed in a confinement box, and (10) the waterboard.” U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Legal Counsel, August 1, 2002 Many of the techniques were, until then, generally considered illegal. Many other techniques developed by the CIA were held to constitute inhumane and degrading treatment and torture under the United Nations Convention against Torture and Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

As reported later, many of these interrogation techniques were previously considered illegal under U.S. and international law and treaties at the time of Abu Zubaydah’s capture., The Washington Post, 5 October 2006 For instance, the United States had prosecuted Japanese military officials after World War II and American soldiers after the Vietnam War for waterboarding. Since 1930, the United States had defined sleep deprivation as an illegal form of torture. Many other techniques developed by the CIA constitute inhuman and degrading treatment and torture under the United Nations Convention against Torture, and Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Ensuing interrogation

The CIA subjected Zubaydah to various forms of increasingly harsh interrogation techniques, including temperature extremes, music played at debilitating volumes, and sexual humiliation.. New York Times, 10 September 2006 Zubaydah was also subjected to beatings, isolation, waterboarding, long-time standing, continuous cramped confinement, and sleep deprivation., New York Times, 11 July 2008, The New Yorker, August 13, 2007, Harper’s Magazine, 14 July 2008