Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Gitmo prisoner's secret diaries leaked

08 November 2013, 12:10

Washington - Al Jazeera America published on Thursday part of the secret personal diaries of one of Guantanamo's most high-profile prisoners, with records of meetings with al-Qaeda's chieftains.

The six volumes of Abu Zubaydah's diaries, (which span more than a decade from his student years to just before his March 2002 capture) were a key element of the George W Bush administration's justification of its "war on terror".

US officials often use the accounts to justify holding prisoners at Guantanamo without charge or trial, but they have never before been made public.

Washington once considered Abu Zubaydah to be al-Qaeda's number three leader, water-boarding him 83 times in a single month and subjecting him to other so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques," though it later dialled back its portrayal of the suspect as a senior operative.

The CIA had asked to be able to water-board Zubaydah, a Saudi-born Palestinian whose real name is Zayn al-Abidin Muhammad Husayn, fearing he was withholding information about imminent terrorist attacks.

Al Jazeera said the documents (a copy of the government's English translation of the diaries) were obtained from a former US intelligence official who worked with the CIA and FBI on al-Qaeda issues.

The diaries reveal Abu Zubaydah's ambivalence but also his passion over his decision to join Osama bin Laden in the early days of al-Qaeda.

"Yesterday and only yesterday I decided to go to Afghanistan," Abu Zubaydah wrote in an entry dated 6 January 1991, in describing his intent to return to India to complete his studies after receiving training during the trip.

Terror figures

"The intent is bona fide, God willing. Almost everything is ready except I am scared of the circumstances. Yet I trust in God, and we seek refuge in him."

Al Jazeera published the first of six volumes of the diaries with plans to subsequently release the remainder.

He also acknowledged his inner conflict between seeking martyrdom and wanting family life.

"In spite of my yearning for sooner martyrdom, yet it is the truth that I am not denying; I am longing to a good wife, a small house, a child and the word 'Papa,'" Abu Zubaydah wrote.

And the diaries' value to US officials was clear in their account of key terror figures Abu Zubaydah met.

On that list were al-Qaeda's current leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, 1993 World Trade Centre bomber Ramzi Yousef, late al-Qaeda military leader Mohammed Atef, the Taliban's spiritual leader Mullah Omar and bin Laden.

Zubaydah has hinted that the capture of his diaries by US authorities was even worse than water-boarding, and caused him to suffer 40 seizures.

"The mental anguish that came from broken promises in which they said they would give me my diary back contributed to the seizures," Abu Zubaydah told in his Combatant Status Review Tribunal hearing in March 2007.

"For me, it is bigger than what the CIA [did to] me."



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...