Abu Zubaydah wanted to 'bring America to its knees' after 9/11
by Jason Leopold
November 12, 2013
Aljazeera revealed information gathered from Abu Zubaydahs diaries, which reveals the complexity of Al-Qaeda's milieu in months leading up to the Sept. 11 attacks. Abu Zubaydah (one of the highest-value detainees in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba) personal diaries was building a network to wage a war that would "bring America to its knees" before he was captured in 2002 . Abu Zubaydah recounts the 9/11 attacks on the United States and the toppling of Afghanistan’s Taliban regime, which provided shelter for men like him and Osama bin Laden.
He writes of forming a network of trainers capable of teaching skills like bomb making in a new organization with ambitious plans to attack Israel. He mentions that he returned to Afghanistan with $50,000 "to participate in any jihadist operation against the Jews" that he intended to carry out in Iran or Pakistan.
That failed plot is just one of the revelations to emerge from the ries, btained exclusively by Al Jazeera America. The diaries have never been officially released. They have been repeatedly cited by U.S. officials as key evidence for holding Abu Zubaydah and dozens of other Guantanamo prisoners. Abu Zubaydah, was captured in Pakistan in 2002. He was a senior member of bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda and is mentioned 52 times in the 9/11 Commission Report. The U.S. says Abu Zubaydah, whose diaries were captured alongside him, fingered Khalid Sheikh Mohammed as the mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks.
Abu Zubaydah's writes of how the Taliban closed his camp in order to consolidate all the jihadist volunteers in Afghanistan under bin Laden — “They closed our military camp … It’s different when you’re the one calling the shots than being a wheel that’s moving mechanically with other wheels as part of a specific machine.”
Elsewhere he writes of his frustrations over being lumped with bin Laden. In an entry on Feb. 4, 2002, he complains, "For five years (the media) has been attempting to connect me to anything, and the matter is growing bigger, until they lately said that I am the heir of bin Laden for the leadership of the Al-Qaeda organization. I hope they know that I am not even a member of Al-Qaeda, so how can I become their leader?”
The diaries show how Abu Zubaydah and his fellow fighters felt about the 9/11 attacks. “Happiness was not enough,” he writes. “As soon as the news came out on the radio, lambs were slaughtered, and juice and sweets were distributed for several days. News on the radio reflected American threats and preparation (for retaliation), close to a world war, while we were in a state of elation that God only knows.” That directly contradicts his March 2007 hearing at Guantanamo, which was called to determine his status as an enemy combatant. At that time, he claimed to have condemned the 9/11 attacks in his diary.
“My secret is well kept,” he writes in October 1998. “I cannot even divulge to you, for it is very wrong that in my situation, I should have a diary.”