November 25, 2013
A Terrorist’s Diary

This is a weirdly fascinating document:

…the secret personal diary of Abu Zubaydah, one of the most high profile prisoners in Guantanamo Bay whom the Bush administration once labeled one of the key figures in the War on Terror.

The remarkable documents cast fresh light on Zubaydah himself, will challenge some of the official US accounts of its campaign against Al-Qaeda and related organizations, and provide unique insights into the chaotic Afghanistan civil war of the 1990s that gave rise to those organizations.

The diaries, repeatedly cited by U.S. officials in making the case for holding a number of prisoners at Guantanamo but never released, have been long sought by terrorism experts and journalists for their participant-observer account of the decade’s events that led to the September 11, 2001 attacks that claimed almost 3,000 American lives.

Zubaydah was captured in Pakistan in 2002 after fleeing Afghanistan in the wake of the collapse of the Taliban regime. The diaries were found with him.

The thought kept coming to me, as I read, that a similar journal could have been written by any number of pathetic losers on the crazy fringes of our own society — Eric Rudolph, Ted Kaczynski, Scott Roeder, Timothy McVeigh. Only the targets are different.



Posted by Jerome Doolittle at November 25, 2013 07:45 PM
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Yeah, Jerry, but look how the story is reported by others.

I only got a couple of pages into it so I don't know how he ends up, probably a pathetic loser just as you said, but many of them at Guantanamo were sold into slavery for the bounty. What I saw when I read the first part of it was that he's using a literary technique as means of self analysis and to remind himself as he is writing the diary that he plans to review his years during his 20s when he becomes 30 to perhaps become a better person by looking back at his life and his thought processes. And I would expect that he was also subconsciously thinking that life might be better at 30, all of which seems like creative writing to me. After all, it's a private diary and he's not writing for an audience.

The two person meme seems to me to be a technique that he's using as a means of personally improving himself. But then I only read two or three pages in, and it's rather droll and unexciting and I'm not intrigued enough to go any further. However if the two person technique he's using is evidence of anything, it seems to me to be a creative technique similar to the kinds of games Ben Franklin played with himself, such as deciding to become a perfect person by eliminating one sin in his life each day for a month or two weeks or however long his list was.

As he described it in his biography, he reported that his efforts turned out to be a miserable failure, but then that was Ben Franklin's technique of writing and Franklin was a one of a kind writer.

For instance:

I and many other people could make a good case that Ben Franklin was batshit insane when he engaged in sleeping with balls, But then I'm a Jungian and someone who believes the sleep state is a time when our minds are the most active, and when I have some of my best insights in the morning, after "sleeping on the problem". So I'm in Franklin's corner. Franklin sold his work though, but the balls technique was his realization that the time just before and after one went to sleep was a period something like "Midnight in the garden of Good and Evil" when one gained the best insights into a problem. That period between the time that the subconscious mind takes over and the conscious mind stops working might be a period of profound insight. So the two person analogy sounds Freudian to me. If you analogize similarly, Franklin used it too.

But maybe you're right. I only got two or three pages into it and was bored stiff and I'm not interested enough to go further in delving into his diary.

Posted by: BP on November 26, 2013 9:16 PM

Right, but foreigners should always be persecuted more harshly. In-group bias is an important trait for a strong nation. Empathy, despite what some would like to believe, IS weakness.

Posted by: xiaoj on November 26, 2013 11:34 PM

After sleeping over it I think I will read the rest of that diary. It may offer insights into how and why people become radicalized to become terrorists . But I doubt the literary method that I saw that was first introduced in the diary has anything to do with it.

Posted by: BP on November 27, 2013 8:38 AM
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