Al Jazeera America landed an interview with a former friend of Abu Zubaydah, the first high-value detainee who was subjected to the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques. Al Jazeera also independently obtained the first photograph of Zubaydah as a young man. Jason Leopold reports in this incredible story:
When Zayn al-Abidin Muhammed Hussein and Muhammad Shams Al-Sawalha were teenagers, they scoured record shops in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, desperately trying to track down the video for “Billie Jean,” the latest single from Michael Jackson’s global smash album “Thriller.”
Hussein, whom Al-Sawalha and everyone else knew as Hani, was a huge fan of Jackson and would sometimes “dance foolishly” when Al-Sawalha put a cassette of the King of Pop’s music into the tape deck.
Eventually, they scored a grainy copy of the video and watched it over and over again as they tried to mimic Jackson’s signature dance moves.
Those were the innocent days of the mid-1980s, Al-Sawalha said, before “Hani” became the alleged terrorist mastermind Abu Zubaydah.
Read the rest here.