Difference between revisions of "Hesham Mohamed Hussain"

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Hesham Mohamed Hussain
Born April 28, 1976 (1976-04-28) (age 43)
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Nationality stateless
Occupation gas station attendant
Known for Became an informant on other muslims

Hesham Mohamed Hussain is a Palestinian and legal resident of the United States.[1] Hesham traveled to the USA in 1998, when he was 22 years old. He describes himself as a fan of the USA, and hoped to become a citizen. But he ended up experiencing visa problems, spending two years in prison in the USA, without charge, and describes being forced to become an informant on other muslims.

Early life

Hesham was born in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in 1976, the sixth of his parent's ten children.[2] Under Saudi law, being born in Saudi Arabia didn't make him a Saudi citizen. Saudi authorities consider him a citizen of Palestine, like his parents.

An older brother, Zayn al-Abidin Mohamed Hussain, more widely known as Abu Zubaydah, would later be described as the third most important member of al Qaeda's leadership.[1]

Hesham came down with testicular cancer, when he was child. Although his cancer eventually went into remission he spent time in a coma, and as a consequence experienced serious memory loss, lost a portion of his memory, and describes losing years of his life.[2]

Hesham describes his older brother as a music lover, who flouted convention by wearing blue jeans rather than traditional Saudi robes, who protected him from neighbourhood bullies.[2][3]

Hesham described not meeting his father's expectations to do well in school.[2] Due to his illness he was four years older than his classmates, and was embarrassed he couldn't keep up with them. His grades were merely adequate, but his father was able to send him to a college in Jordan. When he flunked out his father cut of his financial support, and he ended up living in a refugee camp.

After returning to Saudi Arabia he fell afoul of Saudi Arabia's strict morality laws, and received forty lashes for riding in a car with a female to whom he was not related.[2]

Hesham was granted a student visa to study English in the USA on July 15, 1998.[2] He arrived in the USA on July 26, 1998.

last contact with his older brother, Abu Zubaydah

Rather than study Hesham worked as a gas station attendant, and other casual jobs for employers willing to pay him on a strictly cash basis.

Hesham described getting a surprise phone call from his older brother in 2000.[1] He hadn't heard from him since he left home approximately ten years earlier. He had no idea his older brother was considered a terrorist suspect. He knew his brother was alienated from their father.

According to Andy Worthington, Hesham described experiencing his brother as "a happy-go-lucky guy, and a bit of a womanizer", prior to leaving home.[1]

According to Worthington, no American officials contacted him after this phone call, or made any attempt to interview him until long after al Qaeda's attacks on September 11, 2001.[1]

United States Senator Bob Graham, co-chair of the 9-11 Commission and John Kiriakou, a CIA official involved in Abu Zubaydah's capture, both expressed surprise at learning that Abu Zubaydah had a brother living in the USA who had not been interviewed by American security officials. Graham said:
“The 9/11 Commission and our Congressional inquiry would have been very interested in this information. We should have been told about it so we could evaluate the relative significance of the information, because it could have further contributed to our understanding of what happened before 9/11.”[1]
Kiriakou also expressed shock.[1]
“That’s just stunning to me. Before the raid, our team was trying to find people who knew Zubaidah. We heard he had a brother or a relative in Paris and tried to track him down, but that didn’t pan out. Had I known Zubaidah had a brother in the US, I would have demanded headquarters get the FBI to make immediate contact with him and squeeze as much info out of him as we could about his brother.”[1]

Denounced by his first wife and apprehension by the INS

Hesham married Rosalee-Marie Andrews, an American co-worker he had dated, after she became pregnant.[2] They were married on July 14, 2000. Rosalee applied to sponsor Hesham's citizenship in August 2000. Their daughter Nautica was born in September 2000. The marraige quickly started to falter. According to Jason Leopold Rosalee threatened, for months, to withdraw her application to sponsor Hesham's citizenship and to denounce him to the INS. She carried through on this threat in May 2001.

Three weeks after 2001-9-11 he was apprehended on the grounds he was violating his student visa.[1]

Hesham's second wife, Jody, has given multiple interviews.[4][5]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Andy Worthington (2012-05-30). "How A Comment on My Website Led Jason Leopold to Discover the Story of Abu Zubaydah’s Brother, Living in the US". http://www.andyworthington.co.uk/2012/05/30/how-a-comment-on-my-website-led-jason-leopold-to-discover-the-story-of-abu-zubaydahs-brother-living-in-the-us/. Retrieved 2012-06-04. "One of ten children born to Palestinian parents in Saudi Arabia, Hesham is five years younger than Hani, and was only 11 or 12 years old when his brother left home for good, and he recalls him only as a happy-go-lucky guy, and something of a womanizer. At that time, he insists, there was no hint of religious extremism." 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Jason Leopold (2012-05-29). "EXCLUSIVE: From Hopeful Immigrant to FBI Informant - the Inside Story of the Other Abu Zubaidah". Truthout. http://truth-out.org/news/item/9344-from-hopeful-immigrant-fbi-informant-the-other-abu-zubaidah. Retrieved 2012-06-04. "When he’d been living in Portland, Oregon, Hesham had agreed to infiltrate mosques and spy on other Muslims because his FBI handler led him to believe she could help him obtain a green card. She didn’t, and he cut off contact with the agency when he moved to Central Florida. But they had found him again." 
  3. "The Other Abu Zubaidah". https://www.amazon.ca/s?_encoding=UTF8&field-keywords=The+Other+Abu+Zubaidah%3A+From+Hopeful+Immigrant+to+FBI+Informant%2C+A+Truthout+Reader&node=2972705011. Retrieved 2018-09-18. 
  4. Seán Kinane (2014-12-12). "Abu Zubaydah’s sister-in-law responds to his “sadistic” torture at hands of CIA". WMNF. Archived from the original on 2018-09-18. https://web.archive.org/web/20180918203427/https://www.wmnf.org/abu-zubaydahs-sister-in-law-responds-to-his-sadistic-torture-at-hands-of-cia/. "To find out what the family thinks about the torture report, Friday morning WMNF spoke by phone with Hesham’s wife, Jody Abu Zubaydah." 
  5. Seán Kinane (2016-05-31). "“Really, really good” that Guantanamo detainee may testify about abuse: sister-in-law". WMNF. Archived from the original on 2016-06-01. https://web.archive.org/web/20160601131412/https://www.wmnf.org/really-really-good-guantanamo-detainee-may-testify-abuse-sister-law/. Retrieved 2018-09-18. "He’s been called as a witness by a defendant in the September 11th war crimes case to talk about allegations of torture at the Guantanamo prison. Abu Zubaydah’s brother, Hesham, lives on the east coast of Florida, in Brevard County and WMNF News spoke with Hesham’s wife Jody Abu Zubaydah." 

External links

  1. Template:Commonscat-inline
  2. truth-out.org
  3. "Zayn al Abidin Muhammad Husayn". Department of Justice. Archived from the original on 2018-09-19. https://web.archive.org/web/20180919044830/https://html1-f.scribdassets.com/5n4fdwy0jk5ch3yq/images/1-2074920c98.jpg. Retrieved 2018-09-18. 
  4. "HESHAM ABU ZUBAYDAH DATES FBI INVESTIGATION OF MOHAMMED OSMAN MOHAMUD A YEAR EARLIER". Empty Wheel. 2012-05-29. https://www.emptywheel.net/2012/05/29/hesham-abu-zubaydah-dates-fbi-investigation-of-mohammed-osman-mohamud-a-year-earlier/. Retrieved 2018-09-18. "After 9/11, public claims about his brother, and a failed American marriage, Hesham found it almost impossible to get citizenship, even after marrying another American woman. Finally, the FBI came to him and suggested if he turn informant, they would help him get his citizenship." 
  5. Jeff Stein (2014-03-27). "Meet the Zubaydahs, not terrorists, really". Newsweek magazine. https://www.newsweek.com/meet-zubaydahs-not-terrorists-really-238752. Retrieved 2018-09-18. "Heshem Abu Zubaydah, a Florida truck driver since 2009, has been cursed by his family name ever since his notorious brother was identified as a key Al-Qaeda operative after 9/11."