Al Qaeda Handbook

Al Qaeda Handbook
Cover of "The Manchester Manual".[1]

The Al Qaeda Handbook is an extensive manual for how to wage war, allegedly written by Osama bin Laden's extremist group, Al Qaeda.[2] This handbook provides religious justifications and quotations from the Qur'an throughout. It was first seized by British authorities in a raid on an Al Qaeda cell in Manchester, England.[3] The handbook was published on the US Department of Justice's[4] website.


Claims Guantanamo captives were trained using the manual

Department of Defense spokesmen routinely claim that the Guantanamo captives were trained using the manual.[5][6][7][8]


Main Mission

  • The overthrow of the godless regimes and their replacement with an Islamic regime.

Other missions

  • Gathering information about the enemy, the land, the installations, and the neighbors(sic).
  • Kidnapping enemy personnel, documents, secrets, and arms.
  • Assassinating enemy personnel as well as foreign tourists.
  • Freeing the brothers who are captured by the enemy.
  • Spreading rumors and writing statements that instigate people against the enemy.
  • Blasting and destroying the places of amusement, immorality, and sin; not a vital target.
  • Blasting and destroying the embassies and attacking vital economic centers.
  • Blasting and destroying bridges leading into and out of the cities

Actions after capture

One controversial passage states that "At the beginning of the trial ... the brothers must insist on proving that torture was inflicted on them by state security before the judge. Complain of mistreatment while in prison."[4] This passage is frequently cited by commentators to cast doubt on the claims by detainees in the "war on terror" that they were subjected to torture, or abuse. However, the same section of the manual also counsels its readers to do everything they possibly can to have a full medical examination prior to their interrogation. It explains to readers that the medical examination establishes a baseline that will enable them to prove that wounds inflicted on them during interrogation were not inflicted prior to their capture.[4]

The handbook instructs commanders to make sure operatives, or "brothers," understand what to say if captured. "Prior to executing an operation, the commander should instruct his soldiers on what to say if they are captured," the document says. "He should explain that more than once in order to ensure that they have assimilated it. They should, in turn, explain it back to the commander."[4]



The Nottingham Two were arested in 2008 solely for downloading the copies of the Handbook on a University computer. [9]

See also


  1. ^ Spc. Shanita Simmons (August 14, 2007). "Manchester Manual: The Code of Conduct for terrorism". Joint Task Force Guantanamo Public Affairs. Retrieved 2008-02-22. "“The Manchester Manual is literally an overarching basic guide that simply covers just about everything. It covers how to conduct general combat operations, how to escape and evade capture and how to behave in captivity,” said the JTF source. “There is even a chapter on how to poison yourself using your own feces.”" 
  2. ^ Donna Miles (June 29 2005). "Al Qaeda Manual Drives Detainee Behavior at Guantanamo Bay". American Forces Press Service. Retrieved 2008-09-10. "This instruction comes straight from the pages of an official al Qaeda training manual, and officials at the detention facility at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, say they see clear evidence that detainees are well-versed in its contents."  Works related to Al Qaeda Manual Drives Detainee Behavior at Guantanamo Bay at Wikisource
  3. ^ BBC News website on Handbook seizure in Manchester
  4. ^ a b c d The Al Qaeda Handbook(US Dept of Justice Website
  5. ^ "Briefing on Detainee Operations at Guantanamo Bay". United States Department of Defense. February 13, 2004. Retrieved 2008-02-22. 
  6. ^ "United States v. David Hicks: Prosecution response to defense motion for dismissal for denial of a right to a speedy trial". United States Department of Defense. 18 October 2004. Retrieved 2008-02-22. "Indeed, a far longer period would be justified in the current instance. The United States has undertaken painstaking intelligence-gathering and interrogation with respect to hundreds of enemy combatants and suspected members of al Qaida, a highly disciplined organization whose agents span the globe and operate in total secrecy. See generally al Qaida Training Manual (“Manchester Manual”), available at" 
  7. ^ Jane Mayer (July 11, 2005). "The Experiment: The military trains people to withstand interrogation. Are those methods being misused at Guantánamo?". New Yorker magazine. Retrieved 2008-02-22. "The military officials who run the Guantánamo prison maintain that almost all of the detainees’ charges are untrue. A training manual written by Al Qaeda leaders, which is known as the Manchester Manual, because a copy of it was confiscated during a 2000 raid in England, counsels Islamists to “complain of mistreatment while in prison” and say that “torture was inflicted on them.” Bumgarner said, “They are trained to make false accusations. It’s part of their P.R.”" 
  8. ^ "The detainees". Newshour (PBS). February 13, 2004. Retrieved 2008-02-22. "We applied very strict criteria to bring them there. There's a document called the Manchester Manual that was picked up in a search in Manchester and has surfaced in Afghanistan and elsewhere. It's the al-Qaida manual, basically. There is a very lengthy chapter on counter-interrogation techniques. These are sophisticated terrorists who know how to avoid interrogation. We are learning about them every day; we're learning more about from other intelligence sources and we work extremely hard to find out who these people are. We do not want to hold one person in Guantanamo one day longer than they need to be held." 
  9. ^

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