Al Qaeda Handbook

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Cover of "The Manchester Manual".[1]

The Al Qaeda Handbook is a document that British police state they found in the Manchester home of Anas al-Liby in 2000.[2] A translation has been provided by the American Federal Bureau of Investigation.[3] Officials state that the document is a manual for how to wage war, and according to the American military, was written by Osama bin Laden's extremist group, Al Qaeda. However, the manual was likely written either by a member of Egyptian Islamic Jihad or al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya; in addition, the mentioned targets in the manual are the rulers of Arab countries, not the West.[4]

The handbook has been repeatedly invoked by American officials when confronted with accusations of detainee abuse or torture.

Claims of torture[edit]

Department of Defense spokesmen routinely state that Guantanamo captives were trained using the manual.[2][5][6][7] American Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld dismissed detainee allegations of torture at Guantanamo, stated that "detainees are trained to lie, they're trained to say they were tortured."[2]


According to the United States military, the handbook contains 180 pages divided into 18 chapters.[2] It reportedly begins, "The confrontation we are calling for... knows the dialogue of bullets, the ideals of assassination, bombing and destruction, and the diplomacy of the cannon and machine gun."[2] The handbook provides religious justifications and quotations from the Qur'an throughout.[8]

The military states that the handbook instructs members of Al Qaeda how to lie to captors during interrogation, and falsely claim they are being tortured.[2]

Arrests for downloading manual in England[edit]

Main article: Nottingham Two

A student and a researcher at the University of Nottingham, studying extremism, were arrested in 2008 after downloading the Handbook from a U.S. government site to a University of Nottingham computer.[9] Twenty-six academics at the University signed a petition in protest of the arrests.[9] They were released a week later, but one was subsequently charged with visa irregularities, and the ensuing controversy within the university led to the suspension of the educator teaching the terrorism course.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Shanita Simmons (August 14, 2007). "Manchester Manual: The Code of Conduct for terrorism". Joint Task Force Guantanamo Public Affairs. Retrieved 2008-02-22. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Donna Miles (June 29, 2005). "Al Qaeda Manual Drives Detainee Behavior at Guantanamo Bay". American Forces Press Service. Archived from the original on 17 September 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-10.  Works related to Al Qaeda Manual Drives Detainee Behavior at Guantanamo Bay at Wikisource
  3. ^ The Al Qaeda Handbook from US Dept of Justice Website (in English)
  4. ^ "Is Libi’s Al-Qaeda Manual A Blueprint for Arab Spring?". Al Monitor. 20 October 2013. Retrieved 9 December 2014. 
  5. ^ "United States v. David Hicks: Prosecution response to defense motion for dismissal for denial of a right to a speedy trial" (PDF). United States Department of Defense. 18 October 2004. Retrieved 2008-02-22. 
  6. ^ Jane Mayer (July 11, 2005). "The Experiment: The military trains people to withstand interrogation. Are those methods being misused at Guantánamo?". New Yorker magazine. Archived from the original on 3 March 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-22. 
  7. ^ "The detainees". Newshour (PBS). February 13, 2004. Retrieved 2008-02-22. 
  8. ^ BBC News website on Handbook seizure in Manchester
  9. ^ a b "Nottingham scholar held for 6 days under anti-terror law". Times Higher Education. 29 May 2008. Retrieved 8 October 2013. 
  10. ^