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American journalist and essayist, Theo Padnos was abducted and imprisoned for 22 months by the jihadists of the Al-Nusra Front, al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria. During his captivity, he was subjected to various forms of torture, including waterboarding, as made famous by the CIA’s “intense interrogations” carried out in Guantanamo, and gruesome staged scenes aimed at making him believe that he would be hung or buried alive. Yet he remained hopeful, convinced that he would be freed: as he understood Arabic, he got into the habit of discreetly listening to his jailers’ conversations. He thus came to understand that his captors had previously concluded a secret agreement with the Qataris aimed at obtaining financing under the guise of getting Doha to pay a ransom for his release!