The "Taliban home video" convicted Osama bin Laden in the eyes of the American public: no trial, judge or jury - simply a death warrant, supposedly to be delivered by the US military. But much rests on the integrity of the translation and transcript. Is it pure chance that two opening phrases in this key passage are said to be "(inaudible)"? There a number of reasons to ask: Osama Gump?
"The tape was of such poor quality and bin Laden's words so difficult to discern that viewers took away from it what they wanted," writes Michael Slackman for the LA Times. He continues with a quote from one Rashwan from the Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies in Cairo. "It's a real scandal," he said, laughing. Bin Laden is a multimillionaire, a man said to posses extraordinary technological capabilities, a man who released previous videos that were slick and well produced, he said, so how could this be his work?"
Anyone could have dubbed on the voices because there are no close-ups of the lips of the people while speaking. What we could hear was a lot of mumbling and during the mumbling, the supposed translation comes up with some incriminating phrases.
Dick Eastmann's careful reading of the transcript (with attention to the inaudible segments) of alleged bin Laden video concludes:
What the translators have done is taken a conversation of bin laden on the subject of what he was thinking and guessing as he watched the news on September 11 as events were unfolding -- and making it seem that he was doing this thinking and guessing at some earlier time before the events.
In fact, the US misidentified second man in Osama tape. The Saudi citizen pictured conversing with Osama bin Laden about the September 11 terrorist attacks in a videotape released last week is a former Mujahedeen and war compatriot of bin Laden, not the man initially identified by US as Ali Sayeed al-Ghamdy, a former Islamic theology professor once imprisoned by the Saudi government.
On December 20, 2001, German TV channel "Das Erste" broadcast its analysis of the White House's translation of the Osama bin Laden video that George Bush has called a "confession of guilt". On the show Monitor, two independent translators and an expert on oriental studies found the White House's translation not only to be inaccurate, but "manipulative" (see Links:).
Arabist Dr. Abdel El M. Husseini, one of the translators, states:
"I have carefully examined the Pentagon's translation. This translation is very problematic. At the most important places where it is held to prove the guilt of Bin Laden, it is not identical with the Arabic."
Whereas the White House would have us believe that Osama bin Laden admits that "We calculated in advance the number of casualties from the enemy...", translator Dr. Murad Alami finds that:
'In advance' is not said. The translation is wrong. At least when we look at the original Arabic, and there are no misunderstandings to allow us to read it into the original.
At another point, the White House translation reads: "We had notification since the previous Thursday that the event would take place that day." Dr. Murad Alami:
'Previous' is never said. The subsequent statement that this event would take place on that day cannot be heard in the original Arabic version.
The White House's version also included the sentence "we asked each of them to go to America", but Alami says the original formulation is in the passive along the lines of "they were required to go". He also say that the sentence afterwards - "they didn't know anything about the operation" - cannot be understood.
Prof. Gernot Rotter, professor of Islamic and Arabic Studies at the Asia-Africa Institute at the University of Hamburg sums it up:
"The American translators who listened to the tapes and transcribed them apparently wrote a lot of things in that they wanted to hear but that cannot be heard on the tape no matter how many times you listen to it."
bin Laden "confession" video is the direct
parallel to the fake photo of Lee Harvey Oswald holding the
See our page Bin Laden Statements.
Bin Laden Not Wanted for 9/11!
Osama Bin Laden 911review
Bin Laden Statements - 9-11 Review
VHJ: Transcript of BBC Expose on Bush, bin Laden and the Carlyle Group
Osama Bin Asset - 9-11Review
Woodward writes Rice gave brushoff to CIA tenet on Bin Laden pre 9/11
Bin Laden connection Fort Worth airport flight school 911review
Osama Bin Laden -or Tim Osaman ?