- WASHINGTON/TORA BORA, Afghanistan (Reuters) - The United States on Thursday released a video it
said showed Osama bin Laden holding a "smoking gun" as mastermind
of the Sept. 11 attacks, while his al Qaeda group hunkered down in the
Afghan mountains under a deluge of U.S. bombs and vowed to fight on.
- The videotape shows bin Laden smiling as he explains
how the hijackers assembled, some oblivious to their mission until the
last moment, to stage the attacks that killed nearly 3,300 people and which
prompted the U.S.-led military operation to topple the Islamic Taliban
movement for harboring bin Laden. The Saudi-born militant, however, remains
- The Pentagon issued the hour-long amateur tape, found
in Afghanistan, and provided an English translation in which bin Laden
is quoted as saying: "We calculated in advance the number of casualties
from the enemy, who would be killed based on the position of the tower."
- The comment apparently referred to hijacked airliners
that plowed into and destroyed the twin towers of the World Trade Center
in New York. Another plane smashed into the Pentagon near Washington and
a fourth crashed in Pennsylvania after passengers rushed and struggled
with the hijackers.
- "We calculated that the floors that would be hit
would be three or four floors. I was the most optimistic of them all,"
the relaxed and bearded guerrilla chief was quoted as saying, adding the
total collapse of both towers was more than he had hoped for.
- U.S. SEES 'PROOF'
- U.S. officials, who believe bin Laden is in Afghanistan
despite rumors he has fled the fighting, billed the tape as conclusive
"smoking gun" evidence that bin Laden, who has lived in Afghanistan
for several years, was behind the attacks.
- "We had notification since the previous Thursday
that the event would take place that day," bin Laden says. He also
displays knowledge of a double attack on the twin towers saying: "They
(his followers) were overjoyed when the first plane hit the building, so
I said to them 'be patient."'
- The United Arab Emirates said the videotape was proof
of bin Laden's guilt.
- "There is no doubt in my mind that bin Laden was
behind those operations. The tape confirms that in a way that leaves no
room for doubt," UAE Information Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zaid
al-Nahayan told Reuters.
- The Taliban had demanded proof of bin Laden's guilt as
a condition for handing him over. Washington rejected that demand and on
Oct. 7 began the bombing campaign that enabled anti-Taliban forces to take
over most of the country.
- As flakes of snow fell in Kabul, prime minister-designate
Hamid Karzai won assurances from Afghan leaders of a peaceful transition
of power but a bellicose bin Laden aide promised to fight on.
- "The real war has now started and we are now waging
attack and retreat operations. It will be a long one. We will exact a high
toll on the Americans and suicide attacks will be one of our effective
methods," an Arabic magazine quoted Ayman al-Zawahri, the senior aide,
- "We do not hide in caves and do not run away from
the confrontation. Suicide is our desire and our victory," he told
the London-based al-Majallah magazine.
- By Dick Eastman
- "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."
- All over the world people are shaking their heads in
dismay that the U.S. Government would expect us to not see through this
forced and twisted interpretation of this interview.
- Here is my analysis -- I am sure similar ones will soon
be flooding every forum ---
- "The tape is transcribed below according to the
proper sequence of events."
- EASTMAN ANALYSIS Note that the tape as found has been
REVISED for translation. Before even the first word, we see editing based
on interpretation -- we see interpretive reporting rather than faithful
translation of the subject matter as it was discovered.
- "Due to the quality of the original tape, it is
NOT a verbatim transcript of every word spoken during the meeting, but
does convey the messages and information flow."
- EASTMAN ANALYSIS Note that the translators have been
selective and that they tell us that they did not understand/discriminate
every word spoken on the tape: ===========
- ALLEGED TRANSLATION TEXT:
- Shaykh: (... inaudible...) You have given us weapons,
you have given us hope and we thank Allah for you. We don't want to take
much of your time, but this is the arrangement of the brothers. People
now are supporting us more, even those ones who did not support us in the
past, support us more now. I did not want to take that much of your time.
We praise Allah, we praise Allah. We came from Kabul. We were very pleased
to visit. May Allah bless you both at home and the camp. We asked the driver
to take us, it was a night with a full moon, thanks be to Allah. Believe
me it is not in the country side. The elderly... everybody praises what
you did, the great action you did, which was first and foremost by the
grace of Allah. This is the guidance of Allah and the blessed fruit of
- EASTMAN ANALYSIS I don't believe this. They soi-disant
translators start in the middle of the tape instead of the begining of
the recording and they begin with a passage in which someone is telling
Osama bin Laden that "everyone praises what you did" -- no context
-- leaving the average unguarded reader to presumtuously assume it is a
reference events in New York CIty on September 11. ============
- UBL: Thanks to Allah. What is the stand of the Mosques
there (in Saudi Arabia)?
- Shaykh: Honestly, they are very positive. Shaykh Al-Bahrani
(phonetic) gave a good sermon in his class after the sunset prayers. It
was videotaped and I was supposed to carry it with me, but unfortunately,
I had to leave immediately.
- UBL: The day of the events?
- Shaykh: At the exact time of the attack on America, precisely
at the time. He (Bahrani) gave a very impressive sermon. Thanks be to Allah
for his blessings. He (Bahrani) was the first one to write at war time.
I visited him twice in Al-Qasim.
- EASTMAN ANALYSIS Notice OBL refers to the day of "the
events" -- a passive expression -- not of "the victory"
or "our victory" or even of "the deeds." This is consistent
with remoteness from what happened.
- Notice also that Shaykh feels it necessary to specify
"at the exact time of the attack on America" which he would not
need to do if the context were understood or centrally-concerned with the
theme of the conversation. ============
- UBL: Thanks be to Allah.
- Shaykh: This is what I asked from Allah. He (Bahrani)
told the youth: "You are asking for martyrdom and wonder where you
should go (for martyrdom)?" Allah was inciting them to go. I asked
Allah to grant me to witness the truth in front of the unjust ruler. We
ask Allah to protect him and give him the martyrdom, after he issued the
first fatwa. He was detained for interrogation, as you know. When he was
called in and asked to sign, he told them, "don't waste my time, I
have another fatwa. If you want me, I can sign both at the same time."
- UBL: Thanks be to Allah.
- Shaykh: His position is really very encouraging. When
I paid him the first visit about a year and half ago, he asked me, "How
is Shaykh Bin-Ladin?" He sends you his special regards. As far as
Shaykh Sulayman 'Ulwan is concerned, he gave a beautiful fatwa, may Allah
bless him. Miraculously, I heard it on the Quran radio station. It was
strange because he (' Ulwan) sacrificed his position, which is equivalent
to a director. It was transcribed word-by-word. The brothers listened to
it in detail. I briefly heard it before the noon prayers. He (' Ulwan)
said this was jihad and those people were not innocent people (World Trade
Center and Pentagon victims). He swore to Allah. This was transmitted to
Shaykh Sulayman Al ((' Umar)) Allah bless him.
- EASTMAN ANALYSIS First we see that there is indeed the
assumption that Moslems were responsible for the September 911 crashbombings
-- an assumption that OBL has already told us in to other video interviews
that he first learned from American media sources. This conversation is
consistent with that claim throughout.
- It is also clear that those in Saudi Arabia who are spoken
of here naturally assumed that bin Laden was responsible for Sept 11 --
but so did Ariel Sharon and Laura Bush -- but that does not make them necessarily
people who "know for sure" of complicity -- they merely assumed
-- as did this man addressing students in Saudi Arabia.
- Also, here they are talking about bin Laden's general
support in Saudi Arabia; they are talking about attitudes toward the concept
of jihad and of martyrdom--common subjects for revolutionaries -- obviously
they are please to have people willing to follow and die in their cause
-- but this is the same kind of talk we would expect anyway, with or without
the events of September 11. And we already knew that OBL wants to overthrow
the Saudi government and do violent things in support of his goals for
Palestine -- but, again, nothing yet suggests they are merely assuming
that it was someone with similar convictions who, without their knowledge,
planned and executed the attack (as bin Laden claims in his other interviews).
- UBL: What about Shaykh Al-(( Rayan))?
- Shaykh: Honestly, I did not meet with him. My movements
were truly limited.
- UBL: Allah bless you. You are welcome.
- Shaykh: (Describing the trip to the meeting) They smuggled
us and then I thought that we would be in different caves inside the mountains
so I was surprised at the guest house and that it is very clean and comfortable.
Thanks be to Allah, we also learned that this location is safe, by Allah's
blessings. The place is clean and we are very comfortable.
- UBL: (... Inaudible...) when people see a strong horse
and a weak horse, by nature, they will like the strong horse. This is only
one goal; those who want people to worship the lord of the people, without
following that doctrine, will be following the doctrine of Muhammad, peace
be upon him.
- (UBL quotes several short and incomplete Hadith verses,
- "I was ordered to fight the people until they say
there is no god but Allah, and his prophet Muhammad."
- "Some people may ask: why do you want to fight us?"
- "There is an association between those who say:
I believe in one god and Muhammad is his prophet, and those who don't (...
- "Those who do not follow the true fiqh. The fiqh
of Muhammad, the real fiqh. They are just accepting what is being said
at face value."
- EASTMAN ANALYSIS Note the translators are interpreting
here, and they omit translating the word "faith" using the Arabic
"fiqh" which in appearance resembles the English word "fight"
--an obvious effort to alienate the reader -- these are not honest translators.
- UBL: Those youth who conducted the operations did not
accept any fiqh in the popular terms, but they accepted the fiqh that the
prophet Muhammad brought. Those young men (... inaudible...) said in deeds,
in New York and Washington, speeches that overshadowed all other speeches
made everywhere else in the world. The speeches are understood by both
Arabs and non-Arabs even by Chinese. It is above all the media said. Some
of them said that in Holland, at one of the centers, the number of people
who accepted Islam during the days that followed the operations were more
than the people who accepted Islam in the last eleven years. I heard someone
on Islamic radio who owns a school in America say: "We don't have
time to keep up with the demands of those who are asking about Islamic
books to learn about Islam."
- EASTMAN ANALYSIS Here OBL refers to "the young men"
-- again based on the identifications that were in the media as likely
as not. He talks about the effect of the destruction of the towers on the
minds of people with respect to their support of Islam and presumably of
its oppostion to Israeli policy and globalization and cultural deterioration
from westernization -- all of these are remarks we would expect if OBL
were innocent of the plotting as much as if he were guilty.
- Shaykh: Hundreds of people used to doubt you and few
only would follow you until this huge event happened. Now hundreds of people
are coming out to join you. I remember a vision by Shaykh Salih Al-(( Shuaybi)).
He said: "There will be a great hit and people will go out by hundreds
to Afghanistan." I asked him (Salih): "To Afghanistan?"
He replied, "Yes." According to him, the only ones who stay behind
will be the mentally impotent and the liars (hypocrites). I remembered
his saying that hundreds of people will go out to Afghanistan. He had this
vision a year ago. This event discriminated between the different types
- EASTMAN ANALYSIS Here is a man who knows nothing of the
details, talking about how the events of September 11 will energize their
cause -- yes, certainly they are aware that those so energized assume that
the crashbombing was the work of their hidden ero -- but this assumption
is not of OBLs doing -- it is just an assumption that almost everyone was
then making around the world, Saudi, American, Afgan, Jew and Eskimo.
- NOW GET READY FOR THE BIG ONE:
- UBL: (... Inaudible...) we calculated in advance the
number of casualties from the enemy, who would be killed based on the position
of the tower. We calculated that the floors that would be hit would be
three or four floors. I was the most optimistic of them all. (... Inaudible...)
due to my experience in this field, I was thinking that the fire from the
gas in the plane would melt the iron structure of the building and collapse
the area where the plane hit and all the floors above it only. This is
all that we had hoped for.
- Shaykh: Allah be praised.
- EASTMAN ANALYSIS This is an amazing piece of deceit on
the part of the translators. First their is a giant jump of context --
an entirely different topic and tone -- and only the word "inaudible"
is given to bridge the gap.
- But we know from above that the conversation had been
about the effects of the television reports. 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.
- THIS IS THE WHOLE OF THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION'S PROOF?
- UBL: We were at (... inaudible...) when the event took
place. We had notification since the previous Thursday that the event would
take place that day. We had finished our work that day and had the radio
on. It was 5: 30 p. m. our time. I was sitting with Dr. Ahmad Abu-al-((
Khair)). Immediately, we heard the news that a plane had hit the World
Trade Center. We turned the radio station to the news from Washington.
The news continued and no mention of the attack until the end. At the end
of the newscast, they reported that a plane just hit the World Trade Center.
- EASTMAN ANALYSIS Here again there is resort to the fudge
word "inaudible" -- again we find OBL discussing "the event"
-- possibly just as well translated "it," I suspect -- without
context -- the context all hidden in that fudge-box "inaudible."
- Yet even this passage as mangled as it is still reveals
consistency with bin Laden's claim of being innocent.
- This clearly indicates that bin Laden was NOT listening
to the radio before he heard the news of the attack from regular sources.
The whole government base is shot to pieces by this one statement. Bin
Laden wanted news and he was frustrated that the news program was not telling
him of the event -- he was not prepared to get information on the event.
- In short he had nothing to do with it. Q.E.D. and finis.
- Shaykh: Allah be praised.
- UBL: After a little while, they announced that another
plane had hit the World Trade Center. The brothers who heard the news were
overjoyed by it.
- Shaykh: I listened to the news and I was sitting. We
didn't... we were not thinking about anything, and all of a sudden, Allah
willing, we were talking about how come we didn't have anything, and all
of a sudden the news came and everyone was overjoyed and everyone until
the next day, in the morning, was talking about what was happening and
we stayed until four o'clock, listening to the news every time a little
bit different, everyone was very joyous and saying "Allah is great,"
"Allah is great," "We are thankful to Allah," "Praise
Allah." And I was happy for the happiness of my brothers.
- EASTMAN ANALYSIS Here OBL is merely commenting on the
joy that the news on the radio elicited -- yes it is callous to show joy
over the misery, but it is not crime -- it is nothing that resentful and
fgrustrated people do when they hear of their enemies misfortune -- but
that is a far cry from commiting the act -- at least in the eyes of the
law and of justice.
- That day the congratulations were coming on the phone
non-stop. The mother was receiving phone calls continuously. Thank Allah.
Allah is great, praise be to Allah.
- EASTMAN ANALYSIS One wonders about the real word translated
"congratulations" -- it may merely mean shared joy -- but even
if people were calling in congratulations, it is of course natural that
they would assume that bin Laden was responsible -- certainly the thought
of a frame-up would not occur to any of these people, not even bin Laden.
- (Quoting the verse from the Quran)
- Shaykh: "Fight them, Allah will torture them, with
your hands, he will torture them. He will deceive them and he will give
you victory. Allah will forgive the believers, he is knowledgeable about
- Shaykh: No doubt it is a clear victory. Allah has bestowed
on us... honor on us... and he will give us blessing and more victory during
this holy month of Ramadan. And this is what everyone is hoping for. Thank
Allah America came out of its caves. We hit her the first hit and the next
one will hit her with the hands of the believers, the good believers, the
strong believers. By Allah it is a great work. Allah prepares for you a
great reward for this work. I'm sorry to speak in your presence, but it
is just thoughts, just thoughts. By Allah, who there is no god but him.
I live in happiness, happiness... I have not experienced, or felt, in a
long time. I remember, the words of Al-Rabbani, he said they made a coalition
against us in the winter with the infidels like the Turks, and others,
and some other Arabs. And they surrounded us like the days... in the days
of the prophet Muhammad. Exactly like what's happening right now. But he
comforted his followers and said, "This is going to turn and hit them
back." And it is a mercy for us. And a blessing to us. And it will
bring people back. Look how wise he was. And Allah will give him blessing.
And the day will come when the symbols of Islam will rise up and it will
be similar to the early days of Al-Mujahedeen and Al-Ansar (similar to
the early years of Islam). And victory to those who follow Allah. Finally
said, if it is the same, like the old days, such as Abu Bakr and Othman
and Ali and others. In these days, in our times, that it will be the greatest
jihad in the history of Islam and the resistance of the wicked people.
- Shaykh: By Allah my Shaykh. We congratulate you for the
great work. Thank Allah.
- Tape ends here
- EASTMAN ANALYSIS The joy of men who hate at the disaster
of others. The feeling of vindication when those who offend your faith
come to ruin -- but no evidence of cooperation in this tragedy.
- THE GOVERNMENT HAS FAILED TO SHOW REASON FOR SUSPECTING
BIN LADEN -- BUT THEY HAVE EXPOSED THEMSELVES AS WILLING TO ENGAGE IN DECEIT
TO YIELD A DESIRED INTERPRETATION.
- Dick Eastman Yakima, Washington
- Every man is responsible to every other man.
- Here is the second segment of Bin Laden's visit which
shows up at the front of the tape:
- UBL: Abdallah Azzam, Allah bless his soul, told me not
to record anything (... inaudible...) so I thought that was a good omen,
and Allah will bless us (... inaudible...).
- Abu-Al-Hasan Al-(( Masri)), who appeared on Al-Jazeera
TV a couple of days ago and addressed the Americans saying: "If you
are true men, come down here and face us." (... inaudible...) He told
me a year ago: "I saw in a dream, we were playing a soccer game against
the Americans. When our team showed up in the field, they were all pilots!"
He said: "So I wondered if that was a soccer game or a pilot game?
Our players were pilots." He (Abu-Al-Hasan) didn't know anything about
the operation until he heard it on the radio. He said the game went on
and we defeated them. That was a good omen for us.
- Shaykh: May Allah be blessed.
- Unidentified Man Off Camera: Abd Al Rahman Al-( Ghamri)
said he saw a vision, before the operation, a plane crashed into a tall
building. He knew nothing about it.
- Shaykh: May Allah be blessed!
- Sulayman (( Abu Guaith)): I was sitting with the Shaykh
in a room, then I left to go to another room where there was a TV set.
The TV broadcasted the big event. The scene was showing an Egyptian family
sitting in their living room, they exploded with joy. Do you know when
there is a soccer game and your team wins, it was the same expression of
joy. There was a subtitle that read: "In revenge for the children
of Al Aqsa', Usama Bin Ladin executes an operation against America."
So I went back to the Shaykh (meaning UBL) who was sitting in a room with
50 to 60 people. I tried to tell him about what I saw, but he made gesture
with his hands, meaning: "I know, I knowÖ"
- UBL: He did not know about the operation. Not everybody
knew (... inaudible...). Muhammad (( Atta)) from the Egyptian family (meaning
the Al Qa'ida Egyptian group), was in charge of the group.
- Shaykh: A plane crashing into a tall building was out
of anyone's imagination. This was a great job. He was one of the pious
men in the organization. He became a martyr. Allah bless his soul.
- Shaykh (Referring to dreams and visions): The plane that
he saw crashing into the building was seen before by more than one person.
One of the good religious people has left everything and come here. He
told me, "I saw a vision, I was in a huge plane, long and wide. I
was carrying it on my shoulders and I walked from the road to the desert
for half a kilometer. I was dragging the plane." I listened to him
and I prayed to Allah to help him. Another person told me that last year
he saw, but I didn't understand and I told him I don't understand. He said,
"I saw people who left for jihad... and they found themselves in New
York... in Washington and New York." I said, "What is this?"
He told me the plane hit the building. That was last year. We haven't thought
much about it. But, when the incidents happened he came to me and said,
"Did you see... this is strange." I have another man... my god...
he said and swore by Allah that his wife had seen the incident a week earlier.
She saw the plane crashing into a building... that was unbelievable, my
- UBL: The brothers, who conducted the operation, all they
knew was that they have a martyrdom operation and we asked each of them
to go to America but they didn't know anything about the operation, not
even one letter. But they were trained and we did not reveal the operation
to them until they are there and just before they boarded the planes.
- UBL: (... inaudible...) then he said: Those who were
trained to fly didn't know the others. One group of people did not know
the other group. (... inaudible...)
- (Someone in the crowd asks UBL to tell the Shaykh about
the dream of (( Abu-Da'ud)).
- UBL: We were at a camp of one of the brother's guards
in Qandahar. This brother belonged to the majority of the group. He came
close and told me that he saw, in a dream, a tall building in America,
and in the same dream he saw Mukhtar teaching them how to play karate.
At that point, I was worried that maybe the secret would be revealed if
everyone starts seeing it in their dream. So I closed the subject. I told
him if he sees another dream, not to tell anybody, because people will
be upset with him.
- (Another person's voice can be heard recounting his dream
about two planes hitting a big building).
- UBL: They were overjoyed when the first plane hit the
building, so I said to them: be patient.
- UBL: The difference between the first and the second
plane hitting the towers was twenty minutes. And the difference between
the first plane and the plane that hit the Pentagon was one hour.
- Shaykh: They (the Americans) were terrified thinking
there was a coup.
- [Note: Ayman Al-Zawahri says first he commended UBL's
awareness of what the media is saying. Then he says it was the first time
for them (Americans) to feel danger coming at them.]
- UBL (reciting a poem): I witness that against the sharp
- They always faced difficulties and stood together...
When the darkness comes upon us and we are bit by a Sharp tooth, I say...
- "Our homes are flooded with blood and the tyrant
Is freely wandering in our homes"...
- And from the battlefield vanished The brightness of swords
and the horses...
- And over weeping sounds now We hear the beats of drums
- They are storming his forts And shouting: "We will
not stop our raids