Bin Laden’s Confession; is that what it is
Bin Laden’s Confession; is that what it is?
March 15, 2007 -- The tape released by the Pentagon on December 13, 2001 in which Osama Bin Laden is seen describing the events of 9/11 to a paraplegic visitor, Khaled Al-Harbi, is as close to a confession of prior knowledge as anyone is going to get at a dinner gathering.
Bin Laden: So if the plane hits the building here [gestures with hands], the portion of the building above will collapse. That was the most we could hope for, the most we expected: that the floors above the point of entry would fall. We were at one of the canyons at the time of the event, and we knew since Thursday that it would be on Tuesday. So we had the radio on.
That is enough for me, still, there are those who doubt and might say, well, the event had already taken place and Bin Laden knew enough detail to make up a story and take credit. Yes, there are those who might say that and for various reasons.
I do respect everyone’s opinion and their right to question; it is how we get to the truth. I don’t know how many of you have viewed the entire tape; I viewed it many times. I studied it with the volume muted when I was looking for graphic anomalies and did not want audio to interfere, and viewed it with the audio on with an Arabic transcript in my hand. Even though I speak the language, the transcript helped me catch whatever was missed because of the dialect.
I can tell you this; Bin Laden did not plan to reveal anything about the 9/11 events at this dinner. Bin Laden agreed to meet with the visitor because the visitor had information he could not get through his radio or any media available to him. Bin Laden was eager to learn the reaction of the religious scholars and the street in Saudi Arabia to the 9/11 events.
That was the purpose of this sting operation, to lure Osama bin Laden with something he was eager to have that no one else could give him. That is what the visitor was supposed to deliver.
Bin Laden was so eager to learn of the reaction in Saudi Arabia that the first relevant thing out his mouth was: “prominent positions of the Sheikhs (religious scholars)”. Bin Laden did not even take the time to formulate a complete sentence.
Bin Laden got very little in terms of information from the visitor. It was all hearsay and the visitor skirted the issue of providing documentation such as audio, video, or newspaper clippings since either he had to leave in a hurry for Afghanistan or because his travels were limited because of his handicap (paraplegic). The visitor really milked his handicap.
Throughout what was almost a 16-minute monologue, Al-Harbi, the visitor, tried very hard to get Bin Laden to pick up the 9/11 issue. The conversation reached almost a deafening silence at one point because Bin Laden was not picking up the conversation since its natural course would force him to talk about 9/11. It is then that Al-Harbi, the visitor, turns to Al-Zawahiri and says: “Sheikh Ayman, how are you?”
It took Bin Laden sixteen minutes to warm up to the idea of talking about 9/11 outside the vague statements of praise for the attackers.
Bin Laden was very cautious as his body language demonstrated during the dinner. He scanned the room often as if measuring all who were in attendance. Since his immediate entourage already knew of his complicity, and only two individuals apart from his visitor were strangers, he eventually and erroneously concluded that all were harmless when in actuality; someone in the room was wearing a hidden video camera.
Still, every time a person entered the room, mainly from an interior door to Bin Laden’s right, he stopped talking and measured the person. Also, whenever he was about to say something of importance relating to 9/11, he scanned the room to his right; his blind spot.
Bin Laden did not plan on confessing to prior knowledge or complicity. He was tricked into doing so.
The reader should not misinterpret what this all means. The magnitude of 9/11 was not achieved by Osama bin Laden alone. He might have been the originator of the plan. He might have put his plan in motion. But the reason 9/11 unfolded is because it was allowed to unfold by elements of the global intelligence community and other segments of the U.S. government. That is to say that Osama bin Laden was enabled and his plan exploited by the very people that could have stopped it. Instead of preventing 9/11 once they learned of it, people like Dick Cheney decided to make it worse – to create their desired New Pearl Harbor to further facilitate their lust for a New World Order. One could argue that the first hijacking related to 9/11 occurred when the bin Laden plan was hijacked by those that could make WTC7 collapse – a building that bin Laden was not targeting.
Returning to the sting operation and the tape, another source of contention is the Pentagon’s translation. It is criticized for being incomplete and being skewed to make Bin Laden’s statements sound more like a confession, and a confession that fits the government’s timetable.
The one item that I disagree with is that all the translators say that the visit took place during the month of Ramadan while the evidence says it did not. The Pentagon wants to push Ramadan on us because it fits the chronology of the videotape that included the spliced in helicopter wreckage footage.
The best translation of the conversation that supposedly mentions Ramadan is the following:
We ask God to bring great things to the nation in this blessed month [Ramadan] and afterward, and a strike on America that it will never recover from. This is what everyone hopes for, I swear to God.
While the Pentagon’s translation gives us that segment thus:
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.
There is a huge difference between the two translations. The first was done by a Saudi who understands the dialects used while the second was done by two translators, one of Lebanese origin and one of Egyptian origin, who are not very familiar with the dialects.
It is not unusual to find differences in translations, even when translating the written word such as a newspaper article or a chapter of a book. In this case, the translators had to understand the dialect and the word usage, transcribe what they heard to written Arabic, then translate that to English.
The choice of translators who later confessed difficulty with the dialect was underhanded by the Pentagon. Not to mention giving them only 48 hours to come up with the final product. That insured that both translators would only give us the least common denominator; those translators were railroaded.
Again, the stickler is the assumption by all translators that blessed (moubarak) month is the month of Ramadan.
In the first translation, the Saudi translator gives us the accurate translation, blessed month, and tells us that [Ramadan] is what he understood. The Pentagon translators tell us it is Ramadan and leave out and afterward. They also leave out and a strike on America that it will never recover from.
Could all the translators be wrong? After all, the visitor never named the current month by its name, he only said this blessed month and afterward.
The issue is the usage of the word moubarak. As someone who is a Muslim and of a Lebanese origin, I can inform you that the Lebanese use the word moubarak (blessed) to describe the holiday following Ramadan and not Ramadan itself, while kareem (another word for blessed) is exclusively used to describe the month of Ramadan. The same applies to the Egyptian usage of these descriptions. The question is why did both Lebanese and Egyptian translators assume the visitor is talking about Ramadan when their own understanding of its usage is contrary?
Yes, there is a need for more clarity, so I called a Saudi friend who is familiar with the various dialects and word usage.
In Saudi Arabia, Moubarak and kareem both mean blessed. Moubarak is predominantly used in Eastern Saudi Arabia to describe Ramadan, while kareem is predominantly used in Western Saudi Arabia to describe Ramadan.
Bin Laden's visitor, Khaled Al-Harbi, was born in central Saudi Arabia but grew up in the Western part. Best-case scenario that favors the Pentagon's translation would be that he uses these descriptions of the month of Ramadan, moubarak and kareem equally - 50/50.
But based on all the other information we have:
1. Time stamp on the videotape, even though unreliable, was Nov. 9 as given by the Pentagon, Ramadan started on Nov. 16 that year, the Pentagon should have questioned the interpretation of Ramadan as the month of the taping because of this discrepancy. The condensed Pentagon translation gave us Ramadan as fact.
2. The visitor clearly says that he arrived to the meeting place the day before and that he went through Kabul. If the taping took place during Ramadan, at the earliest, his passage through Kabul would have been on Nov. 15, 2001, but we know that the Taliban deserted Kabul the eve of Nov. 12, and was overrun without resistance by the Northern Alliance the morning of Nov. 13.
3. Two different reports from security sources in Saudi Arabia gave a departure date of September 21, 2001 for the visiting sheikh. The sheikh makes several statements on the tape that he left Saudi Arabia in a hurry, as soon as travel plans were finalized. It is quite incredible to accept that it took the sheikh, who left in a hurry on Sept. 21, fifty-six days to reach Bin Laden on Nov. 16, the first day of Ramadan. With a general knowledge of the area and the routes, I gave him five days and was generous by one day because the traveler was a paraplegic.
None of the translators considered the speech pattern of the visitor. Al-Harbi’s dialog can be described as contrived, choreographed, abundant with religious references, and full of flattery to the point where he compares Bin Laden’s predicament, of the whole world against him, to that of many Muslim leaders and including the prophet Mohammad when he was surrounded in Medina.
“The Tartars allied themselves against us in the winter. The apostate Turks, Kurds, Arabs and others joined them. They besieged Damascus like a bracelet around the wrest in the winter.” It’s just like they besieged the Muslims at the time of the Prophet in the winter [the Arabs in Mecca who refused to convert to Islam besieged Muhammad in Medina 1,300 years ago]. History is repeating itself.”
Could Al-Harbi be referring to the month of September as the blessed month since 9/11 took place in September?
After the mention of the blessed month he goes on to say and a strike on America that it will never recover from. This is what everyone hopes for, I swear to God. For a religious man to use God’s name to vouch for what everyone hopes for, and he says it in the present tense, he is very likely referring to 9/11. By September 26, 2001, what is determined to be the date of the taping, air travel had barely started, the stock market was still closed, and the impact of the attacks was not fully understood.
There is ample evidence that the taping took place in September. For the Pentagon to accept an inferior translation and force an assertion based on a single word moubarak is extremely weak.
In light of what was presented in this article and various other ones, there is only one proper course of action, an independent authentication of the tape, and an independent and transparent investigation into all aspects of this tape.
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