Hindu Vivek Kendra
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Translation of bin Laden tape may embarrass Saudi Arabia

Translation of bin Laden tape may embarrass Saudi Arabia

Publication: www.tehelka.com
Date: December 22, 2001
URL: http://www.tehelka.com/others/backend/news/ShowNews.asp?NewsID=7495
ABC translation has bin Laden's visitor, Khalid al Harbi, a Saudi dissident, claiming he was smuggled into Afghanistan by member of Saudi religious police New York, Dec 21 (PTI): An independent translation of the videotape of Osama bin Laden talking about Sept 11 terror attacks is potentially embarrassing for the US ally Saudi Arabia and also raises questions why the Bush administration omitted certain parts of the tape in the official release.

The translation commissioned by the ABC television  network shows bin Laden's visitor, Khalid al Harbi, a Saudi dissident, claiming that he was smuggled into Afghanistan by a member of the Saudi Arabia's religious police.

In the tape, acquired by the United States during search operations in Jalalabad, he also tells bin Laden that in Saudi Arabia, several prominent clerics, some with connections to the Saudi government, made speeches supporting the attacks on America.

"Right at the time of the strike on America, he gave a very moving speech, Sheikh Abdulah al Baraak," bin Laden said on the tape. "And he deserves thanks for that."

Sheikh al Baraak is a Professor at a government university in Saudi Arabia and a member of an influential council on religious law.

ABC, which released the transcript, quoted a Middle Eastern expert Fawaz Gerges as saying, "it shows that bin Laden's support is not limited to the radical side of Islam but also among the Saudi religious establishment. And that is bad news for Saudi Arabia."

The new translation reveals bin Laden's intimate knowledge of the hijackers themselves.

The prime suspect in the Sept 11 terror attacks on New York's World Trade Center towers and on a Pentagon building in Washington mentions not just the ring leader Mohamed Atta but several of the hijackers by name, including the al Hazmi brothers: "So these young men, may God accept their action, Nawaf Al Hazmi, Salim Al Hazmi."

A member of the team that translated the tape for the US government was quoted by the ABC as saying that translation is consistent with portions of the government's transcript that have not been released to the public.

Pentagon has said that the official translation was done by several independent translators with highly reputable credentials.

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