Skip to comments.Mistranslated Osama bin Laden Video - the German Press Investigates
Posted on 01/11/2002 5:25:08 AM PST by Demidog
Mistranslated Osama bin Laden Video - the German Press Investigates
by Craig Morris
A GERMAN TV show found that the White House's translation of the "confession" video was not only inaccurate, but even "manipulative".
ON December 20, 2001, German TV channel "Das Erste" broadcast its analysis of the White House's translation of the OBL 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".
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 OBL 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."
Meanwhile the US press has not picked up on this story at all, reporting instead that a new translation has revealed that OBL even mentions the names of some of those involved. But the item is all over the German press, from Germany's Channel One ("Das Erste" - the ones who broke the story, equivalent to NBC or the BBC) to ZDF (Channel Two) to Der Spiegel (the equivalent of Time or The Economist. More surprisingly, as I write the following site appears on Lycos in German: http://www.netzeitung.de/servlets/page?section=1109&item=172422 - but nothing under lycos.com in English.
Instead, we read in The Washington Post of Friday, December 21, 2001 (the day after the German TV show was broadcast) that a new translation done in the US
"also indicates bin Laden had even more knowledge of the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon than was apparent in the original Defense Department translation.... Although the expanded version does not change the substance of what was released, it provides added details and color to what has been disclosed."
I'll say. Aren't there any reporters in the US who speak German (or Arabic, for that matter)? An article in USA Today of December 20, 2001 sheds some light on why the original translation might not be accurate: "The first translation was rushed in 12 hours, in a room in the Pentagon".
So why didn't the new US translation find the same discrepancies as the German translators did? Read the article in USA Today against the grain:
"Michael, who is originally Lebanese, translated the tape with Kassem Wahba, an Egyptian. Both men had difficulties with the Saudi dialect bin Laden and his guest use in the tape, Michael said."
Why can a Saudi translator not be found in a multicultural country like the US, especially with the close business relations between the US and Saudi Arabia? [George] Bush Sr. probably knows any number of them himself.
Of course, if we ever hear about the German analysis in the US press, the reactions will be that some will never believe that OBL is behind the attacks no matter what you tell them. But actually, Americans are just as stubborn in refusing to face facts.
One moderator on Fox News complained to his interviewee that the European media were focusing too much on civilian casualties in Afghanistan. (I wondered which European languages this moderator could speak; a few weeks later, he happened to say on his show that he had had "three years of German". This, he claimed, would allow him to "do the show in German.")
His interviewee responded that, yes, the Taliban were very savvy manipulators of the media. So there we have it: Europeans get their information straight from the Taliban Ministry of Propaganda.
Craig Morris is a translator living in Europe. The original broadcast of the German show can be viewed in German at [this link].
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Send this paranoid bs to your fellow tin hat - hate America/GW buddies!
You are welcome, "Oh Brown Butt of the Camel".
If you believe that the government is alwys good/right and it never lies, spins, exaggerates, misleads, coerces, punishes and
that whom ever is on the other side of the argument is always wrong/bad, lying, criminal, terrorist, criminal, dangerous,
then enough said.
Oh, that's easy. From your post Number 10: "What they prove is that the government is lying." You claim that German news articles constitute proof that the government is lying, ergo you take what these German news sources say as Gospel since you offer up their word as proof of anything, which is the point of my original post to you.
Okay, now that we've gone around in a circle, our conversation has come to an end.
I hope you don't hold your breath while you wait for definitive answers about Enron OR the truth of the 'Osama tape'. They're playing pro-league dodge ball, where the rules can change in the middle of a play.
My point is, that if you're lied to once, by someone ... and then twice ... and then again. How long will it be before you begin to doubt that someone?
Yeah, but they're probably all tied up, as it were, working on the War on Terror's Rock the Mideast effort.
Reminds me of the old joke about the old bull and the young bull standing on a ridge looking down on a pasture full of young heifers. The young bull nudges the old bull and says 'lets run down and get one'. The old bull looks disgusted and says 'how about if we walk down and get 'em all '.
In other words, I don't trust this rush to judgement, because there are possible other reasons for attacking Afghanistan, such as control of caspian oil and pipelines that were already in the planning in 1996, but were being rejected by the current Afghan overlords.
Can't be sure, but I think you're the first one (and possibly the ONLY one to bring up the subject of 'mossad' here. Typical. Guess you think there are only two types who 'couldadoneit'. I don't. I think there are probably dozens of types that might want to bring America to her knees.
So many people seem to actually FEAR information these days. I wonder why.
They haven't proved that. Why should we believe a socialist German TV show and its Saudi translator? If anything, they are the ones who are being manipulative. Their hairsplitting over a couple of words doesn't change the fact that Bin Laden's terrorists committed the heinous crime of September 11!
Excuse me for intruding on a private conversation, but let me ask you, did you, or did you not believe that Bin Laden was guilty prior to seeing the video that was admittedly edited by the socialist government of the United States and its hired translators?
Sorry, I don't mean to split hairs too, but since you brought it up, even the hair on his beard doesn't match up (based on other available photos).