[Reader-list] Transcript of Osama bin Laden videotape

Harsh Kapoor aiindex at mnet.fr
Fri Dec 14 06:17:57 IST 2001

Source: CNN
URL: http://www.cnn.com/2001/US/12/13/tape.transcript/

Transcript of Osama bin Laden videotape
December 13, 2001 Posted: 2:25 PM EST (1925 GMT)

The following transcript of a videotape of Osama bin Laden talking 
with others, translated from Arabic into English, was issued by the 
U.S. Department of Defense. CNN spells the al Qaeda leader's name 
Osama bin Laden, but the Defense Department spelling -- Usama bin 
Laden -- is retained. He is identified as UBL in the transcript.

(Transcript and annotations independently prepared by George Michael, 
translator, Diplomatic Language Services; and Dr. Kassem M. Wahba, 
Arabic language program coordinator, School of Advanced International 
Studies, Johns Hopkins University. They collaborated on their 
translation and compared it with translations done by the U.S. 
government for consistency. There were no inconsistencies in the 

In mid-November, Usama Bin Laden spoke to a room of supporters, 
possibly in Qandahar, Afghanistan. These comments were videotaped 
with the knowledge of bin Laden and all present.

Note: The tape is approximately one hour long and contains three 
different segments: an original taping of a visit by some people to 
the site of the downed U.S. helicopter in Ghazni province 
(approximately 12 minutes long); and two segments documenting a 
courtesy visit by bin Laden and his lieutenants to an unidentified 
Shaykh, who appears crippled from the waist down. The visit 
apparently takes place at a guesthouse in Qandahar. The sequence of 
the events is reversed on the tape -- the end of his visit is in the 
beginning of the tape with the helicopter site visit in the middle 
and the start of the Usama bin Laden visit beginning approximately 39 
minutes into the tape. The tape is transcribed below according to the 
proper sequence of events.

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.

EDITOR'S NOTE: 39 minutes into tape, first segment of the bin Laden 
meeting, begins after footage of helicopter site visit

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 jihad.

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.

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.

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, as follows): "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 (...inaudible...) "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."

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." This event made people think (about true Islam) which 
benefited Islam greatly.

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 of followers.

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.

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.

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. 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. (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

Second segment of Bin Laden's visit, 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 

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 god.

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 blade 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 and rhythmŠ 
They are storming his forts And shouting: "We will not stop our raids 
Until you free our lands"...

Bin Laden visit footage complete. Footage of the visit to the 
helicopter site follows the poem.


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