Lessig Asks for a Retranslation

Lawrence Lessig notes that the Al-Jazeera translation of the Osama bin Laden text seems at least to allow the reading that ObL is saying that Bush was given 20 minutes’ warning before the attacks occurred at all.

I don’t know a lick of Arabic, but I know at least one person who does reads my blog from time to time. Wanna take a crack at it, Jonathan?

I mean, even if that was what ObL was saying, that doesn’t mean he’s telling the truth…

Anyway, food for thought.

Here’s Dr. Lessig:

As Aljazeera has translated it, near the end bin Laden says this:

And for the record, we had agreed with the Commander-General Muhammad Ataa, Allah have mercy on him, that all the operations should be carried out within 20 minutes before Bush and his administration notice.

It never occurred to us that the Commander in Chief of the armed forces would abandon 50,000 of his citizens in the twin towers to face those great horrors alone at a time when they most needed him.

He goes on to refer to the Pet Goat incident, so we know he’s referring to the morning of September 11. But what does “carried out within 20 minutes before Bush and his administration notice” mean? Is bin Laden saying he gave the US warning (“notice”) before the attack — which would explain the weird look on Bush’s face before he was told the attack had actually occured?

3 thoughts on “Lessig Asks for a Retranslation”

  1. heh. I know enough Arabic to say ‘hello’, ‘thank you’ and ‘Your hummus pleases me.’ I don’t think I’d be able to clear up the transaltion confusion that Lessig notes.

  2. Well, tell you what, how about you tell us how to say “your hummus pleases me” and we’ll say good enough for government work?

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