Wiretapped “Terrorist” Conversations May Have Been Mistranslated

Jose Padilla 2

The prosecution has rested its case in the trial of Jose Padilla, and the defense is now presenting evidence, including testimony from a professional translator who believes translators and interpreters used by the prosecution have, intentionally or unintentionally, mistaken ordinary slang expressions for secret terrorist codewords. Examples, from Tuesday’s New York Times:

A professional Arabic translator, Kamal Yunis, told a defense lawyer, Jeanne Baker, that the surreptitiously recorded remarks made by her client, Adham Hassoun, also a terror suspect, were not about buying arms or supporting jihad, as translators and F.B.I. agents had testified for the prosecution, but were references to fund-raising for children whose parents were killed in conflicts like those in Kosovo, Lebanon and Somalia.

Mr. Yunis said that a phone call in 1997 with a Lebanese religious leader in which Mr. Hassoun expressed a desire “to send you two eggplants” was an expression understood by both men to mean $2,000 in donations for Muslim children abroad. Translators had testified for the prosecution that the eggplants were rocket-propelled grenades bought with Muslims’ donations.

Mr. Hassoun’s references to “football” were another way to say someone was “kicked around,” Mr. Yunis testified, contradicting translations by prosecution experts who said football referred to jihad.

More about Jose Padilla
More on U.S. detainees


~ by lolarusa on July 26, 2007.

One Response to “Wiretapped “Terrorist” Conversations May Have Been Mistranslated”

  1. That’s funny lol, but they can’t interpret a plain terrorist threat like the one that appeared at my blog The Dragon Tail and 17,000 other blogs on Sunday Morning. Too Funny

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