CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Al-Jazeera Airs Bin Laden Tape
Aired October 7, 2002 - 13:39 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: It's a message to the American people and the audiotape aired on Al-Jazeera, the Arab language network. But is it really Osama bin Laden's voice? That's a question not yet answered.
CNN's Martin Savidge is in the Persian Gulf state of Qatar, and with him is our international producer Octavia Nasr.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is the newsroom at Al- Jazeera where the alleged tape came from Osama bin Laden came in, late last evening. In fact, we were with Al-Jazeera officials when that tape came in.
Al-Jazeera, in case you don't know, is a 24 hours news network broadcast over the satellite in Arabic and has become a major powerhouse in the Arab world sit since it began. It's also been the conduit to the West for messages from bin Laden.
Two things about this tape. Number one, it's incredibly short: only two minutes long, unusual for bin Laden. And second, it's an audiotape, meaning we don't know who is really speaking, and that begs the obvious question.
I'm joined by Octavia Nasr. She was a correspondent for CNN and also an Arab affairs expert.
You've heard this tape in its original form. Is it him?
OCTAVIA NASR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, no one can say for sure, and of course, we did not get any confirmation, independent confirmation, that it is him. The line of thought here in the Middle East is that it is him, it sounds like him. The message is very much like his. And it's interesting that you said this is very unusual of bin Laden.
I think this is the new bin Laden; I think we're going to see more of this in the future, if indeed he is alive, if indeed al Qaeda is going to release more tape in the future. This a very direct message to the American people. It's short and concise and straight to the point. He's sending them a clear message: He wants them to understand why the attacks on Washington and New York occurred. And this is a beginning for the al Qaeda network.
SAVIDGE: Any way to know when this tape was made? Anything in the words about what time frame?
NASR: Nothing in the tape indicates a time frame. This cannot be used as a proof of life, obviously. Some people believe that because it was mention of the U.S. administration preparing to attack and divide the Islamic world, that this could be a direct mention of Iraq, possible attack on Iraq, which puts this in a couple of months' time frame from today.
But this really vague. Whoever did this tape didn't want to pin themselves down to dates. There's no way we can tell if this was made last week, last month, or any time after 9/11.
SAVIDGE: CNN's Octavia Nasr, thank you very much.
The people here at Al-Jazeera believe it's the real deal. They also think it was made in the last two to three weeks. There are others who say that say an audiotape with a vague message doesn't prove anything as far as Osama bin Laden.
Martin Savidge, CNN, Doha, Qatar.
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