You can find many propaganda and news footage tapes of Osama bin Laden on the internet and many experts have studied them. Very few people have heard the 1500 audio tapes that tell the story of Al-Qa’ida’s formation, motivation and the internal struggles for power. These tapes cover the years from the 1960s up to 2001 and were originally obtained by CNN who offered them to the FBI and CIA after 9/11. Many of these same tapes were again obtained by the US Military in a 2002 raid in Kandahar, Afghanistan. These tapes explain that the real leadership of Al-Qa’ida did not trust “Gulfies” like bin Laden whose monetary support came with the caveat that the revolution not be brought back home and were seen as a corrupting influence.
On this edition of Tell Somebody Margot Patterson talks with Flagg Miller, Professor of Religious Studies at the University of California, Davis and author of the new book The Audacious Ascetic: What the bin Laden Tapes Reveal about Al-Qa’ida. He may be the only person that has seen all of the tapes that were confiscated. The US Government studied the tapes and then gave them to CNN who asked Professor Miller to review and translate them. He discovered a very different story than the one we were told.
Professor of Religious Studies
Director of the Graduate Group in
the Study of Religion
University of California, Davis