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Published: Saturday, 5/17/2008

Terror-trial jury views English-language versions of videos

BY ERICA BLAKE
BLADE STAFF WRITER

The graphic videos downloaded by Mohammad Amawi and shown last month during his trial on terrorism-related charges were played once again in U.S. District Court in Toledo yesterday - this time with the vast amounts of Arabic text, chants, and narratives translated into English.

Robert Antoon, an FBI language analyst, testified about the numerous hours of video and audio recordings as well as multiple documents that already had been shown as evidence in the case.

The translations offered a more complete picture of the contents of the videos and downloaded documents found on computer discs and drives confiscated from Mr. Amawi.

In some of the videos on Mr. Amawi's computer, the translations allowed for a better understanding of what was transpiring, including when Iraqi insurgents attacked - and often blew up - U.S. armored vehicles.

In one video, the narrative that accompanied the video of a suicide bomber as he prepared for an attack read: "A martyr of the Islamic Jihad Brigades, detonated a car bomb on one of the patrols of the occupation forces, when it passed on Baghdad-Mosul roadway, in the area of Taji north of Baghdad, the morning of Wednesday 2 corresponding to 5/11/2005, which resulted in the destruction of two Hummer trucks, and killing everyone on board. No civilians were hurt. Praise and grace be to God."

Mr. Amawi, 28; Marwan El-Hindi, 45, and Wassim Mazloum, 26, are each charged with planning to wage a holy war overseas using skills they learned on the Internet.

Specifically, the government is accusing the three of conspiring to kill or injure people in the Middle East - including U.S. troops serving in Afghanistan and Iraq - as well as providing "support and resources" to terrorists.

Mr. Amawi and Mr. El-Hindi also are charged with "distributing information regarding explosives."

During lengthy testimony by a computer analyst Thursday, the government documented the many files and Web links found on the computer drives and discs confiscated from Mr. Amawi and Mr. El-Hindi.

Some of the documents taken from those files - including instructions on how to create explosive materials and a catalogue of downloadable movies showing operations such as suicide bombings against U.S. troops - were shown again to jurors yesterday in English.

Mr. Antoon also testified about the files found on Mr. El-Hindi's computer, including the Internet history in Arabic that, once translated, showed that Mr. El-Hindi viewed a video of the creation and detonation of a bomb vest.

The translations will be given to jurors as they review evidence in the case.

Defense attorneys questioned Mr. Antoon about the possibilities that an Arabic word could have multiple meanings when translated.

In one instance, Mr. Antoon was questioned about interchanging the words "bombardment" with "shelling."

Mr. Antoon said either word could be used in the context.

Much of what was presented as translated text for the videos was praise for Allah, including statements translated as: "In the name of God, God is great" and "In the name of God the most compassionate, the most merciful."

In one video that shows the attack on the American CIA building in Tikrit, a more vicious chant could be heard in the background. When translated, it included the words "Blow them up, blow them up, wherever they are and slaughter them."

Judge James Carr adjourned the trial for the weekend and asked jurors to return to court Wednesday for the government's final witness.

The defense will start presenting witnesses immediately after the government concludes its case.

Contact Erica Blake at:

eblake@theblade.com

or 419-213-2134.



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