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Osama Bin Laden? Media Ignores Absence of Proof

Christopher Bollyn| November 2 2004

The mainstream media has presented the latest video of what is said to be Osama bin Laden as if there were no doubt or suspicions about WHO it is in the video.

The only agency that claims to have checked the tape is the CIA, who is an active combatant in the "war on terror." That's like asking a boxer in the ring to referee the match he is in.

I asked the CIA about the latest video of some bearded guy who they say is Osama bin Laden: An "intelligence official" at the CIA named Anja told me that the agency had done a "technical assessment" of the tape. What this "assessment" included, Anja wouldn't say.

Asked if the assessment included voice verification technology, Anja would only say that the CIA "declined to be more specific."

The CIA has "a high degree of confidence" that it is OBL, and the President has "full confidence" in the CIA's assessment, according to a deputy spokesman working at the National Security Advisor's (Condoleezza Rice) office at the White House.

If the CIA actually used voice verification technology on the tape to determine that it was Osama bin Laden then why don't they tell us? Don't we deserve to know that the authenticity of the tape has been checked before it is presented to the American people as fact?

Why does the Associated Press (see Sun-Times article below), report that "The Bush administration said it believes the videotape is authentic..?"

I mean, don't these people know about voice verification technology? Or didn't they use it because they KNOW the tape is a hoax, because they made it?

And why has the media parroted these claims without even mentioning that there is a reasonable doubt that the image and voice in the tape belong to Osama bin Laden?

When I raised these questions with Michael Cooke, the British-born Editor-in-Chief of the Chicago Sun-Times, one of the 10 largest papers in the United States, he sounded like a typical Establishment gate-keeper/opinion-shaper: "I don't care," he said. "If it's a hoax then we've been hoaxed."

Here is my follow-up note to Michael Cooke of the Sun-Times:

TO: Michael Cooke, E-mail: Editor-in-Chief, Chicago Sun-Times

RE: Sun-Times Coverage of Purported Osama bin Laden Video

DATE: November 1, 2004

Dear Mr. Cooke,

After speaking with you on the phone today, I am sending this note as a follow-up.

I am a correspondent with American Free Press, based on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

The website for American Free Press is:

I called you this afternoon to discuss how the Chicago Sun-Times presented the news about the latest videotape of what is said to be Osama bin Laden. Your headline on October 30, 2004 read: OSAMA MESSES WITH THE ELECTION

In the Sun-Times coverage of this video there was no mention of any doubt that the image and voice were truly those of Osama bin Laden. You seemed unaware of voice verification technology, which is at least 10 years old and widely used in the United States.

Halfway through the article by Maggie Michael [AP] in Cairo, Egypt, there is only one sentence that even addresses the authenticity of the video: "The Bush administration said it believes the videotape is authentic and that it was made recently, noting that bin Laden referred to 1,000 U.S. military deaths in Iraq which happened in early September."

I asked you, in light of the admissions by the New York Times and the Washington Post that they had "failed the American public" by not adequately questioning the flawed case for war made by the U.S. and British governments, and the faulty intelligence of those governments, if the Chicago Sun-Times didn't owe it to its readers to raise the question and mentionthat there is absolutely no proof that the voice and image in the video actually belong to Osama bin Laden?

"I don't care," you replied, adding, "If it's a hoax, we've been hoaxed. It has all the hallmarks of being Osama bin Laden."

When I asked you about your statement, "I don't care," you said that you were referring to my questions. Does that mean that you don't care if the mainstream media and intelligence have been terribly wrong about the "war on terror" in the past?

Are you saying it doesn't matter to you if your readers know that there is reasonable doubt that this is Osama bin Laden?

You said that it looked like Osama bin Laden to you and the paper because it had the "hallmarks" of Osama bin Laden. When I asked you what those hallmarks were, the only hallmark you mentioned was that it had been on television.

Lastly, you said that if I reported that you said, "I don't care," you'd come to Washington and "bite you on your ass."

I hope you don't really mean that. I'm based in Chicago.


Christopher Bollyn

Michael Cooke, the British Editor in Chief of the Chicago Sun-Times said that he thought the man in this video is Osama bin Laden, because it had "all the hallmarks of being Osama bin Laden."

Asked what those "hallmarks" were, Cooke mentioned one: "It was on TV."

Then Cooke ran the headline: OSAMA MESSES WITH THE ELECTION, because he saw the video on TV.

How's that for controlled journalism in America?


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