At the time Colin Powell was quoting from what he said was a transcript of "Osama bin Laden" obligingly declaring a connection between Iraq and al Qaida, al Jazeera had not yet received the tape (CNN and other sources). CNN also says: "Word of the tape first surfaced when U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell told a Senate panel earlier Tuesday that he had reviewed a transcript of the message."
Meanwhile, the Associated Press quotes an al Jazeera editor as follows:
"Yasser Thabet, a broadcast editor at Al-Jazeera, said the tape appears to be authentic because the television station got it through the same means as previous bin Laden statements. He did not elaborate. When you listen to the tape, you can tell it's Osama bin Laden's voice," Thabet said.
Okay, so what we have is al Jazeera verifying the tape because they got it through their usual (unspecified) source, but Colin Powell having a transcript (translated and everything) before al Jazeera even received it. Hmmmm ... in the past it's taken days for the government to do an "accurate" translation, and these guys not only beat that record, but produced it before anyone else knew the tape existed. Pretty good! No wonder they're so cautious about compromising intelligence sources - they've invented time travel!
Another strange thing: The AP report quotes broadcast editor Yasser Thabet as saying "When you listen to the tape, you can tell it's Osama bin Laden's voice," yet further down in the story, it quotes Chief editor Ibrahim Hilal: "He said the station was not sure it would air all of the tape, saying the quality was not very good."
I guess poor Osama must really be on his uppers and not able to afford .95 plus tax for a cassette recorder capable of making good quality recordings. Come to think of it, wasn't the last tape (the one declared a phony by that Swiss audio lab) "poor quality" too? How 'bout takin' up a collection so Osama can at least get what every kid in the "civilized" world has at least two of? And what's the stock market symbol for the company making the time machine? I wanna invest!
THE CNN STORY: http://www.cnn.com/2003/ALLPOLITICS/02/11/powell.binladen/index.html
Al-Jazeera to broadcast bin Laden message
WASHINGTON (CNN) --After initially denying its existence, the Qatar-based Arab satellite news network Al-Jazeera broadcasting said it would air an audio message Tuesday from al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, calling on Muslims to "unite in defending the Iraqi people."
Word of the tape first surfaced when U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell told a Senate panel earlier Tuesday that he had reviewed a transcript of the message. "(Bin Laden) speaks to the people of Iraq and talks about their struggle and how he is in partnership with Iraq," Powell said at the congressional hearing.
Al-Jazeera had initially dismissed Powell's claim as rumor.
"This nexus between terrorists and states that are developing weapons of mass destruction can no longer be looked away from and ignored. As the president has said, 9/11 changed things," Powell said.
"We have a regime led by Saddam Hussein who has not accounted for all the weapons of mass destruction they've had in the past, who continues to pursue them. And we have non-state terrorist actors -- such as al Qaeda led by Osama bin Laden -- that would do anything to get their hands on this kind of material."
Powell's remarks come as the Bush administration presses the argument that Iraq's military capability and alleged links to terrorist groups constitute an imminent threat that requires decisive action by the United Nations.
He made the comments after being asked why containment would not work as a diplomatic means in dealing with Iraq.
Powell said the international community has tried to no avail to contain Saddam for the past 12 years. President Bush has threatened military action against Iraq if it does not disarm itself of alleged weapons of mass destruction, chemical, biological or nuclear.
Iraq has denied it has weapons of mass destruction or links with al Qaeda.
As Powell was testifying in front of the Senate Budget Committee, CIA director George Tenet and FBI director Robert Mueller were in a nearby hearing room, briefing the Senate Intelligence Committee on reports that the al Qaeda terrorist network is planning attacks in the United States and the Arabian Peninsula.
Tenet said two dozen members of Egyptian Islamic Jihad, which he called "indistinguishable" from al Qaeda, and two senior planners have been "operating freely" in Baghdad.
"There is a presence in Baghdad," Tenet said. (Full story at link above)
THE AP STORY:
(AOL News page)
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (Feb. 11) - The Al-Jazeera Arab satellite station broadcast a new audio statement from Osama bin Laden on Tuesday in which he expresses solidarity with the Iraqi people.
Chief editor Ibrahim Hilal told The Associated Press the 16-minute tape was a message to Iraqis to remain steadfast in the face of a potential American attack.
Yasser Thabet, a broadcast editor at Al-Jazeera, said the tape appears to be authentic because the television station got it through the same means as previous bin Laden statements. He did not elaborate.
''When you listen to the tape, you can tell it's Osama bin Laden's voice,'' Thabet said.
Ahead of the broadcast, a headline at the bottom of the screen during regular programming Tuesday night read, ''Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden calls on all Muslims to unite to defend the Iraqi people, in an audio message Al-Jazeera will broadcast later.''
Hilal said that on the tape, bin Laden urged Muslims not to cooperate with the U.S against Iraq, saying any Muslim who cooperates with America against another Muslim is an apostate.
He said the station was not sure it would air all of the tape, saying the quality was not very good.
Secretary of State Colin Powell told a Senate panel Tuesday that what appears to be a new statement from Osama bin Laden shows why the world needs to be concerned about Iraqi ties to terrorism.
Powell said he read a transcript of ''what bin Laden - or who we believe to be bin Laden'' was to say on Al-Jazeera, ''where once again he speaks to the people of Iraq and talks about their struggle and how he is in partnership with Iraq.''
The last Bin Laden tape aired on Nov. 12 on Al-Jazeera. Bin Laden, in the statement, promised new terrorist attacks.
Copyright 2003 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.