Update: Immediate conclusions at America’s Right were correct after all — API perpetrated a hoax
From the API Web site:
The Obama tapes to be released
Posted by africanpress on October 20, 2008
Author : CandyCane (IP: 188.8.131.52 , c-68-34-200-85.hsd1.tn.comcast.net)
E-mail : Rogertheboss@comcast.net
Whois : http://ws.arin.net/cgi-bin/whois.pl?queryinput=184.108.40.206
Do not doubt that the tapes are real. They will be released in the next 24 hours here in the United States. This is not a hoax, it is really going to happen. I will post later on and tell you where you can go to listen to them. They will be played in full without any editing.
You know, folks, I really hope that I’m dead wrong on this one. I’ve said from the beginning that the article in question, standing alone and without supporting evidence, wasn’t enough to convince me of the authenticity of the statements, but if the tapes surfaced and were real, obviously all bets were off.
Should I be wrong on this (and even over and beyond this post at API’s Web site, I have reason to believe that I am), I will gladly own up to it — once I’m finished doing the dance of joy in my living room.
I asked Philip Berg, via e-mail, whether or not he thought the API/Michelle Obama tapes were real and whether they would in fact be released within the next day or so as Chief Editor Korir maintains. His answer was simple, and firm.
“Yes,” Berg wrote.
I will say that there is more to this that I simply cannot report. Still, keep checking here for updates. In the meantime, keep your fingers crossed, and know that I am doing the same.
UPDATE — October 20, 10:00am:
That’s right. The news that I could not report last night is that Philip Berg, the same man who filed suit against Barack Obama in federal court, has been retained by African Press International to handle the legal ramifications of distributing the purported Michelle Obama tapes stateside.
“They came to me, and they want me to do it,” said Berg, who maintains that he has not yet heard any tape himself, but mentioned that API is saying that they “have more information than what they already released.”
Further comment, Berg said, will be reserved until after he hears the taped evidence.
UPDATE — October 20, 4:15pm
Give me a break. The latest from the API Web site:
To Michelle Obama:
I have decided to write this open letter and to refer you to our telephone conversation the day your husband was having a debate with his opponent in New York. This has to be an open letter because the story is already out there and many Americans are crying for the truth about what we discussed.
I know our discussion was not meant to harm your husband’s candidacy nor was it meant to derail the US Presidential elections in any way. We both know that our talk was – a sister to brother talk – black to black person talk – in the African perspective. The problem came later when we listened to the taped recording of our talk. API thought it wise to publish some of the contents that are not inflammatory. API did the best to select that which could not cause any chaos and we in API did not expect that waht we chose to publish would have the impact it now has had in the last five days.
Many Americans have surprised us in the way they take the interview very seriously. We want to respect them – as we have promised from day one – to let them know the truth in what transpired between yourself and us. We have realised that the American people want to know you well before you probably become their first Lady.
The intention of writing to you this open letter is to appeal to you to confirm that we had a talk because it is the only right thing to do now, so that we avoid any embarrassment should the whole tape be aired unedited. You are well aware of our discussions touching on thorny issues like Iran’s good trade relationship with Kenya and the fact Kenya may play a role in mending the relationship between Iran and the US so that healthy trade relationship may be achieved if your husband gets the presidency. Remember the length and the depth of our talk on other issues of importance in this hotly contested election where as you have stated – is an opportunity for the black people to start being proud of America and to be patriotic.
API was disappointed that one of your husband’s spokespersons rushed to the press to deny that you had called API. It is best that they check with you first before jumping to conclusions as if they control your private calls everyday.
API is interested in handling this matter in a good and reasonable way so that we may not be forced to release the tapes in its entirety. We do not want to be party to causing unnecessary chaos before the elections. If you just come forward and confirm that there was a call you placed to API, that will enable API to be out of it and nobody will continue to demand that we air unedited tape, but that we can release the one with information that is already known to the public.
We will appreciate solving this matter this way in order to avoid unnecessary law suits that may come about.
It is my apology to you that we did not let you know that the conversation was being taped, and yet I expect you to know that being a public figure, such may happen.
We have decided to write to you after our discussion today with a US CIA official in Oslo.
Chief Editor Korir
A CIA Official? What is this, a Jerry Bruckheimer film? Come on.
UPDATE — October 20, 10:00pm
When every Web site was saying that this African Press International piece was the real deal, when everybody was ready to broadcast Michelle Obama’s purported statements from the tops of the tallest buildings in town, I knew something didn’t smell right, and I gave my reasons why.
One, Mrs. Obama is on the tightest of leashes, unable probably to even speak with the likes of Katie Couric and Diane Sawyer and three-quarters of the cast of The View. Two, Mrs. Obama may have an anger problem, but she is far too intelligent to say such inflammatory things so close to her chance to finally be really, really proud of her country. And three, even if Michelle Obama wanted to speak out against some grave injustice, she would not have chosen African Press International to do so.
That was my line of thinking. That still is my line of thinking. However, suckered in by the seductive chance that there were somehow audiotapes out there, I chose to go against my gut feeling and participate in the Internet forum to-and-fro that I’ve steadfastly tried to elevate America’s Right above since its inception at the beginning of this year. I’ve tried to be above rumor, and in this instance haven’t lived up to those aspirations.
It smelled funky from the get-go, and I need to remember to trust my gut … which, as I always say, is ample.
Philip Berg, in our conversation this evening, was similarly dissapointed by the apparent backtracking by the folks at African Press International.
“Everything depends upon what they actually have,” Berg said, mentioning what was reported earlier as an apparent attorney-client relationship in the works between him and API. “I need to speak with them again.
I asked him why he would agree to talk about representation without seeing, firsthand, the evidence in question. Berg said that the representation talks were essentially in preliminary stages, and nothing was set in stone.
“They supposedly have documentation confirming the telephone records,” he said. “I will only represent them if they provide me with the documentation that they said they have, including the telephone records and the audiotape. Otherwise, if they provide me with nothing of what they promised, I will not be associated with them.”
For me, a lesson learned. As this little story descended from potential news into simple humor, I should have known to jump ship. Next time, I’ll wear flippers, if not skip the three-hour tour entirely.