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Has conspiracy theory gone mainstream? Media debate on Bin Laden tapes as 'boost for the Bush government' and 'CIA hoax'

January 23, 2006

MIM: In his book " Conspiracy: How the paranoid style flourishes" Dr.Daniel Pipes wrote that;

".... Recreational conspiracism titillates sophisticates much as does recreational sex.... "

Which may explain the growing popularity of the modern day conspiracy theory which is epitomised by the claims in both the blogosphere and mainstream media that tapes with messages by Osama Bin Laden, calling for a truce and threatening attacks on the United States. were actually manufactured by the American government in order to vindicate the need for the war on terror, and discredit the left, via a Bin Laden endorsement for a book by an American conspiracy theorist who saw book sales skyrocket as a result of the resulting publicity.

The authenticity of Osama Bin Laden tapes has been disputed since they first started appearing in 2001and conspiracy theorists and their supporters have filled blogs debating the minutae of camera angles and motives. The most common reason given by conspiracy theorists for why the government would disseminate phony Osama Bin Laden tapes, is that they want to show the public that their is a reason for the 'War on Terror' and show that the Bush administration is right about the threat. What is most alarming is that conspiracy theories, wrongly believed to be the domain of ignorant and often illiterate, is in fact, often propagated by individuals with university degrees who write volumes on the theme of their paranoia. This phenomenon was highlighted last week by the release of a Bin Laden tape in which the fugitive terrorist 'recommended' the works of William Blum, an ex low level employee of the State Department who became disgruntled with the U.S. government's policy in Vietnam.

Blum openly declared that his intent was to "injure the beast" (aka the United States) and in 1969 he teamed up with former CIA agent and notorious traitor Phillip Agee, whose book, inside the CIA reportedly caused the death of several agents and compromised the organisation's operations. One website with a Blum bio credits him with "exposing the names and addresses of more then 200 CIA agents".

Below are excerpts from some of the theories arranged in chronological order: Blogs with names like "What really happened " "What the government hopes you don't learn" - headlined a piece with "The Fake Bin Laden Tape" - "What the Government Hopes you don't learn".

The article went on to dissect the tape with diagrams and pictures,and ended with a dire warning which is the conspiracy theorist equivalent of a Surgeon General's warning :

"...You are being lied to by the US Government. They are using deception to trick you into surrendering your freedoms, money, and the lives of your children for a phony "War On Terror"...."


MIM: The dispute over the 2006 Bin Laden tape relies more heavily on "expert" testimony to dispute the authenticity of the tapes but even thouse who do not dispute that the tapes are real concur that the tape is being used to further the neo con agenda.

The utter irrationality of the conspiratorial mindset can be seen by the way in which those on the left who do not dispute the tapes authorship view them as "invaluable gift" from Osama BIn Laden to the Bush administration, without bothering to explain why the terrorist would do anything which could be perceived as advantageous for his enemies.

Others claim that Bin Laden's endorsement of Willam Blum's book proves the tape must have be a hoax aimed at discrediting the left, but fail to explain why the U.S. goverment would want to boast the sales of an anti American conspiracy theory book and give their author a forum in process.

MIM: Below are some samplings from the different discussions which give an insight into the mindset of conspiracy theorists. Most disturbing of all, is that conspiracy theories are not the domain of the backward and ignorant-but seem to be entering into the realm of serious discussion .


"..Experts already begin to come forward with revelations that Latest tape just another CIA fake"

Steve Watson | January 20 2006

Spying? Torture? Illegal airstrikes? SHUT UP and hate Bin Laden. The NeoCon use of Osama Bin Laden as a tool of fear and control is a tried and tested method whenever the going gets tough. It's predictable and it's tiresome, but the masses buy it every time and that's why he has reappeared once again..."

MIM: Not surprisingly well known conspiracy theorist Steve Madsen's article on the 'fake OBL tapes" is showcased on the Rense website:

"...What's not right about the Osama Bin Laden audio tape. One thing that the Bush administration does well is manage perceptions of the public. Amid protests over the NSA wiretapping, the extension of the Patriot Act, and the nomination of neo-Fascist Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court, an audio tape on Osama Bin Laden is sent to Al Jazzera. On the tape, Bin Laden suddenly veers from being a traditional right-wing Wahhabi fanatic to the right of the House of Saud to a leftist progressive. The tape by Bin Laden was quickly verified as "authentic" by a CIA that is now firmly in the grasp of neo-cons under Porter Goss.

However, the tape is an obvious fake being used by the Bush administration to scare Americans into believing "Al Qaeda" is making plans for another attack and an attempt to link Bin Laden to Democrats.."


MIM: William Blum, whose book was cited by Osama Bin Laden in a taped 'warning' Americans of another terrorist attack, said he has no problem with the terrorist endorsement but admitted :

"I would be a little scared if he tried to look me up". Blum's expressed fear of Bin Laden, who has labelled him an ally, is in sharp contrast to his bellicose statements where he said that his mission is to "injure the beast" (i.e.America)..."


MIM: In a statement he made at a forum on the USC campus entitled "Understanding the Attack on America an Alternative View", Blum had this to say about conspiracy theorists:

"...To many of those bunched around the center, the statements made here about the United States not meaning well in its foreign policy may sound like an example of that frequent object of ridicule, the "conspiracy theory". But you know, you can say that teachers organize to pursue their own interests by forming unions, and you can say that farmers organize to pursue their own interests, but the minute you imply that people of power and wealth organize to pursue their own interests, you're called a conspiracy theorist, or conspiracy nut..."

The following statement was delivered by William Blum, author of ...
File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat - View as HTML
The following statement was given by William Blum, a panel member at the ...
1) making the world open and hospitable to American transnational corporations; ... - Similar pages


MIM: Blum's paranoia is epitomised by this classic conspiracy theorist laundry list of American foreign policy activities.

"...When you flip over the rock of American foreign
policy of the past century, this is what crawls out ...

invasions ... bombings ... overthrowing
governments ... suppressing movements
for social change ... assassinating
political leaders ... perverting
elections ... manipulating labor unions ...
manufacturing "news" ... death squads ...
torture ... biological warfare ...
depleted uranium ... drug trafficking ...
mercenaries ...

It's not a pretty picture.
It is enough to give imperialism a bad name..."


MIM: While stopping short of claiming the tape was fake the mainstream media has ignored the terror threat which was inherent in the message and was outraged instead by what they perceive as Osama Bin Laden's giving an "embarressment of riches "to President Bush and by extension justifying his continued war on terror.

This perception feeds the conspiracy theorists by implying that it was the 'inadvertant' effect of the message, and not the content which is the issue.

Steve Chapman of the Chicago Tribune showed that a terror threat is in the eye of the beholder - and explained to readers that missive was actually:

" Bin Laden's unintended generous gift to Bush".


".... In politics, sometimes your best friend is the right enemy. If you want to look handsome, stand next to a rhinoceros.

By that standard, President Bush is enjoying an embarrassment of riches. In the same week, he found himself under attack by both Al Gore and Osama bin Laden. The only thing better would be if Jacques Chirac denounced him for not wearing French perfume.

You might think it would hurt the president for the Al Qaeda leader to make a sudden reappearance, chirping away about new attacks on American soil. The latest tape furnishes an annoying reminder that more than four years after the World Trade Center towers fell, the guy who brought them down still is mooning us from his mountain hideout.

That's humiliating to the greatest military power on Earth. But every tape bin Laden makes reminds Americans how much they loathe him, distracting them from the fact that they're not all that crazy about Bush. If the president can't sell his policies on their merits, he can pitch them as the opposite of what the enemy wants.

By renewing his pledge to slaughter Americans, bin Laden conveniently took the focus off of Iraq, where the president is weak, and put it on terrorism, where he is strong...."


MIM: Chapman's editorial bears an uncanny resemblence to that of an article in Al Jazeera entitled " Bin Laden's Propaganda- Invaluable gift to Washington".

"...Unlike what many would think, Bin Laden's reappearance, chirping away about new attacks on American soil, is not in any way harming MR. BUSH, a Chicago Tribune editorial said. .."


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