The news agency that claimed Michelle Obama called to protest its coverage of WND stories about her husband has published an “open letter” to the potential first lady, suggesting she “confirm that we had a talk because it is the only right thing to do now.”
The statement from Norway-based African Press International , however, simply heightened the doubts readers have expressed over whether the tape exists and whether the reported conversation ever happened.
Among the newest opinions about API:
- “A wonderful lesson in Scamming 101.”
- “Just what is happening?”
- “Stop this now. Produce the tapes or shut up.”
- Either play the tapes unedited or stop this hoax.”
API’s “open letter” said its goal was to “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 relationpship between Iran and the U.S. so that healthy trade relationship may be achieved. … Remember the depth of our talk on other issues of importance, ” the letter said. “We both know that our talk was – a sister to brother talk – black to black person talk – in the African perspective.
“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,” the letter said.
Obama campaign officials have stated that the telephone call never happened.
African Press International just hours earlier said it had agreed to work with the law offices of Philip J. Berg in its pursuit of a way to release copies of the tape recordings it has claimed to possess.
“API has realized that the interview with Mrs. Obama is of great significance in the coming elections. The release of the tapes is not intended to derail the elections or to destroy the chances that Mr. Obama may have in getting elected the first black president of the United States,” the organization said today.
“Many networks have contacted us and due to the fact that we in API do not know them from before, it took time to go through all requests from the networks that took contact with us and to choose one that will air the tapes unedited,” the organization said. “API is not interested in selling the tapes to any network. Our demand is that the tapes must be aired unedited by the network that we finally select.”
Jeff Schreiber of America’s Right blog said he’s contacted Berg, who also is pursuing a legal case challenging Obama’s presidential candidacy on the suspicion that he actually was born someplace other than his listed birthplace of Hawaii.
“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,” Schreiber wrote.
“His answer was simple… ‘Yes,'” Schreiber reported.
WND has requested that API release the audio recordings and sought a comment from Berg today, but he did not return telephone and e-mail messages.
Evidence of doubt in API’s claims, however, continued to rise.
“I find this article hard to believe without audio recording to back it up,” said an anonymous forum participant online. “Without such proof it’ll just turn into a ‘he said – she said’ report.”
“This story is a huge farce,” added a second.
Said a third, “The hoax continues.”
“The release has taken long due to the fact that API wanted to clear all legal hurdles and be safe from getting sued by any one. API and a U.S. law firm – [the] law offices of Philip J. Berg has just entered into an agreement giving the law firm the right to represent API in all matters that may arise due to the Michelle Obama interview and the release of the tapes in the U.S,” the organization said.
The group continued, “Now that we have an agreement for representation with a U.S. law firm, we think things will move faster in the direction of releasing the tapes. The law firm will help us get out of the unilateral agreements not signed by us. … We ask the readers to bear with us. We owe you the truth and the tapes being released.”
“Time’s up … where’s the audio?” added yet another forum participant.
WND reported over the weekend when API said it was seeking an American news source to distribute audio recordings of Michelle Obama’s phone call.
As WND reported at the outset, API said Michelle Obama called to accuse the agency of “colluding with American Internet bloggers in an effort to bring down her husband.”
Obama campaign officials repeatedly have said the alleged conversation was “not real” and “made up.” But API Chief Editor Korir said the intense response from news organizations has created difficulties.
“A number of Americans who are die-hard Obama followers have tried their best to intimidate API using all kinds of threatening methods when they call in and when they e-mail us,” the API statement said. “They are implying that API is planning to destroy Obama’s chances to become the next U.S. president. API does not have a direct interest in the U.S. presidential elections and we want Obama supporters to understand that. However, when someone who may become the next first lady makes such comments as in the story we have published, the public have the right to know. Intimidation directed to the publishers of the story is not the answer.
“The delay to make public the recordings is expected to give time to Mrs. Obama to come clean and tell the American people that her comments were not meant to harm anyone but that she was reacting to the media pressure on her husband. She should also come out and tell the American people that she will not discriminate those who are not Obama fanatics if she becomes the first lady,” the initial statement said.
Those on the other side of the political fence also were told to back off.
“Those who do not support Obama are actively pushing for the release of the recordings also, and we understand them very well. In many telephone conversations with them we, however, get disturbed when we realize that most of them want the recordings to be released because they want to use it to stop Senator Obama from being elected president. They state clearly that if the story is true and released now, the contents will sa[v]e America from a constitutional crisis that may come if things come out after the elections that proves Obama was adopted by a foreigner, thus, disqualifying him from the presidency,” Korir wrote.
“API is not out to convince the American public of anything. We do not want to influence the outcome of the U.S. presidential elections. API got a true story and published it. The fact that the story has caused a stir was unexpected, but that does not mean API must rush in a manner that will cause problems to itself, just to satisfy those who want the audio tapes so badly,” the first statement said. “When the legal concerns are cleared, which is happening in a short while, API will make public all the recordings available. This will also include comments, not yet published, which will most certainly put the Obama campaign spokesperson who had dismissed the story off balance.”
After the initial API report, Tommy Vietor, an Obama campaign spokesman, told National Review’s Byron York the conversation didn’t happen.
“The answer is no, it’s not real, the report is made up. She did not speak to the organization,” Vietor said, according to York’s report on National Review Online’s blog “The Corner.”
According to the API, the promised tapes should confirm that Michelle Obama did, in fact, scold the agency for not supporting the “African-American view.”
“African Press International is supposed to support Africans and African-American view,” she reportedly said. “It is strange that API has chosen to support the racists against my husband. There is no shame in being adopted by a stepfather. All dirt has been thrown onto my husband’s face and yet he loves this country. My husband and I know that there is no law that will stop him from becoming the president, just because some American white racists are bringing up the issue of my husband’s adoption by his stepfather. The important thing here is where my husband’s heart is at the moment. I can tell the American people that my husband loves this country and his adoption never changed his love for this country. He was born in Hawaii, yes, and that gives him all the right to be an American citizen even though he was adopted by a foreigner.”
API asked Michelle Obama to comment on the detention of Corsi during his recent visit to Kenya, where he was investigating the presidential candidate’s links to a controversial strongman serving as prime minister.
“When API asked Mrs. Obama to comment on why Dr. Corsi was arrested by the Kenyan government and whether she thought Kenya’s prime minister, Mr. Raila Odinga, was involved in Dr. Corsi’s arrest, she got irritated and simply told API not to dig [into] that which will support evil people who are out to stop her husband from getting the presidency,” the publication reported.