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[FYI] Security fears over Bin Laden videos


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Sunday, 14 October, 2001, 14:33 GMT 15:33 UK  

Security fears over Bin Laden videos  

Bin Laden's media statements concern No 10 Broadcasting executives 
have been called to a meeting at Downing Street to discuss their use 
of television footage of Osama Bin Laden.  

The government has expressed concern over the use of televised 
messages by Bin Laden and members of his al-Qaeda network this week.  

A Downing Street spokesman said there were particular worries about 
video tapes smuggled out of Afghanistan by Osama Bin Laden and 
released to the Arab television channel al-Jazeera.  

Some fear that the tapes may contain secret coded messages to 
terrorists in the UK.  

Broadcasters respond  

A date for the meeting has yet to be fixed.  

A BBC spokeswoman said: "We have been invited to a meeting at Downing 
Street to discuss the use of images of Bin Laden and al Qaida 

"We will be attending. We will listen to what they have to say."  

The director of BBC news Richard Sambrook said only a fraction of the 
footage had been shown and the footage had been dubbed in English - a 
process over which he said Bin Laden would have had no control.  

The ITN says it has received an invitation to the meeting and was 
considering its response.  

A Downing Street spokeswoman said: "We do feel it is important at 
this time to discuss with the broadcasters some of the issues that 
arise when you have a conflict where the media access is controlled 
by an organisation that is harbouring terrorists, and which has been 
pumping out lies and propaganda from the start.  

"We look forward to having a constructive dialogue on this."  

Time magazine has reported that intelligence officials believe the 
tape broadcast on the first day of the air strikes contained a coded 
warning to start more attacks.  

A former al-Qaeda follower, now working for American intelligence, 
said that Bin Laden had used a phrase he would not normally use.  

In the tape he said: "I swear to God that America will not live in 
peace before peace reigns in Palestine, and before all the army of 
infidels depart the land of Mohammed."  

The magazine reported that the CIA's informer told them Bin Laden did 
not normally say "I swear to God" - meaning the phrase could be a 
code word used to tell his followers to put plans for new attacks 
into action.  

The al-Jazeera television channel has already defended its policy of 
giving air time to Osama Bin Laden, saying that it is vital to tell 
the whole story of America's action against him and his organisation. 
Ahmed Sheikh, the channel's news editor, told the BBC that any news 
channel which considered itself to be objective would have aired the 
statements released by Osama Bin Laden and al-Qaeda.  

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