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Thread: Bush Planned To Bomb Al-Jazeerah In Friendly Qatar

  1. #1
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    Bush Planned To Bomb Al-Jazeerah In Friendly Qatar

    BUSH PLOT TO BOMB HIS ARAB ALLY
    Madness of war memo

    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/tm_obje...name_page.html

    By Kevin Maguire And Andy Lines
    11/22/2005

    PRESIDENT Bush planned to bomb Arab TV station al-Jazeera in friendly Qatar, a "Top Secret" No 10 memo reveals.

    But he was talked out of it at a White House summit by Tony Blair, who said it would provoke a worldwide backlash.

    A source said: "There's no doubt what Bush wanted, and no doubt Blair didn't want him to do it." Al-Jazeera is accused by the US of fuelling the Iraqi insurgency.

    The attack would have led to a massacre of innocents on the territory of a key ally, enraged the Middle East and almost certainly have sparked bloody retaliation.

    A source said last night: "The memo is explosive and hugely damaging to Bush.

    "He made clear he wanted to bomb al-Jazeera in Qatar and elsewhere. Blair replied that would cause a big problem.

    "There's no doubt what Bush wanted to do - and no doubt Blair didn't want him to do it."

    A Government official suggested that the Bush threat had been "humorous, not serious".

    But another source declared: "Bush was deadly serious, as was Blair. That much is absolutely clear from the language used by both men."

    Yesterday former Labour Defence Minister Peter Kilfoyle challenged Downing Street to publish the five-page transcript of the two leaders' conversation. He said: "It's frightening to think that such a powerful man as Bush can propose such cavalier actions.

    "I hope the Prime Minister insists this memo be published. It gives an insight into the mindset of those who were the architects of war."

    Bush disclosed his plan to target al-Jazeera, a civilian station with a huge Mid-East following, at a White House face-to-face with Mr Blair on April 16 last year.

    At the time, the US was launching an all-out assault on insurgents in the Iraqi town of Fallujah.

    Al-Jazeera infuriated Washington and London by reporting from behind rebel lines and broadcasting pictures of dead soldiers, private contractors and Iraqi victims.

    The station, watched by millions, has also been used by bin Laden and al-Qaeda to broadcast atrocities and to threaten the West.

    Al-Jazeera's HQ is in the business district of Qatar's capital, Doha.

    Its single-storey buildings would have made an easy target for bombers. As it is sited away from residential areas, and more than 10 miles from the US's desert base in Qatar, there would have been no danger of "collateral damage".

    Dozens of al-Jazeera staff at the HQ are not, as many believe, Islamic fanatics. Instead, most are respected and highly trained technicians and journalists.

    To have wiped them out would have been equivalent to bombing the BBC in London and the most spectacular foreign policy disaster since the Iraq War itself.

    The No 10 memo now raises fresh doubts over US claims that previous attacks against al-Jazeera staff were military errors.

    In 2001 the station's Kabul office was knocked out by two "smart" bombs. In 2003, al-Jazeera reporter Tareq Ayyoub was killed in a US missile strike on the station's Baghdad centre.

    The memo, which also included details of troop deployments, turned up in May last year at the Northampton constituency office of then Labour MP Tony Clarke.

    Cabinet Office civil servant David Keogh, 49, is accused under the Official Secrets Act of passing it to Leo O'Connor, 42, who used to work for Mr Clarke. Both are bailed to appear at Bow Street court next week.

    Mr Clarke, who lost at the election, returned the memo to No 10.

    He said Mr O'Connor had behaved "perfectly correctly".

    Neither Mr O'Connor or Mr Keogh were available. No 10 did not comment.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


  2. #2
    Partridge Guest
    Bush al-Jazeera 'plot' dismissed
    BBC



    The White House has dismissed claims George Bush was talked out of bombing Arab television station al-Jazeera by UK Prime Minister Tony Blair. The allegations were made by an unnamed source in the Daily Mirror newspaper.

    A White House official said: "We are not going to dignify something so outlandish with a response."

    Ex-UK minister Peter Kilfoyle, who opposed the Iraq war, had called for a transcript of the alleged conversation to be published.

    Launched in 1996, al-Jazeera is best known outside of the Arab world for carrying exclusive al-Qaeda messages.

    The station is based in Qatar, a close ally of Washington's and the location of US military headquarters during the Iraq war.

    'Top Secret'

    According to the Mirror's source, the transcript records a conversation during Mr Blair's visit to the White House on 16 April 2004, in the wake of an attempt to root out insurgents in the Iraqi city of Falluja, in which 30 US Marines died.

    If true, then this underlines the desperation of the Bush administration as events in Iraq began to spiral out of control


    Sir Menzies Campbell, Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman



    The memo, which the Mirror says is stamped "Top Secret", allegedly details how Mr Blair argued against what the paper calls a "plot" to attack the station's buildings in the business district of Doha, the capital city of Qatar.

    A Downing Street spokesman said: "We have got nothing to say about this story. We don't comment on leaked documents."

    But Mr Kilfoyle - a former defence minister and leading Labour opponent of the Iraq war - has called for the full text to be published.

    "I believe that Downing Street ought to publish this memo in the interests of transparency, given that much of the detail appears to be in the public domain.

    "I think they ought to clarify what exactly happened on this occasion.

    "If it was the case that President Bush wanted to bomb al-Jazeera in what is after all a friendly country, it speaks volumes and it raises questions about subsequent attacks that took place on the press that wasn't embedded with coalition forces."

    Al-Jazeera reaction

    Mr Kilfoyle said he had not seen the memo, but had learnt of its alleged contents at the time of the original leak and believed it tallied with the Mirror's report.

    In a statement, al-Jazeera said it needed to be sure of the report's authenticity before reaching any conclusions and urged Downing Street to confirm its status as soon as possible.



    The statement said: "If the report is correct, then this would be both shocking and worrisome not only to al-Jazeera but to media organisations across the world.

    "It would cast serious doubts in regard to the US administration's version of previous incidents involving al-Jazeera's journalists and offices."

    Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman Sir Menzies Campbell said: "If true, then this underlines the desperation of the Bush administration as events in Iraq began to spiral out of control.

    "On this occasion, the prime minister may have been successful in averting political disaster, but it shows how dangerous his relationship with President Bush has been."

    'Joke'

    BBC News website world affairs correspondent Paul Reynolds said: "An attack on al-Jazeera would also have been an attack on Qatar, where the US military has its Middle East headquarters. So the possibility has to be considered that Mr Bush was in fact making some kind of joke and that this was not a serious proposition."

    According to The Mirror, the transcript is the document which allegedly turned up in the constituency office of former Labour MP Tony Clarke in May 2004.

    Mr Clarke - who voted against the Iraq War and lost his Northampton South seat in this May's election - said he returned the document to the government because of fears British troops' lives could be put at risk if it became public.

    Cabinet Office civil servant David Keogh has been charged under the Official Secrets Act of passing it to Mr Clarke's former researcher Leo O'Connor.

    Both men are bailed to appear at Bow Street Magistrates Court next week.

    Mr Clarke refused to discuss the contents of the document which he received, telling the Press Association his priority was supporting Mr O'Connor, who he said did "exactly the right thing" in bringing it to his attention.

  3. #3
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    U.K. charges official with leaking Blair memo
    Document allegedly says PM dissuaded Bush push for attack on Al-Jazeera

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10153489/

    Updated: 2:37 p.m. ET Nov. 22, 2005

    LONDON - A civil servant has been charged under Britain’s Official Secrets Act for allegedly leaking a government memo that a newspaper said Tuesday suggested that Prime Minister Tony Blair persuaded President Bush not to bomb the Arab satellite station Al-Jazeera.

    The Daily Mirror reported that Bush spoke of targeting Al-Jazeera’s headquarters in Doha, Qatar, when he met Blair at the White House on April 16, 2004. The Bush administration has regularly accused Al-Jazeera of being nothing more than a mouthpiece for anti-American sentiments.

    The Daily Mirror attributed its information to unidentified sources. One source, said to be in the government, was quoted as saying that the alleged threat was “humorous, not serious,” but the newspaper quoted another source as saying that “Bush was deadly serious, as was Blair.”

    “We are not interested in dignifying something so outlandish and inconceivable with a response,” White House spokesman Scott McClellan told The Associated Press in an e-mail.

    Blair’s office declined to comment on the report, stressing it never discussed leaked documents.

    Al-Jazeera said in a statement that it was investigating the report. “If the report is correct then this would be both shocking and worrisome not only to Al-Jazeera but to media organizations across the world,” it said.

    In Qatar, Al-Jazeera said it was aware of the report, but did not wish to comment. The U.S. Embassy in London said it was making no comment.

    The document was described as a transcript of a conversation between the two leaders.

    Court appearance next week
    Cabinet Office civil servant David Keogh is accused of passing it to Leo O’Connor, who formerly worked for former British lawmaker Tony Clarke. Both Keogh and O’Connor are scheduled to appear at London’s Bow Street Magistrates Court next week.

    According to the Crown Prosecution Service, Keogh was charged with an offense under Section 3 of the Official Secrets Act relating to “a damaging disclosure” by a servant of the Crown of information relating to international relations or information obtained from a state other than the United Kingdom.

    O’Connor was charged under Section 5, which relates to receiving and disclosing illegally disclosed information.

    According to the newspaper, Clarke returned the memo to Blair’s office. Clarke did not respond to calls from The Associated Press seeking comment.

    Press Association, the British news agency, said Clarke refused to discuss the contents of the document. PA quoted Clarke as saying his priority was to support O’Connor who did “exactly the right thing” in bringing it to his attention.

    Peter Kilfoyle, a former defense minister in Blair’s government, called for the document to be made public.

    “I think they ought to clarify what exactly happened on this occasion,” he said. “If it was the case that President Bush wanted to bomb Al-Jazeera in what is after all a friendly country, it speaks volumes and it raises questions about subsequent attacks that took place on the press that wasn’t embedded with coalition forces,” the newspaper quoted Kilfoyle as saying.

    Worrying memo?
    Sir Menzies Campbell, foreign affairs spokesman for the opposition Liberal Democrats, said Tuesday that, if true, the memo was worrying.

    “If true, then this underlines the desperation of the Bush administration as events in Iraq began to spiral out of control,” he said. “On this occasion, the prime minister may have been successful in averting political disaster, but it shows how dangerous his relationship with President Bush has been.”

    Al-Jazeera offices in Iraq and Afghanistan have been hit by U.S. bombs or missiles, but each time the U.S. military said they were not intentionally targeting the broadcaster.

    In April 2003, an Al-Jazeera journalist was killed when its Baghdad office was struck during a U.S. bombing campaign. Nabil Khoury, a State Department spokesman in Doha, said the strike was a mistake.

    In November 2002, Al-Jazeera’s office in Kabul, Afghanistan, was destroyed by a U.S. missile. None of the crew was at the office at the time. U.S. officials said they believed the target was a terrorist site and did not know it was Al-Jazeera’s office.

    Meantime, NBC News analyst Bill Arkin says that while there is no military order to bomb any media outlet, the U.S. Strategic Command in Omaha has been given responsibility for exploiting and disrupting the communications and computer systems of news media outlets worldwide.

    Arkin says the center of this effort is the Network Attack Support Staff, which while assigned to Stratcom, is headquartered at Ft. Meade, Md.

    © 2005 MSNBC Interactive
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


  4. #4
    Partridge Guest
    Legal gag on Bush-Blair war row

    Richard Norton-Taylor
    Wednesday November 23, 2005
    The Guardian


    The attorney general last night threatened newspapers with the Official Secrets Act if they revealed the contents of a document allegedly relating to a dispute between Tony Blair and George Bush over the conduct of military operations in Iraq.It is believed to be the first time the Blair government has threatened newspapers in this way. Though it has obtained court injunctions against newspapers, the government has never prosecuted editors for publishing the contents of leaked documents, including highly sensitive ones about the run-up to the invasion of Iraq.

    The attorney general, Lord Goldsmith, last night referred editors to newspaper reports yesterday that described the contents of a memo purporting to be at the centre of charges against two men under the secrets act.

    Under the front-page headline "Bush plot to bomb his ally", the Daily Mirror reported that the US president last year planned to attack the Arabic television station al-Jazeera, which has its headquarters in Doha, the capital of Qatar, where US and British bombers were based.

    Richard Wallace, editor of the Daily Mirror, said last night: "We made No 10 fully aware of the intention to publish and were given 'no comment' officially or unofficially. Suddenly 24 hours later we are threatened under section 5 [of the secrets act]".

    Under section 5 it is an offence to have come into the possession of government information, or a document from a crown servant, if that person discloses it without lawful authority. The prosecution has to prove the disclosure was damaging.

    The Mirror said the memo turned up in May last year at the constituency office of the former Labour MP for Northampton South, Tony Clarke. Last week, Leo O'Connor, a former researcher for Mr Clarke, was charged with receiving a document under section 5 of the act. David Keogh, a former Foreign Office official seconded to the Cabinet Office, was charged last week with making a "damaging disclosure of a document relating to international relations". Mr Keogh, 49, is accused of sending the document to Mr O'Connor, 42, between April 16 and May 28 2004.

    Mr Clarke said yesterday that Mr O'Connor "did the right thing" by drawing the document to his attention. Mr Clarke, an anti-war MP who lost his seat at the last election, returned the document to the government. "As well as an MP, I am a special constable," he said.

    Both men were released on police bail last Thursday to appear at Bow Street magistrates court on November 29. When they were charged, newspapers reported that the memo contained a transcript of a discussion between Mr Blair and Mr Bush.

    The conversation was understood to have taken place during a meeting in the US. It is believed to reveal that Mr Blair disagreed with Mr Bush about aspects of the Iraq war. There was widespread comment at the time that the British government was angry about US military tactics there, particularly in the city of Falluja.

    Charges under the secrets act have to have the consent of the attorney-general. His intervention yesterday suggests that the prosecution plans to ask the judge to hold part, if not all of the trial, in camera, with the public and press excluded.

  5. #5
    beltman713 Guest
    If this is true, it's just another example of how wacked out George Bush is.

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