INDEPENDENT NEWS

Pressure to Release "Bomb Al Jazeera" Transcript

Published: Wed 30 Nov 2005 01:36 PM
Pressure Mounts For Release Of "Bomb Al Jazeera" Transcript
Report and Links Compiled By Lyndon Hood
More news and background:
Wikinews: Alleged Bush-Blair Al-Jazeera bombing transcript leaked
Wikinews: Further details about Bush-Blair memo stopped
Al Jazeera Reports:
Memo: Bush wanted Aljazeera bombed
UK gags paper over Aljazeera memo
Pair charged in Aljazeera memo leak
ALSO:
Mirror/Reuters: Jazeera seeks Blair meeting
Mirror: Iraq Wife 'To Sue U.S'
Site Receiving Pledges To Publish Transcript Once It Is Released:
http://www.blairwatch.co.uk/node/603
British Prime Minister Tony Blair is coming under opposition pressure to release a memo which reportedly show that he dissuaded President Bush from ordering the bombing the Head Quarters of Al Jazeera TV in Qatar, an ally of the United States.
Blair has now denied receiving any information on US plans to attack the station.
Links:
Mirror: Pressure in Memo Row Rises
Mirror: Gag Bid 'To Spare Premier'
On the 22nd of November the Daily Mirror reported on a "Top Secret" memo - a transcript of a Meeting between Bush and Blair in April 2004, at the time of the first Coalition action against Falujah. The Mirror said that Blair dissuaded Bush from bombing the headquarters of Arab TV station Al Jazeera.
The station is owned by the Qatari Government and located in the capital, Doha. Qatar.
Qatar is an ally of the US and Britain. It provided the base of central command for the 2003 Coalition invasion of Iraq.
Links:
Mirror: Exclusive: Bush Plot to Bomb His Arab Ally
Following the publication of the article, the UK Attoney General threatened to prosecute media under the Official Secrets Act if they revealed any more details of the memo.
Links:
Guardian: Legal gag on Bush-Blair war row
Mirror/Reuters: Press warned over Jazeera bombing report
According to reports:
A source told the Mirror: "The memo is explosive and hugely damaging to Bush.
"He made clear he wanted to bomb Aljazeera 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."
Another source said: "Bush was deadly serious, as was Blair. That much is absolutely clear from the language used by both men."
A spokesman for Blair's Downing Street office said: "We have got nothing to say about this story. We don't comment on leaked documents."
Another source said: "Bush was deadly serious, as was Blair. That much is absolutely clear from the language used by both men."
Other US and UK sources suggested the President was joking. The White House has described the allegations as ''outlandish and inconceivable'.
A spokesman for Blair's Downing Street office said: "We have got nothing to say about this story. We don't comment on leaked documents."
However, in answer to a written question in the UK Parliament asking "what information he received on action that the United States administration proposed to take against the Al Jazeera television channel?" Blair replied, "None."
Links:
Blair denies knowing of reported al Jazeera plan
Guardian/AP: Blair Denies Knowing of U.S. Bomb Plans
UK Hansard: Written Answers to Questions [28 Nov 2005]
A civil servant and a former employee of a Labour MP are facing trial under the UK's Official Secrets Act. The charges are understood to relate to the leaking a memo on the outlook for Iraq that appeared in the Sunday Times last year, and not the document cited by the Mirror.
Links
BBC (17 Nov): Two charged 'over Iraq memo leak'
Sunday Times (May 23, 2004): Confidential: Iraq memo
United States forces have previously been accused of deliberately targeting Al Jazeera in the 2001 bombing of the station's Kabul office and in 2003, when their Baghdad office was struck during the US bombing campaign, killing an Al Jazeera journalist.
For more background on this See a paper by Scoop Editor Alastair Thompson presented shortly after the end of the Iraq Invasion.
Link:
Scoop: The Role of Media in the Second Gulf War - Targeting of Journalists
ENDS

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