Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Did Bush and Blair discuss bombing Al Jazeera? Official secrets act used to block disclosure of the full facts

"If true, then this underlines the desperation of the Bush administration" Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman Sir Menzies Campbell.

"The evidence is stacking up to suggest that the US decided to take out al-Jazeera in Baghdad, as a warning not only to them but to other media about their coverage. If true, it is an absolute scandal that the US administration can regard the staff of al-Jazeera as a bunch of terrorists and a legitimate target." International Federation of Journalists

Al Jazeera, the media organisation which has been the target of at least two US military attacks, comments on the gagging of the Daily Mirror story.

"Britain's Daily Mirror newspaper has been ordered to cease publishing further details from an allegedly top secret memo revealing that US President George Bush wanted to bomb Aljazeera.

The gag order from Attorney-General Lord Goldsmith came nearly 24 hours after the paper published details of what it said was a transcript of talks between Bush and the British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

In those talks, which took place during the prime minister's April 2004 visit to Washington, Blair is said to have talked Bush out of launching "military action" on the television channel's headquarters in Doha, Qatar.

"No 10 did nothing to stop us publishing our front page exclusive yesterday (Tuesday)," the Daily Mirror said on Wednesday, referring to the British prime minister's office.

But the attorney-general warned that publication of any further details from the document would be a breach of the Official Secrets Act.

He threatened an immediate High Court injunction unless the newspaper confirmed it would not publish further details."

For the full article go here

The Guardian also discuss the implications of the leaked information and evidence that previous attacks were deliberate.