Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Bush Planned to Bomb al-Jazeera


From the Mirror, hat tip to Ed Strong.





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."


The story was taken seriously enough by Newsnight's Jeremy Paxman to invite Frank Gaffney, President of the "think-tank" Center for Security Policy and super-hawk, to take part in a debate with an al-Jazeera journalist.

It provided a not-so-rare glimpse in the kind of thinking that dominates the hard right neocon agenda. To Frank Gaffney, had the US carried out such an attack, that would have amounted to nothing more that the killing of "enemy combatants". Gaffney is of course also a complete hypocrite, as he kept annexing every one of his utterances with "assuming such an attack had of course taken place", or words to that effect. It's rather gratuitous to defend military action that hasn't actually taken place.

Gaffney's justification for such an attack on al-Jazeera's head quarters ("assuming such an attack had of course taken place" [sic]): they're propagandists and therefore causing harm to the Allies, they must be "dealt with".





al-Jazeera are considered propagandists because they show material the US MSM aren't allowed to show. Executions of hostages, communiqu├ęs from bin Laden and similar anathema material which Bush and Co believe could garner support for al-Qaeda and the Iraqi insurgents. The latter is however highly unlikely, about as unlikely as streaming the glossed-over, ironed-out US version of events, into the homes of millions of Middle Eastern homes would increase support for the Iraq adventure in that part of the world.


al-Jazeera are in fact providing us with facts we would otherwise never learn about and that can only be a good thing.

Gaffney conveniently forgets that most of the US and UK MSM take part in their own propaganda battle, aimed at portraying the war in Iraq in the best possible light, filtering out anything that might show this war for what it really is and emphasising any successes, no matter how small, as proof that all will end well.

For this purpose alone the US operates a "Muslim" TV station, designed as a counter-force for al-Jazeera. Needless to say, no bugger actually watches it...

Gaffney seemed also to expect other "freedom loving nations" (read: UK and Europe) to feel exactly the same. Well, Frank, think again: in this part of the world journalists aren't considered "enemy combatants".


Last but not least, according to Gaffney's "definition", half the blogosphere are "enemy combatants" because they don't support the war and loathe most of the Gaffney-style baloney that comes with it. Frankly Frank, drop dead tomorrow and many here will celebrate it as another victory for the anti-war camp. Do you want me to spell it out even more clearly? Arsehole...

Want to read more on Frank Gaffney? Follow this link.

The Blairwatch Appeal:

As many of you will know, the memo regarding Bush's plans to bomb al-Jazeera headquarters, is now the subject of a gagging order, under the Official Secrets Act: in plain English, anyone caught publishing it risks going to prison for doing so. It's inconceivable that such a document can be withheld from the public and it is a further demonstration of the control-freakery of this New Labour Government. But one man, The Spectator's Boris Johnson, is prepared do just this: publish and be damned! Boris no longer stands alone, this here blogger and many other pledge to publish too, if the memo becomes available. You can join too:
pledge allegiance to this cause here.



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12 Comments:

At 8:27 PM, Blogger Richard said...

Thanks for the report; I didn't watch it myself, gert. And from what you say, it's probably as well I didn't -- I'd hate to have to fork out for a new TV AND new glazing, this close to Christmas.

 
At 11:45 PM, Blogger J.UL1R4 said...

I think I'd be needing a new TV along with Richard if I had seen it.

This is another scandal in an endless list of scandals, no wonder they wanted to silence this memo.

 
At 3:52 PM, Blogger Gert said...

Yeah, the real story here is HMG's leaning on the Official Secrets Act to silence journalists.

But Boris Johnsson has already indictaed he's willing to go the jail (well, court) over this.

 
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At 5:21 PM, Anonymous Indian Capitalist said...

"PRESIDENT Bush planned to bomb Arab TV station al-Jazeera "
-------
O Really! Sounds like a good idea for the next Michael Moore Film.

You know what I will be good enough to mail him the link to your post.

 
At 5:51 PM, Blogger Gert said...

Indian Capitalist:

Your comment sounds incoherent.

I vaguely make out that you believe that the idea Bush might have had such plans as farfetched? Why then has Downing Street issued a gagging order, based on the Official Secrets Act, effectively barring journalists from publishing the memo? If it was such baloney, why not blast the story out of the water, in the open? No, definitely no smoke without fire in this case...

 
At 11:08 PM, Blogger Timmer said...

Gert et al -

The problem (as I see it) is that this is yet another non-news item that has suddenly become one with some of you fine folks.

I see plenty of attribution to "sources" and "officials" here...typical hyperbole, but it winds many of you up nonetheless. You seem to be always ready to believe anything you read and hear - so long as it fits in with your inexplicable and unconditional "Bush-hate."

It even sounds like many of you might feel that al-Jazeera is a credible news source. Perhaps some of you even feel for the "freedom fighters" regardless of their heinous (and often televised) acts of unspeakable brutality.

But back to this story - is it completely beyond imagination that this might be a false story? Or, perhaps, that it was in fact a humorous quip from Bush to his friend Tony Blair?

 
At 10:35 AM, Blogger J.UL1R4 said...

"It even sounds like many of you might feel that al-Jazeera is a credible news source."

As credible as Fox ?

175 Murdoch international Newspapers all pro Iraq war..ho hum

 
At 3:56 PM, Blogger Gert said...

Timmer:

It's inconceivable that a memo blocked from further publication under the Official Secrets Act should not contain something highly embarrassing. Never before has the OSA been invoked to gag journalists. It won't work though, there's always one that doesn't mind being the fall guy.

As regards the media and al-Jazeera, objectivity is a pipe-dream; no one attains it, not you, not me, not ABC, not Fox, not the BBC. The latter has been muzzled quite a few times by HMG, see the resignation of the top man over the David Kelly/Hutton affair. Whether the BBC were right or wrong in their reporting is immaterial: the case once again showed how a Government can influence the media.

al-Jazeera's main "crime" is to show things others daren't show, arguably that makes them more objective, rather than less objective.

And to you this "bomb al-Jazeera" story seems unlikely, but to the "man-in-the-know", Frank Gaffney, it would clearly have been the right thing to do. My feeling is that if it had actually been carried out, you, Timmer, would have been right behind your President, so what exactly are you moaning about?

Take care...

 
At 5:05 PM, Blogger Richard said...

Gert,

The Al jazeera journalists/staffers have set up their own blog, Don't Bomb Us.

They're asking for shows of support [anonymously or not] and getting some. As one might expect though, they're getting plenty of the other stuff too.

 
At 6:28 AM, Blogger Timmer said...

GERT -

You are wrong about how my reaction might be (to a bombing of al-Jazeera), but you often seem to expect the worst of non-liberal folks. I would absolutely condemn the bombing of anything in Qatar. Been there...not a bad place.

Qatar has not fired on American planes, has not (to my knowledge) attempted to assassinate an American President. Has not broken cease-fire agreements nor a gaggle of UN resolutions and sanctions, and has not used chemical weapons on its people and neighbors. Nope - different story Gert.

You might be surprised to find that I read al-Jazeera quite often (at least weekly) and find them to be gaining credibility. Not because I agree with them, but they actually have begun to put the occassional non-hostile (to US) story out there.

 
At 5:11 PM, Blogger Gert said...

Timmer:

You wrote:
You are wrong about how my reaction might be (to a bombing of al-Jazeera), but you often seem to expect the worst of non-liberal folks. I would absolutely condemn the bombing of anything in Qatar. Been there...not a bad place.

My reply:
Well, I'll take that back then. And yes, I do often expect the worst from non-liberal folks because that's often what I get from them. There are some in the non-liberal camp who even deny Israel didn't exist until 1948, to them that's just a rumour spread by those vicious liberals in the UN (ding dong??) Hard to discuss anything with these people as their "thinking" is a faith, a belief system and you can't argue with one of these.

You wrote:
You might be surprised to find that I read al-Jazeera quite often (at least weekly) and find them to be gaining credibility. Not because I agree with them, but they actually have begun to put the occassional non-hostile (to US) story out there.

My reply:
I think al-Jazeera is much more objective and credible than most give them credit for. They're seen as a "force of evil" because they do show things most here don't want to see and our governments are afraid of being shown. Propaganda exists always, on both sides and certainly in times of war. Let's not be lily-livered about it.

 

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