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Bush plotted to bomb al-Jazeera: report

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20051122/wl_afp/qatarusbritainmediajazeera;_ylt=AhjQ2NU5Zv7uGqKFy0N6J5JbbBAF;_ylu=X3oDMTA4NTMzazIyBHNlYwMxNjk2 Bush plotted to bomb
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 22, 2005
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      Bush plotted to bomb al-Jazeera: report

      Tue Nov 22, 1:35 AM ET

      LONDON (AFP) - US President George W. Bush planned to
      bomb pan-Arab television broadcaster al-Jazeera,
      British newspaper the Daily Mirror said, citing a
      Downing Street memo marked "Top Secret".

      The five-page transcript of a conversation between
      Bush and British Prime Minister
      Tony Blair reveals that Blair talked Bush out of
      launching a military strike on the station, unnamed
      sources told the daily which is against the war in

      The transcript of the pair's talks during Blair's
      April 16, 2004 visit to Washington allegedly shows
      Bush wanted to attack the satellite channel's

      Blair allegedly feared such a strike, in the business
      district of Doha, the capital of Qatar, a key western
      ally in the Persian Gulf, would spark revenge attacks.

      The Mirror quoted an unnamed British government
      official as saying Bush's threat was "humorous, not

      Al-Jazeera's perspectives on the war in Iraq have
      drawn criticism from Washington since the US-led March
      2003 invasion.

      The station has broadcast messages from Al-Qaeda
      terror network chief Osama bin Laden and the
      beheadings of Western hostages by insurgents in Iraq,
      as well as footage of dead coalition servicemen and
      Iraqi civilians killed in fighting.

      A source told the Mirror: "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

      "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."

      The Mirror said the memo turned up in the office of
      then British lawmaker Tony Clarke, a member of Blair's
      Labour Party, in May 2004.

      Civil servant David Keogh, 49, is accused under the
      Official Secrets Act of handing it to Clarke's former
      researcher Leo O'Connor, 42. Both are bailed to appear
      at Bow Street Magistrates Court in central London next

      Clarke returned the memo to Downing Street. He said
      O'Connor had behaved "pefectly correctly".

      He told Britain's domestic Press Association news
      agency that O'Connor had done "exactly the right
      thing" in bringing it to his attention.

      The Mirror said such a strike would have been "the
      most spectacular foreign policy disaster since the
      Iraq war itself."

      The newspaper said that the memo "casts fresh doubt on
      claims that other attacks on al-Jazeera were
      accidents". It cited the 2001 direct hit on the
      channel's Kabul office.

      Blair's former defence minister Peter Kilfoyle
      challenged Downing Street to publish the transcript.

      "I hope the prime minister insists this memo be
      published," he told the Mirror.

      "It gives an insight into the mindset of those whe
      were architects of the war."
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