November 23, 2005

Bush planned to bomb al-Jazeera

According to the Guardian, George Bush planned to bomb the offices of al-Jazeera in Doha, Qatar. The issue is shrouded in mystery now because a memo purporting to contain details of the plan has now been declared an official secret and two people who are said to have handled and passed on the document have been charged under the official secrets act and the attorney general, Lord Goldsmith, has threatened editors with prosecution if they publish the document.
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.
The most detail I could find on this is in the South African Dispatch online.
In April 2003, an al-Jazeera journalist died when its Baghdad office was struck during a US bombing campaign. Nabil Khoury, a US State Department spokesperson said the strike was a mistake.

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

Peter Kilfoyle, former defence 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."
Enduring freedom indeed.

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