Bush, Blair, Bombs and al-Jazeera
The Mirror, a British tabloid, claims a British government transcript shows that President George W. Bush wanted to bomb the Arab TV station al-Jazeera in Qatar last year but was talked out of it by Prime Minister Tony Blair.
BBC reports that the White House dismissed the report as "outlandish."
The story comes from a newspaper that was editorially opposed to the war in Iraq, but the allegations emerge from an ongoing prosecution of a British civil servant for leaking top secret cabinet records. Other reputable news outlets are now picking up on the story.
"It is claimed the transcript records a conversation during Mr Blair's visit to the White House on April 16 last year, in the wake of a failed attempt to root out insurgents in the city of Fallujah, in which 30 US Marines died," reports The Scotsman, whose editors supported the U.S.-U.K. invasion of Iraq.
The Edinburgh daily says the five page transcript of the alleged Bush-Blair conversation turned up in the office of a member of Parliament last May.
The MP, Tony Clarke, "returned the document to No 10 [Downing Street, the British equivalent of the White House] because of fears that British troops' lives might be put at risk if its contents became public," said the Edinburgh daily.
A Cabinet Office civil servant, David Keogh, has been charged under the U.K.'s Official Secrets Act with passing a secret document to Leo O'Connor, a researcher on Clarke's staff.
The Scotsman reports that Clarke declined to comment, saying his priority was supporting O'Connor who he said did "exactly the right thing" in bringing the document to his attention.
According to The Mirror, an unidentified source said, "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."
The tabloid also quoted "a Government official" suggesting that the Bush threat was "humorous, not serious."
Former British defense minister Peter Kilfoyle - a leading Labour opponent of the Iraq War - told the Press Association, a British wire service, that the document should be made public.
"I believe that Downing Street ought to publish this memo in the interests of transparency, given that much of the detail appears to be in the public domain," he said, according to Britain's Channel 4 News.
Aljazeera.net's report on the story follows the Mirror's account.
washingtonpost.com's Ed O'Keefe contributed to this item.
By Jefferson Morley |
November 22, 2005; 1:45 PM ET
Previous: Newcomer Triggers Israeli Political Earthquake | Next: When Is a 'Chemical' Weapon Not a Chemical Weapon?
Please email us to report offensive comments.
Posted by: Long Beach, CA | November 22, 2005 01:58 PM
Posted by: John | November 22, 2005 02:25 PM
Posted by: West Hollywood | November 22, 2005 02:39 PM
Posted by: A.S. | November 22, 2005 02:48 PM
Posted by: Karim | November 22, 2005 02:52 PM
Posted by: Santa Ana, CA | November 22, 2005 03:12 PM
Posted by: P. J. Casey | November 22, 2005 03:15 PM
Posted by: PAD | November 22, 2005 04:17 PM
Posted by: Frank | November 22, 2005 05:25 PM
Posted by: CarolineUK | November 22, 2005 05:58 PM
Posted by: David Patrick, UK | November 22, 2005 06:02 PM
Posted by: Mike Peacock | November 22, 2005 06:11 PM
Posted by: Stacey | November 22, 2005 06:25 PM
Posted by: pmorlan | November 22, 2005 07:01 PM
Posted by: Tom Canick | November 22, 2005 07:55 PM
Posted by: Bryan | November 22, 2005 09:05 PM
Posted by: B. Kaufmann | November 22, 2005 10:05 PM
Posted by: Bryan | November 22, 2005 10:41 PM
Posted by: sherry | November 22, 2005 11:47 PM
Posted by: OD | November 23, 2005 01:10 AM
Posted by: David Patrick, UK | November 23, 2005 04:16 AM
Posted by: Link | November 23, 2005 08:34 AM
Posted by: Fahd | November 23, 2005 09:37 AM
Posted by: Chris | November 23, 2005 10:35 AM
Posted by: anon | November 23, 2005 01:02 PM
Posted by: anon | November 23, 2005 01:46 PM
Posted by: anon | November 23, 2005 02:07 PM
Posted by: John | November 23, 2005 02:09 PM
Posted by: John | November 23, 2005 06:58 PM
Posted by: Gary | November 23, 2005 08:42 PM
Posted by: Sam Lopez | November 24, 2005 02:25 PM
Posted by: Colleen Schwanz | November 26, 2005 03:38 PM
Posted by: john cook | November 30, 2005 09:57 PM
Posted by: Samboma | December 3, 2005 05:35 PM
Posted by: Jefferson Morley | December 4, 2005 10:24 AM
The comments to this entry are closed.