U.K.: Media Gag Order Over Leaked Memo

Britain's attorney general yesterday told the Daily Mirror and other newspapers not to publish further details from a top-secret memo that detailed a meeting between President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair in which Bush expressed a desire to bomb an Arab TV station.


The cover of yesterday's Daily Mirror.

According to the Mirror, "the five-page memo -- stamped 'Top Secret' -- records a threat by Bush to unleash 'military action' against the TV station [al-Jazeera], which America accuses of being a mouthpiece for anti-US sentiments."

The White House has dismissed the story as "unworthy of comment."

Aljazeera says it is "going through a due diligence process of verifying the details."

If the leaked memo is authentic, said Aljazeera, "it would cast serious doubts in regard to the US administration's version of previous incidents involving Aljazeera's journalists and offices."

In April 2003, an Aljazeera journalist died when its Baghdad office was struck during a US bombing campaign. In November 2001, Aljazeera's office in Kabul, Afghanistan, was destroyed by a US missile, although no staff were in the office at the time. US officials said they believed the target was a 'terrorist' site and did not know it was Aljazeera's office.

The Guardian said the action of Attorney General Lord Goldsmith was unprecedented. "It is believed to be the first time the Blair government has threatened newspapers in this way. Though it has obtained court injunctions against newspapers, the government has never prosecuted editors for publishing the contents of leaked documents, including highly sensitive ones about the run-up to the invasion of Iraq."

The Times of London reported that Labour MP Peter Kilfoyle "dismissed comments by Whitehall officials that any suggestion of an attack would have been in jest. 'This is a matter of great interest. There was an attack on the hotel in Baghdad used by al-Jazeera journalists which caused great controversy. The US also attacked a Serbian TV station (during the Kosovo war). It is easy to dismiss this as a glib comment, but I don't find it very funny at all,' he said."

However, the BBC's Web site gave some credence to the "jest" explanation:  "BBC News website world affairs correspondent Paul Reynolds said: 'An attack on al-Jazeera would also have been an attack on Qatar, where the US military has its Middle East headquarters. So the possibility has to be considered that Mr Bush was in fact making some kind of joke and that this was not a serious proposition.'"

The Washington Post's story on the controversy is here: "Paper Says Bush Talked of Bombing Arab TV Network."

By Jefferson Morley |  November 23, 2005; 8:45 AM ET  | Category:  Europe
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Comments

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I wouldn't put it past Bush. He is after all an idiot. But I refuse to believe anything that comes out of the Mirror. That paper has less credibility than Bush, which means close to nil.

Posted by: Sully | November 23, 2005 10:05 AM

You don't get government officials waving the Official Secrets Act without there being a genuine document at stake. I'd be happy to go with the yuk-yuk explanation, but given the attacks on Al-J's offices in Kabul and Baghdad, talk of attacking journalists isn't funny any more.

Posted by: Nick Sweeney | November 23, 2005 10:18 AM

"Mr Bush was in fact making some kind of joke"

Their offices have been attacked in Afghanistan and Iraq, both theaters of operation. Doesn't sound like a joke to me.

Posted by: Chandra | November 23, 2005 10:40 AM

Why is it that the "OPINION" of Paul Reynolds gives any credence to the "jest" explanation. This is pathetic JM and reaching on your part. This is what I have always complained about WaPo's inherent bias towards power/establishment. All the actual evidence points to the fact that this story is true. What gives this guy any authority on what Bush was thinking or US policy on media it considers to be the enemy. Since when are we naive to think we do not target innocents or those we consider to be the enemy even if they are in so-called "friendly countries" Be real.

1) there is a transcript!!!! - if its not true then the Brits can release that portion to refute it or explain whether it was in jest.

2) Why would the Gov't get an injunction not to publish more. If this quote was the most damaging then what would have been the reason for an injunction unless ofcourse there is more damaging info in the transcript that blows the silly explanation of Bush just joking out of the water.

3) Al-Jezeera's offices have been bombed repeatedly in both Afghanistan and Iraq - this has always been the policy of the US to bomb media offices of those it considers its enemies - see Iraq, Al - Arabiya, Al-Jezeera, the Serbian Tv station and I am sure many many more if do preliminary research.

Remember when the CNN news producer accused the military of having a policy of targeting the media - he was quickly fired and everyone shut up. The head of Reuters has complained about this. It is the long standing US policy (once again like torture it is nothing new) everyone in the world knows it but our dear beautiful wise american public who is always sheltered from horrible news and looks adoringly at its leaders who never ever do any wrongs. As Bush sr. once said he will never ever apologize for the US no matter what.

So now the pathetic excuse we have for Bush is that he is just such a jokster!! So you can never take what he says seriously. This is how low the Republic has sunk when the village idiot leads it. Right now Bush and the US have absolutely no credibility left.

Posted by: RY | November 23, 2005 10:52 AM

One question

Is Howard Klutz turning into another Pat O'Reiley?

Posted by: dd | November 23, 2005 11:06 AM

RY - What is truly pathetic is that people like you consider this news at all. Sure, it's a story and it deserves to be reported and all that, but we have no idea the full context of the story. You're just masturbating over another chance to sound off about Bush. How can you expect a government to operate if it knows everything it says behind doors will be made public? I mean, if you want to live in a place without an effective government, do us all a favor and move to Darfur. If you just want to move from one Bush-bashing story to the next, at least move to Canada or apply for a job with the Mirror.

Posted by: c2tbf | November 23, 2005 11:07 AM

It's true, the credibility of these goons has flat-lined. The precision bombing that the Bush admin likes to brag on also has an awful lot of convenient 'accidents'.

A 'Gag Order' isn't placed on a gag, but naturally this White House isn't about to address the issue.

Posted by: Dee Lilley | November 23, 2005 11:14 AM

Another thing....

Washington Post is losing credibility even if they try to keep the image going that everything is okay at the WP

Bob Woodward, Partisan Editorials, Secret torture Sites (whatever happen to that story? it just disappeared) now you have people like Howard Klutz coming out as the point man - - Puh-leeze

This guy is so full of himself - - We don't care if he an conservative, liberal or christian, all we wanted to know was his unbiased opinion of whats going on - but just like Woodward he is too close to the base.

WP wants to give their loyalty to the Reporters of great credentials, well I hope you all have fun reading each other articles!!!

Posted by: dd | November 23, 2005 11:15 AM

c2tbf wrote-

"RY - What is truly pathetic is that people like you consider this news at all. Sure, it's a story and it deserves to be reported and all that, but we have no idea the full context of the story. You're just masturbating over another chance to sound off about Bush. How can you expect a government to operate if it knows everything it says behind doors will be made public? I mean, if you want to live in a place without an effective government, do us all a favor and move to Darfur. If you just want to move from one Bush-bashing story to the next, at least move to Canada or apply for a job with the Mirror."

If you think bombing media outlets and/or making crude jokes about formerly bombed media outlets is necessary for an "effective government" please admit as much. I do not expect nor want everything the President says behind closed doors made public... regarding things like the War, or national security, or any countless number of issues where maybe Johnny Taxpayer isn't on a need-to-know basis. Bombing legitimate media outlets or making crass/crude jokse about them is not one of those issues. There are plenty of functioning governments (not Dafur) that are more transparent than our administration. It needs to step up and apologize or denounce the story more (if the story is so beneath your attention than why is it on the British Government's radar?).

I do not hate Bush, by the way, so save that nonsense.

Posted by: Will | November 23, 2005 11:29 AM

From what i have heard, the mirror didn't actually read or have a copy of the memo, but got an account from a source.

While the Bush presidency worries me often, this just doesn't make any sense. There is no way we could ever bomb a single media building in an a friendly country. Even if Bush is evil incarnate, there is now way a senario like this would ever fly, or get passed the consultants....too many public forces would be working against him. This seems like hersay with little information regarding context, if it is in fact true.

Posted by: Andrew | November 23, 2005 12:24 PM

RY and Will, well said.

c2tbf, your comment was not quite intelligent.

Surely this administration was not going to launch a missile on Al-Jazeera HQs in the middle of Qatar. They are not that naive.

There are other "obscure" ways of bombing a target like that if they wanted to.

The administration routinely accuses Al-Jazeera of being a mouthpiece of the enemy (Al-Qaeda). That is the same rational that was used in order to justify the bombing of the Serbian TV HQs (a civilian target).

Posted by: Karim | November 23, 2005 12:29 PM

Andrew - you must either be the most naive person on earth or a plain idiot. You claim this will be impossible to pull off yet Bush was able to lie to the whole nation and take us to War which I believe is a much more bigger task than sending in covert operatives to blow up Al-Jazeera. Jeez how can people be that silly. I mean US presidents have killed millions for less trangressions (see Vietnam, Iraq, South America, Africa and on and on) yet it is preposterous to conceive of this. Amazing.

Posted by: YR | November 23, 2005 12:34 PM

There's more hype out there than anything else, so why not hold the administration responsible for what it actually does than what it might have talked about? As Karim says, the administration wouldn't and couldn't do this even if it wanted to. Who cares if they wanted to ? They're human.

I just think it's beyond pathetic that people focus on these paper chases instead of focusing on current real problems and solutions, for example the Iraqis and Americans who are currently risking their lives to set up polling stations in Iraq.

Posted by: c2tbf | November 23, 2005 12:48 PM

if the memo is so "outlandish" why the threat by the British Govt to all the tabloids

Sounds like serious b'ness to me

Posted by: rich | November 23, 2005 12:56 PM

I agree that my first reaction to this story was "Who cares?" because it's some silly Brit tabloid. Naturally a big juicy headline loses its credibility when it airs on the same page as "Posh and the dwarf"

But this story got wings the instant the British government sent the gag order out. Maybe there are sensitive documents in the memo that have nothing to do with Bush's comments. They should come out and say as much. Or maybe the admin called up Blair and said "Don't let this get out". I'm at risk of sounding like a conspiracy theorist, I know, but you can't quell conspiracies by saying "this story is below our mention".

Your original and later point are both well received by me. This story has probably gotten too much attention already and there are more pressing concerns. That doesn't mean it is stupid or beneath the readership. Government officials have reacted to it and so should constituencies.

People can have interest in a somewhat intriguing story (that happens to place George Bush in a poor light) without touching themselves, by the way.

Posted by: Will | November 23, 2005 12:58 PM

"Andrew - you must either be the most naive person on earth or a plain idiot."

Well, thats kind of mean. I just want more facts before I add this to the list of why GW is the anti-christ. Its fun, and all, to lump all un substantiated but sensational factoids together to support a preconcieved world view...but then that would make you no better than Bush.

Posted by: Andrew | November 23, 2005 01:30 PM

If this memo is true (and it seems likely that it is), President Bush has proven once again that he is not really the smartest. This story just shows us the reason why Bush rarely speaks unscripted in public!

Posted by: Stephan Ortmann | November 23, 2005 03:10 PM

That would be a good argument if we had no unsubstantiated facts. But we already know that we've bombed two AJ offices, in Kabul and Baghdad.

Bombing one might be put down to bad luck. Bombing two begins to look like carelessness. When he talks of bombing a third, reasonable people may be expected to see a pattern.

Even if this story were untrue (in which case why the gag order?), there is a strong prima facie case for suspicion.

They've been caught lying again and again and again. It's absurd that we continue to approach each story with a presumption of innocence - something they themselves are working to eliminate from the justice system.

As far as I'm concerned the burden of proof is now on the govt protestors of innocence. Let them publish these comments if they're really harmless.

This gag order is as good as an admission of guilt in my opinion.

Posted by: RockyVI | November 23, 2005 03:11 PM

Two Brits are criminal defendants for divulging a state secret "joke"? Get real.
Must have been quite a "joke" to take up 5 pages in a memo. Is Blair so hard up for jokes that he has to issue a gag order? If it's such a great "joke", why don't they share it with the rest of us? After what Bush/Blair has put humanity through, we could all use a good laugh. Where's their sense of humor? We all love a good "joke".
What's the harm if there is nothing to it?

Posted by: Frank | November 23, 2005 03:13 PM

Methinks the government protest to much! Why don't they just ignore the whole thing if its not true, a gag order is pretty severe.
Why is it that no one is talking about what our illustrious President said last year, He said if the new Iraqi government asks us to pull out our troops from Iraq, then he will do so. Wellll that is just what they did, they asked Bush for a timetable on getting our troops the hell out of their country. Hmmmmmm I haven't heard anything from our government! This must be another one of Dubba's flip-flops, flippity floppity, flip-flop! http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/22/international/middleeast/22arab.html

Posted by: nallcando | November 23, 2005 03:35 PM

The missile that destroyed the al-Jazeera office in Kabul also damaged the neighbouring offices of the BBC and AP - two other news organisations that the Bush Administration dislikes intensely.

The military acknowledged that the two smart bombs had hit the building they were aimed at, but said they had believed the building was occupied by al-Qaeda.

But al-Jazeera, and the BBC and AP, had all provided their address to the military before this happened.

Just as they had provided the address of their office in Baghdad, bombedd in 2003, on the same day as the infamous attack on the Palestine Hotel that killed two journalists.

Since the war started, US forces have killed 16 journalists. By the strangest coincidence all of them worked for news organisations that the Administration dislikes.

Pro-war journalists and US citizens never seem to be among the victims in these unfortunate accidents.

Perhaps that's why the US media seems so smug and unconcerned about this story.

Posted by: OD | November 23, 2005 04:05 PM

I'm confused by this argument that it must be a joke because the US would never be stupid enough to act like that on an ally's territory.

Are these people unaware that the Italian government, one of the closest US allies, has issued arrest and extradition warrants for six CIA agents for kidnapping people off the streets of Italy?

I agree with every other sane person here. The British govt has effectively admitted guilt by invoking the Official Secrets Act, gagging newspapers and prosecuting the leakers.

This one is clearly so bad they know they can't spin it, they can only stonewall.
Our own government's reaction strikes me as particularly dim. Intelligent people will just be offended by their refusal to address the issue. And their supporters would be all in favour of blowing up Arab journalists anyway. They might as well come clean.

Posted by: B. Kaufmann | November 23, 2005 04:32 PM

This is no joke. Bush can make it sound like Al Qaeda attacked AlJazeera or something , though Blair knew AlQaeda had no reason to attack AlJazeera and so he adviced him not to. Bush's days as a human being and a man are over!!

Posted by: George | November 23, 2005 04:41 PM

Great, now we're killing journalists.

When does the Bush administration become an actual danger to the USA? What happens if the rest of the world declares us a rogue nation? I doubt that the residents of 1945 Dresden had the opportunity to bring to the Allies attention that they had not necessarily voted for Hitler. While this may be a self-centered viewpoint, an ironic death at the hands of terrorists on the DC Metro does not cheer me up that much. (Ha, ha, ha, get it? - I don't support his policies yet they still blow me up to make some kind of point. If I was more objective, it would be funny.)

All I ask is that after I'm gone, no Republican mourns my passing as the death of an American hero and bases some moronic military action on it.

Posted by: Tom Canick | November 23, 2005 04:41 PM

I don't know what it is about Conservative Republicans. They can't go in a straight line. Everything is a conspiracy against them, and they have to create a counter conspiracy against every imagined Conspiricy. They are not even very good at conspiracy because they always get caught.
Watergate was stupid. If they wanted to know what Democrats were doing they just had to ask, and they would have been happy to tell Republicans where they were wrong.
I have never seen an American political party that makes it's members tow the party line like the Republican Party. They are like Lemmings marching over a cliff. The problem is, when they are in power, they can take the whole country over a cliff. When it comes to party discipline, they beat the Communists.
As the old political saying goes," I don't belong to any organized political party! I'm a democrat! Thank God!

Posted by: P. J. Casey | November 23, 2005 05:31 PM

b

Posted by: | November 23, 2005 06:03 PM

Having the Brits invoke the Official Secrets Act to exercise prior restraint against the publication of potentially damaging information (no doubt with the strong encouragement of the Bush Administration) is making this whole thing sound suspiciously like the Nixon administration's efforts to block publication of the Pentagon Papers, just on a smaller scale. The question is, will the current management of the Post show the same courage as Bradlee/K.Graham did and pursue the story, if it turns out to be accurate?

Posted by: Scott | November 23, 2005 06:13 PM

I would urge the Post to dig deeper into this story. Why has the British government issued a gag order to the papers concerning the memo if it allegedly has no basis in fact?

It is bad enough that the Washington press corps has not challenged Scott McClellan who delivered total falsehoods concerning the White House involvement in Plamegate.

Wake up fellas!

Posted by: Michael McGovern | November 23, 2005 06:22 PM

I'd be prepared to ignore a tabloid rag like the Mirror if it wasn't for the unprecedented gag order from the government. The UK has some of the best newspapers in the world, we also have some of the worst.

But the over-the-top reaction from the UK administation says the Mirror is on to something here. The British press risks criminal prosecution if it pushes ahead with this. The American press doesn't, so they have to be the ones to push deeper into this story and get the truth out.

Posted by: David Patrick, UK | November 23, 2005 06:22 PM

You people have lost you minds if you think Aljazeera is non-biased, perfectly reasonable media source. Every Islamic jihadist in the world knows who to go to when they want claim responsibility for the latest bombing. Or how about Aljazeera being the first to show video footage of latest beheading? Do you think this information just falls into their lap? If the people running this network really wanted to make a difference in the world they would supply as much information as possible to the proper Government/Military intelligence agency about everything they know about any terrorist related issue. Maybe we could actually catch the scum of the earth that do these atrocities instead of just letting us see their "handy" work. The reason the terrorists go to Aljazeera is because they know they won't get "ratted-out" (for lack of a better word).

That said ... I would no way endorse bombing a pseudo news agency, but lets get real ... Aljazeera isn't the harmless prince charming you guys make them out to be.

Posted by: ktc | November 23, 2005 06:26 PM

There is, actually, a scenario which supports the 'it was a joke' explanation and the injunction issued at the same time.

Let us assume that the Mirror did get hold of a transcript of some sort in which Bush and Blair talk about sensitive matters; sensitive enough to earn the Top Secret label. Let's assume in the course of it Bush makes his lame joke.

The British government might get out their own copy of the transcript, have a look, and go "Wait, they talk about Secret Program X after joking about, can't let that get printed," and issue a gag order.

I'm inclined to believe it was a joke... Bush tries and fails to be funny all the time... but frankly both he and Blair have lied or shaded the truth so often on things relating to the Iraq War that if he told the world Iraq can get hot in the summer people would automatically assume it's an arctic waste all year round.

Posted by: MacMorrigu | November 23, 2005 07:04 PM

ktc, I had no idea that it was part of the press' responsibility to function as police and government informants.

That sounds like a great recipe for the free exchange of information.

I think I'll refrain from giving my name, in case the Washington Post sees fit to report my subversive comments to the State 'organs'.

Posted by: Anon | November 23, 2005 07:24 PM

And MacMorrigu, your argument doesn't hold water. They could always draw over the 'Secret Program X' stuff with a thick black pen before releasing the document.

Like they did, for instance, with the info relating to Saudi involvement in the 911 report.

There's nothing to stop them releasing Bush's comments on al-Jazeera if they think they're defensible. The problem is they're not.

Posted by: Anon | November 23, 2005 07:28 PM

KTC,

Thanks for answering the al-Jazeera bias question that no one was asking. The debate is whether Bush authorized the bombing of their offices, not their alleged bias.

Posted by: Chris | November 23, 2005 08:12 PM

Or are you, KTC, arguing that the "pro-War" FOX news station and affiliates are a military target for Ba'ath insurgents?

Posted by: Chris | November 23, 2005 08:14 PM

Oops, I meant a viable military target.

Posted by: Chris | November 23, 2005 08:14 PM

Another post-mortem that hardly does the body any good!

Strangely enough this whole story including the "warning" from the "poodle administration" makes me laugh.

As everyone knows by now the whole Iraq mess was based on lies. It hardly matters if we wanted to destroy AlJ or Al Gore or Al Capone, who really cared so long as it was those anti-war people that got it in the neck.

As for those BBC people and their logic about Qatar being on our side, who told them we'd be the ones to hit AlJ?

It could have been anyone doing our dirty work. For the amount we pay for services (read $10 million to Chalabi for example) I'm sure there would be many lining up for the job.

Posted by: ITAhmed | November 23, 2005 08:24 PM

Anon -- If it was a joke, releasing the transcript might not help at all. A lot of 'I'm only kidding' is conveyed by tone and expression. You might get something like this:

BUSH: I really think we ought to just bomb Al-Jazeera.

BLAIR: No, no.

BUSH: Just bomb em. Wipe em out. What do you say, Tony? You know Rummy tells me [DELETED FOR SECURITY REASONS.]

BLAIR: [DELETED FOR SECURITY REASONS.]

BUSH: [DELETED FOR SECURITY REASONS.] But aside from that, I really think we should just take them out.

BLAIR: No, no, out of the question.

BUSH: Well, all right.

Now, is he joking there, or not? If we heard them in person, it would be easy to tell. In a script, not so much. And what exactly did they delete? Was it sensitive material, or were they just cutting out the parts that made them look bad?

Posted by: MacMorrigu | November 23, 2005 08:48 PM

Unbelieveable....a couple words is all it takes in a blog to get all the Bushies so worked up in a rabid froth, drooling and sputtering all kinds of venom.
It's amazing how easy it is to spot a moron these days. Just criticize Bush and you'll be surrounded by sub-70 IQ Bush supporters threatening you with bodily harm!

Posted by: DaveE | November 23, 2005 09:04 PM

The best way for Bush to fix all this speculation is to come out and say "I made a crude joke" or "I did not make a crude joke nor did I say anything of the sort". Instead we get a non denial denial.

The Brits could easily come out and say "The reason we issued a gag order was because there are sensitive materials in those documents that are released on a need to know basis" though they have failed to do so.

All the "Bushies" (I don't know what this means) would be shut up once and for all because the administration acted transparently to address a potential concern.

Instead...

Posted by: Will | November 23, 2005 09:20 PM

I disagree DaveE. That was certainly true a year ago. But today it seems like all the rabid Bush supporters are in hiding.

Even Republicans now tend to preface their comments "Yeah Bush is an XXXXXXX, but..."

Where ARE all the Bush supporters? Taking adult literacy classes? Checked into a cult-deprogramming clinic? I can dream...

Posted by: Buddy | November 23, 2005 09:24 PM

Bush's popularity would go up at least 10% if he really meant to bomb the Al Jazeera Terrorvision Network.

Posted by: Libs Stink | November 24, 2005 06:57 AM

Of course, I am such an right-wing ideologue that my on-line moniker is "Libs Stink." You can only imagine what an annoying ass I become after a few glasses of Sterno juice.

Posted by: Libs Stink | November 24, 2005 09:06 AM

Libs stink is right. I voted for Clinton- I'm a former Democrat. The only reason I'm a Bush supporter is that all the other alternatives are so awful. To pretend that the Iraq problem started with the W. administration is sheer hallucination. Try not to forget the policital alternative in Iraq: Saddam Hussein. Try not to forget the political alternative in the US: John Kerry. Have a happy Thanksgiving.

Posted by: c2tbf | November 24, 2005 09:44 AM

I support all right-wingnuts drinking daily tall glass of sterno. Follow it up with a cigarette. =P

RY- "How can you expect a government to operate if it knows everything it says behind doors will be made public? I mean, if you want to live in a place without an effective government, do us all a favor and move to Darfur. "

Nice. The day America accepted that its bureaucracy and elected officials could operate behind closed doors was the door our freedom began to die. Your elected officials are not any better than you. They're not smarter or wiser. They aren't bred to make better policy.

If an action requires secrecy, then our government shouldn't take that action. There was a day where secrecy was only limited to military actions during a conflict. Then military actions became permanent and we developed a fulltime standing army. Then secrecy spread to anything related.

Bombing Qutar has NOTHING to do with any current military actions. "War on Terror as some continuous all-out conflict..." bite me. That's not how it works. When two political leaders talk about expanding a conflict, it doesn't get to be classified. That's why our military is headed by elected civilians. They don't get that luxury of classification.

Folks like you RY are going to kill the American political experiment. Just shut up and leave your acceptance of totalitarian policy with the corpse of the Soviet Union.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Posted by: Don | November 24, 2005 10:03 AM

PUHLEEZ! Al Jazeera is claiming that there was an order by the President of the United States, down the chain of military command to use million dollar technology to kill Al Jazeera reporters?? and the only way this conspiracy would get out is through a "joke" to Tony Blair??? Yep. I'm convinced.

On the other hand, I (and apparently President Bush) can't help but gloat when terrorist supporters get caught in the crossfire. Its terrible, really.

But aiming? PUHLEEZ!

Posted by: Kira | November 24, 2005 11:52 AM

There is so much name calling in the country they call America where the world is divided into "them" and "us", Liberal and Republican. It must suit the government because so much energy is used attacking each other the government gets off scott free. Every atrocity committed by america seems to shock a public that will not believe. The CIA traffics in Drugs. It cannot be.
You have a government that controls the press, I see stories on CBC and BBC that are never in the American news.I know I watch US news. Things that are shocking. The Bush family are in the Drug business. No. Senior Bush a pedophile, cannot be. Bush couldn't have called for the bombing of a foreign news service. No. To all you ostriches out there your brutal and corrupt government is the epitome of evil. If there was a true and honest inquiry into 9/11 you would see the Bush handprints all over that event. There is nothing that he could do that would shock the international community. It is the naivete of the American people that keeps the evil and corruption going.

Posted by: Gael | November 24, 2005 12:24 PM

Gael, you are the definition of a moonbat. Look it up on Wikipedia. But be careful, the medium may also be controlled by Bush (the drug dealer, not the pedophile. Or is it the same man, who cleverly dons different masks?) And don't forget to take your medication

Posted by: Kira | November 24, 2005 01:01 PM

Kira, Thank you for the uninformed opinion. I feel American just for a moment by giving my opinion and being personally judged. Take away the puhleez or however you spell it, and try informing yourself. Like an intelligent person, consider judging the opinion and not the person. All I see from you is a deep seated anger aimed at those who disagree with you. Step away from the opinion page. Relax. Breath deeply. Inform yourself so you are more interesting to read. Uninformed, opinionated people are a waste of space. Too much blah, blah not enough read read.

Posted by: Gael | November 24, 2005 01:31 PM

Gael,

Whatever you're smoking, pass it my way. Of all the mind-altering sh#t I've smoked, it clearly pales in comparison to that moonbat doob you've been toking!

Posted by: Libs Stink | November 24, 2005 04:21 PM

Gael, how do you separate a person's opinion from the person? Is it not the person who owns the opinion? Just curious.

Posted by: Kira | November 24, 2005 05:05 PM

"I (and apparently President Bush) can't help but gloat when terrorist supporters get caught in the crossfire. Its terrible, really. But aiming? PUHLEEZ!"

Kira and LibsStink, no doubt two years ago, if the Abu Ghraib story had come out without photographic evidence, you would have said: "American soldiers piling naked detainees into human pyramids, and forcing them to perform sex acts on each other? PUHLEEZ!"

I don't doubt that you've backed the Government's version of events in every factual dispute, from Pat Tillman to Jessica Lynch to Abu Ghraib. Unfortunately, in every case, the Government has been proved to be lying and its supporters have been left looking like fools.

You might spare yourself this repeated embarrassment if you bothered to acquaint yourself with the basic facts before commenting. For example, al-Jazeera is NOT claiming that Bush said this. The accusation was made by the Daily Mirror, and is based on a document leaked by a British civil servant. Al-Jazeera has made no claims of any sort.

You give us no evidence, no facts, and no argument. All you're offering is a faith-based rebuttal that they wouldn't do that, while at the same time asserting that it would be a good thing to do.

But the rest of us know that al-Jazeera has been bombed (twice) by guided weapons. We also know from the British government's reaction that the document is genuine.

And we know that our Government's protestations of their own innocence or others' guilt have invariably been discredited later. Just this week they had to admit to giving false information about their use of WP. That's the fourth weapon they've denied using then later had to admit they did.

Everyone knows there is a hard core of fanatics who still believe everything Bush and Co say. But then most of you also believe that Kofi Annan is the Antichrist and that the world is about to end with all the Republicans being taken up to Heaven.

To rational people, a denial from the Boy Who Cried WMD is something to be taken with a pinch of salt. But in this case they're not even denying it. They can't, in case the transcript leaks out. They're just refusing to comment.

It's no wonder that Bush supporters' comments always seem to be short, fact-free and slanted towards personal insult. You simply have no arguments left to advance.

Finally, as regards 'terrorvision', al-Jazeera is the only uncensored media outlet in the Arab world, bar a few small Lebanese papers. It's become immensely popular as a result of that. Al-Jazeera does not support terrorism just because it shows bin Laden's videos. There are plenty of media outlets opposed to the invasion of Iraq, but they still broadcast the comments of Bush and his generals.

There's no doubt that al-Jazeera represents mainstream Arab opinion. Their viewing figures prove that. If you think they're terrorist supporters, then you must think most Arabs are terrorist supporters. And if you think that, I wonder why you claim to be trying to bring democracy to the Middle East. So they can vote for terrorist governments?

But of course, you're not trying to bring democracy to the Middle East and neither is Bush. If you were, you wouldn't think it was clever to attack the Arab world's only free press.

Posted by: Buddy | November 24, 2005 05:27 PM

al-Jazeera is the only uncensored media outlet in the Arab world...It's become immensely popular as a result of that.

I know. So popular, that al Qaeda feels comfy enough to personally send them video exclusives. What an honor!

There's no doubt that al-Jazeera represents mainstream Arab opinion.

No doubt at all. With their airing of al Qaeda exclusives, as well as conveniently showing up before terrorist bombs go off, this must be representative of mainstream Arab opinion: "Die infidels."

Thanks for the clarification, Buddy.

Also, just as AJ represents mainstream Arab opinion, the Washington comPost represents mainstream liberal opinion masquerading as news stories. If not for declining subscription rates and the increase of normal America rejecting liberalism, you guys might have a chance to win an election here and there.

Then again, if your mom had a schlong, she'd be your dad.

Posted by: Libs Stink | November 24, 2005 06:11 PM

One more thing:

""American soldiers piling naked detainees into human pyramids, and forcing them to perform sex acts on each other? PUHLEEZ!"

I'm impressed, Buddy. Your heart bleeds for Islamofascists who want you dead. I didn't think there were many Americans with that level of detachment from reality, to the point to where they feel sorry for these bloodthirsty savages (that would be the Islamofascists). I was wrong.

Posted by: Libs Stink | November 24, 2005 06:14 PM

Thank you for clarifying that by 'bloodthirsty savages' you meant 'Islamofascists'. I otherwise would have assumed you meant the soldiers torturing and sodomizing helpless prisoners. I thought you right-wing Americans were against homosexuality anyway?

If you insist on being viewed as the good guys, please, please stop using the bad guys' methods. It's disappointing to those of us who like the United States.

Posted by: MacMorrigu | November 24, 2005 06:43 PM

Al-Jazeera was the first station in the Gulf region to broadcast interviews with Israelis. Does that make them pro-Israeli? Al-Jazeera also shows Bush's comments, despite not supporting him. It also broadcasts statements from bin Laden, and it doesn't support him either.

The government is only too happy for al-Jazeera to show the results of terrorist bombings. It keeps the base's war-fever up and alienates moderate Arab opinion. What annoys the government is when al-Jazeera shows American soldiers killing people. That's why Bush was mad at al-Jazeera when he made these comments in April 2004. It was their coverage of the Marine siege of Fallujah that annoyed him - they kept showing pictures of women and children killed by USMC snipers.

In both cases, the al Qaeda and the US killings, al-Jazeera's purpose in showing this violence is to turn people against the perpetrators. Only someone who's never had a passport could believe that al-Jazeera's journalists want to live in a Talibanized state. They are stinky liberals like me.

Why don't you tell us all your evidence of al-Jazeera showing up before terrorist bombs went off? It would be nice to hear some SUBSTANTIATED charges from you people for a change.

The detainees at Abu Ghraib, by the way, were mostly swept up in searches that pulled in every male in a given street or building. The vast majority had nothing to do with anything, and those who did weren't "Islamofascists who want me dead", they were Iraqis who want you out of their country.

If you think I'm too soft on these "bloodthirsty savages", then you must think the US Army are complete pussies, because they released 90% of the detainees at Abu Ghraib in the weeks following the scandal.

I can't believe how shop-worn your talking points sound. They just don't hold up anymore. You boast about winning elections even as your leader plumbs new depths of unpopularity. Talk about the arrogance of power.

Trying to discredit this story by saying "PUHLEEZ!" or ascribing it to "moonbats" won't work. You don't seem to grasp that you're the ones who have the credibility problem.

Everyone knows you've been wrong all down the line. Your leaders are proven liars. Your "facts" tend to be based on the testimony of drunkards and drug addicts, and on outright forgeries. You personally have a stunning record of gullibility vis-à-vis the government.

Gael makes some pretty wild claims about the Bushes and the CIA, claims that I wouldn't believe without seeing solid evidence. But if Gael is a moonbat, what does that make you? Gael has yet to be proven right. You have already been proven repeatedly and catastrophically wrong.

Posted by: Buddy | November 24, 2005 07:34 PM

Very well put, Buddy, and so true. It's amazing how deluded and insistent these Republican true-believers are in the face of such compelling and overwhelming evidence of the complete and utter failure of their policies, of the deceit involved in bringing the nation to war, and of the damage that war has done to America, the safety of its citizens and our place in the world. This country is in unprecedented military and economic danger now - a direct consequence of these discredited, ideologically-driven Republican policies.

Posted by: Laura Heath | November 24, 2005 09:33 PM

"This country is in unprecedented military and economic danger now - a direct consequence of these discredited, ideologically-driven Republican policies."

The same policies Americans keep voting for? The same ones you leftists keep losing on?

Posted by: | November 24, 2005 10:37 PM

"Thank you for clarifying that by 'bloodthirsty savages' you meant 'Islamofascists'. I otherwise would have assumed you meant the soldiers."

Yet you #ssholes SWEAR that you support the troops! Fortunately, the electorate doesn't buy it.

Your true color came through: yellow.

Posted by: Libs Stink | November 24, 2005 10:38 PM

Aw, didn't think it would look shocking enough if you quoted the whole sentence?

There are many intelligent, reasoned, gentlemanly conservative Americans who one can have a reasonable exchange of views with.

You are not one of them.

Posted by: MacMorrigu | November 25, 2005 12:05 AM

One question for Libs Stink

You write a mean line, s*it! how come you're not over there fighting?

Ooops! my bad, repugs don't fight in wars they just create them and like your President and his VP - when this great nation calls on you

Five deferments and an AWOL out of National Guards - looks like yellow poop to me - - Puh-leeze

Here you go Libs Stink

Master Master Prez - can I... can I... ooohh I wanna be a side-lined a$$hole for critics "who are against letting our soldiers die in a misled war"!

Congrats, so I see you got the job,

To all the civilized writers who asked valid questions here's a blibical riddle

What's worse than a fool? the one who argues with him!!!

Rovian attack dogs are turning into annoying poops!

Posted by: lib til the day I die -hoorah | November 25, 2005 04:31 AM

I am not American so I don't fall into the yellow poop, liberal put downs. I cannot be pidgeonholed which I'm sure is frightening to the angry, shallow thinkers. All I can see are the hate messages from those who appear to call themselves Republicans. Is this in the Republican handbook, when your position is weak, call names.It lacks intelligence, it makes you look reactionary and redneck. Instead of reacting and throwing child like verbal barbs give us some intelligent discourse. Make me think and help me see your point. Hate mongering is only that, and it shows your fear for the world to see. Let's keep the intelligence up and the emotionality down, all that emotion should be in therapy. Not imposed on strangers. Try to give your opinion without calling the world names. That is just a cheap shot.
I appreciate what Buddy has to say, it is very clear and well thought out. Sometimes when we learn something, through research, it can be shocking. If there is enough supporting evidence we believe it. We are all learning. But trying to do it with online bullying by those who appear not to use their thinking side of the brain and rely on their emotional reaction to the world around them is truly boring. Please deal with this anger spilling out all over the place.
Kira just to clarify. With children when they act out and say something mean we say, I don't like what you said, but you are a good person. Seperate the behavior or opinions from the person. Nobody would want to discuss issues if they were called names, because of our opinion. Opinions change, we learn from each other with good discourse. Name calling has nothing to do with intelligent discussion. It appears unintelligent and reactionary. People can discuss politics and come from different viewpoints, yet still be friends. It's adult.

Posted by: Gael | November 25, 2005 08:45 AM

"Libs Stink" seems unable to respond to any facts raised by those posting here. His attempts at rebuttal consist only of insults and name-calling. If that's the best that the Republican true-believers can come up with, they are in worse trouble than I realized.
So, "Libs Stink," you think Americans "keep voting" for discredited Republican policies. How do you explain what just happened in red-state Virginia, where the Democrats prevailed by a wide margin? How do you explain the polls showing most Americans believe Bush to be dishonest, and showing Bush's approval ratings sinking to Nixonian levels?

Posted by: Tony | November 25, 2005 09:51 AM

Didn't these postings start by wondering if it was possible that Bush could really have a yearning to bomb someone? Could it be an American habit - can anyone show that America has bombed any countries since 1945? (Numbers and names, please} (Oh, and you can omit countries that would have the capacity to strike back.)

Posted by: kent | November 25, 2005 12:28 PM

Libs Stink, I'm still waiting for your evidence that al-Jazeera has had advance knowledge of terrorist bombings.

I asked you to back up your accusation, but all you seem to have is insults and tantrums.

So I guess we can put the al-Jazeera-al-Qaeda link in the dustbin along with WMD and the phony Iraq-911 nexus.

It amazes me that you still expect people to take this stuff on faith after everything that's happened.

Maybe you should try selling your unsubstantiated, baseless charges to those you call "normal" Americans. They'll swallow any horror story, so long as the bad guy is a foreigner.

Posted by: Buddy | November 25, 2005 04:25 PM

To Buddy;
Thankyou Buddy, for your comments. You sound like your name implies. I totally agree with you word for word and commend your bravery to say it. Just be aware that 84 percent of Canadians agree with you when you are being attacked by right wing rabid dogs who are floundering in the negative sink hole they created with their own foreign policies in the Middle East.
I wish we had never allowed the "Fox" network in Canada as "Al Jazeera" is much more unbiased in certain areas. I read the article in Reuters regarding the deaths of reporters. Mr. Bush's jokes ie, ha ha, I'm looking for weapons of mass destruction, no, are they here? no are they under here? No. Let's ask Al Jazeera, ha ha better yet, let's nuke them, ha, ha. Do you think that the 30,000 civilians who have died as a direct result of America's "shock and awe democracy" are laughing? "Not so much"
Are their families who are left without their loved ones, their power, their water, their museums, their infrastructure are laughing? "Not so Much"

Posted by: sherry | November 28, 2005 01:49 PM

Twice I have written a response on William Arkins blog in this paper and both times my response has never shown up. Is there some filtering to use a nice term going on. I don't swear, or call people names, yet I am shut out. This has never happened anywhere else. I find this creepy.
Does he or the paper only like select opinions?

Posted by: Gael | November 30, 2005 11:11 AM

This says it all. ABC: Secret CIA prisons shut down.
http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/Investigation/story?id=1375123

Posted by: tenochtitlla | December 5, 2005 10:52 PM

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