UK Denies Bush-Blair Talk on 'Bombing' Al-Jazeera

Two months after a British tabloid claimed that President George W. Bush told Prime Minister Tony Blair that he wanted to bomb al-Jazeera, the Arab TV news channel, the British government has denied the allegation.

A spokesman for Blair "said a memo about the Bush-Blair conversation does not refer to bombing al-Jazeera," the BBC reported Tuesday.

"When the allegations were first made in November," noted the Telegraph, "a Downing Street spokesman said: 'We don't comment on leaked documents.' The White House said at the time the story was 'outlandish.'"

When a lawyer for al-Jazeera requested a transcript of the conversation in November, Blair's office conceded that it held "information relevant to your request," according to the Press Gazette, a British Web site for journalists. Al-Jazeera took that statement as evidence that the memo does refer to the alleged conversation about an attack on the station.

Yosri Fouda, al-Jazeera's bureau chief in London, said Downing Street's denial was "heartening" if it were true, but added: "We don't want people to play with words, [saying] that the very word 'bombing' wasn't mentioned."

"But maybe it turns out another word was used like 'military action' or 'missile strike' or 'neutralising Al Jazeera,' Fouda said. 'It is too serious a situation to be thrown into a state of semantics.'"

By Jefferson Morley |  January 19, 2006; 2:00 PM ET  | Category:  Europe
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Comments

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Sorry, not buying...the whole story just has a ring of falsehood to it...I reported on this story in my blog when it first broke, and if there is nothing to it, why not release the document in question and put and end to the story. My suggestion to Tony Blair, would be to release the document good, bad or ugly, and let us in America see our President as he truly is.

Pinto Bean
http://pintobeans.iblogs.com/

Posted by: Pinto Bean | January 19, 2006 02:42 PM

Nice try - but we actually did bomb the offices of Al-Jazeera... just not in Dubai... Their offices all over Iraq have been targeted and successfully destroyed.

Its funny when liars lie in the face of so much obvious evidence, reported fact, and general public knowledge.

Bush is a liar and Blair is his bitch.

Posted by: Uhhh..they did bomb them | January 19, 2006 03:42 PM

And you are a stinky head!!

Very sophisticated Uhhh...

Posted by: | January 19, 2006 03:55 PM

This sort of play on words is a standard part of every government's arsenal of lies.

Let them release the document if they expect to be believed. I don't believe them, I don't know anyone else who believes them, and frankly I doubt their own supporters believe them.
Republicans throughout 2004 were floating trial balloons to test how far the public was willing to go on this. Here's one from Frank Gaffney on FOX:

Take out al Jazeera
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,98621,00.html
"Under present wartime circumstances, though, the United States has the ability -- and, indeed, an urgent responsibility -- to take more comprehensive action against Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya. Unless the two networks adjust their behavior so as no longer to act as the propaganda arm of our enemies, they should be taken off the air, one way or another."

Oh, and as someone mentioned, the US has already bombed al Jazeera, twice.

Posted by: OD | January 20, 2006 12:40 AM

Reporters in Iraq have complained that the US is deliberately targeting them and bombing those who are presenting the truth as opposed to the PR message. One reporter called the military and reported his position so he wouldn't be targetted accidently, immediatly after he reported his position a missile his his jeep. The area of the Baghdad hotel that reporters reside in was hit by a missile. The US is only comfortable with lies that support their position, the rest might as well die.
I have no question this story is the truth, AlJazeera is very threatening to the US, and the US government has no conscience like any good psychopath. What a psychopath will do, the US will do, the Ted Bundy of countries is the tue evil on this planet.

Posted by: SpeakoutforDemocracy | January 20, 2006 07:29 AM

I don't think for one second that Blair ever talked Bush out of bombing them. Partly as I doubt Blair is capable of that. It almost certainly was a joke if it happened.

I can understand them not releasing a transcript either as it sets a dangerous precedent. The problem is that very few people trust the British and American so it makes them look guilty. And it seems very likely that a few bombs have been deliberatly aimed at the media over the years.

Posted by: David Patrick, UK | January 20, 2006 09:01 AM

I for one don't believe a word that comes out of the poodle's mouth.

Just as with the illegal CIA run "extraordinary rendition" flights through/from/to the UK (which have been exposed now with the latest memo leak), were poodle to admit what has been going on he (and therefore the entire bushie neo-con cabal) would have to be charged and tried for violating the Geneva Convention ...

which of course wouldn't be such a bad idea at all, we could probably save at least a few hundred thousand lives up front from this farce in Iraq and upwards of a million over the next decade BOTH American and Iraqi, not to mind the trillion dollars conservatively estimated that the farce is going to cost us, our kids and out grandkids.

While the transcript of the call may indeed show bushie to be "joking" it is disturbing to think that the American president would think it a joke to discuss or even raise the topic of bombing or otherwise taking out, harming or silencing a news outlet, especially one that is headquartered in an allied country, almost 100% muslim owned and operated and just happens to highlight the gross injustices perpetrated upon an innocent civilian population by the same American president (through intermediaries of course, can't imagine our fierce leader actually getting his greasy hands bloody). It is sadly reminiscent of his foot in mouth "crusad(ing)" remarks.

bushie and his cabal though were getting pretty good about silencing news outlets (note the NY Times sitting on the illegal wiretapping of American citizens and resident aliens) and when they couldn't silence them they just fed them lies (note this very papers' bunch of lies about WMD etc etc).

The lawsuit (presumed as Al Jazeera has hired a fairly reputable law firm in London) should pry open the vault doors a bit further and of course now that the UK government has been court ordered to keep emails and electronic communications in perpetuity it could get really interesting about who said what and when AFTER bushie's chat with poodle.

But back to poodle, I am of the firm opinion he is unable to rein in the civil service folks who have had enough of his brown nosing to bushie et al and I foresee even more memos being leaked over the coming months...all no doubt in an attempt to help poodle out the door and allow Brown to assume the leadership.

Just my 2 cents worth.

Posted by: Cait | January 20, 2006 12:06 PM

The King of the United States has determined that it is best to kill rather than to capture, better to torture than to detain, better to detain than try, better to lie than tell truth, better to spin the rules than obey the law, better to joke than to help, better to sell out than to rein in. Who are we to argue? What use to argue? Who cares what the people think? Nobody but the people... and we the people do not have a democracy in the United States any more. We have a corrupt Congress, a power-crazed president and a weak, getting weaker, Judicial. We are, in short, in 1932 Germany.

Posted by: | January 20, 2006 01:46 PM

If you want to be taken seriously by more than the "inner circle" (those that already agree with you), you might wish to watch the comparisons with the Third Reich.

Posted by: Hypocrisy | January 20, 2006 05:17 PM

To previous post: If you want to be taken seriously by more than the "inner circle" (those that already agree with you), you might wish to watch the comparisons with the Third Reich. As it stands, you're sinking to the level of the opposition that would label you un-American, unpatriotic, for disagreeing with their postition.

Posted by: Hypocrisy | January 20, 2006 05:18 PM

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