Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Bush had plans of bombing al-Jazeera: Daily Mirror

LONDON, NOVEMBER 22: US president George W Bush planned to bomb pan-Arab television broadcaster al-Jazeera, British newspaper The Daily Mirror said on Tuesday, citing a Downing Street memo marked ‘’Top Secret’’.

The five-page transcript of a conversation between Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, during Blair’s April 16, 2004, visit to Washington allegedly shows that Bush wanted to attack the satellite channel’s headquarters.

An unnamed source told the anti-war-in Iraq daily, ‘’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 British premier 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 serious’’.

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

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.

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.’’ —AFP/PTI

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