Jazeera Bombs in Baghdad
men are facing charges this week under the British Official
Secrets Act for leaking an April 2004, British government
memo about a conversation between George W. Bush and British
Prime Minister Tony Blair. Bush was upset about Al Jazeera’s
coverage of the war in Iraq, shocked to find that the
press in the Middle East is less obsequious to his whims
than America’s. He had a plan:
blow up their headquarters in west-friendly Qatar.
sounds like kind of a hilarious scene from a mismatched-buddies
‘bout them Al Jazeera folks? Showing all those dead kids. I don’t like it!”
Alas, nothing can be done.”
it can’t! Let’s blow ‘em up!”
said incinerate the unpatriotic sons of bitches!”
well….see, I’m afraid… I’m afraid you really can’t do
journalists, you see.”
laugh track and muted trumpet. Bush is Blair’s wacky neighbor,
the one who comes over to borrow sugar and inadvertently
burns a few thousand innocent civilians in the process.
By now we all know that the President
is not a sophisticated thinker. So it’s particularly frightening
that he would want to blow up the headquarters of a major
news network. Is CBS next?
course, the White House has described the allegations
as “ludicrous” and passed it off as a joke, but we know
they’re lying. If there were really nothing to it, why
would the UK government invoke the Official Secrets Act
and threaten to punish any further leaks of the memo?
How should the newspapers deal with the threat of legal
action by Great Britain? The Nation’s Jeremy Scahill
had the right idea the other day on Democracy Now:
for anyone who has followed, and I mean really
followed Al Jazeera's reporting, the true crime here, Amy, is un-embedded
journalism; and that's why it's so important for all media
organizations to stand up right now and demand the truth.
Demand that the memo be released and that all organizations
should simultaneously publish it in Britain as a defiance
of the Official Secrets Act. It's unacceptable that we
don't know whether or not Bush
was serious about this threat to bomb Al Jazeera, and
we shouldn't have to have another bombing take place to
make this a story.
we do know whether Bush was serious, don’t we?
This conversation about bombing Al Jazeera came amidst
much White House huffing and puffing regarding the network,
which was broadcasting civilian death and destruction
from within besieged Falluja. Rumsfeld was beside himself with epithets. The administration
was palpably angry with Al Jazeera, and it showed. Again,
Bush is not a deep thinker. It’s easy to imagine him going
straight from “Al Jazeera is a pain in the ass” to “let’s
slaughter everybody who works for Al Jazeera.”
the original Daily Mirror piece which broke the
source said: "There's no doubt what Bush wanted,
and no doubt Blair didn't want him to do it." Al-Jazeera
is accused by the US of fuelling the Iraqi insurgency.
attack would have led to a massacre of innocents on the
territory of a key ally, enraged the Middle East and almost
certainly have sparked bloody retaliation.
source said last night: "The memo is explosive
and hugely damaging to Bush.
made clear he wanted to bomb al-Jazeera in Qatar and elsewhere.
Blair replied that would cause a big problem.
no doubt what Bush wanted to do - and no doubt Blair didn't
want him to do it."
Government official suggested that the Bush threat had
been "humorous, not serious".
another source declared: "Bush was deadly serious,
as was Blair. That much is absolutely clear from the language
used by both men."
probably the most conclusive evidence that we wanted to
bomb Al Jazeera is the fact that we bombed Al Jazeera.
Somehow, to me, that seems a good indicator of whether
Bush wanted to bomb Al Jazeera.
bombings were two separate “accidents,” in Iraq and
Afghanistan, two years apart. In both cases, Al Jazeera
had provided the pentagon with the coordinates of their
local bureaus, just so, you know, they wouldn’t accidentally
bomb them. I don’t know, but I’m guessing they probably
aren’t as quick to volunteer that information anymore.
course, with this memo, the already flimsy story that
the US military accidentally bombed two different Al Jazeera
outposts is stretched to the point of disintegration.
In addition, it all lends more credence
to the belief, held by many, that the US military has
been deliberately targeting other critical or un-embedded
journalists in Iraq.
it illustrates about the Neocons
is that the ultimate sin, as far as they are concerned,
is that you disagree, or that you hear good information
not prescreened by them. Perception management—lying—created
this war out of nothing, and it still keeps it alive.
An uncontrolled source of information can’t be tolerated.
hear the administration speak about Al Jazeera (or even
our domestic media in one of its head-out-of-ass moments)
is to hear a perfect hypocrisy, almost dizzying in its
obsessive disregard for truth.
words were spoken by Donald Rumsfeld, who has worked diligently
to advance the art of “perception management,” realizing
that it’s a lot cheaper to convince people that we’re
winning a war than actually bothering to win the thing.
The funny thing is, if you replace the phrase “Al Jazeera”
with “White House,” it’s actually true:
know that [the White House] has a pattern of playing propaganda
over and over and over again…
And it seems to me, that it's up to all of us to try to
tell the truth, to say what we know, to say what we don't
know, and recognize that we're dealing with people that
are perfectly willing to lie to the world to attempt to
further their case. And to the extent people lie, ultimately,
they are caught lying, and they lose their credibility.
And one would think it wouldn't take very long for that
to happen, dealing with people like this.