The Grim Milestone of Blogs "I find the language and rhetoric coming from America too confrontational" - Prince Charles "Nuts" - Gen McAuliffe America: Saving idiots from themselves since WWI

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Al-Jazeera almost became the story

Why didn't they talk about all the other things which could be done?
Back on my terrorism is for the media theme. What organization provides the jihadis with a voice any time they want to convey something to the world at large, and I mean ANY time? Al-Jazeera of course. The only story they refused to air was Fabrizio Quattrocchi refusing beheading without a fight so the 'brave' jihadis had to shoot him.
Report: Bush Talked of Bombing Al-Jazeera

By ROBERT BARR, Associated Press Writer
1 hour, 9 minutes ago

LONDON - A civil servant has been charged under Britain's Official Secrets Act for allegedly leaking a government memo that a newspaper said Tuesday suggested that Prime Minister Tony Blair persuaded President Bush not to bomb the Arab satellite station Al-Jazeera.

The Daily Mirror reported that Bush spoke of targeting Al-Jazeera's headquarters in Doha, Qatar, when he met Blair at the White House on April 16, 2004. The Bush administration has regularly accused Al-Jazeera of being nothing more than a mouthpiece for anti-American sentiments.

The Daily Mirror attributed its information to unidentified sources. One source, said to be in the government, was quoted as saying that the alleged threat was "humorous, not serious," but the newspaper quoted another source as saying that "Bush was deadly serious, as was Blair."

Blair's office declined to comment on the report, stressing it never discusses leaked documents.

In Qatar, Al-Jazeera said it was aware of the report, but did not wish to comment. The U.S. Embassy in London said it was making no comment.

The document was described as a transcript of a conversation between the two leaders.

Cabinet Office civil servant David Keogh is accused of passing it to Leo O'Connor, who formerly worked for former British lawmaker Tony Clarke. Both Keogh and O'Connor are scheduled to appear at London's Bow Street Magistrates Court next week.

According to the Crown Prosecution Service, Keogh was charged with an offense under Section 3 of the Official Secrets Act relating to "a damaging disclosure" by a servant of the Crown of information relating to international relations or information obtained from a state other than the United Kingdom.

What is so infuriating about this story is there are so many ways to use Al-Jazeera. Their communications could be monitored as a way to find terrorists. The U.S. could always jam them without bombing them. Furthermore, it would be easy to plant disinformation on Al-Jazeera.

Bombing the studios, though justifiable, shows US and UK strategic planners could use some new blood. It would produce a firestorm of criticism from the usual suspects, ruin the possibility of using Al-Jazeera to get at terrorists, and seriously anger a nominal 'ally' in the Middle East. Among Muslim nations, Qatar isn't one of the pressing concerns. Bombing their TV station would certainly make it one.

No comments: