PRESIDENT Bush planned to bomb Arab TV station al-Jazeera in friendly Qatar, a "Top Secret" No 10 memo reveals.
But he was talked out of it at a White House summit by Tony Blair, who said it would provoke a worldwide backlash.
A 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.
The 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.
the only source quoted in the story who's disputing the allegation suggests that bush was joking when he said he wanted to bomb the popular arab media outlet, which is located on friendly territory in qatar, only 10 miles away from a US military base.
the top secret memo has not been publicly released. if it is, i wonder whether it will get the same treatment that the "downing street memos" got here in the states—the corporate media here refused to pay any attention to those explosive memos.
Dozens of al-Jazeera staff at the HQ are not, as many believe, Islamic fanatics. Instead, most are respected and highly trained technicians and journalists.
To have wiped them out would have been equivalent to bombing the BBC in London and the most spectacular foreign policy disaster since the Iraq War itself.
The No 10 memo now raises fresh doubts over US claims that previous attacks against al-Jazeera staff were military errors.
In 2001 the station's Kabul office was knocked out by two "smart" bombs. In 2003, al-Jazeera reporter Tareq Ayyoub was killed in a US missile strike on the station's Baghdad centre.
we already knew that bush was hostile toward the media, and questions have been raised about the many suspicious deaths of journalists stationed in iraq. but bombing a media outlet whose HQ is on the territory of our allies? that would be flat-out nuts. qatar could even interpret it as an act of war. ¶