If the story has no merit, why would the Brittish government threaten newspapers with prosecution under the Official Secrets Act?

Claims that George Bush planned to bomb the Arabic TV news station al-Jazeera have fuelled concerns that an attack on the broadcaster's Baghdad offices during the war on Iraq was deliberate.

An international journalists group today demanded "complete disclosure" from the British and American governments over reports that the US considered attacking the al-Jazeera HQ in the Qatar capital, Doha.

The International Federation of Journalists claimed that 16 journalists and other media staff have died at the hands of US forces in Iraq, adding that the deaths had not been properly investigated.

Al-Jazeera cameraman Tarek Ayoub was killed when the station's Baghdad office was bombed during a US air raid on April 8 2003. On the same day a US tank shelled the Palestine hotel in the Iraqi capital, killing two other journalists.

"Reports that George Bush and Tony Blair discussed a plan to bomb al-Jazeera reinforce concerns that the US attack in Baghdad on April 8 [2003] was deliberate targeting of the media," said Aidan White, the general secretary of the IFJ [...]

A Downing Street spokesman added: "We have got nothing to say about this story. We don't comment on leaked documents."

The attorney general last night threatened newspapers with the Official Secrets Act if they revealed the contents of a document allegedly relating to a dispute between Mr Blair and Mr Bush over the conduct of military operations in Iraq.

Suddenly, Eason Jordan doesn't seem like such a crackpot, does he? (Not that he ever did, despite the rightwing swarm against him.)

And incidentally, the two Brits who leaked the memo detailing the argument between Bush and Blair over bombing Al Jazeera are already being prosecuted under the Official Secrets Act. It's real.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Wed Nov 23, 2005 at 08:46 AM PST.

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