Sunday, November 27, 2005

Bombing al Jazeera: Is the hurly-burly done?

Ok, the truth, or at least more of it, appears to now be coming out. Blairwatch argues succesfully that there were, in fact, two memos, analyses them, and then completely misses a key point. Two men are prosecuted in relation to the memo in the Mirror story, but it appears that the Mirror story about Bush's alleged comment are not what the Govt is worried about. Blairwatch quotes an Observer piece, including:
...according to those who have seen the memo 'there is no question Bush was serious'......Written by a Blair aide who accompanied the Prime Minister to Washington it was headed 'top secret'. It is understood that on the five pages there were details of troop deployments and movements. Lurking within the pages were also frank discussions over the US assault on Fallujah. It was clear from the tone of the memo that Blair was far from happy at the tactics used by American forces.
There. That's the rub. It's not about Bush's joking aside (you were right DK, mea culpa), it's about troop deployments and movements. From The Telegraph:
People who have seen the document say the real reason that it is being suppressed by the Government is because it contains a potentially damaging private discussion between the two leaders about the controversial United States attack on the Iraqi city of Fallujah last year.
Blair calls talk of a secret plan to bomb al-Jazeera as a "conspiracy theory", and we now know the true reason why it's being blocked. They're being prosecuted, not because of non-existent plans to take out a member of the free press, but because it's got details of troop movements and high end disagreements between the leaders.

Much as I hate to admit it, the government is probably right to try to prevent publication of troop deployment plans while those troops are in a combat situation. I have no doubt that Bush has an intense dislike for al-Jazeera. I'm pretty sold on the idea that the times they have been directly hit weren't coincidental, but it does appear that this memo, and this threat, aren't actually a substantial threat to the Qatari station.

If it were true, I'd be just as steamed, and when I thought it was, I was joining the chorus. But now it appears the co-ordinators of the blogoswarm are missing the point, in articles they themselves are quoting.

So, conspiracy theory number 2; if this is a non-story, what are they hiding this time?


quarsan said...

Hi there,

The troop movements are so out of date that they are no longer 'confidential' or need protecting. We've checked this with military experts.

If it was to protect 'troop movements' they would say so. It's not, it's because Bush, who is facing a lot of criticism at home over tactics doesn't want an official memo showing just how upset Blair and the UK military are with US tactics.

MatGB said...

Which may be part of the real story. I suspect you're right, to be honest, but I'm not sold. The bomb al-J bit is definately not a real story, that I'm persuaded of, I'm guessing the truth will out.

quarsan said...

Hi matGB,

Well in the articles we have linked to and other source are quite clear when they say that ...according to those who have seen the memo 'there is no question Bush was serious'...

But we do appreciate your comments and making us consider what we say. Although we are only a blog we do try to firm things up or state what is speculation before publishing.