'Bombing Jazeera' leakers to be tried
"LONDON (Reuters) - A British court on Tuesday ordered two men to face trial on charges of leaking a memo that a lawmaker said described a plan by U.S. President George W. Bush to bomb Arabic television station Al Jazeera.This "joke" by Bush it now turns out faced opposition by both Blair and Powell, and has activated the UK's Official Secrets Act resulting in the prosecution of two alleged leakers. Pretty heavy for what pro-Bush bloggers insist was a moment of humour. It appears that despite the attempts to publicly laugh it off, someone, somewhere takes it very seriously indeed. Given all that, perhaps we should, too.
The defendants, civil servant David Keogh and Leo O'Connor, a researcher who worked for a former British lawmaker, face a preliminary hearing on January 24 on charges of breaking the Official Secrets Act and their lawyers are pushing for the secret document to be disclosed.
A British newspaper reported last year that the memo of a meeting between Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair in April 2004 detailed a proposal by Bush to bomb Al Jazeera but said Blair had persuaded him against the plan.
The story was dismissed as "outlandish" by the White House and Blair denied receiving details of any U.S. proposal to bomb Al Jazeera.
Britain's attorney general has warned media they will be breaking the law if they publish details of the document.
British Member of Parliament Peter Kilfoyle told Reuters on Tuesday that he had been briefed on its contents by Tony Clarke, the lawmaker who employed O'Connor, after he received a copy.
"He made me aware of the contents," said Kilfoyle. "There was a discussion about bombing Al Jazeera headquarters in Qatar and also about the attack on (the Iraqi town) Falluja."
"My understanding ... is that Blair and (former U.S. Secretary of State) Colin Powell were against the bombing of Al Jazeera," said Kilfoyle, who opposed Britain joining the U.S. in invading Iraq, as did other rebel Labor party members."
We have a suspicion that The Green Ribbon will be a blog to watch on this matter.