Yesterday's Mirror (UK) story of a Downing Street memo that shows US President George W. Bush wanted to bomb the Al-Jazeera headquarters in Doha, Qatar, in April of 2004 raises some issues that need to be addressed. The first issue, Al-Jazeera said in an editorial today, is that if found to be true, the memo
would cast serious doubts in regard to the US administration's version of previous incidents involving Aljazeera's journalists and offices.They called for both the British and US governments to investigate the authenticity of the memo, noting that
in the event that the memo is found to be accurate it would be incumbent on them to explain their positions on statements regarding the deliberate targeting of journalists and news organisations.Hmmm. That's a lot of "accidental" hits on Al-Jazeera's offices, especially in light of the contention that Bush specifically wanted to target Al-Jazeera as "the enemy."
In April 2003, an Aljazeera journalist died when its Baghdad office was struck during a US bombing campaign.
In November 2001, Aljazeera's office in Kabul, Afghanistan, was destroyed by a US missile, although no staff were in the office at the time.
US officials said they believed the target was a "terrorist" site and did not know it was Aljazeera's office.
Remember what Eason Jordan said? The right-wing media claimed Jordan's scalp, and perhaps they're right that they were responsible for "taking him out."
But this begs the question about Jordan's statements, whether they were taken out of context, or misinterpreted, or whatever. Was he, in fact, accusing American troops of assassinating journalists? Or passing on stories from other journalists who believe that they as a group are threatened by American forces?
On the face of it, nothing Jordan said sounded particularly shocking to me--what was shocking was that he momentarily lost control and said it. A lot of what is going on in our country is about control, and control of information is no small part of it. If it were American policy to control information coming out of Iraq by threat of violence, would anyone in this administration admit it? Of course not. The only answer is for someone--and, traditionally, this would have been the role of journalists--to investigate these charges. The US has not been investigating them.