As Peter Preston (former editor of the Guardian) put it: it’s either absurd or quite sinister (words to that effect). Either our President is completely out of control–or he’s completely out of control.
The two men who have leaked the secret government memo are facing criminal charges as a result of their conduct making public George Bush’s ridiculous idea of bombing Al Jazeera in Qatar. Bad enough that the press faces a threat, but worse that these two gentlemen are facing prosecution.
Americans grateful for the information they made public might consider starting an O’Connor/Keogh Legal Defense Fund.
The Guardian (11/24/05, Guardian Unlimited online version) ran a piece describing how Lord Goldsmith, UK Attorney General has “put down a marker” (kind of like drawing a line in the sand, I guess) over disclosure of the memo concerning Bush’s desire to bomb Al-Jazeera. It seems charges have been brought against two former officials, David Keogh and Leo O’Connor who leaked the memo disclosing Bush’s wish to bomb the Arab radio station and that Tony Blair apparently talked him out of it:
“Fears that fresh revelations about disputes between Tony Blair and George Bush on the Iraq conflict could damage Downing Street’s intimate relationship with the White House prompted this week’s unprecedented threat by the attorney general to use the Official Secrets Act against national newspapers.
“Senior MPs, Whitehall officials and lawyers were agreed yesterday that Lord Goldsmith had “read the riot act” to the media because of political embarrassment caused by a sensitive leak of face-to-face exchanges between the prime minister and the US president in the White House in April 2004. He acted after the Daily Mirror said a memo recorded a threat by Mr Bush to take “military action” against the Arabic TV station al-Jazeera. Mr Blair replied that that would cause a big problem, reported the Mirror. David Keogh, a former Cabinet Office official, has been charged under the secrets act with sending the memo on the Blair-Bush conversation to Leo O ‘Connor, researcher to the former Labour MP Tony Clarke. Mr Keogh and Mr O’Connor will appear before Bow Street magistrates next week.”
This particular controversy began when Al Jazeera was broadcasting images of the devastation and death during the American assault on Fallujah. Knowing what we now know about white phosphorous and its use on the civilian population, it seems that Al-Jazeera was probably doing its job well. It’s not surprising, then, that Bush would react to the publication of the truth in Fallujah in the same way he reacts to it on the streets of our country–kill the messenger, discredit the dissident.
These two British men who are now being called to appear before the magistrates are facing criminal sanctions for their conduct in making this information about Bush’s secret objectives known to the American public. Even though this isn’t the first time we’ve heard that this man has had some outrageous plan, it is something that we would probably never have found out without their courageous conduct.
We’re getting informed and they’re facing criminal charges.