In “Did Bush plan to Bomb al-Jazeera?” at Salon, Juan Cole presents new “evidence that Rumsfeld considered the Arabic satellite station’s reporting to be a form of murder.”

As JPol wrote here in his “Bush V Al-Jazeera: Fact or Fancy?,” linked by Juan Cole on Nov. 29 as “a detailed and very valuable timeline”:

… a leaked memo quoted yesterday by the London Mirror alleging that President Bush told British Prime Minister Tony Blair that he “planned to bomb Arab TV station al-Jazeera … demonstrates that this pre-existing agenda has its roots at the very top of the Bush administration, and that a major escalation of that operation was being contemplated.

Cole points out that “Rumsfeld himself had telegraphed the strategy during an interview in 2001 on … Al-Jazeera!” Thankfully for us, Juan Cole is a regular viewer of Al-Jazeera. Although the tape is missing from DOD archives (hmmm…), it was found and reaired by Al-Jazeera Monday. Cole watched:

… it contained a segment in which Rumsfeld defended the targeting of radio stations that supported the Taliban. He made it clear right then that he believed in total war, and made no distinction between civilian and military targets. The radio stations, he said, were part of the Taliban war effort. (Salon)

Cole has another new story at a new blog:

My article on Rumsfeld’s complicity with Saddam Hussein when he was using chemical weapons is at, a new site, the force behind which is veteran journalist and truth-teller Bob Scheer.

It’s great news that Juan Cole has hooked up with Scheer’s blog. As you probably know, progressive columnist Bob Scheer was fired by the Los Angeles Times in early November.

In an interview with Amy Goodman on Nov. 14, 2005, Scheer said that he believes he was fired because of his politics and his vocal opposition to Bush and the Iraq war:

I had been the subject of vicious attacks by Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh. Sometimes Bill O’Reilly would sometimes go after me every day, and this went on for the last couple of years, and I’m still standing. I was a punching bag for those guys. I’m still standing, and the people who run the paper collapsed. And the big issue here, I think, is that the publisher took over the editorial pages, a guy named Jeff Johnson. He’s an accountant from Chicago, doesn’t know anything about what newspapers are supposed to be about, and he made a decision to get rid of the column. It had run as a column — I had worked at the paper since 1976, but the column had been running for 13 years, and I think it was a strong column, criticizing the war when the paper was supporting it.

And even as recently as last week, my last column, which I’m quite proud of, was on the Defense Intelligence Agency report that Senator Carl Levin released last week, and I wrote about how in February 2002 they knew there were no ties between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein, that the key witness was a phony. This was released. Eight months later George Bush went before — spoke just before the Senate decided its decision and at that time knew that the key witness for this, really the only witness they had, was a phony, yet went and lied to the country. That column last week broke that news for the readers of the Los Angeles Times that the paper neglected to cover in any serious way. So, you know, it’s very disappointing.

The only other fact here that I would throw in, the paper is concerned about what the Bush administration thinks, because the Tribune Company bought the Times Mirror Corporation and now owns a television station, a very profitable one, in the same market in Los Angeles as the newspaper. And next year they have asked — they have to get a waiver in order to be able to do that, because that violates the law right now. They expected Congress — when they bought the property, they thought Congress would pass that law allowing them to have those two major outlets in the same market. It is now illegal, and in 2006 they are coming up for a waiver, and the Bush administration’s F.C.C. could easily deny that waiver to them. … Read all. (Emphasis mine.)

I’m glad that Scheer is stepping into the blogosphere, and that he is attracting fellow bloggers like Juan Cole. His blog site is very attractive, and highly readable. I wish him the best. God knows we need more voices like his and Juan Cole’s — as well as JPol, and so many others here. His site’s motto is:

Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one.

                       —A.J. Liebling

We own one. Don’t we. Rummy can’t bomb and arrest every one of us. (Although they could take over the ‘net, and that’s a worry of mine.)

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