Aljazeera considering legal action against Bush after bombing memo

[JURIST] Arab news channel Aljazeera [media website] is considering taking legal action against President George W. Bush, after disclosures that the US president allegedly suggested bombing the broadcaster's headquarters in Doha, Qatar, in the spring of 2004. Last week, two British civil servants were charged with leaking a memo [JURIST report], in which British Prime Minister Tony Blair [official profile] supposedly talked Bush out of the bombing. Blair denies knowledge [Aljazeera report] of any such plan. The White House has previously criticized Aljazeera for airing videos from Osama bin Laden [JURIST news archive], yet the station maintains it does not broadcast propaganda. In November 2002, no one was injured when the US bombed Aljazeera's office in Kabul, Afghanistan, because they believed it to be a terrorist site. In April 2003, an Aljazeera journalist was killed when a US missile accidentally struck his Baghdad office. In a statement released Tuesday, the station said [Aljazeera statement] if the memo was authentic, "it would cast serious doubts in regard to the US administration's version of previous incidents involving al-Jazeera's journalists and offices." Employees have called for an investigation into the memo and the station is currently consulting with its lawyers over potential legal action. In the UK, meanwhile, the government has threatened to prosecute newspapers [JURIST report] under the UK Official Secrets Act [text] if they reveal details of the memo. Additionally, the two civil servants charged last week appeared in court [BBC report] Tuesday and are expected to plead not guilty. The Guardian has more.



 

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