Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Just Kidding?

We've know the Administration doesn't like Al-Jazeera, but this... this is just crazy:
A civil servant has been charged under Britain's Official Secrets Act for allegedly leaking a government memo that a newspaper said Tuesday suggested that Prime Minister
Tony Blair persuaded
President Bush not to bomb the Arab satellite station Al-Jazeera.

The Daily Mirror reported that Bush spoke of targeting Al-Jazeera's headquarters in Doha, Qatar, when he met Blair at the White House on April 16, 2004. The Bush administration has regularly accused Al-Jazeera of being nothing more than a mouthpiece for anti-American sentiments.

The Daily Mirror attributed its information to unidentified sources. One source, said to be in the government, was quoted as saying that the alleged threat was "humorous, not serious," but the newspaper quoted another source as saying that "Bush was deadly serious, as was Blair."


Peter Kilfoyle, a former defense minister in Blair's government, called for the document to be made public.

"I think they ought to clarify what exactly happened on this occasion," he said. "If it was the case that President Bush wanted to bomb Al-Jazeera in what is after all a friendly country, it speaks volumes and it raises questions about subsequent attacks that took place on the press that wasn't embedded with coalition forces," the newspaper quoted Kilfoyle as saying.

Sir Menzies Campbell, foreign affairs spokesman for the opposition Liberal Democrats, said Tuesday that, if true, the memo was worrying.

"If true, then this underlines the desperation of the Bush administration as events in Iraq began to spiral out of control," he said. "On this occasion, the prime minister may have been successful in averting political disaster, but it shows how dangerous his relationship with President Bush has been."

Al-Jazeera offices in Iraq and Afghanistan have been hit by U.S. bombs or missiles, but each time the U.S. military said they were not intentionally targeting the broadcaster.

In April 2003, an Al-Jazeera journalist was killed when its Baghdad office was struck during a U.S. bombing campaign. Nabil Khoury, a State Department spokesman in Doha, said the strike was a mistake.

In November 2002, Al-Jazeera's office in Kabul, Afghanistan, was destroyed by a U.S. missile. None of the crew was at the office at the time. U.S. officials said they believed the target was a terrorist site and did not know it was Al-Jazeera's office.
Hey, they "Swift-boat" critics all the time, why not ramp it up a little and claim it's just a little collateral damage when its someone they really don't like. Sad that when charges like this are raised we even take a moment to give them some thought: our government should be beyond reproach and the example we want to set for the rest of the world. I mean, really don't we all want to live in a world where charges like this would be laughed at as impossible in the same way that we would laugh at someone who questioned Evolution in favor of 'Creationism' and... oh wait... D'oh!

Brings A Smile To My Face

The Abramoff 'Scandal' is like a volcano getting ready to blow: we know that it is coming, we just don't know when and exactly how big it'll be. Will it just be a little lava seeping over the top? Some steam and ash billowing into the sky? Or will it be like Mount St. Helens and explode devestating the landscape for as far as the eye can see? Or could it be worse? What are exactly are we talking about here? Michael Scanlon, former aide to Tom DeLay (R-TX; aka 'The Hammer' aka 'Hot Tub Tom') who then became Jack Abramoff's lobbying partner. Well Scanlon pleaded guilty to a bunch of stuff the other day and is now working with prosecutors:
If Scanlon keeps singing, there could be a lot of "victims" in Washington soon. Sources close to the federal investigation tell the Washington Post that investigators "are looking at half a dozen members of Congress, current and former senior Hill aides, a former deputy secretary of the interior, and Abramoff's former lobbying colleagues."

With the possibility of five years in prison and a $19.7 million restitution order hanging over his head, Scanlon has every incentive to help prosecutors bring down Abramoff, DeLay, Ney and others. The most frightening part for the men who may soon be targets? As the Post notes, Scanlon almost seems to be enjoying his role. As he left a press conference yesterday after his plea hearing, Scanlon turned to the reporters there and said, "Thanks, guys. I'll be in touch."
I'm thinking this might be more like Vesuvius. Weeeee! Happy Thanksgiving boys & girls!