From a meeting last night in London
Present at The Frontline Club were Wadah Khanfar, Director-General of Al Jazeera, in town to get answers from a government that’s gone all quiet on us; and Kevin Maguire, associate editor of the Daily Mirror who knows a man who knows a man who has seen The Memo Of Doom.
While we’re Serious Blogging today, the facts are this:
* A source (which Maguire will not name) approached the Mirror with details of a top secret memo, which had "accidentally" found its way into the papers of a certain MP. Noting that the memo contained, amongst other things, details of UK and US troop movements in Iraq, said MP turned it back to Downing Street.
* The memo also contains details of a conversation between George W Bush, and his London spokesman Tony Blair, in which the Leader of the Free World reveals plans to attack Al Jazeera TV, a civilian broadcaster financed by the government of Qatar. Mr Blair, for all his faults, tells him that this may not be a particularly good idea, and other, unnamed officials tend to concur with Tony’s line of thinking.
* The Mirror, out of courtesy, informs Downing Street that they will be publishing details of this memo. Downing Street has a hissy fit, and the White House, according to Maguire "went beserk", leading to threats of the Official Secrets Act against anybody who is even considering publishing the document.
* Of course," said Maguire, "the government wouldn’t be using the Official Secrets Act if the reports weren’t true. This government will go to great lengths to keep this memo secret."
More disturbing was the implication that the whole "Bomb Qatar" thing wasn’t simply Georgie Boy thinking aloud. Maguire is certain from his sources that the tone of the memo shows Bush was indeed not joking, and this wasn’t simply one man’s big idea. Indeed, Maguire implied that this policy idea must have been passed around high level circles in the White House before Blair was brought into the loop. If so, whose idea was it?
Blair Watch, who broke the two memos story comments.
To date NOT ONE mainstream news outfit has picked up on the two memos story and the implications. Perhaps the future of news is in blogging.
Here’s the Polizeros siimplified rundown of the two memos
1) The Times of London published an officially leaked memo in May called "Iraq in the Medium Term."
2) The Mirror mentioned another memo, the Dubya-wants-to-bomb-Qatar memo, on Nov. 22. The government went ballistic and threatened prosecution if they did.
3) Two men are being prosecuted for leaking something. Blair Watch speculated.
a) If Keogh and O’Connor are being prosecuted over the leak of the document ‘Iraq in The Medium Term’ as published in the Times [May 2004], and not for leaking the source of the Mirror article then the Bliar and his official spokesman would be leaving themselves wide open by describing the Mirror story as ‘sub-judice’.
b) If the Mirror is correct in it’s assertion that Keogh and O’Connor are being charged over the source of their story [the transcript], then the story reported by the BBC about them being charged over the leaking of the ‘Iraq in the Medium Term’ memo was a construct, a ‘beard’ to cover up the existence of the document refered by the Mirror.
Thus, either way, the government was lying about what happened. No doubt because they don’t want the second memo made public.
4) It’s now been confirmed the men are being prosecuted for leaking the bombing memo. thus, b) is what happened.
Britain practically never invokes the Official Secrets Act. To do so means something in the memo must be explosive indeed.