Al-Jazeera calls for publication of leaked document
LONDON: A senior Al-Jazeera executive urged Prime Minister Tony Blair in a radio interview Saturday to publish a leaked document that allegedly suggests US President George W Bush wanted to bomb the headquarters of the Arabic television station in Qatar.
In an interview with BBC radio, the executive, Wadah Khanfar, said he would deliver a letter to Blair’s office also demanding a meeting with the prime minister to discuss the document. “Al- Jazeera is in the foremost of free form and democracy in the Arab world, and therefore this news that we have heard is very concerning,” Khanfar told British Broadcasting Corp. radio. “So we demand a proper explanation, and we would like to know the facts about this letter.”
The document, which has been described as a transcript of discussions between Bush and Blair, was leaked to the Daily Mirror tabloid newspaper. Earlier this week, Attorney General Lord Goldsmith warned editors they could face prosecution under the Official Secrets Act for disclosing the contents of the document.
The Daily Mirror claimed the document was a transcript of a meeting in April 2004 between Bush and Blair in which Bush spoke of attacking Al-Jazeera’s headquarters in Doha, Qatar.
The newspaper, which cited unidentified sources, said Blair argued against an attack. It quoted its sources as disagreeing about whether Bush’s alleged comment was a joke or was meant seriously. ap