In an interview with Channel 4's Dispatches, to be aired on Monday, former home secretary David Blunkett admitted that he suggested to the war cabinet during the 2003 invasion of Iraq that Britain's military should bomb Aljazeera's television transmitter in Baghdad. Two weeks after Blunkett urged the prime minister to attack al-Jazeera, the American military bombed the station's Baghdad offices, killing journalist Tareq Ayoub.
Last year, the Mirror exposed a leaked memo detailing discussions between Tony Blair and George Bush, in which the Prime Minister appeared to talk the US president out of bombing al-Jazeera's headquarters in Qatar (see Wikipedia's article on Al-Jazeera Memo | BlairWatch's update on al-Jazeera memo).
The Committee to Protect Journalists estimates that at least 80 journalists and 22 media support workers have died in the Iraq conflict since April 2003.
A report published yesterday said the war had claimed around 655,000 Iraqi lives - about 2.5 percent of the population and 12 times higher than the figure of 44,000 to 49,000 given by the British group Iraq Body Count, and nearly 22 times the figure of "30,000, more or less," mentioned by President Bush in a December 2005 press conference.