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Are We Up to the Challenge?


"This is a test of the left-wing blogosphere," said FOX News. "In many ways that memo might prove all of the arguments the critics of the war have made. But the bulk of Americans don't agree, or don't seem that alarmed, so it is a power test to see if they can drive it back on the agenda."

This statement was made by a Fox News employee quoted by Fox News. This is a news organization openly admitting that they will not cover a story based on its importance to a large number of people, but might do so if a politcal force pushes it hard enough. And this was said in an article that also argued that the Downing Street Minutes are worthless and tell us nothing new.

Are we up to the challenge? We will have to roll over these dictators of news standards. We will have to not just force an issue onto the table, but to build a new table to hold it. There are signs that we can succeed. While the article below is disgracefully dishonest, it would not have appeared at all if not for the work we are all doing.

Downing Street Memo Mostly Ignored in U.S.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

By Kelley Beaucar Vlahos

WASHINGTON � A British government memo that critics say proves the Bush administration manipulated evidence about weapons of mass destruction in order to carry out a plan to overthrow Saddam Hussein (search) has received little attention in the mainstream media, frustrating opponents of the Iraq war.

The "Downing Street Memo" � first published by The Sunday Times of London on May 1 � summarizes a high-level meeting between Prime Minister Tony Blair (search) and his senior national security team on July 23, 2002, months before the March 2003 coalition invasion of Iraq.

The memo suggests that British intelligence analysts were concerned that the Bush administration was marching to war on wobbly evidence that Saddam posed a serious threat to the world.

Click here to read the memo.

In the memo, written by top Blair aide Matthew Rycroft (search), Foreign Secretary Jack Straw indicated in the meeting that it "seemed clear" Bush had already decided to take military action.

"But the case was thin," reads the memo on Straw's impressions. "Saddam was not threatening his neighbors, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran."

The memo also paraphrased former head of the British Secret Intelligence Services, Richard Dearlove, fresh from meetings in the United States. The memo said Dearlove believed "military action was now seen as inevitable."

"Bush wanted to remove Saddam Hussein, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD," the memo reads. "But the intelligence and the facts were being fixed around the policy," according to Dearlove's impressions.

"The NSC (National Security Council) had no patience with the U.N. route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action."

The memo, which received sporadic reporting in major newspapers in the United States throughout May, has sparked an outcry from more than 88 Democratic members of Congress who have signed two letters to President Bush demanding a response.

Led by Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., the signatories are mostly representatives who opposed the war in Iraq and make up the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

Conyers says the mainstream media have ignored the story and let President Bush off the hook. He noted that liberal blogs and alternative media have been keeping the story alive. "But these voices are too few and too diffuse to overcome the blatant biases of our cable channels and the negligence and neglect of our major newspapers," Conyers said in a recent statement.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan has said there is "no need" to respond to the memos, the authenticity of which has not been denied.

Dante Zappala does not agree. For Zappala, the Downing Street Memo strikes a critical and personal chord. His brother, Sgt. Sherwood Baker, 30, a soldier in the Pennsylvania National Guard, was killed in Baghdad 13 months ago on what Zappala said was a mission to find weapons there.

"My family knows the consequences of the decision they made to go to war," said Zappala, 29, of Philadelphia. He is a member of Military Families Speak Out, a group that opposes the war and, according to Zappala, now has more than 2,000 members.

"I can't speak for what the TV news decides to focus their attention on," Zappala said. "They seem to have a willful deference to all relevant information. I think they've really just dropped the ball on this."

But not everyone believes the Downing Street Memo represents a "smoking gun" and deserves more attention.

"As a smoking gun it leaves a lot to be desired," said Kevin Aylward, a northern Virginia-based technology consultant who runs the conservative-leaning blog, Wizbangblog.com. "It's interesting, but it's probably fourth- or fifth-hand information."

Aylward added: "I suspect the more interesting story at this point, seeing it three weeks later, is who is behind the letter-writing campaign to push it in the media."

Several popular left-leaning blogs have taken up the cause to keep the story alive, encouraging readers to contact media outlets. A Web site, DowningStreetMemo.com, tells readers to contact the White House directly with complaints.

"This is a test of the left-wing blogosphere," said Jim Pinkerton, syndicated columnist and regular contributor to FOX News Watch, who pointed out that The Sunday Times article came out just before the British election and apparently had little effect on voters' decisions.

"In many ways that memo might prove all of the arguments the critics of the war have made," he added. "But the bulk of Americans don't agree, or don't seem that alarmed, so it is a power test to see if they can drive it back on the agenda."

Ellis Henican, a columnist for New York Newsday and a FOX News contributor, said the allegations of evidence-fixing had been made before the 2004 election by former senior administration officials Richard Clarke (search) and Paul O'Neill (search), and while many people believe they were right, it had little impact on the re-election of Bush in November.

"It's a little late," he said of the memo story, adding that people are resigned to the fact that the United States is in Iraq for the long term, regardless of what events led to the war. "We're kind of stuck."

That's no excuse, said Zappala, who argues someone has to be made accountable for the lives lost on false pretenses. "The goal was always to invade Iraq whatever obstacles, legal and moral, were in our way," he said. "I feel that we deserve an amount of accountability by our officials for the decisions they make."

LINK TO FOX NEWS STORY

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Wow. Where do you start?

Anyone against this action should be branded a traitor

That pesky US Constitution thingy disagrees with you. Treason consists in levying war against the USA, period. Disagreement is never treason.

Stop and think for once, do you really ssupport the fight against this war

Yes.

lied about WMD (we found them).

In what alternate universe are you living? No, we have found no WMD, zero, zip, nada. But don't take my word for it. Go read this FOX News story (yes, that 's FOX News): http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,154574,00.html which is headlined, "Iraq WMD Inspectors End Search, Find Nothing."

Impeachment is imperative
by Carol Wolman, MD

Bush's reckless use of illegal radioactive weaponry has spread mutagenic dust around the globe. Bush is systematically gutting the international peace`treaties that have prevented nuclear holocaust for the past 60 years, and is seeking to develop and use "small" thermonuclear weapons.

Bush is leading us on a path of death, that could lead to extinction of life on earth. Impeachment is imperative.

Now is the time. We have the smoking gun needed to impeach Bush, in the form of the Downing Street memo.
This secret British memo of early 2002 proves that intelligence had to be cooked in order to justify the plan to invade Iraq, since there was, in reality, no justification.

The ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, John Conyers, has already taken the first step on the road to impeachment. Mr. Conyers sent a letter to the pResident a couple of weeks ago demanding an explanation for the "smoking gun" memo. Conyer's letter was cosigned by 88 Congresspeople.

The next step is a motion to impeach Mr. Bush, which would be introduced into the Judiciary Committee.

An impeachment motion has been sitting on Mr. Conyer's desk for years. He needs a grassroots movement to propel it into the Committee for action.

Mr. Conyers is seeking a million signatures from US citizens. Please join this effort at www.johnconyers.com

You can join the citizens' coalition working for impeachment at http://www.afterdowningstreet.org

God is giving us an opportunity to get a real impeachment movement going. It is our chance to save ourselves and our children from nuclear holocaust. It may be our last chance.

If you love life, if you love your children, if you love your neighbors, please ACT NOW. These are online activities, you can do them right now, as you read your email.

We have the means, the motive and the opportunity to impeach George W. Bush. If the will of the people is strong enough, we can override the corrupt politicians and save life on earth. God is on OUR side, not on the side of the rulers, no matter how pious they appear.

Mark 12:27He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err.

In the name of the Prince of Peace,
who gave His life to save the world (John 3:17),
Carol Wolman

Do we love ourselves? by Carol Wolman

Mark 12: 31 Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

The Golden Rule is very practical. It leads to cooperation, to working for the common good. A village cannot afford feuds and festering rivalries.

Our planet is a global village. Global warming affects us all. Fine radioactive dust in the atmosphere affects us all. The winds blow all around the globe. Ocean water circulates.

The Golden Rule assumes self-love. This is a biological given. Every living organism seeks to protect itself and pass on its quintessence, its DNA, to the future. One cannot love one's neighbor without loving oneself and one's seed.

We in the US find it hard to love ourselves these days. We know that we live in a rogue nation, despised by the rest of humanity for the bullying, greed and destructiveness of our supposedly elected leaders. We know that both elections were stolen, by dirty tricks during registration, by justice buying, by machine rigging. Yet we tolerate the thugs who have hijacked our nation, and the fawning press, and the false shepherds.

We in the US are on the brink of disaster. We are bogged down in a military swamp in Iraq, yet our "leaders", are threatening to start a new war with Iran. No outcry from the public. We continue to eat, drink and be merry.

Our dollar is falling, and our national debt is out of control. Congress passes yet another huge military budget. Where is the outcry?

The new Homeland Security Law places our precious freedom in the jaws of a steel trap that can snap shut at any moment, at the whim of the pious rulers. The rulers do not answer to we, the people, they answer to the corporate beast, which has stolen our personhood, legally, and worships only money. Where is our outcry?

Do we love ourselves?

Please do a quick exercise with me. Leave your computer and find a mirror. Look yourself in the eye and say to your reflection: "I love myself. I am doing everything I can to choose life, for myself and my seed."

Then come back for the next step.

Were you able to assure yourself of your self-love? It's not easy these days. No matter how hard we are working for justice, for the poor, for our environment, it does not seem to be helping. The enemy is consolidating its power. With Bush's neonazi friend Ratzinger now in the papacy, the European Union in shambles, and the RRR (Radical Religious Right) seeking to impose a theocracy at home, it seems hopeless.

Do we love ourselves? The RRR tells us that God will save them because they hate Muslims, and homosexuals, and treehuggers, and women who abort their embryos rather than bring a child into an intolerable situation. We try to dialogue with these brainwashed nuts, and to love them. They do not love us, although we are their neighbors. They are aiming for mass suicide, and taking us down with them. They tell us we are at fault because we love life, and we persist in loving our neighbors, no matter what beliefs and sexual practices they follow.

Is it too late? Should we resign ourselves to the fate they foresee for us, consumed in a lake of radioactive fire? Or shall we reclaim our lives and our future? Do we love ourselves enough to act on our own behalf?

Here's exercise # 2- do this some other time.

Find a child in your neighborhood, look that child in the eye, and say: "I love you as I love myself. I am doing everything I can to choose life, for you and your seed."

Are you crying yet? I cry every time I think about that radioactive dust blowing off the sands in Iraq, getting into the upper atmosphere, accumulating in the gene pool forever. Is it too late? Have we already sown the seeds of death for the biosphere, with our radioactive weapons?

God, the God of life, love and justice, God is giving us a precious opportunity to reverse the course of events. God has inspired some brave souls in Britain to publish a secret memo that provides a "smoking gun", clear proof that Bush knew he was lying to the American people, Congress, and the UN about WMD's in Iraq.

God has provided us with the internet, so that news of the Downing Street memo is penetrating the consciousness of citizens of the US, despite the blackout by the official US press and TV.

God has provided us with a Constitution that lays out a clear, peaceful method for getting rid of corrupt politicians that are committing high crimes and misdemeanors. Certainly lying to take the country to war, and twisting intelligence to back up the lies, falls into that category.

God has provided us with a leader, John Conyers, Jr. (Dem-MI). Conyers is the second most senior member of the House of Representatives, and the founder and dean of the Congressional Black Caucus. He was a friend of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and was instrumental in making MLK Day a national holiday.

Mr. Conyers holds a key congressional position, as ranking senior member of the House Judiciary Committee. It is this committee that initiates and carries out impeachment proceedings. Conyers was on the committee in 1974, when impeachment hearings were held against Nixon over Watergate. He also participated in the impeachment proceedings against Clinton.

(Impeachment is like arraignment, the House acting as the DA who brings formal charges. The Senate, acting as the court in Clinton's trial, refused to convict him, so he remained in office).

Mr. Conyers has already taken several steps on the road to impeaching Bush. He has sent Bush a letter, demanding an explanation of the "smoking gun" memo, cosigned by 88 congresspeople. He has put out an appeal to the public to cosign the letter, which you can do at www.johnconyers.com/ .

Citizens' groups are mobilizing to support the impeachment effort. Atty John Bonifaz, on behalf of these groups, has written to Conyers:

The recent release of the Downing Street Memo provides new and compelling evidence that the President of the United States has been actively engaged in a conspiracy to deceive and mislead the United States Congress and the American people about the basis for going to war against Iraq. If true, such conduct constitutes a High Crime under Article II, Section 4 of the United States Constitution:

It is very sad to see such intelligent people fall for the simplest of lies. Every American Congressional and Senatorial leader was in unanimous decision to correctly go after Saddam this time. That was the best decision the American government has made since 1992. It never ceases to amaze me the politicizing of this needed action by a few left wing fringe extremists in an attempt to deny people of this world a chance at a better life and protection from those who oppose freedom. Anyone against this action should be branded a traitor because what they are doing is actually supporting the terrorists and those who oppose freedom on all levels. Stop and think for once, do you really ssupport the fight against this war and why? No one lied to get us in. No one made up excuses. No one ignored the UN. But yet every person who opposes it states that we did do such things...lies. For once America is being pro-active as she should be and many nations agree with this principle. Now not only has Iraq and Afghanistan held free elections but now Lebanon, Egypt are going to hold free elections and Saudi Arabia is following suit. Also the Palestinian question is now being resolved at a quicker pace because many of the people who were blocking it are either dead or made insignificant. Try learning about the real truth of this war before you spout..War for oil (lie) or lied about WMD (we found them).

I have a question for you:

What are you on? Can I have some? I'd love to be as oblivious as you are.

It's not left wing liberals who are reporting this, by the way. If you root around the blogosphere or research political issues and sites, you will see many, MANY Republicans who are in full agreement that this administration is a radical war-mongering power-hungry machine, intent on winning at any cost.

Only right-wing evangelical facists and ignorant people who buy into the propaganda are enjoying these times and the turmoil this administration has caused.

You are accepting this administration's claims without bothering to use your head and follow up on their claims, is my guess. To think that any politicians are completely honest is naive; to think that bush & co. have an agenda that works for the greater good is downright stupid.

Oh, and if you did do some research, which includes actually reading things written by those who live in Iraq, who report from there and are striving to live through this hell that we've imposed on them, you would be horrified to learn that all we've done is kill and maim 100,000 innocents civilians, destroy their way of life, wreck their country and culture and economy.

Why do you think the memo is a lie? Obviously there is at least some credibility to it or no one would be rushing to get it reported. We've all seen what happens when you fail to adequately check your sources.

And no WMD have been found.

Sorry....

Michael was almost correct on one of his points at least, where he states that WMD's have been found in Iraq. Well I don't know if you can call it a find when you take them there yourself and use them, never the less WMD's are indeed there now.

I am referring of course to the overwhelming quantities of depleted uranium munitions being used by coalition forces in Iraq. I wouldn't worry about Sarin, or anthrax, that Saddam may or may not have possessed, Sarin and Anthrax don't pollute the land for 4.5 Billion years, yes that's right and these weapons are also banned under countless international treaties, and classified as inhumane WMD's.

This didn't stop the US from using them in Iraq, Afghanistan and Bosnia, so tell me again how the war in Iraq was only to benefit the poor Iraqi people? Ah yes I expect they feel so much better now they have an increased chance of dying from cancer, or giving birth to children with no limbs or eyes!

The irony about DU weapons is that they are coming home to roost, gulf war syndrome or shall we say the symptoms of uranium contamination is a very real issue with gulf war veterans, and the incidences of birth defects are on the rise among ex servicemen as well.

I'd be very interested to know how anyone can support the decision to go to war when faced with the facts, and still say this war is helping the Iraqi people.

This is a comment from someone who is truly in denial; who fervently wants to believe without bothering to check whether the information they are basing they're position on has any merit. Just F*()^#!g amazing that such people can survive, much less tie their shoelaces. Oh,forgot,slipon/loafers/velcro strips are available.

One of the important things to remember about this entire fiasco is that it is non-partisan.

Left vs. Right. Democrat vs. Republican. Liberal vs. Democrat. None of that applies here.

What we are talking about is an administration that intentionally deceived the American people in order to build a case for war. The evidence comes not only from the Downing Street minutes, but from Richard Clark, from Paul O'Neil (if I remember correctly), from the Project for a New American Century, from the fact that the US started a bombing campaign prior to the actual war in order to encourage Iraq to respond and thus create circumstances for war.

As a conservative (someone who believes in a modest foreign policy, balanced budgets, and limited government authority in the private lives of the American people) I am completely outraged that this administration brought the US into an unnecessary war, based on lies.

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