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'Spikes of Activity' In The DSM


By Why Are We Back in Iraq?
http://www.whyareweback.blogspot.com

UPDATE: At the end of this post, I've added excerpts from a Department of Defense briefing with Gen. Peter Pace, Vice-Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld from September 16th, 2002. Shockingly (or not so shockingly), Rumsfeld made light of the war before the war, and many members of the press laughed about it with him.

(Updated with excerpts from Michael Smith's articles from 2002, and his latest Sunday Times article...even more updates...this article will remain at the top of my blog and I will continue to add to it over the next few days.)

On Thursday, Michael Smith, the reporter for The Sunday Times who broke the Downing Street minutes story, wrote a must-read op-ed for the L.A. Times ("The Real News in the Downing Street Memos") which relates to an overlooked part of the memos and provides some more background on the "deep throats" who leaked the top secret documents:

"It is now nine months since I obtained the first of the "Downing Street memos," thrust into my hand by someone who asked me to meet him in a quiet watering hole in London for what I imagined would just be a friendly drink. At the time, I was defense correspondent of the London Daily Telegraph, and a staunch supporter of the decision to oust Saddam Hussein. The source was a friend. He'd given me a few stories before but nothing nearly as interesting as this."

Real Republicans take note of this:

"The six leaked documents I took away with me that night were to change completely my opinion of the decision to go to war and the honesty of Prime Minister Tony Blair and President Bush."

And the real news as Michael Smith sees it:

"American media coverage of the Downing Street memo has largely focused on the assertion by Sir Richard Dearlove, head of British foreign intelligence, that war was seen as inevitable in Washington, where "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. But another part of the memo is arguably more important. It quotes British Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon as saying that "the U.S. had already begun 'spikes of activity' to put pressure on the regime." This we now realize was Plan B."

"Put simply, U.S. aircraft patrolling the southern no-fly zone were dropping a lot more bombs in the hope of provoking a reaction that would give the allies an excuse to carry out a full-scale bombing campaign, an air war, the first stage of the conflict."

"In other words, Bush and Blair began their war not in March 2003, as everyone believed, but at the end of August 2002, six weeks before Congress approved military action against Iraq."

In his autobiography, American Soldier, retired General Tommy Franks, who led the 2003 (I should say...2002) invasion of Iraq, employed the phrase "spikes of activity" a few times (link):

"I'm thinking in terms of spikes, Mr. Secretary-spurts of activity followed by periods of inactivity. We want the Iraqis to become accustomed to military expansion, and then apparent contraction."

"As Phase I is completed, we could flow steadily for the next sixty days, while continuing spikes of activity to lend credence to our deception. During the sixty days we would increase kinetic strikes in the no-fly zones to weaken Iraq's integrated air defenses."

On November 27th in 2002, in response to a question asked by the Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman, Sir Menzies Campbell, the Ministry of Defense released the information "on how many occasions (a) coalition aircraft and (b) UK aircraft patrolling the southern no-fly zone in Iraq have (i) detected violations of the no-fly zones, (ii) detected a direct threat to a coalition aircraft and (iii) released ordnance in each month since March, stating for each month the tonnage released" (House of Commons Hansard) included in these charts:

(i) No-fly zone (NFZ) violations are detected in several ways. I am withholding details of detection methods in accordance with Exemption 1 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information. The number of violations recorded, by month, in the southern No Fly Zone, is as follows:

Month
Number of violations recorded

March
0

April
1

May
0

June
1

July
1

August
0

September
3

October
2

November
0

(ii) Coalition aircraft recorded threats on a total of 143 occasions, as follows:

Month
Coalition aircraft recorded threats

March
0

April
1

May
20

June
13

July
30

August
15

September
41

October
14

November
9

Note:

We do not hold separate threat figures for individual nations' aircraft.

(iii) (a) Coalition aircraft in the southern NFZ responded in self defence against Iraqi Air Defence targets on 41 occasions in the period from 1 March to 13 November, and released 126.4 tons of ordnance.

Month
Responses conducted in self defence
Tonnage of ordnance released

March
0
0

April
1
0.3

May
5
7.3

June
3
10.4

July
5
9.5

August
8
14.1

September
10
54.6

October
6
17.7

November
3
12.5

(iii) (b) Of these totals, UK aircraft responded on 17 occasions and released 46 tons of ordnance:

27 Nov 2002 : Column 331W

Month
Responses conducted in self defence
Tonnage of ordnance released

March
0
0

April
0
0

May
2
4.9

June
2
2.2

July
1
3.2

August
2
3.2

September
6
21.1

October
4
11.4

November
0
0

This LA Times op-ed is the first time that this essential part of the Downing Street Memo story has appeared in the mainstream American press, even though Michael Smith wrote about it in relation to the DSM on May 29th ("RAF bombing raids tried to goad Saddam into war").

But that's not the first time Michael Smith reported on the airstrikes launched by the Bush and Blair Administrations before the President officially went to Congress or the United Nations to seek approval for the war.

In fact, Smith reported it multiple times when he wrote for The Telegraph, as it occurred in 2002, but I guess no one noticed...or cared (link, link and link).

On September 6th, 2002, Michael Smith reported:

"About 100 American and British aircraft took part in an attack on Iraq's major western air defence installation yesterday in the biggest single operation over the country for four years. The raid appeared to be a prelude to the type of special forces operations that would have to begin weeks before a possible American-led war. It was launched two days before a war summit between President George W Bush and Tony Blair in America."

On September 13th, 2002, Michael Smith reported:

"Advance parties will begin deploying to Kuwait within two weeks in preparation for an attack on Iraq which could involve up to 30,000 British troops, defence sources said yesterday. At the same time, attacks on Iraq by aircraft patrolling the no-fly zones will be stepped up with the intention of piling the pressure on Saddam Hussein to agree to give up his weapons of mass destruction."

On September 17th, 2002, Michael Smith reported:

"America admitted last night that British and US aircraft enforcing no-fly zones in Iraq had changed tactics to extend the damage being caused to Iraq's air defences. Despite recent official denials, Donald Rumsfeld, the US defence secretary, said he ordered the change in tactics last month because US and British pilots were coming under more effective fire from Iraqi gunners. The US air force is now concentrating on buildings and other fixed targets, rather than mobile targets such as radars and surface-to-air missile launchers, in an effort to cause more lasting damage."

When will the American press notice?

When will the American press care?

When will this illegal pre-invasion become news?

UPDATE: (via The Raw Story) Michael Smith's latest article on the DSM has just hit the Internet: "How the leaked documents questioning war emerged from 'Britain's Deep Throat'."

Smith presents more details about his meetings with the two "deep throats" and gives tons of credit to the blogosphere for helping this story reach the American press (I'm going to excerpt from Michael Smith's article a little more than I usually do...but please take the time to follow the link to read the rest of it):

"After reporting these secret memos, which revealed the dubious manoeuvrings of government, I expected the US press to react. Surely there would be a storm of anger over the way in which the American public had been deceived into going to war? But still there was no interest. Then slowly something astonishing happened. People power took over."

"The Sunday Times website was inundated with ordinary US citizens wanting to read the minutes of the July meeting. Bloggers set to work passing the word."

"Six ordinary, patriotic citizens with no political axe to grind were so outraged to discover the truth about the path to war that they set up their own website, naming it after the minutes, which had become known as the Downing Street memo."

"Another website called AfterDowningStreet followed. People got together to lobby their local newspapers and radio and television stations to demand to know why they weren’t being told about the memo. There were even T-shirts made with the slogan: “Have you read the memo?

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MSM WTF ? dKos & RAWSTORY on "SPIKES OF ACTIVITY"
By Grace Reid
Sun Jun 26th, 2005

This HAS been reported before. It has been reported from the 29th with the Michael Smith article "RAF Bombing to Goad Saddam Into War". It was reported by Congressman John Conyers in dKos "Smoking Bullet In The Smoking Gun," It was reported by RAWSTORY on the 29th of May:

Raw Story, MA - May 29, 2005
... 1) Did the RAF and the United States military increase the rate that they ... was the justification for any such increase in the rate of bombing in Iraq at this ...

WHERE, IF EVER WAS THIS STORY REPORTED IN THE US MAIN STREAM MEDIA?

NEVER. OK, hardly at all until today. And for that we can thank Michael Smith of the UK, dKos, and RAWSTORY.

(SEE: MSM WTF? dKos and RAWSTORY on "SPIKES OF ACTIVITY"

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