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Report from Northampton


Just got off the phone with Tim Carpenter, Executive Director of Progressive Democrats of America, who participated in the event in Northampton, Mass., which -- like many others today -- was filled to capacity and had to turn people away.

"Bonifaz was on fire!" Tim says.

The event was filmed for Access TV and recorded for Alternative Radio. It also made the front page of the Northampton Gazette.

This website will display this article for $2:

Activists aim to keep focus on pre-war meeting
Area anti-war activists on Saturday will commemorate the third anniversary of what has become an often-cited event - the meeting between high-level American and British officials about which the Downing Street minutes were written.

The audio will be at this site later tonight.

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Activists aim to keep focus on pre-war meeting

By MARY CAREY Staff Writer

NORTHAMPTON - Area anti-war activists on Saturday will commemorate the third anniversary of what has become an often-cited event - the meeting between high-level American and British officials about which the Downing Street minutes were written.

Leaked in recent months to the British media, the meeting's minutes quote a high-level British official who was at the July 23, 2002 meeting commenting on the apparent determination of the Bush administration to wage war in Iraq.

In the most frequently cited section of the document, the official alleges that the administration planned to ''fix the intelligence around the policy.''

John Bonifaz, the Boston-based constitutional lawyer who is now pushing for a congressional investigation into whether President Bush manipulated intelligence to justify the war, will speak at the Media Education Foundation, on Masonic Street, Saturday at 4 p.m.

The event is sponsored by the western Massachusetts chapter of the Progressive Democrats of America and is free and open to the public. Similar events and more than 200 house parties and ''town meetings'' are being held around the country the same day.

Critics of the Bush administration, including Democratic U.S. Reps. Richard Neal and John Olver, maintain that the documents are evidence that the administration was not forthcoming with the public about its reasons for going to war.

''The Downing Street memos further indicate that the administration had always planned to invade Iraq and manipulated intelligence to make a connection between Iraq and al-Qaida,'' Olver said in a statement. ''The administration misled the American people and diverted attention away from Afghanistan where the real threat existed.''

Neal said Thursday he wasn't surprised by the assertions in what has come to be known as the Downing Street Minutes.

''Many of us were saying these things all along,'' Neal said. ''I voted against going to war because of what many thought was weak evidence.''

Bonifaz maintains that the minutes provide evidence that President Bush is guilty of a ''high crime,'' an impeachable offense. He and U.S. Rep. John Conyers, the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, have called for a congressional investigation into the administration's actions leading up to the war. More than 100 members of Congress, including Neal and Olver have indicated their support.

Neal said he is dubious that the Republican leadership in Congress would allow an investigation to go forward, however. Because Republicans control the House and Senate as well as the executive branch, they are able to block any effort to subpoena the kinds of documents Conyers is asking for, Neal said.

But calling for a congressional investigation continues the drumbeat of opposition to the current policies that may force the Bush administration to change course, Neal said. He said the recent revelation that Karl Rove, the president's top adviser, may be connected to the leaking of CIA operative Valerie Plame's name adds fuel to the charge that the administration may have acted illegally in trying to make a case for the war.

''You have congressional elections coming up next year. My sense is that the administration continues to see the doubts that are raised by voters across the country, and the polling data that currently is not encouraging to them, (and) hopefully they'll alter their course - although I'm not optimistic,'' Neal said.

Although he has not called for an immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq, Neal said, ''We need clarity from the president on the issue of how long the military is going to be there.''

Olver said, ''We should seek assistance from NATO and other sources to help train the Iraqis and de-emphasize our role. Congress needs to force the development of a workable strategy to achieve stability in Iraq and then bring our young men and women home.''

Mary Carey can be reached at mcarey@gazettenet.com.

Have any of you in your lifetimes ever seen a more contemptble bunch of thugs.I can remember when Republicans had HONOR,but no more.Stall,lie,cheat.steal and kill all with God on thier side.What a sick joke.I am SOOOOO ready for IMPEACHMENT I can taste it.Knowing how they work I would say another 911 is probable in the making.Ahhhh I had that built up now I am feeling much better now.Time to write the umpteenth E-mail to my Repug leaders.They do send me back a nice form letter that lets me know they did'nt see or care about my comments.I live in a RED state (Texas).Oh God what have I done to wind up in this backwards far off place.Forgive me and let me flea to a safe,progressive state.Where people can comunicate in whole sentence's
Thanks for letting me rant.

Hi Mike,

You are always welcome here in the Keystone State, Pennsylvania!

The events of today are the seeds of the empowerment of the will of the people. Repugnant, repulsive republicans (lower case r intentional) are looking more and more foolish as the retired intellignece professionals come forward and completely expose their "talking points" as complete rubbish.

It is amazing that supposedly intelligent individuals are incapable of thinking "outside the bun". The Fascist republicans are now trapped by their own warped plan of world domination and imperialism.

Go to about.com and type in political jokes and take the Bush loyalty quiz. You, like I did, will be delighted that your disdain for Bush and his administration means you would love nothing more than seeing himn dragged out of the White House in handcuffs. That might be too good for him.

Power to the people!

I was in attendance at the Northampton event on 7/23/05 and I'm extremely grateful to have had the opportunity! I now feel less a like a victim of the Bush administration and more like a part of the solution. Tim Carpenter and John Bonifaz are incisive, insightful and inspirational and I am now ready to start planning my second activist adventure - D.C. in September. I learned yesterday that this is a critical time to take action and that the grass roots have got to persist and persevere! Thanks PDA and ADS - see you in September!!!

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