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Yucking It Up In the Post

By Greg Mitchell, Editor & Publisher
Posted on June 21, 2005, Printed on June 22, 2005
http://www.alternet.org/story/22278/

Dana Milbank of The Washington Post, in a column on Friday, suggested that the congressional forum the previous day on the Downing Street memos was something of a joke. In his opening sentence he declared that House Democrats "took a trip to the land of make-believe" in pretending that the basement conference room was actually a real hearing room, even importing a few American flags to make it look more official.

Oddly, he seem less interested in the far more serious "make-believe" that inspired the basement session: the administration's fake case for WMDs in Iraq that has already led to the deaths of over 1,700 Americans and tens of thousands of Iraqis. No, Milbank used the valuable real estate of the Post -- its only coverage of the event -- to mock Rep. John Conyers, who arranged the meeting, and his "hearty band of playmates."

Downing Street Is For Liars

Why isn't the media screaming about the latest proofs of Bush's war scams? Don't you know?
- By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

This is the white-hot question right now gushing forth from the Far Left, from progressive blogs and liberal patriots and blue staters and angry anti-Bushers alike, and it is like a plea, a rallying call, an indignant stomp of deep frustration. It is this:

Why is the major American media not swarming all over the Downing Street Memos thing? Why is the entire nation not just appalled and disgusted and aghast at finding seemingly irrefutable proofs about what we all already knew, which is that BushCo planned to invade Iraq long before 9/11 and needed to find a way to justify it?

Secret admirers: The Bushes and the Washington Post

Part 1 of a two part-series
Secret admirers: The Bushes and the Washington Post

By Michael Hasty
Online Journal Contributing Writer

February 5, 2004—Ever since the days of the Watergate scandal, when a series of front-page articles by Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein ultimately led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon, the Post has had a reputation among many Americans as one of the elite bastions of the "liberal media."

This opinion is especially prevalent among conservatives, who also fault the Post for its publication (along with that other "liberal" icon, The New York Times) of the Pentagon Papers—an action they correctly view as having made a major contribution to undermining domestic support for the war in Vietnam. During the '70s, there was an angry conservative boycott of the paper in the Washington, DC, area, with "I Don't Believe the Post" bumper stickers appearing on cars and WP vending boxes.

OTHER VOICES: The Downing Street memos

Detroit Free Press
June 22, 2005

Excerpts of commentary on the Downing Street memos:

Another confidential British memo has surfaced to fan fresh criticism about the run-up to the 2003 Iraq war. This time, the issue is whether the Bush administration ignored warnings to plan for the war's complicated aftermath. ...

The force of the British memo comes from the clarity of its language. It was written July 21, 2002, and its warning -- that "a postwar occupation of Iraq could lead to a protracted and costly nation-building exercise" -- now looks prophetic. ...

A White House spokesman said the memo was off base. "There was significant postwar planning," said David Almacy. "More importantly, the memo in question was written eight months before the war began; there was significant postwar planning in the time that elapsed." ...

Americans inching closer to a reckoning

ROBERT STEINBACK
DOWNING STREET MEMO
The Miami Herald

Do you want to know?

That's the only popular division that matters in the United States today: Those who want to determine once and for all if President Bush knowingly ''fixed the facts'' regarding Iraq, thereby misleading Congress and the American people into supporting an unnecessary war, and those who will cover their ears and hum loudly in order to maintain their belief that Bush and his advisors remain above reproach.

You're in one camp or the other. Either you want to know if you've been lied to, or you don't.

The American public is inching tentatively toward a reckoning unlike any this nation has ever experienced. The oh-so-clever Bush administration strategists and their quasi-media acolytes, who have kept the reckoning at bay with a deft combination of we're-at-war patriotic fervor and fear-the-evil-liberals rhetoric, are running out of parlor tricks.

Ivins: Media give Bush a free pass on Downing Street memos

By Molly Ivins
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Salt Lake Tribune

I hope this is not too Inside Baseball, but I am genuinely astonished by what the bloggers call "Mainstream Media." (In my youth, it was quaintly called "the Establishment Press.")

The New York Times, The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times have all gone way out of their way to deny that the Downing Street memos (it's now plural) are news. Like many of you, during the entire lead-up to the war with Iraq, I thought the whole thing was a set-up.

I raise this point not to prove how smart we are, but to emphasize that I followed the debate closely and probably unconsciously searched for evidence that reinforced what I already thought. Most people do that. I read some of the European press and most of the liberal publications in this country. I read the Times, the Post, the Wall Street Journal and several Texas papers every day. It's my job.

Distracted By History (Wolfowitz is on message: focus on present, that's old news, we're busy right now...)

Wolfowitz won't discuss critical British memos
By Jon Sawyer
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

(KRT) - WASHINGTON - World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz, a prime architect of the Iraq war during his service as Deputy Defense Secretary, said Tuesday that he hasn't read any of the recently disclosed British government memos that call into question his role and that of other senior administration officials in the run-up to war during 2002.

At a breakfast meeting with reporters, Wolfowitz said he hasn't read the memos because he doesn't want to be distracted by history from his new job as head of the world's leading development bank. He returned this weekend from a tour of four African nations.

Hardball Transcript - - copywrite karl rove, 2005?

MSNBC
HARDBALL 7:00 PM EST
June 20, 2005 Monday
David Shuster, David Gregory
GUESTS: David Kay, James Woolsey, Michael Smith, Mike Allen, Terence Samuel, Barbara Boxer, George Allen

The Democrats have blocked a vote on John Bolton, the president`s embattled nominee to be U.S. ambassador. Might the president consider a recess appointment now? What is fact and what is fiction in terms of the so-called Downing Street memo?

DAVID GREGORY, GUEST HOST: Tonight, the Democrats have done it again. They have blocked a vote on John Bolton, the president`s embattled nominee to be U.S. ambassador. Might the president consider a recess appointment now?

Time to Go? Behind the Calls for an Exit Strategy

Published on Monday, June 20, 2005 by CommonDreams.org
As "The Feeling Grows"
by Danny Schechter

Suddenly, the words "exit strategy" has entered into the popular discourse. 41 Congress members have formed an Out of Iraq caucus. Four, including two Republicans are proposing a Congressional resolution to set the date. More newspapers and opinion columnists are mouthing the words that were downright unacceptable or even treasonous in last fall's Presidential election,
Then the Democrats were out bushing Bush in their fidelity to the "stay the course until we win" mantra. Anything else was "cutting and running" in the GOP parlance, and one by one the "opposition" party cleaved to the center for cover and respectability. MoveOn moved off the war issue while Howard Dean dropped his anti-war focus to become Party Chairman. All was quiet on the western front as the White House trumpeted success after success and the press abandoned analysis for hotel-based reporting of incidents. Even the anti-war movement seemed to have slowed its momentum,

Anti-war Brit finds solace in county

Fauquier Times Democrat (Virginia)
By Cheryl K. Chumley
06/21/2005


Laying bridges across the ocean, the Independent Party candidate who ran against England's Tony Blair for prime minister brought his anti-war message to America, staying with a Fauquier County family while attending a Capitol Hill impromptu hearing on the now-infamous Downing Street memo.

The memo, the talk of Britain this past month, is a run-down of a 2002 meeting between Blair and several of his advisors during which he was supposedly appraised of President George W. Bush's purported efforts to slant intelligence in favor of invading Iraq, post Sept. 11.

Post Explains "Wing Nuts" Label

FAIR-L
Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting
Media analysis, critiques and activism
http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=2561

ACTIVISM UPDATE:
Post Explains "Wing Nuts" Label

June 21, 2005

Washington Post ombudsman Michael Getler used his June 19 column to respond to FAIR's June 14 Action Alert regarding Post reporter Dana Milbank's use of the term "wing nuts" to describe activists pressing the media to take the Downing Street memos more seriously.

The relevant portion of Getler's column is below, followed by FAIR's response.

Bad Times In Deed – Installment #4:  Times, Times, Times, See What’s Become of You

THE SAD AND CONTINUING SAGA OF THE DOWNING STREET MEMO'S 'COVERAGE'
IN THE NEW YORK TIMES

By David Michael Green

“Perhaps it's the result of my having worked as a correspondent in the Soviet Union for a few years, but I think there's a strong case that excessive government secrecy leads to waste and abuse, and that an aggressive press improves the effectiveness of intelligence agencies in the long run.

'LIBERAL' MEDIA DROVE PAST DOWNING STREET

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pennsylvania)
June 21, 2005 Tuesday REGION EDITION
SECTION: LIFESTYLE, Pg.C-2

Graduates of the Cheers for Us School of Journalism (Motto: "Cheers for Us and All the Great Stories We Write!") have been put off their self-congratulatory stroke by the rise of the "Downing Street memo" story on this side of the Atlantic.

If by now you have not heard of the Downing Street memo, I trust that your cave is pleasantly cool during the summer months and the paper is being delivered right to its mouth so that you can read this explanation.

The Downing Street memo was the confidential notes of what British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his aides discussed at a meeting at No. 10 Downing Street on July 23, 2002 -- eight months before President Bush took the United States to war against Iraq. It was leaked to the Sunday Times in London and published May 1.

Washington Post Piece With Better Headline

Believing own war rhetoric worse than a lie
Fort Wayne Journal Gazette

WASHINGTON – President Bush planted the seeds of the destruction of his Iraq policy before the war started. Salvaging the venture will require an unprecedented degree of candor and realism from a White House that was never willing to admit – even to itself – how large an undertaking it was asking Americans to buy into.

The notion that Bush led the country into war through indirection or dishonesty is not the most damaging criticism of the administration. The worst possibility is that Bush and his advisers believed their own propaganda. They did not prepare the American people for an arduous struggle because they honestly didn’t expect one.

BREAKING THROUGH US MEDIA BLACKOUT

ILLEGAL WAR IRAQ (Part 2)
By Grace Reid

URUKNET TAKES NUMBER ONE SPOT NEWS OF ILLEGAL WAR IRAQ:Top > Society > Issues > Warfare and Conflict > Specific Conflicts > Iraq > News and Media(Source: ALEXA BROWSE)
Number One. URUKNET.INFO ITALY www.uruknet.infoI just received this e mail message from my editor in Italy, Paola of Uruknet. We are dancing. She is in her office, and I am in my kitchen.
You might remember a diary I did about a week ago "Censorship of the News in America -- Google Shuts Off Uruknet." Well, it is true, Google de-listed the number one News Source about the war in Iraq for 6 and a half days, from the 4th of June through the 10th of June, 2005. More about that below.
Top > Society > Issues > Warfare and Conflict > Specific Conflicts > Iraq > News and Media

Most Popular In News and Media

What the 'Downing Street' memos show

from the June 21, 2005 edition - http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0621/p03s01-usfp.html
Christian Science Monitor

Interpretations vary, but British documents provide rare insight into the lead-up to war.
By Peter Grier | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

WASHINGTON - The memo's warning to British Prime Minister Tony Blair was stark: his upcoming visit to President Bush's Texas ranch would not be a matter of long barbecues and songs around the campfire.

Instead, the April 2002 visit would involve discussion about a possible war in Iraq. Any decisions taken by the Atlantic allies might prove fateful, warned the memo's writer, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw.

Five Pointers for a Left Media

By Robert Parry
June 21, 2005

For those who see U.S. news as tilted to the Right, the good news is that wealthy Left funders are beginning to earmark more money for media. The bad news is that little of the money is going into the kind of media infrastructure that could restore a balance.

So, from my 27 years in Washington journalism and 10 years as editor of this independent Web site, here are some suggestions about how to best spend the precious sums for media, whether from small or large donors. (We, by the way, are entirely funded by donations from our readers.)

1. Outlets and content are the keys.

Bad Empire Planning Worse Than Lying Us into War?? He Fooled Whom???

How Cheney Fooled Himself
By E. J. Dionne Jr.
Tuesday, June 21, 2005; Page A21

President Bush planted the seeds of the destruction of his Iraq policy before the war started. Salvaging the venture will require an unprecedented degree of candor and realism from a White House that was never willing to admit -- even to itself -- how large an undertaking it was asking the American people to buy into.

The notion that the president led the country into war through indirection or dishonesty is not the most damaging criticism of the administration. The worst possibility is that the president and his advisers believed their own propaganda. They did not prepare the American people for an arduous struggle because they honestly didn't expect one.

Even Rev. Moon's Starting to Worry?

The Washington Times
www.washingtontimes.com

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Vietnam syndrome
By Arnaud de Borchgrave
Published June 21, 2005

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Admittedly stretched very thin, the U.S. military has the courage, the stamina and the weapons to see the Iraq insurgency through, however long it takes.
The body politic is another story. Already, congressional support for the war is flagging. Some Republican internationalists are letting it be known, albeit off the record, if the Iraq war vote came up today, knowing what they now know, they would be nays.

Blaming the messenger

By Benjamin J. Uticone
Online Journal Contributing Writer

June 21, 2005—It's been a rough year for those Americans who so vociferously supported our unprovoked war against Iraq.

Revelations that intelligence regarding weapons of mass destruction, the main impetus behind the war, was "dead wrong" was bad enough. The Downing Street Memo which reveals that both American and British administrations planned to manipulate what they knew to be bad intelligence to bolster their case for war is an absolute outrage and an embarrassment to our nation and its leadership.

The story of the Koran being flushed down a toilet at Guantanamo, and the subsequent riots it caused, only to find that the story contained some factual errors was bad enough. Factually substantiated stories of desecration of the Koran as well as the Amnesty International report comparing the prison at Gitmo to Soviet era gulags are stains on the reputation of this country that we may never be able to live down.

'Downing St. Memo' reporter says U.S., Britain goaded Saddam

WORLD VIEWS: 'Downing St. Memo' reporter says U.S., Britain goaded Saddam; Conyers hearings grab headlines -- overseas; Bush pans Iran elections; and more.
- Edward M. Gomez, special to SF Gate
Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Will the Downing Street Memo please just go away?

For George W. Bush and Tony Blair, continuing attention -- which is slowly increasing in mainstream U.S. news media -- to the secret British-government document and to others like it (they've now all been dubbed, collectively, "the Downing Street Memos" (AP/Guardian)), has become a festering annoyance.

Michael Smith, a defense correspondent for Britain's sober daily, The Times, broke the stories about the first Downing Street Memo and, when it was later revealed, a related briefing paper for Blair. Both showed that the prime minister and his top advisers knew that going to war with Iraq without United Nations approval would be illegal, and that intelligence would have to be "fixed" (see first Downing Street Memo) to prop up their war-making policy.

More On The Downing Street Memo

http://www.newshounds.us/2005/06/21/more_on_the_downing_street_memo.php

Last night on his radio show, Alan Colmes did another hour-long segment on the Downing Street Memo. His guest for the segment was Cindy Sheehan who co-founded Gold Star Families for Peace after losing a son to the war in Iraq. Sheehan testified at Rep. John Conyers' hearing last week about the Downing Street Memo and whether or not President Bush misled the United States into war against Iraq.

Claiming that her only area of expertise is "having a broken heart" as the result of "having a child killed in an illegal and immoral war," Sheehan reported that the hearings broke into some of the mainstream media such as George Stephanopoulos' This Week and Hardball with Chris Matthews and that she thinks this story is going to be "something that sticks."

Documents show the fix was in

The Truth - Local News
Published: Tuesday, June 21, 2005 -- The Truth, A4
Last updated: 6/20/2005 5:24:09 PM

Speaking on May 15 in Baghdad, Condoleezza Rice made an outrageous statement: "You see, this war came to us, not the other way around." Could there be anyone left in the U.S., let alone the Middle East, who believes this bald-faced lie?

The truth has trickled out slowly -- the truth so sickening that none of us want to believe it. But it's finally out: The Bush administration, from its very first weeks in office, planned a military operation to overthrow Saddam Hussein. The "Downing Street memo" and other documents released in Britain recently prove beyond any doubt that Bush, at the ranch in Texas in April 2002, lassoed Blair into going along with a war against Iraq.

Letter to Dana Milbank

Letter to Dana Milbank about the Downing Street Memo and Corporate Media Complicity in War Crimes
To: milbankd@washpost.com, Sketch@washpost.com, ombudsman@washpost.com
Mr. Milbank---

Regarding Friday’s WashingtonSketch ("Democrats Play House To Rally Against the War"): what an offensive, intelligence-insulting, childish rant, totally lacking in professionalism and propreity. Give me a break.

First of all, the Washington Post--- as well as much of the mainstream press--- seems more than a bit confused about the Downing Street Memo. (In this age where apparently the words LIE/LIAR/LYING are taboo in political discourse, I will for the moment play along and simply suggest that you and your colleagues are merely confused, and your much more professional competition in the foreign press and the blogosphere just happened to have hit the truth a bit sooner than you have, that’s all). Your dismissive, trivializing treatment of the memo leads me to think you are under the misunderstanding that this is something akin to a few scribbilings on a cocktail napkin. Allow me to correct you: the Downing Street Memo is the ACTUAL MINUTES OF A BRITISH CABINET MEETING, CONDUCTED IMMEDIATELY AFTER THOSE OFFICIALS MET WITH THEIR AMERICAN COUNTERPARTS, DISCUSSING WHAT EXACTLY TRANSPIRED IN THAT JOINT MEETING. The label, "memo" has unfortunately led more than a few folks unwilling to do the easily-accomplished research (yourself included) about the nature of this document to take the easy road and treat it as some peripheral, flimsy piece of desperate evidence on the part of the antiwar movement...a movement, I might add, that does not follow party lines, contrary to your feebleminded, overly-simplistic condemnation of it. Actually, I have no doubt that you understand the serious magnitude of the DSM and its damning evidence showing that the platform for Iraq was entirely based upon--- I’ll say it since you won’t--- lies; otherwise, why the desperate article on your part?

The family released a statement

The family released a statement...

"Mass round-ups and detentions of innocent civilians, torture and abuse of prisoners and detainees, America’s honor and prestige at the lowest point ever, and investigations that whitewash the president’s men and blame it all on the enlisted personnel. Thus the obscene spectacle of the grieving families at funerals forced by the president’s dishonesty to defend the honor of their dead even as they mourn: Small wonder that the president, desperately attempting to hide behind a façade of rigid religiosity that glorifies war and false patriotism that exalts the very evils it claims to despise, never attends the funerals of those who have died in the line of duty. How could he?"

Remember When Bush's Lies Weren't "Old News"?

Neither do I.

By David Swanson, www.AfterDowningStreet.org

The most repeated excuse by U.S. media outlets for not covering the Downing Street Minutes and related documents is that they tell us nothing new, that they're old news. This conflicts, of course, with the second most common excuse, which is that they are false. If they're false, they can't be news at all, much less old news.

So, the question arises, when was this new news? At what point did it become old news to report that Bush had decided by the summer of 2002 to go to war and to use false justifications related to weapons of mass destruction and ties to terrorism? Of course, in one sense anything we discover now about secret goings on three years ago is old news – but that sense of being old news doesn't seem to spare us details of, for example, the Michael Jackson trial or the steroids in sports scandals. In those and many other cases, we're treated to news that's about old events. By that definition of old news we could have skipped Whitewater altogether.

An Open Letter to Fred Hiatt and the Washington Post

Published on Monday, June 20, 2005 by CommonDreams.org
by John Atcheson

Dear Mr. Hiatt:
Last year, you engaged Senator Kennedy in a debate about the administration’s Iraq Policy. A great deal has happened since, and it is time to revisit the discussion.

On January 26th, 2004, in response to a charge by Ted Kennedy that the Iraq invasion was prompted by politics, you wrote, "If Karl Rove – that is, politics... drove Iraq policy, then President Bush would merit not only defeat, but impeachment."

It’s too late for defeat, but with the release of the Downing Street Memo and other internal British documents made available to the Post as reported on Sunday June 12, 2005, the evidence that the war was politically motivated and that the administration used deceptions, distortions and outright lies to justify it, is now overwhelming.

WMD claims were "totally implausible"

Richard Norton-Taylor
Monday June 20, 2005
The Guardian

A key Foreign Office diplomat responsible for liaising with UN inspectors says today that claims the government made about Iraq's weapons programme were "totally implausible".

He tells the Guardian: "I'd read the intelligence on WMD for four and a half years, and there's no way that it could sustain the case that the government was presenting. All of my colleagues knew that, too".

Carne Ross, who was a member of the British mission to the UN in New York during the run-up to the invasion, resigned from the FO last year, after giving evidence to the Butler inquiry.

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