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By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
Wednesday 15 June 2005
Almost five hundred years ago, Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to the door of the Wittenberg Church, initiating a sequence of events which forever altered the geometry of global religion, politics and power. Luther's Theses began with the words, "Out of love for the truth and the desire to bring it to light, the following propositions will be discussed at Wittenberg."
Another document is going to be nailed to another door on Thursday, June 16th. This door opens not to a church, but to the White House. This document is freighted with hard truths, stern demands and nearly a million names. This document, once nailed up, likewise carries with it all the possibilities of change.
Scholars missed the point of the essay I wrote with Ralph Nader about the case for impeachment.
By Kevin Zeese
June 15, 2005 | The fundamental question is whether Congress and the American people were misled into an unnecessary, illegal war that has turned into a quagmire. Are the indications of false statements and misrepresentations sufficient to justify a pursuit of the truth?
The evidence includes a series of exaggerated and false claims by President Bush, Vice President Cheney and officials in their administration over many months as the drumbeat for war grew louder. Statements were made in contradiction to the evidence included in intelligence documents from a wide range of U.S. and international agencies. As weapons inspectors were unable to find weapons of mass destruction, President Bush's rhetoric increased to the point of warning of a potential mushroom cloud over the United States generated by a nuclear attack by Saddam Hussein.
TODAY'S DEMOCRACY NOW!:
* The Downing Street Memo Comes To Washington, Conyers Blasts "Deafening Sound of Silence" *
We speak with Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) who is convening a public hearing tomorrow in Washington on the so-called Downing Street Memo and other newly released documents that he says show the Bush administration's "efforts to cook the books on pre-war intelligence." We also speak with former CIA analyst Ray McGovern.
The Baltimore Sun
June 15, 2005
By David Swanson and Jonathan Schwarz
SINCE ITS publication May 1 by The Sunday Times of London, the so-called Downing Street memo has dominated the media in Britain and on the Internet in the United States. The memo is the official minutes from a secret meeting about Iraq held by British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his inner circle July 23, 2002.
The significance of the memo - and additional leaked British documents now surfacing in public view - can hardly be overstated. They conceivably could lead to impeachment proceedings against President Bush.
British officials believed the U.S. favored military force a year before the war, documents show.
By John Daniszewski, LA Times
June 15, 2005
LONDON -- In March 2002, the Bush administration had just begun to publicly raise the possibility of confronting Iraq. But behind the scenes, officials already were deeply engaged in seeking ways to justify an invasion, newly revealed British memos indicate.
Foreshadowing developments in the year before the war started, British officials emphasized the importance of U.N. diplomacy, which they said might force Saddam Hussein into a misstep. They also suggested that confronting the Iraqi leader be cast as an effort to prevent him from using weapons of mass destruction or giving them to terrorists.
Steve Berg, Star Tribune
June 15, 2005 BERG0615
As a former Washington reporter I've got a question that gnaws at me night and day, and, were I still occasionally hanging around the White House press room, I'd be eager to ask it. It's quite a simple question, really, but no one seems to be asking it and no one's quite sure what the answer might be. So, here goes:
Why are we in Iraq?
It kind of hangs in the air, doesn't it? But every time another American kid gets killed or another 20 Iraqis get shredded into bloody pieces, the question returns with a bit more urgency.
Fig leaf for war/Paper indicates U.N. was misled
June 15, 2005
Let's go back to 2002 and think about what the American people hoped for in Iraq. Such a review provides context to the latest British document leaked to the press and leads inevitably to the conclusion that both the British and American people were grossly misled.
The attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, were still fresh in American minds. The war in Afghanistan was underway. President Bush started early in the year talking about the need to eliminate Iraq's biological and chemical weapons, and end its efforts to rebuild its nuclear weapons program. The possible need for an invasion was openly discussed, and drew harsh opposition from Europe and the Arab world.
Tuesday, 14 June 2005
Now Seven Leaked British Documents Raise Iraq War Questions
The Downing Street Memo - minutes of a meeting with Prime Minister Tony Blair and his advisors that said the U.S. was "fixing" the intelligence to support the Iraq War - was not enough to get the mainstream U.S. media or members of Congress to take the issue seriously. Now there is Downing II, III, IV, V, VI and VII!
As the evidence mounts ( http://democracyrising.us/content/view/245/164/ ), the failure of the media to seriously investigate the issues is baffling. Why aren't they interviewing current and former U.S. military intelligence officials about these reports from highest levels of British government? Isn't the media supposed to investigate and get the truth for their readers and viewers?
RawStory.com, Steve Bagley
Two confidants of Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) told RAW STORY Tuesday that he is privately seeking other senators to cosign a letter to the Senate Intelligence Committee on the Downing Street minutes.
�Kerry has been enlisting other senators to sign onto a letter to the intelligence committee seeking answers to the Downing Street memo,� said one, �so Americans can trust that security decisions are driven by facts and responsible intelligence, not by political calculation.�
This statement comes after nearly two weeks of silence from the senator, who previously promised to �raise the issue� of the Downing Street minutes in the Senate chamber.
By Larisa Alexandrovna
New documents from across the Atlantic paint a picture of a President bent on war and administration officials determined to deliver war in Iraq at any cost.
Against the backdrop of the Bush Administration�s public statements, the documents raise questions about whether the Blair and Bush administrations covered up earlier actions after the invasion.
The original Downing Street Memo, initially reported by Sunday Times Online , includes the transcribed official minutes of a 2002 meeting between British Prime Minister Tony Blair, members of British intelligence, MI-6 and various Bush officials.
Officials deny intelligence that facts were fixed to invade Iraq
By Andrea Mitchell
Updated: 6:34 p.m. ET June 13, 2005
WASHINGTON � It started during British Prime Minister Tony Blair's re-election campaign last month, when details leaked about a top-secret memo, written in July 2002 � eight months before the Iraq war.
In the memo, British officials just back from Washington reported that prewar "intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy" to invade Iraq.
Just last week, President Bush and Blair vigorously denied that war was inevitable.
THE SAD AND CONTINUING SAGA OF THE DOWNING STREET MEMO'S 'COVERAGE' IN THE NEW YORK TIMES
By David Michael Green
A June 8 (and things are now breaking so fast that specific dates really matter) interview
with the former Public Editor of the NY Times, Daniel Okrent, might give hope to those of
us who still believe in such bizarre and quaint concepts like government transparency,
public trust, news media fairness, and peace.
In an interview with PBS Newshour�s Terence Smith, Okrent is asked: �Do you have a
By Terry M. Neal
Washingtonpost.com Staff Writer
Tuesday, June 14, 2005; 10:26 AM
Democrats this week are escalating their efforts to highlight the so-called "Downing Street Memo."
Rep. John Conyers Jr. (Mich.), the senior Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee has scheduled a public forum for Thursday on the subject. And 104 House Democrats have signed a letter written by Conyers to President Bush asking him for a detailed response to the memo.
After struggling during his failed presidential bid last year to stake out a clear and compelling position on the nation's most pressing issue -- Iraq -- Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) has come out swinging. A senior aide close to Kerry said this week that a Kerry is circulating a letter about the memo among Democratic senators before sending it to Bush. The aide predicted that Kerry would make the letter public in the next few days.
Deep Throat of Downing Street
By Jefferson Morley
washingtonpost.com Staff Writer
Tuesday, June 14, 2005; 10:18 AM
Deep Throat now has an English accent.
Reporter Michael Smith of The Sunday Times of London scored an international scoop this weekend with a story about a sensational Iraq war document provided by an anonymous high-level official source who, like W. Mark Felt of Watergate fame, seems to have taken up a mission of helping an investigative reporter probe allegations of misconduct and cover-up.
The document, a British government briefing paper from July 21, 2002, informed Prime Minister Tony Blair's cabinet ministers eight months before the invasion of Iraq that Blair had already committed Britain to supporting an American-led attack and that " they had no choice but to find a way of making it legal ."
CONDOLEEZZA RICE: Interview With Chris Matthews of MSNBC's Hardball Secretary Condoleezza Rice Washington, DC June 13, 2005
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, there's a lot of concern in this country, as you know, about the strength and the violence of the insurgency.
We just got these two memos in the last couple of weeks that � they're called the "Downing Street Memos" � one of them is a memo from now British Ambassador to the United States David Manning, in his capacity as advisor to British Prime Minister Blair, where he said that in March of 2002 he met with you and among the big questions that were still out there, in your mind, was having to do with what we're going to be like � what's it going to be like in Iraq the morning after. Do you recall those meetings?
The Downing Street Memos don't just prove that the Bush administration lied the war into existence. They prove that nobody planned for the aftermath.
By Matthew Yglesias, the American Prospect
Web Exclusive: 06.14.05
In the annals of stupid news events, the "controversy" sparked by Howard Dean's claim that the GOP is "pretty much a white, Christian party" ranks pretty high.
Not only did Dean fail to say anything objectionable, but also that remark isn't something anyone could seriously deny. Nor does it even count as a criticism of Republicans. It's an anodyne description of well-known facts about the American electorate.
Leaked memo hints at deceit
By Anthony Farmer
KINGSTON -- The Bush administration needs to answer lingering questions that it secretly decided to invade Iraq before seeking congressional authority and later distorted the justifications for going to war, U.S. Rep. Maurice Hinchey, D-Hurley, said Monday.
Hinchey, D-Hurley, is one of 90 congressmen who have signed a letter written by U.S. Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., calling on President Bush to answer questions raised by the so-called "Downing Street Memo." The memo, leaked to the British press, purportedly offers proof the United States and Great Britain secretly agreed to invade Iraq in the summer of 2002, well before seeking a U.N. resolution to remove Saddam Hussein from power.
Scott Maxwell, Orlando Sentinel
June 14, 2005
Corrine Brown and Tom Feeney pretty much represent the yin and yang of the hottest debate in Washington that is spilling into mainstream America.
Brown, the Democrat who represents Jacksonville and Orlando, is among the growing number of Congressfolk who want President Bush to address recently disclosed British documents that suggest the White House manipulated facts to justify a war in Iraq that it was not adequately prepared to handle.
On the other hand is Feeney, the Oviedo Republican who says that Democrats are using an inconclusive memo as simply another way to throw barbs at Bush.
WORLD VIEWS: New 'Downing Street Memo' says Bush, Blair agreed on 'regime change' in 2002; Iraq seen to 'slide into civil war'; and more.
- Edward M. Gomez, special to SF Gate, San Francisco Chronicle
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
Is it a second Downing Street Memo -- or something even more damning for both the Bush administration and the government of British Prime Minister Tony Blair?
On May 1, Britain's Sunday Times broke the story of the now-infamous Downing Street Memo; that document, the minutes of a meeting of Blair's top advisers, showed that the prime minister had known, some eight months before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, that a war not authorized by the United Nations would be illegal for British troops to take part in. Now The Times has scooped its rivals again with the news -- and the text of -- a leaked, extremely secret British Cabinet Office briefing paper dated July 23, 2002.
By the Capital Times
June 13, 2005
U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., did not buy the spin that said the U.S. needed to invade and occupy Iraq. And he is not buying the spin that says all is now well in that Middle Eastern country.
"The mantra for Fox News is that we only hear the bad news (about Iraq). I was over there (in February), and we don't hear enough bad news," the senator told a listening session in Clinton this week.
The war, says Feingold, has turned into an "amazing mess."
The senator, who voted against authorizing the Bush administration to launch the military adventure that has cost almost 1,700 American lives and tens of thousands of Iraqi lives, is blunt about the need to establish a timetable for getting U.S. troops out of the quagmire.
startribune.com Minneapolis Star-Tribune
Published June 12, 2005
The U.S. media, as a whole, have been in slow motion reacting to the Downing Street memo, a highly classified report the London Times published May 1.
Word of the memo did not appear in the Star Tribune until May 13 -- and that was way ahead of most American media.
Is there something wrong with the story? Is the memo fabricated? Are readers uninterested? The answers are no, no and no.
The back story reveals a lot about how news travels traditional routes and cyberspace at different velocities, about how the Internet is being used to influence media and about how those on the left and right have learned to puff up their feathers or grow small -- to foment coverage or strangle it.
Written by Kevin Zeese and Ralph Nader
Monday, 13 June 2005
Article II, Section 4 of the United States Constitution: "The President, Vice President, and all civil officers of the United States shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors."
It is becoming more evident that an impeachment inquiry is needed to determine whether the United States was plunged into war with Iraq based on manipulated intelligence and false information. Thus far the President and Vice President have artfully dodged the central question: "Did the administration mislead us into war by manipulating and misstating intelligence concerning weapons of mass destruction, Iraq's involvement with Al Qaeda terrorism and the danger Iraq posed to the United States and its neighbors?"
Published on Monday, June 13, 2005 by the Toronto Sun
by Eric Margolis
In July 2002, the head of MI-6, Britain's secret intelligence service, briefed Prime Minister Tony Blair and his cabinet on U.S. plans to attack Iraq.
Sir Richard Dearlove ("M" to James Bond fans) reported that U.S. President George Bush had decided to invade oil-rich Iraq in March 2003, in a war "to be justified by the conjunction of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. The intelligence and facts are being fixed around the policy."
Translation: The U.S. and British governments would concoct charges against Iraq to justify war.
by Cynthia Bogard, Common Dreams
What can reading USA Today tell us about the Downing Street Memo (DSM) story? Zip. Zilch. Nothing. At least that was the case for the first 38 days after the memo was published in London's Sunday Times.
USA Today published not a word about it until June 8, 2005. This week though, the leaked 2002 memo that indicates the Bush Administration had already decided to go to war on Iraq months before it brought the subject before the United Nations finally made it into the nation's national newspapers, including USA Today (page 8; and reprinted at http://www.commondreams.org/headlines05/0608-01.htm). And it's likely to get another spike in coverage this Thursday when my hero John (that's you, Representative Conyers, not you Senator Kerry) opens a Congressional hearing and presents a letter to the president signed by 500,000 voters demanding answers about the DSM.
Unlike some publications in the Big Apple, the Village Voice has been treating the revelations of the Downing Street Minutes with the level of dignity and importance usually only afforded to Michael Jackson or Paris Hilton.
April 29: "Blair and Dubya: War and Words"
April 30: "Bush, Blair Decided in '02 to Invade Iraq and Worry About
Justification Later, Say Brit Papers"
Patrick Doherty, TomPaine.com
June 13, 2005
Between the New York Times' reticence to report on the Downing Streem Memo and today's article by David Sanger, one has to wonder if the NYT is going beyond self-censorship and "fixing the facts" around its previous reporting.
David Sanger's article, Prewar British Memo Says War Decision Wasn't Made, published today, makes the claim that the newly released Cabinet office memo of July 21, 2002, profiled today on TomPaine.com by Ray McGovern (see, Downing Street II) clears the White House of allegations substantiated by the minutes of the subsequent cabinet meeting on July 23, 2002, in which both the chief of British intelligence and Foreign Secretary Jack Straw assert that Bush had already decided to remove Saddam Hussein by military force.
Ray McGovern, TomPaine.com
June 13, 2005
Ray McGovern is a co-founder of the Truth Telling Coalition and of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity. He had a 27-year career as a CIA analyst, and now works for Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in Washington, DC.
Yesterday, London's Sunday Times published the text of another SECRET UK EYES ONLY breifing document prepared for senior British officials. This one was dated July 21, 2002, two days before British intelligence chief Richard Dearlove gave Prime Minister Tony Blair and his top national security advisers a briefing based on discussions with American counterparts in Washington. The minutes recording the discussion at the July 23, 2002 meeting, published by the Rupert Murdoch's Sunday Times on May 1, 2005, included Dearlove's matter-of-fact report that President George W. Bush had decided to bring about "regime change" in Iraq by military action; that the attack would be "justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD" (weapons of mass destruction); and that "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."
By Beth Quinn
Times Herald-Record, NY
We've reached the point where it's easy to spot us liberals.
We're the ones whose heads are popping off, leaving bloody little neck stumps behind. We're pumping out the word, "But � but � but �" over and over in sheer frustration at the absurdity of it all.
What else is there to say when some fool in Washington says the equivalent of, "No, you're wrong. Humans don't breathe oxygen. No truth in that!"
And then � just to compound the absurdity � the press reports that humans don't breathe oxygen. And then Americans are suddenly waving flags about the fact that we can now breathe underwater.
An Associate Press story reports that the White house is objecting to reports characterizing the Bush Administration as having done inadequate planning for "postwar" Iraq. Of all the mistakes and offenses and felonies that recent media reports have suggested Bush is guilty of, why is this the point that the White House objects to?
We've learned that Bush and Blair agreed in April 2002 to launch a war on Iraq, that Bush didn't care about violating international law, that Blair wanted to use the United Nations to try to legalize a war that had been decided upon, that Bush and Blair conspired to lie to the American people and to Congress about phony motives for war related to terrorism and weapons of mass destruction.
The Argus, CA
SEN. Hillary Clinton recently called the American media a bunch of wimps.
"It's shocking when you see how easily they fold in the media today," she told a group of supporters. "They don't stand their ground. If they're criticized by the White House, they just fall apart. I mean c'mon, toughen up, guys, it's only our Constitution and country at stake." Her remarks illicited sustained applause.
I have to agree with Clinton. From the coverage of the abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo to the American and Iraqi casualties in the war in Iraq, the media has been for the most part timid, seemingly afraid to ask tough questions and hold the White House accountable.