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Knight Ridder

Classified papers indicate an early decision for war

BYLINE: WARREN P. STROBEL; Knight Ridder Newspapers


Highly classified documents leaked in Britain appear to provide new evidence that President Bush and his national security team decided to invade Iraq much earlier than they have acknowledged and marched to war without dwelling on the potential perils.

The half-dozen memos and option papers, written by top aides to British Prime Minister Tony Blair, buttress previous on-the-record accounts that portray Bush and his advisers as predisposed to oust Saddam Hussein when they took office - and determined to do it at all costs after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The Advertiser

June 20, 2005 Monday


LENGTH: 326 words

HEADLINE: Bush grudge claim in memo


A SERIES of leaked secret Downing Street memos have renewed questions and debate about Washington's motives for ousting Saddam Hussein from Iraq.

U.S. President George W. Bush was lobbying for British Prime Minister Tony Blair's support, but British officials worried the White House was rushing into war, according to one memo.

Another shows when the chief foreign policy adviser dined with Condoleezza Rice six months after September 11, the then-U.S. national security adviser didn't want to discuss Osama bin Laden or al-Qaida. She wanted to talk about "regime change" in Iraq, setting the stage for the U.S.-led invasion a year later.

Time Magazine

Bush's War Worries

BYLINE: Massimo Calabresi, With reporting by Sally B. Donnelly; J.F.O. McAllister

Of all the people to turn on George Bush's war in Iraq, Representative Walter Jones was among the least likely. A conservative Republican whose North Carolina district includes the massive Marine Corps base Camp Lejeune, Jones led the charge to convert French fries into "freedom fries" in Capitol Hill cafeterias after France refused to support the war. But last week Jones co-sponsored legislation calling on Bush to declare victory and start bringing the troops home by October 2006. Jones, who has written more than 1,300 letters to families of killed service members, says, "What else is there left for America to do? I think the American people are going to see this resolution as worthy."

Reporters' Queries

Please contact us with this form
which also signs you up to receive occasional press releases.

Or, if urgent, phone David Swanson at 202-329-7847.

Dear Dana

Dear Dana:

I have watched with stunned horror as you have spiraled into an
appalling attack on anyone and everyone "liberal" even though you, until
now, have seemed to be fair in your writing and television appearances.
I cannot find any rational reason for your disparaging comments ranging
from the level of a 5 year old name calling, example "wing nut" to some
Novak type slash and burn hysteria using terms like "anti-Semite".

Let me say that having both spoken with the actual reporter in Britain
who broke the DSM stories and having gotten a second source of
confirmation, it seems to me that anyone with even a slight interest in

Associated Press: Better Late Than Never

Memos Show British Concern Over Iraq Plans By THOMAS WAGNER, Associated Press Writer
Sat Jun 18, 5:55 PM ET

When Prime Minister Tony Blair's chief foreign policy adviser dined with Condoleezza Rice six months after Sept. 11, the then-U.S. national security adviser didn't want to discuss Osama bin Laden or al-Qaida. She wanted to talk about "regime change" in Iraq, setting the stage for the U.S.-led invasion more than a year later.

President Bush wanted Blair's support, but British officials worried the White House was rushing to war, according to a series of leaked secret Downing Street memos that have renewed questions and debate about Washington's motives for ousting Saddam Hussein.

To the Washington Post Re Dana Milbank

To the Editor:

Re: Memos, 'Wing Nuts' and 'Hit Lists' by Michael Getler, June 19

On behalf of more than 300,000 supporters of, I write to
express my outrage over Dana Milbank's libelous charge that our "followers
have long been harassing this and other reporters and their families with
hateful, obscene and sometimes anti-Semitic speech." strictly prohibits personal attacks and takes immediate
action against anyone who violates this rule.

Mr. Milbank never documented any personal attacks from
supporters, so I am appalled that you published the allegation as though

Tomgram: Mark Danner on Smoking Signposts to Nowhere

Imagine that the Pentagon Papers or the Watergate scandal had broken out all over the press -- no, not in the New York Times or the Washington Post, but in newspapers in Australia or Canada. And that, facing their own terrible record of reportage, of years of being cowed by the Nixon administration, major American papers had decided that this was not a story worthy of being covered. Imagine that, initially, they dismissed the revelatory documents and information that came out of the heart of administration policy-making; then almost willfully misread them, insisting that evidence of Pentagon planning for escalation in Vietnam or of Nixon administration planning to destroy its opponents was at best ambiguous or even nonexistent; finally, when they found that the documents wouldn't go away, they acknowledged them more formally with a tired ho-hum, a knowing nod on editorial pages or in news stories. Actually, they claimed, these documents didn't add up to much because they had run stories just like this back then themselves. Yawn.

"Downing Street Memo" climbs the Google charts

BTC News White House correspondent Eric Brewer, the first correspondent to introduce the Downing Street Memo at a White House briefing, has been following the number of results returned by a Google search for the phrase, “Downing Street Memo.

Michael Smith's Chat on Washington Post Dot Com

The Downing Street Memo

Michael Smith
Reporter, Sunday Times of London
Thursday, June 16, 2005; 10:00 AM

Two top-secret British documents that were leaked to the press recently suggest that the Bush administration "fixed" intelligence about Iraq and that actions at the United Nations were designed to give legal cover to British Prime Minister Tony Blair before an invasion to oust Saddam Hussein .

Michael Smith, a reporter for the Sunday Times of London, has led the coverage, starting with his report of the so-called Downing Street Memo on May 1.

Smith was online Thursday, June 16, at 10 a.m. ET to discuss the Downing Street Memo and his reporting.

Parrying Parry: Why Hope Still Lives on Downing Street

David Michael Green

So much is spot on in Robert Parry's discussion of the media and the Downing
Street Memos scandal. But not (necessarily) his conclusion.

Parry's certainly been around, and around the capital block, longer than I
have, but I remain considerably more hopeful than he does about the ultimate
power of the DSM revelations.

Let's recap this fast-unfolding mini-story. It begins with 'congressional
hearings' held on Thursday by Congressman John Conyers, along with thirty or
forty other House Democrats. Of course, they weren't real hearings, since
Republicans couldn't possibly be less interested in investigating the topic

Media Forum

This is the forum to discuss media coverage - and lack of same - re: the Downing Street minutes and related evidence. Please keep all posts and discussions on topic, and discuss other topics under the other forums - Activism, Evidence, Congress, or General.

Iraq war started too early

Attacks preceded congressional OK
- Paul Rogat Loeb
Sunday, June 19, 2005
San Francisco Chronicle

It's bad enough that the Bush administration had so little international support for the Iraqi war that its "coalition of the willing" meant the United States, Britain, and the equivalent of a child's imaginary friends.

It's even worse that, as the British Downing Street memo confirms, the administration had so little evidence of real threats that officials knew from the start that they were going to have to manufacture excuses to go to war. What's more damning still is that they effectively began this war even before the congressional vote.

'Downing Street memo' guides us to the truth

By Byron Williams, CONTRIBUTOR
Inside Bay Area

FOR those keeping score, today's column marks the seventh time I have written about the infamous 2002 "Downing Street memo."

The memo in question is the clearest evidence to date that the administration "fixed" the intelligence to justify a pre-emptive war.

I have received a number of e-mails that raise the question, "Why is the memo important now?" Does our presence in Iraq render the memo irrelevant?

In addition to the Downing Street memo, the Los Angeles Times recently reported that according to newly released British memos, the Bush administration had begun to publicly raise the possibility of confronting Iraq in March 2002 — a year before the actual conflict.

A growing challenge to Bush on Iraq war

San Francisco Chronicle

His ratings drop as a few GOP leaders ask for exit strategy

Washington -- Bloggers are circulating articles of impeachment. Democrats are demanding an exit strategy from Iraq. And even a few Republicans are openly questioning President Bush's execution of the war on terror.

As Bush appealed for patience in the quest for peace in Iraq during his radio address Saturday, there were signs that Americans are growing increasingly restless with war.

By nearly every measure of public opinion, support for U.S. involvement in Iraq has diminished with each passing month since American troops toppled a statue of Saddam Hussein and claimed victory in Baghdad in April 2003.

British bombing raids were illegal, says Foreign Office

Sunday Times of London
Michael Smith

A SHARP increase in British and American bombing raids on Iraq in the run-up to war “to put pressure on the regime

'Fixing' intelligence

Published Saturday, June 18th on
By Gordon Prathers

© 2005

By now, all members of the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction ought to have fallen on their swords.


Here is the way the commissioners began their report made to President Bush just a month before the London Sunday Times published the so-called Downing Street Memo.

On the brink of war, and in front of the whole world, the United States government asserted that Saddam Hussein had reconstituted his nuclear weapons program, had biological weapons and mobile biological weapon production facilities, and had stockpiled and was producing chemical weapons.

Some Good Journalism Over at MSNBC

Four days ago, MSNBC posted an article about Microsoft being "under fire" for banning the words 'freedom' and 'democracy' in China, at the government's request, despite the fact that the newsmedia is owned by Microsoft.

Today, MSNBC ran the Downing Street Memo on their front page, with millions of MSNBC viewers and Hotmail users recieving notice:

Being daring enough to challenge the Pre

High Crimes and Misdemeanors

Published on Saturday, June 18, 2005 by
by Ken Sanders

Under Article II, Section 4 of the 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." Any reasonable interpretation of the Constitution's impeachment clause, and the historical application thereof, leads to the inescapable conclusion that articles of impeachment should be brought against President Bush for his commission of high crimes against the United States.

Mocking the Downing Street Memo

By Robert Parry
June 18, 2005

If American progressives think they have enough media clout to make a real issue of George W. Bush’s possible impeachment over the Iraq War, they should read the account of Rep. John Conyers’s rump hearing on the Downing Street Memo that appeared in the Washington Post.

The story by political correspondent Dana Milbank drips with a sarcasm that would never be allowed for a report on, say, a conservative gathering or on a topic involving any part of the American political spectrum other than the Left.

“In the Capitol basement yesterday, long-suffering House Democrats took a trip to the land of make-believe,

Relatives of some troops killed in Iraq seek hearings on Downing Street memo

By Leo Shane III, Stars and Stripes
Pacific edition, Friday, June 17, 2005

WASHINGTON — Several parents of soldiers killed in Iraq visited Capitol Hill on Wednesday to ask for congressional hearings on the Downing Street memo, which one mother called President Bush’s “Watergate.

War Criticism and Concerns Both Growing

LA Times
By John Hendren and Cynthia H. Cho
Times Staff Writers

June 17, 2005

WASHINGTON — Apprehension over the war in Iraq surged Thursday as a group of lawmakers demanded that President Bush develop plans to withdraw troops and a top Pentagon official expressed concern about sagging public support for the U.S. military effort.

After a deadly increase in violence in Iraq, congressional critics of the war grew more vocal in demanding a change in policy, and antiwar activists staged a rally near the White House.

The White House said Bush planned to deliver a speech this month on the importance of the U.S. mission, and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice pledged to work harder to explain the administration's objectives.

Denver Post Editorial

Downing Street memos on Iraq

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 document, like another British memo - the so-called Downing Street memo that was leaked last month - echoes reports from 2002 when experts predicted a quick U.S. military victory followed by a difficult period of stabilizing Iraq. Even then-U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell worried that the Defense Department wasn't doing enough post-war planning.

Conyers Hammers Milbank

Dear Sirs:

I write to express my profound disappointment with Dana Milbank's June 17 report, "Democrats Play House to Rally Against the War," which purports to describe a Democratic hearing I chaired in the Capitol yesterday. In sum, the piece cherry-picks some facts, manufactures others out of whole cloth, and does a disservice to some 30 members of Congress who persevered under difficult circumstances, not of our own making, to examine a very serious subject: whether the American people were deliberately misled in the lead up to war. The fact that this was the Post's only coverage of this event makes the journalistic shortcomings in this piece even more egregious.

Conyers Delivers Letter to White House

By Joy Williams, member,

On June 16th Rep. John Conyers and 122 other members of Congress presented a letter to the White House which included 5 simple yes or no questions regarding the Downing Street Memo, which were minutes from a meeting between the British Prime Minister and his top advisors -- and indicate that Bush was already committed to going to war by the summer of 2002 and that "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy" -- meaning they made up evidence to go to war.

. These five questions were first asked on May 5th and were the following:

Ray McGovern to Dana Milbank

Dear Dana,

What's happened to you? You were often quite good when you were on the Post's White House beat...perceptive�occasionally even courageous�especially in exposing White House dishonesty. Is that why you were taken off that beat and assigned yesterday to trivialize the historic proceedings in the Capitol basement and Congressman Conyers' courage in convening them?

You used to get your facts straight, at least. It appears that in your new assignment meticulousness is not a requirement. Even your "search of the congressional record" concerning mention of the Downing Street Minutes came up short. Do you not consider Sen. Harry Reid a member of Congress?

US lied to Britain over use of napalm in Iraq war

The Independent
By Colin Brown, Deputy Political Editor
17 June 2005

American officials lied to British ministers over the use of "internationally reviled" napalm-type firebombs in Iraq.

Yesterday's disclosure led to calls by MPs for a full statement to the Commons and opened ministers to allegations that they held back the facts until after the general election.

Despite persistent rumours of injuries among Iraqis consistent with the use of incendiary weapons such as napalm, Adam Ingram, the Defence minister, assured Labour MPs in January that US forces had not used a new generation of incendiary weapons, codenamed MK77, in Iraq.

Stonewalling at White House Press Briefing

WH Press Secretary Mocks 'Downing Street Memo,' as Congressman Calls for Inquiry
By E&P Staff
Published: June 16, 2005 4:25 PM ET

NEW YORK With a forum about to begin on Capitol Hill on the so-called Downing Street Memo, hosted by Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), reporters at today's White House briefing by Press Secretary Scott McClellan naturally raised the subject, albeit briefly.

Rather than ask about details or implications of the 2002 internal British document -- which seemed to suggest that the Bush administration was determined to go to war against Iraq and that intelligence would be �fixed� to support it --the correspondents wondered if the White House was ever going to respond to a letter authored by Conyers and signed by 88 of his colleagues asking for information about the memo.

Final Media Hurdle Broken

They're always last, but they're on it now: NPR.

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