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Letter: Vital evidence

Daily Astorian

Bush is a visionary. He apparently had the foresight to anticipate that something like the Downing Street minutes would leak, exposing his early decision and preparations for the Iraq Invasion. There was insufficient legal reason to invade so he exaggerated Iraq’s WMDs: “the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.

Fixing the facts

Missoula Independent
by Andisheh Nouraee

Memo to Blair: “Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD.

Anatomy of a Coverup

ZNet | Iraq
by Sanjoy Mahajan; June 23, 2005

On May 1 the London _Sunday Times_ published leaked minutes -- the Downing Street Memo -- of a high-level British cabinet meeting held on 23 July 2002 that discussed contingencies, political and military, for invading Iraq.

In the Cabinet meeting, C [the head of MI6, Richard Dearlove] 'reported on his recent talks in Washington', where 'military action was now seen as inevitable' and 'the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.' In other words, the books were being cooked to give Bush his war.

The planners assumed 'that the UK would take part in any military action.' So they had to consider the illegality of the war. Unfortunately, 'the Attorney-General said that the desire for regime change was not a legal base for military action.' The Attorney-General dismissed the three possible excuses: 'self-defence, humanitarian intervention, or UNSC authorisation'. Self-defense couldn't work partly because, the British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said: 'the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran.' How could the government overcome the illegality? The memo, and the _Sunday Times_, quotes this puzzle-solving contribution from Jack Straw:

Washington Post Dot Com Seems to Have All the Talent: Does the Print Edition Need New Editors?

Why the Mainstream Media Is Catching On
Internet Bloggers Push Downing Street Memo Onto the News Agenda

By Jefferson Morley Staff Writer
Thursday, June 23, 2005; 12:20 PM

The Downing Street Memo continues to spread in American political discussion despite efforts to dismiss its significance.

The DSM story, as the top-secret British document it is known on the Internet, has legs because it really represents two stories: an emerging alternative history of how the United States came to attack Iraq and a story of how the New Media has usurped some of the Old Media's power to set the agenda.

Just say Noruba

Arianna Huffington - Arianna Online

06.23.05 - I was thinking a lot over the weekend about the news and about how the news becomes the news, and then I read Jay Rosen's brilliant take on the Downing Street Memo coverage [to read Jay Rosen's whole piece go to]. Rosen elaborates on Josh Marshall's assertion that "news stories have a 24-hour audition on the news stage, and if they don't catch fire in that 24 hours, there's no second chance." Rosen's theory is that blogs have become the news cycle's appeals court, and that the Downing Street Memo story is still alive because it won on appeal. And thank God.


IRAQ WAR MEDIA TRACKING -- Thanks For Your HelpGrace ReidJune 22, 2005

MEDIA TRACKING TO BRING END TO WAR IN IRAQThanks for your help, KossacksI have been receiving loads of replies on my media tracking project, and some surprising breaks in the US media reporting of the illegal war in Iraq.I have started four blogs for media trackers who want to help in this project.
To break through media blackout.  To bring the news to the US, (via the UK, if necessary)  To counterattack falsehood with fact, to expose the illegal war as it was developing and reported in the US.  Ultimately the goal of this project is to bring a speedy end to the war in Iraq through the public becoming more aware of the insidious origins of the illegal war of aggression against Iraq.Pick a target area, and dates to work within (Google lets you search between certain dates) when you get your list, find US sources for stories, then a list of UK stories.THERE ARE FOUR BLOGS YOU CAN POST TO. (e mail me if you want itsgrimm at hotmail dot com)

What to Make of a Memo

Wednesday, June 22, 2005 - Bangor Daily News

"Our goal is not merely to limit Iraq's violations of Security Council resolutions, or to slow down its weapons program. Our goal is to fully and finally remove a real threat to world peace and to America. Hopefully this can be done peacefully. Hopefully we can do this without any military action."
- George W. Bush, October 16, 2002

"It seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided. But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbors, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran."

Limbaugh baselessly suggested Downing Street memo "may be a fake"

Media Matters, June 21, 2005

Syndicated radio host Rush Limbaugh suggested that the Downing Street memo "may be a fake" and compared it to the disputed memos used by CBS in its controversial story about President Bush's National Guard service.

From the June 20 broadcast of The Rush Limbaugh Show:

LIMBAUGH: I purposely haven't talked about this Downing Street memo much because, frankly, a) it didn't interest me and, you know, if it doesn't interest me, I'm not going to talk about it. And the reason it didn't interest me is because it was just another one of these ginned up things by the libs, and it looks like it's got some similarities to Bill Burkett and the forged documents of CBS and Rathergate.

Cindy Sheehan on Hardball

Cindy Sheehan, co-founder of After Downing Street coalition member Gold Star Families for Peace, appeared last night on Hardball on MSNBC.

GREGORY: Welcome back to HARDBALL. I'm David Gregory, in tonight for Chris Matthews.

Sue Russell and Cindy Sheehan have suffered pain and loss in such a personal way because of the Iraq war. Sue Russell's son, Lance Corporal Joshua Doyle (ph) was ambushed while on patrol in Iraq July 19, 2003. His thigh bone was shattered, his sciatic nerve severed. And he was shot through the knee. He is still recuperating from the physical and emotional trauma of that attack.


Lexington Herald Leader
________________________________________ gainers
1. Batman Begins: Summer blockbuster had big opening last weekend.
2. Christian Bale: Newest Batman star portrays Bruce Wayne and his alter ego.
3. U.S. Open: Michael Campbell won the annual golf competition Sunday.
4. Earthquake: Mid-size quakes rocked Japan and Northern California on Sunday.
5. Tom Cruise: War of the Worlds star was doused with a water gun at the London premiere Monday.
6. Karla Homolka: Notorious female convict completed 12-year sentence for manslaughter, is set to leave Canadian prison shortly.

The news, please, not celebrity junk

Arizona Republic
Jun. 23, 2005 12:00 AM
I would like the news media, both print and electronic, to stop insulting my intelligence and please provide some real news.

I do not care about Michael Jackson, Paris Hilton or Tom Cruise. I do not care about car chases in California. I have heard all I want to hear about this week's unfortunate young blond woman who has disappeared.

I would like to know about the failing status of a number of pension funds and the government guarantee of those funds. I would like to know more about Iraq than just a body count or a video of a shootout. I would like to know about our balance of trade and about our lack of a national energy policy. I would like to know more about the Downing Street memo.

Downing Street memo turns eyes to war’s start

The Billings Outpost (Montana)

Regardless of your opinion about George W. Bush or whether the United States should have invaded Iraq or whether American soldiers should still be fighting and dying there now, emergence of the so-called “Downing Street Memo

'Downing Street memo': The second draft of history

Posted on Mon, Jun. 20, 2005
Philadelphia Daily News

FOR THE LAST month, newspapers large and small across the country have featured mentions of the "Downing Street memo," the British document from July 2002 describing meetings between British and American officials about Iraq.

"Military action was now seen as inevitable," reads the memo, first revealed in the Times of London on May 1. "But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."

But most of these mentions in American papers weren't news stories. They were letters to the editor asking why there haven't been more news stories.

Blinded by the light at the end of the tunnel

The American public is increasingly disillusioned by the Iraq war, and Bush's triumphalism only makes things worse

Sidney Blumenthal
Thursday June 23, 2005
The Guardian

On June 21, network news reported that the Pentagon had claimed that 47 enemy operatives had been killed in Operation Spear in western Iraq. Last month, the Pentagon declared 125 had been killed in Operation Matador, near the Syrian border. "We don't do body counts on other people," Donald Rumsfeld, the secretary of defence, stated in November 2003.
On January 29 this year, the day before the Iraqi election, President Bush announced that it was the "turning point". On May 2 2003, he stood on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln behind a banner saying "Mission Accomplished" and the next day proclaimed that the "mission is completed". On June 2 this year, he declared: "Our mission is clear there, as well, and that is to train the Iraqis so they can do the fighting."

Yucking It Up In the Post

By Greg Mitchell, Editor & Publisher
Posted on June 21, 2005, Printed on June 22, 2005

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

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?

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
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

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

Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting
Media analysis, critiques and activism

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


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.


Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pennsylvania)
June 21, 2005 Tuesday REGION EDITION

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.

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