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By John Prados
June 24, 2005
John Prados is a senior fellow with the National Security Archive in Washington, D.C. He is author of Hoodwinked: The Documents That Reveal How Bush Sold Us a War (The New Press).
The now-notorious Downing Street memos make it necessary to reframe the story of the aerial operations that took place before the war, with significant new conclusions emerging. It now appears that the United States, dragging a reluctant Great Britain behind it, executed a deliberate, purposeful bombing campaign against Saddam Hussein's Iraq beginning in May 2002. Among the Downing Street memos are British government legal briefs written immediately before May 2002 finding that these air operations had no basis in international law and constituted aggressive acts.
By Carmen Yarrusso
The Bush and Blair administrations have dismissed the leaked British memos (including the so-called Downing Street Memo) that provide details of what top British officials believed about the case for war in the months leading up to the Iraq invasion. Both administrations have characterized the memos as “nothing new
Oliver Burkeman and Julian Borger in Washington
Thursday November 20, 2003
International lawyers and anti-war campaigners reacted with astonishment yesterday after the influential Pentagon hawk Richard Perle conceded that the invasion of Iraq had been illegal.
In a startling break with the official White House and Downing Street lines, Mr Perle told an audience in London: "I think in this case international law stood in the way of doing the right thing."
President George Bush has consistently argued that the war was legal either because of existing UN security council resolutions on Iraq - also the British government's publicly stated view - or as an act of self-defence permitted by international law.
William Hughes is a Baltimore attorney and the author of "Andrew Jackson vs. New World Order" (Authors Choice Press) and “Saying ‘No’ to the War Party
"Bush had no authorization, not even a fig leaf. He was simply attacking another nation because he'd decided to do so. This pre-emptive war pre-empted our own Congress, as well as international law. "
Friday, June 24, 2005
Bush's pre-emptive war pre-empted Congress
Seattle Post Intelligencer
PAUL LOEB, GUEST COLUMNIST
It's bad enough that the Bush administration had so little international support for the Iraqi war that their "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, administration officials had so little evidence of real threats that they 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.
June 23, 2005
As long as I've lived in America, there's been this tragic-comic ritual known as the "hunt for the smoking gun," a process by which our official press tries to inoculate itself, and its readers, from political and economic realities.
The big smoking gun issue back in 1973 and 1974 concerned Richard Nixon. Back and forth the ponderous debate raged in editorial columns and news stories: Was this or that disclosure a "smoking gun"? Fairly early on in the game, it was clear to about 95 percent of the population that Nixon was a liar, a crook and guilty as charged. But the committee rooms on Capitol Hill and Sunday talk shows were still filled with people holding up guns with smoke pouring from the barrel telling one another solemnly that no, the appearance of smoke and the stench of recently detonated cordite notwithstanding, this was not yet the absolute, conclusive smoking gun.
Los Angeles Times
By Michael Smith
Michael Smith writes on defense issues for the Sunday Times of London.
June 23, 2005
It is now nine months since I obtained the first of the "Downing Street memos," thrust into my hand by someone who asked me to meet him in a quiet watering hole in London for what I imagined would just be a friendly drink.
At the time, I was defense correspondent of the London Daily Telegraph, and a staunch supporter of the decision to oust Saddam Hussein. The source was a friend. He'd given me a few stories before but nothing nearly as interesting as this.
The six leaked documents I took away with me that night were to change completely my opinion of the decision to go to war and the honesty of Prime Minister Tony Blair and President Bush.
The RS Blog
See original for links see here:
In case you haven't made time to download all of the Downing Street Memos, we at the RS Blog would like to offer our Cliffs Notes.
Leaked by one or more high-ranking Brits, the memos consist of seven official documents that together paint a damning portrait of the U.S. march to war in Iraq.
The original "Downing Street Memo" -- in which Sir Richard Dearlove, head of Britain's intelligence service MI6, reported that "war was now seen as inevitable" and that "intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy" -- has been held up as a smoking gun, proof that the Bush administration lied about seeking a peaceful solution to the conflict with Iraq, and cherry picked intel to overhype the threat of Saddam Hussein and his alleged WMD.
Written by Kevin Zeese, Director, DemocracyRising.US
Wednesday, 22 June 2005
An Interview with (ret.) Colonel Sam Gardiner describes "what propaganda literature would refer to as the big lie."
Sam Gardiner has taught strategy and military operations at the National War College, Air War College and Naval War College. He was recently a visiting scholar at the Swedish Defence College. During Gulf II he was a regular on the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer as well as on BBC radio and television, and National Public Radio. He authored "The Enemy is Us" an article describing how the Bush Administration used disinformation and psychological warfare - weapons usually used against the 'enemy' - against the American public in order to support the war in Iraq. He has done an extensive analysis of the media coverage before the war, during the war and during the occupation as well as of the statements of Administration officials. His conclusions are startling and of great concern. He has put his findings in a report entitled: "Truth from These Podia."
June 22, 2005
Ray McGovern was a CIA analyst for 27 years, and is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity. He now works at Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour.
With last week's hearings on the Downing Street memos concluded, much work lies ahead. Now, the information in the Downing Street memos needs to be collated carefully with evidence from the mainstream media, on the Internet, and from other sources regarding what was going on in top policymaking circles in Washington in the preparations for the invasion of Iraq.
David Corn, TomPaine.com
June 21, 2005
David Corn writes The Loyal Opposition twice a month for TomPaine.com. Corn is also the Washington editor of The Nation and is the author of The Lies of George W. Bush: Mastering the Politics of Deception (Crown Publishers).
I'm obsessed with the Downing Street memos. Now, I don't want to come across as a cranky lefty who waves these memos about and calls for the impeachment of George W. Bush. But I've recently appeared on several TV and radio shows and have encountered mainstream media people who dismiss the memos as nothing new. And this is getting me angry. I expect conservatives who back Bush and his war in Iraq to try to spin these documents away. They're merely following the deny-reality strategy that has worked so well for their man in the White House. It's the non-ideologues who say the memos are no big deal who get me riled.
Published on Tuesday, June 21, 2005 by the Denver Post
By Ed Quillen
Some well-meaning people are expressing outrage at the Bush administration following the disclosure of previously secret British memoranda from 2002, the year before the United States and Great Britain invaded Iraq.
It seems that President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair were discussing ground battle plans, and for the immediate future, the U.S. Air Force and Royal Air Force would increase their activity while patrolling a "no-fly zone" over Iraq. In March 2002, no bombs were dropped; in August, 14.1 metric tons fell on Iraq.
In the US the latest leaked memos are seen as a smoking gun on Iraq, but in Britain we are struggling to keep up
Wednesday June 22, 2005
Now try to work this one out. Before the war on Iraq, Britain witnessed a ferocious debate over whether the case for conflict was legal and honest. It culminated in the largest demonstration in the country's history, as a million or more took to the streets to stop the war. At the same time, the US sleepwalked into battle. Its press subjected George Bush to a fraction of the scrutiny endured by Tony Blair: the president's claims about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction and links to al-Qaida were barely challenged. While Blair had to cajole and persuade his MPs to back him, Bush counted on the easy loyalty of his fellow Republicans - and of most leading Democrats.
The White House spin cycle (David Shuster)
I don't know if things are getting better or worse in Iraq. But I do know the Bush administration is now in total panic mode over the erosion of public support for the occupation. How else could one explain the President's bizarre radio address this past Saturday or the even more surreal comments recently from other administration officials?
First, the president's radio address: On Saturday President Bush defended the war in Iraq saying, "We went to war because we were attacked." Huh? In September 2003, the President himself stated, "We've had no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with the September 11th attacks." (For the record, the 9/11 Commission is on the side of the Sept. 2003 President Bush — The commission found there was "no collaborative relationship between Iraq and Al-Qaeda.")
Yes, the brain dead are among us and as such, we have to re-educate them to a 2+2=4 system. The very brain dead, confused, and clearly misguided followers of such pond scum as Neo-Nazi Barbie, Narco Slob, and other like luminaries keep confusing fact with talking points.
See, they did not get talking points on DSM, so they are dumbfounded by the facts, cooing, gasping, and grasping like crack addicts. So for the ethically challenged among us, or the value of hate/kill/rape crowd, and mostly the lonely peeping conservators who spank the keyboard daily to feel like they have a life... for those moronic twits who need to be told over and over that truth has nothing to do with patriotism... ONE more time:
Old News Indeed: In 1999, Bush Craved Opportunity to Attack Iraq
GARY LEUPP, CounterPunch
June 20, 2005
Some time between January and May 1999 presidential aspirant George W. Bush was talking with Mickey Herskowitz, a former Houston Chronicle sports columnist who'd been signed on to ghostwrite his autobiography. And the future president spoke unto Herskowitz, saying:
"One of the keys to being seen as a great leader is to be seen as a commander-in-chief. My father had all this political capital built up when he drove the Iraqis out of Kuwait and he wasted it. If I have a chance to invade---if I had that much capital, I'm not going to waste it. I'm going to get everything passed that I want to get passed and I'm going to have a successful presidency."
EXCLUSIVE dKOS INTERVIEW WITH Lt. Col. KAREN KWIATKOWSKI
Thu Jun 16th, 2005 at 11:41:33 CST
"The Downing Street Memo confirms what I witnessed and have been writing about... It all fits, and should lead to a deluge of related documents and witnesses." - Lt. Col Karen Kwiatkowski
As you know, Congressman John Conyers (D-MI) is holding a hearing today to investigate, for the first time at the Congressional level, the now-infamous "Downing Street Minutes." Rep. Conyers is expected to begin connecting the dots, to work backward from the undisputed authenticity of the DSM to paint a fuller picture of exactly how the push to "fix" the case for invading Iraq was carried out here in the United States.
Michael Smith 18 Sep 04 Expose illegal Iraq
'Failure is not an option, but it doesn't mean they will avoid it'
Michael Smith - The Telegraph - 18th September 2004
The Prime Minister knew the US President was determined to complete what one senior British official had already described as the unfinished business from his father's war against Saddam Hussein.
There was no way of stopping the Americans invading Iraq and they would expect Britain, their most loyal ally, to join them. If they didn't, the transatlantic relationship would be in tatters. But there were serious problems.
A Secret UK Eyes Only briefing paper was warning that there was no legal justification for war. So Mr Blair was advised that a strategy would have to be put in place which would provide a legal basis for war. It was also vital that the Prime Minister should be able to persuade the public that war was justified and, just as importantly, convince those among his backbench MPs who were becoming increasingly vocal in their opposition to another US-led war.
Thursday 26 May 2005, 7:01 Makka Time, 4:01 GMT
Goldsmith argued the Iraq war was legal without UN backing
Ex-UK minister wants Iraq war probe
Britain's top legal officer has dismissed as fantasy the notion that he was pressured by the government into ruling the Iraq war did not contravene international law.
In an interview published on Thursday, Attorney-General Lord Peter Goldsmith told the Daily Telegraph newspaper that "I stand by my conclusion that military action was lawful".
This is the first time Goldsmith has broken his silence on what was a major issue of controversy in the British general election earlier this month.
Friday 25 February 2005, 11:26 Makka Time, 8:26 GMT
Clare Short wants the House of Lords to set up a committee
UK lawyer warned Iraq war was illegal
Former British cabinet minister Clare Short is demanding a parliamentary investigation into Attorney General Peter Goldsmith's advice on war with Iraq.
Short said on Thursday night that Lord Goldsmith breached the ministerial code by submitting a summary of his advice to senior ministers.
Two of Prime Minister Tony Blair's key allies were involved in drafting a ministerial answer issued in the peer's name, according to a leak published in the Guardian newspaper.
Bush and Blair made secret pact for Iraq war
• Decision came nine days after 9/11
• Ex-ambassador reveals discussion
Sunday April 4, 2004
President George Bush first asked Tony Blair to support the removal of Saddam Hussein from power at a private White House dinner nine days after the terror attacks of 11 September, 2001.
According to Sir Christopher Meyer, the former British Ambassador to Washington, who was at the dinner, Blair told Bush he should not get distracted from the war on terror's initial goal - dealing with the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.
Monday June 20, 2005
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.
NB: THIS TRANSCRIPT WAS TYPED FROM A TRANSCRIPTION UNIT RECORDING AND NOT COPIED FROM AN ORIGINAL SCRIPT: BECAUSE OF THE POSSIBILITY OF MIS-HEARING AND THE DIFFICULTY, IN SOME CASES OF IDENTIFYING INDIVIDUAL SPEAKERS, THE BBC CANNOT VOUCH FOR ITS ACCURACY.
Tony & the Truth
RECORDED FROM TRANSMISSION: BBC-1 DATE: 20:03:05
JOHN WARE: Two years ago tonight the Prime Minister was preparing to broadcast to the nation he was taking the country to war.
Published on Monday, June 20, 2005 by CommonDreams.org
by Thom Hartmann
Richard Nixon authorized the Watergate burglary and subsequent cover-up to advance his own political ambitions. Because Nixon's lies were done for the craven purpose of getting and holding political power, his lies - in the minds of the majority of the members of Congress - were elevated to the level of impeachable "high crimes and misdemeanors."
Bill Clinton had sex in the White House with Monica Lewinsky, but Congress concluded he'd lied about it to maintain political power. Another impeachable crime.
The real scandal of the Downing Street Memos, with the greatest potential to leave the Bush presidency in permanent disgrace, is their implication that lies may have been put forward to help Bush, Republicans, and Blair politically. If Bush lied to gain and keep political power, precedent suggests he and his collaborators in the administration may even be vulnerable to impeachment.
The "Decision to Invade Iraq" timeline on the Center for Cooperative
Research's website http://www.cooperativeresearch.org has been updated.
Several entries and categories have been added or updated that relate to
issues raised by the Downing Street Memo controversy. Categories that
relate to DSM:
* Key events related to DSM
* Decision to invade Iraq
* Politicization of intelligence
* Diversion of resources to Iraq
* Legal justification
* Planning for postwar Iraq
* Public statements about the decision to invade
We now have a chronology of events on the forced removal of Jose Bustani
The Washington Monthly
The wingnuts are getting desperate. Captain's Quarters, in a nostalgic attempt to recreate the glories of Rathergate, suggests that the Downing Street Memos aren't real. Why? Because Michael Smith, the reporter who got hold of them, had them retyped to protect his source and then returned the originals. Jonah Goldberg feverishly calls CQ's revelations a "must read."
Now, unlike the Killian memos that were at the center of Rathergate, there are quite a few principals in this case who either wrote or received these memos and therefore have absolute knowledge of whether or not they're genuine. The first memo, for example, was written by Matthew Rycroft and distributed at the time to David Manning, Geoff Hoon, Jack Straw, Peter Goldsmith, Richard Wilson, John Scarlett, Francis Richards, Richard Dearlove, Jonathan Powell, Sally Morgan, and Alastair Campbell. So far, not a single one of these people has claimed they're fake.
Julian Borger reports on the shadow rightwing intelligence network set up in Washington to second-guess the CIA and deliver a justification for toppling Saddam Hussein by force
Thursday July 17, 2003
As the CIA director, George Tenet, arrived at the Senate yesterday to give secret testimony on the Niger uranium affair, it was becoming increasingly clear in Washington that the scandal was only a small, well-documented symptom of a complete breakdown in US intelligence that helped steer America into war.
It represents the Bush administration's second catastrophic intelligence failure. But the CIA and FBI's inability to prevent the September 11 attacks was largely due to internal institutional weaknesses.
Scott Ritter, Aljazeera.net
Sunday 19 June 2005 - Americans, along with the rest of the world, are starting to wake up to the uncomfortable fact that President George Bush not only lied to them about the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq (the ostensible excuse for the March 2003 invasion and occupation of that country by US forces), but also about the very process that led to war.
On 16 October 2002, President Bush told the American people that "I have not ordered the use of force. I hope that the use of force will not become necessary."
We know now that this statement was itself a lie, that the president, by late August 2002, had, in fact, signed off on the 'execute' orders authorising the US military to begin active military operations inside Iraq, and that these orders were being implemented as early as September 2002, when the US Air Force, assisted by the British Royal Air Force, began expanding its bombardment of targets inside and outside the so-called no-fly zone in Iraq.
By Warren P. Strobel
WASHINGTON - 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.