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The Downing Street Memo - Part 1

ZNet | Iraq
by Dave Edwards; Media Lens; June 28, 2005

At the Nuremberg war crimes tribunal in 1946, Nazi leaders like Goering, von Ribbentrop, Jodl and Streicher were sentenced to death by hanging for "Crimes against Peace: namely, planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression, or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances, or participation in a Common Plan or Conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the foregoing." (Article 6, Charter of the International Military Tribunal, August 8, 1945)

What Did Scott Ridder Say on Same Day as Downing Street Meeting?

Scott Ritter, at Suffolk University Law School, Boston, MA, July 23 2002

Link to info on video.

Thank you very much for coming. We live in very interesting times, times that find our nation, particularly those who lead us, talking more and more about war, war with Iraq; and I’d like to emphasize right at the start of this presentation that I’m not a pacifist, I’m not someone who is afraid of war, I’ve been to war, I’m a veteran of the US Marine Corps and I’d go to war again if required to defend my country. But I would say it’s never something to be undertaken lightly, war is never something to be trivialized, and I’m fearful that’s what happening in the debate and the discourse in the US today in regards to the war on terror and also in regards to the possibility of war against Iraq we have trivialized the subject of war, it is something that I believe the American people are taking lightly. War is not a game, war is not something that we might think it is, it is not a video cursor on a grainy black & white image following a building while a silver shaped object comes in and blows up the building, war is about death, it’s about destruction, plain and simple, and I think we should understand that when we talk about war, the reality of war.

The US war with Iran has already begun

By Scott Ritter

06/19/05 "Aljazeera" - - 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.

U.S., Britain led massive secret bombing campaign

The unofficial war: U.S., Britain led massive secret bombing campaign before Iraq war was declared
By Larisa Alexandrovna and John Byrne, Raw Story

A U.S. general who commanded the U.S. allied air forces in Iraq has confirmed that the U.S. and Britain conducted a massive secret bombing campaign before the U.S. actually declared war on Iraq.

The quote, passed from RAW STORY to the London Sunday Times last week, raises troubling questions of whether President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair engaged in an illegal war before seeking a UN resolution or congressional approval.

World Tribunal on Iraq Preliminary Declaration

WTI: PRELIMINARY DECLARATION OF THE JURY OF CONSCIENCE WORLD

In February 2003, weeks before war was declared on Iraq, millions of people protested in the streets of the world. That call went unheeded. No international institution had the courage or conscience to stand up to the aggression of the US and UK governments. No one could stop them. It is two years later now. Iraq has been invaded, occupied, and devastated. The attack on Iraq is an attack on justice, on liberty, on our safety, on our future, on us all. We the people of conscience decided to stand up. We formed the World Tribunal on Iraq, to demand justice and a peaceful future.

'Spikes of Activity' In The DSM

By Why Are We Back in Iraq?
http://www.whyareweback.blogspot.com

UPDATE: At the end of this post, I've added excerpts from a Department of Defense briefing with Gen. Peter Pace, Vice-Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld from September 16th, 2002. Shockingly (or not so shockingly), Rumsfeld made light of the war before the war, and many members of the press laughed about it with him.

(Updated with excerpts from Michael Smith's articles from 2002, and his latest Sunday Times article...even more updates...this article will remain at the top of my blog and I will continue to add to it over the next few days.)

How the leaked documents questioning war emerged from 'Britain's Deep Throat'

Sunday Times
June 26, 2005
By Michael Smith

It started with a phone call and has now swept across America: Michael Smith tells the tale of his 'Downing Street memo' scoop

It began with a phone call from a friend nearly 10 months ago — somebody well-placed who had given me a few stories before. But he wasn’t really a journalistic source, though he has now been dubbed "the British Deep Throat" by some of the US press.

He was just a friend. So I had no great expectations of the meeting we arranged in a quiet West End bar. I was just expecting a convivial drink, with the usual exchange of gossip, the catching-up on how our lives were going.

Testimony given to the World Tribunal on Iraq

Published on Saturday, June 25, 2005 by CommonDreams.org
The Conduct of the UN Before and After the 2003 Invasion
by Hans Von Sponeck
June 24, 2005

In discussing UN involvement before and after the 2003 invasion of US, UK and other coalition forces into Iraq, a clear distinction has to be made between the policy makers and the civil servants expected to carry out the policies, i.e., between member governments in the UN Security Council and the UN Secretariat.
If this is done, it quickly becomes clear that primary responsibility for the human catastrophe in Iraq lies with the political UN, with those member governments in the UN Security Council who had the power to make a difference. The failure of the Council to make a humanitarian, ethical and legal difference is much more monumental than is commonly known. There is not only the betrayal of the Iraqi people but also the betrayal of the UN Charter and the betrayal of the international conscience.

The Ever Changing Definition of "Mission" In Iraq

From ThinkProgress

A headline in the Washington Post today declares “Bush Defends Strategy In Iraq, Pledges to ‘Complete the Mission’.

Fixing To Fix “Fixed

By Ray McGovern

The Downing Street papers are proving a formidable challenge to the White House PR machine as it desperately tries—in often-ludicrous ways—to slow down a train that has already left the station. And interest continues to build. The leaked British documents are now on the top-ten list of Google queries.

One huge fly in the ointment for the administration was British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s early decision that it would be a fool’s errand to challenge the authenticity of the papers. Why? Because there is still a relatively free Fourth Estate in the U.K. together with patriotic whistleblowers willing to risk jail for exposing government dishonesty.

The War Before The War

By John Prados
June 24, 2005
http://www.TomPaine.com
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.

Downing Street Memos Explained in Plain English

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

War critics astonished as US hawk admits invasion was illegal

Oliver Burkeman and Julian Borger in Washington
Thursday November 20, 2003
The Guardian

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.

Ann Wright on the Follies of Bush’s War

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's pre-emptive war pre-empted Congress

"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.

The history of smoking guns

Alexander Cockburn
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.

The Real News in the Downing Street Memos

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 Downing Street Reader: a cheat sheet on the memos behind the scandal

The RS Blog
See original for links see here:

Memogate
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.

Bush Administration Psychological Warfare Against the U.S.?

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."

Fixed Is Fixed

TomPaine.com
Ray McGovern
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.

Proof Of Deception, Not Intention

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.

Starting a War the Old Way

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.

Yes, they did lie to us

In the US the latest leaked memos are seen as a smoking gun on Iraq, but in Britain we are struggling to keep up

Jonathan Freedland
Wednesday June 22, 2005
The Guardian

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

The White House spin cycle (David Shuster)

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8158450/#050620a

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.")

The Documents Are Authentic

RANT WARNING

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:

If I Have a Chance to Invade..."

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."

INTERVIEW WITH Lt. Col. KAREN KWIATKOWSKI

EXCLUSIVE dKOS INTERVIEW WITH Lt. Col. KAREN KWIATKOWSKI

by alysheba

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.

'Failure is not an option, but it doesn't mean they will avoid it'

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.

Top UK official defends war advice

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.

Ex UK minister wants Iraq war probe

http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/F99E7703-6556-451C-8391-F5E3C8ADD...
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.

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