captions added by this website]|
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
can't be ignored
By David Swanson and Jonathan
SINCE ITS publication May 1
by The Sunday Times of London, the so-called
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
British documents now surfacing in public view
- can hardly be overstated. They conceivably could
lead to impeachment proceedings against
The Bush administration consistently has made
two claims regarding its decision to invade
Mr. Bush chose war only as a last
Mr. Bush dealt honestly with
intelligence about weapons of mass destruction
and alleged Iraqi ties to al-Qaida.
The Downing Street memo contradicts these
Here are some of the key words in the memo,
written three months before Mr. Bush received
congressional authorization for war, four months
before U.N. Resolution 1441 held Iraq in "material
breach" of disarmament obligations and eight months
before the invasion in March 2003:
"[British intelligence chief
Richard Dearlove] reported on his
recent talks in Washington. ... Military action
was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to
remove Saddam [Hussein], through
military action, justified by the conjunction of
terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and
facts were being fixed around the
policy. . .
"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."
Other internal British memos from March 2002 and
July 2002 reveal British officials discussing Mr.
Blair's agreement with Mr. Bush to support an
invasion of Iraq and Mr. Blair's insistence that
Mr. Bush make a public show of going to the United
Nations in order to - as the British ambassador to
Washington, Christopher Meyer, put it -
"wrongfoot Saddam on inspectors" to create a
pretext for war.
The British privately scoffed at the frightening
claims made by the Bush administration. In a memo
to Foreign Secretary Jack Straw in March
2002, Peter Ricketts, the political director
of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, said: "US
scrambling to establish a link" between Iraq and
al-Qaida "is so far frankly unconvincing."
Anyone who follows the news will not be
surprised. A long list of whistleblowers, including
former Treasury Secretary Paul H. O'Neill
and former National Security Council official
Richard Clarke, have reported that the Bush
administration was obsessed with regime change in
Iraq from Day One and regarded 9/11 as an
opportunity to put its plans into action. Removing
Mr. Hussein was in the 2000 Republican Party
platform. Bush administration misuse of
intelligence has been well documented.
But the Downing Street
minutes and other recently leaked documents
illustrate that the intelligence was
design. The documents
show officials at the apex of the government of
our closest ally confirming among themselves
what were the darkest suspicions about the Iraq
war among ordinary Americans.
The evidence suggests that Mr. Bush has lied to
Congress and to the American people about the
justifications for war. It includes a formal letter
and report that he submitted to Congress within 48
hours of launching the invasion in which he
explained the need for the war in terms that appear
to have been intentionally falsified, not
Lying to Congress is a felony. Either lying to
Congress about the need to go to war is a high
crime, or nothing is.
a coalition of veterans groups, peace groups and
other activist organizations, is urging Congress to
introduce a Resolution of Inquiry that would
require the House Judiciary Committee to hold
formal investigations with the power of subpoena.
The result would be a determination as to whether
the president has committed impeachable
Democratic Rep. Maurice D. Hinchey of New
York, a member of the House Appropriations
Committee, said Monday, "I think a Resolution of
Inquiry is completely appropriate at this stage.
It's something that should be done."
Rep. John Conyers Jr. of Michigan, the
ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, has
not expressed support for a Resolution of Inquiry.
But he has asked Mr. Bush in a letter to respond to
questions raised by the Downing Street memo. At
least 90 members of Congress and about 500,000 U.S.
citizens have signed the letter. Mr. Conyers plans
to deliver it to the White House tomorrow.
He also plans to hold hearings about the memo
tomorrow and participate in a rally in front of the
David Swanson is co-founder of
and Jonathan Schwarz is a consultant for the
really Happened: "The Lie of the Century"
Not a war crime? See
these links to five
leaked secret British government papers
-- Bush and Blair
conniving in inventing a pretext to attack Iraq
and kill 100,000 Iraqis to get their
of leaked British Cabinet Papers
leaked British secret documents in a Zipped