Thursday, June 16

NY Times on DSM Meeting


New York Times: Antiwar Group Says Leaked British Memo Shows Bush Misled Public on His War Plans
Stephen Crowley/The New York Times
Published: June 17, 2005

At a forum in Washington on Thursday, seated from left, Joseph Wilson, an ex-ambassador; Cindy Sheehan, whose son was killed in Iraq; Ray McGovern, an ex-C.I.A. analyst; and John Bonifaz, an antiwar activist.

WASHINGTON, June 16 - Opponents of the war in Iraq held an unofficial hearing on Capitol Hill on Thursday to draw attention to a leaked British government document that they say proves their case that President Bush misled the public about his war plans in 2002 and distorted intelligence to support his policy.

In a jammed room in the basement of the Capitol, Representative John Conyers Jr. of Michigan, the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, presided as witnesses asserted that the "Downing Street memo" - minutes of a July 23, 2002, meeting of Prime Minister Tony Blair and his top security officials - vindicated their view that Mr. Bush made the decision to topple Saddam Hussein long before he has admitted.

"Thanks to the Downing Street minutes, we now know the truth," said Ray McGovern, a C.I.A. analyst for 27 years who helped organize a group of other retired intelligence officers to oppose the war.

The memo said Sir Richard Dearlove, the head of British intelligence, had said in the meeting that Mr. Bush had already decided on war, "but the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."

Cindy Sheehan, mother of a 24-year-old soldier killed in Iraq last year, said the memo "confirms what I already suspected: the leadership of this country rushed us into an illegal invasion of another sovereign country on prefabricated and cherry-picked intelligence."

The White House has maintained that Mr. Bush decided to invade Iraq only after Secretary of State Colin L. Powell made the administration's case in a lengthy presentation to the United Nations Security Council on Feb. 5, 2003. His argument focused on intelligence demonstrating that Iraq had illicit weapons. No weapons, however, have been found.

Asked about the memo last week, President Bush said: "Nobody wants to commit military into combat. It's the last option." He added, "We worked hard to see if we could figure out how to do this peacefully."

conyers01.jpg
Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) delivers 540,000 signatures to the White House.
After the hearing, Mr. Conyers and a dozen Congressional colleagues delivered to the White House bundles that they said contained the names of more than 560,000 Americans gathered on the Internet who had endorsed his letter to the president demanding answers to questions raised by the British memo. Some 122 members of Congress also signed the letter.

Asked about Mr. Conyers's letter and the British memo, Scott McClellan, the president's chief spokesman, described the congressman as "an individual who voted against the war in the first place and is simply trying to rehash old debates that have already been addressed."

"And our focus is not on the past," Mr. McClellan said. "It's on the future and working to make sure we succeed in Iraq."

The hearing and other events Thursday reflected antiwar sentiment re-energized both by publication of the British memo and by evidence that Congressional and public opinion has shifted significantly against the president's conduct of the war.

A bipartisan group of House members introduced a resolution calling on the administration to announce by the end of the year a plan for the withdrawal of American forces, and more than 40 legislators announced the formation of an "Out of Iraq" Congressional caucus led by Representative Maxine Waters, a California Democrat.

Also, a New York Times/CBS News poll being published Friday found that 37 percent of Americans questioned approve of how Mr. Bush is dealing with Iraq, down from 45 percent in February.

At an antiwar rally across the street from the White House after Mr. Conyers's hearing, speakers roused a crowd of several hundred people with calls to bring the troops home and to impeach Mr. Bush. The protesters, organized by a group called After Downing Street, called the British memo the "smoking gun" proving their case against the administration.

The Downing Street memo, so named because the meeting was at the prime minister's London residence, was published in The Sunday Times of London on May 1.

It is one of seven prewar documents leaked since September to Michael Smith, a reporter for The Daily Telegraph before he began working for The Sunday Times. One, written in preparation for the July 23 meeting and published Sunday by The Sunday Times, warned that "a postwar occupation of Iraq could lead to a protracted and costly nation-building exercise" in which "Washington could look to us to share a disproportionate share of the burden."

Activists have accused mainstream news organizations of playing down the document's significance, even as antiwar bloggers have seized upon it as evidence.

David Swanson, a Democratic activist and one of the founders of After Downing Street, criticized those defenders of President Bush and journalists who have called the memo "old news" because the president's war preparations were widely reported by mid-2002.

"It's not old news to most Americans," Mr. Swanson said.

3 comments:

Vyan said...

Today's Downing Street Inquiry was indeed a moving and momentous occasion. The modesty of the location gracefully highlighting the patriotism and bravery those involved. I think we shall see the events of today echoed in the pages, and films of the future.

Joe Wilson did an excellent job of showing how his good faith and well founded information that Iraq did not, and could not gain access to Uranium from Niger was systematically ignored, even admit repeated faxes and phone-calls from the CIA saying the exact same thing . This how intelligence information becomes - "Dead Wrong" - when those who are charged with making the key decisions based on that information willfully ignore it.

Cindy Sheehan's presense was particularly powerful - how do you claim those who participated in this meeting were "unpatriotic" when the mother of a fallen U.S. Soldier sitting front and center?

The only Treason here, was performed by the Bush Administration when they sent our young sons and daughters to fight, kill and die on false pretenses.

Former CIA Operative, Ray McGovern, made a dramatic revelation that on Saddam's Son-in-Law had defected in 1995 and stated that all of Iraq's Biological, Chemical and Nuclear Weapons materials had been destroyed in July of 1991, under his order.

John Bonifaz of AfterDowningStreet.org made a pointed case that the deception that is alleged by the Downing Street Minutes reveletion, are in fact, Impeachable Offenses and that a serious and thorough Congressional Investigation needs to take place in order to determine if such a High Crime or Misdeameanor did actually occur. And further, that a criminal investiation of senior Bush Administration officials (Cheney, Rice and Rumsfeld) for violation of RICO as well as the lying to Congress should be initiated. (On this he falls in line with Amnesty International President William Schultz, who stated just a short time ago that senior Bush Administration Officials should be investigated and prosecuted for International War Crimes)

Today was a step forward, but it is far from the last step. From what I can tell, the MSM continues to be relatively reluctant at embracing the ramifications of the DSM. For this we need to be understanding, it is not a small thing to suggest that our President has commited such a crime against his own nation and the world. We should proceed with caution, but also with perseverence and courage. Those who seek the truth are indeed Fighting the Good Fight.

The battle ahead will be long, bloody, ugly and unpleasant. But it's a battle we must have, or else begin to see the final fall of the rule of law, the final fall of our Constitution and our Democracy. This is a battle for the very soul of America, and for bringing forth a vision of the nation that either does or does not recognize fact, truth, law and justice. We can NOT afford to lose this fight -- so everyone, from the left, center and right -- let's get ready
to RUMBLE!!!

And may be the best vision of America Win.

Vyan

Vyan said...

Details on revelations provided by former Iraqi General and Defector - Hussein Kamal.

Link

Jet said...

Thanks for putting this up, Vyan. Keep up the pressure.