Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Downing Street Memo Blog

This blog is dedicated to exploring ways to publicize the contents of the Downing Street Memo of June 23, 2002 which revealed that the Bush and Blair Administrations "fixed the facts to fit the policy" to fool the American and British people into a war of aggression against Iraq. This is an international war crime.

The memo.

Representative John Conyers has organized 88 representatives to sign on to a letter which was sent to President Bush. Raw Story covered this story, as did Daily Kos, on May 2, 2005 and an update on May 6, 2005.

May 5, 2005

The Honorable George W. Bush President of the United States of America The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President:

We write because of troubling revelations in the Sunday London Times apparently confirming that the United States and Great Britain had secretly agreed to attack Iraq in the summer of 2002, well before the invasion and before you even sought Congressional authority to engage in military action. While various individuals have asserted this to be the case before, including Paul O'Neill, former U.S. Treasury Secretary, and Richard Clarke, a former National Security Council official, they have been previously dismissed by your Administration. However, when this story was divulged last weekend, Prime Minister Blair's representative claimed the document contained "nothing new." If the disclosure is accurate, it raises troubling new questions regarding the legal justifications for the war as well as the integrity of your own Administration.

The Sunday Times obtained a leaked document with the minutes of a secret meeting from highly placed sources inside the British Government. Among other things, the document revealed:

* Prime Minister Tony Blair chaired a July 2002 meeting, at which he discussed military options, having already committed himself to supporting President Bush's plans for invading Iraq.

* British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw acknowledged that the case for war was "thin" as "Saddam was not threatening his neighbours and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea, or Iran."

* A separate secret briefing for the meeting said that Britain and America had to "create" conditions to justify a war.

* A British official "reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."

As a result of this recent disclosure, we would like to know the following:

1) Do you or anyone in your Administration dispute the accuracy of the leaked document?

2) Were arrangements being made, including the recruitment of allies, before you sought Congressional authorization go to war? Did you or anyone in your Administration obtain Britain's commitment to invade prior to this time?

3) Was there an effort to create an ultimatum about weapons inspectors in order to help with the justification for the war as the minutes indicate?

4) At what point in time did you and Prime Minister Blair first agree it was necessary to invade Iraq?

5) Was there a coordinated effort with the U.S. intelligence community and/or British officials to "fix" the intelligence and facts around the policy as the leaked document states?

We have of course known for some time that subsequent to the invasion there have been a variety of varying reasons proffered to justify the invasion, particularly since the time it became evident that weapons of mass destruction would not be found. This leaked document - essentially acknowledged by the Blair government - is the first confirmation that the rationales were shifting well before the invasion as well.

Given the importance of this matter, we would ask that you respond to this inquiry as promptly as possible. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Members who have already signed letter:
Neil Abercrombie
Brian Baird
Tammy Baldwin
Xavier Becerra
Shelley Berkley
Eddie Bernice Johnson
Sanford Bishop
Earl Blumenauer
Corrine Brown
Sherrod Brown
G.K. Butterfield
Emanuel Cleaver
James Clyburn
John Conyers
Jim Cooper
Elijah Cummings
Danny Davis
Peter DeFazio
Diana DeGette
Bill Delahunt
Rosa DeLauro
Lloyd Doggett
Sam Farr
Bob Filner
Harold Ford, Jr.
Barney Frank
Al Green
Raul Grijalva
Louis Gutierrez
Alcee Hastings
Maurice Hinchey
Rush Holt
Jay Inslee
Sheila Jackson Lee
Jessie Jackson Jr.
Marcy Kaptur
Patrick Kennedy
Dale Kildee
Carolyn Kilpatrick
Dennis Kucinich
William Lacy Clay
Barbara Lee
John Lewis
Zoe Lofgren
Donna M. Christensen
Carolyn Maloney
Ed Markey
Carolyn McCarthy
Jim McDermott
James McGovern
Cynthia McKinney
Martin Meehan
Kendrick Meek
Gregory Meeks
Michael Michaud
George Miller
Gwen S. Moore
James Moran
Jerrold Nadler
Grace Napolitano
James Oberstar
John Olver
Major Owens
Frank Pallone
Donald Payne
Charles Rangel
Bobby Rush
Bernie Sanders
Linda Sanchez
Jan Schakowsky
Jose Serrano
Ike Skelton
Louise Slaughter
Hilda Solis
Pete Stark
Ellen Tauscher
Bennie Thompson
Edolphus Towns
Stephanie Tubbs Jones
Chris Van Hollen
Nydia Velazquez
Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Maxine Waters
Diane Watson
Melvin Watt
Robert Wexler
Lynn Woolsey
David Wu
Albert R. Wynn

To read the letter in PDF format, including signatures, click here.

Folks on the Daily Kos are discussing and brainstorming about trying to get an ad into the media (tv, newspapers, whatever works) to try and get this story covered, as most AP and Reuters news based newspapers are not covering it. Someone mentioned starting a website, so I thought why not start a blog?