Dears friends, This is incredible and very serious stuff! All Americans need and deserve an opportunity to consider the implications of the Downing Street Memo. The summary and analysis below is very helpful toward this end. Please circulate it as widely as possible. It is largely because of the work of citizens like yourselves that the truth is getting out. Please keep it up and let the corporate media know that their attempts to hide the “awful truth†will not be tolerated any longer. Jamie “The implications are numerous and severe. If it is true that the officials were fixing and tailoring the intelligence to suit their needs, this means that President Bush intentionally and knowingly misled Congress in his case for war. In fact, one can argue that he and other officials, including Richard Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell, Condaleeza Rice, and Tony Blair, lied to the UN, to Congress, to the British Parliament, and to the public. These are impeachable offences. Not only that, but this would mean that tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis, and over 1,700 US and Coalition troops, have died as a result of the invasion and occupation propped up and justified by deception, lies, and political games.†----- Analysis and Text of the Downing Street Memo Features | National | International Submitted by Marcel Votlucka on Sat, 2005-06-18 14:17. By Marcel Votlucka Staff Writer What is it? The document now known as the Downing Street memo is a summary of a meeting between Richard Dearlove, the head of British intelligence, and senior Bush Administration officials. It dates from July 23, 2002, just as the Bush Administration was starting to make a case for invading Iraq but before it had officially declared its intention to do so. The memo was leaked to the Times of London, which published it on May 1, 2005 in the midst of Prime Minster Tony Blair’s reelection campaign. The British media has reported on this memo and its implications, but the mainstream media this side of the Atlantic has neglected this story with impunity. Only now are media outlets beginning to look into this document. Congressman John Conyers held a public hearing in Washington DC on June 16 regarding the memo and its implications. Here we will look at the text of the memo and summarize what it says and its significance. What does it say? It was decided that military force would be needed to overthrow Saddam Hussein’s regime, and that WMD and the threat of terrorism would be focal points for building a case for war: “Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD.†Officials were already considering two options: a short air campaign followed by an invasion force of 250,000 troops (which would take some time to implement), and a faster campaign “initiated by an Iraqi casus belli,†supported by a continuous air campaign. The latter was felt to be a “hazardous option.†According to the memo, “the most likely timing in US minds for military action to begin was January, with the timeline beginning 30 days before the US Congressional elections.†This suggests calculated political timing to shore up support and reduce congressional accountability once the war began. The memo calls for a plan to issue an ultimatum to Hussein to allow UN weapons inspectors back into the country, so as to provide a legal basis for military action. The Administration was dead set on “regime change.†They showed little concern for postwar planning or the diplomatic process. But legal concerns were high on British officials’ minds. “The Attorney-General said that the desire for regime change was not a legal base for military action. There were three possible legal bases: self-defense, humanitarian intervention, or UNSC authorization. The first and second could not be the base in this case. Relying on [UN Security Council Resolution] 1205 of three years ago would be difficult.†So they suggested working out a new resolution: “We should work up a plan for an ultimatum to Saddam to allow back in the UN weapons inspectors. This would also help with the legal justification for the use of force.†They understood that the case for war was weak; humanitarian intervention was not an acceptable basis for military action and there was scant evidence that Hussein was amassing WMD or had ties to Al Qaeda. There was no imminent threat against the United States. The memo says: “[T]he case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran.†The officials were also keen on the political context; if Hussein refused to comply with the UN inspections, it could not only provide a legal justification for military force, it would also legitimize the war in the minds of the public. The memo provides an enthralling look into how officials were starting to form plans for the execution of the war. They paid attention not only to practical military concerns, but also legal and political issues. What has gained the most attention, though, is the following statement [emphasis added]: “[T]he intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The [National Security Council] had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.†Contradictions Bush and Blair answered questions from the media on June 7, 2005. A reporter asked Blair this question, “On Iraq, the so-called Downing Street Memo from July 2002 says, ‘Intelligence and facts remain fixed around the policy of removing Saddam through military action.’ Is this an accurate reflection of what happened? Could both of you respond?†Blair responded, “Well, I can respond to that very easily. No, the facts were not being fixed in any shape or form at all [emphasis added].†The Downing Street memo clearly indicates, however, that “facts and intelligence were being fixed around the policy.†Bush claimed, and still claims, that military force was “the last option.†Responding to the reporter, he stated, “somebody said, well, you know, we had made up our mind to go to use military force to deal with Saddam. There is nothing farther from the truth. My conversations with the Prime Minister [were] how can we do this peacefully . . . both of us didn't want to use our military [emphasis added].†But again, the memo proves him wrong, stating as follows: “Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD.†The authenticity of the memo has gone unchallenged by Blair and Bush. Some pundits have claimed that the memo is a fake or that it is incorrect, but they have privided no evidence to back up their claims. Moreover, there are the conflicting statements of Cheney, Powell, and Rice to consider, regarding Iraq’s military capabilities. All had made statements in the lead up to war that Hussein was amassing and stockpiling WMD and was proving to be an imminent threat to the US and Arab countries. However, before 9/11, all three had gone on record stating the opposite; that Hussein was not a threat and did not possess capabilities to strike at the US. These and other contradictions are well worth investigating. Something is not adding up. What are the implications? Basically, what this suggests is that British and American officials were tailoring their intelligence in order to prop up their policy and agenda. This implies they picked and chose whatever facts bolstered their case for war—giving little credence or consideration to (or even ignoring) whatever facts contradicted their case. In other words, In other words, officials were being told primarily what they wanted to hear. The Administration had an agenda (invading Iraq) and it seemed that only those facts that supported and justified their agenda were worth consideration (however tenuous those facts may have been). Given the political and legal context behind the war, officials believed that seeking a UN resolution would grant needed legitimacy to the war effort. This occurred in late 2002, but weapons inspectors failed to turn up substantial evidence that Hussein was amassing or stockpiling WMDs. Bush immediately (and falsely) chalked this up to Hussein being uncooperative (he was in fact cooperative). According to the memo, “the [National Security Council] had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime’s record.†This could explain why, with only a couple of months allowed for inspections to take place and despite little evidence supporting their case, President Bush hastily issued his ultimatum to Hussein and began preparations to invade Iraq. He and his people were dead set on going to war, no matter what. Much of this is not new or shocking info to critics of the war, who have been pointing out such items for the past two years. However, the memo provides a ‘smoking gun,’ evidence to back up the critics’ claims. The implications are numerous and severe. If it is true that the officials were fixing and tailoring the intelligence to suit their needs, this means that President Bush intentionally and knowingly misled Congress in his case for war. In fact, one can argue that he and other officials, including Richard Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell, Condaleeza Rice, and Tony Blair, lied to the to the UN, to Congress, to the British Parliament, and to the public. This is clearly illegal and holds serious implications for all those involved. If it is true that the President intentionally deceived Congress and indeed twisted the intelligence, this would violate the Federal Anti-Conspiracy Statute, which makes it a felony “to defraud the United States or any agency thereof in any manner for any purpose.†In addition, the issuance of knowingly and willingly false statements to the Congress violates the False Statements Act of 1996. These are impeachable offences. Not only that, but this would mean that tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis, and over 1,700 US and Coalition troops, have died as a result of the invasion and occupation propped up and justified by deception, lies, and political games. This too holds serious moral implications for those involved in the scheme. Finally, it means that Bush and co. have jeopardized national security by fabricating evidence, making false and contradictory claims, and intentionally misleading Congress into ceding unilateral power to the President to make war (this in itself raises serious constitutional issues over who has the authority to declare and wage war). Furthermore, they have poured billions of dollars, valuable time, and finite manpower into the invasion and occupation of a country that posed no credible ‘imminent threat’ to the United States. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- TEXT OF THE DOWNING STREET MEMO (As originally reported in the Times of London, May 1, 2005) SECRET AND STRICTLY PERSONAL--UK EYES ONLY DAVID MANNING From: Matthew Rycroft Date: 23 July 2002 S 195 /02 cc: Defence Secretary, Foreign Secretary, Attorney-General, Sir Richard Wilson, John Scarlett, Francis Richards, CDS, C, Jonathan Powell, Sally Morgan, Alastair Campbell IRAQ: PRIME MINISTER'S MEETING, 23 JULY Copy addressees and you met the Prime Minister on 23 July to discuss Iraq. This record is extremely sensitive. No further copies should be made. It should be shown only to those with a genuine need to know its contents. John Scarlett summarised the intelligence and latest JIC assessment. Saddam's regime was tough and based on extreme fear. The only way to overthrow it was likely to be by massive military action. Saddam was worried and expected an attack, probably by air and land, but he was not convinced that it would be immediate or overwhelming. His regime expected their neighbours to line up with the US. Saddam knew that regular army morale was poor. Real support for Saddam among the public was probably narrowly based. C 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. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action. CDS said that military planners would brief CENTCOM on 1-2 August, Rumsfeld on 3 August and Bush on 4 August. The two broad US options were: (a) Generated Start. A slow build-up of 250,000 US troops, a short (72 hour) air campaign, then a move up to Baghdad from the south. Lead time of 90 days (30 days preparation plus 60 days deployment to Kuwait). (b) Running Start. Use forces already in theatre (3 x 6,000), continuous air campaign, initiated by an Iraqi casus belli. Total lead time of 60 days with the air campaign beginning even earlier. A hazardous option. The US saw the UK (and Kuwait) as essential, with basing in Diego Garcia and Cyprus critical for either option. Turkey and other Gulf states were also important, but less vital. The three main options for UK involvement were: (i) Basing in Diego Garcia and Cyprus, plus three SF squadrons. (ii) As above, with maritime and air assets in addition. (iii) As above, plus a land contribution of up to 40,000, perhaps with a discrete role in Northern Iraq entering from Turkey, tying down two Iraqi divisions. The Defence Secretary said that the US had already begun "spikes of activity" to put pressure on the regime. No decisions had been taken, but he thought the most likely timing in US minds for military action to begin was January, with the timeline beginning 30 days before the US Congressional elections. The Foreign Secretary said he would discuss this with Colin Powell this week. 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 neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran. We should work up a plan for an ultimatum to Saddam to allow back in the UN weapons inspectors. This would also help with the legal justification for the use of force. The Attorney-General said that the desire for regime change was not a legal base for military action. There were three possible legal bases: self-defence, humanitarian intervention, or UNSC authorisation. The first and second could not be the base in this case. Relying on UNSCR 1205 of three years ago would be difficult. The situation might of course change. The Prime Minister said that it would make a big difference politically and legally if Saddam refused to allow in the UN inspectors. Regime change and WMD were linked in the sense that it was the regime that was producing the WMD. There were different strategies for dealing with Libya and Iran. If the political context were right, people would support regime change. The two key issues were whether the military plan worked and whether we had the political strategy to give the military plan the space to work. On the first, CDS said that we did not know yet if the US battleplan was workable. The military were continuing to ask lots of questions. For instance, what were the consequences, if Saddam used WMD on day one, or if Baghdad did not collapse and urban warfighting began? You said that Saddam could also use his WMD on Kuwait. Or on Israel, added the Defence Secretary. The Foreign Secretary thought the US would not go ahead with a military plan unless convinced that it was a winning strategy. On this, US and UK interests converged. But on the political strategy, there could be US/UK differences. Despite US resistance, we should explore discreetly the ultimatum. Saddam would continue to play hard-ball with the UN. John Scarlett assessed that Saddam would allow the inspectors back in only when he thought the threat of military action was real. The Defence Secretary said that if the Prime Minister wanted UK military involvement, he would need to decide this early. He cautioned that many in the US did not think it worth going down the ultimatum route. It would be important for the Prime Minister to set out the political context to Bush. Conclusions: (a) We should work on the assumption that the UK would take part in any military action. But we needed a fuller picture of US planning before we could take any firm decisions. CDS should tell the US military that we were considering a range of options. (b) The Prime Minister would revert on the question of whether funds could be spent in preparation for this operation. (c) CDS would send the Prime Minister full details of the proposed military campaign and possible UK contributions by the end of the week. (d) The Foreign Secretary would send the Prime Minister the background on the UN inspectors, and discreetly work up the ultimatum to Saddam. He would also send the Prime Minister advice on the positions of countries in the region especially Turkey, and of the key EU member states. (e) John Scarlett would send the Prime Minister a full intelligence update. (f) We must not ignore the legal issues: the Attorney-General would consider legal advice with FCO/MOD legal advisers. (I have written separately to commission this follow-up work.) MATTHEW RYCROFT (Rycroft was a Downing Street foreign policy aide)