The Downing Street Memo Comes To Washington,
"Deafening Sound of Silence"
We speak with Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) who is convening a public hearing tomorrow in Washington on the so-called
Downing Street Memo
and other newly released documents that he says show the Bush administration's "efforts to cook the books on pre-war
intelligence." We also speak with former CIA analyst Ray McGovern.
Broadcast - 06/15/05
Tomorrow in Washington, Congressmember John Conyers of Michigan, the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary
Committee, will convene a public hearing on the so-called Downing Street Memo
and other newly released documents that Conyers says show the administration's "efforts to cook the books on pre-war intelligence."
Conyers also says that he plans to raise new documents
that back up the accuracy of the Downing Streets memo, which is actually the classified minutes of a July 2002 meeting of
Tony Blair and his senior advisers.
The minutes, which were published May 1 by the Sunday Times of London, paint a picture of an administration
that had already committed to attacking Iraq, was manipulating intelligence and had already begun intense bombing of Iraq
to prepare for the ground invasion. This was almost a year before the actual invasion officially began. The minutes are from
a July 23, 2002 briefing of Prime Minister Tony Blair and his top national security advisers by British intelligence chief
Richard Dearlove. The minutes contain an account of Dearlove's report that President George W. Bush had decided to bring about
"regime change" in Iraq by military action; that the attack would be "justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD" (weapons
of mass destruction); and that "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."
Meanwhile, this past weekend, The Sunday Times of London had another expose, showing that British cabinet members were warned that the UK was committed to taking part in a US-led invasion of Iraq and
they had no choice but to find a way of making it legal. The memo was written in advance of the Downing Street meeting that
produced the Downing Street Minutes.
Despite the explosive information in these documents, they have received very little attention in the corporate
media in this country and Bush administration officials have only been asked about it a handful of times. On June 7, after
more than a month of media silence, a reporter for the Reuters news agency finally questioned President Bush and Tony Blair
on the Downing Street Memo.
- President Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair, Joint news conference, June 7, 2005.
The Conyers hearing
is scheduled for tomorrow on Capitol Hill but only today did Conyers announce that they would be inside of the Capitol. Until
this morning, they were scheduled to take place at the Democratic National Committee because the Republicans controlling the
House Judiciary Committee refused to permit the ranking Democratic Member, John Conyers, to hold official hearings. Conyers
now says he has managed to get an official room.
Among those scheduled to testify tomorrow are former US ambassador to Iraq, Joe Wilson, attorney John Bonifaz and parents
of soldiers killed in Iraq. The hearings will be followed by a rally outside the White House tomorrow evening and a petition
with some half a million signatures will be delivered to the White House, calling on Bush to answer questions on the memo.
- Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), tomorrow he will be convening hearings on Capitol Hill on the Downing Street Minutes.
- Ray McGovern, 27-year career analyst with the CIA. During the Reagan administration, he was the senior intelligence
briefer of then-Vice President George HW Bush. He is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.
For more information go to: AfterDowningStreet.org
For more information on the Downing Street Memo please see the reports on Lies vs. Facts
LIVE-Coverage of the Conyers Public Hearing
Thursday, June 16
Democratic Members of House Judiciary Cmte. Hearing on Downing St. Memo and Iraq War
On C-SPAN3 at 2:30pm
Letter to Pres Bush Concerning the "Downing Street Minutes"
Friends -- As many of you know, my website has been overwhelmed with responses to the "Downing Street Minutes"
and many citizens sending emails. At times, I am receiving ten emails a minute. To reduce traffic to the site, I am taking
down the email box for the time being and starting an open thread, where email traffic will be redirected. Excuse the
caps, but to clear up any confusion: THE LETTER ABOUT THE DOWNING STREEET MINUTES, HOWEVER, IS STILL AVAILABLE THROUGH THE
LINK TO THE LEFT OR NEAR THE BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE.
If you want to give me your two cents, feel free to do it here. Please keep it respectful, however read the letter and sign it!
Letter to Pres Bush Concerning the "Downing Street Minutes"
What is the Downing Street Memo?
A short explanation to get you started:
The Downing Street "Memo" is actually a document containing meeting minutes transcribed during the British Prime
Minister's meeting on July 23, 2002—a full eight months PRIOR to the invasion of Iraq on March 20, 2003. The Times of London printed the text of this document on Sunday, May 1, 2005, but to date US media coverage has been limited. This site is intended
to act as a resource for anyone who wants to understand the facts revealed in this document.
The contents of the memo are shocking. The minutes detail how our government did not believe Iraq was a greater threat than other nations; how intelligence was "fixed" to sell the case for war to the American public; and how the Bush Administration’s public assurances of "war as a last resort" were at odds with their privately stated intentions.
When asked, British officials "did not dispute the document's authenticity." and a senior American official has described it as "absolutely accurate." Yet the Bush administration continues to simultaneously sidestep the issue while attempting to cast doubt on the memo’s
Congressman John Conyers
is calling on American citizens to
sign on to a letter
to the President that demands a response to questions originally posed by Conyers and 88 other members of Congress in
a similar letter dated May 5, 2005. Conyers has committed to personally delivering the letter to the White House when it garners
100,000 250,000 500,000
Let's help him get there. Follow this link to sign.
Nobody wants to go to war. We trust our leaders to shed blood in our name only when absolutely necessary.
But the facts revealed by the Downing Street Memo force us to ask ourselves: Was I misled? Did President Bush tell me the
truth when he said he would not take us to war unless absolutely necessary?
More than two years after the start of the Iraq War, Americans are just learning that our government was dead set on invasion,
even while it claimed to be pursuing diplomacy. Please join us in demanding that we get to the bottom of this issue.
The Fix Was In
Did Bush Deliberately Deceive America About Iraq?
By Rep. JOHN CONYERS
We have reached a point where all but the most
delusional enthusiasts of the Iraq war have now acknowledged that Iraq did not possess weapons of mass destruction at the
time of the U.S. invasion and likely for over a decade preceding the war. Fox News and the President were slow to acknowledge
this fact, but now have.
Unfortunately, it seems this rare consensus has lulled many into failing to ask the follow-up
question: why were the President and other high-ranking administration officials so definitive in their statements that Iraq
possessed WMD? This question is not of a merely historical significance: we deserve to know whether these statements were
the result of a "massive intelligence failure" as some have contended or a deliberate deception of the Congress and the American
Essentially, the question boils down to what lawyers call "mens rea". Before a defendant can be convicted of
a crime the judge or jury must find not only that the defendant committed the wrongful act but also did so with a state of
mind indicating culpability. In the case of a fraud, the jury must find that there was intent to deceive. In the case of Iraq,
the weight of evidence continues to accumulate indicating that the American people and Congress may well have been the victims
of a deliberate deception.