Downing Street Memo – A Call to Action, Part 2

In Part 1 of this series, I introduced ASZ readers to the Big Brass Alliance, and an action plan undertaken by the BBA and afterdowningstreet.com to force the Downing Street Memo into mainstream conciousness. Just as important as the action plan, though, is the need for a thorough understanding of what the fuss is [...]

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In Part 1 of this series, I introduced ASZ readers to the Big Brass Alliance, and an action plan undertaken by the BBA and afterdowningstreet.com to force the Downing Street Memo into mainstream conciousness. Just as important as the action plan, though, is the need for a thorough understanding of what the fuss is all about.

Ok, so it’™s 2005; the milk is long out of the bottle. Why should anyone care about the Downing Street Memo at this late date, regardless of whether one is a progressive or true conservative?

The most obvious reason is because, from the early days of public saber rattling against Saddam by the Bush administration, it was clear to many of us that America was lied into a war with Iraq. Nearly three years after the fact, we now have a document that clearly spells out there was never a ‘œPlan B’ which included diplomacy and negotiation with Iraq’™s leadership. War between two nations must always be a path of last resort, yet George Bush and his senior leadership team made military action the first and only option.

Not only does the Downing Street memo make this disinclination to diplomacy abundantly clear, but a long-forgotten briefing memo for National Security Council (NSC) principals from 2001, and another recent revelation, seem to corroborate the assertations in the Downing Street memo.

First, the NSC briefing memo. This past Sunday, the blog Corpus Callosum reminded us of the unclassified NSC briefing memo that ex-Treasury Secretary Paul O’™Neill passed onto author Ron Suskind, who included it as an attachment to the book, The Price of Loyalty. Dated Jan. 31, 2001, (less than two weeks after George Bush’™s first inauguration), the memo describes the first meeting of the NSC principals under President Bush. The meeting agenda is marked ‘œunclassified with secret attachments’; the attachments in question are described as:

Tab A: Agenda and Policy Questions from NSC ‘” SECRET

Tab B: Economic Background on Iraq (from Deutsche Bank)

Tab C: Executive Summary: Political-Military Plan for Post-Saddam Iraq Crisis (interagency working paper) ‘” SECRET

Tab D: Summary of United States Sanctions on Iraq

Tab E: ‘œIraq Sanctions Regime,’ State Department, for use in public statements

Here’™s a link to the original document from Suskind’™s book. The subject of Tab C seems exceptionally consistent with the assertations in the Downing Street memo.

Next, Bradblog sums up the more recent revelation regarding U.S. actions in Iraq during 2002:

‘¦This latest information on the covert way in which the Bush Administration may have pushed the world towards war is based on a new report from Rupert Murdoch’™s London Times which reported over the weekend that ‘œdespite the lack of an Iraqi reaction, the air war began anyway in September [of 2002] with a 100-plane raid.’


In fact, the original Downing Street Memo/Minutes mention that ‘œThe Defence Secretary said that the US had already begun ‘™spikes of activity’™ to put pressure on the regime.’

Indeed, recently released documents indicate that the U.S. and Brits dropped twice as many bombs and missiles on Iraq in 2002 as 2001, in an apparent attempt to goad Saddam into retaliatory action – ergo, justification for the war that Bush and Blair had already decided upon.

So, the reason every American should care: it is flat out troubling that the words of the Bush administration, before congress and before the world, did not mesh with the actions that were taking place behind the scenes as early as 2001. It appears more and more that intelligence was intentionally filtered and fixed around a policy of pre-emptive war with Iraq. This comes as no surprise to many of us who have closely followed these events. To others who are less tuned in (or tuned in only to Fox) it would indeed be a rude awakening to the disaster that Iraq has become to America.

It’™s time for some answers.

And some action.

Tuesday, May 31st, 2005 by Richard Blair |
Category: Iraq

Smirky Speaks, The World Laughs

Not much time for blogging today but Commander Cuckoo Bananas made some comments today that got me going and I well, wanted to share. And I found them all in the same place!

First we have this tidbit where he shows off his ignorance quite nicely. I don’™t really know anything about this [...]

Commentary By: somegirl

Not much time for blogging today but Commander Cuckoo Bananas made some comments today that got me going and I well, wanted to share. And I found them all in the same place!

First we have this tidbit where he shows off his ignorance quite nicely. I don’™t really know anything about this Khodorkovsky dude, but if the Idiot in Chief likes him, I’™m sure he’™s a scoundrel. And he’™d probably hate being called a dude. So chimpy tells Putin (oh there’™s so much more here, but I have to get out to Drinking Liberally – I do have my priorities) in regards to Khodorkovsky’™s guilty verdict:

‘œAs I explained to him, here you’™re innocent until proven guilty, and it appeared to us ‘” at least people in my administration ‘” that it looked like he had been judged guilty prior to (having) a fair trial,’ Bush told a news conference.

I guess he never heard of British French law, where defendents have to prove their innocence. Do you think he calls up Blair Chirac to complain about that?

And then there is this precious jewel:

On the Amnesty International report, Bush said, ‘œIt seemed like to me they based some of their decisions on the word of the allegations by people who were held in detention, people who hate America.’

So we can discount anything they say because well, they hate America.

And my personal favorite:

‘œThere’™s an alternative to the destruction of life,’ he said. ‘œBut the stem cell issue is really one of federal funding, that’™s the issue before us, and that is whether or not we use taxpayers’™ money to destroy life. ‘¦ I don’™t believe we should.’

Y’™know what? I don’™t think we should be using taxpayer’™s money to destroy life either. The thing is I considered human beings to be ‘œlife’, not blastocysts.

UPDATE: Good Reader Jeff kindly corrected me that it is French law, not British law, that requires the defendent to prove innocence. Yeah, I know the French don’™t really count because they hate America. I will maintain though that doesn’™t make chimpy’™s remarks any less stupid, just me more. My defense is I was in a hurry to drink beer. Sue me.

Tuesday, May 31st, 2005 by Richard Blair |

Lies, all LIES!

Gosh, you can just picture Mr. Dick Cheney being backed into his undisclosed location by a crowd of villagers with torches. Cheney strikes the outraged pose and screams:

‘œFrankly, I was offended by it,’ Cheney said. ‘œFor Amnesty International to suggest that somehow the United States is a violator of human rights, I [...]

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

Gosh, you can just picture Mr. Dick Cheney being backed into his undisclosed location by a crowd of villagers with torches. Cheney strikes the outraged pose and screams:

‘œFrankly, I was offended by it,’ Cheney said. ‘œFor Amnesty International to suggest that somehow the United States is a violator of human rights, I frankly just don’™t take them seriously.’

One has to go beyond our US media sources to get to the ‘œlies’ comment:

The US Vice-President, Dick Cheney, has emphatically defended the handling of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, saying they were ‘œwell-treated, treated humanely and decently’ and that some suggestions to the contrary were lies.

Mr Cheney largely dismissed assertions that guards or interrogators had mishandled the Koran or beaten detainees. He said repeatedly that freed detainees were ‘œpeddling lies’.

Let’™s forget the litany of lies Mr. Cheney has told in his time as Vice President, in his time campaigning for office. Let’™s forget his incompetence. Let’™s just assume he’™s right, as surely those at Gitmo are misconstruing the rules. . .

This whole thing would be funny if it weren’™t our country’™s honor at stake.

Tuesday, May 31st, 2005 by Richard Blair |

Fruits of Our Labour: Carnival of the UnCapitalists the Ninth

It’™s that time of the week again – actually, a day late (those pesky three day weekends’¦). Hop on over to Fruits of Our Labour for this week’™s installment of Carnival of the UnCapitalists.

There’™s some absolutely stellar articles this week – one of the best of the series.

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It’™s that time of the week again – actually, a day late (those pesky three day weekends’¦). Hop on over to Fruits of Our Labour for this week’™s installment of Carnival of the UnCapitalists.

There’™s some absolutely stellar articles this week – one of the best of the series.

Tuesday, May 31st, 2005 by Richard Blair |
Category: General

ASZ Will Never be This Kewl

Congrats to Josh Marshall and the rest of the kewl kids behind the launching of TPMCafe.com – it looks like a rawkus good time. When you can get John Edwards to ‘œguest blog’, you know you’™re onto something.

Or you’™ve been wholly co-opted and mainstreamed.

Either way, I’™ll still be sitting over here in my own [...]

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Congrats to Josh Marshall and the rest of the kewl kids behind the launching of TPMCafe.com – it looks like a rawkus good time. When you can get John Edwards to ‘œguest blog’, you know you’™re onto something.

Or you’™ve been wholly co-opted and mainstreamed.

Either way, I’™ll still be sitting over here in my own little corner. ;) Or over at the BBS Zone.

Tuesday, May 31st, 2005 by Richard Blair |
Category: Media

“Deep Throat” Out

There’™s been a lot of speculation through the years regarding the identity of ‘œDeep Throat’, the anonymous source who led two young WaPo reporters to the story of Watergate. Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein had long maintained that they would not reveal the identity until the source died – but today, Vanity Fair reports that [...]

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There’™s been a lot of speculation through the years regarding the identity of ‘œDeep Throat’, the anonymous source who led two young WaPo reporters to the story of Watergate. Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein had long maintained that they would not reveal the identity until the source died – but today, Vanity Fair reports that Mark Felt, who was second-in-command at the FBI during the Nixon administration, has come forward.

Update, 11:59PM: Will Bunch has a thought provoking analysis of Deep Throat at Attytood. Well worth the read from a reporter’™s perspective.

Tuesday, May 31st, 2005 by Richard Blair |

Pope Benedict: Blogger

He’™s right here on the web, blogging his little heart away about normal stuff, a true web log of his life. Read about the herbal masque he puts on his face at night, and the auction of his former car. It’™s as exciting a blog as, well, as exciting as can be [...]

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

He’™s right here on the web, blogging his little heart away about normal stuff, a true web log of his life. Read about the herbal masque he puts on his face at night, and the auction of his former car. It’™s as exciting a blog as, well, as exciting as can be from a guy who is celibate. I particularly like his entries about the Vatican Fitness Club and about his book deal. Seems his elevation in station is really helping the old bank account.

Oddly, the Pope doesn’™t mention his foray into Italian politics today, where he is taking a public stance on a fertility referendum. Perhaps he is being shy, or maybe he doesn’™t want to seem too sex-obsessed, as his Radical Right Wing Christian Clerics here on this side of the pond so clearly are.

Thanks and a hat tip go to Rising Hegemon!

Tuesday, May 31st, 2005 by Richard Blair |
Category: Holy War

Downing Street Memo – A Call to Action, Part 1

No, we’™re not opening a pawnshop at All Spin Zone – at least yet. The brass balls to the left signify that ASZ is a participating blog in the Big Brass Alliance. Over the past few days, a group of progressive blogs, spearheaded by Melissa McEwan at Shakespeare’™s Sister, has banded together to [...]

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No, we’™re not opening a pawnshop at All Spin Zone – at least yet. The brass balls to the left signify that ASZ is a participating blog in the Big Brass Alliance. Over the past few days, a group of progressive blogs, spearheaded by Melissa McEwan at Shakespeare’™s Sister, has banded together to force the Downing Street Memo into the light of day.

The Watergate scandal started life as a third rate burglary, worthy of no more than a couple of sentences in the Washington Post. More than 30 years later, the Downing Street Memo is a stinging indictment (or CYA memo, if you’™d rather) in the form of meeting minutes transcribed by Matthew Rycroft, an aid to UK Foreign Policy Minister David Manning.

These meeting minutes from July 23, 2002 describe a U.S. government that publicly professed a desire for peace up until the day Iraq was pre-emptively invaded in March, 2003, but was privately predisposed to taking the world to war in the early days of the Bush administration. The Downing Street Memo brings into question the possibility of Congressional perjury and intentional international deceit by an administration hell-bent on a confrontation with a sovereign nation that posed no imminent or long term threat to the West.

As ASZ’™s somegirl noted in a posting the other day, Congressman John Conyers is seeking 100,000 virtual signatures on a letter he is forwarding to President Bush, which respectfully requests answers to five questions:

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 to 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 ‘œfix’ the intelligence and facts around the policy as the leaked document states?

The Big Brass Alliance is a concentrated ‘œblogswarm’ by progressive blogs to move the Conyers letter forward. In addition, the Alliance is supporting the efforts of afterdowningstreet.com, which is leading an effort to kick start a congressional inquiry into the assertations of the Downing Street Memo.

Today, all blogs in the Alliance are asking their readers to not only sign the Conyers letter, but to work their own personal and email networks in gathering signatures for the letter. Congressman Conyers set a goal of 100,000 signatures. With your help, it should be easy enough to gather a million or more with a concentrated effort by everyone in the Left Blogzome. If nothing else, such an effort gains tremendous corporate media exposure for a story that the media has largely ignored.

Take a few minutes today and make your voice heard. Every signature matters.

Part 2 later’¦

Tuesday, May 31st, 2005 by Richard Blair |
Category: Iraq

Radical Right Wing Clerics are Sex-Obsessed

Eric, one of our readers, comments in the ASZ BBS Zone with a link to The World According to Bill Fisher. Fisher’™s got a nice little piece where he hunts down what the James Dobsons and Jerry Fallwells of the world are really obsessed with, and it turns out to be sex, of course. [...]

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

Eric, one of our readers, comments in the ASZ BBS Zone with a link to The World According to Bill Fisher. Fisher’™s got a nice little piece where he hunts down what the James Dobsons and Jerry Fallwells of the world are really obsessed with, and it turns out to be sex, of course. What, are they jealous or something?

I like Fisher’™s article bacause it names folks we can turn to with good, if religious, opinions. Yes, the meat of his article is this:

For now, the more relevant questions are: Is this what faith is about? And, if not, where are those people of faith who express alternative views? And why arenï–¿–½t we hearing their voices?

The answer is a list of religious folk who are not sucking up to either the Republicans nor their Radical Right Wing brethren:
(more’¦)

Tuesday, May 31st, 2005 by Richard Blair |
Category: Holy War

Admin: BBS Zone Open for Business

You might have noticed a new link on the top menu – the BBS Zone – which is now open for business and your postings.

One of the reasons for transitioning to the new All Spin Zone home was to enhance the interactivity of the community. I considered several options, such as diaries [...]

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You might have noticed a new link on the top menu – the BBS Zone – which is now open for business and your postings.

One of the reasons for transitioning to the new All Spin Zone home was to enhance the interactivity of the community. I considered several options, such as diaries / sub-blogs for ASZ members (ala dKos, MyDD, etc.), and ended up deciding that the diary model was not the easiest way to give members the ability to post their own thoughts on topics of their choosing.

Over the past month, I’™ve been putting together a BBS system using phpBB, and it’™s finally come fully together in the last few days. The ASZ writers will still be posting primarily on the ASZ Blog, but the addition of the BBS gives all of us a lot of flexibility that we didn’™t have previously.

So, take the BBS Zone for a spin – it’™s a great way to post your own articles and thoughts, and share interactive discussions with other ZoneBots on topics of interest to you. Please note that you have to create a new registration at the BBS Zone to participate – your ASZ Blog membership does not carry over to the BBS Zone.

Above all, enjoy the new toy!

Monday, May 30th, 2005 by Richard Blair |
Category: Admin
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