StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-111583350116593.jpg’, ‘Photo courtesy of www.whitehouse.gov’, ‘President George W. Bush appears with British Prime Minister Tony Blair at a press conference at Crawford High School in Crawford, Texas, on April 6, 2002.’);
The smoking gun has turned up, right in the midst of the British election. It is a secret memo that was published by the Times of London after the paper discovered it last week.
The highly classified memo, which was leaked to the newspaper, indicates that President George W. Bush had decided to overthrow Saddam Hussein by the summer of 2002 and was determined that U.S. intelligence would support his plan.
The memo summarizes a meeting on July 23, 2002, between British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his top security advisers in which there was a report on the visit to Washington by the head of Britains MI-6 intelligence service. The visit took place while Bush was telling the American public he had made no decision on going to war with Iraq.
The MI-6 chief told the other officials: 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.
The memo further stated …the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. This was eight months before we invaded Iraq. This is a clear statement that our intelligence was being politicized to serve neocon ideology.
This communication further describes an elaborate plan by Bush and Blair to mislead the non-Arab nations into backing an attack on Iraq while knowing all the while that the evidence for war was phony.
More from this memo: Bush had made up his mind to take military action. But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbors, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran.
But Dubya told us: Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised.
About a month ago, the Silberman-Robb Commission released its report on WMD intelligence before the war, dismissing allegations that Bush cooked the intelligence data in a condescending conclusion drafted for the president. It said: After a thorough review, the commission found no indication that the Intelligence Community distorted the evidence regarding Iraqs weapons.
We now know that the report was 618 pages of thick-sliced baloney designed to let Bush off the hook. The memo then says the invasion build-up was set, starting 30 days before the U.S. congressional elections.
Whats that? You say you didnt hear about any of this? Thats because the U.S. national media said little or nothing about it. Surprise, surprise! The New York Times treated the whole matter as just some British election story, barely worthy of noting.
We all knowor most of usthat no WMD were found anywhere in Iraq, and none have turned up to this day. What has happened is that nearly 1,600 young Americans are dead and hundreds more wounded because of that lie, not to mention the 100,000 or more Iraqis who lost their lives.
The Bush administration has repeatedly denied manipulating intelligence data to justify invading Iraq. The charge has been leveled by several top foreign officials and more than a couple of U.S. whistleblowers, such as Sibel Edmonds. The White House has pointed to the Commission study mentioned above and to the report of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which was no more valid than the Commission report.
Blame for the Iraq debacle was dumped on the CIA instead. The agency has been gutted and many of its functions taken over by Donald Rumsfelds Department of Defense.
The British government has had no comment about the memo, one way or the other. A former senior U.S. official said the memo was an absolutely accurate description of what transpired during the British intelligence officers Washington visit. The official asked to remain anonymous.
A White House official said the administration would not comment on the memo. In July 2002 and well beyond, top Bush administration foreign policy officials were insistent that there are no plans to attack Iraq on the presidents desk. They likely would say much the same thing in response to queries about plans to attack Iran. British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, a close friend of Colin Powell, said at the time that Bush had made up his mind to take military action.
Although the Labour Party won the recent elections, the memo, it is believed in Britain, has effectively torpedoed Tony Blairs political career, according to investigative journalist Greg Palast, who works in Britain for the BBC and The Observer. Palast said political observers expect Blair will be dumped from the government and the Labour Party within a matter of weeks or months. Only a vote of the partys members is needed to get the job done.
In this country, Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., who is the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, is circulating a letter among congressional Democrats calling on Bush to explain the charges in the memo.
The most damning testimony about fixing intelligence around the policy was delivered by Air Force Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski, who worked in the office of Douglas Feith, who is Undersecretary for Policy. She worked specifically with a highly secret operation known as the Office of Special Plans.
Kwiatkowski stated: From May 2002 until February 2003, I observed firsthand the formation of the Pentagons Office of Special Plans and watched the latter stages of the neoconservative capture of the policy-intelligence nexus in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq.
She added: I saw a narrow and deeply flawed policy, favored by some executive appointees in the Pentagon, used to manipulate and pressurize the traditional relationship between policymakers in the Pentagon and U.S. intelligence agencies. I witnessed neoconservative agenda bearers within OSP usurp measured and carefully considered assessments, and through suppression and distortion of intelligence analysis, promulgate what were in fact, falsehoods to both Congress and the executive office of the president.
These people like Kwiatkowski were treated by the White House as liars, looneys, orhorrorsDemocrats!
A great American president said: Allow the president to invade a neighboring nation, whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion, and you allow him to do so whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such a purposeand you allow him to make war at pleasure. That president was Illinois own Abraham Lincoln.
Columnist William Rivers Pitt said: We need two exit strategies: one to get our forces out of that country (Iraq) as soon as humanly possible, and the other to get George W. Bush out of the White House and into a cellblock in The Hague. Save a bunk for Mr. Blair, too. Criminals belong in prison.
Sources: commondreams.org, buzzflash.com, informationclearing house.com
From the May 11-17, 2005 issue