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Downing Street Memos Explained in Plain English

Carmen Yarrusso, Bellaciao

June 27, 2005

The Bush and Blair administrations have dismissed the leaked British memos (including the so-called Downing Street Memo) that provide details of what top British officials believed about the case for war in the months leading up to the Iraq invasion. Both administrations have characterized the memos as "nothing new" or "old news".

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Why primary-source evidence

1) They document beliefs of people working closely with Bush’s top war planners, with access to privileged US information, who were in a prime position to know the truth about the case for war.

2) They are secret internal documents intended for top British government eyes only, thus there is no reason for the players to be anything but candid with each other in the views expressed in these memos.

3) They are primary-source documentary evidence illuminating what top British officials, including Tony Blair, believed about the case for war in the months leading up to the invasion.

Why big news

It is now possible to accurately compare what top British officials believed about the case for war months before the invasion and what US and UK citizens were being told at the same time by Bush and Blair.

What is new, significant, and very incriminating for Bush and Blair is this: the memos conclusively document (many months before the invasion) that top British officials’ beliefs about the case for war were FUNDAMENTALLY DIFFERENT than the case being stressed and sold by Bush, Blair and mainstream media at the time.

Comparing the memos with what Bush and Blair were telling the public at the time provides strong primary-source evidence that the two men purposely and systematically deceived the American and British people in their case for war.

Why evidence of deceit by Bush and Blair

The memos prove people with intimate inside knowledge of US and British war plans believed:

1) The case for war was thin.

2) Bush and Blair had already decided to go to war and even had a rough timetable.

3) Bush and Blair had de facto started the war illegally with "spikes of activity" (doubled Iraq bombing) to provoke Saddam.

4) The British intelligence head (after just meeting with CIA head, George Tenet) believed war was inevitable and the US was shaping intelligence around policy instead of the other way around. The public was being told the opposite.

5) Getting UN weapons inspectors back into Iraq was a tactic to provoke war, not prevent war. Blair himself said: "it would make a big difference politically and legally if Saddam refused to allow in the inspectors".

6) Getting UN inspectors back was not to avoid war, as Bush repeatedly assured Americans, but to make war possible and "legal".

What the US war-planning partners believed about the case for war was clearly not the same case being sold by Bush and Blair. Ordinary citizens were being told Iraq definitely had WMD, only 45 minutes away, and we even knew where they were. While top British war planners were afraid Saddam might welcome UN inspectors and ruin their "legal" case for war, Bush and Blair were making their case for war with tales of mushroom clouds, mobile labs, aluminum tubes, and tiny imaginary vials of deadly poison.

We now know the case for war sold to the public by Bush and Blair was false. There were no WMD. With the memos, we now know the US war-planning partners (with intimate inside knowledge of US plans) had serious doubts about the alleged case for war and tried hard to contrive a legal case. Perhaps what’s most significant about the memos is they corroborate evidence presented before the war (glossed over by mainstream media) showing Bush and Blair were deliberately distorting and exaggerating their case and rushing to war.

With the New York Times and the Washington Post confessing complicity in selling the war on very thin evidence, it is beyond shameful they and other mainstream media are not demanding answers to primary-source evidence showing US and UK citizens were lied to about the case for war. But then, the memos are just more proof of media complicity, negligence, and lack of skepticism before the war, so it’s not surprising they get scant coverage.

As the bloody quagmire worsens in Iraq with no end to the carnage in sight, will our mainstream media find their lost ethics or continue to jeopardize democracy and fail us yet again?

Carmen Yarrusso

- yarrusso@charter.net




:: Article nr. 13088 sent on 27-jun-2005 09:36 ECT

www.uruknet.info?p=13088

Link: bellaciao.org/en/article.php3?id_article=6662



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