Downing Street Memos – the silence is deafening by William Bowles

13 June 2005

“The intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy’’ – Downing Street Memo, 23 July 2002

The Washington Post this morning is still at it. They quote that sentence, and they say, “Well, this is vague, but intriguing.” Well, there’s nothing vague about that at all, and it’s not at all intriguing. It’s highly depressing. Now, we veteran professionals, we professionals that toil long and hard in the intelligence arena are outraged at the corruption of our profession, but we are even more outraged by the constitutional implications here because as Congressman Conyers has just pointed out, we have here a very clear case that the Executive usurped the prerogatives of Congress of the American people and deceived it into permitting, authorizing an unauthorizeable war. – Ray McGovern, 27-year career analyst with the CIA and co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.

As the memos pour forth from who knows where (somebody on the inside is obviously very pissed off with the actions of the Blair government), aside from the two articles in the Sunday Times, as far as I’ve been able to ascertain not a single mainstream media outlet in the UK has picked up on what is now known as DSM or the Downing Street Memos.

Of course it’s not too difficult to figure out why; the story is dynamite! Across the pond it’s quite a different story with the pressure growing for a Congressional Committee of inquiry (see the John Conyers story) and an petition signed by an amazing 500,000+ that calls for an investigation. But in the UK it’s hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil.

Predictably, the corporate press pours scorn on those who demand answers either through derisory comments or accusations of “conspiracy” (see the FAIR story).

A Google search using the phrase ‘Downing Street Memo’ yielded 154,000 ‘hits’ yet only the tiniest fraction are stories in the corporate media eg:

Why has ‘Downing Street memo’ story been a ‘dud’ in US … – 13 Jun 2005

The Downing Street Memo Story Won’t Die
More than a month after its publication, the so-called Downing Street Memo remains among the top 10 most viewed articles on The Times of London site.

‘Downing Street memo’ gets fresh attention. By Mark Memmott USA TODAY. A simmering controversy over whether American media have ignored a secret British …
– 13 Jun 2005

Excerpts of the Downing Street memo – The Boston Globe – Boston … Matthew Rycroft, a top foreign policy aide to Prime Minister Tony Blair, wrote the memo, which is dated July 23, 2002, based on notes he took during a …
– 13 Jun 2005

I searched through several hundred of the hits retrieved by Google and not a single one originated with either a UK corporate or state media outlet.

Clearly, the corporate/state media are deliberately ignoring the story or, where they do actually deal with it, focusing in on why the story is a ‘dud’ or the musings of mad people. Typically, the pundits are quick to tell us that there’s ‘nothing new’ contained in the memos, it’s not ‘news’.

“Developing a paranoid theory and promoting it to the very edge of national respectability takes ideological self-confidence.”
Michael Kinsley, Los Angeles Times, June 12 2005

There are two aspects to this; firstly, by ignoring it, they hope it’ll just go away and second, by relegating the ‘DSMers’ to the loony bin they hope to hide the reality of two lying governments from the public.

This is not merely a press that is “slow” to catch on but a press that is complicit in a cover-up that has extended for the past three years. For, even if, as the Washington Post and other corporate media voices contend, this ain’t new then what is their excuse for ignoring it for three years?

Time to indict our leaders for crimes against humanity!

13 June 2005

Tony BlairIraq ‘Memogate’ reveals that the invasion was planned as long ago as April 2002, all that was needed was an EXCUSE

If nothing else, the utter disregard for the lives of the Iraqi people who have, since 1990 suffered at least 1 million deaths at the hands of the ‘coalition of the killing’, surely tells us everything we need to know about the nature of our so-called civilisation. Our darker-skinned brothers and sisters count for nothing in the scheme of things; the scale of the atrocity barely gets a mention in the mainstream media, and if it does, it’s always preceded by ‘our’ casualties.

But bit by bit, the real story behind the invasion and occupation of Iraq is becoming evident even to the most skeptical amongst us. One by one, ‘memos’ of one kind or another are being uncovered that expose the thinking and the sheer hypocrisy and cynicism of our alleged leaders and the complicity of the political class’s managers.

What is missing however, is any analysis of why, aside that is, from the utterly false claims made by the likes of Blair and Bush that it was for “humanitarian” reasons, because if it was, then why the lies, why the litany of lies about the reasons? If, as they claim, it was their ‘concern’ for ‘ordinary’ Iraqis, then surely this should have been the reason from the getgo? Yet the butchery of the preceding decade already reveals the bankruptcy of the argument and, more to the point, that the complicity of the media in selling the lies, precedes the farce surrounding the UN path to war.

The latest ‘memos’ reveal in excruciating detail the nature of the thinking behind the decision to invade. Central was the need for an excuse! So much for the ‘humanitarian’ concerns of the these rapacious, latter-day pirates of the 21st century! The cynicism is sickening as these mandarins of empire plotted and schemed to deceive, knowing full well that without the web of deceit, even our ill-informed public would not buy it and indeed in spite of a vast propaganda campaign that demonised their former strategic ‘asset’, Saddam Hussein, millions still didn’t.

But in spite of the overwhelming evidence that the decision to invade was taken at least as early June 2002 (and as we know now, in April 2002), aside from the two stories by Michael Smith in the Sunday Times, not a single mainstream media outlet has followed up with what is surely the most important story of our times.

I scanned the BBC’s headlines this am, hoping against hope that at least there would be a reference to the Sunday Times story of the 12/6/05 but of course there was nada, zilch, a great, big empty space. Ditto for the Guardian, the Independent, Reuters, and so it goes…

Is it not time also to call for the indictment of the state and corporate media for criminal negligence, especially the BBC, charged as it is by an Act of Parliament to serve the public interest, an interest it has singularly failed to carry out (aside that is, from the single bleat by Andrew Gilligan last year that resulted in ‘regime change’ at the top of the BBC’s management for allowing the ‘revelation’ to escape into the public domain).

The devil lives in the details
The latest secret (no longer) Cabinet memo, dated July 21, 2002 that has broken the surface of the (no longer) calm waters of the imperium’s plans for the planet contains amongst many, the following illuminating observations:

(4) Note the potentially long lead times involved in equipping UK Armed Forces to undertake operations in the Iraqi theatre and agree that the MOD should bring forward proposals for the procurement of Urgent Operational Requirements under cover of the lessons learned from Afghanistan and the outcome of SR2002.

Note the use of the phrase “under cover”. The memo continues:

1. The US Government’s military planning for action against Iraq is proceeding apace. But, as yet, it lacks a political framework. In particular, little thought has been given to creating the political conditions for military action, or the aftermath and how to shape it.

In other words, the British government has no basic problem with an invasion, merely that it has not been planned properly. It continues:

2. When the Prime Minister discussed Iraq with President Bush at Crawford in April he said that the UK would support military action to bring about regime change, provided that certain conditions were met: efforts had been made to construct a coalition/shape public opinion, the Israel-Palestine Crisis was quiescent, and the options for action to eliminate Iraq’s WMD through the UN weapons inspectors had been exhausted. [my emph. WB]

What is clear from this memo is that the issue of an invasion was not in dispute but whether the UK could firstly, mount a force within the agreed timescale (either November 2002 or January 2003) and second, that whether or not the UK took part in the invasion, it would require the use of British bases on Cyprus and Diego Garcia, that without a guarantee of the legality of the invasion, the UK could be open to prosecution through its contravention of international agreements on the illegal use of force.

Or, as point 10 puts it:

10. Aside from the existence of a viable military plan we consider the following conditions necessary for military action and UK participation: justification/legal base; an international coalition; a quiescent Israel/Palestine; a positive risk/benefit assessment; and the preparation of domestic opinion. [my emph . WB]

Point 11 further reinforces the problem the USUK have:

Regime change per se is not a proper basis for military action under international law. [my emph. WB]

And in another very revealing remark we learn that:

In practice, much of the international community would find it difficult to stand in the way of the determined course of the US hegemon.

Under the heading of ‘Domestic Opinion’, we learn that:

20. Time will be required to prepare public opinion in the UK that it is necessary to take military action against Saddam Hussein. There would also need to be a substantial effort to secure the support of Parliament. An information campaign will be needed which has to be closely related to an overseas information campaign designed to influence Saddam Hussein, the Islamic World and the wider international community. This will need to give full coverage to the threat posed by Saddam Hussein, including his WMD, and the legal justification for action. [my emph.]

The final nail in the coffin
The piece by Michael Smith in the Sunday Times (12/6/05) sums up the situation where he tells us:

The briefing paper is certain to add to the pressure, particularly on the American president, because of the damaging revelation that Bush and Blair agreed on regime change in April 2002 and then looked for a way to justify it.

There has been a growing storm of protest in America, created by last month’s publication of the minutes in The Sunday Times. A host of citizens, including many internet bloggers, have demanded to know why the Downing Street memo (often shortened to “the DSM” on websites) has been largely ignored by the US mainstream media. [my emph. WB]

He might have added that it has also been ignored by the British mainstream media. The wealth of evidence then, is overwhelming, not only the direct evidence pointing to the decision to invade but also the supporting actions of the Bush regime and the Blair government that attempted to justify the invasion. Anybody and anything that got in the way of the US decision to invade was either removed (eg see the Bustani story) or simply brushed aside.

What is also clear is the complicity of the media in building the war hysteria, either through ignoring the evidence and simply not reporting it or more insidiously, total complicity in Bush’s invasion plans in the way the media carried the ‘news’.

Depressingly, even elements in the ‘progressive’ media seems to go along with the notion that the mainstream press were ‘slow’ to raise the issues of the phony rationale for the invasion.

For example, ran a story ‘President Bush, With the Candlestick…’ By Robert Parry, June 7, 2005

Many of the clues have been apparent for three years – and some were reported in outlets such as our own in real time – but only recently have new revelations clarified this obvious reality for the slow-witted mainstream U.S. news media.

‘Slow-witted’? Only recently? What is so insidious about mainstream reporting of the background to the invasion is the fact that snippets that questioned the justification were published, but, and this is critical, were never given the exposure they deserved. The references came and went, the media had ‘done its job’ and ‘reported’. Finis, their ‘mandate’ has been carried out.

As I reported in the previous story, the BBC still has yet to follow up on its original whitewash of the events leading up to the war. We wait with baited breath to see how it will respond (if at all) to the latest exposés and indeed, whether or not the rest of the corporate press will demand to know why we have been lied to for over three years.

For one thing is abundantly clear, every single excuse mounted by both Bush and Blair in their pursuit of war resulted from the single fact that the decision to invade was illegal, let alone immoral and unjustified.

Will we now see the state and corporate media demand that our leaders be held accountable, preferably in a court of law, which is where Bush, Blair and their cohorts rightfully belong, charged with crimes against humanity.

Additional links on ‘Memogate’

The Downing Street Memo Reconsidered by David Corn 11/6/05

DOWNING STREET DOCUMENTS — Ten Briefcases Full by Grace Reid 12/6/05

Cabinet Office paper: Conditions for military action 12/6/05

Leaked Cabinet Office paper: Conditions for military action

Agree to engage the US on the need to set military plans within a realistic political strategy, which includes identifying the succession to Saddam Hussein and creating the conditions necessary to justify government military action.

Memo: U.S. Lacked Full Postwar Iraq Plan:
A briefing paper prepared for British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his top advisers eight months before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq concluded that the U.S. military was not preparing adequately for what the British memo predicted would be a “protracted and costly” postwar occupation of that country.

About the Downing Street Memo…:
US Media Shamed by Brit Journalist

Ministers were told of need for Gulf
war ‘excuse’ by Michael Smith 12/6/05

Memogate Background – Bolton Said to
Orchestrate Unlawful Firing By Charles J. Hanley 4/6/05

The Real Memogate By Solomon Hughes 2/6/05

Brits and Yanks Unite to Demand Answers to Downing Street Minutes 11/6/05

President Bush, With the Candlestick… By Robert Parry 7/6/05

Memogate Hearings Scheduled for June 16 6/6/05

$1000 Reward For Getting Bush to Answer Downing Street Minutes 7/6/05

Saturday 11th June 2005
The Downing Street Memo Reveals Blood on the Hands of Our Complicit Corporate Media…and the Hijacking of Our Collective Fear by Anthony Wade

Saturday 11th June 2005
Bush and ’The Memo’

Friday 10th June 2005
Downing Street Memo proves invasion wasn’t ’last resort’: Impeach Bush Now!

Bush lied about war? Nope, no news there!
” This is where all the work conservatives and the administration have done in terms of bullying the press, making it less willing to write confrontational pieces — this is where it’s paid off.” Salon, June 9, 2005 By Eric Boehlert

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