Downing Street Minutes Hearing Thursday
A Million Signatures to be Delivered to the White House
CONGRESSMAN JOHN CONYERS / San Francisco Bay View v.30, n.23 15jun2005
I wanted to give you a brief update about the Downing Street Minutes activism we have been working on together, and to let you know that I am calling hearings on this issue.
When we began, it was just a few of us talking to each other about the troubling information in the DSM. The media is now covering the minutes, not in the sustained and thorough way that is needed, but it is a start.
Thanks to you, many Americans who had no idea what we were talking about at the beginning of May have now heard about the DSM. The significance of the president of the United States and prime minister of Great Britain being asked about this matter in a joint press conference cannot be overstated. It is a testament to your perseverance.
As some of you may have heard, many, many new organizations have joined us in our efforts or are about to join us in our efforts. Prominently, Moveon.org is collecting signatures for the letter. As of Friday morning, June 10, we topped a combined 500,000. At the end of May that number was zero. From zero to 500,000 in less than two weeks. Just think about that. (A million signatures are expected by Thursday.)
A question often asked goes something like this: why am I signing this letter? The question is a legitimate one, as you are often asked to sign petitions or letters, and then there is no follow up.
Here is the answer: on Thursday, June 16, I will be holding a hearing with my Democratic colleagues to begin to hear evidence about the DSM. We will have a number of witnesses, including Joe Wilson, a WMD (weapons of mass destruction) expert and former ambassador; Ray McGovern, a 27-year CIA analyst; Cindy Sheehan, whose son was killed in Iraq; and John Bonifaz, a renowned constitutional attorney.
At the conclusion of the hearing, we will go to Lafayette Park and I will personally deliver your signatures to the White House.
This hearing is just one step in an investigation that I am commencing that will literally span the Atlantic. I am in touch with British officials and former U.S. intelligence officials, and I am determined to get to the truth.
At the hearing, I will disclose information found to date, which includes the public release of newly discovered documents. While none of these documents are as damning as the DSM, they nonetheless bolster the accuracy of it.
There is another point that has been missed of late. An article I read a week ago, I can’t remember where, quoted a right wing blogger as proclaiming this a dead issue and further stating that this was a test of the progressive netroots. Implicit was his contention that we were failing that test.
A week later, the president was forced to respond (inadequately) to a question about the Downing Street Minutes. We have passed the test.
Thanks again for your help and support. This is just the beginning.
Letter to President Bush Concerning
the "Downing Street Minutes"
[Be sure to sign on to this letter by visiting Conyer's website]
The Honorable George W. Bush
President of the United States of America
1600 Pennsylvania Ave, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20005
Dear Mr. President:
We the undersigned write because of our concern regarding recent disclosures of a Downing Street Memo in the London Times, comprising the minutes of a meeting of Prime Minister Tony Blair and his top advisers. These minutes indicate that the United States and Great Britain agreed, by the summer of 2002, to attack Iraq, well before the invasion and before you even sought Congressional authority to engage in military action, and that U.S. officials were deliberately manipulating intelligence to justify the war.
Among other things, the British government document quotes a high-ranking British official as stating that by July, 2002, Bush had made up his mind to take military action. Yet, a month later, you stated you were still willing to "look at all options" and that there was "no timetable" for war. Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, flatly stated that "[t]he president has made no such determination that we should go to war with Iraq."
In addition, the origins of the false contention that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction remain a serious and lingering question about the lead up to the war. There is an ongoing debate about whether this was the result of a "massive intelligence failure," in other words a mistake, or the result of intentional and deliberate manipulation of intelligence to justify the case for war. The memo appears to resolve that debate as well, quoting the head of British intelligence as indicating that in the United States "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."
As a result of these concerns, we would ask that you respond to the following
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 "fix" the intelligence and facts around the policy as the leaked document states?
These are the same questions 89 Members of Congress, led by Rep. John Conyers, Jr., submitted to you on May 5, 2005. As citizens and taxpayers, we believe it is imperative that our people be able to trust our government and our commander in chief when you make representations and statements regarding our nation engaging in war. As a result, we would ask that you publicly respond to these questions as promptly as possible.
Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.
Maxine Waters Rocks Rainbow Push Convention,
Denounces Bush Lies on War
Congresswoman and House Judiciary Committee member Maxine Waters, D-Calif., shook up the Rainbow Push Coalition’s 34th annual convention in Chicago Sunday, winning huge standing ovations for a speech denouncing President Bush for lying about the war. Waters announced that she and other members of the Congressional Black Caucus plan to inform the House Democratic leadership that they will introduce amendments on the issue of the war EVERY DAY from now on.
Waters told the crowd that Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean had received attention for criticizing the Republican Party in recent days, but that “he did not say enough.”
“Bush is a liar,” Waters said, according to an observer who phoned AfterDowningStreet.org. “He lied about weapons of mass destruction, and he lied about the war.”
Waters called Vice President Dick Cheney “a thief” and said that he was stealing for Halliburton.
And Waters said that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will “go anywhere and say anything they tell her to say, and have the audacity to do it with a smile.”
... after which the applause grew too loud for our observer to hear the congresswoman’s remarks.
source: http://www.sfbayview.com/061505/downingstreet061505.shtml 19jun2005