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The blogosphere has been jumping around the story like crazy but it seems the mainstream media are doing their best to ignore it. Yet it's been branded the most extensive case of governing-level conspiracy plotting in ages. CNN spent very limited time on it and that's also a pretty accurate indicator of the attention most other media outlets have devoted to it so far. Even though some 88 members of Congress openly inquired about it and a few other US opionion leaders spoke out against it. But that was it more or less. What was? A recently leaked internal UK government memo dated July 2002, that was so secret extra copies could not be made, not even for internal use.
What was in the document? The memo, obtained by journalists at the Times of London was headed: "SECRET AND STRICTLY PERSONAL - UK EYES ONLY". The text that follows provides conclusive evidence confirming almost all the claims by anti-war protesters. However, it seems that since the official inquiries in the US and the UK are long finalized, officialdom does not really seem all too perturbed by the document's contents, heavily publicized mainly in the alternative media.
The limited impact of the secret memo on the public debate is certainly deplorable, but it does not make the revelations any less valid. It reveals just how ill informed and how overly stage managed by the US administation the UK government really was before 'deciding' to go to war against Iraq. The most shocking part is that the UK decision makers were treating the matter of going to war as pretty much a decided fact, even if amongst themselves they were hardly agreed on the matter. Prime Minister Blair in the transcribed discussion even professed he had no clue as to whether a ground war would be legal at all.
This is a summary of the minutes of the meeting, drawn up from the document by Congressman John Conyers, and signed by 88 other congress members who demand answers about the pre-war deal between Great Britain and the United States as well as unassailable corroboration that pre-war intelligence was intentionally manipulated.
- British officials offered an assessment of the case for war as "thin." The British Foreign Secretary at the time also stated that "Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran."
- The Foreign Secretary indicated a plan was being hatched with Bush Administration officials to create justifications to go to war, where no legal basis currently existed. The United States and Great Britain "should work up a plan for an ultimatum to Saddam to allow back in the UN weapons inspectors. This would also help with the legal justification for the use of force."
- British officials indicated that Bush administration officials had already decided to go to war in the summer of 2002 despite contemporaneous, and apparently false, statements by Bush Administration officials that the President had not yet made such statement. One official stated that "[m]ilitary action was now seen as inevitable" and the British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw indicated that "Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided." Yet, in August of 2002, within a month of this meeting, the President claimed he was still willing to "look at all options" and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld flatly stated that "[t]he president has made no such determination that we should go to war with Iraq." (NYT, 8/22/02).
- A high ranking British official acknowledged the deliberate manipulation of intelligence, indicating that, while the President "wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD," "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."
- The same official warned that the Bush Administration had no plan for post-war Iraq, stating that "[t]here was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action."
Congressman Conyers issued the following statement: "These allegations strike at the heart of our democracy and present the most troubling constitutional questions. Did the Administration lie to the American people about its intentions with respect to Iraq? Did the Administration engineer a confrontation with Saddam Hussein to justify the war? Did the Administration deliberately manipulate intelligence to deceive the American people about the strength of its case for war?" "These allegations ‚ that the Bush Administration had already decided to go to war with Iraq, during a time when it was publicly stating that it had not -- echo allegations by former Bush Administration officials, Paul O'Neill and Richard Clarke. When these officials brought these allegations forward they were slandered by Administration officials as lacking credibility. The source of these allegations ‚ the British government itself ‚ cannot be similarly assailed."
So far, the going's tough for the people who want to see their anti war arguments validated at long last by official documents many say they had a hunch about anyway. A blogger vervently following the situation in the US media is Robert Rouse who writes under the blog name http://Alittleleftofcentrist.blogspot.com and who reports even though the issue has been picked a little more each day, some mainstream media have yet to even comment on the issue, including CBS, ABC & Fox. "Maybe CBS is still gun shy after Rathergate. Disney still runs ABC, and Fox . . . well, we know Fox would defend Bush if he was caught in a human slaughterhouse wearing a butcher's apron and holding a machete in one hand and the head of Alfredo Garcia (my apologies to the late Sam Peckinpah) in the other", he writes.
The US congressman that actually did muster up the support for the official questions around the subject, writes that even though his action might come across as conspiracy theory-inspired, this is precisely defining the phenomenon. What's more, he says, is that this is one of history's most open conspiracies. "Why else would all the networks be ignoring this story? There is no way all the TV news organizations would ignore this story. Their silence is deafening. Surely they know about it. If this same thing had happened during the Clinton years, everyone would be all over it. Lying about an affair, so your wife doesn't find out, can almost get you impeached. Plotting with another foreign government to overthrow a regime you don't like, by means of "fixing" intelligence and facts around policy, will simply be ignored," he says.
It might also be likely that the story would have been way bigger, had a US newspaper made the discovery. US government officials have hardly commented either. Earlier this week, White House press secretary Scott McClellan refuted allegations a conspiracy had existed. He insisted the process leading up to the decision to go to war had been "very public" -- and that the decision to invade in March 2003 was taken only after Iraq refused to comply with its "international obligations."
Angelique van Engelen is a freelance writer for http://www.contentClix.com. She resides in the Netherlands and reports on international politics, writes research reports, web content, sales copy and arts features. You can contact her on
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