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The "Downing Street Memo"



The secret Downing Street memo
The Times of London


SECRET AND STRICTLY PERSONAL - UK EYES ONLY

DAVID MANNING
From: Matthew Rycroft
Date: 23 July 2002
S 195 /02

cc: Defence Secretary, Foreign Secretary, Attorney-General, Sir Richard Wilson, John Scarlett, Francis Richards, CDS, C, Jonathan Powell, Sally Morgan, Alastair Campbell

IRAQ: PRIME MINISTER'S MEETING, 23 JULY

Copy addressees and you met the Prime Minister on 23 July to discuss Iraq.

This record is extremely sensitive. No further copies should be made. It should be shown only to those with a genuine need to know its contents.

John Scarlett summarised the intelligence and latest JIC assessment. Saddam's regime was tough and based on extreme fear. The only way to overthrow it was likely to be by massive military action. Saddam was worried and expected an attack, probably by air and land, but he was not convinced that it would be immediate or overwhelming. His regime expected their neighbours to line up with the US. Saddam knew that regular army morale was poor. Real support for Saddam among the public was probably narrowly based.

C reported on his recent talks in Washington. 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. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.

CDS said that military planners would brief CENTCOM on 1-2 August, Rumsfeld on 3 August and Bush on 4 August.

The two broad US options were:

(a) Generated Start. A slow build-up of 250,000 US troops, a short (72 hour) air campaign, then a move up to Baghdad from the south. Lead time of 90 days (30 days preparation plus 60 days deployment to Kuwait).

(b) Running Start. Use forces already in theatre (3 x 6,000), continuous air campaign, initiated by an Iraqi casus belli. Total lead time of 60 days with the air campaign beginning even earlier. A hazardous option.

The US saw the UK (and Kuwait) as essential, with basing in Diego Garcia and Cyprus critical for either option. Turkey and other Gulf states were also important, but less vital. The three main options for UK involvement were:

(i) Basing in Diego Garcia and Cyprus, plus three SF squadrons.


(ii) As above, with maritime and air assets in addition.

(iii) As above, plus a land contribution of up to 40,000, perhaps with a discrete role in Northern Iraq entering from Turkey, tying down two Iraqi divisions.



The Defence Secretary said that the US had already begun "spikes of activity" to put pressure on the regime. No decisions had been taken, but he thought the most likely timing in US minds for military action to begin was January, with the timeline beginning 30 days before the US Congressional elections.

The Foreign Secretary said he would discuss this with Colin Powell this week. It seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided. But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran. We 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.

The Attorney-General said that the desire for regime change was not a legal base for military action. There were three possible legal bases: self-defence, humanitarian intervention, or UNSC authorisation. The first and second could not be the base in this case. Relying on UNSCR 1205 of three years ago would be difficult. The situation might of course change.


The Prime Minister said that it would make a big difference politically and legally if Saddam refused to allow in the UN inspectors. Regime change and WMD were linked in the sense that it was the regime that was producing the WMD. There were different strategies for dealing with Libya and Iran. If the political context were right, people would support regime change. The two key issues were whether the military plan worked and whether we had the political strategy to give the military plan the space to work.

On the first, CDS said that we did not know yet if the US battleplan was workable. The military were continuing to ask lots of questions.

For instance, what were the consequences, if Saddam used WMD on day one, or if Baghdad did not collapse and urban warfighting began? You said that Saddam could also use his WMD on Kuwait. Or on Israel, added the Defence Secretary.

The Foreign Secretary thought the US would not go ahead with a military plan unless convinced that it was a winning strategy. On this, US and UK interests converged. But on the political strategy, there could be US/UK differences. Despite US resistance, we should explore discreetly the ultimatum. Saddam would continue to play hard-ball with the UN.

John Scarlett assessed that Saddam would allow the inspectors back in only when he thought the threat of military action was real.

The Defence Secretary said that if the Prime Minister wanted UK military involvement, he would need to decide this early. He cautioned that many in the US did not think it worth going down the ultimatum route. It would be important for the Prime Minister to set out the political context to Bush.

Conclusions:

(a) We should work on the assumption that the UK would take part in any military action. But we needed a fuller picture of US planning before we could take any firm decisions. CDS should tell the US military that we were considering a range of options.

(b) The Prime Minister would revert on the question of whether funds could be spent in preparation for this operation.

c) CDS would send the Prime Minister full details of the proposed military campaign and possible UK contributions by the end of the week.




(d) The Foreign Secretary would send the Prime Minister the background on the UN inspectors, and discreetly work up the ultimatum to Saddam.

He would also send the Prime Minister advice on the positions of countries in the region especially Turkey, and of the key EU member states.

(e) John Scarlett would send the Prime Minister a full intelligence update.

(f) We must not ignore the legal issues: the Attorney-General would consider legal advice with FCO/MOD legal advisers.

(I have written separately to commission this follow-up work.)


MATTHEW RYCROFT

(Rycroft was a Downing Street foreign policy aide

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

-President Barack Obama, 1st Inaugural address
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-06-2005, 10:52 AM
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RE: The "Downing Street Memo"

Business as usual. Sad when it involves the taking of human life. Good luck with the current congress paying any attention to this. The media would rather talk about Michael Jackson.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-06-2005, 12:57 PM
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RE: The "Downing Street Memo"

yep, this was the song for Saddam:
[1st Verse]
They Told Him you got WMD Around Here
Don't Wanna See Your excuse, You Better Disappear
The Fire's In Their guns And Their Words Are Really smear
So Beat It, Just Beat It

[2nd Verse]
You Better Run, You Better Do What You Can
Do Wanna See Blood, we Be Macho Men
You Wanna Be Tough, Better Do What You Can
So Beat It, But You Wanna Be Bad

[Chorus]
Just Beat It, Beat It, Beat It, Beat It
No One Wants To Be Defeated
Showin' How Funky Strong Is Your Fight
It Doesn't Matter Who's Wrong Or Right
Just Beat It, Beat It
Just Beat It, Beat It
Just Beat It, Beat It
Just Beat It, Beat It

(Sorry Micky. could not resist)
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-06-2005, 04:16 PM
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RE: The "Downing Street Memo"

Quote:
Shabah - 6/6/2005 1:57 PM

yep, this was the song for Saddam:
[1st Verse]
They Told Him you got WMD Around Here
Don't Wanna See Your excuse, You Better Disappear
The Fire's In Their guns And Their Words Are Really smear
So Beat It, Just Beat It

[2nd Verse]
You Better Run, You Better Do What You Can
Do Wanna See Blood, we Be Macho Men
You Wanna Be Tough, Better Do What You Can
So Beat It, But You Wanna Be Bad

[Chorus]
Just Beat It, Beat It, Beat It, Beat It
No One Wants To Be Defeated
Showin' How Funky Strong Is Your Fight
It Doesn't Matter Who's Wrong Or Right
Just Beat It, Beat It
Just Beat It, Beat It
Just Beat It, Beat It
Just Beat It, Beat It

(Sorry Micky. could not resist)
If he were still in power you would have been drawn and quartered for that parody. Lucky you!

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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-07-2005, 12:50 AM Thread Starter
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RE: The "Downing Street Memo"


Russert failed to correct Mehlman's claim that 9-11 Commission, Senate report "totally discredited" Downing Street Memo

www.mediamatters.org

On the June 5 edition of NBC's Meet the Press, moderator Tim Russert questioned but failed to correct Republican National Committee chairman Ken Mehlman's claim that the "findings" of the Downing Street Memo, a secret British intelligence memo suggesting that the Bush administration manipulated intelligence to support its case for war in Iraq, "have been totally discredited by everyone who's looked at it," including the 9-11 Commission and the Senate.

In fact, neither the 9-11 Commission nor the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence addressed the Bush administration's use of pre-war intelligence.

In the same appearance, Russert also failed to correct Mehlman when he made the misleading claim that the Bush administration "is the first administration ever that has funded with federal dollars embryonic stem cell research. In fact, Bush's stem cell policy replaced a less restrictive set of rules issued by the Clinton administration, though those rules had yet to take effect.

When Russert raised the issue of the Downing Street Memo's contention that, in the Bush administration's push for war in Iraq, "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy," Mehlman replied: "Tim, that report has been discredited by everyone else who's looked at it since then. Whether it's the 9-11 Commission, whether it's the Senate, whoever's looked at this has said there was no effort to change the intelligence at all." When Russert noted "I don't believe that the authenticity of this report has been discredited," Mehlman reiterated: "I believe that the findings of the report, the fact that the intelligence was somehow fixed, have been totally discredited by everyone who's looked at it."

The Senate Intelligence committee's report examined the creation of the 2002 National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq, which was the intelligence community's most comprehensive and authoritative statement about Iraq. But the committee decided at the outset not to investigate the Bush administration's use of intelligence, including public statements by administration officials, in the first phase of its investigation.

Though the committee initially planned to conduct the second phase of its investigation following the 2004 election, Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) indicated in March that the committee's investigation into whether the administration misrepresented intelligence judgments in its public statements would be indefinitely postponed, because of administration officials' insistence that "they believed the intelligence, and the intelligence was wrong." "[W]e sort of came to a crossroads, and that is basically on the back burner," Roberts said.

The 9-11 Commission report said even less about the Bush administration's use of intelligence in the run-up to the Iraq war. The 567-page report focuses entirely on issues surrounding the September 11 terrorist attacks, addresses Iraq only in the context of Al Qaeda and September 11, and does not assess the accuracy or honesty of the Bush's public statements about the Iraqi threat.

Other official reports have similarly avoided the question of whether the Bush administration politicized intelligence. The Robb-Silberman commission's report on intelligence regarding weapons of mass destruction noted: "[W]e were not authorized to investigate how policymakers used the intelligence assessments they received from the Intelligence Community." The Duelfer report presented the results of the Iraq Survey Group's hunt for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq following the invasion but did not compare these findings either with Bush's prewar statements to the public or with the prewar assessments of the intelligence community.

The British inquiry into prewar assessments of Iraq's weapons program, known as the Butler report, determined that Bush's 2003 State of the Union address claim that the "British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa" was "well-founded," but did not examine the administration's other uses of intelligence. But despite the report's findings, Bush's statement clearly contradicted the judgments of the U.S. intelligence community: in a statement released in July 2003, then-CIA Director George Tenet said agency officials "differed with the British dossier on the reliability of the uranium reporting."

Beyond the Downing Street Memo, other evidence indicates that the Bush administration misused intelligence. For example, as Media Matters for America has documented, accounts by Bush administration and U.N. intelligence officials and consultants, documented by CBS News, the Associated Press, and Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, indicate that the administration and CIA were aware at the time that much of the information provided in former Secretary of State Colin Powell's February 5, 2003, speech to the United Nations Security Council was suspect.


Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

-President Barack Obama, 1st Inaugural address
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-07-2005, 12:59 AM Thread Starter
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RE: The "Downing Street Memo"

Wow, Arianna gets down and dirty on her blog:

Arianna Huffington

The Russert Watch: Ken Mehlman Gets the E-ZPass Treatment


As expected, the latest edition of Meet the Press, featuring RNC chair Ken Mehlman, was another classic example of why host Tim Russert is fast becoming journalism’s answer to the “E-ZPass,� those electronic tags that allow drivers to go through toll booths without having to stop. On the show today, Mehlman was allowed to distort, twist, manipulate, obfuscate and "disassemble" his way through every stop on the disinformation highway.

The key to the E-ZPass method, as HuffPost reader Paul Harry points out, is no follow-ups -- or lame follow-ups quickly abandoned. And Mehlman is a master at dealing with those. His technique? Just repeat or slightly rephrase his talking point, and trust that Russert will give up, wave him on, and proceed to the next prepared question.

To see a master in action, let’s go to the transcript:

Early in the interview, Russert asks Mehlman whether "the president has hit a wall with his domestic agenda… What's the problem?"

The RNC chair dances around the question so deftly his moves should be taught at Arthur Murray: "Tim, I don't think there's a problem," he responds, and then promptly changes the subject to Ronald Reagan before closing with an RNC commercial:

"Before we provided prescription drugs for Medicare, we were told it wasn’t going to happen. Before the president was able to move forward with No Child Left Behind, we were told it was stalled. We just passed class-action reform for the first time in six years and that, too, was predicted not to happen."

If Russert were doing his job, he would have countered with some well-aired problems with these three accomplishments: the Medicare prescription drug plan was promised to cost under $400 billion over ten years but now stands at $724 billion (and, in a stunning giveaway to the drug industry, the government gets no bulk purchasing discount); the No Child Left Behind Act has been such a massively underfunded disaster that 12 states are considering legislation to get out of it; and the class-action "reform" will just make it harder for injured people to get a fair day in court.

But E-ZPass Russert mentions none of the above. Instead, he waves Mehlman through and moves on to stem cell research… about which Mehlman says: “This is the first administration ever that has funded with federal dollars embryonic stem cell research.�

Does Russert bother to point out that this is not much of claim since this is the first administration ever to have had the chance to fund embryonic stem cell research? Of course not. Mehlman is in the GOP Express Lane. No need to slow down for little things like facts. Move right along.

Russert actually allows Mehlman to get away with saying, "So you have an administration that is unprecedented in our commitment to more scientific research,� without offering a spit take, a rim shot, or a “Please, Ken, not even I can let you slide on that one!�

Russert then switches to his pet interrogatory method: asking his guest for a reaction to a pointed quote from someone else -- in this case, former Republican Senator John Danforth:

"By a series of recent initiatives, Republicans have transformed our party into the political arm of conservative Christians… As a senator, I worried every day about the size of the federal deficit. I did not spend a single minute worrying about the effect of gays on the institution of marriage. Today it seems to be the other way around."

Mehlman bypasses the criticism altogether, leaving Danforth in his rear-view mirror with a condescending, "I think he's a good man. I would respectfully disagree with that.� And Russert lets him get away without even attempting to answer a serious charge from a senior member of his own party.

And on and on Mehlman rolls... on issue after issue after issue:

On the deficit, he follows the administration’s standard "In An Emergency Break Glass" procedure and seeks refuge in 9/11: "Well, Tim, I would say that what we've suffered, unfortunately, was an attack on this country."

When asked why, even after the president’s 100 day tour, 56 percent of Americans continue to oppose his Social Security plan, Mehlman says he "would respectfully disagree with those numbers,� then counters them with a bit of complete nonsense: "That same NBC News poll showed that a plurality of Americans believe that Congress is moving too slowly on the question of dealing with Social Security."

Now even if a plurality of Americans saying something actually meant anything, I read that poll three times from beginning to end -- yes, I did have a fun Sunday -- and it says nothing of the sort.

When asked about the latest Pentagon report that, in fact, several Korans were mishandled, Mehlman responds by calling this “unacceptable,� but tries to minimize the unacceptability by putting it in “context�: "We also need to remember it in the context, in the context of an America that is liberating Muslims."

Well, it’s all fine and dandy if we want to look at it that way but the question is not how we look at it… it’s how Muslims look at it. And, unlike Russert, they're not buying Mehlman's "context."

When asked about the Downing Street Memo, which shows that Bush was determined to go to war almost a year before the invasion, and that the intelligence was accordingly “fixed,� Mehlman falls back on an out-and-out fabrication: “Tim, that report has been discredited by everyone else who's looked at it since then.�

Russert actually manages a follow up on this whopper: “I don't believe that the authenticity of this report has been discredited.�

But Mehlman just flashes his E-ZPass again: “I believe that the findings of the report, the fact that the intelligence was somehow fixed have been totally discredited by everyone who's looked at it.�

And so he gets through. And, returning to form, Bulldog Russert just gives up.

They eventually make it to Pat Tillman, and the fact that Tillman's family was deeply offended by the Pentagon's lies regarding the circumstances of their son’s death and its attempt to make Tillman a poster child to sell the war.

Mehlman's response is that he "respectfully disagrees" with Tillman’s mother.

In fact, Mehlman said he "respectfully disagrees" a total of seven times over the course of the interview. Sometimes he respectfully disagrees with people, sometimes with a report, sometimes with numbers. Mostly, he "respectfully disagrees" with the truth.

But there's something about the way Mehlman says it that makes him come off like a prissy doorman. You know that when he says, "I respectfully disagree," he really means “Fuck off."

"Ken Mehlman,� Russert intones in closing, "we hope you'll come back."

And given the obliging treatment he got, you know he will.


Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

-President Barack Obama, 1st Inaugural address
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-07-2005, 04:29 AM
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RE: The "Downing Street Memo"

Quote:
Shabah - 6/6/2005 2:57 PM

yep, this was the song for Saddam:
[1st Verse]
They Told Him you got WMD Around Here
Don't Wanna See Your excuse, You Better Disappear
The Fire's In Their guns And Their Words Are Really smear
So Beat It, Just Beat It

[2nd Verse]
You Better Run, You Better Do What You Can
Do Wanna See Blood, we Be Macho Men
You Wanna Be Tough, Better Do What You Can
So Beat It, But You Wanna Be Bad

[Chorus]
Just Beat It, Beat It, Beat It, Beat It
No One Wants To Be Defeated
Showin' How Funky Strong Is Your Fight
It Doesn't Matter Who's Wrong Or Right
Just Beat It, Beat It
Just Beat It, Beat It
Just Beat It, Beat It
Just Beat It, Beat It

(Sorry Micky. could not resist)
well done shabah.. we always expect high quality from you..
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