Monday, July 18, 2005
From Karl Rove To Downing Street To Iraq
Downing Street memos.
Illegal invasion of Iraq.
These are not separate stories; everything is related.
Just as Karl Rove and others worked behind the scenes to discredit a vocal critic of the Bush Administration's practice of manipulating intelligence to try and get the world to support the assault and occupation of a sovereign country, the documents known as the Downing Street memos prove the same sort of "fixing."
On September 29th, 2002, James Carney wrote an article for Time Magazine called "General Karl Rove, Reporting for Duty" which speculated on whether or not "Rove, President Bush's chief strategist, was manipulating the war on terror to Republicans' political advantage." Carney didn't come to any conclusions and Rove pooh-poohed the very idea but this part of the article is very, very interesting:
"When friends ask whether Bush really plans to invade Iraq, Rove has been known to reply, "Let me put it this way: If you want to see Baghdad, you'd better visit soon.""
For your listening pleasure, download this audio reenactment of the Downing Street meeting held three years ago. Lou Grant's Ed Asner portrays the former Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon, Lawrence Pressman, who played Dick Cheney in the science fiction tv movie, DC 9/11: Time of Crisis, tackles Attorney General Lord Goldsmith, John Rafter Lee, voice actor for many anime films such as Princess Mononoke and Vampire Hunter D, plays Sir Richard Dearlove, the Chief of Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), along with other talented actors make up the cast.
Larisa Alexandrovna and John Byrne of The Raw Story got their hands on yet another Downing Street document. This time, it's "a copy of the Mar. 18, 2002 letter dispatched from then-British ambassador to the United States Sir Christopher Meyer to Tony Blair's chief foreign policy advisor, David Manning."
Here's a highlight:
"On Iraq I opened by sticking very closely to the script that you used with Condi Rice last week. We backed regime change, but the plan had to be clever and failure was not an option. It would be a tough sell for us domestically, and probably tougher elsewhere in Europe. The US could go it alone if it wanted to. But if it wanted to act with partners, there had to be a strategy for building support for military action against Saddam. I then went through the need to wrongfoot Saddam on the inspectors and the UN SORs and the critical importance of the MEPP as an integral part of the anti-Saddam strategy. If all this could be accomplished skilfully, [sic] we were fairly confident that a number of countries would come on board."
It's too bad - for the Bush Administration - that Karl Rove hasn't done a very good job of sticking very closely to the script. Tom Hamburger and Peter Wallsten of the LA Times have a must-read article entitled "Top Aides Reportedly Set Sights on Wilson." Too much great stuff in the article (linked at The Raw Story) to single out but here's one noteworthy sampling:
"A source directly familiar with information provided to prosecutors said Rove's interest was so strong that it prompted questions in the White House. When asked at one point why he was pursuing the diplomat so aggressively, Rove reportedly responded: "He's a Democrat." Rove then cited Wilson's campaign donations, which leaned toward Democrats, the person familiar with the case said."
Just in case you've missed a Downing Street document or two, After Downing Street's David Swanson posted a list with links: complete set.
Back to the Plame leak, it's not just Karl Rove and I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the chief of staff for Vice President Dick Cheney, who are involved in this possibly treacherous act of retribution. The Common Ills turns the spotlight on to Stephen J. Hadley, the deputy national security advisor at the time, and his former boss, Condoleezza Rice in two great posts: "NYT: Rove's latest talking point implodes but the Times doesn't notice" and ""Editorial: What did Hadley know and what did he do?" (The Third Estate Sunday Review)." Richard Stevenson of The New York Times broke the Rove-Hadley subplot a few days ago ("State Dept. Memo Gets Scrutiny in Leak Inquiry on C.I.A. Officer"), but The Common Ills shows that this might be more damaging than helpful for the Bush Administration.
On July 16th, The Times reported:
"After his conversation with Mr. Cooper, The Associated Press reported Friday, Mr. Rove sent an e-mail message to Stephen J. Hadley, then the deputy national security adviser, saying he "didn't take the bait" when Mr. Cooper suggested that Mr. Wilson's criticisms had been damaging to the administration."
Later that same day, The Common Ills retorted:
"Rove talked to Cooper before Novak's column was published. Rove told Hadley about the conversation. Let's say Rove just confirmed Plame to Cooper. (That's just as bad and it is identifying, but let's move on to a larger point that I don't think they see in this latest talking point). When Rove sent that e-mail (if he did) to Hadley, we have someone in national security that knows a CIA agent is on the verge of being outed."....
"How did Hadley follow up? Did he report it to his superior? (Condi Rice.) What measures did they take to protect Plame? She wasn't assigned body guards at the time. Wilson's made no reference to her getting a call that said, "Hey Val, just a heads up, the press are talking about you, you're probably going to be the topic of a story and be named. Those friends and neighbors that don't know anything about who you really work for -- you might want to break it to them."
And this is an important announcement from After Downing Street:
"On July 23, over 250 events around the United States will mark the three-year anniversary of the meeting at #10 Downing Street in London, England, that was recorded in the now infamous minutes known as the "Downing Street Memo." At least nine events will be hosted by or participated in by Members of Congress, including John Conyers in Detroit, Jim McDermott in Seattle, Barbara Lee in Oakland, Maxine Waters in Los Angeles, Maurice Hinchey in New York, and Tom Udall in New Mexico. Congressman Charles Rangel will host an electronic town-hall meeting, answering questions from his New York constituents on the internet, from noon to 1 p.m., July 22. Congressman Xavier Becerra will host an event in Los Angeles on July 30, and Congressman Barney Frank in Boston on July 31. Co-Founder of the After Downing Street Coalition, constitutional attorney John Bonifaz will speak at a town hall meeting on July 23rd in Northampton, Mass."
"In over 250 towns and cities, prominent speakers and ordinary citizens will hold public forums, perform dramatic recreations of the Downing Street meeting, and host house parties and study circles. Ninety-two events and counting are listed online at AfterDowningStreet.org. For details on events in any part of the country, see this map: link. Another 18 events on surrounding days are also listed on the site. In addition, Congressman Conyers' office has organized over 150 house parties through their website. See John Conyers.com."
I'll be blogging for After Downing Street on the New York City events including this discussion entitled "Torture and Lies - Who Is Accountable?" which will include Rep. Maurice Hinchey, Hon. Liz Holtzman and Randi Rhodes as guest speakers and will be moderated by Bob Fertik of Democrats.com. So if you live in the NYC area, maybe I'll see you there or, if not, read about it next Saturday night at After Downing Street.
Bob Fertik has an article at Democrats.com called "FLIPFLOPALOOOOOZA" (link). Fertik begins with this:
"Mark your calendar: today, July 18, 2005, marks the beginning of the end of the Bush administration.
Here are the 13 words Bush said today that sealed his fate":
"If someone committed a crime, they will no longer work in my administration."
Unfortunately that's not what Bush has been saying for the past two years, particularly on June 20, 2004":
Q. "Do you stand by your pledge to fire anyone found to have [leaked Valerie Plame's name]?"
THE PRESIDENT: "Yes."
"Everyone in the blogosphere knows this. Everyone in the press corps knows this.
Bush just flip-flopped. You know how it goes: "First I was against leaking, before I was for it."
But this was no ordinary flip-flop, because he did it right in the face of the entire press corps, which was hanging on every word.
This flip-flop is in a class all by itself. I hereby christen it: FLIPFLOPALOOOOOZA!"
Read the rest of Fertik's article, it's all good.