Twisting in the Wind

Yesterday Rep. John Conyers and a group of Democratic congressmen were provided with a tiny room in the basement of the Capitol where they held a “public forum” on the Downing Street Memo. Republicans refused to participate or hold an official hearing and the San Francisco Chronicle reports,”(they) scheduled 11 major votes to coincide with the afternoon event.”

“The White House refuses to respond to a May 5 letter from 122 congressional Democrats about whether there was a coordinated effort to “fix” the intelligence and facts around the policy, as the Downing Street memo says.

“White House spokesman Scott McClellan says Conyers “is simply trying to rehash old debates.”

“Conyers and a half-dozen other members of Congress were stopped at the White House gate later Thursday when they hand-delivered petitions signed by 560,000 Americans who want Bush to provide a detailed response to the Downing Street memo. When Conyers couldn’t get in, an anti-war demonstrator shouted, “Send Bush out!” Eventually, White House aides retrieved the petitions at the gate and took them into the West Wing.

“Quite frankly, evidence that appears to be building up points to whether or not the president has deliberately misled Congress to make the most important decision a president has to make, going to war,” Rep. Charles Rangel of New York, senior Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee, said earlier at the event on Capitol Hill.

“Misleading Congress is an impeachable offense, a point that Rangel underscored by saying he’s already been through two impeachments, of President Nixon in Watergate and President Clinton for an affair with a White House intern.

Whistleblower Karen Kwiatkowski says, “At this time, impeachment for Bush and Cheney is politically impossible. A successful impeachment, or any accountability for the executive branch requires a certain balance of political power. Optimistically envisioned by the Founders, this balance was tenuous even in the early years of the Republic. George W. Bush said it best after the 2004 elections with ‘[my] accountability moment has passed.'”

Nonetheless, evidence that George W. Bush deliberately misled Congress keeps stacking up. Read LMSM, the ‘Lying Mainstream Media’ by Robert Parry for a detailed analysis of the continuing stream of leaked memos that now number seven…

  • Memo from Overseas & Defense Secretariat March 8 2002
    This memo admits that threat of WMD from Iraq had NOT increased.
  • David Manning Memo to Tony Blair on March 14 2002, describing his trip to the US. In this memo, Manning confirms that Condi Rice was committed to regime change in Iraq in 2002. The use of military force for regime change per se is illegal under international law and treaties to which the US is a signator.

    “This issue of weapons inspectors must be handled in a way that would persuade Europe and wider opinion that the U.S. was conscious of the international framework, and the insistence of many countries on the need for a legal basis,” Manning wrote. “Renewed refusal by Saddam to accept unfettered inspections would be a powerful argument.”

    “I said that you [Blair] would not budge in your support for regime change [in Iraq] but you had to manage a press, a Parliament and a public opinion that was different from anything in the States,” Manning wrote.

  • Memo from Chris Meyer To David Manning March 18 2002
    “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.”
  • Memo from Peter Rickets March 22 2002
    This memo admits that Saddam had not accelerated his WMD program.
  • Memo from Jack Straw to Tony Blair March 25, 2002
    Straw admits case for war in Iraq is weak, and that there is no link between Iraq and Al Qaeda.
  • The London Sunday Times disclosed the contents of a July 21, 2002, 8-page briefing paper that said it was “necessary to create the conditions” which would make an invasion legal. To achieve those conditions, the briefing paper suggested a UN Security Council resolution that would be insulting enough to goad the proud Hussein into rejecting inspections.

    “It is just possible that an ultimatum could be cast in terms which Saddam would reject,” the briefing paper said.

  • The “Downing Street Memo” to David Manning from Matthew Rycroft on July 23, 2002

To mark the June 17, 1997, 25th anniversary of the Watergate break-in that led to the downfall of President Richard M. Nixon the Houston Chronicle developed a very detailed on-line historical reference that provides numerous ways to quickly research the most famous scandal in U.S. political history. Don’t miss the Twisting in the Wind Quiz and their 25th Anniversary essay…

ONLY ONE `GATE’ No scandal more dangerous to nation than Watergate “Twenty-five years ago this week, a group of burglars was caught breaking into the Democratic National Headquarters in the Watergate office building in Washington, D.C. The rest, as they say, is history, but it is history that many Americans are insufficiently familiar with.

“Watergate, the mother of all political scandals, was not just a “third-rate burglary,” as Richard M. Nixon called it. The burglary led reporters and investigators to a host of heinous crimes committed by President Nixon and his men: break-ins, illegal wiretaps, conspiracy to obstruct justice, attempts to use the Internal Revenue Service to punish political opponents and liberal critics in the press, political dirty tricks and corruption of the FBI and CIA.

Studying the Watergate timeline should serve to remind us that, due to what Greg Palast calls NADD — “news attention deficit disorder,” we are now witnessing only the tip of an iceberg, with about 10 percent of its mass above the surface of the water. Palast provides one of the better Petrolgate timelines on-line. Larisa Alexandrovna and Muriel Kane provide another: Path of War Timeline in Raw Story

Arranging deck chairs aboard the Titanic…
Amy Goodman of DemocracyNow.org makes mention of the Wisconsin Resolution in a June 15, 2005 interview with Rep. Conyers… The Downing Street Memo Comes To Washington; Conyers B
lasts “Deafening Sound of Silence”

AMY GOODMAN: In our news headlines today, Wisconsin, the state’s Democratic Party, has passed a resolution calling for the impeachment of President Bush, as well as Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. The resolution called on Congress to initiate impeachment proceedings against the three officials accusing them of misleading the country in the lead up to war. Last year, the Democratic Party in Nevada passed the same resolution. The National Green Party, as well as former presidential candidate, Nader, have — Ralph Nader, have called on Bush’s impeachment. Are you calling for President Bush’s impeachment?

REP. JOHN CONYERS: At this point, I’m still collecting evidence. There are a lot of other bits of evidence that we have to put together to make it perfectly clear that this isn’t a matter of how you interpret a memo that speaks in the plainest of language, and I, as the senior member on the committee that would be in charge of anything that comes under the rubric of the I-word, I am staying away from that subject until I have completed my investigation. There are others, who — constitutional scholars, lawyers, professors that are all looking at this question, but I can tell you this: Deceiving the Congress, deceiving the American people, planning a war that is not pre-emptive, cooking the books to create weapons of mass destruction, and then trying to beef up the intelligence to comport to a — to provoke Iraq to join us in a war, then going to the United Nations, hoping that the United Nations demand to go in and examine for these hidden weapons, all of these pretexts which failed, and now we have the question of whose — does Article I, Section 8, giving the Congress the power to declare war, is that still in existence or have we slipped into this era where in a never-ending war against terrorism, we may be confronted with presidents who may operate as carelessly and as recklessly as this President that we have at this point?

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