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irregular times logoSummary: On the Crimes in the British Memos
and What You Can Do About Them

Over the last few weeks, a single British memorandum has triggered a growing uproar in the United States. The Downing Street Memo was leaked out of the British government earlier this Spring, and caused a furor in the UK because it proves that Tony Blair and George W. Bush conspired to start a war against Iraq in spite of a lack of provocation. The Downing Street memo is the notes of a meeting in July 2002, a date that is significant because it predates the existence of even the Bush Administration's phony "evidence" of vast arsenals of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. The existence of the Downing Street memo proves that Bush and Blair decided to invade Iraq first, and came up with excuses for the war later.

Over the weekend, another official British government document was released that provides further details on the Bush-Blair conspiracy to start a war against Iraq. The Cabinet Office Briefing Paper of July 23, 2002 is an official document that describes the content of discussions between Tony Blair and George W. Bush during a secretive meeting betweeen the two that occurred at Bush's dude ranch in Crawford, Texas in April, 2002. Pause for a second and consider that this meeting took place a full ten months before Bush gave his final ultimatums to Iraq. The Cabinet Office Briefing Paper reveals that Bush and Blair discussed American plans to invade Iraq that had already long been in place by that time. Part of the paper states: "The US Government's military planning for action against Iraq is proceeding apace. But, as yet, it lacks a political framework. In particular, little thought has been given to creating the political conditions for military action, or the aftermath and how to shape it."

The significance of the Cabinet Office Briefing Paper is that it proves that Bush and Blair were well aware that an invasion of Iraq would be illegal if its aim were merely to create regime change. So, Bush and Blair agreed at the Crawford meeting to attempt to create the appearance of legally mitigating circumstances to protect themselves from war crimes prosecution. The paper states, "Regime change per se is not a proper basis for military action under international law. But regime change could result from action that is otherwise lawful. We would regard the use of force against Iraq, or any other state, as lawful if exercised in the right of individual or collective self-defence, if carried out to avert an overwhelming humanitarian catastrophe, or authorised by the UN Security Council."

Take a look at that selection again, because you'll see that Bush and Blair failed. The legal conditions that the Cabinet Office Briefing Paper sets out as possible "justifications" (yes, that's the paper's own word for it) for war are as follows:
1. Individual or collective self-defense
2. Averting an overwhelming humanitarian catastrophe
3. Authorized by the United Nations Security Council

None of these conditions were met before the invasion of Iraq.
1. There was no offensive action by Iraq that required individual or collective self-defense.
2. There was no overwhelming humanitarian catastrophe in Iraq that needed to be averted.
3. There was no authorization by the United Nations Security Council for the invasion. In fact, Bush tried repeatedly to get such authorization, and failed, then went to war anyway.

It is now as clear as ink on paper that George W. Bush and Tony Blair knew that the invasion of Iraq would be illegal, and that they went ahead with the invasion in spite of that knowledge. That's an criminal conspiracy, folks, and when it comes to President Bush it's an impeachable offense.

So, what are the Republicans in Congress doing about this problem? You guessed it: Nothing. They impeached Bill Clinton for not telling the American people about a few incidents of oral sex, yet the moral values crowd is standing by even as evidence comes to light that Bush knowingly started an unnecessary, illegal war that has so far killed over 1,700 Americans and has disabled tens of thousands more.

When we cannot count on the Republican government to act, we are lucky that we still have the freedom to act ourselves.

Michigan Democratic Representative John Conyers and 89 other Democrats in Congress, have sent a letter to President Bush in which they demand that the following questions be answered:
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?

So far, the Bush Administration has refused to provide answers to these questions, ignoring the legal right of Congress to exercise oversight of the actions of the Executive Branch.

In the United States Senate, a complimentary effort has been led by Massachusetts Democratic Senator Edward Kennedy, who has launched an effort to begin an official investigation into whether President Bush committed impeachable offenses his efforts to lead the United States to war against Iraq. You can support this effort by signing Senator Kennedy's petition calling for an investigation of impeachable offenses.

For further information and action, we recommend that you make a habit of visiting the new web resource After Downing Street - a web site solely dedicated to keeping Americans informed about the implications of the British memos, and providing links to specific actions American citizens can take to hold the Bush Administration accountable for the criminal conspiracy to drag America and Britain into war.

At times like these, there are sure to be many naysayers who refuse to do anything, not because they agree with Bush, but because they believe that it is impossible for individuals to make a difference in the American government anymore. These doom-and-gloom commenters content themselves with criticizing the Bush Administration, but never actually take action to hold the Bush Administration accountable for its crimes.

It is essential to remember that the 2004 election showed that American progressives are 49 percent of the voting population. That's over 100 million Americans. If each one of those progressive Americans took action, they could bring the Bush Administration to justice. George W. Bush and his Republican supporters in Congress get away with their crimes because of the inaction of Americans who know better.

If you care about the rule of law and liberty in America, call or write your member of Congress and demand that they begin an inquiry. If you get brushed off, keep that memory in mind and help to prepare for the elections of 2006, in which every member of the House of Representatives and one third of the US Senate must campaign for re-election. We all have the chance, soon, to take our government back and end the crimes of the Bush Administration - if we care enough to stop moping and act.

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