IMPEACHMENT TIME: "FACTS WERE FIXED."
Special to BuzzFlash
Thursday, May 5, 2005
Here it is. The smoking gun. The memo that has "IMPEACH
HIM" written all over it.
The top-level government memo marked
"SECRET AND STRICTLY PERSONAL," dated eight months before Bush sent us
into Iraq, following a closed meeting with the President, reads,
"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
Read that again: "The intelligence and facts were being
For years, after each damning report on BBC TV,
viewers inevitably ask me, "Isn't this grounds for impeachment?" -- vote
rigging, a blind eye to terror and the bin Ladens before 9-11, and so
on. Evil, stupidity and self-dealing are shameful but not impeachable.
What's needed is a "high crime or misdemeanor."
And if this
ain't it, nothing is.
The memo uncovered this week by the
Times, goes on to describe an elaborate plan by George Bush and
British Prime Minister Tony Blair to hoodwink the planet into supporting
an attack on Iraq knowing full well the evidence for war was a phony.
A conspiracy to commit serial fraud is, under federal law,
racketeering. However, the Mob's schemes never cost so many
Here's more. "Bush had made up his mind to take military
action. But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbors,
and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or
Really? But Mr. Bush told us, "Intelligence gathered by
this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime
continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever
A month ago, the Silberman-Robb Commission issued its
report on WMD intelligence before the war, dismissing claims that Bush
fixed the facts with this snooty, condescending conclusion written
directly to the President, "After a thorough review, the Commission
found no indication that the Intelligence Community distorted the
evidence regarding Iraq's weapons."
We now know the report was a
bogus 618 pages of thick whitewash aimed to let Bush off the hook for
his murderous mendacity.
Read on: The invasion build-up was then
set, says the memo, "beginning 30 days before the US Congressional
elections." Mission accomplished.
You should parse the entire
memo -- reprinted below -- and see if you can make it through its three
pages without losing your lunch.
Now sharp readers may note they
didn't see this memo, in fact, printed in the New York Times. It wasn't.
Rather, it was splashed across the front pages of the Times of LONDON on
It has effectively finished the last, sorry remnants of
Tony Blair's political career. (While his Labor Party will most
assuredly win the elections Thursday, Prime Minister Blair is expected,
possibly within months, to be shoved overboard in favor of his
Chancellor of the Exchequer, a political execution which requires only a
vote of the Labour party's members in Parliament.)
But in the US,
barely a word. The New York Times covers this hard evidence of Bush's
fabrication of a casus belli as some "British" elections story.
Apparently, our President's fraud isn't "news fit to print."
colleagues in the UK press have skewered Blair, digging out more
incriminating memos, challenging the official government factoids and
fibs. But in the US press ? nada, bubkes, zilch. Bush fixed the facts
and somehow that's a story for "over there."
impeached Bill Clinton over his cigar and Monica's affections. And the
US media could print nothing else.
Now, we have the stone, cold
evidence of bending intelligence to sell us on death by the thousands,
and neither a Republican Congress nor what is laughably called US
journalism thought it worth a second look.
My friend Daniel
Ellsberg once said that what's good about the American people is that
you have to lie to them. What's bad about Americans is that it's so easy
Greg Palast, former columnist for Britain's
Guardian papers, is the author of the New York Times bestseller, The
Best Democracy Money Can Buy.
Subscribe to his columns at
href=http://www.gregpalast.com>www.GregPalast.com Media requests to
contact(at)gregpalast.com Permission to reprint with attribution
[Here it is - the secret smoking gun memo -
discovered by the Times of London. - GP]
SECRET AND STRICTLY
PERSONAL - UK EYES ONLY
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
IRAQ: PRIME MINISTER'S MEETING, 23 JULY
addressees and you met the Prime Minister on 23 July to discuss
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.
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
CDS said that military planners would brief CENTCOM on
1-2 August, Rumsfeld on 3 August and Bush on 4 August.
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
(i) Basing in Diego Garcia and Cyprus, plus three SF
(ii) As above, with maritime and air assets in
(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
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
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
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.
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
John Scarlett assessed that Saddam would allow the inspectors
back in only when he thought the threat of military action was
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.
(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.)
(Rycroft was a
Downing Street foreign policy aide)