Thursday, June 23, 2005
Downing Street Memos Leak Into US Press
Eleven days after LA Times Editiorial and Opinion Page Editor Michael Kinsley pooh-poohed the Downing Street Memo ["The Left Gets A Memo"], the Times has continued to ignore the issues they raise in its news coverage, but now they have run a commentary by Michael Smith, the British reporter who broke the story for the London Sunday Times.

Smith reports on receiving two sets of memos. The first, which he received nine months ago when he worked for the London Daily Telegraph, and was still a staunch war supporter, "were to change completely my opinion of the decision to go to war and the honesty of Prime Minister Tony Blair and President Bush." They dealt with the period before Bush and Blair held a summit in Crawford, Texas in early April, 2002.

The second batch came from a different source, when he was writing for a different paper, and related to Blair's war Cabinet meeting on July 23, 2002. He writes:
Smith goes on to describe how the increase in bombing Iraq was intended to provoke Iraq into a counter-attack that could then justify all-out war:
This point is vitally important, of course. It's another nail in the coffin for Bush.

Smith's analysis only scratches the surface, however, when it comes to the issue of the media. The official corporate media spin has been that the Downing Street Memo contains "nothing new." And in a sense they're right--more right than he is. Everything that's in them was obvious to any clear-headed observer--incuding the increase in bombing Iraq, and the purpose behind it.

A similarly transparently false strategy was used in funding the terrorist war on Nicaraugua in the early 1980s. It began with the rationale of interdicting arms flowing from Nicaragua to the rebels in El Salvador. But the two countries do not share a land border, and terrorists we funded were based in Honduras--which already had an army we provided aid to that could interdict any arms flow through its territory. The terrorists we funded did nothing to stop arms flow through Honduras. They used Honduras as a base for raids on civilian targets in Nicaragua--terrorizing the population in an attempt to undermine support for the government. After almost two years of charade, the rationale was simply dropped. It was no longer needed for propaganda purposes.

The situation was the similar with Iraq. The lies were right in front of us for all to see. But Bush, Blair and the same official corporate media were all busy telling us, "Who are you going to believe, us or your own lying eyes?"

On September 11, 2002, USA Today ran a story, "Iraq course set from tight White House circle", which stated as fact:
No less a figure than Condi Rice confirmed their story:
That story ran in one of America's few national newspapers, yet it was utterly ignored then, and remains utterly ignored today. This behavior pattern clearly shows the corporate media's complicity in taking us to war illegally. They knew we were being lied to, and they looked away at best, and repeated the lies as fact at worst. Is there any wonder why they are reluctant to investigate?

Now that the Times has printed Michael Smith's account as commentary, will they follow up with news coverage? Will they have their national reporters ask the Administration the tough questions that activists and Congressmembers have already put repeatedly without getting answers? And if the Administration refuses to answer, or responds with bald-faced lies, will they simply print that that is what the Administration has done? Or will they continue--actively or passively--to be part of the coverup?

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