News and events revolving around the ousting of CIA agent Valerie Plame.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Political Affairs Magazine - "We Need the Truth": Downing Street Anniversary Sparks Demand for Investigation

"Our nation’s sons and daughters are dying and killing in Iraq out of loyalty to their country but in the name of lies from the Bush throne," charged Al Fishman, head of the Detroit Area Peace and Justice Network, in his statement as part of a panel convened yesterday in Detroit by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) to highlight the 3rd anniversary of the Downing Street Memo.

The Downing Street Memo is the name of a document leaked to the British press last May and contains the minutes of a meeting of high-level British intelligence and cabinet officials held July 23, 2002. The memo records a discussion of meetings between British representatives and Bush administration officials on the subject of Iraq and a potential war.

The minutes show that some present at the Downing Street meeting believed that the Bush administration had already made up its mind to go to war and to "fix" intelligence about Iraq to support its cause. Further, British officials knew that the administration’s rationale for war, Iraq’s possession of WMD, its links to Al-Qaeda, and the imminence of its threat, were not supported by existing intelligence.

Other documents written by cabinet advisers in the British government dating back to March 2002 also were leaked. These documents further confirm what the British government believed about the Bush administration’s case for war. They also show the formulation of a concerted effort to develop a public relations drive to manipulate public opinion to support the war and to convince the US Congress to authorize it.

Read the memos at

Several hundred events were organized by local activists and members of Congress, including Jim McDermott (D-WA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Maxine Waters (D-CA), and Maurice Hinchey in New York. Reps. Charles Rangel (D-NY), Xavier Becerra (D-NY), and Barney Frank (D-MA), around the country. The meeting called by Conyers was held at the Wayne State University Law School in Detroit, Michigan.
"Democracy dies in the dark. It’s time to throw open the shades and let in the light."--Rep. John Conyers (D-MI)

In his prepared statement to an overflow crowd of several hundred people, Rep. Conyers denounced a "pattern of deception in the lead-up to the Iraq war." He said that the Downing Street Memo and related documents have revealed that "the administration decided to invade Iraq, and had begun making plans to do so, long before seeking authority from both Congress and the United Nations."

Conyers linked these revelations with what he referred to as "Rovegate," the scandal surrounding Bush adviser Karl Rove and Cheney adviser Lewis Libby for leaking classified information to members of the media in retaliation against a critic of the war on Iraq.

"Rovegate," Conyers stated, "shows us that the White House would rather compromise the security of the United States and the safety of an undercover agent to discredit someone who successfully questioned its justifications for war."

These events are neither isolated nor are they the inventions of the Democratic Party, Conyers added. "They are the increasingly troubling chapters of a single larger narrative – a story of manipulation and deception, of preoccupation with war and disregard for the American public."

Conyers called on Bush to stop ignoring the popular demand for an investigation of his plans before the war and to force Rove to explain his role in the CIA leak case. "Democracy dies in the dark," Conyers concluded. "It’s time to throw open the shades and let in the light."

Local radio personality Tony Trupiano followed Conyers remarks with a moment of silence for the service men and women killed in Iraq.
"I refuse for another child to die over lies and ignorance."--Lila Lipscomb

Trupiano then called on the people to demand the truth from the administration about its war policy and use of intelligence. Trupiano added a denunciation of the war, especially the cost to the local communities. Describing the misleadership into an unnecessary war as "heinous," Trupiano concluded that "we can no longer wait while evil and decay infiltrate our community."

Lila Lipscomb, the mother of a career Army sergeant killed in Iraq and featured in the popular anti-war documentary, Fahrenheit 9/11 by Michael Moore, added her call for an end to the war.

After thanking Conyers for honoring her son with his courage in taking up this fight, Lipscomb criticized the administration for deceiving the public and for claiming to know what is best for us. She asked the attentive audience, "Aren’t you tired of being treated like you’re stupid and don’t know anything?"

Lipscomb also weighed in on the failure of the administration to reconstruct war-torn Iraq. She said that in her many communications with soldiers currently in Iraq, the main construction seems to be on US military bases. "Is that an exit strategy?" she wondered.

Urging the people to demand the truth about the war, Lipscomb added that it is our responsibility to bring the troops home safely. "I refuse for another child to die over lies and ignorance."
"We need the truth to save the lives of hundreds of American service men and women, as well as thousands of Iraqi lives. We need the truth to preserve our Constitution and Bill of Rights. We need the truth to stop the destruction of our communities. We need the truth to save the very soul of our nation."--Al Fishman

Lipscomb’s remarks were followed by those of Al Fishman, who heads the Detroit Area Peace and Justice Network, which is a local affiliate of United for Peace and Justice, the largest national peace coalition.

Since September 11th, the peace movement rejected war as a solution and called for immediate action against terrorism, a reevaluation of US Middle East policy, and the rejection of attacks on Arab Americans and civil liberties in the guise of a "war on terror," Fishman said.

Fishman called on the people to urge their member of Congress to co-sponsor a Resolution of Inquiry introduced to the House last week by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), to convince Michigan’s senators to sign a letter authored by Sen. John Kerry and 9 other senators urging the full investigation of the use of intelligence by administration policymakers, and support for a national antiwar march in Washington, DC on September 24th called by United for Peace and Justice.

"We need the truth," Fishman concluded, "to save the lives of hundreds of American service men and women, as well as thousands of Iraqi lives. We need the truth to preserve our Constitution and Bill of Rights. We need the truth to stop the destruction of our communities. We need the truth to save the very soul of our nation."

Other speakers included: Ken Marcinkowski, a former CIA agent, discussed the national security implications of the Rove leak and administration’s higher concern its political agenda than for national security. Bankole Thomspon, a reporter for the Michigan Citizen, decried the failure of the media to investigate the intelligence in the lead-up to the Iraq war and challenged the Democratic Party to be a party of opposition. Dr. Robert Sedler, a Constitutional law professor at Wayne State University, discussed the historical meaning of "high crimes and misdemeanors" in the impeachment clause in the US Constitution.

--Joel Wendland can be reached at


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