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Testimony from Bush Crimes Commission

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Testimony for International Commission of Inquiry on Crimes Against Humanity Committed by the Bush Administration, Riverside Church, New York, Jan 20-22, 2006. Thanks to Jonathan Schwarz and Bob Fertik for assistance.

Accompanying Powerpoint

[Powerpoint Slide 1]

Were I to list all the pieces of evidence that Bush took us to war with lies, we'd have lost tens of thousands of lives and tens of billions of dollars before I finished. So, I'll give you a short version. But we're killing people every day and churning through tens of thousands of dollars a second, so even this isn't going to be cheap.

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[Powerpoint Slide 2]

Congressman John Conyers has produced a 273-page report that focuses on this topic. Congressman Henry Waxman has put online a searchable database of lies. You can find these and numerous other collections of evidence at www.afterdowningstreet.org Some of the best sources of this material are books. Much has been reported in books, as well as on the internet and the radio that has never made it into newspapers or television. Larry Everest's book is one of the best at making this case, and it was written prior to the surfacing of the strongest piece of evidence, the one I'm going to talk about, the Downing Street Minutes.

While Bush's war plans (as well as according to recent reporting by Jason Leopold on truthout.org his illegal spying on Americans) predate Sept. 11, 2001, that date is pivotal. The crimes of that day were used to justify another crime.

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On Sept. 14, 2001, Congress passed a joint resolution authorizing Bush to "use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons." The resolution also said "Nothing in this resolution supercedes any requirement of the War Powers Resolution." That Nixon-era resolution restricts the president's ability to take the nation to war without Congressional approval.

[Powerpoint Slide 3]

On Sept. 25, 2001, Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo wrote a memo stating, "The President may deploy military force preemptively against terrorist organizations or the States that harbor or support them, whether or not they can be linked to the specific terrorist incidents of September 11." The memo says that the president's powers are "unreviewable."

[Powerpoint Slide 4]

The Downing Street Minutes that were leaked to the media this past spring were accompanied by seven other secret documents, one a background paper circulated in preparation for the meeting that the minutes recorded on July 23, 2002. The other six were memos exchanged by top British officials in March, 2002.

The March memos make clear that Bush had determined to go to war and was building a case around WMDs and ties to 9-11, a case that the British found unconvincing. They also make clear that Blair had agreed to go along with the war but was seeking to persuade Bush to invest more effort in winning over public opinion and in "the need to wrongfoot Saddam on the inspectors." That is: to give an ultimatum to Hussein that he would refuse a refusal that could be used to argue that the war was legal.

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By July, 2002, Blair still had concerns. We have known since last May that on July 23, 2002, as recorded in the Downing Street Minutes, Blair was briefed by Sir Richard Dearlove, the head of MI6, about talks he had recently had with members of the Bush administration.

[Powerpoint Slide 5]

But it was only this month, with the publication of James Risen's book "State of War" that we learned that Dearlove was in part reporting on a CIA-MI6 summit he had attended with other top MI6 officials at CIA headquarters on Saturday, July 20, 2002, and that, according to "a former senior CIA officer," the meeting was held "at the urgent request of the British." CIA officials believe "Blair had ordered Dearlove to go to Washington to find out what the Bush administration was really thinking about Iraq." During the day-long summit, Dearlove met privately with CIA head George Tenet for an hour and a half.

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David Swanson is the author of "When the World Outlawed War," "War Is A Lie" and "Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union." He blogs at http://davidswanson.org and http://warisacrime.org and works for the online (more...)
 

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