Juan Cole has an interesting post regarding yet another Bush/Blair/Iraq document being reported on by the London Times.
Bush and Blair Committed to War in April, 2002
Leaked Cabinet Briefing Shows British Knew War was Illegal
The London Times has dropped another bombshell document concerning the planning of the Iraq war in Washington and London.
The leaked Cabinet office briefing paper for the July 23, 2002, meeting of principals in London, the minutes of which have become notorious as the Downing Street Memo, contains key context for that memo. The briefing paper warns the British cabinet in essence that they are facing jail time because Blair promised Bush at Crawford in April, 2002, that he would go to war against Iraq with the Americans.
As Michael Smith reports for the London Times, "regime change" is illegal in international law without a United Nations Security Council resolution or other recognized sanction (national self-defense, or rescuing a population from genocide, e.g.). Since the United Kingdom is signatory to the International Criminal Court, British officials could be brought up on charges for crimes like "Aggression."
Smith quotes the briefing and then remarks on how it shows Bush and Blair to be lying when they invoke their approach to the UN as proof that they sought a peaceful resolution of the Iraq crisis...
The Cabinet briefing makes crystal clear that Blair had cast his lot in with Bush on an elective war against Iraq already in April, 2002:
"2. When the Prime Minister discussed Iraq with President Bush at Crawford in April he said that the UK would support military action to bring about regime change, provided that certain conditions were met: efforts had been made to construct a coalition/shape public opinion, the Israel-Palestine Crisis was quiescent, and the options for action to eliminate Iraq's WMD through the UN weapons inspectors had been exhausted."
This passage is unambiguous and refutes the weird suggestion by Michael Kinsley that the Downing Street Memo did not establish that the Bush administration had committed to war by July, 2002.
The cabinet briefing, like Lord Goldsmith, is skeptical that any of the three legal grounds for war existed with regard to Iraq. Iraq was not an imminent threat to the US or the UK. Saddam's regime was brutal, but its major killing sprees were in the past in 2002. And, the UNSC had not authorized a war against Iraq.
I found the passage on the information campaign chilling:
"20. Time will be required to prepare public opinion in the UK that it is necessary to take military action against Saddam Hussein. There would also need to be a substantial effort to secure the support of Parliament. An information campaign will be needed which has to be closely related to an overseas information campaign designed to influence Saddam Hussein, the Islamic World and the wider international community. This will need to give full coverage to the threat posed by Saddam Hussein, including his WMD, and the legal justification for action. "
The polite diplomatic language hides the implications that there would be a global black psy-ops campaign in favor of the war, conducted from London. Since the rest of the briefing already admits that there was no legal justification for action, the proposal of an information campaign that would maintain that such a justification existed must be seen as deeply dishonest.
"Time will be required to prepare public opinion..." You have to love the way "democracy" works in the U.S. and U.K. What is absolutely absurd is the extent to which such psy-ops campaigns work on the public mind. The majority or near majority were very effectively manipulated and even today, as evidence of Bush/Blair web of lies becomes increasingly obvious, we see that their propaganda machine continues to distract, distort, and confuse the public.
Of course CNN and other major media outlets continue to ignore the details that form the infrastructure of lies used to create the war. Instead they devote a majority of their "news" coverage to distractions such as Michael Jackson and religious images seen in potato chips. Hint: something is very, very rotten in media-land.
Of course many of us know this and folks far more intelligent than I have written about the corporate media and its primary role in the state propaganda machine.
Update: The Washington Post has also posted a story on this. Better late than never I suppose. Let's see if those dip shits at CNN or any of the other mainstream media cover it... and by cover it I mean really cover it. I won't be holding my breath.
Update 2: As of this moment, here are the headlines on CNN.com... note, the only mention of the memo is that of an AP story that focuses on British doubt of the U.S. postwar plan. The most important content is virtually ignored.
• 20 bodies found buried near Baghdad
• Report: British doubted U.S. postwar plan • French journalist freed
• Philadelphia house fire kills 5 children | Video
• Syria rejects hit-list accusations
• Aruba judge keeps 3 young suspects in jail | Video | Map
• Dean renews attacks on Republicans | Video
• Bombs blasts ahead of Iranian election
• Mother feared family dog would attack son | Video
• SI.com: Tyson's career likely over after loss
• Pink Floyd reuniting for Live 8
• Arlene makes landfall
• Rice performs to help ailing singer
• Men take to trees for competition
• French journalist freed in Iraq
• Blair seeks support for G8 plans
• Four executed by Palestinian Authority
• Bush argues for Patriot Act
• Bush to promote domestic policies