Rep. Conyers’ Spotlights Bush’s Pack of Lies

Washington, D.C. – Rep. John Conyers, Jr., the ranking Democratic member of the House Judiciary Committee, held a hearing on June 16, 2005, on the “Downing Street Memo.” The leaked British document is “a smoking gun,” in that it shows that, as early as July, 2002, President George Bush, Jr., and others in his administration, had decided to remove Iraq’s Saddam Hussein from power, via a preemptive military invasion of that country. In order to justify that action, Bush and his cohorts are suspected of putting in motion a plot, to “fix the policy…around the intelligence and the facts… dealing with the conjunction of terrorism and WMD…” In other words, they stand accused of “cooking the intelligence” to suit their own warmongering agenda!

Rep. Conyers, from Michigan, wanted to hold his hearing on Capitol Hill, in one of the large House office building rooms, but Republicans on his committee balked. Instead, he was forced to move his forum to a smaller room, “HC-9,” located in the Capitol itself. Nevertheless, 50 members of Congress showed up to lend their support to his efforts and almost every major news organization was present. The hearing lasted from 2:30 PM to 4:30 PM. I understand it included stellar testimony from a number of witnesses. I could only get into the hearing for a few minutes because of the size of the crowd, however I did make it to a rally afterwards at Lafayette Park, which was planned by progressive groups around the hearing. Fortunately, C-Span is planning to rebroadcast the Downing St. Memo hearing at a later date. Many who spoke at the congressional hearing earlier in the day, also showed up to talk at the Lafayette Park rally in front of the White House that followed.

One of the witnesses at that hearing and the rally was Cindy Sheehan, a Gold Star Mother. Sheehan said, “I think maybe, (after the hearing today), that I’m going to get some justice for Casey (her son, who was killed in Iraq), and for the 1,713 other brave Americans and the tens of thousands, uncounted and countless Iraqi people who have been killed by lies and by the betrayal of our country.” She continued, “President George W. Bush doesn’t deserve our allegiance. He doesn’t deserve to go back to Crawford, Texas. He deserves to go to prison for what he did.”

The Downing St. Memo, a/k/a “Downing St. Minutes,” has gained such notoriety since its release that a number of newspapers in the U.S. have felt compelled to publish its contents in full. [1] More once-secret British documents relevant to the insidious deception campaign of the Bush-Cheney Gang have also recently been released. [2] Meanwhile, polls show that support for the Iraqi War is declining in the country, and that at least one GOP congressman, Rep. Walter Jones of N.C., has come out against the war.

Medea Benjamin of Global Exchange was also a speaker at the rally. She said, “The smoking gun is the Downing St. Memo! We will not let the Downing St. Memo get away from us. We want this to be the beginning of the end of the war in Iraq. And, the beginning and the end of the Bush administration!”

On May 5, 2005, the sponsor of this hearing, Rep. Conyers, and 88 other congressional members, demanded in a letter to Bush, that he answer five questions that related to the leaked British document. To date, Bush has stonewalled that request. Meanwhile, a grass roots drive, via the Internet, had secured over 560,000 signatures of concerned citizens in support of Conyers’ letter. That Petition, with the signatures, was personally delivered, at 6: 15 PM last night, to the guards at a White House gate, on Pennsylvania Ave., by Rep. Conyers, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), Rep. Diane E. Watson (D-CA), Rep. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) and other congressional members.

Rep. Waters also spoke to the rally at Lafayette Park, whose crowd of enthusiasts numbered in the hundreds. She said, “Today is a new beginning. We are now focusing on the ‘big lie.’ The Congress has come alive. We are going to take on this president in a real way. We are going to take it to the streets.” Waters then emphasized that President Bush was “a liar.” She said, “There were never any WMD.” She also blasted V.P. Dick Cheney and Secretary of State, Condi Rice. Waters let the crowd know that fifty members of the House have already signed on to the new “Out of Iraq Caucus.” She finished by saying, “We’re going to bring our troops home!”

From the beginning, Rep. Conyers, almost alone in the Congress, has been a sharp critic of Bush’s rush to war with Iraq. On March 15, 2003, Conyers was one of the keynote speakers at a massive anti-war rally on the National Mall, in Washington, D.C. At that time, only days before Bush was to launch his criminal enterprise against Iraq, Conyers said it was the U.S., not Iraq, that needed “a regime change.” He labeled the Bush-Cheney Gang as one that has shown great disdain for the “Constitution and the democratic process.”

Meanwhile, in a related matter, on the legal front, a Pentagon analyst, Larry Franklin, has been indicted in an espionage case involving Israel. Ex-employees of AIPAC, a powerful lobbying group for Israel, are suspected of being involved in the case. The investigation is continuing. There is speculation that this probe could lead to Neocon operatives within the U.S. government, who were also “cooking the evidence,” with respect to Iraq! [3]

Rep. Conyers said at the rally, “This is great, historic day in America. We have finally broken through the stonewalling that has been going on in the Congress. Now, we were told one thing in America (about Iraq), but in London they were planning a war all the time…We need more hearings, more questions and more marches and more protests. This is only a beginning, which is going to turn this sad and terrible war around,” he predicted.

Finally, if it could be proven that Bush deliberately lied to the Congress on March 18, 2003, about the reasons he gave it for going to war with Iraq, it would be an impeachable offense under the U.S. Constitution. To date, 1,713 American military personnel have died in that unjust and illegal conflict and over $177 billion has been wasted. In addition, under the precedents established at Nuremberg, Bush, and other members of his administration, who may have had conspiratorial roles in that supposed campaign of deception-like Dick Cheney, Colin Powell, Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld, Condi Rice, and others, too-could, if the cases against them are properly established, be indicted and tried for War Crimes, under International Law.


[1]. Baltimore Sun, June 15, 2005.