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Are The Downing Street Memos Bogus? (2 Updates)

In at twist that would make the forensics guys who handed O.J. Simpson's DNA proud, there is a big problem with the "chain of evidence" of the Downing Street Memos. It seems they were "recreations."

Bizarrely, the AP did not make much of it, burying it in another story:

The eight memos -- all labeled "secret" or "confidential" -- were first obtained by British reporter Michael Smith, who has written about them in The Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Times.

Smith told AP he protected the identity of the source he had obtained the documents from by typing copies of them on plain paper and destroying the originals.

The AP obtained copies of six of the memos (the other two have circulated widely). A senior British official who reviewed the copies said their content appeared authentic. He spoke on condition of anonymity because of the secret nature of the material.

Where have we heard this song before???

The memo's are so easily debunked (to anyone with a brain) it seems implausible that someone would do such a bad job of faking these memos... But we've heard that song before too.

Still when Raw Story starts defending them, you have to really think they are bogus.

"I first photocopied them to ensure they were on our paper and returned the originals, which were on government paper and therefore government property, to the source," he added.

The Butler Committee, a UK commission looking into WMD, has quoted the documents and accepted their authenticity, along with British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw. Smith said all originals were destroyed in order to both protect the source and the journalist alike.

"It was these photocopies that I worked on, destroying them shortly before we went to press on Sept 17, 2004," he added. "Before we destroyed them the legal desk secretary typed the text up on an old fashioned typewriter."

The copying and re-typing were necessary because markings on the originals might have identified his source, Smith said.

I'm just not buying that. Why did he have to type them on an "old fashioned typewriter?" Why not type them in MS Word like the person who forged the Dan Rather Memo's did... Or what that the point? Regardless, a black sharpie and another trip thru the photocopier would protect the author's source's identity with far less effort.

And the increasingly irrelevant Editor and Publisher missed the fact these documents are now suspect too.

Bottom Line: When a single member of the less than reliable British press claims to have the goods on two Heads of State, you'll excuse me if I'm skeptical. This "evidence" would be tossed out of any court in the land in about 4 seconds.

Update:: Capt Ed has more

Update 2: John at Powerline makes the point I made above in a more pity way. If They Were Fakes, They'd Say More. Though I'd split a hair with him and say that if they were fakes, they'd say less. There was exculpatory evidence that would would not have been in a good forgery... Speaking of forgery, Capt Ed is dancing around with the definitions of Fakes and Forgeries.

Having said the above, both guys make valid points... But let me make a different one.

The usefulness of this information is now exactly zero. Let's, for the same of discussion, take the whole (increasingly bizarre) story at face value. He typed exact reproductions of the documents and they are word for word accurate. How do we know? One man's word?

What should be done with 2 heads of state with one man's word? Congressional hearings? Impeachment? All because some reporter can produce a type written paper and claim it was a copy of something important? Then if that is the case... Any reporter could claim anything and change history.

I could produce a typed paper saying Clinton took a bribe to give China "Most Favored Nation" status. Is someone going to throw Clinton in jail because Paul at Wizbang has a typed page? Silly.

Let's cut to the chase. The memos said nothing to begin with. The only reason the story got this far is that delusion liberals turned into some sort of left wing chain-mail. But even if they were the proverbial "smoking gun," absent some collaboration, bogus typed pages are worthless.


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Comments (46)

Unfortunately for the targe... (Below threshold)

Unfortunately for the targets, the memo does not have to be true, at least not initially. As long as enemies of Bush and Blair have something that looks true, they can use it to rip B&B new assholes. They know that the average left-leaning American will believe them and even those not left-leaning will have doubts about B&B, and some will continue to believe them long after the memo has been debunked. Perhaps in the long run it will come back to bite them in the ass, but on a short-term basis it is damaging to their enemies. Perhaps they think the trade-off is worth it, especially if they are gamblers betting on not getting caught.

dont be so frikken stupid..... (Below threshold)
neil:

dont be so frikken stupid...even your friends at powerline had this to say:

"Nevertheless, I very much doubt that the documents are fakes, for two reasons. First, to my knowledge no one in the British government has denied their authenticity. The "Downing Street memos" are much different from the CBS National Guard documents in this important respect: the CBS documents were ostensibly authored by Jerry Killian, who had been dead for twenty years. The Downing Street documents, on the other hand, were allegedly authored by, and relate to meetings recently conducted by, a group of men who are very much alive and well. I can't conceive of a reason why they would fail to attack the documents' genuineness if there were a basis for doing so.

Second, if the Downing Street memos were fakes, they would say more. "

you must be worried about the implications of these minutes to dredge up the ridiculous notion that they are fake

Good one Paul, but you forg... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Good one Paul, but you forgot to file it under humor.

"That's a fine letter, Jami... (Below threshold)
arb:

"That's a fine letter, Jamison, that's an epic. That's dandy. Now, I want you to make two carbon copies of that letter and throw the original away. And when you get through with that, throw the carbon copies away. Just send a stamp, airmail, that's all."

Seriously. What Neil and Ma... (Below threshold)
frameone:

Seriously. What Neil and Mantis said.

"The memo's are so easily d... (Below threshold)
frameone:

"The memo's are so easily debunked."

I also have to ask what you mean by "debunked."

To suggest that the London Times is some liberal tablod rag, like say, that, say, Rupert Murdoch's conservative tabloid rag the Sun. The London Times is a highly respected CONSERVATIVE British paper. And as Neil notes, no one in the British government has denied the accuracy of the minutes. Thoughout the enitre controversy in Britain, which began in May, neither Blair nor Dearlove nor anyone involved in the meeting said anything to suggest that they beleived the minutes were faked. Not in anyway whatsoever. Blair has challenged the interpretation of minutes but the way so many "lovers of language" on the American right have. No amount of semantic slight of hand can change the fact that the British press and public understood exactly what "fixed around" meant in the context of the minutes. Go read the original British coverage if you don't believe it.

Secondly, Blair's only defense when he was asked about at the press conference with Bush was, "Inteligence was not being fixed around the policy" (a pretty good indication he understands what 'fixed around' means) but also that, hey, we went to the UN after the meeting so it proves we did try every option. Of course, how is that a defense when the minutes clearly document a discussion about how to use the UN to justify war?

So please, tell me again what you mean by debunked.

Oh, I smell a turd in the n... (Below threshold)
Eneils Bailey:

Oh, I smell a turd in the newsroom. Did Dan Rather and his crackerjacks come in? No, just more of the same ole shit.

Continuing on with Powerlin... (Below threshold)
frameone:

Continuing on with Powerline:

"Second, if the Downing Street memos were fakes, they would say more. As we have noted before, the memo that has been most widely trumpeted on the left says little or nothing of significance. What it does do, however, is confirm the sincere worry at the highest level of the British government about the possibility that Saddam would use his weapons of mass destruction either against coalition troops, or against Kuwait or Israel."

And yet this isn't what the minutes record. The minutes record is since worry at the highest levle of the British government that US war plans MADE NO MENTION of the possibility of a Hussein using WMDs.

From the Downing Street minutes:

"On the first, CDS said that we did not know yet if the US battleplan was workable. The military were continuing to ask lots of questions.

For instance, what were the consequences, if Saddam used WMD on day one, or if Baghdad did not collapse and urban warfighting began? You said that Saddam could also use his WMD on Kuwait. Or on Israel, added the Defence Secretary."

They are real Kos has piece... (Below threshold)

They are real Kos has piece on it. Just accept it.

'Just accept it'? <p... (Below threshold)

'Just accept it'?

You gotta be kidding.

We learned a thing or two after Rathergate.

I think the powerline guys ... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

I think the powerline guys make a lot of good points on this.

Also, if you were a liberal trying to bring down Bush/Blair et al, with a fake memo, you would have at least made it consistent with the whole "Bush lied about WMD's" meme, but one of the big contradictions I have seen in the memos for the liberals is that it totally lays waste to their idea that Bush and Blair knew there weren't WMD's and just lied about it to go to war.

<a href="http://www.washing... (Below threshold)
frameone:

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2005_06/006537.php

DOWNING STREET DELUSIONS....The wingnuts are getting desperate. Captain's Quarters, in a nostalgic attempt to recreate the glories of Rathergate, suggests that the Downing Street Memos aren't real. Why? Because Michael Smith, the reporter who got hold of them, had them retyped to protect his source and then returned the originals. Jonah Goldberg feverishly calls CQ's revelations a "must read."

Now, unlike the Killian memos that were at the center of Rathergate, there are quite a few principals in this case who either wrote or received these memos and therefore have absolute knowledge of whether or not they're genuine. The first memo, for example, was written by Matthew Rycroft and distributed at the time to David Manning, Geoff Hoon, Jack Straw, Peter Goldsmith, Richard Wilson, John Scarlett, Francis Richards, Richard Dearlove, Jonathan Powell, Sally Morgan, and Alastair Campbell. So far, not a single one of these people has claimed they're fake.

In fact, just the opposite. Here's Tony Blair himself on May 1, the day the first memo was published:

In a Sunday morning television interview, Mr. Blair did not deny that the meeting took place in July 2002, but he recalled that "subsequent to that meeting, we went the United Nations route," seeking a resolution in November 2002, calling on the Iraqi government to disarm.

Here's Knight Ridder on May 5:

A former senior U.S. official called it "an absolutely accurate description of what transpired" during the senior British intelligence officer's visit to Washington. He spoke on condition of anonymity.

Here's the Washington Post on June 12:

Excerpts were made available to The Washington Post, and the material was confirmed as authentic by British sources who sought anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss the matter.

Give it up, guys. They're real.

Nevertheless, I very muc... (Below threshold)
Michael:

Nevertheless, I very much doubt that the documents are fakes, for two reasons. First, to my knowledge no one in the British government has denied their authenticity.

Bush never denied the authenticity of the TANG memos. He had no way of knowing. All he could do is stick to the facts -- that he fulfilled his commitment and, to his knowledge, did not receive favorable treatment because of his family.

We need to distinguish between authenticity and accuracy. In other words (as Dan says) a fake memo might be accurate, and an authentic memo might be false. Like when a bureaucrat sends a memo with his own spin on something in order to cover his ass or otherwise further his own agenda. Happens all the time.

Paul, the phrase you are thinking of from the law of evidence is actually "chain of custody."

Hey everyone! I've got a me... (Below threshold)

Hey everyone! I've got a memo from an anonymous source that proves that Howard Dean, Hillary Clinton, and Osama Bin Laden were smoking crack & drinking Jesus Juice with Jacko at an orgy full on under-aged children where they were plotting the overthrow of the US Government! As they have yet to deny it, it clearly must be true! Spread the word!

If the 'memos' are not accu... (Below threshold)

If the 'memos' are not accurate recreations down to the very word from the originals, they are utterly worthless.

In this age of Rathergate, we are supposed to trust the veracity of one reporter who cannot provide originals?

Weak, very weak.

Finally, someone listened t... (Below threshold)
minnie:

Finally, someone listened to me!

Now the world will know we are serious about attacking these supposed memos and destroying their author.Their content is irrelevant if we can marshall our forces as we have done before.

We must send the unambiguous message that we will stop at nothing to crush anyone who attempts to question our President!

"If the 'memos' are not acc... (Below threshold)
frameone:

"If the 'memos' are not accurate recreations down to the very word from the originals, they are utterly worthless.

In this age of Rathergate, we are supposed to trust the veracity of one reporter who cannot provide originals?

Weak, very weak."

Guys, these are not "memos" as in "While You Were Out the Bush Administration called to let you know they were fixing intelligence." They are the official minutes of a high ranking British cabinet meeting. There's absolutely no proof whatsoever to support the idea that these minutes are not real, credible and an entirely accurate account of what was said during the meeting. NO ONE in the British government has even remotely suggested that the meeting didn't take place or that Downing Street minutes aren't an accurate record of what was said. NO ONE. Don't you think that if the minutes were "faked" or not accurate that Blair woudl have said something to that effect by now? He was in the middle of a campaign at the time for crying out loud and he attneded the meeting! Why wouldn't he or his aides have said something? Oh no, it's only right wing bloggers who can separate fact from fiction in the era of Rathergate. Not even eye witnesses can know the truth like right wing bloggers can!

I'm not even sure what you mean by the age of Rathergate unless it means that whenever someone reports on something the right wing doesn't like it marshalls its thuggish minions to beat the press into submission with ludicrous assertions of fraud and conspiracy. Seriously, is it a vast conspiracy of left wing American and right wing British reporters out to destroy America, or is that every time the right wing hears news they don't like they go ape shit to deny reality? Which sounds more likely?

Face it, you all are now suggesting that a British reporter at the conservative London Times faked official minutes to bring down Blair and Bush knowing full that everyone who attended the meeting, including the Prim Minister himself and the person who actually kept the minutes, were alive and well and able to refute anything that was inaccurate or false? That's what you believe?

Minnie, don't be such a pra... (Below threshold)

Minnie, don't be such a prat. Think long & hard about the standards of evidence here. An unverified memo from an unnamed third hand source, and no original document to check. The folks who have vouched for its authenticity are likewise anonymous. Run that by any lawyer in the US & you'd be laughed out of his office. If you went after someone who wasn't a public figure on that basis, you'd be smacked with a libel suit for fast your eyes would pop out from the centrigufal force of your head spinning. The Downing Street Memos are like unto a tale told by an idiot; Full of sound & fury, yet signifing nothing. You've got gornisht.

Paul,I think you'r... (Below threshold)
Mike:

Paul,

I think you're latest scribe after the updates says it all, whatever the authenticity of these re-typed documents, what the left is attempting to portray them as is bunk. They say nothing, they are secondhand interpretations of someone's feelings about a meeting. The left will stop at nothing to try and find some reason to impeach Bush. For them it has become some sort of vendetta. It's sad really.

And of course, if when this story came out everyone knew that the reporter had re-typed these memos and destroyed the originals, I think people would be singing a different tune. I think it can be said that we will never be able to trust the honesty and integrity of one reporter!

FirFirst of all the memos d... (Below threshold)
lyn:

FirFirst of all the memos do not prove that President Bush lied before going to war or was determined to declare war no matter what.

Secondly, since the memos cannot be verified (by showing an original), then even the irrelevant information in the memos has no meaning.

It is on the accusers to PROVE that that the memos are authentic, not Bush and Blair to confirm or deny that they are.

Answering a reporters question about something in the memo is not the same as verifying that it is authentic and accurate. (Such as done by Bush and Blair at a news conference.)

It doesn't matter WHY these memos were printed or what the motives of the reporter was. Because the reporter and newspaper are reported to have more of a conservative bias does not mean that the memos are more likely to be true and accurate.

What does matter is that there is no way to verify these memos, unless the British Government releases the documents. As such the memos cannot be trusted, even with the irrelevant information that it does provide.


Frameone: you are agreeing with Powerline who thinks the memos are probably not fakes. I'm sure you agree with them that the memos do not mean anything because they do not give any new information, nor prove that President Bush lied to take us to war, or was set on declaring war no matter what. Right?

Also, you say the memos are "real". There's no proof they are. And even if they are they are not the "smoking gun" that's going to "get Bush". The memos do not prove what the liberals say they do.

THE MOST IMPORTANT POINT IS THAT UNLESS THE MEMOS CAN BE PROVEN TO BE TRUE AND ACCURATE THEY ARE MEANINGLESS. You need an original to do that.

Having an anonymous British official say that the memos are "consistent with what we thought and believed" is not good enough.

Michael Smith- You mean the... (Below threshold)

Michael Smith- You mean the Michael Smith who conspired with Marla Mapes on the C-BS Memogate?

Again with the anoymous sources and "copies"....sheesh

Ok.

You are just wrong. True an... (Below threshold)
minnie:

You are just wrong. True and accurate is irrelevant except to reality-based moonbats. It didn't matter with Rather or Kerry or Dean or O'Neill or Ritter or anyone else we have brought down and it doesn't matter now as long as we are loud enough and dominate with our message.

What matters is we smear them and smear them hard because they hate America. Then we win. That is what matters.

"Also, you say the memos ar... (Below threshold)
frameone:

"Also, you say the memos are "real". There's no proof they are."

I'm sorry but you guys have blinders on. A reporter asked Blair specifically aout the contents of the Downing Street Memo at his recent press conference with Bush.

The question and the answer:

Q Thank you, sir. On Iraq, the so-called Downing Street memo from July 2002 says intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy of removing Saddam through military action. Is this an accurate reflection of what happened? Could both of you respond?

PRIME MINISTER BLAIR: Well, I can respond to that very easily. No, the facts were not being fixed in any shape or form at all. And let me remind you that that memorandum was written before we then went to the United Nations. Now, no one knows more intimately the discussions that we were conducting as two countries at the time than me. And the fact is we decided to go to the United Nations and went through that process, which resulted in the November 2002 United Nations resolution, to give a final chance to Saddam Hussein to comply with international law. He didn't do so. And that was the reason why we had to take military action.

What part of Blair's answer "THE MEMORANDUM WAS WRITTEN BEFORE WE THEN WENT TO THE UNITED NATIONS" suggests to you that the memo/minutes might not be real?

Now, I happen to believe that Blair is simply covering his ass in this answer (look at how fast he drops the question fo fixed intelligence -- no language parsing here, old chap, he just drops the whole matter). But at no point does he ever REFUTE THE EXISTENCE OF AND ACCURACY OF THE MINUTES as reported by the London Times. Never, not once. He even refers to the memo and the date it was written. AND HE WAS AT THE FREAKING MEETING!!!!!! How on earth coudl you now insist that the memos as recported by the London Time "might be real"?

OK, Frameone. You converte... (Below threshold)
lyn:

OK, Frameone. You converted me. Probably the memos are real and accurate.

They still don't prove anything.

Hmmm.You know. I'... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmm.

You know. I'm looking back at that fake "impeachment trial" and just having a good laugh.

It's GannonGate all over again.

I have a copy of the Pentag... (Below threshold)
mantis:

I have a copy of the Pentagon Papers here on my desk. But they're not the originals! I guess they must be fake.

What I find particularly di... (Below threshold)

What I find particularly disturbing is that the Democrats have already held a meeting about this memo, even though it is even less authenticated than the Killian memos were to begin with. By that I mean that at least CBS had the copies of the supposedly original Killian memos for everyone to see. Michael Smith and the Democrats have nothing, not even a copy, hell, not even a re-typed copy.

George Galloway exclaimed some time ago that the documents the Daily Telegraph found about him in the Foreign Ministry were fake.

The Daily Telegraph published the copies of these documents for all to see. The Downing Street Memo Brigade has nothing to show for this entire story.

Yet still, they get away with calling the Galloway memos fake, and having meetings on their own intangible documents.

How does that work?

Frameone, What pa... (Below threshold)
berlins:

Frameone,
What part of Blair's answer "THE MEMORANDUM WAS WRITTEN BEFORE WE THEN WENT TO THE UNITED NATIONS" suggests to you that the memo/minutes might not be real?
maybe this can be deduced from the date of the memo.

And, you gloss over this
PRIME MINISTER BLAIR: Well, I can respond to that very easily. No, the facts were not being fixed in any shape or form at all..

are you going to believe him part way or not.

Sorry to burst your guy's b... (Below threshold)
gordon:

Sorry to burst your guy's bubble trying to discredit these memos, but if you actually did your research you would find that this is the normal procedure in the UK for leaked documents.

The govt then has an opportunity to respond, and if it doesn't it is regarded as authentic. This has been going on for years.

Research, guys, research instead of linking to some rumours and you could save everybody time!!

Hmmmm."Sorry to bu... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmmm.

"Sorry to burst your guy's bubble trying to discredit these memos, but if you actually did your research you would find that this is the normal procedure in the UK for leaked documents."

Really? They actually make it a practice to re-type documents on an "old-fashioned typewriter"?

What on earth for?

It doesn't matter what the ... (Below threshold)
lyn:

It doesn't matter what the "normal procedure" in Britan is. We're not in Britan. If you want to prove that a document is authentic you have to have the original. "Normal procedure" is proof of nothing.
It really doesn't matter anyway though because even if the documents are accurate and verified by an original they don't prove what the Dems say they do.

Documents are returned to l... (Below threshold)
gordon:

Documents are returned to leaker so as
1.not to raise suspicion from missing memo
2.Original document would show source of leak
3. Document is property of British govt.

Just reporting the facts Ed, trying to keep it reality based.
Lyn, its a BRITISH document. If you don't like the way they do things, maybe its time to overthrow them.

"And, you gloss over this<b... (Below threshold)
frameone:

"And, you gloss over this
PRIME MINISTER BLAIR: Well, I can respond to that very easily. No, the facts were not being fixed in any shape or form at all."

I didn't gloss over it. In my opinion Blair is covering his and Bush's ass here. Why? Because the memos are real. Why would he feel the need to deny this particular damning interpretation of the memo if the memo itself was faked or not real?

It's actually Blair who seems to be a doing a little two-stepping here. He clearly acknowledges that the minutes exist, that the meeting took place but then he refutes this particular part of the discussion without further explanation of why the minutes are worded the way they are. Why? Seems odd doesn't it?

"They still don't prove any... (Below threshold)
frameone:

"They still don't prove anything."

Ultimately, I would argue that the minutes are not definitive proof of anything but they certainly warrant further investigation when put in the context of everything else we've learned about the WMD claims and our reasons for going to war. That's all I think anyone really wants out of this, independent investigator charged with finding out how and why we went to war with Iraq. How bout it guys, an independent prosectutor? You guys used to love independent prosectuors. Why not now? For this?

"It doesn't matter what the... (Below threshold)
frameone:

"It doesn't matter what the "normal procedure" in Britan is. We're not in Britan."

And clearly Lyn does not reside on planet earth. Obviously nothing could convince you of something you don't want to believe:

"Even if the minutes aren't faked they still don't prove anything and even if they did it would be old news that we already knew anyone but even if it wasn't and the president did lie to us it wouldn't matter because Hussein was a threat to us but even if he wasn't a threat to us he gassed his own people but even if we supported him at that time as a check against Iran now we're bringing freedom to the region (except Saudia Arabia) and so there."

Phew.

Ultimately, I would argu... (Below threshold)
Steve L.:

Ultimately, I would argue that the minutes are not definitive proof of anything

A perfect example of inaccurate minutes recently occured during a school board meeting in a local city. During a meeting, the minutes from the previous meeting were read for approval. A board member objected to a statement credited to him claiming that he had said the exact opposite. THe other six members of the board vehemently disagreed with him, sayuing the minutes were absolutely accurate. A disagreement ensued.

It happened that the school board made a habit of videotaping their meetings. They rounded up a TV and VCR and played back the tape. Sure enough, the board member was correct about what he had said. There had been seven people that all recaled hearing the same thing and all seven were wrong.

Minutes of a meeting are only as good as the person taking them. The recorder might misinterpret what the meaning of another's statement might actually be. It is then recorded incorrectly in the minutes of the meeting. This can especially happen if some of the parties involved in a meeting have had other meetings that the recorder did not attend. They could easily make statements referring to other conversations that, in that context, would have a different meaning than the same statement made in a vacuum. The biases of a recorder can influence their interpretation of statements as well.

All I am saying is that, without an authenticate memo signed by the President or Prime Minister Blair stating that they plan to "cook the books," third-party accounts of conversations can be suspect at best.

I confused have we switched... (Below threshold)

I confused have we switched already? I thought we were supposed to be saying that there is nothing new in these memos, now you're saying we are supposed to be saying they are fake?

Could we get a download of all of talking points in advance so that each one goes down in flames we could move on to the next one and avoid all of this confusion.

Hmmmm."Could we ge... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmmm.

"Could we get a download of all of talking points in advance so that each one goes down in flames we could move on to the next one and avoid all of this confusion."

Ok.

1. They cannot be authenticated because there are no originals and these are photocopies of a typewritten copy.

2. The reporter, Smith, is an asshat for having retyped this nonsense on an "old-fashioned typewriter" instead of using a computer.

3. These memos mean nothing because the entire basis of the liberal charge is centered around the writing style of a junior official in a foreign government. Which is frankly a pretty absurd thing.

So, to summarise:

A. They're probably fake.
B. They're useless anyways.

These talking points were provided by your local member of the VRWC (Vast Right Wing Conspiracy). Please support your local VRWC, cookies are optional but beer is a must.

Hmmmm."Just report... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmmm.

"Just reporting the facts Ed, trying to keep it reality based."

*shrug* you said this was standard procedure. If it's standard procedure to retype things on an old-fashioned typewriter, then that's something I'd like to know. If it's NOT standard procedure to do this, then that's a very curious thing to do.

"That's all I think anyone really wants out of this, independent investigator charged with finding out how and why we went to war with Iraq."

Here's an answer: Because *CONGRESS* authorised it.

What are they going to investigate? Congress?

You guys are getting screwier each day you know this right? You DO realise that there's a great deal of discontent with the Republican party right? That the 2006 mid-term elections are a prime opportunity for the Democratic Party to regain some momentum?

But the longer you guys go on about Bush = Hitler and other crazy ass nonsense, the less likely you'll make any gains at all. With Turban Durbin making idiotic speeches on the senate floor, wierdoes handing out anti-semetic leaflets and asshats having mock impeachment trials with buffoons for witnesses, frankly I think the Democratic party is going to get spanked in 2006.

*shrug* but hey, as long as you hate Bush. I guess if that matters that much to then go for it.

Chimpy McHitlterBusHalliburtonOil and all that.

This memo is a recreation o... (Below threshold)

This memo is a recreation of an impression of the minutes, not the actual dialogue, of some meetings.

We have no way to know if the notorious 'fixed around' sentence is an accurate characterization of what was said in the meeting.

And now, on top of it, we have questions about the 'chain of custory' of this document, that now has us questioning if the reporter has even produced a real document.

And the burden is on the government now to prove/disprove this document??? That is not where the burden of proof lies, that task falls to the accuser.

And what this reporter may or may not have copied correctly - if it is in fact accurate, and how can we possibly prove that now without originals? - is supposed to be the 'smoking gun' around which the whole anti-Bush campaign centers, if Conyers is to be believed.

Do the Democrats really want to stake everything on this?

Just throw enough crap against the wall and see what sticks, I guess.

"All I am saying is that, w... (Below threshold)
frameone:

"All I am saying is that, without an authenticate memo signed by the President or Prime Minister Blair stating that they plan to "cook the books," third-party accounts of conversations can be suspect at best."

And all I'm saying is not that the minutes aren't accurate record of what was said but that yeah, they aren't evidence of what Bush did or said but they are evidence of what the British thought he said and intended to do. That enough to open investigation don't you think? A British cabinet meeting in which the Prim Minister and his head of intelligence are present is not a school board meeting. You and everyong else here knows it but you all keep insisting that somehow the British are great allies, except, you know, in this one meeting where some guys spread rumors and half truths about something they heard in the lavatory when they were on the Pentagon tour.

"Here's an answer: Because ... (Below threshold)
frameone:

"Here's an answer: Because *CONGRESS* authorised it.

What are they going to investigate? Congress?"


Um, Ed, they authorized it based on what the President told them. He told them that Hussein had WMDs and that he was going to seek war as a last resort. If neither of those things were true, then we have a problem. And it lies at the president's feet.

"But the longer you guys go on about Bush = Hitler and other crazy ass nonsense, the less likely you'll make any gains at all."

Everybody please note the obvious attempt to change the subject here as if anyone in this thread has referred to Bush as Hitler or if that had anything to do with the Downing Street memo. Very nice, Ed, you've learned well from your masters.

Hmmmm."Um, Ed, the... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmmm.

"Um, Ed, they authorized it based on what the President told them."

Yeah cause congress doesn't have a single intelligence committee or anything. Nobody gives congress intelligence briefs. Nobody is required by law to keep congress informed of intelligence matters. And no member of any congressional intelligence committee has access to any reports or briefings by any intelligence agencies.

Cause we all know President Bush bopped his white ass down to Congress and gave them the 411 directly. And they of course took him at his word not having any independent access of their very own to the very same intelligence data and briefings.

Loons.

Depressing is what it is fo... (Below threshold)
Jim:

Depressing is what it is folks. Even if a smoking gun was plainly seen by the entire population of the US, it would make no difference. As long as we can focus on our personal wealth building plans and afford the oil to toodle around in gas guzzling vehicles, who cares about the truth or accountability. We are all copiable in the policy of our leaders, and God forgive us all.

Is the memo a primary sourc... (Below threshold)
pbeat:

Is the memo a primary source? Let’s look at their reasons not to believe the memo, starting with the funniest.


Bush devotees argued that the word ’fixed’ means something different in England. This is what the TimesOnline.co.uk

reporter who broke the story had to say re: ’fixed’ in a WaPo online chat:


Michael Smith, Sunday Times Reporter: There are a number of people asking about fixed and its meaning. This is a real joke. I do not know anyone in the UK who took it to mean anything other than fixed as in fixed a race, fixed an election, fixed the intelligence. If you fix something, you make it the way you want it. The intelligence was fixed and as for the reports that said this was one British official. Pleeeaaassee! This was the head of MI6. How much authority do you want the man to have? He has just been to Washington, he has just talked to George Tenet. He said the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. That translates in clearer terms as the intelligence was being cooked to match what the administration wanted it to say to justify invading Iraq.


"fixed as in fixed a race, fixed an election"

Another reason given for Bush’s refusal to answer these allegations is that the memo is hearsay from an insignificant aide. Ray McGovern, 27yr CIA analyst (retired), stated at the Conyers’ Hearing that the Downing Street Minutes are in fact a primary source, not merely 2nd hand information.


The Memo is actually the minutes from a top secret meeting with Blair, his cabinet and the head of MI6. As UK reporter Mr. Smith stated, "Pleeeaaassee! This was the head of MI6. How much authority do you want the man to have?" Britain’s top spy told Blair what he learned in Washington, that war was "inevitable" and the "facts were being fixed" to convince the public.

Bush told US war was the last resort, but according to the Downing Street minutes, that was a bald-faced lie. They had planned the war from the start.

Sure it was an aide doing the writing, that’s how top level meetings work. Does the US press expect to disregard all meeting minutes unless Blair himself wrote them?

The telling proof is that the minutes were written on the day of the meeting, and sent to all participants immediately afterward- nobody objected. Blair and his cabinet did not reply with a differing account of the meeting- implicitly stating that the contents are true, the DSM does indeed reflect the assessment of Britain’s top Intelligence Officer upon returning from DC.

What more of a primary source is necessary to initiate a Senate Investigation? The answer is nothing- this does warrant a full investigation. If Bush has nothing to hide, he should be glad to clear this up by testifying as soon as possible.

However, this time Bush doesn’t appoint the panel. And this time Bush testifies alone, in public, under oath, no wires.

Hmmmm."no wires"</... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmmm.

"no wires"

Sorry but that transcends any sarcasm I could write. I'd mock it, but can you mock self-mockery? It's almost zen, in a wierd moonbat sort of way.




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