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Democrats plan sharp rebuke of pre-war intelligence, Iraq war in massive new congressional report

Larisa Alexandrovna and John Byrne

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House Judiciary Committee Democrats, spearheaded by Congressman John Conyers (D-MI), are set to release possibly the sharpest congressional critique to date surrounding Iraq, RAW STORY has learned.

The report, titled "The Constitution in Crisis: The Downing Street Minutes and Deception, Manipulation, Torture, Retribution and Coverups in the Iraq War," is slotted to be made available to the public Tuesday. RAW STORY acquired a copy of the book�s cover and some additional information about the document today.

According to Democratic aides, the report will focus on alleged manipulation of pre-war intelligence by the White House, specifically covering such topics as the Downing Street Minutes as well as the White House position on the Geneva Conventions and international law as regards its policies toward prisoners of war. Sources say the report is slated to be published as a book.

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The ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, Conyers had previously pushed for an inquiry into the Downing Street Minutes, official minutes of a 2002 meeting among British Prime Minister Tony Blair, members of British intelligence MI-6, as well as Bush administration advisers. Most notably, the minutes included a comment from British intelligence director Richard Dearlove, who was quoted in a secret meeting before the war as saying "intelligence and facts are being fixed around the policy."

The Downing Street Minutes were first reported in the British press by the Sunday London Times, and then carried across the Atlantic by RAW STORY. This site obtained copies from British sources, which along with a push from activists, subsequently spawned a flurry of stories in major U.S. newspapers and on U.S. television networks.

Public outcry resulted in a resolution of inquiry filing with close to half a million citizen signatories, as well as a hearing chaired by Conyers and attended by other Democratic members on the Judiciary Committee. The Republican members of the Committee would neither attend nor support efforts to investigate the documents.

In June, Conyers and 51 other House members filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the White House, Defense Department and State Department seeking any and all documents concerning the Downing Street documents. Aides say they have been stonewalled and have received nothing in response.

They also asked the House Committees on Judiciary, Armed Services, International Relations, and the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence to hold hearings; the request was blocked by Republicans along party lines.

RAW STORY has copies of all the Downing Street documents and other pre-war British correspondence documents here. Those pushing for inquiries into the Downing Street Minutes maintain a website at AfterDowningStreet.org.

Originally published on Monday December 19, 2005

 


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