After Downing Street - Memo-Gate

Downing Street Minutes 3rd Anniversary on July 23. 2005: CODEPINK held a national day of action. Click here to view action pictures.

Click here for our suggestions on how to participate on July 23 and beyond.

CODEPINK: Women for Peace joined the coalition calling for Congress to pass a resolution of inquiry into impeachable offenses by President Bush. The Downing Street Memo confirmed that the Bush administration had decided to attack Iraq and overthrow Saddam Hussein before the UN weapons inspectors had completed their work. Furthermore, other evidence made a strong case that President Bush violated the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907, the Geneva Protocol of 1925, the Nuremberg Principles of 1945, Anti-Genocide Convention of 1948, the four Geneva Conventions of 1949, the Conventional Weapons Convention of 1980, the Charter of United Nations, Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international agreements by invading Iraq and during the US military occupation. Congress had take responsibility to review the growing body of evidence, including that collected at the 15 sessions of the World Tribunal on Iraq, that war crimes were committed during this illegal invasion and continue under the US occupation of Iraq.

Memo-Gate: Let's Sign, Push and Pressure the Downing Street Memo into the National Spotlight!

How you helped the After Downing Street Campaign:

  • Signed Representative John Conyers' petition letter to George W. Bush
  • Pushed your Congressional rep to join this effort. Sent email letters to got him/her to do three things:
    a) sign on to Conyers' petition letter, b) attend the June 16 Hearing on the Downing Street Minutes, and c) support a resolution of Inquiry into impeachable offenses. Please email your Rep today and ask him or her to do the right thing!
  • Pressured the media to cover this story!

Check your local print, TV and radio to see if and how they have covered the issue, and push for greater coverage. Click here for action ideas, sample op-eds, letters to the editor, and press releases. You can start by calling, and if no response, ask for a meeting. And if no response, organize a protest outside their office.

The Memo/Minutes
The Downing Street Memo is a document containing meeting minutes transcribed during the British Prime Minister's meeting on July 23, 2002—a full eight months PRIOR to the invasion of Iraq on March 20, 2003. The Times of London printed the text of this document on Sunday, May 1, 2005. Click here to view additional memos that have been leaked.

The contents of the memo are shocking. It shows that our government did not believe Iraq was a great threat to the US, but that intelligence was being "fixed" to sell the case for war to the American public. It revealed that the Bush Administration's public assurances of "war as a last resort" were at odds with their privately stated intentions.

The Coalition
While the document caused a great scandal in England, during the entire month of May it was difficult to get any of the major media outlets to even report on the memo. In light of the media blackout, a group of organizations—including CODEPINK, Progressive Democrats of America, Gold Star Families for Peace,, Global Exchange, Veterans for Peace, and the Rainbow Push Coalition—united to form the After Downing Street coalition.

We put up a website, pushed the media to cover this scandalous memo, met with lawyers involved in analyzing the implications of the memo, and consulted with congressional representatives such as Rep. John Conyers.

Representative Conyers' Letter
Congressman Conyers prepared a letter to President Bush demanding a response to questions posed by the memo. By June 9, 2005, 93 of his Congressional colleagues had signed the letter. In addition, Congressman Conyers asked our help in getting 100,000 citizens to sign onto the letter. Within a week, we had surpassed that goal, and the Congressman raised the goalpost to 250,000. That, too, was so quickly achieved that he raised the goal again—this time to 500,000!

The Downing Street Minutes Hearing
The Congressman also made a commitment to hold hearings and a rally on the memo on June 16, and to hand-deliver the half-million citizen signatures to the White House.

The White House is hoping that this matter will fade away, but in a few short weeks, with John Conyers and our coalition, the memo has found its way into leading news media and White House press briefings.

The Media
We now have a unique opportunity—indeed, a moral obligation—to keep pushing this memo onto the pubic scene, educating millions of Americans about the illegitimacy of the Bush administration and pressuring Congress to hold this Administration accountable for taking us into a disastrous war on the basis of lies.

The Resolution of Inquiry - grounds for impeachment
We feel strongly that this memo constitutes proof of conspiracy to deceive Congress and the American public about the reasons for going to war, and would therefore be grounds for impeachment. While impeachment of a Republican president under a Republican-controlled Congress is indeed far-fetched, it is nevertheless important to push this memo, and impeachment proceedings, as far as we can possibly go. The campaign will help to call into question the legitimacy of this Administration and the on-going occupation of Iraq, and can help open the doors to both opposition leaders as well as a more effective campaign for withdrawing US troops from Iraq. 

June 2005: Phase II of the Anti-War Movement, by Medea Benjamin
For the history books,  June 2005 was marked down as the moment the US movement against the occupation of Iraq got its second wind. In June, the US public became solidly anti-war, Bush's approval rating took a nosedive, and a significant number of Congresspeople started to call for an exit strategy

This marked a seismic shift from just one month prior, when Congress overwhelmingly passed another $82 billion for war—with only 44 members of the House and not one Senator dissenting. 

Photo Credit:
Photos above include those of the After Downing St. Rally at KTLA This rally was convened to support the hearings convened by Rep. Conyers and over 100 other Members of Congress to investigate the Downing St. Minutes.