Monday, June 13, 2005

NYT: "Prewar British Memo Says War Decision Wasn't Made" (David E. Sanger)

A memorandum written by Prime Minister Tony Blair's cabinet office in late July 2002 explicitly states that the Bush administration had made "no political decisions" to invade Iraq, but that American military planning for the possibility was advanced. The memo also said American planning, in the eyes of Mr. Blair's aides, was "virtually silent" on the problems of a postwar occupation.
"A postwar occupation of Iraq could lead to a protracted and costly nation-building exercise," warned the memorandum, prepared July 21 for a meeting with Mr. Blair a few days later. It also appeared to take as a given the presence of illicit weapons in Iraq - an assumption that later proved almost entirely wrong - and warned that merely removing Saddam Hussein from power would not guarantee that those weapons could be secured.
A transcript of the memorandum was posted Sunday on the Web site of The Sunday Times of London, after The Washington Post, citing one of the British paper's own correspondents as a source, published excerpts. No image of the original was included, The Times said, to protect its source; a note on the Web site said the last page was missing.

The above is from David E. Sanger's "Prewar British Memo Says War Decision Wasn't Made" in the New York Times this morning and I could make fifty jokes off the top of my head about it but, hoping that they're finally getting serious about this story and will seriously cover it, I'll bite my tongue for now. (Members don't have. Feel free to e-mail your comments and note if they're to be shared with the community.)

Rachel, Lori, Brendan and Joey e-mailed to note Eric Licthblau's "Out of Jail, Ex-Agent Seeks to Clear His Name:"

Edwin P. Wilson, a disgraced former Central Intelligence Agency officer freed from prison last year after serving 22 years in connection with the sale of arms and explosives to Libya in the 1970's, is going back to court, and this time he says he hopes to clear his name once and for all.
In a motion filed last month in federal court in Richmond, Va., Mr. Wilson asked a judge to throw out his 1982 conviction on seven felony counts involving the illegal exports of an M-16 rifle and four handguns to Libya, and he presented what his lawyer described as new evidence in his defense. Mr. Wilson now says that his former employers at the C.I.A. not only knew of his clandestine international arms trafficking but also directed much of his activity.
Some of Mr. Wilson's claims have already been validated by a federal judge in Houston, who ruled in 2003 in a related case involving the sale of explosives to Libya that Justice Department prosecutors and C.I.A. officials had fabricated evidence against him two decades earlier in denying that the agency had any knowledge of his arms dealings.
That decision overturned Mr. Wilson's conviction and led to his release last September from a maximum-security prison in Pennsylvania.
Mr. Wilson's prosecution in the early 1980's became a major international scandal cloaked in tales of global gun-running, secret meetings and an American sting operation. At a time when Libya was considered a major supporter of terrorism, the idea that a former C.I.A. officer would provide weapons to the regime of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi set off particular outrage among intelligence officials, many of whom still consider Mr. Wilson a villain.

Cedric e-mails to note Nazila Fathi's "7 Bombings Shatter Iran's Pre-election Calm, Killing 10:"

Seven bomb blasts shattered Iran's pre-election calm on Sunday, leaving at least 10 people dead and nearly 80 wounded in one of the worst outbreaks of political violence here since the end of the Iran-Iraq war in 1988.
Iran's Security Council blamed what it called terrorist groups linked to supporters of Saddam Hussein, the deposed Iraqi leader, for four of the bombings. It was the first time that Iran has accused any foreign terrorist organization of playing a role in a domestic attack.
The bombings occurred only five days before Iranians are to elect a successor to President Mohammad Khatami. No group took responsibility, but the Interior Ministry said the timing of the bombings suggested that they were meant to intimidate Iranians into not voting.

Kimberly e-mailed to note that the bombing we mentioned (via Ireland's Breakingnews.i.e.) last night is addressed in this morning's Times. From "Russian Train Is Bombed:"

A bomb derailed a passenger train traveling from Chechnya to Moscow on Sunday, injuring at least 15 people in what officials described as a terrorist attack.

Short excerpt? It's a three paragraph story. (It's credited as "by The New York Times." I also haven't seen in the paper -- I may be missing it -- in which case it's just available online.)

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