of activist groups running the gamut of social and political
issues will ask Congress to file a Resolution of Inquiry,
the first necessary legal step to determine whether
President Bush has committed impeachable offenses in
misleading the country about his decision to go to war
in Iraq, RAW STORY
The formal Resolution of Inquiry request, written by
Boston constitutional attorney John C. Bonifaz, cites
Street Memo and issues surrounding the planning
and execution of the Iraq war. A resolution of inquiry
would force relevant House committees to vote on the
record as to whether to support an investigation.
The Downing Street Memo, official minutes of a 2002
meeting between British Prime Minister Tony Blair, members
of British intelligence MI-6 and various members of
the Bush administration, notes that MI-6 director Richard
Dearlove said, “Bush wanted to remove Saddam,
through military action, justified by the conjunction
of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts
were being fixed around the policy.”
Bonifaz says the minutes were the impetus for his request.
“The recent release of the Downing Street Memo
provides new and compelling evidence that the President
of the United States has been actively engaged in a
conspiracy to deceive and mislead the United States
Congress and the American people,” Bonifaz wrote
memo to the ranking House Judiciary Committee Democrat
John Conyers (D-MI), outlining the case (read
his memo here).
Blair and other British officials have not questioned
the minutes’ veracity.
In response to the revelations in the Downing Street
memo, Conyers and eighty-eight other members of Congress
issued a letter to the White House on May 5 requesting
an explanation and answers to questions about whether
the President misled Congress into voting for the Iraq
White House press secretary Scott McClellan waived
off the letter, saying he had “no need to respond,”
according to the New
Frustrated by the media’s silence, save a few
articles buried in major American newspapers and pieces
in the alternative media such as Air America Radio,
the Ed Schultz Show, Salon and RAW
STORY, a grassroots progressive movement has pushed
the story forward, culminating in a formal request for
a Resolution of Inquiry.
Bonifaz wrote the request and outlined the case on
behalf of a joint effort by several groups, including:
for Peace, Progressive
Democrats of America (PDA), 911Citizens
and Gold Star Families
“The president, among other alleged crimes, may
have also violated federal criminal law if the evidence
from the Downing Street memo is proven to be true, including
the False Statements Accountability Act of 1996,”
Some have criticized the media’s coverage of
"To me it's kind of the smoking gun, or maybe
the latest in a number of smoking guns,” Editor
and Publisher senior editor Dave Astor told RAW RADIO
Saturday. “And the fact that the media either
didn't cover it or buried the coverage or poo-pooed
it is appalling.”
“It goes back to the fact of who owns the media
and the media being intimidated by this administration,”
he added. “I think that memo indicates an impeachable
offense, personally. If we had a Congress that had some
spine, and was maybe Democratic-controlled, it could
be an impeachable offense.”
Coalition member Medea Benjamin, founding director
of Global Exchange, said she supports legal proceedings.
“When a president so callously distorts the facts,
manipulates the public and is responsible for so much
needless death and destruction, he must be held accountable,”
Benjamin told RAW STORY.
Other members of the coalition, loosely titled “After
Downing Street,” concur.
“We will be organizing the grassroots to demand
Congress move forward with a Resolution of Inquiry,”
PDA director Tim Carpenter stated.
As part of Congressional approval for H.R.Res. 114;
Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq
Resolution of 2002, the administration was required
to report to Congress that diplomatic options had been
exhausted before or within 48 hours after military action
In a conversation with RAW
STORY, Bonifaz expressed the disappointment of many
who put their faith in the President.
“Within 48 hours after the attack on Iraq, the
president wrote a letter to Congress indicating that
Iraq posed a serious and imminent threat to national
security and if he knew that was not true at the time
he submitted that letter it is a clear violation of
the False Statements Accountability Act of 1996,”
Under this Act, amending 18 U.S.C. § 1001,
it is a crime knowingly and willfully (1) to falsify,
conceal or cover up a material fact by trick, scheme
or device; (2) to make any materially false, fictitious,
or fraudulent statement or representation; or (3) to
make or use any false writing or document knowing it
to contain any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent
statement or entry; with respect to matters within the
jurisdiction of the legislative, executive, or judicial
He goes on to discuss the other statutes and laws that
may have been violated, including but not limited to
the Federal Anti-Conspiracy Statute (more per above
When asked if the Resolution of Inquiry would apply
to others involved in the alleged effort to mislead
the public into war, Bonifaz explained that the procedure
requires that a full investigation begin from the top
of the chain of command.
“Provisions in U.S. Constitution guarantee that
when a President abuses power, engages in excesses,
and subverts the constitution, the people have a recourse
through their elected officials in congress,”
Other member groups behind this coalition want that
We are "behind this resolution of inquiry because
our loved ones were killed for deception and betrayal
from George Bush and the rest of the administration,"
said Gold Star Families for Peace founder Cindy Sheehan.
"We would like to see George Bush, Dick Cheney,
et al, be held accountable for their lies and arrogance
for sending our children off to die in a war that is
illegal and immoral."
“We support this resolution of inquiry because
we stand for truth and accountability,” said co-founder
of 911CitizensWatch Kyle Hence. “It's more important
than ever as whistleblowers stand up and documents emerge
that point to potential crimes in high places all too
often of late veiled by government secrecy.”
Brad Friedman, co-founder of Velvet Revolution, agrees
with the need for transparency.
"We believe that a proper inquiry into the facts
underlying the Downing Street memo are vital to our
constitutional democracy because only Congress can declare
war, and a President and his appointed officials cannot
be allowed to run the country if indeed they have misled
and lied about the basis for the Iraq war,” said
Bonifaz hopes the groups, which boast a total membership
of several million, are just the beginning of the grassroots
The others agree.
“It is time for Congress to do its duty and ask:
“Did the administration mislead us into war by
manipulating and misstating intelligence concerning
weapons of mass destruction, suppressing contrary intelligence
…and exaggerated the danger Iraq posed to the
United States and its neighbors?” said Kevin Zeese,
founder of Democracy Rising.
Bonifaz and others ask that citizens of all party affiliations
and backgrounds help support his request by writing
to their Congressional leaders. They are also seeking
other groups to sign on.
More information will be up shortly at: http://www.afterdowningstreet.org.
Correction: An earlier version of this article
referred to an 'Inquiry of Resolution.' The writer meant
a 'Resolution of Inquiry.'
Article originally published May 25, 2005.