Extraordinary Testimony Given...
BRAD BLOG Raw Notes Posted...Full Audio Now Posted as well...
By Brad Friedman on 6/16/2005, 3:07pm PT  

As there are many who were unable to follow the hearings live and given the historic importance of them, I am making my raw notes --- essentially live blogged, but not posted during the hearings --- available here right away...Please note that these are raw notes, not necessarily quotes even if some of them are in quotes. I did try and type as closely as I could to what was being said however.

Hopefully this will give those of you unable to listen live, an idea of these EXTRAORDINARY hearings which were chaired by Congressman John Conyers' and just adjourned in the 15' by 30' room in the basement of the Capitol Building!...Simply extraordinary hearings...

(The hearing will re-air on C-SPAN 2 tonight, Thursday, at 8pm ET, and late-night at 1:56am on C-SPAN 1 at 1:56am Friday "morning", And again on Friday at 8pm ET)...

Complete Audio now posted, courtesy of BRAD BLOG secret weapon, David Edwards!
- Streaming RealAudio
- Mirrored Streaming RealAudio

We will try to get the prepared testimony from the witnesses as soon as we can...

Though the hearings were remarkable, we don't believe they were the cause for 4.9 earthquake we experienced here in Los Angeles during the hearings (we're fine, but the ground did shake)...

PRESENT (Members joined throughout the hearings): Conyers, Maxine Waters (CA), Barney Frank (MA), Jim Moran, John Tierney (MA), Shiela Jackson Lee, McDermott, Maurice Hinchy (NY), Barbara Lee, Charles Rangel (NY), Zoe Lofgren (CA), Jerry Nadler (NY), Wexler (FL), Watson, Woolsley, Jay Ensley (WA), Jan Shackowski (IL), Markey, Kaplin (OH?), Corrine Brown (FL), Mccullam, Baldwin, Van Holland (MD), Don Paine, DiSolice, DiFazzio, George Miller, Gregory Meeks (NY), Rush Holt (NJ)

AMB. JOE WILSON (first to testify)

"The work I do is on behalf of America, not Republicans, not Democrsts, but Americans" (paraphrased)

"My wife did not have anything to do with my being hired for this job" (paraphrased)

"There is no reason to believe our departure from Iraq, or our departure five years from now will effect [the ongoing violence]"

CINDY SHEEHAN (second to testify): NOTE: Ms. Sheehan will be a guest on this weekend's BRAD SHOW, Saturday 7p - 11p ET

Son killed in Saddar City, Baghdad, on 04/04/04
(Just 11 Days after Bush's "No weapons under there" jokes, according to Ray McGovern later)

"This aggression on Iraq was based on a lie of historic proportions."

Quotes Mickey Hersowitz, Bush's original ghostwriter on his autobiography: "If I have a change to invade...political capital..."

"Seems my boy was given a death sentence before he even joined the Armed Services in May of 2000."

Coming home in flag-draped coffins, images, as if they are ashamed of our children, that our leaders won't even let them see.

Reads letter from a guy who's brother had hung himself with a garden hose after returning from Iraq.

"Casey (her son) and his buddies have been killed to line the pockets of already wealthy people"

An investigation into the DSM is completely warranted...to hold someone accountable for the many deaths that have occurred...I don't care if it's Democrats or Republicans.

The innocents being killed don't care what political party this is about.

How many more families with members in Iraq will get visits from the grim reaper in military uniforms informing them their children have been killed?

CALLED HER SON'S DEATH: "Pre-meditated Death"

"PLEASE hold someone accountable."

"I hope this is the first step in bringing the lies to the light and bringing justice to those who can no longer speak for themselves."

27-YEAR CIA ANALYST, RAY MCGOVERN (third to testify):
NOTE: Mr. McGovern was a guest on last weekend's BRAD SHOW. Archives are available at that link.

Shows video of Powell and Rice prior to 9/11 saying that Saddam was "contained" and not a threat.

Thanks the whistleblowers who released the Downing Street documents.

The V.P. (?) said "We now know that Saddam has weapons...we have testimony including from Saddam's son-in-law."... This is a lie. You can read it in his testimony that he said "all WMD were destroyed."

NOTE: Mr. Bonifaz was a guest on BRAD SHOW two weeks ago. The archives for part of that interview are available. Some of interview lost in archives due to a technical problem..

Bush Letter to congress just days after launch of war:
"Military action against Iraq was necessary to protect U.S. against continuing threat against U.S. posed by Iraq...and to deal with attacks against U.S. on September 11th, 2001"

That was not true.

"If the President of the United States has committed High Crimes, he must be held accountable. The Constitution demands no less."


MCGOVERN: Attorneys said that "Regime change is not a legal basis for war"

BONIFAZ: "The question is whether the President subverted the Constitution"

MAXINE WATERS: "V.P. Cheney made visits to CIA and it appears that it was more than one visit. We have been watching a VP who has done any number of things...he's the former CEO of Halliburton...has had a hand in no bid contracts... Appears to not be concerned about what the American public thinks about this and these documents...There's been a manipulation of intelligence information...that they had to make the intelligence fit the conclusion that they were indeed going to invade Iraq. Is there anything else we should know about what the V.P. did?"

MCGOVERN: "Many people have asked me about this. If it's unusual for a sitting Vice-Predident to make such visits to the CIA. It's not unusual, it's unprecedented!" I was there for 27 years, not once, even when George H.W. Bush was sitting President, did a sitting V.P. come on a working visit to CIA headquarters. He came at least 9 times...It's incredible that that should be happening."

On Tenet being present when V.P. spoke to analyists: "this is the real outrage. The head of an agency needs to protect his people from this kind of pressure from outside influence...How can that be done when their boss is standing right over there shoulder?

"here's your Director standing over your shoulder...if this doesn't have an effect ...The management of the CIA has been so corrupted, so politicized, there's a real question...In my mind on whether the agency can come up with anything reliable when it's already known what the Administration wants to hear."

Sadly, the pressure worked. Most of the people have now left, and the type of people who would bend to this kind of politicization are left.

BARNEY FRANK: "Some in the administration have said 'big deal, we already knew that'...Well if we knew that, why the hell didn't they do something about it?"

BONIFAZ: "'Democracy' as a reason for war, was not submitted to Congress in the letter that Bush submitted" (Only after WMD began to not be found was 'Democracy' used as a reason for the invasion).

MCGOVERN: By September 2002, hundreds of tons of bombs had already been dropped. The war had already started.

SHIELA JACKSON LEE: "This war has shown the highest number, percentage-wise, of suicides...Makes an "official apology to Sheehan"..."I want to apologize on behalf of the institutions of this nations, on behalf of the Senate and the House and if I can extend on behalf of the executive branch....to apologize for what happened...believes the nation owes you and the families of those who went to serve on the front lines an apology.

BONIFAZ: "This idea of preemption has no basis in International Law...This was a problem that the British Lawyers had...You have to have an iminent threat and prove that somebody is about to attack you...[The war] is illegal and that's something the American people need to understand."

WILSON: "Our obligation is to ensure we have not sent them over there to die under false pretenses in our name"

BONIFAZ: "On preemptive war doctrine. The prez announced..and when he did so...By it's own terminology, the preemptive doctrine requires proof that there is something to preempt! Which is why the DSM documents are so important."

JIM MORAN: "What do you think was the real reason for going to war?

MAXINE WATERS: "OUT OF IRAQ" Congressional Caucus has now been established. Pelosi's Amendment to ask for an exit strategy by Bush being voted on RIGHT NOW.

CHARLES RANGEL: Can't thank this panel enough. "I have sat through two impeachments...quite frankly, the evidence that appears to be building up on whether a Prez has deliberately mislead the congress...on the most important decisions a Prez can ever make...whether to place American lives in harms way...Having not heard all the testimony in these Historic Hearings...Has anyone testified whether the case is sufficient to start an official Inquiry into whether or not the proof was sufficient to go to war?"

BONIFAZ: "Yes, we have at AfterDowningSTreet.org...All we're asking at this point is for answers to these questions. To know the truth whether or not the Prez. Engaged in a deliberate campaign to deceive...If that's all it was after an investigation, a failure of intelligence, then so be it...But if the memo from Richard Dearlove was accurate, then we all deserve to know the truth about whether the Prez deliberately lied...we owe it to the people of the united States to find out."

MAURICE HINCHEY: All of us in the entire nation owes all of you a deep debt of gratitude...The idea that tht Prez lied to the American people in regard to war...What's being done today is incredibly important and I'm deeply indebted to you, Mr. Conyers for making it happen....The fact that we're in a tiny room dicussing this, indicates how irresponsible this Congress is...Congress has abrogated its responsibility completely to oversee this Administration...It's unfortunate but today in Washington we have a Monolithic government, we do not have the checks and balances required...Seems to me this policy has made us LESS secure...Despite Tenet saying "Yes, it's a slam dunk Mr. President, we'll get the information you're looking for"...Senate Intelligence committee said they were going to complete that report earlier this year...They haven't

MCGOVERN: State of Intelligence has never been more in shambles....When Tenet came back and said to his managers we have to do a National Intel. Estimate but it has to come out the way Cheney wants it...In my day, we all would have laughed and said "You're kidding"...or if he wasn't kidding, we all would have walked out...In this case, the worst Nat Intel Est. in the history of this nation...three weeks later came out. ... A thorough house cleaning is required, and I dare say, if Bolton is confirmed, the rest of the good people remaining will leave too...To answer your question, character does count and we didn't have it at the top of the Intel community...The Intel oversight committees have shown themselves incapable of doing anything about this, but perhaps you can raise the consciousness...

WILSON: Sanctity of intel process needs to be maintained...and that has been sacrificed...There are any number of people who are afraid to come out of the woodwork...many are afraid to because of what happened to my wife...The message was "If you do what Wilson did, we'll do to you what we did to Wilson's wife."...Let me say once again that being married to my wife is not having a skeleton in my closet!

JERROLD NADLER: Country now at unique moment. Five different crisis we're now facing simultaneously. 1) War 2) War wrecking our armed forces 3) Seem to be wrecking our Intel ability 4) Lack of hearings and oversight, and we can't get congress to hold real hearings 5) Credibility crisis concerning Prez who may have lied us into war...to a Congress who never would have authorized had they known...."Only question is was the President a fool or an aid?"... I remember during Viet Nam...We had a Dem prez and a Dem congress and that congress started hearings that forced...proved to hold the President's feet to the fire...We all remember particpating in Impeachment hearings against Prez Clinton in which basis was the Prez lied regarding a matter of Private conduct...Regardless of our conclusions of that, most of us thought that wasn't impeachable because it didn't subvert the structure of government...A Prez who deliberately lies to congress in order to induce it to support war CLEARLY would meet the bar for impeachment.

BONIFAZ: [In re: validity of DSM] It's clear this was intended to be secret, was at Tony Blair's private residence, Dearlove's briefing (he is equivalent of our CIA Director), he reports that the President had decided to overthrow Saddam which would be "justified between conjunction of WMD and Terrorism"...some people would say this wasn't the intention...that's why we need an investigation...But it was a private meeting, so Dearlove would have no reason to exaggerate anything...Our view is there needs to be an investigation to discover this...

JERROLD NADLER: Sen. Pat Roberts said there would be investigation after the Election and now he says "Forget about it".

MCGOVERN: Richard Dearlove was just back from D.C. the whole purpose of the Downing Street briefing was to tell what he had just learned from Tenet and Rice and the officials in Washington....Dearlove says this is a major change from before...and Dearlove describes the change as inevitably leading to war.

ZOE LOFGREN: Meeting in basement of Congress because rest of Congress are participating in coverup...there is no other way to say it...We are sitting here in the basement today HOPING that the press can get out the word of what the American people need to know....I sat on the Clinton Impeachment and it didn't meet the standards...But lying to Congress...we can't even get a room to meet in!...Ken Mehlman said on Meet the Press, "This report has been discredited...totally discredited by everyone's who looked at". Is the RNC Chairman correct? Has this report been discredited?

MCGOVERN: The notion that the DSM have been discredited by investigations done months before the documents even came out is ludicrous.

BARNEY FRANK: Some who are defending the prez argue that the memo is false, and others say they knew it all along. Which one is it?

ZOE LOFGREN: People of the U.S. own the congress, not the lobbyist, not the special interests.

BONIFAZ: The Downing Street documents are the equivalent to a taping system in the White House in the Nixon Administration...Imagine Congress saying we don't want those tapes! OF COURSE the congress wanted those tapes...and these DS Minutes should be investigated by congress in the same way!

JOE WILSON: Niger Yellowcake was made up out of whole cloth.

CINDY SHEEHAN: Every military family in here...We have not been told the truth...The DoD refuses to talk to us about it....We gave something that should have never been asked from us, our children, and they won't sit down with us and tell us the truth...If this admin. doesn't have anything to hide then they should be down here testifying today!

NOT SURE WHO: Thank you Mr. Chairman for your 40 years of service to this congress, to this country...Mr. Wilson, we all should apologize for the way the CIA has treated you...

SHAKOWSKY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. This investigation could change the course of history. ...There is at least one hero in this room, and that is Cindy Sheehan...She has worked through her grief and turned that into a force to prevent other mothers from going through the same.

SHEEHAN: We won't let it die...Everything seems to slide off this Administration...It took a colation of grass roots organizations to make this stick...To make the media pay attention to this.

BONIFAZ: I recognize that the idea that the president may have participated in a conspiracy to decieve the Congress and the people of the United States of America may be hard to believe...but this memo is a smoking gun from the highest British offficials, and we owe to the American people to investigate and follow that investigation where ever it may lead.

JAY INSLEE: We are not going away. They have hit the mattress on this, and their reply is "we don't need to respond". There is no greater need to respond when they are putting our armed forces through this and this assertion is made.

CONYERS: There are going to be a number of "next hearings"...We could use a little subpeona power around here...Do any of you have any knowledge of any other primary source documents that supports the other side of this argument? That supports the president's letter to Congress? ...Did Congress abrogate it's responsibilities to be the final constitutional voice into whether this country goes to war?

BONIFAZ: We know of no contemperaneous document that refutes the Downing Street Documents...To the second question, it was my view and the view of many that the President did not have the authority to wage this war in the first place. That's why we sued the President in the first place...I believe that Cong. did unlawfully transfer it's decision making power to the President...Some in Congress said "I trust the President, the President said the nation is facing an imiment threat...If he believes that the nation is facing an imminent threat, then I want to vote for this resolution and give him the final say."...Setting aside that the President doesn't have the final say (constitutionally)...those members of Congress must now face that they may have been duped, deceived, snookered into leading this country into war.

CONYERS: A lot of people are waiting for us to get down to the Whitehouse...

SHEILA JACKSON LEE: The people who lost today where those Americans that didn't get a proper hearing on these matters.

CONYERS: We have a lot of work today as a result of this first panel...

(Parents who had children killed stand up to give testimony unscheduled! American parents. And British parents alike).

CONYERS: We're grateful to all of you who came...

(Brother of man who was killed working on Iraq Survey Group thanks them for this hearing.)

CONYERS: We're going to Lafayette Park across from White House where there are many people waiting for us. 560,000 Americans have already joined us...Asking the Prez to respond to a letter signed by now 122 members of Congress....Let us now continue the even more difficult part of sorting out the dozens of recommendations of high quality that have been made here, that it is now encumbant upon us to investigate.

...And unlike some chairman...I now ask for unanimous consent to adjourn this meeting.

(This previous BRAD BLOG article gave hard numbers on Congressmen/women and Citizens signed on to Conyers' Letter)

Photos from the Congressman's House Call...

PARDON THIS CRASS COMMERCIAL REMINDER...But as so many are now linking up to these notes, and the audio recording, etc., now might be a good time to mention that The BRAD BLOG is run almost entirely on DONATIONS...Please feel free to help me continue!. Thanks.