By Brad Friedman on 8/5/2005, 12:06pm PT  

In a RAW STORY Exclusive by Michael Smith of the London Sunday Times (the man who broke the original Downing Street Memo), it is now revealed via official documents that the previous excuses given by the Bush and Blair administrations for the "spikes" in air attacks against Iraq prior to the war was yet another lie...

Britain and America's reasons for stepping up bombing of Iraq in the ten months leading up to the war in Iraq was a sham, official figures released by the British Ministry of Defense show.

U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and Geoff Hoon, his UK counterpart, said the stepped-up attacks by U.S. and Royal Air Force aircraft patrolling the southern no-fly zone were a response to increased attacks by Iraqi air defences.
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But figures released last month by the British Ministry of Defense show that in the immediate aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, with American officials predicting moves to oust Saddam Hussein, Iraq dramatically scaled back its attacks on allied aircraft.

During the first seven months of 2001 the allies recorded 370 “provocations” by the Iraqi military against allied aircraft. But in the seven months between October 2001 and May 2002 when the allies stepped up their attacks, there were just 32. The complete figures are available here, on the parliament's website.
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With U.S. officials openly predicting that an attack on Afghanistan would be followed by an invasion of Iraq, the number of recorded threats kept dropping.

By February 2002, there were just two, in March none and in April again two. Such was the reduction in the number of Iraqi threats that in the six months leading up to the “spikes of activity” British aircraft did not at any point need to respond in self-defence.
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“Taken together with the leaked minutes of the July 23rd meeting, these figures simply destroy the Government's case,” [Sir Menzies Campbell, the Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs spokesman] said. “None of the inquiries have ever properly focused on the conduct of ministers. It is high time that we had an inquiry which did.”

The stepped-up attacks on Iraq's air defences are now widely seen by military analysts as the start of the air war, exposing both Blair and President George W Bush to allegations that they acted illegally.
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Congress, which under the US constitution has to give its backing before the President can order military action, did not do so until October 2002. The war officially began Mar. 21, 2003.

...And the "spikes" in the U.S. led bombing campaign began "just weeks after Blair and Bush agreed to use military action to bring about regime change in Iraq" at their summit meeting in Crawford during April of 2002.