Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Tuesday 7 June 2005

Blair, Bush Meet Today; May Work On Pennsylvania Avenue Memo

No Official Comment On Agenda; First Meeting Since Downing Street Memo Leaked

British Prime Minister Tony Blair is due in Washington today, fresh off his re-election last month, to meet with President Bush to begin working on the Pennsylvania Avenue Memo.

This is the first meeting between the two leaders since it became public of their Downing Street Memo, a 2002 report that indicated Bush had already decided to invade Iraq and was fixing the intelligence around the facts to fit the policy of removing Saddam Hussein by military force.

The minutes of a meeting recorded in the Downing Street Memo detail how the U.S. Government did not believe Iraq was a greater threat than other nations and how intelligence was "fixed" to sell the case for war to the American public. It was also clear in the memo how the Bush Administrations assertions of "war as a last resort" were at odds with their internal policy and intentions.

British officials did not dispute the document's authenticity and a senior American official has described it as "absolutely accurate." The Bush administration continues to sidestep the issue while attempting to cast doubt on the memo’s authenticity.

Though re-elected, Blair had his considerable parliamentary majority cut into and despite being, perhaps the strongest of the European leaders, hasn't been able to shake the label of being a pawn for the Bush Administration by his critics at home and in Europe.

Speculation is running that it could contain plans for an invasion of Syria or Iran, or perhaps both countries, who the Bush Administration believes are fueling the insurgence in Iraq.

Neither leader would talk about the Pennsylvania Avenue Memo they will be working on and it appears there are efforts building to deny there will be a Pennsylvania Avenue Memo.

At the daily press briefing yesterday, White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan said that he wasn't aware of any "special plans" and indicated that there is "no Pennsylvania Avenue Memo on the agenda".

NYC Stadium Plan Dealt Double Blows

IOC Say No Funding and Russell Crowe Incident Brings Doubt to Big Apple 2012 Games

The International Olympic Committee said last night that the defeat of a funding bill for the development of the West Side, and a new stadium, as well as the Russell Crowe incident demonstrates that New York City would be an unsuitable host for the 2012 Olympic Games.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Joseph L. Bruno, the Senate majority leader, refused to refused to approve the $2.2 billion project, with Silver citing that the redevelopment of Lower Manhattan took priority over "the building of a stadium for the hope of bringing the Olympics to New York City".

Mayor Bloomberg, who has labored for more than four-years to land the Olympics and develop the West Side of Manhattan, saw the first omen hit earlier in the day when Australian actor, Russell Crowe was arrested for assaulting a hotel employee with a telephone.

Crowe was in New York to promote his new film, "Cinderella Man," in which he portrays boxer Jim Braddock, allegedly threw the phone at the concierge at the Mercer Hotel in SoHo, "hitting him in the face and causing a laceration and substantial pain," according to the complaint. Crowe was arraigned on charges of second-degree assault and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon the telephone before Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Martin Murphy.

According to Crowe's attorney, Gerald Lefcourt, Crowe "was in his room. He couldn't get a line and there was a disagreement."

Last night IOC President Jacques Rogge (Belgium) issued a statement, endorsed by the entire committee. It read, in part;

"With no funding and not an adequate stadium and other facilities, with movie actors running around, beating up hospitality staff, we would not be prudent or diligent with placing the 2012 Olympic Games in New York City. In fact, the European Union Constitution will likely be approved before we would come to New York."

While it is not an official rejection, insiders say that Paris now has the leading position to host the 2012 Games.

In a related matter, French President Jacques Chirac is asking for a new law that would bar actor Russell Crowe from entering France, until, at least 2013.

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