Blog alliance forms over leaked Downing Street memo

Sunday, June 5, 2005

The Alliance logo:
Big Brass Balls

On May 30, 2005, in a "blogswarm", a massive blog alliance formed. The swarm was fueled by the leak of a secret British memo known as the "Downing Street memo". Hundreds of blogs formed into the "Big Brass Alliance", almost overnight, and the alliance is still growing.

A blogswarm is when a large number of bloggers focus on an issue and spread information on it throughout the blogosphere quickly, causing the blogs to swiftly synchronize, much like a swarm of bees. In this particular blogswarm, titled by its patriots the "Big Brass Blogswarm", the blogs have aggregated about a central blog: The Big Brass Alliance.

The Big Brass Alliance is a collective of bloggers who support The latest "blogroll" can be see here via PHP or in RSS XML. All the blogs will voluntarily post all correspondence from on their main page, and in general be coordinated by them. The current goals of the Big Brass Alliance are to:

  • Spread awareness of the memo. (Neither the US nor the UK government are disputing the accuracy of the memo.)
  • Petition mainstream media to report on the contents of the memo as it pertains to the Bush Administration's handling of pre-war intelligence, and the controversy surrounding it.
  • Gather 250,000 signatures from citizens for a letter from Congress to the President of the United States, urging him to answer five questions regarding the memo, its contents, and the actions of the Administration.
  • Urge people to personally ask the President a single question regarding the Administration's handling of pre-war intelligence and the sentence in the leaked memo: "But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy." (There is a $1,000 reward out for a clear answer.)
  • Urge people to sign a petition in support of a "Resolution of Inquiry" into President Bush's handling of pre-war intelligence.

Within days of its inception, the Alliance delegated maintenance tasks to dedicated bloggers, created a mailing list and forum for news and coordination, and created a Yahoo group and chat channel for brainstorming.

You can see a trendgraph of the blogswarm here, and a closeup of the trend here. Discussion of impeachment also soared during the blogswarm. References to "blogswarm" in blogs in its inception on May 31 can be see here. The last blogswarm was on March 21, in response to the Terri Schiavo trial, but the one before that was much bigger. That blogswarm was on February 17, and it was fueled by an opinion article in the Wall Street Journal by columnist Peggy Noonan, titled "The Blogs Must Be Crazy". That blogswarm, however didn't generate a massive alliance like this one, and it wasn't focused on a political issue. "Spitbull" has a list of other blogswarms and their "fallout", that they call a "blogswarming scorecard".

This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.