Wednesday, 30 March 2011

The Death of Dr. David Kelly - Was Alastair Campbell the "Puppetmaster" spinning the suicide story?

Earlier this month I posted a timeline about events on 18th July 2003 relating to information management: The Death of David Kelly - A timeline of information management.

In this post I'd like to begin to explore whether Alastair Campbell, then Tony Blair's spin doctor, might have been the "Puppetmaster" who spread the "it was suicide" story before it could possibly legitimately have been known what the cause of death for Dr. David Kelly was.

Four very interesting observations underlie some fascinating questions.

  1. A radio mast 110 feet high was erected during the night of 17th to 18th July 2003 in the garden of David Kelly's home. Why? Who was it to communicate with? Why does Thames Valley Police refuse to answer questions about such matters?

  2. Three of Tony Blair's key advisors do not travel to Tokyo with him from Washington at 01.00 on 18th July 2003. A startling and unfortunate coincidence? Or a news managemant decision vital to the survival of Tony Blair as Prime Minister?

  3. Janice Kelly was told that it was "suicide" on the morning of 18th July 2003, quite possibly before the ambulancemen had even confirmed that the body was dead and certainly before the pathologist saw the body for the first time.

  4. Alastair Campbell was reported on 21st July 2003 to be in a "disturbed and dangerous psychological state".

Each of the four preceding points is "solid".

How are they to explained?

Maybe they are mere coincidences which are unrelated.

Maybe not.

The hypothesis that might draw them together is, admittedly, speculative.

Let's suppose, hypothetically, that it was known during the afternoon or evening of 17th July 2003 that David Kelly had been murdered.

It might explain why Thames Valley Police's Operation Mason commenced at 14.30 on 17th July.

Let's suppose, too, that David Kelly's body is actually found many hours before the "official" discovery at 09.20 (or thereabouts) on 18th July 2003.

In that hypothetical scenario it was, at a minimum, possible for Tony Blair and Alastair Campbell to be aware of David Kelly's death before Tony Blair was due to fly from Washington to Tokyo.

The potential for a public relations disaster was evident. Campbell, Powell and Morgan are sent to the UK to manage news etc. The danger to Blair in the UK is much greater than the need for such key advisers in the Far East.

The 110' high radio mast would allow communication with Tony Blair's plane flying from Washington to Tokyo. And, hypothetically, to Alastair Campbell's plane flying from Washington to the UK.

If the 110' high radio mast wasn't intended to allow long distance communication what was its purpose?

If the purpose was "innocent" why are Thames Valley Police refusing to disclose information about the radio mast in 2010 / 2011?

In this hypothetical scenario the "volunteer searchers" are little more than patsies sent out to create the impression that the body wasn't found by Thames Valley Police and that the body wasn't found until 18th July.

Once the body is "officially" found, a little before 09.20 on 18th July 2003, the already planned effort to disseminate the "it was suicide" story to the media can go into action.

Janice Kelly is told it was suicide and passes that on to Sarah Pape not long after 10.00 on 18th July 2003.

But the "official" story is that the body was found to be dead (on grounds of absent ECG signal) by the paramedics at 10.07 on 18th July.

The pathologist, Nicholas Hunt, didn't see the body until after 12.00 on 18th July and at that time he only confirmed the fact of death. He didn't start examining the body until around 14.00 on 18th July.

During the morning of 18th July 2003 nobody could legitimately know that the cause of death was suicide.

It seems to me that the inescapable conclusion is that the story that David Kelly's death was "suicide" was planned and disseminated by person or persons unknown, no later than 10.00 on 18th July 2003.

One must, therefore, ask who might have a motive to disseminate a "suicide" story before the facts had been established.

Someone who knew that David Kelly had been murdered would have a very strong motive to do so.

My hypothesis is that the media circus which followed was in all likelihood guided to a "suicide" conclusion by the master of media manipulation, Alastair Campbell.

In parallel with the news management operation which I hypothesise another chain of a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice required to be set in train.

A way had to be found to deflect attention from the facts. This would serve two political purposes:

  1. It would induce the media to give Tony Blair space.

  2. It would allow time for the "suicide" story to be widely accepted as true.

How could those objectives be achieved?

A judicial inquiry.

Enter Lord Falconer.

A judge had to be identified who would be willing to conceal a murder embarrassing to the State or carried out by agents of the State or of a "friendly" power.

Enter Lord Hutton, the ideal candidate.

As far back as 1972 the then Brian Hutton had, in his role as Ministry of Defence Counsel, attempted to conceal the murder of 13 civil rights marchers on Bloody Sunday by British soldiers.

And, even better, Brian Hutton was out of sympathy with coroners, in 1972 publicly rebuking the coroner who labelled the deaths on Bloody Sunday as murder. A view which was anathema to Hutton but which was later confirmed to be correct by the Saville Inquiry.

And the rest, as they say, "is history" or "is whitewash", according to your viewpoint.

Is my hypothesis nonsense? Or closer to the truth than is comfortable for some?

If you don't believe my hypothesis, then how do you explain the four "solid" observations that I made early in this post?


  1. The news was definitely being managed, this piece from the Daily Mail has ambulance technician David Bartlett who attended the scene making a comment to the paper under the headline;

    Dr David Kelly's body 'had obviously been moved': Paramedic at death scene reveals concerns over Hutton Inquiry

    “Mr Bartlett also said that after the body was found the police threw a ‘blackout’ around the scene – even banning him from speaking to his control room by radio. He says this is the only time it has happened in his long career.”

    By Matt Sandy
    Last updated at 1:41 AM on 12th September 2010

  2. Blair and Bush took part in a press conference between 9pm and 10pm in Washington on 17th July 2003 - 2-3am 18th July 2003 London time.
    That Blair new before take-off is entirely plasible.

  3. LL, I think that the point made by Dave Bartlett about the 'blackout' around the scene is very significant. Later in the article Mr Bartlett states that this blackout lasted for an hour.

    By my reckoning the blackout would have been from about 10.30 to 11.30. Without furnishing details it seems that the two volunteer searchers were also kept at the scene for a while.

    From the testimonies of the volunteers we see that they were actually taken by the police back to Abingdon to make their statements, Paul Chapman saying that it was mid afternoon before the process had finished.

    It seems that the police were desperate to keep total control of the site. What happened to Brock the dog when Ms Holmes went to the police station isn't clear.

  4. I don't know how news blackouts work but I suspect they are not spontaneous affairs, that is, I guess they are planned.

    For this to be planned there must have been a purpose. To protect the family from learning the news that a body dad been found on the television news? Perhaps!

    But like everything else that occurred on the 18th July the news was choreographed, badly choreographed but choreographed none the less.

    The speed at which the police turned up at Mrs Kelly door with a missing persons form after the phone call to report Dr Kelly missing, the helicopter, radio mast, civilian search team sent to search the exact location where Dr Kelly’s body was found, Lord Hutton being appointed before the body was identified. This wasn’t real life this was a theatrical farce.

    Manipulation of the news was as crucial as the manipulation of military intelligence to make the false justification of war with Iraq. And on that point the Blair government bought some welcome breathing space from Dr Kelly’s death. The stock answer to any question regarding the Iraq debacle was that the government did not think it was appropriate to comment until the inquiry (Hutton) was completed.

    I’m not saying that Dr Kelly was killed as a diversion but I think it perfectly possible that the powers that be knew that Dr Kelly was to be the subject of a suicide and they maximised the exploitation from it.

  5. The comment by Lancashire Lad about (THREE!) police turning up at Mrs Kelly's house with a missing person's form (standard since about May 2003 - see ,e.g. Appendices here is extremely pertinent. So why did they arrived mob handed, and why did it go up to Chief Constable level even before the lengthy form seems to have been filled in?
    Mrs Kelly's reason for delaying calling the police until 11.40pm is quite frankly unbelieveable....she didn't want Dr Kelly to turn up while they were out searching themselves.
    And what does Mrs Kelly mean by this
    I felt he (Dr Kelly) was already in a difficult enough situation"??
    So which box did the 3 police officers tick to make him a HIGH RISK disappearance: Is the behaviour out of character and likely to be an indicator of their being exposed to harm or Is the person suspected to be subject of a crime in progress, eg

  6. More inconsistencies
    Mrs Kelly says it went to Chief Constable level immediately, ACC page says he got a call at 3.09am from Sgt Morris’s supervisor, she had called ACC Page immediately she got the news from Morris.

    According to Page, Morris made an initial risk assessment of the situation as medium risk, it was his supervisor who raised it to high when she was informed (at just before 3.09am) this did not deter sgt Morris from scrambling the force helicopter.

    I can’t find a reference to a document in the TVP evidence list referring to a missing persons form, if one did exist I wonder if it specified that the missing person (Dr Kelly) had been subjected to recent bullying?

    And didn’t Sgt Morris + 2 get round to the Kelly home in super quick time from Abingdon police station? RAC and AA route planners have the journey time down as 14 minutes, it’s as if the 3 officers were sat in their car waiting for the call.

    It’s clear that resources were being approved long before 3.09am when ACC Page said he got involved. My guess is resources had been approved long before the 11.40 phone call.

  7. ps good find by Felix - missing persons interactive pdf above (Appendices here) - someone should print off a copy and send it to sgt Morris

  8. Lancashire Lad
    The reporting form (page 71 of the pdf) is dated 2005, but I doubt if the procedure was greatly different in July 2003. Apparently, the exact form current then was to be found in Appendix C to this document,from which all appendices apart from G are redacted.

  9. I estimated here on Dr Kelly Suicide or Murder blog that holding an inquiry was decided at about 11.00 BST on 18 July 2003, with Godric Smith communicating the information to journalists accompanying Blair on the trip to Tokyo. Sky TV presenter Adam Boulton was on the plane.
    Sky News's respected political editor Adam Boulton, who was on the plane
    with Blair between Washington and Tokyo, said that if the body was
    Kelly's, it could lead to "a full-scale government crisis".

    or not, as it turned out, thanks to Hutton.

  10. VERY VERY VERY interesting, especially after the Diana Panorama and Bashir cover up....