Thursday, 21 April 2011

The Death of David Kelly - Was this the motive for murder?

Typically, in many posts I examine the evidence about the death of David Kelly methodically, systematically and fairly uncontroversially. In this post I'm going to depart from that approach and put up a potentially controversial hypothesis which might explain his being murdered on 17th July 2003.

Feel free to shoot it down if you think the facts don't add up. It's a hypothesis. It needs to be tested against the evidence. It may need refinement in the light of further evidence. It may need to be discarded if the evidence shows it to be untenable.

In the preceding post, The Death of David Kelly - Operation Rockingham, I mention a little about Operation Rockingham.

In that post I reproduce evidence showing David Kelly had liaison functions with the Defence Intelligence Service, Operation Rockingham and MI6.

Through one or more of those routes he would, in all likelihood, have learned about the intelligence behind the "45 minute" claim.

Supposedly, I have yet to check, he was out of the country during much of September 2002.

Suppose the "45 minute" claim genuinely wasn't seen by David Kelly until after publication of the September dossier (or until it was too late to remove the claim from the dossier).

Suppose David Kelly told the powers that be, maybe in late September 2002, that the "45 minute" claim is demonstrably rubbish.

The following extract from the Transcript of evidence taken on 15/07/03 before the Foreign Affairs Select Committe is expressed in diplomatic and subtle language:

Q138 Richard Ottaway: From Saddam Hussem saying "use them" to delivery on the
battlefield. to actually being fired at enemy troops, allied troops?
Dr Kelly: It makes a number of assumptions, that the weapons were all ready to go in the right
place with whatever system was being used with the right tracking to attack, and that is very
unlikely. We are talking in terms of Iraq, in terms of what we knew ten years ago, a country
which filled its weapons to use them, it did not maintain a stockpile of filled weapons, with the exception of mustard gas. it is actually quite a long and convoluted process to go from having bulk agent and munitions to actually getting them to the bunker for storage and then issue them and subsequently deploy them.

I think that could reasonably be restated as this: "Even when the Iraqi WMD programme was in full flow a decade or so ago it wasn't credible that they could launch a biological or chemical attack in 45 minutes from the order being given. It is even less credible now.".

Suppose my paraphrase correctly restates David Kelly's views.

Suppose he told MI6 and the DIS those views shortly after the publication of the September 2002 dossier.

Could that explain the sudden expunging of the "45 minute" claim from the Blair Government narrative after its prominence in the September dossier?

After a highly public flurry in late September 2002 the "45 minute" claim evaporates from the propaganda of Blair's Government. Why? Could it be because David Kelly had, with good evidence, told them it was rubbish?

Suppose in July 2003 when the heat was on him about the Gilligan interview that David Kelly, hypothetically, told someeone they better back off since he could document that he'd told Blair (or someone close to him) that the "45 minute" claim was false in September 2002.

Was that the moment when he caused sufficient concern in high places that his life expectancy became very limited indeed?

Hypothetical? Yes.

Incredible? I suggest that it is not.

Are there gaps in the evidence for the hypothesis? Absolutely.

If the hypothesised rubbishing of the "45 minute" claim took place in September 2002 (and if there was credible evidence that it had) could the Blair Government afford to risk Kelly being left alive?

Particularly when he'd told the ISC on 16th July 2003 that he liaised regularly with MI6 on WMD intelligence issues?


  1. The dark actors, I am sure, consisted of players in the IIG, the WHIIG and CIC. Alistair Campbell was at this stage palpably insane (sue me if you want Al)

    I suspect the die had been cast before the ISC & FAC bean feasts. Kelly was a gonna before he stepped into those interrogation; rooms courtesy of GWB.

    George did his mate a favour and informed Blair of the impending suicide. TVP cocked up royally in the mop up and the rest is history. Well known but secret history.

  2. How things wer being reported (by some) back then

  3. Lancashire Lad,

    Re Alastair Campbell's mental state in July 2003 see Campbell 'disturbed and dangerous', says journalist.

  4. LL,

    An interesting article. I've reformatted it as a working link:

    Now the paper trail leads to Tony Blair.

  5. From this Independent article of 20 July 2003, no longer available on its own web site

    The statement about the unauthorised conversation with Mr Gilligan was not issued until five days after Dr Kelly came forward. Whitehall says the delay was due to the need to assess whether he might be Mr Gilligan's source, and to "get it absolutely right". But some MPs smelt a rat when the MoD issued the statement just before 6pm on 8 July, right after the Government had suffered a damaging backbench Labour revolt against its plans to set up foundation hospitals. However, the Government was adamant that it was not timed to distract attention from the revolt. On the day of the statement, according to No 10, it was held up to allow Dr Kelly, who was driving on a motorway, to reach a service station so that he could approve the final wording.

    However, senior Whitehall sources sympathetic to the scientist have another version of events. According to them, Dr Kelly was interrogated for four days before the MoD issued its statement. The questioning was described as "brutal", and during it, the sources say, he was threatened with being charged under the Official Secrets Act.

    Perhaps concerning matters other than unofficial contacts with journalists (which in the case of Susan Watts and others were made through the FCO Press Office)?

  6. Felix,

    One other issue that had been ongoing was the leak of a Top Secret document produced by the Defence Intelligence Staff to the BBC, specifically to Andrew Gilligan: Leaked report rejects Iraqi al-Qaeda link around the beginning of February 2003.

    And, I think, David Kelly admitted to having met Gilligan in February 2003!

    For that leak of a Top Secret document to have happened someone in or around the Defence Intelligence Staff must have wanted to bring the fraudulent war-seeking propaganda of the Blair junta to public attention.

    One possible candidate for leaking the Top Secret document was David Kelly.

    The Ministry of Defence sought to prevent the Metropolitan Police Special Branch from questioning David Kelly.

    See Fax of letter from Caroline Dolman to Martin Smith & annexures, 08/08/2003.

    And, of course, David Kelly was also potentially in the frame as a "mole" with respect to the rubbishing of the "mobile weapons labs" nonsense to which both George W. Bush and Tony Blair had publicly committed themselves.

    If David Kelly was a primary player in the rubbishing of the "mobile weapons labs" nonsense put forward by Bush and Blair he had potentially made some very powerful enemies.

  7. Andrew

    I always wondered why no date was ever assigned to that February meeting which Gilligan never admitted.
    February was an interesting month, with the publication of the Dodgy PhD thesis Dossier, also when the Broucher - Kelly meeting was alleged to have taken place, Jack Straw's spine chilling indictment of 13 February Iraq's intentions,immediately preceding the Blix- El Baradei statement to the UN Security Council,the huge 15 February anti-war protest and Blair's statement on 25 February, followed the next day by the Commons debate, plus the start of the plan for post-war Iraq.
    Additionally, I have never seen any comment on Dr Kelly's visit to Berlin, to the German branch of the US Aspen Institute and a meeting with SPD politican Ute Zapf listed in his diary. (13-14 Feb) Did Dr Kelly meet Gilligan at the IISS also on 11/18 February (no meeting on 18th)? (He says Charing Cross)
    Wolfowitz had addressed the IISS on Iraq Policy on 2 December 2002.Straw addressed on 11 Feb Oddly, there is nothing in Dr Kelly's diary about the meeting on 31 Jan/1 Feb, Iraq - Inspections or Invasion, jointy hosted by the Nixon Centre (website not operatinal)
    Terence Taylor (IISS-US) is interiewed on the IISS Iraq Weapons dossier here on 20 September 2002here