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?

The Death of Dr. David Kelly - Did Lord Hutton deliberately conceal the murder of Dr. David Kelly?

Sometime in, hopefully, the next few weeks the Attorney General, Dominic Grieve QC, will have to make a decision on whether or not to apply to the High Court for an order that an inquest be held into the suspicious death of Dr. David Kelly.

His decision won't be an easy one, in my view.

There are compelling legal and medical reasons necessitating an inquest. But, if David Kelly was murdered (as the evidence suggests) and the murder was carried out by a "friendly" intelligence service ("officially" or as a rogue operation) there are powerful political pressures on Dominic Grieve pointing him towards refusing to go to the High Court.

The Attorney General won't want to expose to public scrutiny the question of whether an organisation such as the CIA, MI5 or MI6 may have murdered a British Civil Servant. Dominic Grieve was a politician before he was a Law Officer.

The potential political pressures on Dominic Grieve don't only relate to whether or not a "friendly" intelligence service carried out the murder of David Kelly. They also relate to the integrity of the legal system in the United Kingdom at the highest level.

There are serious questions to be asked and answered about the integrity of a former Law Lord, Lord Hutton, and about the integrity of a former Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer.

Lord Hutton was either incompetent or dishonest.

If he knew about the absence of fingerprints on the knife and other objects then he, in effect, perverted the course of justice by suppressing that evidence in the oral hearings and in his report.

In other words the Hutton Report is not merely a "whitewash", it's a fraud.

And, worse, it's a fraud intended to pervert the course of justice, by concealing a murder which was, in all likelihood, carried out by agents of a "friendly" state.

If Lord Hutton was unaware of the absence of fingerprint evidence and failed to identify its absence and the consequent significance then he was astonishingly incompetent.

As I have stated before I believe Lord Hutton's deficiency in his examination of the death of David Kelly is a deficiency of integrity rather than a deficiency of intelligence.

In other words my opinion is that Lord Hutton premeditatedly perverted the course of justice, by concealing evidence of the murder of Dr. David Kelly.

And Dominic Grieve must know that.

And, knowing what he knows, Dominic Grieve has a startling conflict between his loyalty to the Law (and to Justice) and his political loyalties to the State.

In my view, Dominic Grieve's decision on the possible application to the High Court will be a career defining decision for him.

Sadly, I think it's more likely than not that Dominic Grieve will refuse to go to the High Court. In other words, political pressures will push him towards concealing a murder.

Already, Dominic Grieve has put politics above Law in the matter of Libya. See Open Letter to Dominic Grieve, Attorney General, regarding David Cameron's misleading of the House of Commons.

If, as I believe, Dominic Grieve has allowed the UK to carry out "terrorism" (as defined in UK Law) in Libya, it's a small matter for him to conceal a single murder carried out 8 years or so ago.

The Death of Dr. David Kelly - Backlog of correspondence to the Attorney General

Due to time and other constraints there is a significant volume of correspondence to the Attorney General about the need for an inquest into the death of Dr. David Kelly that I simply haven't been able to put online yet.

At a rough estimate only about one third of the material sent to the Attorney General by me is currently online.

So, as they say, watch this space.

The Death of David Kelly - No decision before the Parliamentary recess?

The House of Commons will be in recess from 6th April 2011 to 26th April 2011.

It seems likely that the Attorney General won't make a decision, or at least make it public, until after the House of Commons returns on 26th April.

At least that's the rumour I'm currently hearing.

But rumours come and rumours go.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

The Iraq Inquiry: Illegality of UK Military Intervention in Libya

Longterm readers of this blog will be aware that I originally started the blog in light of the multiple failures of the Chilcot Inquiry to inquire fully into the Iraq War including the failure to consider the illegality of the UK military action in Iraq from July 2000 onwards. See, for example, the post The Use of armed force by UK military personnel has been unlawful in UK law since 20th July 2000 from February 2010.

Today I have written to the Attorney General and Prime Minister informing them that the UK military intervention in Libya is contrary to UK Law on grounds similar to those I believe to apply to the Iraq situation.

I posted a copy of my email to Dominic Grieve and David Cameron on my Westminster's Cheating Us blog here: Open Letter to David Cameron and Dominic Grieve re Illegality of UK military intervention in Libya.

In the email I allude to the failure of the Chilcot Inquiry which, more than a year ago, led to the creation of the Chilcot's Cheating Us blog.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

The Death of David Kelly - The Addendum to the Memorial is online

The Addendum to the Memorial, submitted to the Attorney General on or about 28th February 2011, is now available online.

It's accessible from this page on the BBC website: Dr David Kelly inquest campaigners hand in new dossier.

Or directly here: Addendum.

In my normal browser it doesn't download at all. I had to switch browsers to get access to a copy.

Friday, 4 March 2011

The Death of David Kelly - A timeline of information management

In this post I make an attempt to produce a timeline of what I'll term "information management" around the time that David Kelly disappeared and the ensuing days.

At 02.00 (or thereabouts) on 18th July 2003 why was a 110' high communications mast needed when, according to the Hutton Inquiry narrative, Thames Valley Police were searching only the local area round the Kelly home?

Who was the Puppetmaster on the morning of 18th July 2003 who was behind Janice Kelly being told that David Kelly had committed suicide when, according to the Hutton Inquiry narrative, the body hadn't been examined by a pathologist and hadn't been identified.

Was the radio mast needed to communicate to the Puppetmaster?

Where was the Puppetmaster located? Presumably outside the UK.

Was the Puppetmaster behind the suicide "spin" on the morning of 18th July 2003 at a time when the pathologist hadn't even seen the body?

Who was / is the Puppetmaster?

  • 15th July 2003 - David Kelly is questioned by the Foreign Affairs Select Committee. They conclude he is not the main source for Andrew Gilligan's reports and write the same evening to Jack Straw to convey that conclusion.

  • 18th July 2003 - Tom Baldwin, Assistant Editor of the Times, goes public with the assertion that he believes Alastair Campbell rather than Andrew Gilligan. See The BBC stands for Blundering Bombastic Cynicism.

  • 18th July 2003 01.00 - Tony Blair in Washington boards his flight to Tokyo. (Source: How Blair's 7,000-mile journey to Japan turned into a flight of despair)

  • 18th July 2003 01.00 (approx) - Alastair Campbell, Jonathan Powell and Sally Morgan don't travel with Tony Blair to Tokyo. (Source: How Blair's 7,000-mile journey to Japan turned into a flight of despair) Campbell and Powell (and probably Morgan) had been "allowed to go home" (Source: How Blair hit turbulence and landed in a storm)

  • 18th July 2003 02.00 (approx) - A 110' high radio mast is erected in the garden of the home of Dr. David Kelly in Southmoor Oxfordshire. Given that Thames Valley Police are at that time only searching in close proximity to the Kelly home what is the purpose of the mast? What information is being communicated? To whom? From whom?

  • 18th July 2003 10.00 (approx) - Janice Kelly is informed that David Kelly's body has been found and that he has committed suicide. How was that possible? The ambulancemen had, in all likelihood, only just reached the body at 10.00. And the pathologist doesn't see the body for another 2 hours or so. Who was the Puppetmaster who authorised / concocted the story that David Kelly had committed suicide at a time when it couldn't be known how he had died (assuming that the Hutton Inquiry "narrative" is full and accurate)?

  • 18th July 2003 10.30 (approx) - Sarah Pape receives a telephone message that David Kelly's body has been found and that he appears to have committed suicide. See page 93 of her oral testimony at the Hutton Inquiry.

  • 18th July 2003 15.00 (approx) - Tony Blair arrives in Tokyo having, supposedly, spent several hours on a satellite telephone. Who was he talking to? About what? Lord Falconer and Sir Kevin Tebbit, it seems. Anyone else? We're not told. The Prime Minister's spokesman refused to tell journalists if Blair had spoken to Alastair Campbell or not. (Source: How Blair's 7,000-mile journey to Japan turned into a flight of despair)

  • 18th July 2003 (time unknown) - Janice Kelly gives a telephone interview, seemingly, to the New York Times. "Mrs. Kelly said the police had confirmed that the body was her husband's, and that the cause of death was suicide." (Source: British Arms Expert at Center of Dispute on Iraq Data Is Found Dead, His Wife Says)

  • 19th July 2003 - A "police source" apparently ruled out an overdose. See David Kelly, victim of another war?.

  • 21st July 2003 - Alastair Campbell is said to be "in a disturbed and dangerous psychological state" and "out of control". See Timeline: the Gilligan affair

  • 14th December 2010 - Tom Baldwin, former Times journalist, is named as head of communications for Ed Miliband. See, for example, Labour's Ed Miliband unveils chief spokesmen.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

The Death of David Kelly - A timeline about inquest sessions, burial etc

In this post I'm attempting to move towards a detailed timeline which looks at the sequence of events regarding the sessions of the stump inquest conducted by Nicholas Gardiner QC, the Oxfordshire Coroner and various events relating to the issuing of a death certificate, arrangement of the burial of the body etc

I think the timeline below is very close to being fully accurate but, because of the gaps in the publicly available evidence, there is some "inspired" guesswork at play too.

Comments and corrections are welcome. Suggestions for further items to be added to a later version of this timeline would be particularly welcome.

  • 18th July 2003 09.20 - A body widely assumed to be that of Dr. David Kelly is found in woodland at Harrowdown Hill, Oxfordshire.

  • 19th July 2003 11.25 - Janice Kelly is said to have formally identified the body found at Harrowdown Hill. No evidence was given at the Hutton Inquiry to establish who that body might have been. Nor, so far as I can establish, was any evidence of formal identification given at any of the sessions of the stump inquest.

  • 19th July 2003 - Dr. Nicholas Hunt prepares his initial postmortem report (which, incidentally, has never been made public) giving a preliminary cause of death.

  • 21st July 2003 - Nicholas Gardiner opens and adjourns the inquest into the death of the body found at Harrowdown Hill.

  • 25th July 2003 - Dr. Nicholas Hunt prepares a further (and final) version of the postmortem report. The cause of death given in this postmortem report is not the same as that in the preliminary cause of death in the report of 19th July 2003. He states that there is no reason to retain the body.

  • 25th July 2003 - Nicholas Gardiner, the Coroner, releases the body (presumably in response to Dr. Hunt's comment in the postmortem report of the same day).

  • 4th August 2003 - Sarah Albon, private secretary to Lord Falconer (in his role as Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs, I think) writes to convey to Nicholas Gardiner that Section 17A of the Coroners Act 1988 was, at least in Lord Falconer's view, being applied to the death of David Kelly.

  • 6th August 2003 - The funeral of David Kelly is held at St. Mary's Church, Longworth, Oxfordshire, some 12 days after the body is released by the coroner (25th July 2003). The body is buried.

  • 11th August 2003 - Nicholas Gardiner meets with Sarah Bernstein, Michael Collon and Victor Round (possibly at the Department of Constitutional Affairs).

  • 14th August 2003 - Nicholas Gardiner holds a very brief inquest session to admit the written postmortem report of 25th July 2003 from Dr. Nicholas Hunt and the toxicology report by Dr. Alexander Allan.

  • 18th August 2003 - A death certificate for David Kelly is issued.

  • 28th January 2004 - The Hutton Report is published.

  • 16th March 2004 - Nicholas Gardiner declines to resume the inquest into the death of Dr. David Kelly, which had been adjourned from 14th August 2003.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

The Death of David Kelly - A Hutton judgement thrown out on appeal 18 years after the event

In 1991 Sir Brian Hutton, then Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland, was the judge for the trial in Northern Ireland of Danny Morrison and others. He sat alone, without a jury, in a Diplock court.

In 2009 the convictions reached by Hutton were thrown out by the Northern Ireland Court of Appeal.

The reasons why the convictions were overturned remain a state secret. The Northern Ireland Court of Appeal judges decided that the reasons be withheld on grounds of "national security".

The judgement of the Northern Ireland Court of Appeal is here: THE QUEEN v DANIEL MORRISON and OTHERS.

Danny Morrison's account of the Court of Appeal opting for secrecy is here: Evidence Was Hidden, says Court.

A much more detailed account of events is here: Dirty Fighting. The account includes suggestions that Special Branch were complicit in covering up an attempted murder.

It seems to me that there is a significant likelihood that Hutton got it wrong in 1991. But, for reasons of "national security", we aren't being told exactly what went wrong.

The degree to which Brian Hutton was culpable in 1991 remains concealed. Given the many doubts about Hutton's approach to conducting the inquiry into David Kelly's death that is particularly unfortunate.

The need for the Northern Ireland Court of Appeal to acquiesce with concealing relevant documentation is, perhaps, a worrying precedent for those who seek the truth about the death of Dr. David Kelly. But time will tell.

In Northern Ireland's Diplock courts a single judge sat without a jury.

Those courts were set up, some believe, in response to statements such as this attributed to Brigadier Frank Kitson:

the Law should be used as just another weapon in the government’s arsenal, and in this case it becomes little more than a propaganda cover for the disposal of unwanted members of the public. For this to happen efficiently, the activities of the legal services have to be tied into the war effort in as discreet a way as possible

So, according to Kitson, the courts in Northern Ireland were to be "little more than a propaganda cover for the disposal of unwanted members of the public".

Brian Hutton presided over Diplock Courts: from 1979 to 1988 as a High Court Judge and from 1988 to 1997 as Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland.

Danny Morrison, as readers of this post will appreciate, has good reason to have a negative view of Lord Hutton. However, his assessment of Hutton as "the guardian angel of soldiers and police officers" (see My report on Lord Hutton) may have particular relevance to the death of Dr. David Kelly and its subsequent investigation.

Danny Morrison's opinion of Brian Hutton is based on experience and, I suggest, is well worth a careful read. The sections where Lord Denning and John Major receive mention are particularly interesting.

If the Attorney General seeks an order from the High Court for an inquest to be held into the death of Dr. David Kelly, I wonder what the report of the British public on Lord Hutton may be.

The Death of David Kelly - Timelines that may be useful

In this post I list a few online timelines that may be useful in understanding the context of the death of Dr. David Kelly in 2003.

Each approaches the matters which directly or indirectly relate to the death of David Kelly from a different persepctive.

For anyone who quickly wants to get a broad overview of events dipping into these timelines is one useful approach towards beginning to getting up to speed.

David Kelly: timeline to a controversial death - covers the period 1984 to 18th July 2003. Produced by the Telegraph.

Timeline: Dr Kelly and the dossier row - covers the period 29th May 2003 to 11th August 2003. Produced by the BBC.

Timeline: Dr Kelly and the dossier - similar to the preceding timeline but covers the period 22nd May 2003 to 11th August 2003. Produced by the BBC.

Timeline: The David Kelly affair - covers the period 22nd May 2003 to 28th January 2004. Produced by CNN.

Timeline: The David Kelly affair - Another CCN timeline produced by one Alastair Campbell. The timeline is spread over several web pages and covers the period 22nd September 2002 to 28th January 2004. I am not sure if the author is Blair's Goebbels or some other Alastair Campbell.

Timeline: The Hutton Report - covers the period 24th September 2002 to 29th January 2004. Produced by the BBC.

Timeline: Dr David Kelly - covers the period 8th July 2003 to 18th July 2003. Produced by the Guardian.

A much more focussed timeline for the 18th July 2003 is this one from Brian Spencer: A timeline for events relating to Harrowdown Hill.