Sunday, 29 April 2012

The Death of David Kelly - David Cameron refuses to allow Leveson to consider David Kelly's death

I've been tidying up a backlog of Google Alerts, including those about David Kelly.

I had missed a question to the Prime Minister, David Cameron, on 20th July 2011 from George Freeman MP.

It was mentioned in the Telegraph in these terms:

13.24 Cameron is asked whether the judicial inquiry will look into the death of David Kelly. Cameron says that it's important that the inquiry doesn't go "completely viral, as it were", and that Dr Kelly's death has been looked into very closely already.

See Phone hacking scandal: as it happened July 20.

The House of Commons Hansard for 20th July 2011 records the question and David Cameron's response in these words:

George Freeman (Mid Norfolk) (Con): Does the Prime Minister agree that one of the most lamentable episodes in this sad affair was the death of David Kelly, a proud civil servant whose name was thrown to the media pack, putting him under intolerable pressure, which led to his suicide? Will my right hon. Friend give me an undertaking that the investigation will be given a remit to cover and look back at how that event unfolded?

The Prime Minister: The point that I would make to my hon. Friend is that we have to be careful that this inquiry does not go completely viral, as it were. It has to focus on the issues at hand. Obviously, the issue of David Kelly was looked at in detail in the Hutton inquiry, and I think that this inquiry has to make some progress.

See House of Commons Hansard Debates for 20 July 2011 (pt 0001). The quote is from Column 950.

Again, David Cameron repeats the nonsense that Hutton adequately examined David Kelly's death.

It's almost as if David Cameron knew that there is something important about David Kelly's death which must be hidden from scrutiny.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

The Death of David Kelly - A timeline of events in August and September 2010

A lot was happening in the media relating to the death of Dr. Kelly in August and September 2010.

In this post I've tried to create a timeline to help convey the sequence of events.

  1. 9th August 2010 - Article in the Mail on Sunday indicating that there wasn't much blood around at Harrowdown Hill in the morning of 18th July 2010. See 'There wasn't much blood about': Detective who found weapons expert David Kelly's body raises questions over his death.

  2. 13th August 2010 - The BBC reports on a letter in the Times from a group of doctors claiming that the official cause of death was "extremely unlikely". See New call for Dr David Kelly inquest.

  3. 13th August 2010 - The Telegraph reports the call from the doctors for an inquest. See Death of Dr David Kelly 'should be re-explored' doctors say.

  4. 13th August 2010 - The Guardian, too, has an article about the call from the doctors for an inquest. See Experts call for David Kelly inquest.

  5. 14th August 2010 - Article in the Daily Mail indicating that David Kelly may have been on a hit list. See Dr David Kelly was on a hitlist, says UN weapons expert as calls grow for full inquest.

  6. 15th August 2010 - Michael Howard, the former leader of the Conservative Party, urges that an inquest be held. See Michael Howard urges Dr David Kelly inquest.

  7. 16th August 2010 - The forensic pathologist Dr. Andrew Davison says the case should be left to the experts, by which he means the forensic pathologists. See Dr David Kelly's death is 'not a game of Cluedo', says pathologist.

  8. 16th August 2010 - The Daily Mail publishes the results of a survey showing that only one person in five believes that David Kelly killed himself. See Dr Kelly: Just one in five believes it was suicide as official cause of death is branded 'impossible'.

  9. 19th August 2010 - An article in the Guardian indicates that Dominic Grieve, the Attorney General, may intervene in relation to seeking an inquest for David Kelly. See Attorney general may intervene over David Kelly inquest.

  10. 21st August 2010 - Paul Vallely in the Independent writes about suspicious that we haven't been told the truth about the death of David Kelly. See The Kelly Affair: Anatomy of a conspiracy theory.

  11. 22nd August 2010 - Articles in the Sunday Times including claims from Dr. Nicholas Hunt that the death of David Kelly was a "textbook suicide". The articles are behind a pay wall so I don't provide a link here. However, the BBC quotes the "textbook case" claim here: Pathologist says David Kelly's death 'textbook suicide'.

  12. 22nd August 2010 - The Guardian, too, picks up Nicholas Hunt's claim of a textbook suicide. See David Kelly's death was textbook suicide, pathologist says.

  13. 22nd August 2010 - Tom Mangold has an article in the Independent on Sunday claiming that David Kelly committed suicide. See Tom Mangold: Shame made David Kelly kill himself.

  14. 25th August - Martin Robbins the "lay scientist" tells those who question the suicide verdict for David Kelly to put up or shut up. See David Kelly conspiracy theorists should put up or shut up.

  15. 27th August 2010 - Dr. Philip Timms, consultant psychiatrist writes to the Independent stating that Dr. Kelly's death is not a textbook suicide. See This is far from 'a textbook case'.

  16. 2nd September 2010 - The Guardian reports that the Attorney General's Office had asked the Ministry of Justice for the postmortem report for Dr. Kelly See Full inquest into death of David Kelly comes closer.

  17. 3rd September 2010 - Lord Hutton writes to the Attorney General with comments about the death of Dr. Kelly. See Lord Hutton to AGO 3 September 2010.

  18. 4th September - The Guardian reports that a group of doctors are shortly to send formal legal papers to the Attorney General, Dominic Grieve, seeking that an inquest be held into the death of David Kelly. See Doctors call for David Kelly inquest.

  19. 5th September 2010 - The Daily Mail reports sloppy work by Dr. Nicholas Hunt resulting in incorrect information appearing in military death postmortem reports. See Pathologist's shocking errors spark new calls for full inquest into death of Iraq weapons inspector Dr David Kelly.

  20. 12th September 2010 - Article in the Mail on Sunday indicating that David Kelly's body had been moved. See Dr David Kelly's body 'had obviously been moved': Paramedic at death scene reveals concerns over Hutton Inquiry.

I hadn't seen the letter in the Independent of 27th August 2010 from Dr. Philip Timms before.

I reproduce it here for the record.

This is far from 'a textbook case'

The pathologist who examined Dr David Kelly has been widely reported as saying that his death was a "textbook" case of suicide. This depends very much on the textbook.

In a textbook of physical pathology, Dr Kelly's injuries might well provide an exemplar of a suicide by wrist-cutting. But from a psychiatric epidemiological perspective, a different picture presents itself.

Wrist-cutting is such an unusual form of suicide that it is not recorded separately in national statistics, but is lumped together with other uncommon suicide methods involving self-stabbing.

In men of Dr Kelly's age in the UK who kill themselves, less than 3 per cent do so by using any sort of sharp implement. A much smaller number will therefore have actually cut their wrists. So, the physical pathological findings might be typical, but typical of a rare event.

Of course, Dr Kelly's death may still indeed have been a suicide. But, compared with most suicides, his case is neither representative nor characteristic. It is so unusual that it surely justifies a full and open public inquiry.

Dr Philip Timms FRCPsych, Consultant Psychiatrist, South London & Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust

Friday, 27 April 2012

The Death of David Kelly - It was David Kelly who debunked the "mobile weapons labs" lie

In February 2011 I explored the likelihood that it was David Kelly who played a key role in the debunking of the lie that two "mobile weapons labs" had been found in Iraq after the military conflict had finished.

See The Death of David Kelly - The Fictitious Mobile Weapons Laboratories.

I've now found a contemporary report, from the Observer of 20th July 2003, confirming that it was DAvid Kelly who told the Observer that the supposed mobile weapons labs were bogus:

In one particular Kelly was definitively at odds with what both George Bush and Blair were claiming about postwar discoveries of Iraqi weapons. Both had insisted that Coalition Forces had found and identified two alleged mobile germ warfare laboratories. But Kelly had a totally different opinion, telling The Observer that he had examined the alleged labs in person and had no doubts about what they were intended for - the production of hydrogen to fill artillery balloons. 'Exactly as the Iraqis described them,' he would tell this paper.

See A haunted man for the source of the preceding quote.

Just how much did David Kelly's honesty on that point anger very powerful people?

The Death of David Kelly - The naivete of the Guardian in August 2003

I've just stumbled across an interesting editorial from the Guardian of 1st August 2003. See Fair and exact.

Such innocence.

My considered view of the Hutton Inquiry is that it had two purposes:

  1. To conceal the political murder of Dr. David Kelly

  2. To conceal a criminal conspiracy within the higher echelons of the Blair Government to conduct military action in Iraq, contrary to UK Law

In concealing these criminal actions, I believe Lord Hutton will, in time, be added to an odious list of corrupt senior judges, not least the late Lord Chief Justice, Lord Widgery.

Lord Widgery you may recall covered up the murders of innocent civilians on Bloody Sunday by members of the 1st Battalion of the Parachute Regiment.

Brian Hutton also played his part.

He was counsel for the Ministry of Defence at the inquest into the Bloody Sunday murders.

Mr. Hutton (as he then was) was not at all pleased when the Inquest correctly identified the deaths on Bloody Sunday as murder.

Mr. Hutton expressed his displeasure in these terms:

It is not for you or the jury to express such wide-ranging views, particularly when a most eminent judge has spent 20 days hearing evidence and come to a very different conclusion

In 1972 Brian Hutton wanted to conceal 14 murders which were politically embarrassing to the British State.

In 2003 Brian Hutton (by then Lord Hutton) again attempted to conceal a murder politically embarrassing to the British State. At least that's my view.

The Death of David Kelly - Media coverage of the Section 13 application of 18th April 2012

I thought I'd take a moment to draw together the media coverage (so far) of the Section 13 Application of 18th April 2012 to the Attorney General.

It's disappointingly thin on the ground.

Quite possibly, Dominic Grieve may consider that he's off the hook.

But I don't for a moment think he is.

The most helpful online publication is on the Global Research site where Dr. Stephen Frost writes a brief article and includes my letter to the Attorney General and the full text of the Section 13 Application.

See Suspicious Death of Dr David Kelly: Doctors Seek New Death Inquest.

The coverage in the mainstream UK media is very disappointing.

Only the Scotsman picks up the Press Association copy. See Doctors renew call for Kelly inquest.

DOCTORS campaigning for a fresh inquiry into the death of scientist David Kelly have submitted a new application calling for Attorney General Dominic Grieve to ask the High Court to order an inquest.

Mr Grieve rejected calls for an inquest last June, following a lengthy review of the case of Dr Kelly, whose body was found in 2003, shortly after he was identified as the source of a report about the government’s dossier on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

The attorney general found there was no possibility that an inquest would reach a different conclusion from the Hutton Inquiry, which found in 2004 that Dr Kelly committed suicide.

But Dr Andrew Watt and Brian Spencer argue that Mr Grieve relied on a “misleading and inadequate assessment” of evidence that Dr Kelly’s body may have been moved in the hour after its initial discovery by volunteer searchers.

The Independent has a tiny item in its News Matrix for 21st April 2012. See The News Matrix: Saturday 21 April 2012.

Demand for inquiry into Kelly death

Doctors campaigning for a new inquiry into the death of Government weapons inspector David Kelly have submitted a new application urging Attorney-General Dominic Grieve to ask the High Court to order an inquest. Mr Grieve rejected initial calls for an inquest last June.

The Oxford Mail has a brief piece. See New appeal for Dr Kelly inquest.

A NEW application has been made to the Attorney General calling for a full inquest into the death of Government weapons inspector Dr David Kelly.

On July 21, 2003, Coroner Nicholas Gardiner opened an inquest into Dr Kelly’s death, three days after his body was discovered in woods at Harrowdown Hill, close to his home in Southmoor.

Prime Minister Tony Blair then commissioned the Hutton Inquiry which concluded Dr Kelly, 59, died from blood loss after cutting his wrist with a gardening knife.

But there have been repeated calls for a full inquest, with the latest application being made by Dr Andrew Watt, from Scotland, and Brian Spencer, from Cornwall. They believe questions still need to be answered regarding his death.

In February, Mr Gardiner said there had been no political pressure put on him not to order an inquest.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

The Death of David Kelly - Dr. Richard Shepherd's evidence to the Diana and Dodi inquest

I've recently become aware that Dr. Richard Shepherd not only features prominently in the forensic pathology assessment of the suspicious death of Dr. David Kelly but also played a significant role in the interpretation of the high profile deaths of Diana, Princes of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed.

Dr. Shepherd gave evidence at what I'll call the Diana and Dodi inquest.

The transcript of his oral evidence to the Inquest on 22nd January 2008 is here:
Hearing Transcripts: 22 January 2008.

The first page of a report jointly prepared by Richard Shepherd and Professor Peter Vanezis is online here: JOINT FORENSIC MEDICAL REPORT Concerning the deaths and postmortem examinations of Henri Paul, Dodi Al Fayed, Diana, Princess of Wales.

Pages 2 to 12 of that report are, so far as I'm aware, not publicly available.

Professor Vanezis featured in a newspaper article which tried to discredit quetions about the death of David Kelly.

In an article published on 24th October 2010 on the Guardian website, The experts are clear on how David Kelly died, Professor Vanezis is quoted as follows:

Professor Peter Vanezis, senior consultant in forensic medicine to the armed forces, said: "These people are more clinicians and are obviously surprised that a person can kill themselves like that." Vanezis said the lack of large amounts of blood in the wood where Kelly was discovered could also be easily explained: "It was outside – it could have gone into the soil."

Dr. Shepherd also played a significant part in the Operation Paget investigation.

Lord Stevens describes a team of the "finest independent experts" and goes on to thank two experts in particular, one of whom is Dr. Shepherd. Lord Stevens describes Dr. Shepherd as follows,

Dr Richard SHEPHERD, is a Consultant Forensic Pathologist and Home Office Pathologist. He has given me his expert opinion on the medical condition and injuries of the Princess of Wales, Dodi Al Fayed and Henri Paul following the collision.

See page 4 of the abbreviated Report of Operation Paget here: The Operation Paget inquiry report into the allegation of conspiracy to murder (Overview report).

In my own mind I'm clear that Dr. Shepherd's evidence about the death of Dr. Kelly is seriously deficient.

I also believe that the deficiencies in Dr. Shepherd's evidence are likely to be wilful deficiencies.

In other words, Dr. Shepherd provided unwarranted support and credibility for an unsafe conclusion of Dr. Nicholas Hunt.

The effect of Dr. Shepherd's actions, in my view, are to conceal the murder of David Kelly.

The question now forming in my mind is whether Dr. Shepherd's actions with respect to the death of David Kelly are are the first occasion in which he has acted in that way.

That's a question I propose to look into more closely when time allows.

Interestingly, another forensic scientist is singled out for thanks on page 4 of the abbreviated Report for Operation Paget - Professor Robert Forrest.

The same Professor Robert Forrest who in a Conspiracy Files programme made reassuring noises about the death of David Kelly along these lines:

The concentrations in Dr Kelly’s blood are on the low side. We normally see higher concentrations than that in a person who has died of an overdose of co-proxamol. But if you’ve got heart disease – and if there is something else going on like blood loss, then all three of those are going to act together. The overdose of co-proxamol, the heart disease and the blood loss.

I’ve got no doubt that the cause of Dr Kelly’s death was a combination of blood loss, heart disease and overdose of co-proxamol. Not necessarily in that order. If I was going to put it in order I’d put the overdose of co-proxamol first. But it’s important that all of them had interacted to lead to the death.

Another eminent forensic scientist making reassuring noises.

Are they all acting honestly and with justification for their reassuring noises about the death of David Kelly?

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

The Death of David Kelly - Dr. Nicholas Hunt: Inhonest and discompetent?

For some time now I've been exploring whether Dr. Nicholas Hunt is dishonest, incompetent or both.

Today's political cartoon in the Guardian leads me to ask if Dr. Hunt is Inhonest and Discompetent.

See Steve Bell on the Leveson inquiry – cartoon.

Perhaps a claim to be inhonest and discompetent is Dr. Hunt's best way forward?

The Death of David Kelly - The scales of justice

I believe the scales of justice are often viewed as indicating a balanced assessment of the evidence.

With respect to Lord Hutton and Dominic Grieve I suggest you think of scales in a different way, if you are to understand the truth of the matter.

Start with something that is 100% fishy.

Cover it with scales.

Those are the scales of "justice", at least when it's "justice" practised by Hutton and Grieve with respect to David Kelly.

When you hear about the scales of justice ask yourself what fishy thing those scales may be covering.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

The Death of David Kelly - Draft Chapter "17th July 2003 – A perfect day for a perfect political murder?"

I've posted a draft chapter entitled, "17th July 2003 – A perfect day for a perfect political murder?" on the Who Killed David Kelly? blog.

See Who Killed David Kelly? - 17th July 2003 - The Perfect Day for the Perfect Political Murder?.

I anticipate that much of the book will be taken up with exploring whether what I suggest in that draft chapter is supported by the evidence or not.

The Death of David Kelly - The Hutton Inquiry - The perfect cover-up of the perfect political murder?

If David Kelly was murdered, was the Hutton Inquiry intended by the Blair Government to be the perfect cover-up of the perfect political murder?

When appointed Lord Hutton was a Law Lord.

Surely nobody would ever doubt the integrity of a Law Lord?

Chief Constable Peter Neyroud was, at the time, one of the most prominent Police officers in the United Kingdom.

Surely he would ensure that the death of Dr. David Kelly would be honestly and diligently investigated?

Dr. Nicholas Hunt was one of a select few pathologists on the Home Officer register of pathologists.

Surely he would ensure that the death of Dr. David Kelly was competently and honestly examined?

Or is the truth that people like Lord Hutton, Peter Neyroud (now a budding academic at Cambridge University) and Dr. Nicholas Hunt acted to defeat the ends of justice?

It's questions like those that I intend to examine in the book, Who Killed David Kelly?.

The Death of David Kelly - 17th July 2003 - The perfect day for the perfect political murder?

David Kelly told David Broucher and Mai Pederson that he thought he might be found dead in the woods, if Iraq was invaded.

Around 5 months later, on 18th July 2003, the body of David Kelly was found at Harrowdown Hill, Oxfordshire.

And, politically, the timing of that death couldn't have been better.

If it was murder the chances of it being properly investigated couldn't be lower.

The House of Commons had gone on its summer holidays on 17th July.

Suicide spin was underway during the morning of 18th July 2003. See The Death of David Kelly - Spinning a suicide tale too early on 18th July 2003.

The expedient of announcing a judicial inquiry before the pathologist examined the body closed down any media examination of whether David Kelly could have been murdered.

17th July 2003 was the perfect day to commit the perfect political murder.

Was that what happened to David Kelly?

Monday, 23 April 2012

The Death of David Kelly - Third Section 13 Application Covering Letter

This post consists largely of the covering letter sent by me Recorded Delivery on 18th April 2012 to the Attorney General.

The tracking number is AU090271106GB.

As I write this post the Royal Mail tracking system tells me,

Your item has reached the delivery office and is out for delivery.

We can confirm that your item left the delivery office this morning and should arrive shortly if it hasn’t been delivered already.

The text of the covering letter was as follows:

20th April 2012

Dominic Grieve QC MP
Attorney General’s Office
20 Victoria Street

Dear Mr Grieve,

Enclosed with this letter is hard copy of the 18 page Application dated 18th April 2012 to the UK Attorney General in terms of Section 13 of the Coroners Act 1988, seeking that the Attorney General apply to the High Court to seek an Order that an inquest be held into the death of Dr. David Kelly.

Briefly, the document shows that the body of Dr. David Kelly was in one position at 09.15 on 18th July 2003. An hour or so later it was in a different position. The evidence indicates that the body was moved by person or persons unknown.

It seems to me that any rational consideration of this important matter, in all the circumstances, must lead an honest Attorney General to acknowledge that an inquest might return a different verdict.

Such an assessment would lead to an application to the High Court seeking an Order that an inquest be held into the suspicious death of Dr. Kelly.

You are aware that I have been severely critical of your handling of the Section 13 application initially lodged by Dr. Stephen Frost and colleagues.

I view your consideration of Dr. Frost’s Section 13 application as having been deficient and dishonest.

Those causes for concern were obvious to me during your statement to the House of Commons on 9th June 2011.

On 12th June 2011 I invited you to resign as Attorney General.

I again suggest that you consider your position.

Given the serious implications for your political and legal career it occurs to me that you may wish to “tough it out”.

In that eventuality, it is my considered opinion that, given what I believe to be the biased and dishonest assessment you carried out in response to Dr. Frost’s Application, it is highly questionable whether you can fairly conduct an independent review of this present Application in the manner which an honest Attorney General has a duty to do in the public interest.

You may also wish carefully to consider the implications for your credibility as Attorney General of your concealing the serious questions put to you by me on 13th May 2011 about the veracity of ACC Page at the Hutton Inquiry. Serious questions which you concealed from the House of Commons on 9th June 2011.

Mr. Brian Spencer, co-applicant, is writing to you separately to give you signed confirmation that the Application is in our joint names.

In the first instance, I would be grateful if you would acknowledge receipt of this letter and its attachment.

I look forward with interest to learning how you propose to proceed.

Yours sincerely

(Dr) Andrew Watt

The new Blogger interface is VERY annoying - it strips out necessary whitespace

This post isn't about the Iraq Inquiry nor about the murder of David Kelly. It's about a change in the Blogger interface that is making a mess of my recent posts.

With effect from a couple of days or so ago Blogger imposed a new editing interface.

That interface strips out all whitespace between paragraphs, making the text just one long stream of text. On screen a long post - even a fairly short post - becomes much more difficult to read.

I've found a way to switch back to the old interface. But how long will that be available?

Hopefully Blogger will fix the whitespace problem.

Like Microsoft in the bad old days there is nobody to complain to about the Blogger editor problem. At least I can't find where to complain to.

Now, hopefully, back to efficient posting.

The new Blogger editor is a step backwards. Its whitespace problem needs to be fixed.

The Death of David Kelly - Third Section 13 Application to the Attorney General

On 16th April 2012 Brian Spencer and I sent by email a Section 13 Application to the Attorney General asking him to seek from the High Court an Order that an inquest be held into the death of Dr. Kelly.

The document is 18 pages long.

I hope to publish the full text of the document on this blog in the near future.

The First Section 13 Application re Dr. Kelly's death was by Norman Baker MP.

The Second Section 13 Application re Dr. Kelly's death was by Dr. Stephen Frost and colleagues.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

The Death of David Kelly - The Kelly Holmes parallels

In today's Mail on Sunday there is an interesting article indicating that another former Porton Down scientist has supposedly committed suicide.

See Suicide riddle of weapons expert who worked with David Kelly: Scientist tells wife he is going for a walk, then takes his life in a field... just like his friend for the online version of the Mail on Sunday article.

The words of Coroner's Officer Paul Tranter have haunting paralles with the falsely soothing words of Thames Valley Police in July 2003 and to this day.Mr Tranter said,
Police do not consider this death to be suspicious in any way, nor do they believe there was any third-party involvement.

Was Dr. Richard Holmes' death a suicide? I don't know.

Was Dr. David Kelly's death a suicide? Not on your life!

Will Dr. Holmes get justice, in contrast to Dr. Kelly? Time will tell.

Friday, 20 April 2012

The Death of David Kelly - Is Gareth Williams a comparable case?

Today's Evening Standard, Heartbreak and conspiracy theories in home village of the spy-in-the bag

According to the quotes in the article, local people see the deaths of Gareth Williams and David Kelly as being suspicious and closely linked to the UK Security Services.

Keith Thompson said,

We would like to hear the truth next week but we won’t get it. This will be another David Kelly. It’s a cover-up and I believe it is possible our secret services were involved.

David Jones said,

This is David Kelly all over again. A cover-up. There was no evidence at the scene, it just doesn’t add up

The Death of David Kelly - Andrew Gilligan is being sued for email hacking

Andrew Gilligan, the journalist who stabbed David Kelly in the back (metaphorically) by feeding to the Foreign Affairs Select Committee comments made by David Kelly to Susan Watts, is apparently being sued for email hacking.

I picked up this snippet on the Jack of Kent website.

See Andrew Gilligan and Associated Newspapers are being sued for email hackingf.

So far as I'm aware the legal action has no connection, directly, with the death of David Kelly.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

The Death of David Kelly - "the British security state was out of control for a number of years"

The Guardian has an intriguing article about the alleged connection between Jack Straw and international kidnapping (aka "extraordinary rendition").

The article includes the perceptive phrase, "the British security state was out of control for a number of years".

And the death of David Kelly sits smack in the middle of those years!


No, I don't believe it either.

The Guardian article is here: Rendition: Straw in the wind.

The link in the article to information about past Colonial-period crimes which had been concealed by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for 50 years is chilling too.

Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Did Lord Acton have a prophetic nightmare featuring Tony Blair and Jack Straw as part of the demonic cast?

The Iraq Inquiry - FOI Requests regarding Iraq War legal advice

Today I sent a couple of FOI Requests about the Legal advice in March 2003 relating to the Iraq War.

There was correspondence between the Ministry of Defence and the Attorney General's Office around 13th and 14th March 2003 which, as far as I can trace, has never been publicly disclosed.

It's in one of those documents, I understand, that Goldsmith supposedly claimed that the war was legal in International and UK Law, in response to a specific question from the Chief of Defence Staff. The latter, quite understandably, wanted to cover his back.

So far as I can trace the correspondence has still not been disclosed.

I wish I'd been clever (or alert) enough two years ago to ask these questions.

But better late than never, I guess.

I guess the process could take a couple of years to progress through Internal Review, the Information Commissioner etc.

This is a Freedom of Information Request.

I wish to ask for a copy of the following documents:

1. The letter(s) or other communication(s) in March 2003 from the Ministry of Defence to the then Attorney General Lord Goldsmith about the legal basis for going to war in Iraq.

2. The letter(s) or other communications(s) in March 2003 from the Attorney General's Office to the Ministry of Defence about the legal basis for going to war in Iraq.

With respect to questions 1. and 2. I am asking only for documents dated in March 2003.

3. If, in the first instance, you decide to withhold copies of the items referred to in Question 1. I ask for a table with the following information about the documents: Date, From, To, Number of pages, Subject, Classification Level

4. If, in the first instance, you decide to withhold copies of the items referred to in Question 2. I ask for a table with the following information about the documents: Date, From, To, Number of pages, Subject, Classification Level.

With respect to "Classification Level" I mean was the document classified as "Confidential", "Restricted" etc.

It may be helpful for you to be aware that I endeavoured to locate the requested documents on a number of Government websites as well as the Iraq Inquiry website, without success.

In the interests of transparency it occurs to me that you're likely to rely on Sections 35(1)(a), 35(1)(b) and 35(1)(c) in your response to this FOI Request.

If you should choose to rely on such an exemption I anticipate I will seek, in sequence, Internal Review, escalation to consideration by the Information Commissioner etc.

These are documents of immense public interest.

I would be grateful if you would acknowledge receipt of this Freedom of Information Request.

Thank you

(Dr) Andrew Watt

I'm not holding my breath.

Unless the documents are declassified then this will be a long haul to get to the truth, I think.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

The Iraq Inquiry - The still-secret transcripts of Blair's conversation with Bush in March 2003

I've only fairly recently become aware of an appeal before the Information Tribunal relating to transcripts of a hitherto secret telephone conversation between Tony Blair and George Bush in March 2003.

The hearings before the Information Tribunal started in March 2012.

The original Freedom of Information Request by Stephen Plowden dates from as far back as February 2010.

Mr. Plowden requested an Internal Review by the FCO on 28th April 2010.

On 6th July 2010 the FCO informed Mr. Plowden that he still wasn't going to be given the document(s) he wanted.

In that response the FCO exhibited a rather warped sense of humour, as quoted in paragraph 8. of the Decision Notice:

The FCO also advised the complainant that, ‘you will be pleased to know that the Iraq Inquiry Unit is working tirelessly, in concert with the Iraq Inquiry Secretariat, to release as many documents as possible, through declassification, into the public domain. This is an ongoing process which will lead up to the publication of the Inquiry’s full report at some point early next year’.

On the surface the FCO are claiming they are "working tirelessly" to put documents into the public domain.

In reality they're, at least with respect to the Blair/Bush transcript working feverishly to keep it hidden.

On 13th September 2011, the Information Commissioner issued a Decision Notice indicating that Mr. Plowden should be given part of the single remaining (if I understand the sequence of events correctly) document in dispute between himself and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. That's the transcript or note of a call between Bush and Blair.

Stephen Plowden is appealling a Decision Notice of the Information Commissioner which would allow him access to part of the transcript. He wants it all.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office wants the ICO Decision Notice overturned. The FCO wants to continue to conceal all of the transcript.

At least that's how I read the situation.

The Decision Notice by the Information Commissioner has the reference number FS50341647 and is 29 pages long. If you click on the preceding link you will be asked if you want to download the file.

The Decision Notice is particularly interesting since it makes reference to a "confidential annex" on page 1 of the Decision Notice:

The Commissioner decided that the withheld information was exempt under section 27 and that the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighed the public interest in disclosure of most of it. With regard to the remaining information (identified in the confidential annex to this Decision Notice) the Commissioner accepts that this information is exempt under both section 27 and section 35(1)(b), but considers that the balance of the public interest favours disclosure.

The Guardian ran this story, Foreign Office fights order to disclose 'key phone call' between Bush and Blair on 28th March 2012.

On 29th March 2012 the Guardian ran a follow-up story focussing on Clare Short's evidence that Tony Blair had misled Parliament and the British public: Blair deliberately misled colleagues and public over Iraq, says Clare Short.

According to the Guardian report, the Information Tribunal reserved judgment.

As far as I know their judgment has not yet been made public.

The Death of David Kelly - e-Petition calling for Dominic Grieve to resign

Today I became aware of an e-petition calling on Dominic Grieve QC MP to resign.

See Resignation of Attorney General, Dominic Grieve.

For convenience, I here reproduce the text of the e-petition:

A call for the resignation of Attorney General, Dominic Grieve, over his personal investigation into the death of Dr. David Kelly, who revealed that the government dossier on Iraq having weapons of mass destruction was 'sexed up' which we now know was deliberately fabricated to take the UK into an illegal war. Dominic Grieve took it upon himself to investigate the death of Dr David Kelly when it should have been left to an independent inquest, as with every other case where death has not occurred through natural causes. He should therefore resign.

I have some quibbles with some of the wording but the heart of the petition is right.

I've signed it today.

After all, why wouldn't I?

It's now 9 months since I invited Dominic Grieve to resign:
The Death of David Kelly - I invite the Attorney General and Solicitor General to resign.

Monday, 16 April 2012

The Death of David Kelly - Did Dominic Grieve lie about Professor Flanagan's report and Dr Shepherd's Report?

On page 10 of his written statement, Attorney General Dr Kelly written statement 9 June 2011, Dominic Grieve states the following:

The reports of Dr Shepherd and Professor Flanagan, independent and authoritative experts in their field, support the finding of suicide in trenchant terms.

And later states,

There is no possibility of a different verdict on the basis of the evidence of Dr Shepherd and Professor Flanagan.

It seems to me that Dominic Grieve is lying on two grounds:

  1. Nowhere in his report does Professor Flanagan mention suicide.

  2. Nowhere in either report do Dr Shepherd or Professor Flanagan say it is impossible that another interpretation is true.

I can't find statements to either effect in the Shepherd, Forensic medical report by Dr Shepherd 16 March 2011, or Flanagan, Witness statement by Professor Flanagan 12 March 2011, reports.

Did I miss something so important?

Or is Dominic Grieve simply lying?

Friday, 13 April 2012

The Death of David Kelly - Possible upcoming documentary

The web site for 3M Media has outline information relating to a seemingly current documentary project on the death of Dr. David Kelly.

See Projects at hand.

One has to ask why the mainstream UK broadcast media look the other way.

The Iraq Inquiry - The "legal abyss" of the so-called "war on terrorism"

In yesterday's Guardian Online, Simon Jenkins has an interesting piece putting forward the view that the so-called "war on terrorism", beloved of Fuhrer Blair, has descended into what Jenkins calls a "legal abyss".

See The war on terror is corrupting all it touches for the article online.

The specific story underlying Jenkin's concerns doesn't directly concern the Iraq Inquiry process but does appear to involve one individual who gave interesting evidence to Chilcot.

MI6's Mark Allen takes a central and culpable role in the narrative. It appears that he was party to the "extraordinary rendition" of one Abdel Hakim Belhaj to Libya in 2004. "Extraordinary rendition", in case you're unaware, is the politically correct term used for international kidnapping when it's done with the tacit consent or participation of the UK Government or security services.

Mark Allen, I'm told, is the same person who is anonymised as SIS4 in the Iraq Inquiry narrative. See the Private Evidence page on the Iraq Inquiry website.

Belhaj is now suing Mark Allen and the UK Government for "complicity in torture" and "misfeasance in public office".

I wonder if the UK Government will roll out another corrupt judge to sit on the case. After all Lord Hutton did such a good job in concealing the murder of Dr. David Kelly.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

The Iraq Inquiry - No draft report before Summer 2012

It appears that it will be some time yet before the Chilcot Inquiry will impose its whitewash on the unsuspecting ... or very suspecting ... British public.

The following text currently appears on the home page of The Iraq Inquiry.

I quote it in full here in part because it's interesting (at least it is to me). And also because in time it will be replaced.

The Iraq Inquiry has concluded its public hearings and is currently analysing the written and oral evidence it has received and drafting its report.

Pulling together and analysing the evidence and identifying the lessons, for a report that covers so wide and complex a range of issues and a time period of some nine years, is a significant task. The Inquiry has advised the Government that it will need until at least summer 2012 to produce a draft report which will do justice to the issues involved. Very considerable progress has already been made, but there is still much to be done.

As well as drafting the report, the Inquiry will need to negotiate the declassification of a significant volume of currently classified material with the Government, to enable this to be quoted in, or published alongside, the Inquiry’s report. That process has begun, but there will be a series of further major requests as drafting progresses. The Inquiry has made clear that it will need co-operation from the Government in completing this in a satisfactory and timely manner.

In addition, if the Inquiry concludes that it wishes to criticise any individual, in line with the Inquiry’s witness protocol the individual would be informed of the Inquiry’s views and offered the opportunity to make representations to the Inquiry.

The Inquiry’s report will be submitted to the Prime Minister. The Inquiry understands that it will then be published in Parliament. A copy will also be available on this website.

The Iraq Inquiry - Could the Chilcot conclusions be judicially reviewed?

I fully expect the findings, when published, of the Iraq Inquiry to be a whitewash.

Does anyone happen to know if the findings of an inquiry like the Iraq Inquiry can be judicially reviewed?

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

The Death of David Kelly - "Who Killed David Kelly?" - April 2012 Open Forum

The drafting of the proposed book, "Who Killed David Kelly" is progressing steadily although, given the complexity and scope of the material to be covered is still at an early stage of development.

Each month during the writing of the book I expect to invite interested members of the public to identify issues which are of concern to them or issues which they find puzzling or opaque which they would like to see addressed in the book.

The Who Killed David Kelly? - April 2012 Open Forum" is now online if any readers of this blog have questions which they would like to see addressed in the book "Who Killed David Kelly?".

Friday, 6 April 2012

The Death of David Kelly - Proposed book entitled "Who Killed David Kelly?"

Readers of this blog may be interested to know that I am in the early stages of writing a book provisionally entitled "Who Killed David Kelly?".

Information specifically related to the creation of the book will be posted on the blog "Who Killed David Kelly?".

Thursday, 5 April 2012

The Death of David Kelly - A masterpiece of Thames Valley Police evasion about Operation Mason

Yesterday Thames Valley Police posted a Freedom of Information Response to questions about Operation Mason: Investigation into the death of Dr David Kelly.

Thames Valley Police's response is a masterpiece of evasion.

The questioner asks for two simple, unambiguous pieces of information - the precise time Operation Mason was started and the precise time it was completed.

And Thames Valley Police give him/her neither piece of information.

Here is the full text of the Freedom of Information Response. See if you can work out the precise times the questioner wants to know. I can't.


This request, reference RFI2012000222, was received on Sunday 11 March 2012, 8:46am.


Please confirm the precise start and finish times of Operation Mason.


Operation Mason was the name assigned to the search for the missing person Dr David Kelly, and retained for the subsequent investigation into the circumstances surrounding Dr Kelly’s death.

The times of 14:30 17th July 2003 – 09:30 18th July 2003 relate to house to house enquiries.

Thames Valley Police were first alerted on 17th July 2003 by a telephone call from a member of the Kelly family. A search operation was launched and continued overnight until the discovery of Dr Kelly’s body at about 9.20am the following morning.

Following the discovery of the body, Thames Valley Police conducted house to house enquiries in a search for witnesses. The TVP Tactical Support Major Incident Policy Book was used to record the policy for that operation whilst house to house enquiries were carried out over the 18th and 19th July in the Southmoor and Longworth areas (which included the various routes that led from the home address of Dr Kelly to Harrowdown Hill.)

The document was not created until after the body of Dr Kelly was discovered and contains details of those addresses which were to be visited and acted as a rolling briefing document for the house to house co-ordinators. The time parameters that were set by the Senior Investigating Officer were half an hour before the reported time Dr Kelly went on his walk until the discovery of the body. It is normal to allow a period of time either side of a reported disappearance to allow for any discrepancies in reported timings.

Our Investigations were substantially complete by the time ACC Page gave evidence to the Hutton Inquiry on 23rd September 2003.

The questioner asks for the precise starting time of Operation Mason and Thames Valley Police don't give a clear answer.

The questioner asks for the precise time Operation Mason finished and Thames Valley Police don't give a clear answer.


What does Thames Valley Police have to hide about the start time of Operation Mason? Did it, for example, begin before David Kelly was "officially" reported missing around 23.40 on 17th July 2003?

Why is Thames Valley Police so sensitive about disclosing when the Operation Mason investigation finished? Has the investigation ever been closed?