DOCTOR STRANGELOVE: Evidence From Official Inquiry Into The Mysterious Death Of British Scientist/Iraq War Whistleblower Sealed For 70 Years
[Artwork by STEVE BELL]
LONDON EVENING STANDARD: Evidence relating to the death of Government weapons inspector David Kelly is to be kept secret for 70 years, it has been reported. A highly unusual ruling by Lord Hutton, who chaired the inquiry into Dr Kelly’s death, means medical records including the post-mortem report will remain classified until after all those with a direct interest in the case are dead, the Mail on Sunday reported. And a 30-year secrecy order has been placed on written records provided to Lord Hutton’s inquiry which were not produced in evidence. Dr Kelly’s body was found in woods close to his Oxfordshire home in 2003, shortly after it was revealed that he was the source of a BBC report casting doubt on the Government’s claim that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction capable of being fired within 45 minutes. An inquest was suspended by then Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer, who ruled that Lord Hutton’s inquiry could take its place. But in the event, the inquiry focused more on the question of how the BBC report came to be broadcast than on the medical explanation for Dr Kelly’s death. MORE
DAILY MAIL: The day Dr David Kelly took a short walk to his death in the Oxfordshire countryside, an unopened letter lay on the desk of his book-lined study. Sent from the heart of the British Government, the pages were marked ‘personal’ and threatened the world-renowned microbiologist with the sack if he ever publicly opened his mouth again. The letter remained unopened for the seven days during the drama that would pitch Dr Kelly into the spotlight and end in his death at just 59. No one has ever explained why the eminent scientist and UN weapons inspector did not open the letter, but everyone close to him is convinced he knew its contents.
It was designed to silence him because his Ministry of Defence bosses had discovered that not only was he secretly talking to journalists, but was also preparing to write an explosive book about his work. It was six years ago tomorrow, on July 17, 2003, that Dr Kelly was found dead under a tree on Harrowdown Hill half a mile from his family home in Southmoor. His fate has become one of the most contentious issues of recent political history and has raised profound questions about the moral integrity of the New Labour government. The former grammar school boy had celebrated his 36th wedding anniversary just a few days before. The questions of why and how he died – and if he was murdered – have never gone away. Dr Kelly had examined the Government’s ‘sexed up dossier’ which declared that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction which could be activated in just 45 minutes. The claim was used by Tony Blair in 2002 as the central justification for the Iraq war.
When Dr Kelly secretly revealed his doubts about the dossier to BBC reporters, all hell broke loose. After he was unmasked as the BBC mole, he was marched before the television cameras of a House of Commons committee and, later, taken away to a safe house to be interviewed by the British intelligence services. In one final phone conversation he told a caller he wouldn’t be surprised ‘if my body was found in the woods’. And so it was to be. The official inquiry into his death later decided that he committed suicide – by slashing his wrist and consuming a cocktail of painkillers. But this week, 13 respected doctors declared that it was medically impossible for Dr Kelly to have died in this manner. They are mounting a legal battle to overturn the suicide verdict. A new film, Anthrax War, to be released in London this weekend, also asserts that Dr Kelly had spent hours writing a tell-all book which would violate the Official Secrets Act by exposing Britain’s dubious authority for toppling Saddam Hussein. MORE
UPDATE: Details of the post-mortem examination into former Government weapons inspector David Kelly may be viewed by doctors seeking an inquest into his death, Lord Hutton said today. Lord Hutton confirmed he had requested a 70-year gagging order on the material at the conclusion of his inquiry into Dr Kelly’s death. But today he said the purpose of the secrecy order was to avoid the publication of information that might cause distress to Dr Kelly’s wife and daughters, and there was no reason why the material should not be shown to the doctors and their legal advisers. MORE