A Convenient Death (WMD thread)


July 18, 2003, 01:42 PM
Article can be found here on yahoo (http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20030718/ap_on_re_eu/britain_weapons_adviser) Europe - AP
Found Body May Be British Weapons Adviser

By MICHAEL McDONOUGH, Associated Press Writer

LONDON - A body found Friday in central England has been tentatively identified as a missing Ministry of Defense adviser suspected as the source of allegations that the government doctored a report about Iraq's nuclear program.

David Kelly's family reported him missing late Thursday when he didn't return to his home in Southmoor, about 20 miles southwest of Oxford, from an afternoon walk.

The body, found by police in a wooded area about five miles from Kelly's home, was to be identified Saturday, said Acting Superintendent David Purnell of Thames Valley Police. The cause of death was yet unknown.

"But what I can say is that the description of the man found ... matches the description of Dr. David Kelly," Purnell told reporters.

In Tokyo, British Prime Minister Tony Blair (news - web sites) said an independent judicial inquiry was expected. "The Ministry of Defense should be making an announcement this afternoon in terms of the name of the judge and how he will conduct the inquiry," Blair's spokesman said.

"The government would cooperate fully and he would have access to any papers that he wants and to any people he wishes to speak to," the spokesman said.

Kelly, a 59-year-old former U.N. weapons inspector, was at the center of a political storm over allegations that Blair's office altered intelligence on Iraq's alleged weapons programs to support the decision to join the U.S.-led war in Iraq. The government denies the claim.

The Ministry of Defense said Kelly may have been the source for a British Broadcasting Corp. report that Blair aides gave undue prominence to a claim that Iraq could launch chemical or biological weapons on 45 minutes' notice.

The ministry said Friday that Kelly was told he had violated civil service rules by having unauthorized contact with a journalist, but "that was the end of it." It said Kelly was not threatened with suspension or dismissal.

BBC reporter Andrew Gilligan subsequently said his source accused Alastair Campbell, Blair's communications director, of insisting on including the 45-minute claim. A Parliamentary probe cleared Campbell of that allegation.

The controversy centers over the May 29 BBC report citing an unidentified official saying the 45-minute claim was inserted to build up an intelligence dossier published last September.

Kelly told the Parliament committee this week he had spoken to the BBC. But he said he didn't make the claims in the report and didn't believe he was the source cited. The BBC has refused government requests to reveal who the source was.

Donald Anderson, who chaired the Foreign Affairs Committee where Kelly testified Tuesday, said the committee "felt pretty confident that he (Kelly) was not in fact the source."

Anderson, a Labor Party lawmaker, told BBC television that Kelly had appeared "rather relaxed" during his testimony and seemed to be "on top of things

The BBC report fueled a wider controversy that has left Blair facing a barrage of questions over prewar intelligence.

In a historic address to Congress in Washington, Blair said Thursday he and President Bush (news - web sites) would not be proven wrong in their prewar claims about Iraq's weapons capabilities. Even if they are, says Blair, a menace has been defeated.

Television journalist Tom Mangold said he had spoken to Kelly's wife, Janice, on Friday morning, and she said her husband had felt stressed after appearing before the parliamentary committee to face questions about the BBC report.

"She didn't use the word depressed, but she said he was very, very stressed and unhappy about what had happened and this was really not the kind of world he wanted to live in," Mangold told ITV news.

Conservative committee member Richard Ottaway also said Kelly had suggested he was under great strain.

"At the meeting last week he did hint at the sort of pressure he was under," Ottaway said. "He was asked to provide some evidence and he replied that he would do so but he could not get into his house because of the media pressure."

The Ministry of Defense said it had offered accommodation for Kelly so that he could avoid media attention. The ministry and Blair's office separately expressed concern Friday for Kelly's welfare. "Our thoughts are with his family and friends," a Blair spokesman said.

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July 18, 2003, 02:07 PM
Wrong. I admit it.

Not about WMD, though. No, when I saw this news this AM I predicted that tomorrow we'd be seeing threads about 'a convenient death".

Took only a few hours, though. Shows you what I know.

July 18, 2003, 02:19 PM
Someone in HMG, the Labour Party or the MOD leaked Kelly's name to the media as a potential source. I'd wager its the same person that lied about the 45 minute claim, lied about the two soldiers being executed and the same person who is lying about the Niger uranium.

Make no mistake, this affair will cost Blair the next election.

July 18, 2003, 03:09 PM
Just like our Vince Foster.

Only difference is the British government will be all over this death like a duck on a june bug. With Vince Foster our government couldn't get away fast enough.

Hint: If an American criminologist, Dr. Henry Lee, gets involved, you can be assured the fix is in.

July 18, 2003, 03:25 PM
Mind boggling! How can anyone come to the conclusion that these events look bad for Blair?

If you read the testimony (or even an excerpt of it) it becomes pretty clear that this Kelly was indeed the source of the BBC story about the "sexed up" WMD dossier - he indeed met with the reporter on the day that reporter spoke to the "source", and some of the words and phrasing in the story were exactly as he said them.
HOWEVER, it is even clearer that the BBC fabricated the most damning parts of their story! Kelly was only a very peripheral player and had no access to much of the information they supposedly got from the "source". Kelly freely admitted to what he had told the reporter, and pointedly denied having said other things.

In other words, the BBC got a few "facts" from a bit player in the drama and then concocted an entire around it!

The bad guy here is not Blair or British Intelligence, it's the BBC who concocted this whole story out thin air!

No doubt, the BBC will attempt to wriggle out of this, but I fail to see how any clear thinking person can look at the facts and accept it!


El Tejon
July 18, 2003, 03:32 PM
Yes, the BBC lied but why whack him over it.

I'll reserve opinion until they release cause of death. Maybe he just choked on his lentils?

July 18, 2003, 03:54 PM
I don't think anyone "whacked him". His family described him walking out of the house without a coat, in a heavy rainstorm. He went off in the woods and killed himself.

He had been burned by the BBC reporter who lied about what he had told him - he (Kelly) said as much to the committee. And yet, he had still violated about a dozen secrecy laws for giving away classified information to the press - and was being pilloried by the government for doing so. His career was over and he was probably looking at prison time to boot.


July 18, 2003, 04:13 PM

Glad you saw it the same way I did.

Everyone else,

Why would you think the British would do this? It is Israel who has a track record in these matters.

July 18, 2003, 04:20 PM
The facts:

i) HMG "demanded" that Gilligan reveal his sources. As any good journalist should, he refused. Kelly's name was then leaked to the press as a possible source after they (the MOD) had stated someone had come forward.

The responsible party here is whoever leaked the name to the press - Kelly obviously didnt, Gilligan probably didnt and HMG has both the history (in terms of behaviour) and the motive for the leak.

ii) Gilligan's story is backed by the facts - Iraq obviously did not have the potential to launch a strike on anyone within 45 minutes using CBRN. Add to that the fact that other parts of the dossier are known to have been false like the Niger claim, which HMG is still clinging to despite the rest of the world abandoning it;

iii) and, Keith, the Commons committee investigating DID NOT think he was the source of the report:


iv) the initial response from HMG - Dr John Reid - stated that "rogue elements" in the intelligence services were responsible

Keith - the "disproval" of Gilligans story is based 100% on the statements of HMG. The acquital of Alistair Campbell was by the casting vote of the chairman of the committee on the 45 minute claim. The dossier has been systematically dismantled and debunked since its creation in a number of respects. Gilligans story hasnt.

July 18, 2003, 04:52 PM
>>>>The responsible party here is whoever leaked the name to the press <<<<

Kelly went to his supervisors and told them he thought he was the "source".

>>>>Gilligan's story is backed by the facts<<<<

Gilligan may be correct about Iraq not having a 45 minute readiness capability, but he didn't get that from any "source". He simply published his opinion on the matter and attributed it to a "source" (Kelly).

>>>>the Commons committee investigating DID NOT think he was the source of the report:<<<<

Yet, he clearly was because he met with Gilligan on the day the reporter said he met his "source" and Gilligan quoted some of the exact wording that Kelly said he had used with the reporter.

Clearly, the BBC made up the gist of the story - just as they did during the war when some of their own reporters complained about the editors re-wording articles to give an anti-American/British slant to the coverage. As far as I'm concerned, BBC has about as much credibility as the New York Times. They simply can't resist slanting the news to forward their far left agenda. And they've been caught at it yet again!

Don't take my (or the BBC or the Blair governments) words on the subject. Simply read some of what Kelly said to the committee and form your own conclusions. Unless you're completely blinded by partisanship, you have to conclude that Kelly got burned by the BBC. They (or perhaps just Gilligan) took a few facts that he gave them and then created an anti-government story out of whole cloth.

And poor Kelly got left holding the bag... though I can't feel too sorry for him, since people in positions of trust should be held accountable for leaking anything to the press! And if the press wildly exaggerates their statements, that is only to be expected since journalistic integrity has gone the way of the Dodo bird!


July 18, 2003, 05:01 PM

youre basing your argument on HMG's statements, which change from week to week. Here is Gilligans' report from the Today programme, which is a current affairs programme on BBC Radio 4:

John Humphrys
Are you suggesting [the dossier] was not the work of the intelligence agencies?

Andrew Gilligan The information which I'm told was dubious did come from the information agencies, but they were unhappy about it because they didn't think it should have been in there. They thought it was not corroborated sufficiently and they actually thought it was wrong. They thought the informant concerned had got it wrong. They thought he'd misunderstood what was happening. Let's go throughout this. This is the dossier that was published in September last year, probably the most substantial statement of the government's case against Iraq. You'll remember that the Commons was recalled to debate it, Tony Blair made the opening speech. It is not the same as the famous dodgy dossier, the one that was copied off the internet, that came later. It was quite a serious document that dominated the news agenda that day, and you open up the dossier and the first thing you see is a preface by Tony Blair that includes the following words:

"Saddam's military planning allows for some WMDs to be ready within 45 minutes of an order to deploy them."

Now, that claim has come back to haunt Mr Blair because, if the weapons had been that readily to hand, they probably would have been found by now. But you know, it could have been an honest mistake. But what I have been told is that the government knew that claim was questionable even before the war, even before they wrote it in their dossier.

I've spoken to a British official who was involved in the preparation of the dossier and he told me that in the week before it was published, the draft dossier produced by the intelligence services added little to what was already publicly known. He said:

"It was transformed in the week before it was published to make it sexier. The classic example was the claim that weapons of mass destruction were ready for use within 45 minutes. That information was not in the original draft. It was included in the dossier against our wishes, because it wasn't reliable. Most of the things in the dossier were double-sourced, but that was single sourced, and we believe that the source was wrong."

Now this official told me the dossier was transformed at the behest of Downing Street, and he added:

"Most people in intelligence were unhappy with the dossier because it didn't reflect the considered view they were putting forward."

Now I want to stress that this official, and others I've spoken to, do still believe Iraq did have had some sort of weapons of mass destruction programmes.

"I believe it is about 30% likely there was a chemical weapons programme in the six months before the war, and considerably more likely there was a biological weapons programme. We think Blix downplayed a couple of potentially interesting pieces of evidence. But the weapons programmes were quite small. Sanctions did limit the programme."

The official also added quite an interesting note about the result, since the war, of the capture of some of the Iraqi WMD scientists.

"We don't have a great deal more information yet than we had before. We have not got a great deal out of the detainees yet."

Now the 45-minute issue is not just a detail. It did go to the heart of the government's case that Saddam was an imminent threat, and it was repeated a further three times in the body of the dossier. And I understand that the parliamentary intelligence and security committee is going to conduct an inquiry into the claims made by the British government about Iraq and it is obviously exactly this kind of issue that will be at the heart of their investigation.

July 18, 2003, 05:15 PM
The issue in that report is: did the Government lie (or at least inflate the prominence of) about the 45 minute claim or didnt it?

The answer is a fairly clear "yes", unless you believe that the Intelligence Services are staffed with incompetents, all of whom failed to point out the obvious - that the claim was complete and utter nonsense.

Oh, and with regards to the BBC and its "anti-government" reporting, it did a great service to this nation, not only in this affair, but also the affair of the two dead "executed" soldiers story (where it, along with the Mirror exposed that lie). The press is supposed to impartially report the facts - which is what the BBC strived to do - and not blindly follow the Government line. So much of what came out of CENTCOM, Washington and London was palpable nonsense - the whole Jessica Lynch parade and torture of POWs, the repeated findings of WMD / al-Qaeda cells, the capture of towns five or six times and so on.

Keith, Gilligan cannot confirm or deny who was an informant of his. Thats the way in which journalists protect off-the-record sources (which incidentally is the same excuse as HMG is using to hide behind regarding the Niger claims) and a revealing of a source means that noone who seeks confidentiality is going to trust that reporter again. I never thought I would ever say this, but Iain Duncan Smith is bang on the money with his "culture of deceit" statement and it is not something that is going to go away.

July 18, 2003, 05:45 PM
>>>>The issue in that report is: did the Government lie (or at least inflate the prominence of) about the 45 minute claim or didnt it? <<<<<

Not for me. Every intelligence service in the west (including those who fully opposed action) agreed that Iraq was not in compliance with the UN mandate. That's enough reason for war and any opinions on whether Iraq had a 45 minute readiness capability are just that - opinions based on intelligence snippets. Clearly though, Iraq was not in compliance (note the nuclear enrichment stuff just found last week), so no further justification is needed. He (Saddam) refused to comply and we spanked him for it - end of story.

When all is said and done, the British people (like the Americans) will hold their political establishment accountable in the next election.

That can't be said for the BBC. British taxpayers will still have to subsidize this "news" agency even when it clearly has become a propaganda organ with its own agenda. The real issue is whether people are willing to allow the media to fabricate news and bend opinion for political reasons.

If you are an example of how the average man in GB thinks, then I suspect that the BBC will survive and will continue to create the news rather than report it. How can you ignore the fact that its own reporters have publically complained about "management" rewriting stories to put a pro-Iraqi spin on things? How can you ignore the testimony in this very case indicating that the entire story was fabricated by this Gilligan?


July 18, 2003, 06:56 PM
Another pi***ng contest!

These two sides will never meet. I give up. For one side, if the Govt says 45 min. and it turns out to be months, it's a lie. If it turned out to be 45:30 it's still a lie. For this side the war was always wrong, and every inaccuracy or exaggeration supporting it is a deliberate lie.

For the other side, (my side, yes I confess), the war was clearly right. For us, inaccuracy and exaggeration are part of the fog of war, and they are done by both sides of the debate. They tell nothing about the rightness of the decision, which, please recall, had to be made before we knew the ending, not after.

It's striking that the accusers are fixated on parsing phrases and checking times and numbers, while the supporters are talking about the big issues. It's striking that the people who condemn Bush for not acting on all the as-yet-unverified intelligence before 9/11 now want to crucify him for acting vigorously on intelligence. I think after you've gotten a taste of the worst-case scenario, you are a lot more ready to act.

I've said my piece, and will now resume waiting to see.

July 18, 2003, 07:34 PM
I heard last night that it has been confirmed that the White House has positively located a large quantity of weapons grade plutonium.

Problem is..... it's in North Korea.

July 18, 2003, 07:55 PM
For the other side, (my side, yes I confess), the war was clearly right. For us, inaccuracy and exaggeration are part of the fog of war, and they are done by both sides of the debate. They tell nothing about the rightness of the decision, which, please recall, had to be made before we knew the ending, not after.

OK, I understand your side, now hear and consider this: for the "other side", we accepted one AND ONLY ONE reason which was sufficient to require the immediate military action Bush insisted had to be done without any delay: That there was credible evidence that Iraq could be reasonably close to having nuclear capability.

That claim was made by Bush many times as well as Colin Powell. When Condoleeza Rice was asked why the White House could not offer some kind of proof, she sarcastically answered:

"The only proof you people would accept would be a mushroom cloud."

Well, we are still waiting for even the slightest shred of proof that there was a Uranium enrichment device being built or was anywhere near being built. If it existed, I would accept that. It never did. And, we have now discovered, the administration ignored clear intel that the base of all the claims of "obtaining Uranium to make weapons" was a forgery. Even today, Tony Blair has vainly tried to defend the credibility of the false intel he also signed off on by sying that they think Hussein had bought uranium from Niger before, so it was reasonable to believe he did again. Any way you slide it, the forged documents were so lousy they were picked up very quickly as fakes. Now the butt-covering begins by trying to prove the info never got up the chain. Who cares? Bs is BS, the point is there was no credible intel showing Iraq had even a vestigal of a nuclear program. However Bush wants to dump blame now, the fact is he raced us into a horrific situation which will be enormously costly in the long run based on a pile of BS. He has to take the responsibility, he made the decisions.

The problem that has come now is that we are not accepting bush's "re-write" of history by his saying now the reason for war was to free the Iraqi people, get rid of an evil dictator, keep Hussein from funding mythical terroists. The reason is that the new history is not the reason we were promised, and none of those reasons are or were sufficient to justify immediate military action which Bush stampeded us into. The world is full of murdering dictators, and our country supports most of them. The US can not destroy the government of every country run by bad guys.

That really delineates the divide which continues: your side says it doesn't matter why we went, he needed to be overthrown. We are saying it does matter if the leader of the free world lied (or was duped) into a war for BS reasons, and we don't think the cost was justified. Because as we see every day now, that is going to be a very costly mistake in terms of both $$$ and US soldiers. And, the latest news yesterday is that Colin Powel is speaking to the UN to try to get a UN force to come in. That means in the short span of three months, the US government has gone from saying "Screw You" to the UN to asking for help to try and keep the lid on the place. And BTW, the deployed forces are being burned out so fast another major recall of national Guard is imminent. We are now in it up to our butts.

July 18, 2003, 08:01 PM
I did enjoy the speculation that Iraq will cost Blair his job as PM. That would be tragic. Which of these New Labour buffoons could possibly step up and not be the second coming of Neville Chamberlain? Cook? Short? George the traitor? Do tell.

Then there is the opposition.:rolleyes: It is quite clear to most observers that Ian Duncan-Smith has no skills at all and the Tories are in basically rump status nationally.

If Tony loses his job in the UK, he'll always be welcome to cash in on the lecture circuit here. He is about the only European left alive today in a high profile political position who actually possesses a pair.

Come back any time Tony. At least we love you. http://www.kurts-smilies.de/laola.gif

July 18, 2003, 08:09 PM
In the big picture, it's all politics. You could come up an entire WMD system, complete with Saddam's fingerprints and videotape of him explaining how he was going to whack London, Tel Aviv and Washington next week and 99% of the bliss-ninnies on the planet would still say it wasn't reason enough to go to war.

For our part (the war-mongerers), it doesn't matter. He was in violation of the cease fire - anyone care to deny he was shooting at US and UK aircraft, or that a WMD program (no matter how minuscule) was in place? Americans died to implement that cease fire and Saddam broke it. Saddam had to be removed. Period.

The guy was a mass-murderer and my mind is boggled that anyone would waste a tear on his removal from power.

If we decide to waste the leaders of Zimbabwe, Iran or Liberia next week, I won't whine about them either.


July 18, 2003, 10:11 PM
I don't see how it should be damning to the British government. Nobody in their right minds would whack such an obvious thorn, especially when the beans have already been spilled.

July 19, 2003, 01:07 AM
Destruct06, perhaps this is why... From the Telegraph, London (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml;$sessionid$GIZN2JFZGQWE5QFIQMGSFF4AVCBQWIV0?xml=/opinion/2003/07/19/do1902.xml&sSheet=/news/2003/07/19/ixnewstop.html):

As with Diana, Dr Kelly's fate gives all of us pause

By Tom Utley
(Filed: 19/07/2003)

If they have ordinary human emotions, both Andrew Gilligan and Alastair Campbell will be feeling wretched this morning, after the apparent suicide of Dr David Kelly. The BBC reporter will be thinking that Dr Kelly might still be alive, if only he had not met him at the Charing Cross Hotel to talk about Saddam Hussein's weapons - and perhaps embellished what he was told.

Mr Campbell will be telling himself that he, too, may have helped to drive the MoD adviser to his death, by making such an issue of Mr Gilligan's credibility. Others will also be examining their consciences. Geoff Hoon, the Defence Secretary, was the man who first named Dr Kelly in a letter to the chairman of the BBC, demanding to know whether he was Mr Gilligan's source.

We do not yet know how he treated Dr Kelly - what threats, if any, he made to him over the Official Secrets Act or his pension rights, or the tone that he took with him when he instructed him to draw up a list of his contacts with journalists. But Mr Hoon knows, and he will be thinking about that today.

Then there were the officials at the MoD, who confirmed to the press that Dr Kelly was the man under suspicion. They, too, will be asking themselves how fairly they behaved - as will the members of the Commons foreign affairs committee (FAC), who subjected Dr Kelly to that robust grilling a month ago. Some of them will be wondering whether they ought not to have been gentler with him.

This is not to say that Mr Gilligan, Mr Campbell or any of the others have "blood on their hands", as their more lurid critics will suggest. Dr Kelly had clearly been under enormous pressure for several weeks, although we do not know the full details. There can be no doubt that he was treated badly - and, I would say, improperly - by people very high up in the Blair administration. But it does not follow from this that he was under the sort of pressure that would have driven you or me to suicide.

For all we know, there were other things going on in Dr Kelly's life that made him vulnerable to despair. In his evidence to the FAC, he came across as a quiet man, who hated finding himself in the spotlight. A more robust character might have taken all the pressure imposed on him - and more - without feeling any inclination to end it all. It is only natural, as it is after every death, that some people will be feeling guilty. But it cannot be stressed too strongly that the only person who can be accused of taking Dr Kelly's life, on the evidence available so far, is Dr Kelly himself.

So there is a sense in which his death changes nothing, except for the lives of his family and friends, to whom all our hearts go out. It tells us nothing that we did not already know, and makes nobody's behaviour any more or less reprehensible than it was before Dr Kelly went missing on Thursday afternoon.

But there is another sense in which it changes everything. The sheer shock of it has made everybody stop and think about what has been going on over the past few weeks and months, and the way in which people in public life behave under this Government.

In that respect, Dr Kelly's death is likely to have an effect similar to that of Diana, Princess of Wales. Its impact will not be nearly as strong, because Dr Kelly had only very recently become a public figure, whereas the Princess was so much written and talked about that there were millions all over the world who felt that they knew her personally. But what I mean is that her death concentrated the nation's mind on everything that had led up to it, in a way that had tangible consequences.

Until the news of the fatal crash came through from Paris, we all knew that there was something very disturbing about the personality cult that had built up around the Princess: the behaviour of the press and the way in which the Royal Family was being treated as a soap opera for the amused or disapproving entertainment of the public.

But it was not until she died and the music suddenly stopped, that, in the ensuing silence, people began to think hard about how badly so many had behaved. The nation resolved to mend its ways - and, in some respects, it did. The young princes, for example, were given a much smoother ride through their teens than they might have expected had it not been for their mother's death.

In the same way, Dr Kelly's death promises to focus the public's mind more sharply than ever on the culture of spin that has dictated so much in public life since Mr Blair's Government came to power. Here, people will think, was a mild-mannered, apparently conscientious public servant, dragged against his will into the limelight in a deliberate attempt to deflect public attention from Mr Campbell's grave error of judgment in compiling his notorious "dodgy dossier" of last February.

Dr Kelly found himself caught up in a battle of vanity and injured pride between Mr Campbell and the BBC. This was the Battle of the Red Herring over the claim in the earlier, September dossier that Saddam's weapons of mass destruction would be ready for use within 45 minutes. Where Dr Kelly might have expected the support of his departmental head, Mr Hoon, he found himself instead hauled before a Commons committee, and his name bandied about in the media, in an attempt to protect Mr Campbell.

Now that he is dead, it can be clearly seen that Dr Kelly was the victim of a systemic malaise in public life. Under this Government, power has been used to bully individuals and to deflect people's minds from the truth. And the great institutions of the state have been pressed into service to protect the public image of the Prime Minister's chief spin doctor.

I feel a little sorry for Mr Campbell, Mr Gilligan, Mr Hoon and anybody else who may be feeling guilty after Dr Kelly's death. None of them wanted it, and nor was it in any way a predictable or natural consequence of their behaviour.

But my sympathy does not extend very far. I just hope that Dr Kelly's death will persuade the Prime Minister and his circle to think more of the responsibilities of power, and less of the thrill of clinging on to it.

July 19, 2003, 05:10 AM

IDS has done nothing "postive" in terms of politics, preferring instead a fabian strategy of letting labour do his dirty work for him, which they have very kindly done. Personally, I dont vote (there is no Plaid Cymru candidate in Lambeth :D ) but Polls are starting to show a Tory lead of 1-2% (which is significant, since they havent been in the lead since pre-1997).

bountyhunter is correct, either you support the right of politicians to lie or you dont. the buildup to war, at least over here, was 90% about the WMD issue and the vast majority of the British people now distrust whatever comes out of the New Labour machine (remember folks, this was the same machine that suggested "burying bad news" on 9/11). It will have political consequences for the administration.


i dont know what Gilligan will have to regret - he acted to protect his source, if blame is to be cast anywhere, it should be laid at the feet of the MoD and Downing Street. I refer to the evidence presented by Kelly:

Q155 Sir John Stanley: Who made the proposition to you, Dr Kelly, that you should be treated absolutely uniquely, in a way which I do not believe any civil servant has ever been treated before, in being made a public figure before being served up to the Intelligence and Security Committee?

Dr Kelly: I cannot answer that question. I do not know who made that decision. I think that is a question you have to ask the Ministry of Defence.

Q156 Sir John Stanley: So you did not make it yourself?

Dr Kelly: Certainly not.

Q157 Sir John Stanley: We have to assume therefore that your ministers then are responsible for treating you uniquely as a civil servant in highly publicising you before going to the Intelligence and Security Committee?

Dr Kelly: That is a conclusion you can draw.

Q158 Sir John Stanley: Why did you go along with it, Dr Kelly? You were being exploited, were you not?

Dr Kelly: I would not say I was being exploited.

Q159 Sir John Stanley: You had been before them to rubbish Mr Gilligan and his source, quite clearly?

Dr Kelly: I just found myself to be in this position out of my own honesty in acknowledging the fact that I had interacted with him. I felt obliged to make that statement once I realised that I may possibly be that source. Until then, I have to admit that I was out of the country for most of the time this debate was going on so I was not following the actual interactions that were going on. It was not until I was alerted to the transcript by a friend that I actually even considered that I might be the source.

Q160 Sir John Stanley: If I may say so, I think you have behaved in a very honourable and proper manner by going to your departmental line managers in the circumstances you describe. That does not get away from the key issue, which is why did you feel it was incumbent upon you to go along with the request that clearly had been made to you to be thrown to the wolves, not only to the media but, also, to this Committee?

Dr Kelly: I think that is a line of questioning you will have to ask the Ministry of Defence. I am sorry.

Sir John Stanley: I am grateful.

July 19, 2003, 12:35 PM
Although there were many reasons given, the one YOU chose as persuasive MUST be the one which is validated, or the whole thing is a lie. I just don't see that as rational. Nor does it follow that those who don't see it your way must not care what the reason was, or didn't need any reason at all.

But I've broken my vow. No more. I surrender the field to those who wish to carry on this debate. I just don't know enough.

July 19, 2003, 12:41 PM
Was all this reporting hype, lies and propaganda from the BBC??????? Guess we will never know!!!!! The man is dead, how convenient for the BBC!!!!!!! Now THE MEIDA can claim any thing they want with unanimity, naming Dr Kelly as the source.

July 20, 2003, 01:45 PM
Well, now the excrement hits the oscillating device! The BBC has admitted that Kelly was the source. Kelly had denied making some of the statements they attributed to him.
BBC is exposed (again) as creating the news out of whole cloth.


Kelly was source
(Filed: 20/07/2003)

The BBC's credibility is in question after Dr David Kelly was confirmed as the prime source for reports alleging that intelligence on Iraq was "sexed up".

Dr David Kelly
In a statement issued this morning, Richard Sambrook, the director of BBC News, said that the BBC believed they had "accurately interpreted and reported the factual information obtained... during interviews with Dr Kelly".

He said that the BBC "clearly owed him a duty of confidentiality". Mr Sambrook added that the BBC would cooperate fully with the inquiry into the scientist's death.

The BBC's admission calls into question Andrew Gilligan's report. Dr Kelly told a Commons committee investigating the claims made in the report that they could not have come from the briefing he gave Mr Gilligan.

His close friend Tom Mangold has questioned whether he ever made the claims - and said even if he did they were not true.

The BBC has not said that the allegations made in Mr Gilligan's report were true, but has insisted that in the circumstances it was right to make public the concerns of his source.

Tony Blair has said he will give evidence to the judicial inquiry headed by Lord Hutton into Dr Kelly's death.

The Prime Minister was speaking in Seoul, South Korea, where he is on the latest leg of a diplomatic trip dogged by the issue of Dr Kelly's suicide.

Andrew Gilligan
As he left Korea for China, Mr Blair said: "I am pleased that the BBC has made this announcement. Whatever the differences, no one wanted this tragedy to happen.

"I know that everyone, including the BBC, have been shocked by it. The independent Hutton Inquiry has been set up, it will establish the facts. In the meantime our attitude should be one of respect and restraint, no recrimination, with the Kelly family uppermost in our minds at this time."

Earlier in the day, in an interview recorded by Sky News at the Japanese spa resort of Hakone, Mr Blair ruled out recalling Parliament in the wake of the death. He said a recall would "generate more heat than light" and said Dr Kelly's family should be allowed time to grieve.

The Prime Minister told Sky News' Sunday With Adam Boulton programme: "I think we should have a period of reflection and a period in which the judge can carry out the inquiry, and also allow the family time to grieve."

Rod Liddle, former editor of the BBC's Today programme, has defended the corporation for protecting Dr Kelly's identity.

He told Sky News: "You do not name your source. It's an absolutely fundamental tenant. Who would trust any journalist if he caved in to pressure from the Government to root out their source?

"I'm not sure even now that it was a great idea to name him now. It merely leaves Dr Kelly more open to attack or to questions about what he actually did say to Andrew Gilligan. These are things he can't answer for himself any more, which is sad. The whole affair stinks."

Mr Liddle also called for Mr Campbell's resignation. He said: "There's no doubt in my mind that Alastair Campbell should go. I can't see any way that he can continue. People don't trust him."

Peter Mandelson, a key ally of Mr Blair, said: "This statement is a difficult one for the BBC to have made and is welcome as far as it goes. It begs a whole series of questions and I am mystified why the BBC has not gone all the way in accepting the original facts of the story were wrong.

"I expect it is only a matter of time and in the meanwhile I think the Government should not do or say more vis-a-vis the BBC and leave it to Lord Justice Hutton."

El Tejon
July 20, 2003, 02:54 PM
Suicide? Hmmm. Will this be confirmed by a medical board or do they just take the word of the police over there?

Ag, will the Crown prosecute (criminally or civilly) the BBC for driving poor Mr. Kelly to suicide? Or will they let those lying monsters destroy whoever they choose?:confused:

July 20, 2003, 04:54 PM
I did enjoy the speculation that Iraq will cost Blair his job as PM. That would be tragic.

Somethingwe all agree on. Blair is an honest man with a sense of morality, and the guts to put it on th line. He did just that when he got a cease-fire for Northern Ireland. He brokered a deal with Sinn Fein (the political arm of the IRA) and was actually under fire from both his own party and the hard line conservatives when he proposed it. But, he told them he was going to make peace with or without them and if he failed, he would resign. He didn't fail, NI has the best run of peace it's seen in 30 years, and there is actual progress towards bringing the Catholic minority into the political system which will cement a lasting peace. Blair is the only PM to have the cajones to do that.

It's disgusting that his trust for Bush (and letting himself be duped into supporting the war) will be the end of his political career. I will be sorry to see him go.

July 21, 2003, 11:41 AM
keith / el tejon:

i) who suggested that the informant was Kelly?
ii) who leaked that the informant was Kelly?
iii) who pressurized Kelly to say what he did to the HoC- FA committee (on pain of losing his pension)?

the people that bear 100% of the blame are HMG. The reputation of Alistair Campbell was worth sacrificing Kelly (who said fundamentally the same thing to two journalists) and they did everything to make him take the rap - read the minutes of the HoC evidence I posted up. The BBC have not presented their evidence - but if notes or tapes exist of Kelly saying what he said, will you two turn around and vent your anger on the spin doctors who are at the heart of this?

the BBC bear no blame for his death, at all. They steadfastly refused to state their source (as any journalist worth his or her salt would be expected to do) and reported a story that deserved a wider audience. The same thing happened when Tam Dalyell was leaked the story of the sinking of the General Belgrano, which was leaked to him by a civil servant.

I'd also like to note that the attitude of the Murdoch - owned papers, especially the verminous Sun, has been beneath contempt as always, and how they can lecture the BBC over ethics when they showed the death throes of Marc Vivien-Foe on the front page staggers the mind.

Please burn that newspaper wherever you come across it.

Where were you people when Bush / Blair were lying about the execution of coalition soldiers anyway?

July 21, 2003, 12:05 PM
I don't care who "leaked" that Kelly was the informant. I don't even care that Kelly slashed his wrists - if he didn't want to be put in that position he shouldn't have violated the law by speaking to the press in the first place. It's just too bad that he didn't slash his wrists before he talked to the BBC.

The issue here is that the BBC lied. They stated that their informant was a highly placed intelligence official - which Kelly surely was not! And then they embroidered his story to fabricate a big government "plot". And Kelly (to his credit) was pretty forthright about what he told the BBC and what they made up in his name.

This sort of thing has become a pattern with the BBC. It was only a few months ago that journalists working for the BBC blew the whistle on the "re-writes" of the stories they filed from Iraq which turned simple journalistic reporting into anti-war pieces.


July 21, 2003, 12:19 PM

they didnt.... Gilligan stated in his report:

I've spoken to a British official who was involved in the preparation of the dossier and he told me that in the week before it was published, the draft dossier produced by the intelligence services added little to what was already publicly known.

Kelly DID play a role in the creation of the dossier and his statements to the HoC-FA committee must be viewed in light of the known threats that were made against him by the MoD.

July 21, 2003, 01:04 PM
Oh, I'm sure some of the information in the BBC piece was accurate. Kelly said as much.

The two problems (again) are that about 40% of what they attributed to their source was never said. Read Kelly's testimony.

And they misrepresented Kelly as being a highly placed intelligence offical with full access to the report and all of intelligence from which it was drawn. Neither of those things are true.

In the US we just had a firestorm with the New York Times because one of their reporters made up some background on some very unimportant stories. They cleaned house over there from the editor on down.
Yet, the BBC does this stuff on a routine basis and does it for political reasons and nothing happens! Their OWN REPORTERS exposed them a few months ago for doing this and nothing was done.
Now they've been caught again, lying on an issue that has worldwide ramifications. It's incredible that people who are actually forced to subsidize this "news" service aren't stroming the BBC headquarters with whatever old fowling pieces they allow you to own over there.


July 21, 2003, 01:51 PM

I'm wondering whether or not youve actually read the articles concerned. At no point did either Gilligan or the Newsnight reporter represent Kelly as an intelligence agent of any kind. They also fundamentally represented Kelly's stated beliefs with regards to WMD and the 30% thing.

The question is one of the "45 minute" claim. While Kelly denied that he had made those statements, look towards the end of the minutes when he is questioned on the issue - he is evasive. One has to bear in mind that he had been exposed and thrown to the lions by his own bosses, and we cannot be sure that he hadnt been got at prior to that hearing.

July 21, 2003, 03:54 PM

"ii) Gilligan's story is backed by the facts - Iraq obviously did not have the potential to launch a strike on anyone within 45 minutes using CBRN. Add to that the fact that other parts of the dossier are known to have been false like the Niger claim, which HMG is still clinging to despite the rest of the world abandoning it;"

What facts did Gilligan have to back his story? Why is it obvious that Iraq didn't have the potential to launch WMD within 45 minutes? I won't give away the punch line but have you ever heard of "Frogs" (and no I'm not talking about a slang term for the French)? If you haven't you will before this is all over.

Parts of the dossier being false? Possibly, maybe, could be, and that's as definite as I or you can be. The "facts" to prove your assertions may and or may not existed when you make your assertions and then evaporate just like they have in this thread with new incoming information to substantiate our claims (which we based on information and not so much speculation)

I honestly believe that if Saddam himself walked into your house carrying WMD, told you he was stashing them at your place for Bin Laden and Al queda and made a phone call on your phone to set up the meeting place to pick up all the equipment necessary to build nuclear arms, you still wouldn't be able to believe it was true. No matter what anyone says, what information is produce or irrefuteable evidence is brought forward you will see this all as one big sham (of course carried out by so many agencies and countries that it would be impossible to orchestrate this as well as it has been)

To the gentleman that said the only reason we went to war was because of WMD. Perhaps that's some folks only reason but that isn't the same sentiment shared by us all since there are all of those annoying other reasons like: Saddam breaking all the resolutions passed by the UN for the last 12 years, his aquisition of known nuclear components, his use of WMD (that don't exist to some) on his own people, his back door deals with countries for banned items and so on so forth. See things as you will but regardless the world will be a safer place without Saddam and without his WMD (which will be found btw)

Take care folks and always remember if you ain't in the loop you know less than you could ever imagine :)


July 21, 2003, 04:07 PM
Kelly says (said) he didn't make some of the statements attributed to him. The BBC says he did.
Either Kelly told the truth in the hearing, and the BBC is lying. Or the BBC quoted a liar to put together their big expose'.

Either way, the BBC is shown to have no ethical standards whatsoever.

And... BBC described Kelly as a "highly placed intelliegnce source", which he is not. And as having full access to the intelligence data, which he did not.


July 21, 2003, 04:20 PM

the BBC did not refer to Kelly in that way. Here is an article with links to the material:


they refer to him as a senior figure in the drawing-up of the dossier (which he was - he wrote part of it) and a senior figure generally (he was perhaps this countrys #1 BW expert). His statements were worth reporting, and Gilligan was right to do that.

July 22, 2003, 06:00 AM
and despite the inflated tax-supported ego of its executive, there is precious little difference between the BBC and "The Sun" where ethics concerned.

the "Sun" sells drivel to make money...the BBC is given money and pushes drivel for its own political purposes;)

Defending either as an example of journalistic integrity is an excercise in futility:barf:

July 22, 2003, 11:48 AM
Agricola wrote:

Personally, I dont vote

Sorry Ag, you just lost it. :scrutiny:

July 22, 2003, 11:54 AM

there is a reason for that contained within the part of the quote you cut out

July 22, 2003, 12:33 PM
I thought the part that I left out was a joke and you were making the blanket assertion that you did not vote at all. Are you saying that you actually do vote?:confused:

July 22, 2003, 01:00 PM

Read your own link! Over and over again, it is made clear that Kelly did not say the things attributed to him by BBC. That the description of the source quoted by BBC does not fit Kelly. That Kelly did not have access to the kind of information BBC says he gave them. That Kelly did not help "draw up" the dossier (only contributed some historical outlines). That Gilligan changed his story during questioning...

Yet, the BBC admits that Kelly was the sole source for the information!

There is only one conclusion possible. BBC (Gilligan) got a few peripheral facts from Kelly then quite simply made up a sensational story to attack the government.

It's outrageous!


July 22, 2003, 01:00 PM
I'll vote for a party that guarantees true independence for Wales. That party isnt available in the area in which I live, so I dont vote.

July 22, 2003, 01:43 PM
I'm sure Sinn Fein would support your cause.


July 22, 2003, 01:59 PM
OK, so my first interpretion of your comment was correct -- you don't vote.

I'll vote for a party that guarantees true independence for Wales. That party isnt available in the area in which I live, so I dont vote.

I guess I could say that I will only vote for a party that guarantees the right of states to secede from the union, but that would eliminate my participation in the electoral process, and I think that would be rather silly.

So my orginial comment stands.

(edited for a stupid spelling mistake)

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