Wednesday, July 23, 2003

A bit more on the murder or suicide of David Kelly:

  1. Unfortunately for Blair, the BBC's Andrew Gilligan kept the contemporaneous notes of his interview with Kelly on an 'electronic device', which has been kept under lock and key (good idea!) and will be available for the inquiry. Gilligan also later confirmed with Kelly which quotes he could use in his report. Even worse for Blair, Kelly also talked to two other BBC reporters, and one of them taped the conversation in which Kelly said that Blair's office was 'desperate' for information and had exaggerated 'out of all proportion' the claim that Iraq could launch weapons of mass destruction within 45 minutes. A BBC spokesman said:

    "We do have a tape but it's only a small part of our evidence for the inquiry. We don't want to go into too much detail of our evidence before the inquiry starts."

    This looks like it is going to be fun.

  2. The term 'sexed up', which was never used in BBC reporter Andrew Gilligan's report on Kelly, seems to have been the herd construction of the British press. A variation of it was used by Alastair Campbell in his appearance before the foreign affairs select committee. It suited both the British press and Campbell as it served to sensationalize the whole matter.

  3. David Kelly was a practising member of the Baha'i Faith, a religion with a strong prohibition against suicide.

  4. The whole criticism of the BBC is starting to turn into farce, as it now seems to depend on whether the BBC erred in calling Kelly a 'senior intelligence source', when they should have called him an 'intelligence source.'

  5. The idea that Kelly was psychologically shattered by his treatment in the foreign affairs select committee appears to be less and less likely. Tom Mangold "spoke to Dr Kelly's wife, Janice, who explained how angry Dr Kelly had been at the way he was treated by the foreign affairs select committee and that he had felt 'physically sick' on his return home." In other words, he was 'physically sick' because he was furious, not because he had been broken by his treatment. People don't kill themselves because they are angry. Mangold does seem to think that Kelly was damaged by his treatment, but it is a long way from being angry or upset to killing yourself.

I still can see no fault in the BBC's actions. It received information from a good source about a huge story. Was it not supposed to air the story? It maintained the secrecy of its source to the best of its ability. Was it supposed to betray its source? It may even be the case that the BBC kept quiet while Kelly allowed the foreign affairs select committee to deceive itself into believing that Kelly wasn't the sole source, thus giving Kelly a chance to find a way out of his predicament. It was Hoon and Alastair Campbell, probably with the direct approval of Blair, who set Kelly up, and there was nothing the BBC could do to save him from such treachery. The sad fact is that Campbell has at least partly succeeded in his plot to turn the whole issue into one concerning the BBC, and not the issue it should be, namely the contents of the story - that Tony Blair lied to trick his country into entering a war it didn't want - and the terrible way that David Kelly's life was caught up in the propaganda war of Blair, Campbell, and Hoon. The British public can't allow the Labour Party to shoot the messenger of such important news. The BBC ought to receive an award for its conduct in this matter; Blair, Campbell and Hoon ought to resign.