Thursday, July 24, 2003

In a surprise move, British defence secretary Geoff Hoon paid a visit to David Kelly's widow. I know they make greeting cards for all social situations these days, but do you think they make one which says: "I'm sorry I killed your husband"?:

  1. The Observer has a fairly decent summary of the whole matter.

  2. The New Scientist asks three questions:

    • ". . . why does Kelly's testimony to the select committee differ from accounts given by BBC reporters of their discussions with him? By the time Kelly gave evidence, he had reportedly been questioned for five days by his employer (the Ministry of Defence), named in public by the MOD against his wishes, and kept in an MOD safe house. During all this time, had the MOD forced him into some kind of deal?"

      I think the testimony differs because Kelly was trying to lead the select committee away from thinking that he was the sole source for the story. He wasn't necessarily doing this to protect himself - he may have been doing it as he was offended at their attempts to manipulate the story to protect the Labour Party from the truth that Blair lied.

    • "Could it be that BBC reporters manipulated Kelly's views for their own ends? For one journalist to do this is plausible. But it seems Kelly spoke to three and gave a similar account to all of them."

      I think they answered their own question. There has yet to be one iota of evidence that the BBC manipulated the evidence, and the fact he spoke to three reporters, and gave substantially the same account to each, proves that the Labour attacks on Gilligan are unfair.

    • ". . . in two of the BBC reports there is a sense that Kelly speaks not only for himself but for 'people in intelligence'. This raises the question of whether he acted alone or with the approval of others."

      This raises the whole specter of whether Kelly inadvertently fell into the trap of helping to set up a partisan attack on the Labour Party by deeply conservative members of British intelligence. Once he found himself in trouble with the Ministry of Defence, certain people might have had a hold on him and convinced him that he could get out of his problem only if he cooperated with them. This may be what Kelly meant by 'many dark actors playing games'. Once he had served his purpose of embarrassing Blair, they might very well have killed him.

  3. While Kelly seems to have been the main source for the story, or at least the source which instigated the story, there are indications that there were other sources involved. Many people connected to intelligence were upset at Blair's blatant lying. In an interesting parallel to Bush's Office of Special Plans, Blair used a 'joint intelligence committee' (JIC) to produce his lies. The Guardian refers to a former member, Colonel John Hughes-Wilson, and reports:

    "He has told me that the purpose of those JIC meetings chaired by Campbell was to 'cherry-pick' those bits of information which, no matter how tentative or uncorroborated, might persuade a supremely doubtful public that Saddam was about to murder us in our beds. The colonel also asks the following questions: 'Why was an unelected party official allowed to chair those meetings? The select committee noted that the tone of the dossier was unusually assertive. Where did that come from, if not Alastair Campbell?'"

    This follows the Bush Administration's politicization of intelligence through manipulating it through a closed system.

  4. Lord Hutton, who was appointed to lead the inquiry into Kelly's death, has requested that the proceedings be broadcast live on television. The BBC has a tape of Kelly's interview with one of its journalists. Wouldn't it be superb television to hear that tape played as Kelly, from beyond the grave in which Blair put him, testifies to Blair's lies and puts Blair in his political grave?