Monday, 18 July 2011

It was eight years ago today

A short post just to remind us all that it was exactly eight years ago that search dog Brock found the body of Dr David Kelly.  That was Friday 18th July 2003.  An inquest was opened and adjourned on Monday 21st July.  I don't have to remind you that a complete inquest is still awaited.

Last November I wrote a post with a link to a video: an interview with David Kelly made during the month preceding his death.  On this anniversary it seems to me to be appropriate to provide that link again.  This is the one 


  1. I had not seen the interview before, fascinating!

    Does anyone know if the interview can be seen as a whole ie not in snippets as in this documentary?

    If this was someones idea to raise DK's PR profile in preperation for his book being published, it may not have been such a good idea.

    I also wonder if DK obtained the right clearances for him to conduct the interview? It would be remarkable if the MoD had sanctioned him to talk on camera about the very sensitive Russian activities and then make a hell of a fuss when he happens to mention to a couple of journalists that the dodgy dossier may have been sexed up.

    It would also be remarkable if DK hadn't had permission to talk about the things he did, he would know that when the interview was aired he would have been for the high jump.

  2. LL

    One purpose of of the Hutton Inquiry seemed to be to airbrush out DK's Foreign Office work. The usual clearance he had for media contacts was through the FO press office if you trawl through the Hutton Inquiry documents. (see also Guardian article here) And at his most significant public appearance on 25 Sept 2002 he sat alongside Jack Straw and two other big hitters from that field. This is the big conundrum: Kelly doesn't say that both press offices field the requests, he says the Foreign Office.
    On 10 July 2003, the Foreign Affairs Committee held an informal meeting. Note Item 3: It was also agreed that the Clerk would clarify Dr Kelly's position and employment status
    with the Foreign office
    What an extraordinary question!! 9 months after he sits next to Straw, why is the FAC suddenly curious about who Dr Kelly really is?
    An then five days later, the FAC describe him as Dr David Kelly, Special Adviser to the Director.
    Counter-proliferation and arms control, Ministry of Defence.
    . No mention of the Foreign Office.
    So what was his role in the Foreign Office? Did he have an desk there? Notice all these dramatis personae working in the FO press office, working on the Dossier: Paul Hamill, John Williams, James Paver, Daniel Pruce.
    Notice too Ehrman, Straw, and all the other players in the Kelly saga on the cast list. More unbelievable is that Kelly wasn't copied in to any of all those emails among that lot which have been released to the various inquiries. Or is his name redacted everywhere?

  3. It seems to me that Dr Kelly was not copied on any of these e-mails because the top people knew that he would play down the 45 minutes business.

    I think his foreign office role exists mainly as an accounting fix. The work he did was often with the UN, and it is the FCO that deals with the UN, rather than the MOD. He was supposed to clear a lot of things with the FCO, but also with the MOD if a request dealt specifically with intelligence issues.

  4. Just remembered that Dr Kelly told Patrick Lamb of the FCO that he had "spoken to Gilligan and Watts." As he claimed before Hutton, Lamb was far too busy at the time to pay any attention, and he never dealt with it until there was an Observer article about the Iraqi trailers in mid-June. Unfortunately no one either at the FCO or the MOD ever managed to take notice of the fact that Dr Kelly had admitted to talking to Watts.

  5. The interesting exchange of emails leading up to the TV documentary can be read here

  6. Thanks for the pointer Brian, I found this aside fascinating, when DK was pressed on when he would be available.

    “I regret being unable to be definite but the political reality is that Iraq’s WMD must be found! The Iraq survey group will operate for 6 months and I anticipate travelling erratically to and from Iraq from June to December.”

    So those were the ISG’s “orders” but DK being who he was would be most uncomfortable taking part in a sham discovery exercise. DK had already started to make notes regarding his and Wadsack’s concerns over the ISG’s legitimacy and credibility. From his notebook and diary entries it appears, to me at least, that it was dawning on DK that the ISG were being taken for a ride.

    If his book was going to reflect on those concerns that could have very serious consequences for the US and UK governments and possibly DK.

    If DK had signalled he would not be a part to planting WMD and had started briefing journalists that the intelligence was being over egged then he put himself in a very difficult situation.

  7. LL, the video and the emails with the TV company give, I believe, one of the best insights we have into Dr Kelly the man. It's also interesting that this supposedly shy, retiring man was happy for them to come to his home.

    The filming was done in mid June and at some stage I hope to do a timeline for that month, possibly another one for May.

  8. Dick Spertzel is on record as describing Dr Kelly as a friend, but also secretive and difficult to get to know..
    Read also Andrew's piece about the trailers here . In it, he notes the article by Judy Miller of 7 June 2003 which I suspect quotes Kelly:
    ''I have no great confidence that it's a fermenter,'' a senior analyst with long experience in unconventional arms said of a tank for multiplying seed germs into lethal swarms. The government's public report, he added, ''was a rushed job and looks political.'' This analyst had not seen the trailers himself, but reviewed evidence from them.

    Dr Kelly went to Qatar on 5 June according to his diary.

    Miller then said on the 7th...
    "Now, intelligence analysts stationed in the Middle East, as well as in the United States and Britain, are disclosing serious doubts" [about the trailers]...

    Dr Kelly only seemed to be in the UK from 14-16 June, with a meeting of the ISG (who? where?) on the 15th according to his diary.

  9. Anonymous

    Have you read See Andrew Watt's blog post on the 45 minute claim? It seems to have been largely abandoned after September 2002 until resurrected after May 2003. Nobody seemed to be playing up the 45 minutes business until after the Gilligan broadcast.

    Patrick Lamb (who seemed genuinely upset at the Hutton inquiry and left the service not long afterwards) cobbled together a memo on 21 July 2003 just after the balloon had gone up.(CAB/1/0115-7) when I suspect everyone was covering their tracks.

    Incidentally, who is Colin Smith in the Counter Proliferation Department, with whom Kelly had a meeting in his diary on 18 February 2003, and who is copied into Lamb's memo of 21 July?

  10. Para 8 in Lambs 21 July memo is interesting, he says the ABC interview request was rejected and DK "accepted and was grateful for this"

    But went ahead and did it anyway!?

  11. Sorry ABC news interview not the same as ABC Australia interview.... I guess

  12. Maybe that's it, maybe its been all a big misunderstanding. Maybe ABC news (USA) put in a request for an interview in June and in June DK gives an interview to ABC (Australia) for a science / history documentary on Bio weapons.

    Our less than bright intelligence services learn that an ABC request to interview DK had been rejected, then a day or 2 later they learn DK has given an interview to ABC.

    The order is given to silence DK, but then it is realised that ABC (US) and ABC (Oz) are different so the heat is off but the spooks have started to delve and DK's drift from the party line is detected, and his interviews with Gilligan and Miller cast further doubt on DK's reliability; then his book deals come to light and Tom Mangold gets in touch with DK on 10th July 2003 and informs him that he has been in touch with the MoD’s chief press officer and made a official request to be allowed to be the first person to have an exclusive interview with DK

    Maybe Tom Mangold provided the final straw that led to DK’s murder.

    When DK is found dead and Tom Mangold tells the world that his friend, DK, felt his professional reputation and marriage were in tatters and also he says a personal relationship had formed between Mai Pederson and DK, he also said DK committed suicide out of shame. Did Mr Mangold realise he may have played a part in DK’s death by being too pushy and therefore started making statements to deflect blame?

  13. LL:
    The Lamb memo is also interesting because he writes in para 10:
    "This was a damaging statement [Kelly's interview quoted in the Observer, 20 July 2003] and a view not shared by the other UK BW experts who had examined the trailers and also seen the accompanying intelligence"

    "Exactly as the Iraqis described them" Kelly says of the trailers in the Observer's ?leader? article,A Haunted Man . To whom and when?

    (Read about Steven Hatfill's link to the mobile trailer project here Susan Watts had Hatfill's name scribbled on her FCO invitation from late 2002 when she met DK).

    Who were these other UK BW experts alluded to by Patrick Lamb?
    Hamish Killip,for example,who gave evidence to the Hutton Inquiry,but was not called as a witness, see reference here was "in hysterics" over the mobile labs? So is Lamb telling the truth?

  14. LL
    Interesting conjecture about ABC...perhaps it pertained just to the Australians keeping off Iraq?
    The email exchange between Kelly and the Australian BC is here from 24 March 2003 and especially at COM/4/0032-5. The email of 19 May 2003 probably refers.

    Susan Lambert discusses meeting David Kelly at his home on 14 June 2003 here in this transcribed interiew where she says clearance from the FCO was essential and was obtained provided Iraq was not discussed. Lambert also implies DK was not suicidal, but at the top of his game

    PS Kelly writes on 11 June to Judy Miller: the 7 June trailer article "fits in with my thoughts".

    Is this a cover? Did DK supply the information?

  15. Perhaps this is a good place to note a few more contacts of DK..
    IWPR - The Institute for War and Peace Reporting.
    COM/4/0059/60 (why the redaction in the second line??) relates to a London based NGO (subsequently also U.S.) that specializes in training journalists in postconflict and post-authoritarian societies ,with the purpose of setting up a branch in Baghdad later in the year to be led by Maggy Zanger as seen in this video. Notice this is a few weeks before a shot was fired.
    The organisation was especially concerned with the plight of the Christian minority following invasion.
    The Guardian article referred to is here with the news that
    As a leaked secret document from the defence intelligence staff puts it: "Al-Qaida will take advantage of the situation for its own aims but it will not be acting as a proxy group on behalf of the Iraqi regime."
    Whose email was being solicited from Dr Kelly? Lord Hurd's???
    Contemporary details of the IWPR were:
    Anthony Borden, Executive Director (, Duncan Furey, Operations
    Manager (
    Institute for War & Peace Reporting
    Lancaster House
    33 Islington High Street
    London N1 9LH, UK
    Tel: +44 (0)20 7713 7130
    Fax: +44 (0)20 7713 7140
    One article that another Hutton witness Peter Beaumont was NOT asked about at the Hutton Inquiry was the Carve up of Oil Riches Begins from 3 November 2002!