70-year gag on Kelly death evidence
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.
The Ministry of Justice said decisions on the evidence were a matter for Lord Hutton. But Liberal Democrat MP Norman Baker, who has conducted his own investigations into Dr Kelly's death, described the order as "astonishing".
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.
David Kelly post mortem to be kept secret for 70 years as doctors accuse Lord Hutton of concealing vital informationBy Miles Goslett
Last updated at 12:49 PM on 25th January 2010
Then today, in an attempt to make the appearance of a cover-up less obvious:
Doctors may see Kelly post-mortem report, says Hutton
David Kelly's body was found near his Oxfordshire home in 2003
Details of the post-mortem examination of government weapons inspector David Kelly should be seen by doctors seeking an inquest, Lord Hutton has said.The peer confirmed he had requested a 70-year gagging order on the material at the conclusion of his inquiry into Dr Kelly's 2003 death.
But he said on Tuesday the purpose of the secrecy order had been to avoid causing distress to Dr Kelly's family.
He has written to ministers saying the report may be seen by the doctors.
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.
Well, wasn't that thoughtful, censorship to protect the family. Sorry Lord Hutton, this just doesn't pass the smell test. I've always thought it was a neat coincidence that just around the same time that Dr. Kelly committed "suicide" (July 17, 2003), Valerie Plame had her CIA cover blown (July 14, 2003). I commented on this in the second edition of American Judas by focusing on one reporter who had a curious connection with Kelly and Plame: Judith Miller.
Following closely behind TF20 in the 75th Exploitation Task Force was Judy Miller. She had used Chalabi as a single source on information for her fictional WMD stories for the New York Times. http://rawstory.com/news/2005/Secretive_military_unit_sought_to_solve_0105.html Chalabi was instrumental in transmitting the erroneous claims of an Iraqi defector codenamed “Curveball” about mobile biological weapons laboratories that the administration used as part of its war rationale. http://www.rawstory.com/news/2007/Alleged_intel_fixer_Chalabi_to_head_0223.html In her quest to find the infamous WMD, to say Miller rubbed her military companions the wrong way would be a huge understatement. Military officials said she had an “imperious manner” and “nobody could stand her” and that “she’s lucky we didn’t shoot her”. Apparently while embedded with these soldiers, “she wore a uniform” and told them “she had an exclusive deal with the Pentagon”. “Judith was always issuing threats of either going to the New York Times or to the Secretary of Defense” and as a result, “she ended up almost hijacking the mission”. http://www.commondreams.org/views03/0923-14.htm Perhaps a deeper investigation into this “journalist” might uncover whether these claims were based on a real Pentagon deal or if it was just bluster, like many of her WMD stories. It might also reveal just how close she was to another Iraq war critic, British scientist David Kelly. He disputed the validity of mobile weapons laboratories in Iraq, as well as the claim by British intelligence that Iraq could fire chemical and biological weapons within 45 minutes of such an order. Maybe if the Hutton Inquiry, which ruled that Kelly committed suicide July 17, 2003, (coincidentally just three days after Plame’s identity was revealed in Novak’s column) had questioned Miller under oath, we might have a greater understanding why one of the last e-mails he sent on the day of his untimely death was to her, and what Kelly might have meant when he mentioned “many dark actors playing games”. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Kelly
At this point, I think it's important to note that a former British ambassador quoted Kelly as having said “I will probably be found dead in the woods” if Iraq were invaded. What a coincidence that almost 4 months after Shock and Awe (or as Ari Fleischer dubbed it in a Freudian slip, Operation Iraq Liberation) began, that's exactly how Kelly chose to commit "suicide".
Even without this 30-70 year censorship on the evidence in the Hutton Inquiry, I'm not confident that there was a concerted effort to uncover the truth. This examination by Rowena Thursby of testimony that was not censored is illuminating not for what it reveals, but for what the inquiry does not explore:
No Legal Inquisition
One feature of the Hutton Inquiry that is truly stunning is why there has been so little cross-examination of witnesses.
Almost nothing is cross-checked in relation to the discovery of the body - e.g. the Hutton legal counsel, Mr Dingemans, could have said to PC Franklin, the body-witness who followed DC Coe:
"You say that the body was found flat on its back, yet Louise Holmes says it was slumped against a large tree - can you explain that?"
Similarly DC Coe's evidence is neither questioned, nor compared with evidence from previous witnesses.
He should have been asked:
- whom did you see at Abingdon police station?
- who instructed you to make a house to house search?
- who told you about Ruth Absalom?
- why were you making a search towards the river?
- whom were you with at the time?
And finally, to force an explanation it should have been put to him:
"You say you with one other person - DC Shields - yet five previous witnesses have stated you were with two people - how do you account for that?"
As this type of questioning did not take place, one cannot help but gain the impression that DC Coe in particular was let off a very uncomfortable hook.
The fact that witnesses were not cross-examined on the physical circumstances surrounding the search for/discovery of Dr Kelly's body clearly suggests a cover-up.
DC Coe was due to testify on 2nd September but for some reason, did not appear. Counsel to the Inquiry, Mr Dingemans merely states: "we have not been able to get him here this morning." Is that because he was waiting for all other "body-discovery testimonies" to have taken place so that none that followed would contradict what he had said? If DC Coe was not to be cross-examined subsequently, then his testimony would not be analysed under the public glare.
Those watching the hearings would be left a little confused by Coe's contradiction of previous witnesses as to how many officers were with him, but reassured by his being a senior British policeman - a detective constable. A detective constable would surely be accurate about who he was with and what he was doing - senior policemen can always be relied upon - or can they?
Recall that DC Coe departs from the instructions he receives at Abingdon police station. Recall that he almost certainly lied about the number of individuals with him. Recall the body is reported as "sitting up" or "slumped" against a tree before his arrival, and "flat on its back" after he leaves the scene. This being the case, how far can his testimony be trusted?
Jim Rarey, in his recent article, "The Murder of David Kelly"(1) has pointed out that a Thames Valley Police operation, listed on the Hutton Inquiry website as a "TVP Tactical Support Major Incident Policy Book", actually commenced at 2.30pm on 17th July - many hours prior to David Kelly's body being reported missing at 11.40pm on that day - and finished at 9.30am on 18th July, around the time the "three individuals dressed in black or dark clothing" were sighted and DC Coe left the scene. The name of this operation? "Operation Mason". The evidence suggests that DC Coe's testimony - emanating from a figure in authority though it does - cannot, in fact, be trusted. However, it may be unfair to focus on DC Coe alone. He may have been but one link in a chain - a chain that was long, complex, and which involved many "dark actors".
If there is anything more in the written record of this "official" inquiry that might shine more light on these "dark actors", we won't see it until 2040 at the earliest.