28 July 2003
So Dr David Kelly’s media contact on the New York Times was, according to the Independent on Sunday (27/07/03), Judith Miller (more on Ms Miller below). The same piece also alluded to the fact that Kelly had had a longstanding relationship with journalists. The more we know about Kelly, the less we know. What is absolutely clear, is that he played a key role in the creation of the September 2002 document. There are many unanswered questions about Kelly’s role in the run-up to and the invasion, such as:
- If indeed, he did have a ‘change of heart,’ what prompted it?
Given his central role in the September document, he surely must have known well before its release in September 2002, that it contained false information to boost the case for war. So why wait until May of this year before voicing his concerns?
- Did he, as some press reports allege, realise that he was going to be used as the ‘fall guy’ for the government’s totally discredited rationale for going to war? But if so, he only ran the risk if he knew that he was to be used by the government after the rationale for war fell apart which only occurred after the invasion.
Surely, if this is so, it makes more sense for him ‘come clean’ and expose the government’s role rather than kill himself? Is it credible to believe that his allegiance to the government was so strong, that he would rather kill himself than betray it? And if so, why did he leak such potentially damaging information to journalists in the first place? And was he really forced by the MoD to make false statements to the Commons Select Committee about being Gilligan’s source, which led him to kill himself, as his fellow weapons expert Alistair Hay asserts? And is this a credible assertion?
- Why did he not leave some kind of record of his concerns?
Surely, he would have wanted the world to know? And given all the ‘leaks’ put out by Kelly to any number of journalists, it seems inconceivable that he didn’t commit his thoughts to paper.
- Why was Kelly not being guarded on the day of his death?
If, as Kelly claimed, he was being ‘hounded’ by the press, and, as it has been claimed (although the government denies this, in which case, where did the story emanate from?), he had been moved to a ‘safe house’ to avoid media attention, what was he doing walking unattended (and unobserved) on the day that he allegedly committed suicide?
- Why did he feed contradictory information to different BBC journalists?
This question has never been satisfactorily answered and indeed, points to a hidden agenda of some kind. Leaks never occur unless either, it benefits the ‘leakee’ or whoever is the recipient of the leak.
- His friend and former journalist, Tom Mangold, claims that “David never liked the MoD, he used to complain bitterly about them.”
The Independent made much of this quote but what does it actually mean? Without knowing the nature of Kelly’s complaints about the MoD, it tells us nothing of relevance to the issue at hand. For all we know, he may have just thought the people he dealt with in the MoD were a bunch of bozos.
- And what of the government’s assertions that he was a ‘low level civil servant’?
p>It has been revealed “”that he [Kelly] had been appointed a “special deputy chief scientific officer”, a rarely used civil service grade that allowed him to move in senior circles without having administrative responsibilities.”” I find it inconceivable that a person with such a high security rating and a track record with the government going back two decades, would say anything to anyone about his work, not even when he took his tea break (apparently this too, breaches the Official Secrets Act that Kelly would have had to sign).
- Is it credible, that a man with Kelly’s knowledge of the history of Iraq’s WMD programme going back to the 1980s, would not have known that as far back as 1991, Iraq’s WMD capability had been destroyed by the USUK, or the Iraqis had destroyed it themselves as they asserted to Unscom (but couldn’t produce documentary evidence to prove it)?
Judith Miller, in the book she co-wrote, Germ, praises Kelly as part of the “Gang of Four”, senior inspectors, who, according to Miller, got the Iraqis to reveal the extent of their bio-weapons programme. Yet surely, Kelly would have known that throughout the 1980s, it had been US, UK, Argentinian and German companies with USUK government complicity, that had supplied Iraq with the means to create their chemical and biological weapons in the first place? After all, it’s no secret, as I have pointed out in earlier essays on this subject. Even Jack Straw has admitted to this (although he blamed the then Tory government for it).
From hawk to dove?
Kelly’s words in the taped interview with a BBC journalist regarding the false information used in the September document are very revealing when he said:
“It is beginning to look as if the Government’s committed a monumental blunder.”
These are not the words of someone who realises he’s been duped, but that the government has screwed up. More likely is the fact that Kelly’s advice to the government about how to handle the propaganda war had been ignored, not because it consisted of lies but because the lies weren’t convincing enough. In other words, he didn’t have a ‘change of heart’ but that as the Independent says, “many people were expressing unease about questions of accuracy and emphasis,” not the overall objective.
- What else did his email to Judith Miller say beyond “dark actors playing games”? And why did Miller choose to reveal only this phrase?
As you’ll see below, whatever Miller chose to release, she had an ulterior motive. By itself, the phrase is meaningless; it could refer to almost anything including Saddam Hussein and his entourage. What it does do, is add yet more confusion. We don’t even know if it’s an accurate attribution and given Miller’s record, there’s no reason to believe that the ‘quote’ is in fact Kelly’s.
Who is Judith Miller?
That it was Judith Miller to whom purportedly his last email was sent, is extremely revealing, not only of the circles that Kelly moved in, but that Miller has been exposed as a conduit for both CIA and Iraqi National Congress (INC) disinformation concerning Iraq’s capacity to wage CBW war. Miller is close to the so-called neo-con clique that surrounds Bush, and she has been pushing a ‘let’s take out Iraq’ line since the Gulf War in 1990.
An article on Slate.com by By Jack Shafer (29/05/03) entitled:
U.S. intelligence on Iraq’s WMD deserves a second look. So does the reporting of the New York Times’ Judith Miller”
It contains the following by the Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz of:
“[A]n internal Times e-mail in which Miller described Ahmad Chalabi, the controversial Iraq leader, former exile, and Bush administration fave, as one of her main sources on WMD.”
The email says:
“”[Chalabi] has provided most of the front page exclusives on WMD to our paper,” Miller e-mailed Times Baghdad bureau chief John Burns. Miller added that the MET Alpha—a military outfit searching for WMD after the invasion—”is using Chalabi’s intell and document network for its own WMD work.””
(What was Dr Kelly’s relationship with MET Alpha? He was after all, overall head of the British component of the Iraq Survey Group.)
Shafer goes on to say:
“The failure of “Chalabi’s intell” to uncover any WMD has embarrassed both the United States and Miller. As noted previously in this column, she oversold the successes of the post-invasion WMD search. On April 21, she reported in the Times that an Iraqi scientist had led MET Alpha to a site where Iraqis had buried chemical precursors for chemical and biological weapons. “Officials” told Miller this was “the most important discovery to date in the hunt for illegal weapons.”
On April 22, Miller told The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer the military regarded the scientist as much more than “a smoking gun” in the WMD investigation—he was “a silver bullet.” For all of Miller’s fist-pumping on behalf of MET Alpha, none of her spectacular findings have been confirmed by other newspapers. (The Washington Post’s Barton Gellman did an especially good job of poking holes in Miller’s scoop.) The Times has never returned to the MET Alpha “burial grounds” to defend her heavily hyped “silver bullet” account.”
And in a report by Paul Sperry, Washington bureau chief for WorldNetDaily.com, we read:
“In 1990, Mylroie co-authored with Judith Miller another Iraq book called “Saddam Hussein and the Crisis in the Gulf.” Miller is the New York Times reporter who broke, with another reporter, the blockbuster story last September that Hussein was trying to import aluminum tubing to restart a nuclear weapons program.
“The claim, which she attributed to unnamed Bush administration “hard-liners” and Iraqi defectors, was touted by Cheney and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice the day it appeared. But it`s now under serious dispute. Miller, who is close to Defense Undersecretary Douglas Feith, another noted neocon, also broke the now widely discredited story that two trailers found in Iraq were disguised mobile bioweapons labs.
“It was recently revealed that the source of several of Miller`s Iraq stories was Ahmed Chalabi an Iraqi defector favored by the administration to replace Hussein, and one with whom Miller has had a 10-year relationship. U.S. intelligence officials tell WorldNetDaily the vast majority of the information Chalabi has provided on Hussein`s regime has proved to be unreliable or false. The CIA and FBI no longer rely on him as a source, they say.
“However, officials say he remained a key source of intelligence for a temporary shop Feith and others set up at the Pentagon before the war called the Office of Special Plans. They say Chalabi`s information made it to the White House through that special office. At the time Mylroie teamed up with Miller on her first book, she was a fellow at the Bradley Foundation, which is tied to AEI and Bill Kristol`s Project for a New American Century, which led the Iraq war charge.”
There’s more on the role that Judith Miller played as a conduit for the warmongers and as a mouthpiece for the ‘neo-con’ disinformation campaign, but it hardly seems necessary. If you’ve a mind to, just go to Google and enter “Judith Miller” + CIA and several thousand pages will pop up on Miller’s connections both to the CIA, the INC and the hard-liners in the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), the PNAC and elsewhere on the Beltway and the Office of Special Plans. The critical question is what was Dr Kelly’s relationship to Miller?
The media buffs amongst you will also surely want to know why the New York Times employed Judith Miller to write for them, knowing her connection to the government, the ‘neo-cons’ and the INC?
Exaggeration or just downright lies?
At the core of the issue however, is the thinking that lies behind the newsbytes. Essentially, it comes down to the following:
- Blair was convinced (or he convinced himself) that it was necessary to remove Saddam Hussein because of his human rights record, but failing solid proof that Iraq possessed WMDs, it was necessary to invent or ‘exaggerate’ the danger, as invading a sovereign state on the basis of its internal policies is a clear breach of international law, something that would have never been accepted by the UN let alone the British public or even Parliament.
- Saddam’s human rights abuses and the ‘threat Saddam posed to British security interests’ was a sham to justify USUK imperialist ambitions.
Either way, Blair was in a bind, as he had never used the internal record of the Ba’ath regime as the reason for the invasion and neither did it figure in UN Resolution 1441. As it’s clear that both Bush/Blair knew that Iraq was not a military threat (after all, why use phony reasons and forged documents to back up its claim if it had real evidence?), it follows logically, that the reason for the invasion was not the one given by Blair (or Bush).
Pants on fire!
The British press and virtually all the mainstream critics of Blair’s rationale have focused on the ‘exaggeration’ argument, yet it’s obvious that it holds no water for the reasons stated above.
Take for example, Clare Short’s latest statement. On the one hand, she says in today’s Independent (28/07/03) that Blair did not start out:
“[T]o tell a heap of lies…he thought he was doing the right thing…. I think he deceived himself and he deceived us.”
Yet earlier on in the front page article, she describes Blair as an:
“[E]mperor and a neo-conservative…. He is a complete convert to the neo-conservative view of the world.”
I’m not sure how these two interpretations of Blair’s actions can be squared with each other unless he started out as a ‘neo-con.’ Either, he is a neo-con totally wedded to the ideology of the ‘New American Century’ or he is misguided but essentially well meaning. What’s it to be Ms Short?
She also puts great store on Blair’s reliance on ‘spin’ as if spin is the objective rather than a means to an objective. Is Short so naïve that she can’t see through the ‘spin’ to the real reasons that underpin the ‘neo-con’ agenda that she claims Blair is now wedded to? It’s as if, along with the rest of the so-called critics of the invasion that she just can’t bring herself to say, “Li…lia…liar-liar! Pants on fire!” To do so, would of course, undermine the entire credibility not only of the government but also the media’s complicity in one, giant spin of a story.