29 January 2004
Do politicians lie? Do fish swim and birds fly? It’s difficult to know where to start with this ‘inquiry’ except to say that Hutton has transformed what was meant to be an investigation into the events surrounding the alleged suicide of Dr David Kelly and his being ‘outed’ by the government into a total whitewash of Blair’s rationale for going to war. Everybody involved in the entire disgusting and illegal invasion has been absolved of any wrongdoing, except the BBC, but more on this later.
What is not asked nor even investigated by the ‘inquiry’ is why Dr Kelly spoke to Andrew Gilligan in the first place (and to two other BBC journalists, who with minor variations, told exactly the same story)? Hutton’s only reference to this is to censure Dr Kelly (posthumously) of “breaking Civil Service guidelines.” Indeed, aside from references to Kelly’s unease about portions of the government’s rationale for invasion, it’s clear that Kelly had no basic problem with the idea, just that the job of selling it to an extremely sceptical public had been bollixed.
So Kelly’s role was to try and ‘rescue’ the sell and/or perhaps to divert us from the real issue namely, why the rush to war, something I alluded to in earlier pieces here on i’n’i. After all, one of Kelly’s many official roles was liaising with the media on three continents (Europe, North America and Asia and not referred to in the inquiry). After twelve years as a head of Porton Down CBW centre and then as some kind of ‘roving’ expert within MoD, it just doesn’t seem likely that he suddenly had a ‘change of heart’. Just check out this section of the good doctor’s curriculum vitae:
“In 1984 he [Kelly] joined the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and was appointed to head the microbiology division at the chemical and biological defence establishment at Porton Down in Wiltshire. The nature of Dr Kelly’s employment within the Civil Service later became somewhat complex [sic]. In April 1995 the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA) was established as an agency of the MoD and Dr Kelly’s personnel management and employment formally passed from the MoD to DERA. In 1996 Dr Kelly was appointed on secondment to the Proliferation and Arms Control Secretariat (PACS) within the MoD and he worked as an adviser to PACS and to the Non-Proliferation Departmentof the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) on Iraq’s chemical and biological weapons capabilities and on the work of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC). Dr Kelly was also responsible for providing advice to the Defence Intelligence Staff (DIS) of the MoD and to the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) on Iraq. Dr Kelly’s secondment was principally funded by the FCO for whom Dr Kelly carried out a substantial proportion of his work. From 1991 to 1998 Dr Kelly made 37 visits to Iraq in the course of his duties and took very few holidays. In 2001 the part of DERA which employed Dr Kelly became part of Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) which is a Trading Fund [?] of the MoD and DSTL became Dr Kelly’s employer during the remainder of his secondment to the MoD which continued until his death. [my emph.]”
So it seems more than likely that Gilligan was ‘set up’ and Kelly’s ‘convenient’ death means we’ll never really know what his real role was in this sordid, imperialist affair.
And to those who immediately accuse me of crying ‘conspiracy’, remember that what is at stake here is not merely the future of Blair and his gangster clique, but the credibility of the capitalist state itself. For what the dossier revealed was not just the lies of ‘our’ government, but the relationship between the supposed ‘neutral’ civil service and the government, who because of the bungling and amateurish ‘selling’ of the war, were forced into committing desparate actions. Actions that needed to be ‘explained’ away and what better way to do it than get some old white guy out of mothballs to put the official stamp of approval on the invasion and to make damn sure that there was no further embarrassing ‘revelations’ concerning Dr Kelly’s death or attempts to peer deeper into the murky dealings of a newly invigorated imperial Britain.
“I am satisfied that Dr Kelly took his own life and that the principal cause of death was bleeding from incised wounds to his left wrist which Dr Kelly had inflicted on himself with the knife found beside his body. It is probable that the ingestion of an excess amount of Coproxamol tablets coupled with apparently clinically silent coronary artery disease would have played a part in bringing about death more certainly and more rapidly than it would have otherwise been the case. I am further satisfied that no other person was involved in the death of Dr Kelly and that Dr Kelly was not suffering from any significant mental illness at the time he took his own life.”
Contrast this with the letter from three prominent medical professionals that appeared in the Guardian 27/01/04:
“Our doubts about Dr Kelly’s suicide
“As specialist medical professionals, we do not consider the evidence given at the Hutton inquiry has demonstrated that Dr David Kelly committed suicide.
“Dr Nicholas Hunt, the forensic pathologist at the Hutton inquiry, concluded that Dr Kelly bled to death from a self-inflicted wound to his left wrist. We view this as highly improbable. Arteries in the wrist are of matchstick thickness and severing them does not lead to life-threatening blood loss. Dr Hunt stated that the only artery that had been cut – the ulnar artery – had been completely transected. Complete transection causes the artery to quickly retract and close down, and this promotes clotting of the blood.
“The ambulance team reported that the quantity of blood at the scene was minimal and surprisingly small. It is extremely difficult to lose significant amounts of blood at a pressure below 50-60 systolic in a subject who is compensating by vasoconstricting. To have died from haemorrhage, Dr Kelly would have had to lose about five pints of blood – it is unlikely that he would have lost more than a pint.
“Alexander Allan, the forensic toxicologist at the inquiry, considered the amount ingested of Co-Proxamol insufficient to have caused death. Allan could not show that Dr Kelly had ingested the 29 tablets said to be missing from the packets found. Only a fifth of one tablet was found in his stomach. Although levels of Co-Proxamol in the blood were higher than therapeutic levels, Allan conceded that the blood level of each of the drug’s two components was less than a third of what would normally be found in a fatal overdose.
“We dispute that Dr Kelly could have died from haemorrhage or from Co-Proxamol ingestion or from both. The coroner, Nicholas Gardiner, has spoken recently of resuming the inquest into his death. If it re-opens, as in our opinion it should, a clear need exists to scrutinise more closely Dr Hunt’s conclusions as to the cause of death.
David Halpin, Specialist in trauma and orthopaedic surgery
C Stephen Frost, Specialist in diagnostic radiology
Searle Sennett, Specialist in anaesthesiology”
When the government announced the Hutton inquiry, eyebrows were raised as to how keen the government was to have it happen. And when diaries and emails were made available, itself an unprecedented event, the eyebrows lifted even higher. Alarm bells should have rung in the press, instead, as part of the charade of protecting the state, the government was actually praised for being so open. Now we can see why it was necessary to create the appearance of openness, in order for the diversion have some credibility. It also enabled the government to use the various compartments of the civil service to absorb criticism by diffusing it into the infinite ‘corridors of power’ and if necessary, sacrifice a few of the middle ranks.
The Hutton ‘inquiry’ also handled the evidence in a very selective manner, altering the terms of reference to suit the objective. So where it attempts to clear the government it’s been included and where it doesn’t, it’s been omitted (eg the fake Niger docs). Even the issue of the 45-minutes has been neatly sidestepped by restricting itself to the ‘conversations’ between the Mod, the SIS and other organs of the state and the government. What actually happened before, that is where the 45-minute assertion came from or why it figured so prominently in the dossier, is not raised as an issue because conveniently it was beyond the ‘remit’ of the inquiry. In fact anything that challenged the government’s position was omitted and everything that backed them up, included.
“The 45 minutes claim was based on a report which was received by the SIS from a source which that Service regarded as reliable. Therefore, whether or not at some time in the future the report on which the 45 minutes claim was based is shown to be unreliable, the allegation reported by Mr Gilligan on 29 May 2003 that the Government probably knew that the 45 minutes claim was wrong before the Government decided to put it in the dossier, was an allegation which was unfounded.” – Lord Hutton
And although in theory beyond the remit of the inquiry, Hutton (Lord) managed to whitewash the Blair gang over the ’45-minute’ scam as this was a core element of the massive propaganda campaign that began with the September document and Blair’s (signed) introduction to it. It gets around the problem by excluding any evidence that contradicts the pre-determined findings for example, the quote carried on the front page of the Independent on the 26/01/04:
“senior officials of the Defence Intelligence Staff (DIS) told the government before the war that they had “absolutely no idea” how many chemical or biological weapons Saddam possessed.”
The September dossier however, is quite definite about it when Blair says:
“And the document discloses that his military planning allows for some of the WMD to be ready within 45 minutes of an order to use them. I am quite clear that Saddam will go to extreme lengths, indeed has already done so, to hide these weapons and avoid giving them up.”
And later in the executive summary:
“Some of these weapons are deployable within 45 minutes of an order to use them;”
And in the body of the document:
“Iraq’s military forces are able to use chemical and biological weapons, with command, control and logistical arrangements in place. The Iraqi military are able to deploy these weapons within 45 minutes of a decision to do so;”
And just in case we don’t get the message:
“Intelligence indicates that the Iraqi military are able to deploy chemical or biological weapons within 45 minutes of an order to do so.”
And this on the basis of a single source of information, that Hutton tells us was only discovered to be false after Gilligan’s interview with Dr Kelly, hence the BBC’s allegation of “exaggeration” was false.
And so too with the ‘Niger Uranium’ fabrication, that although it appears (barely) in the evidence, just like the yellowcake itself, it has disappeared completely from the report’s conclusions.
But perhaps above all else, the inquiry’s attack on the BBC is central to Hutton’s role, for it does two things; one, it’s a warning to the state media that ‘independence’ has a limit and secondly, it has to be seen in the broader context of the creation of the corporate, security state and of reigning in ‘rogue’ reporters’ in much the same way as Blair/Bush would reign in ‘rogue states’. The state has been given the green light for a direct assault on the media by the Hutton inquiry, and it’s also a message to the media as a whole that nothing will be allowed to get in the way of the imperium.
Gavin Davis, chair of the Board of governors of the BBC has resigned and the BBC is busy rewriting the rules of ‘engagement’ for make no mistake, the state will do all in its power to make sure that nothing like this happens again. That its real intentions and reasons for taking over the planet never gets revealed as it did with the lies used to justify the invasion of Iraq.
The entire inquiry will go down as yet another shameful episode in this corrupt government’s desperate attempts to justify its imperialist ambitions and cover its tracks when exposed.