by Trowbridge H. Ford
Before any American intelligence agents and analysts consider seriously Democratic Representative Henry Waxman's call that they come forward officially to testify before the Republican-dominated Congress about the 'sexing up' of intelligence about Iraq's WMD before the war, I suggest they look at what happened to a most senior, intelligence official in Britain who thought of doing something similar. Also, they should remember that Waxman has previously attempted in rather half-hearted ways, going back to last summer, but without success similar self-serving, political moves at the expense of his political opponents. The chances of this happening are even less than a real investigation of why the 9/11 attacks occurred.
The Briton was tricked by his employer, the Ministry of Defence, into talking to a member of the press about his experience as an UNSCOM weapons inspector, who 'sexed up' his information so at his expense that the Prime Minister authorized his outing which resulted in his murder, apparently by a group of professional killers. Blair then appointed a judicial inquiry to urgently investigate the circumstances surrounding his death in order to preempt any coroner's inquest since the record of Britain's criminal justice system in solving serious crimes is apparently so bad that The Guardian's Nick Davies has started a series on its failures, stressing the murder investigation of another judge, Crown Court Judge Andrew Chubb.
According to the 1988 Coroners Act, such an inquiry can take the place of a coroner's inquest. Once the judicial inquiry has reported, Robert Verkaik wrote in "The Hutton Inquiry" for the Sept. 4th issue of The Independent, "the Oxford Coroner, Nicholas Gardiner, will pass the verdict to the Registrar of Deaths and all other findings relating to the cause of Dr. Kelly's death."
The judge appointed to head the inquiry is Lord Brian Hutton, who worked last year with the Prime Minister to insure that MI5 whistleblower David Shayler got nowhere in trying to justify his disclosure of MI6's attempt to use Al-Qaeda agents to assassinate Libya's Muammar Qaddafi in order to cover up its convoluted dealings with the Provisional IRA, especially British Army mole 'Steak Knife's role, in gaining arms for the republicans. Hutton ruled that Shayler could neither justify his action because it put his life at risk, nor as a "public interest defence" under the European Code of Human Rights, while Blair issued a gagging order on the press reporting any evidence pertaining to Shayler's claims.
Back when The Troubles really resumed in Northern Ireland in 1969, Hutton served as junior counsel when its Attorney General introduced imprisonment of terrorist suspects without trial, requiring that he defend the UK of charges of mistreating the detainees before the European Court of Human Rights in 1978 - a case the Crown lost. Hutton also ruled with the majority of Law Lords in denying the extradition of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet to Spain so that he could answer human rights violations during the ouster of former President Salvatore Allende. Hutton is no friend of whistleblowers of secret, violent regimes.
Hutton then selected as the inquiry's counsel - staff who would be crucial in determining actually what happened to the deceased through vigorous cross-examination of witnesses - James Dingemans and Peter Knox, barristers whose whole careers have been devoted to the practice of civil law - e.g., commerical and business law, banking disputes, contracts, missellings, and the like, including appeals to courts like the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. They have apparently never really practiced the basics of criminal law, as even criminal appeals rarely examine questions of fact.
I am referring, of course, to the inquiry into what happened to Dr. David Kelly, Britain's leading expert in the production of biological weapons, and its chief on the UNSCOM biological team. Thanks to his research in microbiology at Oxford and Porton Down, he knew how to make all kinds of biological weapons, especially anthrax, and what countries had the necessary capability. He particularly knew what Russia, Iraq, and Israel were doing in the field
In fact, Kelly was such a valuable resource in containing biological weapons attacks that he was considering resigning early from the MoD so that he could take up positions in the private sector, especially with defector Vladimir Pasachnik's firm Regma, since it now most needed his expertise to counter biological attacks. Pasechnik, the former director of the Soviets' Biopreparat who had died in November 2002, had blown the whistle so effectively on Moscow's illegal development of WMD after his defection in 1988 - what Kelly had assisted - that it had, according to Pearce Wright's obituary of him in The Guardian, an important influence on later assessment of what Iraq had in the way of biological weapons.
During the lead-up to the ousting of Saddam Hussein, Kelly was constantly told by his American, British, and Israeli colleagues, thanks to informers that the Iraqi National Congress (INC) had garnered, that Iraq was a real, immediate menace to Western civilization. He was so convinced that Saddam's Dr Rihad Taha was a total disinformation agent when it came to Iraq's bioterrorism capability, especially its possible use of anthrax, that she earned the sobriquet Dr Germ from him. "Mossad's dossier on Dr Germ," Gordon Thomas wrote in January for the Freedom Writer website, "details her terminal experiments on Saddam's prisoners with anthrax, bolulism, and ricin." Dr Taha was "personally supervising" what was done at places like the notorious Salman Park from what she had learned at university while studing at Norwich, and doing research at Porton Down.
Then Kelly was told that Al-Qaeda's Abu Musab al-Zarqawi had gotten the Ames strain of anthrax from the Iraqi dictator, and his agents had used it against Americans, particularly Senators Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy, in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. "In mapping out Iraq's links to international terrorism before the United Nations Security Council," Matthew Levitt wrote on February 6, 2003, "Secretary of State Colin Powell highlighted the case of senior al Qaeda commander Fedel Nazzel Khalayleh, better known as Abu Musab al-Zarqawi."
While Kelly remained privately somewhat dubious of these claims, he was told continually by colleagues to wait and see what was found by inspectors, especially once Iraq had been freed, explaining why Britain and America are so adamant about the truth of the '45 minute' claim, and why they are so dogged in looking for corroborating evidence. For example, Kelly's American counterpart on UNSCOM, Dr. Richard Spertzel, was so convinced of the claims that he mistakenly maintained that an Iraqi military truck was one of Zarqawi's travelling biological labs, and still maintains that Iraq was a country with enough money to have produced the most high-grade anthrax spores.
During the war, though, the Americans captured one of Zarqawi's agents, and he maintained convincingly that Iraq had nothing to do with either the 9/11 attacks or that his boss had had anything to do with the letters to the Americans, containing the deadly spores. Dr Germ, in the process, was reduced from being a danger on a par with Saddam himself to one unworthy of even inclusion in the famous deck of cards of wanted Iraqis.
Of course, the INC continued to crank out informers promoting the disinformation, but Kelly was increasingly not convinced. In fact, he started planning a book with Victoria Roddam at Oxford, claiming apparently that the anthrax attacks were essentially Israeli inspired and conducted - designed to get Washington and London behind its war to oust Saddam. While London had long learned that the alleged linkage betweeen Iraq and Al-Qaeda, especially when 9/11 occurred, was completely fabricated, Washington is now claiming that Zarqawi is orchestrating the attacks in Iraq against Coalition forces, putting a $25,000,000 bounty on his capture, the same amount as for the just-captured Saddam.
No sooner did MI5, the British Security Service, learn of Kelly's plan than it informed the MoD and No. 10 Downing Street of it, leading the former to allow him to talk to BBC journalist Gilligan about what he knew about Iraq's WMD, and his misgivings about intelligence justifying the war. Gilligan had been the first reporter to learn that the British government, politicians and intelligence officials alike, had 'sexed up' the intelligence about Iraq's WMD, especially its ability to mount a deadly anthrax attack within minutes. Gilligan dressed up his interviews with Kelly to make it appear that he was the source of the completely false claims, leading Kelly to be even more interested in writing his own book on the subject. Once Prime Minister Blair learned of Kelly's plan, he agreed to the MoD outing Kelly as Gilligan's source to make him the fallguy for the fabricated intelligence, instilling even more dedication in Kelly to tell his tale. In doing so, Downing Street was just following the procedure it had used so effectively in Northern Ireland with British Army intelligence, especially the infamous Field Research Unit, for getting rid of troublesome members of the PIRA and their helpers, especially Belfast solicitor Patrick Finucane.
When the Mossad learned of Kelly's identification, it apparently assumed that the British government was no longer interested in protecting him - an assumption that was strengthened when the MoD agreed to withdrawing his bodyguards. Consequently, when he went for a walk on July 17th, its kidon permitted to operate in the UK by MI5, apparently working out of a boat moored on the Thames, overpowered him; physically held him down until he was stuffed with 29 tablets of coproxamol, the drug of choice for people seeking suicide, until he passed out; opened a small artery on his left wrist to drain him of much blood; and then moved him to Harrowdown Hill, near where its boat was moored, where he was left to die.
In the process, Kelly suffered three abraisions to his scalp, a bruise below his left knee, two bruises below his right knee; two more to the left side of his chest; another abraision to his lower lip, and red lesions all over the lower parts of his legs. The injuries, of course, would have looked even more serious if Kelly was not having the blood drained out of him during the process. The injuries had occurred during the dark while the kidon was prying Kelly's mouth open to insert the drugs, explaining the abraision on his lower lip, and its interest in his dental records afterwards to determine if he had suffered any unexpected damage to his teeth during the struggle. Little wonder that pathologist, Dr. Nicholas Hunt, finally added this when discussing Kelly's alleged slashing his wrist: ..."the features are quite typical, of self inflicted inqury if one ignores all the other features of the case." Hunt had compounded the problem of determining what had happened, where, and when by postponing inexplicably taking the deceased's rectal temperature for seven hours. In explaining his death, no one seemed to notice that he would have needed a flashlight if it had been done during the dark.
The problem with the Hutton Inquiry was that it was conducted in a way to prevent completely this conclusion from being arrived at. While the Law Lord rightfully stressed his independence at the inquiry's outset to eliminate any claims of cowtowing to the man who actually appointed him, Prime Minister Blair's Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer, Hutton conducted it in a way to suit his political superiors rather than the interests of justice. Instead of allowing the facts surrounding Kelly's death to be brought out, and then analyzed, the inquiry heard first from all the interested parties - especially the responsible decision-makers, spin doctors, and key administrators from the MoD, Foreign Office, and Downing Street, culminating in Blair's own appearance - and then tried to fashion an absolute minimum of facts to what had already been established.
From the beginning, the inquiry was trying to prove that those responsible for revealing to the press the fact that Kelly was Gilligan's source led to the microbiologist's suicide. Also, interested parties were more interested in establishing that if Kelly was murdered, British officials were not involved rather than seeing that justice was served - thanks to an unnecessary introduction of second parties in the case because of a mistake by civil law counsel Dingemans in questioning the most important witness of the first phase. The former falsehood was assisted by allowing pathologist Hunt to submit a short written report about the death long before he gave evidence, while the latter resulted in officials stating gratuitiously that no third parties were involved in his death when no one mentioned second parties, much less who they might be. Civil suits always have two parties, but suicides only have one. Murders have at least two.
The inquiry was essentially highjacked by the testimony consultant psychiatrist Keith Hawton in the Oxfordshire Mental Health Care Trust gave at the beginning of September, claiming that Kelly's death was clearly a suicide. Hawton had been hired by the inquiry's solicitors to make a report on Kelly's death. Thanks to Hunt's information about the cuts on Kelly's left wrist, he was confident that the microbiologist had killed himself because of threatened loss of self-esteem, employment, and any hope. Hawton had visited Harrowdown Hill, and was confident that no fowl play - "no signs of violence" - had occurred, given the peaceful scene Kelly so well prepared for his demise, and the fact that nothing out of the ordinary, like trampling down the nettles, had occurred.
In so testifying, though, Hawton was ignorant of the other features of the case - the fact that Kelly was stuffed with enough coproxamol in his stomach and body to kill him, and that he had been extensively hurt in the process, indicating that there had been a serious struggle somewhere else. Hawton was recalled to testify right at the end of witnesses giving testimony, and he was, as expected, even more convinced of Kelly's suicide, though he admitted that the new evidence he presented about the alleged suicide of Kelly's mother did not advance his claim. And Kelly himself had all the individual, religious, familial, and social ties which Hawton had originally stated worked against him committing suicide. Hawton was never asked by counsel if he had read the testimony of the scientists who had inspected the site, and tested Kelly's body after he had first given evidence. More important, his most questionable diagnosis was not challenged in any way by counsel.
In sum, the investigation should be called the Hawton Inquiry.
Any potential American whistleblowers should think twice about doing anything similar since the British are known for being a little more careful about legal niceties in carrying out covert operations. The numerous Mossad agents in America can obviously act with impunity against any potential troublemakers, as the five killed, and the 22 survivors of the anthrax letter attacks would readily testify if they were ever given the chance. Of course, the FBI has expended unprecedented hours in investigating the attacks, but since the real culprit is off limits, the Bureau has simply been wasting its time.