by Trowbridge H. Ford
As the media did not tell us what we should have known about Lord Hutton when he was appointed to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of Dr. David Kelly, we were not informed of Dr. Keith Hawton's most important research regarding suicide after he delivered his court-appointed verdict to the inquiry on September 2, 2003. As a result, the public was denied seeing how Kelly's murder was planned, and after its was necessarily botched, it was inadequately covered up by a judge who has had long experience in such matters.
When Lord Brian Hutton was appointed hastily by Prime Minister Blair to prevent his government from being consigned to history's dustbin, the media told us what an independent fellow he was, and how his remit guaranteed a full and fair investigation of the matters in question. Not only would we learn how the microbiologist really died but also who in government had 'sexed up' the intelligence about Iraq's WMD. If this proved to be untrue, there would be hell to pay for the BBC, and its reporters, especially Andrew Gilligan.
Of course, we should have been told that Lord Hutton had been more than just Northern Ireland's Lord Chief Justice, and a leading Law Lord in the kingdom's highest court, as his most terse resume for the inquiry stated.
Sir Brian Hutton was been more responsible than anyone else for the current mess in Northern Ireland - from the adoption in the early 1970s of mass detention of terrorist suspects, particularly of the Irish Republican Army, without trial to the current stalemate of the peace process in the province. Hutton allegedly knew just who to arrest, detain under stressful if not torturous circumstances, imprison with the greatest facility, silence of opposition with threats of prosecution, and the like.
It was only after the use of such abilities during his inquiry, resulting in the most blatant whitewash, that we were finally told about all this. Hutton picked his hearing of witnesses, giving of partial testimony, avoiding all kinds of obvious questions, and the recalling of certain ones to validate the most controversial conclusions. People outside Northern Ireland were not supposed to know how such verdicts have often been reached there.
Little wonder that when the whole fraud started to unravel, Danny Morrison, the Provisionals' former "Lord Chief Justice", was permitted in The Guardian to give his side of the story, provided that he didn't say more than absolutely necessary. After reciting many of Hutton's recorded excesses while at Stormont Castle, he alluded to his trial before its Lord Chief Justice back in 1990 in only the vaguest terms. Hutton sentenced Morrison to eight years in prison for threatening taxidriver Sandy Lynch's life while trying to determine who within the Provisionals was leaking its operations to the British.
I mention this because it is just another piece of dirty linen London has in the province, and what it must wash if it hopes to advance peace there - what I alluded to at the end of my column on the matter. The Provisionals were desperate to catch 'Steak Knife', its mole with the British Army, because of its nearly disastrous raid on the Derryard checkpoint, County Tyrone, reminiscent of the cull at Loughgall back in 1987.
Morrison was hoping that Lynch, an RUC informer, could explain how the December raid had been tipped off, and the bomb set to go off next to the troops' quarters had been sabotaged, reminiscent of the PIRA's failure to sink the Eksund, filled with Libyan arms for a 'tet offensive', when French ships were closing in on it off the coast of Brittany in October 1987. Joe Fenton had been hastily executed for allegedly leaking this, so he could not have been the main mole since the Derryard fiasco had still occurred.
Actually, 'Skeak Knife' had gone completely off the reservation because of the effort by Prime Minister Thatcher, Foreign Secretary Sir Geoffrey Howe, and Secretary of Defence George Younger to make him the fall guy for the cull of Provisional volunteers at the Rock - what made him go on a rampage of attacks, highlighted by the atrocity at Deal, Kent in September 1989, killing ten Royal Marines. Thatcher's government was hoping to reclaim him, with the help of mole 'Stake Knife' aka Freddie Scappaticci and others, to return to his spying for the Army by merely repelling the attack at Derryard.
In sum, Morrison's arrest and conviction was to keep the Provisionals quessing about who had infiltrated its ranks for the British, and was continuing to tip them off about operations - information that Stormont Castle still thinks too sensitive for any meaningful disclosure of, and the British media slavishly follow. No wonder the peace process is not getting anywhere.
The same censorship by the media is manifest when the public tries to understand who Dr. Keith Hawton is, and how he might have unwittingly supplied the plan for Dr. Kelly's murder, and followed it in the cover up. When Hawton introduced himself as a witness before the inquiry, he was quick to announce all his degrees, positions, and
honours in the study, and prevention of suicides.
Actually, like most scientists in any field, Hawton had first learned how to assist what he later worked to prevent. The most glaring examples of this are scientists investigating mind-control who learned how to create sects, and then designed means to control them, leaving all kinds of violent groups, like the Symbionese Liberation Army, and robot assassins, like John Lennon's killer, along the way.
Keith Hawton did ground breaking-work in promoting assisted suicide, as his article with Joe Catalin, "Attempted Suicide: A Practical Guide to its Nature and Management," clearly demonstrates. Hawton wanted to put self-deliverance from the pain of dying on a modern basis - what had too long been dominated by extreme measures, dangerous means, and terrifying conclusions.
When Michael Marsden decided to create a web site on the subject, he gave prominent exposure to Hawton's solution to the problem: take 30 tablets of propoxyphene (2 grammes), and something to make you quickly unconscious, like alcohol, provided you eat something with it. For good measure, put a plastic bag over your head, and secure it with a band, and you will be dead within an hour or so.
Now it seems most likely that Kelly's killers decided to use this well-known prescription, especially since Hawton at nearby Oxford would undoubtedly be called by any inquest, to secure his apparent suicide. The only change required was the replacement of propoxyphene by coproxamol, the pain killer Janet Kelly used to allievate the pain caused by her arthritis. Coproxamol has allegedly become the tablet of choice for suicide seekers.
The only trouble with Hawton's directions for Kelly's killers was that he was talking about Assisted Suicide, not Resisted Suicide - what an assassination squad apparently attempted after it bushwhacked him while he was on his walk. The microbiologist put up a fierce fight. While his attackers were forcing 29 of 30 coproxamol tablets down his throat after prying open his mouth, he only vomitted them back up, and, of course, nothing happened, as death from such a dosage can only occur after several days. It takes much longer to destroy the liver. The killers had apparently failed to read the fine print about what coproxamol could accomplish.
Of course, the attackers had no better luck in trying to subdue Kelly with a plastic bag over his head, or severing an artery on his left arm with all this thrashing around in the dark - what would make the murder crystal clear if they persisted. They, after moving Kelly to another site to dispose of alarming clues, finally stuffed a pill down his throat to cause a massive heart attack - what a Mossad kidon had tried on the leader of Hamas in Jordan back in DannyYatom's days - placed an ECG monitor on his chest, and withdrew to their nearby boat to check on its effect.
With this, it seems, being the case, it is easy to imagine how Hawton immediately saw the result as one of assisted suicide by an individual - probably explaining why the idea of second parties was brought unnecessarily into the inquiry - and no amount of evidence to the contrary - personal, physical, pharmacological or toxicological - would persuade him otherwise. While Kelly's killers apparently read Hawton properly - another true believer in his own ideas - they misread Kelly, and the fine print about the blister tables in most ham-fisted ways.