|Opening a can of worms William Bowles (21/07/03)|
Who was Dr David Kelly?
Head of the infamous Porton Down, Britains own WMD factory from 1984 to 1992, and who in 1989 was approached by MI6 to help debrief a Soviet defector from the Soviet Unions CBW programme, it seems inconceivable that a man with this kind of background and over such a long period of time, wasnt privy to the most confidential government information, which gives the lie to the claim by the government that he was approached some time in 2002 to supply information to the September document simply because he was the most knowledgeable person in the field, unless he was utterly trustworthy on a political level. Moreover, there was a six month delay between the announcement of publishing the document and the date of its actual publication, a delay which hasnt been explained.
Too many unanswered questions
But according to the government, after hearing Gilligans sexing up report on the BBC, he went to his line manager because he was worried because some of the points hed given to Gilligan featured in Gilligans story, although he was sure he wasnt the source. There are two worrying aspects to this account: Why speak to Gilligan in the first place if he was worried about it getting out? After all, what did he expect Gilligan to do with the information except use it? And second, if he was so sure he wasnt the source of Gilligans story, what was he worried about? Or was he just trying to cover his back with the MoD?
The other worrying aspect of the role of Kelly in this entire affair is if Kelly wasnt the source of the allegation about Campbells role in sexing up the document, where did Gilligan get the information from and why did he use it, knowing full well that without a means of backing it up, he would be vulnerable.
The media blasts the media
"But is now the BBC that appears to have deliberately deceived viewers, listeners, its Board of Governers and Parliament about the origins of this extraordinary battle with the government."
Gilligan stands by his report, and so he should, given that the information in the September document that was under scrutiny, was clearly false, whether or not Alistair Campbell ordered the Niger fakes and 45 minutes disinformation be included or not.
And predictably, the Independent has also put the blame on the BBC,
"The BBC faced a deepening crisis last night after admitting that David Kelly, the government scientist who apparently committede suicide, was the principal source of its claim that Downing Street "sexed up" a dossier on Iraqi weapons.
Although the BBC stood by its report, the admission cast doubt over the accuracy of its claim"
But the Independent doesnt say how Kellys denials to the Commons Select Committee on Foreign Affairs last week, that he was not the source of Gilligans leak, changes a single thing. There are two issues at stake here: The first is the fact that the Niger uranium docs and the 45 minute claim, both proved to be false and the second, that Alistair Campbell, chief spin doctor for Tony Blah, ordered the inclusion, an assertion which has been denied by the government. So what is it that the Independent is referring to when it says the BBCs report is not accurate? They dont say.
Fall guy, honest guy or plant?
The question however, that the media are not asking, is why did Kelly speak to Gilligan in the first place? Was he really concerned that the government was overstating its case as the Independent says, or was he ordered to by his masters in the MoD? But with his death, apparently by suicide, unless someone else comes forward, well never know.
And, amazingly, the admisssion by the MoD that it released Kellys name last week as the source (though not directly from the MoD) adds further ammunition to the suspect role that Kelly played in the entire affair. The major objective however, that of shifting the focus from why the UK went to war onto the leaks, has been achieved, but in achieving one objective, it has opened a can of worms on how the government operates and especially its relationship to the media.
Its official: Niger nukes story a lie
Methinks that its the fact that with every passing day, we learn more and more about the depth and extent of the lies that are being peddled by the government that underpins the Kelly, Gilligan, BBC fiasco and reflects the desperate state the government is in as its entire justification for the invasion unravels.
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