LORD Hutton, who is conducting the inquiry into the death of Government weapons expert Dr David Kelly, last Wednesday announced that there would be no inquest into the scientist’s death, the inquiry would be sufficient!
This can only heighten public concern – expressed in every public place and foreign media but scarcely mentioned in the British media – that Dr Kelly’s death may not be suicide and there is a huge official cover-up going on.
Surely it is most unusual in the case of a sudden unexpected death that the police do not seem to have even considered the possibility of murder – even if only to rule it out.
There are certainly many questions unanswered about the circumstances of his death: he had no real motive for suicide, having been cleared of any misconduct. And if he did want to kill himself, as a doctor he had ample access to much easier, less painful forms of euthanasia.
And as the Government’s senior expert on the state of Iraq’s weapons, he held a lot more information he had not yet disclosed, that many interested bodies might want to keep secret.
But he is not the only one still holding a lot of information embarrassing to Bush and Blair, that is yet to come out.
The Hutton inquiry so far has been hearing from the three BBC journalists that Kelly spoke to, voluntarily voicing his “substantial unease” over the Government’s dossier on Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction – used to persuade MPs and some of the public to back Bush and Blair’s illegal invasion of Iraq.
The first was Andrew Gilligan, who broke the story last May in BBC Radio Four’s Today programme that “an intelligence expert source” had claimed that the Government had “sexed-up” the intelligence reports in the dossier to make the case for war stronger.
In particular this source (Dr Kelly) had expressed concern over the claim that Iraq could deploy weapons of mass destruction within 45 minutes.
This was of course nonsense. Any such weapons Iraq ever had had were destroyed during the first Gulf War and the extremely heavy sanctions regime imposed by the United States prevented any other being made or brought into the country.
But the Hutton inquiry dwelt at length on whether Gilligan had accused the Government of making the 45-minutes claim knowing to be false, or simply knowing it to be dodgy. We do know the Government had been told the claim was uncorroborated.
The Government have made much of slight word changes in Gilligan’s first report compared to later reports, although they are substantially the same.
Susan Watts, a journalist on BBC Two’s Newsnight programme, told the Hutton inquiry that Dr Kelly had expressed the same doubts to her – although she had dismissed them as “gossip” until Gilligan recognised their importance and publicised them.
She also said that Dr Kelly had mentioned Alistair Campbell by name as being responsible for the spin – though later he enlarged on this by saying he blamed the Number Ten press office, which is headed by Campbell and who is therefore responsible for everything it does.
Ms Watts produced an audiotape of her telephone conversation with Dr Kelly but Lord Hutton has banned its publication – saying this would be “insensitive”.
But there are plenty of other revelations emerging outside the inquiry and Blair’s position is being increasingly questioned.
Rod Liddle, former editor of the Today programme, has spoken in support of Gilligan’s report in an interview on Newsweek last Tuesday and in last Wednesday’s Guardian.
He claimed that four other intelligence sources had expressed similar criticisms of the way the Government had used information they provided on Iraq’s weapons capabilities.
Liddle wrote: “Gilligan reported the comments made to him by Dr Kelly, all of which have since been corroborated by other security service personnel.”
As we suspected, Dr Kelly was not the BBC’s only source of information on the “sexed-up dossier”. Hence the BBC’s decision to stand by its reports, even in face of threats to its independence.
It is apparent that some elements within the intelligence services are not at all happy over the Government decision to invade Iraq and are using some journalists in the BBC to express their serious misgivings.
The head of MI6, Sir Richard Dearlove, a week ago announced his intention to resign from his post next year, although he had been expected to serve for another two years.
The Government claims this has nothing to do with Iraq but few believe them. There is a danger that he could be replaced by a Blair crony – but Blair is unlikely to survive as Prime Minister that long.
The war within the ruling class is intensifying. The BBC journalists’ reports to the Hutton inquiry have certainly undermined Campbell’s position. But if Blair sacks him, he no doubt could reveal a lot of embarrassing information on Blair.
The questions we must raise are: if the dodgy dossier was not “sexed up” why cannot the Government not now reveal the reports it was based on and prove their point? Why is there no proper public inquiry into the dossier? And why is there to be no proper inquest on Dr Kelly?
AMERICAN IMPERIALISM is eyeing up Liberia again. Some 2,300 United States Marines are stationed in American warships off the Liberian coast. President Charles Taylor has stepped down as part of an agreement to end the fighting between his government and the two major rebel groups, Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (Lurd) and the Movement for Democracy in Liberia (Model). A small contingent of Nigerian troops have already entered the capital, Monrovia, to police a ceasefire between the main warring factions in the 14-year-old war.
The war lobby in the White House is gearing up for intervention on “humanitarian” grounds to stop the fighting. It is, of course, true that over 200,000 Liberians out of a population of three million have been killed in the civil war. And it is also true that the Taylor government and the leaders of Lurd and Model all want Washington to intervene. But the discovery of oil in the Gulf of Guinea near Liberia is the real motive for George W Bush’s new interest in West Africa.
In fact American imperialism has never really left Liberia. Nor is it surprising to see the faction leaders of the Liberian political and military elite turning to the United States for protection.
Liberia was originally set up as a haven for freed American slaves by the American Colonisation Society back in 1822. Under American guidance these former slaves established a republic in 1847. Though formally independent Liberia was essentially an American protectorate which allowed an American groomed elite to lord it over the native population in return for allowing the rest of the country to be mercilessly plundered by American imperialism.
In 1922 the American Firestone company obtained a 99-year lease on a million acres of land at an annual rent of six cents an acre to grow rubber in Liberia in a sweetheart deal brokered by the US State Department. The Liberian government dragooned tens of thousands of workers to work in the plantations in conditions later condemned by the League of Nations as forced labour.
Throughout the Cold War, Liberia was a loyal servant of imperialism. In return for American “aid” Liberian governments would offer their land rent-free for US military bases and loyally vote the American way at the United Nations. But when the Cold War ended the “aid” was drastically reduced. American imperialism neither needed the bases nor the minerals that were readily available elsewhere.
But oil is a different matter. American imperialism wants to control the entire world market for oil and increase its overall import of African oil by 25 per cent.
The United States’ only interest in Liberia is to restore its direct control over the country’s mineral resources. American troops cannot bring peace or prosperity to the Liberian people. Their sole purpose is to serve American imperialism, the root cause of all of Liberia’s woes in the first place. If Washington paid back a fraction of the wealth it plundered from Liberia over the past hundred years or so it would put the country back on its feet. But that is the last thing on George Bush’s mind.
Only Africans can solve African problems.The African community can indeed play a part in creating the conditions for an end to the civil war but that must be followed by free elections to allow the Liberians to chose their own leaders and establish a genuinely independent republic.
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