The New Worker
The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 25th July 2003
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DON’T LET BLAIR OFF THE HOOK
by Daphne Liddle
THE DRAMATIC death of Government weapons inspector Dr David Kelly
last Friday has dominated headlines throughout the world.
It has increased the volume of calls for Prime Minister Blair to resign
but it has also, albeit temporarily, diverted attention from the issue of
the “dodgy dossier” and Blair’s use of spin and distortion to pressure MPs
to back his illegal war against Iraq.
Dr David Kelly was found dead on Friday morning, after his wife had
reported him missing. He was in a small wood where, apparently, he often liked
to walk. One of his wrists was slashed and a bottle of painkillers was beside
Since then, a preliminary coroner’s report has said the cause of death
was loss of blood from the cut wrist.
So far, investigations as to whether he had taken any of the painkillers,
and if so how many, have not been completed.
This came a few days after the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee
had grilled Dr Kelly. They were asking him whether he was the “senior Government
source” who had told BBC reporter Andrew Gilligan that the Government had
exaggerated, or “sexed-up” intelligence reports on Iraq’s alleged possession
of weapons of mass destruction.
He firmly denied that he was the main source. But it appears that
the Ministry of Defence had allowed his name to be leaked as the likely mole.
The committee asked him outright whether he thought he had been set
But the committee had few powers. It could not examine the original
intelligence briefings which would be the only way to tell if Blair and Alistair
Campbell had “sexed them up”.
Kelly had survived the grilling and was reported to be looking forward
to returning to Iraq.
So his apparent suicide was a surprise. Those who saw him last reported
that he had seemed in a good mood, though he had left a computer message about
“dark actors” messing about with his life.
Most of the media in Britain have rushed to the assumption that he
killed himself. Maybe – maybe not.
Newspapers in other countries are questioning the suicide assumption.
They point out that the method would be an unlikely choice for a doctor, who
was once a director at Porton Down, with access to many painless forms of
He was a man who cared deeply for his family but left no suicide note.
He was a convert to Bahaism, a religion founded in the Middle East whose teachings
strongly condemn suicide.
Since his death, the BBC has admitted that he was their source of
information that the “dodgy dossier” had been sexed up. If they did have another
source, and the BBC usually does prefer more than one source for a controversial
story, that person is now safe from discovery.
If there was foul play there would have been ample time to destroy
any evidence in the 20 hours between Kelly going missing and his body being
There is a danger that in all the attention given to the death of
Dr David Kelly, the issue of the dodgy dossier itself and above all the illegal
war or Iraq – which cost thousands of Iraqi lives and continues to cost lives
every day, will be neglected.
The most important fact is that Bush and Blair flouted the United
Nations and led their countries into an illegal invasion of a vulnerable
third world country in order to seize its oil – and in the process turned
their armies into war criminals.
The stink around all these issues is costing the Labour government
dear in opinion poll ratings and so the cries for Blair’s resignation from
within that party are growing.
Glenda Jackson has joined Robin Cook and Clare Short in calling for Blair’s
immediate resignation, while Tam Dalyell is calling for his impeachment.
Before the news of David Kelly’s death broke, Blair was in Washington,
telling Congress that he may, after all, have been “mistaken” over the existence
of Iraqi WMDs but that “history will forgive us”. This sort of breath-taking
arrogance can only turn more of his former supporters against him – and suggests
he is losing his mind.
Already Cabinet members are starting to set out their stalls as successors
for when he falls – it can’t be long now.
Blunkett, Brown and Straw are already spending money buttering up
the House of Commons press lobby.
Straw is privately putting it about that he never did support the
war on Iraq – but he had to go along with it out of loyalty to Blair.
BBC political editor Andrew Marr told viewers, before the death of
Kelly, that he had been told by a “senior” member of the Cabinet that there
would be no discovery of WMDs because there never were any in the first place.
Shortly before this announcement he had been seen in the House of Commons
asking directions for Jack Straw’s office.
Blunkett and Brown last week held summer parties for journalists at
the same time. Westminster correspondent for the Big Issue Chris McLaughlin
said: “If you went to one, they knew you were for them. The other, they knew
they were for you. Most of us tried valiantly to go to both.”
The vultures are circling over Blair’s career. But Brown, Blunkett
and Straw are too closely identified with Blair’s policies. We must press
for a new leader who will reflect the demands of the labour movement and loosen
the ties that currently bind our government to the reactionary clique
running the United States at the moment.
The ruling class in Britain is divided between those who wish to tie us
to American imperialism and those who favour the European Union. Neither
is good for the working class.
We must get rid of Blair, his whole New Labour clique and his dependence
on the US. We must keep pressing the issues that are bringing him down.
We want proper public inquiries into the death of Dr Kelly,
the “dodgy dossiers” and the real reasons for the invasion of Iraq.
The strange case of Dr Kelly
THE DEATH of Dr David Kelly – the Government
weapons expert at the centre of storm over the “sexed up” Iraq dossier
– has sparked off demands for a genuine independent public inquiry into
the circumstances which led up to his death.
Certain facts are incontrovertible. Dr Kelly was a senior Ministry of Defence
scientist who served as a UNSCOM weapons inspector in Iraq after the first
Gulf War in 1991. Prior to that he had been the head of the biological warfare
research centre at Porton Down.
Last week he was accused of being the chief source behind the BBC’s allegation
that the Government had doctored intelligence reports on Iraq’s weapons capability
to justify their support of US imperialism in the run-up to the invasion of
Iraq. He got a grilling from the parliamentary foreign affairs select committee
when he conceded that he had spoken to the BBC. The committee, however, concluded
that Dr Kelly was not the main source of the story. Thursday afternoon he
left his home in Southmoor, Abingdon, Oxfordshire for a walk in the countryside,
something he often did. The next morning his body was found at a beauty spot
some five miles away with a slashed wrist and a bottle of pain killers by
First of all we have to await the inquest to establish the manner of his
death and not jump to conclusions until the coroner’s report has been delivered.
Then we have to insist that the inquiry the Government has agreed to is allowed
to carry out its work in public and without hindrance. Lord Hutton, the judge
appointed to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of Dr Kelly,
says he himself will decide the scope of the investigation. But his terms
of reference have been strictly limited.
The Hutton inquiry may be able to shed some light on the information Dr
Kelly had about the intelligence dossiers. We may well discover whether Dr
Kelly took his own life, whether he had been stitched up by his Ministry
of Defence employers, and whether he was the major source cited by
the BBC. But Lord Hutton hasn’t got the scope nor the powers
to deal with the broader and deeper questions which remain unanswered. They
revolve around the allegation that the Prime Minister misled parliament by
insisting that Iraq was in breach of the UN’s disarmament regime by claiming
that it still possessed weapons of mass destruction.
Anglo-American imperialism invaded Iraq claiming it was in breach of the
UN disarmament programme, though this claim had not been endorsed by the UN
weapons inspectorate. The war was carried out without the sanction of the
UN Security Council, and the fact is that the majority of its members, including
France, Germany, Russia and People’s China were opposed to the action. The
fact remains that no weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq,
now occupied by Anglo-American troops for over two months.
Though we are now told that the search may go on for years, the Blair government
maintains that they had intelligence reports which proved that the Iraqi government
was lying when it claimed it had destroyed all its banned weapons in compliance
with UN demands.
There can only be two possibilities – either the BBC has made it all up
or the Government is lying. We must have a full judicial public inquiry under
the Tribunals of Inquiry (Evidence) Act of 1921 to get the answers the people
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