The New Worker

The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Week commencing 25th July 2003

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Crack US troops in Mosel, Iraq after their attack which killed Oday and Qusay Hussein

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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 the body.

 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 up.

 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 euthanasia.

 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 found.

 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 his side.

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 demand. 

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