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The Other Myths About David Kelly

John Rentoul

huttonreportcover 210x300 The Other Myths About David KellySadly, Professor Alastair Hay, in dismissing the conspiracy theory that his friend David Kelly was murdered 10 years ago today, succeeds only in making matters worse.

The idea that Dr Kelly was murdered is demonstrable nonsense, but unfortunately Professor Hay lends credence to more pernicious myths about his friend’s death – more pernicious because they are not so obviously mistaken.

Indeed, that the Hutton report was in some way unsatisfactory, and that Dr Kelly was “hounded” to his death by the Government, have been the accepted version of events for a decade, and so it is almost impossible to ask people to look again at the evidence and assess whether the truth might be different.

This is not helped by the relentless misrepresentation of important facts that are made to fit the conventional view. In the Daily Telegraph’s report of Professor Hay’s words this morning, for example, Neil Tweedie says, “Referring to Dr Kelly’s belief that there was no evidence of WMD in Iraq …”

It ought to be well known that Dr Kelly believed “it is about 30 per cent likely there was a chemical weapons programme in the six months before the war and considerably more likely that there was a biological weapons programme” (as confirmed by Dr Kelly to the Foreign Affairs Committee of MPs, 15 July 2003).

It ought to be better known that Dr Kelly supported military action against Saddam’s regime, and had written, days before the invasion:

The long-term threat, however, remains Iraq’s development to military maturity of weapons of mass destruction – something that only regime change will avert.

It also ought to be better known, as I wrote earlier this week, that Dr Kelly, who seems to have thought, rightly, that the “45 minutes” point should not have been in the September 2002 dossier, must have been dismayed to have had his words used by the BBC to publish an untrue and damaging story. Presumably, Dr Kelly knew that the “45 minutes” error was the responsibility of senior spies rather than politicians. And it ought to be better known that, if he was “hounded”, it was by journalists.

I have tried to give a fair and balanced account in the updated edition of my biography of Tony Blair (there is an extract here; download the e-book here or buy the paperback here). But I fear that the accepted mythology is so deeply ingrained that it will not be dispelled, if ever, for many decades.

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  • rasselas

    ‘Useless tool’, surely?

  • JohnJustice

    And you are tragically on the wrong side of the historical facts on this one (do try to take account of the counter-arguments that have been put here even though you cannot address them).

    Still, whatever turn you on!

  • mightymark

    I think most people looking carefully and honestly at your post and JJ’s you would say that, regardless of which of you is “right”, your post is considerably more childish (and conceited) than his.

  • tectorgorch

    Selectivity? – “The long-term threat, however, remains Iraq’s development to military
    maturity of weapons of mass destruction – something that only regime
    change will avert.”

    How do you get from that to an assertion that Dr Kelly supported military action?

    Also – “the “45 minutes” point should not have been in the September 2002 dossier,” – damn right it shouldn’t, so why did Blair not question it sufficiently and have it removed? Oh of course… he deliberately and maliciously allowed it to run as a a scare story to support his decision to go to war.

  • DrMartinAndrews

    >>The idea that Dr Kelly was murdered is demonstrable nonsense

    It’s nice to see that Rent-a-tool is still carrying on the good work for his paymasters.

  • Kippers

    The word “however” indicates that Kelly said something before that. In fact he had been saying that the level of threat from Iraq was quite low, which was quite different from what the politicians were saying (and maybe even Kelly was saying when he was briefing the press on behalf of the intelligence services) before the invasion. To justify an invasion of Iraq in the 18 months after 9/11 (in which Iraq was not involved) it was necessary to claim that Iraq was an immediate, high-level threat, but in certain circumstances Kelly was saying the opposite.

  • SvenBriskie

    @Rentblah “Presumably, Dr Kelly knew that the “45 minutes” error was the
    responsibility of senior spies rather than politicians.”

    When your a Professional Purveyor of Presumptions, life’s one big ball.
    Merrily churn it out; what was inside someone’s head – whatever, it doesn’t matter.
    Nothing does to a PPP, except a lucrative career.
    And conscience is for the cerebrally less endowed. Yes?

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