August 23, 2003

Kelly's chilling words: 'I'll be found dead in the woods'

(8/21/03) The strange, sad tale of Dr. David Kelly is getting
"curiouser and curiouser." Six months before he died
he predicted the circumstances of his death. A few
hours before he died he sent a warning to a NYTwit
journalist. Will we get to read the full text of that
e-mail? Was Dr. Kelly WELLSTONED or simply FOSTERED?,13822,1027372,00.html

Kelly's chilling words: 'I'll be found dead in the woods'

Diplomat reveals inspector's pre-war doubts

Ewen MacAskill, Nicholas Watt and Vikram Dodd
Friday August 22, 2003
The Guardian

The weapons specialist, Dr David Kelly, said six
months ago that he would "probably be found dead in
the woods" if the American and British invasion of
Iraq went ahead, Lord Hutton's inquiry was told
His chilling prediction of his own death during a
conversation with the British diplomat David Broucher
in Geneva in February, throws new light on his state
of mind about the row over Britain's role in the Iraq

In a startling string of revelations yesterday, Lord
Hutton's inquiry was told that Dr Kelly:

confirmed there had been a "robust" debate between
Downing Street and the intelligence services about the
September dossier on weapons of mass destruction

expressed scepticism about British claims that
Iraq's weapons capability could be deployed quickly

had been in direct contact with senior Iraqi
scientists and officials he knew, promising them the
war could be avoided

feared he had "betrayed" these contacts and that the
invasion had left him in a "morally ambiguous"

The latest twists came as Lord Hutton announced that
Tony Blair would give evidence on Thursday and the
defence secretary, Geoff Hoon, on Wednesday. Both will
be pressed about the September dossier and about the
way the government helped put Dr Kelly's name into the
public domain.

The disclosure of Dr Kelly's unease about the Iraq war
even before the invasion on March 20 undermines
assumptions that his apparent suicide was tied to
recent events, principally the pressure he came under
last month over his conversations with the BBC
reporter, Andrew Gilligan.

Dr Kelly's body was found in woods near his home last

Towards the end of Lord Hutton's inquiry yesterday, Mr
Broucher, British ambassador to the disarmament
conference in Geneva, made a surprise appearance.

He said he had sent an email to Patrick Lamb, his boss
at the Foreign Office, on August 5, recalling a chance
conversation with Dr Kelly at disarmament talks in
February, in which he set out his concerns.

Elaborating on the email yesterday, Mr Broucher said
that Dr Kelly had told him the government had
pressured the intelligence community to make the
September dossier as "robust as possible, that every
judgment [in the dossier] had been robustly fought

Contrary to a claim in the dossier that biological and
chemical weapons could be deployed within 45 minutes,
Dr Kelly said he thought the weapons and the material
to be placed inside them "would be kept separately
from the munitions and that this meant that the
weapons could not be used quickly".

It emerged this week that the MoD knew that Dr Kelly's
views on Iraq could make uncomfortable reading for the
government, and the conver sation with Mr Broucher
bears out why the MoD - in particular, Mr Hoon - was
so keen to prevent any disclosures.

A government memo published yesterday showed that Mr
Hoon tried to stop Dr Kelly talking about weapons of
mass destruction when he appeared before the Commons
foreign affairs select committee.

Mr Broucher said that Dr Kelly thought that the UN
weapons inspectors could gain a good idea of the state
of the Iraqi arsenal because the Iraqis had learned
during the British colonial days to keep full written
records. That assessment runs counter to the US, which
insisted inspectors were wasting their efforts.

A crucial point in the conversation with Mr Broucher
was Dr Kelly's revelation about continued links with
Iraqis after working in Iraq in the 90s as a UN
weapons inspector. He had retained contacts with Iraqi
scientists and officials, and told Mr Broucher he had
tried to persuade them to comply with the inspectors
in order to avoid invasion.

In his email, Mr Broucher said Dr Kelly's concern was
that "if an invasion now went ahead, that would make
him a liar and he would have betrayed his contacts,
some of whom might be killed as a direct result of his

Mr Broucher added: "I asked what would happen then,
and he replied, in a throwaway line, that he would
'probably be found dead in the woods'."

His interpretation of this was Dr Kelly feared a
personal attack by the Iraqis: "I did not think much
of this at the time, taking it to be a hint that the
Iraqis might try to take revenge against him,
something that did not seem at all fanciful then. I
now see that he may have been thinking on rather
different lines."

Barney Leith, secretary of the National Spiritual
assembly of Britain, who knew Dr Kelly and will
testify before the Hutton inquiry about the impact of
the Baha'i faith had on him, said he could not know
whether the scientist might have taken his own life
because of guilt. But he added: "The teachings of the
Baha'i faith strongly emphasise the importance of ...
keeping one's word."

Posted by richard at August 23, 2003 06:24 PM
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