Dr David Kelly was found hanged this morning in woodland near Abingdon. His shameful treatment at the hands of the Labour dominated Foreign Affairs Select Committe is being blamed for Kelly taking his own life.
I watched Dr Kelly's interrogation on the televison with disgust, it was horrible to see him squirm .....all involved should be utterly ashamed of their rotweiller approach in their questioning, it was all obviously too much for him to cope with.
I'm afraid I don't agree. It is the job of Parliamentary Select Committees to investigate all the facts. That is their constitutional duty. This is done in public (on TV) due to changes made to procedures during the Thatcher era.
It was Dr Kelly himself who volunteered the information that he was the person who spoke to the BBC journalist, so he was always going to be liable to be questioned, as he would have been in any judicial enquiry which was held into the events.
The Select Committee decided he was NOT the source of the leaks, effectively clearing him. He did however talk to Andrew Gilligan, the journalist from the BBC at the centre of the allegations, something which is unlikely to have endeared him to his bosses, any more than if you or I did the same thing during a military operation.
It really is going too far to suggest that the Government was somehow responsible for his death. He was unfortunate to be caught up in a passionate dispute between the BBC and the Government, but ultimately the decision to take his own life was his alone.
A select committee, or a judicial enquiry for that matter, cannot operate on the basis that anyone called before it might top themselves, unless there is some medical evidence to that effect beforehand.
Certainly is a tragedy. I'm not for taking sides on this one, but I did watch the interrogation. I must say, that one or two of them were doing their level best to mimic the interogators who were involved in the Watergate enquiry. Ego's are a terrible thing and thiers were on public display. There was a sustained attack by one of them (dark haired Labour MP, can't remember his name at this precise moment), which was nothing more than the aggressive questioning of a very confused and weak man. He saw his chance and bullied Kelly. Kelly came over as quite a humble man who accepted he had been had, so why exactly did they need to elaborate further. They acted like a pack of wolves around a weak animal (sorry I know that sounds a bit cheesy). If he has committed suicide then without doubt, his experience at the hands of those people played a part in his decision. I fully appreciate that there should have been a public enquiry and that the truth should be known, but Kelly wasn't hiding anything. They desperately needed to discredit the BBC and that was the mission from the start. There was bugger all independant about that episode. The support for this war by the population of this country was there prior to it's commencement. In the main the people of this country still appear feel the same, despite the lack of evidence concerning WMDs. Saddam was an agitator in the most volatile area in the world. He had to go and if we're all honest, we'd put our hands up to that one. If only Bush's father would have seen the job through the last time, we wouldn't be in the situation we find ourselves in now. It's Blair and his cronies that the population have a problem with, not the little guys like Kelly. I feel really sorry for Kelly's family, but you can bet your bottom dollar that despite an initial bout of arrse twitching, those on that committee, won't be feeling any remorse for thier scandelous treatment of that man. It's in thier nature, that's why they're politicians. This committee has set out from the start to exonorate an un elected civil servant, who it is now known, has a surprisingly large influence over the leader of this country. If government were more transparent, then the Kelly's of this world would still be around and the Blairs would still be fighting local elections in the backwater pit villages, where they belong. Problem is, if they were more transparant, they wouldn't be in power because we'd know that they were up too behind our backs.
Having posted on this site for the best part of a year now, I have to say that I find it amusing though when squaddies, despite the amount of times the Government have f*cked us over and even in the face of thier leaked intentions for us...........still vote for them.
Then again, was it suicide? I wouldn't like to be the coroner who delivers the verdict. Methinks that the scum of this country who masquerade as 'journalists' will be out for blood. Then again, it'll be fun to watch the Government squirm after the verdict, because no bugger is bothered about how he died........it's why he died that counts. Give it about 24 months and one of the 'scum' will have written a 'The truth about......' book on this one and will cash in on it
God I hate them. And God I hate politicians as well.
Ma makes a good point about the behaviour of some of the politicians on the Select Committee. These procedings were usually always in public in the past, but only a few people, journos and the like, would turn up. Then, at about the same time as Parliament started to be televised, select committee proceedings could be televised as well. (They are not often televised of course, because most of the subject matter is dull as ditchwater).
When they are though, MP's start to play to the gallery, and thats when questions are asked that are more aimed at an MP's colleagues, constituents or party activists. 'Hey look what a rottweiler you have for an MP, fearlessly questioning the guilty'.
Having said that, select committee enquiries in this country are positively gentlemenly when compared to a Congressional enquiry in the USA, I hope we never get like that.
I suspect, as Ma says, that the conspiracy theorists will be out in force, and that this one will run and run.
Did anyone else find Bliar's answers concerning Dr Kelly's suicide, where he urged 'restraint and respect' and a call for an inquiry before commenting on this awful business, typical of him?
Right - put off any awkward questions that need answering until later. Wonder who put that gem of a thought into his head?
Pity Andrew Mackinlay didn't show an ounce of restraint or respect when grilling Dr Kelly at the FASC. The oaf was clearly enjoying his 15 minutes of fame, getting every sound-bite in that he could and publicly belittling this man for no reason other than to make himself look big and clever.
Hoon showed just about as much restraint and respect as Mackinley, when suggesting that Dr Kelly could be sacked from the MoD for speaking with Gilligan (a year before he would reach his retirement and pension date).
The ultimate blame lies at Campbell's feet. Look at the turmoil that has occurred just because someone dared to criticise him over Iraq. His demands ultimately led to this FASC farce, because he placed more importance in his inflated ego than anything or anyone else. He demanded a scapegoat in order to triumph over the BBC, and got one.
It seems pretty clear that the Gov't took us to war with Iraq on the pretence of an exagerated threat from Saddam Hussein. I'm as happy as anyone else that the regime was overthrown, but the way this argument between Downing St. and the Beeb has shown Bliar and Co. in a very dark light.
Bliar, Campbell and Hoon should walk over the hounding of Dr Kelly to his death.
I think that I've read every 'Sunday' today and they're all full of it. As time goes on, it'll be down to the bare facts and there'll be some awkward question dodging going on by a few. Personally though, I find that we often forget the human side of incidents such as these, where a husband and father of two, one of the countries leading minds and by all accounts a very decent human being, has been lost to the very society whom he served. The whole incident is sickening. I doubt if any of the three you mention Seamus will have the decency to resign. Decency.....now there's a word. How many decent politicians have you met? How many decent journalists have you met? The 'hacks' will blame the 'politicians' for his death and the 'politicians' will be quick to point out how the 'hacks' treated that man, prior to his death. Both claim to be acting in the interests of the people. Both are shameful occupations. It'll all be blown over by next month, only to be ressurected should any 'public enquiry' be deemed in the interests of the public. The loss to Dr Kelly's family won't go away though. Pity that that those politicians and journalists fail to realise that careers, credibility, integrity and lives are lost at the hands of those who claim to be in puruit of the truth, but mock, sensationalise and ridicule those unfortunates such as Dr Kelly. It doesn't matter how or why he ended up in front of that 'hanging court', an otherwise highly intelligent and rational man, should never have been forced down the road which led to his death. It is wrong and it's about time that the voting public of this country did something about it. This Government is a mockery and the press of this country are nothing but hyenas.
I have to agree with Solent that Dr Kelly could have stuck to the rules and not spoken to the press. But having done so he should have been dealt with according to law-we don't put people in the stocks any more.
Campbell, Hoon and Blair have all behaved appalingly over this-for the first time I am begining to wonder if the reasons given for war really were the reasons we went.
There is only one course in this situation for an honourable man (or Woman) and that is to resign. However-Bluppet Crapbell and Buffhoon are totally without honour so don't expect anything soon
You rush to defend Dr Kelly because you perhaps agree with the sentiments behind Andrew Gilligan's subsequent article. I wonder if you would be quite so quick to defend his actions if he, or some other civil servant or Army Officer, gave unattributable briefings to the Press, using privileged information, which compromised one of our operations or cast the Army in a bad light, as has happened in the past.
Such allegations, because the source is unknown, are almost impossible to refute, and can lead to untold damage and even loss of life. I am willing to bet that there are many, reading these forums, who have personal knowledge of articles appearing in the Press, using privileged information, which are, in every important respect, wrong or misleading.
I feel particularly strongly about this because I am incensed about the way the Army has been presented in NI, when many of the stories about the way we operate contain just enough obviously official leaked information to make subsequent damaging allegations look plausible.
Just because you dont like someone or some organisation, does not mean that allegations made against them by disgruntled sources, are true.
I cannot help but feel that the whole disgraceful episode is a natural product of what happens when politico's and decent men interact.
Most politicians would have withstood the onslaught from those fat hypocritical t@ssers in the committee. - They know the game, bit of shoe staring, mumble mumble, mistakes have been made etc... and off you go, two months on the back bench at worst [or 7 days ban if it is proved you are a liar and committed fraud just so that you can bang one up your botfriend].
Unfortunately, when you get a normal, decent human being in front of the committee, He does not know the game. He can withstand some tin pot Iraqi dictator lying and being difficult but when its his own government, it is another affair entirely. In these circumstances, the humiliation by these Immoral, fat MP b**tards can actually cut too deep - with tragic consequences.
I think this is a very difficult one to call. Even the inquiry into Kelly's death is unlikely to produce a clear answer to the question posed by the poll on this thread.
Interestingly enough, just like the BBC vs Alister Campbell bust up the whole thing is becoming a diversion (all be it a very tragic one) from the real issue.
It would now appear that the WMD that could be deployed in 45 minutes might take years to find (a quote from TB today). This seems to me to be pretty unlikely and the longer we wait for the promised evidence the more I am forced to one of two conclussions. Either the accusations about sexing up dossiers is true, or the intelligence they were based on was absolute cr@p.
So either somebody in Government or employed by the Government has deliberatly decieved Parliament and the country or been incompetent in carrying out their duties. I know what would happen if I was so dishonest or incompetent that I cost the lives of 30 odd Service personnel. I'd get the boot so lets have a little equity in this matter.
There was an article in the Indy on Sunday partly re this (mostly an attack on the BBC), by a Steve Richards, a fan of the Dear Leader. (Sorry there's no hyperlink, have paper in front of me as I type.)
In his first para he writes 'the dead body of a Ministry of Defence adviser makes waves'.
My understanding of Dr Kelly's career is that he spent a large portion of his life searching for WMD in Iraq (and some looking for bio weapons in Russia). Given the threat which these things are supposed to posed to the entire world, it would appear that Dr Kelly served his country, and the rest of humanity, well by his actions. And yet, one of Mr Blair's cheerleaders shows his respect for this work by writing of the man's 'dead body' causing the PM problems.
Interestingly (apologies to those already aware of this - it was news to me) - there is another article in the same paper re the 45 minute business. Apparently, what the Iraqi source of our info said was that Saddam Hussein had a C3 system that would allow him to authorise the use of WMD within 45 minutes. Not quite what the old dossier said, is it?
Sorry to have gone off topic, but I thought that the Richards article was way out of line, and it left me disgusted.
Not everyone with a contract of employment is in such a sensitive position as Dr Kelly - was he "hounded"? - He appeared before the FAC and was subject to some robust questioning ...
In line with others, I feel it is now time to wait for the Learned Judge to conduct/conclude his enquiry before reaching further conclusions.
Except to say I was at a party, talking to a senior Barrister who held the view that there is not an honest man in the land, and that Judges & Lawyers are amongst the most crooked .... so for the conspiracy theorists ... the Judge has been 'got at' already.
I also feel greatly for Dr Kelly, his wife and family. I feel moved to pass the comment though, that I find it slightly strange that some rough handling by a bunch of politicians lead Dr Kelly to kill himself. That was surely not enough to lead him to leave everything he loved behind?
I'm afraid I also fail to see why anyone should resign - Dr Kelly presumably knew he shouldn't speak to the press, the Govt has a right to defend itself against serious allegations, the BBC has to defend its sources - once Dr Kelly's name and his own thoughts and views were in the public arena, the focus would surely have shifted to hunting out any other sources the BBC used to flesh out their allegations. Although the process was very unpleasant and not terribly edifying, it was surely legitimate?
There is a huge amount of anti - Blair/Labour feelings that run through some people's opinions on ARRSE......................it puzzles me, because I don't feel that anti-Labour 'thing' - but then I remember how much I hated , despised and loathed the Conservatives when they were in power, so I guess it's the reverse of the same coin!