As we noted earlier, the suicide of former weapons inspector David Kelly has caused huge problems for Tony Blair; recent polls indicate that his standing with voters has declined precipitously, and the press generally seems to take it for granted that Kelly’s death puts Blair in a sinister light.
This spin is really rather odd, given how supportive Kelly was of Blair, his administration, and the controversial Iraq dossier when Kelly testified before a Parliamentary committee. The BBC itself provides this summary: “What Kelly Told the MPs”. Here are sample Kelly quotes:
“It [the BBC’s story] is not a factual record of my interaction with him [BBC reporter Andrew Gilligan], the character of it, which is actually difficult to discern from the account that is presented there….From the conversation I had with him, I do not see how he could make the authoritative statement he was making from the comments that I made.”
“‘What I had a conversation about was the probability of a requirement to use (chemical and biological) weapons. The question was then asked why, if weapons could be deployed at 45 minutes notice, were they not used, and I offered my reasons why they may not have been used.’ (Dr Kelly said he believed they were not used because of the weather conditions and then the breakdown of the Iraqi command and control structure.)”
“Later Dr Kelly was asked if he had suggested to Mr Gilligan that the dossier had been embellished. Dr Kelly replied: ‘No, I had no doubt that the veracity of it was absolute.’ He went on: ‘All I can say is that the general tenet of that document is one that I am sympathetic to.'”
“Dr Kelly said his role with the dossier was to write ‘an historical account of the UNSCOM inspections and providing input into Iraq’s concealment and deception.’ He said he was familiar with some of the intelligence used in the dossier, but not all of it. Dr Kelly said he had no knowledge of how the document was approved and did not discuss the process with Mr Gilligan.”
And finally, Kelly testified that when he saw the BBC’s story, “I did not see how on earth I could have been the primary source. I did not see how the authority would emanate from me.”
In short, Kelly’s Parliamentary testimony was 100% supportive of Tony Blair and his government, and it utterly undercut the supposed basis of the BBC article as claimed by Andrew Gilligan–a very basic fact that is in danger of being lost in the ongoing press hysteria.
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