Bahai News -- Guardian - Kelly's chilling words: 'I'll be found dead in the woods'
Special Report: David Kelly
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 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 yesterday.
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 war.
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" position.
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 month.
Towards the end of Lord Hutton's inquiry yesterday, Mr Broucher, British ambassador to the disarmament conference in Geneva, made a
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 over".
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".
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
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 actions".
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."
©Copyright 2003, Guardian (UK)
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