Wednesday, September 17, 2014
The Life and Death of Dr David Kelly
By Robert Lewis
Published by Simon & Schuster, July 3rd, 2014.
Dr David Kelly was one of the lead scientists working on analysing whether or not Iraq actually had the weapons of mass destruction that it was claimed they had. As a biological weapons expert, his knowledge and influence were well-known in his particular field and beyond it. He had been giving evidence at a parliamentary foreign affairs select committee after an unauthorised conversation he had with a journalist. A few days later, he was dead, apparently having committed suicide in a field near his home. For many of us who followed the news in 2003, it all seemed very odd indeed.
A subsequent Government inquiry headed by Lord Hutton ruled his death was indeed suicide, yet the post-mortem results, on the scene photographs of the body and other evidence were deemed classified and to remain so for the next seventy years on the grounds of national security. Newspaper reports made at the time of Dr Kelly's death and at the Hutton inquiry were patchy and often contradictory and many people remained unconvinced that the Hutton Inquiry had delved deep enough or been far-reaching enough to ascertain the truth.
Robert Lewis has spent a great deal of time and effort researching the events around Dr Kelly's death, and this fascinating book is the result. From David Kelly's often solitary Welsh childhood through to his academic career and becoming involved in researching biological weapons, he traces the formative events and interviews people in David Kelly's life to build up a compellingly vivid picture of a man who was put in an invidious situation because of his desire for honesty and truth, and the sequence of events that led to his untimely death.
From the highly unusual and difficult artery chosen to sever in order to commit suicide and the remarkably small amount of blood lost at the place the body was found, the presence of tablets in his stomach when it was known that Dr Kelly had enormous difficulty in taking tablets, the body having been moved when left in the care of police officers and the fact that heat-seeking equipped helicopters which flew right over the place where Dr Kelly's body was found the next day yet found no trace of his cooling body, this book opens a Pandora's Box of official intrigue, misinformation and officially unasked questions.
There are still many questions unanswered and a large number of people who do not believe Dr Kelly's death was a suicide, but rather that he was permanently silenced.....Read it yourself and see what you think.
I found it an absorbing read indeed.