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Dr. David Kelly
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Dr. David Kelly

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Posted by Jan den Breejen ( on August 28, 2003 at 09:02:13:

David Kelly

He seems to me to be mostly Serious Style. Rich?


Case text citations:

Profile: Dr David Kelly
Biological weapons expert with a reputation for thoroughness

Nigel Fountain and Sarah A Smith
Saturday July 19, 2003
The Guardian

Before this year's Iraq war, the microbiologist David Kelly, who has died aged 59, would recall that, with Saddam Hussein's 1990 invasion of Kuwait, the pattern of his life for the ensuing decade had been set. Ironically, his spectacularly professional work in Iraq in the 1990s, was to suck him towards a media and political quagmire.
Kelly was the Ministry of Defence's chief scientific officer and senior adviser to the proliferation and arms control secretariat, and to the Foreign Office's non-proliferation department. The senior adviser on biological weapons to the UN biological weapons inspections teams (Unscom) from 1994 to 1999, he was also, in the opinion of his peers, pre-eminent in his field, not only in this country, but in the world.
After the eviction of the Iraqis from Kuwait in 1991, the UN invited Kelly to join Unscom to force Saddam into compliance with the peace agreements. Kelly made 36 visits to Iraq, and, from New York, continued his work into the late 1990s. What made him the obvious candidate for such work was his earlier, and continuing, experience in Russia. In autumn 1989, he had been called in to assist MI6 in debriefing Vladimir Pasechnik, a leading Soviet biochemist and defector.
Eighteen months later, armed with Pasechnik's evidence of a gross violation of the 1972 biological weapons convention, Kelly co-led the US/British delegation to inspect suspect Russian sites. His sympathetic manner was an asset: at Vektor laboratories in Novosibirsk, Siberia, a researcher mentioned that the lab was studying the smallpox virus - in contravention of WHO regulations and the biological weapons convention. This was a major discovery, which revealed the seriousness of the Soviet undertaking. Later, he was an observer on the reciprocal trip the Russians made to the US.
More revelations were to come when Kelly co-led the team sent to examine Russian production and weapons-filling capabilities in October 1993, the first time the west had been granted such access. Evidence suggested the potential to grow smallpox in massive quantities, and pointed to a continuation of an offensive capacity under Boris Yeltsin's supposedly more friendly, post-Soviet regime. A second visit led by Kelly in January 1994 discovered that Russian work was dormant, rather than halted.
The son of an RAF officer and school teacher, Kelly was born in the Rhondda Valley, but raised in Tunbridge Wells. His early interests were in agriculture - and in Oxford, he was an expert on biological pesticides. In 1984, he was appointed head of microbiology at the chemical and biological defence establishment, Porton Down.
Thus would academics introduce doctoral students to a man who was endlessly accommodating. He was also, as colleagues emphasise, a scientist who, completely straight and honest, knew the laboratory bench work, but, unlike a lot of his fellows, went beyond it. His virtues included a willingness to share his expertise - though not his secrets - within that world where non-governmental organisations, academia and public and private institutions met.
He is survived by his wife Janice and three daughters.
Professor Alastair Hay writes: As an environmental toxologist, I have covered chemical and biological warfare issues since the 1970s and met David Kelly at many conferences; notably the Pugwash gatherings, which brought together scientists from many countries to talk issues through as professionals, not bound by national or political rivalries.
Pugwash, and those other meetings, simply relied on people like David. There is no Pugwash party line, it is simply a place where expertise is paramount. Meetings aside, when I needed to talk to somebody on a key issue of the moment - like the anthrax-in-the-post scare following 9/11 - David was there. There was no other person I would have gone to as such a source of unvarnished truth - and of such funny asides.
The two key areas where his insights were invaluable were around the biological weapons inspections in Russia in the 1980s, and in Iraq in the 1990s, where, in both cases, he had an central role. He would have absolutely ensured that the weapons, and the weapons material, were dismantled. The complete professional, he had such an eye for detail that nothing got past him.
Such talents served him less well when sucked into the controversies of the last few months. I dread to think of the pressures he must have been under within the MoD. To see him on television, before that parliamentary committee, almost inaudible, was to see him involved in a quite different process, over which he did not have control.
A week ago, I spent 40 minutes trying to get through to him at the MoD, to wish him well; they would not put me through to any of his numbers. After I finally got through by email, telling him to take care, he replied that he wanted to get back to Baghdad, and some real work.
David Christopher Kelly, microbiologist, born May 17 1944; died July 18 2003

Matthew Tempest, political correspondent
Friday July 18, 2003

It was on July 9 that Dr David Kelly - a former senior UN weapons inspector - broke into the public consciousness, named in the papers as someone who had had an "unauthorised" meeting with the BBC journalist Andrew Gilligan.
According to Dr Kelly's own evidence to the foreign affairs select committee this week he had informed his "line manager" at the MoD himself that he had met Mr Gilligan and could, therefore, at least be perceived to be the source of the Today programme's allegations that the government's dossier was "sexed up".
Dr Kelly, an adviser to the government and an expert in biological warfare, had previously worked at the Porton Down research centre.
A renowned microbiologist he was an adviser to the Foreign Office before moving to the MoD. He spent seven years as an Unscom inspector in the 1990s, visiting Iraq on 37 occasions.
Although he appeared tentative, quietly spoken but calm before MPs, it was in fact his second appearance before the FAC - he also gave evidence last September.
Dr Kelly's surprising identification by the MoD came about when the defence secretary, Geoff Hoon, wrote to the BBC chairman, Gavyn Davies, demanding to know whether the official who had come forward was the source of Gilligan's original story which sparked the row.
Mr Hoon gave Mr Davies Dr Kelly's name, asking the corporation to confirm or deny that it was the same person as Gilligan's source.
Tony Blair's spokesman insisted at the time its approach was "not an assault on journalistic sources, this is not an assault on the BBC, it is not a vendetta". He described it as a "genuine attempt to get at the truth behind what is one of the most serious allegations you can make against a government".
How Dr Kelly's identity came into the public domain is unclear.
In his session before the FAC, Dr Kelly was accompanied by two MoD "minders" who sat behind the scientist as he was questioned by the panel of MPs.
That questioning often became aggressive, with Labour MP Andrew Mackinlay, in particular, first assaulting him for refusing to say, without checking his diary, which other journalists he may have met in the month of May.
Later Mr Mackinlay changed tack, dubbing Dr Kelly "chaff" and a fall guy. At all times, Dr Kelly merely retorted that he "accepted the process" of both the MoD's operations, and the FAC inquiry, although, in a comment which received little attention at the time, he said he was unable to check his diary since he was unable to get to his house - presumably due to the media encamping outside.
In his evidence on Tuesday, he also admitted meeting Susan Watts of Newsnight, and having met Mr Gilligan on three occasions. He conceded that he may have met other journalists, none of which were authorised by the MoD, but that he had experience of dealing with journalists in the past.
However, it was unclear from his evidence whether or not he was the main source of Mr Gilligan's evidence. He denied it, although the dates, and some of the topics discussed, fitted Mr Gilligan's story.
Dr Kelly is a former UN weapons inspector and now advises British ministers on weapons of mass destruction an adviser in the proliferation and arms control secretariat.
He came from a background in agricultural science. He was chief science officer at Britain's natural environment research council institute of virology and the head of microbiology at the chemical defence establishment in Porton Down from 1984 to 1992.
Dr Kelly became senior adviser on biological warfare for the UN in Iraq in 1994, holding the post until 1999.
Between 1991 and 1998 he played a key role in inspecting Iraqi weapons after the Gulf war, once saying during a lecture: "When Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990, little did I realise that Saddam Hussein would dictate the next 10 years of my life."
He also led all the visits and inspections of Russian biological warfare facilities from 1991 to 1994 under the 1992 trilateral agreement between the US, UK and Russia.
In September last year he gave evidence to a Commons committee probing the war on terrorism. He was speaking in his role as chief scientific officer and senior adviser to the proliferation and arms control secretariat of the Ministry of Defence, and the non-proliferation department of the Foreign Office.
When he spoke to the foreign affairs committee this week, it was in very different circumstances - and under a much brighter media spotlight.


Evasions, allusions and tragedy

The big issue: The David Kelly affair

Sunday August 3, 2003
The Observer

The implementation of government policy depends on two things: the consensus of support by a sizeable section of society and the government's control of administration, judiciary and in the last resort the police and the army. In a liberal democracy the use of power is limited and therefore when consensus is lost what steps in is corruption and fraud.
When the Government lost the consensus over Iraq it first sent Mr Campbell with disinformation and then asserted its power through veiled insinuations of social opprobrium, and Dr Kelly took his last walk in the country. The Government will try with allies in the media to attack the independence of other information centres whether it be BBC or for that matter The Observer. Our society will have to be strong enough to resist the propaganda.
Matthew Wallis
London SW6
Richard Ingrams (Comment, last week) said Dr Stephen Ward and Dr Kelly had nothing in common apart from the fact that they both mistakenly relied on their political 'friends' (my quotes) to protect them.
If Dr Kelly relied on anyone, he relied on his colleagues at the Ministry of Defence. To compare Dr Kelly, to Ward is another scandal.
G.F. Warburton
One of the most important features of this tragedy, mostly ignored, is the apparently depressed state of Dr Kelly. His bowed posture, whispering speech, indecisiveness and haunted sense of guilt (he was described as 'in torment') seem to reflect a core melancholy that made him especially vulnerable. That this was unrecognised by so many, particularly those pressurising him, probably reflects his own resilient personality style and the ignorance of depressive disorders that allows them to go unnoticed.
The natural assets of Dr Kelly's professional expertise, family support and intelligence should have allowed him a quick resignation and honourable retirement. But it takes illness to catastrophise things into a vicious cycle of self-blame where suicide seems the only option. He should be seen as much a victim of the stigma of psychiatric illness as of the political skulduggery.
Dr Trevor Turner
Consultant Psychiatrist
Homerton University Hospital
London E9

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