The Strange Case of Dr. David Kelly
In proper British fashion, the death of Dr. David Kelly, renowned British weapons inspector for the Ministry of Defense, is right out of a game of Clue. Except his abrupt and improbable death on July 17th, 2003 wasn't anything as prosaic and hackneyed as a pipe used by Professor Plum in the parlor.
No, the very day after Dr. Kelly testified before a parliamentary intelligence committee on a now-notorious dossier regarding Iraq's phantom WMD program, the scientist was found dead in the woods near his home, his left ulnar artery slashed, and a belly full of arthritis pills.
Now, Lord Hutton has just announced that the autopsy results will be sealed for the next 70 years.
Now, this is just the latest in a series of events as highly suspicious and beyond the pale as Dr. Kelly's alleged suicide. But when we begin to examine the timeline both here and in the UK regarding two different whistleblowers, we begin to see some common denominators, common trends, common outcomes and they especially intersect in a week and a half period of time from July 6th to July 17th 2003.
Now what, besides Judith Miller, do the Wilsons and Dr. Kelly have in common?
Well, they were both whistleblowers who tried to warn their respective governments that their case for war was based on lies and inaccuracies and later went to the press to make their case heard. Dr. Kelly spoke to Andrew Gilligan, the British reporter who's written many articles about Iraq since before the American-led invasion.
Ambassador Wilson, as we know, was sent to Niger to investigate the Bush administration's claims that Saddam Hussein attempted to buy yellowcake uranium from Niger, a claim based on an incredibly forged document. Dr. Kelly had a problem with a dossier that also fraudulently claimed the Iraqi government had the ability to launch biological and chemical weapons 45 minutes after the order.
Both went overseas and found conclusive evidence proving that both claims were a lie. Wilson exposed the document as a forgery. Dr. Kelly saw at first glance the "mobile weapons labs" touted by Colin Powell and others were for, just as the Iraqis claimed, the production of hydrogen.
Both were outed or had a loved one outed by their own government. Robert Novak's article came out on July 14th outing Ms. Plame while denying he knew she was a covert agent (while nonetheless knowing she was working under a front company that he also exposed). It was eight days after Joe Wilson's legendary op-ed in the NY Times, "What I Didn't Find in Africa", that came out on Bush's 57th birthday.
Three days after Novak's column went to press, Dr. Kelly was found dead. Kelly was revealed to be the anonymous source used by Gilligan when they dropped more than broad hints as to his identity and when reporters began asking if it was Kelly, the Defense Ministry said, "Well, yeah. Might as well fess up to it." Which is a very unusual tack for the Defense Ministry to take when dealing with such sensitive issues.
Then in the final days of his life, Parliament tucked into poor Dr. Kelly as if he was some sort of, well, traitor.
Valerie Plame, Joe Wilson's wife, was outed by her own government, which is even more of an unusual tack for the US government to take since no secret agent had ever been outed by his or her own people before.
Quite a busy and hectic week on both sides of the pond, eh?
Did I mention Judith Miller, the NY Times biggest war drum beater, being the common denominator? In the middle of this hurricane of activity, Miller was speaking with Scooter Libby (a conversation for which she would later go to the jail for three months because Libby was too cowardly to come out and release her from her obligatory silence).
Judith Miller was also one of the very last people to hear from Dr. Kelly. Miller was one of the people who'd written to Kelly on the day of his death.
As far back as early 2006, it was estimated that the British government had spent at least £1.1bn on contractors in Iraq. That's 1.1 billion British pounds, sterling. But the article goes on to state that the actual cost back then to the UK could've been as high as 5.5 billion since a lot of contractors don't like to publicize how much they profit from war.
We ourselves have spent at least 800 billion, at one point a third of Iraq's reconstruction budget going to mercenary outfits such as Blackwater. We may never know how many tens of billions were stuffed into the deep pockets of war profiteers.
With that much money and the credibility of world leaders at stake, is it any wonder that Dr. Kelly's prophecy of being found dead in the woods came true and that Valerie Plame was outed by her own employers?
And just how much are we supposed to believe in coincidence that both parties could conclusively prove that their governments lying about the same country at the same time and that Judith Miller would be in the epicenter of both scandals?
And if Dr. Kelly's death was truly a suicide, then why had Lord Hutton ordered the autopsy results sealed until it would be all but guaranteed that all relevant parties (including Bush and Blair) would be dead?
And how unusual is it that there weren't enough pills present to result in death (about a third of a fatal dosage was actually found) and that there wasn't enough blood on the ground to account for the amount of exsanguination necessary for death or that Dr. Kelly wasn't carrying a water bottle that would've been necessary to ingest the pills he allegedly had?
Or that Dr. Kelly's right elbow injury rendered his right hand so useless that he could barely cut a steak let alone his own left wrist or that he was the only person in all of Britain that year to die in such a fashion?
I'm not a big believer in conspiracy theories.
Neither am I big a believer in coincidence and extraordinary circumstances.