Cover Up? Report on Death of Iraq Whistleblower Sealed for 70 Years


Back in 2003 in the run-up to the Iraqi war, there was a BBC report that said intelligence related to Iraq's alleged possession of weapons of mass destruction was "sexed up." One of the key sources for that report was a former United Nations weapons inspector named Dr. David Kelly. Shortly after that report aired, Kelly was found dead. It was ruled a suicide. Now details of his death have been ordered sealed -- for 70 years.

Adding to the mystery was a cryptic email to a reporter for The New York Times just hours before his death, in which Kelly warned of "many dark actors playing games."

Questions about his death started with the discovery of Kelly's body in the woods behind his home in Oxfordshire, U.K. 

A paramedic who responded to the scene was quoted by The Guardian saying, "There just wasn't a lot of blood... When somebody cuts an artery, whether accidentally or intentionally, the blood pumps everywhere. I just think it is incredibly unlikely that he died from the wrist wound we saw."

The claims eventually led a group of doctors to bring formal demands for an investigation into Kelly's death. A report in Morning Star Online said the inquiry, "concluded that Dr. Kelly had killed himself by cutting an artery in his wrist. But the finding has been challenged by doctors who claim that the weapons inspector's stated injuries were not serious enough to have killed him."

But now that report is being sealed for 70 years, and the written records pertaining to the case will be sealed for 30 years. The order was made by Lord Hutton after he completed the inquiry in 2004. It is just coming to light now. And people want to know why.

Dr. Michael Powers, who is campaigning to overturn Lord Hutton's findings, told the Daily Mail: "I cannot understand why this extraordinary move has been taken. It does give rise, perhaps unnecessarily, to a suspicion that information relevant to these circumstances was kept out of the public eye.

"The surprising thing to me is that if this report supports the conclusion that the medical cause of death was suicide, why does it need to be locked up for 70 years? If on the other hand it doesn't, and supports other means of death, then why wasn't this evidence investigated by the Hutton inquiry?"

Dr. David Halpin, another of the group of doctors, said, "'I am shocked but not surprised by this. It fits in with the subversion of due process we have seen for six years. It is extraordinary."

So far, though, Lord Hutton is not talking publicly about why he sealed the records.


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