"Pay close attention to that man behind the curtain!"

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

The limb is at least as strong as this headline and post are long

Just over three weeks ago, I said I was "going out on a limb" by making 4 predictions about the David Kelly case:
1) The tape will vindicate the BBC.
2) The things David Kelly said on the tape will not conflict with what he told the Commons Inquiry before his death when he is said to have "cast doubt on [Gilligan's] version of events." (i.e., I think Kelly chose his words very carefully in that Commons Inquiry)
3) The British government may come out with more blood on its hands than it possibly imagined. (See #1, and imagine what else he might have said about the "dark actors." He may have also named more names than just Campbell "off the record.")
4) Heads will roll, perhaps in the streets of London.
The "tape" referred to above was that of the surreptitiously recorded telephone conversation between BBC science reporter Susan Watts and David Kelly. It took much longer than I expected, but I believe that all 4 of my predictions can now be considered to have come true, though perhaps not to the degree that I originally stated.

I have to admit -- I still haven't finished reading all of Tony Blair's testimony before the Hutton Inquiry, but the reading I was doing last night kept me so intrigued, it was 5 AM before I realized it!

What was I reading? It was the testimony of Dr. Kelly's wife, Mrs. Janice Kelly, his sister, Mrs. Sarah Pape, and two of the ambulance attendants who were called to the scene when Dr. Kelly's dead body was found.

Here are some notable quotes from Mrs. Kelly's testimony (page and line numbers left intact):
5 Q. And were you aware that anyone else was there?
6 A. I suddenly looked up and there was David talking to
7 somebody. I had not got my glasses on so I moved
8 a little bit closer with the hosepipe to see who it was
9 and I recognised it as Nick Rufford. Nick had been to
10 our house before but only by arrangement, he never just
11 turned up before this. No journalist just turned up
12 before this, so I was extremely alarmed about that.
13 Q. Do you know what was said between Mr Rufford and
14 Dr Kelly?
15 A. To be absolutely fair I am not sure now what I heard.
16 David confirmed what I thought I had heard afterwards.
17 I heard him say -- I heard Nick say, I think,
18 "Rupert Murdoch" and I heard David say, "Please leave
19 now". The conversation only took place over about four
20 or five minutes maximum.
21 Q. And did you speak with Dr Kelly after the conversation?
22 A. Yes, I did. He came over to me and said that Nick had
23 said that Murdoch had offered hotel accommodation for
24 both of us away from the media spotlight in return for
25 an article by David. He, David, was to be named that
1 night and that the press were on their way in droves.
2 That was the language David used, I am not sure Nick
3 used that. He also added -- he was very upset and his
4 voice had a break in it at this stage. He got the
5 impression from Nick that the gloves were off now, that
6 Nick would use David's name in any article that he wrote
7 and he was extremely upset.
22 Q. We have heard about the circumstances of Dr Kelly's
23 death and the fact that a knife was used. Were you
24 shown the knife at all?
25 A. We were not shown the knife; we were shown a photocopy
1 of I presume the knife which we recognised as a knife he
2 had had for many years and kept in his drawer.
3 Q. It was a knife he had had what, from childhood?
4 A. From childhood I believe. I think probably from the
5 Boy Scouts.
I sure hope Rupert Murdoch gets called to testify at the Hutton Inquiry. I can't imagine why he'd want to protect David Kelly. I can only assume he wanted to protect himself in case other media outlets got ahold of the story. And now the kitchen knife has morphed into a "Boy Scout" knife. There's more morphing below.

Here are some notable quotes from Sarah Pape:
19 Q. Did he say anything about the atmosphere at the Foreign
20 Affairs Committee hearing?
21 A. He said that it was extremely hot; that many people took
22 their jackets off but he did not want to because he was
23 sweating so much. He was a man who would often stay in
24 a jacket in a formal situation like that. I have seen
25 him lecture at scientific meetings and he would normally
1 keep his jacket on. He said that it was very noisy
2 because there were fans, not air conditioning but just
3 room fans and that he found it quite difficult to hear
4 some of the questions and he was asked more than once to
5 speak up because he could not be heard.
6 Q. Did he say anything to you about the questions that had
7 been asked of him?
8 A. I asked him about the questions. He said he really
9 could not remember an awful lot about many of the
10 questions; but there were one or two questions in
11 particular that he did recall. One -- and bearing in
12 mind I do not know what has been said, I am very much
13 just listening and not really understanding everything
14 he is saying at this stage. He said that one of the
15 questions that really threw him was about a conversation
16 he was supposed to have had with Susan Watts; and he
17 really could not understand where the quotes were coming
18 from that were supposed to have been made by him. At
19 that stage, I did not understand what he meant by that.
4 Q. Can I just ask you to look at FAC/1/65, which I think
5 might be what you are referring to?
6 A. It is question 22, which was asked him by Mr Chidgey.
7 Q. I think that is right.
8 A. I will just find it myself because I think it is quite
9 important to actually see the exact words.
10 Q. At the foot of the page.
11 A. Yes. Mr Chidgey says:
12 "I just want to move on to the section of our
13 inquiry dealing with contacts with Andrew Gilligan and
14 journalists, but before we talk about Andrew Gilligan
15 can I just confirm that you have also met Susan Watts?"
16 My brother replies:
17 "I have met her on one occasion."
18 Mr Chidgey then quotes, at some length, a quote that
19 he believes my brother made.
20 Q. This is FAC/1/66. You see the quote at question 23 and
21 then the question in the final sentence:
22 "I understand from Miss Watts that is the record of
23 a meeting that you had with her. Do you still agree
24 with those comments?"
25 A. My brother replies:
1 "First of all, I do not recognise those comments,
2 I have to say. The meeting I had with her was on
3 November 5 last year [that would have been 2002] and
4 I remember that precisely because I gave a presentation
5 in the Foreign Office on Iraq's weapons of mass
6 destruction. I cannot believe that on that occasion
7 I made that statement."
8 He is obviously remembering a face to face meeting,
9 I think the only face to face meeting he had with
10 Susan Watts.
18 Then the next question, question 24, Mr Chidgey does
19 say:
20 "That is very helpful. Can I just be clear on this:
21 I understand that those notes refer to meetings that
22 took place shortly before the Newsnight broadcasts that
23 would have been on 2 and 4 June."
24 My brother replies:
25 "I have only met Susan Watts on one occasion, which
1 was not on a one-to-one basis, it was at the end of
2 a public presentation."
3 I know from conversations that we have had in the
4 past that he very much used the word to mean what it
5 meant.
15 I believe that when he is thinking about meetings he
16 is thinking about face to face meetings; so although
17 Mr Chidgey is trying to push him towards thinking that
18 this happened more recently, there was not a more recent
19 face to face meeting, so he really does not recall it.
20 I understand that the quotations came from the
21 recorded telephone conversation --
22 Q. That is what you now understand?
23 A. -- which of course he did not know was being recorded.
24 Susan Watts said that in her evidence. So I just
25 believe he has not triggered that conversation in his
1 memory. So he really feels that this is not him that is
2 being quoted, or certainly not at that time.
3 Q. How did he explain to you his reaction when he heard
4 this?
5 A. He was just perplexed and he did not have an
6 explanation. He just said he could not understand how
7 that could have been him.
As it is plain to see, the reason that David Kelly denied the charge was that Mr. Chidgey had used the word "meeting" in his question. A telephone call is not a meeting, and Dr. Kelly didn't know he was being recorded.

Here are some of the things which caught my attention in Tuesday afternoon's testimony. The first section below is from the testimony given by the paramedic from the ambulance called to attend to the body of David Kelly:
18 Q. Can you tell his Lordship your full name?
19 A. Vanessa Elizabeth Hunt.
20 Q. What is your occupation?
21 A. I am a paramedic.
1 ... I initially placed the heart monitor paddles
2 on to the chest over the top of his shirt.
3 Q. Did you get any reading at all?
4 A. There was some artefact reading I believed to be from
5 myself as opposed to the body, so we said to the police
6 officers would it be possible to place four sticky
7 electrodes on to the chest, to verify that life was
8 extinct.
8 Q. And is there anything else that you know of about the
9 circumstances of Dr Kelly's death that you can assist
10 his Lordship with?
11 A. Only that the amount of blood that was around the scene
12 seemed relatively minimal and there was a small patch on
13 his right knee, but no obvious arterial bleeding. There
14 was no spraying of blood or huge blood loss or any
15 obvious loss on the clothing.
It took this long for the information about the "mysterious" electrodes to be revealed to the public. Any hack reporter could have simply asked a random ambulance attendant, morgue attendant, coroner, or homicide investigator to get this information, but they didn't do it. Just by reading the transcript (more than what you see above), I figured out this much: It's SOP -- Standard Operating Procedure.

Particularly note the lack of blood around the body. We've been told repeatedly that David Kelly died from loss of blood, and blood doesn't just "evaporate" like that. There was only a small stain of blood on his clothing, too. These are the types of forensic evidence I'd be looking at if I were doing the physical investigation.

This next section is the testimony of the second ambulance attendant.
1 A. David Ian Bartlett.
2 Q. And what is your occupation?
3 A. Ambulance technician.
2 Q. What about the face? Did you notice anything about the
3 face?
4 A. Yes, going from the corners of the mouth were two
5 stains, one slightly longer than the other.
6 Q. Where did the stains go to from the mouth?
7 A. Towards the bottom of the ears.
11 Q. What type of a knife was it?
12 A. I think it was one of those silver quite flat ones with
13 like a curved blade, more like a pruning knife.
9 Q. Is there anything else you would like to say about the
10 circumstances leading to Dr Kelly's death?
11 A. Just the same as my colleague actually, we was surprised
12 there was not more blood on the body if it was an
13 arterial bleed.
If the body was slumped against a tree, whatever it was that was oozing from his mouth (blood, saliva, vomit?) would not have flowed upward. It seems he would have had to be lying on his back. The knife has morphed once again. First it was a kitchen knife, then a "Boy Scout" knife, but the ambulance technician saw a "pruning knife." At another time, it has even been reported as having been a "pen knife."

To wrap it up for today, the e-mail which David Kelly sent to New York Times reporter Judith Miller referring to "dark actors" is now online at this link. Here's the entire content:
From: David Kelly [followed probably by his e-mail address, which was redacted]
Sent: 17 July 2003 11.18
To: Judith Miller
Subject: RE:you


I will wait until the end of the week before judging - many dark actors playing games.

Thanks for your support. I appreciate your friendship at this time.



- - - - - Original message - - - - -
From: Judith Miller [followed probably by her e-mail address, which was redacted]
Sent: 16 July 2003 00 30 [?]
To: [Redacted. Most likely David Kelly's e-mail address.]
Subject: you

I heard from another member of your fan club that things went well for you today. Hope it's true J.
There's not too much new information in there, but to see him mentioning "wait[ing] until the end of the week" mere hours before going on his last walk is a bit disconcerting.
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