The inquiry's startling revelations and accusations now extend right to the very top of government where a conspiracy was hatched to slander and harass both Dr. Kelly and Andrew Gilligan of the BBC, and place them under intolerable pressure. The aim was to discredit and silence them, in order to protect Blair and co. by covering up the trail of deceit they left behind as they plunged the country into war with Iraq. Astonishingly, Dr Kelly had a feeling in February that he would "probably be found dead in the woods" if war broke out.
Today, months after the war officially ended, fewer and fewer people believe the government's lies. A Guardian/ICM survey has revealed that half the electorate now believes that the government deliberately embellished its report on Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). While an amazing 52 per cent trust neither the government nor the BBC to tell the truth, 34 per cent find the BBC more believable! Only 6 per cent trust the government more. The vast majority, some 68 per cent, say the government treated Dr Kelly - who apparently killed himself after being targeted by the Ministry of Defence as the source of a BBC allegation that the dossier was "sexed up" by Downing Street - unfairly. Just 8 per cent believe the government's treatment of the MoD scientist was fair.
Despite all their spin, the only reputations being damaged by this affair are those of Blair and his unelected coterie of 'advisers'. A Populus poll, earlier this month, found 52 per cent now trusted Blair very little or not at all. The findings came after Downing Street was forced to admit that the prime minister's spokesman, Tom Kelly, had attempted to tarnish the late Dr. Kelly's reputation by describing him as a "Walter Mitty character", despite earlier denials from the government.
This is the most serious crisis faced by the Blair government since it first came to power in 1997. Already on thin ice both in relation to the war, and the government's big business policies at home, this new scandal could prove to be Blair's Watergate.
The evidence from Hutton reveals a government split at its highest levels over the Iraq crisis. Prior to the war, even Blair's chief of staff, Jonathan Powell, did not believe that the evidence presented in the crucial dossier demonstrated that Saddam posed any threat, "let alone an imminent threat". In an e-mail to Joint Intelligence Committee chairman Sir John Scarlett, Powell wrote: "We need to make it clear in launching the document that we don't claim that we have evidence that he (Saddam Hussein) is an imminent threat.
"The dossier is good and convincing for those who are prepared to be
"The document does nothing to demonstrate a threat, let alone an imminent threat from Saddam.
"In other words it shows he has the means, but it doesn't demonstrate he has the motive to attack his neighbours, let alone the West."
Just one week later the so-called "sexed-up" version of the dossier was released, claiming that Saddam could launch weapons of mass destruction in 45 minutes.
The dossier was revamped in order to provide "evidence" on which the Attorney-General could declare an attack on Iraq to be legal. On this basis Blair declared Iraq to be "a serious and current threat" to Britain. This was the excuse used for backing the United States in first bombing and then invading Iraq.
When the Gilligan story broke, Tom Kelly, Blair's official spokesman, admitted in an e-mail, "This is now a game of chicken with the Beeb. The only way they will shift is when they see the screw tightening."
On 8 July, Jonathan Powell, Jack Straw, Alastair Campbell, the MoD's top civil servant, Sir Kevin Tebbit and Blair's two spokesmen, all took part in the drafting of a press release to say an official had come forward to admit talking to the BBC. The next day Dr Kelly was named in public.
The Blair team discussed making Kelly go before the Commons' Foreign Affairs Committee for a public grilling, but there was alarm that he might reveal doubts over WMD. As Powell stated: "Kevin Tebbitt said that, while Dr Kelly supported the war and was certain that Saddam had WMD, he might say more uncomfortable things about specific items on which he had views.
"The Prime Minister wanted to know what Dr Kelly thought about WMD and
what he would say.
"The Prime Minister made it clear the MoD should continue its internal process and that Dr Kelly should be re-interviewed."
The evidence is piling up that Kelly was driven to suicide by this government-orchestrated witch-hunt. The full responsibility for this crime must be placed at the door of Number 10 Downing Street and the Blair entourage. No doubt Blair will distance himself from the scene and will persuade someone else to be the fall-guy, possibly Hoon. The entire labour movement must protest against the unaccountable, anti-democratic conduct of the rightwing clique around Blair. They dragged the British people unwillingly into war, sent British soldiers to their death, and sanctioned the killing of thousands of innocent Iraqis, on the basis of lies and a crude misrepresentation of the facts. To cover their tracks they are resorting to yet more lies and deceit. We say: enough is enough!
Blair should resign. The whole Cabinet should be cleansed. A new leader and Cabinet should be elected not tainted with the pro-business policies of the past. Market policies have led to a disaster. A foreign policy based on supporting the adventures of US imperialism is an extension of the pro-capitalist policies being pursued at home.
Now is the time for a return to socialist policies both at
home and abroad. Only then can the aspirations of working people be satisfied.
Out with the warmongers and privateers!
Reclaim Labour for socialism and internationalism!