Monday, January 29, 2007


This list runs from 1994 to 2005. It offers useful direct links to information about each individual death together with photographs of each of the dead scientists. Steve Quayle also has a good illustrated list dating from 1994 - 2006.

The number of scientists who've met sudden death in recent years is now up to 88 according to this updated list.

Dr Paul Norman, Chief Scientist for Chemical and Biological Defence at Porton Down (Dr Kelly's role a decade earlier) met his sudden death in July 2004, almost exactly a year after Dr Kelly was found dead on Harrowdown Hill. Here is the BBC report:

Air crash man was weapons expert

The pilot of a light aircraft who was killed along with three passengers when his plane came down in a Devon field was a chemical weapons expert. Dr Paul Norman, 52, of Salisbury, Wiltshire, died when the Cessna 206 crashed shortly after taking off from Dunkeswell Airfield on Sunday. Dr Norman, a married father-of-two, was chief scientist for chemical and biological defence at Porton Down. He travelled the world lecturing on the subject of weapons of mass destruction. Dr Norman's Porton Down colleague Steve Eley said: "Paul was a great deal larger than life, and has left an enormous number of friends, all of whom have lost an irreplaceable part of their lives." Passengers injured Dr Norman's hobbies included parachuting, flying and looking after his small collection of old cars. Richard Smith, 42, and his daughter Claire, 17, from Winkleigh in Devon, also died at the scene of the crash near the village of Beacon. Parachute instructor and Royal Marine Major Mike Wills, 44, died later in hospital. The aircraft's other two passengers, 16-year-old Daniel Greening from Kingsteignton, Devon, and a 23-year-old from Taunton, Somerset, are still in hospital. The flight was organised by the Devon and Somerset Parachute School, which has temporarily suspended its operations. The crash site was examined by officials from the Air Accidents Investigation Branch and the wreckage of the aircraft was moved to the organisation's base at Farnborough.

Many more scientists have been murdered in Iraq:

310 Iraqi scientists murdered by Mossad 10-31-4

More than 310 Iraqi scientists are thought to have perished at the hands of Israeli secret agents in Iraq since fall of Baghdad to US troops in April 2003, a seminar has found. The Iraqi ambassador in Cairo, Ahmad al-Iraqi, accused Israel of sending to Iraq immediately after the US invasion 'a commando unit' charged with the killing of Iraqi scientists. "Israel has played a prominent role in liquidating Iraqi scientists. The campaign is part of a Zionist plan to kill Arab and Muslim scientists working in applied research which Israel sees as threatening its interests," al-Iraqi said.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

The material of Gordon Thomas, uncorroborated and unreferenced, has to be viewed with some scepticism. However, skipping over his obvious propagandising re the Chinese, Russians, Syrians, Iranians, and North Koreans, (the UK and US are always pristine of course), these two articles - most recent first - are certainly interesting, and may, in part, be accurate.


By Gordon Thomas

Dr. David Kelly—the biological warfare weapons specialist at the heart of the continuing political crisis for the British government—had links to three other top microbiologists whose deaths have left unanswered questions.

The 59-year-old British scientist was involved with ultra secret work at Israel’s Institute for Biological Re search. Israeli sources claim Kelly met institute scientists several times in London in the past two years.

Israel has not signed the Biological Weapons and Toxins Convention, an international treaty ratified by more than 140 countries. It forbids the development, possession and use of offensive biological and chemical weapons.

The CIA, FBI and MI5 are now examining Kelly’s connections. Their findings could form part of the British government’s inquiry into the background of Kelly’s death, which opened last week.

The intelligence investigation is believed to have originated in Washington, where it emerged that Kelly had contacts with two companies in the U.S. bio-defense industry.
One of the men he was in touch with was a former Russian defector, Kamovtjan Alibekov. When he arrived in America, he changed his name to Ken Alibek. He is now president of Hadron Advanced Biosystems—a company specializing in medicines against biological terrorist attacks. Kelly was himself considering resigning from his senior post at the Ministry of Defense to work in America. Before his death, he had been discreetly headhunted by two companies. One was Hadron Advanced Biosystems, which has close ties to the Pentagon.

Hadron describes itself as “a company specializing in the development of technical solutions for the U.S. intelligence community.” Hadron also has links to William Patrick, who has five classified patents on the process of developing weaponized anthrax. He is a biowarfare consultant to both the Pentagon and the CIA.

The other company is Regma Biotechnologies—one that Kelly helped its founder, Vladimir Pasechnik, to set up in Britain, arranging for it to have a laboratory at Porton Down, the country’s chem-bio warfare defense establishment.

Regma currently has a contract with the U.S. Navy for “the diagnostic and therapeutic treatment of anthrax.”

Kelly had told family friends he wanted to go to America so that he could obtain the specialized treatment his wife, Janice, requires. “He also felt that working in the U.S. private sector would relieve him of the intense pressures which came with his government work,” said a colleague in the Ministry of Defense.

The two American scientists he had worked with were Benito Que, 52, and Don Wiley, 57. Both microbiologists had been engaged in DNA sequencing that could provide “a genetic marker based on genetic profiling.” The research could play an important role in developing weaponized pathogens to hit selected groups of humans—identifying them by race. Two years ago, both men were found dead, in circumstances never fully explained.

In November 2001, Que left his laboratory after receiving a telephone call. Shortly afterward he was found comatose in the parking lot of the Miami Medical School. He died without regaining consciousness.

Police said he had suffered a heart attack. His family insisted he had been in perfect health and claimed four men attacked him. But, later, oddly, the family inquest returned a verdict of death by natural causes.

Many questions remain about Que’s death:

Who was the mystery caller who sent Que hurrying from his lab hours before he was scheduled to leave? What attempts did the police make to track the four mystery men—after admitting Que was the “probable” victim of an attempt to steal his car? What were his links to the U.S. Department of Defense? What happened to his sensitive research into DNA sequencing? How close were his connections to Kelly?

A few days after Que died, Wiley disappeared off a bridge spanning the Mississippi River. He had just left a banquet for fellow researchers in Memphis.

Weeks later, Wiley’s body was found 300 miles down river. As with Que, his family said he was in perfect health. There was no autopsy. The local medical examiner returned a verdict of accidental death. It was suggested he had a dizzy spell and fell off the bridge.

Again, there remain many unanswered questions concerning Wiley’s demise:

Why did Wiley park his car on the bridge? Why did he leave the keys in the ignition and his lights on? Why was Wiley’s car facing in the opposite direction from his father’s house, which was only a short distance away? What happened to his research into DNA sequencing? How close were his connections to Kelly?

Kelly, himself an expert on DNA sequencing when he was head of microbiology at Porton Down, had been kept fully abreast of the two men’s research.

The death of a third microbiologist—Vladimir Pasechnik, 64—has left even more questions.
Kelly had played a key role in debriefing Pasechnik when he fled to Britain in 1989, bringing with him details of Russian plans to use cruise missiles to spread smallpox and plague, the Black Death of medieval times, which killed a third of Europe’s population. Before the plans could be brought to completion, the Soviet Union had collapsed. Pasechnik had warned Kelly and his MI6 debriefers that the weapons could be used by terror groups—using missiles obtained from China or North Korea.

Kelly, with government approval, had helped Pasechnik create Regma Biotechnologies. Regma was allowed to set up a laboratory in Porton Down.

Research there is classified as top secret. However, in August 2002, the company obtained a contract with the U.S. Navy for “the diagnostic and therapeutic treatment of anthrax.”
On Nov. 16, 2001, Pasechnik was found dead in bed—10 days after he and Wiley had met in Boston to discuss the latest developments in DNA sequencing.

It was only a month later that Christopher Davis, a former MI6 officer and a specialist in DNA sequencing as a potential weapon, announced Pasechnik’s death.

Davis had retired from MI6 and settled in Great Falls, Va. He confirmed to a reporter that Pasechnik was dead—from a stroke—a month after the microbiologist had been buried.
Details of the postmortem were not revealed at an inquest, in which the press was given no prior notice. Colleagues who had worked with Pasechnik said he was in good health.

Why was it left to Davis to announce Pasechnik’s death? Who authorized the announcement? Did an MI6 pathologist conduct the autopsy, as one source close to the service claims? Why did Pasechnik continue to visit Porton Down up to a week before his death? Who authorized his security clearance to enter one of the most restricted establishments in Britain?

Kelly’s links to the Institute of Biological Research in the Tel Aviv suburb of Nes Zions are also intriguing.

His connection to the secret biological plant began in October 2001, shortly after a commercial flight en route from Israel to Novosibirsk in Siberia was blown up over the Black Sea by a Ukrainian surface-to-air missile.

All on board the flight were killed, including five Russian microbiologists returning to their research institute in Novosibirsk—a city known as the scientific capital of Siberia. It has 50 facilities and 13 universities.

Many questions remain about the death of these five scientists. Why did Mossad send a team to Ukraine to investigate the crash? What became of their report after it was submitted to the Israeli government? Why do the Ukrainian authorities still insist they cannot reveal the name of the dead microbiologists? Did Pasechnik know them—or, more importantly, did Kelly?
The Institute for Biological Research is one of the most secret places in Israel. Only Dimona, the country’s nuclear facility in the Negev desert, is surrounded by more secrecy. Most of the institute’s 12 acres of facilities are underground. Laboratories are only reached through airlocks.

There have been persistent reports that the institute is also engaged in DNA sequencing research. One former member of the Knesset, Dedi Zucker, caused a storm in the Israeli Parliament when he claimed that the institute was “trying to create an ethnic specific weapon” in which Arabs could be targeted by Israeli weapons.

[with editorial comments]

by Gordon Thomas

Dr. David Kelly, the top British microbiologist and whistleblower, had close links to the dark world of secret intelligence.

Dr. Kelly was not employed by MI5 or MI6 – or any other intelligence service. But He enjoyed an unique access to all the world’s top spy agencies. In Britain, France, Germany, North America, Japan and Australia: they all consulted him.

Into his office – room number 2/35 – in the Ministry of Defence Proliferation and Arms Control Secretariat in London, came emails and phone calls asking him for his help.

More than any scientist he knew about types and strains of micro-organisms, numbers of shells and aerial bombs filled with botulinum toxin. He knew the latest figures for the production of bio-weapons material in China, the gallons of growth material in Syria, Pakistan – and which countries had sold the material.

Almost uniquely, he kept a large amount of his secret data in his study at home. There on his desktop computer, were tens of thousands of secret documents and photographs.

For a man who was not a spy it was a collection of data any intelligence officer would envy.
For those who wondered about his ways, he would reassure them his bosses in the Ministry of Defence or the Foreign Office were happy with his unorthodox methods.

He liked to say that his loyalty was to what “I believe is right or wrong, true or false”.
In reality he was an academic who had escaped the dull confines of academia to live in the ever-dangerous world of secret intelligence and the hunt for weapons of mass destruction.

*Since 1995 he had worked for Mossad – with the full blessing of MI6, Britain’s secret intelligence service.

*He had played a key part in helping the FBI try and trace the origin of the Ames-strain of anthrax – the rod-shaped, spore-forming bacterium that had caused widespread panic across America in the wake of 9/11. [A contact in the US told me that Kelly had indeed been involved in the anthrax mystery and had visited the States in this connection. As a leading authority on anthrax I was told he had briefed Tony Blair on his return].

*He had orchestrated the defection of a top Russian microbiologist, Vladimir Pasechnik, working on a doomsday biological weapon – “capable of destroying a third of the planet’s population”.

*He had been the only outsider allowed by the CIA to question a top Chinese defector, Colonel Xu Junping, head of the People Liberation Army Foreign Affairs Office, about China’s bio-warfare program.

Dr. Kelly’s involvement in intelligence work had placed him on the hit list of Saddam’s Hussein’s notorious death squad and those of the Chinese Secret Intelligence Service, CSIS.

But a deliberate decision had been taken by Britain’s security services - MI5 and MI6 , Scotland Yard’s Special Branch and the Thames Valley police who had day-to-day responsibility to protect Kelly’s home in the picture postcard village in Oxfordshire where he lived – not to surround Kelly with protection. [Now this, I cannot believe. If not "surrounded" with protection, he would at least have had some global positioning device on him - if he didn't, that would have constitutued a flagrant irresponsibility on the part of the authorities - and possibly a deliberate "leaving the gates open" to enable assassins to enter the arena].

“The view was that it would have been hard to protect him without drawing attention to him. And Dr. Kelly had himself refused to accept his life could be in danger”, said an intelligence source in London. [That, too, is implausible. According to diplomat David Broucher, Kelly was acutely aware his life could be in danger, and he had been offered a flak jacket by Thames Valley Police].

But in the last hours of his life he did suddenly find himself hemmed in by security. [What - protecting him? Or intimidating him, to prevent him dropping any more bombshells?] Two Ministry of Defence detectives accompanied the 59-year-old scientist to the closed hearing of the Parliamentary Intelligence Oversight Committee that close-questioned him whether he was the source that had provided the BBC radio defence correspondent, Andrew Gilligan, with details that led to the Blair government publishing what has become known as the “sexed up dossier” about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction.

The clash between the BBC and the Blair government was that between naval-gazing titans which went to the heart of a fundamental issue: had Britain and the United States gone to war against Iraq on a false pretence?

The BBC report on it’s showcase radio program, 'Today', had ignited the fuse which had been sizzling for weeks when no weapons of mass destruction had been found.

Kelly had himself expressed doubts that they would turn up in Iraq. But he had never expected those doubts to be made public.

Forty-eight hours after Kelly’s death, the BBC admitted that Kelly was the source. But was that sufficient reason for a battle-hardened scientist - who had successfully confronted Iraq’s security services and had walked unharmed through the Byzantine path of the intelligence world – to have taken his life?

The questions which remain so far unresolved are:

*What were the MI5 officers after when they grilled Kelly after his second appearance before the Commons Select Committee?

*Why did Dr. Kelly arrive home so upset that his wife, Janice, was visibly shocked at his manner and appearance?

*Why did Kelly leave his home suddenly on last Friday afternoon? [Presumably he means Thursday afternoon - 17th July 2003?]

*Why, after his body was discovered, did MI5 officers and forensic scientists from Porton Down, Britain’s bio-chemical research establishment, search the Kelly home? They left with a number of items sealed in bags. The police would not say what the items had to do with Kelly’s death.

*What information did MI6 continue to allow Kelly to share with Israel? What did Mossad offer Britain in return?

*What did Kelly know about Russia’s experiments with smallpox at a secret research center, known as Corpus 6? It is situated in a sprawling complex deep inside the larch and birch forests near the remote Siberian town of Koltsovo.

Eradicated from the planet in 1979, smallpox is the most deadly of all viruses. Officially it is held in only two high-security freezers at the Centre for Disease Control in Atlanta, GA and at Koltsovo.

Kelly who had visited Koltsovo had warned his intelligence contacts that it was “very possible that stocks of smallpox could be in the hands of rogue states like North Korea and Iran or in the possession of terror groups like al-Qaeda”.

Such claims will ensure that Kelly’s death will be increasingly linked to his secret work for spy agencies.

His involvement with Mossad came in April 1995. He travelled with two MI6 officers from London to New York. At the city’s Israeli consulate they met two Mossad officers. Present were officers of the Canadian Secret Intelligence Services and agents from the FBI.

The purpose of the meeting was to track how 32 tonnes of bacterial growth medium – essential for manufacturing lethal germs – was being illegally exported to Iraq from Montreal.
Dr. Kelly – already a world-ranking expert on biological weapons – had played a “crucial role” in identifying the growth medium.

While many of the details to this day remain secret, Shabtai Shavit, who had been Mossad director-general at the time of the operation, would later pay tribute to Dr. Kelly’s “great skills”.

It also ensured that the scientist was first choice when the United Nations came to appoint a senior advisor to supervise the break-up of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction program after the first Gulf war.

His ability to do so placed him on Saddam’s hit list. But in the end Saddam turned out to be too frightened of the repercussions to have assassinated a senior UN official at the time Iraq was rebuilding itself after the 1991 war.

In between working in Iraq, Dr. Kelly was also in charge of the program to dismantle Russia’s biological warfare weapons program under the trilateral agreement brokered between Russia, the United States and Britain.

In Moscow, Kelly met Russia’s top microbiologist Vladimir Pasechnik.

He was then a 53-year-old chemist who was director of the Ultrapture Biopreperations Institute in St. Petersburg.

The two men had become friends to the point where Pasechnik told Kelly – according to an MI5 document – he was “part of the Biopreparat, a large secret program, which is developing biological weapons like plague and smallpox”.

Kelly knew that plague, or Yersinia pestis, had brought the Black Death that wiped out a third of the population of Europe in 1348. It was air-transmitted, propelled by pneumonia like coughing.

Kelly reported what he had been told to Christopher Davis, then an MI6 officer who had an office in the Metropole Building near Trafalgar Square, in London.

Davis was an analyst on the Defence Intelligence Staff and an acknowledged expert in chemical and biological weapons.

Now retired and living in Virginia, US, he has said his job was “to take all the bits and pieces and try to assemble them into a picture of something”.

Kelly’s news galvanised the normally quite and reserved Davis.

He informed his own MI6 controller – a man still known only as ADI-53.
Within weeks, with the help of Kelly, MI6 had mounted an operation to whisk Pasechnik from the Paris science conference he was attending.

Travelling by Eurostar the Russian and his MI6 minders arrived in London.
Pasechnik was taken to a safe house – probably similar to the one where Kelly was grilled by intelligence agents in the last hours of his life.

Kelly supervised the interrogation of Pasechnik. Later the Russian was given a job at the Centre for Applied Microbiology and Research, run by the Department of Health.
In February, 2000 he founded a company called Regman Biotechnologies. Its articles of association said it was a privately owned company “working to provide powerful alternatives to antibiotics”.

Kelly was a frequent visitor to the company. And he often took the Russian with him to Porton Down.

To go there Pasechnik had signed the Official Secret’s Act – forbidding him to talk about his work. A similar stricture governed Kelly’s work and all the other scientists at Porton Down.
But Mossad sources have said that Pasechnik was a leading specialist in DNA sequencing – sophisticated research which is a vital element in developing biological weapons – and defences against them.

On November 2, 2001, later described by friends as being in the best of health, the 64-year-old Russian was found dead in his village home outside Salisbury. The cause of death was certified as a stroke.

Only a handful of colleagues attended his funeral. It was only a week later that news of his death surfaced when Christopher Davis confirmed the fact.

Dr. Kelly was not one of the mourners at the funeral. He disliked them – any public occasions.
His own death has ensured that he would not enjoy similar anonymity.

Friday, January 26, 2007


by Renan Talieva

On 16 March 2004, Oxfordshire coroner Nicholas Gardiner announced that he would not reopen the inquest into scientist David Kelly's death.

Citing the absence of fresh evidence or exceptional circumstances to justify reconvening the inquest, he concurred "that the Lord Chancellor's belief in the adequacy of the inquiry was well founded"
[1] and declared himself satisfied with Lord Hutton's conclusions regarding the cause and manner of death.

Mr. Gardiner summarily dismissed the concerns of "conspiracy theorists" whom he claimed did not have access to "all the relevant data," noting that he had been furnished additional materials by the Thames Valley Police and had seen an "excellent report" by the detective chief inspector.

The coroner further attempted to stave off objections by anticipating that there would be differences of expert opinion even with a full inquest, and by expressing the wish that the widow and family be allowed to grieve in peace.

He failed to note, however, that many of those concerns are not trivial differences of opinion but sound observations of incomplete and inconclusive evidence. Suspicion that the body was moved, or that Dr. Kelly was physically unable to swallow pills, or that a minimal amount of blood was present at the scene, casts serious doubt on a finding of suicide.

He also chose not to address the odd timing of the police report (commencing before Dr. Kelly left his home and concluding at the time his body was found), or to clarify the disputed identities and functions of individuals involved in the investigation.

And while the family certainly deserves the sympathy and restraint of the public and the media, it is disingenuous to suggest that demanding a legitimate investigation is disrespectful of the bereaved.

In his 14-minute hearing and prepared statement, the coroner offered rationalization—not explanation. By basing his conclusion on information not submitted to the inquiry or made accessible to the public, his investigation raised far more questions than it answered. It also effectively bypassed the established procedure for dealing with suspicious deaths.

Inquest interrupted

On 18 July 2003, the day the body was found, Lord Falconer as Lord Chancellor appointed a judicial inquiry under Lord Hutton to conduct an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death. Hutton was not granted statutory powers under the Tribunals of Inquiry (Evidence) Act 1921, which would have included authority to subpoena witnesses and to call for new evidence.

The following month, upon the coroner's receipt of the pathologist's amended medical report, Lord Falconer ordered the inquest adjourned and the coroner's investigative function suspended for the duration of the Hutton proceedings. He invoked section 17A(1) of the Coroner's Act 1988 ("the Act"), under which "the Lord Chancellor considers that the cause of death is likely to be adequately investigated by the inquiry."

Section 17A was added by the Access to Justice Act 1999 to allow multiple inquests arising from a fatal disaster to be subsumed within a single judicial inquiry [3]; it has been used for similar adjournments during inquiries into the Ladbroke Grove rail crash, the Harold Shipman homicides, and the sinking of the fishing vessel the Gaul. All three cases involved multiple deaths appropriate to an institutional inquiry where the cause of death could to some extent be assumed from the outset.

That was not true for this case. The provision had questionable relevance and utility to the Kelly investigation, other than to quell controversy arising from the government's justification for invading Iraq and to absolve its officials of culpability for the supposed suicide. In any event, it was not meant to relieve the coroner of overall responsibility for ensuring a credible investigation into the cause of death.

Whatever its political objective, the inquiry proved wholly inadequate to the task of rendering a plausible verdict on how Dr. Kelly died. It failed to clearly establish intent to commit suicide on the part of the deceased or to provide convincing medical evidence to substantiate the cause of death.

Presumption of suicide

The fact that the inquest was replaced by an inquiry does not lower the standard of proof for returning a finding of suicide. It must be proved beyond reasonable doubt that the deceased killed himself and that he intended to kill himself.

A 1975 ruling specifies the following restrictions to coronial presumption of suicide:

"If a person dies a violent death, the possibility of suicide may be there for all to see, but it must not be presumed merely because it seems on the face of it to be a likely explanation. Suicide must be proved by evidence, and if it is not proved by evidence, it is the duty of the coroner not to find suicide, but to find an open verdict." [4]

This is best achieved in an appropriate legal environment with recourse to witness subpoena, sworn testimony, and rigorous cross-examination. The Hutton Inquiry lacked the authority as well as the apparent initiative to adequately explore alternative explanations as to cause of death. It cannot be said that the possibility of foul play was aggressively ruled out.

Burden of proof further requires the submission of positive evidence sufficient to establish the deceased's intention to take his own life. This requirement is not met by inferences drawn from circumstantial evidence or from psychological theories of expert witnesses.
It was suggested that Dr. Kelly had suffered a "severe loss of self esteem, resulting from his feeling that people had lost trust in him" and that he was feeling that "the prospects for continuing in his previous work role were diminishing very markedly."

But this was unsupported in fact. It was not shown Dr. Kelly had been informed he could not return to Iraq with the survey group (quite the contrary), that disciplinary action had commenced against him, or that he was in danger of losing his job. There was no evidence from professional colleagues to suggest that his standing in the scientific community was perceived to have been adversely affected or that he had suffered the loss of respect of his peers.

There was also speculation that Dr. Kelly must have been plunged into a "profound sense of hopelessness" [6] by communications he received on the morning of 17 July.

Research indicates, however, that hopelessness is only one etiological factor contributing to an individual's vulnerability to suicide. [7] While it has been shown to be the decisive factor in studies of psychiatric patients with histories of depression and suicidal ideation, Dr. Kelly did not fall into this category. Nor could his thinking style be accurately characterized as exhibiting "a tendency to feel hopeless when faced with a difficult circumstance." [8]

The inquiry failed to provide evidence of premeditation, preoccupation with death or self-harm, history of suicide attempts or life-threatening behavior, despair or despondency in communications with friends and colleagues, persistent depressive mood, history of mental disorders or psychiatric illness, history of alcohol or drug abuse, self-reports of depression, mental confusion or disorientation, sleep or appetite disorder, medical illness or disability, or major financial difficulties.

In fact, the evidence overwhelmingly indicates that Dr. Kelly was in good psychological and physical health, appeared predominantly upbeat in spite of his difficulties, and had exhibited no direct or indirect manifestation of suicidal inclination.

Insufficient evidence

In his report, Lord Hutton defines his terms of reference as including "the circumstances preceding and leading up to the death of Dr Kelly insofar as (1) they might have had an effect on his state of mind and influenced his actions preceding and leading up to his death or (2) they might have influenced the actions of others which affected Dr Kelly preceding and leading up to his death." [9]

He does not mention a responsibility to ascertain "how, when and where the deceased came by his death," which is the objective of an inquest's proceedings and evidence as specified in section 36 of the Coroner's Rules 1984.

The inquiry heard evidence concerning Dr. Kelly's disclosures to the media, his treatment by the government, the progress of the police investigation, the drafting of the dossier, the reporting of the media, and other aspects of the case. But there was little critical analysis of the medical evidence or its interpretation.

Among other deficiencies, the inquiry failed to explore whether the fatal wound could have been inflicted by another person, or how the various bruises and abrasions might have been sustained. Nor did it attempt to resolve conflicting evidence regarding body position, location of blood stains, and the amount of blood at the scene.

Circumstantial evidence exerted an inordinate influence on statements from forensic witnesses, who routinely referred to the ingestion of 29 tablets based on the number of empty blister packs found at the scene. Witnesses were invited to speculate on the feasibility of forced or coerced ingestion of tablets, but were not queried on the availability of injectable substances or other possible scenarios.

Moreover, numerous witness statements and various details of toxicological analysis and pathological evidence were not made available to the inquiry.

When Lord Hutton nonetheless concluded that Dr. Kelly had died from self-inflicted knife wounds, coproxamol ingestion, and coronary artery disease, his unqualified verdict elicited skepticism from a number of observers.

Medical specialists expressed reservations concerning the medical likelihood of the primary cause of death. [10] Legal experts raised objection to the weakened burden of proof and lack of due process. [11] A 9 March broadcast of Channel 4 News reported that even the pathologist who performed the post mortem examination had commented, "I would be more comfortable with a full inquest." [12]

An earlier Online Journal report by this author [13] describes many of the inquiry's evidentiary discrepancies and omissions which, still unresolved, raise the following concerns:

* Is it reasonable to conclude that Dr. Kelly bled to death when there was no assessment of residual blood volume, surprisingly little blood was found at the scene, and a single transected ulnar artery does not typically result in fatal hemorrhage?

* Is it reasonable to conclude that Dr. Kelly had ingested an overdose of coproxamol when he was reported to have difficulty in swallowing pills, the substances could have been injected instead of ingested, and blood levels represented one-third to one-quarter the fatal dosage?

* Is it reasonable to conclude that no other person was involved in the death when Dr. Kelly had previously mentioned "dark actors playing games" and being found "dead in the woods," the primary wound was not typical of self-infliction, and the position in which the body was found was not consistent with other physiological indications?

Although these and other concerns were communicated directly to the coroner in anticipation of the inquest's resumption, he was not persuaded by what he deemed to be irrelevant information.

Inquest denied

In defending his decision to confirm the findings of the Hutton Report in lieu of conducting a full coroner's inquest, Mr. Gardiner pointed out that the Kelly family had accepted the conclusion of suicide.

But the coroner does not undertake his investigation on behalf of the deceased's family or any other representative. He is required under section 8(1) of the Act to hold an inquest into the cause of any violent or unnatural death within his jurisdiction.

The Court of Appeal's 1994 review of coronial law and practice further defines his responsibility as follows:

"It is the duty of the coroner as the public official responsible for the conduct of inquests, whether he is sitting with a jury or without, to ensure that the relevant facts are fully, fairly and fearlessly investigated. ... He must ensure that the relevant facts are exposed to public scrutiny, particularly if there is evidence of foul play, abuse or inhumanity. He fails in his duty if his investigation is superficial, slipshod or perfunctory." [14]

Under British law, the coroner exercises wide discretionary power in deciding who qualifies as an interested party to the proceedings, what evidence is considered, and what verdict is entered. His primary responsibility is to ascertain the facts about how the death occurred.
He is therefore granted authority to subpoena witnesses, to examine evidence under oath, and to summon a jury. He has latitude to request whatever additional examination, test, or analysis is deemed necessary to assist his determination of the actual cause of death.

According to section 17A(4) of the Act, where an inquest has been adjourned during a judicial inquiry, the coroner retains the right to resume the inquest following review of the inquiry's findings "if in his opinion there is exceptional reason for doing so." Although the Act does not specify what constitutes an exceptional reason, presumably the coroner must decide whether the expectation of adequate investigation has been met.

In this case, however, it may be that the coroner does not have the last word. Mr. Gardiner is reported to have remarked that "[t]he Lord Chancellor believed there were no 'exceptional reasons' why the inquest into the death of Dr Kelly should be re-convened and neither did he." [15]

This is a significant statement, if it means that the final determination of the Kelly case rests with Lord Falconer—a longtime Blair ally and troubleshooter, and recent Cabinet appointee. Of interest here is the undue haste with which the inquiry was commissioned, its apparent disinclination to scrutinize troubling aspects of the suicide scenario, and the questionable invocation of section 17A.

The potential influence of bias must be considered because, as recent events have demonstrated, clearly defined and well established procedure can be circumvented by political intervention. And discretionary powers meant to facilitate the fact-finding process can instead be used to prevent the disclosure of inconvenient fact.

A question of justice

In the opinion of Lord Falconer, the coroner and the media, the case is now closed. Thames Valley Police confirmed by e-mail that their investigation also concluded with the closing of the inquest.

If Dr. Kelly did not kill himself—and it has not been proven that he did—the continued allegation of suicide represents a regrettable failure of justice.

Amid the swirl of controversy surrounding the so-called Kelly affair, the unresolved anomalies of the death were consistently overlooked. The media in particular neglected to challenge the premature assumption of suicide. They now have a critical role to play in evaluating the credibility of the investigation and its overall consequences for the public interest.

Although it cannot be appealed, the coroner's decision is subject to judicial review. Based on past successful challenges by which verdicts have been quashed or new inquests ordered, the court might consider whether there has been insufficiency of inquiry, rejection or suppression of relevant and available evidence, failure to disclose information to an interested party concerning a critical area of investigation, or failure to meet the standard of proof for a particular verdict.

In making its determination, the court need only consider whether it is possible—not probable—that a different verdict will be returned by a new inquest.

There is also recourse under section 13 of the Act. By this provision the High Court is empowered to order an inquest to be held where the coroner "refuses or neglects to hold an inquest which ought to be held," or where "it is necessary or desirable in the interests of justice that another inquest should be held."

The court makes its determination based on evidence of "fraud, rejection of evidence, irregularity of proceedings, insufficiency of inquiry, the discovery of new facts or evidence or otherwise."

An alternative remedy is found in the Human Rights Act 1998, if it can be shown that agents of the state failed to provide adequate protection for Dr. Kelly against immediate threat to his life. This reflects every individual's right to life under Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights, and is usually related to deaths in police custody.

The human rights organization Liberty observes that "investigations into deprivations of life must be at least, thorough, effective, impartial and careful and the lack of an effective investigation will in itself constitute a violation of Article 2." [16]

These are costly and time-consuming courses of action and, given the current political climate, the coroner's decision will likely stand. Meanwhile, the questions persist.
Was a politically-charged, nonstatutory inquiry appropriate to the strict determination required in findings of suicide?

Have the facts regarding David Kelly's death been "fully, fairly and fearlessly" investigated?
Was due process observed and proper authority exercised in the disposition of the Kelly case?
And the crucial, overriding consideration: Does the Hutton Inquiry represent an adequate investigation into the cause of death, sufficient to render a verdict of suicide?
Despite official satisfaction with the outcome, and in light of what the public has been told, the answer to that question is clearly no.


1. John Bingham and Stuart Coles, "Coroner rules against fresh Kelly hearing," Independent, 16 March 2004.

2. Steven Morris, "Coroner dismisses calls to reopen Kelly inquest," The Guardian, 17 March 2004.,3604,1170823,00.html

3. Home Office Circular No. 59/1999, Access to Justice Act 1999: Commencement Order No. 2, The Coroners (Amendment) Rules 1999, 22 December 1999.

4. R v City of London Coroner, ex parte Barber (1975) 1 WLR 1310.

5. Lord Brian Hutton, Report of the Inquiry into the Circumstances Surrounding the Death of Dr David Kelly C.M.G., 28 January 2004, p. 325.

6. Ibid.

7. Centre for Evidence Based Mental Health, "Psychological aspects of suicidal behaviour," National electronic Library for Mental Health, 2001.
8. Hutton Report, p. 301.

9. Hutton Report, p. 2.

10. Andrew Rouse et al, "Medical evidence does not support suicide by Kelly," The Guardian,
12 February 2004.,13747,1146232,00.html

11. Michael Seamark and Peter Allen, "Fury of Kelly widow over inquest," Daily Mail, 17 March 2004.

12. Alex Thomson, "Experts call for re-opening of inquest into death of Dr Kelly," Channel 4 News, 9 March 2004.

13. Renan Talieva, "The strange 'suicide' of David Kelly," Online Journal, 4 March 2004.

14. R v HM Coroner for North Humberside and Scunthorpe, ex parte Jamieson (1994) 3 WLR 82 (CA).

15. Brian Wheeler, "Fanning the flames of conspiracy," BBC, 16 March 2004.

16. "The scope of the inquest," The Liberty Guide to Human Rights.

As you may know, I started writing about Dr Kelly's death on the Dead Scientists blogspot. My intention originally was to to place Dr Kelly's death in the context of the many bizarre and sudden deaths of dozens of microbiologists across the world. However I became engrossed in investigating the detail of Dr Kelly's death, so this didn't happen. However if you want to place Dr Kelly's death in context, I suggest you start with the wryly titled:

A Career In Microbiology Can Be Harmful To Your Health

by Michael Davidson & Mike Ruppert

and then read the follow-up:

New Developments in 9-11 Biowar Legislation -- MEHPA Draws Criticism, More Microbiologists Dying

by Michael Davidson

The Dead Scientists blogspot is no longer operational, but you can still access it by clicking on the link above, or in the sidebar, to the right.

Here are the CONTENTS. The highlighted articles can be clicked on directly.

Questions for the coroner's inquest
by Renan Talieva


by Rowena Thursby

by Jim Rarey





by Jim Rarey

by Rowena Thursby

by Jim Rarey