Evidence relating to the death of Government weapons inspector David Kelly is to be kept secret for 70 years, it has been reported. A highly unusual ruling by Lord Hutton, who chaired the inquiry into Dr Kelly’s death, means medical records including the post-mortem report will remain classified until after all those with a direct interest in the case are dead, the Mail on Sunday reported. And a 30-year secrecy order has been placed on written records provided to Lord Hutton’s inquiry which were not produced in evidence. The Ministry of Justice said decisions on the evidence were a matter for Lord Hutton. But Liberal Democrat MP Norman Baker, who has conducted his own investigations into Dr Kelly’s death, described the order as “astonishing”.
This as even the not under oath establishment are pretty conclusively saying, Iraq was an illegal war-
The Independent on Sunday understands that Ms Wilmshurst will tell the Iraq inquiry that she was not “a voice in the wilderness” in harbouring doubts over the legitimacy of military action without UN backing. Instead she is expected to describe how senior colleagues in the FCO shared her reservations, which were ultimately overruled by ministers. And, crucially, she is also expected to claim that her former boss, Sir Michael Wood, “clearly advised” that the conflict would be illegal under international law, when he offered his assessment of the situation to the then attorney general, Lord Goldsmith, days before the attack on Baghdad began. Philippe Sands QC, an expert on the legality of the war, last night claimed the inquiry had received documentary evidence of Sir Michael’s reservations – but is yet to publish it.
The Observer has been told that Sir Michael Wood, who was the FO’s most senior lawyer, is ready to reveal that, in the run-up to war, he was of the opinion that the conflict would have been unlawful without a second UN resolution.
Oh not to mention that’s what an official Dutch inquiry also found. And in terms of official cover up of murder this reminds me of the revelations about the coroner who performed the autopsy on Blair Peach, he was a right wing police loving McCarthy-esque political activist-
Government officials withheld a document relating to the death of Blair Peach, the anti-fascist campaigner widely believed to have been killed by police in 1979, because they feared it would portray the coroner as biased and lend weight to calls for a public inquiry.
The inquest, at which several suspected officers gave evidence, controversially returned a verdict of “death by misadventure”, and the coroner, the late Dr John Burton, was accused by Peach supporters of prejudicing the jury.
Documents held at the National Archives at Kew reveal senior civil servants became concerned after discovering Burton had penned an “unpublished story” about the Peach death which railed against what the coroner saw as a leftwing campaign to destabilise the legal establishment.
Burton had also written to ministers before the end of the inquest, dismissing the belief that Peach was killed by an officer as political “fabrication”.
Burton began writing to ministers about what he believed was “a widespread campaign to damage the institutions of the law” in January 1980, before the inquest had finished.
In letters to the home secretary, lord chancellor and attorney-general, he complained that an organised and well-funded campaign was spreading disinformation about the death. He criticised media organisations, including the BBC, which he accused of “biased propaganda”.
Referring to some of the 11 witnesses who said they saw police attacking Peach, he noted how some were “totally politically committed to the Socialist Workers Party” and concluded: “The witness statements show that the story of the killing [of Peach] is a fabrication. This is a matter of fact and not of opinion.”
After the verdict, Burton authored a lengthy article entitled The Blair Peach Inquest – the Unpublished Story and told civil servants he planned to disseminate the report to fellow coroners via the Coroners Society’s annual report. A Home Office official noted how Burton was “extremely irate” at the way in which he thought the inquest had been hijacked by the “extreme left”.
When his unpublished report was circulated in Whitehall in June 1980, it caused alarm. “I am a little disturbed at the proposal,” one official wrote, “as I feel that if [his article] fell into the wrong hands it would be used to discredit the impartiality of coroners in general and Dr Burton in particular.”
The civil servants met with Burton on to dissuade him from going public. After the meeting – and with apparent relief – an official relayed the news colleagues. “He accepted our advice that the whale which exposes his surface invites harpoons, and agreed not to publish.”
Burton’s seven-page report is a description of Peach’s death and the subsequent inquest which, at times, implies a hostility toward Peach supporters. He complains about “the usual demonstrations by the usual people” outside the courtroom, and expresses frustration at what he saw his inability to control contemptible reports in the media.
He dismissed some witneses as telling “palpable lies” and, in an apparent reference to Sikhs who gave testimony, complained that some “did not have experience of the English system” to give reliable testimony. In contrast, he appeared to have more sympathy for the officers at the scene of Peach’s death, even though there were also inconsistencies in their evidence.
“Many policemen pointed out that in such a situation one looked upwards for uncoming bricks and not around to see what others were doing,” he wrote.
And in 70 years, no one will be alive to be held to account, not for Kelly’s death not for a single Iraqi death. See how that works? It’s called a clean getaway.