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An Inconvenient Death: How the Establishment Covered Up the David Kelly Affair
by Miles Goslett
(Head of Zeus, £8.99)
ANYONE uneasy about the almost constant appearances of Alastair Campbell on fawning TV news channels will find Miles Goslett’s penetrating book a refreshing antidote.
The author is a man with a long memory and dogged persistence who is determined that readers never forget the antics of Campbell and his cohort in the invasion of Iraq.
Goslett focuses like a laser beam on one death in that whole sordid affair — the demise of Dr David Kelly, the government’s leading expert on weapons of mass destruction.
It is a subject that many have tackled over the last 15 years but Goslett’s approach breaks new ground in several respects.
He is careful not to offer alternative suggestions as to how Dr Kelly died, instead focusing on flaws in the official narrative.
In doing so, Goslett makes a modest request — that there should be a coroner’s inquest into Kelly’s death, to remedy the flaws in the non-statutory inquiry that Tony Blair and Lord Falconer cooked up in the hours after his demise.
The book does not even argue that an inquest will deliver a verdict of unlawful killing. All Goslett expects is an open verdict, rather than the Hutton inquiry’s insistence that Dr Kelly took his own life.
Goslett deserves credit for the impressive amount of investigation over the years, knocking on doors and tirelessly interviewing people who knew Dr Kelly. A right-wing journalist from the Mail on Sunday stable, he writes in a similar vein to Peter Oborne and is not sectarian in what sources he uses.
And he is magnanimous enough to credit the Morning Star with playing a part in challenging the Hutton inquiry. It was this newspaper that published a letter on December 15 2003 by retired doctor David Halpin, who warned: “As a past trauma and orthopaedic surgeon I cannot easily accept that even the deepest cut into one wrist would cause such exsanguination that death resulted.”
Drawing heavily on medical expertise like this, Goslett carefully unpicks the gaps in Hutton’s probe. He finds enough contradictions in the inquiry — such as the rather odd case of Dr Kelly’s wife being in two places simultaneously — to leave the reader deeply uneasy about how the scientist ended up dead in the woods.
And the issue is not about to go away — George Galloway is making the documentary Killing Kelly and it seems that the left and right are determined to hold the extreme centre to account for this death.
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