Dr David Kelly, Rendition and MArgaret Aldred.

Dr David Kelly, Rendition and MArgaret Aldred.

Postby holy vehm » Tue Mar 26, 2013 10:10 pm

A former British diplomat has revealed he was ‘warned’ by the senior civil servant running the Iraq Inquiry not to mention the late biological weapons expert Dr David Kelly when giving evidence.

Carne Ross, the UK’s Iraq expert at the UN Security Council between 1998 and 2002, said he was told by the ‘very aggressive’ official that if he discussed Dr Kelly during his testimony, he would be silenced.

It is understood the official who delivered the order was Margaret Aldred, secretary of the Iraq Inquiry chaired by Sir John Chilcot.

Having worked with Dr Kelly for several years, Mr Ross intended to say a few words about him as a tribute which he submitted in earlier written evidence.

A 2003 public inquiry found Dr Kelly committed suicide. But successive governments have refused to hold a full coroner’s inquest, making him the only person in modern English legal history to be denied a proper inquest and fuelling claims of a cover-up.

Last month a group of doctors wrote to the chief coroner of England and Wales, Peter Thornton QC, urging him to resume the inquest which was halted in 2003. This was rejected. The revelation that a witness was informed by an inquiry official what they could and could not discuss before giving evidence raises serious questions about its impartiality.

And this weekend a senior MP who asked to remain anonymous has revealed that when he offered to submit evidence about Dr Kelly’s death to the inquiry in 2009, he was told by Chilcot personally that he ‘did not want to touch the Kelly issue’.

Speaking to The Mail on Sunday, Mr Ross, who now runs New York-based diplomatic advisory group Independent Diplomat, recalled the day he gave evidence to the Iraq Inquiry in July 2010. He said: ‘I was taken into the room where witnesses sat and shortly before I was to testify an official came in and said, “You are not to speak about David Kelly.” ’

He was told that if he did the videolink of his evidence to the press would be cut and he would have to leave. Having been warned, he kept quiet.

He said: ‘I wasn’t happy about it. I felt very strongly about David. He was a man of honesty and integrity.

‘I wanted to remember him in that setting and they prevented me for no good reason. What difference would it have made? It’s pure control freakery. It was weird. Chilcot was incredibly tense. Clearly he feared I was going to say something.’

When asked if he thought Dr Kelly killed himself, Mr Ross said: ‘I don’t know. I would like to see the people who hounded him to his death brought to account. It was as good as murder, what they did. If you publicly humiliate a man, and you drive him to his death, it’s as bad as putting hemlock in his soup.’

An Iraq Inquiry spokesman refused to comment.


In January 2006 the New Statesman published a leaked Foreign Office memo from the previous month that discussed what the UK government knew about rendition, extraordinary rendition and torture at US interrogation centres. Having established that the US was using its own definitions of torture to ignore international conventions, the memo asked:

“How do we know whether those our Armed Forces have helped to capture in Iraq or Afghanistan have subsequently been sent to interrogation centres?”

The question is a very pertinent one and should be a very important question for the Iraq Inquiry. In 2008, former SAS trooper Ben Griffin revealed the answer:

“Hundreds of Iraqis and Afghans captured by British and American special forces were rendered to prisons where they faced torture, a former SAS soldier said yesterday. Ben Griffin said individuals detained by SAS troops in a joint UK-US special forces taskforce had ended up in interrogation centres in Iraq, including the notorious Abu Ghraib prison, and in Afghanistan, as well as Guantánamo Bay.”

A Ministry of Defence spokesman told the Telegraph:

“We would not transfer an individual to any country if we believed there was a risk of mistreatment.”

Unfortunately, this had long been contradicted by the leaked memo, whose answer to its “how do we know?” question was:

“Cabinet Office is researching this with MOD. But we understand the basic answer is that we have no mechanism for establishing this, though we would not ourselves question such detainees while they were in such facilities.”

The memo was copied to Nigel Sheinwald and Margaret Aldred at the Cabinet, Office, presumably because it was their section, Defence and Overseas Secretariat that was doing the research.

We do not know what answer the Cabinet Office came up with. We do know that the MoD was so keen for the truth not to come out that it obtained an injunction to prevent Griffin repeating his claims.

We also know that the Iraq Inquiry, with Margaret Aldred as its secretary, has avoided the subject. The Inquiry has not published a single document from Aldred’s time dealing with Iraq policy at the Cabinet Office and has therefore not published the outcome of the Cabinet Office’s “research”. As Griffin told me:

“It looks as if the Inquiry has been steered away from this issue.”

"A ruler who violates the law is illegitimate. He has no right to be obeyed. His commands are mere force and coercion. Rulers who act lawlessly, whose laws are unlawful, are mere criminals".
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