Kelly 'should have won Nobel prize' for work on Iraqi arms
Friday 25 July 2003
David Kelly, dismissed by Downing Street as just a "middle-ranking technician", was considered by his peers around the world as the most senior germ warfare expert in Britain.
Rolf Ekeus, former chief of the United Nations arms inspectorate which investigated Saddam Hussein's arsenal after the 1991 Gulf war, said: "If there was a Nobel prize for arms control, Dr Kelly and his team should have been awarded it."
Richard Spertzel, who headed the four-man Unscom specialist team investigating Iraq's biological programme, described Dr Kelly yesterday as the "foremost expert on biological weapons in Britain".
He said Mr Ekeus had told the team that they deserved a Nobel prize for forcing Iraq to admit it had an offensive biological programme in July 1995 after four years of denials.
The Government had tried to play down Dr Kelly's importance to discredit him as the BBC's main source for the claim that Downing Street "sexed up" the September dossier. No 10 claimed Dr Kelly was a "technical adviser", and "he was not someone who had access to the intelligence which was in the dossier".
But Dr Kelly not only had access to intelligence on Iraq but was consulted by the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) and the Ministry of Defence on processing such intelligence.
He was also becoming increasingly sceptical about Iraq's alleged arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in the time leading up to his death. It was Dr Kelly who exposed claims by George Bush, Tony Blair and Colin Powell that mobile biological warfare units had been found in Iraq as false.
According to colleagues he had begun to believe that the Unscom team, of which he was a part, had destroyed much of Iraqi capabilities.
Dr Kelly had an overview of an official British investigation into the vehicles. It decided the so-called "germ labs" were facilities for the production of hydrogen. The systems had been sold to Baghdad by Britain in 1987.
After the findings were passed to the Ministry of Defence and the Foreign Office, Dr Kelly also made them available to journalists he trusted.
Mr Blair had briefed journalists that the trailers were germ production labs which proved that Iraq had WMD.
The British inquiry started after the CIA expressed doubts about the "germ labs". The investigators swiftly decided the vehicles would be impractical for biological warfare.
In March last year Dr Kelly expressed his doubts about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction threat at a seminar in University College, London.
- 1 VMAs 2015: Was Nicki Minaj and Miley Cyrus' awkward acceptance put-down real or staged?
- 2 If you're not already angry about the migrant crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
- 3 Rules on 5p plastic bags likely to lead to arguments at the check-out
- 4 Chaos breaks out in courtroom as father attacks killer of three-year-old daughter
- 5 Blood Moon and Supermoon: September to bring brightest – and dimmest – full Moon of the year on same night
VMAs 2015: Was Nicki Minaj and Miley Cyrus' awkward acceptance put-down real or staged?
Bank Holiday Monday opening times: Are Tesco, Asda and other supermarkets open today?
The nine most warmongering countries in the world revealed
Isis releases graphic video showing four Shia 'spies' being burned alive in Anbar, Iraq
Blood Moon and Supermoon: September to bring brightest – and dimmest – full Moon of the year on same night
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
Tony Blair attacks Jeremy Corbyn's 'Alice In Wonderland' politics
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
UN investigating British Government over human rights abuses caused by IDS welfare reforms
£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award-winning company, whi...
£40000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique & exciting opp...
£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will be working with a 8 st...
£8000 - £12000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A unique opportunity has arisen ...