Kelly 'should have won Nobel prize' for work on Iraqi arms

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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitm...

Recruitment Genius: Factory Operatives

£7 - £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This high quality thread manufacturer ba...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003