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Kelly`s Death Hits Prime Minister Blair Hard

Posted July. 20, 2003 21:39,   


British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who is visiting Asian countries, is getting bogged down into a political quagmire.

The British police confirmed on Saturday that Dr. David Kelly, a senior Ministry of Defense adviser, had committed a suicide on Friday. The BBC revealed that Dr David Kelly was the source for its controversial report that an Iraq weapons dossier was "got-up" to justify the invasion of Iraq.

Previously, the BBC Radio claimed that Prime Minister`s director of communications Alastair Campbell had ordered, when the dossier was being prepared last September, that Iraq was ready to deploy biological weapons within 45 minutes.

Fall of Blair

Death of Dr. Kelly backfired on Prime Minister Tony Blair, who has taken up an outing to the Far East, encouraged by the victory of the Iraq war. Critics say that the Blair cabinet has driven Kelly to death.

Glenda Jackson, a M.P. of the Labour Party, has called for Tony Blair to quit, saying the blame for Dr Kelly`s death lay with Downing Street. Tory leader Duncan Smith, in a letter sent to Prime Minister Blair, has called for Parliament to be recalled and for a broadening of the inquiry to investigate the government`s handling of intelligence on Iraq.

Mr. Blair, at a press conference held in the Japanese spa resort of Hakone after the summit with his Japanese counterpart Junichiro Koizumi, on a tour of the Far East, had to take many embarrassing questions like "Why don`t you resign, taking responsibility for Dr. Kelly`s death."

The news pulled down the value of pound by 0.5%, and major British dailies predicted that Campbell might resign.

Motive for Kelly`s Suicide

Police confirmed on Saturday Dr Kelly, a senior Ministry of Defence adviser, had bled to death from a cut to his wrist. His body was discovered in woodland near his Oxfordshire home on Friday morning, with a knife and a packet of painkillers close by.

Earlier in the week, Dr Kelly had told MPs he had spoken to BBC reporter Andrew Gilligan, but said he did not believe he was the main source for the story. Just prior to the death, Dr. Kelly told The Sunday Times that he realized that he was the source of the report.

Dr. Kelly was reportedly shocked to hear that British lawmakers called him chaff and fall guy at the hearing. The Sunday Times says Dr Kelly told one of its reporters that he felt betrayed by the leaking of his name in a letter sent by the Ministry of Defence to the BBC News. The newspaper added that he had been worried about forfeiture of his pension.

In an e-mail reportedly sent to a New York Times journalist hours before his death, Dr. Kelly had apparently warned of "many dark actors playing games," indicating he had been under heavy pressure from the British authorities.

Jei-Gyoon Park phark@donga.com