Iraq & the WMD Scandal: Kelly's Death `a Setback for Arms Control'

By Carrell, Severin | The Independent on Sunday (London, England), August 3, 2003 | Go to article overview
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Iraq & the WMD Scandal: Kelly's Death `a Setback for Arms Control'


Carrell, Severin, The Independent on Sunday (London, England)


David Kelly's death is a serious setback in the campaign to uncover the full extent of Iraq's illegal biological weapons programme, senior weapons experts believe.

Biological weapons and arms-control specialists fear Dr Kelly's suspected suicide will also damage future attempts to control the spread of biological weapons among rogue states and terrorists.

Academics and scientists closely involved in helping draft new, tougher international treaties on chemical and biological weapons said their senior defence and intelligence contacts now refuse to share information on arms- control issues - because Dr Kelly's treatment and death have sent shock waves throughout Whitehall.

Professor Julian Perry Robinson, a chemical weapons expert at Sussex University, said: "The willingness of people inside the system to talk to people outside the system has taken a definite turn for the worse. They're looking over their shoulders to an extent, which they weren't before."

The most immediate impact of Dr Kelly's death is the loss of his unparalleled expertise on Iraq's bio-warfare programme. The other world-leading authority on Iraq's bio-warfare programme, Richard Spertzel, is now in his seventies and retired.

Dr Kelly led the UN's original investigations into Saddam Hussein's weapons programme in 1992. He was due to fly out last month, days after his death, to help lead the UK section of the Iraq Survey Group - the US-led coalition inspection team trying to unearth evidence of Saddam's weapons programme.

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