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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very well researched and written book.
Robert Lewis has clearly spent a great deal of effort researching the facts surrounding the tragic death of Dr David Kelly. He has shone some much needed light on what can only be described as one of the most shameful periods in the history of Whitehall. He has laid out the facts in a readable and sensitive way, while exposing the shameful duplicity of senior officials...
Published 21 months ago by Doc Holiday

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Could do better
This book starts off being very interesting and it wets the appetite to read on but there are too too many initials used without explanation. This stunts the flow and makes it not easy to read. No Glossary no nothing. The odd one is in the index but I had a list of 7 that I could not find what they stood for. The author bravely puts his e-mail address at the end of the...
Published 21 months ago by BusyLizzy


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very well researched and written book., 23 July 2013
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Robert Lewis has clearly spent a great deal of effort researching the facts surrounding the tragic death of Dr David Kelly. He has shone some much needed light on what can only be described as one of the most shameful periods in the history of Whitehall. He has laid out the facts in a readable and sensitive way, while exposing the shameful duplicity of senior officials who bullied Dr Kelly and consistently misled government departments and the public. It is a long overdue analytical work that shows how superficial both the Hutton and Butler inquiries really were. It would be comforting to know that HMG has learned some serious lessons from the way in which the public have been misled during Dr Kelly's life as a weapons inspector. But personally I very much doubt they have.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book. If you read Norman Baker's account read this too!, 20 April 2014
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We never know what goes on in our name but having read this book and the one by Norman Baker the one thing that the government line doesn't give us is why should David Kelly go to a wood, use a little know artery that generally self seals as it is too small to create major blood loss, and kill himself? The motive is just not there for him.

The motive[s] are there for government[s] to want him dead without question. Hindsight tells us there were no WMDs and hadn't been for some time and that government knew this. Sadly David Kelly didn't need hindsight he knew at the time, and was also instrumental in perpetuating the myth. If it had come out then it would have been catastrophic for the US and UK governments.

Did they think he looked too shaky in the Select Committee hearings? That's a good reason for wanting him dead.

Tony Blair's reaction when asked if he 'had blood on hands' showed tremendous shock. Did he think dark forces were at work and he might be next!

We'll never know the truth in my lifetime but I was in a restaurant in Grange Over Sands just after his death and at the next table was a guy with his very old and hard of hearing father who he then went on to tell how he worked with David Kelly and used to have lunch with him once a week.

He was telling his father he was convinced he had been murdered and there was no way the David Kelly he knew would have committed suicide. By this stage the whole restaurant was hanging on his every word.

David Kelly was the man who knew too much and as such he had to go.

Read this book as it really helps you understand what David Kelly was involved with and hence what he knew and when and certainly shows motive for government to want him silenced.

Great read.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dr David Kelly's 'Dark Actors'-Fact or Fiction?, 7 July 2013
By 
Donald Scott (Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Dark Actors: The Life and Death of David Kelly (Hardcover)
It's ten years since David Kelly's body was found near his home in Oxfordshire. He wrote wrote in an e-mail before his death, that there were 'dark actors' playing games in his life. The person who received this e-mail, New York Times reporter Judith Miller, won't discuss it. Dr Kelly died just three days after his televised appearance before the House of Commons' Foreign Affairs Committee. He had been summoned to give evidence by the MoD and Downing Street as the source of the controversial story by BBC correspondent Andrew Gilligan.

The story claimed the Government had deliberately 'sexed up' a document, giving its justification for invading Iraq by claiming Saddam Hussein could deploy weapons of mass destruction in just 45 minutes.

This formed a backdrop to Kelly's death, and a potential motive for Intelligence Services faking a suicide. From a forensic point of view, creating a true suicide from a faked suicide is difficult. Some believe this aspect wasn't fully explored by the Hutton Inquiry. in addition the Attorney Genera, Dominic Grieve, failed to consider this fundamental question in his "investigation" leading up to his statement to the House of Commons in June 2011.

One of the questions that possibly can never answered definitively is why were there no fingerprints on the knife, next to the body? Accordingly there is no evidence that Dr. Kelly had ever held the knife. The absence of fingerprints may have been be due to the presence of blood on the knife handle, and nothing relating to conspiracy. The same can relate to the lack of of evidence of third party being at Harrowdown Hill.

The alleged absence of any third party presence might suggest that no third parties were present. If you go down the conspiracy route it might suggest that any third parties present were very careful and wore forensic suits....

So the book explores all this and more, including Kelly's Welsh social and educational background. It asks new questions too. One being the allegation that David Kelly's security clearance had been withdrawn before his death. Janice Kelly wrote widely to friends and relatives of David Kelly asking them not to mention him again. Wasn't that unusual behaviour for a widow, or was she just asking for closure. I guess we'll never know what was going through David Kelly's head during his last days, because interpreting behaviour is full of ambiguity and rife with error.

If you are looking for an outline of this significant event in the context of the UK going to war with Iraq. On Thursday 18 July 2013 activists plan to gather outside the Royal Courts of Justice to protest the enduring secrecy that surrounds the decade-old death of a retiring civil servant. Dr David Kelly was Britain's foremost authority on biological weapons, and perhaps the UK's leading expert on Iraqi WMD. They've made there minds up.... what do you think?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Inspector too close to government, 13 Aug. 2013
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This review is from: Dark Actors: The Life and Death of David Kelly (Hardcover)
Exceedingly interesting and throws light on the many secret and dubious deals between UK and the USA (and also some other countries). It shows that Kelly was engaged in some of these activities and that he was part of the conspiracy to 'reveal' non existent manufacture of WMD by Iraq and that he kept silence on such information being published when was aware that evidence did not exist. Why at his BBC interview he decided to indicate that the reports were false is a mystery
It is suggested that, having done this, he knew that his career was finished and committed suicide; there appears to be the suggestion that his suicide was not entirely "kosher" but this is left hanging.

Well written and absorbing.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dr David Kelly - a meditation., 30 Sept. 2013
By 
JAW "JAW" (Surrey, England.) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Dark Actors: The Life and Death of David Kelly (Hardcover)
Within this book, topping and tailing it, is an excellent meditation on the Dr David Kelly affair. Measured, reflective and restrained in its judgements, it is clearly both a labour of love, derived from nigh obsession with its subject, and finely written to boot.
However, between that beginning and end there is a long (and overlong) general treatment of the search for weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq and elsewhere. That - and even the author's partisan position on Iraq - could be borne, were it not for the consistent use of lofty 20/20 hindsight. The result reads akin to a history of WWII saying, for instance, `of course, the Germans were never going to invade Britain in 1940, and therefore, obviously, the British should have diverted all resources to the North Africa campaign - the idiots.'
Maybe so, but it probably didn't seem that way then - and the present, with all its imperfections of perspective, is where most of us mere mortals have to dwell. Cumulatively therefore, this portion of the book's analysis comes to seem unfair and, at times, arrogant. Ditto the occasional tetchy `just-gagging-to-be-indignant' tone. Indeed, on p289 the author candidly confesses to feeling resentment and even occasional bitterness (`in the early hours') prompted by his commendably exhaustive researches, and I get the impression that much of the author's original sympathy for Dr Kelly evaporated in the heat of commitment to a particular view about sanctions against Iraq and the conduct of the WMD search. Equally disenchanting to me was the author's apparent chagrin about the tormenting of, and lack of absolutely strict fair play towards, Saddam Hussein's Baathist regime. For some reason this last mentioned feature signally failed to register on this reader's sympathy-meter. Perhaps the batteries have gone again.
And yet, considering it in its entirety, this is a fine and well-intentioned book, which achieves its purpose despite some self-indulgent (particular in the `Welshness' portions) imperfections. It sensitively incorporates a highly personal view into both the `Dr David Kelly question' and still wider political issues. Some of its assertions also seem admirably fearless. I would therefore definitely recommend it, particularly to readers with some prior knowledge of the events who now wish to read a reflection upon them. It (just) earns its five stars.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 25 July 2013
An excellent and well researched portrayal of what really happened in Iraq. This was the part of the book I found the most interesting. I remember the ridiculous sanctions put in place eg no lead pencils for schools, no plasma as these could be turned into WMD. Look at Iraq now, it is in a terrible condition. I certainly will not believe anything coming from governments in the West about WMDs in Syria. I see the UN weapons inspectors have gone there. They should read this book as part of their training.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Could do better, 11 Aug. 2013
This book starts off being very interesting and it wets the appetite to read on but there are too too many initials used without explanation. This stunts the flow and makes it not easy to read. No Glossary no nothing. The odd one is in the index but I had a list of 7 that I could not find what they stood for. The author bravely puts his e-mail address at the end of the book which is not much use if he doesn't reply. The questions the book raises are very interesting and also quite scary - how little we ordinary mortals know about what is going on in the various government agencies. The book also highlights several points that the Hutton Inquiry did not inquire about which the man on the Clapham Omnibus would query. Maybe Hutton didn't want to know? maybe he was out of his depth? The fact that his report is embargoed for a lifetime says something and probably not a very comfortable something. I feel for Mrs Kelly and her family.
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6 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Dubious Account, 7 July 2013
By 
Dr Barry Clayton (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Dark Actors: The Life and Death of David Kelly (Hardcover)
Conspiracy theories are very popular, the assassination of President Kennedy provided, indeed still provides, numerous theories of who commited the crime. Facts are thrown aside in favour of fantasies. The latter being good earners.

The death of Dr David Kelly near his home some 10 years ago has led to much speculation about the nature of his death, was it suicide or were other agencies involved, presumably to shut him up?

This book by Robert Lewis clearly indicates that he believes there is something suspicious about Kelly's death. Unfortunately, his thesis is highly dubious and highly biased. He is no lover of Tony Blair although to be fair to Lewis Blair's economy with the truth over the years-not just Iraq-has been well documented by others.

Lewis's book is not only about Kelly it is also about research into chemical and biological weapons and the weapons inspectors who were tasked to discover what research was going on. Although he trawls well-known ground this is the better part of the book. Regarding Blair, he thanks Simon and Schuster for letting him 'reach a state of meaningful closure over a mesh of suspician, doubt and anger that has entrapped me for years'. Reading this one senses a suggestion of revenge.

Lewis explains how he waited years for evidence that Kelly had been murdered, as he puts it 'for the shoe to drop'. Reluctantly, unlike others who are still hell-bent on the murder trail, he eventually had to admit that Kelly did commit suicide.
However, the reasons he gives for suicide are bizarre. He states Kelly 'was driven by the trigger of some secret terror. In all likelihood it was terror he had deliberately been subjected to'. Make of that what you will. Presumably, Lewis is saying that somebody was still to blame for his suicide.

Lewis here makes no mention of a host of things that could have led Kelly to kill himself, namely his mother's suicide when he was only 21, his dropping out of university for a year as a result, his recorded bouts of depression, his use of tranquillisers, and so on. In short, there are several sound medical reasons why Kelly took his own life. These, of course, are ignored because to investigate them would prevent Lewis from demonstrating his profound dislike of the Blair governments.

There is another major weakness with this book. Lewis makes no attempt to examine why our intelligence services, and the masters they served, believed that WMD might be used post 9/11, and that UN resolutions against Iraq had to be enforced. Blair's declared reasons for invading Iraq might well have been highly dubious but Lewis should at least have examined what Blair genuinely believed as well as what he and others manufactured.

One has some sympathy for the author. Conspiracy theories flourish particularly well when there is some evidence to support them, however small. For example, those who believe Kennedy was killed by the 'mob' are able to use evidence that the President did indeed have some dubious contacts with criminal elements. The fact that Blair is known to have lied to the Commoms, and others, has meant that his detractors can argue that he has probably lied about Kelly's death. Any author, however, has the duty to examine the available evidence impartially; Lewis has failed to do this.
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Dark Actors: The Life and Death of David Kelly
Dark Actors: The Life and Death of David Kelly by Robert Lewis (Hardcover - 4 July 2013)
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