Issued on 24 July 2003
As an organisation of ethically-concerned scientists, SGR is deeply saddened by the death of Dr David Kelly, the biological weapons expert, and in particular by the circumstances of his death.
It seems clear that Dr Kelly had major doubts about how the scientific information on biological weapons that he and others had supplied was being used by Government ministers to justify a war against Iraq. It is also clear that he expressed those doubts to outsiders, including journalists, and consequently when he admitted this to his superiors, he was put under intolerable pressure.
SGR firmly believes that whistle-blowing scientists such as Dr Kelly have a right, even a duty, to point out where their work is being misused by powerful interests. Further, they should be supported and protected for doing this, not put under extreme personal pressure.
This is especially important when technical information is used as the basis for decisions of international importance, eg taking the country to war. Given the revelations over the falsehood of a possible '45 minute' chemical weapons launch, the forged documents on uranium purchases for Niger, and the lack of discovery of WMD on the ground, it is clear that Dr Kelly's concerns had real foundation and his death could and should have been avoided..
SGR supports calls for the judicial inquiry under Lord Hutton to be given the widest possible remit and in particular that the reasons for the stark differences between the alleged intelligence - the basis of the UK Government case - and the reality be established.
We extend our deepest sympathy to his family.
Scientists for Global Responsibility (SGR) is a UK organisation of approx 600 scientists promoting ethical science and technology. One of our roles is to act as a support network for ethically-concerned scientists. We also produce briefing material aimed at young scientists on ethical dilemmas in science and technology.
This version of the statement has been slightly modified from that released for clarification purposes.