Sunday, October 03, 2004
It's reassuring to know that America was not the only country in which press coverage of the invasion of Iraq was tainted by egregious conflicts of interest. Or is it? From the Observer:
The BBC chief who played a pivotal role in how the corporation covered the Iraq war and the David Kelly affair, stands to profit out of a firm with lucrative military contracts in Iraq.See items #6, #9, and #13 in "Wake Up and Smell the Fascism" (which comes to you courtesy of our revered colleague Avedon Carol.)
Dame Pauline Neville-Jones, a BBC governor, emerged as one of the main figures in the feud between the BBC and the government in the fallout of the Hutton inquiry into the death of weapons scientist Dr David Kelly, being blamed personally by former-director general Greg Dyke for his sacking.
Neville-Jones, a former chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee, took an unusually active role in the Kelly affair, criticising Andrew Gilligan's reporting and also expressing unease about Kelly's expertise.
Now it has emerged that Neville-Jones chairs a company providing military equipment for US Humvees and Black Hawk helicopters, both of which are used in Iraq, leading to calls for her to reconsider her position as a governor.
Documents from Companies House reveal that Neville-Jones earned £133,000 last year as chairman of Qinetiq, the privatised research arm of the MoD.
The company recently bought two US defence firms that have intimate ties to the Pentagon and multi-million-dollar contracts supplying the US forces in Iraq.
The company's accounts also disclose that Neville-Jones owns £50,000 worth of shares in Qinetiq which are held through the controversial US fund the Carlyle Group . . . .
Neville-Jones was personally blamed by Dyke for leading the boardroom revolt against him after Hutton criticised the corporation for failing to correct its reporting over the WMD dossier.
It emerged in the Hutton inquiry that Neville-Jones sent BBC chairman Gavin Davies a note expressing her unease that Gilligan may have exaggerated the status of Kelly, who killed himself over the scandal.