Tuesday 22 July 2003

Tony Blair's Vince Foster?

British newspapers are comparing the suicide of Weapons-gate scientist David Kelly to the death of Vincent Foster, the top aide and friend to Bill and Hillary Clinton who was found shot to death in a Virginia park 10 years ago yesterday.

"The Prime Minister and his entourage were obsessive observers of the Clinton years and Dr. Kelly's death instantly reminded them of the suicide of Vince Foster," London's Sunday Telegraph reported.

"In the eyes of the Blairites - the lesson of Foster's death and what it led to has always been clear and chilling," the paper said, noting that the 1993 imbroglio spawned the Whitewater investigation and eventually led to President Clinton's impeachment on a separate matter.

Kelly's demise, coming just days after he denied telling the BBC that the Blair government had "sexed-up" its intelligence on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, prompted the London Observer to revisit the Foster case as well.

"[Foster] had, it seemed, shot himself," the paper noted. "Within months, it was being suggested in newspapers and on radio stations that Foster had died because he 'knew something' incriminating about the Clintons' involvement in the so-called Whitewater affair and couldn't take the pressure."

The Observer complained that after Foster's death, America's "right-wing press used and abused any argument to try and portray [Clinton] as a devious semi-criminal," adding, "It feels like that now over here."

But as the Telegraph observed, "The two fatalities, of course, have almost nothing in common. ... Foster was a close friend of the Clintons, while Dr. Kelly, a quietly-spoken microbiologist, had no association with the New Labour elite."

The paper might have also noted other key differences.

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