rn: Pinochet & Jack Straw & AI quote


Jan Slakov

From: •••@••.•••
Date: Sat, 4 Mar 2000 22:08:17 EST
Subject: Pinochet and Jack Straw

Jack Straw continues to insist he can't disclose details of the medical 
report on general Pinochet  because of the rules of medical confidentiality. 
As a home office spokesman put it: "Mr Straw had appealed to lawyers acting 
for the general to waive his rights to privacy, but that had been rejected."

How very unsporting of the general. But the idea that Straw yearned to 
release the report if only Pinochet would let him is not borne out by 
confidential correspondence obtained by the Spanish newspaper El Pais. In 
fact, it was the home secretary who offered to keep the medical report secret.

The suggestion  was made on 5 November 1999 by Fenella Tyler of the home 
office, on behalf of Straw, to Pinochet's  lawyers Kingsley Napely. "The 
purpose of this letter," she wrote "is to enquire whether Senator Pinochet 
would be willing to submit to a medical examination... If Senator Pinochet is 
willing to be examined this way I would be grateful for confirmation of that 
in writing as soon as possible... It should go without saying that every 
effort would be made by the doctors and their team and the Home Office to 
keep the report entirely confidential."

Not surprisingly Pinochet's lawyer was only too pleased to accept Straw's 
pre-emptive offer of secrecy. "I am grateful for your indication that the 
Home Office will make every effort tto keep the content of any report 
confidential," he replied on 11 November. "Senator Pinochet is prepared to 
undergo the examination on the understanding that none of its contents are 
disclosed to anybody other than the Home Office and ourselves."

And so it came to pass. In January, when Straw announced his decision to free 
Pinochet, he added regretfully that the report on the general's health could 
not be made  public because of the demands of the patients lawyers. But as El 
Pais points out: "The letters exchanged between the Home Office and 
Pinochet's  lawyers show clearly that this was not the case."

El Pais's story, written by Ernesto Ekaizer was splashed across two pages of 
its issue of 30th January. Curiously, however, not one English newspaper has 
followed it up. Why? Surely this cannot be because Fleet Street's finest were 
peeved that they had been beaten to a scoop on their doorstep by a mere 
foreigner from Madrid?
From: •••@••.•••
Date: Fri, 14 Jan 2000 21:15:00 EST
Subject: quote

" Throughout the world, on any given day, a man, woman or child is likely
to be displaced, tortured, killed or 'disappeared', at the hands of
governments or armed political groups. More often than not, the United
States shares the blame."
Amnesty International, in its annual report on U.S. military aid 
and human rights

Best wishes,
Bill Blum
PS from Jan, Thanks for keeping us on your list, Bill!