Daily archives: July 14, 2006

The death of David Kelly is back in the news

From The Scotsman

MP says files into Kelly death have been wiped

AN MP conducting an investigation into the death of Dr David Kelly last night claimed his computer files have been wiped.

Norman Baker, Lewes MP, said he has evidence to prove Dr Kelly did not die as a result of suicide. The Liberal Democrat said he had told police he believes computer files at his Lewes constituency office have been remotely wiped.

The MP told the BBC: “What my investigations to date have demonstrated is that there are significant medical doubts from professional medical people about the alleged cause of death.

“Indeed there are a number of specialist medical experts who tell me that it is clinically impossible for Dr David Kelly to have died the way that was described.

“I am suggesting the explanation for suicide simply doesn’t add up.”

Dr Kelly was the Ministry of Defence scientist whose conversations with a BBC journalist led to reports that the government “sexed up” the threat posed by Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. In July 2003 he was found dead with his wrists slashed.

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Article 3 returns to the US

Following the Supreme court ruling against Bush, the core of the Geneva Conventions has been reasserted in the US legal system. ACLU comments on the moves that have rendered Attorney General Gonzales somewhat ‘quaint and obsolete’.

From the American Civil Liberties Union

Washington, DC – After more than four years of lawlessness, the Defense Department took a big first step toward complying with federal law, by stating that it will comply with Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions when holding detainees. However, just hours after the announcement of the new Pentagon policy, a top Justice Department lawyer urged Congress to ‘ratify’ the military commissions that the Supreme Court invalidated two weeks ago.

‘The Pentagon’s decision is wholly appropriate, in light of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, and long overdue,” said ACLU Director Anthony Romero. However, at the same time that the Defense Department is showing signs of heading in the direction of restoring the rule of law, the Justice Department is urging Congress to abandon it.

The new Pentagon policy reversed a prior Bush Administration claim that detainees were not protected by Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions. In policies developed in early 2002 by President Bush, Attorney General Gonzales and top Defense Department and Justice Department officials ‘ over the objections of then-Secretary of State Colin Powell ‘ the Administration took the position that individuals held at Guant’namo Bay and many other detainees were not entitled to the basic legal protections outlined in the Geneva Conventions. The July 7, 2006 memorandum from Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England reversed the earlier policy.

The Pentagon memorandum comes on the heels of the Supreme Court’s decision in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld that ruled the military commissions established by President Bush to try detainees at Guant’namo Bay are illegal. Congress has started a series of hearings, including three hearings this week, to decide how to try these detainees. Twenty retired generals and admirals, along with prominent senators such as Armed Services Committee Chairman John Warner, and Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, have stated that the court-martial system should be the working model. But at the first hearing on the subject this morning in the Senate Judiciary Committee, Acting Assistant General for the Office of Legal Counsel Steven Bradbury urged Congress to codify the military commissions that the Supreme Court had found to be illegal.

‘It’s time for the government to stop trying to weasel out of obeying the Supreme Court and federal law. The Supreme Court made clear that the government could start putting people on trial at Guantanamo immediately if it follows court-martial procedures. We have the best military justice procedures in the world, but the Justice Department is telling Congress to use a broken system instead of the best one.’

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