El caso Couso

Cable en el que el fiscal general considera que el caso "no llegará a ninguna parte"

El embajador se reúne con Conde-Pumpido después de que el Supremo ordene la reapertura de la investigación

ID:94177
Date:2007-01-26 13:51:00
Origin:07MADRID141
Source:Embassy Madrid
Classification:CONFIDENTIAL
Dunno:05MADRID4308 06MADRID3013 07MADRID101 07MADRID141 07MADRID26 07MADRID82
Destination:VZCZCXRO9639
PP RUEHAG RUEHROV
DE RUEHMD #0141/01 0261351
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 261351Z JAN 07
FM AMEMBASSY MADRID
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1709
INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHGB/AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD PRIORITY 0133
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUCAACC/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RUCNFB/FBI WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 MADRID 000141

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/24/2017
TAGS: PREL, MARR, SP
SUBJECT: SPAIN/COUSO CASE: AMBASSADOR MEET WITH ATTORNEY
GENERAL

REF: A. MADRID 101
B. MADRID 82
C. MADRID 26
D. 2006 MADRID 3013
E. 2005 MADRID 4308

Classified By: DCM Hugo Llorens; reasons 1.4 (B) and (D)

1. (C) Summary. The Ambassador and DCM met with Spanish
Attorney General Candido Conde Pumpido on January 25 to
review the USG's concerns with the direction of the Jose
Couso case and to inquire how the Spanish Government plans to
respond to recent judicial developments (REFS A, B, C, D).
The Ambassador underscored that the primary motivation of his
inquiry was to protect the rights of the three U.S.
servicemen named in the Couso case, since the matter had
already been properly investigated by the USG. Among other
issues, the Ambassador raised a January 22 fax from the
magistrate handling the Couso case to the Embassy's Consular
Section requesting the Embassy's assistance in obtaining
"complete identifying" information regarding the three U.S.
servicemen named in the case. The magistrate's fax, which
did not come in the required format for a Mutual Legal
Assistance (MLAT) request, was leaked by "judicial sources"
just hours after it was sent to the Embassy. Press coverage
indicates the magistrate's request was intended to help him
win Interpol's agreement to publish the Spanish international
detention order. The Ambassador told Conde Pumpido that the
Embassy did not intend to respond to the magistrate's fax.

2. (C) Attorney General Conde Pumpido (strictly protect)
emphasized that while there was nothing the Spanish
Government could do to control the actions of the judiciary,
the National Court prosecutors would continue to oppose the
detention orders against the three U.S. servicemen, as well
as any effort to embargo USG assets in connection with the
case (REF B). Conde Pumpido warned that he expected the
magistrate to continue to issue requests to the USG and to
seek media coverage of his efforts, but said he expected the
case to "go nowhere." He said he understood that the USG did
not intend to respond to Spanish judicial requests with
additional information, but suggested that even a perfunctory
reply would undermine the magistrate's contention that the
USG had been unresponsive to his requests. Conde Pumpido
confirmed that the magistrate could not independently issue a
bilateral request to the USG for the extradition of the three
U.S. servicemen, since such a request would have to be
approved by the Spanish Government. Separately, Legal
Attache Madrid has learned of reluctance at Interpol to
publish the Spanish detention order (Red Notice) for the U.S.
servicemen named in the Couso case, based on Interpol
provisions barring involvement in activities of a "political,
military, religious, or racial character." Our sense is that
there is still far to go in this matter and that the Spanish
Government will search for a way to quietly terminate the
case on technical grounds, while hoping to avoid a direct
confrontation with the Couso family. End Summary.

//MAGISTRATE WORKING THE MEDIA//

3. (SBU) On the morning of January 22, the Locally Employed
Legal Adviser in the Consular Section received a fax from
National Court Examining Magistrate Santiago Pedraz
requesting the Embassy's assistance in obtaining identifying
data for the three servicemen named in the Couso case (a copy
of this document was e-mailed to L and EUR/WE). It did not
come through the official channels for an MLAT request and
did not make clear precisely what information was being
requested. Mission personnel opted not to respond to the
fax, nor seek clarification from Judge Pedraz or request that
he send his request through appropriate channels. Later on
January 22, a press article in the wire service "Europa
Press" citing judicial sources reported that Judge Pedraz had
sent this request to the Embassy in order to help him meet an
Interpol requirement that he provide "complete identifying
data" for the accused in order for his Red Notice requests to
be published by Interpol. Post's analysis is that Judge
Pedraz sent this request without the expectation of a USG
response, but with the intention of demonstrating in the
media that he was acting expeditiously in this case.

4. (SBU) An unofficial translation of Judge Pedraz's fax
follows:

MADRID 00000141 002 OF 003



BEGIN TEXT

Prior Correspondence 99/2003-10

To: Maria Angeles Sebastian, Legal Advisor to the Embassy of
the United States of America in Spain

This Court is undertaking judicial actions to investigate the
circumstances and suspects in the death of Spanish journalist
Jose Couso Permuy on 8 April 2003 in Baghdad, (and) as part
of this investigation it has been decided to send you this
note in order to obtain through your channels the complete
identification of the following U.S. servicemen:

- Sergeant THOMAS GIBSON, member of Company "A" of the 64th
Armored Regiment, Third Armored Infantry Division of the
United States Army;

- Captain PHILIP WOLFORD, in command of Company "A" Armored
Unit of the 64th Armored Regiment, Third Armored Infranty
Division of the United States Army;

- Lt. Colonel PHILIP DE CAMP, in command of the 64th Armored
Regiment, Third Armored Infantry Division of the United
States Army.

Madrid, Monday 22 January, 2007

Magistrate Santiago Pedraz Gomez

END TEXT.

//MEETING WITH ATTORNEY GENERAL//

5. (C) Attorney General Conde Pumpido accepted the
Ambassador's invitation to meet informally on January 25 to
discuss a range of bilateral issues. The Ambassador thanked
Conde Pumpido for his visit in late 2005 (REF E) to suggest
an approach that would allow the National Court to dismiss
the case. He noted that it had been difficult for the USG to
comply with the suggestion but that we respected Conde
Pumpido's advice and were pleased by the dismissal of the
case by the National Court. Now that the case had been
remanded by the Spanish Supreme Court, the Ambassador said
that he wanted to learn from Conde Pumpido the full range of
possible outcomes in this case, with the understanding that
the USG's primary motivation was the protection of the three
U.S. servicemen unjustly accused of murder and war crimes.
The Ambassador said that the USG report on the incident,
which had been shared with the Spanish Government as early as
August 2003, demonstrated that a thorough investigation had
been undertaken by the USG and that the matter was closed.
He said that the USG was also puzzled by Judge Pedraz's fax
to the Consular Section and by its immediate release to the
media, which suggested that Judge Pedraz did not intend to
deal seriously with this sensitive case. The Ambassador said
that the Embassy did not intend to respond to Judge Pedraz's
fax, nor did we seek for his request to be reissued through
proper MLAT channels.

6. (C) Conde Pumpido emphasized that the Spanish judiciary
was entirely independent and that the decision by the Supreme
Court and the actions of Judge Pedraz were beyond the ability
of the Spanish Government to control. The prosecutors now
had no choice but to deal with the case. However, he said
that the National Court prosecutors remained convinced that
Spain did not have jurisdiction to try this case and that the
elements of the case should not lead to a trial. He
expressed the conviction that the case "would go nowhere."
Conde Pumpido drew attention to the request by Judge Pedraz
to the National Court prosecutors to examine the possibility
of placing an embargo (freeze) on USG assets as part of any
civil component to the Couso case. He said the prosecutors
would oppose any such request to embargo USG assets.
(COMMENT: This implies that the prosecutors would appeal
Judge Pedraz's motions to the appellate section of the
National Court, which is the body that dismissed the Couso
case in March 2005. END COMMENT). With regard to the
unusual fax from Judge Pedraz, Conde Pumpido said that it was
his understanding that it was related to Pedraz's efforts to
comply with Interpol's technical requirements- ut said h
did nnt thifk0tHa4 the Nthonal Coert 0rosecutors were even

MADRID 00000141 003.2 OF 003


aware of the fax.

7. (C) Conde Pumpido cautioned that his experience with Judge
Pedraz led him to believe that the magistrate would continue
to issue judicial requests and demands to the Embassy, and
that he would probably continue dealing with the press.
Conde Pumpido reiterated that there was nothing the
Government could do to rein in Pedraz. He suggested that it
might be advisable for the Embassy to transmit a perfunctory
response to undermine the magistrate's contention that the
USG was being unresponsive to Spanish judicial requests.
Asked whether Pedraz had the ability to directly issue a
bilateral request to the USG for the extradition of the three
U.S. servicemen, Conde Pumpido said that Pedraz could not do
so because any such request would have to go through the
Government (COMMENT: Conde Pumpido did not guarantee that the
Spanish Government would deny an extradition request, so we
will remain attentive to this possibility. END COMMENT).

//RELUCTANCE BY INTERPOL TO ISSUE DETENTION NOTICE//

8. (C) Separately, Legat Madrid learned through informal
inquiries that there is great reluctance at Interpol to
publish the Red Notices for the three U.S. servicemen, as
requested by Judge Pedraz. The Interpol contact said that
the Secretary General was aware of the request and would do
his best not to publish the request on the grounds that it
would violate Article 3 of the Interpol Constitution and
General Regulations, which states that "It is strictly
forbidden for the Organization to undertake any intervention
or activities of a political, military, religious, or racial
character." He indicated that if the requests were to go
forward, Interpol would bring together the Spanish and U.S.
representatives for consultations and that the matter would
be voted upon by the Interpol Executive Committee, and then
by the Interpol General Assembly. (COMMENT: This information
is reassuring, but we remain concerned that Judge Pedraz
could frame his request in a manner that makes it more
difficult for Interpol to reject, or that he could simply go
around Interpol and distribute the detention orders
internationally on his own. END COMMENT).

//COMMENT//

9. (C) This appears to be the start of a lengthy process, and
one that will be increasingly politically sensitive for the
Zapatero Government. Spanish judicial officials do not/not
believe this case will prosper based on the available
evidence and they not want this case to obstruct increasing
cooperation between USG and Spanish judicial officials.
However, it is clear from discussions with both the Attorney
General and the Chief Prosecutor of the National Court that
the prosecutors not entirely certain how to proceed not that
Spanish jurisdiction has been established by Spain's Supreme
Court. Our sense is that they will continue to seek
procedural/technical grounds for getting the case dismissed,
without having to directly and publicly challenge the Couso
family (which has already accused prosecutors of working to
defend USG interests). Our objective remains the dismissal
of this case so that the three U.S. defendants will no longer
face prosecution for a matter that has already been
investigated and brought to a conclusion by the USG.
Aguirre
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