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Otros cables sobre el caso 'Couso'

ID: 16883
Date: 2004-05-13 15:10:00
Origin: 04MADRID1731
Source: Embassy Madrid
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Dunno: 04STATE89241
Destination: This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.


C O N F I D E N T I A L MADRID 001731

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E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/12/2014
TAGS: PREL, PGOV, SP, Counterterrorism, American - Spanish Relations
SUBJECT: DCM'S MEETING WITH MFA STATE SECRETARY BERNARDINO
LEON

REF: STATE 89241

Classified By: POLITICAL COUNSELOR KATHLEEN M. FITZPATRICK FOR REASONS
1.4 (B) and (D)

1. (C) DCM paid an initial call May 10 on MFA State
Secretary Bernadino Leon, who said this was his first meeting

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with a foreign embassy since taking office. Leon made a
point of saying that the new government wanted to have
excellent relations with the U.S., especially on
counter-terrorism in light of March 11. He said Spain likely
would increase its Euro corps presence in Afghanistan and he
expressed optimism that Spain would agree to a Provincial
Reconstruction Team (PRT) (but said the decision was still
pending at MOD). DCM mentioned our desire for 500-800 more
troops; Leon demurred on numbers, saying likely would not be
that high, and the exact count had not yet been determined.

2. (C) Leon also said Spain was considering sending a
Guardia Civil/police contingent to Haiti to help train the
police and contribute to democratization there. He said MFA
felt that would be Spain's most useful contribution, rather
than peacekeeping forces. He also offered Spain's help on
economic issues in the lead up to the US-EU summit.

3. (C) DCM noted our desire, now that we have expressed our
disappointment on the Iraq troop withdrawal decision, to move
forward to continue our excellent relations with Spain under
the new government. DCM said U.S. would welcome support in
the EU on counter-terrorism issues such as Passenger Name
recognition and terrorist financing. DCM also noted that he
thought that positive steps on Afghanistan, along the lines
Leon foreshadowed, would likely be very well received in
Washington.

4. (C) Noting that Iran was another area of cooperation
between the US and Spain, with Spain chair of the IAEA board
of governors, DCM said our experts on Iran were ready and
willing to come to Madrid to brief the new government. Leon
said Zapatero specifically wanted to maintain the good ties
that Aznar had with Khattami, saying that Spain could be
useful in this regard.

5. (C) On Iraq/UNSC resolution, Leon reconfirmed that Spain
was not pursuing a parallel draft with France and Germany,
but noted Spain could be helpful with these two countries as
discussion progressed, as well as with the Latin Americans
now on the UNSC (Chile and Mexico). He averred that Spain
would adopt a "completely cooperative" approach on this issue.

6. (C) Leon noted his personal affinity with the U.S. He
said his grandmother was an American citizen (from Baltimore,
of a shipping family called Bevan, sent to Malaga on business
and remained in Spain). Also present at the meeting was
Rafael Descaller who essentially will have the number three
post at the MFA. Descaller mentioned his very favorable
experience as a Fullbright scholar at Stanford. Descallar
also mentioned Latin America as another are of common
U.S.-Spanish interest. Leon agreed that he and DCM should
maintain a regular dialogue and open lines of communication.

7. (C) DCM also took the opportunity to ask about Spain's
plans regarding its Embassy in Iraq after June 30 (reftel).
Leon replied that the GOS might consider elevating the
Spanish Charge to the rank of Ambassador. Leon said he would
take this under consideration.

8. (C) At the close of the meeting, Leon noted that
difficult issues like the Couso case (the Spanish cameraman
killed during gunfire in the Palestine Hotel incident last
year and a major cause celebre here), would have to be dealt
with but could wait until an appropriate time. He reiterated
his desire for open contacts and said he wanted to invite DCM
to lunch in the near future.

9. (C) Comment: Leon's professed desire for good relations
with the U.S. echoes sentiments we have heard from many in
the new government -- and also parallels the lack of specific
details on concrete cooperation.
MANZANARES



ID: 82641
Date: 2006-10-20 12:58:00
Origin: 06MADRID2657
Source: Embassy Madrid
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Dunno: 06MADRID1799 06MADRID1914 06MADRID2374
Destination: VZCZCXRO5703
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INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHLA/AMCONSUL BARCELONA PRIORITY 2166
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 MADRID 002657

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E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/19/2016
TAGS: PHUM, PREL, PTER, SP
SUBJECT: SPAIN: UPDATE ON KEY TERRORISM-RELATED CASES

REF: A. MADRID 1914
B. MADRID 1799
C. MADRID 2374

MADRID 00002657 001.2 OF 003


Classified By: A/DCM Kathleen Fitzpatrick for Reasons 1.4 (B) and (D)

1. (C) Summary: In advance of the October 24 visit to Madrid
of US Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, Post presents a
brief update on several of the most important pending or
recently completed terrorism or criminal cases in the Spanish
judicial system. Spain has made great strides in disrupting
terrorist cells and frustrating would-be terrorist plots and
we remain pleased with Spain's counter-terrorism cooperation.
However, its national prosecutors continue to have
difficulty building cases that can stand up in the courts and
recent Spanish Supreme and national court decisions freeing
alleged Al-Qaeda suspects are an important factor to consider
as we pursue improved judicial cooperation with Spain. End
Summary.

-------------------------------
High-profile Al-Qaeda Suspects
-------------------------------

2. (SBU) Spain's National Court on October 11 acquitted
Lahcen Ikassrien after finding insufficient evidence that he
was a member of either Al-Qaeda or of the Abu Dahdah terror
cell in Spain, or that he fought alongside the Taliban in
Afghanistan. Ikassrien is a Moroccan national and former
Guantanamo detainee transferred to Spanish custody in July
2005. The court refused to admit any prosecution evidence
that was obtained during his detention in Guantanamo or any
information gleaned from intercepted phone calls in Spain.
Post advised in Reftel A that this might occur, due to the
unfortunate similarities the Ikassrien case had with that of
accused terrorist Hamed Abderrahaman Ahmed, known in the
media as the "Spanish Taliban." As reported in Reftel A, the
Spanish Supreme Court announced on July 24 that it had
annulled the six-year prison sentence handed down to
Abderrahaman in September 2005 by Spain's national court.
The court found that Spanish prosecutors could not use any
evidence collected during their interrogation of Abderrahaman
while he was being held at Guantanamo under conditions the
court termed, "impossible to explain, much less justify."
The Spanish prosecutor in the Ikassrien case had sought an
eight-year jail sentence for the accused and tried
unsuccessfully to build a case against Ikassrien that
excluded evidence obtained in Guantanamo, noting publicly
that Spanish authorities had obtained more than enough
evidence of Ikassrien's membership in the Abu Dahdah terror
cell prior to his stay in Guantanamo. It is unclear whether
Ikassrien can be tried on any other terror-related charges.

3. (SBU) In a separate case, Spanish authorities on October
3 released Taysir Alony, who in September 2005 was sentenced
to seven years in prison for membership in Al-Qaeda, for
humanitarian reasons stemming from a serious heart problem.
The Spanish Ministry of Interior is forcing Alony to wear a
locator bracelet and monitoring his activities.

------------------------
CIA Flights and Prisons
------------------------

4. (SBU) Despite President's Bush recent announcement that
there are no longer any terrorist suspects held in "secret
prisons," this issue continues to dominate press headlines in
Spain. On the front page of its October 15 edition, leading
Spanish daily El Pais reported that the founder of Al-Qaeda
in Spain has been in a "secret CIA prison" for a year.
Sensational headlines in the Spanish press continue to claim
that Syrian-born Spanish national named Mustafa Setmarian was
turned over to the US by Pakistan authorities at the end of
2005. The press reporting claims that Setmarian sowed the
seeds of Jihad in Spain during the 1980s, but that the
Spanish national court cannot request his extradition because
he has not been officially arrested.

5. (SBU) Along similar lines, and as we reported in REFTELS
B and C, the CIA flights inquiry remains a hot discussion
topic in Spain. On October 9, German national Khaled
al-Masri testified for three hours in a Spanish national
court and claimed that he was kidnapped and tortured by CIA
officers during five months in 2004. He said he was taken
from Macedonia to Kabul on a flight that he believed could
have stopped in Palma de Mallorca. Al-Masri said he would
not be able to identify any members of the crew on board the
flight from Macedonia, but he would be able to recognize some
of those who interrogated him in Kabul. As noted in Reftel
C, post continues to be concerned that Judge Moreno, the

MADRID 00002657 002.2 OF 003


Spanish judge involved in this case, as part of Spain's
highly independent judiciary, may determine that Spanish law
allows him to claim "universal jurisdiction" on cases
involving alleged torture and abuse. Such a determination
may provide him the authority to adjudicate events that
transpired in a third country if it is proven that related
events occurred in Spain. Spanish government officials,
including President Zapatero, continue to maintain their firm
public stance that the flights did not violate any Spanish
laws. However, Foreign Minister Moratinos expressed concern
in front of the EU Parliament last month that, "our territory
could have been used not to commit any offense, but as a
stop-over to commit them in other countries." Moratinos has
also urged the European Union to more vigorously investigate
the presence of secret CIA prisons in other European
countries. Spanish press reports that Judge Moreno in the
near future will allow the national prosecutor to call other
witnesses, including the airport authorities of Palma de
Mallorca and the aircraft handling services.

----------------------
Madrid Train Bombings
----------------------

6. (C) Despite the passage of more than two and a half years
since the Madrid train bombings occurred on March 11, 2004,
and the near universal acceptance by the Spanish public and
terrorism experts that they were perpetrated by Al-Qaeda
sympathizers with the goal to punish Spain for its
participation in the Iraq War, a segment of the opposition
Popular Party (PP) and the newspaper El Mundo continue to
allege a Socialist party conspiracy and cover up and claim
that the Basque terrorist group ETA had some link with the
March 11 attacks. The highly-charged political clash over
the Madrid bombing investigation has heightened the climate
of bad blood between the opposition PP and the ruling
Socialist government and has greatly hindered the pace of the
government's prosecution of the attacks. Spain is currently
holding 29 individuals for their alleged connection to the
bombings and prosecutors plan to charge these individuals
with 191 counts of murder and 1,755 counts of attempted
murder. The Spanish National Court has recently rejected
various appeals from the accused and said that the trials,
scheduled to begin in February 2007, may proceed. The
National court in late September asked the Spanish Ministry
of Justice to send an extradition request to Italy to bring
Rabei Osman el-Sayed, known as "Muhammad the Egyptian,"
temporarily to Spain to face trial in connection with the
Madrid bombings.

----------------------
The Detergent Command
----------------------

7. (SBU) In a separate case pending before Spanish courts,
the national prosecutor will seek a total of 142 years in
prison for six Islamists arrested in January 2003 in
Barcelona and Girona. These individuals are known in the
press as "The Detergent Command," due to their possession of
large quantities of detergents that police believe were to
serve as ingredients for explosive devices. According to the
prosecutor, these individuals were preparing a terrorist
attack against a military base in the south of Spain, which
may have been the base at Rota that the US shares with the
Spanish navy and air force. The prosecutor will seek 32
years for Muhammad Tahraoui, alleged leader of the Detergent
Command, and 22 years each for his alleged accomplices,
Muhammad Amine BenaMoura, Ali Kaouka, Ismail Boudjelthia,
Muhammad Nebbar and Sohuil Kouka.

---------------
The Couso Case
---------------

8. (SBU) Although not related to terrorism, the case of Jose
Couso--the Spanish television cameraman killed in Baghdad in
April 2003 during a firefight between US forces and Saddam's
army--may return to national prominence after a British
inquest earlier this month implicated US soldiers in the
death of a British journalist in southern Iraq in March 2003.
Couso's death sparked protests in a country that was
vehemently against the Iraq invasion and friends and
relatives of Couso have tried for years to bring a wrongful
death case against the US soldiers of the Third Infantry
Division involved in the firefight. The Spanish national
court in March 2006 claimed it had no jurisdiction and
refused to hear the case, but Couso supporters appealed to
the Spanish Supreme Court the following month and we are
still awaiting the high court's ruling. Although we have yet
to see any Spanish reaction to the findings of the British

MADRID 00002657 003.2 OF 003


inquest, there is a possibility that Couso's family and their
supporters will increase pressure on the Spanish Supreme
Court to allow charges to be brought against the US soldiers.

9. (C) Comment: Spain is a serious and committed partner in
our global war on terror and we remain pleased with the
efforts of Spanish law enforcement, intelligence and judicial
organizations to combat the Islamic extremist threat.
However, Spanish police, prosecutors, and magistrates
building legal cases against disparate and amorphous terror
cells are struggling to develop evidence sufficient enough to
meet the high threshold set by the Spanish courts. Spain has
a highly independent judiciary that carefully guards this
independence (a major achievement of the post-Franco era),
and this is an important factor to consider as we pursue
increased judicial cooperation with Spain in terrorism cases.
Nonetheless, some of the recent Supreme and national court
decisions can clearly be seen as a criticism of US detainee
policies in Guantanamo that are highly unpopular among the
Spanish. Embassy Madrid looks forward to using next week's
visit of Attorney General Gonzalez and his delegation to
engage Spanish government officials on a range of important
legal and judicial issues to encourage them to take an even
more active role in the fight against global terrorism.
AGUIRRE



ID: 93036
Date: 2007-01-18 17:39:00
Origin: 07MADRID101
Source: Embassy Madrid
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Dunno: 05MADRID4308 07MADRID26 07MADRID82
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RUEHGB/AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD PRIORITY 0132
RUEHLA/AMCONSUL BARCELONA PRIORITY 2374
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SENSITIVE

L/LEI FOR KEN PROPP AND MARK KULISH

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL, MARR, SP
SUBJECT: SPAIN/COUSO CASE: MEETING WITH CHIEF PROSECUTOR

REF: A. MADRID 82
B. MADRID 26
C. 2005 MADRID 4308

1. (SBU) Embassy officials from Legat, the Consular Section,
and the Political Section met with National Court Chief
Prosecutor Javier Zaragoza on 1/18 to review developments in
the Spanish court case charging three U.S. servicemen with
murder and war crimes in the April 2003 death of Spanish
cameraman Jose Couso during the takeover of Baghdad (REFS A
and B). Poloff noted that they were not acting under
instruction and simply wanted to meet informally with
Zaragoza to review a case of great sensitivity to the USG.
Emboffs noted the rapid decision of Examining Magistrate
Santiago Pedraz to re-issue international detention orders
against the three accused servicemen (REF B) and asked
whether Spanish authorities intended to submit bilateral
extradition requests to the U.S. as well for the three
servicemen.

2. (SBU) Zaragoza said that he was not yet in a position to
determine whether or not bilateral extradition requests would
be filed because he had not reviewed the case himself
sufficiently to establish the best course of action (Zaragoza
was not working at the National Court at the time the Couso
case was reviewed and dismissed). He noted that the Couso
case had moved swiftly at a time when he was preoccupied with
the recent handover of ETA terrorist suspects to Spain by
French authorities, which involved new legal ground for the
Spanish authorities. However, Zaragoza said that he was
aware of Spanish Attorney General Candido Conde Pumpido's
interest and involvement in the case (REF C) and assured
Emboffs that his office would carefully study all aspects of
the case and would proceed at a deliberate pace. He said
that the existence of a U.S. investigation of the incident
was understood to be an important consideration, but left
open the possibility that the Prosecutor's Office would seek
additional information from USG authorities.

3. (SBU) The Consular Section's legal adviser asked Zaragoza
whether he could confirm news reports that the Examining
Magistrate had requested that his office prepare a report on
whether U.S. assets could be embargoed (frozen) as part of a
civil component of the Couso family's suit against the U.S.
servicemen. Zaragoza scanned the Examining Magistrate's
request and said that the magistrate's order merely
transmitted this request by the plaintiffs; the National
Prosecutor's office had to undertake a careful review of
Spanish case law before responding to the request.

//COMMENT//

4. (SBU) Our objective in this initial meeting with Zaragoza
was to sensitize him to the USG's concerns in this case,
since he had no involvement in this case when it first came
before the National Court. Zaragoza is a seasoned prosecutor
with a clear understanding of the political implications of
this case and we anticipate that he will proceed as carefully
as he said he would. As soon as Zaragoza informs us how he
intends to proceed, we will convey this information to
interested Washington agencies. We will also follow up at
higher levels in the Spanish Government to reinforce the
implications of this case for bilateral relations and on
international law.
Aguirre



ID: 99667
Date: 2007-03-08 19:33:00
Origin: 07MADRID449
Source: Embassy Madrid
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Dunno: 07MADRID432
Destination: VZCZCXRO0119
PP RUEHAG RUEHROV
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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 MADRID 000449

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FOR EUR/WE CLEMENTS AND CERVETTI

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/07/2017
TAGS: PREL, SP
SUBJECT: SPANISH INTERIOR MINISTER RUBALCABA ON DE JUANA
CHAOS DECISION; ETA TERRORISM; KEY BILATERAL ISSUES

REF: MADRID 432

MADRID 00000449 001.2 OF 003


Classified By: AMBASSADOR EDUARDO AGUIRRE FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D)

1. (C) Summary: During a March 7 lunch with Spanish Minister
of Interior Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba, Ambassador Aguirre heard
the Spanish government's defense of its recent controversial
decision to allow convicted ETA assassin Inaki De Juana Chaos
to serve out the rest of his sentence under house arrest (see
REFTEL for Embassy analysis on this issue). De Juana was
close to death due to a 4-month hunger strike, and Minister
Rubalcaba said that the decision was the correct one because
it allowed the GOS to prevent De Juana from becoming a
"decades-long martyr for radical ETA youth." He said the GOS
was solely responsible for the decision, without any
discussion with or pressure from ETA. Rubalcaba also said
that ETA had the power to put the opposition Partido Popular
(PP) "in the driver's seat" by assassinating one or more
individuals of consequential PP rank or position, but was
unsure if ETA leaders would want to do this. The Interior
Minister said, responding to our request, he was closely
following developments on the Couso case and the CIA flights
issue, and was eager to see a cooling of Spanish emotions in
both cases. Finally, Rubalcaba asked the Ambassador for
further reasons behind the postponement of the proposed March
visit to Madrid by Secretary Rice. The Minister expressed
appreciation for his meetings with the Ambassador, as
opportunities to exchange ideas and gain perspective. End
Summary.

//GOS Decision Saved Lives//

2. (C) Rubalcaba told the Ambassador that the decision to
allow convicted ETA assassin Inaki De Juana Chaos to serve
the remaining 18 months of his sentence at home under house
arrest was the correct one. (Embassy Note: On March 1,
incarcerated ETA member Inaki De Juana Chaos was released
from the Madrid hospital where he was being treated for a
hunger strike and was transferred to a hospital in San
Sebastian. When he has recovered from the affects of the
4-month hunger strike, he will be allowed to complete his
sentence at home under police surveillance. De Juana had
almost completed 17 years of a 30-year sentence for the
murder of 18 individuals when he became eligible for early
release in 2005. A National Court magistrate blocked De
Juana's release in 2005 by charging him with writing letters
threatening prison officials, and De Juana was later
sentenced to an additional 12 years behind bars. The Supreme
Court in February 2007 reduced that sentence to 3 years,
leaving only 18 months remaining due to time already served,
and setting the stage for the government's decision to
release him). Minister Rubalcaba said that his government
knew the decision would be controversial, but that government
officials had not done a good job explaining to the Spanish
people that De Juana had already served his time for the
murders, and remained in prison only on the lesser charge of
making threatening statements. Rubalcaba confided to the
Ambassador that as the end of De Juana's murder sentence drew
near in 2005, the Minister of Justice at that time did not
want to see the convicted assassin go free. He thus sought
to slap on an additional charge--albeit an obscure one with
flimsy merits--that would continue the ETA member's
incarceration. Rubalcaba said that in hindsight, it would
have been better to allow De Juana to go free in 2005 and
that now the Zapatero Government was "paying the price" for
that decision.

3. (C) Rubalcaba said that at the time of De Juana's release,
the ETA member was just hours away from suffering medically
irreversible damage due to his hunger strike, and would have
died in a short time if the GOS had not acted. Rubalcaba's
view is that the decision to release De Juana saved Spanish
lives by avoiding his transformation into a "decades-long
martyr for radical ETA youth." Rubalcaba said the GOS was
solely responsible for the decision, without any discussion
with or pressure from ETA. The Minister told the Ambassador
that despite the De Juana case becoming a rallying cry for
ETA members in recent weeks, current ETA leaders have no use
for him in the organization and will not want anything to do
with him once he is freed. Rubalcaba posited that De Juana
will likely retire to Morocco upon his release.

//ETA Could Put PP in Driver Seat//

4. (C) Turning to broader ETA issues, the Minister discussed
the virulent reaction to the De Juana decision by the main
opposition Partido Popular (PP). Rubalcaba told the

MADRID 00000449 002.2 OF 003


Ambassador that the GOS knows ETA could "put the PP in the
driver's seat" in advance of regional elections in May and
national elections in early 2008 by assassinating one or more
individuals of important PP rank or position. Rubalcaba
quickly said his government is unsure whether current ETA
leaders would risk taking this step, but the fear is that any
ETA sympathizer would have the power to change the political
calculus in Spain with one rash act. In discussing the
December 30 ETA bombing at Madrid's Barajas airport that
killed two individuals, Rubalcaba said that act proved the
ETA hard-liners had won out over those favoring moderation,
and derailed the peace process. Rubalcaba said that ETA's
political front group Batasuna is still working every angle
to try and gain permission to run in Basque municipal
elections in May, but the Barajas bombing has made that
scenario even more problematic.

//Bilateral Issues//

5. (C) The Ambassador expressed his appreciation to Minister
Rubalcaba for the strong level of counterterrorism
cooperation, specifically the development of the Bilateral
Counterterrorism Working Group. He said the working group is
an effective vehicle to improve judicial efforts against
terrorism in both countries. The Ambassador also reiterated
USG support for Spain's efforts in fighting terrorism and
said that the ongoing trial of individuals allegedly involved
in the March 11, 2004 Madrid train bombings highlights the
continued threat facing both of our countries. When the
Ambassador conveyed continued Department and National
Security Council interest in the possible terrorist
designation of Barakat Yarkas, Rubalcaba replied that he was
aware that this was still a pending issue between our
governments and knows that it needs to be addressed. The
Minister told the Ambassador that responding to our request,
he was also following developments on the Jose Couso case
(the Spanish TV cameraman killed in the Palestine Hotel
incident in Iraq) and the CIA flights issue that have been
the subject of much sensational press coverage in Spain in
recent weeks. Rubalcaba said that although the Spanish
judiciary was fiercely independent and would do what it
thought was right, Rubalcaba had instructed his staff to
avoid any inflammatory rhetorical comments in an attempt to
lower the temperature on these issues.

//S Visit to Madrid//

6. (C) Minister Rubalcaba pressed the Ambassador for the
"real reason" why the Secretary postponed her proposed March
visit to Spain. The Ambassador replied that the postponement
was purely for scheduling reasons due to the Secretary's
planned travel and had nothing to do with any problems in the
bilateral relationship. Ambassador Aguirre noted that the
Secretary's recent phone call with Foreign Minister

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Moratinos, informing him that she needed to testify in
Congress on March 28, confirmed what the Ambassador had said.
Rubalcaba seemed satisfied with the answer. The Ambassador
reminded Rubalcaba that if sectors of the Spanish Government
continue to insist that there are signs of a deteriorating
bilateral relationship when no signs exist, they run the risk
of reversing some of the improvements made in the
relationship over the past two years. Although the GOS has
not confirmed the Secretary's new proposed visit date of June
1, Rubalcaba raised the possibility of the GOS eventually
making some kind of statement confirming the visit. The
Ambassador suggested to Rubalcaba that for security and
logistical reasons, it was probably not wise to confirm the
exact date of such a visit three months out, and the Minister
agreed with the reasoning. (Note: Embassy is working with
Washington, at the request of the Spanish MFA, to develop
some kind of public statement indicating that S had planned
to visit in March, is committed to coming to Spain, and that
dates are being worked out. MFA would like to publicize a
precise date for a rescheduled visit, but this issue is under
discussion between the Embassy and Washington.)

7. (C) Comment. Rubalcaba said he was weighed down with the
issues currently facing him and remarked that he "felt the
weight of Spain on his shoulders." He is currently living
above the Ministry due to repairs and refurbishment occurring
at his house and said that living so close to the office made
it hard to "disconnect": that he is having trouble sleeping
at night. Although he shows no outward signs of stress, the
events since the December 30 ETA bombing have clearly taken a
toll. The Minister said that he appreciated opportunities
such as these to exchange ideas and gain perspective and
hopes they will continue.

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AGUIRRE



ID: 101321
Date: 2007-03-21 12:35:00
Origin: 07MADRID520
Source: Embassy Madrid
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Dunno:
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E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/20/2017
TAGS: PREL, SP
SUBJECT: SPAIN/IRAQ: SOCIALISTS FIRE UP ANTI-WAR RHETORIC
FOR ELECTORAL SEASON

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

1. (C) Summary. In a volatile political climate leading up
to regional/municipal elections in late May, the ruling
Socialist Party (PSOE) and far left political allies have
ramped up criticism of the war in Iraq, in part to
counteract opposition Popular Party (PP) attacks on the
Zapatero Government's controversial policies on the ETA
issue. The Madrid Regional PSOE joined the far left "United
Left" (IU), unions, and pacifist groups staged mass
demonstrations against the war on March 17 - though the
turnout was lower than for the anti-ETA march. On March 20,
high profile magistrate Baltasar Garzon published an
editorial in the left leaning "El Pais" saying that the time
had arrived to investigate "criminal responsibility" for the
war in Iraq, to include possible charges against former
President Aznar, PM Blair, and President Bush (Spaniards
frequently refer to the "Picture of the Azores" in 2003 of
the three leaders as the moment in which the decision to go
to war was made, thus linking Aznar not just with the Spanish
troop deployment, but with full responsibility for the war).
PSOE Secretary Jose Blanco said in a March 20 television
interview that "someone must pay" for the war in Iraq, and
that if someone could demonstrate criminal culpability on the
part of political leaders, Blanco said he was "all for it."
The Ambassador contacted National Security Adviser Carles
Casajuana on March 21 to convey his deep concern regarding
the direction and tenor of PSOE statements on Iraq, which
could only harm bilateral relations. Casajuana discussed the
heated political context of the statements and said he
expected them to abate soon, but assured the Ambassador that
he would convey the Ambassador's concerns to President
Zapatero immediately. The DCM is following up with PSOE
Secretary Blanco to insist that the PSOE avoid dragging the

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USG into its domestic conflict with the PP. End summary.

//HEATED POLITICAL ENVIRONMENT//

2. (C) In the runup to May 27 regional and municipal
elections, the political environment in Spain has become
increasingly aggressive. The PP has not gained in most
opinion polls, but its criticism of President Zapatero's
controversial policies in the Basque Region has steadily
eroded electoral support for the PSOE. In a show of
strength, the PP led an anti-ETA, anti-Zapatero demonstration
on March 10 in Madrid that drew at least 1 million people.
The PSOE stormed back the following week, refocusing public
attention on former President Aznar's unpopular decision to
commit Spanish forces to the war in Iraq. The Madrid Region
PSOE, joined by the PSOE Secretary for International
Relations Elena Valenciano, organized a smaller mass rally on
March 17 against the Iraq war and against the U.S. detention
of enemy combatants at Guantanamo.

3. (U) The PSOE Parliamentary group joined the fray on March
20, negotiating a non-binding resolution with the far left IU
that sharply criticized the "illegal" war in Iraq. The
resolution passed with the unanimous support of all parties
except the PP. The resolution condemned the "illegal,
immoral, and unjust" decision to go to war in Iraq, for
having "destabilized the region, and encouraged jihadist
terrorism, which most affects the Iraqi people themselves."
The resolution further states that the war was launched on
false pretenses, "as has been recognized by President Bush
and Prime Minister Blair... the (mismanagement) of the
conflict has undermined the credibility of fundamental
universal values, in the face of brutal realities at Abu
Ghraib, Guantanamo, and the execution of Saddam Hussein."
(NOTE: The PSOE version of the resolution removed IU language
calling on the USG to hand over three U.S. servicemen accused
of killing Spanish TV cameraman Jose Couso. END NOTE).

//GARZON, PSOE LEADER WEIGH IN//

4. (U) Judge Garzon published an editorial in the leading
daily "El Pais" on March 20 that lambasted Aznar for
declining to "heed UN inspectors... and instead lending
himself, along with a few other leaders, to provide cover and
support for this illegal action. Garzon went on to suggest
that the time had come to study whether "criminal
responsibility" should be assigned to Aznar, Prime Minister
Blair, and President Bush.Spaniards frequently refer to the
"Picture of the Azores" in 2003 of the three leaders as the
moment in which the decision to go to war was made, thus
linking Aznar not just with the Spanish troop deployment, but
with full responsibility for the war. Late on March 20, a
television news crew asked PSOE Secretary Jose Blanco
(effectively the number two PSOE leader after Zapatero)
whether Aznar should be prosecuted for having involved Spain

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in the war in Iraq. Blanco said that "someone must respond
in the face of this horror, and if there are reasons and
grounds from the legal point of view, then I would be all for
it."

//AMBASSADOR CALLS PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER//

5. (C) The Ambassador contacted National Security Adviser
Carles Casajuana on March 21 to express his concern regarding
the increasingly shrill rhetoric on Iraq on the part of the
ruling Socialist Party and its allies. The Ambassador said
that the PSOE was dragging the USG into Spain's domestic
political arena, a fact that could only harm bilateral
relations. The Ambassador said that he was aware of the
political context, but that he was running out of patience
with unfair Government and PSOE statements regarding the U.S.


6. (C) Casajuana said that the political environment was
"highly polarized" at the moment and blamed the PP for having
stirred the pot on the ETA issue in an inflammatory manner.
He acknowledged that the PSOE had judged that it could
counter attack by resurfacing the Iraq issue and going after
Aznar himself, particularly since the timing coincided with
the fourth anniversary of the start of the war in Iraq.
Casajuana said he understood that the "spillover" of the
debate had impacted USG sensitivities, but said he expected
the Iraq issue to run its course in the next couple of days.
Casajuana said he would relay the Ambassador's concerns
immediately to President Zapatero, emphasizing the Zapatero
Government's desire to keep this issue under control. The
Ambassador asked that President Zapatero act to tamp down the
matter and avoid fueling anti-American sentiment as the
political campaign continued.

7. (C) The DCM will follow up with a similar message to other
officials and has requested meetings with PSOE Secretary
Blanco and PSOE International Relations Secretary Elena
Valenciano to ask that they leave the U.S. out of their
political campaign.
Aguirre



ID: 109666
Date: 2007-05-24 16:30:00
Origin: 07MADRID1000
Source: Embassy Madrid
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Dunno: 07MADRID800 07MADRID899 07MADRID910
Destination: VZCZCXRO5789
PP RUEHAG RUEHDF RUEHIK RUEHLZ RUEHROV
DE RUEHMD #1000 1441630
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 241630Z MAY 07
FM AMEMBASSY MADRID
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2607
INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHGB/AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD PRIORITY 0170
RUEHLA/AMCONSUL BARCELONA PRIORITY 2740
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UNCLAS MADRID 001000

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SENSITIVE
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EUR/WE FOR ALLEGRONE, CLEMENTS AND CERVETTI
L/LEI FOR PROPP, KULISH, AND JOHNSON

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL, PGOV, MARR, SP
SUBJECT: SPAIN/COUSO CASE: JUDGE REJECTS CHIEF PROSECUTOR'S
APPEAL; CASE MOVES ON TO APPEALS TRIBUNAL

REF: A. MADRID 910
B. MADRID 899
C. MADRID 800 AND OTHERS

1. (SBU) On May 24 Spanish investigative magistrate Judge
Santiago Pedraz rejected the appeal of National Court Chief
Prosecutor Javier Zaragoza to drop the charges against three
U.S. servicemen accused of killing Spanish television
cameraman Jose Couso during a firefight in Baghdad in April
2003. Despite the rejection by Judge Pedraz, this case will
proceed to the National Court appeals tribunal, which will
rule on the merits of the arguments put forth by Pedraz and
by the National Court prosecutors. As we reported in REFTEL
A, Zaragoza contacted us on May 14 to report that he had
appealed the Pedraz decision to file formal charges against
the three servicemen, saying that his technical and legal
review of the facts led him to conclude that the killing of
Couso was not intentional, and therefore the soldiers could
not be charged with war crimes or murder. In today's ruling
Judge Pedraz claimed to be surprised by Zaragoza's appeal, as
the National Prosecutors Office did not oppose his initial
ruling to reactivate arrest warrants for the servicemen and
therefore tacitly agreed with the case.

2. (SBU) Comment. Today's ruling by Pedraz was not a
surprise as judges do not normally change their original
ruling after an appeal based on the technical or legal review
of the National Court Prosecutors Office. This case, as we
expected, will now be forwarded to the Criminal Division of
the National Court. Post will continue to report on this
case as it develops.
LLORENS