Cable sobre los perfiles de tres presos de Guantánamo propuestos para ser acogidos en España

"No son santos pero tampoco terroristas duros", defendió el enviado especial para el cierre del penal.

Date:2009-06-24 13:58:00
Source:Embassy Madrid
Dunno:09MADRID351 09MADRID551
DE RUEHMD #0604/01 1751358
P 241358Z JUN 09

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 04 MADRID 000604



E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/20/2024


MADRID 00000604 001.2 OF 004

Classified By: CDA Arnold A. Chacon for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

1. (S//NF) SUMMARY: As part of ongoing engagement with the
GOS on the issue (See Ref A), Ambassador Dan Fried, the
Special Envoy for the Closure of the Guantanamo Detention
Facility (S/GC), on June 17 provided a list of four
Guantanamo Bay (GTMO) detainees' case files to an
inter-ministerial group of Spanish officials for the GOS to
consider for resettlement in Spain. Embassy Madrid
hand-delivered a fifth case file to the MFA on June 18.
Spanish officials emphasized that Spain is disposed to assist
the USG and is in solidarity with the Obama Administration on
the need to close the GTMO detention facility, but the GOS
will need to review the files on a case-by-case basis to
ensure that the individuals meet certain legal, security,
political and financial conditions. Spanish officials
indicated that the profile of detainees would be more
important to the GOS than the number accepted; it will be a
case of finding the right match. Following the June 17
meetings, President Zapatero, his First Vice President, and
FM Moratinos all made public comments emphasizing that any
detainees accepted would pose no danger to the Spanish
public. Interior Minister Rubalcaba on June 23 told
reporters in Washington DC that the GOS could accept "up to
five" GTMO detainees for resettlement. END SUMMARY.

2. (C//NF) The GOS delegation was led by two Directors
General (DGs) - Assistant Secretary equivalent - from three
ministries: Luis Felipe Fernandez de la Pena, MFA DG for
non-EU Europe and North America, and Arturo Avello, the
Ministry of Interior's DG for International Relations and
Alien Issues. The Ministry of Justice was also represented.
The detainee issue meeting occurred on the eve of Fernandez
de la Pena's June 19 meetings in Washington with EUR A/S
Philip Gordon and the NSC and Interior Minister Alfredo Perez
Rubalcaba's June 23-24 meetings in Washington with a slew of
senior USG officials (See Ref B).

//Opening Statements to Explain The Case Files//

3. (S//F) El Pais, Spain's leading daily, on June 17,
published a front page story citing GOS sources which
suggested that Spain might accept 3-5 detainees, which served
as an opening discussion point at the meeting. Ambassador
Fried expressed appreciation for the GOS availability to
discuss the issue and specifically thanked the GOS for being
consistent in its stance of offering to help the USG close
the facility. In presenting the four case files (TS-46,
TS-502, TS-892, and TS-894) and describing the fifth
(YM-252), he explained that the GOS would have essentially
the same information that the USG did when it made its
determinations about the status of these detainees. He
encouraged the GOS to make its own judgments about these five
and to let the USG know if case files of others detainees
might be more appropriate to find the right fit, although he
cautioned that there was competition for the detainees with
the least problematic profile and that the detainees would be
resettled on a first come, first served basis. Fried
emphasized that the USG was open to ongoing discussions to
address any specific questions and encouraged the GOS to be
in contact via the US Embassy in Madrid, the Spanish
Ambassador in Washington, intelligence channels, or directly
with the S/GC office.

4. (S//NF) Ambassador Fried stated that if the GOS decided it
was willing to accept detainees, the next step would be an
exchange of brief diplomatic notes in which the USG would ask
that the detainees receive humane treatment, not be
extradited to a third-country, and be subject to various
other measures, e.g., regarding travel. He added that, when
the time came, the USG would work with the GOS to provide
information that could be provided to Spain's EU and Schengen
partners about the detainees that the GOS planned to accept.
Ambassador Fried suggested the GOS ideally would respond to
the five case files (four Tunisians and a Yemeni) within two
weeks, but also highlighted that the case files of other
detainees could be provided to find the right match to suit

MADRID 00000604 002.2 OF 004

Spanish interests.

//Why the GOS Is Cooperating//

5. (S//NF) Fernandez de la Pena outlined two reasons the GOS
was supporting the USG on the detainee issue. First, he
stressed that the GOS highly values its relations with the
USG, especially at this moment of a revitalization in the
bilateral relationship, and that maintaining strong bilateral
relations is a GOS priority. He also explained the GOS
supported the closure of the GTMO detention facility because
it fits in with the Zapatero Administration's
counter-terrorism and humanitarian policies. Nevertheless,
Fernandez de la Pena commented that the GOS would study the
files carefully because the review process was more important
than timelines. He predicted that Spain might not be among
the countries to accept detainees the most quickly, but nor
would it be a laggard.

//GOS Legal Criteria//

6. (S//NF) Fernandez de la Pena stated that any detainees
that Spain accepts must have "clean" records or Spain will
have legal problems. Ambassador Fried replied that the USG
has deemed these five detainees suitable for transfer, but
acknowledged that each country has its own criteria and
emphasized that the USG will work with the GOS on this issue.
Fried acknowledged that these five are "no saints" but
neither are they hardened terrorists or ideologues. They
were living on the margins of society, had drug problems and
were recruited as low-level soldiers. Fried assured the
Spanish that the detainees were "clean" in the sense that the
USG would not be asking the GOS to incarcerate them, but
stressed that the GOS security services may well want to
monitor them. Fernandez de la Pena and Avello expressed
concern that former detainees would arrive in Spain with an
"aura" among radicalized Islamic communities, for whom the
detainees would become "icons."

//GOS Security Criteria//

7. (S//NF) Fernandez de la Pena emphasized that the GOS needs
to avoid accepting any detainees that pose a security risk to
its EU and Schengen Area partners and suggested that the GOS
might need further information from the USG in this regard.
It is important to the GOS that those detainees that it
accepts have expressed their interest to resettle in Spain, a
factor which the GOS may need in writing at a later point in
negotiations. Fernandez de la Pena described current Spanish
legislation as "toothless" in enforcing any restrictions on
the freedom of movement of resettled detainees.

//GOS Political Criteria//

8. (S//NF) Fernandez de la Pena noted that the bulk of the
case files involved Tunisians and indicated that Tunisia is
an important country for Spain, with which it enjoys close
relations. He suggested accepting Tunisian detainees could
be interpreted as Spain buying into the USG argument that
there are "compelling reasons" why the detainees should not
be returned to their home country. The Spaniard expressed
GOS concern that the issue could sour Spanish-Tunisian
bilateral ties. Fernandez de la Pena also made clear that
the GOS already had made the political decision that it would
not accept any Uighurs, so as not to disrupt ties with China.
Avello, however, expressed interest in whether there were
any case files on Uzbek detainees.

//GOS Financial Criteria//

9. (S//NF) The Spanish raised the issue of what financial
contributions the USG was prepared to make on an ad-hoc basis
to cover costs associated with the resettlement process.
Ambassador Fried replied that the USG was prepared to discuss
the issue, but highlighted that the DOD has limited funds for
this and that recent press coverage suggesting that Palau was
given $200 million to accept 13 detainees was wildly off the
mark. Noting that the GOS is not a poor country, Fried
suggested $85,000 per person was a more likely figure to help
defray certain actual costs.

MADRID 00000604 003.2 OF 004

//Detainees' Connection to Spain//

10. (S//NF) Asked if any of the five detainees had a
connection to Spain, Ambassador Fried replied that they did
not. Some had connections to Italy, their experiences there
had not been satisfactory ones. Fernandez de la Pena likened
detainees prospective connection to Spain to a "double-edged
sword." He said it would be a good selling point to the
public to be able to say that they did have a Spanish
connection, but if they did then Spain would run the risk of
one of the GTMO "icons" radicalizing Spain's Muslim

//The Role of NGOs//

11. (S//NF) Fernandez de la Pena indicated that the GOS had
been approached by a number of NGOs - including UK-based
Reprieve - which have sought to act as intermediaries for
certain detainees. He added that the GOS response has been
that the USG had not yet made any specific requests regarding
specific cases. Ambassador Fried encouraged the GOS to
approach the S/GC office and ask if what the Spanish are
hearing from lawyers or NGOs is accurate.

//Universal Jurisdiction//

12. (S//NF) Fernandez de la Pena noted that Lakhdar
Boumediene, the former detainee recently resettled in France,
had announced his intentions to sue the USG. Asked if the
USG assessed that this would become a pattern, Ambassador
Fried replied that perhaps so, but the USG cannot do anything
about that and will proceed with the resettlement of
detainees. In a brief follow-on meeting with the US
delegation, Deputy FM Angel Lossada re-confirmed Spanish
willingness to be helpful and noted that Madrid was taking
steps to limit the future ability of resettled detainees
citing Spain's "universal jurisdiction" laws, to sue the USG.

//The Role of the Media//

13. (S//NF) Both Fernandez de la Pena and Lossada stressed
the GOS's preference in keeping discussions on the detainee
resettlement issue - especially the numbers of case files and
nationalities of detainees - out of the media, to which Fried
and Embassy Madrid readily agreed. Nevertheless, within half
an hour of the U.S. delegation's departure from the MFA, FM
Moratinos told a press conference the number of files
provided to the GOS and detailed the context of the
discussions. President Zapatero and First Vice President
Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega also voiced their support
for engaging with the US on this issue. Meanwhile, following
a phone call with Fried, Congressman Gustavo de Aristegui, a
foreign affairs expert in the center-right Popular Party, the
primary opposition party, also publicly voiced his support
for GOS efforts to accept detainees. By June 22, the Spanish
media, citing GOS sources, had identified the nationalities
of all five detainees. Interior Minister Rubalcaba on June
23 told reporters in Washington DC that the GOS could accept
"up to five" GTMO detainees for resettlement.


14. (S//NF) Ambassador Fried's meeting took discussions with
the Spanish on this issue to the next step - going from the
general discussions to providing specific case files for them
to review. In this meeting, the Spanish showed they are
serious about the issue and are inclined to follow-through on
their stated goodwill. The Zapatero Administration's public
remarks are likely the initial stages of a public diplomacy
campaign designed to lay the groundwork for the Spanish
public's acceptance of the eventual resettlement in Spain of
some detainees. Embassy Madrid believes the USG would be
well served by refraining from making public statements about
our specific discussions with the GOS on this issue and
instead keeping the focus on generalities and appreciation
for Spain's willingness to discuss options. While Post is
aware of Spanish press reports suggesting that "at least two"
of the Tunisians may be unacceptable to the GOS because of

MADRID 00000604 004.2 OF 004

their criminal backgrounds, Post has not yet heard any
official response to the case files from the GOS.

15. (U) This cable was cleared by Ambassador Fried.
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