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Cable sobre el conflicto entre Estados Unidos y Reino Unido por los vuelos de espionaje sobre Líbano

"La enorme cautela [de Londres] es un reflejo de la atención de Parlamento, público y medios a los asuntos que suponen complicidad del Reino Unido en violaciones de los derechos humanos"

ID: 153879
Date: 2008-05-14 15:06:00
Origin: 08LONDON1350
Source: Embassy London
Classification: SECRET//NOFORN
Dunno:
Destination: VZCZCXYZ0002
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHLO #1350/01 1351506
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 141506Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY LONDON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8598
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/CJCS WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE IMMEDIATE
RUEHLO/USDAO LONDON UK IMMEDIATE
INFO RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT IMMEDIATE 0277

S E C R E T LONDON 001350

SIPDIS
NOFORN

STATE FOR U/S ROOD, PM ACTION TEAM AND EUR/WE/UK
OSD FOR USDP EDELMAN

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/24/2018
TAGS: MARR, MOPS, PINR, PREL, LE, UK
SUBJECT: HMG RAISES THE BAR ON INTEL FLIGHTS

REF: A. STATE-LONDON SVTC MAY 9

B. LONDON 1159
C. MAY 1 GILLARD-TREMONT LETTER
D. LONDON 1115
E. LONDON 1064
F. TREMONT-PMAT EMAIL APRIL 16

Classified By: DCM Richard LeBaron for reasons 1.4, b/d.

1. (S/NF) Summary and Recommendation. FCO contacts explained
May 14 that HMG's May 1 approval (ref C) for CEDAR SWEEP
flights had been widely considered at MOD and FCO, with some
departments flagging concerns about the information provided
by the USG. HMG is concerned that the request for
reconnaissance flights may have been made by the Lebanese
MOD, rather than the entire GOL. Embassy will be receiving a
new letter from HMG setting out that HMG approval for CEDAR
SWEEP was based on the understanding that the flights are
approved by the entire GOL. Secondly, FCO is concerned that
human rights reports, including the State Department's own,
do not reflect the sterling reputation of the LAF as conveyed
in our April 14 request for use of Akrotiri airbase. HMG
expects the United States to monitor use of the CEDAR SWEEP
intel and ensure the LAF lives up to its commitment to
maintain high human rights standards. Embassy London is
concerned by HMG's piling on of concerns and conditions,
which portend a burdensome process for getting the rest of
our intel flights approved, per ref B. We recommend high
level approaches to MOD and FCO counterparts to register
concern about these new conditions. Embassy Beirut may also
want to consider having the GOL engage the British directly.
End Summary.

Concerns And/Or Implied Conditions
----------------------------------

2. (S/NF) John Hillman of FCO's Whitehall Liaison Department
informed PolMilOff May 14 of several HMG concerns/conditions
about CEDAR SWEEP that could jeopardize future use of British
territory. First, Hillman said that the FCO regional bureau
responsible for Lebanon had questioned USG assurances that
the reconnaissance missions were requested by "the Government
of Lebanon." The regional bureau was concerned that the
request for reconnaissance assistance may have only been made
by the Lebanese Ministry of Defense, rather the entire
Lebanese cabinet, which apparently requires consensus on
controversial issues. HMG believed the GOL could disavow
assertions that it requested reconnaissance assistance if the
flights were made public. Hillman said that HMG was
"entitled to accept" the USG understanding that MOD was
authorized to make the request on behalf of the entire GOL.
HMG has sent Embassy London a follow-up letter (not yet
received) emphasizing that HMG's May 1 approval was
contingent on the understanding that the request was made by
the GOL. Hillman said that, should the GOL disavow the
request and it become clear that the entire GOL was not
supportive of the flights, HMG would have difficulty
approving the involvement of British territory in CEDAR SWEEP.

3. (S/NF) Second, Hillman said the FCO human rights
department noted that, despite the Lebanese MOD's assurances
that it would not use the shared intel unlawfully, Human
Rights Watch and even the State Department's own Human Rights
Report had documented cases of torture and arbitrary arrest
by the LAF. Hillman underscored that if there were any risk
that detainees captured with the help of CEDAR SWEEP intel
could be tortured, HMG would expect the USG to impress upon
the LAF that assurances of lawful treatment must be upheld in
practice. Furthermore, Hillman said, to the extent that the
USG becomes aware of arrests made as a result of CEDAR SWEEP
intel, HMG expects the USG to ensure the detainees are
treated lawfully. If the U.S. became aware of "reasons to
doubt LAF assurances," HMG would expect to be notified
immediately. Hillman noted that these human rights
considerations would undoubtedly be reviewed in the next
Cedar Sweep approval cycle.

Comment and Recommendation
--------------------------

4. (S/NF) Hillman emphasized that the decision to approve
CEDAR SWEEP had been widely discussed in MOD and FCO, with
the decision made by Minister Kim Howells, but even Foreign
Secretary had been informed. He noted that "the highly
cautious approach is a reflection of Parliamentary, public,
and media attention to issues involving UK complicity in
human rights violations."

5. (S/NF) Embassy London finds these additional conditions
for HMG approval and assumptions about our ability to monitor
every CEDAR SWEEP-related apprehension to be not only
burdensome but unrealistic. We recommend that DOD and State
officials raise with UK counterparts the concern that
excessive conditions such as described above will hinder, if
not obstruct, our cooperative counterterrorism efforts.
While we share HMG's concerns that human rights not be
sacrificed for the sake of CT, we cannot take a
risk-avoidance approach to CT in which the fear of
potentially violating human rights allows terrorism to
proliferate in Lebanon. We also recommend that Embassy
Beirut consider whether it would help to have the urge the
GOL engage the British directly. HMG is supportive of the
Siniora government and may be less rigid if asked to assist
by the Siniora government itself.
Visit London's Classified Website:
http://www.intelink.sgov.gov/wiki/Portal:Unit ed_Kingdom
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