Selecciona Edición
Selecciona Edición
Tamaño letra

Cable sobre la ruptura de la tregua de ETA

Contactos policiales españoles avisan de ataques probables tras la ruptura de la tregua de ETA en 2006

ID: 111399
Date: 2007-06-08 09:33:00
Origin: 07MADRID1107
Source: Embassy Madrid
Dunno: 07MADRID1078 07MADRID432
Destination: VZCZCXRO9533
DE RUEHMD #1107/01 1590933
P 080933Z JUN 07





E.O. 12958: N/A


MADRID 00001107 001.2 OF 002

1. (SBU) Even as Spain braces for a new round of attacks in
the wake of the Basque terrorist group ETA's June 6 decision
to break its 15-month ceasefire (REFTEL A), Spanish
government officials and opposition leaders have traded barbs
and blamed each other for the breakdown in the peace process.
President Zapatero on June 6 appealed to the opposition
Popular Party (PP) to put aside political differences and
"lend a hand" to the government in the fight against ETA.
Zapatero called for unity among political parties, but said
that regardless of the PP,s actions, his government will act
with "strength and intelligence" to counter the Basque
terrorists. Zapatero chided the PP for "criticizing the
government above all else." Jose Blanco, Secretary General
of Zapatero's Socialist Party (PSOE), accused the PP of being
"irresponsible and disloyal." PSOE officials say that on the
issue of fighting ETA terrorism, they remained loyal to the
former PP government of President Aznar (1996-2004), and that
the current PP opposition should do the same.

2. (SBU) The PP for its part has demanded that Zapatero
"rectify" his counterterrorism policies and return to the
Anti-terrorist Pact that in the year 2000 laid out a common
strategy between Spain's two main political parties to fight
ETA. PP leader Mariano Rajoy said that Zapatero's public
statements made in the hours after the ETA announcement were
"not clear and not enough." PP leaders (and many Spanish
pundits) believe that Zapatero's initial declarations were
soft and focused more on his fight to achieve peace, without
once mentioning his intention to defeat ETA. Zapatero's
opponents believe that he is refusing to rule out any chance
of future peace negotiations with the terrorist group because
he is a true believer in the process who has invested so much
political capital in it.

//What Might ETA Do?//

3. (SBU) Our contacts in the Spanish security forces say
that ETA is preparing to commit a significant terrorist
attack in the very near future, and Madrid could be the
target. Additional targets on ETA's list appear to be
heavily-touristed areas along the Mediterranean coast
(Valencia is a name that has appeared in the press). Some
ETA watchers believe that the group will launch a series of
terrorist attacks without causing victims to pressure the
Zapatero government to address its key demands, but without
crippling Zapatero before national elections which must take
place by March 2008. There is disagreement in Spain over
whether ETA prefers a Socialist government in power to better
the chances of its goals being met, or whether ETA does not
distinguish between either main political party when it comes
to achieving Basque independence. According to Spanish
security forces quoted in the press, ETA currently has about
100 active members, four operational commands (two in the
Basque region, one in France and one in Madrid), and strong
logistical and technical capabilities to make explosives and
car bombs.

//What Can the GOS Do?//

4. (SBU) Zapatero has promised that Spanish security forces
will maintain and even increase their already high level of
preparedness (along with French counterparts in southern
France) against an ETA attack. On June 7, French police
arrested three ETA members in the town of Arbes, including
one who was on the Spanish Civil Guard's most wanted list and
who allegedly was the leader of ETA's recruiting apparatus.
In addition to stepped up law enforcement efforts, one of the
first tangible GOS actions taken in the wake of the ETA
announcement was the remanding back to prison of convicted
ETA assassin Inaki De Juana Chaos to fulfill the remainder of
his three-year sentence. De Juana Chaos (as described in
REFTEL B) completed an 18-year sentence for 25 murders but
went on a hunger strike to protest being in jail on lesser
charges of threatening public officials. De Juana Chaos was
close to death three months ago when the Spanish government
allowed him to leave jail for a hospital near his hometown in
the Basque region to receive treatment. In recent weeks De
Juana Chaos has been pictured taking strolls around the
neighborhood near the hospital (and some would say virtually
thumbing his nose at Spanish authorities), leading Spaniards
to question how close to death he really was. After the ETA
announcement, Interior Minister Rubalcaba said that "in no
case" would he be allowed to serve the remainder of his
sentence at home (as Rubalcaba had previously considered),

MADRID 00001107 002.2 OF 002

and as of June 7 De Juana Chaos was on his way back to a jail
in Aranjuez. This decision appears to represent a drastic
change in attitude on the part of the GOS since last March.
Another possible action could include the jailing of Arnaldo
Otegi, leader of ETA's political wing Batasuna, if the
Spanish Supreme Court upholds a sentence handed to Otegi for
his comments praising terrorism. Zapatero had previously
looked the other way when the Spanish Prosecutors office
withdrew the charges against Otegi.

//How Might the Spanish React?//

5. (SBU) Many in Spain believe that Zapatero lost face in
giving in to ETA on issues such as De Juana Chaos, allowing a
political party with ties to Batasuna to participate in the
May 27 municipal elections, and not cracking down harder
after ETA killed two individuals in a December 30 bombing at
Madrid's Barajas Airport. Even some of the PSOE's own
supporters have criticized Zapatero's vacillation in the wake
of the December 30 bombing and some believe this fact
contributed to the low voter turnout in the recent local and
regional elections. Spanish observers are saying that
Zapatero offered major concessions to ETA yet still achieved
the same thing as previous Spanish presidents: nothing. The
reaction of PP leader Rajoy ("I told you so!") is to be
expected as his party's opposition over the past two years
has been based mostly on a "Just Say No" policy of
confrontation with the Zapatero government, with the ETA
issue reigning supreme. Rajoy will have to walk a fine line
between legitimate policy disagreement with the government,
and being seen as using the issue of terrorism to gain
political points. Zapatero is likely to make the case that
he made a genuine good faith attempt to achieve lasting peace
in the Basque region, but that ETA rejected the initiative
and now Spain has no choice but to close ranks and take the
fight to ETA. If Zapatero takes this approach, the PP will
probably need to get on board or risk losing support among
moderate Spanish voters. In any case, the PP will support
tough measures against the terrorist group. Some
commentators have speculated that the end of the ETA peace
process means that Zapatero should call for early elections
this fall to give Spanish voters the chance to influence GOS
CT policy, but thus far Zapatero has said that elections will
still take place as scheduled in March 2008. In order to
win, Zapatero will have to be seen taking nothing but a
strong, tough stand against the terrorist group from now
until national elections.
Se adhiere a los criterios de The Trust Project Más información >