US embassy cable - 97MADRID11809

SPAIN: 1997 ANNUAL TERRORISM REPORT

Identifier: 97MADRID11809
Wikileaks: View 97MADRID11809 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Madrid
Created: 1997-12-02 08:32:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Tags: PTER SP
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
R 020832Z DEC 97
FM AMEMBASSY MADRID
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 8589
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MADRID 011809 
 
 
S/CT FOR REAP 
 
E.O. 12958:  N/A 
TAGS:  PTER, SP 
SUBJECT:  SPAIN:  1997 ANNUAL TERRORISM REPORT 
 
REF.  STATE 203771 
 
1.  THE ONLY TERRORIST GROUP OPERATING IN SPAIN IS THE BASQUE 
TERRORIST GROUP ETA (FATHERLAND AND LIBERTY), WHICH CONTINUED 
IN 1997 ITS CAMPAIGN OF MURDER, BOMBINGS, KIDNAPPINGS, AND 
STREET VIOLENCE.  THE GOVERNMENT HAD SOME SUCCESS AGAINST ETA 
DURING THE YEAR, WITH KEY ARRESTS IN SPAIN AND FRANCE AND 
EXTRADITIONS OF ETA TERRORISTS FROM FRANCE AND LATIN AMERICA. 
MANY LATIN AMERICAN GOVERNMENTS CONTINUE TO HARBOR ETA 
TERRORISTS, HOWEVER, IN RESPONSE TO WHICH THE GOVERNMENT 
LAUNCHED A CAMPAIGN TO CONVINCE LATIN AMERICAN AND OTHER 
GOVERNMENTS OF THE TRUE NATURE OF ETA.  THE MARXIST TERRORIST 
GROUP "GRAPO" WAS INACTIVE IN 1997 AND SOME OF ITS LEADERS 
WERE RELEASED FROM PRISON.  SPAIN SOUGHT WITH LIMITED SUCCESS 
AT THE JUNE EU SUMMIT IN AMSTERDAM TO SECURE AGREEMENT ON A 
PROTOCOL AIMED AT PREVENTING AN EU MEMBER STATE FROM GRANTING 
POLITICAL ASYLUM TO A NATIONAL OF ANOTHER EU MEMBER STATE. 
ALSO IN 1997 THE AUTHORITIES BROKE UP A RING OF THE ALGERIAN 
ISLAMIC TERRORIST GROUP GIA OPERATING IN SPAIN.  THERE WERE NO 
ACTS OF TERRORISM IN SPAIN IN 1997 AGAINST OR AFFECTING U.S. 
CITIZENS OR FACILITIES. 
 
THE FOLLOWING RESPONSES ARE KEYED TO PARAGRAPH 3 REFTEL. 
 
A)  ARRESTS AND PROSECUTIONS OF ETA TERRORISTS WERE ONGOING 
THROUGHOUT THE YEAR.  THERE ARE OVER 500 ETA TERRORISTS IN 
SPANISH JAILS AND THE NUMBER IS INCREASING.  FOR THE FIRST 
TIME, THE GOVERNMENT MOVED IN 1997 TO PROSECUTE ETA'S 
POLITICAL WING, THE HERRI BATASUNA (HB) POLITICAL PARTY, WHICH 
HAS SEATS IN THE NATIONAL AND BASQUE REGIONAL PARLIAMENTS. 
ALL 23 MEMBERS OF THE NATIONAL COMMITTEE (EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE) 
OF THIS LEGAL POLITICAL PARTY WERE BROUGHT TO TRIAL IN OCTOBER 
ON CHARGES OF VIOLATING THE SPANISH LAW CRIMINALIZING 
COLLABORATION WITH AN ARMED BAND.  THE CHARGE STEMS FROM HB'S 
DISSEMINATION DURING THE 1996 NATIONAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN OF A 
VIDEO CONTAINING FOOTAGE OF ETA TERRORISTS ADVOCATING 
VIOLENCE.  ON DECEMBER 1, SENTENCES OF SEVEN YEARS AND FINES 
OF ABOUT 3,500 DOLLARS FOR EACH OF THE 23 WERE ANNOUNCED. 
 
B)  THE SPANISH GOVERNMENT HAS ENERGETICALLY SOUGHT 
EXTRADITION FROM COUNTRIES IN WHICH ETA FUGITIVES RESIDE, AND 
HAS BEEN SUCCESSFUL, PARTICULARLY WITH REGARD TO FRANCE. 
FRENCH-SPANISH COOPERATION IN 1997 HAS LED TO KEY ARRESTS OF 
ETA LEADERS AND EXTRADITIONS FROM FRANCE TO SPAIN. JUST BEFORE 
THE FRENCH-SPANISH SUMMIT IN DECEMBER, THE FRENCH INTERIOR 
MINISTER ANNOUNCED THAT IN 1996, 144 PEOPLE DIRECTLY OR 
INDIRECTLY CONNECTED WITH ETA WERE ARRESTED ON FRENCH SOIL AND 
IN THE FIRST 10 MONTHS OF 1997 53 SUCH PERSONS WERE ARRESTED, 
23 OF THEM SPANISH BASQUES.  THE MINISTER ADDED THAT 62 ETA 
ACTIVISTS WERE TGRIED IN FRANCE IN 1997, AND THAT SINCE 
JANUARY 1, 1996, 23 SPANISH ETA TERRORISTS WERE EXTRADITED AND 
HANDED OVER TO SPANISH AUTHORITIES.  SPAIN HAS ALSO SOUGHT 
EXTRADITIONS FROM LATIN AMERICAN COUNTRIES.  THE DOMINICAN 
REPUBLIC AND MEXICO EXTRADITED ETA TERRORISTS TO SPAIN IN 
1997.  THERE HAVE BEEN NO TERRORIST RELATED U.S. REQUESTS FOR 
EXTRADITION IN 1997. 
 
C)  THERE HAVE BEEN NO IMPEDIMENTS TO GOS PROSECUTION OR 
EXTRADITION OF SUSPECTED TERRORISTS. 
 
D)  SPANISH GOVERNMENT LEADERS, INCLUDING PRESIDENT JOSE MARIA 
AZNAR AND INTERIOR MINISTER JAIME MAYOR OREJA, HAVE 
REPEATEDLY, FREQUENTLY, AND PUBLICLY DENOUNCED ETA TERRORISM. 
THEY SIMILARLY SPEAK OUT PUBLICLY AGAINST TERRORIST INCIDENTS 
IN THE MIDDLE EAST AND ELSEWHERE.  FOLLOWING THE KIDNAPPING 
AND MURDER OF A TOWN COUNSELOR IN JULY, THE GOS PUT FORWARD 
LEGISLATION TO STRENGTHEN LAW ENFORCEMENT AGAINST TERRORISM. 
THE GOVERNMENT HAS NOT CHANGED ITS POLICY OF WILLINGNESS TO 
ENGAGE IN A DIALOGUE WITH ETA PROVIDED ETA FIRST RENOUNCES 
VIOLENCE. 
 
E)  THE DAILY REQUIREMENTS OF THE ONGOING STRUGGLE AGAINST ETA 
CONSUME A CONSIDERABLE AMOUNT OF THE TIME AND RESOURCES OF THE 
GOS.  THAT ASIDE, THE FOLLOWING INTERVENTIONS IN THE 
INTERNATIONAL ARENA BY THE GOVERNMENT ARE NOTEWORTHY.  IN 
NOVEMBER 1996 SPAIN BECAME THE FIRST MEMBER OF THE EU TO 
RATIFY THE EUROPEAN EXTRADITION TREATY SIGNED ON SEPTEMBER 27, 
1996.  SPAIN SIGNED A NUMBER OF EXTRADITION TREATIES WITH 
LATIN AMERICAN COUNTRIES.  THE GOS INTRODUCED MEASURES FOR 
CONSIDERATION BY THE EU'S INTER-GOVERNMENTAL CONFERENCE THAT 
WOULD HAVE MADE IT IMPOSSIBLE FOR A MEMBER STATE TO GRANT 
POLITICAL ASYLUM TO A NATIONAL OF ANOTHER MEMBER STATE, BUT 
DUE TO CONSIDERABLE OPPOSITION FROM CERTAIN EU MEMBERS, A MUCH 
WATERED DOWN VERSION WAS EVENTUALLY APPROVED AT THE JUNE EU 
AMSTERDAM SUMMIT.  THE AGREED TEXT PRESERVES THE RIGHT TO 
GRANT ASYLUM TO A NATIONAL OF ANOTHER EU MEMBER STATE BUT 
MERELY REQUIRES THE ASYLUM GRANTING STATE TO INFORM THE 
EUROPEAN COUNCIL (THE REST OF THE EU MEMBER STATES) OF ITS 
ACTION.  SPANISH CONCERN ON THIS ISSUE IS MOTIVATED BY THE 
SEVERAL YEARS OLD REFUSAL OF BELGIUM TO EXTRADITE TWO ETA 
TERRORISTS TO SPAIN ON THE GROUNDS THAT THE REQUEST FOR 
POLITICAL ASYLUM OF THE TWO MUST BE RESOLVED IN THE BELGIAN 
COURT SYSTEM FIRST.  OTHER ACTIONS BY THE GOS DURING THE YEAR 
INCLUDED THE MAKING AND DISTRIBUTION OF A VIDEO PURPORTING TO 
TELL THE TRUE STORY OF ETA, INTENDED MAINLY FOR DISTRIBUTION 
IN LATIN AMERICA, WHERE SOME GOVERNMENTS AND PUBLIC OPINION IN 
SOME COUNTRIES CONTINUE TO VIEW ETA IN ROMANTIC, "FREEDOM 
FIGHTER" TERMS.  TO REINFORCE THE VIDEO, A BIPARTISAN 
DELEGATION OF THE SPANISH PARLIAMENT TRAVELLED TO SELECTED 
LATIN AMERICAN STATES TO REINFORCE THE MESSAGE OF THE VIDEO. 
PRESIDENT AZNAR, ON A VISIT TO CENTRAL AND SOUTH AMERICA, 
ANNOUNCED THE SIGNING OF NEW EXTRADITION AGREEMENTS WITH 
VARIOUS STATES OF THE REGION, INCLUDING PANAMA. 
 
F)  THERE WAS NO SPANISH GOVERNMENT SUPPORT FOR TERRORISM IN 
1997. 
 
G)  THE SPANISH GOVERNMENT MADE NO PUBLIC STATEMENTS IN 
SUPPORT OF A TERRORIST-SUPPORTING COUNTRY ON A TERRORISM ISSUE 
IN 1997. 
 
H)  THERE HAS BEEN NO CHANGE SINCE 1996 IN THE SPANISH 
GOVERNMENT'S ATTITUDE TOWARD TERRORISM, INTERNATIONAL OR 
DOMESTIC. 
 
I)  UNDER THE NEW TRANSATLANTIC AGENDA, SIGNED IN MADRID IN 
DECEMBER 1995, THE U.S. AND THE EU, OF WHICH SPAIN IS A 
MEMBER, MAINTAIN ONGOING ANTI-TERRORIST COOPERATION ACROSS A 
BROAD FRONT.  THE FIRST BILATERAL COUNTERTERRORISM 
CONSULTATIONS WITH THE U.S. TOOK PLACE IN MAY, WHEN THE GOS 
HOSTED A DELEGATION LED BY THE DEPARTMENT COORDINATOR FOR 
SECURITY AND COUNTER TERRORISM.  THE GOS HAS REQUESTED THAT 
BILATERAL TERRORISM CONSULTATIONS WITH THE U.S. BE 
INSTITUTIONALIZED ON AN ANNUAL BASIS. 
 
J)  GOS COUNTERTERRORISM COOPERATION WITH THE U.S. IS 
EXCELLENT.  AN EXAMPLE OF THIS WAS THE DECEMBER 4, 1996 
SPANISH EXTRADITION OF ACHILLE LAURO HIJACKER MAJID AL-MOLQI, 
TO ITALY.  GOS OFFICIALS WERE AWARE OF THE CONSIDERABLE U.S. 
INTEREST IN AL-MOLQI'S EXTRADITION.  AL MOLQI HAD FAILED TO 
RETURN TO PRISON IN ROME IN FEBRUARY 1996 AT THE END OF A 12- 
DAY PAROLE.  HE WAS LATER PICKED UP IN SPAIN. 
 
K)  THE USG HAS NOT IN THE LAST FIVE YEARS SOUGHT SPANISH 
COOPERATION IN THE PREVENTION OF ANY PARTICULAR ACT OF 
INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM AGAINST U.S. CITIZENS OR INTERESTS. 
 
ROSSIN 

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