US embassy cable - 98MADRID12132

SPAIN: 1998 ANNUAL TERRORISM REPORT

Identifier: 98MADRID12132
Wikileaks: View 98MADRID12132 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Madrid
Created: 1998-12-02 10:11:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Tags: PTER SP
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
R 021011Z DEC 98
FM AMEMBASSY MADRID
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 2655
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MADRID 012132 
 
S/CT FOR REAP 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS:  PTER, SP 
SUBJECT:  SPAIN:  1998 ANNUAL TERRORISM REPORT 
 
REF:   A. STATE 202128 
--     B. 97 MADRID 11809 
 
1.  THE BASQUE TERRORIST GROUP ETA ANNOUNCED A UNILATERAL AND 
UNCONDITIONAL CEASE-FIRE ON SEPTEMBER 16.  THE CEASE-FIRE HAS 
HELD.  PRIOR TO THE CEASE-FIRE, ETA KILLED SIX PERSONS IN 
1998.  PRESIDENT AZNAR CALLED NOVEMBER 3 FOR DIRECT TALKS WITH 
ETA ON WAYS TO MAKE THE CEASE FIRE PERMANENT.  THOSE TALKS 
HAVE NOT OFFICIALLY BEGUN.  THE GOVERNMENT AND ETA APPEAR TO 
HAVE DIFFERING AGENDAS FOR SUCH TALKS, WITH THE GOVERNMENT 
OFFERING SOME MEASURES OF RELIEF FOR ETA'S MORE THAN 500 
PRISONERS AND ESTIMATED 1,000 EXILEES WHILE ETA WANTS TO 
INCLUDE POLITICAL ISSUES OF SOVEREIGNTY AND SELF- 
DETERMINATION.  THE MARXIST TERRORIST GROUP GRAPO RE-EMERGED 
IN 1998 AFTER A THREE YEAR HIATUS.  THE GOVERNMENT DISCOUNTS 
THE OPERATIONAL CAPABILITY OF GRAPO BUT THE ORGANIZATION 
CLAIMED RESPONSIBILITY FOR A NUMBER OF BOMBINGS, AND SOME 
BUSINESSMEN HAVE RECEIVED EXTORTION LETTERS SIGNED BY GRAPO. 
SPAIN SIGNED THE ELEVENTH TERRORISM CONVENTION IN 1998.  THE 
GOS EXPRESSED SUPPORT FOR U.S. ATTACKS ON BIN LADIN TERRORIST 
FACILITIES IN AFGHANISTAN AND SUDAN.  A YEAR-LONG EFFORT BY 
SPAIN TO EXTRADITE ACCUSED ETA TERRORIST RAMON ALDASORO FROM 
THE UNITED STATES SUFFERED A SETBACK WHEN A U.S. DISTRICT 
COURT JUDGE GRANTED A PETITION FOR A WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS 
FILED BY ALDASORO'S ATTORNEY'S.  THERE WERE NO ACTS OF 
TERRORISM IN SPAIN IN 1998 AGAINST OR AFFECTING U.S. CITIZENS 
OR FACILITIES. 
 
2.  THE FOLLOWING RESPONSES ARE KEYED TO PARAGRAPH 3 REFTEL. 
 
A)  ARRESTS AND PROSECUTIONS OF ETA TERRORISTS WERE ONGOING 
THROUGHOUT THE YEAR.  THERE ARE 530 ETA TERRORISTS IN JAIL AND 
ABOUT TWICE THAT MANY IN EXILE.  BELEN GONZALEZ PENALVA, AN 
ETA TERRORIST WHOSE EXTRADITION THE GOS HAD SOUGHT FROM THE 
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC IN CONNECTION WITH A 1985 BOMBING IN WHICH 
AN AMERICAN CITIZEN WAS KILLED, LEFT THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC IN 
OCTOBER AND HER CURRENT WHEREABOUTS ARE UNKNOWN. 
 
B)  THE U.S. DID NOT REQUEST THE EXTRADITION OF ANY SUSPECTED 
TERRORISTS FROM SPAIN IN 1998.  A SPANISH REQUEST FOR 
EXTRADITION FROM THE U.S. OF ACCUSED ETA TERRORIST RAMON 
ALDASORO WAS STYMIED BY A WRIT OF HABEUS CORPUS ISSUED BY A 
U.S. FEDERAL JUDGE IN FLORIDA.  THE U.S. IS APPEALING THE 
WRIT.  SPAIN CONTINUED TO SEEK, WITH SOME SUCCESS, 
EXTRADITIONS FROM VARIOUS LATIN AMERICAN COUNTRIES AND FRANCE 
OF ETA FUGITIVES. 
 
C)  THERE WERE NO SIGNIFICANT IMPEDIMENTS TO HOST GOVERNMENT 
PROSECUTION OR EXTRADITION OF SUSPECTED TERRORISTS. 
 
D)  THE GOVERNMENT CONTINUED TO SPEAK OUT AT THE HIGHEST 
LEVELS CONDEMNING TERRORIST ACTS, INCLUDING THE BOMBINGS OF 
THE U.S. EMBASSIES IN KENYA AND TANZANIA.  A STATEMENT BY THE 
FOREIGN MINISTER SUPPORTED U.S. STRIKES AGAINST BIN LADIN 
FACILITIES IN SUDAN AND AFGHANISTAN. 
 
E)  THE GOVERNMENT'S CHIEF COUNTERTERRORISM PREOCCUPATION 
CONTINUES TO BE ETA.  IN ADDITION TO ONGOING POLICE AND LAW 
ENFORCMENT ACTION TO BREAK UP ETA COMMANDOS AND ARREST THEIR 
MEMBERS, THE GOVERNMENT IN 1998 UNDERTOOK A SERIES OF MEASURES 
DESIGNED TO DEBILITATE ETA'S FINANCIAL INFRASTRUCTURE.  THESE 
MEASURES INCLUDED ATTEMPTS TO LIMIT ETA'S FUND RAISING 
CAPABILITIES, SHUT DOWN BUSINESSES WITH ETA INVOLVEMENT, AND 
LOCATE ETA'S FINANCIAL ASSETS.  IN JULY THE GOVERNMENT SHUT 
DOWN THE PRO-ETA NEWSPAPER "EGIN." 
 
F)  THERE WAS NO SPANISH GOVERNMENT SUPPORT FOR TERRORISM IN 
1998. 
 
G)  THE GOVERNMENT MADE NO PUBLIC STATEMENTS IN SUPPORT OF A 
TERRORIST-SUPPORTING STATE ON A TERRORISM ISSUE IN 1998. 
 
H)  THERE HAS BEEN NO CHANGE SINCE 1997 IN THE SPANISH 
GOVERNMENT'S ATTITUDE TOWARD TERRORISM, INTERNATIONAL OR 
DOMESTIC. 
 
I)  U.S.-SPANISH ANTI-TERRORIST COOPERATION OCCURS ACROSS A 
BROAD RANGE OF OPERATIONAL CONTACTS INVOLVING VARIOUS AGENCIES 
OF THE U.S. GOVERNMENT.  COOPERATION ALSO OCCURS IN 
MULTILATERAL FORA AND BETWEEN THE U.S. AND THE EU, OF WHICH 
SPAIN IS A MEMBER.  EARLIER THIS YEAR THE U.S., CITING LIMITED 
RESOURCES AND TIME CONSTRAINTS ON THE U.S. OFFICIALS WHO WOULD 
BE INVOLVED, DECLINED A SPANISH REQUEST TO INSTITUTIONALIZE 
BILATERAL COUNTERTERRORISM CONSULTATIONS, HELD FOR THE FIRST 
TIME IN MAY 1997 IN MADRID. 
 
J)  NO ACTS OF TERRORISM AGAINST U.S. CITIZENS OR INTERESTS 
HAVE TAKEN PLACE ON SPANISH TERRITORY IN THE PAST FIVE YEARS. 
IN 1996 THE GOS EXTRADITED ACHILLE LAURO HIJACKER MAJID AL- 
MOLQI TO ITALY, FROM WHERE HE HAD ESCAPED FROM PAROLE. 
 
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. 
 
 
ROMERO 

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