Cablegate: Embassy Madrid

DE RUEHMD #0049/01 0191734
R 191734Z JAN 10

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MADRID 000049

SIPDIS FOR EUR/WE E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/19/2020


Classified By: Ambassador Alan D. Solomont, Reasons 1.4(b),(d).

1.(C) Summary. The Ambassador met with Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba January 18. They discussed additional Spanish law enforcement assistance in Haiti; the controversy surrounding the FBI,s use of a Spanish politician,s photograph from the internet to create an image of the bureau,s most wanted terrorist, Osama bin Laden; Secretary Napolitano,s upcoming visit to address an EU informal ministerial on aviation security; Guantanamo detainees; law enforcement cooperation, in particular information sharing; Al Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb; and Spanish training of security forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. End summary.

2.(C) The Ambassador praised Rubalacaba,s support, coordination, and cooperation across the board on law enforcement matters, underscoring USG appreciation and desire to strengthen even more the already strong partnership with Spain. The Ambassador said the USG had high expectations of Spanish leadership in the Presidency of the EU and recognized Rubalcaba,s preeminent and influential role in the Spanish Government in getting things done. The Ambassador said the USG needs Spain to be a strong partner, as the world,s problems were too big to solve alone.

Llamazares ----------

3.(C) The Ambassador reiterated USG regret that Spanish politician and congressional deputy Gaspar Llamazares, photo had been used to create an age-processed image of Osama bin Laden. He explained that the FBI forensic artist had selected features from a database of stock reference photographs to create the image and was unaware the subject he used was a Spanish politician. He added that there was no political or other motivation, that the similarities between the photos (posted on the Rewards for Justice website) were unintentional and inadvertent. Ambassador said that the Embassy had acknowledged the error and contacted Llamazares on January 16 who seemed satisfied with our outreach. Even so, the FBI was looking into the process that led to the unintended depiction and would offer a letter of explanation. Embassy Legatt would be contacting Llamazares to set up a meeting to clarify the matter. Rubalcaba welcomed the Embassy actions to put the controversy to rest, noting that Llamazares, despite his leftist leanings, was a good chap with lots of common sense.

Haiti ----- 4 (C) The Ambassador briefed Rubalcaba on the devastation in Haiti and the USG and international reaction to it. He noted the positive role of Spanish law enforcement in Haiti and said that Haiti would need additional EU and Spanish police support to deal with the deteriorating security situation there. Rubalcaba noted Spanish Vice President Fernandez de la Vega,s recent visit to Haiti and Spain,s efforts in Brussels to lead a coordinated, robust EU response to the humanitarian tragedy and increasing lawlessness. He anticipated that Spain and the EU would be asked to provide more police assistance, and said that Spain would do its part with additional Civil Guard elements. He lamented Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez,s gratuitous comments that the USG was taking advantage of the humanitarian situation to occupy Haiti militarily.

EU Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) Informal Ministerial --------------------------------------------- ---------

5.(C) The Ambassador thanked the Minister for his invitation to DHS Secretary Napolitano to visit Toledo January 21-22 to discuss enhanced civil aviation security cooperation. The Ambassador thanked Rubalcaba for the excellent anti-organized crime and counter-narcotics relationships we enjoy in Spain. He noted the USG is interested in taking the information sharing to the next level, not only in counter-terrorism but also with respect to organized crime investigations. Rubalcaba said he looked forward to discussing further with Napolitano and the Ambassador JHA matters, both in Toledo and at the April 9-10 JHA Ministerial meeting that Attorney General Holder and Napolitano are slated to attend.

Guantanamo Detainees ---------------------

5.(C) The Ambassador reflected positively on Spain,s commitment to take five detainees and urged that Spain accept the first tranche (two detainees) as soon as possible. MADRID 00000049 002 OF 002 Rubalcaba said the Ministry of Interior is currently deciding where the detainees will live and is also evaluating the case files of additional detainees to be able to take a total of five. He said that because of political concerns Spain would have to delay a month receiving the Yemeni detainee, noting public concerns in the wake of the Christmas Day Detroit attempted terrorist incident. Spain would nonetheless proceed with the Palestinian and another detainee quickly, with the remaining three detainees being transferred once the GOS completed their evaluation of the case files. Ambassador said he wanted to be "clear and blunt" about USG expectations of Spain following through on its commitments, adding that this was an important opportunity for Spain to show it is a serious leader in the EU. Rubalcaba reiterated Spain,s commitment to help the USG, noting it had criticized the USG for opening the Guantanamo detention facility and now was on the hook to help the USG close it.

Al Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb -------------------------------

6.(C) The Ambassador expressed concern for the three aid workers who were kidnapped in Mauritania by AQIM November 29. He said that the USG wanted to continue close cooperation in the area, as there are terrorist and extremist threats on many fronts. Rubalcaba expressed appreciation for continuing USG intelligence support and cooperation. He said he had underscored to his many interlocutors in the U.S. during his recent visit there the importance of the Maghreb to Spain,s national security interests and Spain,s desire for improved cooperation in that region. In view of the weak states there, he hoped to reach an agreement on capacity-building during upcoming JHA meeting. He said there must be enhanced sharing of information. Rubalcaba noted that while Spanish and U.S. intelligence cooperation, based on shared values and interests, is very good among the various USG agencies -- CIA, DEA, FBI -- Spain wants it to be even better. On counter-terrorism cooperation, Rubalcaba said that Spain agrees with President Obama that the West needs to speak with one voice, and that being tolerant and firm are not incompatible when dealing with Islam and Muslim extremism. The Ambassador agreed, noting that the parallel tracks of engagement and incentives with pressure and sanctions vis--vis Iran was also the USG approach.

Training Security Forces in Afghanistan and Iraq --------------------------------------------- ---

7.(C) The Ambassador thanked Rubalcaba for Spain,s pledge to send Civil Guard and/or National Police personnel to help train security forces in Afghanistan and Iraq as part of the NATO training missions in those countries. Rubalcaba said that he is awaiting the report of the assessment team that was sent to Iraq and expected to field 10-12 Civil Guard elements, adding that Iraq was more difficult politically for Spain than Afghanistan. He reiterated Spain,s commitment to send at least 40 police trainers to Afghanistan. SOLOMONT

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