Author Topic: Spain: Prosecutor Disavows Al-Qaida ties to Barcelona subway plot  (Read 1475 times)

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Offline ANdReScR

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S E C R E T MADRID 000078
 
NOFORN
SIPDIS
 
DEPARTMENT FOR EUR/WE (ALEX MCKNIGHT AND STACIE ZERDECKI),
EUR/PGI (LONNI REASOR), S/CT (MARC NORMAN), INR/TNC (CHASE
HOGLE), INR/EUC (JANICE BELL),
DEPARTMENT PASS TO NSC (ELIZABETH FARR)
DEPARTMENT PASS TO JUSTICE (BRUCE SWARTZ, TODD HINNEN)
EUCOM FOR DEVONNA GRAHAM
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/25/2035
TAGS: PGOV PINS PTER KJUS SP KCRM PINR
SUBJECT: SPAIN: PROSECUTOR DISAVOWS AL-QAIDA TIES TO BARCELONA SUBWAY PLOT
 
REF: A. 09 MADRID 1207
     ¶B. MADRID 76
 
Classified By: DCM Arnold A. Chacon for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)
 
¶1. (S//NF) Contrary to self-incriminating court testimony by
the government's star witness in the recently concluded trial
regarding the plot to attack the Barcelona metro system,
National Court Prosecutor Vicente Gonzalez Mota on January 13
privately confirmed to POLOFF that there were no Al-Qaida
ties to the radical Islamist cell and that the witness was in
fact a third-country undercover agent, as the defense had
alleged.  Gonzalez Mota, who tried the case, spoke with
POLOFF on the margins of the US-Spain Counter-Terrorism and
Organized Crime Experts Working Group meeting in Madrid (See
Ref B), at which Spanish prosecutors explained that Spanish
law allows for security services officials to remain
undercover - rather than appear behind a screen, reveal their
true identity and affiliation or some other alternative -
while testifying in court.
 
¶2. (S//NF) As reported in Ref A, the National Court on
December 14 convicted all 11 defendants arrested in the
"Operation Cantata" case to between 8.5 - 14.5 years
imprisonment for membership in a terrorist organization.
Post had reported on the sworn testimony in that trial by the
prosecution's star witness - a former member of the cell who
turned on his colleagues and notified authorities on the plot
- that he has been a member of Al-Qaida since 2005.  Known as
F1, he testified that he traveled from Paris to Barcelona
under orders from an AQ official in Paris, where F1 said he
formed part of AQ's finance network.  F1 testified that he
spent a year and a half undergoing training in AQ camps in
Pakistan, taking weapons training, the manufacturing of
explosives, and "brainwashing."  He added that he had never
faced charges for his membership in AQ.  Given the chance to
renounce his ties to AQ during cross-examination, F1
cryptically replied, "I can only say that I have come to tell
the truth to the judges and they will be the ones who decide
who I am now."  Gonzalez Mota's private comments on January
13 explain F1's testimony in that the judges were aware that
the witness was an undercover agent rather than an AQ member.
 
¶3. (C) Gonalez Mota gave a formal presentation on the trial
in the bilateral working group meeting, in which he described
the trial as "very satisfactory" and the sentence as "fair."
He said that the prosecution will work to maintain the
convictions, which have been appealed to the Supreme Court.
In response to a question from the U.S. delegation, Gonzalez
Mota explained that the prosecution had not sought to indict
Baitullah Mehsud, the then leader of Tehrik e Taliban
Pakistan (TTP), a Pakistani terrorist group with links to AQ,
which claimed responsibility for the cell's actions because
doing so would have made the case more difficult and the
priority was to convict just the 11 defendants in Spain.
Gonzalez Mota asked rhetorically, what would have been gained
by indicting the now-deceased Mehsud?  In response to another
question by the U.S. delegation, Gonzalez Mota stated that
the prosecution worked through Eurojust to receive police
cooperation from Germany, the Netherlands, and Italy, where
the cell had ties.  He said that Spain asked Pakistan for
information, but ended up giving more than it received.  The
U.S. delegation congratulated Gonzalez Mota on a successful
prosecution.
SOLOMONT

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2010/01/10MADRID78.html

Linkback: http://www.wikileaks-forum.com/cablegate/7/spain-prosecutor-disavows-al-qaida-ties-to-barcelona-subway-plot/18503/



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