[Marxism] Zapatero's Role in CIA Flights to Eastern Europe

Brian Shannon Brian_Shannon at verizon.net
Sat Nov 26 15:30:49 MST 2005


When Spanish Socialist leader Zapatero dramatically withdrew 1400 
troops from Iraq after his 2004 election victory, there were 137 
Spanish soldiers in Afghanistan.

Today there are over a thousand Spanish troops in Afghanistan and 
Rights leader Mariano Rajoy of the center-right Popular Party says that 
Zapatero plans to increase that number to 2500. His criticism of 
Zapatero is in hiding the role of the Spanish troops behind the fig 
leaf of the United Nations, not over their role, which Rajoy supports.

Zapatero’s support for the U.S.’s wars in the Middle East is not 
limited to shifting troops from Iraq to Afghanistan, thereby allowing 
the U.S. to get the same support from Zapatero as under the rightist 
government of Aznar. The revelations about the CIA sending its captives 
to secret prisons (referred to as Black sites), using airbases in 
Europe and Eastern Europe, have also exposed the Zapetero’s government 
role in aiding the CIA and its secret torture prisons. As U.S. 
Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld might say: here is a known known; what 
about the unknowns?

Brian Shannon
______________________

Writing in the November 26, 2005, L.A. Times, Tracy Wilkinson reports 
that:

 From Scandinavia to the tropical Canary Islands, the CIA’s clandestine 
use of European soil and airspace for counter-terrorism missions is 
triggering outrage, parliamentary inquiries and a handful of criminal 
prosecutions.

. . . Officially, Europe, with its long history of respect for civil 
rights, has been lukewarm to U.S. counter-terrorism measures. To find 
itself the territory on which some of Washington’s most controversial 
tactics are being played out has become a matter of much debate and 
soul-searching.

. . . Two countries where some of the strongest evidence has emerged 
are Italy [led by an open supporter of Bush], where prosecutors are 
attempting to arrest 22 CIA operatives, and Spain [whose leader 
Zapatero claims to be against the Iraq war], where officials have 
confirmed a steady parade of purported CIA flights into the nation’s 
airports.

. . . Spain this week said it would begin stricter monitoring of 
flights into its airports and closer screening of those aboard. This 
came after it was revealed that planes believed to be used by the CIA 
had landed at least 10 times at Spanish airports in 2004 and 2005 on 
excursions that had the earmarks of so-called extraordinary renditions 
— the transport of suspected terrorists from one country to another for 
interrogation that in some cases allegedly involves torture.

The first reports of the suspect air traffic were printed in a small 
local newspaper, the Diario de Majorca, in the Balearic Islands, where 
several of the flights landed.

As an investigation by Spanish Guardia Civil widened, similar flights 
were discovered to have touched down in Tenerife, in the Canary 
Islands.

One flight that originated at Guantanamo Bay, where the United States 
is holding hundreds of suspects, stopped over in Tenerife in April 2004 
on its way to Bucharest, the Romanian capital.

The revelations have proved problematic for the leftist government of 
Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero. It was this government 
that, days after taking office last spring, pulled its troops from Iraq 
because of disagreement over the U.S.-led military occupation there. 
Spanish officials are reluctant to take on another fight with 
Washington.

Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos, called on Thursday to report 
to parliament on the case, found himself on the defensive. He told 
legislators that it appeared no laws had been broken by the flights and 
that the government had received assurances from Washington that the 
planes were not being used to transport prisoners.

“The government is convinced that all of the stopovers took place 
within the framework of the law,” Moratinos said, reading from prepared 
remarks amid repeated questioning.

Leftist legislators were openly incredulous, and even the right 
expressed perplexity over the foreign minister’s justification of the 
U.S. action.

“You can say there is no evidence of a crime, but you cannot say there 
is no crime,” Gaspar Llamazares of the United Left party [strongest 
element in this alliance, which is to the left of the SP, is the 
Spanish Communist Party] told Moratinos.

The government’s stance has not satisfied public opinion, either. A 
group of citizens is suing in Majorca. In the Canary Islands, Gov. Adan 
Martin demanded a fuller accounting.

“We need to be more vigilant,” he said.

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