DOS Cable re: Ambassador Prosper's Stockholm Consultations

State department cable concerning a visit to Stockholm by Amb. Pierre-Richard Prosper. Amb. Prosper met with senior Swedish officials and refuted arguments that U.S. acting outside international law because the detainees are unlawful or illegal combatants. The cable is heavily redacted.

Doc_type: 
Cable
Doc_rel_date: 
Wednesday, December 22, 2004
Doc_text: 

Current Class: CONFIDENTIAL UNCLASSIFIED Page: 1 g/44;
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Document Number: 2003STOCKH00654 Channel: n/a

RELEASED IN PART
B1, 1.4(B), 1.4(D), B6, B7(A), B7(C)

ACTION SCT-00

INFO LOG-00 AID-00 CCO-00 CIAE-00

NP-00 A-00 CG-00
COME-00 CTME-00 INL-00

DOER-00 DOTE-00 PERC-00 SRPP-00
DS-00 EUR-00 TEDE-00

EB-00 FAAE-00 FBIE-00 VC-00
INR-00 INSE-00 10-00 LAB-01 CAC-00

L-00 VCE-00
MED-07 AC-01 NRCE-00 NSAE-00 NSCE-00

M-00 DCP-01
OCS-03 OIC-02 OMB-01 OPIC-01 PA-00

DHS-00 PM-00
PRS-00 P-00 SS-00 TRSE-00

ACE-00 SSO-00 STR-00
T-00 DSCC-00 PRM-O0

USIE-00 USSS-00 ASDS-00 PMB-00
DRL-01 NFAT-00 SAS-00 /018W

G-00 SWCI-00

4C8C46 281830Z /38
R 281754Z MAR 03
FM AMEMBASSY STOCKHOLM
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 3220
INFO NATO EU COLLECTIVE
SECDEF WASHDC
JOINT STAFF WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 05 STOCKHOLM 000654

STATE FOR EUR, EUR/NB, S/WCI, L, T

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/14/2013
TAGS: PREL, PTER, PHUM, KAWC, KJUS, SW
SUBJECT: GUANTANAMO DETAINEES: AMBASSADOR PROSPER'S
STOCKHOLM CONSULTATIONS

REF: COPENHAGEN 525

CLASSIFIED BY: DCM BETSY L. ANDERSON. REASONS 1.5 (B) AND (D).

SUMMARY

1. (C) DURING A MARCH 12-13 VISIT TO STOCKHOLM, U.S.
AMBASSADOR-AT-LARGE FOR WAR CRIME ISSUES PIERRE PROSPER MET
WITH SENIOR SWEDISH OFFICIALS, PARLIAMENTARIANS, THE PRESS,

LEGAL EXPERTS, Bl, B6, B7(A), B7(C)
PROSPER REFUTED ARGUMENTS THAT THE U.S. WAS
ACTING OUTSIDE INTERNATIONAL LAW, STRESSING THAT U.S.
DETENTIONS ON GUANTANAMO WERE CONSISTENT WITH THE LAWS OF
WAR, AND THAT "ILLEGAL COMBATANT" STATUS WAS A
LONG-RECOGNIZED CONCEPT SUPPORTED BY THE HAGUE AND GENEVA
CONVENTIONS. 1 B1

I

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UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE
REVIEW AUTHORITY: ARCHIE M BOLSTER
DATE/CASE ID: 04 NOV 2004 200303827 UNCLASSIFIED DOS-002642

' Current Class: CONFIDENTIAL Current Handling: n/a Document Number: 2003STOCKH00654 UNCLASSIFIED Page: 2 Channel: n/a
B1

-IAT A LUNCH WITH MEMBERS OF THE PRESS AND A SERIES OF INTERVIEWS, AMBASSADOR PROSPER WAS QUESTIONED ABOUT CONDITIONS OF DETENTION (INCLUDING TORTURE), THE U.S.
Bl, B6, B7(A), B7(C)
DEFINITION OF THE DURATION OF HOSTILITIES, AND WHAT KIND OF

COOPERATION WAS SOUGHT FROM DETAINEES.

'COMBINED WITH PLACEMENT OF AMB. PROSPER'S
OP-ED PIECE IN PROMINENT STOCKHOLM DAILIES THE DAY OF THE
VISIT -- AND INTENSE POLITICAL AND PRESS INTEREST IN THE
SUBJECT -- HELPED ENSURE A HIGH MEDIA PROFILE FOR THE VISIT.
END SUMMARY.

S/WCI MESSAGE ON THE LEGAL BASIS FOR GUANTANAMO DETENTIONS

2. (SBU) ON MARCH 13, AMBASSADOR-AT-LARGE FOR WAR CRIMES ISSUES PIERRE-RICHARD PROSPER HELD SEVERAL MEETINGS WITH SWEDISH GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS, LEGISLATORS, INTERNATIONAL LEGAL EXPERTS, THE PRESS, / I B6, B7(A), B7(C)
I IN HIS
MEETINGS AMBASSADOR PROSPER LAID OUT•THE FOLLOWING POINTS:

-- THE U.S. IS ACTING IN FULL ACCORD WITH INTERNATIONAL LAW.

MANY CRITICS OF U.S. POLICY ARE ATTEMPTING TO ASSESS THE

SITUATION IN THE CONTEXT OF CIVIL OR CRIMINAL LAW. HOWEVER,
THE U.S. VIEWED THE SITUATION AS AN ARMED CONFLICT, WHICH
MEANS THE LAWS OF WAR APPLY. UNDER THE LAWS OF WAR THE U.S.

HAS THE AUTHORITY TO DETAIN ENEMY COMBATANTS UNTIL THE END OF
HOSTILITIES. THE DETAINEES WILL NOT BE HELD INDEFINITELY, BUT

THE U.S. ENVISIONS THAT AS MORE INFORMATION ABOUT DETAINEES

IS DEVELOPED, THE DETAINEES EVENTUALLY WILL BE PROSECUTED,
DETAINED UNTIL THE END OF HOSTILITIES, OR RELEASED.

-- WHILE THE DETAINEES DO NOT FULFILL THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE

POW CATEGORY, THE U.S. HAS DECIDED TO ACCORD THE UNLAWFUL

COMBATANTS ON GUANTANAMO THE HUMANE TREATMENT PROVIDED FOR

POWS UNDER THE GENEVA CONVENTION. THIS INCLUDES EXTENSIVE
MEDICAL, DENTAL, AND EYE CARE; AND THE RIGHT TO RECEIVE MAIL,
TO WORSHIP, AND TO EXERCISE.

B7(A)
ARE

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DOS-002643
UNCLASSIFIED

UNCLASSIFIED
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CURRENTLY HELD AT GUANTANAMO. IN THAT CONTEXT, THE PROCESS

OF TRYING TO DETERMINE WHO CONTINUES TO POSE A THREAT IS.

COMPLEX AND TIME-CONSUMING.

-- THE U.S. IS IN THE PROCESS OF DIVIDING THE DETAINEES INTO

THREE CATEGORIES: (1) THOSE WHO SHOULD BE PROSECUTED BY THE

U.S.; (2) THOSE WHO THE U.S. IS COMFORTABLE WITH SENDING TO

THEIR HOME COUNTRY FOR PROSECUTION/DETENTION; AND (3) THOSE

WHO NO LONGER POSE A THREAT AND CAN BE RELEASED OUTRIGHT.

-- IN MANY CASES, DETAINEES WERE OPENLY TELLING.U.S.

AUTHORITIES THAT, IF RELEASED, THEY WOULD RETURN TO THEIR

TERRORIST ACTIVITIES AND ATTACK THE U.S.

-- IN OTHER CASES, DETAINEES WERE UNCOMMUNICATIVE ABOUT THEIR
PAST ACTIONS AND THEIR FUTURE INTENT.

STOCKHOLM 00000654 002 OF 005

CONTINUING TO HOLD THE

DETAINEES. BUT THE U.S. BELIEVED IT HAD A RESPONSIBILITY TO

PREVENT FUTURE ATTACKS, IN THE U.S., IN EUROPE, AND AROUND

THE WORLD.

-- HOSTILITIES IN THIS UNCONVENTIONAL CONFLICT ARE

CONTINUING, AS EVIDENCED IN THE RECENT FIGHTING IN

AFGHANISTAN AND CONTINUING TERROR ATTACKS OR DISCOVERIES OF

ATTACK-PLANNING IN BALI, KENYA, THE PHILIPPINES, SPAIN, THE

UK, GERMANY, AND ELSEWHERE.

-- THE U.S. WOULD NOT/NOT WAIT UNTIL THE END OF HOSTILITIES

TO DETERMINE A DETAINEE'S FUTURE. A PARALLEL PROCESS FOR

HANDLING THE DETAINEES THAT WOULD PROVIDE MORE CLARITY IS
UNDER WAY. HOWEVER, GIVEN THE NUMBER OF PRISONERS AND THE
LACK OF COOPERATION AND EVASIVENESS OF MANY, THIS WOULD TAKE
TIME.

RIKSDAG FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE: GUANTANAMO THREATENING TO
AFFECT BILATERAL RELATIONSHIP

3. (SBU) MEETING WITH MEMBERS OF THE RIKSDAG (SWEDISH
PARLIAMENT) FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE AND PROFESSIONAL STAFF,

B6, B7(A), B7(C)

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AMBASSADOR 'PROSPER REVIEWED THE U.S. POSITION AS OUTLINED IN
PARA 2 ABOVE. B6, B7(A), B7(C)

I COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN' 'FROM THE RULING B6-• SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC PARTY STRESSED THAT THE GOS HAD BEEN A STRONG SUPPORTER OF THE U.S.-LED GLOBAL WAR ON TERROR BUT
THAT IT WAS DIFFICULT FOR SWEDISH POLITICIANS TO DEFEND U.S.

ACTIONS I B6, B7(A), B7(C)
WAS ERODING OTHERWISE STRONG U.S.-SWEDISH RELATIONS.
4. (SBU) COMMITTEE MEMBER' 'ASKED WHY THE B6
U.S. HAD CHOSEN TO KEEP THE DETAINEES AT THE CUBAN BASE AND
OUTSIDE THE JURISDICTION OF U.S. COURTS. ASKED B6
AMBASSADOR PROSPER HOW HE RECONCILED THE U.S. POSITION THAT
THE DETENTIONS WERE LAWFUL WITH THE UNIFORM CONDEMNATION OF
THE DETENTIONS BY THE UN COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS AND

HUMAN RIGHTS NGOS. PROSPER EXPLAINED THAT THE U.S. HAD FACED

SERIOUS SECURITY PROBLEMS GUARDING THE SUSPECTS IN THE TRIAL
AFTER THE 1993 WORLD TRADE CENTER BOMBING AND THAT IT HAD

MADE THE DECISION TO HOLD THE PRISONERS IN GUANTANAMO LARGELY

ON SECURITY GROUNDS. HE ATTRIBUTED THE DISAGREEMENT WITH

THE UN HIGH COMMISSIONER AND HUMAN RIGHTS GROUPS TO A BASIC

MISUNDERSTANDING OF THE LEGAL CONTEXT. THE U.S. WAS
APPROACHING THE ISSUE UNDER THE LAWS OF WAR, WHEREAS THE UN
AND THE NGOS WERE EVALUATING THE CASE UNDER TRADITIONAL

CRIMINAL LAW.

B6
5. (SBU) LEFT (FORMER COMMUNIST) PARTY MEMBER'
MADE A SHARPLY-WORDED STATEMENT(

B6, B7(A), B7(C)
(AND ASKED IF THE U.S. WAS USING TORTURE.
PROSPER FLATLY DENIED THAT TORTURE WAS BEING USED.

6. (SBU) GREEN PARTY MPI !CHALLENGED THE LOGIC

B6
OF THE U.S. POSITION, WHICH CLAIMED THAT IT WAS AT WAR WITH
AL QAEDA BUT DID NOT ACKNOWLEDGE ITS OPPONENTS' RIGHTS AS
BELLIGERENTS. PROSPER REITERATED THAT THE AL QAEDA DETAINEES

DID NOT MEET THE GENEVA CONVENTION CRITERIA FOR POW STATUS
AND THAT THE U.S. DID NOT WANT TO DEBASE INTERNATIONAL LAW BY
EXTENDING ITS PROTECTIONS TO THOSE WHO DO NOT OPERATE UNDER
THE RULES OF WAR.

B6
7. (SBU) SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC MPI 'NOTED THAT THE
GUANTANAMO CASE AND THE POTENTIAL WAR WITH IRAQ MERELY ADDED
TO THE DISTRUST OF THE U.S. RESULTING FROM U.S. POSITIONS ON
KYOTO, THE ICC, AND THE ISRAEL-PALESTINIAN CRISIS. HE SAID
HE HAD SERIOUS DIFFICULTY DEFENDING U.S. ACTIONS TO HIS
CONSTITUENTS.

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8. (SBU) PROSPER ASKED LEGISLATORS TO REFRAIN FROM EASY OR
BASELESS CRITICISM OF THE U.S. HE ALSO ASKED SWEDISH
OFFICIALS TO DEFER JUDGMENT UNTIL THE PROCESS OF EVALUATING
THE DETAINEES IS COMPLETE.

B1, B6
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B1, B6

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B1

MEDIA: FULL COURT PRESS

18. (SBU) AMBASSADOR PROSPER HELD AN ON-THE-RECORD LUNCH
WITH SENIOR EDITORS FROM THE FOUR MAJOR STOCKHOLM DAILIES AND
THE SWEDISH WIRE SERVICE TT. THE STRATEGY OF USING
AMBASSADOR PROSPER'S OP-ED PIECE (WHICH•APPEARED IN LEADING

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DOS-002648

UNCLASSIFIED
.i
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STOCKHOLM DAILIES THE MORNING OF MARCH 13) TO SET THE SCENE
FOR THE PRESS COVERAGE WAS AN EFFECTIVE ONE. ALL QUESTIONS

-- FROM BOTH TV AND PRINT JOURNALISTS -- FOCUSED ON THE LEGAL
BASIS FOR HOLDING THE DETAINEE, AND THE FOLLOWING DAY'S MEDIA
COVERAGE REFLECTED THAT FACT. AMBASSADOR PROSPER'S LONGER

INTERVIEW WITH SWEDISH RADIO, WHICH AIRED MARCH 15, WAS
PERHAPS THE ROUGHEST MEDIA ENCOUNTER HE HAD, WITH THE FIRST

15 MINUTES ADDRESSING THE ISSUE OF TORTURE AND WHETHER IT WAS
BEING USED ON GUANTANAMO. AMBASSADOR PROSPER'S HANDLING OF
THOSE QUESTIONS TURNED THE TIDE OF THE INTERVIEW, WHICH
BECAME MUCH MORE SYMPATHETIC IN ITS SECOND HALF. ONE OF THE
SENIOR NEWSPAPER EDITORS COMMENTED AFTER THE LUNCH THAT
ALTHOUGH U.S. ARGUMENTS WERE NOT MOVING SWEDISH OPINION
CLOSER TO THE U.S. POSITION, THE FACT OF AMBASSADOR PROSPER'S
VISIT AND HIS AVAILABILITY TO MEET WITH A BROAD SPECTRUM OF
GOVERNMENT, LEGISLATIVE, AND MEDIA REPRESENTATIVES WAS A
STRONG GESTURE THAT REFLECTED WELL ON THE U.S. BELIEF IN ITS
JUSTIFICATION FOR THE DETENTIONS.

B6
STOCKHOLM 00000654 005 OF 005

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B6

B1

B1, B6

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DOS-002650

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B1, B6

25. (U) THIS MESSAGE HAS BEEN CLEARED BY S/WCI.
HEIMBOLD

NNNN

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UNCLASSIFIED DOS-002651

Doc_nid: 
6676
Doc_type_num: 
68