Date: Tue, 24 Sep 1996 13:41:11 -0500
From: “L-Soft list server at MIZZOU1 (1.8b)” <LISTSERV@MIZZOU1.missouri.edu>
Subject: File: “DATABASE OUTPUT”
To: Haines Brown <BROWNH@CCSUA.CTSTATEU.EDU>
> S * IN ACTIV-L
—> Database ACTIV-L, 9389 hits.
> print 09332
>>> Item number 9332, dated 96/09/21 00:03:34—ALL
Date: Sat, 21 Sep 1996 00:03:34 GMT
Sender: Activists Mailing List <ACTIV-L@MIZZOU1.MISSOURI.EDU>
From: Arm The Spirit <email@example.com>
Subject: Spain Accused Of Anti-Rebel ‘Operation Mengele’
Madrid, Spain (Reuter—September 17, 1996) An accusation that military intelligence had kidnapped vagrants as guinea-pigs for testing anti-guerrilla drugs took allegations about Spain's “dirty war” against Basque rebels to a new low on Tuesday.
The daily El Mundo, quoting military intelligence files, said the 1988 experiments, in which a beggar died, had been dubbed “Operation Mengele” within the service after Nazi death-camp doctor Josef Mengele.
The newspaper said the anaesthetic drugs were intended to make it easier for security forces to kidnap guerrillas of the separatist organisation ETA (Basque Homeland and Freedom) from hideaways in southern France and smuggle them back to Spain.
A defence ministry spokeswoman said: “We have been told to say the ministry knows nothing about this.”
El Mundo quoted intelligence sources as saying a beggar died as a result of the experiments.
“It sounds like a horror story, and it is”, the paper said in an editorial.
The report also contained heavily damaging material for Franco-Spanish relations, quoting intelligence agents as explaining in detail how they operated illegally within France, even smuggling weapons in through the diplomatic pouch.
The “dirty war” of bombings, kidnappings, torture and murder against presumed ETA members killed 27 people between 1983 and 1987, most of them in southern France. A third were killed by mistake.
A former Socialist interior minister and a top general in the paramilitary Civil Guard are on trial on charges of creating and running the death squads that waged the illegal campaign.
El Mundo revealed many of the scandals that led to the downfall in March of the 13-year-old Socialist government.
Conservative Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar's long-serving Socialist predecessor, Felipe Gonzalez, denies charges by a former associate that he authorised the “dirty war.”
In a surprise change from their electoral campaign stance, Aznar and his ministers decided last month to turn down court requests for declassification of military files on the covert campaign, saying it could hurt Spain's standing with its allies.
The Supreme Court is to decide next month whether Gonzalez should be questioned about cases pre-dating the reported Operation Mengele.
El Mundo said the beggar who died was kidnapped along with two homeless drug addicts in July 1988 by members of a team of 53 intelligence agents driving stolen cars.
The aim was to test on them a drug designed to make it easier to abduct ETA separatists in hideaways in southern France and smuggle them into Spain, according to the documents.
El Mundo alleged the drug was provided by a top Spanish cardiologist who was a close friend of then head of military intelligence General Emilio Alonso Manglano. The paper did not name the cardiologist.
The report also quoted members of the CESID—the official acronym for Spain's military intelligence—as saying they had smuggled caches of arms into southern France, sometimes using the diplomatic pouch which is not subject to customs searches.
When this was not feasible, they bought arms in France on the black market, El Mundo quoted one agent as saying.
According to the documents cited by the paper, Operation Mengele was officially codenamed “Aneto-Esfera-Shuto”—Aneto (the aromatic herb dill) for counter-terror, Esfera (sphere) for ETA and Shuto for a Spanish approximation of “shooting” drugs.
Some of the agents involved were distraught over the death of the beggar and because owners of the cars stolen for the operation received no compensation, El Mundo said.
It said this went counter to practice at the CESID, which normally arranged anonymous compensation for innocent civilians who suffered as a result of its actions.
“They would usually win some prize from a bank, or they would win a draw for a car or a trip”, El Mundo said.