Yes, yet again.
It seemed the Guardia Civil thought it would be a fine old idea to invade British Gibraltar territorial waters and arrest, take to Spain, and then detain a couple of locals, ie Gibraltarians. Oh and confiscate some of their gear too. (No not gear as in drugs, just legal equipment on boats).
Her Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar has received confirmed reports that officers of the Guardia Civil vessel Rio Ceden boarded and took control of a Gibraltar registered vessel in British Gibraltar Territorial Waters and then forcibily conveyed it and its occupants to Algeciras at high speed and without navigational lights.
They subsequently confiscated perfectly legal equipment aboard the vessel. The individuals aboard the vessel were not suspected of being involved in any illicit activity of any kind.
This, and subsequent quotes from the HM Government of Gibraltar press office website.
Good to know that you can’t even safely sail in your own three-mile limit without the Spaniards coming to give you grief huh?
Official reports received by the Government state that the Guardia Civil even turned off the navigational lights on the Gibraltar vessel that they boarded and on their own vessel as well in an attempt to avoid detection. This points to the fact that they must have known that they were acting in British Gibraltar Territorial Waters where Spain has no jurisdiction.
It is important to recall that the Civil Guard commenced these illegal incursions in 2009, unrelated to any fishing dispute and that they have continued at regular intervals ever since. Indeed, at one point Spanish Civil Guards even entered the Port of Gibraltar and landed on our soil. This has been the case regardless of who was in Government in Spain or in Gibraltar.
Except of course, one should point out that regardless of politics, Spanish governments of whatever colour continue to bleat about Gibraltar. How much of this is Guardia Civil policy and to what extent are they doing their job at the behest of the politians?
This belligerent act of provocation by the para-military armed forces of Spain, akin to the actions taken by them previously in respect of merchant shipping and pleasure craft in our waters, cannot be allowed to go by unchallenged.
In this instance, to add to the gravity of the situation, two Gibraltarians, British citizens, were illegally detained and forcibly transferred from Gibraltar to Spain across the international dividing line in the Bay of Gibraltar. This criminal false arrest and illegal detention continued for almost two hours.
Now I do think that is rather naughty. I must say. What right does the Guardia Civil have to arrest Gibraltarians in Gibraltar? Of course, Spain doesn’t recognise our waters. Or even Gibraltar as far as that goes. So of course it is ok, to gaily sail up, board someone else’s boat and cart them off to another country.
According to Spain, the Gibraltarians were illegally fishing for tuna in breach of EU regulations. And as territorial waters weren’t mentioned in the Treaty of Utrecht 300 years ago, Spain considers they don’t exist around Gibraltar.
Funny how the Treaty of Utrecht is invoked by Spain for one reason and disregarded for others…
Remember people, the Guardia Civil are armed. They are the civil guard and colloquially known as Franco’s boys. They were the ones who would cart off your friends and family for imprisonment and torture when someone informed on you (irrelevant whether or not the accusation was true). You do not argue with them.
I can give you the ins and outs of each side of the arguments, but basically, Spanish armed civil guard officers arrested Gibraltarians a few hundred yards off Europa Point (Gibraltar) and ‘invited’ them to go to Spain. Yeah, right, and I’d argue with armed Guardia Civil officers at night – or any time.
Simon Hughes, Deputy Leader of the UK Liberal Democrats, has been in Gib this week.
“I will take back a clear message to UK Ministers: Britain must be tough and unbending in insisting that Spain respects international law,” said Simon Hughes MP.
Mr Hughes added,
“But my immediate message to my UK Ministerial colleagues on my return to London this week is that Britain must be tough and unbending in insisting that Spain respects international law. Incidents like that last Friday night are unacceptable.
The UK Government must make sure that the Spanish Government gets this message at the highest level. Madrid must understand that unwarranted interference with lawful activities by Gibraltarians should stop once and for all.
Spain is a civilised country with a proud history. It does itself no favours in the international community when provocative and unjustified actions are taken like that in Gibraltar waters on Friday night.”
Let’s leave the last word on this issue with the government press release:
The time has now come for action, not simply written protests from London to Madrid. The United Kingdom needs to ask itself how it would act if these events had been perpetrated by Argentine paramilitary forces in the oil and fish rich waters around the Falkland Islands or in the areas around the coast of the British Isles.
Ah, there we have it. Our waters are not rich enough for the UK to actually DO ANYTHING. Quick Gibbos!! Discover some oil. Now!!
I am beginning to wonder if Gibraltarian loyalty to the UK is an annoying nuisance to the powers that be……..
Ironically a couple of other bloggers have raised related issues.
Liz, over at ec-cen-tric asked a pertinent question. Does talking actually solve problems?
Well, it is doing stuff all so far, quite frankly, in the case of Gibraltar.
Our Governor, Sir Adrian Johns, said gunboat diplomacy is no longer appropriate. No? So what is? Because sure as hell a few little verbal protests are doing jack shit nada.
Slightly more broadly, Pigpen wrote about what he wanted from his politicians (and it wasn’t their views on Britain has no talent)
Are we all just really full of rhetoric these days and incapable of any sensible or decisive action?
In Len Deighton’s world, his spies are always full of action. Cynical, tired, jaded, but pull out all the stops.
I read ‘An Expensive Place to Die’ the other day – it was so good I had it finished within 24 hours.
British spy in Paris is set up to deliver American nuclear info to Chinese via some crazy guy who creates strange sexual dossiers on powerful people. It sounds weird, but believe me it was good. Gotta read it again before I take it back to the library. Published 1967 – and already talking about Chinese world domination.
And… The Tailor of Panama. I saw the film years ago while staying at my mother’s in the UK. It had the delectable Pierce Brosnan of Bond fame (this is a short vid link), so clearly it was worth a watch. Brosnan is like Richard Gere, far better as a sleazy baddy than a good guy.
I watched the film in Spanish as well, I bought the DVD, I still enjoy it. And then, browsing in the library near D for Deighton I noticed C for le Carre. The Tailor of Panama was written by Le Carre – although why was I surprised?
Great film, great book. English spy goes out to Panama and inveigles a British tailor into reporting on non-existent resistance to the government. It always reminded me of Graham Greene’s Our Man In Havana, and at the end of Carre’s novel – he mentioned that as his inspiration.
There are some changes between the book and the film, but either way, good read, and good film. Try either or both if you haven’t done.
XPD – I haven’t yet read, next one.
And – a quick food fix. For vegetarians out there, these salami slices are superb. And, on the right, Morrison’s yeast extract on toast. Also recommended. (I think Americans call it nutritional yeast – I suppose it is really, nutritional I mean).