By James Bryce

POLICE in Gibraltar are deploying extra boats after Spanish officers arrested two British nationals for fishing in waters around the Rock.

The two men were detained for two hours on Friday night and had their Gibraltar-registered boat impounded and fishing equipment seized.

While they were eventually released without charge, the incident has speeded up the construction of a new base close to the border to help protect its waters.

It also comes just days after a Gibraltarian told local paper Panorama that Spanish police had fired over a dozen rubber bullets at his pleasure boat, accusations denied by the Guardia Civil.

Both incidents have sparked outrage among politicians, with Gibraltar vowing to defend itself by ramping up security in the waters around the Rock.

“I am shocked by the disgraceful behaviour of the Spanish Guardia Civil,” said Foreign Office Minister for Europe David Lidington.

“The Government will be making it clear to Spain that such action, on the part of the law enforcement agencies of a EU Partner and NATO Ally, is intolerable and unlawful.

“The British Government remains confident of our Sovereignty of Gibraltar and British Gibraltar Territorial Waters.

“Our position is clear. The UK will never enter into arrangements under which the people of Gibraltar would pass under the sovereignty of another State against their wishes.”

The Gibraltar government meanwhile condemned the Spanish authorities for confiscating fishing equipment, insisting that the boat’s owners were not fishing illegally.

It also accused Spanish police of turning off navigational lights on both the fishing boat and their own craft in a deliberate attempt to avoid detection.

“Gibraltar condemns the actions of the Spanish Civil Guards,” insisted a spokesman.

“This latest incident, as indeed all the others, are totally outside international law and the bounds of acceptable neighbourly behaviour.

“Such actions amount to a clear and premeditated escalation of the continuing breaches of the sovereign integrity of our waters, which have been occurring repeatedly for more than three years.

“This belligerent act of provocation by the para-military armed forces of Spain cannot be allowed to go unchallenged.”

Gibraltar’s leaders have urged the UK to take decisive action, insisting ‘the time has now come for action, not simply written protests’.

He added: “Guardia Civil actions such as these are not only invasions of our territorial sea which must be repelled by the Royal Navy.

“They also amount to criminal acts of unlawful detention, trespass and false imprisonment.”

The incident follows a number of clashes between Gibraltarian authorities and Spanish fishermen over fishing rights in the disputed waters around the Rock.

66 COMMENTS

  1. “While they were eventually released without charge, the incident has speeded up the construction of a new base close to the border to help protect its waters.”

    This happened on Friday night and already by Monday it has sped up the construction of a new base? Hard to believe. Where does that information come from?

  2. The article is correct, excepting the part where it says we are building a new base. I live in Gib and I have not heard of or seen any new base being built. There was new fencing installed after a large group of Spanish smugglers cut a hole through the fence and started pelting the unarmed Gibraltar Customs police and their car with stones when the police were trying to arrest two of them that were on the Gibraltar side, the rest of the smugglers apparently coming through as well, with the Spanish police doing nothing, even after having been warned what was occurring. The smugglers escaped when reinforcements from Gibraltar came to the aid of the two officers, one of which had to be conveyed to hospital with various concussions.

    Gibraltar is not attacking Spaniards, fishermen or anyone else for that matter, neither inside Gibraltar nor outside. And trying to provoke the Gibraltar authorities by continued illegal incursions into our British Territorial Waters has not provoked the incidents serious enough that were “maybe” expected to raise the level somewhat so as to be able to point political fingers at Gibraltar. But Gibraltar, like Britain, is made of sterner more politically seasoned stuff and will do what it has to through diplomatic channels, like the democratic people we are. I think it was Churchill who said Beware of disturbing the sleeping Lion.

  3. Gibraltar is listed by the UN as a territory that needs to be decolonised by the UK. It is not an independent State and as such it does not have territorial waters.

    Spain does not recognise British Gibraltar Territorial Waters as these were never ceded to the UK by Spain.
    It follows therefore that Spain has every right to regulate those waters.

    Spain’s sovereignty over these waters is recognised by the European Union which has included them within a new 69 square mile EU marine conservation area called the ‘Estrecho Oriental’, to be maintained by Spain.

    Under EU law, only the member State with sovereignty over the land or sea in question can apply for it to be designated an EU conservation site – meaning the EU has recognised Spain’s sovereignty over those waters.

  4. FurtherBeyond – You need to take a protracted course in patriotism. Gibraltar has been a British colony for 300 years and given Spain’s current behaviour will remain so for the next 300 years, despite minor breaches. It is a ‘de facto’ situation.
    Incidentally, one of the ‘breaches’ of the treaty you referred to was in allowing Jews to practice their religion and trade in Gibraltar, not allowed in mainland Spain!!
    Territorial waters were never specifically part of such treaties all those years ago but inclusion was an obvious assumtion.
    The current actions by the Guardia Civil amount to piracy and should be dealt with in the same way as Somalia pirates.
    As for their actions on the drugs front, it is well known that siezures by Spanish police often ‘somehow’ end up up back in the hands of the drug gangs. They are also very keen to get their hands on any property owned by foreigners, such as boats, cars, motorbikes, etc., etc, using any excuse.
    The current attitude of the new Spanish government is a very obvious ploy to whip up anti-British sentiment, which in some areas hardly needs assistance. Shades of Franco??
    It is also foolishly disastrous behaviour just when Spain needs all the international support it can get.

  5. It’s about time that the UK relinquished its imperialist toe-hold in continental Europe – the UN continues to list Gibraltar as a territory that needs to be decolonised by the UK.

    It is beside the point to refer to the treaty of Utrecht as this treaty created the British colonial enclave in the first place. Moreover, British occupation of the isthmus and its failure to implement all of its provisions means that the UK is in breach of the treaty.

    The UK cannot ignore international law by relying on a treaty which it has itself invalidated by its own actions.
    Moreover, it is pure obfuscation to insist, as the UK does, that the current inhabitants of Gibraltar have a right under the principle of self-determination to remain British and still live in Gibraltar.

    Under international law there are territorial limitations
    to the right of self-determination for transplanted populations living in colonial enclaves where a pre-colonial claim of sovereignty exists. This is the case with Gibraltar.

    A coloniser cannot legally disrupt the territorial integrity of another State by implanting its own population unto the territory it is colonising. In cases such as these, the inhabitants of the territory have a right to have their ‘interests’ considered but they have no right to unilaterally determine the nationality of the land they live in.

    Both the UN and ICJ have confirmed that the principle of territorial integrity complements and CONSTRAINS the right to self-determination in cases such as Gibraltar.
    The UN has repeatedly invited the UK to participate in discussions to achieve the de-colonisation of Gibraltar.
    Unfortunately, the UK continues to rely on a discredited interpretation of the principle of self-determination to turn a deaf ear to those requests in a clearly self-serving way.

    It’s worth noting that the current British enthusiasm for the principle of self-determination in the case of Gibraltar, and the Falklands for that matter, was certainly not matched by the response to the inhabitants of Diego Garcia, also a British Overseas Territory, who were evicted by the UK in 1971 against their wishes because the United States wanted the island as a military base.

    The reason why there are territorial limitations to the right of self-determination for transplanted populations living in colonial enclaves is because otherwise it would be lawful for a group of people from say Ireland to establish an Irish colony on the eastern coast of England and then claim a right under the principle of self-determination to have the land they are occupying declared a part of Ireland.

  6. Gibraltarians are actually British CITIZENS, not British Nationals. It may sound like semantics but it is actually very important.

    FURTHERBEYOND, you sound intelligent. Can you not see how Gibraltar is not a part of Spain? By giving Gibraltar to Spain, they would become the colonizers.

    So much for democracy…by the way, Spain got those UN resolutions against Gibraltar passed when Spain was under a dictatorship and gained support from the then dictatorships of Latin America (USA, Canada and Australia all voted against them, but that council, as I have already explained, was dominated by then dictatorships in the south).

    If you look at Syria today, we can see how the UN is nothing when certain states (like Russia and China…who, by the way, also support the territorial integrity argument) simply insist on having things their way. The UN has become a battleground for ideologies and cannot now hope to be the beacon of light it once promised to be. It has become an instrument of manipulation, and all nations have a go.

    There are 2 schools of thought, 1. hold the UN Charter on Decolonization as paramount(guaranteeing decolonization according to the inhabitants of the ‘colony’) – this was formulated by the Western Democracies. 2 those who prefer the Territorial Integrity argument as preferrable (uptart democracies like Russia and Spain…and even openly autocratic states like China)developed this so as to protect their own, dare I say imperialist, aspirations.

    I mean…one look at Spain and we can see Spanish enclaves like Ceuta, Melilla, Isla del Perejil and even the Canary Islands (to name only a few)…all in North Africa and to Morroco’s great disdain. Can you not see that actions speak louder than words…Spains actions are hypocritical and undemocratic…I am talking about true democracy not just on paper.

    The proper place to decide this is an International Court, where both arguments can be put forward and properly deliberated. However, Spain refuses to attend such a forum, which prompts me to say ‘res ipsa loquitur’.

    In any event, Gibraltar has already decided in a democratic referendum with 98% wanting to remain British. I can tell you, Gibraltar will never be Spanish and any attempt to achieve such a goal will be fiercely resisted every step of the way. In this regard, lets not forget the fragile union of Spain as a state. It is made up of Catalonia, Galicia and the infamous Baaque Country, all of which have a historical desire to leave that union…do we really want another of these problems…at the gateway to the Mediterranean no less.

    Lets be sensible…oh, and lets try to uphold real democracy whilst we are at it.

  7. Thank goodness for other contributors, John and Antonio2, who are prepared to contest FurtherBeyond’s regular and repetitive assertions that his posts are incontrovertible. FB’s cutting and pasting does not reveal any new understanding of the situation and his continuing reference to the discredited and disputed, at the time, UN ‘view’ is boring. Flag waving is just the current Spanish Government tradition that hides it’s more serious shortcomings!

  8. @Further Beyond
    “A coloniser cannot legally disrupt the territorial integrity of another State by implanting its own population unto the territory it is colonising”.
    Where do you imagine the people of Gibraltar have been transplanted from? Barnsley? Did they arrive on a package holiday last week en masse and miss the flight home and decide to stay?
    Or are they a group of travelers who have hoodwinked us into believing they have lived there for generations? No.

    Frankly you are an idiot for regurgitating this obvious rubbish. Why does your historical perspective only come into focus in 1704? Why not return Gibraltar to Morrocco, or the Visigoths, or the Romans, or the Phoenicians? Or find some Neanderthals to hand it back to? Your sycophancy towards Spain is nauseous.

    The Gibratarians don’t want to be part of Spain and they want to be part of the UK less and less. Who can blame them? They have their own territory, history, culture, language. They have the moral right to choose and when Spain stops blocking them for fear some Spanish regions will make the same decision Gibraltar will have the legal right too.
    As the economic situation in Spain deteriorates the tensions will get progressively worse as the media and demagogue politicians do anything and everything to move the spotlight from their own inadequacies and failings.

    Expect things to get much worse as the Spanish economy slides down the tubes.

  9. @Aussie sunshine.

    Well, then Spain should leave the Euro now. To prevent Gibraltarians (EU citizens) from entering Spain is completely illegal and goes aginst EU law. You know…free movement of people and all that. If Spain cannot be democratic, maybe it should stop pretending to be and close the frontier.

    For the avoidance of doubt, Spain is a beatufiul country and the people, generally, very friendly.

    Its the politicians in Spain that cause the problem with politically calculated lies(just look at the lies used by politicians to hide Spain’s financial mess). I think the bright Spanish sunshine has blinded all your senses affecting logic and reason.

    Erm, do you know any history at all…are you aware of the rule of law? It seems like the answer must be a resounding ‘no’!

    Maybe by comparing to the USA you will understand…then again, maybe you will refuse to. Anyways, here goes: its as if one state told a bordering state that its citizens were now categorised as ‘persona non grata’ and were not allowed to enter any other states via them – a real problem if you are completely surrounded by their borders.

    It makes no sense and, by the way, is illegal, undemocratic and, in fact, would be exactly what Fascist Spain already did to Gibraltar when it was ruled by Franco(check history). In the end, it was in their interest as much as ours to open it up again.

    Gibraltar invests heavily in southern Spain and even funds charties there…this is what the Spanish news does not tell you. During the Spanish Civil War, less than a century ago, Gibraltar was a refugee camp for many Spanish Republicans Franco was trying to kill!!!

    It is all too easy to ignore the facts (and history itself) and make clearly ignorant comments like yours.

  10. Only one sentence to answer “aussie sunshine” if in fact this “aussie” is part of, in Further Beyond’s views,another example of the “transplanted people” of Australia, why not give Australia back to the Maori People then? What about New Zealand’s “transplanted” population giving the country back to the Maoris? Let’s wait and see what she or he has to say about that!

    A Gibraltarian man, President of the GRM in Gib, and well known defender of the rights of the Disabled, was (we will say allegedly as the case was reported by this gentleman to the Gibraltar Police and to the La Linea Spanish Courts and is still in process) taken by the scruff of the neck by a Spanish Customs officer in the area of the Aduana (Spanish Customs) whilst having already crossed the frontier and shown his ID there, with two packets of 20 cigarettes each he was carrying in his hand of his own use, visible for all to see, thrown into a room with no windows and no other witness and beaten up in the chest, head and neck, for which he had to seek medical attention) just because he was smiling nervously on his way out of the customs area, after having being again asked for his personal ID.

    Gibraltarians have been reportedly shot at with rubber bullets while on a boat with their family enjoying a day out on the 16th of July celebrations of the Virgen del Carmen with Spanish friends in the Campamento area where the Refinery is, and they had to speed away and shelter in Gibraltar. They told the Gibraltar Police that they had to throw themselves down on the deck as rubber bullets whizzed over their heads. The Guardia Civil deny they were shooting.

    Now these two men were in a Gibraltar registered boat 200 metres off Europa Point with the required Gibraltar fishing permits, well inside Gibraltar Territorial Waters. They had legal expensive fishing tackle with them. They were boarded by the Guardia Civil, the pilot lights were switched off both the Guardia Civil’s vessel and the Gibraltar pleasure boat so as to avoid detection, taken by force to Algeciras and detained for two hours. Their fishing equipment was confiscated illegally, they were detained illegally, and they were boarded illegally, as the Guardia Civil has absolutely no jurisdiction in GTW.

    This are very serious incidents, some provoked by politicians who want to divert attention from what is really going on in Spain and in the process distinguishing themselves as true patriots,with the aim of furthering themselves in their careers.

    What would Spain do if it was Gibraltar acting in this manner against their citizens? Should we wait for somebody to actually get killed?

    Some people comment without the least bit of knowledge of what is going on. Read the Gibraltar press it’s in English, and then make a valued judgement, and they should please stop spluttering their ignorance of events in Gibrlatar or their misconcieved ideas of Gibraltarian feelings on other people! You havent got a clue Downunderer!

  11. “During the Spanish Civil War, less than a century ago, Gibraltar was a refugee camp for many Spanish Republicans Franco was trying to kill!!!”
    Good point, John. Did any of them stay to become Gibraltarians?
    Actually it was only 70+ years ago whilst Britain was preparing to defend European democracy itself against another monster dictator. In WW11 had Britain and it’s allies (Spain on the other hand stood by and watched) not defeated the Nazis – some of whom were welcomed on the Costa del Sol – this whole matter would not up for discussion. The only upside of that being FurtherBeyond would not be able to spout his rubbish publicly
    However, having crossed swords with FB before, common sense will not quieten him/her
    As to Aussie sunshine. No good Fred, even if he is an Australian, and no disrespect to any other cobber, his lineage might well include those prepared to steal possessions from others!

  12. Aussie Sunshine, I don’t believe you’re an aussie for a start and any sunshine must come from the same place as your words!
    If you can comprehend English you will notice that all the hate-mail has come from the Spanish, so have the rubber bullets encountered by someone else during this incident, if the reports are true.
    No-one that I know hates Spain, else they wouldn’t be here, but I have to say that after 7 years I find the Spanish split into two classes – the one as polite as any other nationality, the other the most unfriendly people I have ever encountered.
    Maybe it’s the latter class which have held the reigns for far too long now, fostering a crooked political system and a society which admires corruption and the wealth it brings to a few people.
    As Spain slides into the murk, Gib becomes a popular designer-distraction for the masses to seeth over.

  13. I would like to see them Inthename as I live in the West of England and have a home in Costa Mijas too (where some Nazis were holed up and may still be). Now and then I have to defend my views on Gibraltar with Spanish neighbours – otherwise reasonable and friendly – and have suggested they read the English press to get a broader picture of the issues. None of them, despite being educated and with good English comprehension are the slightest bit interested, preferring to read only the aggressive Spanish press rhetoric. At least with the OP one does get contributors from both camps, even if they are like FurtherBeyond who is too far beyond reason

  14. John Simpson, I have tried posting the links, but they have disappeared once I hit the button of submit comments. So am still waiting for the go ahead from Olive Press moderators here on the comments page.
    But they are quite easy to access if you search for Gibraltar Newspapers like Panorama and then look through their archives, or just hit at the feature (last week’s news) again and again until you have read all those items which I was trying to put links to here for ease of readers. Ball in your court Mr/MS. Moderator(s). :)

  15. Oh, and I forgot, while the GC was busy ferreting the British registered vessel away to Algeciras, at approximately the same time on the Friday the RGP and GDP were otherwise engaged seizing 1.5 tons of cannabis resin in joint operation worth £7.5 million in the street from two Spanish men on a fast launch. Is this not what the agents of the Law are supposed to be doing?

    Dont want to impose on your kindness Karl, but, if you permit, here is this one too.

    http://www.chronicle.gi/headlines_details.php?id=25519

  16. Thanks for the links which I have read. What a disturbing chain of events. It would be good to see some kind of serious interest from the Foreign Office in bringing a complaint in the European Parliament. I fear though the FO is trying to prevent that happening to avoid a full debate on the issues when Britain, for very good reasons, has isolated itself for more integration and could be the subject of some discrimination
    I feel for the Gibraltarians and hope this current tension can be decreased but in view of the local Spanish transgressions it is far from likely

  17. @John Simpson

    I am not sure but I think most of the Spanish republicans returned to Spain eventually, once things calmed down. Others probably remained in Gibraltar and married Gibraltarians. However, one of my grandmothers was Spanish but became naturalised as British when she married my grandfather (from Gibraltar).

    She was adamant that Gibraltar should never be Spanish…ever. When she was younger she obviously lived in Spain, on one occasion Franco’s men came to her parents house in the middle of the night and dragged two of her young brothers away (amidst the pleas and crying of the rest the family) and they were never seen or heard of again. There are many others who followed a similar fate.

    Spain granted an amnesty so that these matters could never be investigated. The amnesty has been criticised by real democracies as absurd…Spain (and the current PP party in particular, who have very many politicians who are descendants of Franco’s generals…Jose Maria Aznar is only one and he was Prime Minister of Spain) refuses to investigate anything for fear of how their own population will react if the truth is finally revealed. Spain still lives in the shadow of Franco and, culturally and politically, is not yet a real democracy.

    I say again, Gibraltar will never be Spanish!!!

  18. Tom Simpson

    Britain and Spain are already engaged in exchanges over this issue but I dont know how seriously lukewarm protests from the Foreign Office and deepest concern from the British Ambassador in Madrid will be taken by the Spanish government.

    Although we already have a cross section of British MP’s who represent Gibraltar and are always quite vociferous in our defence, most of the other MP’s dont react as much as they would do when they receive protests from their own constituents. We know Gibraltarians living in UK are writing to their own MP’s, but wouldnt it be nice if they all received an avalanche of protests about these events from all their constituents? Maybe then they would sit up and take further notice, you know how it is.

    Cheers!

  19. Mr. Browne should be pretty well versed with the current problem as he was, together with one of our former Socialist Chief ministers, at the anniversary of the Falklands war in the Falklands recently. So he will have passed on this information to his boss Mr. Liddington. Let us see what transpires from all these exchanges.Let us hope they will bring Spain to its senses and the reality of the world as it is today and not what they would want to revert to.

  20. Gibraltar the last and only remaining English colony in The EU and a
    colony between two members of NATO. Do you think this is reasonable? To have this colony insulting the Spaniards for over three hundred years and to have the “LLANITOS” exclaiming
    every time they can ” We will never be Spanish”. If you don´t want to be Spanish fine but shut up because the only thing you are achieving with this is a backlash from the Spanish people.
    To give back Australia to the Aboriginals is fairly difficult but if it was up to me I would give it back to them tomorrow!
    but at least the Australian Government apologised publicly to the Aboriginal nation.
    Under what treaty does it say that Gibraltar has territorial
    waters? The Only country who has an authority to protect the coastal waters of Spain is Spain itself an authority given by the EU. (something by which Gibraltar and The UK have been fighting against and have lost in the courts)Why can`t
    Gibraltar accept this??!!. In reference to the “Friendly
    Spaniard” It is believed by most foreigners that Spaniards go around wagging their tails to every foreigner!! by the way things are with the crises and youth unemployment at 25 per cent that ” friendly Spaniard” is becoming a frustrated and pissed off Spaniard so I would not leave by front door open!!
    John the amnesty to all criminal acts done during the civil war was voted by all representatives in the Spanish Parliament including the Communist Party in the Spanish Constitution.Mainly because they wanted to forget that bloody and sad history of the Spanish Civil War and it was the reason why the Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzon was thrown out of the Spanish Justice System for meddling in that part of Spanish history.
    Inthename There is no other newspaper more anti spanish than
    Panorama try reading Gibraltar Chronicles instead.

    John:The UK and Gibraltar are not part of the schengen treaty therefore Spain could close the border between Gibraltar whenever they wish.

    If Felix Alvarez was mistreated by the civil guards he should put in a police complain (which he has done) and let the law take its course.

    John Simpson: Where did you read such rubbish that nazis were sent to the costa del sol?? Which comic, mate?!!
    and another question why did the allies let Franco breath
    for another 40 years?? What secret contracts were signed by the British and Franco regime to let Franco stay in power?
    He must have done something that the allies were thankful for.

    Politics is like a game of poker one day you have the backing of the UK the next it could be gone. Ask the natives of the island OF DIEGO DE GARCIA whose population was shipped out by the British so that The UK could sell the islands to the USA.

  21. Where did you read such rubbish that nazis were sent to the costa del sol?? Which comic, mate?!!

    I am not your mate

    the comic you contribute to, published this in April 2009
    “http://www.theeuesdens.com/nazi-expatriates-on-the-costa-del-sol”

    then there’s this
    “http://aconstantineblacklist.blogspot.co.uk/2009/04/nazis-of-costa-del-sol.html”

    A quick Google will find lots of references, so do your research before criticising

    I don’t see the relevance of your comment about the allies keeping him in power. He did not help in the war against Hitler (nor did the Swiss or Eire) but that didn’t mean the British or allies would have needed or wanted to remove him from power

  22. Further beyond, you talk utter rubbish. The sovereign power in Gibraltar is the UK, NOT spain, and the territorial waters are specified in UNCLOS, which spain is signatory to. spain does NOT have the right to close the frontier as freedom of movement is guaranteed between EU members under the Treaty of Accession. Read UNCLOS people you may learn something before posting such ill informed nonsense.

  23. Wow. Aussie and you came up with all that by yourself? My goodness.
    The Australian Government apologised to the Aboriginals for the reasons we all know about. England, about Gibraltar has nothing to apologise for to anyone. Whereas with Australia the Aboriginals did not sign off their country to the then colonisers. Gibraltar formed part of the Treaty of Utrecht, signed in 1713 giving Gibraltar in Perpetuity ( you know, forever) in which GB also signed off Menorca to Spain , which it never after tried to take back once this was signed, and Florida, which was also given to Spain in the exchange, and which Spain promptly sold off to America. Holland and their Spanish hold on Flanders is also mentioned in the Treaty as are other countries.

    The Treaty of Utrecht was signed in an era where there were no conventions of the seas signed by all countries, and where no country had the right to their airspace. So that puts paid to your thoughts on the matter.

    CONVEMAR gives every single territory the rights to twelve miles around its perimeter as Sovereign Territorial Waters and in the case of bays where there are two sovereign countries involved it is divided in half between the two opposite coasts. Gibraltar has three miles on its western side and has only, up till now, claimed three of the twelve it has the right to claim on its eastern side.

    What UK is arguing about with the EU is that the Spanish MEP’s sneakily slid by some presumably “sleepy” British MEP’s without the due duty expected of them to inform UK, that they had the right to protect the natural maritime habitat this side of the world, which coincidentially included, unbeknown perhaps to the then “trusting” EU officials, Gibraltar’s own British Sovereignty Waters. By all events they dont seem to be so trusting of Spain now.

    CONVEMAR takes precedence over any and all this. That is why Gibraltar has openly challenged Spain to take this up in the International Courts of Justice. If they are so sure the waters that surround Gib are not British Territorial Waters, why does it not pick up the gauntlet?

    About the Amnesty..ask the Spanish Judge Garzon why he was able to get on with it for so long and why they had to find something else to get him off their backs. He might be able to fill you in much better. There are no amnesties in International Law for war crimes committed by one side or the other in a Civil War or in any war for that matter. In Spain the winning side’s dead have been heralded as heroes of their country by the same people who took over the country in vicious and bloody Coup D’Etat, whilst the dead of the Legally constituted Government and their defenders lie in inunmarked mass graves all over the country. What would you know about the suffering of people who cannot close the door on the their suffering and the traumatic deaths of their loved ones because they dont even know where they are buried?

    Panorama anti Spanish? Just because it calls a stick a stick? That the Chronicle sometimes tends to ignore or play down certain incidents you would have to inquire of them..they are an independant media, just as Panorama is and they may have their own policies. I am not going to be the one to delve into newspaper policies.

    We dont go about saying like spoiled brats “we dont want to be spanish we dont want to be spanish” as you suggest we do. It is only when people like Blair, Straw, Hain and their likes try to slip the mat under our feet that we react. You might know that in our Constitution there is a preamble where it says that The British Government will never come into any agreement with any country without the express wishes of the People of Gibraltar, so trying to force us into any agreement is out of the question without OUR Wishes, whether it be by co sovereignty with Spain or whatever. Messrs Blair, Straw and Hain were trying to do just that! That is why Gibraltar will always have to be a part of any talks with Spain, hence the Tri lateral forum broken by the Spanish Government themselves.

    That there have been Nazis in Spain is as true as that there have been Nazis undercover in most south American countries. How naiive you sound. How did you think Franco managed to overcome the unsuspecting people of Spain, by himself? Italy and Germany were behind him all the way from the very beginning. It is you who doesnt seem to have read enough history books. Spain during the war was playing with two packs of cards..seemingly sitting on the fence whilst giving shelter to the Axis. Not even Hitler trusted Franco! You obviously dont know that Italy was attacking Gibraltar with one man submarines putting limpet mines on Allied ships from Algeciras during the war do you? You dont know either that the last two people that were executed in Gibraltar were Spanish workmen working in the Dockyard, who blew up British ships in the Harbour. There is actually a commemorative plaque to this “heroes” on the walk by the sea front in La Linea on the western part.

    You sound so much like FarBeyond that you have got me thinking that you may be either be a clone or you are just rattling off what he has written, and which we have already answered, albeit in a less pompous language. If you are not, then get your facts straight and stay out of the Australian Sunshine…you know the saying Only Mad Dogs and Englishmen go out in the Midday Sun.. and Australians form part of the British Commonwealth, arent they, just like we do…if you are not sure look at your own flag.

  24. The commemorative Plaque is in remembrance of the Italian heroes, not the men who were hanged.

    Aussie have you ever heard of “Keep you Friends close but your enemies closer?” Spain was only allowed into the NATO ranks during the “Cold War” which followed WWII. Spain was in dire straits after the Civil War and needed food and help, and with Franco having, under cover, been supportive of the losing side in this war..USA was giving their support in those matters…just in case they sought it elsewhere. Have you ever seen the Spanish film “Bienvenido Mr Marshall?” You should.

    Also Have you ever seen or heard of the film or read the book “The Man who never was”? Well it’s a true account of just how “Neutral” Spain was in the war that the Allies, the British, from a submarine, ejected, off the coast of Huelva, a corpse of a “supposed” British officer with a briefcase chained to his wrist, which carried dud documents suggesting the Allies were going to invade Sardinia and Greece held by the Axis when in fact they were going to go in through Sicily. These papers were promptly given to the residing German friends , and then, in an act of “neutrality”, returned to the British ambassador in Spain.
    “http://www.telegraph.co.uk/history/world-war-two/6923826/Historian-claims-to-have-finally-identified-wartime-Man-Who-Never-Was.html”

    Or if you prefer another account which you may suspect to be as “partisan” as you suspect the Panorama to be, maybe you will believe this other account to be more credible, although there is still some uncertainty as to the true identity of this poor man whose corpse served the Allies to win the war.
    “http://www.themanwhoneverwas.com/”

  25. The nonsense people come out with amazes me. Territorial waters are defined by the UN Convention of the law of the Sea (1982) signed by the UK and Spain. This supersedes any previous agreement. Those who want to believe Gibraltar is a non self governing territory should refer to Resolution III which I quote:

    RESOLUTION III

    The Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea,
    Having regard to the Convention on the Law of the Sea,
    Bearing in mind the Charter of the United Nations, in particular Article 73,

    1. Declares that:

    (a) In the case of a territory whose people have not attained full independence or other self-governing status recognized by the United Nations, or a territory under colonial domination, provisions concerning rights and interests under the Convention shall be implemented for the benefit of the people of the territory with a view to promoting their well-being and development.

    (b) Where a dispute exists between States over the sovereignty of a territory to which this resolution applies, in respect of which the United Nations has recommended specific means of settlement, there shall be consultations between the parties to that dispute regarding the exercise of the rights referred to in subparagraph (a).

    In such consultations the interests of the people of the territory concerned shall be a fundamental consideration.

    So territorial waters are FOR THE BENEFIT OF GIBRALTARIANS not Spanish pirates.

  26. Inthename.: ” what the UK is arguing about with the EU is
    that the Spanish MEP´s sneakily slid by some
    some sleepy British MEP.
    Oh come on!!that´s a good one!! maybe you
    should run along and give the sleepy MEP a
    mug of coffee!!

    See!! you cannot accept the truth!!?? If the EU
    has given Spain the custody of the coast
    accept it and stop crapping on and stop
    bitching about Spain.

    By the way are you a politician?? You sound
    like one..

  27. References to the Franco dictatorship are red herrings obviously designed to distract from an uncomfortable reality. They are also irrelevant to the facts at issue here.

    According to the UN, Gibraltar is a territory that still needs to be decolonised by the UK. Sovereignty over Gibraltar’s waters is disputed between the UK and Spain.

    That is the reason why Spanish authorities will continue to ignore British and Gibraltar’s protests and enforce Spanish and EU law in those waters.

    The most recent enforcement action involved illegal fishing for red tuna by UK citizens. Those fishermen were legally and appropriately sanctioned by the Spanish authorities and released.

    References to the Treaty of Utrecht are irrelevant for the reasons already provided. Moreover, the trend in international State practice is for enclaves to return to the mainland, irrespective of a valid treaty cession. For example look at the following recent examples: Goa, Hong Kong; Macau; and Walvis Bay.

    The use of red herrings and childish insults only serve to emphasise the weakness of the arguments being advanced.

  28. Spain has taken a determined position in negotiations that it holds a right as reversioner, in the event that UK administration over Gibraltar terminates.

    Considering current perspectives, the most likely solutions are to return sovereignty over Gibraltar to Spain or to create an autonomous status for Gibraltar within the European Union.

    Hong Kong, which exists as a Special Administrative Region of China, and Trentino-Alto Adige, where local autonomy is guaranteed by treaty between Austria and Italy, offer potential models for political accommodation.

    Key elements of a political settlement were already present in the 2002 proposal for a condominium. All indications are that a strictly legal solution to Gibraltar is unlikely.
    Even though bringing the sovereignty dispute before the ICJ could unblock the sovereignty impasse, a full and final settlement hinges on political negotiations between Spain and the UK.

    Until then, like it or not, Spain will continue to enforce EU and Spanish law in the waters of Gibraltar.

  29. I would be interested to know why/how FurtherBeyond seems to have all the “incontrovertible” laws and agreements at his fingertips. Whilst pleading from a Spanish point of view his English is impeccable.

    John has a valid comment which FurtherBeyond seems to find of no import

    “The proper place to decide this is an International Court, where both arguments can be put forward and properly deliberated. However, Spain refuses to attend such a forum, which prompts me to say ‘res ipsa loquitur’.”

    I am waiting for FB to refute Bill Payers submission on territorial rights

    and FB ,of course if you don’t regard it as a red herring answer Antony’s
    JULY 24TH, 2012 8:27 PM
    Further Beyond!
    CAN you give us your opinion on Spains colonies and enclaves?

    Perhaps Spain and Morocco at the same time would like to throw that issue in the ICJ ring and then we can all settle back and concentrate on less vexatious issues

  30. “Spain has taken a determined position in negotiations that it holds a right as reversioner, in the event that UK administration over Gibraltar terminates”.

    FurtherBehond Spain does hold a reversioner’s right as is stipulated in the Treaty of Utrecht, but the BIG difference is that whereas in Hong Kong the colony was unable to sustain itself without the New Territories which it had on lease from China for 100 years, Gibraltar is British in Perpetuity with Spain having asked for first option IN THE EVENT that England decided it had no more use for it and wanted to leave. And, which is very important, we have no intention of leasing any adjacent land from Spain to install anything that would make this land the hand that rocks Gibraltar’s cradle, so to speak. So rest assured that there will be no need for Britain to hand Gibraltar back in that respect.

    So far, even with these eighteenth century treaties which disregarded populations and the Human Rights of the people of ALL of the territories mentioned within it, England has not given any indication that it is about to leave.

    In Gibraltar’s case, both co-sovereignty and Andorra style autonomies, the former being outrightly rejected by the People of Gibraltar with a massive demonstration, I believe it was in 2002, and the latter being flown as a kite but never proposed seriously by some local forces, have both been rejected by the VAST MAJORITY of the People of Gibraltar who have the Right to Self Determination and under the the British promise which is contained in the Preamble to the Constitution which says that UK will never agree to anything without the expressed wishes of the people of Gibraltar.

    The ICJ is the venue where the Territorial Water’s dispute should be taken, but as FarBeyond well knows, and as even Spanish Judicial “Catedraticos” in these issues have told them and have published, they have not a slip of a chance of the ICJ voting in their favour regarding UNCLOS/CONVEMAR.

    That is why Spain does not want to take the issue to the International Court of Justice, even after the Gibraltar Chief Minister Fabian Picardo challenged them openly to do so.

    Spain, you might wish FB, will want to continue fishing in British Territorial Waters, but I am afraid that, as your dear vociferous Foreign Minister was told in London by the Foreign Office themselves, Gibraltar holds the legal right as British Citizens in British Territorial Waters to allow, what they consider to be Legal ecologically sustainable fishing implements.

    Having come across FP’s impeccable English in other comments pages, with the same tiring copy pasted arguments, and whenever questions are thrown at this commentator which are not easily answered off the cuff, like most of us do, I have come to think that these are the well thought out positions given by party whips to their followers to spread the word.

  31. Aussie, I can assure you I am not a politician, but like most Gibraltarians due to the continued harrassment of Gibraltar by Spanish politicians, we are highly aware of what is going on in OUR country.

    The facts are that this was indeed slipped under British MEP’s noses, is still a matter which is being appealed by Britain itself as well as Gibraltar.

    What to you maybe crap, to me is a vital part of mine, my children and my grandchildren and indeed Gibraltar’s very existance as Gibraltarians in British Gibraltar.

    I don’t bitch I put forward FACTS and civil arguments, well recorded in history and in actualtime, and which you seem to have preferred to ignore or are not well versed or well read on, and have the audacity to postulate your badly thought up irreverant comments about something which does not concern or affect you. Maybe you may consider it is time for you to start thinking about at least going downunder to your very own roots for a while, that should waken you up to the real world other than the “mirage articial one” you supposedly seem to be living in at the moment, where you may only have to think which “Paela” am I going to try today or why should these stupid Gibraltarians have me sitting in a queue for hours whenever and if ever I want to go into Gib to get cheap fags or cheddar cheese. Just a thought of course, you are free to do as you wish, just as we should be allowed to be free to do what we want with our lives and our country.

  32. Just one more thing Aussie, maybe you should be paying a bit more attention to the world just outside your own front door. 158,000 people have been forcibly evicted from their homes in the last three months for being unable to pay their morgages…Spanish people in a country with five million unemployed and no employment to be had. Then and only then you may begin to realize that its not only your water and electricity meter bill that is going up and the nuisance that the politics of Gibraltarian citizens may be that hinders your passive enjoyment of that particular complacent paradise you seem to have created for yourself, and have a thought for the plight of other people.

  33. Mr Simpson

    I have previously addressed the spurious issue of Ceuta, Melilla and the Canary Islands in other posts. But Just for your benefit, I’m happy to once again address this red herring.

    Unlike Gibraltar, which is listed by the UN as a territory that still needs to be decolonised by the UK, none of those Spanish territories are classified as colonies by the UN.

  34. Inthename

    My comments may seem ‘tiring’ to you. However, those comments are based on a detailed examination of international law as it applies to colonial enclaves, such as Gibraltar, where the territorial integrity rule is a relevant consideration.

    In this regard, you might like to have a look at the following reference by an eminent British international lawyer, and Cambridge University Professor, as just one authority which nicely sets out the relevant international law principles: James Crawford, The Creation of States in International Law (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1979) at 377-85.

    By the way, the Convention on the Law of the Sea is not applicable to Gibraltar precisely because Gibraltar is currently subject to a process of decolonization in which only relevant resolutions adopted by the United Nations General Assembly are applicable.

  35. I will leave the debate to those who understand the laws/treaties better than I, whilst not conceding an inch to Spain whose current aggressive actions hardly help to find a diplomatic, if not friendly, solution. Unfortunately the matter seems doomed to failure because of Spain’s reluctance to talk at a tripartite summit
    Good luck to all residents

  36. James Crawford’s law was not around in 1714 when the Treaty of Utrecht giving Gibraltar in Perpetuity to Great Britain!!
    Hence it is not relevant, if it were you would have to be handing Ceuta and Melilla back to the Kingdom of Fez, original Owners of Ceuta and Melilla, The Canary Islands back to the “Guanches” original owners of the Islands and a very long excetera.

    CONVEMAR or UNCLOS on the other hand was signed and stamped prior to your government’s presenting the claim at the United Nations in 1964. And please please do us all a favour look at first the countries that actually voted in 1967 in the United Nations for Gibraltar to be returned to Spain and then think why after that and up to today, the UN advises both Spain and UK to sit down and talk about it with the Rights of the People of Gibraltar foremost in their minds, and see why slowly but surely in this 2012 and hopefully in coming years, the democratic world is getting rid of all those heads of state of governments, let us say, lacking in respec for the basics of Human Rights of their people.

    Also Further Beyond please please please read UN Resolution 1514XV of the 14.12.1960…

    “http://wpik.org/Src/unga1514.html”

    The read the UN Resolution 2231 which reaffirms the previous one i.e. 1514XV.

    Maybe then you will realise that over and above anything else, the inalienable Rights of the People of these Territories cannot be trampled on by old quests of Reconquista a la Don Quijote de la Mancha in this day and age.

    As far as CONVEMAR/UNCLOS and your “detailed examination of international laws” we dont have to go any further than your own nationals Professor of International Law of the University of Cadiz, Jesus Verdu Baeza and the Catedratica of International Law of the Universidad Complutense of Madrid, Araceli Mangas, who assert that before ANY INTERNATIONAL COURT it would be recognised, with absolute certainty, that the Jurisdiction of the Territorial Waters surrounding Gibraltar as set by this international agreement (CONVEMAR/UNCLOS) belong to the UNITED KINGDOM OF GREAT BRITAIN.

    Satisfied now? Or are you still going to come back with more mothballed “laws” which dont apport anything to anybody other than to your own sense of grandilocuence and hurt pride.

    I assure you my aim is not to disrespect you personally, but it is really soooo tiring to hear again and again the same old rhetoric, without taking into account the 30,000 citizens of British Gibraltar, their rights, their expectations and, why not, our feelings too, especially when we have always, since 300 years ago, welcomed and given work to millions of your own countrymen , and appreciated our friendship and family ties especially with our next door neighbours.

    Buenas tardes.

  37. John Simpson, dont let anyone deceive you, we are all regular people, in my case, with no more judicial or political expertise than the next man. I believe we should not be taken aback by grandiloquence from anybody, not in this day and age when documents, history, and world events are at our fingertips thanks to the internet’s search engines when dates and specific events need to be given precisely and one cannot always rely on one’s memory to achieve that. My special interest as a Gibraltarian obviously gives me and others like me more insight into the nitty gritties of Gibraltar versus Spain political history, especially after more than half a century, in my case, of being on the receiving end of Spain’s bullying tactics, but dont bow down to bullying be it by word or deed.I am absolutely sure you know more or just as much about your own particular home ground and could teach us a thing or two about its laws and its history…though you might like to know that when we learn history at school, its the History of Britain that is taught first from Queen Bodecea right down to Elizabeth the II and everything in between, lol. The Industrial Revolution, which at the time bored me to tears, was not my preferred reading material, although now from time to time, I like going back to learn more about the fight for Worker’s rights that affected the whole wide world in the latter years.

    Hate for Spain was never in our school curriculum and it still isnt. We don’t hate Spain, but we do its bullying tactics with Gibraltar.

    In the name of all my fellow Gibraltarians thanks for your support, it is always more than welcomed. I salute you sir!

  38. I fail to see how Spain will ever choose to add Gibraltar to its territory, given the colossal costs involved. Those Gibraltarians not wishing to live under Spanish rule would need to be relocated and new accomodation provided in their chosen country. Spain would need to reimburse the British government and Gibraltarian organisations the capital value of the entire colony, including buildings, transport infrastructure, defence emplacements, dock facilities, airport, harbour, i.e. total investments over three centuries.
    The total cost would be in billions of euros.
    Spain would obviously want the lot for nothing, who wouldn’t, but life ain’t like that.
    I also fail to see how the pro-Spain contributors can ignore the wishes of a long established community such as Gibraltar – life ain’t like that either.

  39. Inthename

    The UN lists Gibraltar as a territory that needs to be decolonised by the UK.

    It is beside the point to refer to the treaty of Utrecht as this treaty created the British colonial enclave in the first place. Moreover, British occupation of the isthmus and its failure to implement all of its provisions means that the UK is in breach of the treaty. The UK cannot ignore international law by relying on a treaty which it has itself invalidated.

    You should also be aware that the trend in international State practice is for enclaves to return to the mainland, irrespective of a valid treaty cession. Consider the following recent examples: Goa; Hong Kong; Macau; and Walvis Bay.

    Unlike you, I have carefully read both UN General Assembly resolutions on Gibraltar. You, however, have obviously failed to note that the UN has specifically observed in these resolutions that principal of territorial integrity complements and constrains the right to self-determination.

    Please note in particular the following words from the latter resolution: ‘…any attempt aimed at the partial or total disruption of the national unity and the territorial integrity of a country is incompatible with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations’.

    This means that the current occupants of Gibraltar cannot lawfully undermine Spain’s territorial integrity by seeking to exercise a right of self-determination.

    This is the reason why the UN adopted Resolution 2353 (XXII), which observed that the referendum conducted by Gibraltar in 1967 was invalid.

    Please also note that all UN General Assembly resolutions on Gibraltar mention the ‘interests’ but not the ‘wishes’
    of the current occupants of Gibraltar. This is not accidental. Any exercise of a right to self-determination by the current occupants of Gibraltar is highly dubious for the following reasons:

    They do not constitute ‘a people’, and only ‘a people’ is entitled to self-determination under international law.
    They are not ‘a people’ because they are not a population indigenous to Gibraltar, but were settled there by Britain after it had expelled a Spanish population that previously existed there. Moreover, they are not sufficiently distinct from the British metropolitan population to be considered ‘a people’.

    As previously mentioned, even if they were a people, this would not give them a unilateral right to self-determination that could override Spain’s original title to Gibraltar. Under international law they have a right to have their ‘interests’ considered but they have no right to unilaterally determine the nationality of the land they live in.

    The reason why there are territorial limitations to the right of self-determination for transplanted populations living in colonial enclaves is because otherwise it would be lawful for a group of people from say Ireland to establish an Irish colony on the eastern coast of England and then claim a right under the principle of self-determination to have the land they are occupying declared a part of Ireland.

  40. antonio2

    Your premise is incorrect. No one is suggesting that the current occupants of Gibraltar should be removed, let alone removed through the use of force (even though this is exactly what the British did to the Spanish inhabitants of Gibraltar in 1704).

    As previously mentioned, under international law the current occupants of the British colony have a right to have their ‘interests’ considered but they have no right to unilaterally determine the nationality of the land they live in.

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