Archives For instalaza

As regular readers will know, HRI has been investigating the sordid world of the Spanish cluster bomb industry. Now Spanish officials (not known for releasing specific information about arms exports) have reportedly claimed the cluster bombs found in Misrata, (type MAT-120 made by Instalaza) were never exported to the USA.

However, they refuse to provide the actual evidence, documents, licenses, end-user certificates and so forth and are not letting anyone know where all the missing cluster bombs have actually gone.

Where are these bombs, produced by Expal Explosivos, now?

The Spanish government officials face something of a credibility deficit, after decades of hiding the truth from the public, so it is best not to give too much credence to what they say. Nevertheless, we have already explored some of the issues around Spanish bombs and new information sheds light on the claim that no cluster bombs were exported to the USA.

In Andalucia, close to El Puerto de Santa Maria, is a facility known as US Naval Station Rota. The people of the locality have been coming out to march for peace and against the base for the past 23 years:

NATO no - Andalucia against the base!

Naval Station Rota is an important supply base for the Americans, described by them as the “Gateway to the Mediterranean.” US Navy ships use Rota for all kinds of naval supplies, including bombs and ammunition.

According to Wikipedia:

The Naval Station is the only base in the Mediterranean capable of supporting Amphibious Readiness Group post-deployment wash-downs.

USS Ponce (pronounced pon-say) stopped off at Naval Station Rota, following her deployment off the coast of Libya, following the bombing of Misrata, following the sacking of her Captain Etta Jones and First Officer Kurt Boesnich and before making the trip back across the Atlantic.

Landing craft docking inside amphibious assault ship USS Ponce

The US Navy is the tenant of a 21 sq km section of the 24 sq km base, but the base is used jointly by Spain and the United States. It remains under the Spanish flag and is commanded by a Vice-Admiral of the Spanish Armada. Until recently the commander of the US section of the base was a Captain William Mosk.

NAVSTA Rota is technically a tenant of the Rota Spanish Armada base, although no rent is paid. So if Instalaza and Expal’s bombs were delivered to Rota, it seems quite possible that government officials would consider it within their rights to claim the weapons were never exported to the USA.

So, was the use of cluster munitions in Misrata perhaps an operation with a dual purpose? To help win Misrata for the rebels, using weapons favoured by the US military, which could simultaneously be blamed on Libyan loyalist forces? It would be tempting for a coalition commander or psychological operations unit, particularly with a stockpile of suitable weapons so close at hand. We have already seen the importance that Admiral Stavridis places on the information war and governing the internet.

On the other hand, is it possible that the Libyan army or rebels used these weapons?

Or perhaps it was all just a mistake – with the shortage of ammunition perhaps these rounds, having lain in storage for years, were brought into action without any thought for the political consequences. Perhaps those immediately responsible were sacked in the aftermath, on various pretexts; but given a supine and pro-war media the powers that be decided they could get away with covering up the whole business up?

One thing we can be absolutely sure of is that Richard Kidd, Director of the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement, U.S. Department of State, wrote in “Is There a Strategy for Responsible U.S. Engagement on Cluster Munitions?” April 28, 2008:

“Cluster munitions are available for use by every combat aircraft in the U.S. inventory, they are integral to every Army or Marine maneuver element and in some cases constitute up to 50 percent of tactical indirect fire support.”

Also we have seen a number of high profile sackings of US Navy officers a few days after the bombing of Misrata, including the captain and first officer of the USS Ponce on April 23rd.

In addition we also find in Stars and Stripes that on 18th April 2011:

The commander of the U.S. Navy base in Rota, Spain, has been relieved of command after Navy leadership lost confidence in him to “effectively handle issues surrounding an ongoing investigation under his authority,” a Navy spokesman said Tuesday.

Rear Adm. Tony Gaiani on Monday relieved Capt. William Mosk as skipper of Naval Station Rota, where he has been commander since June 2008, said Lt. Cmdr. David Benham, a spokesman for Navy Region Europe, Africa, Southwest Asia.

Benham declined to provide any information about the ongoing investigation, being led by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.

The Human Rights Investigations (HRI) probe into the actual facts continues, notwithstanding the propaganda pumped out by governments and the media. Unlike others, who have jumped to conclusions on the basis of emotion, HRI continues to question, to discover more evidence and bring that to our readers attention so they can make up their own minds.

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Little is known about the secretive (and now largely outsourced) Spanish cluster bomb industry – until its products turn up in foreign lands.

Spain has signed up to, but not yet implemented into domestic legislation, the Convention on Cluster Munitions. It is time Spain implemented the legislation and also provided full transparency about its past activities, in order to prevent further use of Spanish cluster bombs.

The Spanish government and cluster bombs

The Spanish government ceased issuing any export licences for cluster munitions on 11 June 2008. They declared their stocks of cluster munitions on 2 December 2008 including 2,271 MAT-120s – all of which they have declared to have been destroyed (1852) or retained for training purposes (419).*

Snr Miguel Sebastian, the current industry minister, should make full disclosure as to where all the cluster munitions produced in Spain have gone.

Miguel Sebastian, of course was, earlier in his career, Assistant Director-General of Banco Bilbao Vizcaya (BBV) and Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria(BBVA).

BBVA has been singled out for criticism by human rights and citizens groups for its human rights record and for its links with the arms industry.

BBVA was also criticised by Pax Christi for having no rules banning it from transactions linked to cluster bombs.

Spanish Industry Minister Miguel Sebastian - previously Assistant Director-General of BBV and BBVA banks. BBVA has been especially active in the arms business and slammed for its links to cluster munition manufacture.

Miguel Sebastian: Spanish Banker and Industry Minister

The Spanish government now needs to confirm:

1) What happened to the machinery for making cluster bombs owned by Instalaza and Expal. Are companies in other countries now making variants of these Spanish bombs?

2) Full details of all exports of all cluster munitions

3) To explain why they made these exports

4) To explain why the information about the recipients of cluster bombs has been covered up in the past

Instalaza

Spanish media reports indicate that Instalaza have denied selling the MAT-120 weapons to Libya. When HRI contacted Instalaza, on a number of occasions, they were surprisingly reluctant to discuss their products.

On top of that, munitions found in Misrata in April 2011, dated 2007 (batches 02/07 and 03/07) look remarkably similar to products from the Instalaza company.

Regarding exports of cluster munions to Libya, the Spanish Export Statistics regarding Defence Material, Other Material and Dual-Use Items and Technologies, 2007 on page 51 in the table of Authorised exports of Defence Material by Country 2007 shows 3 licenses were issued by Spain to a value of 3,823,500 Euros.

On page 53 in the table of Authorised Exports of Defence Material by Country and Article 2007 we see these exports are in category 4, which includes cluster bombs and missiles.

In Spanish Export Statistics regarding Defence Material, Other Material and Dual-Use Items and Technologies, 2008 on page 56 in the table of Exports of Defence Material Completed, 2008 we see actual exports were made valued at 3,839,210 Euros.

Below is an extract from the Spanish National Report on Exports of 2007 showing the way different items are categorised:

DESCRIPTION OF THE 22 ARTICLES FIGURING ON THE LIST OF DEFENCE MATERIAL (ROYAL DECREE 1782/2004 OF 30 JULY

2 Smooth-bore weapons with a calibre of 20 mm or more:
Firearms (including pieces of artillery), rifles, howitzers, cannons, mortars, anti-tank weapons, projectile launchers, flame throwers, recoilless rifles, signature reduction devices, military smoke, gas and pyrotechnic projectors or generators and weapons sights.

3 Ammunition, devices and components
Ammunition for the weapons subject to control by articles 1, 2 or 12. Fusesetting devices including cases, links, bands, power supplies with high operational output, sensors, submunitions

4 Bombs, torpedoes, rockets, missiles
Bombs, torpedoes, grenades, smoke canisters, rockets, mines, missiles, depth charges, demolition charges, “pyrotechnic” devices, cartridges and simulators, smoke grenades, incendiary bombs, missile rocket nozzles and re-entry vehicle nosetips.

These categories, used in the Spanish Report, are in line with those of the Common Military List of the European Union.

Reading the Spanish government reports there is absolutely no mention of supplying cluster munitions to Libya and close analysis of the text even suggests they couldn’t have – so why the cover-up?

Expal Explosivos

Alaveses Explosives, Inc. (EXPAL) is a dedicated solely to military equipment manufacturing sub-munitions and explosives. It produces all sorts of projectiles, fuses, shells and bombs.

As Pere Ortega explains in his article on “The Living Death EXPAL” this company has exported arms to Israel (who infamously fired over a million cluster bomblets into Lebanon), Mauritania and Angola.

EXPAL land mines infest the Western Sahara and Colombia and Saddam Hussein’s mustard gas bombs in the Iran-Iraq war were housed in EXPAL casings.

Anti-mine campaigner

Bombs of EXPAL

The BME 330 AT (anti-tank) bomb is one of a family of three air-launched cluster bombs that was been developed by Expal for use by the Spanish Air Force and for export purposes.

The other two were the BME 330 AR (anti-runway) bomb and the BME 330 C (multipurpose) bomb.

It is unknown where these were sold.

 
This picture shows Spanish made cluster bombs which are dropped from the air – where did these go?

In June 2006, EXPAL appointed as president Francisco Torrente, a former admiral of the Spanish Navy, who only months before had held the post of Secretary General for Defence Policy. Following this move EXPAL contracts with the Ministry of Defense improved remarkably, winning several contracts, including one for the destruction of the 5 600 cluster bombs in possession of the Spanish armed forces, many of which it had produced itself.

EXPAL is part of the EXPAL MaxamCorp, formerly Spanish Union of Explosives (UEE) which comprises six companies in Spain dedicated to the manufacture of all types of explosives. Maxam is a multinational with presence in many countries the current owners including Bank Santander.

EXPAL has signed a partnership agreement with Brazilian explosive and arms company Imbel.

In the story of EXPAL and Instalaza we see the familiar story of close links between the government, banks and the arms industry and the outsourcing of production to states with lower standards of regulation.

*Update 3rd July 2011 based on the text of the letter of the Spanish Foreign Minister Annex II describing numbers and date of cluster bomb stockpiles on 2 December 2011.

On this page, HRI presents some of the evidence relevant to the use of cluster munitions in Misrata in April 2011.

As more information comes to light, and in response to the requirements of the on-going investigation, this page is updated on a fairly regular basis.

Unlike those who jump to instant conclusions based on propaganda and partial truths,  HRI is sceptical and unbiased – which clearly isn’t popular in some quarters.

For those looking for a 100% definite answer as to who fired the munitions into Misrata, this page will be a bit of a disappointment but more about links between the banks, governments, arms traders and the military is being uncovered on an almost daily basis.

The use of cluster munitions in Misrata

On 15th April 2011, during the day, sub-munitions of a MAT-120 cluster munition were shown to Human Rights Watch (HRW) and C.J. Chivers, a journalist for the New York Times, in Misrata. That evening, during ongoing clashes between rebel and loyalist forces, HRW workers witnessed 3 or 4 cluster munitions landing in residential areas of Misrata. HRW attest to further subsequent such bombings.

Initial Reactions

Civilians were reportedly killed in these attacks and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, condemned:

“The reported repeated use of cluster munitions and heavy weaponry by Libyan government forces in their attempt to regain control of the besieged city of Misrata.”

She noted that one cluster munition had reportedly exploded a few hundred metres from a hospital in Misrata while another two clinics were apparently hit by mortar or sniper fire.

“Using imprecise weaponry such as cluster munitions, multiple rocket launchers and mortars, and other forms of heavy weaponry, in crowded urban areas will inevitably lead to civilian casualties.”

These attacks were immediately blamed these attacks on the Gaddafi regime and the news has been a front page and first item on the television news around the world.

Here are the relevant HRW and NYT reports:

The Human Rights Watch Report of 15th April on which the Ghaddafi forces fired cluster munitions story has been based.

CJ Chiver’s report on 15th April, ‘Qaddafi Troops Fire Cluster Bombs Into Civilian Areas’

Fred Abrahams on BBC Radio 4 Today Program 16 April 2011

In response to the question of why he assumed the munitions were fired by Libyan rather than NATO forces, Fred Abrahams said,

“Because the MAT-120 is mortar-fired and NATO has no troops on the ground.”

When initially confronted with the information that cluster munitions had been found in Misrata, Hillary Clinton’s reaction was:

“That is worrying information. And it is one of the reasons the fight in Misrata is so difficult, because it’s at close quarters, it’s in amongst urban areas and it poses a lot of challenges to both NATO and to the opposition.”

The MAT-120 cluster munition

The MAT-120 cluster bomb

The MAT-120 can be fired from a number of smoothbore 120mm mortar systems. A 12omm mortar system is a large calibre mortar, operated by a small team and in service with a number of nations.

The systems which can fire the MAT-120  include the NEMO and AMOS systems mounted in a turret.

Here is the AMOS system mounted on a CB-90 in action:

The combination of the AMOS and the Combat Boat 90H has been described as ideal for fire support in urban environments. As Captain Evin H. Thompson, Commander of US Naval Special Warfare Group Four, said in June 2007, in relation to a specific question about US Navy use of the CB90-H and AMOS system (which fires the MAT-120):

“The Amos or something like that – tied into my reduced signature boat gives special operations and our Navy the ability to clandestinely be someplace with the capability to act if circumstances allow.”

Spanish sales of the MAT-120 to Libya.

Spanish media reports indicate that Instalaza have denied selling these weapons to Libya.

The Spanish Industry Minister, Miguel Sebastian (himself linked to a bank who have financed US cluster munition manufacture), has so far failed to meet the HRI request to release details of all exports of cluster munitions.

The Spanish government  needs to confirm exactly what happened to all stocks of MAT-120 produced, where the machinery for making the MAT-120 has ended up, where the MAT-120 was exported to and where they have been stored.

As far as official exports go, a lot hangs on whether the MAT-120 is regarded as a category 3 munition (ML3) – in which case, of the countries to which category 3 exports were officially made in 2007 and 2008, only the USA has not signed the Convention against Cluster Munitions and is involved in the conflict in Libya – or if it is categorised as a Category 4 munition (ML4) in which case the USA, Qatar and Libya fit the bill. According to Nicholas Marsh of NISAT, who is an expert in these matters, “There is a blurred division between weapon categories, and especially ML3 and ML4.”

If exports of the MAT-120 were made to Libya, it has to be explained why, who made the decision, how many were sent there, at what time, of which batches and where else these munitions went.

There is additional detail on this in the section on Spanish bombs.

The United States leadership fully approve of cluster munitions

Although Spain has apparently gone to extraordinary effort to try and clear the USA of any involvement in the use of cluster munitions in Misrata, the USA has refused to sign the Convention on Cluster Munitions and these weapons are an important part of their arsenal with the USA possessing a large stockpile of cluster munitions.

US Defence Secretary Robert Gates has said cluster munitions are regarded by the US as:

“Legitimate weapons with clear military utility.”

As Richard Kidd, Director of the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement, U.S. Department of State, wrote in “Is There a Strategy for Responsible U.S. Engagement on Cluster Munitions?” April 28, 2008:

“Cluster munitions are available for use by every combat aircraft in the U.S. inventory, they are integral to every Army or Marine maneuver element and in some cases constitute up to 50 percent of tactical indirect fire support.”

Yet, incredibly, the alleged war crime of bombing Misrata is also being used by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other authorities to justify an escalation of the conflict in Libya.

The US government position in favour of the use of cluster munitions, their widespread possession by US forces and the weakening of the Convention on Cluster Munitions to accommodate nations fighting in coalition with US forces,  implicates the US government in the use of cluster munitions anywhere in the world.

The Battle for Misrata

As part of the investigation, HRI is looking into both land and naval forces  involved in the Misrata operation, as the specific units involved, operating at night, who made use of the cluster munitions is not yet clear.

There is no doubt that this was fierce urban warfare, with hundreds killed in the battle and NATO, including US Naval forces, about which HRI has written, were deeply involved.

On the 14th of April, NATO Secretary-General Rasmussen confirmed that Admiral Stavridis had briefed foreign ministers that Gadaffi’s forces were now in populated areas and that “to avoid civilian casualties we need very sophisticated equipment.”

Certainly coalition forces were providing fire support and (allegedly) special services support to the rebels in order to secure the town for the rebels and establish a major foothold in western Libya.

Our update on the bombing of Misrata shows that on the eve of the Royal Wedding, NATO admitted to using “certain weapons” within the city of Misrata and some more detail on this has been provided by the RAF.

So it is quite clear that coalition forces were deeply involved in the bombing of Misrata, using deadly force in a civilian area, contrary to the spirit of UN Resolution 1973.

Human Rights Investigations calls for:

1). A full investigation by the United Nations into the use of munitions (including cluster munitions and DU weapons), particularly in urban areas.

2) For all parties in the Libyan conflict to confirm they will not use cluster munitions in the current conflict and to pledge to sign up to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

3). Suspension of military personnel found to be involved pending investigation for war crimes.

4). An end to the ‘information war’ and military distortion of the public debate.

5). An end to the ongoing bombing of Libya which is against the spirit and intent of UN Resolution 1973 which was intended to protect civilians, not justify bombing of civilian areas.

Analysis of official Spanish government documents indicates Spanish company Instalaza may not have exported the MAT-120 cluster weapon to Libya in 2007/08.

In the 2008 report, Libya is listed as a recipient of category 4 munitions (which include bombs) – this is the source of the reports that Libya was provided with the MAT-120 by Spain.

However, the MAT-120 appears not to be a category 4 munition (bomb), but a category 3 one (ammunition for mortar).

Below is an extract from the Spanish National Report on Exports of 2007 showing the way different items are categorised:
 
DESCRIPTION OF THE 22 ARTICLES FIGURING ON THE LIST OF DEFENCE MATERIAL (ROYAL DECREE 1782/2004 OF 30 JULY)

2 Smooth-bore weapons with a calibre of 20 mm or more:
Firearms (including pieces of artillery), rifles, howitzers, cannons, mortars, anti-tank weapons, projectile launchers, flame throwers, recoilless rifles, signature reduction devices, military smoke, gas and pyrotechnic projectors or generators and weapons sights.

3 Ammunition, devices and components
Ammunition for the weapons subject to control by articles 1, 2 or 12. Fusesetting devices including cases, links, bands, power supplies with high operational output, sensors, submunitions

4 Bombs, torpedoes, rockets, missiles
Bombs, torpedoes, grenades, smoke canisters, rockets, mines, missiles, depth charges, demolition charges, “pyrotechnic” devices, cartridges and simulators, smoke grenades, incendiary bombs, missile rocket nozzles and re-entry vehicle nosetips.

These categories, used in the Spanish Report, are in line with those of the Common Military List of the European Union:

What does this mean?
This information appears to undermine the contention that the MAT-120, the mortar fired ammunition found in Misrata, was exported to Libya from Spain. In fact, if this reading of the Report is correct, Libya could not have been supplied with the MAT-120.

Of the countries to which category 3 exports were actually made in 2007 and 2008 only the following countries have not signed the Convention against Cluster Munitions:

Andorra, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Israel, Poland, Singapore, Switzerland, Thailand and the USA.

This information links in to the HRI investigation into who really cluster bombed Misrata.

Barclays Bank is implicated in the use of cluster munitions in Misrata. Analysis of the accounts of Instalaza, the manufacturer of the cluster munitions used in Misrata, by Profundo shows that Barclays Bank has been a major funder of the Spanish arms manufacturer.

In 2007, Instalaza generated annual revenues of € 14.9 million, resulting in a net profit of €0.2 million. On 31 December 2007, Instalaza owned total assets of € 31.8 million. These assets were financed by the following financial stakeholders:

Shareholders: € 17.1 million 53.8%
Banks: € 12.0 million 37.7%
Other: € 2.7 million 8.5%

The banks involved included:.

Deutsche Bank (Germany): €3,068,951
Cajalón, part of Grupo Caja Rural (Spain): €2,692,750
Caja España (Spain): €2,153,297
Caja Mediterráneo (Spain): €1,602,438
Bankinter (Spain): €852,310
Barclays Bank (United Kingdom): €593,978
Ibercaja (Spain): €498,993
Banco Popular (Spain): €299,308
Banco Sabadell (Spain): €87,906
La Caixa (Spain): €33,000
Others €117,856
Total €12,000,787
Source: Instalaza SA, “Depósitos De Cuentas: 2007”, Instalaza SA, 2008.

Some of the bank loans have been repaid since 2007 but the following banks still had loans outstanding on 31 December 2009:

Bankinter
Barclays Bank
Banco Popular
Cajalón
Caja España
Deutsche Bank

Media reports suggest the cluster munitions were fired by Libyan forces. In fact, neither Qatar nor the USA have signed to sign up to the CLuster Munitions Convention.

Under the terms of the Cluster Munitions (Prohibitions) Act 2010, it is a criminal offence to encourage or assist in the development, production or acquisition of cluster munitions. According to the UK government this includes “the direct financing of cluster munitions.” (Chris Bryant, Houses of Parliament, Hansard 7 December 2009

Terms of the Act include:

(1)It is an offence for a person to—.
(a)use a prohibited munition,.
(b)develop or produce a prohibited munition,.
(c)acquire a prohibited munition,.
(d)make arrangements under which another person acquires a prohibited munition,.
(e)have a prohibited munition in the person’s possession,.
(f)transfer a prohibited munition, or.
(g)make arrangements under which another person transfers a prohibited munition..
(2)It is an offence for a person to assist, encourage or induce any other person to engage in any conduct mentioned in paragraphs (a) to (g) of subsection (1)..
(3)A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable, on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 14 years or to a fine, or to both..

Updated 10 June

Banking institutions have been implicated in the use of cluster munitions in Misrata. Deutsche Bank granted Spanish company Instalaza, the cluster bomb manufacturer, a loan of about €3.1 million according to information from non-governmental organisation Urgewald, as reported in the weekly Die Zeit on Wednesday.

More than 100 countries signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions at the end of 2008 – it became binding international law for those who signed at the start of August 2010. The convention bans not only the use but also the support of manufacture of cluster munitions.

A spokesman for Deutsche Bank told Die Zeit he could not comment on specific customer relationships, but denied the bank financed the sale of the controversial munitions.

“Deutsche Bank does no business directly connected to certain types of weapons like personnel landmines, cluster bombs or ABC weapons,” he said.

The paper said the Deutsche Bank loan was made in 2007 and reported that other German companies have continued to invest in cluster bomb manufacturers since then. More than a dozen insurers offer Germans taking part in the Riester-Funds pension scheme the option of putting their money in funds which have invested in cluster bomb makers.

These include Deutscher Ring, Basler, Condor, Stuttgarter, Volkswohlbund and WWK. The paper noted that because the Riester-Funds contracts are co-funded by the German government, it should be assumed that public money is also finding its way into the coffers of cluster bomb manufacturers.

The question of who actually fired the cluster munitions into Misrata remains open, with none of Qatar, Libya and the USA having signed up to the Convention.

UPDATE: 1 June 2011 – See later articles for updates

UPDATE: 23 July 2011 – We’re still waiting for the Spanish government to produce the cluster bomb licenses, proof of export and end-user certificates. More here and here

 

More on the evidence Libya possessed cluster munitions:

HRI has located the original source of the Spanish media reports quoted as the basis by Amnesty International for the assumption that Libya possessed the MAT-120.

The original article was published on solidaridad.net on 15th September 2008, written by Javier L. Noriega.
Author: Javier L. Noriega-Date: 2008-09-15 http://www.solidaridad.net/noticias.php?not=5282

The specific passage in this report is,

Instalaza, por su parte, no quiso hacer declaraciones al respecto, pero puede ser la principal perjudicada.
En la última legislatura, el Gobierno compró varios lotes de sus granadas de mortero MAT-120 y, además, aprobó dos contratos de exportación de este material a Finlandia y Libia.

Translation:
In the last parliament, the government purchased several lots of mortar MAT-120 and also approved two contracts for export of this material to Finland and Libya.

The report is unsourced. All we know from the Javier Noriega’s report is that the source is not Instalaza:

Oficialmente, el fabricante Instalaza no hace ningún tipo de declaraciones sobre las bombas de racimo.
Translation:
Officially, the manufacturer Instalaza makes no statements on cluster munitions.

It should also be noted that the Spanish Defence Ministry has denied any knowledge of the export of MAT-120 to Libya, which seems highly unusual, even if they are not responsible for the actual decision to export.:

Al respecto, el Ministerio de Defensa no tiene constancia del armamento está utilizando el régimen libio

The Spanish Government’s Report on the statistics of the export of military goods for 2007 had come out at the beginning of July 2008.

Relevant extracts from the Report:

From Annex II – Authorised Exports – licenses by country
A few of the most interesting ones:
Qatar, 6 licences, 1,177,299 euros
USA, 61 licences, 159,585,721
UAE, 2 licences, 0 value
Libya, 3 licences, 3,823,500
Finland, 5 licences, 10,796
UK, 39 licenses, 58,173,209
Israel, 22 licenses, 4,365,309

Category 4 (Covering bombs, missiles etc) Authorised exports 2007
A few of the most relevant ones:
Qatar, 1,149,550
USA, 1,885,959
Finland, 0 value
Libya, 3,823,500
UAE, 0 value
UK, 1,785,000
Israel, 0 value
(The ‘0’s indicate licences were issued but with no Euro value, perhaps as they were part of a larger contract)

So the assumption the MAT-120 was licensed to Libya is just an assumption – actually Spain issued licences in Category 4 to:
Argentina, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, France, Germany, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Kuwait, Libya, Malaysia, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Pakistan, Qatar, Slovenia (0), Sweden, Switzerland, UAE, United Kingdom, United States

UPDATE: 1 June 2011 – See later articles for updates

UPDATE: 23 July 2011 – We’re still waiting for the Spanish government to produce the cluster bomb licenses, proof of export and end-user certificates. More here and here

Instalaza has been claiming 40 million euros, according to Spanish newspaper Cincodias in compensation for damages and lost profits after Spain decided to ban cluster bombs.

The claim was put into the Spanish Executive, but the company refuses to say what the result has been. For their part, according to this newspaper report, the Spanish Defence Ministry denies receiving any such demand.

The newspaper repeats the claims that Instalaza exported to Libya and points out that if this is the case it would have needed the approval of the Directorate General of Armament and Equipment of the Ministry of Defence which was headed in 2007 by the current Chief of Staff of Defense, Air Force General José Julio Rodríguez.

The arms sale would have had to have the approval of the the Interministerial Regulatory Board of Foreign Trade in Defence and Dual-Use.

This Board is chaired by the Secretary of State for Commerce, vice-chaired by the Foreign Minister and has the participation of the general director of Strategic Affairs and Terrorism, the intelligence director of the CNI, the director general of Ordnance, the director of the Customs Revenue Agency, deputy director of the Guardia Civil operation, the Police, the Secretary General of Foreign Trade and the general secretary of the Ministry of Industry. Its decisions are binding on the Ministry of Foreign Trade, which is the body granting export licenses.

If this is the case, it is a scandal and would mean the Spanish National Reports on Arms Exports were written to deceive the Spanish and international public.

The paper claims Instalaza was granted three licenses to export cluster munitions to Libya in 2007 amounting to 3,83 million euros. It seems unlikely that three licenses would be required for this export.

Human Rights Investigations demands:

1) The public release of the full details of the exports of all cluster munitions by Instalaza as these weapons were apparently used in war crimes.
2) A full account by Spain of why their National Reports did not mention the export of cluster munitions to Libya and action to be taken against the officials involved.
3) We repeat our call for every one of the parties to the conflict, including Libya, Qatar, the UAE and the USA to sign up to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

See our article on the cluster bombing of Misrata for a balanced view as to who used cluster munitions in Misrata.

To paraphrase The Dude – More information comes to light:

“In 2005, a Spanish company announced that it was going to co-produce with the Finnish defense company Patria a 120mm mortar projectile with submunitions. In 2006, Patria advertised a 120mm mortar projectile that contains 21 submunitions, stating that the dual purpose submunitions contain “electronic fusing…which involves both self-destruction and self-neutralization features, guarantees zero risk of dangerous duds.

During the Dublin negotiations in May 2008, Finland said that it was in the process of acquiring electronically-fuzed cluster munitions from a Spanish manufacturer.  However, there is no indication that a production line was ever opened up, and the deal was cancelled in light of Spain’s decision to sign the Convention on Cluster Munitions.”

via Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor.

Patria are, for those paying attention, the company who produce the AMOS and NEMO mortar systems. The Spanish company is, of course, Instalaza.

We are currently investigating the cluster bombing of Misurata on the 14th April 2011. The sources for the original story are Human Rights Watch and the New York Times. The specific individuals to make the initial allegations were Fred Abrahams, a special advisor for Human Rights Watch and C.J. Chivers of the New York Times.

The story has subsequently been repeated as a true version of events by all the major news agencies, newspaper and television stations around the world.

The culprits identified are the Gaddhafi regime the Spanish government and the manufacturer of the MAT-120 munition, Instalaza. The accepted theory is that Instalaza exported the munitions to Libya in 2008 and it was Gaddhafi’s forces, using mortars, who fired the munitions into residential areas. Only Ghaddafi’s regime has challenged this interpretation of events.

This narrative is essentially unchallenged in the media and human rights community and will form the basis for an escalation of the violence in Libya over the coming days.

We have compelling evidence that the conventional narrative should be challenged and will be releasing the preliminary investigation shortly.

We ask our esteemed readers to provide any material relevant to our investigation.