Sunday, December 16, 2007


Since we are talking about Felipe González, the state-terrorism sponsor, let us read what Wikipedia has to say about his brain child, the one with a self deprecating name. Here it is:

GAL's History

GAL (Grupos Antiterroristas de Liberación / Antiterrorist Liberation Groups) operated mainly in the Basque Country, mostly on the French side of the border, but kidnapping, torture and economic crimes were also carried out in other parts of Spain. The victims were both members and supporters of ETA, and people unconnected to terrorism. The groups were active from 1983 to 1987 committing 27 killings. This period is often referred to as part of "La guerra sucia" (The dirty war) in Spanish history.

The GAL did not have a proper or consistent ideology, they just acted in retaliation for ETA actions. Thus, the actual perpetrators were never militants in a political sense but mercenaries, and some policemen were convicted of involvement (Lasa-Zabala case, in which Guardias Civiles were charged and sentenced, Larraetxea case, etc.)

The kidnapping and later killing of Joxe Antonio Lasa and Joxe Ignacio Zabala in October 1983 and the kidnapping of Segundo Marey in 1983, marked the beginning of the group.

Felipe González, then Prime Minister of Spain and leader of the Socialist Party, was suspected of being involved with the GAL as a result of the long series of reports by investigative journalism which the Spanish daily El Mundo and other Spanish media devoted to the matter. It is claimed that, although González probably knew about the GAL, he was not brought to trial in order to avoid the consequent discrediting of Spanish political institutions. Some government officials went to extreme lengths to punish El Mundo for its investigations years later, when, with the help of well-known lawyer Emilio Rodríguez Menéndez, a plot against El Mundo director Pedro J. Ramírez was orchestrated, a prostitute with the bait of information on the GAL drugged his drink with the intention of making a sex tape. With the threat of the public release of this sex tape, they attempted to silence his discoveries on the GAL, yet he initiated a court case against them. Rodríguez Menéndez and other government officials were found guilty and given sentences of up to four years in prison.

The GAL was one of the main issues of the campaign for the elections of 1996 in which Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) was defeated by José María Aznar's People's Party (PP) for the first time. Felipe González then resigned as leader of the party. With the exception of Ricardo García Damborenea, PSOE leaders have never acknowledged responsibility for the GAL, and have condemned their crimes verbally. González himself has never been charged with a GAL offence, but he has called publicly for pardons for his former subordinates. PSOE leaders have campaigned for leniency towards their former co-workers convicted of crimes associated with GAL and the succeeding government of José María Aznar granted some pardons to Socialists convicted of GAL crimes.

After 1987, when the GAL disbanded, the French government adopted a harsher attitude towards Basque refugees, denying political refugee status to new applicants, and facilitating extraditions requested by Spanish judges. This change weakened ETA's veterans. It is believed that the GAL were a major factor in ensuring ETA's survival into the 1990s and beyond, helping to preserve the image of an authoritarian state at war with the Basque people.

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