Free the Basque Country! Spain refuses to act on death squad ties

Mass protest in support of the Altsasu 8 Basque prisoners in Iruña (Pamplona), October 2019.

In mid-June, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency disclosed documents revealing that former prime minister of Spain, Felipe González, was the head of a terrorist paramilitary group. 

According to the CIA, González, prime minister of Spain from 1982 to 1996, was the head of GAL (Antiterrorist Liberation Groups), an organization dedicated to killing Basque citizens.

Now that the CIA has declassified this piece of information, you would think that Spain would want to do justice. Think again. 

The in-name-only Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE), the right-wing People’s Party (PP) and the openly fascist VOX party united to vote against a proposal by the Basque socialist party Bildu to investigate this accusation of terrorism committed by a former head of state.

Some Spanish ministers were prosecuted and convicted for terrorism in relation to GAL in 1998: José Barrionuevo, interior minister from 1982 to 1988; José Luis Corcuera, interior minister from 1988-1993; Juan Alberto Belloch, interior and justice minister from 1994-1996; and Rafael Vera, secretary of state securiity, among other military men.

These high-ranking Spanish politicians convicted of terrorism spent less time in prison than the Altsasu 8. 

And who are the Altsasu 8, you may ask? They are eight young Basques who were accused of terrorism after two members of the Guardia Civil (Civil Guard, the Spanish military occupation force) and their girlfriends, all wearing civilian clothes, entered a bar in the Basque village of Altsasu and started a fight in October 2016. Since then, the young Basques that they targeted have been incarcerated on charges of terrorism.

And why would the Spanish occupation forces start a fight in a bar in the Basque Country in 2016? The answer is that the Spanish occupation forces working in the Basque Country get paid a bonus for “fighting terrorism.” 

Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA), the Basque armed resistance group that carried out attacks on Spanish occupation forces and politicians, had declared its end in 2011. But the Spanish occupation forces were still getting paid more money and had to justify getting paid the extra amount they were so used to enjoying. 

Spain, after a lengthy fascist dictatorship from 1939 to 1975, made the appearance of a sudden and magical turn to democracy, even though the same politicians, military and police forces remained in charge. Obviously, it was only pretending. The CIA had been involved in all these steps of the so-called “Spanish Transition” from dictatorship to democracy.

Another little piece of news that is being conveniently hidden amidst the coronavirus pandemic is the discovery that former king of Spain, Juan Carlos I, signatory to and collaborator with Francisco Franco’s fascist dictatorship, had been stealing hundreds of millions of euros and putting them in an offshore account.

That is another crime that I am pretty sure the Spanish government will want to investigate. Just kidding!