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Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes, a guest post from Paul

By Patrick Van Roy On April 16th, 2018

When most people think of the state of Spain they invariably think of a homogenous country at ease with itself, good weather and a laid back lifestyle – nothing of course could be further from the truth, there are well known independence movements in Catalonia and the Basque Country as well as movements to include parts of Valancia and Aragon as well as the Baleric in Catalonia and  lesser known independence movements in Galicia, the Canary Islands and the huge geographical area of Andalucia in the south.

What people generally don’t think of is state sponsored death squads after Spain’s transition to ‘democracy’ and it’s here that I’d like to introduce you to GAL, (Grupos Antiterroristas de Liberación).

GAL operated in the Basque Country for around five years in the mid eighties although their main area of operations was principally in the French Basque Country, and targeted suspected Basque militants for kidnap, murder and torture during Spain’s Guerra Sucia (Dirty War) in the Basque Country but invariably their casualties also included civilians. (My own closest experience was when my sister in law was accosted by two thugs in 1989 and had the acronym GAL carved into her forearm with a broken bottle).

GAL were responsible for the infamous Hotel Monbar attack in Bayonne in the French Basque Country on the 25th September 1985:  

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monbar_Hotel_attack

Other GAL atacks included:

  • Kidnapping and assassination of alleged ETA members Joxe Lasa Arostegi and José Ignacio Zabala in 1983. Their mutilated corpses were found in Alicante in 1985. A number of Civil Guards were sentenced for their part in the abduction and murder
  • The kidnapping of innocent civilian Segundo Marey as a hostage demanding the release of four Civil Guards who had been arrested for a previous kidnap attempt of alleged ETA leader José Mari Larretxea Goñi. Marey was eventually released unharmed
  • The assassination of Vicente Perurena and Angel Gurmindo, alleged ETA members in Hendaya in the French Basque Country  
  • The kidnapping and torture of Rafael and Endika Lorenzo, members of the Anti-Nuclear Committee in Getxo (Bilbao)
  • A bomb attack against the Consolation tavern injuring José Oliva Gallastegi, Bonifacio García and Juan Jauregi Aurria in San Juan De Luz in the French Basque Country  
  • The murder of of  Basque political activist and medical GP Santiago Brouard  in his medical practice in Bilbao
  • Attack on the Batoxi  tavern in Bayonne in the French Basque Country. Karmele Martínez and her young daughter Nagore Otegui along with  Federick Haramboure were critically injured
  • The murder of Christophe Matxikote and Catherine Brion. They had no connection with ETA. While the attack was not claimed by GAL, Miguel Brecia, an individual with known links to the GAL, was convicted for the attack. The courts who found him guilty considered it to be a GAL attack.
  • The murder of of Juan Carlos García Goena, again unconnected with ETA. The attack was not claimed by GAL. The arrested mercenaries, who performed it, accused GAL of ordering it.

The GAL body count left a minimum of twenty eight dead and twenty six injured.  

Investigative journalism by Spanish newspaper El Mundo led to a web of subterfuge and intrigue and the eventual arrest and conviction of a number of Spanish National Police and Civil Guards along with a number of Portugese and French nationals for some of the attacks but led to a much more explosive exposure, that representatives of the Spanish Government had used public money to travel around Portugal, recruiting Angola war, veterans and France recruiting underworld figures and ex military personel to undertake the attacks. This investiation led to the arrest and conviction of José Barrionuevo. Interior minister in the Spanish Government from 1982 to 1988, Rafael Vera, Director for Security of the State, Ricardo Garcia Damborena, Secretary General of the Spanish Socialist Party, Francisco Alvarez, Spanish Government Anti – terrorist Czar, Miguel Planchuero, Chief of the National Police for Bilbao, José Amedo Fouce, Sub Commissioner for the National Police, Julián Sancristóbal, Spanish Government representative in the province of Vizcaya in the Basque Country and Colonel Enrique Rodriguez Galindo, Chief of the Guardia Civil headquarters in San Sebastian  

 

– unquestionably a state sponsored death squad.

For those interested in exploring this further I recommend former Irish Times’  journalist (and former flat mate of Julián Sancristóbal), Paddy Woodworth’s definitive work (in English) the magnificent  Dirty War, Clean Hands: ETA, the GAL and Spanish Democracy :

https://yalebooks.yale.edu/book/9780300097504/dirty-war-clean-hands

 

96 Responses to “Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes, a guest post from Paul”

  1. What is the point? That GAL existed for a few years in the mid eighties? It is like defining rock and roll by discussing only A Flock of Seagulls.
    It is kind of disingenuous to discuss them in a vacuum without discussing the far more lethal ETA which killed hundreds.
    Also,

  2. whatever independence agitation exists in Spain don’t the majority of Spaniards support the nation state as set forth in their Constitution?

  3. //good weather and a laid back lifestyle //

    I also thought that until my very first visit to Spain, in fact I hadn’t been in the country for more than two hours, when I was arrested.

    I was travelling by bus from Lisbon to Paris, and we crossed into Spain north of Madrid. When we got to Burgos we made a break, and everyone dashed off to buy stuff and go for a pee. The bus stopped in a central square, and I decided to buy and write a postcard to a friend in Ireland, a big fan of everything Spanish. I had no place to fill out the card except leaning on the large postbox in the square, where I proceded to write a few lines.
    I was then very rudely interrupted by a thump on my back. Behind me were two “Guardia Civilia”, fat and squat little bastards in uniform with those black hats that make them look like they ran into a wall backwards. They roared at me and pushed me towards some building on the square. My efforts to reason with them, with my unfinished card still in my hand, were rewarded by sharp jabs to my back telling me to keep walking.

    They brought me to a large police station on the square and sat me on a chair in front of this oily dude looking like a Mexican bandido. He proceeded to interview me in Spanish, which I don’t understand, and after each question the two lads behind would jabe me on the shoulders again to indicate that a reply was expected. I showed my passport and my postcard, with fresh stamp and unfinished message, which Bandido examined carefully, but when he could make neither head nor tail of it he came even more angry.
    I gathered that he wanted to know why I had been drawing plans of the police station (which I admittedly had been facing). I told him nothing could be further from the truth. I have a cousin a guard in Tullamore, and sure I can’t draw anyway.

    The situation was saved only when someone from the bus (which was leaving) noticed I wasn’t in my seat, and someone else said that they’d seen me being taken away. So the bus driver and some elderly woman whose identity I still don’t know. Came in and explained.
    The Bandido threw the card back at me and waved us away without a sign or word of apology.

    I must say I enjoyed the experience.

    //there are well known independence movements in Catalonia and the Basque Country as well as movements to include parts of Valancia and Aragon as well as the Baleric in Catalonia and lesser known independence movements in Galicia, the Canary Islands and the huge geographical area of Andalucia in the south.//

    Sorry, that’s too much. You mean, if Catalonia became independent, then the Balerics would also try to become independent of Catalonia in turn?

    A federal republic – like in Switzerland and Germany. Go for it.

  4. Great post, Paul.

    I find “the Spains” fascinating.

    The GAL stuff is very interesting given that it all happened under a democratic and, indeed, socialist, government (as opposed to Franco’s heirs).

    As Noel says, the overlapping identities can cause problems – where does the Basque country begin and end (does it include Navarre?). Where does Catalonia begin and end? In Majorca I had a taxi driver berate the enforced teaching of standard Catalan when that was never spoken there (apparently it was a very different dialect).

    Galicia seems to be like Wales – a really strong cultural, language identity but no interest in independence.

    I actually had a bus stop in Burgos in the exact same square as Noel…and bought a postcard…thankfully, though, I escaped arrest.

  5. What is the point? That GAL existed for a few years in the mid eighties? It is like defining rock and roll by discussing only A Flock of Seagulls

    The point is that it’s a concrete, unqustionable example of where a democratic Government used taxpayers money to actively recruit criminals and mercenaries to murder, bomb and maim in another nation state’s territory which I think is worthy of discussion.

    It is kind of disingenuous to discuss them in a vacuum without discussing the far more lethal ETA which killed hundreds.

    No, I don’t think it is. Everyone knows about ETA’s violents campaign. Much fewer people have heard of GAL let alone know anything of them.

    Whatever independence agitation exists in Spain don’t the majority of Spaniards support the nation state as set forth in their Constitution?

    Perhaps, perhaps not. Obviously in the much larger areas of Castilla, the huge Andalucia, Austurias etc there is a strong sense of Spanishness however, I know many many people who consider Spanish nationality as a concept imposed on them. It’s them I refer to above.

    Sorry, that’s too much. You mean, if Catalonia became independent, then the Balerics would also try to become independent of Catalonia in turn?

    I mean that for some the concept of ‘Países Catalanes’ expands outside the offically defined state of Catalonia and also includes parts of Valancia, Aragon and the Baleric Islands.

    Where does the Basque country begin and end (does it include Navarre?)

    Under the 79 Constitution Reg the Basque Country officially consists of the provinces of Gipuzcoa, Vizcaya and Alava. Navarra has a separate atonomous stature. I live in Navarra and Basques consider Iruña, (Pamplona) to be the capital city of Euskal Herria, (the seven provinces of the Basque Country. With four in the state of Spain and three in France).

  6. Noel, the Guardia Civil are, to put it crudely, hateful fuckers.

  7. //I mean that for some the concept of ‘Países Catalanes’ expands outside the offically defined state of Catalonia and also includes parts of Valancia, Aragon and the Baleric Islands. //

    Paul, it sure sounds like something is nurturing this kind of sentiment. Are you sure it’s more serious than the Jackeen vs Culchie divide in Ireland. Surely the regions can’t be more distinct and ideosyncratic than Kerry?

    //I actually had a bus stop in Burgos in the exact same square as Noel…and bought a postcard…thankfully, though, I escaped arrest.//

    That’s incredible!

    Ok, so which was it:

    – you weren’t foolish enough to write something on a piece of paper while facing the police station

    – you had a “Bring Back Franco” sticker on your bag

    – you were part of a group of Catholic Boy Scouts, all in scout uniform

    – you look like an altar boy

  8. Paul, it sure sounds like something is nurturing this kind of sentiment. Are you sure it’s more serious than the Jackeen vs Culchie divide in Ireland

    In Majorca I had a taxi driver berate the enforced teaching of standard Catalan when that was never spoken there (apparently it was a very different dialect).

    You had a “Bring Back Franco” sticker on your bag

    The Guardia Civil probably would have bought you a beer.

  9. Why is it worthy of discussion now? Is it the anniversary of some event. Did some participant pop up in the news? It certainly important from a historical perspective and should be considered when reviewing the whole hostory, but what is the relevance in and of itself?

  10. Noel – The Burgos One? Funny, perhaps not at the time, story.

  11. Noel,

    Points 1 and 4! I really enjoyed places visiting places like Burgos (even if just a pit stop). Completely off the main tourist trail but incredible history and architecture.

  12. On the Catalan language issue, my Donegal mother-in-law remains outraged at 1970s Dublin pen pushers “correcting” her fluent Ulster Irish into standard Irish.

  13. //On the Catalan language issue, my Donegal mother-in-law remains outraged at 1970s Dublin pen pushers “correcting” her fluent Ulster Irish into standard Irish.//

    Exactly. There are various degrees of linguistic differences in different places (I mean, just see how incompatible the Pennsylvanian argot is with ATW standard English).

    There are vast differences in, say, Scotland. In Germany, they even sometimes put subtitles on TV when some yokel from the distant reaches is being interviewed. Spain has been a unified country infinitely longer than Germany.

    Folks can nurture their local dialect and customs and differences, but there comes a time when it has to be seen as just local folklore and does not need any further political consideration. Look beyond all that parochialism and you’ll very often find the same thing – money and the desire for more of it.

    Italian-speaking Swiss live happily ever after with their French and German speaking countrymen, yet in oher country people are (or pretend to be) waging war over an accent. The problem lies elsewhere, and the Swiss have found a solution to it. People should learn to be cool, live and let live and concentrate on the finer things of life.

  14. Apart from a programme a few weeks ago which sparked my memory Mahons there’s no particular event or anniversary which drove me to the post apart from the fact that I found it interesting and thought it might provide some fresh content for ATW to discuss.

    If you don’t find it interesting or relevant there’s no obligation to comment on it.

  15. I was curious, I thought maybe something had recently occured or it fit into recent developments in Spain. I’ve no objection to strolls down memory lane per se.

  16. I did not know this specific history

    Spain has been a state sponsor of terror, as has the British and US governments. It is important to know history, all of it

  17. //Spain has been a state sponsor of terror, as has the British and US governments.//

    There must be very few countries whose governments weren’t on occasion guilty of crass breach of their own law, even murdered their own people. Even the newly independent Irish state kicked off with a round of judicial murders.

  18. There are British here who have never spoken of British government sponsored terror, Americans who deny American sponsored terror.

    This is amazing to me. These guys have a ” it ain’t terror if it’s my buddy wot did it ” perspective.

  19. know little of this conflict bar the obvious
    but Paul i do know this, some folk oop North say
    “waz point of takin pastry oot in a piella, they don’t know how to make a pie them ones
    I’m not going to spain, no way 😉

  20. but you Phantom are the only honest broker….. right.

    Americans who deny American sponsored terror. name names.

  21. Ronald Reagan was a state sponsor of terror. ( Contras )

    You have never criticized him for this AFAIK, and have never called this state sponsored terror by its name.

    This is almost too easy.

    Please read up on it.

  22. Reagan and Carter also funded anti regime terrorism in Afghanistan. It is hardly a secret.

    http://i.pinimg.com/736x/89/8a/25/898a2524d2ca4414c95a7e5bbe41ca37.jpg

  23. The US employed terrorists like Thé in the early years of the Vietnam war.

  24. no I don’t have to read up on anything, I’m sure I could point out a few instances to you.

    As for me never saying it that’s nonsense. I have repeatedly over the years stated that after 9/11 things changed.

    For things to be one way now they would have had to be different in the past, or is that to much logic for you to grasp?

  25. John McCain, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama violated the new policy in arming ISIS in Syria.

    An arming that cost us the life of four Americans including our Ambassador in Libya.

    If you are going to accuse me of things have the balls to use my name and point out exactly what you are talking about…. that should be easy, but for you not so.

  26. No dancing

    You’re not very good at it

  27. No dancing

    You’re not very good at it

  28. Folks can nurture their local dialect and customs and differences, but there comes a time when it has to be seen as just local folklore and does not need any further political consideration

    Noel, Euskera, Catalán and Gallego are distinct languages within themselves as opposed to local dialects and certainly Euskera,Catalán and, AFAIK, Gallego precede Castilian, (Spanish).

    Each are as distinct to each other and Spanish as Irish is to English.

    Phantom, there are a fair few states who flaunt their democratic credentials who aren’t as white as they like to portray themselves.

  29. I think it would be fair to say most states have resorted to things on occasion that they should not have. The temptation is no doubt great, but it is often ineffective, it often backfires, especially in a democracy.

  30. BTW, many thanks for facilitating this Pat.

  31. I think that when srategy and self interest comes into play morality tends to take a holiday Mahons.

  32. the only one dancing is you.

  33. no problem Paul.

    and it always backfires Mahons, but it has been an sop for all of history.

  34. Paul – not necessarily. Even when various democracies have made errors in tactics they tend to correct themselves eventually (if at times frustratingly), and voices are heard in opposition to such tactics. Ultimately they recognize their strength is their rule of law, and not responding in kind.

  35. Paul – I’d be interested in your thoughts of IRA ETA connections, differences etc. Maybe another post?

  36. Ultimately they recognize their strength is their rule of law, and not responding in kind.

    Agreed but usually only long after the political / moral / legal faux pas has happened.

  37. //Ultimately they recognize their strength is their rule of law, and not responding in kind.//

    But have the Americans realised that, even when the lesson is still very fresh?

    They followed Bush into a war that was at least illegal by international standards; and that was also brought about by measures of very dubious legality. They accepted prisoners who had been captured illegally and handed over others to foreign regimes where they were tortured and sometimes killed. They also set up a torture camp deliberately outside the jurisdiction of US courts just to avoid complications, where they have held prisoners without either trial or POW status for around 16 years.

    And then they go and elect someone who thinks the camp should be continued and expanded.

  38. = THE GOVERNMENT accepted prisoners–

  39. That can be true. Also that the change is usually in spite of the terrorists, not because of them.

  40. Noel – Clearly not all have. And some may never.

  41. Also that the change is usually in spite of the terrorists, not because of them

    I’m thinking more in terms of the fait acompli of Khmer Rouge, Contra etc support.

  42. The normal rule of law is suspended in time of war, as different rules naturally apply on the battlefield compared to on the streets back home. Very many modern conflicts, however, tend to be on those streets back home – whether in the form of widespread terrorism or ethnic conflicts such as in NI. It’s then very difficult for the state to draw the line; obviously it doesn’t want to introduce martial law, but normal laws and the normal courts are often found to be inadequate.

    No matter how you stand on political issues, I think everyone must admit that the state has a tough job dealing with internal conflict, insurgency and terrorism etc. You must admit, Paul, that a socialist government of Spain wouldn’t take the drastic measures you write about lightly, and probably had exhausted all the other options.

    Very often a liberal governemnt emerging from a dictatorship has to fall back on the forces of the former heavies just to guarantee its survival, and then becomes their hostage. That has happened seveal times in history.

  43. You must admit, Paul, that a socialist government of Spain wouldn’t take the drastic measures you write about lightly, and probably had exhausted all the other options.

    I honestly don’t know Noel but they did do it and that’s the crux of the matter.

    When those who make the law break the law in the name of the law etc.

    For me the most outrageous aspect of GAL was that they were paid public money by the government of a sovereign state to perpetrate murders, bombs, shootings and kidnappings in another sovereign state’s national territory.

  44. The Khmer Rouge? The discussion might expanding somewhat.

    In terms of GAL the efforts to combat terrorism in Spain were clearly excessive and at times during that period extrajudicial.

  45. I was speaking about British support of the KR Mahons and the issue of a political / moral / legal faux pas by democracies . The bones of the argument are here:

    http://www.atangledweb.org/?p=58940

    In terms of GAL the efforts to combat terrorism in Spain were clearly excessive and at times during that period extrajudicial

    It’s pretty easy to see that recruitment and establishment of an illegal assanation network was absolutely extra judicial.

    Paul – I’d be interested in your thoughts of IRA ETA connections, differences etc. Maybe another post?

    I don’t know tha I’d be able to add anything Mahons.

  46. The French part of the Basque region operated as an ETA sanctuary for some time, and French willful blindness would have helped lead to such a problem.

  47. French willful blindness

    ??

    I’m unaware of any Spanish extradition request ever being refused.

    The staement also seems eerily familiar.

  48. It is your opinion that the French Basque region was not used as a safe haven by ETA previously?

  49. No, my opinion is that there was no ‘French willful blindness’

  50. The phrase might not work for you. However, the French really didn’t cooperate with Spain on extradition of ETA and policing in the French Basque reason until 1990 or so, correct?

  51. If one wished to learn of French prior refusal to extradite ETA members, I recommend a book by an Irishman named Paddy Worthington. You can read examples he cites (smile face emogi).

  52. Mahons, I can’t recall Woodworth’s book citing refusal of extraditions and I’m absolutely aware of extraditions prior to 1990.

    Details please?

  53. Patrick

    I’ve condemned Hillary on multiple grounds, so stop the evasion.

    Do you agree or disagree with my assertion that under Reagan the US was a state sponsor of terrorism in Central America ( Contras ) and in Afghanistan ( the Islamic mujahadin resistance ). The US gave guns money and training to what were clearly terrorist groups who were guilty of multiple atrocities, which the Reagan regime was very much aware of

  54. Page 180 of his book. Cases of Mike Goikoetxea and Miguel Apalatequi. My apologies for mispelling the author’s last name.

  55. What’s the big deal about France not extraditing ETA members? The Dublin govt also refused to extradite IRA men from the north. The French had no interest (that I can see) in the ETA campaign in Spain, and must have had some reason not to cooperate with the Spaniards. In itself, their refusal doesn’t mean much.

  56. Noel – the reasons included hoping it would pacify Basque separatists in the French Basque region. France didn’t have attacks by ETA due to this primarily hands off policy. Once France did start cracking down after 1990 (ETA had been formally banned prior to that) ETA started attacks on the French.

  57. Four extraditions August 1984

    https://www.nytimes.com/1984/08/11/world/french-court-orders-4-basques-extradition.html

    Three extraditions September 1984:

    https://www.upi.com/Archives/1984/09/27/Basque-extradition-sparks-protests/6157465105600/

    Since coming to power last year, the new conservative French government has turned over to Spain 130 Basque residents linked to ETA under a July 1986 measure of “absolute urgency” which allows France to bypass extradition procedures

    https://www.csmonitor.com/1987/1013/obasq.html

    And that’s just a very cursory search. ALL before GAL stopped operating around 1988. (smile face emogi)

  58. Do more than cursory then. Read your pal’s book. You’ll see that the French were very noncooperative. But that has changed for the better.

  59. I’ve read the book, (he’s not my pal), a few times.

    Your claim of ‘French willful blindness’ is plainly incorrect.

  60. What would you call it?

  61. I would call it due process, that every extradition case is heard on it’s individual merits, (as was also the case in Ireland), and that two non extradition swallows don’t make a ‘French willful blindness’ summer.

    As I said above:

    I’m absolutely aware of extraditions prior to 1990.

  62. Phantom, on April 16th, 2018 at 9:05 PM Said: Edit Comment
    Patrick

    I’ve condemned Hillary on multiple grounds, so stop the evasion.

    Do you agree or disagree with my assertion that under Reagan the US was a state sponsor of terrorism in Central America ( Contras ) and in Afghanistan ( the Islamic mujahadin resistance ). The US gave guns money and training to what were clearly terrorist groups who were guilty of multiple atrocities, which the Reagan regime was very much aware of

    I haven’t evaded shit…..

    What I said was the policy changed after 9/11 and when it was reinstated by Obama…. because he was President NOT Hillary it resulted in the death of 4 Americans including our Ambasador.

    I included Hillary and McCain because it was their operation, but President Obama armed Terrorists.

  63. Paul – I didn’t read your comment correctly, thought you wrote unaware. Regardless you are being disingenuous about the French.

  64. You seem to be saying that it was OK for the –US– to be a (massive )state sponsor of terrorism before 9/11.

    I am not sure how this helps any of your arguments

  65. Regardless you are being disingenuous about the French.

    I don’t think I am Mahons as the above links clearly demonstrate however I suppose it’s something we shall have to agree to disagree on.

  66. Ok.

  67. Phantom, on April 16th, 2018 at 11:37 PM Said: Edit Comment
    You seem to be saying that it was OK for the –US– to be a (massive )state sponsor of terrorism before 9/11.

    I am not sure how this helps any of your arguments

    I’ve not made any arguments.

    YOU accused me of saying the US never sponsored Terror. I never said any such thing.

    You’re a Liar and an Ass who attacks those that don’t agree with your view on things. You makeup your own facts and there aren’t many, but there are at least two people on this site that show you for the Liar and Fool that you are everytime.

    You make it so easy.

  68. You are morally and factually befuddled.

    Yes, you and Patty are quite the pair.

  69. Once France did start cracking down after 1990 (ETA had been formally banned prior to that) ETA started attacks on the French

    I’m afraid that’s incorrect too:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ETA_attacks#1980-1989

  70. and these are the people who want to take over Gibraltar? Put British citizens in their blood soaked hands? No way Pedro. Keep your hands off the airport too.

  71. Now now Paul. I should have written upped their attacks.

  72. Phantom, on April 17th, 2018 at 12:04 AM Said: Edit Comment
    You are morally and factually befuddled.

    Yes, you and Patty are quite the pair.

    Where am I wrong?

    Show me where I said the US never sponsored terrorists.

    You’re a Liar and a fool. Who makes false accusations attacking people that disagree with your Bubble Views.

  73. Phantom if you choose to argue about things I’ve said, positions I hold please do so, but when you continually lie about me and others you are a fool.

  74. No one is lying about you

    You need to learn the English language and what words mean

  75. No you Lied.

    You said Americans who deny American sponsored terror. I said name names and you accused me.

    That’s a Lie.

    Stop dancing.

    You lied, you accused me of things I’ve never said, of arguments I’ve never made.

    The words are right in this thread in black and white and to deny it proves you to be a fool.

  76. You have said in black and white, More than once, that governments commit Terrorism, that it is not terrorism if A government does it

    Reagan gave billions of dollars to terrorists, A topic that you refused to discuss directly in your Clintonian invasiveness

    If you pay and train a terrorist, you are a fucking terrorist yourself. I thing that you said was not even possible, in your moral confusion

  77. Patrick – it would seem you are avoiding the rather simple question as to the example of Reagan and the contras. Why not address that instead of personalities?

  78. When Reagan ( and Carter ) gave billions of dollars and training and stinger missiles to the Afghan muhujadin, a group that included Bin Laden himself, was that or was that not state sponsored terrorism?

  79. Interesting question. To the extent it was to fight Soviet invaders no. To the extent that they attacked purely civilian targets, yes.

  80. As you know, they were absolutely savage against civilians including those who worked for the regime

    They blew up a traffic tunnel when there were plenty of civilian drivers in it

    And Reagan ( and Carter ) gave battle experience and money to those who would ultimately become Al Queda.

    Thanks Ronnie!!

  81. Hence my response.

  82. Course they had nothing on Joe Stalin, remember what we gave to him in WW2. Sometimes, supporting bad guys is necessary.

  83. That is correct

    But the aid to the murderer Stalin would have happened at a time of existential crisis to Europe and the US, hardly the same type of thing we faced in 1979

    Hindsight is 20/20, but that doesn’t mean that we should not review what happened. And what happened was ” blowback ” – the US gave massive aid to the forces that would become a deadly enemy to ourselves. Reagan funded bin Laden when he fought the Russians, we cheered the muhujadin when they killed the Russians..then we didn’t like it so much when the same bin Laden knocked down the World Trade Center.

    Reagan ( and Carter ) meant well, but this part of their legacy can’t be ignored.

  84. I am not so sure. In 1979 certainly wasn’t 1941, but then again the Communist threat was a real one to the Wotld, and not one that was obviously on the ropes yet. It would be more than a decade until it was mostly confined to China, Cuba as USC Berkley.

  85. Now now Paul. I should have written upped their attacks

    Apologies Mahons but I can’t let that go.

    ETA have never attacked the French, the only French casualty by ETA was a policeman shot during a gun battle after a car was stopped near Paris in 2010.

    They killed two Spanish Guardia Civil who were on undercover duty in Cabreton close to Biarritz in 2007 and kidnapped French citizens twice, later releasing them unharmed but to my knowledge they have never deliberately mounted an attack on the French or France.

  86. I sit corrected apparently as to their targets, but surely French cooperation with Spain has increased since the 80s?

  87. I’m not sure Mahons. I’m open to correction on this but from non scientific empirical observation I’d suggest that it remained at a fairly static level.

  88. From what I read thus far ETA would use The French region as their haven.

  89. Whether the Rio Grande, the French/Spanmish border or the internal Irish border, there’s something about a frontier that’s too tempting to resist for those running from the law.

    The IRA’s skilful use of the border was one of the reasons they couldn’t be defeated, and brought them a certain admiration from romantically inclined Irish men and women. Filling in holes in the road and bridges destroyed by the British army, the legends of the Long Rifles of South Armagh/Dundalk, the famous farm that straddled the border and where an arms dump could be moved from field to field as the soldiers approached, as well as darker things like “Donegal Annie” – all were part of the mythology that arose around the IRA in the 1970s.

    (just adding this to add to the sterile discussion above)

  90. They would use the border to go into another national jurisdiction as was also the case in Ireland however the normal international extradition process was available to Spain.

    And interestingly enough certainly not all of the Basque ‘political refugees’ in France were there as a result of ETA membership or activities.

  91. Again, apparently the extradiction from France to Spain was not “normal”, but has become more so over time. A growing revulsion at terrorist acts has contributed to that trend.

  92. Again, apparently the extradiction from France to Spain was not “normal”, but has become more so over time.

    And again, this issue was dealt with in my previous links.

    No more really needs to be said on the issue of extradition.

  93. Because you have spoken? What discussion will you permit?

  94. No, because it’s a cyclical discussion.

    Carry on to your heart’s content if you wish.

  95. Nah. I’ll move on to how FARC was mistreated in Columbia….

  96. Mahons, on April 17th, 2018 at 1:04 AM Said: Edit Comment
    Patrick – it would seem you are avoiding the rather simple question as to the example of Reagan and the contras. Why not address that instead of personalities?

    I haven’t avoided anything I have said it was standard operating procedure to give weapons, money etc to groups opposed to governments we didn’t like. That policy changed on 9/11 it was renewed by Obama.

    The Lying Fool has said that I have argued and stated that the US did not support terror and is now trying to say that because I have said that the US military can’t be accused of acts of terror that’s the same thing.

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