Dirty War, Clean Hands: ETA, the GAL, and Spanish Democracy

Overview

"Democracy is defended in the sewers as well as in the salons". This is how Spanish prime minister Felipe González responded to allegations that his government was fighting the Basque separatist group ETA with its own methods: indiscriminate terrorism. shooting up crowded bars, bombing busy streets, torturing kidnap victims. For three years the GAL (Anti-terrorist Liberation Groups), created mayhem in the French Basque Country, where ETA had its "sanctuary".

In 1986, the French government began to hand over ETA ...

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Overview

"Democracy is defended in the sewers as well as in the salons". This is how Spanish prime minister Felipe González responded to allegations that his government was fighting the Basque separatist group ETA with its own methods: indiscriminate terrorism. shooting up crowded bars, bombing busy streets, torturing kidnap victims. For three years the GAL (Anti-terrorist Liberation Groups), created mayhem in the French Basque Country, where ETA had its "sanctuary".

In 1986, the French government began to hand over ETA suspects to the Spanish police in large numbers and the GAL campaign stopped. But this "dirty war" had already created widespread support for ETA among the first generation of Basques to grow up under democracy, and its consequences reverberate to this day. The GAL's links to the Spanish security forces, and finally to González's own cabinet, have been revealed, despite all the resources of 'State secrecy', by controversial magistrates like Baltasar Garzón.

Over the last 15 years, the GAL scandal has fatally undermined González's reputation as a democrat and EU statesman and raised fundamental questions about Spain's much-praised transition to democracy. The GAL investigations have stretched the relationship between government and judiciary to breaking point, and sent ministers and generals to prison. González himself may still face charges.

Paddy Woodworth, who has covered Spain for the "Irish Times" and other media since the 1970s, has interviewed both the GAL's surviving victims and the GAL's leading protagonists. He has followed the investigations in the Spanish media and courts for many years. The result is aunique and dramatic narrative and analysis of what happens when a democratic administration fights fire with fire.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300097504
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 2/20/2003
  • Edition description: Second Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 508
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 1.13 (d)

Meet the Author

Paddy Woodworth is currently assistant foreign desk editor at the Irish Times with responsibility for developing Spanish and Latin American coverage.
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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgements
Map of GAL Attacks in Basque Country
Map of GAL Attacks in Bayonne
Prologue 1
Pt. I An Ancient People, A Modern Conflict
1 'Only 5,000 Years Ago' 17
2 Boys Become Giant-Killers 33
3 The First Dirty War 44
Pt. II A Dirty War Run By Democrats
4 Clean Hands in Government 63
5 Fear Crosses the Border 71
6 Under Siege in the Sanctuary 87
7 ETA Between Two Fires 101
8 Bombing Biarritz 116
9 A Revolutionary Doctor 124
10 A Black Lady Stalks the Bars 139
11 Massacre at the Monbar 156
12 Shooting Women and Children Too 161
13 The GAL's War is Over 170
Pt. III Placing Blame: Investigating the Investigators
14 Grounds for Suspicion 177
15 Protecting Senor X 200
16 State Terrorism in the Dock 230
17 Recollections in Tranquillity 245
18 A Cascade of Confessions 259
19 Old Bones Tell Their Story 281
20 Who's Cheating Who? 295
21 The Paper Chase 313
22 A Divided Democracy 335
23 A Minister in the Dock 356
24 Judgement and Response 379
Pt. IV Conclusions: Cleaning Up After A Dirty War
25 Waking from the Nightmare 407
Epilogue 420
Chronology of GAL Attacks 433
Chronology of GAL Investigations 437
Some Notes on the Spanish Constitution, Judiciary and Legal System 444
Glossary 449
Bibliography 458
Index 462
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