Infobox militant organization
name = Euskadi Ta Askatasuna, (ETA)
caption = ETA symbol
dates = 1959–present
Mikel Garikoitz Aspiazu Rubina"Txeroki" Fact|date=February 2008
motives = The creation of an independent socialist Basque Country ("Euskal Herria")
Spainand France(Basque Country)
Basque nationalism, Marxism-Leninism
status = Designated as Foreign Terrorist Organisation by the U.S. State Department
Designated as Proscribed Group by the UK
Designated as terrorist group by EU
Common Foreign and Security Policy
_eu. Euskadi Ta Askatasuna or ETA (Basque for "Basque Homeland and Freedom"; pronounced|ˈɛːta), is an illegal armed
Basque nationalist separatistorganisation. Founded in 1959, it evolved from a group advocating traditional cultural ways to an armed group demanding Basque independence. [http://www.goizargi.com/2003/queeselmlnv3.htm "What is the MNLV (3)"]
According to official figures and ETA communiqués, [http://edition.cnn.com/2000/WORLD/europe/11/19/spain.eta/index.html] since 1968 ETA has killed over 800 people [http://www.mir.es/DGRIS/Terrorismo_de_ETA/ultimas_victimas/p12b-esp.htm Spanish "Ministerio del Interior" page; ETA has killed 823 people as of 08/19/08] ] and maimed hundreds more. [ [http://www.smithsonianmag.com/people-places/basque.html] It has committed dozens of kidnappings over this period as well. The group is proscribed as a
terroristorganisation by both the Spanish and French [fr icon [https://pastel.diplomatie.gouv.fr/editorial/actual/ael2/bulletin.asp?liste=20040601.html#Chapitre14 French list of terrorist organisations, in the annex of Chapter XIV] ] authoritiesas well as the European Unionas a whole,PDFlink| [http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/site/en/oj/2006/l_144/l_14420060531en00250029.pdf EU list of terrorist organisations] |43.6 KiB , 29 May 2006] and the United States. [ [http://www.state.gov/s/ct/rls/fs/37191.htm Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) ] ] More than 700 members of the organisation are incarcerated in prisons in Spain, France, and other countries.es icon [http://www.elconfidencial.com/cache/2008/01/01/66_cifra_presos_ultima_decada_encarcelados.html La cifra de presos de ETA es la más alta de la última década con 728 encarcelados] El Confidencial, 07 January 2008]
Most formulations of ETA's goals have centred on
sovereigntyand self-determinationfor the Basque Country [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/3500728.stm BBC NEWS | World | Europe | Who are Eta? ] ] from a Marxist-Leninistinterpretation. [http://www.goizargi.com/2003/queeselmlnv4.htm"What is the MNLV (4)"]
ETA's motto is _eu. "Bietan jarrai" ("Keep up on both"). This refers to the two figures in its symbol, a snake (representing politics) wrapped around an axe (representing armed fight). [ [http://www.elmundo.es/papel/2007/07/10/opinion/2150459.html Article in Spanish citing the meaning of the axe and the serpent] ] [ [http://www.elmundo.es/elmundo/2005/05/21/espana/1116672025.html Article in Spanish including the ETA logo] ] [ [http://www.elmundo.es/elmundo/2006/03/24/blog03/1143175900.html Article in Spanish including a handmade ETA logo] ]
ETA has changed its internal structure on several occasions for different reasons, commonly security ones. The group used to have a very hierarchical organisation with a leading figure at the top, delegating into three substructures: the logistical, military and political sections. Reports from the Spanish, Basque and French police point towards significant changes in ETA's structures in recent years. ETA has divided the three substructures into a total of eleven. The change was a response to recent captures, and possible infiltration, by the different law enforcement agencies. The ETA's intention is to disperse its members and reduce the impact of detentions.
The leading committee is formed by 7 to 11 individuals, and ETA's internal documentation refers to it as Zuba, an abbreviation of "Zuzendaritza Batzordea" (directorial committee). There is another committee named "Zuba-hitu" that functions as an advisory committee. The eleven different substructures are: logistics, politics, international relations with fraternal organisations, military operations, reserves, prisoner support, expropriation, information, recruitment, negotiation and treasury. [" [http://www.elcorreodigital.com/vizcaya/pg060323/actualidad/politica/200603/23/ECD_eta_funcionamiento.html] "]
ETA's armed operations are organized in different "taldes" ("groups") or "commandos", generally composed of three to five members, whose objective is to conduct attacks in a specific geographic zone. The "taldes" are coordinated by the "cúpula militar" ("military
cupola"). To supply the "taldes", support groups maintain safe houses and "zulos", the Basque word "zulo" literally means "hole". "Zulos" are small rooms concealed in forests, house attics or undergrounds, used to store arms, explosives or, sometimes, kidnapped people. The small cellars used to hide the people kidnapped are named by ETA and ETA's supporters " people's jails"" [http://www.belt.es/noticias/2004/octubre/21/eta_zulo.htm «El técnico» construyó los zulos de ETA] ", La Razón, 18 October 2004.] . Currently the most common "commandos" are the itinerant ones, not linked to any specific area, and thus, more difficult to capture. [" [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E0CE0D7143DF932A25754C0A964958260] "]
Among its members, ETA distinguishes between "legales/legalak" ("legal ones"), those members who do not have police records and live apparently normal lives; "liberados" ("liberated") members known to the police that are on ETA's payroll and working full time for ETA; and "apoyos"("support") who just give punctual help and logistics support to the organisation when required. [" [http://books.google.com/books?id=TZ5TNlhO5V8C&pg=PA42&lpg=PA42&dq=ETA+liberados&source=web&ots=8iMHnKD83Y&sig=fN4xId-QUx5xPL7_FqrYdCkZsXA&hl=en] "] . There are also the imprisoned members of the organisation, serving time scattered across Spain and France, that sometimes still have significant influence inside the organisation; and finally the "quemados" ("burned out"), members freed after having been imprisoned or those that the organisation suspect under police vigilance. In the past there was also the figure of the deportees, expelled by the French government to remote countries where they live freely. France has since stopped the practice of deporting ETA members to other places than to Spain to be judged.
ETA's internal bulletin is named "
Zutabe" ("Column"), replacing the earlier one(1962) "Zutik" ("Standing").
ETA also promotes the "
kale borroka" ("street fight"), that is, violent acts against public transportation, political parties offices or cultural buildings, destruction of private property of politicians, police, military, journalist, council members, and anyone voicing critics against ETA, bank offices, menaces, graffiti of political mottos, and general rioting, usually using Molotov cocktails[http://asiapacific.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGEUR410122000?open&of=ENG-ESP] . These groups are made up mostly of young people, who are directed through youth organisations (such as Jarrai, Haikaand Segi). Many of the present-day members of ETA started their collaboration with the organisation as participants in the "kale borroka".
The political party
Batasuna(formerly known as Euskal Herritarrokand " Herri Batasuna"), presently banned by the Spanish Law as a non-democratic organisation ("Ley de Partidos Políticos" [ [http://noticias.juridicas.com/base_datos/Admin/lo6-2002.html Party Law] in Spanish] ), pursues the same political goals as ETA and does not condemn ETA's use of violence. It generally received 8 to 15% of the vote in the Basque Autonomous Community [ [http://www.elmundo.es/especiales/2005/03/espana/elecciones_pv/resultados.html elmundo.es | Elecciones en el País Vasco 2005 ] ] .
Batasuna's political status has been a very controversial issue. It is considered to be the political wing of ETA [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/56763.stm BBC News | EUROPE | ETA's political wing elects new leaders ] ] [ [http://www.britannica.com/eb/topic-1272166/Batasuna Batasuna (Basque org.) - Britannica Online Encyclopedia ] ] , although the party itself denies that this is the case, despite the fact that double membership -simultaneous or alternative- between Batasuna and ETA is often recorded, such as with the cases of prominent Batasuna leaders like Josu Ternera,
Arnaldo Otegi, Jon Salaberria and others [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4581987.stm BBC NEWS | Europe | Basque nationalist leader jailed ] ] [http://www.elpais.com/articulo/espana/direccion/Batasuna/ETA/elpepuesp/20080521elpepunac_4/Tes De la dirección de Batasuna a la de ETA • ELPAÍS.com ] ] . The Spanish Cortes (the Spanish Parliament) began the process of declaring the party illegal in August 2002 by issuing a bill entitled the "Ley de Partidos Políticos" which bars political parties that use violence to achieve political goals, promotes hatred against different groups or seek to destroy the democratic system [ [http://es.wikisource.org/wiki/Ley_Org%C3%A1nica_de_los_Partidos_Pol%C3%ADticos_(Espa%C3%B1a):_03] ] .
The law passed Congress with a 304 to 16. Many within Basque nationalism strongly disputed the Law, which they consider too draconian or even unlawful; alleging that any party could be made illegal almost by choice, simply for not clearly stating their opposition to an attack. Defenders of the new law argue that the "Ley de Partidos" does not necessarily require responses to individual acts of violence, but rather a declaration of principles explicitly rejecting violence as a means of achieving political goals anathema to the state. Batasuna has failed to produce such a statement as of February 2008. Other political parties linked to terrorist organizations like the "Partido Comunista de España (reconstituido)" have also been declared illegal, and Acción Nacionalista Vasca and
Communist Party of the Basque Lands(EHAK/PCTV, "Euskal Herrialdeetako Alderdi Komunista / Partido Comunista de las Tierras Vascas") are going through the process that may lead to their illegalization.
In a parallel trial, the Judge
Baltasar Garzónsuspended the activities of Batasuna and its headquarters were shut down by police as the nature of the relationship between the political party and ETA were investigated. The Supreme Court of Spain finally declared Batasuna illegal on March 18, 2003. The court considered proven that Batasuna had links with ETA and that it constituted in fact part of ETA's structure. In 2003 the Constitutional Tribunal upheld the legality of the law.
A new party called
Aukera Guztiak"(All the Options)" was formed ex profeso for the elections to the Basque Parliamentof April 2005. Its supporters claimed no heritage from Batasuna, asserting that their aim was to allow Basque citizens to freely express their political ideas, even those of independence. On the matter of political violence, Aukera Guztiak stated their right not to condemn some kinds of violence more than others if they did not see fit (in this regard, the MLNV regards police actions or car accidents involving family members of ETA prisoners in their way to visit them in prison, as violence). Nevertheless, most of their members and certainly most of their leadership were former Batasuna supporters or affiliates. The Spanish Supreme Court unanimously considered the party to be a sequel to Batasuna and declared a ban on it.
After Aukera Guztiak had been banned, and less than two weeks before the election, another political group appeared born from an earlier schism from Herri Batasuna, the
Communist Party of the Basque Lands(EHAK/PCTV, "Euskal Herrialdeetako Alderdi Komunista / Partido Comunista de las Tierras Vascas"), a formerly unknown political party which had no representation in the Autonomous Basque Parliament. EHAK made the announcement that they would apply the votes they obtained to sustain the political programme of the now banned Aukera Guztiak platform. This move left no time for the Spanish courts to investigate EHAK in compliance with the "Ley de Partidos" before the elections were held. The bulk of Batasuna supporters voted in this election for PCTV, a virtually unknown political formation until then. PCTV obtained 9 seats of 75 (12.44% of votes) at the Basque Parliament [ [http://www.elmundo.es/especiales/2005/03/espana/elecciones_pv/resultados/ elmundo.es | Elecciones en el País Vasco 2005 ] ] .The election of EHAK representatives eventually allowed the programme of the illegalized Batasuna to continue being represented without having condemned violence as required by the "Ley de Partidos".
The roots of ETA's support lie in attempts of the dictator Franco to suppress Basque nationalism.Since some Basque nationalists had sided with the Republican government in the
Spanish Civil War, Franco restricted virtually any public expressions of Basque culture and banned all expressions of Basque nationalism, including public display of the nationalist flag (the Ikurriña), the celebration of nationalist holidays, speaking the Basque language in public or teaching the language in schools and even baptizing children with certain Basque namesFact|date=July 2008.However, the territories which were deemed as "loyal" during the Civil War to the Franco uprising were allowed to keep their limited self-government after his victory. Those were Álavaand Navarre, where Franco supporters (mostly Carlists) sided with Franco from the start, seeing Franco as a leader who would end anticlericalismand violence against the Catholic Church.Conversely, Biscayand Guipuscoawere considered "rebellious" for having sided with Republican Spainduring the Civil War. Those regions therefore saw their " fueros" abrogated by the Francoist regime.
During the Franco era, ETA had considerable public support beyond the Basque populaceFact|date=December 2007, reaching its peak after the 'Burgos Trials' of 1970—which drew international attention to the organisation's cause and highlighted the repressive nature of the Franco regime—and their assassination of Almirante
Luis Carrero Blancoin 1973 (Carrero Blanco was appointed by Franco as Prime Minister and "strong-man" to rule Spain after his death). Spain's transition to democracy from 1975 on and ETA's progressive radicalization have resulted in a steady loss of support, which became especially apparent at the time of their 1997 kidnapping and countdown assassination of Miguel Ángel Blanco. Their loss of sympathizers has been reflected in an erosion of support for the political parties identified with the MLNV.
A poll taken by the Basque Autonomous Government in December 2006 during ETA's "permanent" ceasefire [ [http://www1.euskadi.net/estudios_sociologicos/estudiosfecha_c.apl?es_fecha=11/12/2006%208:45:40&anio=2006 Gabinete de Prospección Sociológica (Gobierno Vasco): list of sociological studies 2006] ] [ [http://gara.euskalherria.com/idatzia/20061211/art192774.php Gara:"Más del 85% apuesta por el derecho a decidir y por el diálogo sobre el marco"] ] [ [http://www.deia.com/es/impresa/2006/12/11/bizkaia/politika/316792.php Deia: "Ocho de cada diez vascos confían en el proceso de paz pese a su estancamiento"] ] showed that 88% of the Basques thought that it was necessary for all political parties to launch a dialogue, including a debate on the political framework for the Basque Country (86%). 69% support the idea of ratifying the results of this hypothetical multitipartite dialogue through a referendum. This poll also reveals that the hope of a peaceful resolution to the violent Basque separatist problem has fallen to 78% (from 90% in April).
These polls did not cover
Navarre, where support for Basque nationalist electoral options is weaker (around 25% of population) or the Northern Basque Countrywhere support is even weaker (around 15% of population).
During Franco's dictatorship
ETA was founded by young nationalists, who were for a time affiliated with the PNV. Started in 1952 as a student discussion group at the
University of Deustoin Bilbao, an offshoot of the PNV's youth group EGI, it was originally called EKIN, from the Basque-language verb meaning "to act"; the name had the meaning "get busy". On July 31, 1959it reconstituted itself as ETA. Their split from the PNV was apparently because they considered the PNV too moderate in its opposition to Franco's dictatorship. They disagreed with the PNV's rejection of violent tactics and advocated a Basque resistance movementusing direct action. This was an era of wars of national liberationsuch as the anti-colonial war in Algeria.
In their platform, formed at their first assembly in
Bayonne, Francein 1962, ETA called for "historical regenerationism", considering Basque history as a process of construction of a nation. They declared that Basque nationality is defined by the Basque language, Euskara; this was in contrast to the PNV's definition of Basque nationality in terms of ethnicity. In contrast with the explicit Catholicism of the PNV, ETA defined itself as "aconfessional"—meaning ETA does not recognize a special state religion—although using Catholic doctrine to elaborate its social program. They called for socialism and for "independence for Euskadi, compatible with European federalism".
In its early years, ETA's activity seems to have consisted mostly of theorizing and of protesting by destroying infrastructure and Spanish symbols and by hanging forbidden
It is not clear when exactly ETA first began a policy of assassination, nor is it clear who committed the first assassinations identified with ETA. There are sources that single out a failed 1960 attempt to derail a train carrying war veterans as a result of which the litte girl Beatriz Urroz was killed, this attack was not vindicated by ETA or any other group. The first confirmed assassination occurred on
June 7, 1968when Guardia Civil, José Pardines Arcaywas shot dead when he tried to halt ETA member Txabi Etxebarrietaduring the course of a routine road check. Etxebarrieta was chased down and killed as he tried to flee [http://www.elpais.com/articulo/espana/primer/dia/ETA/asesino/elpepuesp/20080604elpepunac_4/Tes] . This led to retaliation in the form of the first planned ETA assassination, that of Melitón Manzanas, chief of the secret policein San Sebastián and associated to a long record of tortures inflicted to detainees under his custody. [cite web |url = http://www.elpais.com/articulo/domingo/HABLAN/ViCTIMAS/MELITON/MANZANAS/elppor/20010128elpdmg_12/Tes |title = Hablan las Víctimas de Melitón Manzanas | accessdate = 2008-06-19 | publisher = EL PAÍS Article in Spanish] In 1970, several members of ETA were condemned to death in the " Proceso de Burgos" ("Trial of Burgos"), but international pressure resulted in commutation of the sentences, which, however, had by that time already been applied to some other members of ETA.The nationalists that refused Marxism-Leninism and looked for a National Frontappeared as the so-called ETA-V.They kidnapped the German consul in San Sebastian, Eugen Beilh, to exchange him for the Burgos condamnees .The most significant assassination performed by ETA during Franco's dictatorship was Operación Ogro, the December 1973 bomb assassination in Madridof Admiral Luis Carrero Blanco, Franco's chosen successor and president of the government (a position roughly equivalent to being a prime minister). The assassination had been planned for months and was executed by placing a bomb in the sewer below the street where Blanco's car passed every day. The bomb blew up just in time and threw the politician and his car three floors into the air and over the top of a nearby building; the car landed on a balcony in a courtyard the other side from the road.
This killing was not condemned and in some cases was even applauded by the Spanish opposition in exile. For some Carrero Blanco's death was an instrumental step for the subsequent establishment of
democracy, by eliminating Franco's chosen successor. In regard to Carrero's death, the former ETA member now turned anti-nationalist author Jon Juaristicontends that ETA's goal with this particular killing was not democratization but a spiral of violence as an attempt to fully destabilize Spain, increase Franco's repression against Basque nationalism and subsequently put the average citizen in the Basque country in a situation where they would have had to accept the lesser evil in the form of ETA's reaction against Franco's unleashed repression."Sacra Némesis: Nuevas historias de nacionalistas vascos", pages 143-145, Jon Juaristi, Editorial Espasa Calpe, 1999, ISBN 84-239-7791-9]
During the transition
After Franco's death, during the
Spanish transition to democracy, ETA split into two separate organisations: one faction became ETA political-militaryor ETA(pm), and another ETA militaryor ETA(m).
Both ETA(m) and ETA(pm) refused offers of amnesty, instead continuing and intensifying their violent struggle. The years 1978–80 were to prove ETA's most deadly, with 68, 76, and 91 fatalities, respectively. [Martinez-Herrera 2002]
During the Franco dictatorship, ETA was able to take advantage of tolerance by the
French government, which allowed its members to move freely through French territory, believing that in this manner they were contributing to the end of Franco's regime. There is much controversy over the degree to which this policy of " sanctuary" continued even after the transition to democracy, but it is generally agreed that currently the French authorities collaborate closely with the Spanish government against ETA.
In the 80s, ETA(pm) accepted the Spanish government's offer of individual pardons to all ETA prisoners, even those who had committed violent crimes, who publicly abandoned the policy of violence. This caused a new division in ETA(pm) between the seventh and eighth assemblies. ETA VII accepted this partial amnesty granted by the now democratic Spanish government and integrated into the political party "
Euskadiko Ezkerra" ("Left of the Basque Country").
ETA VIII, after a brief period of independent activity, eventually integrated into ETA(m), possibly influencing ETA(m) into adopting even more radical and violent positions. With no factions existing anymore, ETA(m) revamped the original name of Euskadi Ta Askatasuna.
During the 1980s a "
dirty war" ensued by means of the Grupos Antiterroristas de Liberación(GAL, "Antiterrorist Liberation Groups"), a paramilitarygroup which billed themselves as counter-terrorist, active between 1983 and 1987. The GAL committed assassinations, kidnappings and torture, not only of ETA members but of civilians supposedly related to those, some of whom turned out to have nothing to do with ETA.
The airing of the state-sponsored "dirty war" scheme and the imprisonment of officials responsible for GAL in the early 1990s led to a political scandal in Spain. The group's connections with the state were unveiled by the Spanish journal El Mundo, with an investigative series leading to the GAL plot being discovered and trial initiated. As a consequence, the group's attacks since the revelation have generally been dubbed
state terrorism[ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/168958.stm World: Europe Former Spanish ministers jailed for 'terrorism' ] ] .In 1997 the Spanish Audiencia Nacionalcourt finished its trial, which resulted in convictions and imprisonment of several individuals related to the GAL, including civil servants up to the highest levels of the PSOEgovernment, such as former Homeland Minister José Barrionuevo. Although premier Felipe Gonzálezhad been quoted as saying that the government would defend itself in the "sewers of the state" ("las cloacas del estado"), his role in GAL was never proven.
These events marked the end of the armed "counter-terrorist" period in Spain and no major cases of foul play on the part of the Spanish government after 1987 (when GAL ceased to operate) have been proven in courts.
ETA members and supporters routinely claim
tortureat the hands of any police force. While these claims are hard to verify, some convictions are based on confessions obtained while prisoners are held "incommunicado" and without access to a lawyer of their choice, for a maximum of three days. These confessions are routinely repudiated by the defendants during trials as having been extracted under torture. There have been some successful prosecutions of proven tortures during the "dirty war" period of the mid-1980s, although the penalties have been considered by Amnesty Internationalas unjustifiably light and lenient with co-conspirators and enablers. [http://web.amnesty.org/library/index/ENGEUR410122002 October 2002 AI Index: EUR 41/12/2002: SPAIN: A briefing for the United Nations Committee against Torture] : "Although convictions of torturers occur, these are rare. […] examining judges and prosecutors may not always be displaying due diligence […] trials involving torture complaints are often delayed for long periods. Where torture has been found to have occurred and torturers are convicted, awards of compensation by courts to torture victims are usually low and may take between seven and 19 years to be decided."] [http://web.amnesty.org/library/index/ENGEUR410142002 AI Index: EUR 41/014/2002: 1 November 2002: SPAIN: A Briefing for the UN Committee against Torture: Update] : "The Committee also expressed concern about: the length of judicial investigations into torture complaints, which could give rise to the granting of pardons to convicted torturers, or the failure to impose appropriate sentences, owing to the period of time that had elapsed since the crime was committed;"]
In this regard, Amnesty International has shown concern for the continuous disregard on the recommendations issued by the agency to prevent the alleged abuses to possibly take place. [cite web |url = http://thereport.amnesty.org/eng/regions/europe-and-central-asia/spain |title = 2008 Report on Spain | accessdate = 2008-06-19 | publisher = Amnesty International] Also in this regard, ETA's manuals have been found instructing its members and supporters to claim routinely that they had been tortured while detained.http://www.publico.es/espana/037038/eta/comando/t4/torturas]
As a result of ETA's violence, threats and killings of journalists,
Reporters Without Bordershas included Spain in all six editions of its annual watchlist on press freedom [ [http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=17496&Valider=OK/ Reporters Without Borders points out problems with free press in Spain due to ETA's threats and violence, 2006] ] . Thus, this NGOhas included ETA in its watchlist "Predators of Press Freedom". [ [http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=13624 ETA listed as a "predator of press freedom" by Reporters Without Borders] ]
ETA performed their first
car bombassassination in Madridin September 1985, resulting in one death (American citizen Eugene Kent Brown, Johnson&Johnson employee) and sixteen injuries; another bomb in July 1986 killed twelve members of the Guardia Civil and injured 50; on July 19, 1987the Hipercorbombing was an attack in a shopping center in Barcelona, killing twenty one and injuring forty five; in the last case, entire families were killed. The horror caused then was so striking that ETA felt compelled to issue a communiqué stating that they had given advance warning of the Hipercor bomb, but that the police had declined to evacuate the area. The police claim that the warning came only a few minutes before the bomb exploded. In 1986 Gesto por la Paz(known in English as Association for Peace in the Basque Country) was founded; they began to convene silent demonstrations in communities throughout the Basque Country the day after any violent killing, whether by ETA or by GAL. These were the first systematic demonstrations in the Basque Country against terrorist violence. Also in 1986, in Ordizia, ETA shot down María Dolores Katarain, known as "Yoyes", while she was walking with her infant son. Yoyes was a former member of ETA who had abandoned the armed struggle and rejoined civil society: they accused her of "desertion" because of her taking advantage of the Spanish "reinserción" policy which granted amnesty to those prisoners who publicly refused political violence (see below).
January 12, 1988all Basque political parties except ETA-affiliated Herri Batasuna signed the Ajuria-Enea pactwith the intent of ending ETA's violence. Weeks later on January 28, ETA announced a 60-day "ceasefire", later prolonged several times. Negotiations known as the Mesa de Argel(" AlgiersTable") took place between the ETA representative Eugenio Etxebeste("Antxon"), and the then PSOE government of Spain but no successful conclusion was reached, and ETA eventually resumed the use of violence.
During this period, the Spanish government had a policy referred to as "
reinsertion", under which imprisoned ETA members whom the government believed had genuinely abandoned violence could be freed and allowed to rejoin society. Claiming a need to prevent ETA from coercively impeding this reinsertion, the PSOE government decided that imprisoned ETA members, who previously had all been imprisoned within the Basque Country, would instead be dispersed to prisons throughout Spain, some as far from their families as in the Salto del Negroprison in the Canary Islands. France has taken a similar approach. In the event, the only clear effect of this policy was to incite social protest, especially from nationalists and families of the prisoners, claiming cruelty of separating family members from the insurgents. Much of the protest against this policy runs under the slogan "Euskal presoak - Euskal Herrira" ("Basque prisoners to the Basque Country", by "Basque prisoners" only ETA members are meant). It has to be noted that almost in any Spanish jail there is a group of ETA prisoners, as the number of ETA prisoners makes it difficult to disperse them." Gestoras pro-Amnistía/ Amnistia Aldeko Batzordeak" ("Pro-Amnesty Managing Assemblies", currently illegal), later " Askatasuna" ("Freedom") and " Senideak" ("The family members") provide support for prisoners and families.The Basque Governmentand several Nationalist town halls grant money on humanitarian reasons for relatives to visit prisoners.The long road trips had caused accidental deaths that are protested against by ETA supporters.
During the ETA ceasefire of the late 1990s, the PSOE government brought back to the mainland the prisoners on the islands and in
AfricaFact|date=December 2007. Since the end of the ceasefire, ETA prisoners have not been sent back to overseas prisons. Some Basque authorities have established grants for the expenses of visiting families.
Another Spanish "counter-terrorist" law puts suspected terrorist cases under the central tribunal "
Audiencia Nacional" in Madrid, due to the threats by the group over the Basque courts. Under Article 509 suspected terrorists are subject to being held "incommunicado" for up to thirteen days, during which they have no contact with the outside world other than through the court appointed lawyer, including informing their family of their arrest, consultation with private lawyers or examination by a physician other than the coroners. In comparison the habeas corpusterm for other suspects is three days.
In 1992, ETA's three top leaders — "military" leader
Francisco Mujika Garmendia("Pakito"), political leader José Luis Alvarez Santacristina("Txelis") and logistical leader José María Arregi Erostarbe("Fiti"), often referred to collectively as the "cúpula" of ETA or as the Artapalo collective [ [http://www.informativos.telecinco.es/dn_16360.htm Informativos Telecinco.com - Internacional - Trece muertos y más de cincuenta heridos en dos atentados suicidas en Bangladesh ] ] — were arrested in the northern Basque town of Bidart, which led to changes in ETA's leadership and direction. After a two-month truce, ETA adopted even more radical positions. The principal consequence of the change appears to have been the creation of the " Y Groups", formed by young militants of ETA parallel organisations (generally minors), dedicated to so-called "kale borroka" — street struggle — and whose activities included burning buses, street lamps, benches, ATMs, garbage containers, and throwing Molotov cocktails. The appearance of these groups was attributed by many to the supposed weakness of ETA, which obliged them to resort to minors to maintain or augment their impact on society after arrests of leading militants, including the "cupola". ETA also began to menace leaders of other parties besides rival Basque nationalist parties.
In 1995, the armed organization again launched a peace proposal. The so-called "Democratic Alternative" replaced the earlier KAS Alternative as a minimum proposal for the establishment of Euskal Herria. The Democratic Alternative offered the cessation of all armed ETA activity if the Spanish-government would recognize the Basque people as having sovereignty over Basque territory, the right to
self-determinationand that it freed all ETA members in prison. The Spanish government ultimately rejected this peace offer as it would go against the Spanish Constitution of 1978. Changing the constitution was not considered.
Also in 1995 came a failed ETA car bombing attempt directed against
José María Aznar, a conservative politician who was leader of the then-opposition Partido Popular (PP) and was shortly after elected to the presidency of the government; there was also an abortive attempt in Majorcaon the life of King Juan Carlos I. Still, the act with the largest social impact came the following year. July 10, 1997PP council member Miguel Ángel Blancowas kidnapped in the Basque town of Ermua, with the separatist group threatening to assassinate him unless the Spanish government met ETA's demand of starting to bring all ETA's inmates to prisons of the Basque Country within two days after the kidnapping. This demand wasn't met by the Spanish government and after three days Miguel Ángel Blanco was found shot dead when the deadline expired. More than six million people took out to the streets to demand his liberation, with massive demonstrations occurring as much in the Basque regions as elsewhere in Spain, chanting cries of "Assassins" and "Basques yes, ETA no". This response came to be known as the "Spirit of Ermua".
Before the new electoral situation, which for the first time since the early 80s opened the real prospect of a non-nationalist rule in the Basque autonomous community under the form of a
PSOE-PP coalition, Basque nationalist parties ( EAJ-PNV, EA, HB) and the Basque branch of IU, EB, signed the Lizarra/Estella Pactin hopes of changing the political situation and reversing what was seen as a menace to Basque nationalism. This meant that the parties which had governed jointly the Basque Autonomous Community most of the time from the early 80s to date -PNV and EA- departed from the previous Ajuria Enea pactwhich gathered the parties known as "democratic" (PP, PSOE, PNV, EA, in other words, all but HB). Shortly after the Lizarra/Estella Pact was signed, on September 18, 1998, ETA declared a unilateral truce or ceasefire and engaged in a process of dialogue with Spain's PP government. The dialogue continued for some time, but ETA resumed assassinations in 2000, accusing the government of being "inflexible" and of "not wanting dialogue". The communiqué that declared the end of the truce cited the failure of the process initiated in the Lizarra/Estella Pact to achieve political change as the reason for the return to violence. The Spanish government, from the highest levels, accused ETA of having declared a false truce in order to reorganize and rearm. This approach seems to have been proven by the appropriation of part of ETA's internal communications at the time of the truceFact|date=September 2007. Later came acts of violence such as the November 6, 2001car bomb in Madrid, which injured sixty-five, and attacks on soccerstadiums and tourist destinations.
September 11, 2001 attacksappeared to have dealt a hard blow to ETA, owing to the toughening of "antiterrorist" measures (such as the freezing of bank accounts), the increase in international police coordination, and the end of the toleration some countries had, up until then, extended to ETA. In addition, in 2002 the Basque nationalist youth movement Jarraiwas outlawed and the law of parties was changed outlawing Herri Batasuna, the "political arm" of ETA (although even before the change in law, Batasuna had been largely paralysed and under judicial investigation by judge Baltasar Garzón).
With ever-increasing frequency, attempted ETA actions have been frustrated by Spanish security forces.
On Christmas Eve 2003, in San Sebastián and in
Hernani, National Police arrested two ETA members who had left dynamite in a railroad car prepared explode in Chamartín Stationin Madrid. On March 1, 2004, in a place between Alcalá de Henaresand Madrid, a light truck with 536 kg of explosives was discovered by the Guardia Civil.
ETA was initially blamed for the 2004 Madrid bombings by the outgoing government [ [http://www.reuters.com/article/latestCrisis/idUSL16484708 ANALYSIS-Spain's PM down but not out after ETA bomb | Reuters ] ] and large sections of the press. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/not_in_website/syndication/monitoring/media_reports/3505422.stm Spanish newspapers blame ETA for Madrid bombings] ] Although the current Spanish government and judiciary now consider the bombs to be the work of Islamic groups, [ [http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4158/is_20040316/ai_n12773616 MADRID: THE AFTERMATH: Spain admits bombs were the work of Islamists | Independent, The (London) | Find Articles at BNET.com ] ] sections of the Spanish right including the main opposition
Partido Popular[ [http://web.archive.org/web/20060320002153/http://www.spainherald.com/2005-03-30news.html Zaplana says that PSOE afraid of "the truth" about Madrid bombings] ] [ [http://www.prospect.org/cs/articles?articleId=12363 Article | The American Prospect ] ] and one of the main Spanish newspapers, El Mundo [ [http://www.elmundo.es/elmundo/2004/04/19/enespecial/1082356558.html elmundo.es - Los agujeros negros del 11-M ] ] subsequently continued to assert that there might be some degree of ETA involvement. Judicial investigation currently states that there is no relationship between ETA and the Madrid bombings.Fact|date=October 2008
Targets, tactics and attacks
Their aspiration, which was outlined in 1995 in their "Democratic Alternative" publication, is to force the governments of
Spainand Franceto agree on the following: [en icon [http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/8864/ingle.htm Democratic Alternative] ] [eu icon [http://www.argia.com/bakegintza/htdocs/alternatibade.htm EUSKAL HERRIARENTZAKO ALTERNATIBA DEMOKRATIKOA (Berria, original Basque text)] ]
* Recognition of the right to "self-determination and territoriality" for
* That the Basque citizenry are the "unique subject" ("subject" in the sense of "one who acts") to make decisions about the future of the Basque Country.
Amnestyfor all members, whether prisoners or self-imposed exiles.
* Respect for "the results of the democratic process in the Basque Country"
* "Total ceasefire" once these points are guaranteed through a political agreement.
All formulations of ETA's goals have centered on
sovereigntyand self-determinationfor Euskal Herria(Basque Country, Iparraldeand Navarra). ETA's motto in Basque-Euskera is "aizkora bezain zorrotza eta sugea bezain zuhurra" which translates in English as "sharp like an axe and quiet like a snake"Fact|date=June 2007.
ETA has killed hundreds of people, including approximately 340 civilians, and kidnapped dozens, in its actions against what they consider enemies of the Basque people [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/539781.stm] . More than 700 ETA members are held in prison in Spain, France and other countries.
The organization has adopted from time to time other secondary tactical causes such as fighting against:
* Alleged heroin
traffickers, as corruptors of Basque youth and police collaborators, a for a tip.
nuclear power plantfacilities at Lemoiz(Biscay). After the Basque ecologist movement had opposed this project, ETA adhered to this point of view. Five workers were assassinated by the organization, including the execution of a kidnapped engineer Jose Maria Rayan[http://www.abc.es/hemeroteca/historico-09-12-2006/abc/Nacional/el-fantasma-de-lemoniz_153360267843.html ABC.es Hemeroteca: el fantasma de lemoniz ] ] . Following a peaceful and co-ordinated campaign of switching electrical appliances on and off across Biscay, thus overloading and tripping all the substations and connections, causing wide spread black outs, and a huge effort to reset those,Fact|date=February 2008 the reactor core which was actually delivered to the site was taken awayFact|date=December 2007. The site remains deserted. The objection to the power plant was its implicit reliance on the Spanish Government for support and maintenance for thousands of years to come.Fact|date=June 2007.
* The A-15 highway which was to run through the
LeizaranValley between Navarre and Guipuscoa. It was inaugurated in 1995, during the construction 4 people related to the construction were killed by ETA, and over 280 million pesetaswere paid by public institutions to cover the losses" [http://www.euskadi.net/cgi-bin_k54/ver_c?CMD=VERDOC&BASE=B03A&DOCN=000011702&CONF=/config/k54/bopv_c.cnf RESOLUCIÓN n.º 58/1997, de 13 de octubre, del Presidente del Tribunal Vasco de Cuentas Públicas, por la que se hace público el Informe de Fiscalización "Autovía Irurtzun-Andoain: Tramo guipuzcoano (II)"] , "Boletín Oficial del País Vasco" 1997203 - 23/10/1997, page 16890.] " [http://www.parlamento-navarra.es/castellano/boletines/1997/B1997038.pdf Boletín Oficial del Parlamento de Navarra Nº 38] ", 27 May 1997, page 9.] .
*The so called
Basque Y, a plan to make the AVEhigh-speed railways connect the three capital cities of the Basque Autonomous Community" [http://www.diariovasco.com/20071104/politica/convierte-obras-tren-alta-20071104.html ETA convierte las obras del Tren de Alta Velocidad en un objetivo estratégico] ", Óscar B. de Otálora, El Diario Vasco, 4th November 2007.] .
ETA's victims have expanded from the former military/police-related personnel and their families, to a wider array, which today includes the following:
* Spanish military and police personnel, active duty or retired [ [http://books.google.com/books?id=55BZmIJ9xd8C&pg=PA37&lpg=PA37&dq=retired+military+ETA&source=web&ots=Jlb-f04ysO&sig=ppJV44IZStZb7JVSACDX7WobRyk&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=1&ct=result#PPA40,M1] [. As the autonomous police (Basque
Ertzaintzaand Catalan Mossos d'Esquadra) took a greater role in combating ETA, they were added to their list of targets. The barracks of the Guardia Civil also provide housing for their families, thus, attacks on the barracks have also resulted in deaths of relatives, including children.
* Businessmen (such as
Javier Ybarraor Joxe Mari Korta): these are mainly targeted in order to extort them for the so-called "revolutionary tax". Refusal to pay has been punished with assassinations, kidnappings for ransom or bombings of their business.
* Prison officers such as
José Antonio Ortega Lara.
* Elected parliamentarians, city councillors and ex-councillors, politicians in general: these had not been targeted by ETA before 1995 (whereas people holding political positions were attacked during the
Francoist's dictatorship, most prominently Luis Carrero Blanco, killed in 1973). This scenario changed with the killing of Gregorio Ordóñezin 1995. From this year onwards, politicians were also made targets by ETA. Dozens of politicians belonging to the People's Party (PP) and Spanish Socialist Workers' Party(PSOE) have been assassinated or maimed. Some Basque nationalist politicians from the PNV party, such as Juan Mari Atutxa, have also received threats. Hundreds of politicians in Spain require a constant bodyguard service. Bodyguards are contingent victims as well. In 2005 ETA announced that it would no longer "target" elected politicians [ [http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2005/jun/20/spain.dalefuchs Anger and doubts greet promise by Eta not to target Spanish politicians | World news | The Guardian ] ] . In this regard, ETA killed ex-council member Isaías Carrascoin Mondragon/Arrasate on March 7th, 2008 [ [http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/mar/08/spain?gusrc=rss&feed=worldnews Spain cancels election rallies after murder | World news | The Guardian ] ] .
* Judges and prosecutors [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/963869.stm] . Particularly threatened are the members of the Spanish special court: the "Audiencia Nacional".
* University professors who publicly express ideas that counter armed Basque separatism [ [http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4158/is_20001019/ai_n14357069 The Independent (London), 19 October 2000] ] : such as Manuel Broseta or Francisco Tomás y Valiente . In the latter case, the shooting resulted in more than half a million people protesting against ETA. [ [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9405E6DA1E38F93BA25754C0A961958260&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=all New York Times, 18 July 1997] ]
* Journalists: some of these professionals began to be labeled by ETA as targets starting with the killing of journalist
José Luis López de la Calle, assassinated in May 2000.
* Economic targets: a wide array of private or public property considered valuable assets of Spain, especially railroads, tourist sites, industries, or malls.
* Exceptionally, ETA has also assassinated former ETA members such as
Maria Dolores González Catarainas a reprisal for having left the organization [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/701371.stm BBC News | EUROPE | Spanish cinema breaks ETA taboo ] ] .
* A number of ETA attacks by car bomb have caused civilian casualties, including ETA's bloodiest attack to date, the bombing in 1987 of the subterranean parking lot of the Hipercor supermarket in Barcelona [MIPT Terrorism Knowledge Base, [http://www.tkb.org/MorePatterns.jsp?countryCd=SP&year=1987 Spain: 1987 Overview] ] [Ana María Ortiz, [http://www.elmundo.es/cronica/2002/347/1023693099.html Jessica, la ultima victima de Hipercor] , "El Mundo" ("Crónica" number 347) nu 9 June 2002] which killed 21 civilians and left 45 seriously wounded, of whom 20 were left disabled; also the attack of Plaza de Callao in Madrid [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/829838.stm Madrid bomb injures eight] , BBC News / Europe, 12 July 2000] .
ETA's tactics include:
* Direct attacks: killing by shooting the victim in the head [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/1350358.stm BBC News | EUROPE | European press review ] ] [ [http://edition.cnn.com/2000/WORLD/europe/10/09/spain.eta/index.html CNN.com - Prosecutor dies after 'ETA-style' shooting - October 9, 2000 ] ] [ [http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2005/jun/19/spain.nikkiknewstub Eta to end attacks on elected politicians | World news | The Observer ] ] .
* Bombings (often with
car bombs). When the bombs target individuals for assassination they are made by rigging their cars with a bomb. The detonating systems vary: they rarely are manually ignited, but wired so the bomb may explode at ignition or when the car goes over a set speed limit. This bombs have some times killed family members of ETA's target victim and bystanders. When the bombs are car-bombs seeking to produce large damage and terror, they are generally announced by one or more telephone calls made to newspapers speaking in the name of ETA; normally the contacted newspapers are " Egin", " Gara", or " Egunkaria". Charities (usually Detente Y Ayuda—DYA) have also been used to announce the threat if the bomb is in a populated area. The type of explosives used in these attacks were initially Goma-2or self-produced ammonal. After a number of successful robberies in France, ETA began using Titadyne.
* Shells: hand-made mortars (the "Jo ta ke" model) [ [http://www.larazon.es/9918/noticia/Espa%F1a/ETA_retoma_el_uso_de_las_granadas_%ABJotake%BB_para_atentar_contra_cuarteles ETA retoma el uso de las granadas Jotake para atentar contra cuarteles] ] have been used occasionally to attack military or police bases. Their lack of precision is probably the reason they are not used anymore.
* Anonymous threats: often delivered in the Basque Country by placards or graffiti. Such threats have forced many people into hiding or into exile from the Basque Country, and have been used to prevent people from freely expressing political ideas other than nationalist ones.
Extortionor blackmail: called by ETA a "revolutionary tax", ETA demands money from a business owner in the Basque Country or elsewhere in Spain, under threats to him and his family, up to and including death threats. Occasionally some French Basques have also been threatened in this manner, such as the soccer player Bixente Lizarazu. [ [http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/internationals/eta-tries-to-justify-tax-on-lizarazu-688316.html ETA tries to justify 'tax' on Lizarazu - International, Football - The Independent ] ] ETA moves the extorted funds to accounts in Liechtensteinand other fiscal havens. [ [http://www.independent.co.uk/news/europe/bank-accounts-linked-to-eta-are-frozen-in-liechtenstein-802730.html Bank accounts linked to Eta are frozen in Liechtenstein - Europe, News - The Independent ] ] According to French judiciary sources, ETA exacts an estimated 900,000 euros/year in this manner. [ [http://www.elconfidencial.com/cache/2008/02/19/28_recauda_anualmente_900000_segun_policia_francesa.html ETA recauda anualmente 900.000 €, según la Policía francesa - elConfidencial.com] ]
* Kidnapping: often as a punishment for failing to pay the blackmail known as "revolutionary tax", but also has been used to try to force the government to free ETA's prisoners under the threat of killing the kidnapped, as in the kidnapping and following execution of
Miguel Angel Blanco. ETA hides the kidnapped in underground chambers without windows, denominated " zulos", of very reduced dimmensions for extended periods. [ [http://www.elpais.com/fotogaleria//9-1/ Los secuestros de ETA - El zulo de Aldaya y Delclaux ] ] [ [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E06E2DC1430F931A35754C0A961958260 Spanish Police Free 2 Kidnapped by the Basques - New York Times ] ] Also, people robbed of their vehicles are usually tied and abandoned in an isolated place to allow those who assaulted them to escape.
*Robbery: ETA members rob weapons, explosives, machines for license plates and vehicles.
ETA operates mainly in Spain, particularly in the Basque Country,
Navarre, and (to a lesser degree) Madrid, Barcelona, and the tourist areas of the Spanish Mediterranean coast. To date, about 65% of ETA's killing have been committed in the Basque Country, followed Madrid with roughly 15%. Navarreand Cataloniaalso register significant numbers [ [http://www.mir.es/DGRIS/Terrorismo_de_ETA/ultimas_victimas/p12b-esp.htm] ] .
Actions in France usually consist of assaults on arsenals or military industries in order to steal weapons or explosives; these are usually stored in large quantities in hide-outs located in the French Basque Country rather than Spain. The French judge
Laurence Le Verthas been threatened by ETA and a plot arguably aiming to assassinate her was unveiled [ [http://www.rfi.fr/actufr/articles/037/article_15042.asp Plot unveiled to assassinate anti-terrorist French judge] ] . Only very rarely have ETA members engaged in shootings with the French Gendarmerie. This has often occurred mainly when members of the organization were confronted at checkpoints.
In spite of this, ETA killed in France on
December 1 2007two Spanish Civil Guards on counter-terrorist surveillance duties in Capbreton, Landes [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7129002.stm ETA kills two Spanish policemen on duty in France] ] . This has been its first cold blood killing after it ended its self-styled "permanent ceasefire" and the first killing committed by ETA in France of a Spanish police agent ever since 1976, when they kidnapped, tortured and assassinated two Spanish inspectors in Hendaye. [ [http://www.elpais.com/articulo/espana/ETA/rompe/baraja/suelo/frances/elpepunac/20071202elpepinac_7/Tes Dec. 1st; ETA kills two policemen, its first cold blood assassination since they ended their self styled "permanent ceasefire"] ]
A police file, dating from 1996, indicated that ETA needed about 15 million
pesetas (about 90,000 Euros) daily in order to finance its operationsFact|date=February 2007. More recently, 2007 police reports point out that, after the serious blows suffered by ETA and its political counterparts during the 2000s, its budget would have been adjusted to 2,000,000 euros annually [ [http://www.elimparcial.es/contenido/1589.html ETA maneja un presupuesto de dos millones de euros al año ] ] .
Although ETA used robbery as a means of financing its activities in its early days, it has since been accused both of arms trafficking and of benefiting economically from its political counterpart Batasuna.
Arrested ETA members often carry false documentation, especially in France, including Spanish police badges.
Basque Nationalist context
ETA is considered to form part of what is informally known as the
Basque National Liberation Movement, a movement born much after ETA's creation. This loose term refers to a range of political organizations that are ideologically akin, comprising several distinct organizations that promote a type of leftist Basque nationalism that is often referred to by the Basque-language term "Ezker Abertzalea" (Nationalist Left). Other groups typically considered to belong to this independentist movement are: the political party Batasuna, the nationalist youth organization Segi, the labour union Langile Abertzaleen Batzordeak(LAB), and Askatasunaamong others. There are often strong interconnections between these groups, double or even triple membership are not unfrequent.
There are Basque nationalist parties with similar goals as those of ETA (namely, independence) but who openly reject their violent means. They are:
EAJ-PNV, Eusko Alkartasuna, Aralar and, in the French Basque country, Abertzaleen Batasuna. In addition a number of left-wing parties, such as Ezker Batua, Batzarreand some sectors of the EAJ-PNVparty, also support self-determination but are not in favour of independence.
Historically, members of ETA have taken refuge in France, particularly the
French Basque Country. The leadership have typically chosen to live in France for security reasons, where police pressure is much less that in Spain.http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/spain/1386545/Payback-for-Eta-in-the-Pays-Basque.html] Accordingly, ETA's tactical approach had been to downplay the issue of independence of the French Basque country so as to get French acquiescence for their activities. The French governmentquietly tolerated the group, especially during Franco's regime, when ETA members were executed. In the 1980s, the advent of the GALstill hindered counter-terroristcooperation between the France and Spain, with the French government considering ETA a Spanish domestic problem. At the time, ETA members often travelled to and fro between the two countries using the French sanctuary as a base for operations. [ [http://www.france24.com/en/20080926-spain-basque-separatism-batasuna-eta] ]
With the disbanding of the GAL, the French government considered that detainees' rights were being adequately defended in Spain. France changed its position in the matter and initiated in the 1990s the ongoing period of active cooperation with the Spanish government against ETA, including fast-track transfers of detainees to Spanish tribunals that are regarded as fully compliant with
European Unionlegislation in human rightsand the legal representation of detainees.
In response to the new situation, ETA carried out attacks against French policemen and made threats to some French judges and prosecutors. This implied a change from the organization's previous low-profile in the French Basque Country, which successive ETA leaders had used to discreetly managing their activities in Spain.
ETA considers its prisoners
political prisoners. Until 2003, ["ETA pide el tercer grado para sus presos" Libertad Digital, 5 October 2003, quoted in PDFlink| [http://www.bastaya.org/actualidad/Violencia/InformeTorturas/Ladispersiondelospresosdeeta.pdf La dispersión de los presos de ETA] |47.2 KiB (page 9), a PDF in the ¡Basta Ya!site.] ETA consequently forbade them to ask penal authorities for progression to "tercer grado" (a form of open prisonthat allows single-day or weekend furloughs) or parole. Before that date, those who did so were menaced and expelled from the group. Some were assassinated by ETA for leaving the band and going through reinsertion programs.
A more recent tactic of the Spanish Governments' campaign against ETA has been to target its social support network.Fact|date=September 2007 The most important measure has been the passing of the "Ley de Partidos Políticos". This is a law barring political parties which support violence, don't condemn terrorist actions or are involved with terrorist groups [http://noticias.juridicas.com/base_datos/Admin/lo6-2002.html Ley Orgánica 6/2002, de 27 de junio] ] . The law has resulted in the banning of
Herri Batasunaand its successor parties unless they condemn explicitly terrorist actions and, at times, imprisoning or processing some of its leaders who have been indicted for cooperation with ETA.
Baltasar Garzónhas initiated a judicial procedure (coded as "18/98"), aimed towards the support structure of ETA. This procedure started in 1998 with the preventive closure of the newspaper " Egin" (and its associated radio-station "Egin Irratia"), accused of being linked to ETA, and temporary imprisoning the editor of its "investigative unit", Pepe Rei, under similar accusations. In August of 1999 Judge Baltasar Garzónauthorized the reopening of the newspaper and the radio, but they coulndn't reopen due to economic difficulties.
Judicial procedure 18/98 has many ramifications, including the following:
* A trial against a little-known organization called "
Xaki", acquitted in 2001 as the "international network" of ETA.
* A trial against the youths' movement "
Jarrai"-"Haika"-"Segi", accused of contributing to street violence in an organized form and in connivance with ETA.
* Another trial against
Pepe Reiand his new investigation magazine "Ardi Beltza" ("Black Sheep"). The magazine was also closed down.
* A trial against the political organization "
Ekin" ("Action"), accused of promoting civil disobedience.
* A trial against the organization "
Joxemi Zumalabe Fundazioa", which was once again accused of promoting civil disobedience.
* A trial against the prisoner support movement "
Amnistiaren Aldeko Komiteak" .
* A trial against
Batasunaand the " Herriko Tabernak" ("people's taverns"), accused of acting as a network of meeting centres for members and supporters of ETA. Batasuna was outlawed in all forms. Most taverns continue working normally as their ownership is not directly linked to Batasuna.
* A trial against the league of Basque-language academies AEK. The case was dropped in 2001.
* Another trial against "Ekin", accusing
Iker Casnovaof managing the finances of ETA.
* A trial against the association of Basque municipalities
* The closing of the newspaper
Euskaldunon Egunkariain 2003 and the imprisonment and processing of its editor, Martxelo Otamendi, due to links with ETA accounting and fundraising, and other journalists (some of whom reported torture) [http://www.englishpen.org/writersintranslation/magazineofliteratureintranslat/basquecountry/martxelootamendi/ Testimony by Martxelo Otamendi] at the Universal Forum of Cultures, Barcelona (May 2004).] .
As of June 2007, indicted members of the youth movements Haika, Segi and Jarrai have been found guilty (January 2007) of a crime of
connivancewith terrorism. Most of the other trials are still under process.
20 May, 2008, leading ETA figures were arrested in Bourdeaux, France. Francisco Javier Lopez Pena, also known as 'Thierry,' had been on the run for twenty years before his arrest. [ [http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/2/story.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=10511726 ETA terror leader's arrest hailed as 'heavy blow' - 22 May 2008 - NZ Herald: World / International News ] ] A final total of arrests brought in six people, including ETA members and supporters, including the ex- Mayorof Andoain, José Antonio Barandiarán, who is rumoured to have led police to 'Thierry'. [ [http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1809271,00.html The Fall of Spain's Most Wanted - TIME ] ] . The Spanish Interior Ministry claimed the relevance of the arrests would come in time with the investigation. Furthermore, the Interior Minister said that those members of ETA now arrested had ordered the latest terrorist attacks, and that the man considered to be the head of the terrorists, Francisco Javier López Peña was "not just another arrest because he is, in all probability, the man who has most political and military weight in the terrorist group." [http://www.typicallyspanish.com/news/publish/article_16604.shtml]
After the major coup of Lopez Pena's arrest, along with the Basque referendum being put on hold, police work has been on the rise. On
July 22 2008Spanish police dismantled the most active cell of ETA by detaining nine suspected members of the group. Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcabasaid about the arrests: "We can't say this is the only ETA unit but it was the most active, most dynamic and of course the most wanted one." [http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5imMCVAth4FzitUIFYwyNXdvxPeYw] Four days later French police also arrested two suspects believed to be tied to the same active cell. The two suspects were: Asier Eceiza, considered a top aide to a senior ETA operative still sought by police, and Olga Comes, whom authorities have linked to the ETA suspects. arrested earlier. [http://edition.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/europe/07/25/france.eta/]
European Unionand the United States list ETA as a terrorist organizationin their relevant watch lists. The United Kingdomlists ETA as a terrorist group in the Terrorism Act of 2000. The Canadian Parliament listed ETA as a terrorist organization on April 2, 2003[ [http://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/prg/ns/le/cle-en.asp Currently listed entities ] ] .
France and Spain have often showed co-operation in the fight against ETA, despite France's lack of co-operation during the Franco era. In late 2007, two Spanish guards were shot to death in France when on a joint operation with their French counterparts. Furthermore, in May 2008 the arrests of four persons in Bourdeaux led to a major breakthrough against ETA, according to the Spanish Interior Ministry. [http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/2/story.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=10511726]
In an attempt to link Colombia's struggle with FARC and Spain's struggle with ETA, Colombian
Vice President Francisco Santosmade the claim that FARC have attempted to lodge ties with ETA for an attack in Spain.
The FARC's contacts with ETA and drug traffickers exporting cocaine to Europe are not new, and when they are secure in Colombia, they try to do harm overseas,This was later denied by the
In any case, the police and defense ministry continue to do intelligence analysis on the FARC's relationship with ETA but that (foreign operations) is one of the risks you have to take. [http://www.tehrantimes.com/index_View.asp?code=170006]
Anncol news agencywhich said the government mistook a city by the name of Madrid in northern Colombia for the Spanish capital.Fact|date=September 2008
On October 2nd 2008, as ETA activity increased, France cracked the whip in arresting more ETA suspects. While Ireland was on the lookout for an ETA suspect hiding amongst the IRA, France too
arrested an alleged ETA member, Esteban Murillo Zubiri, in Bidarrain. He had been wanted by the Spanish authorities since 2007 when an europolarrest warrant was issued against him. French judicial authorities had already ordered that he be held in prison on remand. His was the third arrest of an ETA terrorist in less than two weeks in France following the detention of Unai Fanoand María Lizarragaon September 23. [http://www.typicallyspanish.com/news/publish/article_18290.shtml]
ETA's 2006 declaration of a "permanent ceasefire" and current events
In the context of negotiation with the Spanish government, ETA has declared what it has described as "truce" a number of times since its creation.
The most recent is the one of
22 March 2006, when ETA sent a DVD message to the Basque Network Euskal Irrati-Telebista[ [http://www.eitb24.com/portal/eitb24/noticia/en/politics/effective-on-march-24-eta-cease-fire?itemId=D20829&cl=%2Feitb24%2Fpolitica&idioma=en ETA cease-fire] , "eitb24", 23 March 2006.] and the journals " Gara" [es icon fr icon eu icon [http://gara.net/idatzia/20060323/art156940.php ETA declara un alto el fuego permanente para impulsar un proceso democrático] ("ETA declares a permanent ceasefire to give impetus to a democratic process"), "Gara", 3 March 2006 (article in Spanish, text of announcement in Basque, Spanish and French.] and Berriawith a communiqué from the organization announcing what it called a "permanent ceasefire" that was broadcast over Spanish TV.
Talks with the group were then officially opened by Spanish "Presidente del Gobierno"
José Luís Rodríguez Zapatero.
These took place all over 2006, not free from incidents such as an ETA cell stealing some 300 handguns, ammunition and spare parts in France on October 2006. [es icon [http://www.gara.net/idatzia/20061025/art186010.php La Policía sospecha que fue ETA quien robó anteayer 350 pistolas en Nimes] ("The police suspect that it was ETA who stole 350 guns yesterday in Nîmes"), "Gara", 25 October 2006] or a series of warnings made by ETA such as the one of September 23, when masked ETA militants declared that the organization would "keep taking up arms" until achieving "independence and socialism in the Basque country" [es icon [http://www.elmundo.es/elmundo/2006/09/24/espana/1159091695.html El Mundo] 24 Sept. 2006] , which were regarded by some as a way to increase pressure on the talks, by others as a tactic to reinforce ETA's position in the negotiations.
Finally, on 30 December, 2006 ETA detonated a van bomb after three confusing warning calls, in a parking building at the
MadridBarajas international airport. The explosion caused the collapse of the building and killed two Ecuadorian immigrants who were napping inside their cars in the parking building. [es icon [http://www.elpais.com/articulo/espana/ETA/cargo/bomba/Barajas/200/kilos/explosivo/elpepuesp/20061230elpepunac_1/Tes ETA cargó la bomba de Barajas con al menos 200 kilos de explosivo] El País, 30 December 2006] At 6:00 P.M., José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero released a statement stating that the "peace process" had been discontinued. [es icon [http://www.elpais.com/articulo/espana/Zapatero/He/ordenado/suspender/todas/iniciativas/desarrollar/dialogo/ETA/elpepuesp/20061230elpepunac_4/Tes Zapatero: "He ordenado suspender todas las iniciativas para desarrollar el diálogo con ETA"] El País, 30 December 2006]
On December 1, 2007 ETA gunmen -after an unplanned encounter- killed a plainclothes civil guard and seriously injured another (who died days later) on a surveillance mission in
Capbreton, France [ [http://edition.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/europe/12/01/spain.france/index.html ETA gunmen kill Spanish guard - CNN.com ] ] [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7122899.stm BBC NEWS | Europe | Eta blamed for killing in France ] ] .
In January 2008, ETA stated that its call for independence is similar to that of the Kosovo status and Scotland. [ [http://www.b92.net/eng/news/world-article.php?yyyy=2008&mm=01&dd=05&nav_id=46703 B92 ETA to follow Kosovo example] ]
March 7 2008ETA killed Isaías Carrascoin Mondragón-Arrasate, an ex-councillor for the Socialist party the PSOE, who was shot five times as he was walking in the street with his family. [ [http://elmundo.es/elmundo/2008/03/07/espana/1204893932.html ETA irrumpe en la campaña electoral y asesina a un ex concejal del PSE en Mondragón | elmundo.es ] ] [ [http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5h6OKdljURpljyfDvNmT-vk62ox6g AFP: Spain set to vote with ETA in spotlight after assassination ] ] [ [http://www.eitb24.com/new/en/B24_92892/politics/COMMUNIQUE-ETA-claims-responsibility-for-Isaias/ ETA claims responsibility for Isaias Carrasco’s murder] .
May 14 2008a car bomb was detonated in front of a Civil Guardlodging compound where 15 families lived, killing policeman Juan Manuel Piñuel Villalónand leaving four others injured. ETA claimed responsibility for the attack. [ [http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5jAMDTrVMALaHfRAMUncwYdkG5LzA ETA claims Spanish bomb attack] ]
On May 20th 2008 a number of senior ETA members were arrested in
Bordeaux, France, in a joint Spanish-French operation. Among those arrested was Francisco Javier Lopez Pena, the group's military chief.
In the week of
September 8 2008two Basque political parties were banned by a Spanish court for their secretive links to ETA. In an other case in the same week, 21 people were convicted whose work on behalf of ETA prisoners actually belied secretive links to the armed separatists themselves.Fact|date=September 2008
Other armed movements
* Spanish anti-ETA groups:
** "ATE (
Batallón Vasco Español"
Grupos Antiterroristas de Liberación" (GAL)
Guerrilleros de Cristo Rey"
Comandos Autónomos Anticapitalistas"
* ETA is known to have had 'fraternal' contacts with the
Provisional Irish Republican Army; the two groups have both, at times, characterized their struggles as parallel. It has also had links with other militant left-wing movements in Europe and in other places throughout the world.
* ETA commandos teamed in 1999 with the (now self-dissolved)
Breton Revolutionary Armyto steal explosives from magazines in Brittany.
* The Colombian government stated that there are contacts between ETA and the Colombian guerrilla
FARC. The recent capture of FARC's leaders computers, and leaked email exchanges between both groups, shows that ETA members received training from the FARC. Apparently the FARCasked for help from ETA in order to conduct future attacks in Spain. [http://spanish.peopledaily.com.cn/spanish/200108/17/sp20010817_48609.html Colombia: Sospechan relación de ETA con las FARC] General Commander Fernando Tapiason August 2001.] [http://www.france24.com/en/20080530-colombia-farc-sought-launch-attack-with-eta-colombia-spain-terrorism&navi=MONDE Colombia: FARC sought to launch attack with ETA.] [http://www.tehrantimes.com/index_View.asp?code=170006 Colombia VP says FARC sought ETA ties for attack in Spain]
* Some ex-militants have received
political asylumin Latin American countries, such as Mexicoand Venezuela.
* Several ex-militants were sent from France through
Panamato reside in Cubaafter an agreement of the Spanish government (under Felipe González) with Cuba." [http://www3.itu.int/MISSIONS/Cuba/Atlapa.htm Conferencia de Prensa] ofrecida por Felipe Pérez Roque, Ministro de Relaciones Exteriores de Cuba. Centro de Convenciones “ Atlapa” de la Ciudad de Panamá". 7 November 2000.] The United States Department of Statehas no information on their activities on Cuban territory [http://www.state.gov/s/ct/rls/crt/2005/64337.htm Country Reports on Terrorism: Released by the Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism] ( April 28 2006): "The Government of Cuba maintains close relationships with other state sponsors of terrorism such as Iranand North Korea, and has provided safe haven to members of" ETA", FARC, and the ELN." There is no information concerning activities of these or other organizations on Cuban territory. Press reports indicate that fugitives from US justice and ETA members are living legally in Cuba, just like fugitives from Cuban justice live legally in the US. The United States says it is not aware of specific terrorist enclaves in the country.] .
Documentary films about ETA
*, about the families of Basque politician
Fernando Buesaand his bodyguard, both killed by ETA.
* "", ("La Pelota Vasca", 2003) about the Basque conflict by filmmaker
Julio Medem: interviews about Basque nationalism and politics. Includes testimonials of ETA victims and relatives of ETA prisoners.
Eterio Ortegaand Elías Querejetainterview local councillors threatened by ETA.
*, the testimony of some of ETA's victims in the last 30 years by filmmaker
Other fact-based films about ETA
* "Commando Txikia" (José Luis Madrid, 1977)
*, about the murder of Luis Carrero Blanco.
* "El proceso de Burgos" ("The Burgos Trial", Imanol Uribe, 1979)
*, ETA prisoners escape from the
* ("The Trial of ETA", Manuel Macià, 1988)
*, María Dolores Katarain, also known as
Yoyes, tries to abandon ETA and is murdered by her former fellows.
*, based on the life of
Mikel Lejarza, who, prompted by the Spanish police, entered ETA to be a double agent.
* "imdb title|id=0498800|title=GAL (2006)", about the journalistic research leading to the uncovering of the state-supported GAL.
Fictional films featuring ETA members and actions
* "El caso Almería" ("The Almería Case",
Pedro Costa, 1983)
* "La muerte de Mikel" ("The Death of Mikel",
Imanol Uribe, 1983). A young Basque man dies in a plot involving ETA and drug traffic.
* "Goma 2" (
José Antonio de la Loma, 1984)
* "Ander y Yul" ("Ander and Yul",
Ana Díez, 1988)
* "Días de humo" ("Days of Smoke",
Antton Eceiza, 1989)
* "Sombras en una batalla" ("Shadows in a Battle",
Mario Camus, 1993)
* "Días contados" ("Storied Days", Imanol Uribe, 1994)
* "A ciegas" ("Blindly",
Daniel Calparsoro, 1997)
* "El viaje de Arián" ("Arián's Voyage",
Eduard Bosch, 2001)
* "La voz de su amo" ("His Master's Voice", Emilio Martínez Lázaro, 2001)
* "Esos cielos" ("Those skies",
Aitzpea Goenaga, 2006)
* " [http://imdb.com/title/tt0922641 Todos estamos invitados] " ("We are all invited",
Manuel Gutiérrez Aragón, 2008)
* "The Spanish Game" (
Charles Cumming, 2006)
* This article makes use of material translated from the corresponding article in the Spanish-language Wikipedia.
* Enric Martinez-Herrera, PDFlink| [http://www.unesco.org/most/vl4n1martinez.pdf "National Extremism and Outcomes of State Policies in the Basque Country, 1979–2001"] |119 KiB , originally published in the "International Journal on Multicultural Studies", Vol. 4, No. 1, 2002.; Specificreflist
* [http://city-journal.org/2008/18_2_basque_terrorists.html The Other Terrorism, "City Journal," Spring 2008]
* http://www.tkb.org/Group.jsp?groupID=31 - MIPT Terrorism Knowledge Base (ETA)
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/3500728.stm Who are Eta?] - A
BBCprofile (including a map of the territory "claimed" by ETA)
* [http://edition.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/europe/03/22/eta.ceasefire.text.reut/ Text of ETA cease-fire statement]
* [http://clientes.vianetworks.es/personal/angelberto/fotos.htm Fotos del Horror] , photos and other documentation of ETA members, attacks, and popular protests against ETA.
* [http://clientes.vianetworks.es/personal/angelberto/ Resumen de Atentados de ETA]
* [http://www.usip.org/pubs/specialreports/sr161.html The Basque Conflict: New Ideas and Prospects for Peace]
U.S. Institute of PeaceSpecial Report, April 2006
* [http://www.amnesty.org/results/is/eng?query=eta ETA] and [http://web.amnesty.org/report2005/esp-summary-eng Spain] , according to
* [http://www.avt.org/ Asociación de Víctimas del Terrorismo] Biggest organisation in Spain for support to the victims of terrorist
* [http://www.fundacionvt.org/ Fundación Víctimas del terrorismo] Organisation for the victims's support
* [http://www.bastaya.org/ Basta Ya] , Basque organisation protesting against Basque nationalist violence and threats.
* [http://www.paralalibertad.org/ Fundación para la Libertad] Organisation against terrorist murders, threats and daily violence
* [http://www.fmiguelangelblanco.es/ Fundación Miguel Ángel Blanco] Founded by the family of
Miguel Ángel Blanco, a symbolic victim of ETA
* [http://www.foroermua.com/english/index.php Foro de Ermua] Organisation created after the murder of
Miguel Ángel Blanco
* [http://www.fas.org/irp/world/para/eta.htm on FAS Intelligence Resource Program]
* [http://web.archive.org/web/20060214214012/http://www.gara.net/dosierrak/euskalgatazka/euskalpresoak/ A dossier] from
Gara(now in the Wayback Machine) about the prisoner dispersion including [http://web.archive.org/web/20041205162619/http://www.gara.net/dosierrak/euskalgatazka/euskalpresoak/mapa.htm a map] of the distribution of ETA prisoners in Spain and France. It defines the arrested terrorists as "political prisoners"
* [http://momsword.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=101:eta-needs-to-stop&catid=1:latest-reviews&Itemid=50/ Interesting Article on ETA]
*es icon [http://www.gara.net/paperezkoa/20080607/81275/es/ R. Sola, "Benta-Haundi-cruce-caminos-para-historia Benta Haundi, cruce the caminos para la historia"] . Article in Gara newspaper on the historical events that lead to the beginning of ETA's armed actions in 1968 (in the 40th anniversary).
* [http://www.elmundo.es/eta/index.html El Mundo] Section in El Mundo newspaper about ETA and its actions
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.