A group of Catalan and Basque MEPs have sent a letter to the rest of the members of the European Parliament to make them aware of the revelations that have emerged this week on the role of former Spanish prime minister Felipe González in creating the GAL death squads to carry out the Spanish state's "dirty war" against ETA terrorists during the 1980s.
The letter was signed by Izaskun Bilbao (PNV), Pernando Barrena (Bildu), Diana Riba (ERC), and Toni Comín, Clara Ponsatí and Carles Puigdemont (JxCat).
The text recounts how there have always been suspicions about the involvement of the then-Spanish PM in the dirty war against ETA, but the declassified CIA documents which came to light this week have confirmed his involvement in the formation of a group of mercenaries to fight terrorism by illegal means - with one American intelligence document specifically stating that "González agrees to the formation of a group of mercenaries, controlled by the Army, to combat the terrorists outside the law".
It notes that the GAL (Antiterrorist Liberation Groups), "organized by the factual power of the Spanish state", operated between 1983 and 1987 mainly in the Basque Country, on both the Spanish and French sides, and that they were responsible for 27 deaths as well as dozens of kidnappings and tortures, and victims included French citizens. Some of those who were murdered by the groups, as the letter states, were buried in quicklime in order to speed decomposition, and several high-ranking officials of González's Socialist government, among them interior minister José Barrionuevo and security undersecretary Rafael Vera were tried and sent to prison for their involvement with the group, although they were pardoned just a few months later when the new Spanish government under José María Aznar came to power.
Hem informat als 705 diputats del PE sobre les revelacions de la CIA posant de manifest que Felipe González va autoritzar el terrorisme d'Estat dels GAL. El govern espanyol i el Congreso haurien de retirar-li tots els honors d'Estat immediatament. pic.twitter.com/8V1j8YFonp— Junts i Lliures per Europa (@JuntsEU) June 17, 2020
"We have informed the 705 MEPs about the revelations of the CIA stating that Felipe González authorized the state terrorism by the GAL. The Spanish government and Congress should withdraw all state honours from him immediately."— Junts i Lliures per Europa
The letter to the MEPs also remarks that the current Socialist government under Pedro Sánchez has not taken any measures in relation to Felipe González - it has not launched any inquiry into his involvement, or even proposed the withdrawal of his honours as a former prime minister.
The Catalan and Basque representatives warn that an issue of this scale is not an internal problem of a member state, but rather, "it is a problem that affects the credibility of the Union as a whole," says the text.
For this reason, it asks Members of the European Parliament and EU authorities to demand that the Spanish government and the leaders of the main Spanish political parties "reject this black episode of state terrorism decisively".
The signatories affirm that, from their own unequivocal position of rejection of all kinds of violence, they regret the damage that this "attitude of current silence and concealment is doing to the rule of law and the quality of democracy in Spain".
The text considers an impartial and exhaustive investigation of this dark episode to be essential and notes that this work is impossible if the current Spanish official secrets act, which was passed during the Franco regime, remains in force.