Code of silence, political scandal and strategies of denial
in Counter-terror by proxy
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With the GAL, Spanish authorities were deeply concerned by the possibility of being caught red-handed. The overall rule, therefore, was to operate under a strict policy of silence and official denial. Until the mid-1990s, GAL remained a mysterious organisation until it became the biggest political scandal of the post-transition years and by far the darkest page in the contemporary history of the Spanish Socialist Party. This led to the arrest and condemnation of no fewer than 14 high-ranking Spanish police and Guardia Civil officers and senior government officials, including the then Minister of the Interior. When denial was not possible any more, justifications took over. This chapter examines the strategies of duplicity, maximum plausible deniability and evasion of responsibility that were employed and mobilised. It reflects further on the controversial yet somehow successful efforts deployed by Spain up to and including the present day to gloss over and rewrite the brutal history of the GAL.

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