From the inception of ETA in the 1950s until the end of the authoritarian regime in the 1970s, any actions and words from the Basque militant group were met with the brutal might of the Francoist security and intelligence forces who could always draw from the immense reservoir of European extreme-right activists living in Spain to carry out clandestine actions. Such counter-insurgency techniques did not end with political transition to democracy. Rather, they continued, albeit in different forms. This chapter examines how this institutionalised military culture inherited from the Francoist period served to shape the mindset and policy of early democratic governments in Spain. It suggests that, following the death of Franco in 1975, the linchpin of the Spanish transition from authoritarianism to democracy was a voluntary and stubbornly unwritten agreement among the political elites to repress the memory of the past. This very particular process of democratisation left the former Francoist intelligence, military and security forces almost unchanged and still influential over policy-making.
Extradition, political offence exception and the French sanctuary
The desire to secure French co-operation in the fight against ETA had been a preoccupation of every Spanish government since the end of the Franco regime. During the late 1970s and 1980s, however, France and Spain were embroiled in diplomatic spats over requests for the extradition of ETA militants who found a comfortable refuge beyond the reach of Spanish law in south-west France. The French reluctance to extradite was perceived in Spain not only as tacit support for the clandestine organisation’s activities but also as an affront to Spanish national identity and prestige and a frustrating hindrance to its endeavour to be seen as a modern and forward-looking European nation. The essence of a decision to protect, to grant asylum or to extradite a person pertains to political matters, and that argument constitutes the background of this chapter. Drawing directly upon French archives, it closely examines the controversial and delicate issue of extradition of Basque refugees to Spain. It provides a thorough review of the progression of French jurisprudence on extradition and asylum, which shifted uneasily between political sympathy, core judicial principle and pragmatism.
Until relatively recently, democratic Spain has been plagued with serious campaigns of political violence. Between the end of the Francoist regime in 1975 and the announcement of a ceasefire in 2010, the Basque separatist group ETA (Euskadi (e)Ta Askatasuna, Basque Country and Freedom) unquestionably played a central part in this deadly process. In response to ETA’s increasingly violent actions, Spain adopted a determined counter-terrorist stance, establishing one of the most formidable anti-terrorist arsenals among Western democracies. Less well known were the extra-judicial strategies Spain used to eradicate ETA. In the 1980s, initiatives to reopen channels to ETA by the Spanish government were twinned with an astute strategy of enhanced police and judicial co-operation with France on the one hand and a covert campaign of assassination of ETA members on the other. Between 1983 and 1987, mercenaries adopting the pseudonym GAL (Grupos Antiterroristas de Liberación, Antiterrorist Liberation Groups) paid by the Spanish treasury and relying upon national intelligence support were at war with ETA. This establishment of unofficial counter-terrorist squads in a liberal democracy was a blatant detour from legality. More than thirty years later, the campaign of covered-up assassinations continues to grip Spain. Counter-terror by Proxy assesses the political and institutional context of the inception of Spain’s resort to covert and illegal counter-terrorist strategies, which predate the current global fight against terrorism by decades, going on to examine the wider implications of the use of such strategies in a liberal democracy.
Voters can be sophisticated. In 2018, a majority of the voters in Florida voted for a conservative governor, but they also voted to give prisoners the right to vote, something the Republican Governor had opposed. The voters showed that they were able to distinguish measures from men. Politics is not just about tribal partisanship. Voters demand more choice. And they are able to exercise their judgement. Florida is not unique. This is a global trend. A large majority of voters all over the world – according to opinion polls – want more referendums. But are they capable of making decisions on complex issues? And aren’t such votes an invitation to ill-considered populism? This book answers these questions and shows what the effect of referendums have on public policy, on welfare and well-being, and outlines how some of the criticisms of referendums and initiatives can be remedied.
Nuclear weapons cooperation and the US–Australia alliance
Stephan Frühling and Andrew O'Neil
Unlike other US allies, Australia has had a highly informal process of engagement with the US on nuclear weapons. Despite the close relationship with the US in managing the presence of intelligence and communication facilities on Australian territory that have embedded Australia in US nuclear strategy since the 1960s, Australia–US nuclear weapons cooperation has been characterised by an absence of structured interaction. While the US rebuffed Australian attempts at closer cooperation in the 1950s, Australia was comfortable with a lack of robust institutional cooperation after the Vietnam War, and continues to see the main benefit of US nuclear weapons as a basis for US regional influence rather than for deterrence of threats against Australia itself.