Far be it from me to find anything hopeful about the PSOE election victory in Spain last weekend. After two election terms of relative fiscal sanity and an end to the grotesque corruption of the Felipe Gonzalez era, a return to PSOE government is bad news for Spain. It is also extremely bad news for the rest of the European Union, as this represents a shift away from pragmatism towards an (even more) collectivist EU agenda.
It is not however, necessarily good news for terrorism. Among the multitude of scandals faced down by the previous Spanish Socialist government the ‘GAL affair’ looms large.
GAL was the name assumed by a anti-ETA terror group in the 1980s that entered France and murdered ETA members and supporters. I no longer have the details but there was a spate of terrorist attacks on Basques living in the Bordeaux area, as well as closer to the Spanish border.
Following the arrest of several GAL members it transpired that they were all either members of law-enforcement agencies and the armed forces, or recently had been. It later emerged that the money to finance GAL came from the Ministry of the Interior and was signed off ultimately by the Minister. Whilst the Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez himself was never proven by documentary evidence to have sanctioned the GAL death squad, let me just say that if he ever wins a libel action on the issue, I will be amazed.
Two things are worth noting, firstly that both the French and Spanish governments were under Socialist control at the time, second that Spanish public opinion was firmly on the side of the death squads: the only non-Basque critics of the policy tended to shut up because it was their own party that was doing the dirty deeds.
In France the President from 1981 to 1995 was François Mitterrand, the former far-right youth organisation member turned founder of the modern French Socialist Party. It is worth noting his record as an Interior Minister in the 1950s.
In 2001, one of the big political scandals was the publication of Services Spéciaux: Algérie 1955-1957, by the retired General Paul Aussaresses. The French Left went beserk and managed to get the retired former leader of the Action Service to have his Légion d’honneur withdrawn. They also tried to get his pension removed. The ostensible reason was that General Aussaresses had exposed and admitted the use of torture against Algerian terrorists during the Battle of Algiers.
In my copy of this extremely interesting book I find on page 12:
De son côté, François Mitterrand, le ministre de l’Intérieur chargé des départements français de l’Algérie, considérant que la police était impuissante à maintenir l’ordre républicain, envoya son directeur de cabinet au ministère de la Défense nationale pour y requérir la troupe et déclara sans ambiguité ce même 12 novembre, devant les députés: “Je n’admets pas de négotiations avec les enemis de la Patrie. La seule négotiation, c’est la guerre!”
My translation: For his part, François Mitterrand, the Minister of the Interior responsible for the French administrative districts of Algeria, believing that the police was powerless to maintain the Republic’s peace, sent his chief advisor to the Ministry of National Defense to resquest the use of troops [including the 11th Shock Paras, better known as the Action Service]. He also declared without ambiguity on the 12th November, before the Chamber of Deputies [French House of Representatives]: “I will not tolerate negotiations with the enemies of the Fatherland. The only negotiation, is war!”
It took the removal of the French Socialists and the introduction of the General de Gaulle to bring about appeasement of the Algerian terrorists. There is a strand of Western Socialist thought that takes the secular State seriously. I seriously doubt if there will be any safe-haven for Islamist terrorists in Spain for the forseeable future. Jacobins ain’t soft on Terror.