Encyclopedia of Contemporary Spanish Culture

By Eamonn Rodgers; Valerie Rodgers | Go to book overview

G

GAL

The Grupos Antiterroristas de Liberation (Anti-terrorist Liberation Groups) were clandestine right-wing hit squads formed in the early 1980s, with the alleged connivance of government ministers, and involving senior figures in the police, in an attempt to strike at key members of the command structure of the Basque organization ETA. GAL is believed to have been implicated in twenty-three murders of persons associated with ETA between 1983 and 1986.

Though undercover execution squads existed during the UCD government, the creation and funding of GAL as such was the work of forces closely identified with the PSOE administration which assumed power in 1982. The existence of the organization came to light when a Basque businessman (who happened to be a French citizen), Segundo Marey, was kidnapped in mistake for an ETA activist. A statement released by his captors claimed responsibility for the incident on behalf of a hitherto unknown entity, Grupos Antiterroristas de Liberation. In April 1987, during the trial in Lisbon of Portuguese nationals who had been involved in attacks on suspected ETA members, the accused claimed that they had been contracted by a Spanish police superinten-dent, José Amedo. Investigations carried out in December showed that between 1985 and 1987 Amedo had spent 27m pesetas for which he could not satisfactorily account. Together with a colleague, Michel Domínguez, he was arrested in 1988, and the two officers were charged with the murder of Juan Carlos García Goena, who had been assassinated in Hendaye in July 1986.

Though Amedo denied the charge, some of the evidence given in the case was compelling. For example, staff from a hotel in San Sebastián testified that Amedo had been seen there several times in the company of people later identified as GAL mercenaries, at dates which coincided closely with the attacks. An alibi claim by Amedo was demolished when documentary evidence showed that he was in Irún under a false identity at the time of the murder of Goena. On the other hand, witnesses contradicted each other, and handwriting experts could not agree. The prosecution recognized that the evidence was largely circumstantial, and Amedo and Domínguez were acquitted of the murder charge. They were, however, convicted of the attempted murder of six people wounded in a machine-gun attack on two bars in St Jean de Luz frequented by ETA members, and sentenced to seventeen years on each charge, a total of 108 years.

It was clear by then, however, that the case had much wider ramifications. A number of questions remained unanswered, particularly regarding the ultimate responsibility for the foundation and organization of GAL, and the source of the funds controlled by Amedo. Witnesses were evasive under questioning, especially when asked about secret funds available to the security services (the fondos reservados which were to become an important element in the affair). The Prime Minister of the day, Felipe González, was forced to provide a written statement to the court, denying that he had

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Encyclopedia of Contemporary Spanish Culture
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction x
  • Acknowledgments xii
  • Structure xiii
  • Architecture xiv
  • A 1
  • Further Reading 7
  • Further Reading 11
  • Further Reading 29
  • Further Reading 37
  • Further Reading 41
  • B 44
  • Further Reading 47
  • Further Reading 65
  • C 70
  • Further Reading 81
  • Further Reading 93
  • Further Reading 100
  • Further Reading 113
  • Further Reading 128
  • D 135
  • Further Reading 136
  • Further Reading 140
  • E 152
  • Further Reading 155
  • Further Reading 166
  • Further Reading 171
  • F 173
  • Further Reading 185
  • Further Reading 206
  • G 213
  • Further Reading 227
  • Further Reading 229
  • Further Reading 231
  • Further Reading 242
  • H 245
  • I 261
  • Further Reading 266
  • J 276
  • Further Reading 280
  • K 283
  • L 285
  • Further Reading 292
  • M 313
  • Further Reading 332
  • Further Reading 335
  • N 359
  • Further Reading 362
  • Further Reading 365
  • O 376
  • P 384
  • Further Reading 429
  • Q 430
  • R 433
  • Further Reading 435
  • Further Reading 436
  • Further Reading 439
  • Further Reading 443
  • References 452
  • S 464
  • Further Reading 471
  • Further Reading 475
  • T 502
  • Further Reading 508
  • Further Reading 509
  • U 526
  • Further Reading 536
  • V 537
  • Further Reading 538
  • Further Reading 539
  • Further Reading 544
  • W 545
  • X 550
  • Y 552
  • Further Reading 553
  • Z 554
  • Index 557
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