View Full Version : Spain & terrorism (catch all)

Steve Blair
01-03-2007, 03:54 PM
The BBC is reporting that the cease-fire between the Spanish government and ETA might be at an end. Here (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6228201.stm) is the story.

Spaniards have been in this situation before.

So there is little surprise that after nine months of its so called "permanent ceasefire" Eta has returned to bomb attacks.

But there is certainly disappointment. The majority of Spaniards were in favour of their prime minister's attempt to solve the Basque conflict through dialogue.

While not technically a Small War, I feel that terrorism is closely linked to the evolved 3GW we're seeing more and more of today.

01-03-2007, 04:19 PM
I've got to admit that when I first heard about the car bombs, I was wondering if it was another AQ attack designed to stir up trouble in Spain and give them a solid justification for not actively working against AQ.


03-22-2007, 10:34 PM
Found on the cryptome website today a Spanish paper 'The March 11th Terrorist Network: In Its weakness lies its strength', published in December 2005. So you may have seen this before.

Written by analysts it needs a thorough read, forty pages, with several charts (alas many too small on the VDU to read properly).



05-29-2007, 09:46 AM
29 May NY Times - Spain Arrests 16 North Africans Accused of Recruiting Militants (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/29/world/europe/29spain.html?ref=world) by Victoria Burnett.

The police on Monday arrested 16 men, most of them Moroccans, suspected of recruiting volunteers to fight in Iraq and other countries and spreading propaganda calling for Islamic jihad.

Most of the men were arrested in the northeastern region of Catalonia, which has a large concentration of immigrants from Morocco and elsewhere...

06-12-2007, 04:13 PM
The Jamestown Foundation's Terrorism Monitor, 7 Jun 07:

Catalonia: Europe's New Center of Global Jihad (http://www.jamestown.org/terrorism/news/article.php?articleid=2373450)

The strengthening of Islamist groups, combined with an increase in jihadi networks and activities in and around Barcelona, underscores Catalonia's status as a European center for al-Qaeda-associated terrorism operations. Statements by al-Qaeda leaders that emphasize Spain's unique "status" within the Global Salafi-Jihad, coupled with recently disclosed terrorism trends for Spain, reveal that the culture of global jihad has consolidated in Spain's northern autonomous region. Once seemingly disparate Salafi Islamist groups and neophyte militant Muslim grassroots networks have coalesced into radicalized Islamist collectives throughout Catalonia to pose a national threat to Spain, as well as to Western interests in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East....

07-10-2007, 06:39 PM
Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos, 10 Jul 07:

Spain's Counter-Terrorism Policy Under Challenge by Al-Qaeda and E.T.A. (http://www.eng.gees.org/articulo/217/)

The Basque separatist group Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (E.T.A.), in a June 5 statement published by two Basque pro-independence newspapers Berria and Gara, said that it would end a 15-month cease-fire and resume its terrorist campaign "on all fronts to defend the Basque homeland." The declaration comes less than three months after al-Qaeda issued new threats against Spain, this time over its military deployment in Afghanistan. In a March 2007 video, a hooded man said the presence of Spanish troops in Afghanistan "exposes Spain again to threats" unless they withdraw their troops from the country. "The Spanish people have been tricked by a Socialist government which withdrew troops from Iraq and sent 600 to Afghanistan," the man proclaimed.

The dual terrorist threats, one from at home and the other from abroad, confirm what many political analysts have been saying for a long time: Despite the best intentions of the Spanish government, its counter-terrorism policy has not yielded the desired results. Indeed, the terrorist menace is posing a formidable political challenge to Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, who has been widely criticized even from within his own party for a series of policy missteps that have contributed to Spain's deteriorating security situation....

07-27-2007, 01:29 PM
BBC, 26 Jul 07: France arrests major ETA suspect (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6918087.stm)

The suspected logistics chief of the armed Basque separatist group ETA and two others have been arrested in the south of France, Spanish officials say.

Juan Cruz Maiza Artola was described as ETA's head of logistics and the number three in the organisation....

01-14-2008, 03:04 PM
Expatica, 14 Jan 08: Terror Arrests Deal Blow to "Parallel ETA" Organisation (http://www.expatica.com/es/articles/news/Terror-arrests-deal-blow-to-_parallel-ETA_-organisation.html)

....The discovery of an ETA bomb-making facility in Cahors (France) in September and last week's dismantling of a special cell known as Elurra, which is behind the deaths of two people in the December 2006 attack against Barajas airport - and which was planning a new bombing in Madrid - shows that ETA had rebuilt its human and material capacity during the nine-month ceasefire from March to December of that year.

The double antiterrorist sweep is a heavy blow for ETA, which was gearing up for action ahead of Spain's 9 March general elections. But despite the arrests, the terrorist group will still try to carry out new attacks before that date, the Interior Ministry warned Sunday.....

07-22-2008, 02:03 PM
France24, 22 Jul 08: Police Dismantle ETA's Most Active Cell

Spanish police dismantled the armed Basque separatist group ETA's most active unit with the arrest Tuesday of at least eight suspected members of the group in raids across the country.

Among those captured was Arkaitz Goikoetxea, the alleged leader of the "Vizcaya" cell which Spanish police suspect was behind a string of recent bombings, Basque news agency Vasco Press reported.

Goikoetxea was detained at an apartment in Bilbao, the financial capital of Spain's northeastern Basque region, in an early morning raid, it said.

The "Vizcaya" unit carried out 80 to 90 percent of ETA's attacks since the group called off a ceasefire in June 2007, the editor-in-chief of the Bilbao-based news agency, Florencio Dominguez, told AFP.....

02-04-2009, 09:52 PM
Barcelona reappears: http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20090203/wl_afp/spainattackspakistanarrests_20090203065615

IIRC there was another thread on this topic, but not readily found.


12-16-2009, 09:16 PM
The Barcelona defendants have their day in court: http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/europe/12/14/spain.terror.trial/index.html?eref=rss_world&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+rss%2Fcnn_world+(RSS%3A+World )&utm_content=Google+Reader

A Spanish court convicted 11 Islamic militants Monday of membership in a terrorist group, but acquitted them of a "specific" conspiracy to carry out an attack on Barcelona's metro subway system, as prosecutors alleged.....The three-judge panel at the National Court ruled on Monday that all 11 belonged to a terrorist group. Two of the 11 also were convicted of possession of explosives, but nine others were acquitted on that charge. The 11 face prison terms of eight to 14 years.

01-14-2010, 11:18 PM
To my surprise there appears not be a thread on the Madrid bombings (Atocha railway station), March 2004, so this snippet is dropped here:


The five men include three Moroccans, an Algerian and a Turk. Their sentences, on charges of collaborating or belonging to an Islamic terrorist group, range from five to nine years in prison, according to a copy of the court order viewed by CNN. The court acquitted four other defendants, all Moroccans, on similar charges. "During the years 2004 and 2005, the group provided cover and economic support and facilitated the flight from Spain for individuals who had roles" in the train bombings, the court said. The group was based in a Barcelona suburb...

10-21-2011, 12:31 PM
A welcome piece of news, citing the Spanish PM:
...hailed the end of Basque separatist group Eta's armed campaign as a "victory for democracy, law and reason".

Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said the 800 victims of Eta's 40-year struggle would be remembered forever and that the "terror" should never happen again.

In a statement provided to the BBC on Thursday, Eta said it had renounced armed struggle as a tool for achieving an independent Basque state - a key demand by the Spanish government. The group said it faced "a historic opportunity to obtain a just and democratic solution to the age-old political conflict. Eta has decided on the definitive cessation of its armed activity,"

Link to BBC report:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-15398799

There is a lengthy Wikipedia account of ETA:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ETA

Partly due to the links between Northern Ireland and Spain the UK has watched the Spanish situation closely, with several books written expanding knowledge on the links - IIRC cited on other threads.

What is remarkable in the Spanish response to ETA's campaign is the role of the Spanish public, who have repeatedly en masse rejected ETA in street protests; this took longer to gain traction in the Basque areas of Spain. As the BBC story shows obtaining France's agreement to "cracking down" on ETA was vital.

08-02-2012, 06:15 PM
An interesting, if perplexing report from Cadiz, Spain, following the arrest of three suspects, two who appear to be Chechens and a Turk, married to a Spanish Moroccan, who worked in Gibraltar. Who are suspected to be LeT operatives working with or on the behalf of AQ.

The BBC report:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-19091753

There is more detail on the Spanish newspaper El Pais report:http://politica.elpais.com/politica/2012/08/02/actualidad/1343896287_980097.html (http://politica.elpais.com/politica/2012/08/02/actualidad/1343896287_980097.html)

A different possible attack method has been emphasised:
Western intelligence services were on the trail of this command for several months. The General Information Office detected its presence in Spain for about a month, when they arrived from France. Had trained in glider flight, so the police suspect they were going to use these devices to carry out an attack from the air. Police recalled that the area where they lived detainees is very close to the Rock and the joint Spanish-American naval base at Rota.

08-03-2012, 12:35 PM
A "lurker" has recommended this review of the difficulties with such a use of powered hang gliders:http://voices.yahoo.com/five-disadvantages-powered-hang-gliders-608852.html

08-06-2012, 10:25 PM
A lengthy Daily Mail article, with some speculation and a lot of detail about the ex-Spetsnaz, Russian national who had turned to helping AQ:http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2184311/Al-Qaeda-trio-arrested-Spain-wanted-attack-busy-Gibraltar-shopping-centre-air-Olympics.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

Bill Moore
08-08-2012, 07:58 AM

Spain 'al Qaeda cell' may have planned strike to coincide with Olympics

Spanish security suspect the cell was testing a remote-controlled plane as a potential bomber. Spanish investigators found a video in which Yalcin was flying a remote-controlled airplane, according to Reinares.

The footage showed the plane, which was about three meters long, being maneuvered into a descent. Two packets were then seen dropping from either wing of the plane following his command.

"In the images he can't help expressing his joy for the successful try," Reinares told CNN. "Terrorists innovate and adapt to security measures, we have to always keep this in mind," he added.

This cell had some creative individuals, which is a sign of things to come as terrorists adapt new technology and adjust their tactics. We'll likely continue to hear the statements from self proclaimed experts telling us that terrorist use of hang gliders and remotely controls planes is improbable and list reasons why that make sense to someone using Western logic and thinking conventionally, much like the experts did prior to 9/11 when they down played the threat about terrorists hijacking commercial airlines and crasing them into targets. What we think is improbable now will be the new normal tomorrow.


The judge's decision, released on Sunday, said video evidence seized from Yalcin could "rationally suggest the preparation" of an attack and that the explosives found in the Turk's home had a "seriously deadly potential."

Given the links between the three men since May, and given that Yalcin had "paid for the travel expenses and journey to Spain" for the two Russians, the judge decided to also charge the two for possession of explosives.

A hat tip to those who did the good police and intelligence work.

12-16-2013, 04:43 PM
Spain ‘won’t have enough tanks’: Catalonia to vote on independence, defy Madrid

The Catalan regional parliament has set November next year for a referendum on the Spanish province’s independence. The government in Madrid blandly said the vote won’t happen, but activists wonder how it might be stopped.

12-26-2013, 08:19 PM
A lengthy update on terrorism and reconciliation in Spain, principally the long struggle between ETA and its opponents (including the Spanish state) until ETA declared a permanent ceasefire two years ago:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-25349626

Given the often strong public role in the conflict, with mass demonstrations against ETA's actions, this is not a process involving minority groups.

06-13-2014, 08:06 PM
A new book 'Endgame for ETA:Elusive Peace in the Basque Country' by Teresa Whitfield, pub. by Hurst. From their website:
The violent Basque separatist group ETA took shape in Franco’s Spain, yet claimed the majority of its victims under democracy. For most Spaniards it became an aberration, a criminal and terrorist band whose persistence defied explanation. Others, mainly Basques (but only some Basques) understood ETA as the violent expression of a political conflict that remained the unfinished business of Spain’s transition to democracy. Such differences hindered efforts to ‘defeat’ ETA’s terrorism on the one hand and ‘resolve the Basque conflict’ on the other for more than three decades.

Endgame for ETA offers a compelling account of the long path to ETA’s declaration of a definitive end to its armed activity in October 2011. Its political surrogates remain as part of a resurgence of regional nationalism — in the Basque Country as in Catalonia — that is but one element of multiple crises confronting Spain.

The Basque case has been cited as an example of the perils of ‘talking to terrorists’. Drawing on extensive field research, Teresa Whitfield argues that while negotiations did not prosper, a form of ‘virtual peacemaking’ was an essential complement to robust police action and social condemnation. Together they helped to bring ETA’s violence to an end and return its grievances to the channels of normal politics.


10-16-2016, 09:58 AM
An interesting article on ETA, even more so as the catalyst has not been reported:
An important arsenal of shotguns, pistols and revolvers divided into four drums and buried in a forest north of Paris was found by the French police on 12 October, Spain’s national day. The arms cache belonged to ETA, the Basque terrorist group that ended its violent campaign for independence five years ago on 20 October 2011, but has so far refused to dissolve and decommission its weaponsLink:https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/diego-muro/eta-is-terrorist-group-still-active? (https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/diego-muro/eta-is-terrorist-group-still-active?utm_source=Daily+Newsletter&utm_campaign=a37fc57957-DAILY_NEWSLETTER_MAILCHIMP&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_717bc5d86d-a37fc57957-407365113)

02-01-2017, 09:23 PM
A superb article in the FT 'After ETA: Spain's history of violence', which reminds one how the Spanish people, including those living in the basque region peacefully opposed ETA's violence - notably when executing elected politicians.

It maybe behind a registration wall:https://www.ft.com/content/8ad74460-e350-11e6-8405-9e5580d6e5fb?segmentId=15eb3a28-7dee-8067-0b1d-198855707e9d

04-08-2017, 09:13 PM
Hopefully this is the end as ETA declares an end to its violence and arranges for its weapons in France to be handed over. A short BBC News report that starts with:
Police in France have found nearly 3.5 tonnes of weapons, explosives and other materiel in eight caches handed over by Basque separatist group Eta.

(Reminds us later) Four years later, in 2010, Eta announced it would not carry out further attacks and in January 2011, it declared a permanent and "internationally verifiable" ceasefire but refused to disarm.Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-39540081

08-27-2017, 11:10 AM
The attacks in Catalonia, Spain - with a car driven down Barcelona's main street, killing fifteen and injuring dozens have been well covered here. The NYT had an excellent report, plus a BBC overview and The Soufan Group (TSG) a commentary.


Spain sadly has long experience of terrorism, nationalist and Islamist. One feature has been massive public displays of solidarity and yesterday 500k people walked in Barcelona, joined by the King. See:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-41063293

Two video clips are different and illustrate how Muslims denounce the terrorists, who are suspected to be inspired by ISIS. First:
The sister of two terrorist suspects has condemned the attacks in Spain which left 15 people dead.Link (55 secs):http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/world-europe-41064715/spain-attacks-suspects-sister-condemns-violence
Xavier Martinez, the father of three-year-old Xavi who died in the Barcelona attack, hugs Imam Driss Salym.Link (40 secs):http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/video_and_audio/must_see/41056859/barcelona-attack-father-of-youngest-victim-hugs-imam

Not to overlook the response of the emergency services, including one police officer @ Cambrils, who when suspected bombers were challenged shot four of the five dead.

05-03-2018, 07:23 PM
A Spanish newspaper (in English) article sub-titled:
Historic declaration puts an end to the organization 59 years after it first launched its violent campaign for Basque independence
In the message, ETA states that it has “completely dismantled “all of its structures,” and “has put an end to all its political activity. It will no longer express political positions, promote initiatives or interact with other actors...

A NYRB article:https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2018/05/03/the-end-of-etas-era/

A Uk-based academic's brief overview, which ends with:
If Spain’s Eta terrorist experience has a lesson to offer to the rest of Europe is that neither absolutism nor denial are effective ways of solving complex issues of national security. Had the Spanish political establishment accepted at an earlier stage that Eta did not operate in a sociopolitical vacuum and was therefore a political problem that required a political solution with everything that entails, the conflict over the Basque country might have ended sooner. In the long run, all politically-motivated conflicts eventually end. But the longer they are allowed to last, the more innocent people die and the more damage is caused.

A short BBC News item:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-43991629


07-21-2019, 01:20 PM
A complicated story that illustrates the dangers of HUMINT and the source's death suggests he was in very deep - as this passage shows:
Es Satty became a CNI informant in 2014, three years before the attacks in exchange for his not being deported after he served four years in prison for drug trafficking. He died in a blast in the town of Alcanar the day before the attacks when a stockpile of the terrorists’ explosives accidentally went off.

Plus the rivalry between national and local / regional police forces (which appears quite often).