Three people from the north-eastern town of Reus in Spain — Juan García Martín, Carmen Cayetano Navarro and María Arñanzazu Díaz Villar — have been arrested by Spanish police, accused of membership of a terrorist organisation: GRAPO (Grupo de Resistencia Antifascista Primero de Octubre / “First of October Antifascist Resistance Group”). According to reports:
Xinhua: Alleged radical group leader arrested in Spain
China Post (via Spanish AP, Madrid): Spanish Civil Guard arrests alleged leader of radical leftist group GRAPO
EiTB: Three alleged GRAPO members arrested in Catalonia
And here’s how the BBC put it:
Spain smashes Grapo terror group
An examination of the various newsreports regarding the arrests reveals a somewhat slippery grasp of the facts. For example, this is not the first time that Spanish authorities have claimed to have ‘smashed’ GRAPO — they’ve been doing so periodically since the group’s formation in 1975; one article reports that the three individuals arrested “are wanted by the National Court for alleged membership in an armed group” and;
García Martín has been taken into custody before: he was arrested and sentenced to more than 100 years in prison over 30 years ago, together with his then wife, Manuela Ontanilla Galán, who was arrested again in 2005 in Paris.
Martín was one of the GRAPO prisoners who supported a hunger strike 26 years ago, and was kept alive by a sustenance order from the courts.
The terrorist organisation’s leadership has always managed to reform after police operations to dismantle it, the latest of them in 2002. Nineteen people, including the latest arrests, have been taken into custody since the previous leadership was dismantled in Paris four years ago.
Interestingly, GRAPO was one of the 39 terrorist organisations listed by the US State Department in a statement released in December 2001:
Statement on the Designation of 39 Organizations on the USA PATRIOT Act’s Terrorist Exclusion List:
To further protect the safety of the United States and its citizens, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, in consultation with the Attorney General, on December 5 designated 39 groups as Terrorist Exclusion List (TEL) organizations under section 212 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended by the new USA PATRIOT Act. By designating these groups, the Secretary has strengthened the United States’ ability to exclude supporters of terrorism from the country or to deport them if they are found within our borders.
Of further interest is the following paragraph from the Act inre ‘Classes of Aliens Ineligible for Visas or Admission’:
(E) Participants in nazi persecutions or genocide. –
(i) Participation in nazi persecutions. -Any alien who, during the period beginning on March 23, 1933, and ending on May 8, 1945, under the direction of, or in association with –
(I) the Nazi government of Germany,
(II) any government in any area occupied by the military forces of the Nazi government of Germany,
(III) any government established with the assistance or cooperation of the Nazi government of Germany, or
(IV) any government which was an ally of the Nazi government of Germany, ordered, incited, assisted, or otherwise participated in the persecution of any person because of race, religion, national origin, or political opinion is inadmissible.
I think this means that the US State thinks that Nazis are bad.
But not so bad that some of its worst butchers couldn’t be gainfully re-employed by the CIA following the regime’s collapse in 1945. The release of unclassified documents last week by the CIA has caused some small waves in the media, but the real story extends far beyond the agency’s decision to protect Adolf Eichmann. In fact, the existence of numerous ‘ratlines’ — “systems of escape routes for Nazis and other fascists fleeing Europe at the end of World War II” — has been known and reported on for years, as has the extensive participation of the CIA and the Vatican in maintaining and/or protecting them. Chomsky, among others, has commented on the CIA’s support for Fascist elements following the collapse of Mussolini’s regime in 1943:
Washington’s intention to resort to violence if free elections come out the wrong way is not very easy to deal with, so it has been generally suppressed, even in the scholarly literature. One of the two major scholarly monographs on this period discusses the NSC memoranda, but with no mention of the actual content of the crucial section; the second passes it by in a phrase. In the general literature, the whole matter is unknown.
In conclusion, then:
The democratic ideal, at home and abroad, is simple and straightforward: You are free to do what you want, as long as it is what we want you to do.
Above : Mussolini and friend hanging out with Italian antifa in Milan, April 29, 1945.
See also : Catalan radicals blamed for bank bomb (BBC, 2001); GRAPO re-emerges (BBC, 1998); La Guardia Civil.