ETA’s spokesman in public apology for terrorism

Pernando Barrena is spokesperson and one of the current leaders of the ‘political party’ Herri Batasuna. Under Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar’s tenure the government saw fit to forbid that ‘party’ from taking part in Spain’s politics due to its manifest and close connection to ETA, the Basque terrorist group. As Basques have known for a long time Herri Batasuna –which translates as People’s Unity- is nothing but another name for what was once known as ETA Politico Militar, read the political branch of ETA. Needless to say that it toes the radical line of the terrorist group and its ideological framework is firmly built on the spread and use of terrorism to attain political goals.

A few days ago a group of Spaniards were killed by a suicide bomber in Yemen. Some of those killed were Basques, from San Sebastian and Zarautz, that had chosen that country as their holiday destination. The reaction of the government of Prime Minister Rodriguez Zapatero has been telling. As in recent terrorist attack whereby Spanish troops signposted under the UN peace programme in Lebanon were killed, Rodriguez Zapatero made one of those political promises he’ll never be able to deliver: “we won’t rest until those responsible are brought to justice” he said. Whatever.

However the reaction of one Pernando Barrena has got to be taken in its appropriate context, for here there’s a man, speaking on behalf of a banned ‘party’ stating for the record “obviously the attacks against innocent civilians in Yemen sought to terrorise and harm innocents, whereas what took place at the T4 (last December’s ETA bombing of Madrid’s airport car park) was not done with the intention of harming innocents.” Perhaps Barrena does not consider the two victims of the T4 as “innocents,” the fact that they were Ecuadorean immigrants working in this country notwithstanding.

However his statements, broadcast to the nation, beg for a number of questions. Firstly, how come this man is allowed to spread his message to millions of homes, given his credentials, political situation and relationship with a terrorist group? Second, how does he know that ETA’s intention in the T4 bombing wasn’t to “terrorise and harm innocents”? Thirdly, how come this man, guilty as he is of apology for terrorism, is allowed to go about his business in freedom? And fourthly, how come somebody connected with an organization that has killed more than 800 innocent people is given such media coverage?

It ain’t pretty what’s happening in this incipient democracy…

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