The Spanish State’s Illicit War with ETA

Contemporary democratic Spain has been plagued with serious campaigns of political violence. Since the end of the Francoist authoritarian regime in 1975 until the announcement of a ceasefire in 2010, the Basque separatist clandestine group ETA (Euskadi (e)Ta Askatasuna, Basque country and Freedom) has unquestionably played a central part in this deadly process. In response to the increasingly violent actions of ETA during the political transition and onwards, Spain has adopted a determined and strong counter-terrorist stance, establishing one of the most impressive antiterrorist arsenals in western democracies, pushing the agenda of a European-wide reformulation of police and judicial assistance between member states and sparing no effort to secure French co-operation against terrorism in general and against ETA in particular. Less known were the extrajudicial strategies Spain used to suppress Basque radical nationalism and eradicate ETA. In the 1980s, initiatives to re-open channels to ETA by the Socialist government (PSOE) of Felipe González (1982-1996) were twinned with a confusing if astute strategy of official enhancement of police and judicial co-operation with France on the one hand and a covert campaign of assassination of members of ETA on the other. Between 1983 and 1987, mercenaries adopting the pseudonym GAL (Grupos Antiterroristas de Liberación, Antiterrorist Liberation Groups) paid by the Spanish treasury and relying upon national intelligence support were at war with ETA. Nearly thirty were killed in this campaign of torture, kidnapping, bombing and assassination of suspected ETA activists and Basque refugees. Nearly 30 years later, this campaign of intimidation, coercion, death squads and targeted killings in a liberal democracy continues to grip Spain. The aim of the paper is to shed lights on a fascinating and intriguing case of illiberal practices in a liberal regime where State agencies colluded with French, Portuguese and Spanish mercenaries in order to kill members of ETA and push the French Government towards more cooperation in the fight against Basque terrorism. New research on illiberal practices in liberal regimes continues to emerge at a brisk pace in an increasingly diverse array of regions in the Western world. Gaps and disconnects remain, but together these studies contribute to a more nuanced understanding of “state terrorism”. By offering a comprehensive yet readable understanding of a dark side of the Spanish contemporary counter-terrorist experience, this paper will contribute to this endeavour.

Presentation by Emmanuel-Pierre Guittet at the 11th ECPR Conference in Oslo

Women and violent extremism

The analysis of women, gender, and terrorism has been sparse and riddled with stereotypical thinking about women’s capabilities and motivations. Women are rarely associated with devotion to the cause and the longstanding belief that women assume passive and inherently less interesting roles in militant organisations is still very much alive across academic and political spheres.

Download the AFFECT-RP-1-2017-Women and violent extremism

Risk-Soaked Security imaginary: Governing Effects and Political Implications,

Guittet, Emmanuel-Pierre, Risk-Soaked Security imaginary: Governing Effects and Political Implications, New Perspectives. Interdisciplinary Journal of Central & East European Politics and international Relations, 2017, 25(2), pages 28-34

Precautionary governmental process and the rising cultural prevalence of risk have indelibly transformed our understanding of past, present and future through categories of induction and probabilistic reasoning on the danger to come. The complex ways in which we have collectively become embedded in risk assessment technologies and generalised forms of suspicion towards unfamiliar persons, undesirable people, swarthy and menacing outsiders have reinforced social fragmentation, polarisation and exclusion. When besieged with emotional appeals, evocative imagery and threatening news, it is certainly not easy to disrupt this taken-for-granted assumption that violence and warfare are appropriate responses to violence. The question of whether these measures could contribute to increase the risk of escalation of violence and the risk of further exclusion of a population already disenfranchised seems almost forgotten. But, equally, it would be dangerous to reduce our understanding of the politics of security to an imperturbable drift towards pure authoritarian logics of action. (read more)

The New Age of Suspicion

Guittet, Emmanuel-Pierre & Fabienne Brion, The New Age of Suspicion, Politics of Anxiety, Andrea Zevnik, Emmy Eklundh & Emmanuel-Pierre Guittet (eds.), Rowman & Littlefield, 2017.

When suspicion governs security agencies’ scripts and practices, permeates political discourse and ordinary daily practices it produces an anxious alertness that perpetuate rather than mitigates past, present and potential fear. The complex ways in which we have collectively become embedded in risk assessment technologies and generalised forms of suspicion towards unfamiliar persons, undesirable people and menacing outsiders have reinforced social fragmentation and the dangers of polarisation and exclusion (read more)…

Radicalisation: «La surveillance a pris le pas sur les politiques sociales»

Plan national de sécurité, plan Canal, plan global de prévention du radicalisme de la Région bruxelloise, plan de prévention du radicalisme à l’école, Réseau anti-radicalisme de la Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles… La liste n’est pas close de toutes les initiatives «anti-radicalisme» qui ont été mises en place par les pouvoirs publics, surtout après les premiers attentats de Paris. Pour quels résultats? Article publié par Martine Vandemeulebroucke dans Alteréchos le 23 mars 2017.

Les responsables politiques ont-ils fait du «football panique», comme l’estime François De Smet, le directeur du centre fédéral des Migrations, Myria, en observant l’accumulation des dispositifs de lutte contre le radicalisme? Pour lui, la seule prévention possible se situe bien en amont, à l’école, dans des cours de philosophie qui apprennent aux jeunes à confronter pacifiquement leurs points de vue. Mais le fait est là. Si la Région bruxelloise, par exemple, avait annoncé en juin 2016 des mesures «de lutte contre le radicalisme et pour le bien vivre ensemble», c’est au cours de ce mois de mars seulement que le budget pour le «vivre-ensemble» a été voté. On a voulu sécuriser d’abord…(lire la suite).

A year after Brussels attacks, what’s fixed… and what’s still broken

Everyone in Belgium remembers where they were on March 22, 2016, no matter how far or close they were to the Brussels Airport and Maalbeek metro station.  A year after Brussels attacks, what’s fixed… and what’s still broken by Cathy Buyck, Laurent Cerulus and Cynthia Khroet, published in Politico, March 23, 2017.

veryone in Belgium remembers where they were on March 22, 2016, no matter how far or close they were to the Brussels Airport and Maalbeek metro station. This year, they commemorated the 32 victims, killed by three suicide bombers, and the 320 injured, as well as the emergency and transportation workers, the hotel staff, taxi drivers, cafe owners and simple strangers who rushed to help. “Our land has been targeted at the very heart, but we all wanted to carry on,” King Philippe said as he addressed relatives of the victims Wednesday morning. After ceremonies at the airport and metro station, the King and Queen Mathilde led family members and rescuers to a new memorial by Jean-Henri Compere near Rond Pont Schuman in the heart of the European Union quarter. “It’s the responsibility of each and every one of us to make our society more human and more just,” the King said there, adding, “Let us learn to listen to each other again, to respect each other’s weaknesses. Above all let us dare to be tender.” (lire la suite)

(c) JOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images

De quoi la radicalisation est-elle le nom?

Conférence-débat avec Rik Coolsaet, Professeur émérite à l’Université de Gand et Fatima Zibouh, chercheuse au Centre d’Etudes de l’Ethnicité et des Migrations à l’‎Université de Liège.

La lutte contre le terrorisme et la prévention de la radicalisation sont devenues les maîtres-mots de nos angoisses politiques et sociales contemporaines. Mais de quoi parlons-nous vraiment lorsque ces termes de terrorisme et de radicalisation sont invoqués ? De quoi la radicalisation est-elle le nom ?

Lundi 27 Mars 2017 – La Fonderie, Musée bruxellois des Industries et du Travail, salle des ciseleurs

 

Radicalisation: La surveillance a pris le pas sur les politiques sociales

Radicalisation: «La surveillance a pris le pas sur les politiques sociales» – An interview with Fabienne Brion by Martine Vandemeulebroucke, published in Alter Echos (March 23, 2017).

Plan national de sécurité, plan Canal, plan global de prévention du radicalisme de la Région bruxelloise, plan de prévention du radicalisme à l’école, Réseau anti-radicalisme de la Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles… La liste n’est pas close de toutes les initiatives «anti-radicalisme» qui ont été mises en place par les pouvoirs publics, surtout après les premiers attentats de Paris. Pour quels résultats? (read more)…

Le phénonmène de radicalisme à Molenbeek – Entretien avec Johan De Becker

Un an après les attentats, le chef de corps de la zone Bruxelles-Ouest, Johan De Becker, fait le point sur le phénomène de radicalisme à Molenbeek. Entretien paru dans DHNET.be, le 19 mars 2017. (lire la suite)

À la tête de la zone de police Bruxelles-Ouest (Molenbeek, Jette, Berchem, Koekelberg et Ganshoren) depuis 2002, le chef de corps Johan De Becker a accepté d’évoquer l’évolution de la situation du point de vue du radicalisme et de la sécurité à Molenbeek. Pour cet officier supérieur en charge d’un des territoires les plus sensibles du pays, les collaborations mises récemment en place entre le Parquet, les polices fédérale et locale et l’administration communale ont permis de nombreux progrès dans le cadre de la lutte contre le radicalisme. Johan De Becker souligne néanmoins une énième fois les problèmes de sous-effectifs de sa zone et insiste : la sécurité à Molenbeek passera aussi par l’amélioration des conditions de vie de ses habitants (lire la suite)

Radicalisation : ce que les éducateurs de rue font dans les cellules de suivi

Sur le terrain, les équipes de prévention spécialisée sont de plus en plus sollicitées par les pouvoirs publics locaux pour prévenir et lutter contre la radicalisation. Une mission nouvelle qu’elles s’emploient à mener non sans difficultés. Un article de la Gazette des communes publié le 13 février 2017.

“Talk about terror in our back gardens”: an analysis of online comments about British foreign fighters in Syria

Raquel da Silva and Rhys Crilley, “Talk about terror in our back gardens”: an analysis of online comments about British foreign fighters in Syria, Critical Studies on Terrorism Vol. 10 , Issue 1, 2017

The phenomenon of foreign fighters has become a central issue to the ongoing conflict in Syria. This article explores how members of the public answer the question ‘Why do British citizens join the conflict in Syria’ on social media sites and in response to online news articles (Read more)

« A ce stade, la déradicalisation est un véritable fiasco »

Créée le 16 mars à l’initiative d’Esther Benbassa, à qui s’est jointe Catherine Troendlé, sénatrice LR du Haut-Rhin, la mission d’information sur la « déradicalisation » de la Commission des lois du Sénat a mené de nombreuses auditions durant le second trimestre 2016. la politique de déradicalisation est un échec (article publié dans Le Figaro, 21 Février 2017). Le seul centre de déradicalisation en France ne déradicalise plus personne (l’Express, 09 février 2017).

Prevention, repression and radicalisation in France: an interview with Laurent Mucchielli

Laurent Mucchielli is a sociologist and senior researcher at the CNRS (National Scientific Research Centre, Paris), attached to the Laboratoire Méditerranéen de Sociologie (LAMES, Aix-en-Provence). He is the founder and director of the Observatoire régional de la délinquance et des contextes sociaux (ORDCS) at the University of Aix-Marseille. He has published numerous books and articles on juvenile offending, the sociology of offending, corruption and public security policies. Against the background of the prolongation of the state of emergency in France and the fight against terrorism, he offers unflinching analysis on topics ranging from video surveillance and radicalisation to the arming of French municipal police officers. Read the full interview on Explosivepolitics.com

Unpacking the New Mobilities Paradigm

Guittet, Emmanuel-Pierre, Unpacking the New Mobilities Paradigm: Lessons for Critical Security Studies?, in Matthias Leese and Stef Wittendorp (eds.), Security/Mobility. Politics of Movement, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2017.
Re-interrogating the normative imperative of mobility, re-engaging with the differences between being mobile, being secure, and being free is certainly a way for critical security scholars to try to find the last shards of hope for humanity in a world that has become a trap for so many (read more)

Het leven onder dreigingsniveau 3

Sofie de Kimpe, « Het leven onder dreigingsniveau 3 », Sampol, January 2017

Aan het begin van een nieuw jaar lijkt het mij gepast om u, minister van Veiligheid en Binnenlandse Zaken, een gelukkig ‘nieuwjaar’ toe te wensen. Ik kan me niet van de indruk ontdoen dat 2016 voor u een zwaar jaar moet zijn geweest. Zo eentje dat 10 jaar van een mensenleven heeft gekost. U bent zelfs op het nippertje ontsnapt aan een ontslag. U heeft geluk gehad, want uw socialistische kompanen ministers van Binnenlandse Zaken uit een ver politiek verleden kenden minder genade bij soortgelijke politiële crisissen (read more)…