23 October 2006

Police enter in dozens of basque pro independence peoples clubs

Court 61 of the Spanish High Court has ordered on Monday that court committees will enter all "herriko tabernas" (Basque pro independence clubs or bars, called "peoples bars") in order to draw up inventories of the goods of the leftist party. The action is part of the process to account the assests that began in March 2003 when Batasuna was banned.
Precisely, security forces got into several premises by midday: the "herriko" (peoples club) of Gasteiz, the one in Salvatierra and two other in Iruña (in La Rochapea and La Txantrea neighbourhoods), according to EiTB. A bar in Berriozar (Navarre) has also been registered.

Short later, the Civil Guard have sealed the peoples clubs in Donostia-San Sebastian, as well as in Portugalete and Bilbao's Santutxu neighbourhood (Bizkaia), where some incidents have taken place.

The order establishes one-month period for Batasuna to allege. It also requests from judge Baltasar Garzon all the documents that investigate the financing of ETA through pub-like herriko taberna.


Debate on Basque process at the centre of EU parliament's agenda

A priori, the motion that boosts a dialogued channel has the support of most of the parliament groups. The presence of Basque delegations would be wide since all Basque groups consider the event very significant.

The Basque conflict is at the centre of the European agenda. There's barely two days to go and groups in the European parliament as well as Basque parties take stands. If predictions come true, the motion in favour of a dialogued channel has guaranteed the support of most of the parliament groups. Meanwhile, Spain's Conservative PP and its allies try to exert pressure by making critical statements and organising demonstrations. España y Libertad (an organisation in favour of the unity of Spain) for instance, has summoned a gathering on Monday in front of the European parliament at 06:30 pm.

A wide representation of the Basque political spectrum is expected, such as a delegation of the Basque government led by spokeswoman Miren Azkarate and councillors Esther Larrañaga and Javier Madrazo. Representatives of Basque Nationalist EA, BATASUNA, of trade union LAB, and of Aquitaine will attended the meeting, as well as Irish mediator Father Alec Reid.

Spain's High Court judge Santiago Pedraz has allowed LAB secretary general Rafa Díez Usabiaga to fly to Strasbourg to attend the debate. Díaz Usabiaga is accused in the proceedings that investigate the financing of ETA through the "herriko tabernas" network (pub-like offices).

Day's plan

The debate will open on Wednesday 25th at 09:00 am. The European Commission, the EU Council and representatives of each political group will take part at the event.

Subsequently, members of parliament will vote the resolutions of the different groups around 12:30 pm.

Stands of Basque parties

President of PNV party Josu Jon Imaz has stated that his party, which "has always believed in Europe" and "has always bet on its political significance", will be on Wednesdays in Strasbourg. He has considered "very important and decisive" the support of the EU to the peace process in the Basque Country.

BATASUNA considers that this mean that the basque conflict is right now in the euroean agenda and it is recognized as an european issue.

18 October 2006


Towards Independence and Socialism.


The ways of production that have been imposed nowadays in Euskal Herria (the Basque Country) are ferociously capitalist. In the same way, the kind of society which is being favoured - a society with a high level of consumerism - coincides with that way of production. The bourgeoisie controlling local governments are the ones administering the resources of the country according to their own class interests. Energy production, the waste management, transport infrastructures? follow this capitalist model. As a result, natural resources are sacrificed and both, natural resources and environment become second class elements. Mega projects are mobilising huge amounts of capital, some money managed by firms which are close to political power. This is another way of speculation by which they increase their huge benefits. But the imposition of this model is proving to be not that easy.

Big social sectors of the population are organised to confront this model and its projects which are so environmentally expensive. These sectors of the population have assumed themselves the defence of the environment and nowadays they are trying to stop those aggressions to the environment, some of which are irreversible.

The bourgeoisie are of course trying to neutralise this popular movement by using all the strategies they can in order to make it illegitimate; according to their words, all that people working for the environment are "terrorist groups (it could not be other way) manipulated by ETA, they do oppose to progress and development, they are nostalgic people that cling to a patriarchal society" and when rhetoric attacks are not enough they make use of police repression as another way to dissuade. Despite these strategies, civic organizations are still alive defending beyond all the difficulties another less aggressive social and productive model.

Euskal Herria has a long history in its defence of the environment. It was able to stop the construction of Lemoiz, a nuclear power station, the construction of which was very advanced. In the same way Basque institutions were forced to change the initial route of the motorway of Leitzaran in Navarre, since the original route was highly aggressive for the valley with the same name; and finally, these social organizations openly oppose themselves to the reservoir called Itoiz; in this case, works have finished but the filling up of this reservoir has not concluded yet because of the risks denounced by the coordinating committee against this artificial lake.

In this report we do include some official projects which are being bravely opposed by the people: Open fronts and popular initiatives:

-Garoña is an old nuclear power station which is still working at a distance of 30 km from Gasteiz, a city of 200.000 inhabitants. It was initially designed to be working for 25 years and yet this year is the 35th at work. In a very short period of time it has been known that there have been three unexpected stops. There are many voices asking to dismantle this power station. There was even a march up to the doors of Garoña. There is also a demonstration called on the 21st October which will happen in Gasteiz.·

-In the south of Navarre the organization called "No+Power stations" is denouncing that the Thermal power station of Castejon is having a negative influence on the level of ozone in this area of Euskal Herria.· The Thermal power station of Boroa, in the very heart of Bizkaia, is nowadays working, but even if so, it has a huge popular opposition: fourteen numerous demonstrations, a hunger strike, many mobilizations, 1.000 legal appeals, protests in Europe, 15.000 signatures against this project, a referendum in which 98% of the population expressed its open opposition to the power station? Despite this all, once again, the authorities have taken no measures.·

-The Town hall of Donosti in Gipuzkoa is planning to install a rubbish incinerator. The 22nd of June a numerous representation of the citizens tried to take part in the municipal meeting in which had to be decided the approval of the project. These citizens were denied to take part in the meeting, but some of them were able to get themselves into the meeting by overcoming police vigilance, and so they had the chance to oppose themselves to this meeting by screaming their opinion. The meeting was moved to another hall and so the placement of the problematic power station was finally approved. From that day onwards there have been several citizens' mobilizations against this all. The more concerned social sectors have very clear that the debate has not to be focused only on the location of the power station, but especially on the way to process rubbish. They firmly believe that burning the rubbish is not the best way and they propose different alternatives like composting, recycling, biomethaning, reducing the waste from origin? Incineration increases breathing, mental and digestive illnesses, it makes cancer presence higher and it does also increase birth giving problems. Batasuna, the political party has denounced that behind the incinerator there are important political interests related to the political parties backing the project.·

-The Basque Government is materialising the project of a motorway between Eibar and Gasteiz; a project which is very advanced. On the 24th of June some green groups made a demonstration asking for the end of a development policy based on concrete.
-The Town hall of Gasteiz decided, against the will of most of the citizens affected by the project, to install mechanic stairs in the historic centre of the city in order to favour tourism. Residents believe that this work is an aggression to its environment and damage for them. The neighbours organised different events to oppose themselves to this decision, but on the 22nd of June the local and Basque police attack the people present in one of the demonstrations. On the 23rd of June 200 neighbours tried another way of boycott by presenting that many formal complaints for irregularities in the development of the works. On the 29th of June there was another populous demonstration to denounce the works themselves, and the aggressive actuation of the police. On the 27th of June some neighbours got themselves into one of the Town hall meetings with the intention of protesting for this all.·

-At this very moment there is an institutional mega project which is close to being materialised; this is the route for the High Speed Train (HST)which would cross Euskal Herria. The impact of this project on the environment would be very serious, in the same way, the resources needed are scandalous. Important popular sectors are taking part in the debate contributing with alternatives for such a pharaonh's project. We will give further information about this all in another report. At the picture you can see a demonstration held last weekend in Durango against the HST.

Euskal Herria, 15th of October 2006

info@askapena.org // www.askapena.org

12 October 2006

Important international figures support Basque peace process

Six important figures of the international political life presented a manifesto to boost the peace process in which they engaged to back it. Two Nobel Peace Prize winners are among the signatories.

The former Italian president Francesco Cossiga, the former Portuguese president Mario Soares, the Irish nationalist leader Gerry Adams, the secretary general of the South-African governmental party African National Congress Kgalema Motlante, the Mexican politician and founder of the Democratic Revolution Party PRD Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas, and the Argentinean Nobel Peace Prize winner Adolfo Pérez Esquivel unveiled a manifesto to boost the peace process in the Basque Country on Monday, October 9.

The signatories of the document think the steps "to overcome confrontation politics and to open a way of recognition and civic compromise, result of the praiseworthy effort of democratic will of the two sides, the Basque and the Spanish, during the last few months" is very positive.

The signatories welcome the nascent stage, "in which the triumph of the culture of the word prevails over silence and unreasonableness' explosion." They think dialogue and negotiation are "the only tool able to solve political problems and settle the foundations to build a real Peace."

They encourage Basque and Spanish to follow the way started "until they eradicate its causes and effects once and for all within the framework of resolution and democratic normalisation."

The six important figures voiced their readiness to boost the process "from now on, undertaking to support all those initiatives aimed to protect and provide democratic solutions for its achievement."


Looking the new political situation created in Euskal Herria/Basque Country and taking in account mainly:

l the will to open an oficial contact line bettwen the basque organization ETA and the Spanish Government.

l The statement of Spanish President Mr. Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero committing to respect any decision taken by the basque people exclusively through democratic ways and legal procedures.

l The intense activity promoted by the basque political forces, trade unions and social movements.

1.- We consider very positive the recent initiatives taken to overcome the ongoing political confrontation and the opening of a process of mutual recognition and civic compromise consequence of the hard work and democratic commitment expressed by both sides the basque and Spanish one.

2.- We welcome this new phase, in wich words are beginning to triumph over silence and the bedlam of injustice and thus facilitate dialogue and negotiation. This is the only way to resolve political problems and lay foundation for a true Peace, based both on mutual recognition and agreement between the parties and on the universal rights of democracy.

3.- We encourage and exhort all the parties concerned, in complete absence of violence form both sides, to join us in pursuing tirelessly the hard but rewarding journey to wich we have committed ourselves, soothing the ancient wounds of the long conflict with the balm of responsible politics and using our determination and the precepts of democracy to eradicate for ever the causes and effects of the conflict.

4.- Finally we declare our readiness to support, in every way that is humanly possible, any process that leads to the attainment of Peace and we commit ourselves, form this day on, to promote all initiatives whose objective is to achieve that result by democratic means.

Iñaki de Juana decided to give up his hunger strike after 63 days: the struggle continue

On October 7 a large demonstration marched through the streets of Donostia
to demand the rights of Basque political prisoners be upheld.

Specifically, the demonstration demanded:

· the right to be released for the approximately 160 prisoners who are
legally entitled to be released,
· the release of the 6 prisoners with serious incurable illnesses and
· the right of the prisoners to be repatriated to jails in the Basque Country

The demonstration, called by organisations from various sections of
society, which have come together under the name of the Ibaeta Forum and
represent the majority of the Basque organised civil society, was aimed at
supporting the prisoners' struggle for their rights, currently embodied in
Iñaki de Juana's long hunger strike.

After this large demonstration, de Juana decided to give up his hunger
strike after 63 days and thanked everybody who in the Basque Country and abroad supported him during these two months prisoners. During this time he was force fed three times, but now, although in a delicate condition, he is recovering at the 12 de
Octubre Hospital in Madrid.

However, on the 27th of this month, he will be tried for publishing two
opinion articles in the Basque daily Gara, for which the prosecution is
requesting 96 years in prison, alleging that through these articles he
committed crimes of "issuing terrorist threats" and "membership of an
armed group". Therefore, we believe it is important to continue to follow
Iñaki's situation and especially, to maintain the pressure in view of this
trial, which is illegitimate and violates his most basic rights and in
view of the possibility of Iñaki being convicted, which would clearly be

5 October 2006


In the last ten months, the situation of Basque political prisoners has only got worse:

• The policy of dispersal has increased; today there are political prisoners in jails where there had never been any.
• In addition to the age-old lack of healthcare, prisoners with serious diseases have not been released.
• 160 prisoners should have been released, according to the law, after having served two thirds, three quarters or their entire sentence. Using new instruments (the Parot Doctrine of the Spanish Supreme Court, creating new charges, new sentence lengths, new Courts and laws… in both the French and the Spanish state) they are implementing de facto life imprisonment.
• Death has come to the Prisoners' Collective, taking Igor Angulo and Roberto Saiz.
• Overall, the rights violations this Forum has denounced from the beginning continue; violation of the right to communicate, to study, to be a parent, to live and communicate in Basque, to an effective legal defence…

The alarm bells are ringing. They are ringing because of the objective situation of the Prisoners' Collective. And they are ringing because of what that situation means in humanitarian and political terms: hypocrisy and blackmail. Many political actors and institutions keep saying that peace has no political price, but at the same time they are insensitive to the humanitarian "toll" exacted inside the prisons every minute, which is exacted precisely as political blackmail. Is this not terrible hypocrisy? Is it not hypocrisy when those who rightly denounce the Guantánamo camp turn their heads from the 80 guantánamos in the south of Europe where Basque political prisoners are held?

This forum wishes to draw attention to the situation of prisoner Iñaki de Juana, on hunger strike since August 7. We believe that, through this person, the Spanish Government wants to send out two very clear messages to the Prisoners' Collective and to the whole of Basque Society:

1) that through the State Prosecution, it is possible to charge people just for being what they are and not for their deeds, because charges can be artificially created; and
2) that the prisoners, or many of them at any rate, must lose all hope of recovering their freedom.

We believe this situation must be understood as an alarm call to the conscience of society; it must spur us on to increase social mobilisation for prisoners' rights. The organisations in this Forum wish to restate their commitment to keep informing and to favour a dynamic of mobilisation until these inhumane policies are deactivated. It is also our responsibility to see that our society, in the future, will not be anesthetised, impassive in the face of the suffering of its fellow citizens.

Together with the part of civil society we represent, we believe that a commitment by the Basque administrations, institutions and political parties would be a great aid for these demands. The systematic violation of the most basic rights of 600 Basques should be on their political agenda, an agenda which should always include the defence of their own citizens among its priorities.

• For the release of seriously ill prisoners.
• For the release of those who have served their sentences.
• For repatriation, in full possession of their rights.

The Ibaeta Forum

Repatriate Basque prisoners, acknowledge their rights!

Bilbao, September 26, 2006

IBAETA FORUM's political parties, trade unions and social organizations: ELA, LAB, ESK, STEE-EILAS, Hiru, EHNE, ELB, AEK, Herria 2000 Eliza, Bai Euskal Herriari, Torre de Babel, Hegoaren Sarea, Segi, Duina, Etxerat, Askatasuna, Bilgune Feminista, EHGAM, Torturaren Aurkako Taldea, Eguzki, Gurasoak, Askapena, Behatokia, Ikasle Abertzaleak, ESAIT, Euskal Herrian Euskaraz, Iratzarri, Komite Internazionalistak, AC!, Elkartzen, EHBE, Hemen eta Munduan, IPES, Anai Artea, Lapurtarren Biltzarra, Demoak, Euskal Herria Zuzenean Jaialdia, Herriarekin Apaiz Taldea, Pilotarien Kolektiboa.

4 October 2006


14.000 people took the streets last Saturday in the main five cities of the Basque Country. This was a strong start for the Basque Left's campaign for self-determination right which will take place during the next couple of months through all Basque towns and cities.

Protesters highlighted that self-determination right is the key to sort the political conflict and denounced the current crisis created because of PSOE and PNV's selfish interests. They called for the setting up of a negotiations table without more delay.

The dramatic situation that Basque political prisoners suffer had a big protagonism in the marchs with special references to Inaki De Juana who is on his 59th day on hunger strike.

In Ireland 25 people gathered in Dublin and 10 in Letterkenny (Co. Donegal) to show solidarity with Inaki during the weekend.