25 June 2009


Basque Info radio program week 16th June to 23rd of June including the main news of the last seven days and an interview with Bik McFarlane where he tells us about his unforgetable weekend of solidarity with the Basque political prisoners in the Basque Country.


Basque Info 23/06/09

-Massive festival in favour of the Basque political prisoners.

Over the last weekend 20,000 people gathered for three days in Lakuntza at the heart of the Basque Country to support the Basque political prisoners. 70 top rock bands played for free in the 10th Hatortxurock festival to show solidarity to the more than 750 Basque political prisoners and exhibitions, conferences and a political rally were organised. This historical festival aimed to raise funds to help the prisoners’ relatives pay for their trips to the dozens of far-off Spanish and French jails where they are held.

The organisers congratulated everybody for the huge success of the festival and expressed their desire for the festival to be the last, hoping all the prisoners are back home soon.

-ETA kills top policeman.
Last Friday an ETA bomb set under his own car killed the Spanish police Special Anti-Terrorist Surveillance Unit’s Chief Inspector in Bilbao. According to the Spanish authorities he was responsible for more than 70 arrests during his 27 years of involvement in anti-ETA actions. The Spanish government and other state powers expressed their anger.

The Basque pro-independence left stated that the disappearance of Jon Anza, some recent arrests and the latest ETA operation reflect the cruelty of the political conflict. The pro-independence left shows its commitment to help in a constructive manner to find ways to open a process of inclusive dialogue to achieve a definitive scenario of peace. The pro-independence left goes on to say that dialogue and negotiation are the only possible tools for resolution of the conflict and adds that the current Spanish Labour Party’s policies of repression and against dialogue don’t do anything but feed the confrontation.

On Saturday thousands of people rallied to protest against the killing at a demonstration called by the Basque Autonomous Region’s new Spanish Labour government. The local government’s president Patxi Lopez defended once again the defeat of ETA through policing.

-Barandalla back home.

In 2002 Basque political prisoner Bautista Barandalla was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, an extremely serious and incurable illness. Seven years had to go by until he’s finally been released. Since last week he’s still a prisoner but in his own home and he’ll have to carry an electronic band wrist on him.

Barandalla leaves behind 19 years in jail. Since 2002 he’s been systematically denied his conditional release despite what the Spanish law provides for these cases. In 2002 and 2003 many massive demonstrations were organised to ask for his immediate release and he has become a symbol of the ill-treatement of ill Basque political prisoners.

There are still eight Basque political prisoners with incurable illnesses who should be released according to Spanish laws.

-Internationalist Iniciative contests last elections.
The pro-self-determination electoral platform continues its campaign to find out what happened during the last European elections in the Spanish state. Dozens of abnormalities were denounced such as Internationalist Iniciative’s ballots missing in polling stations and wrong vote counts.

Internationalist Iniciative decided to appeal against the Central Electoral Office to challenge the counts and the elections. They don’t have much trust in the Spanish judiciary system but they say they’ll appeal to the highest international bodies.

-Where is Jon?

Last week marked two months since the Basque militant Jon Anza went missing in France. First it was his family who denounced his disappearance on the 15th of May after ruling out any other possibility. On the 19th of May ETA said the Spanish and French governments were responsible for Anza’s disappearance. In a statement the armed organization said that the police knew Jon Anza was an ETA militant since January after they found his finger prints in a weapons dump.

The Spanish authorities denied their involment and the French government has ignored the accusations.

-Police operation against ETA.

Basque citizens Patxi Uranga, Ainara Vazquez and Olatz Lasagabaster were arrested in the early hours of Tuesday by Spanish policemen in Usurbil and Astigarraga near Donostia/San Sebastian. According to the police they found 75 kilos of explosives in the searches and accused the three arrested of being members of ETA. The man and two women arrested are well known for their involvement in the Basque language movement. The office of a Basque language magazine and one club were searched and computers seized by the Spanish police.

The Spanish Interior Minister congratulated the police from Washington where he is on an official visit and asked the CIA to help them in their fight against ETA.

Protests against the arrests were held in the deteinees towns.

-Support for Basque activists in Belfast.

Around 100 people took part last Saturday in a solidarity night at Cultúrlann in west Belfast to show support to Basque activists Inaki de Juana and Arturo “Benat” Villanueva. The two men are facing extradition to Spain for political reasons.

A documentary about torture in the Basque Country was shown and music was provided by traditional band Casadh and DJ’s Red Rasta and Rasta Revolution.

The money raised will help the Don’t Extradite the Basques Campaign (www.dontextraditethebasques.org) to continue raising awareness about the cases and the repressive situation in the Basque Country.

17 June 2009



Basque Info 16/06/09

-European election votes still missing

As we previously reported, the left wing pro-self-determination right platform Internationalist Iniciative (II) was subjected to a brutal criminalization campaign by the Spanish media and authorities during the last European elections. The attacks didn’t stop there. During the day of the elections there were numerous abnormalities such as lack of II ballots in the poll stations. Many more irregularities arose in the following days.

For the past ten days II members and solicitors have been denouncing these abnormalities and a campaign has been launched to expose the truth about the results. In the three western Basque provinces 1,800 votes have been recovered in favour of the platform after new vote counts. These new results have raised more suspicion about what really happened in the entire Spanish state. In Barcelona for example, the II representatives weren’t allowed to be present at the new vote count and the same happened in many other places. The counts, by law, are supposed to be public and accountable.

Surprisingly, the blank and no valid votes increased by 300% when there were 1 million less voters than at previous European elections. If we add to that the lack of transparency and explanations from the Spanish authorities, the extrangely poor results in traditionally strong pro-independence places, the systematic destruction of the invalid votes...we can understand why the II candidate Doris Benegas said that this situation shows the lack of democratic protections and standards in the Spanish state.

-Basque pro-independence left reassured on its strategy.

At a press conference last week spokesperson Arnaldo Otegi analysed the great results obtained by the Basque pro-independence left in the Basque Country at the last European elections. He said that despite not being able to stand in elections due to the Spanish authorities banning policies, they decided to support Internationalist Iniciative in the south of the Basque Country. The results showed the movement is well established across the country, north (where the pro-independence platform got the 6%) and south, and that they are on the right path. He went on to say that the results give even more confidence to the pro-independence left to promote the process of political and social change. Otegi added that some substantial progress in that way could be made over the summer and autumn.

Otegi said that the pro-independence left’s main objectives now are to form a strong popular front for soveraignity with an efficient strategy.

Otegi also raised questions surrounding the suspected electoral fraude in the Spanish state and said that it’s very possible that an II MEP elect has been stolen and denied.

-Arrested over alleged escape plan.

7 people were arrested by the Spanish police last week and accused of trying to organise an escape from the Huelva jail in 2007. Among those arrested are 3 Basque political prisoners, relatives, one local supporter, and one of their solicitors.

The anti-repression and prisoners support organization Askatasuna criticised the arrests and accused the Spanish government of doing nothing but propaganda and criminalizing the prisoners’ solicitors. No evidence has been produced by the police.

-Thousands against dirty war.

4,000 people rallied in Donostia/San Sebastian last Saturday to ask “Where is Jon?”. Anger and frustration were the feelings among the thousands of people who attended the demonstration to denounce the disappeareance of former Basque political prisoner refugee Jon Anza two months ago.

Speakers at the end of the rally pointed at the Spanish and French governments responsabilities behind the disappearance. They remembered those who were tortured and killed by the Spanish dirty war during the 80’s and 90’s.

150 people gathered on Sunday to remember the 29th anniversary of the disappearance of another Basque militant, Naparra, whose body was never found and expressed their anger and sadness at Jon Anza’s disappearance.

-In brief:

Two weeks ago former Basque political prisoner Lander Fernandez denounced at a press conference the attacks and harassment from police he was being subjected to. Last week he was arrested by the Spanish police at Madrid airport when he was coming back home from Venezuela. It’s widely believed that he is being targeted because he is highlighting the police threats against him.

2,000 people took part last Friday in vigils across the Basque Country to support the Basque political prisoners.

Hundreds of people carrying the 740 Basque political prisoners pictures appeared before the media last Saturday to denounce the new three western Basque provinces government’s policy of preventing anyone from showing them publicly. The prisoners’ relatives encouraged people to show the prisoners pictures in festivals, pubs and walls over the summer.

There have been also protests in jails against Jon Anza’s dissappearance, solitary confinement and beatings.

400 people paid hommage to Basque political refugee and artist Kepa Arizmendi who died suddenly last week in Baiona after 20 years displaced from his home.

9 June 2009


Basque Info 9/06/09

-Great results for the pro-independence left in the European elections.

Despite the criminalization campaign and the initial banning, the Basque pro-independence left supported electoral platform, Internationalist Initiative received 13.5% of the vote (10% in 2004 for the banned Herritarren Zerrenda/The People’s List). In the north, the pro-independence left organised under the Euskal Herriaren Alde (In Favour of the Basque Country) name and achieved a great success with 6% of the vote. Other left pro-independence parties in the north supported Europe Ecologie lead by the French ecologist farmer José Bové and received 15% of the vote.

On Sunday there were numerous complaints about Internationalist Initiative ballots being missing in many polling stations. Others arrived after 5pm. In the early hours of Monday dozens of reports from across the Spanish state emerged with very suspicious news. Thousands of votes for Internationalist Initiative were missing or allocated to other parties. In the Basque Country votes disappeared in 24 towns. In the Catalan Countries the blank and no valid vote’s numbers increased dramatically, in some cases by three to six times. As more and more reports and allegations emerge, there are serious concerns of a historical fraude.

After the election results were released on Sunday night, Basque pro-independence left spokesperson Arnaldo Otegi congratulated the movement for the results obtained and said that there can’t be a solution to the conflict without the pro-independence left. He went on to say that the great result will be used to create movement towards a scenario of democracy in the Basque Country and to get the European bodies and mediators involved in a new process of negotiation and dialogue.


Two alledged ETA members shot a French policeman on Monday. The incident happened after a car was stolen by two people and a police chase begun. Check points have been set up in the south of France and a man hunt is currently underway.


Three pro-independence young people were arrested in the early hours of this morning by French police in the northern Basque towns of Ziburu and Askain. They’ve been accused of attacking an estate agency. House speculation in the north forces young people to immigrate to France. Attacks against tourism interests and estate agencies is very commun in the north of the Basque Country.

Another two pro-independence young people were arrested by the Basque-Spanish police last Tuesday. They’ve been acussed of several attacks in Gasteiz/Vitoria.

-Police harassment and censorship.

14 people were injured and one arrested on Sunday 31st May when Basque-Spanish policemen raided a festival in favour of the Basque language in Galdakao, near Bilbao. The policemen removed prisoner’s pictures and political banners off the open air bars and walls and attacked those who opposed the move.

Next day the Basque-Spanish police harassed a press conference organised to denounce the incidents and entered pro-independence bars in several towns to confiscate Basque prisoners pictures.

Many Athletic Bilbao football supporters have been recently fined 6,000€ for showing Basque prisoners repatriation flags during matches.

3 June 2009


Basque Info 2/6/09

• Dirty war offensive.

• Supreme Court rules against newspapers closing.

• Independence claims reach Rome.

• Torture denounced.

• European elections.

• Huge support for the Basque language.

Dirty war offensive.

500 people gathered on Saturday in Biarritz demanding that the French Defence Minister disclose the whereabouts of the Basque militant Jon Anza’s. He went missing on the 18th of April and two weeks later ETA claimed the Spanish and French secret services were responsible for his disappearance. The protesters were attacked with gas and batons by the police.

On Friday hundreds of people asked “Where is Jon?” at the 70 vigils for Basque political prisoners that take place around the country every week.

Last January a Basque political refugee was kidnapped and threatened by a group comprised of French and Spanish individuals just to be released a few hours later.

The former Basque political prisoner stated at a press conference last week that several individuals kidnapped him on May 19th in Bilbo. After threatening his life, they asked him to become an informer. Next day he noticed he was under surveillance by the same people. Last Wednesday these individuals approached him and identified themselves as Basque-Spanish police. They threatened him again and then violently assaulted him, as a result of which he required hospital medical attention.

Another protest was held in Irunea/Pamplona last week to denounce several “dirty war” attacks that happened recently in the province of Navarre. Death threats on walls, paint and petrol bomb attacks against independence movement bars ...The latest one happened on Tuesday when the car belonging to the spokesperson of several campaigns against repression in the province, was broken into and destroyed.

Spanish Supreme Court rules against newspaper's closure.

In July 1998 the Spanish authorities closed down the Basque pro-independence newspaper Egin and radio station Egin Irratia. Last week the Spanish Supreme Court accepted the appeal in favour of the defence when it declared the closures were in breach of the law. It was also the case not just of the mentioned media, but also of other several companies.

On the same judgement the Supreme Court halved the sentences against 38 Basque pro-independence political activists who were tried on the 18/98 case. They will still have to spend an average of 10 years in jail for their peaceful and public political and cultural work.

Many political activists judged in several political trials held a press conference last week to denounce the attacks against the civil and political rights in the Basque Country and to ask for the construction of an effective people’s wall to stop them.

Basque Independence claims reach Rome.

13 Basque pro-independence youth and three Italian supporters were arrested by the police in Rome last Saturday at the Spanish Embassy. Three of them had previously chained themselves to the embassy’s fence to denounce the Spanish and French repression against the Basque Country. The direct action attracted the attention of most of the Italian mass media.

This was the last stop of a European tour started on the 1st of May by Basque pro-independence youth with the slogan “For a youth and rebel Europe”. They visited 12 different nations where they exchanged analysis and gathered support.

Spanish state Torture denounced.

12 Basque young people were tried last week at the Spanish National Court. All of them were arrested amid allegations of brutal torture in 2001.

Those tortures were brought to the attention of the United Nations’ Rapporteur. Last week former UN Rapporteur against torture, Van Boven, released a statement reminding the Spanish authorities that they can’t use evidence extracted under torture. In 2003 Van Boven already stated that the use of torture wasn’t just sporadic or isolated in the Spanish state.

Finally the Spanish state prosecutor reached a deal with the accused in what has been seen as a way to avoid the torture reports becoming public during the trial.

Excitement in the European elections.

2,500 people filled the Anaitasuna Arena in Irunea/Pamplona for the main campaign event organised by Internationalist Initiative. The left-wing and pro-self determination electoral platform has become the sensation of the campaign across the Spanish state and clear evidence is to be found in the successful events organised over the last two weeks and the attention given in the mass media and internet forums.

The Basque pro-Independence Left has called upon Basques to vote for this platform and has thanked them for the dignity and courage displayed by them against Spanish criminalization.

Basque pro-independence spokesperson Arnaldo Otegi speaking as a guest at the rally in Irunea said that there is no solution to the conflict other than negotiation and called upon the international community to help develop that path. Otegi said that a pro-self determination people’s front has to be formed in the Basque Country in order to emerge from the current stalemate and to bring the national liberation process to the desired end.

400 people gathered at a rally in Ezpeleta last Sunday to support Euskal Herriaren Alde (In favour of the Basque Country), the pro-independence and left-wing electoral platform standing for the European elections in the north of the Basque Country (under French rule).

Huge support for the Basque language.

100,000 people took part in the day-long programme of activities organised at the annual festival in favour of the Biscay province’s Basque-medium schools last Sunday. The money raised will help the local school of Galdakao.