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From dKosopedia

The Euskadi Ta Askatasuna, or ETA, is the name of a Basque terrorist group. The ETA, which means "Basque Fatherland and Liberty" (or "Basque Country and Liberty") in the Basque language, Euskara, seeks to create an autonomous socialist state for the Basque people, independent of neighboring Spain and France.



In general, the ETA has two demands:


According to the International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT), "the organization is reported to have members and underground supporters in locations as diverse as Algeria, Argentina, Belgium, Cape Verde, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Germany, Holland, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Panama, Sao Tome and Principe, Uruguay, and Venezuela...ETA is believed to have received training at various times in the past in Libya, South Yemen, Lebanon, and Nicaragua. Some ETA members allegedly have sought sanctuary in Cuba. The group has ties with the Irish Republican Army through the two groups’ legal political wings."

Some governments and organizations, for varied reasons, have sponsored the ETA in the past. This could be because of similar Marxist ideology (Nicaragua, Cuba) or goals (the IRA), a desire to undermine the West (Libya, Yemen, various Islamic terrorist organizations), or bad historical experiences with Spain and/or France (various former colonies).

The connection with the IRA is especially well documented. In his 1986 book The War Against the Terrorists: How to Win It, counterterrorism expert Gayle Rivers recounts in detail the links between the ETA and the IRA:

"I was well into an operation on behalf on Spain, tracking down ETA leaders in their sanctuary in the south of France, close to the Spanish border. During one of my frequent debriefings with my contacts, they expressed their concern with regard to intelligence they had picked up about and ETA arms shipment. At the time there had been a free flow of favors between the IRA, who lent the Spanish terrorists instructors in bomb-making and Eastern bloc weaponry in exchange for ETA assistance in obtaining a massive supply of explosives and arms."

Motto and Symbol

The ETA's motto is Bietan jarrai, which in Basque means "keep on both." Its symbol is a snake coiled around an axe.



Accounts of membership in the ETA varies due to its underground nature. The ICT estimates that the ETA is "quite small, perhaps no more than 20 hard-core activists and several hundred supporters," remarking that its "non-hierarchical structure" and "small self-sufficient cells with only the most tenuous links with the organization's leadership" make it difficult to guess.

In fact, the ETA's level of support has dropped significantly since its inception in 1959. The Guardian says that "popular support appears to have declined as democracy has given the Basques more rights, and popular demonstrations against the group in Basque cities frequently occur following its killings."


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This page was last modified 04:23, 5 December 2010 by dKosopedia user Medley. Based on work by Chad Lupkes and dKosopedia user(s) JohnLocke. Content is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.

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