Europe Confronts Terror

The popular will to expunge terrorism may give the EU a pretext for taking some dangerous measures.
From the March-April 2001 Trumpet Print Edition

The pseudo-marxist terrorist group eta, claiming independence for the Basque region in the north of Spain, has been a festering wound in Spain’s side since the terrorists announced their presence nationally with a bomb which erased the life of top-ranking government minister, General Carrero Blanco, during the latter years of Francisco Franco’s reign. Such was the amount of dynamite packed beneath Carrero’s car that not only did the boom of the explosion rip through the heart of Madrid, but apart from a deep crater left in the road, the vehicle was sent flying over the high walls of a nearby convent into an inner courtyard.

When the claims of Basque separatists came to the fore during the early stages of Franco’s dictatorship, he sought to swiftly eliminate the problem. The method he employed was extreme. Trevor Phillips explains, in his article “A Futile Hope of Freedom,” “On April 26, 1937, Nazi bombers, on Franco’s request, launched the first-ever saturation bombing raid against the town. The aim was to bring the independent-minded Basques to heel. In the ‘pacification’ process that followed, 21,000 died” (Guardian, Oct. 10, 1999).

Well known is Picasso’s famous painting titled Guernica, commemorating that massacre, which hangs on a canvas in a gallery in Madrid. Less well remembered is how much the brutality of the massacre shocked the Spanish people and the whole world.

Public Outcry

Surely it is normal to ask how just a handful of ideologues could even contemplate holding Spain to ransom? The key lies in a by-product of this technological age, a reality with the potential to weasel its way into every corner of this modern world: the power of terror!

One of the eta’s latest acts of terror came on October 30, 2000, when three men were killed and 64 were injured by a car-bomb blast during rush hour in Madrid. That brought to six the number of eta’s terrorist murders in the previous 21 days, and to 19 the people killed by the terrorist organization since the end of the 14-month cease-fire announced the previous December.

To add coals to the fire, the eta shows no shame when announcing its bloody inroads. In fact, it usually admits responsibility for its attacks weeks after the event in declarations made in the pro-independence Basque media.

Spain is putting a brave face on things by taking a phenomenal public stand against terrorists—in this case a small band of brutal assassins called eta, an acronym in the Euskera language meaning “The Basque Region and Liberty.”

Looking at the public outcry against eta, one can begin to perceive the extent of the pain, suffering and bitterness of the victims still living, their families and friends, and the massive public support they command.

By unanimously turning their backs on this separatist terrorist group and its murderous methods, it is as though the Spanish, en masse, have invested their presence in an invisible wall of will against the bloodletting and terror perpetrated by eta. The solidarity of public opposition, up to this point, has been so strong that little ground has been made by eta’s bombs—of which there has been a constant stream since the very first some 32 years ago eliminated the life of a little girl.

Consider, for a moment, the Spanish public protest of eta in 1997—perhaps the world’s greatest public street protest against terrorism, ever.

Rebels had abducted Miguel Angel Blanco, a local politician, in an attempt to blackmail the government with the threat that, unless the order was given to relocate 500 eta prisoners to prisons in the Basque country within 48 hours, they would execute him. The government would not give in to blackmail, and the bright young town councilor from Ermua, Vizcaya, was found mortally wounded from a shot in the nape of the neck shortly after the deadline had passed.

An incredible public outcry resulted. Six million people demonstrated against eta! Six million people out of Spain’s population of 40 million—about 15 percent of the entire population of Spain went out on the streets in protest at the same time. Rarely, if ever, has such a massive public demonstration been made against the evils of terrorism, or any cause! Rarely, if ever, have so many people from one European country come out on the streets simultaneously during peace time to demonstrate for peace and an end to terrorism. So spontaneous was the reaction, with practically no government planning, that the spectacle almost seemed to come together of itself. For a few minutes, at a fixed time in the afternoon, silence was kept throughout the land. Six million people had thronged in droves toward the centers of all the major cities and towns, as well as many of the smaller ones, to stand in silence, with the palms of their hands painted white and held up high, as their way of demonstrating absolute rejection of eta and its brutal acts of terrorist violence.

That night, in concord, the nation’s television channels scanned Spain from one main city square to another, each recording images displaying a similar scene—thousands and sometimes millions of Spaniards packed closely together, palms painted white held skyward, in communal, deeply reflective silence. This historic, momentous display of unparalleled unity in post-Franco Spain reinforced in many an increased faith in the power of the public voice. The sense of solidarity resulting from this moving phenomenon was for some like a shot in the arm, giving hope that Spain could solve its problems by peaceful means. This amazing national response, reassuringly like a family expulsing an undesirable, destructive element from its midst, was for many the unleashing of a deep natural resource from within the Spanish character itself. Amid the euphoria generated by such a powerful and seemingly decisive rejection of eta, sparks were generated and a small fire of hope that terrorism would never win was kindled.

A Short-Lived Victory

The result? So much negative public opinion against eta was extant at the time that the terrorists called a truce in September 1998! It suddenly seemed more propitious to the Basque separatists to try for gains by negotiating through sympathetic Basque political parties.

It was a honeymoon which, unsurprisingly, was only to last until August 1999—enough time for the pendulum to swing back to the opinion shared by all terrorist groups—whether eta, the Irish Republican Army (ira), Hamas or the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia—that there is eventually more in it for them through the terror of bombs and the like than can be obtained at discussion tables. Terrorists rarely enter debates unless they feel they have their cat by the tail.

The end result of this historic, sincere, public demonstration for Spain has been disappointing—downright frustrating and infuriating, in fact—showing, once again, that terrorists cannot be negotiated with.

Terrorists like eta are prepared to spill great amounts of unsuspecting, innocent blood in search of political leverage. Since they first occupied the front pages of Spanish national newspapers, they have claimed the lives of over 800 innocent victims—financing their bloody deeds mainly through the extortion of their own people by imposing a revolution tax on specifically targeted businesses, under the threat of death!

On one occasion they actually tried to kill King Juan Carlos. Tomorrow it could be anyone—a mother, a son, a daughter! Clearly, that’s the reality many Spaniards, especially those living in the Basque region, face. Anyone who doesn’t think like eta is automatically their enemy. The stark, cruel reality is that at any time mortal danger could be waiting for anyone known to be the enemy of eta—or perhaps just an innocent bystander.

Negotiating With Terrorists

Margaret Thatcher experienced the ira phenomenon and ended up declaring to the world that “one cannot negotiate with terrorists.” Spain’s President Jose Maria Aznar is grappling with eta. His fight is a testimony to the same belief. Just as Mrs. Thatcher’s strength of character bore fruits during her political career, so Mr. Aznar’s tough line against terrorism, underpinned by the assurance that he is “not willing to pay a price for peace” contributed decisively to his being re-elected to office.

Mrs. Thatcher, who was, sadly, incapable of solving the ira problem, and Mr. Aznar, who has done little to ruffle the feathers of eta so far, were right that one cannot negotiate with a terrorist. Still, American-led diplomacy stubbornly and foolishly lays its hopes on compromising at “peace agreements” with men like Yasser Arafat and Gerry Adams. If terrorists are going to listen seriously to anyone, they’re likely to listen to other terrorists first. This, in actual fact, via sophisticated, international networks, through which terrorists exchange ideas and information and buy and sell weapons, goes on all the time.

Gerry Adams, terrorist leader in the northern Ireland “peace” negotiations, has had close ties with eta all along! In fact, Gerry Adams, the president of Sinn Fein, recently felt bold enough to give eta advice at a press meeting on how to best achieve their goals!

Jose Maria Aznar tried to form a political “Pact Against Terrorism,” in which all Spanish parties, regardless of their leanings, were invited to participate. Nevertheless, even this politically powerful, symbolic stand wasn’t enough to flush out the scourge of terrorism from the midst of the Spanish people.

The EU Toughens Its Stance

The EU, following its own agenda, can see that more is needed to defend Europe against the threat of terrorism. The case of eta, which has received a great deal of publicity of late, is serving as an important catalyst to propel the development of a joint European policing system and now a rapid reaction force.

Closer examination of recent events is enough to demonstrate that the question of how to deal with eta is being used as a pretext to increase the powers of policing, as well as the up-and-coming military reach of centralized European government. Recently, events conducive to these ends have slipped by quickly and discreetly—unnoticed by the popular press.

The unstable, international backdrop aiding the propulsion toward a consolidated Euroforce with a fully operational rapid reaction force (rrf) and internally integrated policing system is clearly delineated by the following statements: “George W. Bush and his team of cold-war warriors face a world of increasing conflict, with military experts counting 68 countries facing civil unrest, drug wars and skirmishes” (AP, Dec. 30, 2000); “International terrorism ‘is becoming the most important sphere of cooperation,’ said Russian Minister of Defense Igor Sergeyev during a December 21 meeting with counterparts from six countries from the Commonwealth of Independent States. ‘Not only Russia, but also the world community in general, is worried about this phenomenon of the current and next century and is looking for an effective way to eradicate it,’ he said, according to the itar-tass news agency” (, Jan. 2).

Last year India played a leading role in pushing enhanced international cooperation on terrorism issues by signing bilateral agreements with the United States and Israel, initiating a conference call about terrorism with regional leaders in Central Asia and Afghanistan, and signing an agreement with the EU in Paris, in December, to establish a joint working group on terrorism. The Indian government is presently drafting a global convention on terrorism for the United Nations.

In the last few months the EU has taken full advantage of the worldwide climate of instability and the present concern that world leaders are showing about the facelessness, illusiveness and speedy mobility of high-tech terrorism to increase international support for the development of a Euroforce independent of nato.

The curious thing is that while the threat of terrorism came into play with the advent of the cold war, which split East and West, now that the cold war is over East and West are coming together to unite their efforts to fight against terrorism. One result of all this for Europe is that the increasing threat of modern terrorism could act as a catalyst to spur the EU into forming its rapid reaction force faster than anticipated. Watch for that happening!

Within the expanding boundaries of the EU, the threat of terrorism has acted as another springboard furthering the speedy development of EU military and policing capacities. The conditions, both internationally and internally, were ripe for the European Parliament to make up important ground to extend its powers of governance, favored by a series of events which sprang into action in rapid succession.

On December 1, 2000, Amnesty International demanded that eta stop the violence, a motion which was adeptly lauded the following day by the home ministers of the EU, declaring that eta was a threat to the whole of Europe. Then, on December 6, just as nato tried to edge its way into the relay sprint by giving its implicit support to Spain, the baton was snatched from its hands: On December 9 Spanish and German officials met in Germany to exchange information about how to combat terrorism—giving a further slap on the back to the notion that the EU will decide its own policies.

These events cleared the way for the Catholic Church. Two weeks into the new year, Pope John Paul ii sent a message of exhortation from Rome to “Raise your voices in favor of life, security, physical integrity and liberty. There can be no peace,” he said, “without defending these fundamental truths.” So, that Sunday, 50,000 Catholics, including the bishops of Bilbao, San Sebastián, Victoria, Pamplona and Tudela, came together to pray that eta would lay down its arms.

Search and Capture

Herbert W. Armstrong predicted with prophetic accuracy 20 years ago, “You may be sure the West European leaders are conferring hurriedly and secretly about how and how soon they may unite and provide a united European military force so they can defend themselves!” (Plain Truth, April 1980).

In-house problems with terrorist groups like eta will be used as a major excuse to further integrate Europolicing and to speed up the establishment of a rapid reaction force—a state of affairs which would have once been unimaginable to most countries on entering the EU.

While the threat posed by terrorism has been bubbling away in Europe since the erection—and on through the destruction—of the Berlin Wall, never before had the possibility of what follows in this paragraph been openly debated. On January 13, in the wake of the Nice summit—decisive as far as the formation of the European rapid reaction force is concerned—the European Popular Party (favoring the right wing) voted to give unanimous support to the victims of terrorism in Spain, as well as for the creation of an effective mechanism to fight against terrorism on a European level, especially with respect to an EU warrant to search and capture (El País, Jan. 14).

In effect, this means that the governing power of the EU would include the ability to issue warrants (perhaps via the rrf) to search out and capture a usurper, or terrorist. This policy, once law, will be a tremendous addition to the EU’s governing power, but could be seriously abused.

This new judicial power, effective across EU borders, to swoop down on insurgents and terrorists, will be pushed through faster because of in-house terrorists like eta. This will greatly increase the power and mobility of Europe’s policing and its fast-evolving rapid reaction force!

Couple the above with the truly disturbing undertones and overtones inherent in the creation of the rrf. Sir John Weston, Britain’s ambassador to the UN from 1995 to 1998, at a seminar of the EU pressure group, New Europe, said the 60 pages of the treaty signed in December 2000 in Nice, devoted to the defense identity suggested a more ambitious interpretation of EU aims than simply the stated ones of occasional humanitarian, rescue and peacekeeping tasks. He asked, “Why else would one need a separate EU military Staff Committee at Chiefs of Defense level, a fully fledged military staff organization, a strategic planning capability, a satellite center, an institute of security studies and a force catalog currently listed in the documents as 100,000 [soldiers] strong with 400 combat aircraft and 100 vessels?” (Electronic Telegraph, Jan. 11).

While the rrf will benefit from a communications link with nato by sharing sensitive intelligence and military hardware, Sir John believes that the EU defense force could lead to the break up of nato. Many in Europe now foresee this as being inevitable.

Internationally renowned British political and economic analyst Rodney Atkinson, a man with his eyes set toward the future, can see: “[Germany is] the beneficiary. This idea…of Germany, through its secret service, undermining and destroying Yugoslavia—that led to a crisis. Then they say, Okay, we’ve got a crisis; we’ve got to have an army to deal with it. We can’t rely on the Americans to come and help us. And that rapid reaction force is, and is meant to be, an embryo European army.”

That embryo European army is also the embryo of one last resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire, prophesied in your Bible—and predicted by the late Herbert Armstrong when a defeated Germany was in ashes at the end of the Second World War! (See the Trumpet February 2000 issue for clear proof.) The prophecies made by Mr. Armstrong, given now, with further insight, as a powerful, last warning message by Gerald Flurry on the Key of David program and in the Trumpet, are coming startlingly true as you read this article.

The Solution

What then is the best way to confront the scourge of terrorism? Will the method used only lead to further terror? Can such a dangerous threat to personal security, world peace and stability really ever be counteracted? Could a dictator solve the evils of terrorism? Or is talking the solution?

The Bible clearly states that, humanly speaking, there is no solution to terrorism!

Only Jesus Christ can bring the solution. ii Timothy 3:1-5 outlines with clarity what it will be like at the end of this age just before Christ returns to establish the only world government that can bring lasting peace and joy. Note that terrorism is included here: “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded…from such turn away.”

Even in many places in the Old Testament, it is prophesied that unless Israel obeyed God (biblical Israel mainly refers to the English-speaking nations of the world, not the small modern nation of “Israel”—request your free copy of The United states and Britain in Prophecy to prove that for yourself), one of the curses they would reap would be “the sword without, and terror within” (Deut. 32:25).

A European army—a block of ten nations or groups of nations, following the lead of Germany, supported by the Catholic Church—is about to surprise the world with a reign of terror. English-speaking nations and others will be taken into captivity. Due to rebellion and disobedience against God and His perfect law, human life will be brought to the brink of total self-destruction in an unsustainable world of terror. “And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved [alive]” (Matt. 24:22).

Permitting the horror of terrorism is all part of God’s great master plan of working with mankind and allowing suffering to the point where humans will have to decide whether or not to accept God’s way of life—which brings fruitful, abundant well-being and happiness. Man will have to see for himself where man’s way eventually leads.