International Revolutionary Action Group
International Revolutionary Action Group
LEADER: Salavador Puig-Antich
USUAL AREA OF OPERATION: Spain, France, Belgium
The International Revolutionary Action Group was an extremist organization that operated in the early 1970s. The group was based in France and was known in French as Groupes d'Action Révolutionnaire Internationaliste (GARI).
GARI, as thought by most experts, operated only briefly during the 1970s. Although not much is know about its operations, reports do suggest that the group's main mission was the freedom of Spain and Europe in general from dictatorship. The group reportedly became inactive in 1975.
From 1939 to his death in 1975, Francisco Franco Bahamonde served as the dictator of Spain. During his rule, Franco is thought to have suppressed many, including people belonging to the Basque community. This community has been primarily based in the Basque region of northern Spain, southern France, and Belgium. The International Revolutionary Action Group was reportedly formed in 1974, in France. Its primary objective, according to monitor groups, was to free the Basque people and create a separate Basque state.
The entire history of GARI is known to be very brief. Most analysts state the group operated for a short period from 1974–1975. During this period, group members mainly targeted government entities in Spain and Belgium (Spanish targets in Belgium). The first attacks were reported in Belgium soon after the group's inception.
In May 1974, Belgium authorities accused GARI of an attack on the office of Iberia Airlines (the official airlines of Spain) in Brussels. Although no one died in the attack, the office building reportedly suffered severe damage. In the same month, GARI also claimed responsibility for attacks on Spanish banks in Paris. Members of the group reportedly also kidnapped some bankers and later released them in exchange for a ransom. After a few days, GARI was allegedly involved in bomb explosions in some offices in Paris, including that of IBM.
According to analysts, GARI's intentions to attack Spanish targets were quite evident from all their operations, including bombings of many buses in Lourdes, France, in July 1974. The buses were reportedly part of the Tour de France. Allegedly, the attack was carried out because many Spanish bicyclists had taken part in the Tour de France.
Subsequently, later in 1974, the International Revolutionary Action Group claimed responsibility for a number of attacks on Spanish banks as well as, again, on offices of Iberia Airlines in Brussels. According to reports, there were no deaths. However, many people were injured and there was considerable property damage.
Similar attacks on businesses, transportation, and government buildings were reported throughout 1974 and 1975. Officials suspected GARI members behind most of these attacks. The last reported attack carried out by GARI was in May 1975. As thought by analysts and monitor groups, the group became inactive after 1975. Since then, there have been no reports of activities or operations carried out by the International Revolutionary Action Group.
Many French government officials, monitor groups, and anti-terrorism experts believe that the dissolution of GARI resulted in the formation of other terrorist organizations. Action Directe (AD) is the most prominent. AD, a terror organization that was formed in the late 1970s, is considered by many to be an extension of the International Revolutionary Action Group.
PHILOSOPHY AND TACTICS
The International Revolutionary Action Group was reportedly formed with a mission of separating the Basque region of Spain from the dictatorial regime of Francisco Franco. However, many analysts state that the GARI had broader objectives, which included their fight against fascism, and on the whole, the liberation of Spain and other countries of Europe.
Not much is known about the leaders of the International Revolutionary Action Group. Most analysts and news reports suggest that Salavador Puig-Antich was the most prominent militant from GARI.
Salavador Puig-Antich was allegedly a Basque militant. His main objective was freedom of the Basque region from the dictatorship of Franco. Antich is thought to be the mastermind behind most terrorist operations carried out by GARI during its short existence.
Salavador Puig-Antich was executed by officials of the Spanish dictatorship. According to reports, the weapon that was used was a garotte, a common torture device used during that period.
GARI was thought to comprise a blend of Basque militants (whose sole purpose was the freedom of Basque) and French anarchists. The group claimed to be against any and all forms of government in European countries. According to experts on extremism, the objective of a free Basque region was mainly due to the group's alleged links with Euzkadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA), a terrorist organization based in Spain. The ETA was mainly comprised of Basque militants, and it is thought that many of GARI's operations were influenced by the ETA.
To promote its philosophies, GARI reportedly used a number of violent tactics, including bombings and kidnappings. According to reports, the targets were mainly Spanish establishments in France and Belgium as well as in Spain itself. Throughout its history, GARI is known to have bombed Spanish banks, businesses, Spanish transportation agencies, Spanish airlines and airports, Spanish consulates in France, sporting events involving Spaniards, and so on. Analysts argue that most of the terrorist operations of the group resulted in major structural damage to these establishments, in addition to injuries to people. However, there were no deaths reported. This, as thought by most experts, shows that GARI mainly targeted the Spanish government, and not the people.
GARI reportedly also organized joint activities with the ETA. One of the most prominent joint operations was the bombing of the "Topo," trains running between Madrid (in Spain) and Paris. Apart from joint operations, exchange of personnel and arms between the groups was also thought to be common practice. Some antiterrorism reports also allege that GARI, in association with ETA, had started smuggling arms to Belgium and other European countries.
The last attack reportedly carried out by GARI was in May 1975. The group is known to be inactive since. The reasons for the sudden inactivity are not known. Monitor groups claim that other factions that were extensions of GARI were formed after 1975.
The International Revolutionary Action Group claimed to be an organization working against the dictatorial regime in Spain. The group's proclaimed mission was to "struggle for direct action against the Franco-ist dictator, against capital, against the state, for the liberation of Spain, of Europe and of the world."
The International Revolutionary Action group was known to target the regime of Francisco Franco (the dictator of Spain until 1975) and anarchism in general. GARI reportedly was operational for a very short period from 1974 to 1975. The group is known for a number of attacks (mainly bombings) against Spanish establishments.
There have been no reported operations by the GARI since mid-1975.
- GARI was formed in May.
- The GARI members allegedly attacked the office of Iberia Airlines in Brussels, Belgium. The group members also claimed responsibility for kidnapping some bankers from a Spanish bank in Paris. The bankers were later freed in exchange of a ransom.
- Group members claimed responsibility for blowing up thirteen buses that were part of the Tour de France.
- The last attack by GARI; the group is thought to be inactive since.
MIPT Terrorism Knowledge Base. "International Revolutionary Action Group (GARI)." 〈http://www.tkb.org/Group.jsp?groupID=4030〉 (accessed October 20, 2005).
MIPT Terrorism Knowledge Base. "Basque Fatherland and Freedom." 〈http://www.tkb.org/Group.jsp?groupID=31〉 (accessed October 20, 2005).
Dr. Charles A. Russell, Air University Review. "Transnational Terrorism." 〈http://www.airpower.maxwell.af.mil/airchronicles/aureview/1976/jan-feb/russell.html〉 (accessed October 20, 2005).