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Ex-cop insists Felipe González was behind dirty war against ETA

Claims come on first day of trial in connection with machine-gun attack on French bars in 1986

Ex-policeman José Amedo on Monday reiterated his claim that Spain's former Socialist Prime Minister Felipe González was the architect of the covert GAL counter-insurgency group set up in the 1980s to fight against the Basque terrorist group ETA.

Amedo was speaking at the first day of the trial of former Bilbao police superintendent Miguel Planchuelo, who has been charged with ordering mercenaries hired by the GAL to machine-gun two bars in the south of France in 1986. Six people were injured as a result.

Amedo told the High Court that a police commander "would never have ordered criminal attacks." Amedo also pointed the finger at the then-interior minister, José Barrionuevo, as also being behind GAL, which he claimed had the tacit support of Basque Socialist barons Txiki Benegas and Ramón Jáuregui.

In an interview in EL PAÍS published in November of last year, González, who headed the government from 1982 to 1996, said he once had the chance to give the order to kill the entire ETA leadership, prompting the opposition Popular Party to claim he had identified himself as the "Mr X of GAL."

Planchuelo, who was sentenced to nine-and-a-half years in jail in 1998 for taking part in the kidnapping by GAL of Basque businessmen Segundo Marey, who was mistaken for a member of ETA, on Monday denied he had funded the hiring of the Portuguese hitmen to carry out the attacks in the Batxoki and La Consolation bars in 1986 in the French Basque Country. He said he found out about the attacks from the media, and also claimed to be unaware that Amedo had traveled to Lisbon with another policeman to hire the mercenaries.

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