Editorial ABC: History and journalism


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Lieutenant General Emilio Alonso Manglano, who died in July 2013, is the father of modern Spanish intelligence, and as such he must be recognized. However, Spanish society is unaware of his figure or has a biased perception of all his professional activity at the head of the secret services for two reasons: the obvious obligation to be discreet in the position that Alonso Manglano held for fifteen years at the head of Cesid – today CNI- at fundamental moments in the recent history of Spain and, on the other hand, his departure from the Center through the back door as a result of the enormous scandals at the end of the felipismo. But in the last two decades of the 20th century, Emilio Alonso Manglano was the best informed person, in a direct line not only with King Don Juan Carlos, but with the Government, on which he depended, and with an important cast of international leaders in America , Africa, Europe and the Middle East. This is, perhaps, its most important merit: converting a stagnant Cesid who did not even know how to foresee the attempted coup of February 23, 1981 into a modern intelligence service, and introduce it into all clubs, European and Mediterranean, as well as in establishing a one-to-one relationship with the CIA, Mossad or the British, French, Algerian or Moroccan services. Not surprisingly, he was the first director to set foot in the KGB headquarters in Moscow. Furthermore, as head of Spanish intelligence, Lieutenant General Manglano always acted in accordance with his moral principles and with a strict sense of duty of service to the State at a particularly troubled time for a fledgling democracy.

The secret archive of Emilio Alonso Manglano, which will soon be published in the form of a biography by two ABC journalists and which this newspaper begins to present exclusively today, is a journalistic and historical contribution of great relevance. During his fifteen years at the helm of Cesid, Manglano collected thousands and thousands of daily notes of his work that have remained secret until now, which offers an unpublished perspective of the Spain of the 80s and 90s and sheds direct light on key moments of our History. Logically, many of the secrets revealed in those handwritten notes with the military’s meticulousness will be uncomfortable for their protagonists, who are the main figures in Spanish public life since the Transition (Don Juan Carlos and the presidents of the Government Adolfo Suárez, Felipe González and José María Aznar), with special attention to the more murky episodes of corruption and dirty war in the felipismo. Beyond the opinions in favor or against that his annotations may arouse, publicly deciphering Manglano’s personal files is a journalistic duty and a determined commitment to contributing to better knowledge of the decisive years that helped consolidate democracy in Spain.

Without a doubt, ABC contributes from today to opening a new spectrum in the interpretation of our recent history. Forging a new retrospective from the rigor of the tests, and from the originality of the collected material, will bring light to many episodes of our recent life, which until now were subjected to opacity, if not a deliberate gap in collective memory. The revelations are transcendent, and we refer to the evidence of what ABC publishes today. It is not just a matter of historical interest. It is the contribution to a better knowledge of what was the hidden face of the power structure in the Spain of democracy.

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