dissabte, 23 de juny de 2018

A leading Spanish Socialist politician ran over a PDeCAT activist wounding him severely

The first deputy mayor of Welfare and Social Action and government spokesman and the socialist municipal group in the City of Gavà, Miguel Ángel Díaz, tried to kill a pro independence politician in his city.

The Spanish supremacist ran over is a young pro independence militant of 28 who belongs to the youth executive of the PDeCAT (Catalonia's Democratic Partu) of this city. The outrage occurred last weekend and the victim suffered various bruises and ended with a leg immobilized. Díaz is known by his pro Spanish position.

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divendres, 22 de juny de 2018

Outrage as Spanish court bails military men acquitted of gang rape, sentenced for sexual abuse

Five men known as "La Manada" meaning wolf pack in Spanish language who were partially cleared of the gang rape of a teenager have been released on bail while they appeal nine yearr jail terms for the lesser conviction of sexual abuse. Some of the rapers are Spanish military and police military. They were found guilty as fact. And they are released while sentence is reviewed because of outcry of the severity of sentence and thus released? Is this the same country that holds political prisioners in jail without trial?

Spanish gang rape with military and military policeman: “I imagine to cath a Basque and force him to sing ‘Long Live Spain!’”

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dijous, 21 de juny de 2018

President Carles Puigdemont: " Institutionally, the king of the 3rd October cannot be welcome in Catalonia"

This Friday, the king will be in Tarragona with Pedro Sánchez, in his first visit to Catalonia since Quim Torra became president. There's been a lot of debate as to whether the president has to go to the event headed by the king or not and the Catalan government has published a letter from three presidents [Artur Mas, Torra, yourself] addressed to the monarch. Is it a last opportunity for dialogue?

Firstly, it's already huge that we have to remind the head of state that his duty is to be the head of state of all, those he likes and those of use he doesn't like. Otherwise, he's not the constitutional head of state and, as such, his figure would face a very clear constitutional crisis. But we have to remind him. He's not acted, he's not behaved like a head of state of all the citizens of the Spanish state. Secondly, he's neglected a role which has been sorely missing for many years -especially since 3rd October and his indescribable speech-, which is the role of moderation and arbitration in the face of conflicts which are constitutional, which are political, which are not criminal. Otherwise, what's his figure for? We remind him of that. And we remind him that if dialogue isn't encouraged, if the conditions for a political resolution of a political conflict are not set out, we'll be right back there. And the king has to choose what he wants to be, if he wants to remain a wall which doesn't recognise an immense majority of Catalans, as the polls say, be they supporters of independence or not, or if he wants to act, as one should suppose he should do, like [the head of] a European parliamentary monarchy.

What does his response have to be? What gesture are you expecting?
He'll know what he has to do. It's not up to us to say what he has to do. It's up to us to send him this letter with the legitimacy of the [electoral] majorities who have backed us, president Mas, president Torra and myself. As such, it's not insignificant, not negligible. And he would do well to listen.

Do you believe he'll listen?
I'm not in the shoes of the royal household. It's clear that he didn't listen on 3rd October. There's a tradition of not listening. It's never too late for anything. If he would start by listening, which I believe isn't unconstitutional yet, it would give a clear signal that he's understood the message Catalan society was sending to the Spanish state:
First, that things cannot continue in this way under any circumstances; 
second, that we want to decide our future; 
third, that we want to decide our future by all voting; 
and fourth, that we have the right to self-determination because we're a nation. And, as such, we have a right not only recognised by the United Nations, but also endorsed by the Kingdom of Spain.

President Torra, in a postscript to the letter, asks for a meeting this Friday. Could this be a first gesture?
So far, he's been missing the opportunity to make gestures. To explain his 3rd October speech, to address himself to a very significant portion of Catalonia, which doesn't now feel Spanish, which is openly republican, he's missed all the opportunities he's had. He's been distancing and shrinking the figure of the head of state. He has opportunities, yes, this Friday he has a very clear one. But our responsibility is to send this message, as president Torra has said, to be available whenever he wants to speak, because it's quite unheard of that it's not yet been talked about, that the head of state hasn't had the slightest interest in knowing what this part of his supposed citizens think about the conflict we have.

Torra hasn't said whether he'll go or not. From the letter, we have to deduce that he'll go there...

Don't we?
The letter is very clear. Is it the king of 3rd October who will open the Mediterranean Games, or is it another king? I believe we deserve to know it. Because we are sure in Catalonia, not just independence supporters, the immense majority of Catalan democrats, it's clear to us that with the king from 3rd October we're not going anywhere, that we don't want the 3rd October king and that currently we have the 3rd October king and now he has an opportunity to clarify exactly which king is coming for the inauguration in Tarragona, the king who said a por ellos ["go get them"], who supported the violence and repression, who spoke only to part of his citizens, or the one who behaves like the head of state of a European parliamentary monarchy. We don't know.

So, depending on which king will come, you'll know if the president has to go or not?
President Torra will decide and will make a good decision.

What advice have you given him?
I don't advise him on these things. President Torra doesn't need my advice on this issue to take a decision. We talk about many things, naturally, but whichever decision he takes, which he's thought long about as is clear from the letter, will be valid for me.

If they do meet in the end, should this be Torra's message, a last opportunity to try to redirect the situation?
The king has a role as arbitrator and moderator, he doesn't have to negotiate political details ever, but he has the duty, as head of state, if he wants to be head of state of everyone, he has the duty to listen, and to respect, something he hasn't done so far. For him to listen and respect would be an important leap forwards in the attitude of the current head of state and probably also in the attitude of the Bourbon dynasty in relation to Catalonia. We'll see, we probably can't be very optimistic about this necessary rectification from the monarchy towards Catalonia. But it's his decision. They will decide if they want to remain with their back turned on Catalonia or even [directly] against a significant majority of the population of Catalonia, which doesn't accept this repression or, on the other hand, they want to start to act like the head of state [sic] of a European monarchy.

If the president accompanies the king in Tarragona, will people understand why he remains beside the king who gave that speech after the attacks on 1st October? On the other hand, if he doesn't go, do you fear it might seem that he's relinquishing representation of the country to the king and Spanish prime minister?
It will depend a lot on the royal household's response to this letter. It's normal. We sent him a message, a reasoned message, loaded with the legitimacy of what we represent, it cannot be ignored. That will determine what attitude we have to take. But, in any case, the decision president Torra will take will represent me.

The king's next appointment in Catalonia is in Girona. The mayor, Marta Madrenas, has made it clear she doesn't want the Princess of Girona Awards to be held there again. What's your opinion, having been the city's mayor?
The decision is very correct and fitting. Institutionally, the king of the 3rd October cannot be welcome in Girona, like he isn't in Catalonia. He's already come on previous occasions and confirmed that we Catalans don't like 3rd October kings. If he's read the CEO survey, I suppose someone will have explained to him that he's achieved something which no other institution has, for some 60% of Catalans rate the Spanish monarchy at 0 [out of 10]. As such, it's a logical, democratic, civil consequence for a head of state who clearly acts against a majority of the population of Girona. As such, it's normal that, in institutional terms, Girona city council and society should act based on that. It shouldn't surprise anyone.

The decision by the Roca brothers to provide a space for the prize-giving has provoked a certain backlash, for example from city councillor Lluc Salellas? You've come out in support of the brothers. Are you worried that such situations arise?
Of course, because institutional and political responsibility is one thing, and individual and private another. I feel represented by everyone's hospitality, in private terms, I feel represented by the quality and excellence of El Celler de Can Roca, demonstrated again yesterday in the gala of the 50 best restaurants in the world, achieving second place after having been third. What more do the Roca brothers have to demonstrate to serve the country in the way they can serve the country? They are not politicians, and they are not asked to take part in politics, they have to do it through quality, excellence, valuing local products, explaining our wines well, being highly committed to the tertiary sector and society in general. From this point of view, their establishment has its doors open to everyone. For me, as a country, it's a point of pride that it should attract the interest of so, so many people from around the world. I felt I had to explain that we shouldn't confuse things. I want to live in a country where everyone is welcome on private land. A restaurant, a football game or a theatre, it doesn't matter. Not only absolute respect, but also I felt the need to come out to help people who, furthermore, have done a lot for this country.

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Is It Democracy ? Berga mayoress Montserrat Venturós banned from public office by a Spanish Inquisition court

Berga mayoress Montserrat Venturós banned from public office by a Spanish Inquisition court "justice" for not removing for not removing independence flag from city council during election campaign. Venturós was elected in a democratic election as a member of the Popular Unity Candidacy (CUP) and she only was faith ful to her programm. Is it Democracy or can Inquisition courts reverse democratic elections ?

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Défense de l'Exil Catalan

C’est un fonds nourrit avec des contributions et donations privés pour aider les personnes en faveur de la construction de la République de Catalogne qui sont en exil à cause de la répression et de la persécution judiciaire de l'État espagnol contre ses droits et sa liberté d'expression, d'organisation et de participation politique.

En seran els beneficiaris prioritàriament el 130è president de la Generalitat de Catalunya, Carles Puigdemont i Casamajó, les conselleres, consellers i les altres persones que s’hagin vist forçades a abandonar Catalunya perseguides per les causes penals relacionades amb el referèndum de l’1 d’octubre de 2017, la declaració del Parlament del 27 d’octubre i l’activitat del govern a l’exili, així com per causes penals contra els seus drets i la seva llibertat d’expressió, d’organització i de participació política.

Les donations servent à couvrir les besoins des personnes bénéficiaires dans différents domaines tels que:
- la défense juridique, qui comprend dépenses des avocats, des traductions et des procédures;
- sécurité
- support technique, logistique et de maintenance des personnes en exil.

Les responsables de l'administration du fonds, de la préparation et de l'approbation du budget et du contrôle de son exécution, seront les membres du gouvernement en exil. Ils seront aussi responsables de déterminer les mécanismes pour promovoir des donations.

La gestion technique du fonds doit être régie par les principes d'efficacité, d'efficience, d'austérité et de transparence. Des informations périodiques seront publiées sur le suivi du fonds, sur l'évolution des revenus et la destination des ressources.

Régulièrement un contrôle externe de la bonne administration sera effectué par un Conseil composé de personnes indépendantes et sans rapport avec les activités financées par le fonds, pour garantir que les ressources collectées sont allouées aux actions et objectifs prévus et annoncés.
En outre, un audit externe sera effectué annuellement par une entreprise professionnelle et ses résultats seront publiés.

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dimecres, 20 de juny de 2018

President of the Catalan National Assembly: "Catalans will never give up on independence"

Elisenda Paluzie, President of the Catalan National Assemblyrecently visited London, she speaks to Press TV about the latest around the independence struggle and the former president, Jordi Sanchez who has been in prison since October. The CNA has actually 42,000 members growing up 2,000 the last month of May. It also has 50,000 more under the figure of "sympathizers".

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dimarts, 19 de juny de 2018

Poble Lliure (Free People) Second National Assembly held calls for "unitary and republican candidacies"

Poble Lliure (Free People) held its second national assembly on June 17th in Barcelona. The organization aimed to the leftist groups of the Catalan Countries to create "unitary and republican candidacies that must be a wall of containment to fascism and must lay the foundations for the construction of the Republic," in the face of the municipal elections of 2019. This has been expressed by the spokesman of the independentist organization, Guillem Fuster, who, as of now, will have as spokeswoman Mireia Caldés. The new spokesman of the group warned that "the linguistic division that we want to impose from certain sectors of unionism is a falsehood." According to her, Catalan society "speaks hundreds of different languages ​​and we want Catalan to be a language of cohesion and a cornerstone for the social and cultural integration of all people."

Free People is a Catalan socialist and independentist political organisation, which forms part of the Independentist Catalan Left. Poble Lliure was founded in November 2014 from both historical militants and independents linked to social movements. In the Catalan elections of 2015 Maria Corrales, a member of Poble Lliure, was elected to Parliament of Catalonia in the lists of the Popular Unity Candidacy - Constituent Call. Poble Lliure supportsboth the Popular Unity Candidates as well as he Catalan National Assembly (Assemblea Nacional Catalana, ANC).

The linked training also placed the sovereign parties to create a "strategic strategic direction" and to promote the creation of the National Congress of the Catalan People (CNPC). In this sense, Poble Lliure urged the formation to gather to promote this space of "congregation" of all the entities and parties of the independentism and the republican movement: "it is necessary to coordinate immediately the Assembly of Charges Electos doing Also participating in this space are other areas of representation such as the trade union. "

The organization also warned of the danger of "Ulstering" of Catalan society in reference to the increase of the Spanish "fascist attacks" that are taking place in the streets. The event was attended by members of JxCat, ERC, the CUP, the ANC and Òmnium, Communists of Catalonia, LGTBI Call, Women for the Republic, Intersindical and The Forge, youth section of Free People.

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dilluns, 18 de juny de 2018

Council of Europe: Spain endangers judicial independence

The Council of Europe calls the Spanish Kingdom out for police violence against voters in Catalonia, and also says Spain's anti-corruption measures are "wholly unsatisfactory", endangering judicial independence. The secretary general of the Council of Europe, former Norwegian prime minister Thorbjørn Jagland, has included the actions by the Spanish police during last year's referendum in Catalonia in his annual report published this Monday. In the section "Proper conduct of authorities during public events", Jagland mentions the referendum and the fact that the commissioner for human rights, Nils Muižnieks, sent a letter to Spain's interior minister, Juan Ignacio Zoido, expressing his "concerns regarding allegations of disproportionate use of force by law-enforcement authorities in Catalonia".

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diumenge, 17 de juny de 2018

Òmnium Cultural General Assembly a clear success

Jailed activist Jordi Cuixart was been re-elected as president of Òmnium Cultural, one of Catalonia’s culture grassroots organizations. It was closed by the Spanish Franco's dictatorship but neither the Fascist dictator jailed its members. 

Cuixart  was preemptively sent to prison for his role in the independence bid on October 16—eight months ago today. Cuixart received 28,183 votes in Òmnium’s general assembly on Saturday in Barcelona, which saw the highest turnout in the organization’s history.Òmnium announced that it has already 120,000 members. In a message sent from prison, Cuixart urged Democracy supporters to “continue carrying the banner for dialogue.” 

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The brother-in-law of the Spanish King convicted by emezzling milion € : He is not in jail

Iñaki Urdangarin y Liebaert is the brother-in-law of King Philip VI. Urdangarin was convicted of embezzling about 6 million euros in public funds for sporting events since 2004 through his nonprofit foundation, the so-called Nóos case, and of political corruption by using his former courtesy title of Duke of Palma de Mallorca as the husband of the Infanta Cristina, daughter of King Juan Carlos.

But Urdangarin has never been in jail. He is a thug but never has beeen in jail. In fact in he moved to Geneva, Switzerland, to work with the Caixabank. Precisely this is the biggest company who transfered its HQ against the possibility of a independent Catalonia last October. All in order. But our Government, which never has embezzled a single euro is in jail. Do you call it Justice ?

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dissabte, 16 de juny de 2018

Two Catalan wounded by Spanish supremacists in a progrom in Santa Maria d'Oló tonight

A group of about twenty Spanish supremacists rioted last night in (Moianès) when they broke into the village to start to removing yellow bows and posters from the ANC (Catalan National Assembly) that were on the streets. According to the testimony of neighbors who witnessed the events, these individuals also acted provocatively towards terrorizing people who gathered at that time, around the corner. The Spaniards attacked two young men from Santa Maria, who had to be attended to urgency. One of them had to be transferred in ambulance.

The mayor, Enric Güell, told  that today he went to the Mossos d'Esquadra police station to present a complaint against these individuals, who on another occasion visited the town to start up yellow bows and hang on them starred. Finally, a Patrol of the Mossos (Catalan police under Spanish state comand) arrived at the incident site and identified four of the aggressors, according to the police officer.

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dijous, 14 de juny de 2018

"Catalan process is not populist", states Meindert Fennema, expert in European populism

The Emeritus Professor at the University of Amsterdam and political scientist, Meindert Fennema, spoke with the CNA about the Catalan independence process. According to this recognized expert in populism throughout Europe, the Catalan process is far from populist, and he explains why such a comparison is false. Not only are the historical roots of both very different, but while populism "started as an anti immigration movement", "for historical reasons, Catalans have always embraced their immigrants". Moreover, populism is traditionally anti-government and against European Union integration; "a populist would not trust any government, neither Madrid nor the Generalitat (the Catalan Government’s official name)", he emphasized. 

Meindert Fennema
However, the Catalan independence movement has always been democratic, supportive of granting more powers to the Catalan Government and open to inclusion within Europe. Dr. Fennema goes onto debunk the myth that the Catalan independence movement is similar to the stance adopted by the French populist and extreme-right party Front National, headed by Marine le Pen; although this is a myth spread by a small minority. The Dutch expert pointed out that given the religious and political differences it is "nonsensical" to say that the Catalan movement looks like Le Pen’s; it is "not true", he insisted. He admits that there are elements of radicalization in Catalonia’s independence movement; however he explains that they represent a small part and they come from the "fringe" aspect of being a cultural and linguistic minority, like that of the Frisian movement in his home country The Netherlands. Finally, he explains why Spain is a more corrupt country than Holland, and how best to fight against corruption today. 

The Catalan process has on many occasions been likened to populist movements by Spanish nationalists, who have even compared it to Nazism. The MEP of the Spanish nationalist UPyD party, Beatriz Becerra, sent a letter on October 8 to the 751 Members of the European Parliament in which she compared the Catalan self-determination process with what happened in "Italy and Germany during the twenties and thirties of the twentieth century." Following this incident the German MEP Ingeborg Grässle, told the that they asked the UPyD MEP for an apology for using an "inappropriate and false" simile and because to "trivialize" Nazism "is a disgrace to victims".

Only a few weeks later the leader of the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC), Miquel Iceta, made a similar comparison regarding the plebiscite elections that the President of the Catalan Generalitat ,Artur Mas, is planning to call as ‘de facto’ referendum on independence taking into account the Spanish Government’s blocking attitude for a mutually-agreed vote,. According to Iceta, the plebiscite “reminded him” those elections behind the rise of Adolf Hitler in 1933. The PSC leader, however, later corrected this and said that "any comparison with Nazism is not accurate."

These comparisons are inadequate for Fennema and even "ridiculous". According to the Dutch Emeritus Professor, the Catalan independence movement cannot be described as populist, and his first reason is that the two share very different attitudes towards immigration.

"For historical reasons, Catalans have always embraced their immigrants"

While "populism started as an anti immigrant movement" and became later "anti European" with a common ground in "nationalism", the Catalan movement, on the other hand, was pro-immigration. Furthermore, Spain "had always exported labour rather than imported it", making inclusion with Europe advantageous. Fennema points out that "for historical reasons, Catalans have always embraced their immigrants", inducing them to "learn Catalan and become Catalan". He argues that this "open-minded strategy" to including immigrants within Catalonia is very different to one adopted by a populist movement. He points out it is a mutually-advantageous relationship, given that "the biggest enemy of Catalonia is Madrid", so any one with a similar attitude "is welcomed”. Moreover from the other perspective, "immigrants would benefit from more independence, because Catalonia is a fairly wealthy nation", and the "rest of Spain is not".

"A populist does not believe in any government, neither Madrid nor the Generalitat"

Not only are the historical roots and attitude to immigrants very different, but the Catalan process is far from populist in its attitude to government. While the Catalan process seeks self-governance, European populism is anti governments of any kind. He admits that "there may be populists in Catalonia" but "most Catalan parties are not populist".

The Catalan process has also been compared to extremist political parties, including that of the French far-right party Front National, led by Marine Le Pen. Dr. Fennema rejects this comparison however, pointing out that to say that because both are "nationalist" does not make them the same, this is a simplistic comparison. "It is very nonsensical to say that since the Catalan movement is a nationalist movement and Le Pen is a nationalist movement", they are similar; "that is not true". He explains the two movements have different political and religious backgrounds; "actually Catalan nationalism is very republican" unlike the Front National, and while the latter has "very strong catholic roots" in contrast to the Catalan movement.

If anything, the Catalan process is better compared to one of an ethnic minority, and he uses the Frisians of his home country The Netherlands as an example. "The Frisians have always had a good contact with the Catalans", according to the Dutch Emeritus Professor, as both are "a cultural minority". While there may be "elements of radicalization" in both, he feels this to be a "fringe aspect" and represent a minority within these movements.

European populists are "ethnic nationalists" opposed to the"transfer of power to Brussels"

Fennema identifies European populists as being "ethnic nationalists" who want to close their borders to immigration, and do not want their nation to "transfer power to Brussels". This is unlike what is happening in Catalonia, which has an open stance towards immigration and wants to increase European political and economic integration. This definition fits more the attitudes of parties such as the Front National, or the UKIP party of Nigel Farage in the UK, which share similar views regarding immigration and corruption policies. For Fennema, and other experts in the field, such as Sarah de Lange and Sjoerdje van Heerden, authors of the book 'Not that different after all: radical right parties and voters in Western Europe', it is a mistake to simply warn the public of the dangers of such attitudes, what is needed is to understand why they are gaining popularity and now they are being treated as "normal". Another dangerous consequence of this, the experts point out, is that as the right-wing becomes more mainstream, the centre parties are being pushed into more radical policies in order to maintain the balance.

Regarding their presence in the EU, UKIP, (which has representation in the British parliament) is in the Europe of Freedom and Democracy group in the European Parliament, shared with the Italian Five Stars Movement, led by David Borelli. This October, the Euro-sceptics were about to lose their place when a MEP left, leaving them short of the 7 members of different countries required for representation. In the end however, the position was maintained when Polish MEP Robert Jaroslaw Iwaszkiewicz joined his party with those of Farage and Borrelli. However, Marine Le Pen did not join and she simply shares an operational budget with a few other MEPs.

Spain "was always focused on becoming a part of Europe" 

Fennema recalls that the particularities of Spain mean that the profiles of the Front National or UKIP cannot be applied to Spanish parties. This is both because Spain "was always focused on becoming a part of Europe", and also because unlike England and France, it has "always been a country which exported labour rather than imported it". Moreover, the very different history makes the two incomparable; the experience of the Civil War and Franco’s dictatorship were key to preventing the rise of populism in Spain, said the Emeritus Professor, "because the Spaniards do not want any other kind of extremism". He concludes that while the "Partido Popular [People’s Party] is a legacy of Francoism, yet it has always behaved democratically", though "not always completely" he adds.

"Corruption is stronger in Spain... because in Holland we have stronger institutions"

The rise of populism could be explained by citizens losing confidence due to corruption increasingly leading states. In conclusion, Dr. Fennema compared corruption within Spain and his national Holland. In his opinion, strong institutions are key: there is more corruption in Spain, "not because Spanish people are worse or more immoral than Dutch people" but because "in Holland we have stronger institutions". The expert from the University of Amsterdam believes it is through "checks and balances" that we must lead the way forward, to "struggle against corruption by establishing strong institutions that check each other". 

Related articles:

Comparing Catalonia's self-determination democratic process with the Nazi regime has become one of the arguments the Spanish nationalists have been using over the last two years, repeated in extreme-right television stations and even at the Spanish Parliament. Such an offensive and dishonest comparison outrages most of the Catalan society because of its total unfairness in describing the current democratic and peaceful self-determination process and for trivializing Nazism and the suffering of its victims – including hundreds of Catalans who died in concentration camps. Now, the controversy has reached the European Parliament. Read more....

Help Catalonia is an association that receives no subsidies whatsoever from the Spanish state, the Catalan government or indeed any other organisation. We, the people who work in this project, do so on a voluntary basis and for no financial gain whatsoever.
If you like the task we are performing and would like to help us carry on our undertaking you may make a donation through bank account No. IBAN ES69 0049 4751 4421 9506 0811 
Or you may also make a donation via PayPal clicking the button "Donate" . THANK YOU

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dimecres, 13 de juny de 2018

Pro Spanish Death Threats in Palma to trade union and cultural associations

This Wednesday, they have appeared many graffiti with insults and death threats to the cultural association Can Alcover, headquarters of the Obra Cultural Balearic Oeuvre (OCB in Catalan) and at the headquarters of theteachers trade union STEI in the city of Palma. The "Political prisoners" exhibition of Santiago Sierra, installed in Palma de Mallorca Square, has also been painted. Threats as "We are going to kill you", "Death to OCB" were painted.

As reported by the STEI, in Palma's headquarters, we have "suffered the intolerance and stupidity of Some wicked people who try to curtail freedom of expression". Because they have made a calculated route to also attack the exhibition of Santiago Sierra on the political prisoners in the Plaza de España and the headquarters of the OCB in Can Alcover. Spanish police, as usual, ignore Spanish supremacists death threats but detains any Catalan people who protest in twitter as the recent detentions both in Reus and Premià.

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dilluns, 11 de juny de 2018

Amnesty International: Counter-terror law used to crush satire and creative expression online

An exponential increase in the number of people falling foul of a draconian law banning the “glorification of terrorism” or “humiliating victims of terrorism” is part of a sustained attack on freedom of expression in Spain, a new report from Amnesty International has found.
Tweet…if you dare: How counter-terrorism laws restrict freedom of expression in Spain reveals that scores of ordinary social media users as well as musicians, journalists and even puppeteers have been prosecuted on grounds of national security. This has had a profoundly chilling effect, creating an environment in which people are increasingly afraid to express alternative views, or make controversial jokes.

“Sending rappers to jail for song lyrics and outlawing political satire demonstrates how narrow the boundaries of acceptable online speech have become in Spain,” said Esteban Beltrán, Director of Amnesty International Spain.
“People should not face criminal prosecution simply for saying, tweeting or singing something that might be distasteful or shocking. Spain’s broad and vaguely-worded law is resulting in the silencing of free speech and the crushing of artistic expression.”
Under Article 578 of the Spanish Criminal Code those deemed to have “glorified terrorism” or “humiliated the victims of terrorism or their relatives” – no matter how vague these terms are – face fines, bans from jobs in the public sector and even prison sentences. The number of people charged under this Article increased from three in 2011 to 39 in 2017 and nearly 70 people were convicted in the last two years alone.

Since 2014, four coordinated police operations – dubbed the “Spider Operations” - led to scores of people arrested for posting messages on social media platforms, in particular Twitter and Facebook. Lawyer Arkaitz Terrón says he was “treated like a terrorist” for nine tweets including a joke about the assassination by ETA of Franco-era prime minister, Luis Carrero Blanco, in 1973. He was charged with “glorifying terrorism” but later acquitted.
Another man, J.C.V., who was given a one year suspended sentence for 13 Tweets, told Amnesty International that “[t]he objective is to create a climate of self-censorship in the population. And they succeeded with me.”
Cassandra Vera, a 22-year old student, received a one year suspended  jail sentence in 2017 for “humiliating” the victims of terrorism by also making jokes on Twitter about Luis Carrero Blanco, who was killed 44 years ago by an ETA bomb that lifted his car 20 metres into the sky. “Not only did ETA have a policy about official cars, they also had a space programme,” she joked. The sentence resulted in the loss of her university scholarship and disqualified her from employment in the public sector for seven years.

 Among those who came to Cassandra’s defence was Luis Carrero Blanco’s niece who said she was “fearful of a society where freedom of expression, however regrettable it may be, could lead to imprisonment”. While her statement was submitted as part of Cassandra’s defence, it had no impact on the case because the law applies regardless of the actual views of victims of terrorism or their relatives. In a positive development, earlier this month, Spain’s Supreme Court overturned Cassandra’s conviction.
Whilst the threat of terror is very real and protecting national security can in certain instances be legitimate grounds for restricting freedom of expression, Spain’s broad and vague law against “glorifying terrorism” and “humiliating” its victims is stifling artistic expression. In December twelve rappers from the collective “La Insurgencia” were fined, sentenced to more than two years in prison each, and banned from working in the public sector for lyrics deemed to “glorify” the armed group GRAPO. They are appealing the sentence but they are just some of many artists who have been prosecuted under the law.
Even journalists attempting to document the crackdown under Article 578 have fallen foul of its provisions with one filmmaker being prosecuted for a film he made in which he interviewed several people who had themselves been prosecuted on charges of “glorifying terrorism”.

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diumenge, 10 de juny de 2018

Basques form 202 km human chain for independence

More than 175,000 people from the Basque country (Euskal Herria) made today the 202-km long human chain to raise awareness of their wish for self-determination or independence democratic vote.

The organisers say it reached 202km (125 miles) and linked the cities of San Sebastian and Bilbao with Vitoria, the seat of the Basque parliament. The region has a higher degree of self-government than Catalonia - which has been seeking independence from Madrid.

Many, though, believe the population should be given the right to vote over their future ties to Madrid. The human chain - organised by Basque group Gure Esku Dago (In Our Own Hands) - were asked to write their aspirations on neckerchiefs, which they used as links in the chain.The main slogan was Democracy. Several also wore symbols of support for Calatan democrats.

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dissabte, 9 de juny de 2018

Pompeu Fabra, the linguist

"Fabra […] was a competent linguist and a highly skilled grammarian: that is to say, a scientist, a man of empirical ideas rather than of decorative preferences […]"
(Gabriel Ferrater (1968): "Les gramàtiques de Pompeu Fabra" ["The Grammars of Pompeu Fabra".] Sobre el llenguatge [On Language], Quaderns Crema, 1990.)
As mentioned in his biography, Fabra was self-taught as far as linguistic training was concerned. His biographers highlight his solid grounding in historical phonetics and morphology, which he acquired in the library of the Ateneu Barcelonès, where he was able to study the works of the principal researchers on European historical grammar, comparativism and linguistics (Jean-Joseph Saroïhandy, Wilhelm Meyer-Lübke, Ferdinand de Saussure, Otto Jespersen and Charles Bally, among others). The fruits borne from this solid training were articles such as "Études de phonologie catalane" ["Studies on Catalan phonology"] (1897), "Les e toniques du catalan" ["The tonic e in Catalan"] (1906), "Le Catalan dans la grammaire des langues romanes de W. Meyer-Lübke et dans le Grundriss der rom. Philologie" ["Catalan in the grammar of the Romance languages of W. Meyer-Lübke and in the Grundriss der rom. Philology"] (1907)- all published in the Revue Hispanique-, "La coordinació i la subordinació en els documents de la cancilleria catalana durant el segle XIVè" ["Coordination and subordination in the documents of the Catalan chancery during the XIVth century"] or "Els mots àtons en el parlar de Barcelona" ["Atonic words in the vernacular of Barcelona"]. His speeches at the First International Congress of the Catalan Language (1906) and his grammar books such as Gramática de la lengua catalana [Grammar of the Catalan Language] (1912), Gramàtica catalana: curs mitjà [Catalan Grammar: Intermediate Level] (1918) and Gramàtica catalana [Catalan Grammar] of 1946 and also that of 1956 are also proof of his excellent technical preparation in this field. Further examples of that preparation are to be found in the notes taken by students who had attended his courses at the University or elsewhere (such as a phonetics course in 1933).
PortadaTÍTOL: Études de phonologie catalane 
PUBLICAT: Revue Hispanique. New York; Paris : [s.n., 1894- ?]. IV, p. 5-30 (gener 1897) 
PortadaAUTOR: Fabra, Pompeu
TÍTOL: Le Catalan dans la grammaire des langues romanes de W. Meyer-Lübke et dans le Grundriss der rom. Philologie
PUBLICAT: Revue Hispanique. New York; Paris : [s.n.], 1907 
PortadaTÍTOL:Les e toniques du catalan
PUBLICAT: Revue Hispanique. New York; Paris : [s.n., 1894- ?]. XV, p. 9-23 (1906) 
PortadaAUTOR: Fabra, Pompeu
TÍTOL: La Coordinació i la subordinació en els documents de la cancilleria catalana durant el segle XIVè 
PUBLICAT: Barcelona : Institut d'Estudis Catalans, 1926 
PortadaAUTOR: Fabra, Pompeu
TÍTOL: Un Cursillo de fonética catalana
PUBLICAT: [Barcelona] : Colegio Oficial de Arquitectos de Cataluña y Baleares, DL 1968 
PortadaTÍTOL: Estudis de lingüística i de filologia catalanes : dedicats a la memòria de Pompeu Fabra en el centenari de la seva naixença
EN: Estudis romànics. [Barcelona : Institut d'Estudis Catalans, 1947- ]. Vol. 12-13 (1963/1968) 
Darrera actualització: 14-08-2008

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divendres, 8 de juny de 2018

UNESCO report on State of Artistic Freedom: Spain tops the ranking “Artists Silenced by Imprisonment”

More evidence that the kingdom of Spain is a repressive, illiberal “democracy”: in  the UNESCO report on State of Artistic Freedom: Spain tops the ranking “Artists Silenced by Imprisonment”. Spain beat China and Iran for the top place. For original report.

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dijous, 7 de juny de 2018

The Reapers' War

The Catalan Revolt aka War of the Reapers  affected a large part of the Catalonia between the years of 1640 and 1659. It had an enduring effect in the Treaty of the Pyrenees (1659), which ceded the County of Roussillon and the northern half of the County of Cerdanya to France (French Cerdagne), thereby splitting these northern Catalan territories off from Catalonia, the Crown of Aragon and Spain.


The war had its roots in the discomfort generated in Catalan society by the presence of Castilian troops during the wars between France and Spain as part of the Thirty Years' War

Count-Duke Olivares, the chief minister of Philip IV, had been overusing Catalan resources in his wars against France. Catalan peasants, who were forced to quarter Castilian troops, responded on Corpus Christi day, May 1640, with an uprising known as 'Bloody Corpus', under the slogans "Long live the faith of Christ!", "Long live the king , our lord", "Long live the land, death to bad government". This 'Bloody Corpus' which began with the death of a reaper, and led to the somewhat mysterious death of Dalmau de Queralt, Count of Santa Coloma and Spanish viceroy of Catalonia, marked the beginning of the conflict. The irregular militia involved were known as 'Miquelets'.

The situation took Olivares by surprise, with most of the Spanish army fighting on other fronts far from Catalonia.

Pau Claris, head of the Generalitat of Catalonia, turned the social unrest of the Catalans into a political cause and proclaimed a Catalan Republic.


Battle of Montjuïc
In a first reaction, Spain sent a large army of 26,000 men under Pedro Fajardo to crush the Catalan Revolt. On its way to Barcelona, the Spanish army retook several cities, executing many hundreds of prisoners. These atrocities only reinforced the determination of the defenders of Barcelona, and the Generalitat obtained an important military victory over the Spanish army in the Battle of Montjuïc (January 26, 1641). A little later, the death of Pau Claris created a difficult local and international situation, which resulted in the proclamation of Louis XIII of France as sovereign count of Barcelona as Lluís I de Barcelona. For the next decade the Catalans and French fought as allies, taking the initiative after Montjuic.

A French-Catalan army under Philippe de La Mothe-Houdancourt moved south and gained several victories. But the sieges of Tarragona, Lleida and Tortosa finally failed and the allies had to withdraw. In the north (Roussillon), they were more successful. Perpignan was taken after a siege of 10 months, and the whole of Roussillon was under French control. Shortly after, Spanish relief armies were defeated at the Battle of Montmeló and Battle of Barcelona.

In 1652 a Spanish offensive captured Barcelona bringing the Catalan capital under Spanish control again. Irregular resistance continued for several years afterwards and some fighting took place north of the Pyrenees but the mountains became the effective border between Spanish and French areas.
Allegorical image of the secession of Catalonia and integration in France

Map of Catalonia with the resulting division.

The conflict extended beyond the Peace of Westphalia, which concluded the Thirty Years' War in 1648 but remained part of the Franco-Spanish War (1635-1659) with the confrontation between two sovereigns and two Generalitats, one based in Barcelona, under the control of Spain and the other in Perpinyà (Perpignan), under the occupation of France. In 1652 the French authorities renounced Catalonia, but held control of Roussillon, thereby leading to the signing of the Treaty of the Pyrenees in 1659.

On this topic:

More than 700 men had their throats slit and their heads cut off during the Siege of Cambrils in 1640. The Siege of Cambrils took place during the war of Reapers (Guerra dels Segadors). In November 1640, the Spanish troops of King Felipe IV, set up in the Catalan city of Tortosa, took actions in order to occupy the rest of Catalonia. These troops were under the command of General Marquis of Velez. The inhabitants of Cambrils managed to contain the Spanish army but they ended up being confined in the old town sheltered by the walls of the village. After hard negotiations, the defenders of Cambrils surrendered because they believed the promises made by Spanish read more....

Help Catalonia is an association that receives no subsidies whatsoever from the Spanish state, the Catalan government or indeed any other organisation. We, the people who work in this project, do so on a voluntary basis and for no financial gain whatsoever.

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dimecres, 6 de juny de 2018

Guardiola: "Pedro Sánchez does not have to approach the prisoners, he must release them"

"Pedro Sánchez does not have to approach the prisoners, he must release them" said the Manchester City coach. Sanchez is the new Spanish PM after the Popular Party was ousted on Friday. Last October, PSOE (Spanish socialist nationalist party) backed Rajoy when he imposed direct rule on Catalonia following a declaration of independence.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola says he will "always" wear a yellow ribbon in support of imprisoned politicians in Catalonia - despite being charged by the Football Association for doing so. Manchester City coach answered if he would wear the yellow ribbon: "I accept the fines [for wearing a yellow ribbon in support of jailed Catalan politicians]. I am human. But there are four guys in jail in Catalonia. It will always be with me. It's not about politicians it's about democracy. Before I am a manager I am a human being."

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dimarts, 5 de juny de 2018

Spanish "judge" inquisitor asked to appear before a Belgian court next September 4th

In a major humiliation for the Spanish judicial system, a Belgian court has summoned Spanish inquisitor Pablo Llarena to respond to allegations that he has "misused justice" when filing international arrest warrants against Catalan democratic leaders. Catalonia's 130st President Carles Puigdemont and four of his Ministers banned by the Spansih PP government to be restored as Catalan people voted are taking legal action against a Spanish "judge "who requested their extradition. Inquisitor Llarena has been asked to appear before a Belgian court, accused of being politically motivated in his extradition decision.

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