Sunday, September 9, 2012

Unfair Play Against Catalonia

The retired Spanish army officer Francisco Alamán reiterated and elaborated his threats against Catalans in a new interview to Alerta Digital. This time he went even further and demanded that the Catalan MPs who have placed charges against him (Joan Tardà, Alfred Bosch, and Uriel Bertran) be detained “for wanting to fracture Spain and for high treason.” He also demanded that “all political parties that have as their main goal the fracturing of the [Spanish] nation be made immediately illegal.” Alamán claims to have received many messages of support after his first interview, and he declares himself openly a Franco admirer. When they ask him “Do you admire Franco?” he answers “Which Spaniard could not admire him? [...] I hope that the 21st century brings us another providential Spaniard [like him].” Once more, he declares himself faithful to the Spanish Constitution, which consecrates Spain's unity above the will of elected representatives and the people. “Evidently we must obey the law, not Mr. Rajoy.

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These words generated a huge hullabaloo in the social networks, and these news were among the most closely followed ones in Catalan media. We at Help Catalonia wish to denounce the fact that  such pro-fascist pronouncements might be tolerated in Spain, which would be unthinkable in other parts of Europe. So far, the Spanish government has said nothing about it!

However, we are equally worried that Spain's public opinion (and even that of some active military personnel) might be too favorable to ideals close to fascism, jingoism, and radical nationalism. In other words, non-including, prejudiced, partisan, anti-democratic ideals. As several people have  denounced in the past (among them, writer Matthew Tree in Spain’s Secret Conflict), Spanish hatred and xenophobia are a danger we must be aware of and denounce. That is the main motivation behind our blog. That is why we demand that the international community put pressure on the Spanish government in order to correct these snowballing, pro-fascist, anti-democratic tendencies growing at the heart of the European Union.

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Concerning retired colonel Alamán's statements, Catalan Business Circle (Cercle català de negocis—CCN) international law expert Albert Pont recently published an article on the digital newspaper Directe.cat titled Independence is not constitutional, in which he concedes that the 1978 Spanish constitution gives legal backing to a military uprising against a democratically elected government. The Spanish constitution was written during the Spanish transition to democracy, right after Franco's dictatorship, and was heavily influenced by the army's stance on many issues. Mr. Pont admits that even military intervention could be understood as a constitutional duty, but he says that the state's political and civilian institutions would hardly order a military intervention of Catalonia in the event of it seceding, for the serious consequences this would have. Among these consequences we could count the violation of international laws concerning war crimes and crimes against humanity. This would place the burden on the Spanish State internationally, and could implicate the head of state or government directly. Mr. Pont also stresses the great “difficulty in assuring the subordination of the army to civilian power, and in controlling a body that believes it is only bound by God's law.

Albert Pont concludes by pointing out the “incompatibility of Spain remaining a member of cooperating and integrating organizations, such as the European Council and the European Union, with the establishments of a de facto government imposed by the force of arms, or with the establishment of anti-democratic regimes.

CCN goes even further in a memo and says that “King John Charles I, as general in chief of Spain's armed forces is responsible in the international arena for any aggression by the Spanish army on Catalonia, whether he agrees to it or not,” and it remarks that “Catalonia's independence is not a Spanish internal affair, but a question of international law, and therefore it is subject to decisions by international lawmakers, who severely penalize those governments that restrict the right of self-determination—a widely recognized right by international legislation.

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On the other hand, Miquel Sellarès, president of Catalonia's Strategic Studies Center (Centre d’Estudis Estratègics de Catalunya), who is also former chief of public safety for the Catalan government, and who participated in the creation of Mossos d'Esquadra (Catalan police), just published an article in which he dissociates the statements by a pro-fascist, retired colonel from the mainstream sentiment at the Spanish Armed Forces, “who are composed of countless professionals who just do a wonderful job [...] who cooperate within NATO [...] and who have never even thought of dying while trying to kill the very citizens and government they are sworn to protect.” “I cannot even imagine a professional army, member of NATO, becoming the executioner to backwards, Francoist, fascist, Spanish nationalists, which could lead to tragedies such as those that happened in the 20th century,” said Mr. Sellarès.

He goes on to argue that the Spanish Armed Forces “are equipped with modern and efficient intelligence services,” and democratic, and that it will be necessary to reach an agreement with them. “At a future time when Catalonia decides to reach for its freedom as a nation, I hope that the modern, 21st century Spanish Armed Forces are the ones negotiating, together with the government they serve, about Catalonia's defense and security.”

From Mr. Sellarès’ article we'd like to highlight that he is convinced that “a strong campaign is in place aimed at tarnishing our government, our leaders, and the very foundations of our national project. In order to bring it to fruition, they'll use all kinds of traps in order to provoke violent and reckless responses from the people.” He says that recently he has been the object of slander and veiled attacks, which he thinks are connected with the retired officer's statements in “the Spanish electronic media backwaters” and warns that Catalans must not fall for these provocations. The organization Joan Creixell recently published some of these articles hinting at which events are suspected as being connected with this activity, and they connect them clearly to “actions by the Spanish state's apparatus to disparage the Catalan government.

We must needs to be alert to current events and denounce any kind of unfair play.



"Spanish electronic media backwaters."

1 comentaris:

  • fireisk.co.uk says:
    September 9, 2012 at 7:34 AM

    similar underhand methods are being used by the UK Government using misinformation which is readily reported by the mainly UK owned Press and BBC. Is Catalonia planning a referendum like Scotland?
    No doubt they will suffer the same kind of underhand lies and scare stories.

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