Civil Guard Colonel Diego Pérez de los Cobos’ Dismissal Uncovers Anti-Government Deep State War

Colonel Diego Pérez de los Cobos’ dismissal has aggravated tensions between the deep state and the Spanish Government.

Colonel De los Cobos was head of the Civil Guard Command in Madrid. He was the coordinator of the police repression against the 2017 independence referendum in Catalonia. And he also testified against (the) Catalan political prisoners during the independence trial in the Spanish Supreme Court, resulting in unjust prison sentences for the Catalan leaders. Amnesty International and several international human rights organizations have repeatedly called for their immediate release.

According to official sources, De los Cobos was dismissed for failing to inform his superiors of a report delivered to the judge about the alleged criminal responsibility of the Spanish government in authorizing a feminist protest on March 8. The official version, however, says that he was dismissed because the ministry had “lost confidence” in him.

The report, full of errors and inconsistencies, points out that the Spanish administration did nothing to prevent the feminist rally on March 8 or other events when there was risk of Covid-19 outbreak. It targets Fernando Simón, director of the Health Emergencies Center, for not highlighting the risks of holding demonstrations, as well as the Spanish government’s delegate in Madrid, José Manuel Franco, for authorizing the protest.

The conservative Judge Carmen Rodríguez-Medel responded to the dismissal of Colonel De los Cobos by citing the Spanish government’s delegate in Madrid, José Manuel Franco, who is accused of prevarication. She also threatened to investigate the Spanish Ministry of Interior if she found out that De los Cobos had been dismissed because of her orders. .

Judge Rodríguez-Medel’s father and brother are also Civil Guards; her brother is the head of the Malaga Command.

In the last few days and following De los Cobos’ dismissal, second-in-command of the Civil Guard, Ceña, resigned and third-in-command, Fernando Santafé, was dismissed, though police sources state that he resigned. This has aggravated the situation and brings to light an existing war between the Spanish government and the deep state.

It is too early to know who will be victorious in this war, but the Spanish far-right movement led by the Vox party, with the collaboration of the right-wing Partido Popular (PP, Popular Party), has launched a virulent campaign against the government, aimed at gaining power by any means.

In the next few months, one of two possible scenarios is likely to play out. The so-called deep state, in collaboration with the far-right, may try to force the Partido “Socialista” Obrero Español (PSOE, Spanish “Socialist” Workers’ Party) to break up the coalition government with Podemos. The other possibility is that the deep state may force a new round of elections, expecting the right-wing party PP and the far-right party Vox to gain enough seats to form a new government with the far-right party Cs’ external support. Such an outcome would likely lead to the implementation of an authoritarian Hungary-style regime.

The Spanish Public Prosecutor’s Office Opposes the Release of Jailed Catalan Civil Society Leader Jordi Cuixart

The Spanish Public Prosecutor’s Office opposes the release of jailed Catalan civil society leader and president of Òmnium, Jordi Cuixart, while the Constitutional Court (TC) reviews the sentence resulted from the 2017 independence referendum. The prosecutor considers the prison sentence too high to be suspended. After hearing the parties’ pronouncement, the TC will have to make a decision.

The Public Prosecutor’s Office also declared that the sentence must be completed in order to ensure the “deterrent” effect in the face of possible crimes that may be committed by the rest of society.

Òmnium has reprimanded Pedro Sánchez for missing “the last chance to correct the violation of rights before going to European courts.” The entity emphasizes that the prosecution has taken this decision, ignoring the calls of Amnesty International and major international human rights organizations.

Òmnium vice-president, Marcel Mauri, also reminded that Sánchez said that “the public prosecutor was under his orders” and that it is the same prosecutor who opposes the freedom of Cuixart and the other political prisoners.

The prisoners filed appeals for protection between February and March, just before the pandemic erupted. This is the last step before they can bring their cases to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, but it is also the step that can be extended the longest because the Constitutional Court usually takes years to resolve this type of appeal.

Amnesty International Calls for the Immediate Release of Jailed Catalan Leaders Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sànchez

On Wednesday, Amnesty International (AI) demanded the immediate release of jailed Catalan leaders Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sànchez. Both have been imprisoned since October 16, 2017, for participating in a peaceful demonstration on September 20, 2017.

AI made public that it sent a technical report to the Public Prosecutor’s Office, the Spanish State Attorney’s Office, the defense (lawyers) and the private prosecutors (Vox), which highlights the vagueness of the crime of sedition the Catalan leaders are accused of and insists that the sentence against them violates their freedom of expression and assembly. “They must be released immediately,” the organization said in a statement.

The document was provided just at the time the Constitutional Court accepted the appeal of the Catalan leaders to declare the sentence null.

AI considers the sentence a disproportionate restriction of their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. It does not meet the requirements of international human rights instruments, such as art. 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and art. 11.2 of the European Convention on Human Rights, established to be able to impose restrictions on judgments of this type.

“The definition of the criminal act of sedition must be substantially revised to ensure that it does not unduly criminalize the exercise of freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, nor does it impose disproportionate penalties on acts of peaceful civil disobedience,” said Esteban Beltrán, director of the NGO in Spain.

Spanish Prosecutor Opposes Jailed Catalan Leader Jordi Sànchez’s Leave Because The Purpose Of His Imprisonment Is To “Intimidate The Whole Society”

The Public Prosecutor’s Office has filed an appeal at the Barcelona High Court against the decision to grant jailed Catalan leader Jordi Sànchez permission, based on the article 100.2, to leave prison to work and volunteer for a few hours each week.

The prosecutor argues that prison sentences must serve to set a social example:

“The purpose of re-education and social reintegration indicated in article 25.2 of the Constitution has the purpose of special prevention and social intimidation to dissuade people in the commission of new crimes,” argues the public prosecutor.

“This means that when it comes to crimes considered serious, as analyzed here, the penalty must be identified by society and then affected as an effective sanction, in order to maintain confidence in the state of Law and in the good functioning of the Public Administration, affirming the maxim that Justice is equal for all,” he adds.

The prosecutor criticized the judge who endorsed the permission for Jordi Sànchez and scorned voluntary service of political prisoners. “If volunteering is the alternative to staying in a Penitentiary Center, the choice seems clear and lacks all merit,” he concluded.

The Spanish Constitutional Court To Decide Whether To Admit Catalan Political Prisoners’ Convictions’ Appeals On May 6

The Constitutional Court has called for a session on May 6 to decide, amongst other matters, whether to admit writs of appeal by seven of the nine Catalan political prisoners: Jordi Turull, Jordi Sànchez, Josep Rull, Jordi Cuixart, Dolors Bassa, Carme Forcadell and Joaquim Forn.

The Catalan leaders are appealing against their conviction last October for sedition and misuse of public funds. This appeal, which is expected to be admitted but put on standby, is the preliminary step that will enable the political prisoners to appeal their convictions to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg – a process that usually takes between 4 and 7 years.

The nine leaders were convicted last October for their role in the 2017 independence referendum. Their sentences prompted massive social unrest across the country, which ended with hundreds of detentions and prosecutions.

The two political prisoners who will not be part of the May hearing, Oriol Junqueras and Raül Romeva, appealed their sentences last year.

The Spanish Civil Guard Head: “We Are Working To Minimize Dissatisfaction Toward The Spanish Government”

Last week the Chief of Staff of Spain’s Civil Guard, José Manuel Santiago, said that the body he oversees is working to “minimize the dissatisfaction with the [Spanish] government and its management of the [health] crisis.” Later, he said that his words were misinterpreted and he added that in his 40-year career he had “learned that people come first.”

On Monday, Cadena Ser revealed that the Civil Guard Chief received an email from the Spanish interior ministry on April 15, urging the paramilitary police body to identify fake news likely to create “hostility to government institutions.”  

The intent of this email was to prepare a monographic report “with the purpose of being addressed in future meetings by the head of the ministerial department.” The email also asks for the inclusion of cyber crimes, repeated investigations of such crimes and complaints regarding online sales of products such as masks.

This report would be carried out by the Cybersecurity Coordination Unit, which in previous reports has described disinformation as “a set of publications on the Internet, mainly on social networks, of false news, half truths and highly subjective information with a destabilizing purpose of breaking down trust in public powers and representatives.”

Cadena Ser also revealed the existence of another email from the Civil Guard sent to the different command headquarters all across the country on April 15, urging its officers to identify fake news “likely to cause social distress and disaffection towards government institutions.”

Spain’s Civil Guard sources assured Cadena Ser that this strategy has been used in other “social conflicts” with the aim of informing the Government of false news with a destabilizing purpose, and identifying any criminal acts for referral to the judge or the prosecutor.

The Spanish Government Forces Millions of Workers to Return to Work, Ignoring WHO Recommendations

The Spanish government has forced millions of Spanish and Catalan workers to return to work starting early this week, despite the fact that the government does not comply with the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations:

– Transmission is controlled

– Health system capacities are in place to test, isolate, and treat every case and trace every contact

– Outbreak risks are minimized in special settings like health facilities and nursing homes

– Preventive measures are in place in workplaces, schools, and other essential places

– Importation risks can be manage

– Communities are fully educated, engaged and empowered to adjust to the new norm

These are the sectors that have reopened:

– Construction

– Industry

– Judicial and legal services

– Domestic workers

– Gardening

As an indication of the possible scale of re-opening, the construction and industrial sectors alone employ 24% of the Catalan workforce.

The Catalan government, in collaboration with organizations such as Red Cross and Civil Protection volunteers, have distributed 1.7 million face masks in cities and towns with more than 30,000 inhabitants, primarily on public transport and at main transport hubs.

There is great uncertainty as to whether lifting the confinement for millions of workers will cause a deadly resurgence of coronavirus (Covid-19). According to experts, we will have to wait around two weeks to see the real outcome. If there were a resurgence of cases, the Spanish government will bear responsibility for all of the deaths.