Spanish Supreme Court Violated its own Regulation Appointing Judge Llarena as Judge of the Second Chamber of the Supreme Court

One of the most important Spanish associations of Judges, Judges for Democracy, filed a lawsuit requesting the annulment of the appointment of Judge Llarena as Judge of the Second Chamber of the Supreme Court for violating the regulation, the law, and the Constitution.

This illegal promotion would have occurred making Llarena the instructor of the special cause against Catalan leaders in prison and exiles, since the whole procedure would have been oriented to the judge occupying the vacancy of the Second Chamber of the Supreme Court — which tackles special cases of politicians with parliamentarian immunity — clearly breaking the rules of distribution of the Special Causes approved by that same High Court.

As the Spanish newspaper Público revealed a few days ago, on March 18, 2016, Judges for Democracy filed a contentious-administrative appeal against the appointment of Llarena at the Supreme Court in defense of the legal and constitutional rights of the magistrates excluded in the selection of the Permanent.

According to Judges for Democracy, Llarena’s appointment “was done without respecting the principles of merit and capacity established in Article 23 of the Spanish Constitution. “It also violated two articles of the Organic Law of the Judicial Power, three articles of its Appointment Regulations, and three articles of the Spanish Constitution, which clearly shows the interference of “someone” from the Spanish government, to appoint a “friendly” judge to instruct the special Catalan case.

In 2017, the Criminal Chamber of that same High Court, chaired by Manuel Marchena and formed by four other judges that formed the Chamber of Admission, decided “to irregularly appoint Judge Llarena as instructor of the Catalan case.”

In doing so, the Judicial Branch breached its own regulations. Llarena was the last judge on a list of 5 Supreme Court judges: 1) José Ramón Soriano Soriano, 2) Miguel Colmenero Menéndez de Luarca, 3) Antonio del Moral García, 4) Andrés Palomo del Arco, 5) Ana María Ferrer García and 6) Llarena, who should have received the task of instructing this cause in accordance with the provisions of the Agreement of the Government Chamber, dated December 21, 2016, regarding the composition and operation of the Chambers and Sections of the Supreme Court and assignment of presentations that the magistrates must submit in 2017.

This Agreement states:

 “When the appointment of an Instructor proceeds, his designation will be carried out according to the order of seniority, excluding the President and the Judges that form the Admission and Resource Rooms.”

 In conclusion, the current law and regulation is clear with the procedure to appoint the Instructor of Special causes: however, this case has been flagrantly violated by the Admissions Board Speaker and President of Second Hall, Manuel Marchena, close to the PP, who appointed the last Judge on the list, instead of the first of the judges according to the period established by seniority.

These efforts to appoint Judge Llarena as instructor of the case against Catalan political prisoners and exiles by someone close to the PP and the Spanish government, clearly shows the nonexistent separation of powers in Spain and that the whole case against Catalan leaders (still commanded by the PP) is a farce without any kind of legal  guarantee for the prisoners, who will probably end up with unfair prison sentences of up to 30 years.

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Over a Million Demonstrators Demand the Implementation of the Catalan Republic

Over a million demonstrators have flooded Barcelona’s streets to demand the implementation of the Catalan Republic and the immediate release of all Catalan political prisoners, according to figures provided by the police.

People of all ages were seen in the protest, many of whom were wearing flags for independence, banners calling for the freedom of political prisoners, and T-shirts with the slogan: “We make a republic.” 

The atmosphere was festive. This is the seventh consecutive mass pro-independence demonstration held in Catalonia on September 11th, becoming the only country in the world that has been able to mobilize such a large number of people year after year. 

VIDEO: https://www.patreon.com/posts/21357281

 

President Torra’s Conference

In a conference on Tuesday night, President Torra revealed his “roadmap” for the crucial upcoming months. He called on the Catalans to start “a march that begins tomorrow, and ends on the day of the sentences against the political prisoners.”

Torra said that he won’t accept any verdict that isn’t the absolution of all political prisoners. “We will not resign ourselves to unjust sentences that will only bring more pain and conflict.” He added that if the verdict isn’t absolution, he would make “important” decisions that he would share with the government and parliament. He also said that he’s not “afraid” of making crucial decisions.

President Torra focused on urging the Spanish government to negotiate a self-determination referendum without threats, violence, or without a dirty war.” He said that he will dialogue and listen to everyone, but that the starting point of any negotiation is the referendum which he won’t give up.

President Torra also called on launching a Constituent process where all the Catalans will discuss how the Catalan Republic should be. He also committed to implementing 14 social laws suspended by the Spanish Constitutional Court in the past few years.

Torra said that the Council for the Republic led by former Puigdemont will be formed shortly in order to internationalize the Catalan cause at the next level. “Here no one has absconded from justice, we have had to find it abroad,” said the Catalan leader. “In no democracy should call a vote to be a crime, and this idea is stronger with the judicial rulings taken by German and Italian courts, and with the international treaties of Human Rights and Peoples.”

Finally, the President called on the Catalans to organize themselves via grassroots organizations in order to be prepared for the crucial upcoming months. He added that “the Republic won’t come from the government or any office, but from self-organized people able to resist the Spanish State.”

 

Unionists and Spanish Media Launch a Campaign of Fake News about an Alleged “Aggression” to Criminalize Catalan Independentism

On Saturday, the unionist far right-wing party C’s (Ciutadans) together with other ultra organizations such as the Civil Catalan Society and the Spanish media, launched a large-scale disinformation campaign to criminalize Catalan independentism and generate violence across the country.

In the evening, C’s reported, without providing any type of evidence, that one of its members (a Russian nationalized Spaniard) had been attacked by an independentist who punched her face and shouted, “Go back to your country” because apparently, she was removing yellow ribbons (a symbol to call for the release of Catalan political prisoners) from the Parc de la Ciutadella in Barcelona.

Minutes later, the Spanish media and C’s leaders spread news of the incident in social networks using fake images, including one of a woman who had undergone cosmetic surgery. The woman was sporting a large facial splint over her face and several bruises.

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Yellow ribbons: An independentist breaks a woman’s nose reported the Spanish newspaper “Crónica Global.”

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“That is how they have left Lidia for removing [yellow] ribbons. Her children were in front of her, but that has not prevented the aggression. TORRA GUILTY,” said Spanish journalist Yolanda Couceiro.

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“More information about the criminal who breaks the nose of a woman for removing yellow ribbons,” said the Union of Mossos (Catalan police) for the Constitution.

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“They have broken the nose of a woman in front of her children for removing yellow ribbons in Barcelona. Mr. Sánchez, there is no “normality” here. Defend millions of Catalans, who are being attacked by separatism and stop whitewashing those who break the coexistence in Catalonia,” said Inés Arrimadas, the President of C’s in Catalonia.

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“We are going to report to the Prosecutor’s Office the aggression for hate crime of the xenophobic separatist who broke Lidia’s nose in front of her children for removing yellow ribbons in Barcelona. Zero tolerance with nationalist totalitarianism,” said Albert rivera, the leader of C’s in Spain.

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“ATTENTION! The politics of hatred and the criminalization of the dissident of @QuimTorraiPla [President Torra] takes its first victim. Assaulted for removing yellow ribbons; She is in the hospital right now,” tweeted the far right-wing organization Civil Catalan Society (SCC). 

Almost in tandem, the Mossos d’Esquadra (Catalan police) confirmed that there had been an attack made against a woman, a Russian nationalized Spaniard, but that it was for non-political reasons. They reported that the alleged attack occurred in the Parc de la Ciutadella in Barcelona.

According to the unionist newspaper “La Vanguardia,” the attack occurred following a heated discussion between a Ciutat Vella resident who was walking his wheelchair-bound mother and a female member of the C’s. According to witnesses, the man would have shouted at the children of the victim, using profanity language, because they tore down the yellow ribbons and threw them to the ground while they were playing. He accused the three minors of littering the city. 

When the mother defended her children, the aggressor told for her to go back to her own country and punched her ithe nose. All this, without any political allusion to the yellow ribbons, political prisoners, or independentism.

At that moment, the victim’s husband intervened and grabbed the aggressor by the neck to separate them. Shortly after he attended to the woman and the children. Three Catalan police officers, who were in the area and who had been alerted about the events, appeared. They called an ambulance and identified the woman and the man.

The police reaffirmed that the aggression had nothing to do with any political reason, which contrasts with the version of C’s, the Spanish media, and the Catalan Civil Society, which rapidly launched a misinformation campaign to criminalize independentism by linking the incident with a fascist “angry” independentist who didn’t want a Spaniard to remove yellow ribbons.

On Sunday, the Catalan Public Television TV3 spoke to the alleged aggressor who said that the incident was a simple fight, and he also received a bite. He recognized that he insulted the woman and punched her in her face. But he claimed that it was not an aggression, but a physical confrontation, and said that he had reported the facts to the Catalan police. He also admitted that he reacted badly and that the discussion increased in tone and became a fight in which he had struck the woman in the face with force.

On Monday, the victim of the aggression recognized herself that the aggression was not for political reasons. And her husband admitted that her wife did not have her nose broken as the Spanish media, unionist parties, and other organizations reported during the weekend.

Even though it had been confirmed that the incident was not for political reasons, C’s continued carrying out its disinformation and confrontational campaign during the weekend in an attempt to criminalize Catalan independentism and depicting that Catalan society as broken. They also announced that they will hold a demonstration in Barcelona on Wednesday in support of the “victim” and against independentists, though the alleged aggressor wasn’t an independentist. Thus, Cs appears to be adopting Joseph Goebbels’ strategies of disinformation and lies:

“A lie told once remains a lie but a lie told a thousand times becomes the truth” — Joseph Goebbels 

Over the last year, the unionist far right-wing parties C’s, the PP, and other organizations such as the Catalan Civil Society have been attempting to divide Catalan society in order to avoid independence. They have launched confrontational campaigns and endorsed violent organized squads armed with knives, cutters, and sticks, which remove yellow ribbons from the streets, and occasionally enter private properties and attack peaceful independentists across Catalonia every night. Thus their goal appears to be clear: divide society by creating a social conflict close to a “civil war” to prevent any implementation of the Catalan Republic in the near future.

Whether they will succeed or not is still unclear, but what is certain is that if Catalan independentism is able to remain united and strictly peaceful as well as keep organizing massive permanent demonstrations in the next few months, an important number of unionists could join the cause, and the conditions for the implementation of the Catalan Republic could be met soon. 

 

The Catalan Police Identify Organized Spanish Ultra-Right-Wing Squads Operating in Catalonia

At around 2 am on Friday, the Mossos d’Esquadra (Catalan police) identified fourteen people in three vehicles, including a Spanish Civil Guard officer, in the Catalan region of the Ribera d’Ebre. The Catalan police were alerted by frightened neighbors, in what appeared to be a “paramilitary” squad formed by numerous individuals with covered faces and armed with knives and saws. They were removing yellow ribbons and other yellow symbols from the streets.

Once there, the police found cutters, hooks, saws, dark clothes, scarves, and maps with what appeared to be organized regular routes for removing yellow symbols from several Catalan towns, which demonstrates the existence of coordinated ultra-right- wing groups.

According to police sources, the material was confiscated and due diligence was undertaken in case anybody complains about the damages. The confiscated material also enabled the police to identify two more cars and their occupants in the town of Tivissa.

El Mon newspaper spoke to Jordi Jardí, the Mayor of Tivissa (one of the towns where the paramilitary squad appears to be operating regularly), who said:

This group of people removed the yellow ribbons that were located at the entrance of the municipality and the squares of the Paranova and the Portal de l’All. Jardín will not report the facts since it must be considered that they have not infringed any municipal property nor have they damaged any urban infrastructure.”

“They have not touched the yellow ribbons that are lit every night in the City Hall, and we are not thinking about removing them,” said the mayor. “Henceforth, the CDR of Tivissa and the region, which filled the squares of our town with yellow ribbons, are free to restore them,” he added. And Jardí said that the council will maintain the same attitude of “respect” toward these symbols.”

The Department of Home Affairs of the Catalan government has initiated actions against the members of the paramilitary squad for a serious infringement of Law 4/2015 of citizen security, which sanctions these actions with fines of 601 to 30,000 euros.

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Since last October, numerous citizens from various towns across Catalonia have been warning of the existence of violent para-military squads that, on occasion, enter private properties to remove banners calling for freedom for Catalan political prisoners, yellow ribbons, and other yellow elements. According to sources, they physically attack anyone who offers any kind of resistance or tries to stop their criminal acts. 

In the last few weeks, C’s and the PP have been accused of promoting and endorsing these kinds of violent paramilitary fascist squads. A few weeks ago, C’s launched a campaign to remove yellow ribbons and other symbols and “encouraged” these radicals groups to carry out more “violent” night operations across Catalonia.

Roadmaps of JxCat, ERC, and CUP for the Implementation of the Catalan Republic

JxCat: Confrontation and immediate implementation of the Republic

JxCat does not renounce “any democratic and peaceful means” to bring about the Republic and aims to win it “through intelligent and peaceful confrontation with the Spanish state.” It defends “an indispensable commitment to pacifism, non-violence and the active (internal and international) action of all institutions, as well as citizen mobilization and strict obedience to the legality that arises from the Catalan parliament, not the Spanish one.”

JxCat also urges a response to the needs of all citizens, claiming that this should be a process with an inclusive intent and maximum civic participation to expand social support and achieve “majorities that allow safeguarding the popular will, and especially that of their legitimate representatives.”

JxCat believes that “ideal” conditions to implement the Republic could be achieved between this September and May: the commemoration of the October 1st independence referendum, the trial against jailed Catalan leaders and their sentences of up to 30 years in prison could create a perfect momentum for pro-independence parties to proclaim independence and call for its defense. According to sources, this would come by President Torra calling for an early election in November, aimed at pro-independence parties winning more than 50% of the total vote in order to legitimize the implementation of the Republic in the eyes of the international community.

Given that scenario, Presidents Puigdemont and Torra recently created a new political platform called the “Crida Nacional,” a political platform aimed at unifying all pro-independence forces under the same party to win an eventual election. This platform is likely to be constituted as a political party on October 1st. (President Torra can legally call for an early election starting October 27th.)

ERC: Growing social support for independence before implementing the Republic

The leadership of ERC would like to postpone the implementation of the Republic until social support for independence is a clear majority: around 60 to 70%. The bases of the party, however, recently forced the leadership of the party to include the possible immediate implementation of the Republic, if “conditions” are met, in its roadmap.

At the political level, ERC wants to increase “synergies and complicities” with sectors that are in favor of democratic principles and exercise the right to self-determination, despite not being independentists like CeC, and keep a “fluid and profitable dialogue with constitutionalist political parties of Catalanist tradition” like the PSC.

At the social and territorial level, ERC is committed to finding new support from working classes, women, and newcomers, as well as campaigning in Barcelona and the metropolitan areas of the country, which are pro-Spain strongholds. To achieve this, ERC pursues involvement in active processes of social change and democratic renewal that can be driven by non-pro-independence sectors, “to emphasize the desire to build a new, fairer country. A plan that should be based on “civic patriotism, secularism, and inclusiveness,” to prevent any fracture of society. They also underline that the new Republic “will be sensitive to respecting and preserving multiple identities and the diverse feelings of belonging that will be present within their citizenship.”

ERC will support the implementation of the Republic when the conditions are met (probably in autumn). This will come from organizing and coordinating with other social actors, massive actions which could range from “mass demonstrations to an indefinite strike,” without setting limits. They also emphasize the need to keep all acts of disobedience peaceful.

It also proposes that other political parties “train and organize” together, with other pro-independence organizations, so they will be ready to defend the Republic. The goal is to avoid the situation of lack of coordination of last October when the Catalan government ruled out the possibility of defending the Republic.

Finally, ERC recognizes the importance of individual actions from the Catalans to disconnect from the State and the regime of the 78. For example, it is committed to promoting financial entities and companies “with social conscience and that do not depend on the favors of the Spanish government.”

The Primary objective of ERC in carrying out acts of civil disobedience, however, is to force the Spanish State to negotiate a self-determination referendum. That is, “to ensure that the government of Madrid assumes a framework of dialogue and bilateral negotiation in order to make possible a democratic resolution,” which will have to be mediated by international bodies.

CUP: Similar strategy as ERC in social matters, but believes that social changes can only be achieved in an independent Catalonia

The CUP claims to stay alive within the state from the beginning and organize a “non-violent mass civil and institutional disobedience.” It makes clear that disobedience must be the central driver of the new phase of the process, in which it is committed to “mobilization and civil disobedience and massive nonviolent institution disobedience.” It believes in new offensives that create tension and permanent instability to deepen the crisis of the political regime of the 78 inside and outside of Spain.

Not a step back or a break, the anticapitalists try to “keep the situation with Spain alive [… ] through disobedience at all levels, inside and outside the institutions,” with a clear objective : “To reach that place from which we can challenge the State and initiate the application of the agreements, laws and actions necessary to truly establish the new Republic.”

CUP is also committed to “unequivocally and definitively linking the struggle for national liberties, the fight for social rights, and the feminist struggle” and, in the case of the independence movement, strengthen “the central role in the struggle of working classes, popular and class feminists.” In order to achieve this, it urges the creation of community decision spaces shared between independence, republicanism, and social movements.”The participation of the working class and the whole of the popular classes” in the construction of the Republic is another one of its pillars.

In contrast with ERC, the CUP is skeptical about possible agreement frameworks for independence, as it emphasizes that “there is no possibility of negotiating anything with the Spanish state other than surrender” and, in fact, it warns that, if the [Republican] movement is weakened, Spain would deepen its intervention in all areas.” The anticapitalists, however, admit that they must end up in a multilateral negotiation phase, but they say that disobedience is the only way to force international actors to mediate.

 

 

PM Sánchez Assures the Public That he Wants to Find a Political Solution for the Catalan Crisis, but He Does Not Stop Contradicting Himself

At the press conference after the last meeting of the council of ministers prior to the summer holidays on Friday, Spanish PM Pedro Sánchez affirmed that “his administration won’t open more legal paths to tackle the Catalan crisis, but rather will look for dialogue.” He also called on the main opposition party, the PP, to be loyal to him on this issue, as he was with the Rajoy administration last year.

Despite offering dialogue, Sánchez said that he will not discard the possibility of invoking Article 155 (an article to suspend Catalonia’s autonomy, fire the whole government, implement a direct rule over the Parliament, and call for an early election) if pro-independence forces “violate” the Spanish Constitution “again,” which is a great contradiction given that an offer of dialogue should never be accompanied by threats.

Sánchez also said that this is a “time for change,” but did not specify any project for Catalonia. In this regard, he admitted that the Catalan crisis would not be solved “in a month, six months, or even in a year or two. 

Despite the high social support for an agreed referendum: 80% of the Catalans, Sánchez emphasized that the solution to the Catalan crisis will strictly come by a “vote;” nevertheless, he insisted that this vote will have to respect the current Spanish Constitution. He said that the Spanish government will make a proposal which represents 80% of Catalans, but didn’t specify which one. In the last few weeks, however, numerous representatives of the PSOE have been pointing out that the proposal will consist in a reform of the Catalan Autonomous charter. I hope to convince [the Catalan government] during the medium term,” he said. 

Sánchez also said that it is time of “building consensus.” He pointed out: “Dialogue and consensus are what I have offered to all the autonomous presidents. This is the spirit that has also been present in the celebration of eighteen multilateral meetings in eighteen months,” he said.

“We hope that there will be fruits throughout the semester, until the end of December, and that it will continue. There are instruments that can be used to find consensus. We have the strong will to continue to have dialogue that will improve the territorial cohesion of our country,” said the Spanish PM.

Those are quite ironic words considering that he supported the implementation of Article 155 under the Rajoy administration, which didn’t have even 30% of the support of the people.

Sánchez also said that he does not want to “open any more judicial channels,” although he has defended the implementation of article 155 of the Constitution. He even stressed that he had a “pedagogical” touch. Considering that there are political prisoners facing up to 30 years in prison for crimes that justice from other countries such as Germany believes to be nonexistent, this could be clearly considered an insult to Catalan society.

If, as he apparently affirms, PM Sánchez is really seeking sincere dialogue and a solution for the Catalan crisis, he should immediately release the political prisoners. How can a conflict be solved when most of the political leaders from one of the sides are jailed?

Despite that most Catalans, including many pro-Spain supporters, are calling for their immediate release, PM Sánchez appears to be willing to keep them as hostages. Probably in order to win social support from the Spanish far-right, even if it means that the international community will end up comparing his administration with authoritarian regimes such as the Erdogan’s one in Turkey.

Sánchez’s “dialogue” has been clearly reduced to threats and impositions in a nice tone. Apparently, he has forgotten who made him President: pro-independence parties. Unless his rhetoric changes and accepts the negotiation of a self-determination referendum as well as the release of Catalan political prisoners, pro-independence parties will likely bring him down, as well as take unilateral steps for the implementation of the Catalan Republic this autumn. Thus, Sánchez has two options: to negotiate a self-determination referendum or aggravate the crisis by pushing the Catalan government to unilateralism. Which decision Sánchez will make is still uncertain, but he is running out of time.