The Spanish Government Wants to Enforce Dangerous Reforms which Will Change the Country’s National Security Laws

The Spanish government (PSOE-UP) is planning to reform a law that would allow them to mobilize all adult citizens from Spain in case of a serious crisis. According to the newspaper El País, any adult would have to obey the rules set up by the Spanish Security Council to perform “social tasks.” If the law passes the government will be able to seize almost everything, they will be able to seize property such as houses and companies. They will also be able to seize citizens’ bank accounts and potentially spread misinformation via the media.

This reform is based on Article 30 of the Spanish Constitution, which states that “the Spaniards have the duty and the right to defend Spain.” The “social tasks” would be regulated by the obsolete article that defended compulsory military service, which was suspended in 2001, which states that “the duties of citizens may be regulated in cases of serious risk, catastrophe, or public crisis.” According to the document, the President would also be able to declare a state of emergency without the approval of Congress.

These dangerous reforms could be used by the far-right in the future to install an authoritarian government and quell any form of dissent, which could potentially bring the country back to Francoism times. This could happen soon since according to recent polls, the conservative PP and the far-right Vox will get an absolute majority in the next Spanish election in two years.

Spain’s General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ) Rules that Justification of Francoism Is Protected by Freedom of Expression

On Monday, the plenary of the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ), the governing body of Spain’s justice system, showed their support with 15 votes in favor and 6 against, for a report prepared by judges Roser Bach and Wenceslao Olea, ruling that justification of Francoism is protected by freedom of expression.

The report also questions whether Francisco Franco’s foundation can be outlawed for justifying or defending the dictatorship of Franco and for the incitement of hatred, and violence against the victims of the 1936 coup d’etat.

“A defense of Francoism is the expression of ideas that, despite being contrary to the values of the 1978 Spanish Constitution, are protected by freedom of expression if there is not an additional element of humiliation for the victims,” the report says.

This is a position very different from that taken by Germany, in which justification of Nazism or denying the Holocaust is punishable with up to five years in prison to honor the memory of the victims.

The judiciary also proposes that the definition of a victim of the Civil War and the dictatorship have a “strictly administrative” nature, because “historical truth is not part of the criminal process.”

Scandal: Over 50,000 Missing Vaccines Were Given to the Spanish Army

The Minister of Health, Carolina Darias, has admitted that over 50,000 missing vaccine doses from Pfizer and AstraZeneca were given to the Army: 36,100 AstraZeneca jabs and 19,500 Pfizer jabs. She had declined to give explanations publicly as to the exact number of doses, their destination, or why these vaccines did not appear in the official records for weeks.

The vaccination protocols are clear and the military personnel who have received the vaccine do not match the target population requirements: the use of the different Covid-19 vaccines is set by age groups, and the order in the vaccination schedule is based on priority groups.

The first to receive vaccines in the Spanish state were elderly people living in nursing homes along with medical and care home personnel. Only 3,340 military personnel matched those requirements out of over 50,000 doses given to them, so the Ministry of Defense and the Spanish government broke their own protocols at a time when the vaccination in nursing homes and those over 80 had not been completed yet.

It should be remembered that the Pfizer vaccine is specified as being exclusively for administration to health workers, the elderly people in nursing homes, those over 70 age and people with a high degree of dependency.

This controversy over the vaccine distribution is the second Covid scandal to puncture the Spanish Army and the Health Ministry.

Spain’s former chief of defense, Miguel Ángel Villarroya, was vaccinated against Covid-19 before it was his turn. Villarroya resigned. Nevertheless, the Minister of Defense, Robles appointed him as a member of the Royal and Military Order of Saint Hermenegild, of the Air Force, and assigned him to Washington.

The Spanish Government Will Be Able to Order Whatsapp and Telegram to Send Messages in Exceptional Situations: Many Fear It Will Be Used Against the Population

The Spanish government will be able to send messages by WhatsApp, Telegram and other applications to the population in exceptional situations, according to the preliminary draft of the Telecommunications Act.

“This exceptional and transitional power of direct management or intervention may affect any infrastructure, associated resource or element or level of the network or service that is necessary to preserve or restore public order, public safety or national security,” states the text of the preliminary draft, as reported by the digital newspaper Vozpopuli.

According to the draft, “this power will only be exercised with respect to providers of interpersonal communications services when they are assigned the obligation to transmit public alerts in the event of major catastrophes or imminent or ongoing emergencies.”

The draft proposes a specific intervention by law in communication services such as Whatsapp and Telegram, which operate from outside Spain and pose more problems. For this reason, the Government wants to be able to order them to broadcast messages and alerts that they consider appropriate during an exceptional situation.

Controversy

What is an exceptional situation? Many people fear the government will use this power to quell legitimate protests or acts of civil disobedience in the future. Whether this law will be used against dissenting and peaceful protesters is still unknown, but the experience in other countries shows that this type of law is likely to be used against the population in the foreseeable future.

Judge Keeps Suspension of Open Prison Regime for Jailed Catalan Leaders Junqueras, Rull, Turull, Romeva and Sànchez

The judge of the 5th Court of Prisons has decided to maintain once again the suspension of the open prison regime for Oriol Junqueras, Jordi Sànchez, Jordi Turull, Raül Romeva and Josep Rull until the Supreme Court resolves the appeals filed by the prosecution against the classification of the political prisoners. The judge has again rejected the appeals filed by the defense.

In a statement, the judge said that the arguments of the defense are the same as those already used in the appeal filed against the first ruling on July 28, in which he suspended the execution of the open regime. That appeal was answered in the ruling of August 11. On August 19, the same court upheld the open prison regime but insisted that the suspension should be maintained pending the Supreme Court ruling.

This decision comes after Spanish prosecutors requested the suspension of the lowest security prison regime for seven of the 9 political prisoners: Oriol Junqueras, Joaquim Forn, Jordi Cuixart, Jordi Sànchez, Raül Romeva, Josep Rull, and Jordi Turull.

Another judge decided to maintain the open prison regime for jailed Catalan leaders Carme Forcadell and Dolors Bassa until the Supreme Court makes a final decision on the prosecutor’s requests.

A final decision on the Catalan political prisoners’ jail regime will still have to be made by the Supreme Court for the nine political prisoners in the next few months.

Trial of 2017 Barcelona and Cambrils Terror Attacks

The trial of the 2017 Barcelona and Cambrils terror attacks is due to start in the upcoming months at Spain’s National Court. Three suspects will be tried for terrorism, but not murder.

During the pre-trial procedures, the court said there was not enough evidence to attribute a direct role to the three men in the deaths of the victims who died in the attacks in the Catalan capital and the nearby seaside town.

Mohamed Houli Chemlal and Driss Oukabir are accused of belonging to a terrorist organization, making and using explosives, while Said Ben Iazza is accused of collaborating with a terrorist organization. Mohamed Houli Chemlal and Driss Oukabir have been in preventive detention since August 2017, while Said Ben Iazza has been in custody since September of the same year.

Spain’s public prosecutor requests a 41-year sentence for Houli for allegedly being involved in planning the attacks and preparing the bombs. The Catalan government, acting as private prosecutor, requests 44 years for him, and the Barcelona local council, 95. Yet, they are not being accused of murder due to not having been directly involved in the incident, although the Catalan executive has made clear this might change after the trial starts.

For Driss Oukabir, brother of one of the terrorists shot dead by the police, the public prosecutor requests 36 years behind bars, and for the third accused, Said Ben Iazza, an 8-year sentence.

The Spanish government still refuses to carry out an independent investigation into the attacks, though there are concerns regarding alleged links between the secret services and the suspects.

The Catalan Government to Seek Negotiations in Brussels if Madrid Denies Self-Determination

Catalan President Quim Torra announced during an interview with the Catalan News Agency (ACN) his intention of seeking negotiations with the EU if Spain continues denying the Catalans their right-to self-determination. It comes after “finding” that conversations with Madrid so far has only translated into “photos.”

“It is enough to deceive us. But are they willing to negotiate self-determination? If not, we will negotiate in Brussels and we will not waste any more time.”

The President affirms that his administration will only meet with the PSOE and Podemos government if they write on a paper the conditions for a referendum and amnesty for the political prisoners. “If we don’t see it on a paper, we will not go to the negotiating table again, and we will go to Europe instead” he warned. In this line, the head of government urges Madrid to answer whether or not it is “willing” to negotiate self-determination.

“Have we come to the conclusion that it is impossible for a pro-independence activist to be judged with state neutrality? And have we concluded that they are about to disqualify a president for displaying a banner calling for freedom of expression? The same will happen with the dialogue then, and we will only find negotiation outside the [Spanish] state,” he asserted.

Unity

Torra asks pro-independence forces to achieve a programmatic agreement on self-determination. “What I expect from the parties is a clarification in their electoral programs on how we can move forward towards the Catalan republic,” he explained. According to the President, it is necessary to “clarify” the commitment to “exercise the right to self-determination again.”

Unionism

The President also asked the Catalan unionism to make its own self-criticism with proposals on how to deal with the current situation: “How do they plan to address the fact that the state cares very little or nothing about the funds that correspond to Catalonia?” he asked.

Elections

Spain’s Supreme Court will hold a hearing on Catalan president Quim Torra’s disqualification on September 17. If the judges confirm the disqualification ruled by the Spanish high court in Catalonia (TSJC), Torra would be ousted from his position.

The President affirmed last year that he would call for elections before being disqualified, which could happen in the next few weeks. It remains unknown whether he has changed his mind due to the Covid-19 health crisis.

The Spanish Government Still Provides Protection For Former King Juan Carlos I

On Monday, Spain’s interior minister, Marlaska, confirmed that the Spanish government was still providing protection for former King Juan Carlos I, who fled the country last week over allegations of corruption and money laundering. He is believed to have settled in a luxury hotel in Abu Dhabi. The cost per night is over €10,000.

Marlaska: “It is reasonable and timely that the Minister of the Interior does not give any information about it [where the King is], but what no one can forget is that we are talking about the person who was the head of State in Spain. His security obviously concerns the Spanish state.”

PM Pedro Sánchez affirmed that he didn’t know the whereabouts of the monarch, but the minister of the interior’s statements suggests his administration is closely monitoring the former king’s steps.

Last week, the state-owned public broadcaster RTVE revealed that the government had been negotiating the self-imposed exile of the monarch with the Royal House over a period of weeks, meaning it had helped the monarch to flee the country.

Investigations

Juan Carlos is under investigation in Spain for his role in a deal in which a Spanish consortium landed a €6.7 billion contract to build a high-speed rail line between the Saudi cities of Medina and Mecca.

Swiss prosecutors are also investigating a $100 million bank account held by the monarch in the country. According to the investigations, Juan Carlos allegedly received a “donation” of $100 million from the king of Saudi Arabia that he put in an offshore account in 2008. A few years later, he allegedly “gifted” 65 of those millions from that account to his ex-lover Corinna Larsen.

It is still too early to know whether Swiss and Spanish justice will convict the former king, Juan Carlos I, of corruption and money laundering. However, this case has already shown that the Spanish government has helped someone under investigation over corruption and money laundering to flee the country and is still providing him protection. There is, then, little doubt the Spanish administration is trying to shore up the 78 regime.

The Self-Proclaimed “Most Progressive Government in History” Helps Former King, Juan Carlos I, Flee Spain Over Corruption and Money Laundering Allegations

On Monday, the Spanish Royal House confirmed what many already knew: former King Juan Carlos I had fled Spain following allegations of crimes of corruption and money laundering that have harmed the reputation of the monarchy including his son, King Felipe VI. According to the Spanish media, Juan Carlos is currently staying in a luxury hotel in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

He is currently under investigation by the Spanish Supreme Court for his role in a deal in which a Spanish consortium landed a €6.7 billion contract to build a high-speed rail line between the Saudi cities of Medina and Mecca.

Swiss prosecutors are also investigating a $100 million bank account held by the monarch in the country. According to the investigations, Juan Carlos allegedly received a “donation” of $100 million from the king of Saudi Arabia that he put in an offshore account in 2008. A few years later, he allegedly “gifted” 65 of those millions from that account to his ex-lover Corinna Larsen.

The former king lost his immunity in June 2014 following his abdication, meaning he can be tried in Spain, though there are suspicions the Spanish Supreme Court, a body never reformed during the so-called “transition,” could favor him.

The self-proclaimed “most progressive government in history” officially said it “respected” the decision of the King Emeritus to leave Spain. The state-owned public broadcaster RTVE revealed that the government had been negotiating the self-imposed exile of the monarch with the Royal House over a period of weeks.

Podemos party said that they did not know anything about the negotiations, even though they are a part of the government. Giving them the benefit of the doubt, Podemos should have quit the coalition immediately. Instead, its leader, Pablo Iglesias, called for people to understand that PSOE and Podemos have different views of the monarchy and ruled out any risk of rupture of the coalition government.

What Podemos seems to forget is that they are co-responsible for any action taken by the government — they form part of it. The reality is that their government allegedly helped Juan Carlos flee the country in the midst of serious investigations for alleged corruption and money laundering — this is unacceptable.

Sooner or later, an international independent investigation should take place into how Juan Carlos fled the country. Many clarifications are still needed:

– Did he flee the country with an official plane?

– Does he still have an official escort?

– Has the government provided him any financial assistance?

– What government/s are giving him sanctuary?

– Who allowed him to go?

– What are the legal aspects of this?

– Did the government do anything illegal in negotiating his exit while he is being investigated?

– etc.

Whether this investigation will take place in the future is still unknown, but this case has already shown that the so-called “most progressive government in history,” is not so very progressive and is actually contributing to the shoring up of the 78 regime.

Catalan Political Prisoners Granted 3rd Degree Category Status, Lowest Prison Category

On Tuesday, the Generalitat (Catalan government) ratified the 3rd degree category status for all the Catalan political prisoners. The “semi-liberty” regime means they can leave prison on weekends, but continue to spend weeknights behind bars.

They were locked behind bars during a 2 year long pre-trial detention before being sentenced last October to serve prison terms of 9 to 13 years by Spain’s Supreme Court, an unfair decision that caused social unrest across the country.

On July 2, the prison boards proposed the 3rd degree status for the nine jailed Catalan leaders: Carme Forcadell, Dolors Bassa, Oriol Junqueras, Jordi Turull, Raül Romeva, Josep Rull, Joaquim Forn, Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sànchez. This was ratified by the Catalan justice department on Tuesday.

Nevertheless, the final decision rests with the Spanish Supreme Court. The Prosecutor’s Office has already announced that it will appeal. Awaiting the court’s final decision, the jailed Catalan leaders will continue enjoying the third degree status.

Minister of the Presidency, Meritxell Budó, said on this matter: “I could tell them that it is good news that they have given the third degree to the prisoners, but they should be released.”

Jailed Catalan leader Raül Romeva: “Third degree is just another way to continue to pay a 12-year prison sentence and disqualification.”

Romeva: “Tonight I will spend my 875th night in prison. Tomorrow, the 876th. And so on, because the third degree status is just another way to continue serving a sentence of 12 years in prison and disqualification. Freedom is not the third degree, but it is amnesty. “

It’s worth mention that the third degree (“semi-liberty”) regime is not freedom. The jailed Catalan leaders are political prisoners who should not have been sent to prison in the first place, as several international human rights organizations have repeatedly said.