Sunday, February 16, 2014

Basque News Report (Jan 16 - Feb 15 2014)

My semi-regular English language collaboration for Borroka Garaia Da!:

Political prisoner Arkaitz Bellon dies in jail

Arkaitz Bellon, born in Elorrio 36 years ago, died in strange circumstances in the Spanish prison of Puerto I (Cadiz). According to the official account, he was found dead in the afternoon in his isolation cell, for no apparent reason and without signs of violence. However the family was denied a request to have a trustworthy physician present in the autopsy and Arkaitz had no medical history of relevance, being also few months away from being released, what made the case extremely suspicious.


Nevertheless a second autopsy once the body arrived to the family appears to have confirmed the official version of unspecified natural causes.

Arkaitz had been sentenced to 13 years for street guerrilla activities which caused no victims nor injuries. It is notable that, wouldn’t he have been Basque, and therefore arbitrarily classified as “terrorist” and “ETA member”, he would not have even gone to prison at all, getting a nominal penalty only. Truly violent crimes such as rape and murder usually get in Spain lower penalties than what Arkaitz got for taking part in attacks against inanimated properties.

Protests have taken place in his hometown of Elorrio, as well as in many other Basque towns. At least three young people were arrested in Algorta for placing posters in solidarity with Bellon.

Arkaitz is the third Basque political prisoner who dies in prison in less than a year. A list with photos of all prisoners died in jail since 1985 is available at BDG!

Sources: Naiz Info[es/eu] (link 1, link 2, link 3, link 4, link 5, link 6)

Three Basque youths arrested after months into hiding

Goizane Pinedo and Unai Ruiz, persecuted by the Spanish Inquisition for their political activity, were arrested on January 18th after three months in hiding. They chained themselves to a blacony in Vitoria-Gasteiz while a support demonstration was held in the street.

Their nonviolent give-away was responded by a massive deployment of police forces in riot gear and masks. Other than that there were no incidents in the arrest.

On January 26th, another victim of political persecution, Idoya Iragorri, provoked her public arrest in her hometown of Sestao within the activities of the Disobedience Day, which was massively participated by police forces, both local and Spanish, in plain clothes or combat uniform.

The police presence was already very intense in Sestao even before the Disobedience Day but on this journey it became just massive. The activities had to be moved because of the rainy weather but the the information about Iragorri’s ideological persecution and disobedience to imperialist mock justice were amply publictited in the worker town of Greater Bilbao in spite of the weather and the overwhelming police presence.

Eventually Idoia chained herself to the gates of the Town Hall, being braced by a multitude of citizens, including her mother.

Police then charged with brutality against the human wall, causing the outrage and protest of many witnesses, at least one of whom was badly beaten and then arrested (being charged as usual with the farcical accusation of “aggression”).

Idoya Iragorri was also arrested and is expected to go to prison for no other reason than upholding her ideas.

Sources: Naiz Info[eu] (incl. videos), Herri Kolore[es].

Basque youths denounce the political nature of their trial

36 members of the Basque Nationalist Youth movement Segi offered a press conference announcing that they will denounce the political nature of their trial by the Spanish political tribunal Audiencia Nacional (aka the Inquisition) in their final allegations on January 31st. They have agreed on a single text, which has also gained the support of some personalities, such as the President of the Western Basque branch of the (Spanish nationalist) Socialist Party, Jesus Egiguren, the attorney and former MEP Txema Montero, writer Toti Martí­nez de Lezea, the bertsolariak Xabier and Miren Amuriza, rower Jose Luis Korta and climber Alex Txikon.

They also want to promote for this and other instances of inquistorial repression the so-called “orange ambient”, in reference for the color chosen for the human walls campaign against political repression.

They warned that in the next months more than 200 Basque citizens will be tried by the Spanish special courts on mere political grounds. Most likely all them will go to jail.

Source: Berria[eu]. The full allegation can be watched at Lekhia (in Basque only).

Basque Nationalist Left sketches “unilateral” Basque Way to Independence

Basque Nationalist Left organizations Sortu (party), LAB (union) and Ernai (youth movement) presented their sketch of campaign towards Basque sovereignty.
The “Basque Way” is unavoidably unilateral because the imperialist states, Spain and France, have repeatedly shown no signs of being willing to dialogue, as they do not want any sort of democratic solution. This forced unilateraly will unavoidably clash at some point with the Spanish and French legal frames, they reckon.

They propose that, together with the extant social majority, it is necessary the formation of a “solid political alliance”, in likely reference to the ambiguous position of the right-wing Basque Nationalist Party.

They described the pillars of this strategy, to be defended, as follows: social rights, language and culture, education system, national symbols and territoriality (i.e. opposition to the division of the Basque Country, as happens now).

Source: Naiz Info[es].

Ongoing trial for the police-inflicted death of Iñigo Cabacas

Iñigo Cabacas, a supporter of Athletic Bilbao football team, was killed two years ago by a rubber bullet shot by Western Basque Autonomous Police agents in the course of a clearly improcedent and absurdly risky charge against masses of people peacefully celebrating the success of their team. The public outrage at this gratuitous and murderous police violence is very high. These weeks we are witnessing the trial for the killing, which is rather convoluted because of the extreme overprotection that police agents enjoy under the Spanish exceptional laws and dubious judicial system.


While the commander of the police operation, codenamed Ugarteko, who clearly ordered the attack in spite of the agents on the ground insisting on everything being calm, has finally been unveiled as Jorge Aldekoa, he remains still not indicted, while several agents are instead. In order to do this, the Western Basque Autonomous Government keeps insistent secrecy and pretends that Aldekoa was only one more in the operative, and even that he was just watching the match at San Mames stadium, when he was actually the top boss of the security operative that day in Bilbao.

Spanish Unionist parties, together with the conservative regionalist EAJ-PNV have blocked a comission to investigate the case in the Gasteiz Parliament, as well as a request for Aldekoa declaring in it.

Sources[es]: Naiz Info, Gara.

Navarre: corrupt government may collapse

Basque worker union LAB demanded the resignation of the government of Yolanda Barcina (UPN, right wing Spanish unionist) after yet another corruption scandal hit it, in this case arbitrary tax favors to companies with ties with the government.

The mutual support of both major unionist parties have kept Navarre under their control for decades but all opinion polls confirm that such a period is over and that, after the massive corruption scandals that afflict the Old Kingdom under their rule, alternative forces leaning to the left and pro-Basque positions are set to win as soon as elections are held. However the regional elections are not scheduled until 2015.

President Barcina declared her intention of calling snap elections, however a call from Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy, dissuaded her from making such a risky move. There is widespread concern in Madrid about the likely radical change that Navarre will endure as soon as new elections are held. However the center-left unionist party PSN-PSOE, which has so far supported Barcina with their passivity, has already announced a non-confidence vote, so it is still possible that early elections will be held anyhow in May.

Sources: Gara[es], La Haine[es], FTWATWB[en].

Sleeping in cash machine rooms in demand of a hospice

Elect officers and grassroots activists of EH Bildu slept in cash machine rooms, as many homeless people have to, in demand of a district hospice for the homeless in the Left Bank of the Bilbao Estuary. The action meant to draw political attention when this issue is going to be debated in the four municipal councils of the working class district (Santurtzi, Portugalete, Sestao and Barakaldo).


The law demands that every municipality with more than 20,000 inhabitants must have such a facilities so nobody is obligued to sleep in the streets. However it is systematically ignored. In the Left Bank only Barakaldo offers such a basic humanitarian service exclusively for the winter months.

The activists acknowledged to be well aware that the problem is much deeper than the lack of a hospice, being one of social exclusion and inequality generated by the Capitalist system, but for the time being this basic paliative is an urgent need.

When the issue was finally to be discussed in the monthly plenaries of the various towns, the officialist parties (unionists plus EAJ-PNV) blocked it systematically with all kind of tricks.
Only in Barakaldo, six homeless people have died while sleeping in the streets this winter.

Source: Herri Kolore[es] (link 1, link 2).

Compulsory social services for welfare recipients

The Western Basque Government (EAJ-PNV) has announced that they intend to establish a compulsory social service for those people who are perceiving the Income Guarantee Rent (most basic welfare) because of unemployment and dire need.

The putschist government of Lopez initiated this reactionary reform of welfare services in the Western Basque Country by transferring them to the Basque unemployment agency Lanbide, which has been hardly able to cope because of understaffing and more than dubious practices, which have left thousands unable to access the public payment of about €600. The current conservative EAJ government is continuing with the same plan of dismantling the welfare system and making it more and more Thatcherite in spite of growing unemployment and all kind of desperate situations caused by the systemic crisis of Capitalism.

Their last project is to force all recipients into social compulsory services of some sort. This has been denounced by all kind of social movements, as well as labor unions. A major concern is that these forced workers will take much needed jobs, being forced to work for almost nothing like slaves.

Violent storms shatter the Basque coast

A most violent series of storms, unheard of except for the oldest ones, caused much havoc in several coastal towns of the Basque Country. Most affected was Donostia (San Sebastian), whose Old Quarter was flooded by the storm surge and whose harbor, established as port for Navarre in 1181, saw the loss of several ships.


Baiona, Zumaia, Bermeo and other towns were also affected. In Bermeo the wall protecting the fishermen’s lounges was demolished by the storm, and these were damaged twice by the waves.

A cargo ship was wrecked at Angelu (Anglet), being broken in two as the waves threw it against the coast. Luckily all sailors could be rescued alive.

A Senegalese sailor, who was swallowed by a sudden wave at the dock of Ondarroa is so far the only mortal victim.

Sources[eu/es]: Gara, Berria, Naiz Info.

Controversy on the Iruñea-Veleia findings continues

The results of a technical test on the controversial findings ordered by tribunals were leaked to right-wing newspaper El Correo. These found widespread evidence of modern alloys in the inscriptions. However the matter is much more complicated than a shallow read allows.

Detail of one piece before and after the DFA mystery manipulation

Prior to this leak, supporters of the authenticity of the findings, which include texts in ancient Basque as well as in Vulgar Latin, etc. had reported that the pieces, under custody of the provincial government of Araba (DFA, part in the dispute), had been severely affected by some sortof aggressive cleaning.

After the leaks, they held a press conference in which they reported contradictions between the earlier Madariaga report, which found no such evidence of modern materials, and the new one (still formally unpublished). They attributed these differences to mishandling of the pieces by the provincial authorities, active supporters of the falsification hypothesis.
Later it was known that the DFA had secretly made some very aggressive tests on many of the pieces, whose results are not publicly known.

While the supporters of the falsification hypothesis have full control of the evidence (the extraordinary findings), the accused archaeologists Eliseo Gil and Idoia Filloy have never been allowed even to look at them. On all these grounds they demand acquittal because of indefension.

Since the controversy began five years ago, many new studies have been published in support of the authenticity of the findings and not a single one in support of the falsification hypothesis.

Sources: Berria[eu] (link 1, link 2) Ama Ata[es/eu] (link 1, link 2, link 3 – incl. video of the press conference, link 4, link 5, link 6, link 7, link 8, link 9, link 10).

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please, be reasonably respectful when making comments. I do not tolerate in particular sexism, racism nor homophobia. The author reserves the right to delete any abusive comment.

Comment moderation before publishing is... ON