Friday, June 13, 2014

The tug-of-war of Spanish Neo-Fascist political repression

The Spanish Inquisition¹ acquits 40 Basque Youth activists (right: the trial). Good news? Well, so it would seem in principle but context matters a lot: these 40 Basque citizens have suffered prison, tortures and political persecution. They are now formally acknowledged as innocent but repression fell on them for many years, no apologies, no compensations, no nothing. In fact they can suffer again, as can I or anyone with dissident opinions, further repression at any time.

It is happening all the time. Not just dozens, maybe hundreds still suffer prison, like Arnaldo Otegi for having an opinion and/or a political activity, but new cases of political repression on opinion "crimes", torture and arbitrary imprisonment happen all the time.

This week, Tomás Madina, activist of the memorialist movement, which tries to reveal the truth of fascist murderous repression in the so-called "Spanish Civil War" (i.e. the Fascist military coup), was arrested by the Spanish Military Police, tortured and arbitrarily accused of being member of ETA ("all is ETA" doctrine, you know). He has been sent to prison by the Inquisition. Possibly he will be acquitted in the future (or maybe not) but he will anyhow have suffered the political repression in full force: arbitrary arrest, tortures, false accusations, time spent in prison, etc.

This is how the police state works today: innocent people are persecuted for their ideas and political activism, preventively tortured and imprisoned, then, years later, they are often set free, the intended damage done.

Repression against independent journalism growing

Among the victims of this kind of repression are journalists and media that does not bow to the monolithic institutional discourse. In the Basque Country this began with the closure of Egin newspaper, probably the best newspaper ever in the history of this country, with a lot of investigative journalism and very good news coverage and analysis in its late period, as well as the related Egin Irratia (radio) and Ardi Beltza magazine (investigative journalism monthly). Soon it was followed by another even more outraging attack against free expression with the closure of Egunkaria, the only Basque language newspaper, and the torture of its leading journalists.

The popular reaction was strong in both cases and successor media soon arose but huge damage was done anyhow, artificially forcing new staff and depriving these media of their economic assets. In the long run, a decade later, the cases were dismissed, the damage was already done.

This kind of repression has not ceased at all, although now it is more focused against the new Internet-based media, which offer information and analysis almost impossible to find in the bourgeois mainline old-school media.

In the Basque Country was closed and some of its members arrested and tortured. Only for the case to be dismissed a couple of years later. Not before its successor site, Ateak Ireki, being closed on the same spurious grounds.

In all Spain

A peculiarity of our time however is the increased political dissidence in other parts of the residual Spanish Empire, including its Castilian core, and the subsequent generalization of the political persecution and repression.

Mainline bourgeois media are pictured as shields of the police state in this cartoon

Recently independent media from all the state have denounced this increase in political repression, with a huge list of cases:
  • Police attack against the offices of La Directa in Barcelona.
  • Closure of (Navarre) under accusations of "apology of terrorism" (for reporting about political prisoners).
  • Arrest of La Haine journalist in Madrid, including violent beatings of other journalists who supported him.
  • Judicial persecution against the camera of (Navarre) for filming an "atheist procession".
  • Threats by the Spanish Inquisition against, forcing them to remove a video on the meeting Danbada Eguna or be closured.
  • Criminalization of by ABC newspaper (reactionary) for reporting on political arrests in real time.
  • Pointing out and criminalization of several photo-journalists of Madrid that were later arrested by the Spanish police. 
  • The already mentioned closure and persecution of Navarrese news sites and Ateak Ireki. 
  • Arrest of La Haine journalist in the Unemployed People's March of 2012.
  • Arrest of two journalists of Periodismo Humano when they filmed an attempt by immigrants to cross the border wall of Melilla. 
  • Arrest of a journalist of covering the "surround the Parliament" massive demo of 2011 in Barcelona.
  • Arrest of a journalist of Diagonal newspaper when taking photos of a police anti-immigrant raid in Madrid 2011.

Etcetera. They denounce that this kind of repression is typical of autocratic states like Colombia or Chile, as well as Spain.

The political repression is not limited at all to persecution of journalists. Gratuituous police violence against protesters has become the norm, as well as huge fines for exerting the basic right to protest. Just to mention a recent case, police brutally attacked a huge number of citizens (below) protesting against the discourse of Minister Martínez Soria in Telde, Gran Canaria, arresting six and beating many more, including one woman with serious head injuries (right).

Another also every day more common variant of repression are spurious accusations of links to "terrorism". For example Galician independentist militant Maria Osorio has recently chosen to publicly go clandestine as a way  to rebel against the Spanish repression. This is of course not an easy choice.

Solidarity with her has taken form as the campaign "I also hide Maria Osorio in my home".

But while this kind of spurious "anti-terrorist" political repression has been so far more common against independentist activists, it seems that it is going to become a more generalized trend. The Spanish authorities have been these days warning against "Anarchist terrorism" in a clear attempt to generalize fake "anti-terrorist" repression to all the nations of the residual empire.


¹ Spanish Inquisition: officially known as Audiencia Nacional, successor of Franco's Tribunal of Public Order, in charge of persecuting political dissidence and protecting the political and financier elites, as well as police agents. All major cases with some political significance go through this special political court located in Madrid.

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