Tag Archives: Catalonia

The brutal crackdown in Catalonia, by William McGee

The powers that be have a favorite response to insurrectionists: violence. From William McGee at spiked-online.com:

The Spanish state’s repression of protests is pouring gasoline on the separatist fire.

One would have thought the Spanish state would have wanted a bit of positive PR after its missteps two years ago. The world was shocked when voters, including the elderly, were beaten with batons and dragged away from polling stations by overzealous policemen sent in to quash the independence referendum. The Spanish state rightly received widespread condemnation for its heavy-handedness. However, two years later, it does not seem to have learned anything from this.
Since the latest wave of protests erupted, Amnesty International has condemnedthe Spanish police’s use of excessive force and its deployment of anti-riot equipment and munitions. Officers have used batons on peaceful and subdued protesters. Four protesters have so far lost eyes from rubber bullets fired at close range. One protester required surgery after receiving a shot to the testicles. Officially, these bullets are banned in the region.

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Brexit Is a Symptom, Not the Problem, by Tom Luongo

The peasants are revolting in myriad ways against the plans for globalization and control their betters have for them. From Tom Luongo at strategic-culture.org:

Since the moment the votes were totaled in the June 2016 Brexit referendum there has been nothing but handwringing about what it implied. The Brexit vote showed, quite clearly, that growing political unions were unsustainable.

It was the first in a series of electoral losses where the people finally said enough to an expanding EU.

Four months later the US voted Donald Trump, of all people, into the White House, again throwing into the air another ‘two fingers up’ to the Western political establishment that wanted to break down borders and blur the lines between nation states.

Trump’s first moves were to nullify the Paris Accord on Climate Change and both the TTIP and TPP. These are all globalist, transnational treaties designed to usurp national governments and put control of the world economy into the hands of corporations with little recourse to the courts for those harmed.

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Spain’s Catalonia Crisis Just Got a Lot Worse, by Sebastiaan Faber and Bécquer Seguín

This is a good overview of the situation in Catalonia, where there have been massive protests over the sentences handed down to the leaders of the movement that tried to put Catalonian independence on the ballot.. From Sebastiaan Faber and Bécquer Seguín at thenation.com:

Now that the verdict’s out, it’s time to start getting along,” Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said at a press conference on October 18, repeating the rhyme—“después de la sentencia, convivencia”—as if it were a magic spell. Around the same time, half a million Catalans were converging on Barcelona, which for the previous four days had seen its airport occupied and highways blocked while violent clashes between protesters and riot police were increasing in intensity each night. Sánchez insisted on framing these clashes as an internal Catalan problem. “What’s at stake is not the territorial makeup of our country, but the Catalans’ ability to get along with each other,” he’d said a few days earlier. One week of major protests, it appears, did not shake his government’s unwillingness to face reality: The Catalan crisis is something that affects the entire country, and it is far from over.

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Military Police Deployed As 500,000 Catalan Independence Protesters Shut Down Barcelona, by Tyler Durden

The Spanish government, by levying heavy sentences against organizers of a Catalonian independence referendum, has made its bed. Now it will have to lie in it. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

Central Barcelona has reportedly been paralyzed as mass protests which international reports estimate to number over a half-million people are driven by outrage at harsh prison sentences for pro-independence leaders handed down by the top Spanish court.

Protest leaders are vowing “the streets will be ours” as they push for Catalan independence, and as riot police have begun clashing with stone-throwing activists, who are also in some places of the city setting makeshift roadblocks ablaze.

Pro-Catalan independence protesters near the police headquarters in Barcelona on Friday, via the AFP.

With night fall, reporters on the ground are describing what’s beginning to resemble a war zone, with increasing violence against police, as also both far-left and far-right agitators are said to be infiltrating the crowd and engaged in increasing violence and vandalism.

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Revealed: The Run on Banks in Catalonia after the Independence Vote was Fomented by Madrid, by Don Quijones

The Spanish government will do whatever it takes to keep milk-cow Catalonia part of Spain. From Don Quijones at wolfstreet.com:

The clandestine role of the Spanish government in a run on deposits that drained €29 billion from Catalan banks.

Just over a year has passed since over two million people in Catalonia voted in a banned referendum to leave Spain. On that day, the separatists were given a brutal lesson in the raw power of state violence. Days later, they were given another harsh lesson, this time in the fickleness of money. Within days of holding the vote, which was brutally suppressed but not prevented by Spanish police, Spain’s north eastern region was forced to watch as one after another of its brand names moved their headquarters, at least on paper, to other parts of Spain.

Among the first companies to up sticks were Catalonia’s two largest banks, Caixabank and Banco Sabadell, which feared being cut off from European Central Bank funding in the event, albeit unlikely, of Catalonian secession. That would have meant no more virtually interest-free loans from the ECB or access to Europe’s repo markets. In other words, a death sentence, as Caixabank’s then president Isidro Faine recently admitted.

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World’s Most Wanted Bank Whistleblower Was Just Arrested, for the Worst Possible Reason, by Don Quijones

Will Spain turn over a whistleblower to Switzerland in exchange for two Catalonian separatists held by the Swiss? It would be a sordid deal. From Don Quijones at wolfstreet.com:

For a prisoner exchange between Switzerland and Spain? 

Hervé Falciani, the French-Italian former HSBC employee who blew the whistle on HSBC and 130,000 global tax evaders in 2008, has been arrested in Madrid on Tuesday in response to an arrest warrant issued by Switzerland for breaking the country’s bank secrecy laws.

He lives in France, which rarely extradites its own citizens. But when Spanish authorities learned that he was in town to speak at a conference ominously titled, “When Telling the Truth is Heroic,” they made their move. If he is extradited to Switzerland he could face up to five years in prison.

Falciani worked as a computer technician for HSBC’s Swiss subsidiary. One day in 2008, he left the office with five computer disks containing what would eventually become one of the largest leaks of banking data in history.

According to Swiss authorities, Falciani stole and then attempted to sell a trove of confidential data. Falciani says he was a whistleblower who wanted to expose a “broken” banking system, “which encouraged tax evasion.”

When much of the stolen data was leaked to the press in 2015, it revealed, among other sordid things, that HSBC’s Swiss subsidiary routinely allowed clients to withdraw “bricks of cash,” often in foreign currencies of little use in Switzerland. It also colluded with clients to conceal undeclared “black” accounts from their domestic tax authorities and provided services to international criminals, corrupt businessmen, shady dictators and murky arms dealers.

As Falciani would soon find out, snitching on one of the world’s biggest banks and 130,000 of its richest clients does not make you a popular person in a country famed for its banking secrecy. In 2014 he was indicted in absentia by the Swiss federal government for violating the country’s bank secrecy laws and for industrial espionage. A year later he was sentenced by Switzerland’s federal court to five years in prison – the “longest sentence ever demanded by the confederation’s public ministry in a case of banking data theft.”

To continue reading: World’s Most Wanted Bank Whistleblower Was Just Arrested, for the Worst Possible Reason

Playing With Fire in Catalonia, by Don Quijones

Here’s a good update on the Catalonia situation, which has for  the most part dropped out of the news. From Don Quijones at wolfstreet.com:

A relentless state, angry demonstrations, and profoundly worried businesses.

The ever-worsening political standoff between Spain and Catalonia is beginning to take a toll on credit markets, as banks refuse to renegotiate the terms of loans granted to companies with operations in the separatist region. One of the first victims is the British fund John Laing Infrastructure which, in its 2017 annual report, divulged some of the problems it faced trying to refinance a €700 million loan for work on section two of Barcelona Metro’s Line Nine.

The fund owns 53.5% of the concessionaire operating the fifteen stations on the line’s southern section. The other partners include Iridium, a subsidiary of the Spanish infrastructure giant ACS, and Queenspoint, a fund part owned by German insurance giant Allianz and the Danish pension fund ATP.

One of the main reasons why the banks involved don’t want to soften the credit conditions of the loan is that Barcelona’s metro depends on Catalonia’s regional government for funds. Building on Line 9 began in 2005 but was temporarily halted at the height of Spain’s financial crisis due to a funding shortage. Thirteen years later, the project is still far from complete and further progress is unlikely to be helped by the political chaos engulfing the region.

In the last fortnight alone Pablo Llarena, the Supreme Court’s judge in charge of the main investigation against Catalan secessionists, has indicted 25 Catalan leaders, put five who had previously been released on bail back in pretrial detention (for up to four years), and issued European Arrest Warrants against six pro-independence figures who have fled Spain. They include former regional President Carles Puigdemont who is presently occupying a jail cell in northern Germany awaiting a decision on his extradition.

To continue reading: Playing With Fire in Catalonia