Saturday, 31 March 2007

Spanish censorship alive and well…

Another political party supporting independence and freedom for the Basque Country, another Spanish judge ordering that party is banned –even before it has been officially formed.

This is the nature of the Spanish ‘democracy’: political parties are allowed, but not if they threaten the “unity” of Spain. The excuse of banning Batasuna because they advocate violence is a joke: I don’t see any judges banning the far-right extremist parties (Falange, Democracia Nacional, Espana 2000, etc) that advocate the use of violence and make use of it regularly in their demonstrations.

This inequality is what is revealing about Spain: you can be an extremist but only if you are on the Spanish side. Thus, Falange and Democracia Nacional are allowed. Batasuna is banned. Fascists newspapers are allowed to print xenophobic and racist vile; on the other hand Basque newspapers are closed.

This is democracy, Spanish style.

Thursday, 29 March 2007

And thus the cultural genocide goes on

So there we have it. TV3 is being banned from the Valencia region. It was inevitable. It was far too normal to be allowed. Far too European and modern. A TV network broadcasting in Catalan in Valencia? No. No chance.

The regional government of the PP has finally decided to close down the transmissions of TV3 in the Valencian area. More proof, if it was needed, of the neo-fascist attitudes of the PP. But that is not the end of it. The PSOE government in Madrid could resolve this ‘crisis’ in 2 minutes: the digital frequencies used by TV3 and the Valencian cultural associations that maintain the transmitters are owned and managed by the Spanish government, not the Valencian government. It would be that simple. But “our friends” of the PSOE will do nothing to prevent this injustice, this exercise of fascist prohibition, this expression, another one, of the ongoing cultural genocide against the Catalan language.

Because this is what is going on. Spain, regardless who is in power, PP or PSOE, has one objective and they pursue it restlessly: they want to ensure that Catalan dies as an everyday language. They have already achieved that in Alacant (Alicante) and in most of the Valencia region (País Valencià), they are on their way to achieve their objective in the Balearics and they are making good progress in the area around Barcelona.

Thus, little by little, by overt action (PP) or wilful inaction (PSOE) Catalan language and culture is being eroded, obliterated from its natural and historical heartlands.

What is most disheartening is that this is happening while the party that thousands of people voted so that we would not back down against Spain, (ERC) the party I have supported for many years, is in power in Catalonia. That is what saddens me, and many other fair-minded Catalans the most. When we thought we had finally a political party ready to defend our interests, it turns out that they cling to power, they befriend our Spanish oppressors, and they back down at every single opportunity, very much like the 23 years we endured of CiU and President Pujol.

It makes you wonder how long our agony will last, how long until the language disappears from public life, how long until Catalonia is just like Occitaine, another historical folkloric anecdote from the past.

Wednesday, 14 March 2007

Shame on New Labour

If there was any doubt, if you were so naïve to think that the Labour party had any decency left, and that is stretching one’s imagination, it was put to an end today.

The Labour party and their allies, the Conservative party, have voted today to replace the Trident nuclear weapons system based in the Clyde, near Glasgow. (BBC News)

This means an expenditure of £20m (€30m) on a nuclear weapons system, effectively Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) based about 30 miles from where I live.

I am tuned into BBC Radio Scotland (Scotland at Ten), listening to the speeches made in the Commons and I am sick to the teeth of the Labour party. They get this country in an illegal and ill-advised war in Iraq, without UN mandate, and now we get £20 billions (£20,000,000,000) in WMD. Then we complain if Iran wants to develop their own system.

I have never voted for Labour and never will. These despicable people are ruining this country, makes us more vulnerable, not less.

We have the worst train service in the EU 15, yet this Labour government will spend £20bn in WMD.
We have MRSI viruses in our hospitals, yet this Labour government will spend £20bn in WMD.
We have increasing problems with anti-social behaviour, lack of street-policing, yet this Labour government will spend £20bn in WMD.
We have underpaid, and over-worked nurses and teachers, yet this Labour government will spend £20bn in WMD.
We have areas of poverty in Glasgow worse than developing world standards, yet this Labour government will spend £20bn in WMD.

And the people that have voted for this call themselves Labour.
Labour my arse.
They are a disgrace to the proud history of the Labour movement; they are the worst kind of traitors, cowards and self-satisfying bastards on earth. 20 years ago they were campaigning, together with the CND, against nuclear armament.
Now they vote to spend another £20bn on nuclear Weapons of Mass Destruction.
What the hell has changed in 20 years? That the Bitch (Thatcher) was in power and now it is the people's party?

Nuclear deterrent”, they call it. To deter who? Al Qaida? The monster they created and financed in the first place? And who are going to attack in retaliation? Who will press the button that will kill thousands of innocent civilians somewhere else?

Unlikely as it is, I really hope, no, I pray with all my heart, that the SNP will win the next Scottish elections on May 3. Yet, I am doubtful. I am afraid that the Scottish people are too afraid of change now. Too afraid of getting rid of the people that have governed the UK for the last decade. Take Glasgow as an example. The local Labour party has been in power in the City Council (or in the previous regional authority) for over 30 years. In all these 30 years, the so-called Labour party in Glasgow have been unable to do anything to improve the quality of life of the people living in this city. Glasgow was at the bottom of the poverty tables 30 years ago, and it remains in exactly the same position now. And they still blame the Tories, or Thatcher, or the SNP or… anybody else but themselves.

And still, what disheartens me the most is that the Labour party, this Labour party that has been unable to do anything to lift Glasgow off the bottom of the poverty league table, the same people that are selling the nation’s assets to private financiers (PPI, PFI, etc), the same people that are privatising our hospitals, the same people that sell honours for cash loans to the party, the same people that got us involved in a stupid, illegal war against a country who had no WMD (unlike ourselves), the same people that have voted to spend £20,000,000,000 on a nuclear weapons of mass destructions system… this people, the Labour party, are going to be returned to power.
That is the sad thing.

It is never wise to get into politics in a foreign country. But I have had enough. I cannot stand being governed by such a bunch of incompetent, corrupt and morally devoid people. I have always voted for the SNP since I arrived to Scotland (except a moment of weakness when I cast a second vote for the SSP…) but this time round I am going to go to the local branch and I am going to offer helping out with whatever they need.

Except I can’t do that because I am writing a thesis for my masters’ degree (part-time student as well as working full-time) and I don’t have any spare time. Damn.

I have been over here for over 8 years, now, always working and paying my NI and Income Tax, even when I was a studying. Never claimed benefits or anything from the state, apart from my 25% single person discount for my council tax. I think 8 years is enough time to get involved, even if I have a rather silly foreign accent. But I am so fed up, I am so raging at this country being held back by these despicable people that I cannot stand it anymore.

Roll on May 3 and let’s all vote SNP and kick the Labour-WMD party out of power. Let’s tell them where to stick their Trident nuclear system of WMD.
Aye, up theirs.

Sunday, 4 March 2007

“Criminal” articles translated into English - de Juana Chaos

As always, it was easier than I thought: the articles are already translated into other languages.
I will copy and paste the English translation published in a site with the URL,

I guess the site is maintained by a friend of de Juana Chaos or some other sympathiser but there is no 'about us' section I am afraid. I have to say that the English translation is not easy to read. Neither is the original Spanish.

The original articles in Gara (El escudo and Gallizo)
The English translations (The shield and Gallizo). There are translations available in Italian and Basque.

If you can read Spanish and have the time to do some research on this man, you will be very surprised: he was the son of Falangistas, his dad served under Franco; his family was not Basque; he did National Service in the Spanish army (1977), and even got an award for bravery during a fire, and in 1982 entered the Basque police (Ertzaintza). A few months after that, he went underground with ETA.

If you are fluent in Spanish, I recommend you read this amazing article in El País newspaper about his mum.
The Wikipedia articles on him (English, Spanish, German and Catalan) appear to me quite reliable and relatively free of political bias, considering the circumstances.

In any case, whatever we think of this man, one thing is clear: he had served his sentence under Spanish law but the Spanish state found an excuse to keep him in prison: two newspaper articles that are still available through the newspaper’s website. The articles themselves are harmless and it is my view that he was condemned because he dared to speak up. Convicted because of two opinion articles. Meanwhile, convicted GAL murderers have served fewer than 4 years in prison.

Below are the translations into English.

Translated from "El Escudo" published in Spanish in the newspaper GARA on the 1st December 2004.

I watch TV I listen to the radio. I read newspapers and magazines. And the bombing is intense and permanent. The enemy is self-infatuated. Arrests in both the Northern and Southern Basque Country. Round ups both in the Spanish and French State. Poisonous reports trying to inoculate the virus of mistrust.

"El Lobo" ("the wolf") a simple grass to whom the pigs emptied before they threw him to the dunghill of uselessness (as they do with every little grass) is being recovered and raised to the category of hero of infiltration and secret services. He is being raised to the status of starring role in films and documentaries where he shows off bizarrely thanks to TV & film scripts and cheque-books (1).

Discouragement maneouvres. Publication of private correspondence and conversations, totally or partially, but either way in manipulated and interested versions (even if we should admit that we shouldn't be giving them such facilities)(2).

Penal dispersion: from prison to prison and within each prison. Mistreatment, tortures... renewed in time but permanent in their forms and as ancient as political repression is. Aggressions. Sick mates blackmailed with the gravity of their situation.

Yes, the assault is strong in every front as much as it is undeniable. Maybe the enemy conjectures that he can end up with us? that he can finish with the Basque National Liberation Movement? Do they think they will manage to make a whole people give in or at least silence its steps by making it walk exclusively over a carpeted floor?

I don't need to be a soothsayer in order to cry out, with all my strength and conviction, this politically incorrect expression: you are done with! fuck off with all of that because you are not going to win. Or haven't you noticed yet that we have an invulnerable shield which is no other than reason?

As every totalitarian power, fascist or neo-fascist, the current PSOE government, (as did its predecessor and as the former ones did) is in permanent need of re-writing history. In permanent need of manipulating and lying, creating evil and good characters at will, by far surpassing the limits of the well-known orwellian fiction. And this is a war strategy with the only and stated purpose of assimilating us, obtaining our resignation from our principles, values, and rights and our integration in their system.

Conniving judges, corrupt politicians, torture professionals, ruthless jailers you are boring, tiring and foreseeable. You don't deserve any respect or consideration, not even a minimal one such as to keep down the tone of this letter.

But all this deserves explanation. Is Zapatero"mood" (3) totalitarian? Are those little blue eyes and angel-like smile fascist? The very self-same who took the troops off Iraq? The one who is going to modify abortion, divorce and so many other laws to get a tamed left satisfied? Well, yes, totalitarianism without a single doubt. Because he who - taking the Basque Country as a first priority, as it couldn't be otherwise - passes martial laws, creates special courts, protects torture, prosecutes and represses rights of association, expression and freedom of the press, bans people from political and electoral participation, and does all this in order to keep a nation silent and denying its right to self-determination, is a hand-book fascist. And we can forget about language embellishments.

Technically, the 25th October 2004, I finished serving the prison sentence that their legal and penal system imposed on me by the Criminal Code of 1973, a francoist code uncomparably "softer" than the current one devised by Franco's heirs. From this date on, I haven't left prison, officially because the judge Gómez Bermúdez another meteoric starlette built upon Basque suffering - has "doubts" as to the served sentence. Once more I cannot avoid being astonished - and I hope I never loose this capability - the contempt in which their servants have their own laws. That we, who combat them, reject them is only natural but that those who eat by them despise them is an index of which their function is.

The terms "illegality", "kidnapping" etc. cannot and shouldn't be used in my case, though. And I don't like they use it in my defense, because it is 700 mates that we are retained in an illegal form and kidnapped by an authoritarian system - some of them from a longer time than I am. And out of the prison walls the whole non-conformist part of society stands in a similar situation. Anyway, there hundreds of thousands of Basques enduring a penal 4th grade (4), awaiting for uniformed people to hit their door and notify them repression for bad behavior.

The minister López Aguilar has been far clearer: De Juana cannot leave prison in any way whatsoever. And that's it. ¿The reason why? He doesn't show any sign of "resocialization". Fortunately enough, it is a vast majority of the 700 inmates and a great part of Basque socitey who doesn't display any "signs of resocialization".

Because "resocialize" in the sense the enemy employs it, implies the defeat and acceptance of the counter-values so magnificently represented by Lopez Agular, Zapatero and Gomez Bermudez. But they ahould ask themselves a question: if 700 mates with thousands of years served and to serve in prison upon our backs do not display signs of "resocialization", doesn't it mean something fails in their "penal treatment"? the failing bit is that we count on the shield of reason. This and that there is nothing, whether in the personal o political sphere, that cannot be overcome, unless it is the internalization of failure.

Any process knows ups and downs. Appearances are deceitful. In politics, noise doesn't mean strength, as silence doesn't mean weakness. We are going to win. Let us read the history of other processes but of successful ones, not of those that failed. Let us compare the acceptance of our political discourse on the part of Basque society now and 25 years ago. The rest is easy: work, sacrifice, learning from mistakes and not to put sticks in our own bicycle's wheels.

Years ago, I heard a very appreciated mate crying loudly: "take off your dirty hands from the Basque Country". Yes, you take them off, because any other road only implies more suffering still. Otherwise the future will end up showing, doubtless, that you lost them.

(1) El Lobo, Mikel Lejarza Egia, was a famous informer of Franco's police. In the last years the Spanish far-right journal "El Mundo" or connected media has published a book, a series of TV "documentaries", and even a fiction film with a handsome and popular actor has been devoted to his figure.

(2) The promotion of the informer was matched by the promotion of the surrendering resistant in the Spanish media. In those days, a private letter of some inmates showing their "tiredness" and disposition to abandon the fight was conveniently "filtrated" to the press as representative of the basque prisoners' collective.

(3) The original says "talante" an expression made famous during Zapatero's campaign before his election.

(4) There 3 "grades" of prison inmates in Spain: very roughly 1st grades are uncommunicated within prison, 2nd grades not, and 3rd grades may spend the day out of prison.

Translated from "Gallizo" published in Spanish in the newspaper GARA on the 30th December 2004.

Last December 14th, Ms. Margarita Uria addressed the Prime Minister in the Commission Investigating the 11-M to ask him, among other things, for certain penal questions. After a preamble of blushing praises to Ms. Mercedes Gallizo, the commisioner asked Zapatero only about the filtration to the press of certain images and a letter to the mass-media.

Ms. Margarita didn't questioned about torture and mistreatment. Neither did she asked about inmates' death and illness. She didn't displey any interest on isolation and uncommunication measures. Or for accidents suffered. And least of all did she ask for the dispersion policy. Maybe because she could have received the answer that its main promoter was her own political party. A PNV (Basque Nationalist Party) legitimating repression and the most cruel penal policy, not anly in its theoretical design and cover its being carrying out, but as a main actor with its own advisors in the Penal Instituitions department.

Neither Ms. Margarita Uria nor any of the MP's brandishing human rights as their banner had the least thought of showing any interest on the sexual abuse suffered by some of the detainees in the last round ups. About this, Ms. Uria doesn't have any interest, neither as MP, nor even as a woman.

And she doesn't care because she knows that being arrested as an alleged ETA member - with the attending media coverage - is reason enough to be deprived of any right, even that of not being tortured. Old fashioned hypocrisy used to say: "he who steals from a thief, has a hundred years of relief". The new referents of the citizenry say: "making violence to the aggressed one is not double violence, is justice and silence". But this we all now. Including the commissioner who praises Ms. Gallizo.

And amongst so many praises in between decent people (unlike me, who are Basque and red, besides practicing so many "isms") I wondered whether I was wrong. Be positive, Iñaki! I told to myself. I imagined the concrete walls were made of chocolate and the Iron bits made out of cotton candy. I imagined the three inmates dead last night in the prisons of Langraiz and Zuera were marzipan dolls. But, curiously enough, I couldn't imagine Ms. Gallizo being any other thing than what she actually is, as they predecessors were before her.

When the PSOE won last general elections, whether out of candour or necessity, certain expectations were raised amongst those who are not prone to create them. Such illusions, time generally proofs false. The same happened when Ms. Gallizo was appointed as general director of Penitentiary Institutions. Even, in principle, the numerous changes in the direction of the different prisons could be taken as a prelude to more significant changes, knowing the list of names of the appointed persons reassured my conviction of the only horizon of justice in prisons being the abolition of its walls. A hope far more realist, as utopian as it could like, and without any hint of hypocrisy, than pretending that concrete and iron enclose human rights instead of violence and suffering.

In this prison of Algeciras, Ms. Gallizo deposed its director Miguel Ángel Rodriguez AKA "swordeater". An enlightened professional who reacted instantly when hearing the name of a Basque political prisoner, fluently elaborating an elaborated discourse: "judicial resolutions concerning ETA members I pass through my bollocks". Quite an old acquaintance of the collective of Basque prisoners who has not been deposed for accumulating mountains of complaints and irregularities. He hasn't been deposed even on account of a triffle such as, presumably, putting his hand in the money box in Puerto II prison (on account of which a dossier was opened against him). He has been deposed for not belonging to the same political party as Ms. Gallizo. Now, that's it!

I put TV. They're informing about the cinema festival at Huelva. Together with the actor Imanol Arias, honouring him, almost salivating around him, I think to recognise a face of unpleasant memories. He's got white hair and looks like very old, although it is not because of a disturbing conscience I guess. This must be the punishment of excesses. I feel the stupid consolation of noticing that, in this case, the torturer has worse looks than the tortured. Ther is no doubt. This face is engraved on our memories through mistreatment and hunger. It is Francsico Sanz, sub-director at Malaga prison. Director of Salto del Negro, Puerto II, and now of the Huelva prison. There he has arranged an award to be given by prisoners during the cinema festival. That's why he salivates around Imanol Arias. First thing to come to my mind in front of such an image is this: has the actor noticed the furrow of the truncheon and the humidity of blood when shaking hands? No change of director in Huelva prison, it seems.

The list of new appointments is long. Up to 21 names, and 10 more counting changes of destination. Some of the surnames make me search in my memory. It was the year 1977, I guess, because the only archive I count on, my brain is no hard disk. Anyway, it was during the years following Franco's death when society was full of illusion and the political parties were conspiring to destroy it. I walked throgh Madrid one of those many days of demonstrations asking for amnesty and freedom. I left behind the Major Street. I walked up the Bookshops street. And by the disappeared Darde Hotel, I found a group of youngsters like me, who ran down the street crying out: "they've shot"! More curious than cautious I went down the end of the street. Took the right, via La Estrella, and a few meters away, a young man lied on the floor, dead in a pool of blood. It was full policemen and apparently the ones who shot were Argentinians of the AAA. What does it matter! It was one those acronyms (all of them hide the same thing) that re-appear when they find it convenient.

The dead young man was called Arturo Ruiz. He had a brother who started being a left-winger and ended up being a member of PSOE, and becoming a jailer. A trusted servant, so much that his office was used during the night to celebrate secret conversations between Govt. representatives and representatives of an armed revolutionary organization which is NOT ETA. One of those negotiations that never exist, and if they do, are denied. Arturo Ruiz died in a day of fight for amnesty and freedom. His brother lives to curtail it. And lives quite well as the new directr of Sevilla II prison.

Jesús Eladio del Rey Reguillo, AKA "the Thin one", appointed new director of Valdemoro prison. First thing to come to my mind is the riot at Herrera de la Mancha, module one, in the year 1988. Out of little more than 40 Basque political prisoners the half of us passed through the infirmary, and five mates ended up in hospital with broken bones. A bizarre image, that of the Thin One, mountain knife in hand, leading a well nurtured group of jailers and Civil Guards (1), going through the galleries of the module, cell by cell, indicating who was to receive a simple or double session of beating.

Manuel Martínez Cano, AKA Mr. Lips, newly appointed director of Jaen prison. Instigator, and the inciter of the said riot. The only pleasant memory he's left on a prisoner is that he was seen utterly frightened and covered in white powder from a fire extinguisher during that very riot.

Antonio Diego Amrtín, appointed director of Puerto II and processed for torture and unnecessary rigour in Sevilla II prison. He was tried together with the former general director of Penitenciary Institutions, Antonio Asunción, and was never severed from his repressing job, that he has exercised up to now in the Melilla prison. The inmates fettered for weeks to their beds, the torture sesions, naked and covered in water, the laments and cries, didn't earn him one single day of being put apart from his post. On the contrary they deserve a promotion at the arrival of Ms. Gallizo.

To what avail going on with the list? I got convinced. The new prisons policy of the new government of Mr. Rodriguez Zapatero consists in recovering and promoting the characters who have left the saddest of memories amongst prisoners in general, and to the collective of Basque political prisoners in particular. Or keeping at their posts the ones fulfilling the said requirements.

Expectations are fulfilled. Or maybe I'm wrong and the torturers are capable of fighting torture. It cannot be for lack of experience. And in this case even I could imagine Ms. Gallizo otherwise than the way she is.

1. This is the funny name the military police has in Spain.

Thursday, 1 March 2007

Newspaper articles worth a prison sentence?

I finally found them. The two newspaper articles that won the Basque prisoner Iñaki de Juana Chaos a prison sentence.

Amazingly, the articles themselves have not been banned. You can read them on the Gara newspaper website. And I wonder the following: if the articles were defamatory or threatening or vindicated the use of terrorism, then surely the authorities would have instructed to have them removed, right?

But the articles are still there because they are harmless. Proof that de Juana Chaos was punished because he dared to speak up, not for what he actually wrote.

This is the link to the article published on 1 December 2004. (here, Spanish only).
And this is the article published on 30 December 2004. (here, Spanish only).

I am quite busy now with work and studies and football but I intend to translate the two articles into English so that everyone who is not fluent in Spanish can judge for themselves if these two writings deserve a prison sentence.

Keep checking the blog over the next few weeks.