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.

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