I Am Obliged to Reconsider My Support for the European Union 381


To my own astonishment, and after a full 36 hours of hard thinking to try and escape this conclusion, I am in intellectual honesty obliged to reconsider my lifelong support for the European Union, due to the unqualified backing of the EU Commission for the Spanish Government’s dreadful repression in Catalonia.

This is very difficult for me. I still much favour open immigration policy, and the majority of Brexiteers are motivated at base by racist anti-immigrant sentiment. Certainly many Brexiteers share in the right wing support for Rajoy’s actions, across Europe. I have been simply stunned by the willingness of right wingers across the internet, including on this blog, to justify the violence of the Spanish state on “law and order” grounds. It is a stark warning of what we might face in Scotland in our next move towards Independence, which I have always believed may be made without the consent of Westminster.

But not all who oppose the EU are right wing. There are others who oppose the EU on the grounds that it is simply another instrument of power of the global 1% and an enforcer of neo-liberalism. I had opposed this idea on the grounds it was confusing the policies of current EU states with the institution itself, that it ignored the EU’s strong guarantees of human rights, and its commitment to workers’ rights and consumer protection.

I have to admit today that I was wrong, and in fact the EU does indeed function to maintain the global political elite, and cares nothing for the people.

The Lisbon Treaty specifically incorporated the European Charter of Fundamental Rights into basic European Union law.

There is no doubt whatsoever that the Spanish Guardia Civil on Sunday contravened the following articles:

Article 1: The Right to Human Dignity
Article 6: The Right to Liberty or Security of Person
Article 11: Freedom of Expression and Information
Article 12: Freedom of Assembly and Association
Article 54: Prohibition of Abuse of Rights

I would argue that these were also breached:

Article 21: Non-discrimination
Article 22: Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Diversity

The European Commission is obliged to abide by this Charter by Article 51. Yet when the Spanish government committed the most egregious mass violation of human rights within the European Union for a great many years, the EU Commission deliberately chose to ignore completely its obligations under the European Charter of Fundamantal Rights in its response. The Commission’s actions shocked all of intellectual Europe, and represented a complete betrayal of the fundamental principles, obligations and basic documents of the European Union.

This is the result. The disgusting, smirking Margaritas Schinas of the European Commission refuses to face up to the intellectual vacuity of the EU’s position. He is also lying, because he claims to be limited in matters beyond the Commission’s competence, when he knows perfectly well that the EU Commission is ignoring its obligations under the European Charter of Fundamental Rights.

That video was a key factor in persuading me, after 44 years of actual enthusiasm for the EU, it is no longer an organisation which I can support.

900 people were so injured by the Guardia Civil that they had to go for formal medical treatment. Officers, in full riot gear, baton charged entirely peaceful lines of voters, smashed old ladies on the head with weapons, pulled young women by the hair and stamped on them on the ground, threw people down flights of stairs, fired rubber bullets into people sitting on the street and broke a woman’s fingers one by one.

To take the “legalistic” argument, even if you accept the referendum was illegal (and I shall come to that), that in no way necessitates that sort of violence. It could be argued the referendum’s result had no legal effect, but the act of the referendum itself is in that case a form of political demonstration. If that involved abuse of public funds, then legal consequences might follow. There was no cause at all to inflict mass violence on the voters. The actual violence was absolutely disproportionate, unprovoked and undoubtedly met the bar of gross and systematic human rights abuse by the Spanish state.

Yet the EU reacted as if no such abuse had ever happened at all, and the world had not seen it. The statement of the EU Commission totally ignored these absolutely shocking events, in favour of an unequivocal statement of absolute support for Rajoy:

Under the Spanish Constitution, yesterday’s vote in Catalonia was not legal.
For the European Commission, as President Juncker has reiterated repeatedly, this is an internal matter for Spain that has to be dealt with in line with the constitutional order of Spain.
We also reiterate the legal position held by this Commission as well as by its predecessors. If a referendum were to be organised in line with the Spanish Constitution it would mean that the territory leaving would find itself outside of the European Union.
Beyond the purely legal aspects of this matter, the Commission believes that these are times for unity and stability, not divisiveness and fragmentation.
We call on all relevant players to now move very swiftly from confrontation to dialogue. Violence can never be an instrument in politics. We trust the leadership of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to manage this difficult process in full respect of the Spanish Constitution and of the fundamental rights of citizens enshrined therein.

I speak fluent diplomatese, and this is an unusual statement in its fulsomeness. It contradicts itself by saying “this is an internal matter” but then adding “these are times for unity and stability, not divisiveness and fragmentation” which is an unequivocal statement of opposition to Catalan independence.

The Commission later claimed that to comment on the violence by the Spanish Authorities is beyond its competence, a plain lie due to Article 51 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights. But what was in fact outwith Commission competence was this statement of opposition to Catalan independence.

It was also extremely unusual – in fact I cannot think of another example – of the EU Commission specifically to endorse by name Mariano Rajoy, let alone immediately after he had launched a gross human rights abuse.

Condemnation would have been too much to expect; but these gratuitous endorsements were a slap in the face to anybody with a concern for human rights in Europe. Also, in diplomatese, I should have expected the mildest of hidden rebukes in the statement; I would have been annoyed by “The Commission is sure the Spanish Government will continue to meet its obligations under the Charter of Fundamental Rights” as too weak, but it is the kind of thing I would have expected to see.

Instead Juncker chose to make no qualification at all in his support for Rajoy.

Perhaps as a former diplomat I put much more weight on these little things than might seem sensible, but to me they are the unmistakeable tells of what kind of right wing authoritarian institution the EU has become, and why I can no longer offer it my support.

I now want to turn to the wider question of whether the Catalonian referendum was indeed illegal. This argument must always come back to the Charter of the United Nations , which states at

Article 1 (2) To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace;

It is worth noting that there is no qualification at all on “self-determination of peoples”. It is not limited to decolonisation, as sometimes falsely claimed. The phrase is repeated in the separate UN Declaration on Decolonisation, as the principle plainly is applicable in that context. But it is not limited to that context and appears in the Charter outwith that context.

The question of what constitutes a “people” is a thorny one. NATO were sufficiently convinced the Kosovans were a “people” to go to war for their right to self-determination, while in terms of domestic law of Yugoslavia or Serbia their independence was every bit as illegal as Catalonian independence is under Spanish law. The purveyors of the “illegal” argument, in Spain and in the EU, have never deigned to us why the Kosovans are a “people” with the right to self-determination whereas the Catalans are not.

In this limited sense, NATO and the EU were right over Kosovo. If the Kosovans are a “people”, their right to self determination under the UN Charter could not be nullified by domestic Yugoslav or Serbian legislation. The same is true of the Catalans. If they are a “people”, Spanish domestic legislation cannot remove their right of self-determination. The rights conferred by the UN Charter are inalienable. A people can never give up its right of self-determination. Indeed, those arguing that the Catalans contracted into the current Spanish constitution are heading into a legal ambush as they have already admitted the Catalans are a people with the right of self-determination.

Indeed the Spanish constitution already admits Spain contains separate nationalities. The preamble of section 2 to the Spanish Constitution reads:

Section 2. The Constitution is based on the indissoluble unity of the Spanish Nation, the common and indivisible homeland of all Spaniards; it recognizes and guarantees the right to self-government of the nationalities and regions of which it is composed and the solidarity among them all.

Remember, the right to self-determination is inalienable. Once you have acknowledged the existence of different nationalities, the Spanish Constitutional Court cannot legitimately deny their right to self-determination. What it can legitimately do is to judge on their constitutional arrangements within Spain. It cannot legitimately prevent them from determining to leave.

I do not see any doubt that the Catalans are a “people”. They have their own language. They have their own culture. Most importantly, there are over one thousand years of written records of their existence as a separate “people” with those attributes and an extremely long, if in some cases occasionally broken, history of their own institutions.

I do not think it is seriously arguable that the Catalans are not a “people”. It is also the answer to the frankly childish comparison, made by right wingers, to the South East of England breaking away. There is no legitimate argument that the South East of Englanders are a separate “people” in the sense of the UN Charter. The same applies to Northern Italy. Belgium, however, does include different peoples with the right of self-determination, should they choose to exercise it.

The fact that a “people” has the right of self-determination gives them, of course, the right to choose, including the right to choose to remain within their existing state. That right to choose was all the Catalonian government was seeking to offer. The Spanish government and courts are implementing a domestic law, but that domestic law is incompatible with overarching wider rights. As journalists point out in that EU Commission video above, the Turkish courts are correctly implementing domestic law in jailing journalists and academics. It is not enough for Spain to say it is implementing law when the law itself is illegitimate. Jews were “lawfully” rounded up in 1930’s Germany. Gandhi and Mandela were “lawfully” imprisoned.

I will never forget working in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as the South Africa (Political) officer in 1986, when the policy of the Thatcher government was explicit that black activists jailed under the apartheid laws were lawfully detained, and that apartheid forces breaking up illegal Soweto demonstrations, in precisely the manner seen against voters in Catalonia, were acting lawfully. Over thirty years, the acknowledgement of the overarching internationally guaranteed basic rights appeared to have made progress. But the EU Commission has just turned its back on all of that.

It is not just the Commission. Macron, May and Merkel have all declared unequivocally against Catalonian independence, while refusing to make any comment at all on the state violence as an “internal affair”. This from Guy Verhofstadt is as good as EU reaction gets, yet it is still entirely mendacious:

I don’t want to interfere in the domestic issues of Spain but I absolutely condemn what happened today in Catalonia.
On one hand, the separatist parties went forward with a so-called referendum that was forbidden by the Constitutional Court, knowing all too well that only a minority would participate as 60 % of the Catalans are against separation.
And on the other hand – even when based on court decisions – the use of disproportionate violence to stop this.
In the European Union we try to find solutions through political dialogue and with respect for the constitutional order as enshrined in the Treaties, especially in art. 4.
It’s high time for de-escalation. Only a negotiated solution in which all political parties, including the opposition in the Catalan Parliament, are involved and with respect for the Constitutional and legal order of the country, is the way forward.

Verhofstadt accepts without question the right of the Spanish Constitutional Court to deny the Catalan right to self-determination, and like every other EU source does not put an argument for that or even refer to the existence of that right or to the UN Charter. He claims, utterly tendentiously to know that 60% of the Catalan people oppose independence. That is plainly untrue. In the last Catalonian assembly elections, 48% voted for pro-Independence parties and another 5% for parties agnostic on the issue. On Sunday, 55% of the electorate voted. A quarter of those votes were confiscated by police, but the votes of 42% of the electorate could be counted and were 90% for Independence. There is no reason to suspect the confiscated ballots were any different. Verhofstadt does at least acknowledge the disproportionate violence to stop the referendum, thus correctly attributing the blame. This is the only statement I have seen from any EU source which contains any truth whatsoever.

To withdraw a lifetime of support for the EU is not a light decision. I have delayed it for hard consideration, so that the emotions aroused by the Spanish government violence could die down. I am also very confident, knowing how these things work, that Rajoy had briefed other EU leaders in advance that he was going to close down the referendum, and their statements of support had been pre-prepared. Diplomatic wheels grind slowly, and I assumed there would be some rowing back from these original statements once bureaucracies had time to react to the excessive violence. In fact there has been no significant softening of the hard line.

In itself, even this incident would not be enough to make me denounce my support for the European Union. But it illustrates, in a way that I cannot deny, an argument that has been repeatedly urged on me and which I have been attempting to deny. The principles of the European Union and indeed the content of its treaties are something I continue strongly to support. But the institution has in fact been overrun by the right wing cronyism of the neo-liberal political class, and no longer serves the principles for which it ostensibly stands. It is become simply an instrument of elite power against the people.

Today, and with a greater sadness than you can imagine, I withdraw my support for membership of the European Union.

————————————————————-

I continue urgently to need contributions to my defence in the libel action against me by Jake Wallis Simons, Associate Editor of Daily Mail online. You can see the court documents outlining the case here. I am threatened with bankruptcy and the end of this blog (not to mention a terrible effect on my young family). Support is greatly appreciated. An astonishing 4,000 people have now contributed a total of over £75,000. But that is still only halfway towards the £140,000 target. I realise it is astonishing that so much money can be needed, but that is the pernicious effect of England’s draconian libel laws, as explained here.





On a practical point, a number of people have said they are not members of Paypal so could not donate. After clicking on “Donate”, just below and left of the “Log In” button is a small “continue” link which enables you to donate by card without logging in.

For those who prefer not to pay online, you can send a cheque made out to me to Craig Murray, 89/14 Holyrood Road, Edinburgh, EH8 8BA. As regular readers know, it is a matter of pride to me that I never hide my address.


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381 thoughts on “I Am Obliged to Reconsider My Support for the European Union

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  • albert

    This is the best analysis I have read so far of what it happen to us last Sunday. Diplomacy and politics in Europe are against any change that might affect their status. Hence they will never accept ANY movement that might change this.

  • Ann Cahill

    What a sad state of affairs but Craig Murray is not wrong – the unquestioning support for the actions of Spain’s PM by the European Commission, or specifically by the Commission’s politically appointed president, and of the support of the national governments that make up the EU reflects partisan support for the EPP political group that includes the Spanish government’s ruling party, and so ignores human & civil rights. They have in effect supported violence, ironically against people voting – a practice the European institutions have been trying to encourage among EU citizens. It also reflects the logical outcome of the years old practice of the Spanish government bullying other governments whose actions in any way might be seen to support Catalan self determination, including hounding Catalan supporters out of jobs in the European Commission. Ironic too that the core of the human rights issue was pushed by three Italian journalists with the Commission’s chief spokesperson who is a Greek married to a Spaniard, both of whom have strong EPP links. The move to politicise the Commission to win the support of short-sighted & nationalistic EU governments has had the logical effect of making the Commission biased towards a single political family & giving blind support to one of the family’s members, destroying the Commission’s original raison d’être as a defender of rights rather than nations. However the EU concept remains the strongest bulwark European citizens have to at least mediate for a democracy that supports citizens but it requires knowledgeable democrats & human rights defenders like Craig Murray to urge those inside the EU institutions and the all too often lazy citizens to fight at local, regional, national & EU level to put citizens human & civil rights first. Withdrawing support from the EU won’t achieve this I fear.

  • Magnus Sandvik

    Good to see that Mr. Murray now sees what quite a few of us former pro-EUers came to realize about 10 years ago, namely the direction the EU was headed. I guess it is not surprising this reaction comes just weeks after mr. Juncker, in a rare fit of honesty, declared quite openly that he was seeking and end to national sovereignty and wanted closer political integration of all member nations. Since the Spanish government are reliant on the EU for its continued survival, they would never oppose such integration, while a people willing to devolve from a state they have been a part of for a very long time would likely not be as amenable.
    Another thing that should have been mentioned in this article, or at least offered up as a contrast, is the continued reaction of the EU toward the actions of Hungary and Poland in particular who have made it very clear that the will of their people is not in line with the will of EU regulators, yet they were not left to their own devices, but rather threatened with sanctions, fines and other means of coercion.
    I am glad Mr. Murray has realized now that the EU has not been a benevolent organization for a very long time now, and the more power is focused around a small group of people, the wider array of powers it wields, the more authoritarian and monolithic it will become, with the guaranteed corruption and nepotism that follows. Some of us saw the writing on the wall long ago. It’s good to see others finally seeing it too.

  • K.A.Mylchreest

    My own opinions pretty well, but of course expressed with much greater background knowledge and authority 🙂
    To find myself listening _and agreeing!_ with the UKIP MEPs, the only ones (??) to speak out against Spain.
    Yet we still badly need an EU … just not the EU we have now. Is some sort of reform towards the old idea of a “Europe of the Peoples” possible, or must we pull down the structures like so many dangerous condemned buildings and start from scratch? But how many decades would that take? Can we hope for some kind of organic internal evolution, beginning with the break-up of the remaining multi-national states? This of course, a sort of domino theory, is what the Big Leaders of the Big States fear most.

    I can only hope that history is not on their side, that their resistance is because they’ve seen the writing on the wall but are for the moment still in denial.

    But why haven’t all the small and in many cases recently ‘liberated’ nations of Europe spoken up for the Catalans? Have they somehow been threatened and intimidated?

    Craig, help us out here if you can …

  • Edgar

    I completely agree!

    First of all I would like to clarify that the woman whose fingers were broken one by one, retracted her words.

    Anyway, EU cannoy justify 900 injured (or any number), nor the crackdown, nor the most fundamental human rights violated as you said, nor a Spanish minister saying he was unaware of any riot police violent charge, nor the unionist Spanish media discrediting victims and making up fake news and false contrapropaganda… and what’s more, the dreadful EU indifference!

    Therefore, I have also met the same conclusion… I do not want THIS EU anymore!

  • Irene

    I wonder where you’ve heard there were 900 injured and that the repression was brutal. You should check your data. And frankly I don’t think anybody could care less that you withdraw your support to the EU. After the Brexit……

  • John Alcantara

    Do you understand now why Gibraltar wants to remain British?

    Apparently you think Catalans have a right to self-determination something that you have previously denied to Gibraltarians.

  • anteater

    I think you are right that the EU is a construct that serves the 1% and cares nothing for the people. The common currency itself is used to great effect to put as many countries as possible into debt and difficulties, i.e when French and German banks borrowed money at 1% interest from Goldman Sachs and lent it directly to Greece at 6% interest. Remember the magic figure of 7% – work it out on your calculator if you care to- if you cannot pay back the loan your debt will double in 10 years and it is unlikely you will ever climb out of it. Plus the fact that Europe and Nato usually do exactly what the U.S. want (help bomb Iraq, Libya, apply sanctions against Russia etc.) and in this sense Europe is no more than a vassal state of the Americans.

    As for Brexit I find the support for open door immigration policy amongst the left wing almost as exasperating as xenophobia amongst the right, surely a balance is to be found somewhere? If one is in favour of open door immigration then surely that means one must also approve of what the white European races have done over the last few centuries, i.e. that the cultures of the native peoples of Canada, North and South America, Australia and New Zealand have been destroyed? As that is the risk one runs with such a policy?

    Regarding Catalonia I have nothing against the Spanish people but wish the Catalonians every success with their bid for independence, they have had their language and culture repressed for too long and suffered too much violence at the hands of Spain. The Guardia Civil have a shameful history and this looks all too much like what happened in the 1930’s. Viva Catalunya.

  • Stefano

    You’re factually wrong when you refer to art. 51 in these terms “The European Commission is obliged to abide by this Charter by Article 51. Yet when the Spanish government committed the most egregious mass violation of human rights within the European Union for a great many years, the EU Commission deliberately chose to ignore completely its obligations under the European Charter of Fundamantal Rights in its response.” The EU has no competence when the Member states are NOT implementing EU law; and Spain was not… re-read art. 51 😉

    Article 51
    Field of application

    1. The provisions of this Charter are addressed to the institutions, bodies, offices and agencies of the Union with due regard for the principle of subsidiarity and to the Member States only when they are implementing Union law. They shall therefore respect the rights, observe the principles and promote the application thereof in accordance with their respective powers and respecting the limits of the powers of the Union as conferred on it in the Treaties.
    2. The Charter does not extend the field of application of Union law beyond the powers of the Union or establish any new power or task for the Union, or modify powers and tasks as defined in the Treaties.

  • Javiere

    Man, I think that the general issue is an absolute over reaction, or at least it would have been if you would be aware of the situation in Spain.
    Riot police acts like this every single time they “work”, it is true this time they attacked people voting instead of people peacefully complaining against the government or using their legal right to strike, but it is also true that this voting was ilegal and the situation got worse because of regional catalonian police absolute lack of collaboration to close voting polls in the early morning with no clash and of course because the central government absolute lack of diplomacy, touch or even minimal reasoning.

    I don’t want to support this terrible repression of people voting, not at all, but I just want to point that riot police is doing the same or much worse (catalonian riot police included) every time you do even legally allowed things, so I could guess they would do this as it was considered illegal. The only difference is this time there was cameras, many and from abroad, aside of the regional government promoting this repression abroad. This is not a conspiration theory, police found yesterday some documents that explain the Govern’s plans to produce a secession and they include breaking the law and frontally clashing with the government to destabilize situation and try to find profit into the chaos.

    Aside of that, you are miss informed, you mention this “Officers, in full riot gear, baton charged entirely peaceful lines of voters, smashed old ladies on the head with weapons, pulled young women by the hair and stamped on them on the ground, threw people down flights of stairs, fired rubber bullets into people sitting on the street and broke a woman’s fingers one by one.” And here you have the proof that there was NO BROKEN fingers at all, that girl lied.

    This is not a conflict between good and evil, there is no oppressed nation under Spanish rule or fairy tales like that. It is a story of dumb, corrupted, heartless and brainless central government which does not love neither understand the country and a bigot, extremist and nationalist catalonian government which uses propaganda and indoctrinate its population to survive also under corruption.

    http://www.elmundo.es/cronica/2017/10/08/59d90f6046163ff9248b45b0.html
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4950958/Woman-claimed-police-broke-fingers-exaggerated.html

  • Kevin Messere

    Nobody died. Please keep repeating that to yourself until you realise that this situation could have been far worse and could still deteriorate into a civil war in the region. The EU have no mandate to go in at this point for the referendum was unconstitutional and was certainly not held with a balance debate and campaign. Compare and contrast to the work of the SNP and the Scottish vote a few years ago.
    People can bang on about the “will of the people” and direct democracy but this referendum business both in Catalonia and for Brexit is a clear bastardisation of the original political philosophy proposed by Rouseu.
    I cannot gather together with the neighbours and have a vote for UDI for our street, our town nor our capital no more than the centre right and the anti capitalist left can demand a vote and then hold it.
    If the state doesn’t intervene in such a contravention of the constitution then what does one suggest? If my street, town or City can reach over the heads of Westminster and appeal to the EU then how will that work?
    This Caalonian state has no currency prepared and no borrowing powers and credibility so how does it propose to fund itself and feed it’s public sector workers? Ah yes taxation! Except the political risk is moving the big tax payers out of the region and to Madrid or elsewhere.

    You see the Scottish did things properly and the only reason they failed was because the Euro was considered toxic at that time and thus the proposal was to remain in a currency union. The Catalonians assume a currency union plus remaining in the EU plus etc. but not the bits they do not like such as redistributing wealth to poorer parts of Spain. Have they been eating Boris Johnson’s cake?!

    So before we rush to condemn Rajoy and the national police let us recall that nobody died. The EU are fairly busy and they have to guarantee aggreements like the Good Friday Agreement as well as plan for outcomes of Brexit in respect of three million citizens who are threatened with discrimination. In other words the EU is a party to the UK leaving and also requires a border in Ireland which conforms with all other external borders (unless the UK stays within the Customs Union).

    These are real discussions with elected politicians operating under a framework of a treaty. Not chancers who call it as they see it, people who print 15 million ballot papers when there are only five million on the electoral roll!

    This was nothing more than a glorified opinion poll. Madrid over-reacted but nobody died.

  • the pair

    better late than never. i just wish that anti-brexit types would – in addition to dropping the “all brexit voters are racists” nonsense – stop thinking of the “rights” “granted” by the EU and it’s economic stupidity as mutually inclusive. “granting” rights to people (“oh thank you for these inalienable rights, lord and master! the romans really are swell guys!”) is meaningless as the people are born with those rights to begin with. they’re also window dressing when you consider the financial hegemony that orders people in bristol to abide by rules made in brussels.

    anyway…keep up the good work and good luck in the court case.

      • freddy

        Austria about to take a right turn?

        The FPÖ is thought to have its best chance in years of joining the next coalition government and immigration has been a dominant issue in the campaign.
        The party narrowly missed out on the presidency last year.
        BBC

  • George Wells

    You write “the majority of Brexiteers are motivated at base by racist anti-immigrant sentiment”
    You can’t possibly know this and it is undiplomatic to insult so many people.
    Let’s try to be civil in these difficult times, and argue on the basis of facts.

  • freddy

    Julian Assange is squabbling with Ecuador’s new president. That could put his London refuge at risk.
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2017/10/14/julian-assange-is-squabbling-with-ecuadors-new-president-that-could-put-his-london-refuge-at-risk/?utm_term=.909314021493

    The WikiLeaks founder, who has been holed up in the Ecuadoran Embassy in London since 2012, is embroiled in a spat with the South American country’s new president, Lenín Moreno, about Assange’s vocal support for Catalonian separatists.

    Moreno, who assumed office in January, has asked Assange to stay out of the constitutional crisis in Spain, prompting this riposte from the self-styled champion of freedom of information:

    • freddy

      Is the U.K. still intent on arresting Mr.Assange and delivering him up to Sweden / U.S.A.

      Or has Julian been tipped the nod, that this stage of his life has run its course?

  • freddy

    BBC

    Four people have been injured in clashes between riot police and demonstrators demanding major reforms in Ukraine’s capital Kiev.

    The protesters are calling for an anti-corruption court to be set up, MPs to lose their immunity from prosecution, and changes to the electoral system.

    They vowed to stay on, putting up tents and blocking the main road outside the parliament building in central Kiev.

    One of the opposition leaders called for President Petro Poroshenko to quit.

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