Spain is Operating Way Beyond Democratic Legitimacy 351

In imprisoning Catalan leaders for peaceful campaigning for Independence, and in choosing both in rhetoric and in court to treat support for Independence as “sedition”, the Spanish government is acting way beyond the limits of a democratic society. It is ignoring the basic human rights of freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. It is also undertaking massive blocking of communication and censorship of the internet in a manner never seen before in a “Western” state.

To move now to suspend the democratically elected Catalan administration, which is explicitly offering dialogue as an alternative to UDI, is to escalate the crisis in an unreasonable fashion, in the true meaning of the word unreasonable. All of this is truly dreadful, without even mentioning the violence inflicted on voters taking part in the peaceful Independence referendum.

As regular readers know, the EU reaction to the peaceful movement for Catalan independence has caused me to rethink my entire position on that institution. The failure to condemn the violence and human rights abuse has been bad enough, but the EU has gone still further and offered unqualified support to Spain, with the Commission specifically declaring Spain has a right to use violence, and Juncker saying straight out that the EU opposes Catalan Independence.

What has become more clear to me is that the modern state is simply an engine to enable the elite to control and direct its economic resources to their own benefit, those economic resources including the people. Loss of resources to the ruling elite is therefore a catastrophe. A state is not a collaborative construct voluntarily formed for mutual convenience and protection by its people. If it were, then it would be a matter of indifference to the ruling elite which particular state units people choose to form, and how these morph and form.

The idea, endorsed by the EU, that a state is an economic construct of control, in which it is legitimate to constrain entire peoples by force against their will, is surely abhorrent. The EU is become simply a cartel of power, a club to promote the sectional interest of the controlling elites of European states.

Catalonia will have a few days to decide how to react to Spanish imposition of direct rule, as that has to go through legislative bodies in Madrid. Catalonia has very little capacity militarily to defend itself against Spain. But it is difficult to see how it can be serious about Independence if it makes no effort to that purpose. Some effort at physical, if non-lethal, resistance to Spanish takeover must surely be under discussion.

More importantly, however brief the lifespan of Independent Catalonia at this stage, it must during its existence delegitimise Spanish – by which I mean pre-Independence – institutions and specifically the courts. Within Catalonia, all officers of State, and particularly judges, prosecutors and law enforcement officers, must be suspended immediately from all duties. They should then be instantly administered an oath of loyalty to the Catalan state and a specific abjuring of loyalty to the Spanish state. Those who do not take the oath would remain suspended, and after a week become dismissed.

The alternative will be an undermining of the legitimacy of the Catalan state by its own courts, and the many corrupt pro-Madrid judges and prosecutors they contain. This will be used to counteract the Independence narrative internationally and domestically.

Spain and the EU are hiding behind “the rule of law”. The violence of the Guardia Civil was validated as enforcing the ruling of Francoist judges. The censorship of the internet, the imprisonment of dissidents, all is in accordance with the “rule of law” in Spain.

I dealt with imprisonment of political prisoners all round the world when I was in the FCO. Very few of them were extra-judicially detained. Uzbekistan’s 8,000 political prisoners have almost all been tried and condemned under Uzbek law. Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Ken Saro Wiwa, Nelson Mandela, Gandhi, all were imprisoned by judges. The “rule of law”, where it ignores human rights, is not enough. That is the line the EU, to its great shame, has crossed.

As a footnote, I am researching my biography of George Murray. In 1710, following the death of George’s eldest brother John with the British army at the Battle of Malplaquet, his next eldest brother William was summoned home from India. The first available vessel was bound for Barcelona. William spent some time there waiting for a ship in the middle of a war. The interesting point is that the family letters refer repeatedly to William being in Catalonia and events in Catalonia. The word Spain does not appear in the correspondence at all.

I mention this purely as illustrative – and one of many thousands of examples that might be given – that the Catalans are a people and have been acknowledged as such in Europe for centuries. The right of self-determination in Article 2 of the UN Charter is given not to geographic regions but exclusively to “Peoples”. The Catalans, like the Scots, undoubtedly qualify as a “People”, something the EU has still failed to address.

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351 thoughts on “Spain is Operating Way Beyond Democratic Legitimacy

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  • Phil the ex frog

    “What has become more clear to me is that the modern state is simply an engine to enable the elite to control and direct its economic resources to their own benefit, those economic resources including the people…A state is not a collaborative construct voluntarily formed for mutual convenience and protection by its people.”

    Yet your primary political objective is the formation of a new state. Hilariously confused.

  • reel guid

    New Zealand Labour Party leader Jacinda Ardern has become her country’s youngest prime minister since 1856. Jacinda is 37 and so she continues the trend of younger people becoming PMs.

    Think Jeremy will be buying some Just For Men soon.

  • freddy

    getting independence, is not going to be made easy.
    An Iraqi court has ordered the arrest of the vice-president of the Kurdistan Region for calling troops sent to Kirkuk this week “occupying forces”.

    A Supreme Judicial Council spokesman said the court believed Kosrat Rasul’s remarks were an incitement to violence.

    • Laguerre

      Doesn’t make much practical difference, if a court in Baghdad condemns a Kurds remarks. It can’t be put into effect. That’s different from Madrid.

  • Roderick Russell

    Re Craig’s comment – Spain and the EU are hiding behind “the rule of law”. Not so. Whatever they are hiding behind it isn’t the rule of law.

    May I quote the old Roman maxim: “Vox Populi, Vox Dei” – meaning “the voice of the people is the voice of God?”
    Surely to be legitimate the rule of law can only relate to laws that are backed by some form of consent by the people. One either has the rule of law or absolute rule by power elites. Dictates that are passed by power elites alone, without consent of the people, may be falsely disguised as a form of law but they are not. Decrees by power elites have nothing to do with the rule of law, but are a tool of absolute power – even where they are falsely called laws.

    I would hope that Spain and Catalonia will find a democratic way out of this. Perhaps there should be another referendum where all of the people vote. I do hope that whatever change there is, if any, is done peacefully. Spain does not have a long experience with democracy or with concepts of civil liberties. Sadly I am not sure that the EU, which I have long been in favour of, has much concept of democracy either.

    • Martinned

      Surely to be legitimate the rule of law can only relate to laws that are backed by some form of consent by the people.

      That’s my favourite bit from the Digesta, specifically Julianus, which we had to study in legal history, 1st year undergrad:

      Immemorial custom is observed as a statute, not unreasonably ; and this is what is called the law established by usage. Indeed, inasmuch as statutes themselves are binding for no other reason than because they are accepted by the judgment of the people, so anything whatever which the people show their approval of, even where there is no written rule, ought properly to be equally binding on all ; what difference does it make whether the people declare their will by their votes, or by positive acts and conduct ?
      On this principle it is also admitted law, and very rightly so, that statutes are abrogated not only by the voice of one who moves to
      repeal them (suffragio legislatoris), but also by the fact of their falling out of use by common consent.

      However, as the glossator already remarked as early as the 12th century (I think), this is no longer the case, because these days the people do not come together to make laws directly. Instead, they delegate the law making power to others, meaning that the logic of Julianus no longer works.

      • fwl

        But the jury’s veto remains. The jury is where 12 ordinary people occasionally get to stick two fingers up to the law until it changes eg obscene publications and censorship trials in 50’s and early 60’s. The establishment’s initial response to jury acquittals was to change tactics and prosecute in the magistrates, but then Roy Jenkins introduced his statutory reforms. Some would say those were liberal elites reforms, but the juries were ordinary people.

  • Republicofscotland

    Putin: “Catalonia is a vivid example of the double standards in the world. Kosovo can have a referendum but not Crimea and Catalonia?”

  • Douglas Stuart Wilson

    Well, I think Puigdemont is being totally reckless. I mean, you can’t say, as he did in his most recent letter, either we have negotiations or we’re going to declare UDI – thus tacitly conceding that he never actually declared independence the other day.

    He doesn’t have a majority of Catalans backing him. Who the fuck does he think he is? You can’t declare UDI unless you have 60 or 70% of the people behind you, because it is simply not workable. Puigdemont doesn’t even have 50%.

    Where are they going to get their money from? They’ll be out the EU and out the Eurozone too? The country will take a massive hit. Most Catalans I know haven’t signed up for that. They’re thoroughly pissed off with Rajoy and the neanderthal Spanish right wing, quite rightly so… but UDI should be taken off the table….

    There are lots of other things they could do to get a legal and binding referendum. For example, going on strike, not paying their taxes, marching to Madrid, I don’t know, that’s without even thinking about it…

    And even if Catalonia was independent, the CUP would just move lock stock and barrel down to Valencia, hell bent on reuniting the “Paisos Catalans”…

    Meanwhile, Rajoy’s corrupt party, and Puigdemont’s corrupt party, continue to dominate the front pages with this farce, and all their corruption is forgotten about…

    It’s Spain, it’s a total joke. Catalonia is not Spain? I think it most definitely is Spain. Puigdemont is acting in an undemocratic fashion So is Rajoy. Both of their parties are utterly corrupt… both of their parties have taken kickback on public work contracts. They’re both paties of “the 3%” which is the standard kickback you take apparently…

    Craig and many Scottish nationalists are completely blinded by their own prejudices.

    If Spain breaks up, there will be another war….

    • fwl

      Agree though that for some sort of major constitutional change eg BREXIT or UDI an ordinary majority should not suffice and it should perhaps be 60%.

      • Kerch'ee Kerch'ee Coup

        The Maastricht and Lisbon Treaties involved major constitutional change for Britain but were rammed through by Major and Blair without a referendum.Arguably , the general level of knowledge about the workings and objectives of the Common Market/EU and elsewhere referendums had been conducted. as in Ireland. To argue that Brexit ,however,involves a radical constitutional change calling for a 60%+ threshold is manifestly absurd.

        • Martinned

          rammed through by Major and Blair without a referendum

          Aka enacted just like every other constitutional change in the history of England/the United Kingdom.

  • nevermind

    By refusing to talk about the issues with the Catalan leader, Rajoy is clearly projecting the strong man who wants to win the next elections, soon to be called due to the financial fraud some in his party are accused of.
    By invoking article 155, knowing that this will cause consternation and violence, hence his Guardia Goons and gunships, he is taking Spain to war, a good reason to call the elections off and buy time.
    How much has Rajoy been paid to destabilise the EU with his intransigence? This issue is screwing the detonator into the already highly unstable EU, it has got far more legs than the Brexit issue. The latter has all of the Union sitting up like well trained neutered Tom cats waiting to be kicked into uncertainty and poverty.

    Rajoy is putting Europe’s future in question, the statutes of Rom are not much more than a futuristic pipe dream now.

        • Anon1

          It’s all over, RoS. There’s no high drama like there is with the Catalan situation. No great struggle against the forces of oppression. No fascists. No beating up of old grannies.

          It’s just that Scotland had a free and fair referendum on independence and Scotland voted against it. Decisively.

          • reel guid

            You don’t need high drama to have a referendum. So we’ll have another.


            No voters in 2014 were promised devo max, shipbuilding orders, secure EU membership, no health privatisation, guarantees for defence and civil service jobs and enhanced influence for Scotland in the UK.

            Scotland voted No and got hard Brexit, no veto, no big devo increase, a Westminster power grab, a much reduced block grant, health privatisation in the south leading to corresponding budget reduction in Scotland, English Votes for English Laws, no ships orders, big losses in defence and civil service jobs and no influence in the UK at all.

            The UK is no longer a viable state.

          • Anon1

            You either want independence or you don’t.

            We were promised a recession, emergency budgets, house price collapses, and World War III.

            But we still voted for our independence.

          • fwl

            I hardly ever agree with Anon but his point that you either want independence or you don’t is a good one. Many voted to leave the EU not because of a transparently misleading bus advert but despite fearing severe negative economic consequences. If you can only get a 50% majority for Scottish independence when there is a full moon and the sun is shinning, there are no clouds and a blue sky with a black swan in the loch then it probably won’t work.

  • reel guid

    Nothing from the First Minister of Wales about the suspended democracy in Catalunya. Does Carwyn Jones not identify in any way with people in a small nation being held prisoner for trying to advance democracy? If he does he’s not speaking out.

    The Labour Party silence on the Francoist policies of the Madrid government is, as they say, deafening.

    We all know why though.

    They would rather look the other way when fascists are at work instead of standing up for the rights of people in a small put upon nation. To help the Catalans would be to advance the causes of Scottish and Welsh independence.

    So they prefer to tacitly help fascism. Fine. That’s Labour’s position and they’re entitled to take that line.

  • reel guid

    If those brave lads of the Guardia Civil get to assert their manhoods again this weekend by beating up grandmothers then Labour ought to realise that some of the blood will attach to them, given their silence.

    But hey. The People’s Flag is deepest red. So the stains won’t show up too well. And Das Blutfahne of Labour can still be proudly sung about at conference. Along with the song about building Jerusalem in England’s green and pleasant land. Although just remember that doing so would be at the expense of the people of Catalonia and Scotland.

  • Chris Ferguson

    in looking at the relevant treaties etc to write a letter of complaint the Junker, Tinnnerman. Tusk, Merkle, Tanjani, Schinas and the rest of the decrepit lot, I came across this website of an EU think tank critical of the EU’s weak and ineffective interpretation of article 51 and the maintenance of human rights and democracy that may be of interest

    I too was a strong EU supporter. Now no more and am writing a strongly worded letter to them

  • Resident Dissident

    I agree that Spain and the EU Commission have not behaved well – but I am not sure the Catalan govt have much democratic legitimacy either having declared UDI with a slim majority in their parliament based on a minority vote for the parties concerned, a referendum in which only 42% voted, and opinion polls which showed a majority against independence before everything became emotional and confrontational. This may be a nationalists idea of legitimacy but democrats have a rather higher threshold.

    • Republicofscotland

      “a referendum in which only 42% voted, and opinion polls which showed a majority against independence before everything became emotional and confrontational.”

      Several points, first describing beating the living daylights out of the voters, as a “emotional confrontation” is about as far from the truth as one could get. But it’s the norm for you I’m afraid.

      Secondly, 42% voted, yes but if the fascist Guardia Civil were not present, beating bludgeoning and shooting folk with rubber bullets, the turnout would’ve been much higher. The vote should stand, the blame lies at Madrid’s door.

      Thirdly, if no had such a commanding lead as you’re so keen to point out, why didn’t Rajoy let the vote run, afterall a convincing victory for no would’ve surely dampened spirits on the yes side and given credence to Madrid.

      • Resident Dissident

        first describing beating the living daylights out of the voters, as a “emotional confrontation”

        I didn’t say that I said “emotional and confrontational” – there is no denying that the confrontation was violent in some places. If you wish to quote me please do so accurately rather than twisting what I said. You could of course address the facts of what I said.

      • Resident Dissident

        And you are totally wrong if you think I am supporting Rajoy or condoning his behaviour. I appreciate that as a nationalist it is difficult for you to understand that there can ever be more than two sides to any position, and any opposition to your own automatically places anyone with the collective enemy, but you may wish to ponder why both Spanish and Catalan socialists do not wish to see UDI.

    • freddy

      Strengthening police protection

      Macron also said he wanted to “tighten” the country’s response to “cowardly and intolerable” threats to police and gendarmes. “As well as threats and physical intimidation, there are now more indirect threats, including against their relatives,” Macron lamented.

      This really sounds like a five year crack-down

  • Resident Dissident

    I regard my family as a people and as their supreme dictator I shall shortly be declaring our independence. Does a similar right apply to Spaniards living in Catalonia or the majority of the people in the cities of Barcelona or Tarragona who did not support Puidegemont and his allies?

    • Republicofscotland

      “I regard my family as a people and as their supreme dictator I shall shortly be declaring our independence. ”

      Trust you to make fun of such a serious situation, that could see Catalan’s in real danger on Saturday, very Boris-esque in my opinion.

      • Resident Dissident

        I was just pointing out that Craig’s interpretation of what is meant by “peoples” can be stretched to meet whatever you want.

        Of course you avoid the serious point that the two main cities of Catalonia do not support the independence parties – and that their views might just be brushed aside together with the large number of Spaniards who now live in Catalonia.

      • Resident Dissident

        You may also wish to ponder the rather long and deep history of corruption among the leaders of Puidegmont’s party before you get too carried away with your flag waving.

  • K Crosby

    Could it be that the Catalan management is selling the people out by procrastinating and leaving the initiative to the central government?

    • Resident Dissident

      I think you will find that it was the Socialists,Communists,Anarchists and Trotskyists who were fighting the nationalist and fascists during the Spanish Civil War. You might wish to consider the position of most Spanish and Catalan Socialists,Communists,Anarchists and Trotskyists on Catalonian UDI before twisting what is a very good song to your uber nationalist cause.

      • Phil the ex frog

        “Socialists,Communists,Anarchists and Trotskyist”

        That nationalists are trying to draw some cparison between the 1930s Spain and today reveals hilarious ignorance. Nationalists who had never spoke of Catalonia before a few weeks ago. Nationalists who clearly do not even understand the distinction between the civil war and the revolution. Go google. Copy paste. Scotland rules.

  • Laguerre

    Frankly, Scotland independent, but member of the Eu (as desired), Catalonia independent, but member of the EU (as desired, I believe), followed by others, equals a multitude of small units under the EU. All that means a European Super State, doesn’t it?. No one small unit will be strong enough to resist the EU. Not that that gives me a problem, but for those who hope for small nation independence, it’s a problem.

    • reel guid

      I’ve never encountered anyone who wanted 100% independence other than those insane British Nationalists.

      • Resident Dissident

        Glad to see that you acknowledge that there are degrees of independence and hence dependence. This applies within the British Isles as well as the EU i’m afraid.and sensible people can see more devolved/federal models being appropriate within the UK than a collection of independent nation states.which let lose the rather nasty virus that is nationalism. The English version may be nastier than the Scottish one – but I’m not keen on either or n catching Catalan flu.

        • reel guid

          The people of England voted to be out the EU. They’re so jealous about English national power they would never agree to a proper federal UK system. It would be fake federalism if it ever happened, with England deciding for the other nations. The only way to combat overweening nationalism is a four sovereign nation British Isles.

          • Resident Dissident

            Perhaps the people of England are not beyond persuasion and their views can be changed as believe it or not we are not a homogenous mass . If I were to talk about the Scottish people using similar generalisations I would soon be accused of racism.

          • reel guid

            Sorry about the generalisation. It’s just that a genuinely federal UK could never come about. Believing in a cargo cult would be more rational.

          • Bill Sinclair

            Which FOUR nations are you referring to? Northern Ireland is not, has never been and will likely never be a nation.

      • Laguerre

        Are they? They haven’t said anything about Scotland recently. And the EU says it won’t intervene in the question of Catalonia. It’s difficult to see what you’re talking about.

    • willyrobinson

      The EU leaders have shown that they don’t care about the rights of their citizens as long as soverign governments pay the debts incurred during the bank bail-outs. Any threat to that flow of capital – any risk of a contageous crisis – is way more important than the plight of regions, nations or even the whole of southern Europe. It’s hard to be pro EU in the light of that.

  • FranzB

    CM – ‘The right of self-determination in Article 2 of the UN Charter is given not to geographic regions but exclusively to “Peoples”. The Catalans, like the Scots, undoubtedly qualify as a “People”, something the EU has still failed to address.’

    One tack Puigdemont could take is to apply to the UN to have Catalonia recognised by the UN as an independent state.

    He could also ask the UN to provide peacekeepers to counter the Guardia Civil thugs if it’s thought that a second referendum is needed unimpeded by Guardia Civil thugs beating up voters. Its political theatre, but it makes the point to Rajoy and the EU.

  • Hieroglyph

    It’s all explained pretty excellently in my favorite political book: Political Ponerology. Sorry I keep referencing, but it is good.

    Basically, when times are good, and people aren’t alert, nut jobs slowly take over. Then times become bad, and we are ruled by psychopaths, and their little sociopath acolytes. The democratic structure, once reasonable, is defiled, and everyone gets screwed. There’s a bit more to the book than that, of course, but this is still a fair precis, I think.

    Our leaders are basically fascists. Not in the Young Ones hippy sense of the word. But actual fascists – nasty, vicious little people serving the interests of even worse people, and promoting war and death and misery at every turn. The fact that they generally aren’t anti-semitic isn’t that important; fascist just hate everyone. And all of them are crooks. You want a picture of a fascist, look at Hilary Clinton, not Trump. And Hilary may well be in deep, prison-time, shit at the moment, so it’s not all bad news.

    At some point, this ends in war, civil or otherwise.

  • Sharp Ears

    The EU gangsters in charge –

    ‘Catalan crisis: EU leaders rule out involvement in crisis

    European Council President Donald Tusk has explicitly ruled out any EU action over Catalonia, despite the “concerning” situation.

    “There is no room, no space for any kind of mediation or international initiative or action,” he said.

    He was speaking at a joint news conference with EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

    Catalans voted to secede in a 1 October referendum, which was outlawed by Spain and has prompted mass demonstrations.

    Mr Tusk’s remarks came hours after Spain said it was beginning the process of imposing direct rule on the autonomous region.

    “I am of course for many reasons in permanent contact with (Spain’s) Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy,” Mr Tusk said.

    “There is no hiding that the situation in Spain is concerning, but our position… is clear.”‘
    8 hrs ago

    • giyane

      Absolute power corrupts absolutely. We have had day-at-a-time contracts in the construction industry since Thatcher. Now the bosses have corporate universal spying as well. I reported to the HSE about the rats poo in the cupboards at Unite Students in Birmingham and they had had a little chat with the company and were told they were already doing something about it. The EU is too powerful, a little fact that hadn’t penetrated the toff membranes of David Cameron’s ivory tower when he called for a referendum. We’re not caving in now. They can eat rat poo.

  • willyrobinson

    According to El Pais: “The judge said that the events of September 20 and 21 “were not an isolated citizen protest,” but rather were “part of a complex strategy” in which Cuixart and Sànchez have been working together for some time “in the execution of a road map designed to obtain the independence of Catalonia.””

    It should be remembered that the protests on the 20th of September were non-violent civil demonstrations in response to Guardia Civil actions of the same morning. Thousands of Catalans perceived (whether rightly or wrongly) that these arrests were politically motivated, and exercised their right to protest. The events of the 20th September very much fit the definition of an isolated citizen protest, and while the Spanish definition of sedition is woolly enough to cover any impairment of law-enforcement activities, that is not what the judge in this case appears to be saying – what is extremely worrying in this case is that the two appear to be being prosecuted for the very act of aspiring to and working towards an independent Catalonia.

    The head of the local police force, Major Trapero, was not charged with sedition in relation to these events until after the events of the 1st of October. Only after widespread condemnation in Spain of the passivity of the local police during the referendum (in not joining in the beating of voters that was widely condemned all over the world), was Trapero’s name included in the list of people charged with sedition. Once again these very serious charges appear to be levelled at a behaviour pattern rather than a specific act. If a judicial process is only loosly based on specific offences then it must be politically motivated. There must be very little to go on if Trapero was still in charge of the police on the first of October – the biggest police operation in the history of Catalonia.

    From the Guardian: “Despite Puigdemont’s assertion that the detentions were politically motivated, the Spanish government’s senior representative in Barcelona said the judge’s decision had been made independently.
    “There is a separation of powers here,” Enric Millo told Catalunya Radio.
    The view was echoed by Spain’s justice minister, Rafael Catalá.
    “We can talk of politicians in prison but not political prisoners,” he told reporters. “These are not political prisoners because yesterday’s prison ruling was due to an [alleged] crime.”

    Saying something over and over doesn’t make it so. Turning the vandalism of three cars into the political crime of sedition would hardly be less worrying if it represented a ‘lone wolf’ zealous judge with so scant a regard for jurisprudence. But this is manifestly not the case in a country where the public prosecutor’s office refuses to investigate police violence on the day of the referendum, claiming the number of injuries sustained is so low as to be statistically non-existent. At times Spain has acted like North Korea or Turkey in shutting down websites or making it illegal to debate certain subjects in parliament. But taking political prisoners makes them more like Russia or China.

    • giyane

      Iraq put down the Kurdish claim to Kirkuk using Iranian forces using tanks, The tanks ran over Peshmerga soldiers, and the Iranians looted many houses. This savagery is exactly the same as the savagery of Culloden. We have to wake up to the fact that we live in extreme right-wing democracies, in which the stupid population continues to vote for Nazis. Universal spying, universal credit, and universal genocide of national identity is what it means to belong to the New World Order. It is not just Catalonia or Kurdistan. It is now considered normal in all countries to suppress dissent with state violence. We need to get rid of the EU and the Tories very soon.

      • Laguerre

        “The tanks ran over Peshmerga soldiers, and the Iranians looted many houses. ”

        Your sources of information aren’t up to much. There was virtually no fighting, and hardly anyone killed

        Much to my surprise, by the way. I thought the Peshmerga would fight hard to keep Kirkuk (for the oil). But they didn’t.

          • Laguerre

            “My sources are in Kurdistan.”

   is not reliable. People wildly claiming victimhood, just because their troops just ran away, are not reliable either.

            In any case it wasn’t Iranians who moved into Kirkuk, but al-Hashd al-Sha’bi, who are not Iranian. More claims to try to explain away the catastrophic loss, which was almost certainly, I would say, the result of a deal between Talebani’s people and the Baghdad government, destined to cut the grass from under the feet of Barzani.

        • giyane

          Barzani didn’t give them any ammunition, too busy stashing the cash from Kirkuk in Western Banks in his family’s name. Obadi lost the plot by using Iranian forces. He had opened up a plan to expose all of Barzani’s embezzlement of Kurdish funds, but he couldn’t be bothered to wait for the information. Shi’a don’t have any brains, not my problem, but he lost the unity of Kurdistan by one day of impulsive revenge. The Kurdish will never accept to be ruled by bullying, pillage and acts of genocide. Nor will Catelonia accept EU thuggery against its citizens.

          • giyane

            The British Empire carved up Kurdistan in 1918, and it was completely finished within 50 years of that crime. The Kurdish are a people descended in mentality and possibly in ethnicity from the Captivity of the children of Israel. “Born and bred in the briar patch”, totally defiant to the power of the British and totally defiant to USUKIS political Islamists.

            Like it or not, Russia’s Putin is the power-broker in the Middle East, not Trump. Trump should take note of the fact that the Kurdish refused to kow-tow to the British and they don’t think much of the ticket offered by Obama to re-draw the Sykes-Picot borders in favour of Daesh and against Iran. Obadi has turned out to be even stupider than Maliki, because he has lost Russian support for the sake of one day of revenge.

            The US has turned out to be even stupider than the British and is so full of its own vomit in the Middle-East it has to make false flags at home for a diversion from its utter Foreign policy failure. I guarantee that Kurdistan will not accept Iranian power in its traditional land.

      • giyane

        Al-Hashd al-Sha‘bi—also known as the Popular Mobilization Units, the Shi‘i militias, or simply “the Hashd”—has joined Iraqi security forces and the Kurdish peshmerga to spearhead Iraq’s ongoing offensive against ISIS.

        I think it would be unwise to specify the ethnicity of any army in the Middle East, but the financial sponsors, ideological backers and military armers and instructors of Hashd al Shabi are Iranian.

        The point is also made that the Hashd al Shabi and the Peshmerga were recently fighting on the same side. That’s the whole point of the wars in the Middle East, Nobody will be winner and everybody has to watch their back from everyone else. Zionist Divide and rule. Homework finished.

  • freddy

    If Rajoy, takes over the running of Catalonia, the Catalan police have a choice, either dance to the tune of the new paymaster or to dance in the streets without a job or income, keep dancing in the street
    and become on the wrong side of Spanish law.

    • freddy

      In The Crimea, there was also a disputed referendum.
      The Russian faction, seems to have won ( at least for now)
      people were given a choice, either accept they had become part of Russia – get a wage-get a pension-accept the rule of Russia, leave The Crimea and return to The Ukraine or become a nobody.
      Most have apparently chosen not to be jobless-pensionless.

      • giyane

        I am jobless and pensionless in the UK. To have a job and a pension in the UK you have to sign up to the whole neo-Liberal dream, universal spying, continuous war against the perceived enemies of political Zionism, US hegemony, and hatred of the tenets of monotheistic religion. What so special about Ukraine?

        • glenn_nl

          If you don’t want a job, because you object on some sort of morals ground, how do you expect to live – should everyone else have to fork out for your upkeep?

          • giyane

            Being my employer, or my colleague or even my imam does not give anybody the right to spy on my internet use or private life. In fact in Islam I can spike them in the eye for spying through my keyhole. That’s why I spike them on line.

  • giyane

    Political correctness prevents me from many things, such as why it’s ok for the Spanish state to hit civilians with batons, but not acceptable for parents to smack naughty Scottish children. Obviously nobody wants to resort to violence unless boundaries have been crossed many times. If one parent is allowing the boundaries to be crossed and another parent wants to enforce them, their anger should be directed at the laissez-faire parent, not the children. nowadays if one parent will not comply with another, it is used as an excuse for adultery, and other forms of sexual politics, and soon enough children have no parents, just visiting adults justifying themselves for behaving abhominably in front of their children.

    So it is with politics. The worst thing that can happen to a people is so-called leaders playing politics like Barcelona and Madrid. Hawler and Baghdad, Edinburgh and London. The truth is that nothing is going to get better by playing politics; all that can happen is that the problem will escalate into violence. The violence will be cathartic for the politicians , but deeply psychologically damaging for the citizens.

    I’ve no objection to Craig venting his indignation against the UK elite , or indeed the global elite, through words, with the gauntlet of Independence. All discussion is informative and stimulating. But when the UK government responds to a peaceful demonstration by kettling, depriving the people of public toilets, and murdering the slightly weaker-minded of them, as they did in the City of London, then the blame lies firmly with the authoritarian side, and they should be forced to discuss or resign, like parents who smack their children.

    If the EU, as the authority in the Federal EU, does not intervene against Rajoy for using violence against the people, then they are not worthy of the honour of the office of government that has been bestowed upon them.
    The logical consequence of the EU NOT acting against Rajoy will inevitably be the destruction of the European Union. They should understand this, they are politicians. Nobody’s authority is greater than these fundamental laws of human nature. NWO globalisers, you have been warned.

    • giyane
      Police kettling in April 2009.
      “Chris Abbott, Hannah McClure and Josh Moos are challenging the Metropolitan Police’s containment strategy. They claim the force’s use of “shield strikes” as part of their “kettling” tactics in April 2009 was unlawful. Michael Fordham QC, appearing for the protesters, argued so-called shield strikes were “not a recognised form of reasonable force at all”, or an approved police defensive technique found in police manuals.”
      Following that disgraceful show of force by Gordon Brown, at a time when he as former Chancellor of the Exchequer and now as Prime Minister, refused to allow the people to protest at the way the economy was being run.
      The people were absolutely right and he was absolutely wrong.

  • Henri Kerkdijk-Otten

    So let’s examine the Spanish constitution a bit:

    Article 137
    The State is organised territorially into municipalities, provinces and Autonomous Communities that may be constituted. All these bodies
    shall enjoy self-government for the management of their respective interests.

    Article 138
    1. The State guarantees the effective implementation of the principle of solidarity vested in Article 2 of the Constitution, safeguarding the
    establishment of a just and adequate economic balance between the different areas of Spanish territory and taking into special consideration the circumstances pertaining to those which are islands.
    2. The differences between the Statutes of the different Autonomous Communities may in no case imply economic or social privileges.

    Article 140
    The Constitution guarantees the autonomy of the municipalities, which shall enjoy full legal personality. Their government and administration shall be incumbent on their respective Town Councils, consisting of Mayors and Councillors. The Councillors shall be elected by the residents of the municipalities by universal, equal, free and secret suffrage, in the manner laid down by the law. The Mayors shall be elected by ten Councillors or by the residents. The law shall regulate the terms under which an open council system shall be applicable.

    Article 141
    1. The province is a local entity, with its own legal personality, detemined by the grouping of municipalities and by territorial division,
    in order to carry out the activities of the State. Any alteration of the provincial boundaries must be approved by the Cortes Generales by
    means of an organic law.
    2. The government and autonomous administration of the provinces shall be entrusted to Provincial Councils («Diputaciones») or other
    Corporations that are representative in character.

    Article 144
    3. Matters not expressly assigned to the State by virtue of the present Constitution may fall under the jurisdiction of the Autonomous
    Communities by virtue of their respective Statutes. Matters for which jurisdiction has not been assumed by the Statutes of Autonomy shall fall within the jurisdiction of the State, whose laws shall prevail, in case of conflict, over those of the Autonomous Communities regarding all matters over which exclusive jurisdiction has not been conferred upon the latter. State law shall, in all cases, be supplementary to that of the Autonomous Communities.

    So… the Spanish state can only maintain an economic balance between the states. Provincial autonomy is absolute when it comes to the interest of the provincial autonomy. This contradicts with article 155.

    The most important thing is that the consitution doesn’t provide for a withdrawal of an autonomous province from the Spanish state. That doesn’t automatically lead to the conclusion that a province cannot withdraw. It is simply not provided for.

    In that sense the Spanish state is effectively some kind of EU.

    If i were the Catalan government, i would put this up for mediation. And also make an appeal to the United Nations for the two basic rights, mentioned by Craig, which were violated.

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