Military tyranny in Catalonia, Spain?


This video says about itself:

Spanish police brutality against Catalan voters

4 October 2017

Compilation of Spanish police brutality stopping voters from getting to the polling stations to cast their votes.

By Alex Lantier:

Spain prepares military crackdown in Catalonia

6 October 2017

With Spanish military and police units already being deployed, Madrid has signaled that it is preparing a brutal crackdown in Catalonia.

Spain’s Constitutional Court yesterday said that Monday’s planned session of the Catalan regional parliament, at which it was expected that the separatist parties would make a unilateral declaration of independence, must not take place. Coming after failing in a brutal attempt to halt the October 1 Catalan independence referendum, and with Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy rejecting calls for mediation led by the Podemos party and the union bureaucracy, the move lays the basis for bringing in the army against what is now declared an unconstitutional meeting.

The Constitutional Court acted based on a complaint brought by the Socialist Party of Catalonia (PSC)—the Catalan wing of the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE), which is now working openly with the PP to prepare a military clampdown. Calling the PSC’s complaint “relevant and of general social and economic interest,” the Court ruled that any act decided by the Catalan parliament would infringe the rights of PSC MPs and be “totally void, without the least value or effect. It warned that defying this order could mean arrests and criminal prosecutions.

On Sunday, the world was shocked and stunned as videos filled the Internet of 16,000 police assaulting polling places and peaceful voters, including women and the elderly, across Catalonia. Furious that its initial crackdown failed, Madrid is now preparing an even bloodier assault, using the military. As the Spanish press debates imposing a state of emergency, as in neighboring France, it is clear that this is bound up with well-advanced plans for military rule and the abrogation of basic democratic rights across Europe.

Rajoy’s minority Popular Party (PP) government is relying on the support of the major European imperialist powers. After official German, UK, and French sources signaled their support for Madrid following Sunday’s crackdown, the European Union (EU) again formally endorsed the Spanish crackdown on Wednesday.

Opening debate on the Catalan crisis at the European Parliament, Frans Timmermans, the first vice president of the EU Commission, unequivocally endorsed Madrid’s use of force against the population of Catalonia. “The regional government of Catalonia has chosen to ignore the law in organizing the referendum of last Sunday,” Timmermans declared, adding: “it is the duty for any government to uphold the law, and this sometimes does require the proportionate use of force.”

Yesterday, Spanish Defense Minister María Dolores de Cospedal made clear that Madrid views an army intervention to be a legitimate response in Catalonia. At a meeting at the School for Higher Defense Studies, she insisted that Spain’s army is tasked with “defending its territorial integrity and constitutional order.” After King Felipe VI declared in a bellicose speech Tuesday that Catalan nationalists had placed themselves outside the law and democracy, Cospedal added, “Everything that is located outside of democracy is a threat to our nation.”

Spanish army units are already providing logistical support to police deployed in Catalonia. And after Catalan regional premier Carles Puigdemont indicated after Sunday’s crackdown that he could declare independence on Monday, a measure that Madrid has stated for months is illegal, political maneuvers by Madrid to seize the Catalan government are underway.

There are also moves underway by the Spanish judiciary to prosecute Catalan judges and Catalan police, the Mossos dEsquadra, for failing to crack down on voters and demonstrating sympathy for separatists. The head of the Mossos, Josep Lluis Trapero, is to appear today before a court on the unprecedented charge of sedition, facing a 15-year prison sentence.

The courts are also removing legal restrictions to decisions by banks and corporations to move their headquarters away from Catalonia, amid reports that CaixaBank could soon move to Mallorca.

On Thursday, Rajoy also rejected appeals for mediation from Podemos General Secretary Pablo Iglesias and Puigdemont, supported by the … Workers Commissions (CCOO) and social-democratic General Union of Labor (UGT) union bureaucracies. When Iglesias phoned Rajoy to discuss the plan, Rajoy thanked Iglesias but declared he had no intention of negotiating with anyone who “is blackmailing the state so brutally.”

This was a direct repudiation of the Podemos leader’s comments the previous evening. Iglesias had told reporters, “A group of trusted people should sit down at a table to discuss as a team for dialog. This is what I told the premier of Catalonia and the prime minister of Spain. I spoke to Puigdemont and Rajoy, and they didn’t say no.” …

While the leader of Podemos held “cordial” talks with Spain’s right-wing prime minister, far-right forces are organizing anti-Catalan protests across Spain and singing hymns of the 1939-1978 fascist regime of Generalissimo Francisco Franco.

Well aware that a new crackdown could provoke explosive social opposition among workers in the entire country, the Spanish press is agitating for moving to a police-state dictatorship. They are discussing the application not only of Article 155 of Spain’s Constitution, a so-called “nuclear option” that suspends Catalan self-government, but Article 116. This suspends basic democratic rights—including freedom of thought and expression, the right to strike, and elections—and allows for press censorship.

After a quarter century of imperialist war and EU austerity since the Stalinist bureaucracy’s dissolution of the Soviet Union, European democracy is at the breaking point. A decade of deep austerity since the 2008 Wall Street crash, which brought Spanish unemployment to 20 percent, has shattered Spain’s economy and discredited its ruling elite. Amid a deep crisis of the post-Francoite regime in Spain, and as the ruling class savagely attacks democratic rights across Europe, the Spanish bourgeoisie is using the Catalan crisis to return to an authoritarian regime.

Madrid’s plans for a bloodbath in Catalonia must be opposed. The critical question is the politically independent, revolutionary mobilization of the working class, not only in Catalonia but in all of Spain and across Europe, in struggle against the threat of civil war and police-state dictatorship and for socialism.

Faced with the prospect of a military crackdown, panic is reportedly spreading among Puigdemont’s supporters. Among Catalan nationalists in Barcelona, the city’s daily La Vanguardia wrote, “A strong feeling of vertigo runs through everyone—undermining militant enthusiasms, revolutionary visions, indignation in capital letters, patriotic ardors.” It added that King Felipe VI’s speech “has accentuated this feeling of vertigo. There is fear that the current escalation will end in catastrophe.”

Incapable of and hostile to mobilizing broader opposition to Madrid’s crackdown in the Spanish working class, the Catalan nationalists’ pro-capitalist politics only serves to divide the workers while a bloody onslaught from Madrid looms.

This video is called

By Alejandro López in Spain:

Amid Catalan crisis, Madrid prepares military rule across Spain

6 October 2017

The Spanish political establishment is now openly debating its options for how to crack down on the secessionist movement in Catalonia and install military rule across the entire country.

Two weeks ago, the debate was whether the Spanish minority Popular Party (PP) government under Mariano Rajoy should implement drastic measures that would suspend Catalan regional autonomy. Now, the question is when and how the military will be deployed and police presence escalated. These discussions must be taken as a serious warning to the Spanish and international working class.

The Madrid-based media is unanimous in denouncing Rajoy for not moving more rapidly with military force against the separatists. Yesterday, editorials attacked the “inexplicable paralysis of the government” (El Mundo), the “Government’s delay in making decisions” (ABC), that the “insurrectionary plan of the secessionists advances … without the governmental side considering any initiative to stop it” (El País); and “the paralysis of the Government … [which] has weakened the constitutionalist bloc and emboldened secessionists” (El Español).

El Confidencial reports, “In the PP leadership, they admit that their members and bases are anxious for drastic measures to stop the coup in Catalonia, and still more after hearing the message of the King. For the moment, internal discipline has been imposed between deputies and senators, with the official message that ‘the president knows what he has to do and when he has to do it.’”

This “discipline” has been broken, in fact, by former PP Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar. Yesterday, Aznar called on Rajoy “to act” and “use all the constitutional instruments within reach.” He added that if Rajoy cannot find “the spirit or the courage,” he should call elections “to give Spaniards the possibility of deciding which government” can face the separatists.

The main mechanism being discussed is Article 155 of the Spanish constitution, which can be invoked if a regional government “acts in a way seriously prejudicing the general interests of Spain.” This clause, which has never been invoked, allows the central government in Madrid to take control of a regional government.

Since 16,000 police deployed in Catalonia failed to close down last Sunday’s referendum—the Interior Ministry said that police closed down only 79 of the 2,315 polling stations—such a measure could not be implemented without a turn to the military and bloody repression.

If such a measure was not contemplated previously for fear that it would set off a social explosion in Catalonia and across Spain, now the right-wing press is provocatively calling for such an outcome. As one opinion writer for the conservative ABC noted, it “would lead to violence in the streets … and millions of supporters and detractors throughout Spain should prepare themselves mentally to expect arrests, suspensions, disqualifications from public office and an aggressive street insurrection that shall be stifled.”

Days after this piece was posted, ABC sees it is too late to invoke Article 155. “This article is only effective if applied on time,” ABC wrote yesterday. Now, it added, the government has to invoke “the Constitutional clauses that foresee the state of emergency, established in its Article 116.” ABC, which sided with the fascist coup of General Francisco Franco in 1936, is calling for de facto military rule once again in Spain.

Article 116 spells out different scenarios for states of alarm, emergency and siege (martial law). It involves the deployment of the military and allows the suspension of the following democratic rights: prohibition of preventive arrest; the right to privacy; the right to free correspondence; free elections and freedom of movement across the national territory; the right to free expression and thought; the right to communicate information or receive true information; prohibition on the seizure of publications and other types of information without judicial process; the right to strike; and the right to adopt methods of collective struggle.

In addition, it stipulates that the government may intervene against “industries or businesses that can upset the public order,” suspend civil servants from their positions and “Order the provisional imprisonment of the accused to be maintained, according to [judges’] discretion, during this period.”

In other words, the ruling class is openly discussing imposing a military dictatorship and suspending rights granted to the working class as a result of its struggles against fascist dictatorships in the 20th century. Suspending these rights would mean arming the state with vast police powers that the military could use to terrorise the working masses, as the Franco regime did from 1939 to 1977.

The other measure being considered is the National Security Law passed in 2015 by the PP and PSOE after the Charlie Hebdo attacks in France. This law empowers Rajoy to declare a “situation of interest for national security,” define the geographical area affected and assume power in that territory “with the appointment, where appropriate, of a functional authority,” in coordination with the National Security Council composed of the defence and interior ministers, the head of the Spanish intelligence services, and the heads of the army.

The law resembles one introduced by Franco in 1969, which directly targeted the working class. As the WSWS warned, “It is an indictment of the Spanish ruling class that the precedent for this law was one passed and used by the fascist regime to suppress the rise in working class militancy. Between 1970 and 1979, it was used against striking workers on the Madrid and Barcelona metros, railways and buses and in the shipyards, postal and fire services and the electricity system.”

The discussions taking place in Spain have vast repercussions for the international working class. It is not surprising that former vice-prime minister and longstanding Socialist Party deputy, Alfonso Guerra, declared in favour of sending the army to Catalonia, adding that “in France the Army has been protecting the streets for two years, and no one is discussing it,” that is, whether France is a democracy or not.

There should be no illusions that the European Union will seek to stop the drive to a military dictatorship in Spain. On Wednesday, Commission First Vice President Frans Timmermans said it was the “duty for any government to uphold the law, and this sometimes does require the proportionate use of force,” referring to the 800 injured by police violence last Sunday.

Eighty years after Franco’s military coup, the working class must organise itself throughout Spain to prevent the drive to military dictatorship.

This requires complete political independence from the impotent cries of Podemos imploring the PP to negotiate with Barcelona, a proposal repudiated by Rajoy, and the separatists’ hopes that a major crackdown would simply increase their political appeal. Ignoring the threat of military dictatorship, they are acting to disarm the working class while sowing dangerous illusions in the PP and the military.

On Monday, Spain’s Popular Party (PP) government rejected Catalan Premier Carles Puigdemont’s call for a two-month period of negotiations with Madrid after the “yes” vote in the October 1 Catalan independence referendum. With Spanish armored forces and thousands of police preparing for action, Spain is on the brink of martial law and a military crackdown in Catalonia: here.

The Spanish government’s declaration yesterday that it plans to invoke Article 155 of the Spanish constitution tomorrow, suspending Catalan regional autonomy, is a political watershed and an urgent warning to workers not only in Spain, but across Europe and internationally: here.

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Male roe deer video


This 5 October 2017 video shows a male roe deer.

Robert-Jan Asselbergs in the Netherlands made this video.

Humpback whale rescued, video


This video says about itself:

6 October 2017

When the Blue World team aboard the Live-aboard dive boat Sea Escape encounters a Humpback Whale helplessly entangled in marine debris, they launch a daring rescue operation with the assistance of the Solmar V. This segment follows the adventure of freeing the whale from certain death entangled in fishing line, buoys and kelp!

JONATHAN BIRD’S BLUE WORLD is an Emmy Award-winning underwater science/adventure program.

Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons wins Nobel Peace Prize


This video from the USA says about itself:

19 June 2012

Ben Cohen (Ben & Jerry’s) – on behalf of TrueMajority.org – uses BBs to show how many nuclear weapons the USA has today.

From the Nobel Prize site in Sweden:

The Nobel Peace Prize 2017

International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN)

The Nobel Peace Prize for 2017

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2017 to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN). The organization is receiving the award for its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons.

We live in a world where the risk of nuclear weapons being used is greater than it has been for a long time. Some states are modernizing their nuclear arsenals, and there is a real danger that more countries will try to procure nuclear weapons, as exemplified by North Korea. Nuclear weapons pose a constant threat to humanity and all life on earth. Through binding international agreements, the international community has previously adopted prohibitions against land mines, cluster munitions and biological and chemical weapons. Nuclear weapons are even more destructive, but have not yet been made the object of a similar international legal prohibition.

Through its work, ICAN has helped to fill this legal gap. An important argument in the rationale for prohibiting nuclear weapons is the unacceptable human suffering that a nuclear war will cause. ICAN is a coalition of non-governmental organizations from around 100 different countries around the globe. The coalition has been a driving force in prevailing upon the world’s nations to pledge to cooperate with all relevant stakeholders in efforts to stigmatise, prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons. To date, 108 states have made such a commitment, known as the Humanitarian Pledge.

Furthermore, ICAN has been the leading civil society actor in the endeavour to achieve a prohibition of nuclear weapons under international law. On 7 July 2017, 122 of the UN member states acceded to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. As soon as the treaty has been ratified by 50 states, the ban on nuclear weapons will enter into force and will be binding under international law for all the countries that are party to the treaty.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee is aware that an international legal prohibition will not in itself eliminate a single nuclear weapon, and that so far neither the states that already have nuclear weapons nor their closest allies support the nuclear weapon ban treaty. The Committee wishes to emphasize that the next steps towards attaining a world free of nuclear weapons must involve the nuclear-armed states. This year’s Peace Prize is therefore also a call upon these states to initiate serious negotiations with a view to the gradual, balanced and carefully monitored elimination of the almost 15,000 nuclear weapons in the world. Five of the states that currently have nuclear weapons – the USA, Russia, the United Kingdom, France and China – have already committed to this objective through their accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons of 1970. The Non-Proliferation Treaty will remain the primary international legal instrument for promoting nuclear disarmament and preventing the further spread of such weapons.

It is now 71 years since the UN General Assembly, in its very first resolution, advocated the importance of nuclear disarmament and a nuclear weapon-free world. With this year’s award, the Norwegian Nobel Committee wishes to pay tribute to ICAN for giving new momentum to the efforts to achieve this goal.

The decision to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2017 to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons has a solid grounding in Alfred Nobel’s will. The will specifies three different criteria for awarding the Peace Prize: the promotion of fraternity between nations, the advancement of disarmament and arms control and the holding and promotion of peace congresses. ICAN works vigorously to achieve nuclear disarmament. ICAN and a majority of UN member states have contributed to fraternity between nations by supporting the Humanitarian Pledge. And through its inspiring and innovative support for the UN negotiations on a treaty banning nuclear weapons, ICAN has played a major part in bringing about what in our day and age is equivalent to an international peace congress.

It is the firm conviction of the Norwegian Nobel Committee that ICAN, more than anyone else, has in the past year given the efforts to achieve a world without nuclear weapons a new direction and new vigour.

Oslo, 6 October 2017

In his will, the pacifist Alfred Nobel left decisions about the Nobel Peace Prize to Norway. Norway was then a neutral country. However, for decades now Norway has been a member of the NATO military alliance.

That has led to awarding the prize to some clearly undeserving recipients. Like the European Union. And Finnish politician Ahtisaari (who, though undeserving at the time of the award, later made somewhat more deserving comments).

It is good that this time a deserving organisation has been awarded the prize. At a time when the ‘leader of the NATO free world’, United States President Donald Trump, threatens the world with nuclear annihilation.

Even though Norway is a NATO country, it is good that in this particular case they have not gone along with NATO nuclear warmongers. Within the United Nations, 122 countries have voted for ICAN’s goal of nuclear disarmament. The main resistance to that is by NATO countries like Donald Trump‘s USA, Theresa May‘s Britain and Macron‘s France.

JEREMY CORBYN hailed yesterday’s Nobel Peace Prize win for nuclear disarmament campaigners — and called for “an urgent response” from governments that do too little to achieve a nuclear-free world: here.

Florida grey squirrels survive Hurricane Irma


This video from the USA says about itself:

Reunion With Squirrel Buddies After Hurricane Irma in Florida

5 October 2017

I was delighted to find the Florida Backyard squirrels alive and well after Hurricane Irma rolled through – we threw a little peanut party. I didn’t get back until September 16th and they were waiting. A little wet and ragged, but OK.

Their trees were pretty much de-leafed by winds gusting to 80 mph or so, but it looked like the two mothers with kittens must have moved them out of the high oak tree nests before or early during the storm and they are probably OK. Animals have a natural survival instinct and squirrels will move their kits down into the palmetto tree crowns if need be. Big palmetto trees do a lot better in the high wind. I will be putting up squirrel nest boxes in the trees later this fall. More on that later.

Saudi regime kills Yemeni children, gets slap on the wrist


This video says about itself:

A message from Yemeni children to Trump

20 March 2017

‏Next to the house destroyed by Saudi coalition warplanes, Yara sent a message to Trump.

‏The message summarizes the reality of Yemeni children.

‏Their suffering. Fear. Fleeing.

‏Two years of US-KSA aggression on Yemen! Why!

What have we done to deserve all this?

Why are you killing us?

‏We no longer have any dreams … except that we don’t want to see our loved ones die in front of us, due to an aircraft bombing their homes or their event halls or workplaces.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Saudi killing ‘not as bad as other states doing it’

Friday 6th October 2017

Riyadh ‘taking steps to improve protection of children,’ says UN despite deaths

THE Saudi-led invasion coalition in Yemen has made this year’s United Nations blacklist of child-killers — but on a list of lesser sinners.

The coalition’s inclusion on a list of countries which, though guilty of killing youngsters, are said to be taking steps “to improve the protection of children” was leaked to the Associated Press on Wednesday.

But Yemen’s Saba news agency reported yesterday that one child had been killed and three injured — along with two adults — in a coalition air strike on a civilian car in the Baqim district of northern Saada province.

The day before, two other civilians were killed in a coalition raid on a farm in the same district, which borders Saudi Arabia.

The US-backed coalition, which the UN said had killed or injured almost 700 Yemeni children in 2016, was first added to the list of children’s rights violators last year.

But it was swiftly removed by then secretary-general Ban Ki Moon under intense pressure from Saudi Arabia.

Mr Ban’s successor Antonio Guterres divided this year’s list into two sections. One is of parties which recruit, use, kill, maim, rape, sexually abuse or abduct children in armed conflict or attack schools and hospitals.

The other, which includes the Saudi-led coalition, lists parties “that have put in place measures during the reporting period to improve the protection of children.”

The secretary-general’s report did not specify what those measures were.

But he said: “In Yemen, the coalition’s actions objectively led to the listing for the killing and maiming of children, with 683 child casualties attributed to this party, and as a result of being responsible for 38 verified incidents, for attacks on schools and hospitals during 2016.”

Also accused are al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula — allegedly a Saudi proxy force directed against coalition ally the United Arab Emirates’ scheme to declare a breakaway state of South Yemen — and militias loyal to former president Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi’s shadow government in the Saudi capital Riyadh, including the salafists.

Only Americans Can Stop America’s War on Yemen: here.

THE PUSH TO END PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP’S SUPPORT FOR THE SAUDI CARNAGE IN YEMEN Just picked up a few more high-profile names. [HuffPost]