Spanish imprisonment for Catalan yellow ribbon?


This music video from the USA is called Tony Orlando & Dawn – Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree – DjCarnol Stereo Remastered.

This 1973 song was inspired by a story of a Union soldier in the 1861-1865 United States civil war. He had been made a prisoner of war by the pro-slavery Confederate army; but wrote to his girlfriend that he was free now and coming home; and asked her to tie a yellow ribbon around a tree to tell that he was still welcome after his years of imprisonment.

Yellow ribbons now are signs in many countries that people don’t forget others who have been away for a long time; others who have been sent to fight wars; or others who have been (unjustly) imprisoned.

Now, Associated Press and others report that a Spanish judge has threatened Quim Torra, the elected president of Catalonia with prison.

For what? Did President Torra commit murder, manslaughter, or rape? Did he smuggle a billion $ worth of cocaine, like United States JP Morgan bank did? Did that president steal a million euro; or one euro?

No, Quim Torra is threatened with being deposed as president and a prison sentence for tying yellow ribbons. Yellow ribbons in Catalonia now are a sign that people don’t forget the political prisoners. Catalan politicians were made political prisoners for organising a referendum. To which the Spanish right-wing government reacted with bloody police violence.

The United Nations (UN) Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) has called for the “immediate release” of four Catalan political prisoners currently in detention waiting for a verdict in the show trial mounted by the Spanish government, 20 months after they were incarcerated: here.

Spanish police attack mass protests against prison terms for Catalan nationalists: here.

Italy: African freed after three years of unjust imprisonment, wrongly suspected of ‘people smuggling’: here.

Domesticated foxes in Bronze Age Spain


This video says about itself:

We met the world’s first domesticated foxes

This week, we meet the very cute and very bizarre result of an almost 60-year-long experiment: they’re foxes that have been specially bred for their dog-like friendliness toward people. We do a little behavior research of our own, and discover what scientists continue to learn from the world’s most famous experiment in domestication. The fox experiment continues under the supervision of Lyudmila Trut at the Institute of Cytology and Genetics. Her book “How to Tame a Fox (and Build a Dog)”, co-authored by Lee Alan Dugatkin, details the history and science behind the experiment.

But … are foxes of this video really the first?

From FECYT – Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology:

Foxes were domesticated by humans in the Bronze Age

February 21, 2019

In the northeast of the Iberian Peninsula, between the third and second millennium BC, a widespread funeral practice consisted in burying humans with animals. Scientists have discovered that both foxes and dogs were domesticated, as their diet was similar to that of their owners.

The discovery of four foxes and a large number of dogs at the Can Roqueta (Barcelona) and Minferri (Lleida) sites stands out among the many examples of tombs in different parts of the north-eastern peninsula. These burials reveal a generalized funeral practice that proliferated in the Early to Middle Bronze Age: that of burying humans together with domestic animals.

What is most striking about these sites is the way of burying the dead in large silos, along with their dogs and a few foxes. “We discovered that in some cases the dogs received a special kind of food. We believe this is linked to their function as working dogs. Besides, one of the foxes shows signs of having already been a domestic animal in those times,” Aurora Grandal-d’Anglade, co-author of a study on the relationship between humans and dogs through their diet published in the journal Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, has said to to Sinc.

By means of studying stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes in bone collagen, as well as archaeological, archaeobiological and anthropological studies, researchers have been able to compare the diets of buried animals with their owners´ diet. A total of 37 dogs, 19 domestic ungulates and 64 humans were analyzed. The results indicate that the dogs’ diet was similar to that of humans.

The isotopic study of the Minferri foxes shows a varied diet: in some cases it looks similar to that of the dogs at that site, and in another it looks more like that of a wild animal or one that had little contact with humans.

“The case of the Can Roqueta fox is very special, because it is an old animal, with a broken leg. The fracture is still in its healing process, and shows signs of having been immobilized (cured) by humans. The feeding of this animal is very unusual, as it is more akin to a puppy dog’s. We interpret it as a domestic animal that lived for a long time with humans,” explains Grandal.

Large dogs used for transporting loads

The study points out that, in some particular cases in Can Roqueta, there was a specific cereal-rich food preparation for larger dogs probably used for carrying loads, and for at least one of the foxes.

“These specimens also show signs of disorders in the spinal column linked to the transport of heavy objects. Humans were probably looking for a high-carbohydrate diet because the animals developed a more active job, which required immediate calorie expenditure. It may seem strange that dogs were basically fed with cereals, but this was already recommended by the first-century Hispano-Roman agronomist Lucius Junius Moderatus Columella, in his work De re rustica“, says Silvia Albizuri Canadell, co-author of the work and archaeozoologist at the University of Barcelona.

Other animals, such as cows, sheep or goats are noted for an herbivorous diet. Their function was probably to provide milk, meat or wool rather than serve as a work force. “The horse was not yet widespread in those societies, no traces of it can be found until later times,” adds the scientist.

In general, humans and dogs show somewhat higher isotopic signals than ungulates, which indicates a certain (not very high) consumption of animal protein, “not necessarily much meat; they could be, for example, derived from milk,” explains Grandal. Archaeological objects included sieves that served as ‘cheese making devices’.

Moreover, men seem to have included more meat than women in their diet. As for dogs, their diet may have been mainly from leftovers of what humans ate, mostly more similar to that of women and children. “That’s why we thought they were more linked to these domestic environments,” says the researcher. There are many ethnographic parallels that indicate this relationship between women and dogs.

Feeding and treatment of foxes and dogs

The fundamental role of dogs during the Bronze Age, when livestock, along with agriculture, constituted the basis of the economy, was that of the surveillance and guidance of herds. They were also responsible for taking care of human settlements, given the risk posed by the frequent presence of dangerous animals such as wolves or bears.

“The characteristics of dogs include their great intelligence, easy trainability and, undoubtedly, their defensive behaviour. As if that were not enough, this animal was used until the nineteenth century AD in North America, Canada and Europe for light transport on its back and for dragging carts and sleds. It also functioned as a pack animal on the Peninsula during the Bronze Age,” Albizuri Canadell claims.

Some archaeological specimens from North America show bone disorders that stem from the pulling of ‘travois’. There are also accounts by the first colonizers of the use of dogs in these tasks by Indian populations until the nineteenth century AD, although they had not been identified in Europe until a few years ago.

“It was the Can Roqueta specimens under study that triggered the alarm about the use of this animal for light loads since antiquity, and they’re an exceptional case in Europe,” says Albizuri Canadell.

Similar pathologies have also been recently identified in the vertebrae of Siberian Palaeolithic dogs, leading one to think that one of the first tasks since their early domestication was the pulling of sleds and travois, in addition to hunting.

Its role as a transport animal in the first migrations and human movements through glacial Europe could have been fundamental and much more important than believed until recently.

The reason for animal offerings

Exceptional findings, such as those of tomb #88 and #405 of the Minferri site (Lleida), show that during the Bronze Age there were already well-differentiated funeral treatments in human communities.

“In the two structures mentioned above, the remains of three individuals were found together with animal offerings. In tomb #88 there was the body of an old man with the remains of a whole cow and the legs of up to seven goats. Theremains of a young woman with the offering of a whole goat, two foxes and a bovine horn were also found,” states Ariadna Nieto Espinet, an archaeologist from the University of Lleida and also the co-author of the study.

Structure #405 uncovered the body of an individual, possibly a woman, accompanied by the whole bodies of two bovines and two dogs. “We still don’t know why only a few people would have had the right or privilege to be buried with this type of offering, unlike what happens with the vast majority of burials,” the expert points out.

In Can Roqueta, clear differences have also been observed in the deposits of domestic animals within the tombs of adults, both men and women, which are even reflected in children’s tombs. From this we can infer the existence of an inheritance of social status from birth.

“It is tempting to think that if we understand domestic animals as a very important part of the agro-pastoral agro-shepherding economy of the Bronze Age and of the belongings of some people in life, these could be an indicator of the wealth of the deceased individual or of his clan or family,” argues Nieto Espinet.

“It seems that species such as bovines and dogs, two of the most recurring animals in funeral offerings, are those that might have played a fundamental role in the economy and work as well as in the symbolic world, becoming elements of ostentation, prestige and protection,” she concludes.

German extradition of Puigdemont to Spain


This video says about itself:

Spain: Solidarity march for imprisoned and exiled Catalan politicians

14 July 2018

Over 100,000 people marched in Barcelona on Saturday, to demand the freedom for political prisoners, return of exiles and an end to reprisals by the Spanish state.

The protesters marched through the city, carrying a big banner, reading “Not as prisoners, not as exiles, we want them [Catalan politicians] at home”, as well as numerous Catalan flags.

Heading the crowd was Joaquim Torra, President of the Generalitat of Catalonia. Speaking to the press, he said, “They must be released immediately. We demand from the Spanish state to release the political prisoners, and to allow the immediate return of our exiles.”

Marta Vilalta from the Republican Left of Catalonia party added, “The German justice said that there was no rebellion and no sedition, that there wasn’t violence, so they are truly political prisoners, those who are now in prison.”

The march was organised by grassroots campaigners from Òmnium Cultural, the ANC and the Associacio Catalans pels Drets Civils.

By Alejandro López in Spain:

German court authorises extradition of Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont to Spain on embezzlement charges

16 July 2018

The German High Court in Schleswig-Holstein ruled Thursday that former Catalan regional president, Carles Puigdemont, could be extradited to Spain—but only on the lesser charge of embezzlement of public funds.

Meaning using the Catalan government’s own money (not Madrid government money) to have the independence referendum.

The last time a German government extradited a democratically elected head of the Catalan government to Spain was in 1940, when nazi dictator Adolf Hitler handed over Catalan Lluis Companys to his Spanish ally Franco; who had Companys tortured to death.

The German court threw out the charge of “rebellion” requested in Spain’s European Arrest Warrant (EAW), arguing that “violent clashes with the Civil Guards or the National Police

caused by these the Civil Guards and National Police, not by peaceful people wanting to vote.

did not reach a point where the constitutional order was under threat in Spain.”

A court spokesperson said, “The court decided this morning that an extradition due to the accusation of misuse of public funds is permissible. Therefore, the court rejected the German state prosecutor’s argument that the Spanish charge of ‘rebellion’, which according to Spain’s penal code may apply only to those who ‘violently and publicly’ try to ‘abrogate, suspend or modify the Constitution, either totally or partially’, could be equated with the German penal code’s charge of ‘high treason.’”

Puigdemont still faces up to 12 years in prison if extradited and convicted of embezzlement in Spain. His lawyer has announced an appeal to the German Constitutional Court on the grounds that the former regional president cannot not receive a fair trial at home.

On Saturday, a 100,000-strong demonstration was held in Barcelona called by the nationalist organisations Òmnium Cultural and Catalan National Assembly (ANC) and attended by leaders from all the Catalan nationalist parties and … Catalunya en Comú-Podem [“Catalonia in Common–We Can”. This party advocated abstention at the independence referendum]. Under the slogan “No Jail, Nor Exile, we want you back home”, the march demanded freedom for the eleven secessionist leaders still held in custody in Spain on rebellion charges for their part in last year’s declaration of independence and for Puigdemont and other former ministers to be allowed to return without fear of reprisals.

The new Catalan president, Quim Torra, told the protestors that the court decision proved that the accusation of rebellion was a “fictional story” and that the independence movement “will come out again and again until the prisoners and ‘exiles’ return home.”

In Spain, the Supreme Court has yet to respond. If it rejects the ruling, Puigdemont would be free in Germany (but facing arrest if he leaves that country, as the warrant remains in effect elsewhere in Europe). If the Supreme Court accepts the ruling, it would throw into confusion the fate of the imprisoned secessionist leaders. Their lawyers have now called for their release, insisting that the decision of the German court “should have an impact.”

Puigdemont declared the court ruling a victory. He tweeted, “We have defeated the main lie upheld by the state [Spain]. German justice denies that the referendum on October 1 was rebellion”, adding, “Every minute spent by our colleagues in prison is a minute of shame and injustice. We will fight to the end, and we will win!”

In Germany, the press concluded much the same as Puigdemont. The Frankfürter Allgemeine Zeitung declared, “Puigdemont triumphs—a little.” Der Spiegel pointed out the “strange” anomaly created whereby Puigdemont could not be judged on the same charges as those imprisoned in Spain, while the Süddeutsche Zeitung warned that Germany had become “involuntarily an actor in the conflict in Catalonia, in which the German government had largely stayed on the sidelines.”

In Spain, the newly installed minority Socialist Party (PSOE) government announced it would abide by the ruling, although it is a clear rebuke to the line the party has pursued in the Catalan crisis. In October last year, the PSOE supported the right-wing Popular Party (PP) government’s crushing of the referendum in Catalonia, leaving 1,000 protestors injured, the imposition of an unelected government in the region and the arrest of the Catalan nationalists.

Reacting to the German ruling, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said “the important thing in terms of Spanish justice” was that those involved in the independence bid last year “are judged by the Spanish courts.” He added that the situation in Catalonia needed “much dedication” and patience and “will not be resolved in a day, two months or five months.”

To that end, on Monday, Sánchez and Torra agreed to relaunch bilateral committees between the two governments, which have been inactive for the past seven years. Negotiations are also taking place on Catalonia being granted greater control over its financing, railroad and airport facilities.

The separatist parties—Puigdemont’s Together for Catalonia (JxC) and Catalan Republican Left (ERC)—have in practice abandoned unilateral independence and are seeking to strike a deal with Madrid that will result in greater regional powers. These forces agree that though there is no Catalan state yet, running day-to-day affairs in this way would be good because it constitutes “making a republic.”

One of Torra’s main demands is the reinstatement of over a dozen Catalan laws suspended by the Constitutional Court on the instigation of the former PP government. “We’re ready to lift the vetoes on those laws”, said PSOE Deputy Prime Minister Carmen Calvo, while warning against any attempts to resurrect the independence process.

While Torra celebrated the German court ruling and demanded freedom for the political prisoners “now more than ever”, Spain’s main [righ-wing] opposition parties, the PP and Citizens, and the Madrid-based media reacted furiously.

PP spokesperson in the European Parliament, Esteban González Pons, urged Sánchez to “suspend the application of the Schengen Treaty in Spain as many other countries of the [European] Union have done, until we clarify whether the EAW serves for something or does not serve at all.”

Citizens leader Albert Rivera also attacked the EAW, saying it was “regrettable” that it seemed to be “an instrument for the benefit of fugitives.” He welcomed as “good news” the ruling that Puigdemont could be extradited for embezzlement, because he would have to “face” Spanish justice and “pay” for spending public money on a “coup d’état.”

The pro-PSOE daily El País celebrated the fact that Puigdemont would be jailed if he were extradited, but declared, “The truth is that the German decision places the Spanish judicial system in a blind alley.”

The newspaper commented that if the Spanish courts “surrender” and accept the ruling, “it will be impossible to apply the principle of legal equality, since the prisoners of the [independence] process will be judged for rebellion, while the former regional premier, charged for the same cause, would be judged for a misdemeanor of embezzlement.”

The right-wing El Español appealed to Supreme Court judge Pablo Llarena to reject the extradition with “the firm idea that the fugitive should be judged on rebellion.”

It warned that the ruling “gives oxygen to the jailed coup plotters and helps to weaken the accusation against the pro-independence activists. All this at a very delicate moment, with a weak government in Spain that may be tempted to use this ruling … to promote detente with the Catalan government.”

The only national party to welcome the ruling was Podemos. Elisenda Alamany, spokesperson for Catalunya en Comú-Podem, asked Spain’s prosecutor to “withdraw” the charges of rebellion against Puigdemont leader because they “no longer hold up.” Alamany insisted that the judicialisation of politics “brings no solution.”

PUIGDEMONT WARRANT DROPPED Spanish authorities have dropped a European arrest warrant for former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont over his part in last year’s independence referendum. [CNN]

Yesterday, the Spanish Supreme Court abandoned its attempts to secure the extradition of deposed Catalan regional President Carles Puigdemont from Germany back to Spain. … The PP backed far-right anti-Catalan protests singing the “Cara al Sol” anthem of former fascist dictator Francisco Franco and threatened Puigdemont with the fate of Catalan regional President Lluís Companys, whom Franco had shot [after Hitler extradited him]. Army chief General Fernando Alejandro identified Catalonia as a military threat to Spain: here.

Germany extraditing Puigdemont to Spain


This video says about itself:

Protests in Barcelona after former Catalan president arrested

25 March 2018

Protesters took to the streets in Barcelona after former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont was arrested in Germany five months after he went into self-imposed exile from Spain.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Carles Puigdemont, the leader of the separatist movement in Catalonia, will be extradited to Spain by Germany.

The last time a German government extradited a democratically elected head of the Catalan government to Spain was in 1940, when nazi dictator Adolf Hitler handed over Catalan Lluis Companys to his Spanish ally Franco; who had Companys tortured to death.

The justice department in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein has decided this on the basis of a judgment of the court in that state.

Today’s judgment said that it is possible to extradite Puigdemont for misappropriation of government money,

meaning using the Catalan government’s own money (not Madrid government money) to have the independence referendum

but not for rebellion.

Which may be a crime in Spain, but not in Germany. However, once Puigdemont will be in a Spanish jail, the Schleswig-Holstein court cannot stop Spanish judges from convicting Puigdemont for ‘rebellion’ as well. Spanish judges, many of whom were law students during the Franco dictatorship. Many of whom owe their jobs to the right-wing Popular Party, founded by an ex-minister of dictator Franco.

The prosecutor general then announced that the Catalan will be actually sent to Spain. …

In Catalonia, Puigdemont was succeeded by Quim Torra as president of the Catalan region. He had a talk this week with the new Spanish Prime Minister Sanchez about the future of the autonomous region Catalonia.

Will social democrat Sanchez stop the persecution of his right-wing predecessor Rajoy against Puigdemont and other Catalan political prisoners; against anti-monarchist rapper Josep Valtònyc; and in persecuting being drunk in a pub, or doing puppet theatre, as ‘terrorism’?

Spain to establish truth commission over Franco crimes: here.

Spanish police arrests Catalan football fans for yellow shirts


This 22 April 2018 video is called Pro-Catalan Supporters Targeted By Spanish Police.

Sometimes, police arrest football fans for hooliganism. But in this case, the arrests were for wearing yellow shirts; seen as a protest against making Catalans political prisoners.

This was at the King’s Cup match in Madrid yesterday. FC Barcelona from Catalonia won the cup by beating Sevilla 5 to 0.

Supporters demand freeing of political prisoners

From AFP news agency today:

Spanish authorities under fire over cup final yellow ban

Spanish authorities are facing a backlash after Barcelona supporters were forced to ditch yellow T-shirts ahead of the club’s Spanish Cup final victory over Sevilla.

Several television stations showed pictures of police forcing Barça fans to discard their yellow T-shirts before entering the Wanda Metropolitano stadium in Madrid ahead of the 5-0 thrashing of Sevilla that earned the Catalan club a 30th Copa del Rey victory.

Many Catalans — including Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola whose ribbon has resulted in a fine by English football authorities — have been donning yellow to show support for nine Catalan independence leaders held in prison near Madrid over “rebellion”.

They face up to 30 years in jail if convicted of that charge. …

Barça have often played a significant role in the Catalan independence movement supported by many of their fans. The club is seen by many as a bastion of resistance against Madrid domination, not just on the football field but in political halls too.

Barça centre-back Gerard Pique has been jeered many times by Spain fans while wearing the national team jersey over his open support for a referendum on Catalan independence.

Saturday’s measures sparked anger in Catalonia.

“Inexplicable. We’re a club that defends freedom of expression”, said Barça chairman Josep Maria Bartomeu after the game, adding that he would demand an explanation from the Spanish Football Federation.

“If now, a simple colour is an offence to the State, where are we going?” former Catalonia president Carles Puigdemont tweeted from Germany where he is in self-imposed exile to avoid a Spanish arrest warrant.

“Banning yellow in a football stadium is absurd and ridiculous, and an unacceptable attack on freedom of expression”, said pro-Catalan independence association Omnium Cultural.

Social media users reacted with irony, asking if the match officials for the cup final would also have their jerseys taken from them as they were wearing yellow.

Some Barcelona fans jeered the Spanish national anthem and the watching King Felipe VI ahead of Saturday’s match.

A goal from Argentine superstar Lionel Messi and two from Uruguay international forward Luis Suarez helped Barça cruise to victory.

The Catalan separatist Candidatures of Popular Unity (CUP) party has publicly denounced a coordinated and overt campaign of police spying directed against it. At a press conference last Thursday in front of CUP headquarters, National Secretary Núria Gibert and former deputy Mireia Boya explained that the police have been spying on them for over a year, since before last October’s Catalan independence referendum, and are continuing to do so: here.

Catalan separatists indicted for rebellion, facing jail for up to 25 years: here.

At least 200,000 people—500,000 according to the organizers—marched in Barcelona on Saturday against the show trial of 12 Catalan nationalist leaders, which began last week in Madrid. The trial is being held in the aftermath of last Wednesday’s collapse of the Spanish government. The defendants are being prosecuted on fraudulent charges of sedition and rebellion for organizing the 2017 referendum on Catalan independence from Spain. They face a possible sentence of up to 25 years in prison: here.

Over the last two weeks, Madrid has launched a judicial frame-up of Catalan nationalist politicians and leaders in a public show trial. Their prosecution on charges of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds for organising the 2017 independence referendum is groundless and reactionary: here.

Spain’s Public Prosecution Office and Solicitor General are pursuing charges for rebellion against 36 voters in the 2017 Catalan independence referendum. Their supposed crime is to have complained about police violence: here.

The United Nations (UN) Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) has called for the “immediate release” of four Catalan political prisoners currently in detention waiting for a verdict in the show trial mounted by the Spanish government, 20 months after they were incarcerated: here.

Rally for freeing Catalan political prisoners in Valencia, Spain


This video says about itself:

21 April 2018

Pro-Catalan independence activists joined a mass rally in Valencia to honour the victims of hate crimes.