Spanish exorcist priest accused of abusing girl

This video is called The Exorcist 1973 trailer.

In the 1973 horror movie The Exorcist, the villain is a teenage girl (or, rather, a demon possessing her); and the good guy is an exorcist priest.

However, in 2015 real life, things are a bit different.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Priest questioned over 13 exorcisms allegedly performed on anorexic teen

Court to investigate whether practice crossed line into abuse after girl’s parents sent her for exorcisms thinking she was possessed

Ashifa Kassam in Seville

Friday 20 March 2015 17.13 GMT

A priest has been summoned to court to answer questions about more than a dozen exorcisms he allegedly carried out on an teenage girl with anorexia.

The investigation began after the girl and members of her extended family complained to the Spanish authorities in August that she had been put through at least 13 exorcisms.

The girl, from the northern city of Burgos, told police that she began having problems with anorexia and anxiety when she was 16, which her parents saw as a “sign of her possession by the devil”.

She was undergoing psychiatric treatments at the time, in May 2012, but her parents, convinced that exorcisms would help, took her to a priest from Valladolid, who carried out several of them on her over a three-month period.

The girl told authorities she was forced to lie on the ground and tied up, with crosses placed over her head. Images of saints were put on her body during the ritual, which often lasted between one and two hours.

In her initial filings, the judge said that the practice of exorcisms on the girl may have crossed the line into “domestic violence, causing injury and abuse”, according to Diario de Burgos, a Spanish newspaper.

The archdiocese of Burgos said in a statement: “After the girl was admitted various times to hospitals in Burgos and Valladolid, her parents, distraught on seeing that she wasn’t recovering, brought her to the exorcist.” It added that the girl’s parents alone made the decision to treat her through exorcisms.

Defending the rituals, the archdiocese said: “Exorcisms are a religious practice that has been maintained as part of the church’s tradition, and is a right available to all of the faithful.”

The exorcist at the centre of the case, it added, had been legitimately appointed by a bishop.

The priest, who has not been formally charged, is expected to appear in court in the coming weeks.

Spain has an estimated 15 priests authorised to carry out exorcisms, eight of whom were added in 2013, by the then Archbishop of Madrid, Antonio María Rouco Varela, reportedly to meet increasing demand for the practice.

If not for horror films like The Exorcist, there would probably be less demand for exorcism.

Rare ring-necked duck in Spain

This video from the USA says about itself:

10 March 2011

A flock of Ring-necked ducks hung around the Palace Lagoon at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco.

From Rare Birds in Spain, on Twitter:

27.2.2015 Aythya collaris. 1 male La Massona, PN AIguamolls Empordà, Girona.

Aythya collaris means ring-necked duck. They are rare in Europe, not so rare in their northern North American homeland.

Spanish government attacks democracy

This video from Madrid in Spain says about itself:

Spain: Activist covers herself in duct tape to protest ‘gag law

25 September 2014

The activist and performer Jil Love made an unusual performance Thursday as a protest against a so-called ‘gag law’, which was approved last June.

The performance was carried out in the middle of the well-known central street of Gran Via. For more than one hour, Love was covered in duct tape and her team invited people to write on her body.

The law makes it possible for the government to fine activists who take part in unauthorised public protests.

By Vicky Short and Alejandro López:

Spanish government prepares new National Security Law

11 February 2015

Spain’s Popular Party (PP) government is stepping up its police-state measures. A draft Organic Law of National Security, drawn up by the Ministry of the Presidency, the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Interior, has been passed by the Council of Ministers and is awaiting final approval in parliament.

Government sources stated that the objective of the new law is to strengthen the coordination between ministries in the face of an emergency situation and that it will consolidate the National Security Strategy passed in May last year.

This video from Spain says about itself:

Spanish Civil Protection Act or Gag Law (by ATXE)

16 December 2014

Video explaining the Spanish law which violates the right to demonstrate in Spain, creating a police state.

The Vicky Short and Alejandro López article continues:

The draft law declares that the “State may mobilise public and private resources to address crisis situations that put national security at risk” but does not specify how this would be done. Material resources such as vehicles and buildings can already be temporarily seized in a “Civil Protection” emergency or disaster, but not for cases of risk to national security.

The draft law introduces a new category of what constitutes a national crisis, allowing the prime minister, without approval by parliament, to declare a crisis in the “interests of National Security” and the suspension of basic rights and public freedom.

Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria said that the government will prepare an inventory of resources in public or private hands that are of interest to national security and that can be mobilised in a crisis. “The first thing to do in order to meet a catastrophe is knowing what you have, where it is and [to be able to use it] with due compensation,” she declared. Although Saenz denied that the law was linked to the Charlie Hebdo shootings in Paris, the government took advantage of the hysteria to rush through the law after two years of back-door discussions.

During the drafting of the new law, in July 2013, a National Security Council (CSN) was created, assuming the functions of the Government Commission for Crisis Situations and sitting at the apex of the National Security System. It is led by the prime minister and includes the deputy prime minister, the foreign minister, the ministers of defence and of interior, the Treasury, the secretary of state for security, the chief of staff of defence and the director of the National Intelligence Centre (CNI). The theme of the first meeting after the Paris events was Plan Estratégico Nacional de Lucha contra la Radicalización Violenta (National Strategic Plan to Fight Violent Radicalisation).

The strategic plan lists 12 risks to Spain’s security: armed conflicts, terrorism, cyber threats, organised crime, economic and financial instability, energy vulnerability, irregular migratory flows, weapons of mass destruction, espionage, natural emergencies and catastrophes, vulnerability in the maritime space and critical infrastructure, and essential services.

The new law has all the hallmarks of that introduced by the leader of the fascist regime, Francisco Franco, in 1969. It was only repealed in 2007 by the Socialist Party (PSOE) government as a sop for its refusal to carry out proper government-backed investigations into Franco’s crimes.

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.

Franco’s law began in these chauvinistic terms: “The defence of the nation is an honourable and foremost duty of all Spaniards and it is for the latter to contribute their efforts and sacrifice of their individual and collective interests to the extent that it [the nation] requires it.”

It included not only the seizure of property, but also the forceful seizure of people.

The PP government is organising the forces of the state to be used, not against jihadists or any other so-called terrorists, but for domestic repression under conditions of social unrest. The new law comes in the wake of other recent anti-working class legislation, passed with the agreement of the PSOE opposition or through the PP parliamentary majority.

This video says about itself:

Approval of ‘Gag Law’ raises outrage in Spain

12 December 2014

Spanish citizens took to the streets to protest the approval of what they are calling a ‘Gag Law’ by the Congress. People in Spain are outraged by this law which includes fines for people who demonstrate in front of the government buildings, or for people who try to prevent evictions and for those who film police abuse against citizens. The law also includes immediate deportation of migrants.

The Vicky Short and Alejandro López article continues:

The Citizens Security Law, popularly known as the Gag Law, introduced fines of up to €600,000 for demonstrations not previously notified to the authorities, or anyone reporting on them, re-tweeting or posting a “like” on Facebook. Anyone videotaping the police during demonstrations faces a fine of up to €30,000.

The PP government used the Charlie Hebdo attacks to introduce new amendments to the Gag Law and the Criminal Procedure Code, with the agreement of the PSOE, under the guise of a new “anti-terrorist pact” between both parties.

One amendment provides for “imprisonment of between one to eight years for those who on a daily or regular basis access in online communication or acquire or are in possession of documents which target, or because of their content, result in inciting others to decide to join a terrorist organisation or group.”

Other amendments include imprisonment for those who have shown interest in committing terrorist acts; for those who have received military training by a terrorist organisation; for whoever establishes contact with a terrorist organisation; for whoever moves to a foreign territory controlled by a terrorist organisation with the aim of collaborating with them; and for the praising or justification through any public means of terrorist crimes.

The Charlie Hebdo attack has also been used to reintroduce life imprisonment and allow the Interior Ministry to compile an airline passenger database. The Ministry of Defence is increasing its expenditure this year by nearly 2 percent, with military units receiving special crowd control training by the military police, including in the use of anti-riot equipment.

This video about Britain says about itself:

What is the Gagging Law?

5 September 2013

A short film explaining what the government’s gagging law is all about and why it’s bad for democracy. Featuring 38 Degrees, Guido Fawkes, Friends of the Earth, Baston Legal & HOPE not hate.

Why African bearded vultures die, new study

This video is about adult and young bearded vultures (and ravens), in the Pyrenees in Spain.

From Wildlife Extra:

Technology solves disappearance mystery of one of Africa’s famous birds

The mystery of the gradual disappearance of the Bearded Vulture, one of Africa’s most famous birds, has been solved using the technology of satellite tracking.

Once widespread throughout much of Southern Africa, the Bearded Vulture is now critically endangered, with a decline in nesting sites of nearly 50 per cent since the 1960s.

The remaining population is now restricted to the Drakensberg mountains in Lesotho and South Africa. But even in these isolated mountains they continue to decline.

Satellite trackers attached to 18 Bearded Vultures have confirmed conservationists’ worst fears: humans are largely to blame with collisions with power lines and poisoning being the two major vulture hazards that killed half of the birds in the satellite tracking survey.

These are key findings contained in two new research projects published this month. The studies paint the most detailed picture to date of the challenges facing the Bearded Vulture, also known as the ‘bone breaker’ due to its habit of dropping bones from a height to feed from the marrow inside.

The first paper, published in the international ornithological journal The Condor by scientists from EKZN Wildlife and the Percy FitzPatrick Institute at the University of Cape Town, found that human-related factors were the common denominator in differences between abandoned and occupied Bearded Vulture territories.

Lead author on the study Dr Sonja Krueger says: “We explored where the biggest difference lay between abandoned and occupied territories and found that human related factors such as human settlement density and powerlines were consistently different between these sites.”

Power line density and human settlement density were more than twice as high within abandoned vulture territories compared to occupied territories, the study found.

Results also suggested that food abundance may influence the bird’s overall distribution, and that supplementary vulture feeding schemes may be beneficial.

By contrast climate change was not found to be a major contributing factor in nest abandonment.

“Though not definitive, the results strongly suggest that we humans are our own worst enemies when it comes to conserving one of Africa’s iconic birds,” Krueger says.

The study recommended a new approach to vulture conservation management: “Based on the identified threats and mechanisms of abandonment, we recommend that conservation management focus on actions that will limit increased human densities and associated developments and influence the attitudes of people living within the territories of (vulture) breeding pairs,” the study concluded.

“We recommend that mitigation of existing power lines, stricter scrutiny of development proposals, and proactive engagement with developers to influence the placement of structures is essential within the home range of a territorial pair.”

The study’s findings are backed up by a second paper published in open access journal PLOS ONE, which relied on data from satellite trackers attached to 18 Bearded Vultures.

The trackers not only showed the exact location of the tagged birds every hour, they also provided critical information on movement patterns and mortality.

Tagging enabled dead birds to be quickly recovered and their cause of death determined.

The study confirmed that, in addition to power lines, poisoning was considered the main threat to vultures across Africa and was contributing to the so-called “African Vulture Crisis”– a large decline of many vulture species across the continent.

The tracking data also provided new information about the birds’ ranging behaviour. It revealed that non-breeding birds traveled significantly further than breeding birds and were therefore more vulnerable to human impact.

Some young non-breeding birds patroled an area the size of Denmark. The average adult bird had a home range of about 286 sq km, but the range was much smaller for breeding adults at just 95 sq km.

Dr Arjun Amar from UCT said detailed knowledge about Bearded Vulture home ranges could be hugely beneficial to vulture conservation: “We knew the species was likely to have large home ranges, but our results show just how far these birds travel – and therefore how exposed they are. The more they travel, the more they risk colliding with power lines or falling prey to poisoning.”

Extended beard of Bearded Vulture – incredible effect of drug revealed: here.