The fool

The last appearance of the dismissed Catalan government president, Carles Puigdemont, was to announce the call for a referendum on the belonging or not to the European Union of a hypothetically independent Catalonia. The same thesis as any party of the European far-right in any of their respective countries. It seems like  Puigdemont has installed himself very comfortably in Belgium with his right-wing Flemish new friends. He has also has defined the EU as “a club of decadent, obsolescent countries, in which a few are in charge, and are linked to increasingly questionable economic interests.

Puigdemont had to arrive in Brussels to realize that his vision of democracy clashes head-on with the EU’s. He assures to be there in Brussels to save the democracy, although so far only 75 Catalan secessionist mayors have followed him, mayors who, by the way, will pay their excursions to the Belgian capital with the money of the Spanish taxpayers. Puigdemont has also accused the EU of “connivance with the Spanish fascism.” He criticizes the EU very harshly, saying that “EU is in very bad hands right now, with the risk of becoming an empty shell.” But it is not the only one: A MEP from ERC, a left-wing Catalan separatist party, has said mockingly that “Juncker comes from a country smaller than some Catalan cities:  Luxembourg should merge with Germany.”

I am under the impression that the Catalan separatists are making many friends in the European capital. For the Spaniards, this attitude is not unknown: those pro-independence Catalans have always acted with the same arrogance against anyone who was critical about their delusions. In Europe, these populist temptations and lack of respect for the law are very well-known. The Hungarian leader, Viktor Orban has boycotted some plans made by the European Commission like installing borders among countries again. On occasions, he has threatened to reinstate the death penalty in Hungary, although so far, he has been prevented by EU rules. Europe is built based on weights and balances to avoid these populist characters. It may seem boring, but it has been the success key of our peaceful coexistence during the past decades. In Spain and throughout the EU everyone could defend any idea, but it must be done without breaking the law. Europe is not the Far West.

The excluding nationalism is an ideology shared by the two extremes of the ideological arch, as the radical left populisms are extremely anti-Europeist as well. For these radical groups, the so-called ‘anti-system’ groups, the Europe of the EU is manipulated by unscrupulous bankers, bureaucrats at the service of the most sinister lodges, and dominated by Jewish capital, since they are deeply anti-Semitic. The EU is equally hated by far-right and left extremists, since both are similar, almost the same thing.

It is not illogical at all that someone like the radicalized separatists, abominate of a democratic supra-state framework. Because they are not democrats. They don’t respect their country’ laws at all, why should they respect the EU’s? They have been masters in lying, in distorting reality, in selling smoke. Their values ​​are totalitarian and disregarding any rule linked to decency and democratic normalcy. They fear in the light of truth, because that light reveals their hoaxes, their miseries and their enormous mistakes.

They portrayed themselves as freedom fighters, democrats, honest people, but the reality is that they represent one of the most corrupt parties in the history of Europe and the most corrosive totalitarianism. They are pure fascism and now, abominating the EU, they confirm it once again. They do not care about anything or anyone who might think that they are mistaken. That’s why Puigdemont never wanted to go to the Spanish Senate to explain himself and debate with others. That is why he cut off the opposition by modifying the regulations and laws to prevent them from debating in the regional parliament. His thing is tweeting, granting interviews with agreed-upon questionnaires, and to be cheered and praised as a leader.

I see at the horizon a glimpse of the embrace among the Catalan independence rebels and the anti-EU populists: Puigdemont has submerged himself in this mud, demonstrating against the only institution which has kept Europe without an armed conflict since the damn World War II. It is a dangerous place where this ‘enlightened leader’ is heading, because the road he points, it can only end supporting a discourse of strong states, with hard laws, ruled with an iron hand or even totalitarian. This is how it is right now in Hungary, and so believes the National Front of Le Pen, Alternative for Germany, the PVV of Wilders in the Netherlands, the Greek neo-Nazi party ‘Golden Dawn’, or even the British UKIP, which has managed to lead the UK to an epic mess with the Brexit, the most unfortunate situation for the United Kingdom in decades.

Puigdemont is completely installed in the most absolute radicalism. He should also know, if he is not yet aware, that across the political pace he is going through, he must deal with some of the most dangerous political wolves in the future. His speech against the EU is an anti-parliamentary, anti-democratic discourse against all the values that sustains our western life system. It also breaks with the Catalan tradition, always very pro-European. Puigdemont has aligned himself with the most radical reactionary movements. And those don’t like freedom. The Catalans must be happy: they already got their far-right leader. Although in the future, rather than a leader, I see him playing a freak in Late Night Show.

Hybrid war

In  21st century’ wars, the media, internet and virtual environments are as important as the traditional weapons. In a world addicted to information, the ability to create alternative truths, the so-called ‘post-truth’, and the reality denial, are becoming a very powerful weapon. Unlike other countries, Russia already entered full-time on it. Since the overthrow of the pro-Russian Viktor Yanukovych in Ukraine, Russia has begun its strategy of ‘asymmetric response’ which is a strategy of erosion, through all means at its disposal, spies, irregular military means, false news, ‘trolls’, ‘hackers’, financing of radical political parties or independence movements. These actions are taking place in countries that Russia considers hostile, mainly those belonging to the EU and NATO.

From the Russian perspective, what is happening today is a counterattack. “The Russians see the act of war in a complex way. They do not understand it only as armed combat: they also use political, economic and any other means to achieve their objectives,” explained Janis Berzins, director of the Riga’s Centre for Security and Strategic Research, attached to the Ministry of Defence of Latvia. “Russia has political objectives which wants to achieve in Europe, and it does everything possible, within certain strategic limitations. I cannot imagine Russia attacking France or Germany, it does not make sense. But we might see Russia trying to influence political outcomes, elections, people, the goal is to use our democracies against us,” Berzins said.

Russia has many means and uses them all simultaneously. There is a narrative which they want to spread out and they do it through media such as RT and Sputnik,“, pointed Dace Kundrate, an expert from the NATO’ Department of Doctrine, Concepts and Experimentation of the Strategic Communications Centre in Riga. These media develop the message and the social networks and trolls amplify it.

Now, the investigation of the Russian plot in the United States is being carried out, which seeks to clarify if there was connivance between the Donald Trump’ campaign team and Moscow. Many questions about the possible interference of the Kremlin in the United Kingdom, where the triumph of Brexit in last year’s historic referendum shaken the pillars of the European Union (EU), are also being produced right now. The controversy over how Russia seems to have influenced the past US elections is increasing, and some of the Facebook representatives recently admitted to US congressional investigators that from Russia have been generating and organizing thousands of fake Facebook profiles to influence the users. The infrastructure of fake accounts is not limited to Facebook, but a whole network of Twitter bots has been used as well.

Weakening both the EU and NATO has always been part of Moscow’ strategic plan. In this sense, the problem also affects Spain, where Russian seems to have been part of the communications regarding the secessionist movement in Catalonia. “There are indications to think that the pattern of digital disruption detected in digital debates about the elections in the United States or the Brexit, has also occurred in Catalonia and the actors of this disruption seems to be identical,” says Javier Lesaca, researcher visitor at the School of Media and Public Affairs of the George Washington University. Once again, the Kremlin, RT and Sputnik media used a very high number of social media accounts coming from the Chavismo and Venezuela spheres, to propagate a negative image of Spain in the days before and after the illegal referendum on October 1st, according to a detailed analysis of more than five million messages made by the George Washington University. The report warns of serious damage to the reputation, political and economic of Spain and the EU.

Following on the same line, the different European elections held in 2017 in France, The Netherlands, Germany, the Czech Republic, have been a perfect testing ground for these purposes. Although the Russian interference, according to some observers and analysts, is more a symptom than a cause: “Even without Russian interference, Donald Trump probably would have won anyway, because of the dissatisfaction and the satiety of the people. And that is exactly what Russia can exploit. As it is happening in Europe with the radical parties of the extreme right or extreme left’ growth.” Another account which defends the Kremlin’s interests very aggressively is ‘Voice of Europe’ (@V_of_Europe): Voice of Europe looks like a newspaper, but it has only one channel on Twitter and another on Facebook where shares content from other media, clearly false information: “British public schools force four-year-old girls to wear a veil” or “The Dutch police lacks powers before criminal immigrants.” The anonymity offered by the networks would therefore fit perfectly with the new strategy of the Kremlin.

The Russian perception of the threat derived from the EU and NATO has remained unchanged since the Cold War. Lately Russia has tried to combat it in a different way, more subtly, where its participation is not clearly shown, but pushing and interfering in any conflict or internal EU matter. The objective is to weaken the EU cohesion and to question its own foundations. Internally, the Russian government also uses this strategy to show an image of strength and stability as opposed to the “chaos” that Western democracies show.

These are new times. When the media started to speak not long ago of hybrid wars, nobody even imagined about battlefields far from the scenarios where things happen, and cross border attacks without leaving a trace. Or they not leaving clear traces but allowing to track their origin. So, the idea of a Russian interference in Western democracies was something like the conspiracy theory, i.e., a boutade.

It would be necessary to analyse more thoroughly the figure of Nigel Farage, Julian Assange or Chelsea Manning, the transsexual soldier who was the source of the Cablegate leaks. Nigel Farage, once the leader and soul of the Eurosceptic Ukip party, which played a vital role in the Brexit campaign, has been involved with Assange, whom he has even visiting in his self-imprisonment. Farage assures that it was a journalistic meeting for his radio program on LBC, but to date no material referring to this meeting has come out on the air. Assange, an Australian hacker with an anarchist ideology, persecuted by the FBI, has been taking refuge at the embassy of Ecuador since June 2012. Ecuador is a member country of ALBA, the Bolivarian alliance founded by Hugo Chávez. Julian Assange is responsible for WikiLeaks, whose website published thousands of emails harmful to Clinton which, according to the US intelligence services, were part of the plan to achieve Trump’s victory. The director of the CIA, Mike Pompeo, said that “WikiLeaks was a hostile intelligence service often instigated by state actors like Russia.” Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, exchanged messages with WikiLeaks during his father’s White House campaign, as he himself would have acknowledged. The communications made through internal messages on Twitter occurred at the same time when WikiLeaks leaked hacked documents from the Democratic Party. In these messages, WikiLeaks urges the president’s son to disseminate the hacked documents and proposes some ideas such as not recognizing the results of the elections, if the Clinton Democrat would have win.

Every day seems more plausible that Assange does dirty work for Russia, as a part of geopolitical strategy to destabilize the European democracies and the US. With regards to Spain, Assange has been very much in favour of the seditious movement of Catalonia, insulting in the media to the PM and the King of Spain. The concern has reached such a level that companies like Google are putting into operation a series of cybersecurity tools to protect democratic electoral processes against foreign interference. The combination of intelligence operations, disinformation, post-truth, unconventional media and computer attacks which some experts define as ‘hybrid warfare’ has not stopped gaining prominence until today. And we are the enemy. It is worrying.

Nationalism, supremacism and sedition.

For the last 40 years, we haven’t known in Spain anything different in our democracy than being bastardized and weakened by the nationalist cancer. It’s being the kidnapping too long. The nationalism is a perverse tendency which thrives only in division, generating an enemy and cultivating it with care. There is no use the appeasement and the covenant. It is insatiable and pollutes. It thrives because it feeds the worst of the human being. It is as simple as dividing the world into good and bad ones, and pointing the finger at the bad guys. It is a geographical populism, and it is nourished exactly in the same way: promoting dissatisfaction and supremacy of some over the others. Its own internal mechanism repels intelligence and decency, and therefore easily put together to all those who wish to prosper and touch power and do not know how to do it in a constructive way.

The Catalan nationalism, which in the end has led to independentism, has in common all these characteristics with other nationalisms: this superiority feeling of the Catalan independence movement compared to the rest of the Spanish regions. It is made of a narcissistic type which is characterized, among other traits, by its immunity to any self-criticism; by a grandiose sense of its own importance, which makes it believe itself superior to all others; by an exaggerated perception of its own rights, refusing to admit having participated in the creation of problems, always attributed those to external circumstances, and, above all, losing all contact with the reality. The same characteristics of individual narcissism are reproduced in the collective, which is at the origin of all the nationalistic movements.

The Catalan nationalism’ narcissism has already turned into a megalomania: it is enough to point out that on several occasions, the pro-independence politicians have compared themselves to Mandela, Gandhi and Martin Luther King, personalities who, due to their mythical heroism and integrity, have become an example for the Humanity. From the Institut Catalá de Nova Història, it has been asserted that Da Vinci, Colón and Cervantes were real Catalans. The former President Artur Mas already said that of, an independent Catalonia would become “the Denmark of the Mediterranean”, which would entail quality employment, high salaries and a robust and sustainable welfare state. This statement that is not without its grace, as it is pronounced by a politician whose party has exercised a systemic corruption to the point of having to change the name of the party, and being Denmark the least corrupt country in the world. Mr. Mas does not explain how such an amazing transformation could be achieved.

The Catalan secessionists have declared the Catalonian independence illegally, of course. They say they are leaving, but all the Spaniards know that it is not the reality. They are just devising a more perfect form of extortion. Or is it that someone has taken this Catalan pantomime seriously? Where are they going to go where they can continue enjoying so many privileges? Not wanting to be Spaniards has been transformed into such a profitable business which those nationalist gentlemen are not going to give it up.

But the problem is not only in Catalonia. It lives, grows and has always prospered in Madrid. All the Prime Ministers of Spain have paid the ‘Catalonian toll’, with the joy, always after payment, of the Catalonian nationalist oligarchies. And they have bought their mandates undermining the bond of solidarity which must unite the nations, by granting to some regions privileges that others are denied. We are going to say it clearly: nationalism steals from us since long time ago. The territorial inequalities which are present for centuries in Spain have no other origin.

There is no sacred duty or historical blame, no original sin in being Spaniards which forces us to endure these infamies. We, Spaniards, are fed up with insults and belittles on the part of an oligarchy who only seeks to get more privileges. According to them, one can be a Catalan with pride, but not Spaniard. I refuse this discourse. We must free ourselves from this disease. And then we with big hope must start to improve Spain, because we are many, many millions. We must recover the public space for the Spaniards, most the inhabitants of these lands, who have lived in semi-underground conditions for years. It is urgent to clear this fog of abuse and noise. We are the ones who must decide if we want Catalonia to remain Spanish, not them. Those of us who want to be Spaniards are entitled to say something about the matter, if those who do not want to be, pretend to be entitled.

This regarding Spain and our rights and self-esteem as Spaniards. I would like to make a brief final reflection on the traveling companions who the seditious Catalans have sought; also about their destructive wave threatening within the EU territories: The Belgian racists of the New Alliance party are the ones who have welcomed and protected Puigdemont, the President who declared the Catalonia independence and fled away. Puigdemont belongs to the category of those who escape from Spain to destroy and curse it. Historically we have suffered this traitors’ kind more than once. Bart De Wever, president of the party filonazi New Alliance, and Jan Jambon, the current Flemish Inner Affaires’ minister, have made several critics about the impartiality of Spanish justice because of Judiciary statement to send these seditious to prison. The Flemish separatists who collaborated with the Nazis during Belgium’ occupation. The same Jambon who defends Puigdemont, a year ago caused a scandal because he defended the Nazi collaborators. The independentists are not aware about the black wolves are getting together in bed: Le Pen, Farage, Wilders, Jambon… all those which Putin has subsidize and secretly support, just like he did to the Catalan secessionists, because what he and they seek is the destruction of Europe, and specifically of the EU, as we know it.

Let all remember, and specifically those who has been sympathetic with the separatists, that nationalism is war.