BARCELONA âÂ? Here in Spainâs second-largest city, recognized for sun, sex, and sangria, itâs raining today, the mood is definitely anxious, helicopters are overhead plus flags are waving everywhere â? the Spanish flag alongside the particular provincial flag of Catalonia, the particular northeastern province on the border along with France, of which Barcelona is the funds. But by far the most numerous flags would be the esteladas, the flag of the secessionist movement, signifying support for self-reliance from Spain. They are being waved from rooftops, in front of City Corridor, in marches down avenues, within pot-banging demonstrations through working-class barrios, and outside of schools â? within 200 of which, locals are slept in tents out, some with their children, occupying buildings for what they anticipate is going to be Sundayâs vote on independence to get Catalonia. Itâs a vote that this national government in Madrid reports illegal, and which the Constitutional Courtroom suspended three weeks ago. YetÂ the regional government insists it will take place anyway, in the face of 10, 000 police from outside the region who’ve been sent in to prevent it by closing off voting centers, shutting lower Internet sites and apps, and requisitioning the Catalan telecommunications center.
These moves have got prompted WikiLeaksâ? Julian Assange in order to declare whatâs happening here as the âworldâs first internet war.â Sentiment on the issue associated with secession has run fierce in charge of the past five years, but recently, suspected Russian mouthpieces Assange plus Edward Snowden â? as well as Ruskies media outlets RT and Sputnik â? have been throwing fuel within the fire, tweeting out provocative communications by the hundreds over the past week; each time the government shuts down a voting app, Assange tweets a link to some new one.
Everyone! To demonstrate solidarity with Catalonians and to assist protect them from the aggressive security & censorship attacks currently being released against them by the Spanish safety services please set your location upon all platforms to Barcelona, The country. pic. twitter. com/RZI0mkbIiV
â? Julian Assange (@JulianAssange) September 30, 2017
The wave of Catalan nationalism that has erupted this year has been creating for a long time â? centuries, in fact. The particular regional government has said that if the particular vote passes, it is prepared to announce Cataloniaâs independence within 48 hrs. The Spanish government in This town, headed by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, has declared the referendum illegal and unconstitutional â? and it is committed to stopping it. âThe vote,â Rajoy vows, âwill never take place.â
The world’s 1st internet war has begun, in Catalonia, as the people and government utilize it to organize an independence referendum upon Sunday and Spanish intelligence assaults, freezing telecommunications links, occupying telecommunications buildings, censors 100s of websites, protocols etc .
â? Julian Assange (@JulianAssange) September 30, 2017
Regional unrest is not new to The country. TheÂ Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (or ETA, the acronym for Basque Homeland and Liberty), the militant adjustable rate mortgage of the Basque separatist movement within Spainâs north, has fought to get independence with terror bombings which have killed hundreds. But the Catalan scenario is unprecedented, in part because of its assistance from outside the country. Assange plus Snowden are widely suspected associated with fronting for Russia, which included in its campaign to destabilize Traditional western democracies has supported secessionist motions from Scotland to Texas. Barcelona and the surrounding resort towns across the Costa Brava are favorite holiday and second-home spots for rich Russians, including alleged Mafia mind reportedly linked to the Kremlin. Some of them are usually facing criminal charges by the nationwide government â? charges that might not really survive a transition to a brand new, Russia-friendly Catalan national government. âThe situation is confusing and highly combustible,â says one longtime resident who else declined to be quoted by title, given the intensity of feeling within the issue.
Appearing prior to the Catalan government building in Barcelonaâs main square, Carles Puigdemont, leader of Catalonia, denounced the busts. âThe [national] government has crossed a red line separating it from totalitarian regimes and has become a democratic shame.â The autonomous government associated with Catalonia, he added, had efficiently been shut down that morning simply by Madrid.
Catalonia, which has its own special culture and language, was certainly not fully assimilated into Spain, alone a patchwork of 17 autonomous regions. But the primary grievance now could be economic. Comprising 16 percent from the countryâs population, the region contributes over 19 percent of Spainâs GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT, and while it enjoys substantial autonomy, Catalans often complain that they donât get enough in return.
I call on all our supporters plus technologists everywhere to help expose function around the censorship methods of the @GuardiaCivil and Spanish intelligence CNI used to unlawfully censor the push, voters and the government of Catalonia https://t.co/DT2SQQ7l8D
â? Julian Assange (@JulianAssange) September 29, 2017
Events have got played out at a dizzying speed. The act establishing the referendum was rammed through the Catalan Parliament just two weeks ago, during an anxious 11-hour session that prompted 52 members of the three opposition events to walk out, lamenting that the Parliament had been hijacked by separatists. The only real question on the ballot will be: âDo you want Catalonia to be an independent country in the form of a republic?â A second law passed that evening declared that regardless of how many voters participate, if the yes votes earn on Oct. 1, a new impartial country will be formed within 2 days.
The newest polls show that only 41 percent of Catalans favor self-reliance, with nearly 49 percent towards it. But anyone following the problem on the WikiLeaks Twitter account may imagine that tanks are rolling over the streets of Barcelona, civil battle has broken out, a âSpanish Tiananmen Squareâ may be imminent â? and the past due dictator Francisco Franco has came back from the grave to crush Cataloniaâs aspirations. On Sept. 11 â? National Catalonia Day â? any time a million demonstrators filled the roads waving Catalan flags and contacting for independence, Assange tweeted, âIf today is a guide, on Oct. 1 Europe will birth a new 7.5m nation or civil war.â
The fate of president Rajoy, PP (Spain’s ruling party), Spain’s security services and judiciary weighs in the balance over Catalonia. A surprise wave is coming and no technique is too dirty, no lie is actually bold and no escalation is too a lot for a deep state to save alone. Watch.
â? Julian Assange (@JulianAssange) September 29, 2017
âCatalonia will decide its own future on October 1,â declared Catalan President Puigdemont. âNo one has the authority or the power to seize our right to decide.â
The government in Madrid loudly disagreed: Rajoy lambasted the move because âan intolerable act of disobedience,â and the Constitutional Court within Madrid promptly suspended both Catalan laws. Last Friday, Rajoy thundered directly into Barcelona, threatening to dissolve the particular considerable autonomy that the region currently enjoys. He backed the danger by taking over the Catalan government financial situation, including payrolls for the local law enforcement â? a maneuver that several here believe will make it difficult to hold the referendum.
But Puigdemont and the separatist faction of the Catalan government have vowed to carry on, and recent days the game of kitty and mouse has escalated. Puigdemont called upon the 948 mayors throughout Catalonia to make preparations to hold the particular vote; Rajoy warned that theyâd be criminally prosecuted, though that will didnât stop the 700-plus authorities who heeded Puigdemontâs request to arrange the voting booths from rallying in Barcelona on Saturday, encouraging, âWe will vote!â
Puigdemont â? who faces felony charges of disobedience, abuse associated with power and misusing public money â? called upon citizens to stress the remaining mayors to join the motion. Some have reportedly received dying threats. The Catalan government delivered letters to 55, 000 voters across the region, commanding them to employees the voting booths; Rajoyâs govt ordered the national postal program not to deliver the letters, after that raided private courier services whoâd taken over delivery. The national govt shut down Catalan sites promoting the particular vote and independence; the Catalan government put them up again through proxies â? a clever move published by Assange and Russiaâs English-language news outlet RT.
In lots of tweets, Assange dramatically kept in the drumbeat, recounting the raids upon pro-secession newspapers and the plants thought of printing ballots and paper prints and the confiscated ballot boxes. This individual didnât care about independence, Assange messaged, but he supported Cataloniaâs directly to decide â? apparently even if this went against the Constitution.
The details for a vision of a free plus independent Catalonia are vague. Economic advisers have warned that secession would ruin the regional economic climate, and the move would automatically indicate cutting ties to the European Union. Catalonia would have to reapply to the EU, a procedure that typically takes years. Banks plus corporations have threatened to move somewhere else. Cataloniaâs Moodyâs bond rating describes on a par with Bangladesh, plus nobody seems quite sure exactly what currency Catalonia would use.
Despite the uncertainties and the constant whines of illegality from Madrid, Puigdemont and the Catalan Parliament, where separatists hold a narrow majority, have got stoked the concept for months.
Theyâve journeyed to countries from Denmark in order to Morocco, without much to show for it. Many weeks ago they hired lobbyists â? paying the U. S. company SGR $60, 000 to push the secession cause on Capitol Hill. Their biggest success has been with Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., referred to by some as âPutinâs favorite congressman,â who recently met with Assange in his London Embassy hideout. Rohrabacher has said he supports self-determination to get Catalonia, though that doesnât reveal official U. S. policy. Considering the fact that Spain is a close ally from the U. S. and a member of NORTH ATLANTIC TREATY ORGANIZATION, the Catalan separatist cause offers achieved little traction in the worldwide community.
On Sept. 20, Barcelona awoke to news that the financing ministry had been seized, with a minimum of 12 high-ranking officials and specialists arrested â? reportedly accused associated with diverting public funds to support the particular referendum. Even though it was later exposed that the order hadnât come from Rajoy, who was reportedly unaware until the information broke, he quickly became the thing of Catalan anger.
âSpainâs government acts like a banana monarchy â embarrassing for Europe!â Assange tweeted, and also stirred the whole pot by asking if Rajoy ought to resign and warning Catalans that will Madrid might cut all access to the internet â? a claim that appears to be without having basis.
Within two hours, a large number of locals gathered in front of the uptown ministry, waving flags, singing the Catalan anthem, and chanting âDemocracy!â âWe will vote!â and âOut with the occupation forces!â â? reminiscent of the particular 1970s chants in the protests towards Francoâs rule.
A block aside, on Passeig de GrÃ cia, lifetime went on as normal. Shoppers wandered by clutching bags from clothes store Zara, and Japanese travelers lined up in front of buildings whose faÃ§ades display the fantastical swirls plus swoops of architect Antoni GaudÃ.
âThe separatists are just orchestrating a theater here, looking for international outrage,â says a resident who else grew up in Barcelona and is towards secession. âNothing will change here.â And he supports Rajoyâs actions. âMadrid is simply applying the rule of law â like any other country would.â
Given Spainâs constitutional forbidance on unilateral secession â? particularly its requirement that all Spaniards election on the matter if one area wants to secede â? Rajoy seems legally in the right. Heâs supported by the king, the Spanish govt, and even his main opposition within the Spanish Parliament â? the Socialists â? as well as some anti-secession Catalan politicians. He has the authority in order to declare an emergency and deploy soldiers, moves that heâs promised to prevent. The police have allowed demonstrations to happen unimpeded. While some liken Rajoy in order to Turkeyâs autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, others liken him in order to President Abraham Lincoln, desperately trying to preserve the union.
But several citizens are bothered by the vision of a national government squelching the regionâs right to self-determination. A recent Este Pais poll showed that a most of Catalans believed that while the current referendum appears to be illegal, Madridâs actions are just tipping the balance for the separatists. âWhen you have the government raiding printing offices, confiscating information about a vote, it looks oppressive,â says one local investment agent.
And back in London, Julian Assange continues his Free Catalonia race, tapping out more than 80 attention grabbing tweets in recent days, making use of archival photos showing police within riot gear (which currently they will arenât wearing) dragging off the protester and tanks (which presently arenât in use here). His spectacular updates have led to media rumours that Assange is actually fronting to get Russia, a charge he refuses.
But Russiaâs interest in Catalonia is apparent. The Russian news agency RT has been assiduously covering the Catalan problems. Catalonia sent a delegate the past two years to a forum in Moscow run by a Kremlin-supported organization, the particular Anti-Globalization Movement of Russia. The particular delegate, JosÃ© Enrique Folch, guaranteed that if Catalonia became independent, it could accept Russiaâs annexation of Crimea and drop sanctions against Moscow. The only international politicians who have adopted the Catalan cause appear to be Hungaryâs Prime Minister Viktor OrbÃ¡n plus Venezuelaâs dictatorial President NicolÃ¡s Maduro, both of whom are near to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
When contacted yesterday, Folch, who functions outside Barcelona as an international economist, and whose party isnât within the Parliament, was equivocal about Cataloniaâs future foreign policy, saying that the stance on Crimea and sanctions would depend on whether Russia regarded an independent Catalonia. He remained positive that Catalonia would stage the referendum on Oct. 1 and turn into a free republic two days later. Those things of Madrid were âabsolutely criminal, absolutely unacceptable,â he or she said. Then he lowered his tone of voice and said, âWeâre being persecuted.â It was the best thing Iâd called when I did, he or she added: âWeâre not sure how long we can talk about the matter freely.â
Melissa Rossi, a writer based in Barcelona, will be the author of theÂ geopolitical series âWhat Every American Should Knowâ (Plume/Penguin).
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