18 February 2009


Basque Info 17/02/09

-Solidarity with the Basque Country spreads around the world.

From the 6th to the 15th of February fourteen countries around the world have seen different events organised within the 3rd International Week of Solidarity with the Basque Country. This year’s slogan was “The Basque Country doesn’t walk alone towards democracy and self-determination”.

In Ireland talks were organised in Dublin, Derry and Belfast by the Irish Basque Solidarity Committees.

On Saturday 14th solidarity protests were held in Cork, Dublin, Derry, Belfast, Omagh, Strabane, Newcastle and Lurgan.

Some spectacular actions were organised in Glasgow where Celtic supporters displayed a massive banner reading the week’s slogan in the stadium during the match against Rangers. In Milan local Basque supporters occupied the Italian state owned TV station RAI’s offices to denounce the treatment they give to the Basque conflict related news.

-Civil disobedience against bannings.

On 1st march, local government elections will be taking place in three provinces of the Basque Country. Tlhe Spanish authorities have been trying very hard to prevent the pro independence movement from participating in the election.

And last week, election candidates of Askatasuna and D3M, the two pro independence platforms created for this election, were banned from participating.
The Spanish high court decided to veto the two platforms preventing 20% of the Basque population from voting their prefered option.

To protest against this and to defend the right to participate in elections, the pro independence movement has called on Basque citizens to vote on March the first.
The pro-independence movement will print its own ballots which will be distributed by any means.

Despite the pro independence votes being officially void, they will have to be counted. Pro independence candidates have said that they will actually be the most valid votes.

Meanwhile lawyers of the pro independence platforms have demanded that the Spanish government take into account the recommendations made by the UN Special rapporteur for the promotion of Human Rights.

Last week the UN rapporteur highlighted that with the banning of political parties the Spanish State is attacking fundamental rights of people and ideas. He also criticised the use of torture as well as the wide use of the concept of terrorism which starts with street rioting and ends with the impacting on newspapers and social groups which are public.

Last Saturday pro-independence supporters took to the streets in Bilbao to denounce the banning. Thousands of people took part in the demonstration which was also banned. Shortly after it started the march was attacked by the Spanish-Basque police. Following street riots 7 people were arrested, but were released later on.

-Group Against Torture highlights that Spain continues to torture.

Sixty two complaints were recorded by the Group Against Torture in 2008. According to the group, despite new measures taken to prevent torture, despite, international organisations condemning Madrid’s actions, the Spanish states continues to torture. Throughout the years 7,000 Basques have been tortured by the Spanish police and according to the Group Against Torture it does not seem that they’ll be any changes.

-Repression against youth movement.

20 young people from the province of Gipuzkoa have accused the Spanish Judge Grande Marlaska of using torture.

Last week the 20 Basque activists appeared in front of Judge Grande Marlaska. They are all accused of being members of Segi, the Basque youth pro-independence movement. The Judge has now decided that they’ll all be tried for being members of an armed organisation.

These 20 young people appeared in court following arrests made last year. Some other young people were arrested in 2008 and were heavily tortured. Taking advantage of torture another 20 people were arrested and will now be tried with complete impunity.

-Zionist Israeli leader Lieberman sets Spain as example.

Talking after the success of his ultra right wing zionist party Yisrael Beiteinu at the last Israel elections, Avigdor Lieberman suggested to follow the way Spain represses the Basque pro-independence movement to attack Palestinian political parties.

"Israel Beytenu's requirement of loyalty is standard in other western countries. In 2003, Spain outlawed the Basque party. Only a week ago, the Spanish police recommended the banning of two more parties. We would like to adopt the Spanish law here in Israel. These are the accepted norms in the USA, the European Union and the rest of the western world”, said the pro-Spanish ultra zionist.

17 February 2009


Basque Info 10/02/09

-UN blasts Spain's repression of Basque political parties

A United Nations official said last Thursday that Spain's Law of Political Parties violates fundamental freedoms in the name of countering terrorism. According to Martin Scheinin, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, the law criminalizes as "support of terrorism" conducts that do not relate to any kind of violent activity.

In a 26-page report based on a fact-finding mission to Spain last year, Scheinin finds that the Law of Political Parties might be interpreted to include any political party which through peaceful political means seeks similar political objectives to those pursued by the armed group ETA. The report reiterates that all limitations on the right to political participation must meet strict criteria in order to be compatible with international standards of freedom of speech.

The Special Rapporteur also calls upon the Spanish government to consider placing terrorism cases under the jurisdiction of ordinary district courts, instead of a single central specialized court, the Special National Court, with exclusive jurisdiction over so-called “terrorist crimes”.

The report finds that judgments issued by the Special National Court are only subject to review by the Supreme Court.

The report also recommends the "complete eradication of the institution of incommunicado detention" and assurance of "prompt, independent, impartial and thorough investigations are conducted in any case where there is reason to believe ill-treatment may have occurred."

-Spain defies UN and bans two more pro-independence parties

Just days after the UN report criticizing the practice, Spain's Supreme Court barred two more parties from running in the next regional elections on grounds of supposed links to ETA. Following a request by Spanish prosecutors and repeted calls from Spanish parties and media, the Supreme Court barred Askatasuna (Freedom) and Democracy 3 Million, both left-wing Basque nationalist parties. According to the ruling, the two parties are successors to Batasuna, which was declared illegal by the Supreme Court in 2003. The election for the 75-seat Basque three western provinces’ parliament is set for 1st of March.

D3M’s lawyer expressed her anger at what she called lack of evidences and legal basis. She went on to say that police social control is scary. Candidates’ privates lifes have been tracked as far as 1983 in order to prove that they have some sort of link with the pro-independence movement. Despite such a thing is not an offence the judges take sporeous and perfectly legal acts like writing a letter to a prisoner to criminalize the candidates.

-ETA bombs Madrid’s financial district.

A car bomb exploded yesterday in a business district of Madrid, following a telephone warning claiming to be from ETA, the Basque armed organization.
No one was hurt in the blast, which destroyed about 30 cars and blew out windows at nearby offices, leaving a crater in the ground about one metre deep.

The Spanish Red Cross received the warning call 90 minutes prior to the blast, allowing police to cordon off the area before the device exploded at around 9am.
The incident came a day after Spain's supreme court banned Demokrazia 3 Miloi and Askatasuna, two Basque nationalist parties, from participating in March's regional elections in the Basque Country, because of what the court said were their links to ETA.

The explosion occured near the offices of Ferrovial, a construction company which has been involved in a high-speed rail project linking the capital to the Basque Country.

In December, ETA warned contractors working on the project they would become targets if they continued to work on the train line.

The controversial High Speed Train project has been confronted by a wide alliance of left wing parties, trade unions and environmentalists for many years now. They say this train will destroy the Basque Country and compromise seriously its future. They demand a public and open democratic debate around it so the Basque people can decide wether is needed or not. The pro-Spanish and local elite reaffirmed their intentions to imposse the High Speed Train at any price.

4 February 2009


Basque Info 3/02/09

Thousands support Democracy 3 Million platform.

Thousands of people filled the Kursaal conference hall in Donostia/San Sebastian last Saturday during the first public event organised by the electoral platform Democracy 3 Million. The platform was launched less than a month ago and in just two weeks collected 47,000 legal signatures in order to be able to stand in the 1st of March local elections.

On the 23rd of January 8 of the D3M members were arrested by Spanish police and sent to prison. They were accused of trying to organise the platform and trying to take part in the elections. Today another 13 people have been officially called by Spanish judge Garzon to appear in court this coming Friday accused of terrorist organization membership. Their alleged crime is to be the legal representatives of the electoral platform.

Speaking at last Saturday’s event election candidate Itziar Lopategi said they want to achieve a democratic scenario where all citizens' rights will be respected and all different political options will have place.

The most emotional moments of the evening were when the pictures of those arrested and later those of the Israeli slaughter of Palestinians where shown on the screen.

ETA’s statement on its 50th anniversary.

50 years ago the Basque armed organization ETA was created and a new phase of resistance was born. In a long statement released last week ETA reviewed these five decades of struggle and called for unity in efforts and strengths in order to enter the era of independence.

ETA asks to democratically confront two opposing political proposals: that of the current political situation of upholding the status quo on the one hand and the proposal of a Basque State on the other. According to ETA if such democratic confrontation is made without any French and Spanish imposition the Basque people will choose to follow a democratic and peaceful way to independence.

ETA continues to add that in the meantime all means of struggle are needed until the French and Spanish states respect the Basque people’s will.

ETA states that nowadays there are more pro-independence people than 50 or 30 years ago and pay homage to those who gave their lives, prisoners and exiles.

Hundreds of people rally in support of internationalism.

A demonstration against the criminalization of those who develop internationalist work in the Basque Country was organised by Askapena last Saturday in Bilbao. Askapena is the pro-independence movement’s the internationalist organization and has been campaigning to gather solidarity to other liberation struggles around the world in the Basque Country for the last 20 years.

Nowadays Askapena is heavily involved in the boycott to Israel campaign and is taking part at the World’s Social Forum in Brazil. At the same time Askapena works in conjunction with the Basque solidarity committees around the world to raise awareness about the Basque struggle for independence and socialism.

All of that has been enough reason for the Spanish state to target Askapena through a criminalization campaign in the Spanish media.