This is how the slander strategy against the independence movement has been construed since the attacks

Catalan MonitorNews Roundup

The major Spanish media have made every attempt to associate -from the very first moments of the killings- the attacks with the independence Process


Not an hour had gone past since a van had run over dozens of people on the Rambla in Barcelona when, even in the midst of panic and confusion, El Periódico published a “scoop” with this headline: ‘The CIA warned the Mossos (Catalan police) two months ago of the risk of attack on the Rambla de Barcelona ‘. A blow against the police force who from the beginning of the attack took on the investigation and the search for the authors of the killings.

In the news, there is no proven source to certify the veracity of this information (‘as it has been possible for this newspaper to discover’) and no other international media have informed or given it any form of credibility. In fact, the prestigious The Economist did refer to this but without giving it much credit: ‘El Periódico, a newspaper, says that the CIA warned Spain of an imminent attack in Barcelona, ​​but it seems that theere are no specific details’.

The Washington Post contradicts El Periódico

The Mossos’ performance in the following hours – stopping the Cambrils attack, arresting presumed members of the cell, establishing the connection between them in a short time and managing skilfully all information put out to the net- has had the result of dispelling any possible doubts about the professionalism of the body. Not only that, they have also received as for example in The Washington Post, where there is an expert voice -and one identified- who contradicts El Periódico. The director of the International Center for the Study of Radicalization and Political Violence in London, Peter Neumann, declares: ‘I would not say that the Catalan authorities have failed on a large scale. In fact, they have been systematically prepared to prevent attacks in recent years”. He gives the example of how they avoided a great attack against the public transport network in 2008”.

El País and El Mundo attack less than twelve hours later

The news in El Periódico was surprising due to the moment it appeared and for the target it was aimed against. But it convinced no one, and in the first hours after the attack it was the Catalan authorities who reported and gave explanations about the crisis situation. Silence on the part of the Spanish government. Rajoy took seven hours to appear, without admitting questions and leaving out the Mossos from the meeting he held at the delegation of the Spanish government in Barcelona. In spite of this, the day after the attack, the two main newspapers of Madrid, El País and El Mundo, attacked the Catalan government and Catalan politicians for their independentism in individual editorials. They did so as a result of the Barcelona attack. Rajoy was applauded.

So what were they selling? El País said: “We celebrate that Rajoy has decided to head, along with the delegation of the government in Catalonia, the supervision of the operations in response to the attack.” And added: “Unfortunately, the brutal terrorist attack that has been experienced in Barcelona coincides with a moment of maximum political confusion in Catalonia. Such an attack should be a warning to bring Catalan politicians back to reality. This from the government, the Parliament or the movements for independence, who have made the secessionist chimera the only activity on the agenda in recent years. It is time to end democratic absurdities, flagrant violation of laws, games of deception, tactics and political opportunism.”.

Bassets and “touristphobia”

That same day, the deputy director of El País Catalunya, Lluís Bassets, published an article in which he warned of the damage caused by one of the main debates in the independence process, notably the role of the Mossos. Specifically, he said that the debate on what authority the Mossos d’Esquadra had to obey could cause ‘a crack in the security of everyone’, which “surely” would be taken advantage of by the terrorists. In addition, he linked the attack with Arran’s campaign against the pressure of tourism. ‘The expressions and graffiti that designates the tourists as terrorists have found a sinister echo in the attack. Surely their crazy authors did not go so far in their imagination, nor is it lawful to think that the leaders of terror have specifically addressed these calls for criminal connotations. But the bloody effect remains, a few days after the appeals against foreigners. The softest thing to say is that there is irresponsibility here which are largely the fault of the frivolity of the political organizations that have undertaken these campaigns of xenophobic agitation and, of course, also in those who associate with them or require their own Parliamentary votes”.

The offensive against CUP

Only four days after the attack, the editorial of El País was entitled: ‘Stopping CUP’. It was based on the statements the day before by MP Mireia Boya saying that the CUP was considering not going to the demonstration on Saturday next convened in Barcelona by the Catalan authorities with the motto ‘I am not afraid.’ Boya said that they were waiting for more details on the demonstration because the Spanish King Felipe VI would participate. “The king, who a few days ago walked around here, is not welcome. Everyone knows what the friendship and economic relations of the Spanish monarchy are, their relations with the Gulf monarchies, such as Catar and the Arab Emirates, which finance the Isis”.

Well, El País considers it a lack of respect for the victims and in the editorial it asks Junts pel Sí, which it considers to be the ‘hostage of CUP extremism’, about their relationship with this party.

This offensive of course, is both in the media and political environments at the same time. See, for example, the inset twitter message sent by PP MEP Carlos Iturgaiz, in which he calls the CUP “trash”.

Photograph: The message is inset against the background of a photograph that has become legendary in indy circles, and which shows -red-handed-  Spanish Minister Soraya de Sanamaría (responsible for handling the Catalan case) is reputedly giving instructions to El Periódico and La Vanguardia (unionist press) editors on how to report on it. Government policy briefing. Indeed, in some media this week it is rumoured that she asked for PSOE’s to send the Spanish army into Catalonia with the excuse of the terrorist attacks.