Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Amnesty International has issued yet another statement demanding for Madrid to stop with the incommunicado regime against alleged "suspects of terrorism", a label that pretty much applies to any Basque working in behalf of the cultural, linguistic and social identity of Euskal Herria, let alone in behalf of the right to self determination.
"They disappear as swallowed by a black hole". Amnesty International can not be more specific when it comes to referring about the detainees who receive the incommunicado regime while they remain in police facilities to be interrogated. They are also quite firm when they demand from the Spanish Parliament to void a law that "violates the rights of individuals to their freedom" and that fails to comply "with a total of seven pacts, agreements and international laws that guarantee the rights of the detainees".
The human rights NGO released to the public yesterday an inform in which it portraus the incommunicado regime as a common practice: the police requests it by default and by default is conceded by the judges, judges who had little or no interest with what goes on during detentions and interrogations at police facilities.
From then on, the detainee is not only deprived of his own defense lawyer, but soon the detainee realizes that the one assigned by court has very limited duties; its not allowed in certain "casual" interrogations (despite the fact that the content is later used in formal accusations) and never allowed to talk in private with the defendant who is supposed to be representing. The detainee can neither request a medic that he trusts, and any medical evaluation is conducted in the presence of police officers, with the degree of intimidation involved. More so, independent inquiries have shown that the majority of those "medical evaluations" do not comply with, by far, the international standards and protocols in the subject.
The rigorous inform by AI highlights the complex structure developed in the Spanish state throughout the years to make the incommunicado regime into a fool-proof system that bestows with complete freedom of action to the police officers conducting the interrogations, a system that also guarantees complete impunity. A "black hole" to swallow each and very single one of the violations to the rights of the detainees, defenseless before an all too powerful state.
Here you have a video released along the inform entitled "Spain: out of the shadows":
Monday, September 14, 2009
Yes, Madrid has real reasons to worry about. "El País" reminded its readers just yesterday that the polls in the Generalitat showed an increase of six points for those who support independence since 2005. And "La Vanguadia" stated that the street polls show that the support for independence could easily reach 40% if was actually an option on election day. More so, the pro-independence Catalans gathered yesterday in Arenys de Munt constantly shouted in support of Euskal Herria, where the polls throughout the last few years locate the support for independence above 30%, despite the frustrating fact that such option is not something that will be allowed any time soon.
To the self-determination exercise in Arenys the Spanish state answers by dispatching the Phalanx, a political party that has not been outlawed as opposed to those within the abertzale left (Batasuna, ANV, EHAK, D3M), and with a judicial ban directly inherited from the "Spain one, great and free". We have the very same recipes used almost a century ago on plain sight. A period in which the Spanish state has not only been unable to eliminate the pro-independence camp but has also been unable to offer any democratic alternatives.
Madrid is running out of time. The referendum in Arenys de Munt is undeniable proof that the pro-independence Catalans are more that ready to make Catalunya happen, and perhaps quite soon Euskal Herria too.
Ertzaintza agents to work at Hendaye's police station
According to Basque Interior councillor Rodolfo Ares, Basque police will settle on the office of Iparralde, or French Basque Country, "in the coming months."
Basque Government's Interior councillor Rodolfo Ares has announced that Ertzaintza, or Basque police, will have presence at Hendaye's station in the following months. In fact, Spanish and French police are already working together at Iparralde's offices.
"We will also be there," he told Basque newspaper El Correo.
According to Ares, "it is fundamental that Ertzaintza can work when it is necessary, through an immediate coordination to share information."
New Ertzaintza's division
Ares insisted that the "Basque police antiterrorist division" recently created is not integrated in any other area. "The information brought up here should be investigated in order to stop terrorists and to prevent that more people join ETA."
Last week, ex Interior councillor Juan Mari Atutxa denounced that Ares had not created any new unity but he had rebaptized an already existing one.
Lovely how Atutxa makes a big deal out of nothing. Who cares, the bottom line is, when it comes to suppressing the civil and political rights of the Basque people, suddenly Paris and Madrid are not as ultra-nationalistic as usual.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Salmon Marmitako: Stew for a Spanish fisherman
Fall comes early to these parts. I saw the first signs in mid-August while biking out the road. Movement caught my eye at the edge of the forest; a flicker of silver and green, as one falling leaf rocked its way to the ground, and then another.
Today the driveway is littered with leaf jerky, the fireweed stalks look like they've been rolled in snow and autumn is filling our noses with its damp bouquet. It's not cold yet, just barely crisp, but something in my body knows that it's time for warming food - something that will radiate heat all the way to fingers and toes.
The recipe below has been borrowed from many generations of Spanish and Basque tuna fishermen and adapted to reflect the bounty of our own waters. Originally developed in the galley of a fishing boat, marmitako uses simple ingredients that store well. Tomatoes, potatoes, onions and peppers are brought to life with a bit of sherry, a sprinkle of capers, and the magical dust known as smoked paprika. Nestle some cubed salmon into the pot, oven-crisp some olive oil toast and you've got a dinner that will make you happy the mercury's falling.Salmon marmitako (serves 6 to 8)
The Spanish make Marmitako with tuna, but salmon makes a fabulous understudy here. Smoked paprika, which is now widely available in the spice section of most grocery stores, adds real depth and richness to the flavor of this stew. Pair this with a crisp and light-bodied white or rose wine like Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling or Pinot Gris.
2 pounds salmon fillets, skinned, boned, and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 red bell peppers
2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and sliced ½-inch thick
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
One 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons minced shallots
½ cup dry sherry
Pinch cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons sea salt, divided
½ teaspoon sugar
One 14-ounce can chicken broth
2 tablespoons capers, drained
¼ cup roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
Best quality olive oil, for garnish
1 artisanal loaf of crusty bread
1. Sprinkle the cleaned and cubed fish with ½ teaspoon sea salt. Refrigerate until ready to use.
2. To roast the bell peppers, heat the broiler and place the peppers on a baking sheet in the upper ⅓ of oven. Watch closely and using metal tongs, rotate the peppers once they begin to blacken, until all sides are evenly charred. Remove from oven. When the peppers are cool enough to handle, remove stems, seeds, and blackened skin. Cut the roasted pepper flesh into a large dice and set aside.
3. Preheat oven to 350. In a large (5 quart) roasting pan or oven-proof casserole dish, toss potatoes and onions with 2 tablespoons olive oil and ½ teaspoon salt, and spread evenly. Place uncovered in preheated oven, 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife.
4. In a medium (1½ quart) sauce pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add minced garlic and cook, stirring 1 to 2 minutes or until garlic is fragrant. Add shallot, sherry, cayenne and smoked paprika and cook 2 minutes more to allow some of the alcohol to evaporate. Add remaining ½ teaspoon salt, sugar, crushed tomatoes, diced roasted peppers and chicken broth. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer. Cook 10 minutes, uncovered.
5. Pour tomato mixture over potatoes. Sprinkle evenly with capers.
6. Cover and place in oven 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Meanwhile, tear the loaf of bread into serving-size pieces, brush lightly with extra virgin olive oil and arrange on a baking sheet.
7. Remove stew from oven, uncover and nestle the cubed fish evenly atop the stew. Cover and return to oven, along with oiled bread, for 5 to 7 minutes. Fish should be moist and barely opaque. Do not overcook.
8. Sprinkle stew with chopped parsley, drizzle with olive oil and serve hot in shallow bowls along with toasted bread.
Just to point to the obvious, once again, Basques are not Spaniards and Marmitako is a Basque recipe. The recipe may be the same in neighboring Spanish state but you can rest assured that they would never name one of their recipes in euskara, remember, they want the Basque language (and the entire cultural identity around it) to disappear.
Sicard wins Avenir, Van Garderen second
American Tejay van Garderen wrapped up an excellent Tour de l’Avenir with second place overall in the nine-stage U23 race across northern France.
Despite a challenging circuit in Besançon in Sunday’s final stage, there was no shaking race winner Romain Sicard (France A). Dutch rider Van Winden won the stage.
Van Garderen’s second overall was the best U.S. result at the prestigious Avenir race since Kevin Livingston was second to Frenchman Laurent Roux in 1997.
“Thanks USA team and staff,” Van Garderen wrote on Twitter. “Second overall at Tour de l’Avenir. No time to relax. Mendrisio, here we come!”
Van Garderen will race with Columbia-HTC next season and will line up later this month for a shot at the U23 world title in Switzerland.
Tenth overall last year, Peter Stetina also rode well throughout the week to cap an excellent performance by the American squad.
Sicard won Saturday’s time trial, just three seconds ahead of Van Garderen, to secure the overall title.
He becomes the first French rider to win the Avenir since Sylvain Calzati in 2004.
“It’s a great satisfaction to win the Tour de l’Avenir, the most important victory of my amateur career,” Sicard said. “It was difficult every day because we were forced to carry the weight of the race on our shoulders.”
Sicard will join many of the top amateurs heading to the pro ranks next year and he has already signed a deal to join Euskaltel-Euskadi for 2010.
Sicard, who hails from the Basque region of France, is just the second French rider to race with the Basque-backed team.
Hopefully Romain will contribute to Euskaltel Euskadi's stands during the 2010's Tour de France.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Friday, September 11, 2009
Those involved received the news with a mix of indignation and concern, despite the outrageousness of the police decision, the political character of the Audiencia Nacional did not overruled the chance for the process not to be disregarded, as it happened in the end. Yesterday, an entire year later, the case was taken to court in Bizkaia. The district attorney requested a fine of 150 euros for a misdemeanor, that could even be disregarded due to the fact that those accused never refused to be identified by the police. Thus, the intentionality of using the Basque police force as a political tool was evidenced since the commanding officers decided to sent to prison citizens that were only exercising their freedom of speech.
Wednesday, September 09, 2009
Monday, September 07, 2009
The violence escalated after a group of citizens began shouting out insults at officers inside the police station, with others joining in the crowd as police violently tried to disperse the group, who found themselves resorting to their favorite repressive tactic, to open fire with rubber bullets. A number of rubbish containers were set alight, and damage was caused to banks and insurance offices.
Rapid action by fire crews managed to prevent any serious damage to the PNV Basque Nationalist Party’s offices in the town which some amongst the crowd had tried to set alight.
The street violence came during the Lekeitio’s traditional "Day of the Goose" – the Antzar Eguna - when locals attempt to cross a stretch of water hanging by their arms from the neck of a goose suspended on a pulley across the port. It’s understood the geese used today are either already dead or artificial.
Despite Madrid and Gasteiz's efforts to criminalize the Basque solidarity with the victims of political persecution, there are reports that some of the boats used in the Antzar Eguna were seen displaying photos of Basque political prisoners or flags in their support.
The candidate lists presented by D3M and Askatasuna for the Basque regional elections were banned by the Supreme Court in February this year and, 2 weeks before the poll was due to take place, Garzón suspended all of the two parties’ political activities for a period of 3 years.
In a ruling released to the press this Monday and without presenting one single piece of evidence to support his alegation, the judge has now indicated that D3M and Askatasuna both ‘acted under the leadership of the terrorist organisation Batasuna-ETA’. The 13 members charged include D3M’s spokesperson, Amparo Lasheras, and the President of Askatasuna, José Antonio Munduate.
The charge is membership of and collaboration with an armed group. 10 others escape the charge for lack of evidence, while a further 2 will not be prosecuted, as they are either charged in another case or are already in prison for another crime.
We would like to remind you that all these repressive measures against the Basque people were validated not too long ago when Strasbourg's Human Rights Court decided to join the flanks of those who refuse the right of the peoples (the nations without statehood in this particular case) to their self determination. So now the responsibility of an increased number of Basque political prisoners is shared by Madrid and Strasbourg's Court.
Sunday, September 06, 2009
Friday, September 04, 2009
Spanish court blocks vote on Catalonia independence
Barcelona- A court in Spain's north-eastern Catalonia region on Thursday blocked one village's planned referendum on independence for the state, judicial sources said. The vote had been called for September 13 by Arenys de Munt, a village of 8,000 near Barcelona. In a preliminary ruling, the Barcelona court accepted the appeal lodged by lawyers representing the Spanish state, who argued that only the state could stage referendums.
The villagers were to be asked whether Catalonia, a wealthy region of more than 6 million residents, should become an independent state within the European Union.
The referendum plan had sparked a national controversy, with the government fearing that it could become a precedent for other similar votes in the country beset with separatist currents.
Catalan top politicians have not followed the example of former Basque prime minister Juan Jose Ibarretxe, whose attempts to call a Basque vote on self-determination were foiled by the Spanish parliament and Constitutional Court.
Maybe the people at Monsters and Critics should learn about the international treaties protecting the right to self determination of the nations without statehood signed among others by Madrid and Paris.
Thursday, September 03, 2009
San Sebastian sets up Basque section
John Hopewell and Emilio Mayorga
MADRID -- The San Sebastian Festival has created a new section: the Zinemira-Basque Film Showcase.
Section's first Zinemira Award will go to Imanol Uribe, who directed three key titles in a brief but vibrant new Basque Cinema after Franco's death: "The Burgos Trial" (1979), "Escape from Segovia" (1981) and "Mikel's Death" (1984).
Zinemira will also feature the first screening of the new Kimuak catalog, a prestigious short-film collection from a Basque Country that has struggled to make multiple feature films over the past two decades but won a large reputation for its curation of shorts.
Section presents one U.S. pic, Andrea Oibarra's "Rough Winds," a teen obsession drama produced by Miami-based Spoon Ent., and toplining Danna Maret, John Lovino, Jessica Brydon and Albert Campillo.
Section includes the latest feature from Uribe's first producer Angel Amigo: Aizpea Goenaga's gentle satire of Basque's gastronomic devotion, "Tales from the Kitchen," featuring some of the Basque Country's top-notch thesps such as Isidoro Fernandez.
Two other pics hit the section with good prior buzz: Roberto Gaston's rural gay drama "Ander," which sparked praise and deals for sales company Latido off a Berlin Panorama world preem; and Gorka Gamarra's "Umurage," a docu on the Rwanda reconciliation process.
Section opens with a Gala perf of Patxi Telleria and Aitor Mazo's rites-of-passage tale set in a Bilbao working-class environment.
Zinemira features the latest pic from one of Spain's best-regarded docu feature directors, Javier Corcuera, who teams with Fermin Muguruza for the Israel-Palestine set music docu, "Checkpoint Rock."
Three films are portraits: Juan Miguel Gutierrez's "Action, Please!," about filmmaker Juanjo Franco Zabalegi; Arkatz Basterra's "The Labyrinthine Biographies of Vojtech Jasny," about the Czech director; and Jose Martinez's "Sea's Daughter," a docu about the daughter of Mikel Goikoetxea, piecing together an idea of her father, a head of the ETA terrorist org murdered by a Spanish government hit-squad when she was two.
Talk about misleading information, Mikel Goikoetxea was the victim of state sponsored terrorism by Madrid, yet, according to the authors of the article Goikoetxea is the terrorist. That is exactly what happens when you obsess over saying something about ETA in an article dedicated to art and cinema.
Wednesday, September 02, 2009
Tuesday, September 01, 2009
All what Sanz needed to do was to seat down and wait for the Socialist government in Gasteiz to set the pace against the pro-independence left, yesterday was the day for him to announce that his government would promote along with the PSN "a great political and social pact in favor of freedom, coexistence and democracy" with the specific goal of "reducing any room available to impunity" in the public sphere. Regarding "impunity", Sanz referred to the pro-independence left being in charge of kick starting the festivities in Berriozar.
Despite the fact that during their meeting at the beginning of summer both Miguel Sanz and Francisco Javier López insisted about the differentiated identity of Nafarroa as opposed to the Basque Autonomous Community, when it comes to the pro-independence left this difference gets blurry. The PSOE, presiding the government in Gasteiz and maintaining the one in Nafarroa propped up, is in fact calling the shots regarding the line of action for Hegoalde.
Sanz spoke about the pact with the pSN during a press conference, just after celebrating the firs session of the Navarrese executive. He pointed out the the core issues of the pact have been adressed through the dialogue between himself and representatives of the PSN. "This is about reducing the room to impunity in the institutional sphere, during festive and cultural acts, in public spaces and such that the terrorists use to expand the criminal activities and berate both their victims and the government officials democratically elected". He then went on to criticize the opening ceremony in the Berriozar festivities because the person in charge of hosting the event is a pro-independence mayor (displaying his selective memory, Sanz forgot to mention that he was too democratically elected), and that during the txupin (a firework that is launched to signal the start of the festivities) a banner in support of bringing home the Basque political prisoners was prominently displayed.
In the political sphere, the pact will be enforced by avoiding to reach institutional agreements with "outlawed" political formations and with political parties "that refuse to firmly denounce ETA's violence or fail to support the institutions that conform the State, like the military and police forces. In doing so, Sanz directed a warning against Nafarroa Bai after the verbal brawl carried out in Iruñea in the aftermath of the attacks in Mallorca and Burgos when Aralar criticized the partisan nature of the "condemnations". Soon after Nafarroa Bai accused the ultra-conservative (the UPN is a satellite party of Spain's PP) government of using the announcement of "a pact that is a throwback to fascism in order to create a smoke curtain around the failed economic policies". The spokes person for NaBai, Maiorga Ramírez, disqualified the pact because its goal is to exclude "anyone that those not share the UPN's postulates", stating that in his opinion, "an authentic pact regarding coexistence and democracy must first acknowledge, respect and advance an stage that provides freedom of expression that ensures the development of plurality within Nafarroa". Ramíres also criticized the PSN due to the fact that with this new proposal "once again it surrenders to the postulates of the extreme right that consider that those who do not comply with their ideals must be excluded from the political sphere".