Fascist Actions In Europe Forecast Ominous Future Events.
Among we whole care about this world and this nation’s rapid shift into a an American Fascist Model; we find ourselves faced with an American electorate who is (1) not listened, (2) dumbed down to the point that they don’t understand, and (3) consider us some sort on extremist intellect kooks who have turned the word into some worthless buzz word to be generally ignored. The rise of such political orientations in several European states ought to be of grave concern considering two former World Wars. I am particularly concerned at the moment with the openness of Fascists in Spain.
Given the fact that Spain along with Greece, Italy and Portugal could fail in financial collapse despite all efforts of the European Union to prevent such events; the problems may well be beyond repair; my concern centers upon a Spain already having shown its Fascist leanings in the Case of Judge Garzon, who shortly after revealing his intention to move on Iraq War Criminals including George Bush, Tony Blair and other US officials, was suddenly attacked by the Fascist dominate legal system of Spain.
Not only am I distressed with the attacks and suspension of Judge Garzon over his investigation of Franco area Fascist criminals but the impact that this is going to have on his work to move Iraq War Crimes to hearing status at The Hague.
The Guardian spent four months undercover with neo-fascist movement, and found them growing in strength
Formed less than a year ago, the English Defence League has become the most significant far-right street movement since the National Front. The Guardian spent four months undercover with the movement, and found them growing in strength and planning to target some of the UK's biggest Muslim communities • Warning: video contains very strong language.
By VINCENT NAVARRO
The fascist regime led by General Franco was one of the most repressive regimes in Europe in the twentieth century. It was imposed on the Spanish people by Hitler and Mussolini; without their assistance, Franco could not have defeated the popular forces that defended the democratically elected government of the Spanish Republic during the years 1936–1939.
The establishment of the Republic had opened up the possibility of making important reforms needed in Spain to respond to the demands of the popular classes. The first democratically elected republican government instituted land reform (which antagonized the large landowners – the Catholic Church being among the largest); educational reform that expanded public education (antagonizing the Church, which controlled the educational system); and public pension reform (antagonizing banking). It also facilitated the organization of workers by encouraging trade unionism (antagonizing employers), reduced the number of top officers in the Armed Forces, and instituted many other highly popular changes. In response, the groups opposed to these reforms, led by the Army and assisted by troops and military equipment sent by Hitler and Mussolini, carried out a military coup.
The coup was strongly resisted by Spain’s popular classes, who fought for three years to defend the Republic, under enormous difficulties – the major one being the lack of arms (there was one gun for every three soldiers on the front). The Western democratic governments did not lift a finger to help the democratically elected government of Spain. As Winston Churchill said, the European governments were afraid that the popular reforms taking place in the new Republic would “contaminate” their own popular classes, who would then ask for the same changes in their own countries. So these governments chose to follow their class interests, Churchill said, over national interests. And, as history proved, this was the wrong choice. Their failure to assist the democratic forces in Spain only helped Hitler and later, in starting World War II.
Franco’s victory in Spain meant brutal repression. More than 200,000 men and women were executed, and another 200,000 died in fascist concentration camps and other places of detention. And 114,266 people simply disappeared. They were killed by the Falange (the fascist party) or by the Army, and their bodies were abandoned or buried without being identified (see my “A Forgotten Genocide: The Case of Spain”).
Up until the last year of the dictatorship, 1978, repression was a constant in Spain’s fascist regime. Of course, apologists for that regime (coming from the fascist apparatus of the state) – such as Juan Linz, later a professor of political science at Yale – denied that Franco’s regime was a fascist totalitarian regime. They defined it as authoritarian, but not totalitarian, by which Linz (and Spain’s right-wing Popular Party, the PP) meant a regime that did not impose a totalizing ideology on the population. This claim is easily proven wrong.
Spanish fascism was rooted in a profound and intense form of nationalism based, by its own definition, on a special race – the Hispanic race (the national day celebrating the conquest of Latin America was called the Day of the Hispanic Race) – that was chosen by God as the savior of civilization (this being rooted in a profoundly reactionary form of Catholicism) and led by a man of superhuman qualities, General Franco. The regime controlled all the country’s value-producing systems, from school tests to sports magazines. To deny the totalizing character of that regime, and how it controlled and imposed itself on all spheres of life, is plain apologetics.
The transition to democracy in 1978 was carried out on terms very favorable to the right-wing forces controlling the Spanish state, led by the king, who regarded Franco “as one of the greatest patriots in the history of Spain, savior of the nation against the Red forces”. A key element of the transition was the Amnesty Law, which called for immunity for all who had committed political crimes during the dictatorship. The law was accompanied by a Pact of Silence among the leaderships of all political parties, including the left-wing parties (the socialist and communist parties). As a consequence, the 114,266 disappeared remained disappeared.
Then, three years ago, the grandchildren of the disappeared (the desaparecidos) started looking for their bodies. Village by village, they began to search for them – a movement that immediately received huge popular support at the street level. There were people who knew where the disappeared were buried, but they had been afraid to talk about it, even thirty years after Spain’s return to democracy. The movement spread throughout the country, putting right-wing forces (and the old leadership of the left-wing forces) on the defensive. This movement has challenged the official perception and presentation of the change from dictatorship to democracy as a “model” transition. In fact, in this “model” transition, the right-wing forces still held enormous power.
The movement to recover the disappeared was instrumental in forcing a new law, approved by the Spanish Parliament, to break the Pact of Silence. The Law of Historical Memory calls for the government and public authorities to help families find the bodies of their loved ones. But the socialists in government (with the exception of the Catalan government, a coalition of three left-wing parties) have done very little to advance this. They are afraid of antagonizing the powerful forces (the monarchy, the Army, and the Church) that insist on the need to respect both the Pact of Silence and the Amnesty Law.
Enter Judge Garzon. This is the Spanish judge who tried to take General Pinochet to court when the general was in London, and who led the movement to take other Latin American dictators to court. He came under increasing pressure from the popular movement working for the recovery of historical memory in Spain to look at what had happened at home, not just abroad. Pinochet, after all, was a boy scout compared with Franco: General Franco’s repression was even more brutal than that carried out by his disciple, General Pinochet.
Finally, in response to this popular pressure, Judge Garzon called for an inquiry into the crimes committed by the Franco dictatorship, so as to hold tribunals and take those responsible for the horrors of that regime to court. It was a courageous and highly popular move. For the first time, an official report was prepared, by Garzon, documenting the extent of the repression under fascism in Spain. And, as it turns out, the repression was even broader and deeper than previously known. Many people had never spoken (even to their own children) of what they had seen and experienced during those years.
And, of course, the reactionary forces mobilized.
There are very powerful forces in Spain that want to stop Garzon and punish him.
The fascist party (La Falange) and other ultra-right-wing forces took Judge Garzon to the Supreme Court, asking that he be stopped from taking Franco’s regime and those responsible for the desaparecidos to the tribunals.
And to everyone’s surprise, a member of the Supreme Court, Judge Varela, who had been assigned by this court to look at the fascists’ denunciation of Garzon, saw merit in their request: according to this judge, the Amnesty Law signed in the last days of the dictatorship gave permanent immunity to all who had committed violations of human rights under the fascist regime.
This judge’s position increased the likelihood of Garzon’s being taken to the Supreme Court (a five-member court presided over by a judge who swore loyalty to the fascist regime).
It is interesting to read in Judge Varela’s indictment the way in which he justifies the need to take Judge Garzon to court. “[Garzon’s] actions seem to imply that there has been a pact of silence about the actions taken by the previous regime, exposing all the political and judicial systems to the criticism of having been insensitive to the defense of human rights and defense of the forgotten”.
Judge Varela wants to prevent Judge Garzon from continuing his trial of the Francoist regime because it will reveal that there has been a pact of silence and that neither the state nor the courts have put into practice the recently passed Historical Memory Law and have done nothing in defense of the forgotten. In that way, Varela wants to save the honor of the Spanish state and the courts and avoid any further embarrassment to the very powerful forces responsible for that silence and for that democratic insensitivity.
The initial work done by Judge Garzon has already proved not only the horrible crimes committed by the Fascist regime, but also the deafening silence during the 30 years of democracy.
Judge Varela added that the Amnesty Law prevents any inquiry into the crimes committed during the dictatorship, ignoring the fact that the Spanish state has signed the United Nations Human Rights Law, which in Article 15.2 clearly states that the “crimes against humanity” cannot be silenced by national laws such as Spain’s Amnesty Law.
In a few days, the Supreme Court (chaired by a judge who swore loyalty to the Fascist regime during the dictatorship) will pass judgment on Garzon and most likely will divest him of his judicial responsibilities.
To put this in perspective, what is happening is equivalent to the Supreme Court of Germany (presided over by a judge who swore loyalty to the Nazi Government) responding to the request of the Nazi Party and passing judgment on the only judge who had dared to try the crimes committed by the Nazi regime. This is what is happening in Spain. And the “official” international media remain silent.
Vincent Navarro is Professor of Public Policy, The Johns Hopkins University and Professor of Political Science, Pompeu Fabra University, Spain. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday, February 28, 2010
(02/26/2010 -- WW4 Report)
Authorities in Spain have launched proceedings to suspend the notorious investigating magistrate Baltasar Garzón. The ostensible reason for the move is his investigation into the fate of 114,000 people who disappeared during the Spanish Civil War and its aftermath. The public prosecutor's office says Garzón had no authority to conduct the investigation because of a 1977 amnesty law. But Garzón says the disappearances must be considered crimes against humanity, and therefore not covered by any amnesty.
Baltasar Garzón gained an international reputation through his efforts to have former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet extradited to Spain. If Spain's best known judge is found guilty of exceeding his authority, he could be removed from office for 20 years. (Radio Netherlands, Feb. 10)
The move comes just as Garzón opened a formal criminal investigation of former White House attorneys John Yoo and Jay Bybee and other Bush administration officials for their role in authorizing torture at the Guantánamo Bay detention center. Garzón's inquiry will be the first formal examination of alleged criminal activity that could lead to a number of US officials being charged with violations of the Geneva Conventions and the Convention Against Torture, both of which have been signed by the United States and ratified by the US Senate.
Monday 31 May 2010
Move against Spanish magistrate, who pursued Pinochet over human rights abuses, seen as politically motivated
The stellar career of the crusading Spanish judge Baltasar Garzón may have come to an abrupt end today after he was suspended from his post as an investigating magistrate at Madrid's national court.
The higher council of judicial power, which oversees Spain's judges, temporarily suspended Garzón while the supreme court tries him on charges of distorting the law by opening an investigation into crimes against humanity carried out by the Franco regime.
"It will come into effect as soon as he is told," the council's spokeswoman, Gabriela Bravo, said this morning.
Judges and co-workers later lined up outside the national court to say goodbye to the man whose investigations into Latin American dictators, including Augusto Pinochet of Chile, had turned the court into a key player in global human rights.
Some shed tears as Garzón hugged and kissed them before being driven off from the courthouse in his armour-plated car for what may be the last time.
The decision to suspend him, although expected, nevertheless shocked leftwing Spaniards, who see it as the latest stage in a political and professional vendetta against the controversial magistrate. "This stinks of shameful revenge," the writer and journalist Juan Cruz wrote on his blog.
Garzón's supporters claim there is nothing coincidental about the fact that the trial comes at the same time as two other, separate cases in which he is also accused of knowingly twisting the law.
The private prosecutions against him have been brought by rightwing groups and one case refers directly to a corruption investigation into the main opposition party, the rightwing People's party.
Campaigners who have been seeking justice for those killed by Franco death squads before and after the Spanish civil war claimed that Garzón had become "the last victim of Francoism".
Today's decision was rushed through, apparently in an attempt by enemies within Spain's highly politicized judicial system to stop him taking up an offer to be adviser to the international criminal court in The Hague.
A demonstration was called for tonight in Madrid.
The decision was criticized by international human rights groups. "Judge Garzón's suspension will be mourned by human rights activists around the world," said Reed Brody, legal counsel for Human Rights Watch. "Garzón helped to deliver justice for atrocity victims abroad and now he's being punished for trying to do the same thing at home."
Spanish Judge Garzón Suspended over Franco Probe
In Spain, a top judge has been suspended on allegations of overreaching his authority in a probe of human rights abuses during the Spanish Civil War and the Franco regime. Baltasar Garzón has been accused of opening an investigation without proper jurisdiction. Garzón’s investigation was probing the disappearance of more than 100,000 civilians at the hands of supporters of Gen. Francisco Franco during the Spanish Civil War. Garzón is known worldwide for taking on international human rights cases. His actions include ordering the arrest of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet in 1998, indicting Osama bin Laden for the 9/11 attacks, and probing the abuse of US prisoners at Guantánamo Bay. On Friday, supporters of Garzón rallied in Madrid.
Rosa, supporter of Judge Garzón: "You can say that today, it’s the 17th of July, 1936, and a group of fascists have taken control of the state through the Spanish judges’ governing body.”
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Spain Judicial Panel Allows Judge Garzon To Consult For ICC
Hillary Stemple at 11:15 AM ET
[JURIST] The judiciary oversight committee of the Spanish General Council of the Judiciary(CGPJ) [official website, in Spanish] on Tuesday approved a request [text, PDF; in Spanish] by judge Baltasar Garzon [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] allowing him to work with theInternational Criminal Court (ICC) [official website]. Garzon was suspended last week[JURIST report] by the CGPJ for abusing his power by opening an investigation into war crimes allegedly committed under Francisco Franco [BBC backgrounder] during the Spanish Civil War [LOC backgrounder]. The ICC confirmed earlier this month [press release] that they had asked Garzon to work for them as a consultant for a period of seven months in order to improve their investigative methods. The CGPJ granted Garzon's request for leave indicating there was no legal reason preventing him from working as a consultant with the ICC. Garzon still faces trial in Spain where he has been formally charged [JURIST report] with abusing his power although no trial date [AFP report] has been set. If convicted, Garzon could face a suspension of up to 20 years.
Thousands gathered [JURIST report] in cities across Spain last month in support of Garzon, chanting slogans and displaying flags of the pre-war Republican government ousted by Franco. The Spanish Supreme Court[official website, in Spanish] charged [order, PDF; in Spanish] Garzon with abuse of power based on his 2008 ordered exhumation [JURIST report] of 19 mass graves in Spain. The purpose of the order was to assemble a definitive national registry of Civil War victims, despite a 1977 law granting amnesty for political crimes committed under Franco. Garzon appealed [JURIST report] the charges, alleging that the indictment issued by Spanish Supreme Court judge Luciano Varela was politically motivated [AFP report], compromised judicial independence, and sought to impose a specific interpretation of the 1977 law. Garzon is widely known for using universal jurisdiction extensively in the past to bring several high-profile rights cases, including those against Osama bin Laden and former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet [JURIST news archives].