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President of large pharma co. and leading doctor among 2,200 famous people caught falsifying vaccine passports

BY WILL JONES | THE DAILY SCEPTIC | JUNE 8, 2022

Police in Spain have uncovered at least 2,200 famous people, including José María Fernández Sousa-Faro, the President of PharmaMar, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in Spain, holding false COVID-19 vaccination certificates bought from a nurse. EuroWeekly News has the story.

Amongst those that have been investigated are leading singers, musicians, football stars, business people, politicians and top medical personnel.

The scandal involved people being added to the National Immunisation Registry in exchange for money, with many of them familiar faces and household names.

The latest of these to be charged is the President of PharmaMar José María Fernández Sousa-Faro, an IBEX 35 company, and one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in Spain. The company is dedicated to researching drugs including cancer, Alzheimer’s and yes, COVID-19.

The 76-year-old businessman, who has not yet been summoned to testify, was included in the lists to reflect that he had received the third dose.

The leader of the network was a nursing assistant at the La Paz University Hospital, where he is accused of charging more than €200,000 euros for fraudulently registering 2,200 people as vaccinated in the National Registry against COVID-19. He has been arrested and is currently in custody.

Among those accused are Bruno González Cabrera, a defender who played for Betis, Getafe, Levante and Valladolid. Fabio Díez Steinaker in beach volleyball, runner-up in Europe and fifth in the Sydney Olympic Games. The former Valencian boxer and wrestler José Luis Zapater, alias Titín, who starred in more than a thousand fights.

The famous people investigated so far includes: José María Fernández Sousa-Faro, President of PharmaMar; Trinitario Casanova, one of the richest men in Spain; Kidd Keo, singer; Anier, rap singer; Jarfaiter, rap singer; Veronica Echegui, actress; Bruno Gonzalez Cabrera, soccer player; Fabio Díez Steinaker, former beach volleyball Olympian; José Luis Zapater, alias Titín, former boxer; Camilo Esquivel, recognised and prestigious doctor.

According to the police who are investigating the 2,200 over false COVID-19 vaccination certificates, the fee was dependent on your social standing. The more important you were, the higher the price.

This story broke at the end of last month but has received scant attention in the media. Some may say it is obvious this kind of thing is going on – though I’m not sure the public would see it that way. For sceptics, the real crime is coercing people to be vaccinated against their own assessment of the benefits and risks. Since such a law is clearly contrary to any reasonable conception of personal autonomy and human rights, should we really blame people for finding a way around it?

Let’s not forget the biggest scandal here: that the president of a pharmaceutical company would be so wary of taking a drug which all the trials and medical authorities insist is safe and effective. What does he know that he’s not letting on?

June 8, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , , | 3 Comments

Popular Ukrainian Zelensky critic arrested in Spain

Samizdat | May 5, 2022

Prominent blogger and critic of the Ukrainian government, Anatoly Shariy, has been detained by Spanish police as part of an international operation, the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) announced on Thursday.

Shariy was arrested on Wednesday in a joint operation by Spanish and Ukrainian cops, as well as international “partners”, the SBU said in a statement.

The agency, Kiev’s successor to the Soviet KGB, said that the opposition figure is wanted on charges of treason by Kiev, among other things. Shariy has been infringing Ukraine’s national security through his activities in the media realm, while allegedly acting on behalf of “foreign” forces, it insisted. The case against the YouTuber with almost 3 million subscribers was launched in February 2021.

Shariy’s arrest “is more proof that every traitor of Ukraine will sooner or later receive his well-deserved punishment. It is inevitable,” the SBU claimed.

The Ukrainian announcement was confirmed by the Spanish police, who told RIA-Novosti that Shariy was detained in the coastal city of Tarragona on May 4 on an international arrest warrant.

Shariy had been granted political asylum in the EU by Lithuania back in 2012. Back then, he said that he was fleeing persecution by the government of Viktor Yanukovich, whom the Western media branded pro-Russian.

Yanukovich was deposed after the Maidan coup in 2014, but the blogger remained a harsh critic of authorities in Ukraine, be it President Petro Poroshenko or his successor Volodymyr Zelensky.

He condemned Russia’s military operation in Ukraine after it was launched in late February but kept pointing out what he saw as flaws in Kiev’s conduct during the ongoing conflict.

The blogger’s political asylum was cancelled by Lithuania in January this year.

Shariy was absent from social media on Wednesday, but on Thursday he took to Telegram to share a photo of his wife feeding parrots in Barcelona, accompanying it with a comment reading: “This really is a comedy.”

According to media reports, the blogger was released from Spanish custody and placed under travel restrictions. He’s to remain in Barcelona where he has a home pending a decision on his extradition to Ukraine.

President Zelensky’s representative at the Constitutional Court has already expressed confidence that Shariy will “face a Ukrainian court and will be held liable in line with Ukrainian laws.”

May 5, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | 7 Comments

Mexican president updates position on Ukraine conflict

Samizdat | April 10, 2022

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has denounced “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine” after weeks of trying to remain neutral on the conflict. However, he managed to do so while reminding the world that some of Moscow’s fiercest critics have previously invaded his own country.

“We do not accept Russia’s invasion of Ukraine because we have suffered from invasions,” Lopez Obrador said on Saturday in a video message. Mexico has at various times been on the receiving end of invasions by the US, France and Spain.

Lopez Obrador issued his video statement to be included in Saturday’s ‘Stand Up for Ukraine’ fundraising event, a campaign that organizers claim seeks to raise money for humanitarian relief to Ukrainian refugees. The Mexican president declined Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s invitation to attend the event, but he agreed to release a statement speaking out against the “Russian invasion.”

Lopez Obrador’s comments likely weren’t as pointed as some of his critics would have liked. He stopped short of accusing Russia of war crimes, as Trudeau and US President Joe Biden have done, and he gave no indication that Mexico would join in imposing sanctions against Moscow. He spoke more in generalities about his opposition to war, rather than condemning specific actions by Russia.

“We are in favor of a peaceful solution to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine,” he said. “Peace must be reached so that neither the people of Ukraine nor the people of Russia nor any other nation in the world continues to suffer from such absurdity because wars are disgraceful and must never be sought.”

Lopez Obrador’s comments come amid political turmoil at home. He faces a vote on Sunday over whether he should stay in office for the three years remaining on his term – the first such referendum in Mexico’s history. He called for the vote himself in order to confirm democratic support for his policies, a move that opponents criticized as a costly political stunt.

April 10, 2022 Posted by | Militarism | , , , | 1 Comment

Striking truckers reject Spain’s half-billion euro offer

Samizdat | March 22, 2022

Striking truckers have rejected Madrid’s offer of a hefty subsidy to offset rising diesel prices, which the government had hoped would shut down a work stoppage that has snarled traffic across the country.

Transport Minister Raquel Sanchez pledged to introduce a $551.35 million (€500 million) subsidy in direct aid to the industry on Tuesday after meeting with the National Road Transport Committee.

However, while Sanchez pointed out the measure was similar to moves taken by France, Portugal, and Italy to shore up their own industries in the face of skyrocketing fuel prices, there will be no reduction in the value-added tax (VAT) on fuel, and strike organizers the Platform for the Defense of Transport did not attend the meeting, calling the government’s announcement “insufficient.”

Three Spanish truckers’ unions opted to join the Platform’s strike on Tuesday, potentially aggravating a food shortage across the country as trucks are already having difficulty making deliveries on time. The unions denounced the plan, scheduled to be approved March 29, in a joint statement, pointing out that it “doesn’t specify what it will comprise, how it will work, and, more importantly, how much aid each trucker would get.”

Drivers loosely allied under the banner of the Platform stopped work last Monday, faced with a surge in diesel prices, demanding the government lower taxes and roll back regulations. “Until we negotiate the real problems faced by small truck drivers, there will be no suspension [of the strike],” Platform president Manuel Hernandez told Reuters on Monday, saying drivers must be protected from taking on losses or else they faced “total bankruptcy”.

Finance Minister Nadia Calvino, however, told reporters that the truckers should not reject the offer and that those who would “are clearly showing they do not defend the interests of this sector.”

The government’s plan was offered up following a European Commission meeting on a draft proposal for temporary crisis aid aimed at propping up the continent’s ailing economy as inflation and fuel prices soar, in part due to the sanctions imposed on Russia in the wake of its ongoing military offensive in Ukraine.

While the EU receives more than 40% of its natural gas supply from Russia, the alliance is reportedly considering an embargo on oil from the country as part of the latest round of sanctions aimed at economically crippling the country. More than half of Russia’s oil exports are sent to Europe. However, several European countries, including Germany and Bulgaria, have suggested a total ban on Russian fuel is a bridge too far.

Madrid has dismissed the truckers, branding them as unorganized and attempting to link them to far-right extremists. Spain has mobilized a reported 23,000 police in an effort to crush the strike.

March 22, 2022 Posted by | Economics, Solidarity and Activism | , | Leave a comment

Spanish Officials to Hire Foreign Snitch Squads to Report on Illegal House Parties

By Paul Joseph Watson | Summit News | August 3, 2021

Under the justification of stopping the spread of COVID-19, officials on the Spanish island of Ibiza are planning to hire teams of snitch squads made up of foreigners who will report illegal house parties to the authorities.

Yes, really.

Organizers of illegal parties face gigantic fines of up to €600,000 euros, but that apparently hasn’t deterred some people from risking financial ruin after local authorities once again shut down nightclubs and imposed a ban on mixed household gatherings from 1am to 6am.

Local official Mariano Juan appealed for “outside help” after explaining that it was hard for police to infiltrate the parties because officers were known to locals.

He added that authorities are working with a private company to hire “foreigners between 30 and 40 years old” who can infiltrate the parties and then report back to police.

In other words, the government is hiring private snitch squads to grass people up for having fun in their own homes.

“The idea has… been heavily criticised by the Socialist party, which leads the regional administration covering Ibiza,” reports the Guardian. “A spokesperson, Vicent Torres, called on the island’s officials to put forth “serious proposals that have legal backing” rather than “acting irresponsibly by launching ideas that we cannot agree to.”

Draconian efforts to enforce coronavirus rules are still underway despite a recent ruling by Spain’s top court which concluded that the country’s lockdown was unconstitutional.

Spain’s lockdown was characterized by innumerable dystopian facets that confirmed it as one of the most brutal in Europe.

During the first six weeks of the lockdown, stay at home measures were so strict that Spaniards weren’t even allowed to go outside to exercise or walk their dogs.

In one case, police were called after a neighbor spotted two brothers playing soccer in their own back yard.

For many months during hot weather, wearing masks in every outdoor setting, even on beaches, was compulsory and authorities briefly told citizens that wearing masks while swimming in the sea was mandatory.

People were also issued fines of €2,000 euros for “disrespecting” a police officer during lockdown.

Numerous instances of police beating people for not wearing masks also emerged, while protesters at one point freed a woman from police arrest while cops were trying to handcuff her for not wearing a face covering.

August 3, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , , , | 1 Comment

Spain’s Top Court Rules That Lockdown Was Unconstitutional

By Paul Joseph Watson | Summit News | July 14, 2021

Spain’s top court has ruled that the country’s national COVID-19 lockdown was unconstitutional following a lawsuit filed by the populist Vox party.

“While leaving intact most of the state of emergency’s terms, the court said that the key articles ordering the population off the streets except for shorts trips for shopping and unavoidable commutes for work and other official business were unconstitutional,” reports the Associated Press.

“According to TVE, the ruling said that the limitations on movement violated citizens´ basic rights and therefore the state of emergency was insufficient to give them constitutional backing. The six magistrates said that a state of exception, which does allow the government to suspend basic rights, would have been necessary.”

During the first six weeks of the lockdown, stay at home measures were so strict that Spaniards weren’t even allowed to go outside to exercise or walk their dogs.

In one case, police were called after a neighbor spotted two brothers playing soccer in their own back yard.

As we previously highlighted, Spain’s lockdown laws were so draconian that at one point authorities briefly told citizens that wearing masks while swimming in the sea was mandatory.

For many months during hot weather, wearing masks in every outdoor setting, even on beaches, was compulsory.

People were also issued fines of €2,000 euros for “disrespecting” a police officer during lockdown.

Numerous instances of police beating people for not wearing masks also emerged, while protesters at one point freed a woman from police arrest while cops were trying to handcuff her for not wearing a face covering.

Early on during the first lockdown, police helicopters fitted with loudspeakers were also used to aggressively order beachgoers to go home.

The Spanish government many now face multiple lawsuits as a result of the lockdown being declared unlawful.

July 14, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , , , | 2 Comments

Spain allows Israeli agent to interrogate Palestinian journalist in Madrid

MEMO | April 15, 2021

The Spanish security services have allowed an Israeli agent from the Mossad spy agency to interrogate a Palestinian journalist seeking asylum, Wafa news agency has reported. The incident at the Civil Guard building in the capital has been condemned by the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate.

The syndicate called on the Spanish government to assume its responsibilities by ensuring the security of Muath Hamid and his family. It also called for the Spanish authorities to open an investigation into what happened during the interrogation.

Spain’s Civil Guard is the oldest law enforcement agency in the country and “military in nature”. The journalists’ union said that it is suspected of being “complicit” with Mossad in allowing the Israeli agent to interrogate Hamid in its building. “This was a gross violation of international law, a violation of Spanish sovereignty and a threat to the journalist’s security and safety,” the syndicate insisted.

It added that the case is being followed closely in conjunction with the Union of Spanish Journalists, the Palestinian Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Ministry, and the Spanish political and security authorities to ensure that Hamid is not subject to any harm or torture. The reporter for Al Araby TV and freelance contributor to Al-Araby Al-Jadeed is currently a refugee in Spain, where he lives with his wife and two children.

According to popular Spanish online newspaper Público last Friday, on 9 December Hamid received a telephone call from “Nicolás”, an officer on duty at the Civil Guard’s Spanish Information Services “Nicolás wanted to discuss Hamid’s work as a journalist, his past and his current life in Spain. This is a regular procedure for refugees and migrants.”

When the journalist went to meet “Nicolás” in Bilbao, he met another officer, Javier. “Hamid answered all the questions, explaining why he applied for asylum in Spain and describing his journey from Palestine to Europe through Turkey,” reported Público. “In early February, the young Palestinian journalist was summoned again by Nicolás… this time in the Spanish capital, Madrid.”

This time there was also another man in the room, allegedly named Omar, “who was introduced to him as a Palestinian. Hamid, however, immediately noticed his strong Israeli accent… and he decided to answer his questions in Hebrew.” Omar acknowledged that he was an Israeli, at which point Javier “left the room, leaving Muath in the hands of the supposed Mossad agent… who threatened the Palestinian journalist and his family, saying that they will never be allowed to go back to Palestine due to one of his journalistic investigations” related to the work of the Israeli spy agency.

Público sought comments and clarifications from the Israeli Embassy and the Civil Guard, as well as Spain’s Interior Ministry. It has received no replies.

April 16, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | 1 Comment

Spanish Court Dismisses Criminal Complaint against BDS Activists

Palestine Chronicle | January 24, 2021

The Provincial Court in Valencia, Spain, has definitively dismissed a criminal complaint against eight Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions activists who had questioned the invitation for Jewish American singer Matisyahu to take part in the Rototom Festival in 2015.

The Court’s decision has been praised by the European Legal Support Centre (ELSC), an NGO based in Amsterdam that defends and empowers the Palestine solidarity movement in Europe through legal means.

“This is another milestone victory for the right to freedom of expression for those who defend Palestinian rights in Spain,” said a spokesperson for the Centre.

The Court acknowledged in its hearing earlier this month that criticism of the Israeli government’s practices against the Palestinians does not constitute an incitement to hatred.

Objecting to a singer’s participation in a festival that is committed to respecting human rights, when the objections are based on his personal support for the practices of the State of Israel, the Court determined, is not a criminal act. It is, rather, reflective of a legitimate form of activism in support of Palestinian rights.

January 25, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , | 1 Comment

Spain Rejects Extradition of Orlando Figuera’s Murderer – Black Chavista Burned Alive in 2017

Enzo Franchini Oliveros inside the red circle. File photo.
Orinoco Tribune | October 2, 2020

A Spanish Justice on Wednesday rejected the extradition of the Venezuelan Enzo Franchini Oliveros, who is requested in Venezuela for his participation, during the 2017 guarimbas, in the criminal action, where a group of people stabbed and burned alive 22-year-old Orlando Figuera, under the accusation of “being Chavista.”

The ruling issued by the Spanish National Court revokes the sentence adopted in June that ordered the extradition of Franchini on whom audiovisual evidence weighs that points at him as the material author of this action that resulted in the death of Figuera as a consequence of a cardiopulmonary arrest due to the collapse that registered his body after being stabbed six times and suffering for several days second and third degree burns in 54% of his body.

According to the EFE news agency, this judicial overturn, promoted by three magistrates, arises under the argument of understanding “the rational fear” of the accused, who alleged that in Venezuela his “fundamental rights” could be affected.

Contrary to this assertion, in the same ruling the rapporteur judges acknowledge that “the seriousness of the crime that motivates the extradition request (a hate crime) is undoubtedly considered,” while accepting the “lack of political connotations” in the extradition request on the part of the Venezuelan authorities.

They also acknowledge the absence of evidence that indicates a possible political persecution against Franchini by pointing out “the lack of data that allow us to conceive a special significance of the accused as an opposition political leader of the current Venezuelan government.”

Prior to this ruling, the first section of the Criminal Court of the National High Court agreed to extradite Franchini considering that all the requirements were met and after ruling out a motive of political persecution by not “glimpsing any element”, it stressed the importance of guaranteeing the application of justice against Franchini given “the connotation of the crime.”

(Ultimas Noticias)

October 9, 2020 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite | , | Leave a comment

Spanish Politics Jolted by Claims of Government Spying

By Cain Burdeau – Courthouse News – July 14, 2020

Spain was rocked Tuesday by allegations that the government may have hacked a smartphone used by the pro-independence president of the Catalan parliament and spied on him and others during a tense period in the run-up to a politically explosive trial against Catalan leaders.

Allegations that the Spanish state may have used an Israeli company’s hacking spyware to target Roger Torrent, the speaker and president of Catalonia’s regional parliament, were revealed in a joint investigation by the newspapers El País and The Guardian.

The domestic espionage claims open a new chapter in an emotional and epochal fight in Spain over the future of Catalonia and its capital Barcelona. About half of Catalonia’s population wants to secede from Spain. An unauthorized independence referendum in 2017 led to massive protests, police violence, the arrests of Catalan politicians and the criminal conviction of pro-independence leaders last October.

The newspaper reports about the hacking of Torrent’s phone sprang from a wide-ranging probe by digital experts at a Canadian university into allegations that authoritarian governments around the world have abused technology developed by Israeli hacker-for-hire firm NSO Group and taken control of cellphones to spy on dissidents, journalists, lawyers, activists, human rights advocates and opposition politicians. NSO is fighting numerous lawsuits in the United States and elsewhere against it over its spying program called Pegasus.

NSO claims no responsibility for how its Pegasus spyware is used by governments and says it only sells the spyware to governments to help them fight crime and terrorism. The Pegasus program can take control of a phone, its cameras and microphones, and mine the user’s personal data.

Spanish authorities denied any knowledge of the alleged spying on Torrent.

Andrew Dowling, an expert on Spanish politics and history at Cardiff University, said the allegations against Spanish authorities appear solid.

“In one sense it is not that surprising at all,” he said in an email to Courthouse News. It appears, he said, that “sectors of the Spanish security services act autonomously and are not fully subject to democratic control.”

Torrent called on the Spanish state to investigate the claims. He said he was unsure who was behind the hacking but he suspects state actors carried out the surveillance without judicial authority.

“The espionage I have been subjected to violates my right to privacy, the right to secrecy of communications and the right to be able to develop a political project without illegitimate interference,” Torrent said on Tuesday in a statement to media at the Catalan parliament. “It is inappropriate in a democracy that state apparatuses illegally spy on political opponents.”
He charged that the evidence confirms the Spanish state is seeking to use illegal means to squash Catalonia’s drive for independence.

“This is the first time, therefore, that what many of us already knew and have been denouncing for a long time has been conclusively proven: espionage against political opponents is practiced in Spain,” he said.

He said he was told about the alleged hacking by newspaper reporters and that he feared his smartphone’s camera and microphone were remotely turned on to spy on him. He said the Pegasus program allowed hackers to listen to all his conversations on the phone and those that took place while the phone was close at hand. He said conversations he had with politicians, trade union members, economic leaders and international representatives had been put at risk.

“This type of software is intended for use in investigating complex and serious crimes, such as terrorism or drug trafficking,” Torrent said. He said watchdogs, including United Nations Rapporteur on freedom of expression David Kaye and Amnesty International, have warned that governments in Morocco, Mexico and Saudi Arabia have abused the Pegasus software to spy on opponents.

“Now,” he said, “we know that this practice has also occurred in Spain.”

He said Catalan authorities will “take all political and legal action” to “get to the bottom of the matter.”

The hacking of Torrent’s phone was confirmed by Citizen Lab, a center that researches digital threats, the newspapers reported. Citizen Lab is working with the social media platform WhatsApp to find improper hacking that took place around the world in April and May 2019 by exploiting a previous weakness in WhatsApp. The lab is based at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto.

Besides Torrent, a former Catalan parliamentarian, Anna Gabriel, and pro-Catalan activist Jordi Domingo also were hacked, according to the newspapers. Gabriel fled Spain after the Spanish state cracked down on the Catalan independence drive in 2017 and she remains in exile in Switzerland. Other Catalan politicians, most notably former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont, also fled Spain to avoid arrest. Puigdemont is a member of the European Parliament and condemned the alleged domestic espionage on Tuesday.

John Scott-Railton, a senior researcher at Citizen Lab, said on Twitter that there is a “troubling sign of a pattern of political hacking in Spain.”

The newspaper reports said WhatsApp believes the hacking took place between April and May 2019 and involved 1,400 of its users around the world. Until now, European governments had not been linked to the hacking attack.

WhatsApp is suing the NSO Group in the U.S. and charges that the Pegasus program was used to hack more than 100 journalists, human rights activists, diplomats and government officials in various countries around the world. The Pegasus program has been linked to surveillance of associates of slain Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Citizen Lab says Bahrain, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and India have been linked to abusive use of the spyware to target civil society.

Citizen Lab says the software is among the world’s most sophisticated commercial spyware and can be deceptively placed on phones without a user’s knowledge or permission. Once the software infects a phone, hackers can obtain a person’s private data, including passwords, contact lists, calendar events, text messages, and live voice calls, Citizen Lab says. Hackers can also turn on the phone’s camera and microphone to monitor activity in the phone’s vicinity and track someone’s movements through GPS, the group says.

On Monday, NSO won a case in an Israeli court brought by Amnesty International seeking to stop the company from selling its software around the world.

Spanish authorities said they were not behind the hacking of Torrent’s phone.

The newspapers said the National Intelligence Center, Spain’s domestic and foreign intelligence service, issued a statement saying it acts “in full accordance with the legal system” and that its work is overseen by Spain’s Supreme Court.

Socialist Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez also issued a statement saying his “government has no evidence” that Torrent was hacked, according to the newspapers. The hacking allegations have the potential to sour relations between Sanchez and Catalan politicians upon whose cooperation he depends in the Spanish parliament.

The hacking allegedly took place while Sanchez was prime minister and may erode trust in the Socialist leader’s promises to open dialogue with the Catalan separatists to find a political solution to demands for Catalan independence.

Torrent called on Sanchez to live up to his pledges, he is leading a progressive government in coalition with the far-left Podemos party.

“A government that claims to be the most progressive in history cannot allow such practices to go unpunished,” Torrent said. “We cannot make it normal for there to be prospective wiretaps, to criminalize a peaceful and democratic movement.”

Dowling, the Cardiff University expert, doubted the Spanish state or European Union institutions will investigate the allegations.

“Spain has little tradition of independent investigation into political scandals, however deep,” he said. “The fact that it has had widespread European coverage will be embarrassing but I don’t perceive the EU intervening in what it will consider to be the internal affairs of the Spanish state.”


Courthouse News reporter Cain Burdeau is based in the European Union.

July 20, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Profits before People: Spanish Company CAF to Join Illegal Construction around Occupied Jerusalem

By Santiago González Vallejo | Palestine Chronicle | May 18, 2020

The controversial Israeli expansion project of the red tram or light rail line that will run through the occupied Palestinian area around Jerusalem is now entering a new phase.

Both the mayor of Jerusalem, Moshe Lion, and the Israeli infrastructure authorities seem to consider that the forced lockdown and the consequent reduction of activity as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic is an opportunity to speed up these works. Thus, their planning bodies have been instructed to accelerate the project, which was awarded to the JNET consortium.

JNET is a consortium made up of the Israeli engineering company, Shapir, and the Spanish company CAF, based in Beasain, in the Basque Country. Shapir has been identified by the United Nations Human Rights Council as one of 112 companies profiting from illegal occupation.

The JNET consortium is in charge of executing the extension of both the existing red line and the planned new blue tram line, which will cover also occupied Palestinian territories. Both projects have already been pre-planned, so there is now a go-ahead to accelerate the works in this new scenario, justified by the decrease in road traffic that will make it easier to work in relevant crossroads in the settlements.

The work will include both the excavation and laying of the railway infrastructure, as well as communications infrastructure, and possibly the laying of rails. The construction would be carried out in the Neve Yaakov and Pisgat Ze’ev settlements along Arthur Hanke and Henrietta Szold streets; and from the other end, they will proceed from Herzl Street on until the Ora crossing, and then to Hadassah Ein Kerem in the following stage.

Originally, the construction in these areas was scheduled to begin last October. According to the new plans, the work at the crossings will commence in the coming weeks, with the hope to advance construction as much as possible before the end of the lockdown, thus before regular traffic is restored.

Last February, Israel decided to reach a termination agreement with the former concessionaire of the Red CityPass tram line to take control of it and recover the concession, upon payment of compensations of around 420 million euros, awarding management control to the new JNET consortium.

Among the beneficiaries of this operation is the company Alsthom (a competitor of CAF) that held 50% of the CityPass shares, and which – in addition to earning a substantial capital gain – would receive an additional reward, since they would be in a position to request their exclusion from the list of companies that profit from their participation in activities promoting the occupation of Palestinian territories — not a petty matter that causes significant damage to the corporate image and prestige of the companies involved in those illegal activities and remains a heavy burden for their taking part in other international tenders.

On the contrary, the CAF management took the decision to obtain this contract, assuming that the risk would be minimal and that a long-term impact is unlikely.

The unquestionable fact is that Shapir, CAF’s Israeli partner, has been formally listed by the UN among companies profiting from the occupation and that CAF may be singled out as such by executing a project so unjustifiable that it violates innumerable United Nations resolutions, as well as the Geneva Convention. All of this is taking place in a favorable political context for Israel, where right-wing Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu and his former rival Benny Gantz are now both part of a joint national unity government. A top priority on this new government’s agenda is the annexation of some illegal settlements and of 30% of the occupied West Bank.

The choice of CAF CEOs and managers to remain in the consortium and obtain short-term profits stains the corporate image of the company, and will most definitely harm the relationship with other international vendors.

CAF managers now stand on shaky grounds. Their partaking in the Israeli violation of international law in occupied Palestine is destroying the credibility of a company that has been, otherwise, exemplary in many other respects. CAF’s miscalculations will also increase the risks for the company’s shareholders and workers, and, needless to say, the very government that protects CAF’s operations.

Santiago González Vallejo is the head of the Comité de Solidaridad de la Causa Arabe (CSCA).

May 18, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , | Leave a comment