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Impresiones de tres días de juicio y una conclusión

Como se ha comentado en la anterior entrada, las impresiones que uno haya obtenido de estos tres días son, indudablemente, parciales. Un juicio es un acto complejo para cuya valoración global es necesario, por supuesto, contemplarlo entero. Así que las frases lapidarias tras escuchar a un abogado, a un Fiscal o a un acusado sobran. Podemos extraer alguna impresión, parcial, y ninguna conclusión del juicio y el desarrollo de la prueba.

Primera impresión. Mucho aficionado que opina, lapidariamente, sin saber nada de nada (me meto con los lapidarios, no con quien de buena fe expone su impresión, más o menos acertada, que a eso el blog siempre está abierto). Una cosa es entender lo que literalmente dice cada interviniente y otra conocer su traducción e interpretación jurídica.

Segunda impresión. Estrategias arriesgadas. La de Junqueras, que ha optado por no defenderse en términos jurídicos. Está en su derecho y, quién sabe, quizás acaba resultando acertada. No obstante, si hiciéramos una encuesta entre profesionales, me parece que una aplastante mayoría se apuntaba a la defensa llevada a cabo por Melero.

Tercera impresión. Precisamente, la línea de defensa ejercida y la manera en que se ha llevado a cabo, abre algo que, de inicio, parece complicado: determinar distintas participaciones en los hechos para personas que parecería que habrían cometido hechos muy parecidos. El Fiscal pide penas distintas a acusados que habrían participado, sustancialmente, en los mismos hechos (por ejemplo, Junqueras y Forn, aunque en el primer caso la pena solicitada es superior). Pues bien, de la declaración de Forn, en el fondo, se está desvinculando de Junqueras, así que está buscando -como es lógico- su propia suerte. Otra cosa será lo que resulte de la prueba, tanto para uno como para otro y todos los demás. Falta muchísimo.

Cuarta impresión. El secesionismo es capaz de aguantar una versión y su contraria a la vez sin inmutarse. Junqueras ha dicho que el resultado de la votación del 1 de octubre fue “abrumador a favor de la independencia” y que su voluntad de diálogo consistía en “cómo lo implementamos“. Forn ha reconocido que la votación era ilegal, que los resultados de la votación no fueron validados por la Sindicatura, que la DUI no era nada y que, bueno, bueno, solo le ha faltado decir que los hay que se lo creen todo. Tal cual. A ver, o Junqueras o Forn, pero los dos a la vez no puede ser.

Quinta impresión.

PRIMERA CONCLUSIÓN. La conclusión surge a raíz de la declaración de Junqueras y algunos párrafos que he leído en plan “la Sentencia está escrita“, cosa que también me dijeron ayer por la calle. Como es bien sabido, los mensajes victimistas son la especie preferida del secesionismo; da igual que se trate de personas con sentido común o sin él.

¿Os acordáis cuando, para las elecciones del 21 de diciembre de 2017, el secesionismo empezó a difundir el mensaje de que se preparaba un pucherazo y fraude en las elecciones? Un ejemplo, en esta noticia en EL PAIS de 30 de noviembre de 2017 : “ERC ampliarà el seu recompte electoral paral·lel el 21-D per por d’una tupinada“, o esta del ARA de 8 de diciembre de 2017: “L’independentisme prepara un recompte paral·lel dels resultats del 21-D perquè desconfia de l’Estat.“.  ¿Dónde están ahora los del pucherazo?

Pues ahora la idea es exactamente la misma: “la Sentencia está escrita“. Deslegitiman las instituciones, pero si luego el resultado es favorable, niegan haberlo dicho. La misma estrategia de siempre. La deshonestidad de costumbre. Que no se olvide.

EDITO: Una captura para ilustrar cómo el secesionismo copia continuamente estructuras pseudoargumentales.

Empieza el juicio

Cambiamos de entrada y de tercio, mientras sigo esperando el famoso “informe” de la Oficina de Derechos (para algunos) Civiles y Políticos. Sigo contando los días del plazo, así que abandonen toda esperanza, señores de la Oficina, que no me olvido.

A lo nuestro. Empieza el juicio y ya habréis leído odas, panegíricos, reflexiones y, cómo no, lenguas de fuego anunciando la destrucción y el apocalipsis. Me temo que la cosa será bastante más prosaica y, al fin, aburrida, porque seguir un juicio es algo bastante soso y aburrido. La teatralización se acaba -pese a que a diario tendremos a nuestros particulares frikis, como los que aparecen el día del sorteo del Gordo, con la diferencia de que estos se llamarán “expertos”, “juristas” u “observadores internacionales”, menuda plaga- y empieza la fase de los hechos probados, allí donde la simplonería del “no hemos hecho nada” o “solo pusimos urnas” únicamente conduce al desastre.

Seguro que, ante siete Magistrados y peticiones de decenas de años de prisión, será todo bastante más sofisticado. Tampoco se puede asegurar, porque el día antes del juicio todavía algunas defensas tienen tiempo de dar ruedas de prensa, aunque quizás sea porque lo tienen todo bien preparado y no necesitan suspensiones o aplazamientos del juicio.

Dentro de unos meses, cuando acabe el juicio, tendremos la respuesta.

Informes que parece que no existen

El pasado 25 de enero, la Oficina de Derechos Civiles y Políticos (ODCP), presentó en rueda de prensa un “balance de actividad”, cuyo elemento más destacado era: “L’Oficina de Drets Civils i Polítics alerta de l’existència d’una vintena de grups d’ultradreta que atempten contra la llibertat d’expressió al territori català” (La Oficina de Derechos Civiles y Políticos alerta de la existencia de una veintena de grupos de ultraderecha que atentan contra la libertad de expresión en el territorio catalán). Se acompañaba de una nota de prensa que aparece al margen derecho de la página que he enlazado. [Aquí: nota de prensa]

La presentación fue ampliamente comentada en prensa, especialmente esta conclusión: “Recull 328 agressions de la ultradreta registrades durant els darrers dos anys a Catalunya” (“Recoge 328 agresiones de la ultraderecha registradas durante los dos últimos años en Cataluña”). Sin olvidar esto: “L’ODCP ha detectat que aquests grups d’ultradreta s’organitzen de forma paramilitar…” (La ODCP ha detectado que estos grupos de ultraderecha se organizan de forma paramilitar)

Hombre, el tema me interesa: 328 agresiones, veinte grupos de ultraderecha, detección de organización paramilitar… Un panorama espeluznante que debe llevar detrás un trabajo de campo impresionante y muy documentado. Especialmente documentado. Sin duda.

De entre las reacciones de la prensa, me llamó la atención este editorial de José Antich, que afirmaba lo siguiente: “No podía ser más oportuno el informe elaborado por la Oficina de Drets Civils i Polítics de la Generalitat sobre la actuación de los grupos de ultraderecha en Catalunya y las agresiones que han cometido“.

¿Cómo? ¿Un informe? Yo solo he visto una nota de prensa, pero no el informe a que se refiere Antich. De hecho, si vais al enlace del principio, el de la rueda de prensa, a la derecha veréis un cajetín con el título “Més informació” y el pdf de la nota de prensa. Pero no el informe que el sentido común y José Antich nos dicen que debería haberse incluido. Quizás es que la prensa tiene trato preferente y los ciudadanos de a pie no podemos tener acceso a tan relevantes documentos…

El director de la Oficina, Adam Majó, fue entrevistado en un programa de TV3 para exponer ese “balance de actividad”. En el resumen de TV3, se decía aquí: “Els dos últims anys es van registrar a Catalunya 328 agressions de la ultradreta. I aquestes són només les que recullen les estadístiques oficials.“. ¿Estadísticas oficiales? Pero si la nota de prensa no se acompañaba de tablas estadísticas…

De hecho, la nota de prensa decía: “En total, els incidents d’afectació dels drets civils vinculats al catalanisme s’eleven a 328, si es tenen en compte les dades recollides en altres observatoris als que ha tingut accés l’Oficina en el període de dos anys comprès des del gener del 2017 i fins avui” [“En total, los incidentes de afectación de los derechos civiles vinculados al catalanismo se elevan a 328, si se tienen en cuenta los datos recogidos en otros observatorios a los que ha tenido acceso la Oficina en el periodo de dos años comprendido desde enero de 2017 hasta hoy”]. La cosa se pone interesante: “otros observatorios” (no se dice cuáles), “a los que ha tenido acceso la Oficina” (o sea, no son datos oficiales).

A ver, que me aclare yo: un informe o Balance de actividad que nadie enlaza, unas estadísticas oficiales que no aparecen, datos recogidos de “otros observatorios“, “detección” de organización paramilitar de la que no se especifican datos, estadísticas, fuentes, ni nada de nada… Aquí hay caso.

PASO 1. Revisión de la web de la Oficina de Derechos Civiles y Políticos. Nada. Ni informe, ni estadísticas, ni fuentes, ni nada. En la sección de Actualidad vemos la reseña de la noticia que da lugar a esta entrada. O sea, que por aquí, nada.

PASO 2. Repaso al twitter de la ODCP, no sea cosa que allí lo enlacen. Reviso desde el 25 de enero hasta hoy. Agua.

PASO 3. Vamos a dejar de perder el tiempo. Portal de Transparencia. Inicio, el día 28 de enero de 2019, una solicitud de acceso a información pública, en los términos que resultan de la captura que os pongo aquí. Si lo he hecho bien, clicando se os hará más grande la imagen para aquellos que no la veáis correctamente.

PASO 4. Captura del estado actual de la petición.

PASO 5. Desde el 28 de enero (sin contar ese día) han pasado 4 días hábiles, que ciertamente no son muchos. La Administración es lenta, ya se sabe. Y colgar un PDF, ¡ufff!, consume todo el ancho de banda.

PASO 6. Revisar el correo como un loco, a ver si me pasan el informe o Balance de actividad (hay un mes de tiempo antes de poder recurrir a otras instancias). Nada.

PASO 7. Revisar la web de la ODCP, a ver si publican allí el informe. ¡Ahí va! Ahora que me fijo, el día 31 de enero el twitter de la ODCP anuncia que: “Tres mesos després de la seva creació, l’ODCiP ja està en condicions d’exposar algunes conclusions sobre la vulneració de drets civils i polítics a Catalunya.” (“Tres meses después de su creación, la ODCyP ya está en condiciones de exponer algunas conclusiones sobre la vulneración de derechos civiles y políticos en Cataluña”). Estoy tan emocionado que pongo la captura.

PASO 8. Voy a las “conclusiones”. Esta birria que poco tiene que ver con un informe completo o un Balance de Actividad de la Oficina en los términos que se desprendían de la rueda de prensa y su nota de resumen.

CONCLUSIÓN. Aun a la espera de que se cumplan los plazos reglamentarios (un mes) creo que parece más o menos claro que el “informe“, como tal informe o Balance de actividad (que es lo mismo), no aparece por ninguna parte. Que los “datos“, entendidos como “datos estadísticos oficiales“, tampoco aparecen por ningún lado. Y que el resto de “conclusiones” presentadas parecen endebles, a falta de documentación de soporte, como esos enigmáticos “altres observatoris” que uno llega a pensar que consisten en navegar por Internet, hacer un recorte de pantalla en Vilaweb o ElNacional y añadir un palito más en la pizarra.

En resumen: o alguien lleva una semana dándole al teclado como un loco para publicar un informe que “por error involuntario” no se colgó en la red o, la verdad, da la sensación de que el informe o Balance -hablo de un informe o Balance serio, no un conjunto de pegotes con conclusiones sin acreditar, basadas en fuentes ignotas- al que aludía José Antich -quizás él lo ha visto- no lo ha visto nadie. Casi parece que ni existe.

Eso parece, mientras quedo a la espera de que se subsane lo que sin duda debe ser un “error involuntario“…

“Diccionario de lugares comunes sobre Cataluña”, de Juan Claudio de Ramón

Brillante es la primera palabra que se me ocurre tras leer el estupendo “Diccionario de lugares comunes sobre Cataluña. Breviario de tópicos, recetas fallidas e ideas que no funcionan para resolver la crisis catalana“, escrito por Juan Claudio de Ramón.

Se trata de un repaso a treinta y seis -si no he contado mal- de las frases hechas que en estos años hemos escuchado que justificarían, increíblemente, por sí solas, la argumentación secesionista. De Ramón las disecciona de forma clara y directa, sin circunloquios ni explicaciones agotadoras, para construir un valiosísimo libro que impugna por entero el andamiaje en que se basa el secesionismo y su conjunto de frases que han logrado calar en su público sin apenas explicación.

En algunos casos, y ahora lo veréis, la exposición del autor coincide exactamente con la que en muchas ocasiones se ha señalado en entradas y comentarios. Os lo comento porque quizás os parecerá “una obviedad” -derivada del agotamiento argumental a que solemos llegar-, pero lo cierto es que para llegar hasta algunas “obviedades” han hecho falta unos cuantos años.

Para no aburriros con rollos de opinión, cuando ya he escrito “brillante y valiosísimo“, os reproduciré algunas de las frases analizadas en el libro y algún extracto:

“Es un problema político que requiere una solución política” 

(…) ¿Qué se nos intenta transmitir con esto?

En primer lugar, que es un problema donde los jueces no deberían entrar. Pero esto, lo acabamos de ver, es imposible e indeseable en un Estado de derecho, desde el momento en que la política vulnera el ordenamiento jurídico, como de hecho ha sucedido en Cataluña.

(…) La política de la transacción, que es la política del «dar algo», y que también podemos llamar política de la cesión continuada y sin contrapartidas (…) es la política que se tiene en mente cuando se dice que «hay que hacer política». Es, por supuesto, un error que no resuelve nada y agrava el problema“.

“El referéndum pactado es la única salida al conflicto”

Aparte de negar que el referéndum pudiera ser solución de nada (si gana la separación, los problemas de convivencia se agravarían; si gana la permanencia, los secesionistas siempre querrán otro y otro), me quedo con esta brillantísima aportación: “…podemos definir la democracia así: el programa ideológico que en cada momento histórico promueve la extensión de la ciudadanía a quien todavía no goza de ella.

Vistas así las cosas, es fácil ver hasta qué punto el secesionismo dentro de un Estado democrático es antidemocrático: porque aspira a revertir el proceso; a contraer, en lugar de ampliar, el cuerpo ciudadano. La secesión no sirve para dar derechos sino quitárselos a la parte de la ciudadanía que se rebana como si fuera un peso muerto“.

Demoledor (y sí, aquí se han escrito cosas similares; pero una cosa es un blog y sus comentarios dispersos y otra una sistematización de treinta y seis frases hechas).

“Hay que reconocer la singularidad de Cataluña”

En el breve análisis de esta frase (poco más de una página), se toca con pleno acierto -como en todo el libro- la tecla clave del separatismo, que no es otra que el nacionalismo: “Se aspira, no a reconocer lo propio, sino a desreconocer lo común, tenido por ajeno. La singularidad de Cataluña, según el nacionalismo, es no ser España…“. El asunto de fondo, como tantos otros, tiene que ver con la querencia del nacionalismo por eliminar, entre otras muchas cosas, una singularidad que Juan Claudio de Ramón destaca -y que recuerdo una vez una chica riojana también ensalzó maravillada en una cena de veinte personas en la ‘oprimida’ Costa Brava- como es la facilidad con que en las conversaciones se mezcla y se pasa de forma automática del castellano al catalán y viceversa, con absoluta naturalidad. Eso sí que es singular.

Bueno, la lista, como es digo, es de hasta treinta y seis frases que no os detallo porque en el enlace del principio se puede descargar el sumario en pdf.

En cualquier caso, y como os comentaba en la última frase que he destacado, Juan Claudio de Ramón ha efectuado un fino y acertado análisis de la cuestión que, al final, nos conduce por el trayecto y destino conocidos: nacionalismo. Ese proyecto que, vestido bajo mil formas, se presenta como la cura a todos los males imaginarios que aqueja a quienes -entre otras muchas cosas- se quejan de falta de descentralización y tienen bajo su mando a un cuerpo integral de  Policía, la sanidad, la educación o la política lingüística. Poco descentralizado no parece.

CONCLUSIÓN. Aunque me gusten, no suelo recomendar la compra de libros que he leído porque después vienen las reclamaciones. Sin embargo, este de Juan Claudio de Ramón es un must.

Por lo general, suelo añadir eso de “sin perjuicio de matices o detalles concretos“, incluso cuando estoy sustancialmente de acuerdo con un texto. En el caso de este libro ni siquiera es necesaria la coletilla. Espléndido.

Observadores

Empiezo a pensar que todas aquellas personas que el secesionismo ha acogido con los brazos abiertos porque les dan la razón, y que nos han alegrado tanto algunos momentos (véase Cotarelo o Talegón), en realidad son caballos de Troya ideados en su día por alguna mente muy retorcida.

Fijémonos en este tuit sobre Venezuela de uno de los flamantes fichajes para desarrollar funciones de “observador”. Por favor, aplicadlo, precisamente, al juicio que “observará”.

Aquí, el enlace al tuit.

CONCLUSIÓN. Urías dice que es un golpe de Estado. Si soy el Tribunal Supremo, hasta me darían ganas de otorgarle un lugar preferente en sala…

Noticias falsas y torres de marfil (II)

La entrada de hoy es una secuela a la entrada “Noticias falsas y torres de marfil” (en español) o “Fake News and Ivory Towers” (en inglés), como una modesta prueba de la estrategia circular de agit-prop del independentismo por la que un ítem de propaganda, se genere donde se genere, siempre hace un recorrido completo a través de los ámbitos académico, mediático y político (partidos y organizaciones independentistas, Parlament y Govern).

Hace unos días, Viure Lliure enlazó el ranking de democracia elaborado por V-Dem para 2018: “Democracy for all?”. Ello dio origen inmediatamente a un intercambio sobre virtudes y defectos de ese ranking y sobre sus resultados para España en comparación con los resultados para el mismo año de los rankings de Freedom House “Freedom in the world 2018”, de la The Economist Intelligence Unit “Democracy Index 2018”, y de la Bertelsmann Stiftung “Sustainable Governance Indicators 2018” (gracias a Abraham). En la línea habitual de la prensa subvencionada, y como resumen de todo lo que vino desde el secesionismo tras sus poco profundos análisis,  Nació Digital tituló: “El rànquing més prestigiós del món rebaixa la qualitat democràtica d’Espanya” https://www.naciodigital.cat/noticia/171217/ranquing/mes/prestigios/mon/rebaixa/qualitat/democratica/espanya, con el poderoso argumento de que: “…a diferència del Democracy Index 2018 del The Economist -fet públic la setmana passada-, valora fins a 450 indicadors de 178 països i, per tant, és més prestigiós que el del setmanari britànic.“.

Por los canales internos del blog nos planteamos que era un poco raro que un índice con tan “contundentes” resultados fuera tan desconocido [publicado en mayo de 2018, según este tuit del mismo V-Dem (4 retuits y 7 me gusta)] y que, precisamente, su conocimiento público surgiera por vía del secesionismo. Por lo que parecía, se trataba de un proyecto independiente, ajeno en su elaboración y creación al secesionismo, pero coincidían elementos que llevaban a pensar en la existencia de influencias y sesgos que recogiesen las bases de la propaganda habitual secesionista.

Así que, como ahora nos dedicamos un poco al activismo cibernético, nos pusimos manos a la obra para revisar si existía alguna conexión entre la elaboración del ranking V-Dem 2018 y su explotación por parte del independentismo, con Puigdemont a la cabeza. Porque, como con cualquier información de este tipo, aquí nunca hay nada inocente.

La visita al sitio web del proyecto V-Dem nos dio resultados parecidos a los que nos solemos encontrar cuando uno busca separatismo por el mundo.

Así:

  • Uno de los “Project Managers”, Svend-Erik Skaaning, de la Universidad de Aarhus (Dinamarca), encargado de las temáticas de “Libertades civiles” del proyecto, es experto ‘abajo firmante’ de la carta de apoyo a los síndicos electorales que comentamos en la entrada “Noticias falsas y torres de marfil”.
  • El “Regional Manager” del proyecto para Europa Meridional (Portugal, España, Francia, Italia, Grecia, Chipre y Malta) es Tiago Fernandes, de la Universidade Nova de Lisboa, también experto ‘abajo firmante’ de la susodicha carta.
  • Finalmente, dentro del equipo del Centro Regional para Europa Meridional, otros tres miembros del mismo eran expertos ‘abajo firmantes’ de la carta: José Santana-Pereira, “Country Coordinator” para Italia; Filipa Raimundo, “Country Coordinator” para Francia; y Edalina Rodrigues Sanches, experta en Cabo Verde y Guinea Bissau para V-Dem.

Contrastados estos datos, consultamos los documentos del proyecto para calibrar la importancia de los “Project Managers”, “Regional Managers” y “Country Coordinators” para los objetivos y resultados finales del proyecto y, por tanto, para la fiabilidad y credibilidad última del ranking.

El rol trascendental de esos expertos abajo firmantes nos hizo dirigirnos al Director y Sub-directora del V-Dem Institute de la Universidad de Gotemburgo con el siguiente escrito:

Dear Prof. Lindberg and Prof. Lührmann (V-Dem Institute, University of Gothenburg):

We are writing to you as Director and Deputy Director of the V-Dem Institute to bring to your attention our concern for something to do with the image and credibility of your V-Dem project. But before we go ahead with the details of our concern, please, we would like to assure you of our full identification with the mission of the project as well as our appreciation of the huge effort put in place by your team not only in terms of the theoretical issues involved, but also in terms of the complex methodology to be implemented in the collection and treatment of data and, especially, in terms of the extra amount of transparency displayed by making publicly available all your sources, data, reports and technical documentation, which of course will be of the utmost importance and help not only for social scientists but also for policy makers, social agents and institutions all around the world; in short, the “Benefits of V-Dem” as listed in your website.

Now to our concern, which is to do with the fact that several members of your team are signatories to the following letter in support of Catalan colleagues charged by the public prosecutors in Spain (for your convenience we highlight the contested passages in this text, which can be accessed at: https://helpcatalonia.wordpress.com/ ):

“This letter expresses our indignation over the decision by the Spanish judiciary to prosecute two political scientists and three jurists. The political scientists Jordi Matas (full professor, Universitat de Barcelona), Tània Verge (associate professor, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona) and the jurists Marc Marsal (part-time lecturer, Universitat de Barcelona), Josep Pagès (part-time lecturer, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona) and Marta Alsina (lawyer) were appointed members of the Electoral Commission in September 2017 by the Parliament of Catalonia to monitor the self-determination referendum to be held on October 1, 2017. The Spanish government challenged the legality of this referendum and about ten days before it took place, the Spanish Constitutional Court forced all the electoral commissioners to resign by imposing a fine of 12.000 Euros per person for each day that they remained in their position. Even though they resigned, the Spanish judiciary went a step further and decided to prosecute the members of the Electoral Commission. They currently face criminal charges of “disobedience” and “usurpation of functions” and are facing the very real possibility of up to two years and nine months in prison.

It is probably the first time in the history of the European Union that political scientists and jurists are being threatened with a prison sentence for just doing their job, which is both outrageous and disproportionate. After all, these political scientists and jurists’ only ‘crime’ consisted in using their expertise to guarantee that the referendum would be held in a fair and impartial way. In doing so, they acted at the request of the Parliament of Catalonia which had a valid legal mandate at the time that derived from Act 19/2017 relating to the self-determination referendum of Catalonia. Our colleagues therefore did nothing illegal since the Spanish Criminal Code does not have any specific legal provision to punish the organising of referendums, even if they are not authorised by the central state. Thus, their prosecution is not only a spurious one but is also grounded in political reasons, which is a blatant violation of human rights.

We, the undersigned, professors of political science, law and other disciplines, denounce Spain’s persecution of basic democratic and civil rights. While we do not seek to take a position on Catalonia’s independence in this letter, we firmly condemn the illegality of imprisoning someone because of her or his political beliefs. The global community of university professors is indignant over the prosecution of our colleagues and demand the immediate removal of the threat of a prison sentence and the dropping of all criminal charges filed against them”.

As you can see for yourselves, there is too much distortion, disinformation and manipulation in this text; however, there is no point in asking you to lose your time in the details, especially as you can have all of them clearly arranged in the following entry in our weblog “Cita Falsa”: https://citafalsa.com/2019/01/07/fake-news-and-ivory-towers/.

Before giving you the names of the members of your team who are signatories of this letter, please, be sure that this is nothing to do with any position whatsoever about the controversial issue of Catalan independence, as the signatories themselves so clearly posit in the text signed by them. It is obvious that freedom of expression is one of the highest-level components of Democracy and the members of your team are free to sign and make publicly available as many declarations as they wish about any issue they might think advisable, be it as experts or as common people. But, of course, if they make them public, in this case as experts, freedom of expression is as well to do with the reaction of the readers of those declarations, and especially so if they are so distorted, misinformed and manipulated like the one above.

So, these are the expert signatories of the letter who are members of your team:

Dr. Svend-Erik Skaaning (Denmark), Project Manager for Civil Liberties

Dr. Tiago Fernandes (Portugal), Regional Manager Southern Europe

José Santana-Pereira (Portugal), Country Coordinator on Italy

Filipa Raimundo (Portugal), Country Coordinator on France

Edalina Rodrigues Sanches, member of the Team for the V-Dem Regional Centre for Southern Europe.

The distortions, misinformation and manipulations (fake news, indeed) in the text above are well documented in our weblog entry for everyone to see for themselves, so we are going right now to our concerns in what they are to do with the V-Dem project:

A – According to your document “Organization and Management V.8 April 2018”, “Project Managers (PMs), along with the P[rincipal]I[nvestigator]s, were instrumental in the development of survey questions and the preparation of the collection of data in specific substantive areas.[…] The diverse specialization of the team and the division of labor enable us to define concepts, identify existing data sources, and create survey questions that reflect the wide ranging work and accumulated knowledge on these topics. It also allows for a decentralized system of informal consultation among experts (academics and practitioners) in these areas. Project Managers are also responsible for assuring cross-country equivalence for their indicators, so that a given question is not interpreted differently in varying country contexts”.

It seems the Project Coordinator who signed the letter above as an expert was not very careful in the very definition of several political science terms included, nor in the identification of existing data sources for the issue dealt with in the letter, as we have been able to prove in our weblog entry. Let’s hope he doesn’t apply the same standards to his job at V-Dem.

B – According to the same document above, “Regional Managers are responsible for identifying Country Experts and inspecting for problems of validity at regional level. Occasionally, Regional Managers manage only a single country, in which case they are referred as a Country Managers”.

The importance of the Regional Manager in the development of V-Dem activities in a specific region is paramount, as the texts quoted in C hereunder also clearly show. So, our concern for the Regional Manager for Southern Europe as an expert signatory of the letter of support is originated by his apparent ignorance and lack of impartiality in an issue with so many implications in one of the countries for which he is responsible so that he has to take so many important decisions about the data collection and treatment thereof, as well as on the measurement itself on many levels. Let’s hope he doesn’t apply in the selection and supervision of Country Managers and Country Experts in the region nor in his expert supervision of the whole process and outcomes the same lack of accuracy, impartiality and expertise on display throughout the letter above.

C –Again, according to the Organization document above, “A Country Coordinator is selected by the Regional Manager for each country to gather the type B data for that country. In the first rounds of data collection, they cross-checked A* data (see Methodology document) and assisted the Regional Manager with the identification of country Experts”.

According to your document “Methodology V.8 April 2018”, “Country Coordinators, under the supervision of Regional Managers, gather Type (B) data from country specific sources by. For a number of countries, research assistants at the V-Dem Institute have coded these indicators during the updates when the original series going from 1900 to 2012 were extended to 2017. As with Type (A*) and (A) data, this sort of coding is largely factual in nature. Type (C) data requires evaluation about the de facto state of affairs in a particular country at a particular point in time. Country Experts code these data. These experts are generally academics (about 80 %) or professionals working media, or public affairs (e.g., senior analysts, editors, judges); about 2/3 are also nationals of and/or residents in a country and have documented knowledge of both that country and a specific substantive area. Generally, each Country Experts code only a selection of indicators following their particular background and expertise (e.g. the legislature)”. And this about Country Experts recruitment: “First, we identify a list of potential coders for a country (typically 100-200 names per country). Regional Managers, in consultation with Country Coordinators, use their intimate knowledge of a country to compile the bulk of the experts on this list”.

Our long quotation here serves as a reminder again of the importance of the Regional Manager for the final outcomes of the project as well as for the reliability of these outcomes for a particular region. So any evidence about the possibility of a certain amount of bias, inconsistency or even lack of awareness should be of concern for the leaders of the project and the whole team. We also would like to notice that, to our knowledge, the Country Coordinator for Spain and Malta, Dr. Joao Cancela, doesn’t appear among the signatories.

Lastly, according to the “Organization” document above, “Country Experts code type C indicators (see Methodology document). The experts are generally holders of a PhD and usually residents or citizens of the country they are coding. They also have specialized knowledge in at least one of the thematic sections of the V-Dem survey.”

It seems Dr. Joao Cancela knows better about the deep and very controversial implications of everything around the Catalan independence issue, included, of course, the legal aspects covered in the letter of the expert signatories as well as in our response.

We are absolutely sure that both the V-Dem Institute and the University of Gothenburg have in place an academic procedure of quality control and improvement to deal with uneasy issues like this one. Anyway, we hope this exchange will be useful for your project in the long run.

Best regards,

La respuesta del Director del Instituto y del Proyecto fue escueta, dos líneas, e inmediata. Ahorramos la reproducción literal, pero os la resumimos: gracias por la información, buscamos mantener los estándares más altos posibles. Ningún otro detalle ni comentario.

Simultáneamente, se publicaba un artículo en El Confidencial (“¿España peor que Venezuela?”) donde se aclaraban bastantes de los pasos seguidos en esa estrategia circular del independentismo a que se hacía referencia al comienzo de esta entrada y que se resume en la tergiversación de la información. Asimismo, es interesante resaltar la publicación de este artículo de Joaquim Pujol “On how the pro-independence press distorts an international index on direct democracy”, quien escribe algo perfectamente aplicable a las complejas cuestiones jurídicas que a veces se abordan en el blog: “a report which has a high degree of complexity and is difficult for the layman to interpret.” (…un informe que tiene un alto grado de complejidad y es difícil de interpretar para el lego.)

Hasta aquí, se podría llegar a mantener que la recopilación de conexiones entre algunos de los responsables de la elaboración del informe (anterior a la carta de apoyo a los síndicos dimitidos) y un determinado sesgo o intencionalidad en las puntuaciones es algo circunstancial y que no hay motivos fundados para dudar de la profesionalidad con que se aborda la recopilación de datos y su traslado a un informe. Bueno, de inicio tampoco habría motivos para dudar de la profesionalidad con relación a la “carta de apoyo” y ya sabemos todos que cualquier parecido con la realidad es pura coincidencia.

Exacto. Coincidencias. Svend-Erik Skaaning, el experto abajo firmante danés y, además, experto “Project Manager for Civil Liberties” se encuentra, según su curriculum oficial, de “Visiting Scholar, Department of Political and Social Sciences, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, 2019”. Si acudimos al listado de expertos abajo firmantes de la carta de apoyo a los síndicos electorales, veremos que hay destacados miembros de ese departamento de la UPF en la lista (ahorro referencias personales que serían relativamente innecesarias y nos centramos en el informe V-Dem; no es difícil encontrar la conexión entre miembros del departamento y la carta de los síndicos). Será una coincidencia o, como de costumbre, seguramente no. En este caso, a diferencia de otras muchas veces, no contamos con pruebas directas, pero son tantas las veces que hemos encontrado “curiosas coincidencias”…

CONCLUSIÓN. En la primera parte de “Noticias Falsas y torres de marfil” llegamos a la conclusión de que, detrás de las firmas, podía descubrirse una absoluta falta de rigor y, a la vez, intereses académicos de todo tipo. Puede que sea una mera coincidencia o no, pero el periodo de inicio de “Visiting Scholar” de un Project Manager del ranking V-Dem y la publicación del ‘Real Decreto Ley de Waterloo’ declarando ese ranking como el mejor del mundo porque España ha bajado presentan una más que sospechosa coetaneidad.

No se trata de ser conspiranoicos, por cierto; se trata de reconocer que, en esto del procés y del independentismo, los círculos de la agit-prop siempre acaban cerrándose.  De forma totalmente espontánea y nada planificada, por supuesto.

Sobre la democracia formal e inexistencia de democracia

Una obsesión actual del secesionismo consiste en cuestionar que en España exista una democracia. A lo sumo, existiría una democracia formal. Hay que reconocer, en tal empeño, el esfuerzo continuo desarrollado por el secesionismo para que, efectivamente, lleguemos a la conclusión de que en Cataluña existe una democracia formal o, incluso, que no existe, derribando para ello cualquier atisbo de Estado de Derecho.

El caso práctico que hoy os presento se perpetró el pasado día 16 de enero en el Parlamento de Cataluña, lugar habitual para tales menesteres. Recordaréis que, con la excusa de las detenciones efectuadas ese día, los parlamentarios de los grupos independentistas decidieron abandonar las sesiones convocadas en diversas Comisiones del Parlamento catalán.

Como muestran diversos antecedentes que conocemos, con la cúspide en los días 6 y 7 de septiembre de 2017, no es raro que se utilice la situación de mayoría en las instituciones o su Presidencia para retorcer la Ley, ignorarla o, como es el caso que ahora os presento, dotarla de un sentido imaginario, que es distinto de imaginativo.

La situación:

1) La Presidenta de la Comisión de Trabajo, Asuntos Sociales y Familias (CTASF), Montserrat Fornells, diputada por ERC, a tenor de lo anunciado por diversos portavoces independentistas, acuerda suspender la sesión de la Comisión basándose en lo dispuesto en el artículo 235.2 del Reglamento del Parlamento.

2) Interviene una diputada de Ciudadanos, que omito en el vídeo porque no es de interés.

3) Tras esa intervención, se vuelve a intentar dar por suspendida la sesión, pero el diputado socialista Raúl Moreno formula una cuestión de orden, preguntando en virtud de qué artículo se suspende. Y cuestiona que el artículo 235.2 del Reglamento ampare la suspensión, ya que ese precepto prevé la suspensión si se da un “alboroto” o “desobediencia” por parte de un diputado.

4) Evidentemente, Montserrat Fornells es incapaz de argumentar basándose en ese artículo, divaga y empieza a cambiar sus explicaciones, hasta el punto de que se interpreta como “alboroto” la falta de quórum. (En el momento de la suspensión no hay falta de quórum alguno)

5) Sale al rescate una Letrada del Parlamento, con una argumentación que no creo que la convenza ni a ella misma.

6) Moreno acaba contestando, brillantemente, y pone de manifiesto que si no se puede debatir (¿os acordáis de eso que el Parlamento es “el templo del debate y la democracia”?) es porque la Presidenta ABANDONA y es ella quien impide el normal funcionamiento de la comisión.

El vídeo:

Si algún lector del blog no entiende bien el catalán, el episodio está subtitulado. Si tengo un rato más adelante, quizás añada la transcripción con la traducción. En cualquier caso, podéis consultar la transcripción en bruto aquí, y el vídeo entero aquí.

CONCLUSIÓN. Tanta democracia formal, tanta inexistencia de democracia y enseguida nos damos cuenta de las razones por las que España puede bajar puestos alarmantemente en el ranking: en el Parlamento de Cataluña es frecuente retorcer las leyes a su antojo por los grupos mayoritarios. Ni democracia formal, ni democracia. Se llama, y al artículo 235.2 del Reglamento me remito, uso arbitrario de la Ley.

 

Comentarios penitenciarios

Esta tarde, Abraham enlazaba un hilo de @Nikator con el que estoy sustancialmente de acuerdo sobre el Reglamento Penitenciario, a raíz de unos ‘razonamientos’ de Gonzalo Boye a los que se agarra la parte más desinformada y desinformante del separatismo. Últimamente, además, aparecen exégetas de las normas de reparto en los Juzgados -pese a no haber oído hablar nunca de las mismas- o del Reglamento Penitenciario -pese a no saber dónde buscarlo-, así que me he animado a curiosear un poco y sacar un comentario que ahora amplío.

Tampoco es que haya ninguna pretensión especial, pero es que con algún conocimiento jurídico uno se evitaría determinados comentarios. Pero da igual, porque quien los hace sabe que sus seguidores todavía saben menos; y si saben más, se lo callan, prefieren creer.

Lo primero. Esto ya lo hice una vez:

Pues eso, vamos a ver qué dice la Ley Orgánica General Penitenciaria.

1. Enlace a la Ley Orgánica General Penitenciaria. Como sabéis, existe eso que se llama jerarquía normativa: Constitución, Ley y Reglamento. No hace falta más detalles. Ninguna norma de rango inferior a la Ley Penitenciaria (como sería el Reglamento), se puede oponer a lo que en ella se establece en el ámbito de su materia.

Capítulo VI de la Ley, artículos 47 y 48:
CAPÍTULO VI

Permisos de salida

Artículo cuarenta y siete

Uno. En caso de fallecimiento o enfermedad grave de los padres, cónyuge, hijos, hermanos y otras personas íntimamente vinculadas con los internos, alumbramiento de la esposa, así como por importantes y comprobados motivos, con las medidas de seguridad adecuadas, se concederán permisos de salida, salvo que concurran circunstancias excepcionales.

Dos. Igualmente se podrán conceder permisos de salida hasta de siete días como preparación para la vida en libertad, previo informe del equipo técnico, hasta un total de treinta y seis o cuarenta y ocho días por año a los condenados de segundo y tercer grado, respectivamente, siempre que hayan extinguido la cuarta parte de la condena y no observen mala conducta.

Artículo cuarenta y ocho

Los permisos a que se refiere el artículo anterior podrán ser concedidos asimismo a internos preventivos con la aprobación, en cada caso, de la autoridad judicial correspondiente.

Acabamos de leer la Ley, como propone @gallifantes.

¿Alguien discute que la LEY establece TAXATIVAMENTE que los permisos concedidos a internos preventivos necesitan la APROBACIÓN de la AUTORIDAD JUDICIAL?
Si os fijáis, amiguitos, la Ley distingue dos apartados que ni BOYE ni sus adláteres parecen conocer: 1) La concesión del permiso, que es cosa ADMINISTRATIVA o GUBERNATIVA; b) La APROBACIÓN, que es cosa JUDICIAL, EN CADA CASO.
Así que aquí podríamos tener ya el asunto casi resuelto. ya empezamos a tener el tema medio resuelto.

2. Enlace al REGLAMENTO PENITENCIARIO. En Derecho, el Reglamento suele utilizarse para desarrollar los aspectos generales que la Ley ha definido, pero que quedan relegados a su concreción en otras normas. Para el caso que nos ocupa: la Ley dice que se pueden conceder permisos; el Reglamento define la clase de permisos y el procedimiento para esa concesión. Lo que decía de las sutilezas jurídicas que desconocen los abogados de secano. Es frecuente que se repita, casi exactamente, lo que dicen algunos de los pasajes de la Ley, a la vez que se amplía ese redactado.

La parte que interesa aparece en los artículos 154 a 161 del Reglamento Penitenciario. La parte prescindible me la salto con paréntesis. Un apunte: Leyes y Reglamentos se suelen subdividir en Títulos, Capítulos y hasta secciones. Es una manera de clasificar los diversos aspectos que regula una Ley o Reglamento. Pues bien, a continuación tenemos un Título que trata “De los permisos de salida” y se divide en dos capítulos: la clase, duración y requisitos de los permisos (capítulo I) y el procedimiento para la concesión (capítulo II).

TITULO VI

De los permisos de salida

CAPITULO I

Clases, duración y requisitos de los permisos

Artículo 154. Permisos ordinarios.
(…)

Artículo 155. Permisos extraordinarios.
1. En caso de fallecimiento o enfermedad grave de los padres, cónyuge, hijos, hermanos y otras personas íntimamente vinculadas con los internos o de alumbramiento de la esposa o persona con la que el recluso se halle ligado por similar relación de afectividad, así como por importantes y comprobados motivos de análoga naturaleza, se concederán, con las medidas de seguridad adecuadas en su caso, permisos de salida extraordinarios, salvo que concurran circunstancias excepcionales que lo impidan.

2. La duración de cada permiso extraordinario vendrá determinada por su finalidad y no podrá exceder del límite fijado en el artículo anterior para los permisos ordinarios.

3. Cuando se trate de internos clasificados en primer grado será necesaria la autorización expresa del Juez de Vigilancia.

4. Se podrán conceder, con las medidas de seguridad adecuadas en su caso y previo informe médico, permisos extraordinarios de salida de hasta doce horas de duración para consulta ambulatoria extrapenitenciaria de los penados clasificados en segundo o tercer grado, así como permisos extraordinarios de hasta dos días de duración cuando los mismos deban ingresar en un hospital extrapenitenciario. En este último caso, si el interno tuviera que permanecer ingresado más de dos días, la prolongación del permiso por el tiempo necesario deberá ser autorizada por el Juez de Vigilancia cuando se trate de penados clasificados en segundo grado o por el Centro Directivo para los clasificados en tercer grado.

5. Los permisos a que se refiere el apartado anterior no estarán sometidos, en general, a control ni custodia del interno cuando se trate de penados clasificados en tercer grado y podrán concederse en régimen de autogobierno para los penados clasificados en segundo grado que disfruten habitualmente de permisos ordinarios de salida.

Artículo 156. Informe del Equipo Técnico.
(…)

Artículo 157. Suspensión y revocación de permisos de salida.
(…)

Artículo 158. Compatibilidad de permisos ordinarios y extraordinarios.
(…)

Artículo 159. Permisos de salida de preventivos.

Los permisos de salida regulados en este Capítulo 
podrán ser concedidos a internos preventivos, previa aprobación, en cada caso, de la Autoridad judicial correspondiente.

Ajá, o sea que los permisos de salida siguen necesitando la previa aprobación judicial.
El Reglamento nos sigue diciendo que, sean ordinarios o extraordinarios, se necesita la APROBACIÓN JUDICIAL. Claro que, como os he dicho antes, el Reglamento NO SE PUEDE OPONER A LO QUE ESTABLEZCA LA LA LEY.

3. El artículo 161 del Reglamento, que parece que algunos conocen al dedillo, tanto en su redactado, como en su lógica interna y, por supuesto, su aplicación. Ubiquemos sistemáticamente ese artículo. Y lo hace así:
CAPITULO II

Procedimiento de concesión

Artículo 160. Iniciación e instrucción.

1. La solicitud de permisos de salida ordinarios o extraordinarios que formule el interno será informada por el Equipo Técnico, que comprobará la concurrencia de los requisitos objetivos exigidos para el disfrute del permiso, valorará las circunstancias peculiares determinantes de su finalidad y establecerá, cuando proceda, las condiciones y controles a que se refiere el artículo 156.

2. A la vista de dicho informe preceptivo, la Junta de Tratamiento acordará la concesión o denegación del permiso solicitado por el interno.

Artículo 161. Concesión.

1. Si la Junta de Tratamiento acuerda conceder el permiso solicitado por el interno, elevará dicho acuerdo, junto con el informe del Equipo Técnico, al Juez de Vigilancia o al Centro Directivo, según se trate de internos clasificados en segundo o tercer grado de tratamiento, respectivamente, para la autorización correspondiente.

2. Los permisos ordinarios a penados de hasta dos días de duración serán autorizados por el Centro Directivo.

3. Cuando se trate de internos preventivos será necesaria, en todo caso, la autorización expresa de la Autoridad judicial a cuya disposición se encuentre el interno.

4. En los supuestos de urgencia, el permiso extraordinario podrá ser autorizado por el Director del Establecimiento, previa consulta al Centro Directivo si hubiere lugar a ello, y sin perjuicio de comunicar a la Junta de Tratamiento la autorización concedida.”

La lectura del Capítulo II le aclara a quien no lo supiera que una cosa es el procedimiento de concesión y otra la aprobación judicial, o sea:
a. El procedimiento de concesión se inicia por petición del interesado (art.160), para lo cual se sigue el procedimiento que se lee en ese artículo y el siguiente.
b. En supuesto de urgencia, el permiso puede ser autorizado por el Director del Centro Penitenciario, sin necesidad de informe del Equipo Técnico y, por lo tanto, asume directamente la competencia de la concesión. Es decir: el acuerdo de concesión o no del permiso de salida es adoptado por el Director de la prisión sin necesidad de cumplimentar otros trámites.
c. Pero es que aunque el Director haya acordado la concesión del permiso, aun así se sigue necesitando la APROBACIÓN de la autoridad judicial a cuya disposición se encuentra el interno preventivo. Lo dice la Ley y lo dice el Reglamento.

4. ¿Y qué dice Boye? Bien, para empezar Boye cita una Instrucción que está prevista para internos penados en firme. Esto, se le puede pasar por alto a quien no sea jurista, que las sutilezas no están hechas para el que no conoce la lógica interna de las normas. Veamos qué dice esa Instrucción, que podéis consultar en este enlace (Instrucción 22/1996).

Pues dice, para llegar a esa conclusión que he puesto en negrita en el anterior párrafo: “Los permisos de salida a los internos, regulados en los artículos 47 de la Ley Orgánica General Penitenciaria y 154 y ss. del Reglamento, poseen gran trascendencia, dentro de las medidas resocializadoras previstas en nuestro sistema de ejecución de penas privativas de libertad.“. La “ejecución de  una pena privativa de libertad” no es otra cosa que el cumplimiento de una condena.

Hay más detalles que indican que se trata de una Instrucción orientada a los internos penados, pero tampoco os quiero aburrir.

5. Aun así, no obviaré el tema “procedimental” porque hay otro detalle de esta Instrucción que, aunque orientado a los penados, fácilmente entenderéis la analogía a establecer con los internos preventivos: “Con el fin de agilizar la tramitación de estos permisos, cuando sea de aplicación el denominado “procedimiento urgente” y, además, se den claramente los motivos y circunstancias enumerados a continuación, el Director del establecimiento podrá no solamente acordar su concesión sino, en base a lo previsto en el art. 161.4 del Reglamento, proceder directamente a su autorización, siempre que ésta no corresponda al Juez de Vigilancia Penitenciaria por razón del grado de clasificación del interno“.

No cuesta nada acabar la frase con “siempre que esta no corresponda a la Autoridad Judicial a cuya disposición se encuentre el interno preventivo, QUE ES SIEMPRE”.

CONCLUSIÓN. Exégetas de las normas de reparto que nunca habían oído hablar antes de ellas ni tienen la más remota idea sobre cómo se tramitan los asuntos; más exégetas de Leyes que no han leído ni tampoco saben dónde buscarlas. Y acumulan miles de retuits. De verdad que es muy aburrido.

Como no soy especialista en Derecho Penitenciario (pero en procedimiento, ya lo he repetido mil veces, sí), me he preocupado en documentarme un poco para corroborar que mis tesis son correctas.

Aquí, un enlace a una obra con el atractivo título “Reglamento Penitenciario Comentado” (ya me perdonará el autor la broma), donde figura este bonito cuadro en la página 299.

Los colorines y conexiones destacadas entre apartados no son para los lectores habituales del blog, ni para los que de buena fe lean el artículo. Son para los exégetas, que para algo uso el amarillo.

En este otro artículo de derecho penitenciario (de carácter técnico) titulado “Los permisos de salida. Las resoluciones de la sección 5º de la Audiencia Provincial de Madrid en materia de permisos penitenciarios” se explica en la tercera página: “Tanto los presos preventivos como los penados pueden disfrutar de estos permisos. En el caso de penados es indiferente el grado penitenciario en el que se encuentren. No obstante, para los que estén clasificados en primer grado precisan autorización expresa del Juez de Vigilancia. En el caso de los presos preventivos es necesaria la autorización del Juzgado que mantenga la situación de prisión provisional.

En fin. Esto es lo que hay. Y mira que es sencillo leerse dos líneas de un artículo de una Ley. Pero ni así. Recordemos:

Artículo cuarenta y ocho

Los permisos a que se refiere el artículo anterior podrán ser concedidos asimismo a internos preventivos con la aprobación, en cada caso, de la autoridad judicial correspondiente.”

 

Fake News and Ivory Towers

Today’s entry is the outcome of collaboration between Cristobal and myself, as a result of several official communications, not a bit spontaneous, issued along last November and early December 2018 about the public prosecution for disobedience and usurpation of functions against the members of the extinct Catalan electoral commission for the 1-0 illegal Referendum of Independence. You might remember well our blog entry “Cartas desde la ignorancia”, where I did scrutinize in full all the inaccuracies, ambiguities and falsehoods included, while highlighting the undisguised influence of Catalan separatism in the text.

The explanation hereinafter is to do again with the above issue as its central idea, but focusing as well on how fake news, misinformation and manipulation spread even within academic spheres and the (not a bit spontaneous) concerns of several professional associations and individual experts in political science, law and other disciplines for the above mentioned prosecution. In this blog entry we make a qualitative leap as compared with what and how is usually commented upon in our blog, as we will be writing about professional associations and experts of more or less international significance who are putting their assumed knowledge and expertise (their ignorance in this particular case) at the service of Catalan secessionism.

I need to highlight again the collaboration and dedication of Cristobal in the collection of data, the contacts with the associations and experts (his own familiarity with the complications of the academy has been instrumental in the overcoming of barriers which I wouldn’t have been able to get through by myself alone), as well as the responses received. Hadn’t he taken the trouble, effort and actual work involved, what we offer hereinafter would have been impossible. Out of loyalty to the style of this blog, the text will be quite long.

1. Ever since mid-2018 the weblog “Help Catalonia. Democracy is under threat has been accessible in the web. Up to the early dates of December, when you clicked the ‘Home’ button, the only thing you got was the main weblog page with no identification data of any sort except for the logos of “Crida per la Democràcia” in the upper side to the left and “Omnium. Llengua, cultura, país” in the upper side to the right. When you clicked the “About” button you got the text of a letter, in several languages, of international support to the “Electoral Commissioners” for the illegal Referendum of Independence to be held on Oct., the 1st, 2017. If you accessed the weblog without previous knowledge about both “Crida per la Democràcia” (a forerunner of Crida per la Repùblica” to be sure) and “Omnium” you were not provided by the developers of the weblog with any other type of information whatsoever as to the academic institutions and experts who were backing up this weblog and the letter of support, so that any expert willing to sign in support of the prosecuted colleagues did not get information in real time as to the number and identity of other colleagues/institutions who had already signed. This was clearly one of those webpages deliberately designed with a fair amount of lack of clarity and reliability, so that it would eventually fail to pass the test of reliability of webpages available through information literacy programs in most academic libraries around the world, or through this funny game “Fakey”. Presumably these undersigned experts have learned the basics of this practical skill before, so that they would be able to teach how to check for the reliability of any web site to the students of the distinguished academic institutions where they offer their expert services.

For your best convenience, here is the text of the letter in English: “This letter expresses our indignation over the decision by the Spanish judiciary to prosecute two political scientists and three jurists. The political scientists Jordi Matas (full professor, Universitat de Barcelona), Tània Verge (associate professor, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona) and the jurists Marc Marsal (part-time lecturer, Universitat de Barcelona), Josep Pagès (part-time lecturer, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona) and Marta Alsina (lawyer) were appointed members of the Electoral Commission in September 2017 by the Parliament of Catalonia to monitor the self-determination referendum to be held on October 1, 2017. The Spanish government challenged the legality of this referendum and about ten days before it took place, the Spanish Constitutional Court forced all the electoral commissioners to resign by imposing a fine of 12.000 Euros per person for each day that they remained in their position. Even though they resigned, the Spanish judiciary went a step further and decided to prosecute the members of the Electoral Commission. They currently face criminal charges of “disobedience” and “usurpation of functions” and are facing the very real possibility of up to two years and nine months in prison. It is probably the first time in the history of the European Union that political scientists and jurists are being threatened with a prison sentence for just doing their job, which is both outrageous and disproportionate. After all, these political scientists and jurists’ only ‘crime’ consisted in using their expertise to guarantee that the referendum would be held in a fair and impartial way. In doing so, they acted at the request of the Parliament of Catalonia which had a valid legal mandate at the time that derived from Act 19/2017 relating to the self-determination referendum of Catalonia. Our colleagues therefore did nothing illegal since the Spanish Criminal Code does not have any specific legal provision to punish the organising of referendums, even if they are not authorised by the central state. Thus, their prosecution is not only a spurious one but is also grounded in political reasons, which is a blatant violation of human rights. We, the undersigned, professors of political science, law and other disciplines, denounce Spain’s persecution of basic democratic and civil rights. While we do not seek to take a position on Catalonia’s independence in this letter, we firmly condemn the illegality of imprisoning someone because of her or his political beliefs. The global community of university professors is indignant over the prosecution of our colleagues and demand the immediate removal of the threat of a prison sentence and the dropping of all criminal charges filed against them.”

2. As from the very first dates of Dec. 2018, when you clicked on the “About” button you were offered a list of signatories, including their names and the institutions they are affiliated with, in support of the “Electoral Commissioners”; but the publication of this list coincided exactly with reports in the pro-independence Catalan media and news outlets about the publication of the list of signatories, as well as of official communications from several professional associations in the UK, the USA and Canada, as well as, specially, in The Guardian. That is, the list of undersigned experts was made publicly available as part of an agit-prop campaign in the Catalan pro-independence media on the international success of the support to the prosecuted election experts among academic colleagues all over the world.

3. As reported in the weblog HelpCatalonia, on Nov., the 26th., 2018, the support from the Political Science [sic] Association United Kingdom was received. In effect, in the weblog of the PSA-UK (Political Studies Association) its CEO Phil Sooben, under the title “Speaking out for Academic Freedom”, included the following comment: “Last week we gave our support to those colleagues in Catalonia who acted as impartial expert observers of the independence referendum. They are now threatened with imprisonment. The PSA added its name to an open letter circulating to universities across the world. As this letter states very clearly, this is not about taking sides in the independence debate. While we do not seek to take a position on Catalonia’s independence in this letter, we firmly condemn the illegality of imprisoning someone because of her or his political beliefs.”
Of course, this comment provoked reactions (our own reaction among them, since we immediately sent to Phil Sooben the translation of our weblog entry Cartas desde la ignorancia); and on Dec., the 3d, 2018, Phil Sooben published a new weblog entry under the title “Academic Freedom – an update and response”, including the following text: “We have since received correspondence from a group of colleagues who wish to provide a different perspective on the issue and in the interests of openness we are also making this available to read here to allow everyone to reach their own informed position on the matter”. Just in recognition of the fair play and professionalism of PSA-UK officers, they have always been very quick in answering to our requests for clarifications and/or additional information.
It is to be noticed that their link to an “open letter” is exactly the link to the weblog “HelpCatalonia. Democracy is under threat”. So, they are not speaking about a letter being sent round universities all around the world; instead, they are in fact referring to a weblog entry to which you have to access deliberately, probably under the previous advice of someone with a vested interest in the promotion of the letter. It is to be noticed as well how in the weblog HelpCatalonia the link to the “update and response” of Phil Sooben continues to be unavailable despite the fact that we asked them to do so by way of a comment in their weblog which was not accepted for publication, a fact which, of course, adds to the level of fair play and reliability of “HelpCatalonia. Democracy is under threat”.

4. In the weblog it is reported as well that on Nov. the 30th., the American Political Science Association (APSA) of the USA. also sent their support, together with the publication of a letter to the Prime Minister of Spain urging him to withdraw all charges against the “electoral observers”. We again got immediately in touch with the members of the Executive Committee of APSA by sending them the translation of our “Cartas desde la ignorancia”. The APSA President answered immediately with the information that they were considering adding a note of clarification. This is the note of clarification to be seen in front of the letter to President Sánchez of Spain: “Some have written to express concerns over APSA’s recent letter addressing the prosecutions in Spain of political scientists and jurists appointed to an Electoral Commission by the Parliament of Catalonia. The American Political Science Association takes no position over the constitutionality or desirability of Catalonian secession and shares a deep commitment to the rule of law in democratic societies. Our intent is not to decide issues in the Catalonian situation that are legitimately in dispute. Our mission as an association is to protect scholars and their academic freedom. We are always deeply concerned when scholars face prosecution for expression of political views or for contributing their expertise to public life”.

5. Lastly, in the weblog it is reported that on Dec., the 5th., 2018, the Canadian Political Science Association (CPSA-ACSP) has also published a letter addressed to the Prime Minister of Spain urging him to withdraw all charges against the “electoral observers”. Once again we contacted immediately with the Director General Silvina Danesi and sent her the translation of our blog entry “Cartas desde la ignorancia”. She replied immediately that she would send the information to the President of the Association. We haven’t got any news in the meantime, but in their website the letter to President Sanchez is still available, together with links to APSA’s letter, to the weblog HelpCatalonia and to the PSA-UK first text, but not to the second one, the “update and response”; which, of course, casts a certain amount of doubt about the fair play and professional balance of this association in this respect.

6. As a reaction against all these public communications from these associations of political scientists, on the 1st. of Dec., 2018, we got in touch with the Asociación Española de Ciencia Política y de la Administración (AECPA) by sending them the following email: “Hello, I am asking you about the position taken, if any, by your Association on the letter sent to President Sánchez by APSA in relation to the prosecution of five members of the Catalan electoral commission for the illegal Referendum October 2017. Since in their letter APSA refers to reports from colleagues and the media as sources for their position, this could be taken to mean that APSA made some kind of consultation with their sister organization in Spain in order to check different versions before issuing their public communication on the subject. It is to be expected from the professional integrity and academic seriousness of associations like yours a public declaration about your own position in this respect, given that this is an issue of the greatest professional importance. Waiting for your information, best regards.”
We didn’t receive any kind of response to our email nor have we known anything about the steps taken by the AECPA on the subject, except for an op-ed on “Autoritarismo judicial y ciencia política” by Prof. Fernando Jiménez Sánchez, Universidad de Murcia, in El Mundo, 24-Dec. (published in English: “Judicial authoritarianism and political sciences“; Voices from Spain), and a report included in El Mundo in this entry: “El ‘procés’ causa un cisma en la Ciencia Política”. We are very glad to be able to quote Prof. Llera’s words in this article, for he offers the perfect abstract of the position which led us to humbly fight this little battle: Francisco Llera, director of the Euskobarómetro and also founding member of the association [AECPA], is conclusive: “Aecpa is not providing a quick, forceful and appropriate response; and thus, probably unintentionally, it is contributing to the credibility of these international public communications; in  doing so it is putting severely at risk the cohesion of our scientific community as well as gravely eroding the representativeness and the authority of our current leadership”. With respect to the official communications from the international associations he takes for granted that they “are absolutely reprehensible as improvised, without an unavoidable contrast, very untactful, disrespectful, fully unnecessary and, above all, absolutely biased thanks to the poisoning through the ‘fake news’ system deployed by the academic-cum-political diplomacy of the independence movement sponsored by the Generalitat“”.

7. The Guardian published on Dec., the 7th., the letter with a somewhat different text, including the names of the signatories. In this article they speak about “electoral monitors” in the title, but within the text of the letter there is a clear mention to their appointments as “members of the electoral commission” for the Referendum of Independence 1-O. In the letter the signatories declare that the judiciary branch in Spain charges them with disobedience and usurpation of functions in spite of the fact that the Constitutional Court forced them to resign under the threat of monetary fines. The undersigned experts declare as well that the only thing these colleagues made was to act at the request of the Catalan regional Parliament, which at the time was under a valid and legal term of office. They then finish their declaration by making clear that they are not taking any position whatsoever on the independence of Catalonia; they only want to urge the Spanish authorities to “the immediate removal of the threat of a prison sentence and the dropping of all criminal charges against them”. On the other side, it is to be noticed the obvious difference between this text in the PSA-UK declaration (“we firmly condemn the illegality of imprisoning someone because of her or his political beliefs”) and the one in The Guardian (“demand of immediate removal of the threat… and the dropping of all criminal charges”…).

If the signatories of the letter published in The Guardian did sign only the text available through the entry in the weblog HelpCatalonia, it turns out to be quite clear that someone has changed the final version as published in The Guardian, maybe without prior consultation to the signatories, since the first version, together with their signature, continues to be the only one available in the weblog. A new evidence, in fact, of the level of manipulation in this case. Anyway, on Dec., the 8th., we sent an email to the Readers’ Editor of The Guardian with all this information about the inaccuracies and manipulations in their text and calling into question the level of objectivity in The Guardian. No answer from the Readers’ Editor has been received yet.

8. On Dec., the 8th., 2018, the Société Québecoise de Science Politique (SQSP) issued as well a public communication as carta al gobierno español on this subject. It is absolutely worth to quote the exact wording, very professional and academic, of course, of this letter from the experts of Québec: “Montreal, December 8th, 2018. Dear Prime Minister Sánchez, The Québec Society of Political Science is an association that brings together more than three hundred political scientists, whose mission is to promote the advancement of political science research and teaching. To this end, the members of our association maintain close ties with our colleagues across the world, including in Spain. Faced with the Spanish government’s decision to initiate legal proceedings against a number of political scientists and jurists who, in the exercise of their duties as researchers, acted as monitors for the Electoral Commission, with the aim of reviewing the unfolding of the referendum on self-determination of Catalonia on October 1, 2017, the Québec Society of Political Science wishes to express its gravest concerns about this manifest infringement on the values and principles that are at the heart of liberal democracy. In effect, the charges of “disobedience” and “usurpation of functions” against Professor Jordi Matas (Universitat de Barcelona); Associate Professor Tània Verge (Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelone); and the jurists Marc Marsal (Universitat de Barcelona) and Josep Pagès (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona) run contrary to freedom of expression and the rule of law, which a fortiori undermines academic freedom. We fervently hope that these crucial issues in the political life of your country are addressed in a manner that is equitable, constructive, and democratic. For this reason, we insist that your government immediately calls a halt to the bullying to which it has resorted against academics, and accordingly drops these charges which are so dangerous to the health of democratic life. Sincerely yours, The Québec Society of Political Science”.

Faced with such a distortion, misrepresentation and manipulation, on Dec., the 13th, we sent to this association the following email: “Colleagues, for your information, please find attached a document written by a jurist and lawyer on the real facts and the sound legal reasons behind the prosecution of these Catalan colleagues. Let me tell you how astonished I am about the level of misinformation and manipulation your association is willing to accept and act upon. If all your activities follow the same low standards of ethical and professional balance then you cannot be taken seriously as a “learned” society. Regards”. We received an answer to this email from the President of the Association acknowledging receipt of this information, with the promise of putting it to discussion by the Council.

9. This document written by a jurist and lawyer just referred to above was in fact a new text, more aseptic and academic than the one available in the entry “Cartas desde la ignorancia”, drafted on Dec. the 10th., under the title “Letter of concern for concerned colleagues”, to be sent to the signatories of the letter published in The Guardian and the weblog Help Catalonia. This is the text of the letter of concern:
“Dear Professor,
After reading the letter published in The Guardian on Dec., the 7th, 2018, under the title “Grave concern for electoral monitors facing jail in Spain” (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/dec/07/grave-concern-for-electoral-monitors-facing-jail-in-spain), and apparently signed by more than 400 academics in the fields of political science, law and other disciplines, I think it is in the interest of science in general as well as of these scientific disciplines, their practitioners and the real people to benefit from their progress, to call your attention to the following facts which might have been inadvertently overlooked by the promoters of the letter. These facts might have as well led the signatories of the letter to different conclusions on the reasons behind the prosecution:

  • The defendants Mr. Jordi Matas, Mrs. Tània Verge, Mr. Marc Marsal, Mr. Josep Pagès and Mrs. Marta Alsina were appointed as members of the Central Electoral Commission of Catalonia by way of Decision 807/XI from the regional Parliament of Catalonia dated Sept., the 7th. 2017. (From a strictly political science mind frame and doctrine, notice the difference between “electoral monitors” in the news title and the “electoral commission members” in the text of the Decision. Also from a strictly legal mind frame, notice the evidence that Catalonia had already in place an electoral commission appointed according to the general electoral law and regulations for the whole of Spain which have been complied with in so many local, regional, national and European elections and referendums ever since the late 1970’s)
  • On the same date, Sept., the 7th, 2017, the Spanish Constitutional Court accepted for consideration the appeal against this Decision 807/XI and suspended its implementation in full under art. 161.2 of the Spanish Constitution. This ruling was published in due course in the Boletín Oficial del Estado on Sept., the 8th. (https://www.boe.es/boe/dias/2017/09/08/pdfs/BOE-A-2017-10290.pdf). This publication serves as legal notification in person to the aforementioned defendants.
  • In addition, the Spanish Constitutional Court specifically decided to warn the defendants not to avoid nor ignore their duty of prevention of any activity in breach of the said suspension. They were also reminded that suspension included any activity whatsoever designed as implementation of the Act of Referendum also suspended, with the further warning that they could be subject to criminal charges and responsibilities.
  • In spite of all these warnings from the Constitutional Court, the defendants did keep taking and publishing their decisions as electoral commission about developments and implementation of the referendum, which had been suspended on Sept., the 7th 2017.
  • After taking due notice that its rulings were being disregarded in full by the defendants, the Constitutional Court decided to officially request them within a 48 hours deadline to report back to the Court about the measures being applied by them as to the effectiveness of suspension.
  • The defendants time and again kept disregarding the suspension by taking and publishing several decisions on electoral matters; so the Constitutional Court decided to impose the fines announced of 12000 Euros/day until the effective revocation of their decisions and regulations, as well as their subsequent resignation, as included in BOE (https://www.boe.es/diario_boe/txt.php?id=BOE-A-2017-10828)
  • It was only at that very date that the defendants effectively resigned as members of the electoral commission (obviously not as monitors). (Just for your information: the factual background of this case is very similar to the case resolved in favour of Spain by the European Court of Human Rights, Aumatell i Arnau v. Spain (application no. 70219/17) which can be found in French in the following link: https://hudoc.echr.coe.int/eng#{%22itemid%22:[%22001-186990%22]})

The prosecution (statement of charges in Spanish) of the defendants Matas, Verge, Marsal, Pagès and Alsina is based on the fact that they did disregard altogether the suspension of their appointments as members of a central electoral commission of Catalonia (not monitors) and did take and publish their decisions as such against the express rulings by the Constitutional Court. In the letter signed by political science and law experts it is stated that “…they acted at the request of the parliament of Catalonia, which had a valid legal mandate at the time.” As it is immediately clear from the links provided above, ever since Sept., the 7th., and even more after publication in the BOE the day after, the defendants knew quite well that their appointments had been suspended in full so that they were not allowed to go ahead with the implementation of the illegal referendum they were to organise and oversee as members of the electoral commission suspended.
These are the real facts and reasons for the prosecution of these defendants to be brought before an independent court in Catalonia, who will have to decide on the crimes committed/non committed and issue a sentence or acquittal of the defendants, after a trial in a case which could eventually reach the premises of the European Court of Human Rights (a court fully recognised, accepted and integrated into the judiciary branch in Spain).
Best regards,
Javier […], Jurist and lawyer”.

10. On Dec., the 11th., we started to send this “Letter of concern for concerned colleagues” to the signatories, “experts in political science, law and other disciplines”, concerned for the fate of the five Catalan colleagues. From the searching for the institutional email addresses of these undersigned experts we obtained data for several conclusions about their typology and the personal and/or academic whereabouts which could have led them to support the letter from Help Catalonia without realising, or realising indeed, its obvious distortions and manipulations. These conclusions will be presented in full detail at the end of this entry. Now let’s offer in chronological order the scarce but very explanatory responses and reactions received to our “Letter of concern for concerned colleagues”. Out of academic courtesy and fair play we will not uncover personal or institutional details which might be a trigger to the exact identification of the experts and institutions concerned.

11. A Professor from the USA wrote to us that she doesn’t open .pdf files without knowing what is inside and asked for help. This was our answer: “Oh yes, no problem and thanks for your answer. It is a letter written by a jurist and lawyer offering accurate facts and sound legal opinion on the Catalan colleagues whose prosecution has caused a good amount of concern among fellow colleagues in the academia all around the world. And he is concerned about the fact that so many professors and researchers have signed the letter of concern without much real knowledge about the case. And in my opinion this is a clear sign that fake news and misinformation is too easily accepted by experts who should know their business. Irrespective of what everyone thinks about the Catalan issue. Thanks for your attention”. Of course, no additional response was received from her side, so we do not know whether she opened the file or not.

12. A professor from the USA commented: “I can’t resist pointing out that your letter, like the Rajoy government, assumes that it is legitimate to treat a quintessentially political dispute as a narrowly legal one. Your summary of facts makes it clear that the elected Catalan government was attempting to carry out its campaign promise to provide Catalonians an opportunity to express their views. In many countries, including the US, a “political question” doctrine allows and sometimes requires courts to decline jurisdiction of legal questions when they are indistinguishable from political ones. If only the Spanish courts had shown that good judgment rather than effectively conspired with the Rajoy government, much of the current mess and its violations of human rights could have been avoided and Catalonia and the central government could be working toward resolution”.
This was our response: “I thank you very much for your answer to my letter of concern, on which I disagree. First of all, in your answer you apparently seem to accept the discourse favoured by the pro-independence parties (just to remember: 72 seats in the regional Parliament out of 135 seats; 47,8 % of voters), namely, that their political will allows them to declare the independence of Catalonia and abolish the Spanish Constitution. You might be aware that any change in the Catalan Statute of Autonomy requires the affirmative vote of at least 90 representatives; 72 votes are simply not enough. And Mr. Puigdemont has declared time and again that the Law of Referendum thus approved by the Catalan Parliament had created ex novo a new Catalan legality totally different from the Spanish one; even in his claim against the judge Llarena in Belgium he declares in writing that the Law of Referendum radically abolished the Spanish Constitution from Catalonia. Nevertheless, my letter of concern was not concerned at all with the above political-cum-legal issue. My concern here was about the fact that in the letter you gave support to the promoters did take for granted that five colleagues experts in electoral issues had been charged by the public prosecutor only because of their activity as monitors/observers in the referendum; the promoters of the letter didn’t even give any cue as to the actual presence of previous summons and warnings from the Constitutional Court. The absolute truth, easily corroborated through any fact-checking device available, is that the defendants were appointed, accepted and implemented their role as members of a truly Electoral Commission with the intention of offering an absolute appearance of legal validity to a referendum called for the only purpose of declaring the independence; so their prosecution is actually not a “political question”, as you put it, but a prosecution based on the fact that they disregarded altogether the summons and warnings from the Constitutional Court. After the trial, by means of the sentences issued by different courts, we all will be able to know whether they committed any type of crime or not. Sincerely,”
The official exchange went so far. But in a more private ground he did accept that our exchange could lead us to nowhere since both his position and ours did depart from very different perspectives in jurisprudence. Our contention was that, in fact, there was no different corpus from the point of view of jurisprudence; only our points of departure in the discussion were different inside the political-cum-legal continuum in this specific case: he placed himself at the very beginning, where any political issue must be solved through political and not strictly judicial instruments; on the contrary, we placed ourselves in that later stage in the whole process where a political consensus has not been reached for whatever reason and, suddenly or not so suddenly, one side start the journey along a route not allowed by the legal framework in place and fully accepted by that side as valid for the rest of issues. We also provided him with evidence as to the fact that the referendum was not included at the time in the electoral programs of the pro-independence parties, nor was it a promise dealt with in that electoral campaign. We further asked him what would happen in those countries where the judiciary must by law abstain from interference in political conflicts if a situation like the one in Catalonia would eventually occur; should the public prosecutors and the judiciary branch step aside and allow for a new legal framework to be declared and implemented against the one already rightfully in place? No further response was received for this question. But all the exchange was strictly academic and respectful.

13. Now for the comments of a professor from the USA: “Thanks so much for the letter from your friend (?) Mr.[ …] Reading it, it becomes immediately clear that he has a deep familiarity with the Spanish legal code. What is less clear, however, is whether he is familiar with, or interested in, the question of legitimacy, something that has greatly concerned serious legal scholars and political philosophers throughout the ages. Legitimacy is the thing that separates those legal codes capable of consistently delivering a modicum of justice to the people in a society, from what we might call ornamental ones, those that look very good on paper, but ultimately fail because the people whose lives they are supposed to regulate do not substantially trust in the institutions and agents charged with executing their demands. In short, a legal code that is not mentally invested with legitimacy by the bulk of the people in the jurisdiction it is designed rule over quickly becomes a dead letter or what you in Spanish call papel mojado. Though the Spanish language media you and your friend no doubt consume assiduously may not have informed you of this, the Spanish judicial system currently enjoys very low levels of legitimacy in Catalonia, even among people who are not independentists. There are several quite logical reasons for this. The most immediately evident of these are the obscene manipulations carried out by the two major parties of the Spanish state in regard to the Tribunal Constitutional (TC) during the period in which the 2006 reform of the Catalan Statute of Autonomy was before that body. These barely disguised banana republic maneuvers designed to insure a vote that would substantially trim a statute voted on by the Catalan people and approved by the full Congress of Deputies in Madrid struck an enormous blow to the credibility, which is to say, the legitimacy of the Spanish legal system in Catalonia. But there is more. Long obscured but now fully coming to light in press coverage other than that produced within the Madrid-based media bubble, is the arguably deeper problem of a legal system that was more or less transplanted whole cloth from the one that ruled over the country during the Franco dictatorship. Thanks to the economic boom generated by the inflow of European adhesion funds during the 80s and 90s many of us (and I include myself here) were led to believe, or wanted to believe, that the famous “Transition to Democracy” had effected a sweeping overhaul of the key organs of the Spanish state. Now that the smoke of that ersatz economic prosperity has disappeared, we can see that this clearly was not the case. And as we today survey the organs of a state that we assumed had been fundamentally changed, we can see that the judicial corps is arguably the one that has remained most untouched by the supposed reformist airs of the Transition. Do you and your friend Mr. […] understand, as most who live in Catalonia and/or know Catalonia quite well now understand, that the Audiencia Nacional is simply a renamed version of the Francoist Tribunal de Orden Público, which, as your jurist friend no doubt knows, began as the Special Tribunal for the Repression of Masonry and Communism in 1940, shortly after Franco’s victory in the Civil War he and his golpista colleagues started in 1936? Or that the Consejo General del Poder Judicial, (CGPJ) was designed by Francoist jurists to act as a cartel to, among other things, insure that no judge open to any real rearrangement of territorial relations and/or intra-territorial power in Spain would ever be able to ascend to a position of significant power in the national judiciary? I could go on, but I think you get the idea. One of the more interesting, and in the end, ultimately pathetic recurrent phenomena in contemporary history is that of a group of elites who believe that by repeatedly trumpeting what they see as the unquestionable solidity of their particular position of power they will either win back, or scare into submission, those that no longer imbue them or their institutions with legitimacy. This seldom occurs. Rather, what usually occurs is that, after not listening to any dissident voices during their long filibusters on what they see as their self-evident legitimacy, they find out much too late, and much to their considerable dismay, that the discursive ground has radically shifted under their feet and that few truly believe any longer their self-important fairy tale. So please let Mr. […] know that he is free to continue reciting Spanish law chapter and verse to me and all of the others on this email list. However, if he is really interested in Spanish national unity and civic peace, which I assume he sincerely is, I believe his energies would be much better spent listening to others and trying to understand why—despite what El País, El Mundo, La Razón and a long list of others might be telling him— a clear majority of Catalans, regardless of their final views on independence, no longer imbue the system whose statutes he scrupulously cites with moral legitimacy. Sincerely, […] P.S. If your friend Mr. […] does not read English, I will gladly provide him with Castilian version of this letter in short order.”

Faced with such a lecture on History for very beginners, as well as with such a mixture of stereotypes and academic finesse, our response could only be as follows: “First of all, very many thanks for your response. Secondly, I would like to point out to you the fact that in your response you do rebut or refute not even a single objective fact of the many included in my letter. The letter of concern you gave your support to did start from a statement of facts which does not conform to reality. And this was exactly the sole subject of my arguments. Instead of focusing on my strictly defined arguments and the sources I provide, you choose to concentrate your response a) on the construct of legitimacy, a very interesting topic for sure, but not addressed in the letter you gave support to and not covered therefore in my own letter; b) on Franco, who is nothing to do with our debate but who is included by you as an argument “ad hominem” just to try to discredit the content of my letter; c) on the type of biased media sources you apparently know I peruse; as well as on many other arguments which are nothing to do with the facts on which the prosecution of the five members of the Electoral Commission is based. In my opinion it would have been more challenging and productive for the debate your straightforward response about the real facts covered in my text. Best regards”.
Here is the second response from such a professor: “Thanks for your response. When we look at the contents of our dialogue up until now, there emerges one clear reality: you are determined to keep the conversation on the terrain where you feel most comfortable which is, of course, the realm of legal codes and the state prosecutor’s application to the prosecution of Catalan transgressors. As I said in the close of my letter, you are more than free, if it makes you feel righteous and on the right side of history, to continue doing this. However, as I perhaps erroneously presumed, you are interested in a mutually beneficial solution (as opposed to a punitive “victory”) in regard the current Catalan problem, you would be wise to pay attention to the issues I raise. Why? Because they are very real to the bulk of the Catalan people whom I presume (perhaps again incorrectly) you want to have beside you as fellow citizens in peaceful and unified Spanish state. Perhaps an historical example might help you see what I am talking about. Sixty years ago several states in my home country had laws prohibiting the social mixing of black and white people in public spaces. Finally, in 1955 a black woman refused to give up her seat on a public bus and was arrested. Clearly, she had violated existing statutes of the law of her jurisdiction. And like you, the overwhelming majority of the whites in her state saw it as an open and shut case with nothing more to talk about, and, needless to say, clearly unconnected to the 250 legacy of slavery that had preceded the creation of the legal regime under which she was now living. Leaving aside the drastic differences in the day to day suffering of the people under the apartheid regime of the American south and current day Catalonia, the two cases have much in common in that those holding up the placard of law and order (you in this case and the southern whites in the other) thought that by eliminating all matters of legitimacy and context from the discussion, they would be able to safeguard the contours of their present life and the existing social order as they knew/know it. I am sure you know what eventually happened in the US south. The question of legitimacy, which you appear to want to avoid at all costs, brought down the statutory codes to which southern whites were deeply wedded psychologically and which most presumed were as solid as a writ from god. From a short term psychological point of view, your position is more than understandable. Who, after all, enjoys contemplating the possibility that the system to which he has devoted a long professional career might be on much shakier moral ground than he ever believed, both in terms of its origins and its acceptance by large swathes of the national citizenry? These are clearly upsetting things. When we are confronted with upsetting facts about things we hold near and dear we have basically two choices. The first is to try and block out the news that casts doubt upon all that we had believed to be true and right up until that time. The second is to reconsider the critiques others are making of the system we have embraced and whether they are legitimate, why they might see it the way they do, and what in our previous training might have blinded us to the substance of their complaints. You, like many whites in the America south in the 50s and 60s are clearly opting for the first option. Perhaps you are right and the Franco-designed legal regime you work within will crush the Catalan insurgency with the unceasing application of the statutes you brandish. Maybe that looks like a real possibility from where you sit. But from what I see and hear in Catalonia, that looks like a remote possibility indeed. So, if I am right, what will be the next step to bring the already disaffected Catalans back into the loving embrace of the Madre Patria? If you haven’t given any thought to that, perhaps you should. I don’t know how much of a movie fan you are, but there is one marvellous scene from the 1979 movie “Being There” that I particularly like and that I think applies nicely to the line of reasoning you present. The protagonist of the film is a fifty year old man who has never ventured outside the confines of his home and whose entire understanding of society has been exclusively shaped by television viewing. When he is finally expelled from the house, he roams the streets of Washington DC with his TV remote control unit in his hand. And when he comes across realities that disturb him he points the remote control device at the disturbing reality in the hopes of “changing the channel” on the upsetting sight before him. Needless to say, his efforts at changing reality through this mechanism are fruitless. So, as I said before continue by all means if you like to brandish your remote control, I mean, book of statues, before the Catalan reality. Just don’t be too surprised if the results are similar to those achieved by Chauncey Gardner, the protagonist of “BeingThere”. Sincerely,”


After his first lecture on History for the very beginners with such a mixture of stereotypes and academic finesse, it can be easily understood that a second lecture on psychoanalysis, cinematography and the comparison of the Afro-american anti-segregation fight with the Catalan independence move weren’t worth a second response. And after several unofficial exchanges where this professor grew more and more angry and heated, academically, of course, the only path to follow was cutting the thread. But in the meantime a professor from the USA concurred with all his points; and another professor from the USA described our positions as “painfully sophomoric”, and as “borderline fascist” our inability to reflect on issues of substantive justice as well as our determination to maintain the debate on strictly legal grounds. Of course, this was written without hesitation by an expert in political science who had offered his support to a letter in which nothing of the sort had been addressed and a specific declaration had been included as to the exclusion of any debate on the Catalan independence issue. And, of course, it seems to be much less sophomoric and more academically and ethically mature just to brand as “borderline fascist” someone who doesn’t accept to be messed up in a debate only in the interest of a professor who needs to cover up the fact that he signed a letter with such an amount of misinformation and manipulation.

14. An Irish professor simply wrote: “Best wishes and solidarity”. Our answer: same to you and your family.

15. A Polish professor commented: “Dear Sir, thank you for sending a letter with arguments. Unfortunately I am not convinced. As far as I can see, Spanish Prosecutors and Constitutional Court have only one answer to Catalan claims – NO. For me Spanish Constitution is a cage well design by Franco, an idol of many Spanish, as far as I know. In European Union we solve such problems in a democratic way, with ballot boxes. Spain conquered Catalonia but Catalan nation has not assimilate, they identity is strong enough to survive. I am representing Poland and my country was in a similar situation, controlled by Germany, Russia and Austria. We had more luck, though Russia does not give up. I know that Spain will never stop and never let Catalonia go without violence as we could see today in Barcelona [link to the report in Scottish ‘The National’ on Dec., 21st.]. Best regards”.
Faced with such an evidence of her status as expert in the subject and the accuracy and reliability of her information sources, our response was to reaffirm her that our letter was nothing to do with any position whatsoever as to the Catalan independence issue; and it was nothing to do as well with a comparison of the levels of democracy in Spain and Poland; it was only to do with the distortions, misinformation and manipulations included in the letter she gave her support to. Her immediate answer was the blocking of our email, but a German professor did want to follow the thread with an angry email where he seemed extremely annoyed by our lack of academic manners by not offering our institutional affiliations, which cannot be thought of as included in the “accepted ways of scholarly interaction”. Once again, our answer could only be as simple as this: it is absolutely obvious that in those “accepted ways of scholarly interaction” it is also included the undersigning of a letter of support with so many distortions and manipulations by the promoters of the letter; promoters who, of course, tried their best in making available their full names and institutional positions in the weblog where the  original letter was uploaded, a fact that can be verified by anyone accessing the weblog HelpCatalonia. Apparently, this German professor was not so annoyed that time since he undersigned the letter. And there was no answer, of course; maybe because the only one available would have been “Touché”.

16. The last comment to date is one that really could hit home. Here is the comment of a German professor: “Muchísimas gracias, estimado colega […]! I agree that the issue is very complex but, in the quest for Catalan independence, at one point you have to take a position that will clash with the law of the land. If you firmly believe that this land is NOT YOUR land, then, sooner or later the time will come to take sides. So, technically, I think, one may feel compelled to follow the reasoning “outlined in your document. But again, when it comes to the procés, we are not anymore the realm of reasoning. And, as you may know, for me Catalan independence is dear to my heart. It is a calling that will never go away. I hope to live to see it in new Europe, not in the present EU. I am very outspoken about it. As a matter of fact, as pathetic it may sound, I feel more Catalan than German: [… links to several pro-independence Catalan news outlets]. Muy cordialmente,”. Obviously, faced with such a declaration of personal feelings, our only answer was to tell him that nobody is entitled to brand his feelings as “pathetic”; what we actually find extremely pathetic is to see how so many people need to reassert their identity only and above all by looking down on the others, a “sehr sehr traurig” move in our view.

CONCLUSIONS:
As already stated in p. 6 above, the quotation from Prof. Llera, Universidad del País Vasco, exonerates us from delving into the reasons which led us to react –disinformation, manipulation, distortion, deviation from the truth – as we did when we were confronted with the undersigned experts in political science, law and other disciplines, and above all with the official communications and letters to the Prime Minister of Spain from these professional associations which should be expected to apply, in principle, a level of professional ethics and fair play bigger than the one displayed in this case.
Anyway, this experience/experiment has confirmed our feeling that fake news, misinformation and manipulation find very easily their way and expand into the ivory towers of the academy because of several of the following reasons:

  1. Immediate manifestation of corporate solidarity: they are colleagues who are being unjustly persecuted by the power/state, so that their prosecution must be based “exclusively” on arbitrariness.
  2. Disciplinary bias: according to the responses from the signatories and the acknowledgments from the professional associations, the defendants are experts in electoral matters who applied their expertise only after being asked for, and the legal implications of their activities are but formal issues without relevance of any type.   
  3. Traditional way of functioning among invisible colleges in academia: interpersonal connections and involvements – past, present and future – in joint ventures and projects in teaching and research with Catalan universities could run a risk. [This and the next two conclusions are the outcome of the analysis of several professional profiles of the signatories: we do not offer a list of personal names and institutions as evidence. This is only a weblog with comments; we are not interested in chasing “wanted” rivals. As always, if you choose to believe us, good; if you choose to the contrary, good as well]
  4. Direct connections of the signatories with Catalan universities: some degree obtained, an exchange course attended, a Ph.D. program completed, etc.  
  5. Personal connections and pro-independence activism of a member of an academic department where several members have also signed the letter. In a certain amount of items there were links to specific misinformation outlets like Vilaweb as reliable information sources for our correspondents, who also did participate in pro-secession activities.
  6. Based on the three points above as well as on the language tone and register used it could be seen as self-evident that the public communications and the letter signed are the outcome of the secessionist activism – official or unofficial.
  7. Ease of identification with the supposedly weak side against the strong one. It is a well known mechanism of sympathy, and very much spread out for that matter, even if not widely acknowledged in the academic sphere.
  8. A common feature in all responses collected has been the will to avoid the facts objectively detailed about the prosecution. There were pseudo-historical justifications, attribution of essence to a specific group, and, in short, the appeal to Franco (the Francoland Antonio Muñoz Molina wrote about some time ago) as arguments and explanations just to try to divert the debate out of the strictly academic tone and register which supposedly was the framework of the letter and the public communications. In fact, protected by the shield of their prejudices, NOBODY has responded to the real facts backing up the prosecution; instead the respondents have tried to focus the debate on issues which are nothing to do with the pure academic foundations supposedly supporting the content of the letter and the official communications.

All these factors, individually or in constellation, explain the ease and willingness to sign these texts which are absolutely unacceptable from a truly academic and democratic logic. In the text of El Mundo linked to above, another professor from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, José Ramón Montero, is quoted as stating, in very clear and very academic terms, the following:  “They are speaking about Spain as if it were Turkey; many international colleagues are asking us what is going on in Spain, and whether there is democracy in here or not. The letter from APSA would never be published in a reputed academic outlet due to APSA’s ignorance about the functioning of democracy as well as to its lack of truthfulness and exactitude“.

We concur. In this experience/experiment there is something which has really attracted our attention to the maximum: the absolute lack of standards and exactitude in these professional associations of the USA, Canada and the UK when rushing to make public communications and send letters to the Prime Minister of a democratic government, urging him to immediately withdraw the charges against the defendants without verification and confirmation of the facts. And when they all, signatories and associations, have been in receipt of the right information on the real facts and reasons backing up the prosecution, irrespective of any position whatsoever on the Catalan independence issue, they have preferred instead either to raise different issues (Franco, etc.) or highlighting terms and arguments not included in their original text.

Just to finish off, we concur with Prof. Llera’s statements and make them a part of our own conclusions in the very sense that these official communications “are absolutely reprehensible as improvised, without an unavoidable contrast, very untactful, disrespectful, fully unnecessary and, above all, absolutely biased thanks to the poisoning through the ‘fake news’ system deployed by the academic-cum-political diplomacy of the independent movement sponsored by the Generalitat. It is very difficult not to be able to see the hand of Catalan institutional secessionism in the drafting and promotion of these letters and official communications.

Let’s hope that in the near future –in full coherence with the communications above- the Bar Associations of the USA, Canada and the UK will not send an official letter to the President of the USA urging him to the immediate withdrawal of any charges by the public prosecutors against that innocent law expert colleague and lawyer (Michael Cohen) unlawfully and undemocratically accused of putting his legal expertise at the very service of someone called… Donald Trump.

Noticias falsas y torres de marfil

La entrada de hoy surge como fruto de la colaboración entre Cristóbal y un servidor, a raíz de los comunicados nada espontáneos que han surgido durante el mes de diciembre en relación a la acusación por desobediencia y usurpación de funciones contra los miembros de la extinta Sindicatura Electoral. Recordaréis la entrada “Cartas desde la ignorancia” y cómo se desmenuzaba el conjunto de inexactitudes, imprecisiones y faltas a la verdad que contenía, además de la indisimulada influencia del separatismo en su redacción.

La exposición que a continuación se detalla tiene como eje central la anterior cuestión y cómo la desinformación y manipulación se extiende, incluso, a los ámbitos académicos y las (nada espontáneas) inquietudes de algunas asociaciones profesionales y ciertos expertos de ciencias políticas, derecho y otras disciplinas sobre la acusación antes mencionada. Aquí, damos un salto cualitativo en lo que suele ser objeto de comentario en el blog, ya que hablamos de profesionales de ámbito internacional que ponen su supuesto conocimiento (en el caso que nos ocupa, desconocimiento) y su prestigio al servicio de la causa secesionista.

De nuevo, debo recalcar la colaboración y trabajo de Cristóbal, tanto en la recopilación de datos, como en el contacto con los profesionales (su conocimiento de los intríngulis académicos constituye una barrera que yo solo no hubiera podido superar) y las respuestas que nos dieron en algunos casos. Si él no se hubiera tomado la molestia, el esfuerzo y el trabajo, todo lo que viene a continuación no hubiera sido posible. Fiel al estilo del blog, el texto es bastante largo.

1. Desde mediados del año 2018 se puede acceder en la red a un blog bajo el nombre de “Help Catalonia. Democracy is under threat. Hasta primeros de diciembre, si se seleccionaba ‘Home’ no aparecía nada más que la carátula del blog sin más datos de identificación que los logos de “Crida per la República” arriba a la izquierda y de “Omnium. Llengua, cultura, país” arriba a la derecha. Seleccionando “About” se accedía al texto de una carta en varios idiomas de apoyo internacional a unos “Electoral Commissioners” del 1-0 (Referéndum ilegal del 1º de Octubre de 2017). Quien entrara en este blog sin conocer de antemano qué es “Crida per la República” y “Omnium” no disponía de ningún otro elemento realmente informativo sobre qué personas concretas ni de qué instituciones académicas estaban detrás de este sitio web y/o de la carta de apoyo. Y cualquier experto que quisiera firmar no disponía de información en tiempo real sobre el número o la identidad de los colegas que ya hubieran firmado hasta ese momento. Se trataba, pues, del típico caso de sitio web diseñado expresamente con unas dosis de falta de claridad y de fiabilidad, con evidentes dificultades a la hora de pasar los test de fiabilidad de páginas web disponibles, por ejemplo, en los programas de alfabetización informacional de las bibliotecas universitarias, o en este divertido juego “Fakey”. Es de suponer que estos expertos abajo firmantes será eso lo primero que habrán aprendido a practicar para poder luego enseñarlo a sus alumnos en esas distinguidas instituciones académicas en las que prestan sus expertos servicios.

Para comodidad de nuestros lectores se reproduce aquí el conocido texto de la carta en castellano: “Con esta carta queremos expresar nuestra indignación por la decisión de la justicia española de encausar a dos politólogos y a tres juristas. Concretamente, los politólogos Jordi Matas (catedrático, Universitat de Barcelona), Tània Verge (profesora contratada doctora, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona) y los juristas Marc Marsal (profesor asociado, Universitat de Barcelona), Josep Pagès (profesor asociado, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona) y Marta Alsina fueron nombrados miembros de la Sindicatura Electoral en septiembre de 2017 por el Parlamento de Cataluña para supervisar el referéndum de autodeterminación celebrado el 1 de octubre de 2017. El gobierno español impugnó la legalidad de este referéndum y unos diez días antes de su realización, el Tribunal Constitucional obligó a todos los síndicos electorales a dimitir mediante la imposición de una multa de 12.000 euros por persona por día mientras permanecieran en el cargo. A pesar de su renuncia, la justicia española dio un paso más y decidió procesar a los miembros de la Sindicatura Electoral. Se les imputan los delitos de “desobediencia” y “usurpación de funciones” y se enfrentan a la posibilidad real de hasta dos años y nueve meses de prisión.
Probablemente sea la primera vez en la historia de la Unión Europea que unos politólogos y juristas son amenazados con pena de prisión por hacer su trabajo, un hecho indignante y desproporcionado. Al fin y al cabo, el único “delito” de estos politólogos y juristas consistió en utilizar su experiencia para garantizar que el referéndum se realizara de manera justa e imparcial. Al hacerlo, actuaron a petición del Parlamento de Cataluña, que tenía en ese momento un mandato legal válido derivado de la Ley 19/2017 sobre el referéndum de autodeterminación de Cataluña. Nuestros colegas no hicieron nada ilegal, ya que el Código Penal español no contiene ninguna disposición específica que prohíba la organización de referéndums, incluso cuando no cuentan con la autorización del gobierno central. Por lo tanto, su enjuiciamiento no solo es espurio, sino que se basa en motivos políticos, constituyendo una flagrante violación de derechos humanos.
Nosotros, los abajo firmantes, profesores de ciencia política, derecho y otras disciplinas, denunciamos la persecución de los derechos democráticos y civiles básicos en España. No nos posicionamos en esta carta sobre la independencia de Cataluña, sino que condenamos firmemente la ilegalidad de encarcelar a alguien por sus ideas políticas. La comunidad global de profesores universitarios muestra su indignación por el procesamiento de nuestros colegas y exige la retirada inmediata de la amenaza de pena de prisión, así como el cierre de la causa penal abierta contra ellos”.

2. Desde principios de diciembre de 2018, al seleccionar “About” aparece ya una lista de firmantes, con nombres y apellidos e instituciones académicas a las que pertenecen, en apoyo de esos “Electoral Commissioners” del 1-0, pero coincidiendo con la noticia de tales firmas y de otras declaraciones y comunicados de diversas asociaciones profesionales británicas, estadounidenses y canadienses en diversos medios de Cataluña y, muy especialmente, en The Guardian. Es decir, las listas de firmantes se hacen públicas en el blog como parte imprescindible de la campaña de propaganda entre los medios pro-independentistas sobre el éxito internacional entre los profesionales académicos de las ciencias políticas del apoyo a los síndicos electorales catalanes encausados.

3. En el blog se da cuenta de que el 26 de noviembre se recibió el apoyo a la carta por parte de la Political Science [sic] Association del Reino Unido. En efecto, en el blog de la PSA-UK (Political Studies Association) mantenido por su CEO Phil Sooben, bajo el título “Speaking out for Academic Freedom”, se incluía el siguiente comentario: “Last week we gave our support to those colleagues in Catalonia who acted as impartial expert observers of the independence referendum. They are now threatened with imprisonment. The PSA added its name to an open letter circulating to universities across the world. As this letter states very clearly, this is not about taking sides in the independence debate. While we do not seek to take a position on Catalonia’s independence in this letter, we firmly condemn the illegality of imprisoning someone because of her or his political beliefs.”
Ante las reacciones suscitadas (entre ellas la nuestra, ya que enviamos a Phil Sooben una traducción de la entrada de Cita Falsa Cartas desde la ignorancia), el 3 de diciembre el propio Phil Sooben volvió a publicar una nueva entrada “Academic Freedom – an update and response”, con el siguiente texto: “We have since received correspondence from a group of colleagues who wish to provide a different perspective on the issue and in the interests of openness we are also making this available to read here to allow everyone to reach their own informed position on the matter”. Hay que decir en honor de la profesionalidad de la PSA-UK y de sus ejecutivos que siempre han respondido inmediatamente a nuestras peticiones de aclaración y/o envío de información adicional.
Obsérvese que el enlace a la “open letter” es exactamente al blog “HelpCatalonia. Democracy is under threat”. Por tanto, no se trata de una carta que esté circulando por las universidades de todo el mundo, sino de una entrada de blog al que hay que acceder expresamente, probablemente previa indicación de alguien implicado en el tema de la carta; obsérvese igualmente cómo en el blog HelpCatalonia sigue sin incluirse el enlace a la segunda entrada del CEO de la PSA-UK Phil Sooben, pese a nuestra petición expresa a través de un comentario en la entrada del blog no aceptado y, por tanto, tampoco publicado. Lo cual añade, evidentemente, un grado más de objetividad y de fiabilidad al blog “HelpCatalonia. Democracy is under threat”.

4. Igualmente se lee en el blog que el 30 de noviembre la American Political Science Association (APSA) de los Estados Unidos también envió su apoyo, junto con una carta dirigida al Primer Ministro de España exigiéndole retirar todos los cargos contra los “electoral observers”. Nos dirigimos igualmente al órgano de gobierno de la APSA adjuntándoles la traducción de la entrada del blog “Cartas desde la ignorancia”. Recibimos respuesta del Presidente de la APSA asegurándonos que iban a poner una nota de aclaración. Esa nota de aclaración es la que figura al comienzo de la carta al Presidente Sánchez. He aquí su texto: “Some have written to express concerns over APSA’s recent letter addressing the prosecutions in Spain of political scientists and jurists appointed to an Electoral Commission by the Parliament of Catalonia. The American Political Science Association takes no position over the constitutionality or desirability of Catalonian secession and shares a deep commitment to the rule of law in democratic societies. Our intent is not to decide issues in the Catalonian situation that are legitimately in dispute. Our mission as an association is to protect scholars and their academic freedom. We are always deeply concerned when scholars face prosecution for expression of political views or for contributing their expertise to public life”.

5. Finalmente, en el blog se informa de que el 5 de diciembre la Canadian Political Science Association (CPSA-ACSP) también ha hecho pública una carta dirigida al Primer Ministro de España exigiéndole retirar todos los cargos contra los “electoral observers”. Del mismo modo, nos dirigimos inmediatamente a la Directora General Silvina Danesi enviándole el texto en inglés de la entrada “Cartas desde la ignorancia”. Nos respondió inmediatamente comunicándonos que pasaría la información a la Presidencia de la Asociación. No hemos vuelto a tener noticias al respecto, pero en su sitio sigue apareciendo la carta al Primer Ministro Sánchez y enlaces al blog de HelpCatalonia, a la carta de la APSA y a la PSA-UK, pero en este caso solo al primer comunicado y no a la actualización y respuesta, con lo que se podría dudar de la profesionalidad y de la ecuanimidad de la dirección de esta asociación en este punto.

6. Ante todas estas noticias relativas a la toma de posición de estas asociaciones en relación con el tema que nos ocupa, el día 1 de diciembre nos dirigimos a la Asociación Española de Ciencia Política y de la Administración (AECPA) con el siguiente correo electrónico: “Hola, me dirijo a Vdes. para rogarles me indiquen dónde se puede consultar la respuesta, si es que la ha habido, de esa Asociación ante la carta dirigida al Presidente Sánchez por la APSA en relación con las acusaciones a los miembros de la Sindicatura electoral ilegal catalana para el referéndum de octubre 2017. Como en la carta de la APSA se hace referencia a informes de colegas y de prensa, ello podría dar a entender que la APSA ha acudido a su organización profesional hermana en España para contrastar las versiones antes de afirmar lo que afirman. Espero de la honestidad y de la seriedad académica atribuibles en principio a este tipo de organizaciones profesionales que hagan pública su posición al respecto, dado que se trata de un tema de la mayor relevancia profesional. Quedo a la espera de su información. Atentos saludos.”
Ni se recibió acuse de recibo a este correo ni se ha conocido hasta la fecha de hoy, 30 de diciembre, qué haya podido hacer o dejado de hacer la AECPA. Y lo que ha ocurrido lo relata con detalle y acertadamente el diario El Mundo en esta noticia: “El ‘procés’ causa un cisma en la Ciencia Política”. No nos resistimos a copiar para nuestros lectores las palabras del Prof. Llera en ese artículo, ya que resume perfectamente la posición que a nosotros nos llevó a plantear humildemente nuestra batalla: Francisco Llera, director del Euskobarómetro y también miembro fundador de la asociación, es concluyente: “La Aecpa no está dando una respuesta rápida, contundente y adecuada, por lo que, probablemente sin quererlo, está contribuyendo a hacer verosímiles los pronunciamientos internacionales, poniendo en serio riesgo la cohesión de nuestra comunidad científica y erosionando seriamente la autoridad representativa de su dirección”. Respecto a los pronunciamientos oficiales de las asociaciones internacionales, considera que “son absolutamente reprobables por improvisadas, sin el necesario contraste, nada diplomáticas, irrespetuosas, innecesarias y, sobre todo, totalmente sesgadas por la intoxicación del sistema de fake news desplegado por la diplomacia académico/política del independentismo financiado por la Generalitat“”.

7. El periódico británico The Guardian publicó el 7 de diciembre una carta algo distinta con las firmas. En el artículo de The Guardian se habla de “electoral monitors” en el título, pero en el texto de la carta firmada se dice que fueron nombrados “members of the electoral commission” del Referéndum del 1-O. Se afirma en la carta firmada que el poder judicial español los acusa de desobediencia y de usurpación de funciones a pesar de que el Tribunal Constitucional los obligó a dimitir bajo amenaza de multa. Y que ellos lo único que hicieron fue actuar a petición del Parlamento de Cataluña, que en aquel momento tenía un mandato legal válido. Y terminan los firmantes declarando que no adoptan ninguna posición sobre la independencia de Cataluña, y que lo único que exigen es “the immediate removal of the threat of a prison sentence and the dropping of all criminal charges against them”. Por otro lado, obsérvese la diferencia entre este texto de la PSA-UK (“we firmly condemn the illegality of imprisoning someone because of her or his political beliefs”) y el de The Guardian (“demand of inmediate removal of the threat… and the dropping of all criminal charges”…).

Si los firmantes de la carta aparecida en The Guardian han firmado el texto disponible en el blog HelpCatalonia, es evidente que alguien ha cambiado la redacción final para The Guardian sin consultarles, ya que ese es el texto que sigue disponible en el blog a día de hoy junto con sus firmas. En cualquier caso, el día 8 de diciembre nos dirigimos al defensor del lector (Readers’ Editor) de The Guardian informándole de las inexactitudes y desinformaciones incluidas en su texto y poniendo en tela de juicio la objetividad del periódico. No hemos recibido respuesta del citado defensor.

8. El 8 de diciembre la Société Québecoise de Science Politique (SQSP) hizo pública también una carta al gobierno español sobre el tema. Merece la pena copiar aquí exactamente el tenor académico y profesional de la carta de los expertos de Québec: “En vista de la decisión del gobierno español de procesar a varios politólogos y juristas quienes, en el ejercicio de sus funciones de investigadores, han actuado a título de observadores ante la Comisión Electoral, con el fin de estudiar el desarrollo del referéndum sobre la autodeterminación de Cataluña el 1er de octubre de 2017, la Sociedad Quebequense de Ciencia Política desea expresar sus más profundas preocupaciones respecto al incumplimiento de los valores y principios de las democracias liberales. De hecho, las acusaciones de “desobediencia” y de “usurpación de funciones” contra el profesor Jordi Matas (Universitat de Barcelona), la profesora asociada Tània Verge (Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona) y los juristas Marc Marsal (Universitat de Barcelona) y Josep Pagès (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona), van en contra de la libertad de expresión y la primacía de la ley, lo que, a su vez, socava la libertad académica. Esperamos fervientemente que estos desafíos cruciales para la vida política de su país se desarrollen de manera justa, constructiva y democrática. Por este motivo, insistimos para que su gobierno deje de intimidar a los académicos y que retire estas acusaciones, que son peligrosas para la salud de la vida democrática”.
Ante tamaña tergiversación y manipulación, nos dirigimos a la citada asociación el día 13 de Diciembre con el siguiente correo electrónico: “Colleagues, for your information, please find attached a document written by a jurist and lawyer on the real facts and the sound legal reasons behind the prosecution of these Catalan colleagues. Let me tell you how astonished I am about the level of misinformation and manipulation your association is willing to accept and act upon. If all your activities follow the same low standards of ethical and professional balance then you cannot be taken seriously as a “learned” society. Regards”. A este correo ha respondido el Presidente de la Asociación agradeciendo el envío de información adicional y prometiendo llevar el tema al Consejo de Administración de la asociación para discutirlo.

9. Ese documento redactado por un jurista y abogado a que se refiere el punto anterior no es otro que un nuevo texto, más aséptico y académico, en forma de carta que preparamos el día 10 de Diciembre bajo el título de “Letter of concern for concerned colleagues”, para circularlo entre los firmantes de la carta de The Guardian y del blog Help Catalonia. He aquí el contenido exacto de la carta:
“Dear Professor,
After reading the letter published in The Guardian on Dec., the 7th, 2018, under the title “Grave concern for electoral monitors facing jail in Spain” (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/dec/07/grave-concern-for-electoral-monitors-facing-jail-in-spain), and apparently signed by more than 400 academics in the fields of political science, law and other disciplines, I think it is in the interest of science in general as well as of these scientific disciplines, their practitioners and the real people to benefit from their progress, to call your attention to the following facts which might have been inadvertently overlooked by the promoters of the letter. These facts might have as well led the signatories of the letter to different conclusions on the reasons behind the prosecution:

  • The defendants Mr. Jordi Matas, Mrs. Tània Verge, Mr. Marc Marsal, Mr. Josep Pagès and Mrs. Marta Alsina were appointed as members of the Central Electoral Commission of Catalonia by way of Decision 807/XI from the regional Parliament of Catalonia dated Sept., the 7th. 2017. (From a strictly political science mind frame and doctrine, notice the difference between “electoral monitors” in the news title and the “electoral commission members” in the text of the Decision. Also from a strictly legal mind frame, notice the evidence that Catalonia had already in place an electoral commission appointed according to the general electoral law and regulations for the whole of Spain which have been complied with in so many local, regional, national and European elections and referendums ever since the late 1970’s)
  • On the same date, Sept., the 7th, 2017, the Spanish Constitutional Court accepted for consideration the appeal against this Decision 807/XI and suspended its implementation in full under art. 161.2 of the Spanish Constitution. This ruling was published in due course in the Boletín Oficial del Estado on Sept., the 8th. (https://www.boe.es/boe/dias/2017/09/08/pdfs/BOE-A-2017-10290.pdf). This publication serves as legal notification in person to the aforementioned defendants.
  • In addition, the Spanish Constitutional Court specifically decided to warn the defendants not to avoid nor ignore their duty of prevention of any activity in breach of the said suspension. They were also reminded that suspension included any activity whatsoever designed as implementation of the Act of Referendum also suspended, with the further warning that they could be subject to criminal charges and responsibilities.
  • In spite of all these warnings from the Constitutional Court, the defendants did keep taking and publishing their decisions as electoral commission about developments and implementation of the referendum, which had been suspended on Sept., the 7th 2017.
  • After taking due notice that its rulings were being disregarded in full by the defendants, the Constitutional Court decided to officially request them within a 48 hours deadline to report back to the Court about the measures being applied by them as to the effectiveness of suspension.
  • The defendants time and again kept disregarding the suspension by taking and publishing several decisions on electoral matters; so the Constitutional Court decided to impose the fines announced of 12000 Euros/day until the effective revocation of their decisions and regulations, as well as their subsequent resignation, as included in BOE (https://www.boe.es/diario_boe/txt.php?id=BOE-A-2017-10828)
  • It was only at that very date that the defendants effectively resigned as members of the electoral commission (obviously not as monitors). (Just for your information: the factual background of this case is very similar to the case resolved in favour of Spain by the European Court of Human Rights, Aumatell i Arnau v. Spain (application no. 70219/17) which can be found in French in the following link: https://hudoc.echr.coe.int/eng#{%22itemid%22:[%22001-186990%22]})

The prosecution (statement of charges in Spanish) of the defendants Matas, Verge, Marsal, Pagès and Alsina is based on the fact that they did disregard altogether the suspension of their appointments as members of a central electoral commission of Catalonia (not monitors) and did take and publish their decisions as such against the express rulings by the Constitutional Court. In the letter signed by political science and law experts it is stated that “…they acted at the request of the parliament of Catalonia, which had a valid legal mandate at the time.” As it is immediately clear from the links provided above, ever since Sept., the 7th., and even more after publication in the BOE the day after, the defendants knew quite well that their appointments had been suspended in full so that they were not allowed to go ahead with the implementation of the illegal referendum they were to organise and oversee as members of the electoral commission suspended.
These are the real facts and reasons for the prosecution of these defendants to be brought before an independent court in Catalonia, who will have to decide on the crimes committed/non committed and issue a sentence or acquittal of the defendants, after a trial in a case which could eventually reach the premises of the European Court of Human Rights (a court fully recognised, accepted and integrated into the judiciary branch in Spain).
Best regards,
Javier […], Jurist and lawyer”.

10. El día 11 de Diciembre se inició el envío de esta “Letter of concern for concerned colleagues” a los abajo firmantes “expertos en ciencias políticas, derecho y otras disciplinas” preocupados por la suerte de sus cinco colegas catalanes. La búsqueda de las direcciones de correo electrónico institucional de tales expertos nos ha servido para llegar a algunas conclusiones sobre la tipología de tales abajo firmantes y de sus circunstancias personales y/o académicas que podrían haberles llevado a prestar su apoyo a los textos de Help Catalonia sin percatarse, o percatándose, de las manipulaciones y tergiversaciones evidentes en los mismos. Estas conclusiones se expondrán con más detalle en el punto final de este informe. Ahora vamos a presentar de forma cronológica las escasas, pero ilustrativas, respuestas y reacciones recibidas al envío de nuestra “Letter of concern for concerned colleagues”. Por razones de estricta cortesía y de juego limpio académico no vamos a dar detalles de tipo personal e institucional que puedan servir de pista para una posible identificación de los autores de estos comentarios.

11. Una profesora estadounidense de ciencia política dice que no abre ficheros .pdf salvo que sepa qué hay en ellos, y pide que le ayudemos. Nuestra respuesta: Oh yes, no problem and thanks for your answer. It is a letter written by a jurist and lawyer offering accurate facts and sound legal opinion on the Catalan colleagues whose prosecution has caused a good amount of concern among fellow colleagues in the academia all around the world. And he is concerned about the fact that so many professors and researchers have signed the letter of concern without much real knowledge about the case. And in my opinion this is a clear sign that fake news and misinformation is too easily accepted by experts who should know their business. Irrespective of what everyone thinks about the Catalan issue. Thanks for your attention”. Por supuesto, ninguna respuesta adicional por su parte, de forma que no podemos saber si abrió el .pdf o no.

12. Un profesor estadounidense de derecho penal comenta: “I can’t resist pointing out that your letter, like the Rajoy government, assumes that it is legitimate to treat a quintessentially political dispute as a narrowly legal one. Your summary of facts makes it clear that the elected Catalan government was attempting to carry out its campaign promise to provide Catalonians an opportunity to express their views. In many countries, including the US, a “political question” doctrine allows and sometimes requires courts to decline jurisdiction of legal questions when they are indistinguishable from political ones. If only the Spanish courts had shown that good judgment rather than effectively conspired with the Rajoy government, much of the current mess and its violations of human rights could have been avoided and Catalonia and the central government could be working toward resolution”.
Nuestra respuesta: “I thank you very much for your answer to my letter of concern, on which I disagree. First of all, in your answer you apparently seem to accept the discourse favoured by the pro-independence parties (just to remember: 72 seats in the regional Parliament out of 135 seats; 47,8 % of voters), namely, that their political will allows them to declare the independence of Catalonia and abolish the Spanish Constitution. You might be aware that any change in the Catalan Statute of Autonomy requires the affirmative vote of at least 90 representatives; 72 votes are simply not enough. And Mr. Puigdemont has declared time and again that the Law of Referendum thus approved by the Catalan Parliament had created ex novo a new Catalan legality totally different from the Spanish one; even in his claim against the judge Llarena in Belgium he declares in writing that the Law of Referendum radically abolished the Spanish Constitution from Catalonia. Nevertheless, my letter of concern was not concerned at all with the above political-cum-legal issue. My concern here was about the fact that in the letter you gave support to the promoters did take for granted that five colleagues experts in electoral issues had been charged by the public prosecutor only because of their activity as monitors/observers in the referendum; the promoters of the letter didn’t even give any cue as to the actual presence of previous summons and warnings from the Constitutional Court. The absolute truth, easily corroborated through any fact-checking device available, is that the defendants were appointed, accepted and implemented their role as members of a truly Electoral Commission with the intention of offering an absolute appearance of legal validity to a referendum called for the only purpose of declaring the independence; so their prosecution is actually not a “political question”, as you put it, but a prosecution based on the fact that they disregarded altogether the summons and warnings from the Constitutional Court. After the trial, by means of the sentences issued by different courts, we all will be able to know whether they committed any type of crime or not. Sincerely,”
Hasta aquí el intercambio oficial. De forma más privada reconoció que la discusión no podía llegar a ningún sitio porque su postura y la nuestra partían de dos concepciones jurisprudenciales diferentes. Se le hizo ver que, en realidad, no se trataba de dos corpus jurisprudenciales diferentes, sino de puntos de partida diferentes dentro del continuum político-jurídico del caso: él se colocaba en el punto de partida, donde una cuestión política debe solventarse por medios políticos y no estrictamente judiciales; nosotros, sin embargo, nos colocamos en ese momento posterior en el que la solución política no ha sido posible por las razones que sean y una parte comienza a actuar saltándose el marco jurídico en vigor por las bravas. También se le hizo ver que el tema del referéndum no estaba incluido en los programas electorales ni en las promesas de la campaña de los partidos pro-independencia. Y se le preguntó qué pasaría en esos países donde él dice que el poder judicial debe abstenerse en un conflicto político si se produjera una situación como la de Cataluña, si en tal caso la fiscalía y el poder judicial de esos países deberían quedarse quietos y dejar que se implantara un nuevo ordenamiento jurídico al margen del existente para todo el país. Aquí ya no hubo respuesta. Pero el tono del debate fue estrictamente académico y sosegado.

13. He aquí los comentarios de un profesor estadounidense: “Thanks so much for the letter from your friend (?) Mr.[ …] Reading it, it becomes immediately clear that he has a deep familiarity with the Spanish legal code. What is less clear, however, is whether he is familiar with, or interested in, the question of legitimacy, something that has greatly concerned serious legal scholars and political philosophers throughout the ages. Legitimacy is the thing that separates those legal codes capable of consistently delivering a modicum of justice to the people in a society, from what we might call ornamental ones, those that look very good on paper, but ultimately fail because the people whose lives they are supposed to regulate do not substantially trust in the institutions and agents charged with executing their demands. In short, a legal code that is not mentally invested with legitimacy by the bulk of the people in the jurisdiction it is designed rule over quickly becomes a dead letter or what you in Spanish call papel mojado. Though the Spanish language media you and your friend no doubt consume assiduously may not have informed you of this, the Spanish judicial system currently enjoys very low levels of legitimacy in Catalonia, even among people who are not independentists. There are several quite logical reasons for this. The most immediately evident of these are the obscene manipulations carried out by the two major parties of the Spanish state in regard to the Tribunal Constitutional (TC) during the period in which the 2006 reform of the Catalan Statute of Autonomy was before that body. These barely disguised banana republic maneuvers designed to insure a vote that would substantially trim a statute voted on by the Catalan people and approved by the full Congress of Deputies in Madrid struck an enormous blow to the credibility, which is to say, the legitimacy of the Spanish legal system in Catalonia. But there is more. Long obscured but now fully coming to light in press coverage other than that produced within the Madrid-based media bubble, is the arguably deeper problem of a legal system that was more or less transplanted whole cloth from the one that ruled over the country during the Franco dictatorship. Thanks to the economic boom generated by the inflow of European adhesion funds during the 80s and 90s many of us (and I include myself here) were led to believe, or wanted to believe, that the famous “Transition to Democracy” had effected a sweeping overhaul of the key organs of the Spanish state. Now that the smoke of that ersatz economic prosperity has disappeared, we can see that this clearly was not the case. And as we today survey the organs of a state that we assumed had been fundamentally changed, we can see that the judicial corps is arguably the one that has remained most untouched by the supposed reformist airs of the Transition. Do you and your friend Mr. […] understand, as most who live in Catalonia and/or know Catalonia quite well now understand, that the Audiencia Nacional is simply a renamed version of the Francoist Tribunal de Orden Público, which, as your jurist friend no doubt knows, began as the Special Tribunal for the Repression of Masonry and Communism in 1940, shortly after Franco’s victory in the Civil War he and his golpista colleagues started in 1936? Or that the Consejo General del Poder Judicial, (CGPJ) was designed by Francoist jurists to act as a cartel to, among other things, insure that no judge open to any real rearrangement of territorial relations and/or intra-territorial power in Spain would ever be able to ascend to a position of significant power in the national judiciary? I could go on, but I think you get the idea. One of the more interesting, and in the end, ultimately pathetic recurrent phenomena in contemporary history is that of a group of elites who believe that by repeatedly trumpeting what they see as the unquestionable solidity of their particular position of power they will either win back, or scare into submission, those that no longer imbue them or their institutions with legitimacy. This seldom occurs. Rather, what usually occurs is that, after not listening to any dissident voices during their long filibusters on what they see as their self-evident legitimacy, they find out much too late, and much to their considerable dismay, that the discursive ground has radically shifted under their feet and that few truly believe any longer their self-important fairy tale. So please let Mr. […] know that he is free to continue reciting Spanish law chapter and verse to me and all of the others on this email list. However, if he is really interested in Spanish national unity and civic peace, which I assume he sincerely is, I believe his energies would be much better spent listening to others and trying to understand why—despite what El País, El Mundo, La Razón and a long list of others might be telling him— a clear majority of Catalans, regardless of their final views on independence, no longer imbue the system whose statutes he scrupulously cites with moral legitimacy. Sincerely, […] P.S. If your friend Mr. […] does not read English, I will gladly provide him with Castilian version of this letter in short order.”
Ante semejante clase de historia para principiantes, de estereotipos y de finura académica, nuestra respuesta no pudo ser más que la siguiente: “First of all, very many thanks for your response. Secondly, I would like to point out to you the fact that in your response you do rebut or refute not even a single objective fact of the many included in my letter. The letter of concern you gave your support to did start from a statement of facts which does not conform to reality. And this was exactly the sole subject of my arguments. Instead of focusing on my strictly defined arguments and the sources I provide, you choose to concentrate your response a) on the construct of legitimacy, a very interesting topic for sure, but not addressed in the letter you gave support to and not covered therefore in my own letter; b) on Franco, who is nothing to do with our debate but who is included by you as an argument “ad hominem” just to try to discredit the content of my letter; c) on the type of biased media sources you apparently know I peruse; as well as on many other arguments which are nothing to do with the facts on which the prosecution of the five members of the Electoral Commission is based. In my opinion it would have been more challenging and productive for the debate your straightforward response about the real facts covered in my text. Best regards”.
Y aquí está la segunda respuesta de dicho profesor: “Thanks for your response. When we look at the contents of our dialogue up until now, there emerges one clear reality: you are determined to keep the conversation on the terrain where you feel most comfortable which is, of course, the realm of legal codes and the state prosecutor’s application to the prosecution of Catalan transgressors. As I said in the close of my letter, you are more than free, if it makes you feel righteous and on the right side of history, to continue doing this. However, as I perhaps erroneously presumed, you are interested in a mutually beneficial solution (as opposed to a punitive “victory”) in regard the current Catalan problem, you would be wise to pay attention to the issues I raise. Why? Because they are very real to the bulk of the Catalan people whom I presume (perhaps again incorrectly) you want to have beside you as fellow citizens in peaceful and unified Spanish state. Perhaps an historical example might help you see what I am talking about. Sixty years ago several states in my home country had laws prohibiting the social mixing of black and white people in public spaces. Finally, in 1955 a black woman refused to give up her seat on a public bus and was arrested. Clearly, she had violated existing statutes of the law of her jurisdiction. And like you, the overwhelming majority of the whites in her state saw it as an open and shut case with nothing more to talk about, and, needless to say, clearly unconnected to the 250 legacy of slavery that had preceded the creation of the legal regime under which she was now living. Leaving aside the drastic differences in the day to day suffering of the people under the apartheid regime of the American south and current day Catalonia, the two cases have much in common in that those holding up the placard of law and order (you in this case and the southern whites in the other) thought that by eliminating all matters of legitimacy and context from the discussion, they would be able to safeguard the contours of their present life and the existing social order as they knew/know it. I am sure you know what eventually happened in the US south. The question of legitimacy, which you appear to want to avoid at all costs, brought down the statutory codes to which southern whites were deeply wedded psychologically and which most presumed were as solid as a writ from god. From a short term psychological point of view, your position is more than understandable. Who, after all, enjoys contemplating the possibility that the system to which he has devoted a long professional career might be on much shakier moral ground than he ever believed, both in terms of its origins and its acceptance by large swathes of the national citizenry? These are clearly upsetting things. When we are confronted with upsetting facts about things we hold near and dear we have basically two choices. The first is to try and block out the news that casts doubt upon all that we had believed to be true and right up until that time. The second is to reconsider the critiques others are making of the system we have embraced and whether they are legitimate, why they might see it the way they do, and what in our previous training might have blinded us to the substance of their complaints. You, like many whites in the America south in the 50s and 60s are clearly opting for the first option. Perhaps you are right and the Franco-designed legal regime you work within will crush the Catalan insurgency with the unceasing application of the statutes you brandish. Maybe that looks like a real possibility from where you sit. But from what I see and hear in Catalonia, that looks like a remote possibility indeed. So, if I am right, what will be the next step to bring the already disaffected Catalans back into the loving embrace of the Madre Patria? If you haven’t given any thought to that, perhaps you should. I don’t know how much of a movie fan you are, but there is one marvellous scene from the 1979 movie “Being There” that I particularly like and that I think applies nicely to the line of reasoning you present. The protagonist of the film is a fifty year old man who has never ventured outside the confines of his home and whose entire understanding of society has been exclusively shaped by television viewing. When he is finally expelled from the house, he roams the streets of Washington DC with his TV remote control unit in his hand. And when he comes across realities that disturb him he points the remote control device at the disturbing reality in the hopes of “changing the channel” on the upsetting sight before him. Needless to say, his efforts at changing reality through this mechanism are fruitless. So, as I said before continue by all means if you like to brandish your remote control, I mean, book of statues, before the Catalan reality. Just don’t be too surprised if the results are similar to those achieved by Chauncey Gardner, the protagonist of “BeingThere”. Sincerely,”

Como bien se puede comprender, tras la primera clase de historia para principiantes, de estereotipos y de finura académica, una segunda clase de psicoanálisis y de cinematografía ya era demasiado como para contestar. Y tras unos nuevos intercambios no oficiales donde este profesor se mostró cada vez más subido de tono y de indignación, académica, por supuesto, no hubo más remedio que cortar el hilo. Pero no sin que antes otro profesor estadounidense de estudios hispánicos mostrara su acuerdo total con él; y otro profesor estadounidense de ciencia política calificara nuestras posiciones como “penosamente inmaduras”, así como de “borderline fascist” nuestra incapacidad para reflexionar sobre temas de justicia sustancial y nuestro empeño en mantener el debate en las formalidades legales. Todo ello afirmado sin pestañear por un abajo firmante experto en ciencia política que había apoyado una carta donde nada de eso se suscita y donde se dice expresamente que no se entra en el debate de la independencia de Cataluña. Y, por supuesto, resulta mucho más maduro intelectual y éticamente el tachar de casi fascista a quien no se deja enredar en el debate que a este profesor le interesa para tapar el hecho de que ha firmado un escrito absolutamente manipulado y desinformado.

14. Un profesor irlandés respondió escuetamente: “Best wishes and solidarity”. Nuestra respuesta: lo mismo para él y su familia.

15. Una profesora de Polonia comentó: “Dear Sir, thank you for sending a letter with arguments. Unfortunately I am not convinced. As far as I can see, Spanish Prosecutors and Constitutional Court have only one answer to Catalan claims – NO. For me Spanish Constitution is a cage well design by Franco, an idol of many Spanish, as far as I know. In European Union we solve such problems in a democratic way, with ballot boxes. Spain conquered Catalonia but Catalan nation has not assimilate, they identity is strong enough to survive. I am representing Poland and my country was in a similar situation, controlled by Germany, Russia and Austria. We had more luck, though Russia does not give up. I know that Spain will never stop and never let Catalonia go without violence as we could see today in Barcelona [enlace a la cobertura por el diario independentista escocés ‘The National’ del 21-D]. Best regards”.
Ante tamaña e irrefutable evidencia de su condición de experta en el tema y de la validez de sus fuentes de información, nuestra respuesta no podía ser otra que reiterarle lo evidente: que nuestra carta no tenía nada que ver con una posición favorable o desfavorable a la independencia de Cataluña, ni con una comparación entre los niveles de democracia en España o en Polonia, sino solo y exclusivamente con la desinformación y la manipulación de los hechos incluidos en la carta por ella firmada. Aunque su respuesta inmediata consistió en el bloqueo de nuestra cuenta de correo, un profesor alemán de ciencia política quiso seguir el hilo con un airado correo donde se manifestaba extremadamente irritado por determinadas cuestiones formales en nuestra comunicación, no siendo la menor el hecho de que no descubriéramos nuestra condición profesional y la institución académica a la que servíamos, lo cual no puede estar dentro de los “accepted ways of scholarly interaction”. Una vez más nuestra respuesta no pudo ser más simple: resulta obvio que dentro de esas “vías aceptadas de interacción académica” está también incluido el firmar una carta de apoyo a unos colegas catalanes cargada de desinformaciones y de manipulaciones llevadas a cabo por sus promotores; promotores que hicieron todo lo que estuvo en su mano para dejar claros sus nombres y sus afiliaciones institucionales en el blog donde se albergó la carta original, tal y como cualquiera que acceda al blog HelpCatalonia podrá comprobar por sí mismo. Por supuesto, a esta respuesta no hubo reacción, ya que la única posible habría sido muy sencilla y muy difícil a la vez: “Touché”.

16. La última comunicación hasta la fecha es la que más nos puede llegar al alma. Se trata de la de un profesor alemán: “Muchísimas gracias, estimado colega […]! I agree that the issue is very complex but, in the quest for Catalan independence, at one point you have to take a position that will clash with the law of the land. If you firmly believe that this land is NOT YOUR land, then, sooner or later the time will come to take sides. So, technically, I think, one may feel compelled to follow the reasoning “outlined in your document. But again, when it comes to the procés, we are not anymore the realm of reasoning. And, as you may know, for me Catalan independence is dear to my heart. It is a calling that will never go away. I hope to live to see it in new Europe, not in the present EU. I am very outspoken about it. As a matter of fact, as pathetic it may sound, I feel more Catalan than German: [… enlaces]. Muy cordialmente,”. Como es obvio, ante tal declaración de sentimientos personales, la única respuesta posible consiste en decirle que nadie tiene derecho a calificar sus sentimientos de “patéticos”; y que lo realmente patético es ver cómo muchas personas necesitan reafirmar sus identidades solo y sobre todo despreciando a los otros, lo cual no deja de parecernos “sehr traurig”.

CONCLUSIONES:
Como ya hemos dicho, la cita anterior del Prof. Llera nos libera totalmente de tener que ahondar en la filosofía última que nos llevó a reaccionar -desinformación, manipulación, tergiversación, falta a la verdad- como lo hicimos ante las firmas de apoyo de expertos en ciencia política, derecho y otras disciplinas y, sobre todo, ante las cartas al Presidente del Gobierno español de unas asociaciones y entidades profesionales de las que cabía esperar, en principio, unos niveles de ética y juego limpio profesional mucho mayores de los que han demostrado con este caso.
En cualquier caso, la experiencia/experimento nos ha confirmado nuestra impresión de que las noticias falsas, la desinformación y la manipulación encuentran también muy fácil expansión en las torres de marfil académicas por algunas de las siguientes razones:

  1. Manifestación inmediata de solidaridad corporativa: se trata de colegas injustamente perseguidos por el poder/estado, de manera que la acusación “solamente” puede ser debida a la arbitrariedad.
  2. Sesgo disciplinar: según el perfil de las respuestas y la asunción por parte de organizaciones profesionales, los acusados son expertos en cuestiones electorales que solo han aportado su pericia cuando así se lo han pedido y las cuestiones legales son cuestiones formales sin relevancia de ningún tipo.
  3. Funcionamiento tradicional de los colegios invisibles en la academia: las conexiones interpersonales y la participación –anterior, actual y futura- en proyectos conjuntos de investigación o de docencia con universidades catalanas pueden peligrar. [Esta conclusión y las dos siguientes se obtienen del examen de los perfiles profesionales de parte de los firmantes; no detallamos nombres, ni hacemos listados, ni nada parecido. Esto es un blog con comentarios y no una búsqueda de desafectos. Como siempre, quien se lo quiera creer, bien; y quien no, también]
  4. Conexiones académicas directas de los abajo firmantes con universidades catalanas, o bien porque han estudiado allí, han hecho sus tesis doctorales, etc.
  5. Conexiones de tipo personal y activismo pro-independencia de algún miembro de departamentos en los que han firmado buena parte de sus componentes. En algún caso, no solo nos hemos topado con enlaces a Vilaweb y otros medios de desinformación como canales de verdadera información, según nuestros interlocutores, sino que también han participado activamente en actos pro-secesión.
  6. Con base a las tres anteriores consideraciones y el lenguaje utilizado, extraer que los comunicados son fruto del activismo proveniente del mismo secesionismo -oficial o extraoficial- es algo automático.
  7. Facilidad de identificación con el supuesto débil contra el fuerte. Se trata de un mecanismo de simpatía harto conocido que, contra lo que se pudiera pensar en el ámbito académico, se encuentra muy extendido.
  8. Un aspecto común de las respuestas recibidas ha consistido en soslayar los hechos que de forma objetiva se detallaban sobre la acusación. Sí que ha habido justificaciones de carácter pseudohistórico, la atribución de unas esencias a un determinado colectivo o, en definitiva, el recurso a Franco (el Francoland sobre el que un día escribió Antonio Muñoz Molina) como argumento explicativo para situar el debate fuera de lo académico, que, supuestamente, era el marco de las cartas y comunicados. En realidad, escudados en los prejuicios, NADIE ha respondido a los hechos y sí se ha respondido con cuestiones ajenas al academicismo que supuestamente daría soporte a los comunicados.

Todos estos factores, individualmente o en constelación, explican la facilidad y disponibilidad para estampar la firma en unos textos absolutamente inasumibles desde la lógica académica. En la noticia de El Mundo se cita a otro académico, José Ramón Montero, en términos muy claros (y académicos): “Están hablando de España como si fuera Turquía; muchos colegas internacionales nos preguntan qué está pasando en nuestro país y si tenemos democracia. La carta de la APSA no sería publicada en una revista académica por ignorancia del funcionamiento de la política democrática y por falta de veracidad y rigor“.

Ahora bien, lo que en esta experiencia/experimento nos ha llamado más la atención es la absoluta falta de nivel y de rigor de las asociaciones profesionales de USA, Canadá y Reino Unido lanzándose a redactar unas cartas dirigidas al Presidente de un gobierno democrático en las que le urgen a que retire de inmediato las acusaciones contra los colegas, basadas en unos hechos respecto de los que, cuando se les ha ofrecido una base objetiva -y al margen de la posición que cada uno ocupe respecto a la secesión- o bien responden cambiando de asunto (Franco, etc) o bien introducen unos términos que nada tienen que ver con los postulados y argumentos iniciales de su carta.

Como colofón a todo ello, asumimos lo que dice el Prof. Llera y que, de hecho, forma parte de nuestras conclusiones, en el sentido de que esas declaraciones oficiales “son absolutamente reprobables por improvisadas, sin el necesario contraste, nada diplomáticas, irrespetuosas, innecesarias y, sobre todo, totalmente sesgadas por la intoxicación del sistema de fake news desplegado por la diplomacia académico/política del independentismo financiado por la Generalitat“”. Y es que cuesta no ver la mano del secesionismo institucional en la redacción y promoción de los comunicados.

Esperemos que -y en coherencia con los comunicados que hemos visto- en un futuro los Colegios de Abogados de USA, Canadá y Reino Unido no se dirijan al Presidente Trump para solicitarle la retirada inmediata de los cargos de la Fiscalía y del Departamento de Justicia contra ese inocente colega abogado (Michael Cohen) acusado torticeramente de poner su pericia y sus conocimientos jurídicos al servicio de un tal… Donald Trump.