A new scandal has emerged in Spain, concerning a group of high-ranking police officers who worked in cahoots with the former PP Minister of the Interior, Jorge Fernández Díaz, and the Rajoy government to pursue “opponents of the State" (such as the Catalan separatists and Podemos), and sabotage the investigation of major corruption cases. This so-called "cesspit of the state” is yet further confirmation of what is already common knowledge: the state and so-called “free press” are rotten to the core.
The plots unveiled against Podemos are based on fabricated evidence and false accusations, with the involvement of important bourgeois media outlets. This is not an accidental event resulting from a few "bad apples", a bad government or rogue journalists. It is an essential part of the structure and functioning of this apparatus of repression, whose objective (as in all ‘democratic’ capitalist countries) is to target those considered a threat to the system, and preserve the domination of the rich and powerful.
The “Patriotic Brigade”
The so-called Patriotic Brigade was officially "dismantled", according to Socialist minister Grande-Marlaska, although many of its members remain in the police force, some in high-ranking positions. The patriotic brigade interfered with many corruption cases involving the PP and even the royal family (as in the Nóos case, which implicated the King’s brother-in-law, Iñaki Urdangarin).
Their connections spread (and continue to spread) across the judiciary, both in the high and lower courts in Madrid and other cities. In the course of the “Bárcenas case”, a hired assassin broke into the house of PP Treasurer, Luis Bárcenas (who was under investigation for corruption), to steal material pertaining to the related Gürtel case (another corruption scandal implicating the PP, in which Bárcenas was eventually found guilty). The assassin also stole information that incriminated the PP in the payment of bonuses to ministers and former prime ministers (Aznar and Rajoy). At the centre of all these plots has been former police chief, José Manuel Villarejo.
Dirty war against Podemos
The case that is now receiving plenty of media coverage concerns 'special jobs' done by the patriotic brigade from late 2015 to mid-2016, commissioned by the Rajoy government, to discredit Podemos and its leaders. It consisted of accusing Podemos leaders of receiving finances from the governments of Venezuela and Iran (based on false evidence) and the leaking of personal messages from a stolen mobile phone belonging to the former top aide of Pablo Iglesias in the European Parliament, Dina Bousselham.
The false reports on the financing of Podemos contained in the PISA Report (acronym of Pablo Iglesias ltd.), as well as some private comments and personal photos from the stolen phone, were published by Okdiario: a digital magazine connected to the patriotic brigade and Villarejo. The contents of the stolen phone were found on Villarejo's personal computer, and a copy of the memory card was sent to Antonio Asensio, owner of Interviú magazine, and possibly to more companies. It is worth remembering that Okdiario was founded in September 2015 by Eduardo Inda, specifically in service of this underhand plot. According to the journalist Ernesto Ekáizer, for setting up this site, Eduardo Inda was given credit of €500,000 by a public company, ENISA. ENISA is a subsidiary of the Ministry of Industry, dedicated to subsidising business projects. The link between the patriotic brigade, the Rajoy government and Okdiario would soon be brought to light.
There is a dark aspect to this plot that somewhat taints PSOE. According to Villarejo, the contents of the stolen mobile phone were delivered to him in a "pendrive" by the then-chief editor of Interviú, Alberto Pozas, who was, up until now, General Director of National Information. He has resigned from that post "so as not to damage the Sánchez government", without denying emphatically what Villarejo affirmed. Pozas was executive consultant for the State Department of Communication from 1989-1992 and spokesperson of the Secretary of State for Security under Rafael Vera, during the government of Felipe González. Vera was sentenced to prison time, together with former Minister José Barrionuevo in 1998 as the main culprits behind GAL (Anti-Terrorist Liberation Group): a paramilitary group that assassinated ETA and Abertzale (Basque nationalist) militants in Spain and France. Whether Villarejo confirmed it or not, it is undeniable that the link between Pozas and the patriotic brigade is longstanding, and its role in the plot against Podemos must be clarified.
The scandal has continued, with more audio leaks containing statements from senior police officers involved in this plot, in which they mention that they followed government orders from former PP Minister Fernández Díaz and former Prime Minister Rajoy.
One of the most significant recordings that has been leaked was made by the police themselves. It relates to an interview at the Spanish embassy in New York between José Ángel Fuentes Gago (Chief Inspector of the Police and member of the Police General Secretariat) and Rafael Isea (a former Venezuelan Finance Minister for Hugo Chávez who has defected). The objective was for Isea to accuse Podemos leaders of having received money for consultancy work for the Venezuelan government when they worked for the CEPS Foundation (Centre for Political and Social Studies), eight years before the foundation of Podemos! In return, the Rajoy government would grant Isea Spanish citizenship, a new identity and a well-paid job in Spain. Isea did what was asked: he authenticated a photocopy of the supposed official payment document, despite having acknowledged that he never saw the original document. Isea was tricked, like a naive child. The alleged document was published by Okdiario, and replicated in numerous media outlets, but Isea never received the reward he was promised.
Although all the political and journalistic world knew about the falsity of the accusations at the time, the right and its prostitute press lent it validity, and the PSOE participated in the operation with a colluding silence. Today, amidst the scandal, the parties of the regime continue to maintain a conspiratorial silence: shrugging their shoulders, without openly denouncing this blatant mafia behaviour of the state.
The link between the media and large companies
"In 2015, the elites looked on with terror at the arrival of Podemos to the government and made a decision to avoid it."
As we said at the beginning, it is not about individual actions of "bad apples" but about a conscious and planned move of the ruling class against its political opponents, which is much more dangerous.
David Jímenez explains something elementary for every Marxist and left activist, but that is not clear to ordinary people:
"When we talk about political power or economic power or media power, we speak as if they were independent of each other. And it isn’t like that. It is a triumvirate of power. They have common interests and when the machinery is put into motion and they want to crush someone, the three powers are put into operation..."
"The BBVA, for example, is a bank that had a fund designated to buy off journalists and finance the media of like-minded journalists... The IBEX 35 [the 35 largest companies on the Spanish stock market] pays the press much more money than it receives from its readership. One goes to the obituary of Emilio Botín [deceased CEO of Santander] and does not find a defect. That is not a coincidence, it means that, in the end, all the favours that IBEX 35 does for the press are paid back in one way or another, when compromised information turns up... "
How did the "cesspit" come about?
The peculiarity of the state apparatus in Spain is that it proceeds directly, without change, from the Franco regime; it was flooded with criminals, torturers, opportunists and bullies, who accumulated enormous privileges, and a certain freedom of to act, as payment for services rendered to the Spanish ruling class during the 40 years of the regime.
This state within the constitutional state itself acts at will without keeping records, knowing that the cowardly Socialist ministers will not dare to confront it. This explains why torturers like Antonio González Pacheco "Billy the Kid", besides keeping his medals and pension for services rendered, could participate in the official ceremony of the "Day of the Police" in the police station of Ciudad Lineal (Madrid), invited by the event organiser José Manuel Mariscal de Gante on 4 October 2018.
On 12 October 2018, the convicted coup plotter of 23 February, Antonio Tejero, participated in an official function by the Civil Guard, to commemorate the day of its patron saint (Virgen del Pilar), in the Rincón de la Victoria barracks (Málaga), invited by the local Commander Miguel Gallardo. Hundreds of former retired Army officers, who occupied the highest positions in the army under the 'democracy', and some still active, signed the manifesto in support of Franco and against his exhumation and removal from the Valley of the Fallen.
Dozens of Francoist judges have stood out in recent years for boycotting the Law of Historical Memory, preventing the change or elimination of Francoist street names and monuments throughout the country. The colonel of the Civil Guard, Diego Pérez de los Cobos, who led the repression force against the referendum on Catalan self-determination on 1 October 2017, is the son of a former leader of Fuerza Nueva de Murcia. He volunteered at the barracks of the Civil Guard of Yecla (Murcia) to support the 23 February coup, and in 1997 he was accused of torturing an ETA prisoner. His brother was president of the Constitutional Court that ruled the unconstitutionality of the Estatut: ground zero for the massive Catalan independence movement. Interestingly, Pérez de los Cobos did not begin his career within the executive of the state under PP control, but under PSOE when the then-Socialist Minister of Interior, Pérez Rubalcaba, appointed him as an adviser in 2006.
It was in this network of impunity of the state and police apparatus where the ex-commissioner Villarejo, along with his cronies in the police force (all of whom were active during the last years of the Franco regime) dedicated themselves to using their positions and the resources of the state to accumulate huge fortunes. They acted as mercenaries at the service of the highest bidder, without any control from popular representatives. They conducted espionage, reports, blackmail, scams and operations for the government of the day, for companies (e.g. BBVA), or for wealthy characters like Javier López Madrid (son-in-law of Juan Miguel Villar Mir construction magnate and ex Franco minister).
The institute "Schola Iuris", managed by Villarejo, formally set up to give masters courses in different legal disciplines, plays a key role in the setting up of relations between this patriotic brigade and the judicial apparatus. Notorious judges of the Supreme Court (such as Manuel Marchena, current Supreme Court President and Chief Judge of Procés), National Court, lawyers and State Prosecutors have taught courses and given conferences in this institute in exchange for considerable remunerations.
The "Villarejo case"
The bourgeois judiciary has had no choice but to attack Villarejo, prosecute him with multiple denouncements and keep him detained for a year and a half. This is because, buoyed up by his feeling of impunity, he has felt untouchable and gone beyond what is permissible in their shady dealings, affecting some important business interests with the danger of discrediting the state apparatus itself and the supposed fair play between large companies.
Now, Villarejo has nothing to lose. In an attempt to force his release and close the many cases that have been opened against him, or at least try to win himself a favourable agreement at the lowest possible cost, Villarejo has been dedicated for the past two years to leaking a vast amount of police recordings, both 'legal' and illegal, using his associated media platforms, such as Okdiario and Moncloa.es. The recordings, accumulated during decades of patriotic brigade activity, include some private conversations of Juan Carlos I, ministers and senior officials of the PP; and between the PSOE and businessmen, etc. concerning the Podemos case. It is clearly blackmail of the state, which will continue over the coming months, and whose conclusion is difficult to predict.
The state and regime: enemies of the working class
As Alberto Garzón rightly said a few days ago: the Podemos espionage case has come to light due to this conflict of interests within the state apparatus, but how many other cases of spying and dirty campaigns against the left, its leaders and social and trade union activists have there been? Or are still taking place and not yet come to light?
The bottom line is clear. We are governed by an oppressive, reactionary state, an enemy of the people and of the working class in particular, with its semi-detached media arm that serves it as a mouthpiece; and above them, a parasitic and corrupt oligarchy that handles IBEX 35, plus the 65 remaining largest companies that make up the Madrid Stock Exchange. All of them are in the hands of just 20 families, as Pablo Iglesias declared at his recent rally in Madrid on 23 March, while 200 families of super-rich exploiters control 85 percent of the country's wealth.
David Jiménez, not a leftist in the slightest, is forced in the interview cited to characterise this oligarchy, in a fit of sincerity, as follows:
"A kind of ghetto has been created for this ‘establishment’, people who go to X restaurant or the exclusive locale and only see people from that circle. Their contact with the reality of the country is minimal."
These are the people who do as their please with our lives, and make all the decisions for us.
The struggle to democratise the state apparatus, to clean up and throw out its accumulated rubbish of decades and centuries, is inextricably linked to the struggle for a democratic republic. One that uproots this state apparatus and its corrupt monarchy, to create a new one, under the democratic control of working families and other oppressed sections of society. And all this is possible only with the elimination of the economic power of this reactionary oligarchy, through the expropriation and collective ownership of large companies, banks and estates. This power, in the hands of the working class, will produce day-by-day for the interests and welfare of the vast majority.
The struggle for a democratic republic and socialism are one and the same. This is the idea that the leaders of Unidos Podemos should convey if they want to be consistent in this electoral campaign and beyond.