The Colombian terrorist group FARC had tentative plans to murder anti-FARC Colombians living in Madrid, according to the computer files captured during the raid into Ecuador. Interpol confirms that the information is authentic. Can our local moonbat left please stop kissing the feet of this gang of kidnappers, extortionists, drug traffickers, and murderers, and the clownish Mafia don Chavez who bankrolls them?
The Spanish real estate market has reached the status of "flaming gasbag," as housing sales were down 39% in the year ending in March. Secondhand housing sales were down 46%. 42% less money was lent out by banks in the form of mortgages. By the way, 98% of Spanish mortgages are variable-rate.
You may wonder why I've been paying so much attention to real estate; it's because the majority of most Spaniards' accumulated wealth is plowed into their dwelling, and when real estate prices drop everybody loses wealth, at least on paper. Nobody gains wealth, not the banks nor the government nor the big companies, contrary to the opinion of most folks, believers in the "physical fallacy."
My old boss, Federico Jimenez Losantos, the hard right-wing host of the morning program on Cope radio, is in trouble. Madrid mayor Ruiz-Gallardon has sued him for libel, since in 2006 Losantos claimed that Gallardon "didn't care" about the March 11, 2004 victims, though he planned to use them for political purposes, and that he was collaborating with the PSOE. The case has now come to court, and I think Losantos is going to lose. Some big wheels have been called to testify, including Aguirre, Acebes, and Zaplana, along with the editor of El Mundo, Pedro J. Ramirez.
Spanish libel law is a good bit looser than American; in the US you have to prove that the defendant lied intentionally with malicious intentions toward the plaintiff, while in Spain you can sue for insults and "injuries."
Amnesty International has released its annual report, and La Vanguardia gave it all of Page 4. As usual, AI is much more indignant about the shortcomings of democratic governments than it is about the crimes committed by dictatorships, but at least somebody is trying to keep track of what's going on.
La Vanguardia's account focuses on "extrajudicial arrests, the prison at Guantanamo, restrictions of freedom, and abuses carried to the absurd such as requiring an old man to take off his shoes at an airport." I detect an unhealthy interest in what Paul Hollander called "a relentless critical impulse toward American social, economic, and political institutions, traditions, and values."
At least AI flays China for supporting the oppressive governments in Burma, Zimbabwe, and Sudan. It criticizes the European Union for "not investigating its member states about human rights, turning over terrorism suspects to the US (the CIA's secret flights), restricting the rights of immigrants...and marginalizing the gypsy minority."
The most important criticism of Spain, which I think has some validity, is "the difficulty of women who are victims of violence to obtain protection, justice, and restitution, especially in the case of immigrants, who do not go to the police for fear of being deported. 48 of the 71 women murdered in Spain in 2007 were immigrants."
I do think the government ought to make it clear that the legal resident status of people who go to the police to report crimes will not be investigated, that those who denounce crimes will not be deported as a consequence of doing so.
Get this; it's in La Vanguardia's print edition but not online. Here in Barcelona they invited "the Iraqi journalist and writer" Eman Khamas to speak at the press conference marking the release of the report. She said, "They talk about a civil war in my country, but it isn't a civil war, it's a war against the occupation that some Iraqis have benefited from. The US insists that security has improved, and it's a dirty lie. The proof is that they sent 30,000 more soldiers at the beginning of the year."
Uh, Ms. Khamas, the reason that security has improved in Iraq is precisely because the Americans sent more soldiers. It's called "the surge." Some guy named Petraeus is in charge of it. They've been doing it for a while now. Deaths of US soldiers have been more than cut in half since the surge began.
Oh, by the way, CIA secret flights? What CIA secret flights? Minister of Defense Alonso told Radio Euskadi that the Zapatero Government "has checked and confirmed the reports of US flights that use bases in Spain and has not detected any sort of illegality. The Government has systematically reviewed all information about US military flights. As Minister of Defense the first thing I did was ask for the reports about the suspicious flights. There is no evidence that anything illegal has been done in Spanish territory. If it had, it would not have been tolerated, since regarding human rights, we must not be complacent."
And another conspiracy theory, this one promoted by El Pais, deflates.
They found a body floating in Barcelona harbor this morning. The cops have not identified it yet, or explained what the person died of. I hope it was a squatter who shot up a bunch of heroin and then fell off the walkway to Maremagnum.
La Vanguardia's reader photo of the day is of a sign painted on the wall of a junkyard in Prat de Llobregat. It says, "Me cago in los muertos y en to su puta madre del ke me robe," which translates as, "I shit on the dead ancestors and the whore mother of whoever steals from me." La Vangua's commentary is, "The photographer hopes you laugh along with him." So far there have been no cultural analyses of the vulgarity and obscenity of the language used by most Spaniards, or the role it plays in the Spanish collective imagination, whatever that is.