Spain claims ‘hackers’ from Russia and Venezuela influenced Catalonia’s independence

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November 11, 2017 – Fort Russ News – translated by Paul Antonopoulos from El Pais.

MADRID, Spain – Madrid has claimed that hackers from Russia and Venezuela influenced Catalonia’s desire to seek independence. The following is from El Pais, one of the Spanish-speaking world’s largest newspaper. It follows:

The Spanish government takes the intervention of hackers from Russia
and Venezuela in the institutional crisis of Catalonia and will address this
issue in the Council of Foreign Affairs of the European Union to be held next
Monday. This was announced on Friday by the government spokesman, Íñigo
Méndez de Vigo, and the defense minister, María Dolores de Cospedal.

“This is a serious issue, where democracy has to face
the challenges of new technologies,” summarized Méndez de Vigo after the
meeting of the Council of Ministers. “It is an issue that will be on the
agenda of the next foreign affairs council, next Monday in Brussels, where the
Foreign Minister [Alfonso Dastis] will intervene in the matter,” he
announced. 

“We believe that Europe has to take this issue very seriously,
we have seen in recent times a foundation of the EU as a community of law, as a
constitutional order It is not possible that strange, alien forces, that we do
not know who they are, want to alter that constitutional order, “he
argued. “As technology has no borders, we believe that the scope in which
it must be resolved is the scope of the EU.”

“What the Government has contrasted is that many
messages and interventions that have occurred through social networks come from
Russian territory,” said the head of Defense. “And I use the exact
expression of Russian territory,” he stressed. “That does not
necessarily mean that we have verified that it is the Russian Government,”
he has continued. “Therefore, we must act with the utmost prudence, we
must be very clear about the origins, they are part of the Russian territory,
part of others, also foreign to the EU, it is at the moment of determining
that.” Government sources later specified that one of those territories
outside the EU is Venezuela.

Hackers from Russia and Venezuela are dedicated to
distorting or misrepresenting information about Catalonia and Spain. For
example, they reported that independence from the Balearic Islands is
advocated. They also reported that Spanish schools are not taught in Catalan
schools. The multiplication of news about this Autonomous Community has grown
exponentially since the beginning of the institutional crisis and comes from
means linked to Russian owners or to specific people who have broken into the
information about Catalonia with messages always favorable to the
independentistas or directly false. According to Esteban González Pons,
spokesman of the PP in the Europarlamento, these interferences aim to
destabilize the European Union. “And at this moment, the focus to fulfill
that objective has been put in Catalonia”, specifies the vice-president of
the European popular group.

Although the Government and the main parties share the
certainty that there has been an interference by Russia in the institutional
crisis that exists in Catalonia, the Executive has preferred to maintain a low
profile so far. Discretion has marked the script of La Moncloa, although
Gonzalez Pons sent his European colleagues a letter in which he announced that
the Government of Mariano Rajoy had evidence on the activity of Russian hackers
in Spain.

So far, the exception has been Alfonso Dastis, the foreign
minister, who on Friday said that “there are quite contrasted
reports” that show that a group of Russian hackers is acting to
“destabilize” the European Union.

“It seems that there are quite contrasted reports that
prove that Russian networks or hackers are behind something that is not
exclusively against Spain, but a way to destabilize the EU,” he said
during the interview at the Cope. The minister has affirmed that this interest
has had Russia “for a long time”, since, as it has emphasized, that
country does not feel “comfortable” with the “unity” of the
European project.

In addition, the foreign ambassadors to the EU on Wednesday
discussed the need to increase the resources of that European unity against
Russian influence. In the same vein, deputies and experts from more than 20
countries have signed a declaration urging the High Representative for European
Foreign Policy, Federica Mogherini, to act more forcefully in cases such as
Catalan.

Article 155

In addition to the ordinary Council of Ministers, in which
it has been approved to adapt the Law on organic protection of personal data
protection to European regulations, the Government has held an extraordinary
one to adopt decisions regarding the organization of regional elections that
are They will celebrate December 21 in Catalonia under Article 155 of the
Constitution.

Thus, the Executive has approved the instruction manual for
the members of the polling stations of those elections and has agreed on the
appointment of Rosa Anna Castillo i Picas as General Director of Modernization
of the Administration of Justice of the Generalitat de Catalunya.

Castillo had resigned from this position, for which she had
been appointed by the Govern of Carles Puigdemont, and now she returns to her
position. It thus becomes the first position of the Generalitat to which the
Executive recovers after the intervention.

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