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Vicenç Villatoro’s Diary

24 October: fake news

The statement made by the Spanish Foreign Minister to the BBC, claiming that the images of police violence during the 1 October referendum are fake, is probably one of the most cynical and spiteful things we have heard in a long time.

It is a phrase worthy of Orwell’s Ministry of Truth, dedicated to disseminating systematic lies, and it explains the Spanish government's obsession with taking control over state media: they need to be in control in order to perpetuate the cultivation of lies.

However, the Minister’s statement is also a sign of weakness. The Spanish government knows that, when it comes to foreign public opinion, the facts of the case are against them. As a result, their tactic is to claim that things are not what they seem, since what they seem would place them in an untenable position. The political prisoners aren’t political prisoners, the suspension of rights is a return to legality and the truncheon blows are a work of fiction.

Is this a victory for the independence movement? Only a partial one. The Spanish government is telling the public that what they’ve seen is a lie. The independence movement is holding talks with governments of states that are well aware it is not fake news, but they fail to take appropriate action. They need convincing that, ultimately, they will be held to account for their indifference, surrender and appeasement in the face of such true news. In the short term, in the eyes of public opinion. In the long term, by history itself.