The Catalan Parliament declares independence. Is this an existential threat to Spain? And what revelations do the newly released JFK assassination files hold?
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as Catalans take to the streets
is Spain about to be torn asunder?
Spain has become the first country
in the European Union
to have a secessionist crisis,
with the Catalan Parliament's vote
to declare full independence.
Si. Si. Si...
Thousands have been out
on the streets of Barcelona
celebrating the decision,
but furious that Madrid has taken
steps to impose its will and end
all Catalonian autonomy.
informing you that as of
today, I have dissolved
the Catalonian Parliament,
and on the 21st of December,
there will be autonomic elections
for that autonomic community.
We've been among Catalans
as they celebrated independence,
and as the questions
about what happens next
start to multiply.
We'll ask how the rest
of Europe will react
to these momentous events.
Already the UK, Germany,
the European Union
and the US have lined up behind
Madrid, but the Scottish
Government has said that
Catalonia must have the ability
to determine its own future.
So might there now be a broker
to help sort out Madrid's future
relations with Catalonia?
And could there be a legitimate
Catalan Indpendence referendum
in the foreseeable future?
And out in the open,
almost all the files
on JFK's assasination are published.
But do they contain
anything truly revelatory?
We ask one former doubter
of the official version
whether they changed his mind.
Not since the Spanish Civil War
and then the death of Franco has
Spain faced such crisis
and such uncertainty.
It is unthinkable to millions
in the country that they could face
each other in emnity, but tonight,
there is deep unease in Spain.
One of the most famous sayings
of the Spanish poet Lorca was
"To burn with desire and keep quiet
about it is the greatest punishment
we can bring on ourselves".
Those words might be ringing
in the ears of the members
regional government tonight.
So what will happen now?
Our Diplomatic Editor Mark
Urban is in Barcelona.
Well, Kirstie, it has been a
remarkable day, as you said, in the
history of the EU, as well as the
history of Spain and Catalonia. Lots
of people, actually, in this
country, don't want it to become
independent, but in the key events
that took place in that building
behind me here, the parliament,
there were 70 votes for it, out of a
total of 135 MPs. Two ab stained,
ten voted against, and 53 stayed
away altogether, tactics that
opponents have used before with the
referendum vote itself on the 1st of
October, rather a questionable
tactic, you might say. But anyway,
those that favoured independence had
enough to get the vote through, and
those events played out with
extraordinary drama throughout the
After decades of sparring with the
government of post dictatorship
Spain, this was to be a day of
action, and emotion.
As MPs were summoned one by one to
vote on a parliamentary motion
declaring independence. Excitement
built in the crowd outside. What are
I hope yes. I don't
know. I don't know. I'm so nervous.
I don't have any idea.
results started coming. Yes in
favour, no against. The pattern
quickly becoming apparent, not
least, many MPs that opposed
independence boycotted the vote.
Then the counting, followed by the
inevitable result, and an explosion
It's very... Very... Sorry, we are
very happy. In the past, after
Franco's dictatorship, we were
fighting to descend the Catalan
people. Now... Sorry, I can't...
us, it is a lifelong dream, so it's
the best thing we could hear right
now. So, we're really happy. We're
going to defend this Parliament, and
this government until the end. We
want to be free, and we are free
So the Catalan parliament has
voted for independence, and this
crowd, at least, is loving it.
And as the national anthem was sung
and the Carver flowed, so many
questions for those looking on. And
for those peering down.
This is the helicopter downlink at
the headquarters of Catalonia's
police, as the demonstrations built
today. We were given exclusive
access. This operations room was set
up specifically for today's vote,
the message that policing is
carrying on in a professional and
nonpolitical way but among these
officers there are divided
loyalties, so if the Spanish
government now tries to take direct
control of this force, who will
We are a professional
organisation, we have a hierarchy,
we are ready to cope with any
situation. At a personal level, some
will feel more or less double with
this or that situation. But once we
put on the uniform, feelings and
personal ideologies are left one
side and we have a response or duty
to police the country that we serve.
And that the parliament itself, in
the heady hours after the vote,
people coming to terms with its
meaning, the Madrid government's top
man in Catalonia clear about one
thing, they're not going to accept
the declaration of Independence.
The Spanish government
only had two choices, do nothing and
let put on six seed in his could it,
or proceed with normality in
Catalonia. It is clear the only
option is latter.
As the vote
supporters went to see whether the
government responds by trying to
seize key institutions of people,
anxious hours lie ahead.
of the government in the European
Union are not going to help us, but
in each country of the European
Union, there is a lot of people with
solidarity, who wants to share
solidarity with us. There are people
in Scotland, people in Ireland, who
say they are going to help us. And
we believe a lot with solidarity
from the base people.
Catalanpolymer's today was historic.
It is clear the authorities here
have no idea how to make a reality
of Independence. They have no plans
for a separate currency, border
controls or security forces, for
example. One MP that voted for it
said to me just now, "We have
absolutely no idea what will happen
With the government responding by
sacking or trying to the Catalan
Cabinet, this crisis is gathering
TRANSLATION: Iraq today, I have
dissolved the Catalan parliament. On
the 21st of December, regional
elections will be held. Through the
late afternoon and evening,
supporters gathered. Volunteer
fireman ready to defend the new
Republic, and hundreds of Catalan
mailers, bearing their stars of
office giving political support. But
everyone is unsure about what the
coming days hold.
It's curious, but is it in some ways
She believes it is not.
know what can happen tomorrow. It
won't be easy.
Catalan leaders have
seized their moment, and are now
apparently relying on over reaction
by Madrid to shape the path ahead.
But away from the demonstrations,
many Catalans are uncertain about
the wisdom of this, and the Prime
Minister in Madrid has an arsenal of
options at his disposal.
With us now
is one of those MPs who voted for
independence in that historic motion
leader of the Democrats
for Catalunya, part of
the pro-independence coalition.
Let's start with the latest moves
from good, President Rajoy says the
government here is dismissed, will
they accept that?
No, they're not
going to accept that. The Catalan
government just announced that it is
not anymore and autonomous Gottman.
That is the provision of the
government, so they announced they
are not going to accept.
This happened half an
hour ago. So, let's see what the
next step that it's going to do from
the Spanish government.
In terms of
the people who didn't want this to
happen, and there are a lot of them
in this country, how are you going
to carry them with you on this
Yeah, that's very
important, but in democracy, that's
why we need a referendum. There was
80% of the people in Catalonia, they
wanted a referendum. That's very
important, for instance. Finally, in
October, we had a referendum, and
that is the way you can count
everybody. So now there is a
majority in Catalonia that voted.
was 2 million out of 7.5 million, so
There is no 7.5 million.
5.3 million votes. That is not a
If we tell you something,
it is a referendum. The 90% voted
yes. If you look at Brexit, for
instance, it was less than that.
Nobody is saying nothing about that.
Those are the rules of the
referendum. Everybody could go to
vote. So the result, and the
guarantees are there. The government
of Catalonia, what we did just today
is just to get the response of what
was the responsibility of the
How do you make it real
now, because EU countries, the
United States, all sorts of
countries around the world are
saying they are not going to
recognise you as an independent
First of all, what we have
to do is what we did today,
recognise ourselves. Then what we
announce is this is going to be a
building, bottom-up process. We want
to do it with dialogue, with the
Spanish government, and the
international community. We are
going to take the next steps just
doing it progressive, and doing it
by dialogue. So let's see what's
going to happen in the next steps.
Of course, there is a conflict of
legalities. We think we have the
right, we think we have the right of
democracy, because the people voted.
And we think that we have two fight
it to build the new Republic. That's
not going to be something for
tomorrow. It's going to be something
that we will be holding by
negotiation. And we ask for
responsibly to to the kingdom of
Spain, and we think that the
political problems has to be solved
Dramatic days ahead,
clearly. Anthony Castagna, thank you
Thank you very much.
So tonight the Spanish Prime Ministe
has announced he is firing
the entire Catalan Government
and suspending its Parliament.
For many Catalans, their identity,
their family language and culture
is what they fought for against
Franco, fought for and lost,
many great grandparents,
grandparents and parents
died fighting for Catalonia.
Then, Catalonia's autonomy
in Spain's 1978 constitution.
But that Constitution,
forged three years after Franco's
death for the newly democratic
country, stated the indissoluble
unity of the Spanish nation.
That is the basis
for Madrid's stand.
The question is can the Constitution
hold, and will Carlos Puigemont be
arrested for sedition?
We're joined by Alfredo Pastor,
the former Spanish economics
minister, who we spoke to last night
before all this happened.
Good evening again.
wonder if you just heard Antoni
Castella saying that in Barcelona
they have announced provisional
government of the Republic?
What do you make of it.
reasoning is impeccable only it is
based on false premises. The
referendum was not a referendum that
could be recognised by anybody. The
Catalan parliament had no legal
authority to set up such a
referendum. And the newly declared
republic is outside the
Constitution, which is the
instrument we have to frame our
What do you think happens
That is a good question. It
seems to me that President Rajoy has
taken the less risky way of the many
risky alternatives but it is a risky
alternative because we can expect
some kind of resistance in the
streets and probably as Mr Castella
says, on the part of the government
which has just been sent home. You
will see that it is in everyone's
interest to have elections. In fact
everyone was asking for elections
yesterday and everybody breathes a
sigh of relief when Carles
Puigdemont said that he would call a
snap election. I feel much more
comfortable to know that in two
months we will have a proper
election and meanwhile, the Spanish
government will just administer the
day-to-day business of the
business of Catalonia might turn
violent. Last night you set on
Newsnight you would not be surprised
if Carles Puigdemont was sent to
jail. -- last night he said that.
Before you send someone to jail you
have to try them. And if that
happens, that will take some time.
So that's nothing immediate.
elections that Mr Rajoy said would
be held on December 23. If the
majority of those elections are for
independence for Catalonia we are in
the same situations again and then
what happens to the constitution?
Note, it is difficult for Mr Rajoy
to talk to the Carles Puigdemont
government. When the Carles
Puigdemont government comes out of
elections that have not done
anything illegal then they can talk.
Thank you for joining us.
Obviously, this is
a huge test for Spain.
Catalunya makes up 16% of
the Spanish population
and nearly a fifth of its economy.
But its also a headache
for the whole of Europe.
So far the UK, France,
Germany and the US have
lined up with Madrid,
the Scottish Government alone has
said that the Catalans must be free
to determine their own future.
So how will this play out in Spain -
will it be peaceful or violent,
and how will
the Catalan crisis resonate
in other European countries?
Joining me to discuss this is LSE
professor of Spanish
studies Sebastian Balfour,
former British Foreign Secretary Sir
Malcolm Rifkind and journalist
and Scottish independence campaigner
Lesley Riddoch who returned
from Barcelona this evening.
Good evening, Sebastian Balfour, is
Spain equipped to deal with this?
don't think so. I think the odds on
a peaceful transition from control
from Madrid is very very poor. First
we will see widespread civil unrest.
There's no doubt about it. We
already saw some problems with
October one, the use of violence by
And problems within the
So widespread civil unrest
of one sort or another, the
independence movement has got a
tradition of peaceful protest yet
also imaginative protest. That is
not something the Spanish police
will be good at dealing with. We are
also likely to see obstruction and
the civil servants, the firefighters
are we saw demonstrating on October
the 3rd, and strikes as well. So I
think this is going to be almost
impossible to contain.
And you talk
about civil disobedience and you
fear a descent into violence.
fear that descended into violence
may not come from the independence
movement so much as the reaction by
the forces of law and order.
constitution and immovable force?
No. It could be amended. It would be
a complicated process. It would
involve a referendum across all of
Spain, but it is something that has
been raised and discussed and is set
by a number of people, including
people in Catalonia. I'm talking
about the mayor row of Barcelona,
Let me bring in Lesley
Riddoch, who is just back from
Riddoch, who is just back from
Barcelona. Lesley, you have heard
that the international position is
not to recognise this declaration of
Independence but to stand with
Madrid. The Catalans to have any
chance would they not have to have
international support, and it isn't
It is not there at the moment
but there are deep by release in
this. At the moment the Council of
the European Union is held by
Estonia, which declared its own
independence unilaterally in 1991
and had no rush of Western nations
recognising it. It was little ice
land that recognise and first,
exactly the same story one year
before with Lithuania. The West
wasn't willing to intervene because
it preferred to shore up the
Russians in the hope that they would
not return to come in as. So within
recent memory we've got a very clear
experience of a small nation wanting
to establish its rights to self
determination but of course when it
is peeling away from the soviet
union everyone eventually fell in
behind that and now that little
country is now the leader, now has
the presidency of the European
If you look at what happened
in Scotland, the independence
referendum did not pass there but
there was a build-up of support. Yet
we know from Catalonia that the
autonomous area is deeply split on
independence. You might say, yes,
42% turnout, but a lot of people
were not in favour of independence
in Catalonia and did not vote at
all. So it is hard to determine what
the support is.
You could point out
that the present UK Government got
30% of the vote. If you put that to
one side, and this comes as a
difficult thing to say for the
support of Scottish independence,
that the UK did pretty well actually
by the political difference that
emerged between Scotland and the
democratically elected government
there, and the UK. It allowed a
legally binding referendum. It did
not play constitutional politics. It
didn't hide behind the law, it
called a spade a spade. That is what
the Catalan people want.
Rifkind, you were there in Bosnia.
What do you make of what Sebastian
says about the possibility of civil
unrest becoming something darker.
should be under no illusions. This
is the worst crisis in Western
Europe has faced since the end of
the Second World War. Over the next
month the Spanish government, having
dismissed the Catalan government,
has two imposes authority in
Catalonia. It can't just wait till
the election with no government that
it recognises. If it tries to do
that, which I think it will, the
Catalan separatists are a minority
of Catalonia but some of them will
fight back and therefore the risk is
some form of Spanish civil war
breaking out. I'm not saying that it
will happen. I'm saying that it is a
serious risk and probably will
happen in some form.
I will put this
to Sebastien but tell me what the
impact on Europe would be. Part of
the reason, one might say that other
countries are falling in behind
Madrid is that we are in a period
where each country has its own issue
It is more than that.
Lesley 's comment about Estonia was
irrelevant. Catalonia itself is
deeply divided, 38% voted for
independence, 62% either boycotted
the election or voted against it.
You'll have a divided Catalonia with
the whole of the rest of Spain of
one of you.
You say not since the
Second World War in Europe... We are
talking about Yugoslavia...
That's right, that
is a very dark thought, is it not?
do not agree that this could become
another civil war. All the force is
on one side. Yet what that site has
not reckoned with is the creativity
of and the obstruction they are
likely to face in the governance of
Catalonia. And this is where, in a
sense, calling elections by December
21 is better than running it for
much longer because they are not
going to be able to run it.
Riddoch, Mariano Rajoy says this is
Europe's battle, has Europe got a
place in sorting this out.
it does. As the Scottish Government
says there is a moral and political
responsibility to do something about
this test portion and use of force
on October one, and the impasse we
are in now. There's a constitutional
on separation in Spain but clearly
there is a democratically elected
government with a mandate to pursue
independence. Now there has to be
some sort of talking here. I grew up
in Northern Ireland and saw several
periods of direct rule and I think
Malcolm Rifkind would probably agree
that in hindsight that was holding
pattern only. You've got to get to
the point of recognising a political
difference and having the talks that
the UK Government was smart enough
to have a Scotland. Scotland is
being seen as the gold standard
Thank you all very much
This morning the US
government released 2800
previously classified files
on the assassination
of President John F Kennedy in 1963.
Donald Trump held back
some of the files at the
request of the FBI and the CIA,
to the fury of those who have always
doubted the official
version of events.
But he insisted the public deserves
to be fully informed, and
that eventually it will
all be made available.
These are perhaps the most
contested 30 seconds
of footage in US history -
a conspiracy theorist's dream.
The official verdict, of course,
was that the shooter,
Lee Harvey Oswald, acted alone.
But inevitably, the government's
refusal to publish all of
the 5 million pages of official
documents on the case has fed
a deep suspicion
that something was fishy.
Today, we learned of one CIA memo
that suggested the shooter met a KGB
agent in Mexico City just months
before the shooting in Dealey Plaza.
Another memo suggested Soviet
officials feared a US missile
strike after the event.
But this is the era of fake news,
distrust in the Washington
establishment, and a president that
As long as there are documents held
back, redactions still in place,
there will be those that simply
don't believe the official narrative
of the assassination of the 35th
President of the United States.
Joining me from Washington
is the journalist Jefferson Morley,
contributing writer with Newsweek
and author of The Ghost, which tells
the story of how a CIA
counter-intelligence chief monitored
Lee Harvey Oswald from 1959 to 1963.
Good evening to you.
What do you
make of the release of the files?
What happened yesterday was
disappointing. President Trump
released 2800 records and about
25,000 records remain secret. By law
they should have been made public
yesterday. That didn't happen.
President Trump extended the secrecy
around the records for another six
months. The agencies have had years
to prepare for this. The president
has had his entire term to breathe
ever there is so the intent of
Congress and the law to see full
disclosure has been faded and that
is unfortunate. It will encourage
conspiratorial speculation, which
given government malfeasance in the
case and the government 's extensive
knowledge of the accused assassin
before the assassination is entirely
So you think that 20%
that has been held back might well
contain something. What did the CIA
say, it is about protecting sources?
Do you give any credibility to that?
We've heard this since the Pentagon
papers that the release of secret
material would endanger lives. It is
virtually never proven true and I
doubt it will be true of these
records. There may be a handful of
records that have real security
information in them but we are
talking about 25,000 documents that
were withheld from public view. They
are not all crucial to national
We have not been through
them all but by and large you don't
hold with the idea that John F.
Kennedy was assassinated by Lee
Harvey Oswald. With what you have
heard today, Hazard bolsters your
view, undermined it or giving you
another idea? -- has it bolstered
What we got from the CIA
and the FBI last night was that the
least consequential records are
being kept secret. There was nothing
that changed my mind. It was very
telling that to the one interesting
document that said something new was
an interview with the CIA director
in 1975, who was asked, was Lee
Harvey Oswald and agent of the CIA.
We never get the answer. That's the
end of the document. That is
emblematic of what happened last
night. A very truncated release that
evaded the intent of Congress to
have full disclosure.
Donald Trump's shtick has always
been about distrust of the CIA and
Washington, that doesn't play to his
base. Our people are upset with him
because of this?
I think a lot of
people are. One senator wrote on
Twitter today that it was ridiculous
that the CIA was trying to continue
the cover-up. It was really
disappointing. We had a law in place
that was very clear. The president
and the agencies evaded the law
because the material in the
remaining records, the remaining 80%
of the records that were to be made
public today will be deeply
embarrassing to the FBI and the CIA,
and show malfeasance in the case of
Briefly in a 20%
not released, will find something
Absolutely. There's no
question about it!
Thank you very
much for joining us tonight. We
await that of interest. Just time
for some front pages. The Times goes
for a headline, Spain on the brink,
Madrid imposing direct rule, the
Daily Telegraph says that cracks
show in the EU as Catalans back
independence. And we know tonight,
too late for the papers that in
Catalonia they have declared a
provisional government for the
Republic. That's all we have time
for. Emily will be back on Monday.