27/10/2017 Newsnight


27/10/2017

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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Transcript


LineFromTo

Tonight,

as Catalans take to the streets

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is Spain about to be torn asunder?

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Spain has become the first country

in the European Union

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to have a secessionist crisis,

with the Catalan Parliament's vote

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to declare full independence.

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Si. Si. Si...

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Si. Si...

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Si.

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Thousands have been out

on the streets of Barcelona

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celebrating the decision,

but furious that Madrid has taken

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steps to impose its will and end

all Catalonian autonomy.

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TRANSLATION:

So, I'm

informing you that as of

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today, I have dissolved

the Catalonian Parliament,

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and on the 21st of December,

there will be autonomic elections

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for that autonomic community.

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We've been among Catalans

as they celebrated independence,

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and as the questions

about what happens next

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start to multiply.

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We'll ask how the rest

of Europe will react

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to these momentous events.

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Already the UK, Germany,

the European Union

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and the US have lined up behind

Madrid, but the Scottish

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Government has said that

Catalonia must have the ability

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to determine its own future.

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So might there now be a broker

to help sort out Madrid's future

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relations with Catalonia?

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And could there be a legitimate

Catalan Indpendence referendum

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in the foreseeable future?

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And out in the open,

almost all the files

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on JFK's assasination are published.

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But do they contain

anything truly revelatory?

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We ask one former doubter

of the official version

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whether they changed his mind.

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Good evening.

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Not since the Spanish Civil War

and then the death of Franco has

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Spain faced such crisis

and such uncertainty.

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It is unthinkable to millions

in the country that they could face

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each other in emnity, but tonight,

there is deep unease in Spain.

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One of the most famous sayings

of the Spanish poet Lorca was

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"To burn with desire and keep quiet

about it is the greatest punishment

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we can bring on ourselves".

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Those words might be ringing

in the ears of the members

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of Catalonia's

regional government tonight.

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So what will happen now?

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Our Diplomatic Editor Mark

Urban is in Barcelona.

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Well, Kirstie, it has been a

remarkable day, as you said, in the

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history of the EU, as well as the

history of Spain and Catalonia. Lots

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of people, actually, in this

country, don't want it to become

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independent, but in the key events

that took place in that building

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behind me here, the parliament,

there were 70 votes for it, out of a

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total of 135 MPs. Two ab stained,

ten voted against, and 53 stayed

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away altogether, tactics that

opponents have used before with the

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referendum vote itself on the 1st of

October, rather a questionable

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tactic, you might say. But anyway,

those that favoured independence had

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enough to get the vote through, and

those events played out with

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extraordinary drama throughout the

day.

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After decades of sparring with the

government of post dictatorship

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Spain, this was to be a day of

action, and emotion.

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As MPs were summoned one by one to

vote on a parliamentary motion

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declaring independence. Excitement

built in the crowd outside. What are

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you hoping?

I hope yes. I don't

know. I don't know. I'm so nervous.

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I don't have any idea.

Then the

results started coming. Yes in

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favour, no against. The pattern

quickly becoming apparent, not

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least, many MPs that opposed

independence boycotted the vote.

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Then the counting, followed by the

inevitable result, and an explosion

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of joy.

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It's very... Very... Sorry, we are

very happy. In the past, after

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Franco's dictatorship, we were

fighting to descend the Catalan

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people. Now... Sorry, I can't...

For

us, it is a lifelong dream, so it's

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the best thing we could hear right

now. So, we're really happy. We're

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going to defend this Parliament, and

this government until the end. We

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want to be free, and we are free

now.

So the Catalan parliament has

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voted for independence, and this

crowd, at least, is loving it.

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And as the national anthem was sung

and the Carver flowed, so many

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questions for those looking on. And

for those peering down.

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This is the helicopter downlink at

the headquarters of Catalonia's

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police, as the demonstrations built

today. We were given exclusive

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access. This operations room was set

up specifically for today's vote,

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the message that policing is

carrying on in a professional and

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nonpolitical way but among these

officers there are divided

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loyalties, so if the Spanish

government now tries to take direct

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control of this force, who will

Iturbe?

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TRANSLATION:

We are a professional

organisation, we have a hierarchy,

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we are ready to cope with any

situation. At a personal level, some

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will feel more or less double with

this or that situation. But once we

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put on the uniform, feelings and

personal ideologies are left one

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side and we have a response or duty

to police the country that we serve.

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And that the parliament itself, in

the heady hours after the vote,

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people coming to terms with its

meaning, the Madrid government's top

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man in Catalonia clear about one

thing, they're not going to accept

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the declaration of Independence.

TRANSLATION:

The Spanish government

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only had two choices, do nothing and

let put on six seed in his could it,

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or proceed with normality in

Catalonia. It is clear the only

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option is latter.

As the vote

supporters went to see whether the

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government responds by trying to

seize key institutions of people,

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anxious hours lie ahead.

The people

of the government in the European

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Union are not going to help us, but

in each country of the European

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Union, there is a lot of people with

solidarity, who wants to share

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solidarity with us. There are people

in Scotland, people in Ireland, who

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say they are going to help us. And

we believe a lot with solidarity

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from the base people.

Well, the

Catalanpolymer's today was historic.

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It is clear the authorities here

have no idea how to make a reality

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of Independence. They have no plans

for a separate currency, border

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controls or security forces, for

example. One MP that voted for it

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said to me just now, "We have

absolutely no idea what will happen

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next."

With the government responding by

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sacking or trying to the Catalan

Cabinet, this crisis is gathering

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pace.

TRANSLATION: Iraq today, I have

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dissolved the Catalan parliament. On

the 21st of December, regional

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elections will be held. Through the

late afternoon and evening,

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supporters gathered. Volunteer

fireman ready to defend the new

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Republic, and hundreds of Catalan

mailers, bearing their stars of

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office giving political support. But

everyone is unsure about what the

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coming days hold.

It's curious, but is it in some ways

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dangerous?

She believes it is not.

She doesn't

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know what can happen tomorrow. It

won't be easy.

Catalan leaders have

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seized their moment, and are now

apparently relying on over reaction

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by Madrid to shape the path ahead.

But away from the demonstrations,

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many Catalans are uncertain about

the wisdom of this, and the Prime

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Minister in Madrid has an arsenal of

options at his disposal.

With us now

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is one of those MPs who voted for

independence in that historic motion

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today.

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Antoni Castella,

leader of the Democrats

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for Catalunya, part of

the pro-independence coalition.

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Let's start with the latest moves

from good, President Rajoy says the

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government here is dismissed, will

they accept that?

No, they're not

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going to accept that. The Catalan

government just announced that it is

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not anymore and autonomous Gottman.

That is the provision of the

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government, so they announced they

are not going to accept.

This has

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just happened?

This happened half an

hour ago. So, let's see what the

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next step that it's going to do from

the Spanish government.

In terms of

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the people who didn't want this to

happen, and there are a lot of them

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in this country, how are you going

to carry them with you on this

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journey?

Yeah, that's very

important, but in democracy, that's

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why we need a referendum. There was

80% of the people in Catalonia, they

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wanted a referendum. That's very

important, for instance. Finally, in

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October, we had a referendum, and

that is the way you can count

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everybody. So now there is a

majority in Catalonia that voted.

It

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was 2 million out of 7.5 million, so

it was...

There is no 7.5 million.

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5.3 million votes. That is not a

majority.

If we tell you something,

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it is a referendum. The 90% voted

yes. If you look at Brexit, for

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instance, it was less than that.

Nobody is saying nothing about that.

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Those are the rules of the

referendum. Everybody could go to

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vote. So the result, and the

guarantees are there. The government

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of Catalonia, what we did just today

is just to get the response of what

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was the responsibility of the

Republic.

How do you make it real

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now, because EU countries, the

United States, all sorts of

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countries around the world are

saying they are not going to

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recognise you as an independent

country?

First of all, what we have

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to do is what we did today,

recognise ourselves. Then what we

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announce is this is going to be a

building, bottom-up process. We want

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to do it with dialogue, with the

Spanish government, and the

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international community. We are

going to take the next steps just

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doing it progressive, and doing it

by dialogue. So let's see what's

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going to happen in the next steps.

Of course, there is a conflict of

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legalities. We think we have the

right, we think we have the right of

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democracy, because the people voted.

And we think that we have two fight

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it to build the new Republic. That's

not going to be something for

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tomorrow. It's going to be something

that we will be holding by

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negotiation. And we ask for

responsibly to to the kingdom of

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Spain, and we think that the

political problems has to be solved

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with politics.

Dramatic days ahead,

clearly. Anthony Castagna, thank you

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very much.

Thank you very much.

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So tonight the Spanish Prime Ministe

Mariano Rajoy,

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has announced he is firing

the entire Catalan Government

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and suspending its Parliament.

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For many Catalans, their identity,

their family language and culture

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is what they fought for against

Franco, fought for and lost,

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many great grandparents,

grandparents and parents

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died fighting for Catalonia.

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Then, Catalonia's autonomy

was enshrined

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in Spain's 1978 constitution.

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But that Constitution,

forged three years after Franco's

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death for the newly democratic

country, stated the indissoluble

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unity of the Spanish nation.

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That is the basis

for Madrid's stand.

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The question is can the Constitution

hold, and will Carlos Puigemont be

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arrested for sedition?

We're joined by Alfredo Pastor,

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the former Spanish economics

minister, who we spoke to last night

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before all this happened.

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Good evening again.

Good evening.

I

wonder if you just heard Antoni

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Castella saying that in Barcelona

they have announced provisional

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government of the Republic?

I heard

that.

What do you make of it.

The

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reasoning is impeccable only it is

based on false premises. The

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referendum was not a referendum that

could be recognised by anybody. The

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Catalan parliament had no legal

authority to set up such a

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referendum. And the newly declared

republic is outside the

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Constitution, which is the

instrument we have to frame our

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democracy.

What do you think happens

now?

That is a good question. It

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seems to me that President Rajoy has

taken the less risky way of the many

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risky alternatives but it is a risky

alternative because we can expect

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some kind of resistance in the

streets and probably as Mr Castella

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says, on the part of the government

which has just been sent home. You

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will see that it is in everyone's

interest to have elections. In fact

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everyone was asking for elections

yesterday and everybody breathes a

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sigh of relief when Carles

Puigdemont said that he would call a

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snap election. I feel much more

comfortable to know that in two

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months we will have a proper

election and meanwhile, the Spanish

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government will just administer the

day-to-day business of the

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Catalonian institutions.

The day

business of Catalonia might turn

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violent. Last night you set on

Newsnight you would not be surprised

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if Carles Puigdemont was sent to

jail. -- last night he said that.

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Before you send someone to jail you

have to try them. And if that

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happens, that will take some time.

So that's nothing immediate.

These

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elections that Mr Rajoy said would

be held on December 23. If the

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majority of those elections are for

independence for Catalonia we are in

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the same situations again and then

what happens to the constitution?

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Note, it is difficult for Mr Rajoy

to talk to the Carles Puigdemont

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government. When the Carles

Puigdemont government comes out of

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elections that have not done

anything illegal then they can talk.

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Thank you for joining us.

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Obviously, this is

a huge test for Spain.

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Catalunya makes up 16% of

the Spanish population

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and nearly a fifth of its economy.

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But its also a headache

for the whole of Europe.

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So far the UK, France,

Germany and the US have

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lined up with Madrid,

the Scottish Government alone has

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said that the Catalans must be free

to determine their own future.

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So how will this play out in Spain -

will it be peaceful or violent,

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and how will

the Catalan crisis resonate

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in other European countries?

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Joining me to discuss this is LSE

professor of Spanish

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studies Sebastian Balfour,

former British Foreign Secretary Sir

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Malcolm Rifkind and journalist

and Scottish independence campaigner

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Lesley Riddoch who returned

from Barcelona this evening.

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Good evening, Sebastian Balfour, is

Spain equipped to deal with this?

I

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don't think so. I think the odds on

a peaceful transition from control

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from Madrid is very very poor. First

we will see widespread civil unrest.

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There's no doubt about it. We

already saw some problems with

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October one, the use of violence by

police.

And problems within the

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police.

So widespread civil unrest

of one sort or another, the

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independence movement has got a

tradition of peaceful protest yet

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also imaginative protest. That is

not something the Spanish police

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will be good at dealing with. We are

also likely to see obstruction and

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the civil servants, the firefighters

are we saw demonstrating on October

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the 3rd, and strikes as well. So I

think this is going to be almost

0:18:370:18:43

impossible to contain.

And you talk

about civil disobedience and you

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fear a descent into violence.

Yes. I

fear that descended into violence

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may not come from the independence

movement so much as the reaction by

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the forces of law and order.

Is the

constitution and immovable force?

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No. It could be amended. It would be

a complicated process. It would

0:19:040:19:10

involve a referendum across all of

Spain, but it is something that has

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been raised and discussed and is set

by a number of people, including

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people in Catalonia. I'm talking

about the mayor row of Barcelona,

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for example.

Let me bring in Lesley

Riddoch, who is just back from

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Barcelona. Lesley

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Riddoch, who is just back from

Barcelona. Lesley, you have heard

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that the international position is

not to recognise this declaration of

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Independence but to stand with

Madrid. The Catalans to have any

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chance would they not have to have

international support, and it isn't

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there.

It is not there at the moment

but there are deep by release in

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this. At the moment the Council of

the European Union is held by

0:19:540:19:59

Estonia, which declared its own

independence unilaterally in 1991

0:19:590:20:05

and had no rush of Western nations

recognising it. It was little ice

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land that recognise and first,

exactly the same story one year

0:20:100:20:15

before with Lithuania. The West

wasn't willing to intervene because

0:20:150:20:19

it preferred to shore up the

Russians in the hope that they would

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not return to come in as. So within

recent memory we've got a very clear

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experience of a small nation wanting

to establish its rights to self

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determination but of course when it

is peeling away from the soviet

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union everyone eventually fell in

behind that and now that little

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country is now the leader, now has

the presidency of the European

0:20:410:20:44

Union!

If you look at what happened

in Scotland, the independence

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referendum did not pass there but

there was a build-up of support. Yet

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we know from Catalonia that the

autonomous area is deeply split on

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independence. You might say, yes,

42% turnout, but a lot of people

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were not in favour of independence

in Catalonia and did not vote at

0:21:070:21:10

all. So it is hard to determine what

the support is.

You could point out

0:21:100:21:18

that the present UK Government got

30% of the vote. If you put that to

0:21:180:21:23

one side, and this comes as a

difficult thing to say for the

0:21:230:21:27

support of Scottish independence,

that the UK did pretty well actually

0:21:270:21:32

by the political difference that

emerged between Scotland and the

0:21:320:21:35

democratically elected government

there, and the UK. It allowed a

0:21:350:21:40

legally binding referendum. It did

not play constitutional politics. It

0:21:400:21:45

didn't hide behind the law, it

called a spade a spade. That is what

0:21:450:21:49

the Catalan people want.

Malcolm

Rifkind, you were there in Bosnia.

0:21:490:21:54

What do you make of what Sebastian

says about the possibility of civil

0:21:540:22:01

unrest becoming something darker.

We

should be under no illusions. This

0:22:010:22:06

is the worst crisis in Western

Europe has faced since the end of

0:22:060:22:10

the Second World War. Over the next

month the Spanish government, having

0:22:100:22:13

dismissed the Catalan government,

has two imposes authority in

0:22:130:22:17

Catalonia. It can't just wait till

the election with no government that

0:22:170:22:23

it recognises. If it tries to do

that, which I think it will, the

0:22:230:22:27

Catalan separatists are a minority

of Catalonia but some of them will

0:22:270:22:31

fight back and therefore the risk is

some form of Spanish civil war

0:22:310:22:34

breaking out. I'm not saying that it

will happen. I'm saying that it is a

0:22:340:22:41

serious risk and probably will

happen in some form.

I will put this

0:22:410:22:46

to Sebastien but tell me what the

impact on Europe would be. Part of

0:22:460:22:52

the reason, one might say that other

countries are falling in behind

0:22:520:22:54

Madrid is that we are in a period

where each country has its own issue

0:22:540:22:59

with autonomy.

It is more than that.

Lesley 's comment about Estonia was

0:22:590:23:07

irrelevant. Catalonia itself is

deeply divided, 38% voted for

0:23:070:23:13

independence, 62% either boycotted

the election or voted against it.

0:23:130:23:18

You'll have a divided Catalonia with

the whole of the rest of Spain of

0:23:180:23:22

one of you.

You say not since the

Second World War in Europe... We are

0:23:220:23:28

talking about Yugoslavia...

I said

Western Europe.

That's right, that

0:23:280:23:33

is a very dark thought, is it not?

I

do not agree that this could become

0:23:330:23:39

another civil war. All the force is

on one side. Yet what that site has

0:23:390:23:44

not reckoned with is the creativity

of and the obstruction they are

0:23:440:23:49

likely to face in the governance of

Catalonia. And this is where, in a

0:23:490:23:56

sense, calling elections by December

21 is better than running it for

0:23:560:24:00

much longer because they are not

going to be able to run it.

Lesley

0:24:000:24:07

Riddoch, Mariano Rajoy says this is

Europe's battle, has Europe got a

0:24:070:24:11

place in sorting this out.

Of course

it does. As the Scottish Government

0:24:110:24:16

says there is a moral and political

responsibility to do something about

0:24:160:24:20

this test portion and use of force

on October one, and the impasse we

0:24:200:24:25

are in now. There's a constitutional

on separation in Spain but clearly

0:24:250:24:31

there is a democratically elected

government with a mandate to pursue

0:24:310:24:35

independence. Now there has to be

some sort of talking here. I grew up

0:24:350:24:41

in Northern Ireland and saw several

periods of direct rule and I think

0:24:410:24:44

Malcolm Rifkind would probably agree

that in hindsight that was holding

0:24:440:24:48

pattern only. You've got to get to

the point of recognising a political

0:24:480:24:53

difference and having the talks that

the UK Government was smart enough

0:24:530:24:57

to have a Scotland. Scotland is

being seen as the gold standard

0:24:570:25:03

already.

Thank you all very much

indeed.

0:25:030:25:12

This morning the US

government released 2800

0:25:120:25:13

previously classified files

on the assassination

0:25:130:25:17

of President John F Kennedy in 1963.

0:25:170:25:18

Donald Trump held back

some of the files at the

0:25:180:25:24

request of the FBI and the CIA,

to the fury of those who have always

0:25:240:25:28

doubted the official

version of events.

0:25:280:25:30

But he insisted the public deserves

to be fully informed, and

0:25:300:25:32

that eventually it will

all be made available.

0:25:320:25:34

These are perhaps the most

contested 30 seconds

0:25:340:25:37

of footage in US history -

a conspiracy theorist's dream.

0:25:370:25:42

The official verdict, of course,

was that the shooter,

0:25:420:25:46

Lee Harvey Oswald, acted alone.

0:25:460:25:49

But inevitably, the government's

refusal to publish all of

0:25:490:25:51

the 5 million pages of official

documents on the case has fed

0:25:510:25:55

a deep suspicion

that something was fishy.

0:25:550:26:04

Today, we learned of one CIA memo

that suggested the shooter met a KGB

0:26:040:26:14

agent in Mexico City just months

before the shooting in Dealey Plaza.

0:26:150:26:17

Another memo suggested Soviet

officials feared a US missile

0:26:170:26:20

strike after the event.

0:26:200:26:21

But this is the era of fake news,

distrust in the Washington

0:26:210:26:24

establishment, and a president that

questioned Obama's

0:26:240:26:25

birth certificate.

0:26:250:26:26

As long as there are documents held

back, redactions still in place,

0:26:260:26:29

there will be those that simply

don't believe the official narrative

0:26:290:26:33

of the assassination of the 35th

President of the United States.

0:26:330:26:38

Joining me from Washington

is the journalist Jefferson Morley,

0:26:380:26:45

contributing writer with Newsweek

and author of The Ghost, which tells

0:26:450:26:47

the story of how a CIA

counter-intelligence chief monitored

0:26:470:26:49

Lee Harvey Oswald from 1959 to 1963.

0:26:490:26:55

Good evening to you.

Hi.

What do you

make of the release of the files?

0:26:550:27:04

What happened yesterday was

disappointing. President Trump

0:27:040:27:10

released 2800 records and about

25,000 records remain secret. By law

0:27:100:27:14

they should have been made public

yesterday. That didn't happen.

0:27:140:27:19

President Trump extended the secrecy

around the records for another six

0:27:190:27:23

months. The agencies have had years

to prepare for this. The president

0:27:230:27:28

has had his entire term to breathe

ever there is so the intent of

0:27:280:27:31

Congress and the law to see full

disclosure has been faded and that

0:27:310:27:37

is unfortunate. It will encourage

conspiratorial speculation, which

0:27:370:27:43

given government malfeasance in the

case and the government 's extensive

0:27:430:27:46

knowledge of the accused assassin

before the assassination is entirely

0:27:460:27:51

justified.

So you think that 20%

that has been held back might well

0:27:510:27:57

contain something. What did the CIA

say, it is about protecting sources?

0:27:570:28:02

Do you give any credibility to that?

We've heard this since the Pentagon

0:28:020:28:06

papers that the release of secret

material would endanger lives. It is

0:28:060:28:12

virtually never proven true and I

doubt it will be true of these

0:28:120:28:15

records. There may be a handful of

records that have real security

0:28:150:28:18

information in them but we are

talking about 25,000 documents that

0:28:180:28:27

were withheld from public view. They

are not all crucial to national

0:28:270:28:30

security.

We have not been through

them all but by and large you don't

0:28:300:28:33

hold with the idea that John F.

Kennedy was assassinated by Lee

0:28:330:28:37

Harvey Oswald. With what you have

heard today, Hazard bolsters your

0:28:370:28:42

view, undermined it or giving you

another idea? -- has it bolstered

0:28:420:28:48

your view?

What we got from the CIA

and the FBI last night was that the

0:28:480:28:54

least consequential records are

being kept secret. There was nothing

0:28:540:28:57

that changed my mind. It was very

telling that to the one interesting

0:28:570:29:02

document that said something new was

an interview with the CIA director

0:29:020:29:07

in 1975, who was asked, was Lee

Harvey Oswald and agent of the CIA.

0:29:070:29:14

We never get the answer. That's the

end of the document. That is

0:29:140:29:18

emblematic of what happened last

night. A very truncated release that

0:29:180:29:23

evaded the intent of Congress to

have full disclosure.

Given that

0:29:230:29:28

Donald Trump's shtick has always

been about distrust of the CIA and

0:29:280:29:36

Washington, that doesn't play to his

base. Our people are upset with him

0:29:360:29:42

because of this?

I think a lot of

people are. One senator wrote on

0:29:420:29:47

Twitter today that it was ridiculous

that the CIA was trying to continue

0:29:470:29:51

the cover-up. It was really

disappointing. We had a law in place

0:29:510:29:56

that was very clear. The president

and the agencies evaded the law

0:29:560:30:01

because the material in the

remaining records, the remaining 80%

0:30:010:30:05

of the records that were to be made

public today will be deeply

0:30:050:30:09

embarrassing to the FBI and the CIA,

and show malfeasance in the case of

0:30:090:30:15

the assassination.

Briefly in a 20%

not released, will find something

0:30:150:30:26

interesting?

Absolutely. There's no

question about it!

Thank you very

0:30:260:30:28

much for joining us tonight. We

await that of interest. Just time

0:30:280:30:31

for some front pages. The Times goes

for a headline, Spain on the brink,

0:30:310:30:38

Madrid imposing direct rule, the

Daily Telegraph says that cracks

0:30:380:30:43

show in the EU as Catalans back

independence. And we know tonight,

0:30:430:30:48

too late for the papers that in

Catalonia they have declared a

0:30:480:30:53

provisional government for the

Republic. That's all we have time

0:30:530:30:56

for. Emily will be back on Monday.

0:30:560:31:00

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