Spanish Army: Minister calls for investigation of online chat where former army officials discuss “the execution of 26 million Spaniards” | New
Spain’s Defense Minister Margarita Robles has sent prosecutors at Madrid’s High Regional Court information about a WhatsApp chat group in which retired military officials appear to show their support for military uprisings and mass executions.
Robles asks prosecutors to determine whether messages exchanged by members of the 19th class of the Air Force Academy constitute a crime “on the part of individuals who could have further passed themselves off as serving members of the military active without being, ”ministry sources said. .
The minister’s request is supported by information published on Wednesday by the online daily Infolibre, who posted two posts in the private discussion group as saying the following: “There is no choice but to start running 26 million motherfuckers” and: “What a pity not to be in active duty to redirect a hot flight [carrying real ammunition] from Bárdenas [firing range] at the seat of these sons of bitches ”, alluding to the separatist organization Catalan National Assembly (ANC), which played a leading role in the 2017 unilateral secession attempt of the region of Catalonia from Spain. These two quotes were attributed respectively to Major General Francisco Beca Casanova and Colonel Andrés González Espinar.
Although Robles did not mention any specific crimes by name, his mention of retired individuals pretending to be on active duty could potentially lead to charges of impersonation of an official. which carries prison sentences of one to three years.
Prosecutors responded with a request for further information before deciding whether or not to open an investigation. But sources seen by that newspaper said the complaint is unlikely to go very far, as the remarks were made. in a private discussion group. Legal sources explained that if these officers were still on active duty, they could be fired for misconduct and banned from using the uniform again, but this is not possible with retired officials.
The Chief of the Defense Staff, Air Force General Miguel Ángel Villarroya, warned that the opinions of retired officials did not represent the armed forces, and only served to undermine the public image of the latter. In a press release, Villarroya said that “the opinions of these people cannot be interpreted as representative of the community of which they were once a part, but should be regarded as the opinions of private citizens who have the right to express their opinions. , but not to grant themselves performance rights that they do not have. “
Letters to the King
The people who participated in this focus group also signed a recent letter sent by retired military personnel to King Felipe VI, in which they denounced “the social-communist government“Led by the Socialist Party (PSOE) in coalition with its junior partner Unidas Podemos, which is” supported by lovers of ETA and separatists “, alluding to a Basque terrorist group now defunct and to Catalan independence parties .
The letter, signed by 73 former army officials, said Spain’s national unity was in danger and showed its support and loyalty to the king “in these difficult times for the homeland.” A few days earlier, another group of 39 retired Air Force officials sent Felipe VI a similar missive. Attempts to convince naval officials to join the initiative have reportedly failed.
Robles spoke to Congress on Tuesday to criticize retired officials “who are trying to involve the head of state” in their initiative, in violation of the political neutrality of the armed forces.
Lt. Col. José Ignacio Domínguez, one of the participants in the WhatsApp discussion group, told Cadena SER radio station on Wednesday that in March “we started talking [in the chat group] on the possibility of a military uprising supported by the king ”, inspired by the failed coup attempt of 23 February 1981. But group members concluded that was not a viable option and suggested requesting a meeting with Felipe VI. In the end, the group stuck to a letter, hoping to get more officials to follow their example.
Domínguez said that these initiatives are the result of the tension created by the far-right party Vox, because “this kind of hatred did not exist before” within the group of retired civil servants.
Deputy Prime Minister Pablo Iglesias, the head of Unidas Podemos, downplayed the relevance of the statements. “What a few retired gentlemen might say in a focus group after drinking too many drinks presents no kind of threat,” he said Thursday in an interview with public broadcaster TVE. “If a few Francoist men think they are doing the head of state a favor by surrounding him with Francoism, I think they don’t understand that what it really does is that more Spaniards feel republicans.
Iglesias added that the letters put Felipe VI in “an absurdly uncomfortable situation” and that he surely wouldn’t even bother to read them.
English version by Susana Urra.