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  • Protests sparked in October after the Spanish government cracked down on Catalonia

    Protests sparked in October after the Spanish government cracked down on Catalonia's secessionist movement. | Photo: Reuters

Published 4 November 2017

Following a year of controversy over Russian influence in Western elections, some now believe Russia interfered in Catalonia’s secession from Spain.

The United States Senate now believes that the Kremlin has played a role in Catalonia’s secession from Spain, according to two members of the Intelligence Committee.

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The Senate has been convening with officials from Facebook, Twitter and Google, to discuss the influence of ‘Russian meddling on social media.’

“You operate global platforms and there are reliable sources that report that similar operations [to the US] may be happening, for example, in Catalonia. What are you doing, right now, to ensure that your platforms are not used to generate division around the world to weaken Western democracies? And in particular, with the case of Catalonia, are you aware of what happened there?” asked Senator Martin Heinrich.

“We know the Russians were involved in the French election. We know that they were involved in the German elections. We are now learning they were involved in the separation of Spain,” said U.S. Senator Angus S. King.

The most notable case of political interference by the Kremlin is the 2016 U.S. presidential election in which Russian agitators allegedly launched a campaign against Democratic Party nominee, Hillary Clinton, to help President Donald Trump snatch the election.

An intelligence community report insisted that the Kremlin ordered a campaign to undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton and harm her electability and potential presidency.”

The report endorsed by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and National Security Agency (NSA) continues that the Kremlin engaged in “covert intelligence operations – such as cyber activity – with overt efforts by Russian government agencies, state-funded media, third-party intermediaries, and paid social media users, or ‘trolls’.”

These claims come in the wake of Donna Brazile’s scathing book which was exposes fraud within the Democratic Party, spearheaded by the Clinton campaign. Brazile was the interim Democratic National Committee (DNC) chair from July 2016, until February 2017. Her confessions confirm suspicions held by many within the Democratic Party that supported Senator Bernie Sanders during his bid for the Democratic nomination in 2016. Sanders supporters claimed that the DNC favored Hillary Clinton and poised her to win in unethical ways.

During the Democratic convention where Clinton would seize the nomination, emails were leaked from within the Democratic Party, according to WikiLeaks who published them, that exposed the Democratic Party’s collusion with the Clinton Campaign, which has now been revealed, by Brazile, to have been true.

Hillary Clinton and her supporters immediately blamed foreign hackers, placing the blame on Russia, which sparked a wave of allegations across the West of Russian influence.

EL PAÍS, a widely circulated Spanish newspaper that claims to have investigated Russia’s influence in Catalonia, alleges that “this meddling machine was seen in the German elections, Brexit, the French elections and also (...) in Catalonia,” despite providing no evidence.

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In an opinion piece titled “Catalonia held a referendum. Russia won.” that was published in the Washington Post, the Post’s editorial board claimed that “the Catalan nationalists’ only backers are separatist-ruled Scotland, the pariah government of Venezuela and Russia’s intelligence and propaganda apparatus.”

“Moscow evidently perceives the Catalan movement as another vehicle for dividing and weakening the democratic West.”

Despite allegations, the U.S. Senate and media critics have provided no tangible evidence of Russian influence in Catalonia’s secessionist movement.


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