The State unveiled: Spain’s anarchist hunt comes to a temporary end
Spain’s Audiencia Nacional tribunal has closed the legal proceedings and State driven persecution of anarchists known as Operación Piñata.
(Wednesday, January 31st, 2018)
Once again, everything has ended in nothing. Almost three years after the arrests of fifteen people under Operación Piñata (March 2015), the courts have stopped the legal process, after a request by defense lawyers to dismiss the investigation for lack of evidence against the accused.
Operación Piñata thus meets the same fate as Operations Pandora I and II, as legal proceedings against so-called “anarchist terrorism”.
After a total of 33 arrests, with house searches from Palecia to Granada; after three years of legal investigation, in which hundreds of documents were analysed, hours of telephone conversations recorded, bank accounts frozen, and worst of all, after some of the accused suffered months of imprisonment and dispersal in different penitentiaries of the national territory, the tribunal’s own public prosecutor considered that there did not exist sufficient evidence to put any of the accused on trial.
Five of the twelve people accused under Operación Piñata were placed under custody for months. The order of detention made reference to acts of sabotage, possession of explosives and illicit activity related to drug trafficking.
Despite this, at no point were they linked to any violent act. The three police operations, Piñata and Pandora I and II, led to 33 persons being arrested for supposedly belonging to a terrorist organisation, but none of them could be tied to any violent, terrorist action, except distributing anarchist literature, or publishing essays and books, such as the essay Contra a Democracia.
To speak of “terrorism” in the absence of any violence is an obvious and unacceptable [at least for those who defend the possibility of a “State of Law”, in opposition to a “State of Exception”, whereas for most anarchists, these are but two sides of the same coin, and thus the “Exception” is a permanent state of affairs] extension of the term, something that empties of any content other types of crimes. Not surprisingly, the Pandora operations would suffer the same fate.
More than three years have passed since the chief of the national police, Ignacio Cosidó, announced that “anarchist terrorism had gained root in Spain”, with this affirmation never finding confirmation in the courts.
Nevertheless, the three operations taken together amounted to the most virulent offensive against iberian anarchism since the “Scala case” of 1978. And independently of their legal success or failure, what is always accomplished is the dismantling of social centres, the generation of fear and suspicion among militants, the breaking up of networks of mutual aid and the criminalisation of an ideology and movement, which when it is necessary for the State to identify an enemy, sooner or later, anarchists will be targeted.
(The above is a free translation of an article that appeared in the spanish newspaper, El Salto)