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STOP THE PRESSES

The difference between warning the Mossos and consulting them

Some newspapers have used the Belgian police’s enquiry about the imam of Ripoll as an excuse to blame the Catalan government

The strategy of connecting the terrorist attacks with Catalonia’s independence process is underway, backed by Spain’s police unions and their complaints against the Mossos d’Esquadra, the Catalan police force. However much police officials and political leaders may deny it, the idea is to come up with a way to blame the Catalan government. The theory espoused by Madrid is that the Catalan government is so obsessed with independence that it keeps throwing a spanner in the works of Spain’s law enforcement agencies.

Central to the whole affair, information regarding the imam in Ripoll and an email message. Madrid daily El País printed this headline: "The Mossos were warned about the Ripoll imam by Belgian colleagues". The article recounts how the Vilvoorde police emailed the Mossos asking if they had any information on the imam. A query, not a warning. Asking whether it is cold outside is clearly not the same as warning someone that it is cold. Likewise, asking if a person has a criminal record and warning that they pose a threat are two completely different things. To begin with, we need to know why the Mossos did not have access to information available to Spain’s National Police. Thanks to El País’ choice of words, the seed of doubt regarding police incompetence is planted in the reader’s mind in the first line. El Mundo, another Madrid-based daily, employed the same strategy, using it to fan the flames in their editorial: Catalonia "has a policy of taking on more Muslim immigrants than from Spanish-speaking countries, thus widening the gap with Spain". Mere hearsay presented as fact. Does no one recall the campaign “Residency papers for everyone ... who is proficient in Catalan"?

The son of ‘Tomasa’

ISIS released a video threatening Spain. The media, apart from reporting on it, saw the funny side of  the Andalusia-born terrorist featured on the video and his mother’s name, "La Tomasa”, and the memes it inspired. Despite her name, reminiscent of a flamenco singer, Tomasa fled to Syria to join the jihad. No one should take threats lightly, but humour is always the best antidote to barbarism.

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