Just How Low Can Spain Go?

Yves here. Last week, we used a the latest release of an every-other-year report by Transparency International on corruption to discuss the need to come up with more granular descriptions of the many forms it takes. One of the interesting things about questionable wheel-greasing is the way it’s considered to be perfectly acceptable in some societies if there are enough steps inserted between the action and the payoff. Larry Summers goes to DE Shaw and gets paid a lot to do very little and then goes back to government. Think he wasn’t more kindly disposed to the entreaties of traders and folks in the hedge fund industry as a result? Social psychologists have found a gift as minor as a can of soda predisposes someone towards a sales pitch. Just imagine what a few million dollars does. And here underpaid public servants expect to cash in afterwards, which of course means they can’t take steps that would upset prospective employers or donors while they are in office.

Now those patterns are common examples of how things are done in the US. Other cultures have different norms. This post on a major bribery scandal in Spain will hopefully elicit reader comment on the common forms of corruption in the EU and how they’ve changed over time.

Curiously enough, Spain got one of the best scores of all the countries included in the Transparency survey as far as the amount of bribery in day-to-day life. Only 2% of the respondents reported having to pay a bribe in dealing with the government in eight different categories, versus 7% in the US and Switzerland, 5% in the UK and Italy, and 4% in Belgium. Of the countries surveyed, only Denmark, Japan, and Australia scored lower, all at 1%. Yet Spain also scored poorly on the perceived corruption of its political parties, with a 4.4 ranking on a scale of 5 (the US was 4.1). The way to square the circle, as this post explains, appears to be that the buckraking takes place at senior levels.

I’m curious to get reader input on ritualized, respectable corruption that takes place in various European countries. How does the presence of technocratic career bureaucrats (a virtually non-existant species in the US outside the State Department and the surveillance state) change the dynamic? Or do you think there’s actually a lot of Bárcenas-type behavior that goes on but tightly-knit elites are normally able to keep it hidden from prying public eyes?

By Don Quijones, a freelance writer and translator based in Barcelona, Spain, who write regularly at his blog, Raging Bull-Shit. Cross posted from Testosterone Pit

You know your country has serious problems when one of the world’s most respected and influential media organizations goes out of its way to find the least flattering photo of your national leader and then plasters it across the top of a news story.

That’s precisely what happened to Spain this week.

The media organization in question was the BBC. The article was about the political funding scandal currently gripping Spain, and the photo the BBC chose to feature showed Spain’s hapless leader Mariano Rajoy licking his lips. The image (see below) lent Rajoy something of the air of a viejo verde (dirty old man) and predictably spread like liquid wildfire across the social media in Spain, setting off a cacophony of calls for Rajoy to resign for the irreparable damage he’d done to Spain’s overseas image.


Rajoy’s troubles have been thrust back into the international spotlight by the imprisonment, a few weeks ago, of the man at the centre of the funding scandal, the PP’s former party treasurer Luis Bárcenas. Bárcenas is accused of taking bribes and evading taxes.

To date, the authorities have thus far located close to 50 million euros in undeclared bank accounts under Bárcenas’ name in Spain, Switzerland and the U.S. For now, it’s anyone’s guess how many hundreds of millions, or even billions, of euros might have greased the PP’s wheels during his tenure as party treasurer.

What is clear is that, through his position within the party hierarchy, Bárcenas was able to amass compromising data on pretty much all his colleagues. This is probably what kept him out of prison — at least until recently – as well as why having him in prison now is likely the worst possible nightmare for senior members of the PP.

It didn’t take long for Bárcenas to hit back at his former colleagues. Within days of his incarceration he gave an exclusive interview to El Mundo, the country’s biggest-selling conservative daily, in which he accused the PP of financing itself illegally for over 20 years. He also gave the paper original copies of the “Bárcenas papers,” the secret ledgers he kept in which he recorded donations from major builders, developers and other closely tied companies.

Many of these donations violated party funding legislation because they either went over the legal limit of 60,000 euros or were donated by companies with government contracts. The papers also show bonuses – either in the form of cash or luxury goods such as designer suits and boxes of vintage Cuban cigars – paid to high-ranking PP officials, including Rajoy and his predecessor José María Aznar, on top of their regular salaries.

The Kings of Corruption

Obviously Spain is not the only country in Europe to be cursed with a self-serving, corrupt political class. Indeed, nary a day goes by these days without some senior European public official or representative getting caught with his or her (though usually his) hands in the cookie jar.

In France Jerome Cahuzac, the trusted tax tsar and budget minister who had led Hollande’s crusade against fraudsters and tax-dodging millionaires, was recently discovered to have been hiding €600,000 (£509,000) from the taxman in a secret foreign account for 20 years.

Across the Channel, Tim Yeo, a former British minister and the chairman of a powerful parliamentary energy committee, was recently caught on camera glibly discussing how he could secretly help push private business in parliament for cash. And just in the last few days, Claude Juncker, the Prime Minister of Luxembourg and Europe’s longest serving head of government, had to resign after evidence surfaced that he had allowed illegal security agency activity such as phone-taps and corruption.

Clearly, the problem of political corruption on the Old Continent is as acute and endemic as ever. However, when it comes to the hubris and wretched excess of its political class, Spain is clearly in a league of its own (or at least in a league of few talents, accompanied no doubt by Italy and Greece).

On the question of hubris, I’d like you to imagine, if you would, how your own national government might respond if pretty much every senior minister was accused of tax evasion and/or accepting bribes. Would it stand down in a rare act of humility? Or perhaps set up an “independent” (ha!) public inquiry, as the British government is won’t to do whenever a scandal rears its ugly head? Perhaps it would call new elections, so as to give the voting public a say on the country’s future direction. What it’s least likely to do is what Rajoy’s government has done — namely, to deny all charges against it, despite mounting evidence to the contrary, and cling on to its power and privilege as if its life depended on it, with complete disregard of public opinion.

The Man Who Wasn’t There

Perhaps worst of all, as the Bárcenas scandal has escalated, Rajoy, the nation’s supposed “leader”, has gone AWOL. Since Bárcenas’ imprisonment, he has spoken neither in parliament nor in public about the allegations.

In fact, when all the opposition parties recently tabled a motion in parliament calling for a one-off session of prime minister’s questions, the Popular Party used its absolute majority in the house to block the vote. Rajoy’s colleagues would clearly rather let silence speak volumes than their own party leader.

And with good reason. After all, the last time he tried to defend himself and his party in public, while standing shoulder to shoulder with his paymaster-in-chief Angela Merkel, Rajoy flummoxed the journalists gathered – not to mention the millions of listeners and viewers who tuned in around the world – with the following line of reasoning: “Everything that has been said about me and my colleagues in the party is untrue, except for some things that have been published by some media outlets.“

And that, dear reader, is the perfect summation of why Spain is in such a sorry state of decline. Not only is its political leadership one of the most openly dishonest, corrupt, hubristic and unpopular in Europe today, it is also arguably the most incompetent (and let’s face it, that’s saying something!).

Instead of devoting their admittedly limited capacities to the service of their country and its electorate, Rajoy and his cohort of ministers are in a perpetual state of damage limitation mode, desperately trying to cover their tracks and destroy all incriminating evidence against them before Bárcenas spills more of his beans.

But now, following El Mundo’s publication today of text messages between Rajoy and Bárcenas that show once and for all that the Spanish prime minister has been knowingly lying to the electorate, it’s almost certainly too late.

The show cannot go on much longer, for there is simply too much at stake. Lest we forget, Spain, like its equally dysfunctional Mediterranean neighbour Italy, is almost certainly both too-big-to-fail and too-big-to-bail. As such, it represents one of the greatest threats to the continued existence of the euro and the political union it’s meant to support.

So, while Rajoy and his government might have thought, at least until recently, that they could comfortably cling on to their political careers as well as their parliamentary majority for another three years, the “markets” may well have other ideas.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. from Mexico

    Kevin Phillips, in Wealth and Democracy, writes that “Corruption, like larceny, comes in many forms, some blatant, others more subtle.”

    There is “hard” corruption — bribery, embezzlement, fraud, swindling, and other “criminal” forms of corruption. And then there is “soft” corruption — crime made legal or “just” — the “corruption of thinking and writing.”

    In the later form, what Phillips calls “money-culture ethics” — “the distoritons of ideas and value systems to favor wealth and the biases of ‘economic man’ ” — come to dominate the moral landscape. “The result by 2000,” Phillips goes on to explain, “was a Washington in which liberals found themselves muttering about ‘corruption’ that was largely legal behavior.”

    Phillips emphasizes “both aspects of venality,” but it is rather clear that the United States excels in soft corruption, whereas places like Mexico and Spain excel in the harder variety.

    Fascism is the final stage of soft corruption, of the corruption of thinking and writing. A wonderful example of this was to be found in yesterday’s post, “Thug Politics.” The Golden Dawn leader says the bankers — the rich and the powerful — are to blame for Greece’s problems. But this is just lip service. For it is the poorest, weakest and most vulnerable segments of Greek society, and not the rich and the powerful, which are the targets of Golden Dawn’s violence. The rich and the powerful encourage the growth of this sort of irrationality because it serves to divert the discontent of the masses away from their vested interests.

    1. Maju

      Also in the USA corruption is much more legal: the revolving door, large corporate donations, huge levels of deregulation, etc. allow capitalists and mafiosi to operate within the law most of the time. Not sure in Mexico but in Europe (incl. Spain) much of that is illegal or at least heavily regulated.

      Also one thing in which both Mexico and Spain have advantage over the USA is that in general the people distrust the system, while in the USA there is a large fraction of “patriots” (hardcore imperial-nationalists and religious fanatics) who will essentially shallow almost anything that the government and media tells them. In Mexico and Spain most people simply (and rightfully) distrust the government systematically, making these societies somewhat healthier and much harder to govern.

      Overall I would think that Spain is about as corrupt as the USA, just that more forms and levels of corruption are illegal in Spain than in the USA.

      1. Bobito

        This is spot on. The essence of the current scandals is that major recipients of large government contracts were giving large amounts of cash to the political parties that rule Spain. In the US that’s called being a campaign contributor, and it’s legal.

        It’s corruption whether it’s legal or illegal, but the perception, and, more importantly, the self-perception, is different.

  2. charles sereno

    The best possible outcome would be that the PP, when it goes down, expose the opposition parties (even if lesser crooks). Bring on the Anarcho-syndicalists!

  3. Dr Duh

    One of the reasons why this degree of corruption was able to flourish in Spain was the ongoing ETA insurgency. Even while ETA was at its strongest in the 80’s it never truly presented a military threat to Spain’s sovereignty in the Basque country, particularly after Spain forced France to choose between tolerating ETA members and having Spanish death squads (GAL) operating in Southern France.

    Since the early 90’s ETA has been on life support, unable to organize a sufficient tempo of attacks to force the Spanish government to the table, but with wide enough backing from the indigenous Basque population to reconstitute itself after each ‘decapitation’ by the Spanish police. In it’s weakened state, ETA was fighting for a negotiated settlement. Rather than attempting to kick Spain out of the Basque country, its ‘demands’ amounted to wanting its prisoners brought to prisons closer to home and a referendum on Basque independence.

    I often wondered why Spain did not follow the model of Northern Ireland and take advantage of their relative strength to reach a negotiated political settlement that would end the violence. At the time I thought it was a desire for ‘total victory’ the annihilation of ETA. Given the relatively broad support within the population (approximately 20% voted for ETA’s political surrogates) I thought this was impossible and a foolish goal that might push a desperate and weakened ETA to mass casualty attacks instead of their generally targeted attacks on military, police, politicians and infrastructure targets.

    Now I believe that this was a feature, not a bug, that having a weak but persistent enemy provided the raison d’etre for a broad security state which both was both opportunity and cover for looting by the elite. From this perspective, it is unsurprising that the Spanish interior minister Jose Barrionuevo and the head of the Civil Guard Enrique Galindo, were both accused of corruption (generally related to construction projects) but were only convicted for participation in death squads, serving 3 months and 4 years respectively.

    1. Maju

      Thoughtful. Essentially ETA “justified” almost anything (and growingly so), occupying much of the news and political debate. I wouldn’t be surprised if the USA and its ghostly Al Qaeda threat were inspired by Aznar in person (or more generally imitating the “terrorist” state of exception of Spain).

      This particularly affects the Basque Country: one of the reasons that the Basque institutions have been so far almost impervious to corruption scandals (not to actual corruption, which is widespread) is that the management of the Basque Nationalist Party (EAJ-PNV, in effect acting as regionalist force) is so extremely crucial for Spain’s control of the Western Basque Country that eroding it is beyond question. Closing of Basque media (on “terrorism” pretexts) was also done for that reason, more than any other, as Egin (and Pepe Rei’s pet project Ardi Beltza, also closed) were digging deep in the corrupt networks around the PNV (and their Spanish allies). 1990s’ Egin was a very good investigative journalism and general information newspaper (Gara, its replacement, is nothing but a shadow).

      Still, with or without ETA (and much as it happens in Turkey, with or without PKK armed activity) there has been a shift in the center of rebellion and therefore repression, towards core Spain. In 2011 I wrote a little piece titled “Welcome to the Basque Country” (http://forwhatwearetheywillbe.blogspot.com.ca/2011/11/hello-world-welcome-to-basque-country.html) where I expressed my feeling that the kind of widespread and brutal repression that we Basques (among others) were sadly accustomed to was the new global norm. It was meant for everyone (especially the USA, as “Occupy” was then ongoing) but also applies to Castile-Spain and many other places until recently mostly spared from the worst of the police state.

      1. charles sereno

        With your background, I’d really be interested on your take on a comment such as the following: Rajoy is a Galician and all Galicians are (fill in the blank). Some consider Galicians lesser Spaniards, perhaps a cut above the Portuguese? Actually, I descend from Madeirans, a cut below the Portuguese. Rajoy sort of looks like some of my relatives — deceptively slow-witted in appearance but consummate liars. Give us credit for that!

        1. Maju

          It won’t be me who goes around playing the ethnic tag game. Galicians have fame of being extremely ambiguous, it’s said that, if you meet one at stairs, you don’t get to know if he (or she) goes upstairs or downstairs. In theory this is because of the nature of socio-economic relations in that country, where most people used to be poor (very fragmented rural property) and a few very rich and influential, so you did not want to fall out with any, especially the powerful ones. Rajoy may well fit in this archetype but I know of very honorable, generous and combative Galicians as well, like the above mentioned Pepe Rei (Basque only by adoption). It’s not the people but the person. Similarly there are many hypocrites among Basques, even if blunt honesty is supposedly part of our “national character”.

    1. Tom

      That photo of Rajoy has to be one of the worst ever published by the BBC. Would love to see them use similar photos for the BBC Chairman Chris Patten.

      For me every nation has its own way of encouraging corruption, depending on the political system in place. The UK one appears to be buying influence with elected politicians.

  4. Susan the other

    The BBC photo is hilarious. Too bad nobody takes photos that make Jamie Dimon or Larry Summers look that stupid. This modern corruption is epic. We could cut it up into districts and towns across the planet and each one would take root and grow into its own saga. Here in the US we have government by finance. Our elected politicians are just stooges. So our corrupted “officials” are the principals: the TBTF banksters who “cling to power and privilege as if their life depended on it” while they don’t even bother to deny charges – they simply ignore them. Who knows but what the BBC has evidence that those bribing Rajoy et.al. reside in The City of London? After all, when the construction-corruption boom took off in Spain some of the most interested buyers were British. Perhaps money launderers even … how does Spain maintain property records and clear chains of title? I’ve read Greece’s property records are virtually nonexistent. In fact privatization has been slowed to a crawl because nobody can prove who owns anything.

  5. F. Beard

    Theft is not quite the same sin in Catholic countries as Protestant ones. Even in the 1950’s only theft above $20 was a mortal sin. But that was for the little people. I suppose the more important parishioners had more lenient confessors or could find one. The Jesuits were the best for small penances!

    But Protestants, having read their Bible, knew the following:

    “He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much.” Luke 16:10

      1. F. Beard

        Ha,ha! I learned something new, thanks! But not surprisingly, when following the link for commutative justice I further learned that Catholics are confused about justice* too. No wonder Catholic countries have lagged behind the rest of Christendom! The early fathers should have stuck with the Bible and ignored Greek philosophers.

        *“Justice is one of the four cardinal virtues in classical European philosophy and Roman Catholicism. It is the moderation or mean between selfishness and selflessness – between having more and having less than one’s fair share.[1]” from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justice_%28virtue%29#Types_of_Justice

        1. Nathanael

          Well, remember that the Roman Catholic Church was created, historically, from two phenomena:
          (1) First, the takeover of the church by the Roman Empire (under Constantine).
          (2) Second, the attempt by the Bishops of Rome (several hundred years later) to challenege the power of the Roman Emperor and set themselves up as powerful feudal lords.

          Neither of these was going to create a church with any moral authority.

          Unfortunately, *prior* to the church takeover by Constantine, the evidence is that many Christians were incredibly antisocial jerks, wandering around breaking laws and destroying property in attempts to get themselves “martyred”. Most of the “martyrs” in this period were executed legally for committing long strings of violent crimes. This was actually part of the “apostolic fathers” period and the doctrines promulgated during this period are almost uniformly *insane* as well as awful. I strongly suggest reading them.

          You have to go back another couple of hundred years further, before the cult of martyrdom and anti-social behavior caught on, before the “apostolic fathers” retconning of the religious beliefs, to find something approximating a respectable religion, what some people call “primitive Christianity”. But that was never popular. :-) The insane and anti-social variants were always much more popular.

      2. Massinissa

        Youre sort of forgetting inflation. 20$ in 1955 would be a whopping 174$ today.

        So apparently a person can borrow 150$ without asking or alerting the owner, and its totally okey dokey in the eyes of god.

        1. F. Beard

          No, not OK, but one would not be damned to Hell for it.

          Still one might have to cook in Purgatory for a while …

          I’m an ex-Catholic so I don’t necessarily believe anything the RCC teaches, including the above.

  6. Banger

    Spain, like anywhere else is in complete control by the international oligarchs who are well-networked. The public will bear the cost of corruption as they have willingly done throughout the Western democracies since 2008. There is no counter-movement to this trend other than Syriza in Greece and even that movement may be stalled.

    I think we have seen the beginning of the end of liberal social democracies in Europe as we see in a more mature form in the U.S.

  7. Maju

    On the general matter, I also think that there has been a clear escalation of corruption very especially with the housing bubble and the privatization of public savings banks (“cajas”), which were owned by the citizens via local, provincial and regional institutions and have been scandalously not just privatized (an EU demand) but in many cases looted in the process and invariably also used against the citizenry (brutal home evictions especially but also abandonment of public service format) instead of serving their proclaimed “social” purpose, which made them rather sympathetic banks (not anymore).

    There has been a merge between corruption and the also clearly increasing capitalist exploitation. Just a few years ago citizens preferred to ignore corruption scandals like the so-called Gürtel case (Valencia) but today the pressure of cuts, privatizations, unemployment, home evictions, direct tax rises, etc. is so huge that the same people has got truly angry and corruption serves as focus for that anger: the President is not just corrupt, many people could live with that if it was the only problem, but he also lies every single day and is demolishing the fundamentals of a society that can’t bear it anymore.

    Again Spain resembles Turkey, even if in Turkey the escalation of social conflict has been much more dramatic and sudden. These two polities have outstandingly geographical and historical parallels and today we are also seeing the similitudes. In the end it’s not if Erdogan or Rajoy embezzle a bit or lie occasionally or that they have an extremist conservative religious agenda: the problem is that they are destroying the societies they are suppossed to administrate and protect.

  8. allcoppedout

    The current class-war is a war against our professionals to a considerable extent – an old theme of white collar crime since Sutherland (1940). Old chestnuts are such as watching Yes Minister as an explication of public choice theory.
    Some parts of the US are just like Britain and much of Western Europe.
    My mate in Saratoga Springs finds little difference in living between the UK, Germany, France or his part of the US – he moans more about the lack of footpaths than health care, and rather likes the more visible presence of the cops. I’d add Japan and Scandinavia. The more you know the culture, the less differences in what actually gets done appear – though you’l need a brown envelope for medical care in Greece – here you pay a private consultant to boost you up the NHS list.
    Most scientists across the world talk of long prison sentences for bureaucrats, then hanging.

    Anthropology gives some clues – leaders in some tribal settings are openly despised and ridiculed – much as we do in satire. In Bahrain, if you want a driving licence or exit visa it’s much easier to get a mate with connections to do it.

    I know of no technocrats – the notion relies on either Max Weber’s notion of a disinterested class of people or the ludicrous notion of value-free science. What we have seen across Europe is the replacement of the salary-man with the obscenely paid top-pack. This is an old trick seen in the Enclosures, Red Rubber and the current accounting, tax stealing, offshore displacement of skilled work and shift of liquid assets from the people to the rich.

    I would suggest a set approach (as in maths)to discover the similarities in our professional classes. Japan, for instance, has very few accountants, but this doesn’t mean the accounting doesn’t get done (it was 4,000 v 120,000 Japan/UK in the 80s). On first sight, I thought Bahrain very different from Britain (and it is in some ways like the ‘wasta’ and ruling families), but on return I have reflected on it as a model for what happens here.

    The radical issue is representation on a fair and equal basis for everyone – as a cop I tried to give my services on this basis – but at some point, as with banksters (and in my time sexual abuse victims) you just can’t. Britain and the UK do very badly on this score amongst developed nations. This is to do with the rules bureaucrats and technocrats must follow and the extent to which they can be scrutinised. – an old Popper theme on it mattering less who is in power than the control we can exert on them.

    There are classic texts by Jane Marceau on how our elites are made through education (the literature is probably as big as that of heterodox economics) and the story is much the same across the globe.

    The problem everywhere is getting an investigation as an ordinary person. One might think a technocrat who has been a Chief Constable in Britain would apply himself in the same way in Bahrain (with very similar laws) – and I suspect such do – though within weeks of transfer the finest of Scotland Yard declare those doing political street protest criminals and support scurrilous violence by their new officers. What’s the same is the technocrat deference to what they see as the real power – broadly who pays them wads of cash.

    Bribes vary from a small businessman in India paying up to a third of profit to cops, to a few tens of million to a Saudi prince, though a few dollars more to kill African tenant farmers (or burn out Scottish crofters in the Enclosures) – and to share options to CEOs, legal rip-offs by professionals and to the kickbacks, say, from a French deal to build Pakistani submarines that fund a French election campaign. Try setting up a business in Equatorial Guinea – you’ll need medical treatment about 2 years in.

    Most men will give better service to a pretty woman than anyone else. This can be fixed by a tri-cyclic antibiotics. Haven’t we already bribed students with all the propaganda on them being able to earn more than other workers, and isn’t every professional also so bribed? Is the NHS manager taking her inflated salary and bonus as patient care fails, or the banker-bonus twerp taking a bribe in accepting payment not remotely deserved while declaring everything is fine to the public – maintaining for the master the notion everything is hunky-dory? Who got what for giving Said Gadafy a PhD? Why did two UK universities give a PhD for a copied piece of work associated with £100,000 research grant from Nigeria (which I’m happy to say never arrived)!

    1. Yata

      That shouldn’t sound too far-fetched if you think back it was AIG who, with the help of the treasury, was able to book future tax credits for losses as quarterly profit. Something like $20 billion was credited to AIG as tax exempt losses.

    2. Nathanael

      “Haven’t we already bribed students with all the propaganda on them being able to earn more than other workers, and isn’t every professional also so bribed?

      No, not quite. The thing is that propaganda about a bribe isn’t a bribe.

      You can easily, and successfully, run a society on bribery. *If you actually pay the bribes* and if you actually *get results* for your bribes.

      What’s happened recently is that a very small group of sociopaths, in the 0.1%, has decided to break the social contract.

      It’s like having an area run by a stable mafia. It’s not so bad….. but then suppose the head of the mafia decides to start welching on all his deals, unilaterally. A gang war will inevitably break out.

  9. allcoppedout

    The Spanish banks are currently trying to get past losses declared as tax credits as capital under Basel III – 35 billion or so. My brother always haggles on the hotel bill when we arrive late at night – a cash payment secures the room at about a third. We rationalise this as giving the money to the needy and not the capitalists. Last time he did this (my Spanish is hapless his brilliant) before I got chance to tell him we were sharing a twin room at my employer’s expense! Such wicked ways and a massive black economy are very much South of the Border.

    1. Yata

      That shouldn’t sound too far-fetched if you think back it was AIG who, with the help of the treasury, was able to book future tax credits for losses as quarterly profit. Something like $20 billion was credited to AIG as tax exempt losses.

  10. Maju

    I was just reading something that may be of interest in this discussion: the Spanish government is increasing riot police budget by 1900% in just one year (austerity, you know) and is set to still grow up to €10 million until 2016.

    Besides tear gas and rubber bullets (illegal in EU, ahem), they are buying all kind of last-generation crowd control weapons like microwave cannons, glue-like foam, laser weapons, sonic guns, etc.

    This implies that they foresee growing unrest. And also that they plan to remain glued to their seats as much as possible and even more. I would not even discard some sort of putschist contingency plans for beyond 2015.

    1. F. Beard

      Did Pope Pius XII(?) give Franko much trouble? Or was much forgiven so long as Communism was being fought?

      This current pope is not likely to be so forgiving, no?

      1. Maju

        Bergoglio collaborated actively with the Argentine dictatorship: death squads operated from his see. All popes I can recall (with a couple of exceptions maybe, one of which died in mysterious circumstances a week after being appointed) were fascists. Fascism and the Catholic Church are not really different animals at all.

    2. Nathanael

      All this money on weapons for thugs to attack the people with. Waste, utter waste, and I speak pragmatically.

      Unless you (a) hire a lot of thugs, 10% of the population minimum, and (b) you treat the THUGS decently, which none of these sociopaths are willing to do — they slash health care and pensions for thugs as well as for everyone else — then this is all useless, and serves only to make more people angry, and to provide more weapons for the revolutionaries to seize.

Comments are closed.