Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Oh boy oh boy oh boy. This is a good one. Josep Lluis Carod-Rovira, number two in the Catalan regional government and leader of the Republican Left of Catalonia political party, has admitted that he met secretly with the leaders of ETA, "Mikel Antza" (Mikel Albizu) and "Josu Ternera" (Josu Urrutikoetxea) in Perpignan, France, on January 3 and 4 of this year. Both terrorist leaders are wanted by the Spanish police and just about every other European law-enforcement agency.

Now, in case you didn't know, 1) ETA is the Basque radical terrorist gang that has killed more than 800 people, and 2) Carod-Rovira's party is a member of the governing coalition in the Catalan regional parliament, along with the Socialists and the Communists.

No responsible political leader should be meeting and negotiating with terrorists on his own. This ought to go without saying. That is the job of the national government, the Prime Minister, the Interior Minister, the Cabinet, you know, people like that. That's what the national government is elected to do, set national policy on key issues like security and terrorism. That is not what Josep Lluis Carod Rovira's job description as "conseller en cap" (roughly, regional cabinet chief of staff) consists of. Carod usurped the functions of the national government all on his own.

Carod's trying to weasel out, saying he was acting as Republican Left party leader and not as conseller en cap and that he has the right to "explore all means of dialogue in order to put an end to the violence." No matter what, though, you don't go meet in secret with wanted criminals if you hold public office. And you especially don't do it when there's an agreement among all the "democratic" parties that nobody's going to negotiate with that gang of terrorist murderers.

(What's there to negotiate about, anyway? ETA is damn near on its last legs, and even if it weren't no democratic state should submit to such blackmail. My terms would be: You guys all surrender. We pardon anybody not responsible for crimes of violence as a gesture, and send the rest of you to prison for the hard thirty years.)

Even nastier: The pro-centralist Spanish nationalist daily ABC, the guys with the scoop on this one, says that what Carod was trying to negotiate was an agreement that ETA would not attack in Catalonia, in exchange for the goodwill and assistance of the Republican Left. If that is true--and that's the equivalent of some state governor making a deal with the Mafia not to operate in his state in exchange for God only knows what--Carod is unfit to serve as dogcatcher.

This looks just awful for the Socialists. Just awful. See, the Socialists are the Republican Left's senior partner in the new Catalan administration, and they can be blamed as those responsible for bringing Carod into a position of political power. Major Socialist power brokers, led by Zap himself, and including Chaves, Caldera, Blanco, Bono, and Ibarra, have demanded that Pasqual Maragall, Socialist Prime Minister of Catalonia, fire Carod as his number two. So far Maragall is holding out; he's slapped Carod on the wrist, taking away his role as boss of the Catalan government's "foreign relations". Carod hasn't resigned yet. It's a matter of hours before he goes down.

The Socialists look just pathetic. Just pathetic. They make a governing coalition in Spain's most important autonomous region with these unprofessional jokers, which is what the Republican Left are. They bring these unprofessional jokers into positions of power and influence, and then the jokers go out and start dealing with terrorists. Not even Catalan terrorists! Basque terrorists!

Carod-Rovira has torpedoed Zap's campaign for Prime Minister. It was already taking water and the rats were bailing out, but it might still have made port without significant casualties. Zap wasn't going to win, but he might have held the PP short of an absolute majority. Maybe. Just possibly. But now Carod's holed him below the waterline and it's time to start singing "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald".

The serious question now is whether this is going to bring down Catalan Prime Minister Maragall with Carod. Maragall looks like a major doofus for not keeping Carod under control and/or for appointing someone with such poor judgement to such an important post. And that's assuming he didn't know what was going on. If he actually did know what Carod was doing he'll have to step down, too, and if Maragall goes down they'll have to call new regional elections.

The response of Commie leader Gas, by the way, is that this is some kind of PP conspiracy. Uh-huh.

ABC says they've got more and it'll be coming out over the next few days. This ought to be fun.

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