Barbate’s crime calls into question Marlasca’s decisions in the fight against drugs

Alberto Núñez Feijo entered the chamber, all MPs of the People’s Party stood up and started applauding him. How not to do this, how much the boss has grown. A day earlier, Muineira was almost celebrated in front of the national executive committee for the victory in Galicia. The victory is mine, mine and mine and a little of Alfonso Rueda. After weeks of suffering that ultimately proved too much, Feijo hinted on Tuesday that someone wanted to “hold a plebiscite on my leadership” (inside or outside the party?).

“The campaign must be Gallicized,” PP barons said on February 13, with some headlines. Six days earlier, the conservative press sounded the alarm: “Something is happening in Galicia.” But the day after the overwhelming majority was repeated, it was time to break down the results and read them nationally. “What would you do today if we didn’t talk about what happened in the Autonomous Community of Galicia?” he asked Pedro Sánchez. The president responded by recalling his famous 16 journalists during the campaign and sarcastically congratulating him that he had recognized that the way forward with Catalonia is “dialogue, not confrontation”.

The PP could not lose the collapse of the socialist vote and Sánchez had to endure the premise that there would be no more talk of Galicia in a week. Feiyo was interested in talking about himself first, and there wouldn’t be time for that. “You declared that change in Galicia was unstoppable and the fall of Feijo. And here I stand,” he said. He only needed to jump for joy to prove that he was still alive. In this regard, it cannot be denied that he is right.

The PP was so keen to show that Cuca Gamarra emphasized that Yolanda Díaz did not appear in Congress after her dismal result in Galicia. PP General Secretary forgot that his party will not ask him questions. This is not the first time. The PP now does not dare to question the vice-president in the plenary session – so that he does not hit him with information – or does not want to give him any appearance.

The issue that really heated the control session was not in the north, but much further south. The PP put Fernando Grande-Marlasca in the spotlight – a custom that dates back to the previous legislature – at the same time the Senate voted to impeach him over the killing of two Civil Guards in Barbate. There were four questions (three from PP and one from Vox) and one interpellation from PP. They put special emphasis on the elimination of OCON-Sur, a special device of the Civil Guard against drug trafficking in the strait, in 2022.

The debate was one of those where you know that no one is telling the whole truth, partly for legal reasons, and that everyone knows things they’re better off keeping quiet about. There is a difficulty in expressing an opinion about a dark matter that is under judicial investigation and in which law enforcement is involved and not entirely on the side of the law. Moreover, neither the government nor the opposition dare to mention the obvious fact known for decades, which is the conflict between the police forces. And if you don’t talk about it in Congress, it’s like it doesn’t exist.

The rhetoric was elevated by definition. “Do you know what honor is?” asked Miguel Tellado, of PP, who is not the best person for philosophy lessons. From the outset, he is unaware that the Supreme Court long ago made it clear that honor is the legacy of the people, not of institutions or organizations, be it the Civil Guard, Racing de Ferrol or the RAE.

According to the minister, OCON-Sur was created by the Ministry of Internal Affairs at the proposal of the Civil Guard and later closed under the same conditions. This was suggested by the institution’s high command, and Marlaska made a political decision. In both cases, the ultimate responsibility rests with you. This unit, specialized in the fight against drug trafficking in Campo de Gibraltar, achieved successes that the Ministry was proud of at the time.

The whole government’s special plan in the area was to make more than 10,000 arrests and seize 1,400 tons of drugs in four years. You don’t have to be a great political analyst to know that this influenced the PSOE to present Marlasca, who is not a member of the party, as head of the Cádiz provincial list in 2019.

The disbandment of the special forces unit took place after the judicial investigation of Lt. Col. David Oliva, who was the head of the special forces unit. Its creation has already raised doubts among the Civil Guard and other units of the National Police dedicated to these functions, as reported on February 14. The police department began investigating Oliva in connection with a drug-trafficking clan that operated in the Tarifa area.

The evidence in this case does not appear to be very strong, but the case was complicated by another internal affairs investigation, which led to the indictment of Oliva and his number two in a Madrid court on charges of bribery and disclosure of secrets.

This whole scenario of doubts was completely changed by what happened in Barbate on February 9. A powerful drug boat rammed the Zodiac, which was carrying several agents, killing two of them, Miguel Angel Gonzalez and David Perez. The presence of the light vessel had a deterrent intent to prevent drug traffickers from sheltering from the storm in the port of Barbate or to identify them if possible. Given what happened, it is clear that this was a mistake with tragic consequences.

The events have prompted us to ask whether the security forces have the necessary means to counter the threat of drug traffickers in Campo de Gibraltar and the sense of impunity that is felt in the area. “Drug boats roam free at every dock,” said Cadiz’s anti-narcotics prosecutor.

In Congress, the PP directly linked Barbate’s crime to the decisions on OCON-Sur, which ended sixteen months ago without the event causing any controversy. Rhetoric has reached an extreme level. “You continue to humiliate the Civil Guard,” said Elias Bendodo, who asked if the unit was closed on “false evidence.” The deputy, so used to protecting the independence of the court, chose this time to forget the existence of the judicial investigation of the previous officials.

Marlaska claimed that “OCON is not disappearing” – which is not entirely true – because its 150 agents are integrated “into the structure of the Civil Guard in this area”. Ana Belen Vázquez went straight into conspiracy territory, wondering if OCON-Sur “collapsed due to Moroccan pressure,” aka Pepa Milan, the Vox spokeswoman. Not that they have any evidence for this version. It is never needed in an oversight session of Congress.

To explain that the effectiveness of the fight against narcotics has not decreased, the Minister of Internal Affairs claimed that in 2023, the seizure of drugs in the mentioned territory increased compared to the previous year (306 tons more than 272). It is difficult to be sure about this. You never know if it’s because of an increase in security forces or because of an increase in drug traffic. And this applies to the south of Spain, the north, the port of Rotterdam or any point that is the gateway to drugs in Europe.

The debate didn’t do much to clarify what happened in Barbate. Marlaska did not explain under what conditions the Zodiac was ordered to leave to intimidate the much stronger and therefore more dangerous boats. All he said was that the criticism of the PP in this regard was an attack on the Civil Guard commanders, so we must conclude that it came from them. PP asserted a causal link between the disappearance of OCON-Sur and the events in Barbate without proving it. González Pons even mentioned Casas Viejas. Marlasca did the same on Feijoo’s trip on the yacht Marcial Dorado.

It is quite possible that the two dead civil guards deserved a better debate.

Source: El Diario





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