Catalan National Assembly website “dangerous” with 45 security risks


Formed in 2012, the Catalan National Assembly (Assemblea Nacional Catalana, or ANC) is a grassroots organisation promoting Catalan independence.

Boasting 80,000 members, the ANC is one of the largest pro-independence civil society organisations whose founding president, Carme Forcadell, is now the President of the Parliament of Catalonia.

However, despite a budget in excess of €5.2 million in 2015, their website has a look and feel that seems to predate their March 2012 formation. It also has no mobile-friendly alternative (have they never heard of Bootstrap?) – and any idiot with a smartphone knows how painfully frustrating it is to try to navigate a drop down menu from a mobile device.

assemblea website

The greatest concern for visitors to the ANC’s website, though, is the number of potential security risks contained within its pages. In fact, users of Norton Safe Web are blocked from accessing the site with a menacing warning that it is a “known dangerous website”.

assemblea blocked

According to Norton’s Safe Web Report, the website contains a worrying 45 computer threats, including 28 instances of viruses and 17 security risks. There is no evidence of any identity threats on the website.

The ANC’s web presence does, however, contain a number of “Fake Jquery Injections”, which are malicious scripts which can download potentially damaging elements onto visitors’ computers. The presence of this kind of threat often indicates that a website has been hacked – and is flagged by Norton as posing a serious security threat.

There are also a number of “Malicious Script Redirections”, which are just as malicious and are also scripts which can download potentially damaging content. These scripts could also be a result of a hack.

It is not clear how long the ANC’s website has been compromised. However, until the organisation’s tech gurus fix the numerous security issues, visitors without effective antivirus protection could be putting the health of their computers at risk.

Barcelona metro map literally translated to English with brilliant results

Barcelona Metro

Ever wondered what Barcelona’s Catalan metro station names mean in English?

Well, reddit user teologico has recreated the metro map with literal translations of each station – with some hilarious results.

Now you know that when you are riding L1 from Santa Coloma to Can Serra, you are literally travelling from Saint Pigeon to Saw Home, whilst passing through stations such as Towers & Bagels (Torres i Bages) or the impressive Urwhatawave (Urquinaona).

Or maybe you are travelling from Maragall to Collblanc on L5, and notice Entença on your way through. Now, thanks to this handy map, you can see that you have, in fact, left Seatorooster and arrived at Whiteneck. That station you saw on the way through? Well, that was called Doyounderstanda.

I would, of course, advise keen travellers to take the translations on this map with a pinch of salt (or a glass of Cava!) and refer to each station by it’s proper Catalan name if you wish to enjoy a smooth journey!

You can see the full-size map – together with other people’s reactions – on reddit. The official metro map, including the tram and Rodalies rail stations, is available on the Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona website here (PDF).

Catalanofòbia in the wake of Paris


While the world was watching the terrible events in Paris overnight, the anti-Catalans took to social media to make some, frankly, disgusting comments.

These are just a few (with translations into English):

The attacks in Paris are devastating for the Catalan separatists, as they lose all of the attention and publicity which they need so much.

Terrible thing in Paris and despite this the Catalans will continue on Monday by…

While in Spain the Catalans boo the national anthem in France they sing it in chorus in a sign of unity after the attacks in Paris.prayforparis

Massacre in Paris. While the Catalan secessionists are welcoming thousands of Arabs as long as they wave the Estelada. Well. As God intended.

And possibly the worst of the night:

Well what a shame they weren’t Catalans #Paris

Stay classy, Spaniards…

Victory for “Yes”


The two Catalan seperatist forces have won an absolute majority in the Generalitat.

Junts pel Sí (JxS), the coalition formed for these elections, and Candidatura d’Unitat Popular (CUP) have won an absolute majority of seats in the regional assembly, claiming victory and the right to negotiate seperation from Spain.

However, opponents of independence have claimed that their push lacks legitimacy, as they have failed to win a majority of votes, falling 3 points short.

JxS won 62 of the parliamentary seats, six short of a majority of 68, but will work to form a “transitional” government with CUP, who more than tripled their number of seats and now have 10 representatives. One of the biggest obstacles to an agreement will be JxS’ proposal for Artur Mas to be president, which CUP have consistently opposed due to allegations of corruption (among many other reasons).

For opponents of independence, the fact that the separatist forces only achieved 47.7% of the popular vote suggests that independence is now a dead issue. However, those opposed to independence polled 41.6% and have just 52 representatives. The remaining voters seem to be largely in favour of a legal referendum, but in the absence of such a referendum it is impossible to attribute their votes to either the pro- or anti-independence side.

Ciutadans, who are now the second largest party after increasing their number of seats from 9 to 25, are opposed to independence. Their candidate for president, Inés Arrimadas, said last night that the question had been settled, that a majority were opposed and that another vote should be called with parties focusing on what they would do for Catalunya, rather than independence.

However, to do so would be to betray the majority of people who are unhappy with the current relationship with the Spanish state, and JxS and CUP have the necessary majority in the Generalitat to push for independence or, at least, negotiate a better deal with whoever is in power in Spain after December’s elections, in which the future of Catalunya is bound to be a major theme.

Yesterday’s election is not the end of the independence story, but merely a pause in the current chapter. The story will never end until Catalunya achieves full independence and, until then, there is always time to write another page…

EU incompetent fools

Via Lliure

The European Union has blamed “human error” for a major intervention in the Catalan elections, but says it will investigate.

The European Union has said that “human error” resulted in an entire paragraph being added to the official response to a question on the Catalan elections.

Catalans will vote for their regional parliament, the Generalitat, this Sunday in elections the current president and civil society groups have tried to turn into a plebiscite on independence.

Pro-independence politicians and other well-known faces, including former FC Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola, have joined together as candidates for the Junts pel Sí coalition, after the Spanish government in Madrid blocked all other attempts for a referendum on independence. Junts pel Sí have promised to issue a unilateral declaration of independence within 18 months if they win on Sunday.

Madrid have refused to recognise Sunday’s election as a plebiscite, although the Catalan branch of the ruling Partido Popular, and various members of the government including Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, have been campaigning on the benefits of a united Spain.

One of the Partido Popular members of the European Parliament, Santiago Fisas Ayxelà, even tabled a question to the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, asking:

Would the Commission recognise this unilateral declaration of independence, or would it respect Spain’s territorial integrity and the Spanish State’s competence to manage its internal affairs and essential functions as a State?

It was, as with most political questions, very loaded. The EU is, supposedly, committed to not interfering with the internal affairs of member states, where they do not impact directly on the EU. During the Scottish referendum, the EU’s input only stretched to membership of the EU if it became independent.

The official answer given by President Juncker, in English, was a standard response:

It is not for the Commission to express a position on questions of internal organisation related to the constitutional arrangements of a particular Member State.

However, the Spanish translation of the answer includes an additional paragraph which represents a major intervention, roughly translated as:

The Commission recalls in this context that, in accordance with what is ordered in Article 4, Part 2, of the Treaty on European Union (the Maastricht Treaty), the Union must respect the “national identity [of Member States], inherent in their fundamental political and constitutional structures, also with reference to local and regional autonomy. It will respect the essential functions of the state, especially those whose object is to guarantee their territorial integrity.” The determination of a Member State’s territory is uniquely established by the national constitutional law and not by a decision of an autonomous parliament contrary to the constitution of the said state.

This additional paragraph was immediately seized upon by the Partido Popular and others opposed to independence, but the EU insists it is not an official position, as the only official answer was that given in English. The EU has put the additional paragraph down to “human error”, a result of having 35,000 employees, but that excuse simply does not wash.

Whether official or not, President Juncker’s response has been manipulated and is now embedded in the minds of many Catalan voters just days before the crucial election.

What is at stake in this case is not just the future of Catalunya and Spain, but the integrity of the EU as a whole. An organisation that purports to represent more than 500,000,000 people cannot simply bat away such a large manipulation as mere “human error”, otherwise it cannot and will not be trusted on similar matters in future.

The EU must investigate exactly how this was allowed to happen, and either update the official response or publicly declare that this is not the view of the Commission. Trust in the EU project, for those who do still trust it, is on the line.