Spain Accuses Assange Of Being 'Driving Force' Behind Catalonian Independence
Spains says Russia also involved in destabilizing region
Spain has accused whistleblower, Julian Assange and Russia of running a disinformation campaign aimed at 'destabilizing' northeast region of Catalonia.
Spanish defense minister, Maria Dolores de Cospedal said: "many of the actions come from Russian territory."
The Spanish government revoked Catalonia's powers and announced a snap election on 21 December after the Catalan government held a banned independence referendum on 1 October.
IBtimes reports: Several regional government ministers have been jailed, and the region's ousted leader, Carles Puigdemont, is in Brussels with four associates fighting extradition to Spain for trial. They could face up to 30 years in prison on charges of rebellion, sedition and extortion.
De Cospedal declined to guess what impact the disinformation might be having on the election campaign or how big the fake news campaign might be. She said the number "is changing every day. The figure cannot be specified."
Earlier, referring to a recent London meeting between WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and a prominent Catalan pro-independence figure, Spanish foreign minister Alfonso Dastis said there were signs Assange and others "are trying to interfere and manipulate" amid the Catalonia crisis.
Spain said last week that the signs don't necessarily mean the Russian government is involved, and it hasn't made public any evidence to back the interference claim.
The EU's strategic communications unit — the East StratCom Task Force — has recently reported several instances of disinformation coming from Russian news outlets linked to the Kremlin.
An analysis last month on the Russian talk show Vesti Nedeli said that the view from some Russian television stations is that Europe is "falling apart" and that Spain is being compared to Ukraine, whose Crimean Peninsula was annexed by Russian troops in 2014.