November 16th, 2021

The provincial court judge in Huelva, Florentino Ruiz Yamuza, today published his order with the arguments for throwing all journalists out of the entire Laura Luelmo murder trial. All the parties asked him to do it, he asked the jury and then of course argued that the European Court of Human Rights, the Supreme Court, the Spanish Constitution, the Judicial Power Act, the Jury Act, the Criminal Procedure Act and the Statute of the Victim all backed him up.

The precedent is set, whether or not other judges copy the Yamuza format in future trials. If they were to do so, we would not have any news in Spain about trials for the most serious crimes because it could always be argued, as they have done today in Huelva, that the memory or dignity of the victim or their relatives will be affected.

The parties affected by the total closure, in this case broader society via the media, are not parties to the trial and cannot therefore present any formal appeal or letter to the court to petition the judge to reconsider or reverse his course.

In the trial for the murder of Gabriel Cruz in Almería two years ago, the same regional high court organised things quite well faced with a similar request from the family for the entire trial to be held behind closed doors. The judge then did not consult with the jury and decided by herslf to restrict access to some of the witness statements from the parents and relatives and also the forensic testimony.

November 15th, 2021

Another public authority in Spain, in this case judicial and not political, decided on Monday that it is best to close everything off to journalists and that society should neither see nor know anything about what is happening inside. Instead of regional governments and hospitals during the Covid pandemic, or the Ministry of Defense and what happened this summer with the mission to Afghanistan, today it was a judge at the Provincial Court in Huelva (Andalusia).

After the family's lawyer requested it all happen behind closed doors, the defendant's lawyer, the regional government's lawyer and even the Public Prosecutor's Office all said they thought that was a good idea and the judge let the jury think about it for all of 10 minutes, at the same time as they were told to choose their foreman, before ordering the trial closed. What were the lay jurors supposed to decide, when all of the lawyers in the room said that was what they wanted and the judge did not object?

Nothing shall be known about a trial for murder, the most serious crime of them all. At this hour late on Monday evening, what happened there today and what is going to happen there tomorrow is a news black hole. We do not even know if the jury's decision was unanimous, if the judge just accepted it as it was, or what his justifications were. The explanation is supposedly coming tomorrow in a court document.

Neither will we be able to find out anything about what the witnesses, both ordinary citizens and Civil Guard or Police officers, say, or what they did or didn't do during the investigation until the defendant was arrested, or anything about the row that took place at the time between the Civil Guard and forensic scientists about the time of the time of death of the victim and everything that information might lead to.

November 4th, 2021

Spain is one of three European countries trying to acquire Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters from the United States, Janes reports. The other two are Greece and the Czech Republic.

Janes reports Spain wants 50 of the super fighters, 25 x F-35As to replace ageing F-18s and another 25 x F-35Bs to replace its existing Harrier jump jets. First delivery would begin in 2027.

Defense News reported a Spanish procurement official as stating the F-35 is one of two options on the table, the other being the Eurofighter Typhoon.

The article does not mention a price, but looking at other countries' procurement costs over the past few years, $80-120 million each seems to be the ballpark, which would put the Spanish contract at somewhere between $4-6 billion, plus whatever the bombs, missiles, infrastructure, spare parts, fuel and training cost.

November 2nd, 2021

Spanish farmers have warned agriculture production costs are skyrocketing and want "urgent" help from the national and regional governments to stop producers being crushed by wholesale buyers trying to keep prices in supermarkets down.

COAG says the "brutal" rise in price will lead to "significant production cuts in the Spanish countryside".

The farming organistion says electricity prices are up 300%, fertilizers up 100%, diesel up 40-60%, plastics up 50%, water up 30% and animal feeds up 25%.

They estimate the cost of bringing a truck of fertilizer online in a field has gone up from €4,000 last year to €8,000-10,000 now.

October 17th, 2021

We chat about his recent article "Dismantling the narrative that Spain is a fascist state". Spain, Franco, the Transition, Zapatero, Catalan separtism, the evolution of media, politics, technology, the economy and the rise of Vox.

Dismantling the narrative that Spain is a fascist state:

October 12th, 2021
Readers used crypto to guarantee some real-world reporting
Readers used crypto to guarantee some real-world reporting
  1. Let's see if I can explain this without getting lost in the technicalities of bitcoin, about which I understood almost nothing until this week. It was on a mental list of global issues I would one day understand better.
  2. Not going to get into the huge systemic economic, social and political debates around bitcoin today, which will be fascinating to watch and report on over the next few years.
  3. A week ago, Twitter announced it was introducing "tips" on people's profiles and that one of the options was going to be...bitcoin, with two bitcoin options: standard bitcoin and something called lightning bitcoin.
  4. For standard bitcoin, Twitter lets you put a bitcoin "address" in a new profile field. To "tip" someone (send them some bitcoin, or bits of bitcoin, called "satoshis"), you copy and paste that address into your bitcoin "wallet" (but the easiest thing seems to be to scan a QR code on your phone)
  5. There are several possibilities for a bitcoin "wallet". I installed an app on the phone called Muun. Why? Because Twitter boss @jack recommended it in a tweet. So it's probably not a terrible one.
  6. Another Jack, the boss of Strike, also mentioned Muun in his new video talking about the Twitter-Strike lightning bitcoin option, which so far is only available in the US and El Salvador.
  7. Why El Salvador? Because El Salvador has introduced bitcoin for everyone in the whole country, a new national payment system. The lightning version is about making bitcoin faster and the transactions cheaper.
  8. The lightning bitcoin thing on Twitter seems to be about Srike using bitcoin to let people send dollars or euros to each other. But if you don't live in the US or El Salvador, you don't need to worry about that for now.
  9. Some readers who understand bitcoin sent me a few bits of bitcoin ("satoshis") to test. It worked (of course it did, but it was new for new). The bits of bitcoin appeared in my "wallet" (the Muun app on my phone), along with a euro equivalent amount.
  10. So that was fun. The options for receiving bitcoin, for now, seem to be somebody copying pasting the address into their wallet, or me sending them a lightning bitcoin "invoice" first (another line of text or a QR code).
  11. Then I discovered a site called, @bitrefill, which promised to turn bitcoins, or bits of bitcoin, into Amazon vouchers that I could spend on journalism stuff. The first little test worked.
  12. Some other readers sent more satoshis. Quite a few more. One person sent nearly €200 worth, which was very cool, but I know nothing about who they are. Man? Woman? Age? Country? Language? Job? Identity? No idea. Nothing. Zero. Completely anonymous. [Thanks if it was you.]
  13. Let that sink in. A completely anonymous private reader decided to send along some virtual money to guarantee more and better public journalism for all, in the physical world, with a journalist you can recognise.
  14. Amazon tells me that the second batch of reporting objects bought with bitcoins from readers who have guaranteed this journalism is already on the way. For now, some cables, connectors, a light and a cage for the phone for the new live streams, a better tripod to hold it all up.
  15. But those new objects will actually really improve things next week when I go and do a first real mobile live stream for you (there will be a big environmental march in Murcia on Thursday because of all the dead fish in the Mar Menor).
  16. So now we have another cool option for guaranteeing independent journalism. We can talk more about bitcoin another day.
  17. You will see the bitcoin addresses and QR codes on the bottom of every article, and in the emails, or you can find them on Twitter, as well as some other alternatives.
  18. Also, as you can see, we're going in a little bit of a different strategic direction with the journalism-funding model over the next few weeks and months. Same basic idea but more options, more distributed. Time to move up another level: more reporting, more photos and video and audio, more reporting trips around Spain. Will explain more in future posts.
  19. Fascinating coincidence that this happened the same week I went up to Alicante to speak at the national transparency congress. Thanks for reading. 100% readers = independent journalism.

Guarantee independent reporting (BTC, ETH, DOGE): thespainreport.wallet