The WikiLeaks files – 17,000 internal documents from HazteOir and its sister organisation CitizenGo, dating from 2001 to 2017 – provide an unprecedented look into the inner workings and strategies of these groups.
Their actions to suppress information, detailed in these files, also contrast with “their rhetoric of defending ‘free speech’,” said Isabel Marler, lead of the Advancing Universal Rights and Justice programme at the AWID global women’s rights group.
“Their narrative is all a guise,” Marler told openDemocracy, “designed to make what is an extreme, discriminatory agenda sound more acceptable.”
HazteOir has called its activities – including sending buses emblazoned with anti-trans messages and slogans like “Stop feminazis” across Spain and elsewhere – “a beacon of light for the dissidents of political correctness”, and “the realisation of the freedom of expression” guaranteed by the Spanish constitution.
The WikiLeaks release includes 38 sub-folders of strategy documents to limit public information about reported connections between HazteOir and El Yunque.
The subfolders contain documents related to different cases of information identified and targeted by the Spanish group for attempted suppression, including news reports and other public statements from former HazteOir members.
In its request to Google to “suppress” related links, HazteOir and eight individuals said this content had negative “consequences” on their “state of mind”, prompted “rejection” in their public and private lives, and damaged their careers.
Google did not respond to openDemocracy emails about this story. HazteOir also did not respond to requests for comment or information.
El Yunque is infamous in Mexico for its perceived role in violence against left-wing students and others during the 20th century. Journalists have also documented connections between the society and politicians in Mexico and Spain.
In 2019, openDemocracy revealed how HazteOir and its sister organisation CitizenGo were working to drive voters in Spain and across Europe towards the far Right – acting as an unofficial ‘Super PAC’ with “attack ads” against opponents.
Joan Barata, lawyer at Spain’s Platform for the Defence of Freedom of Information and a fellow at Stanford law school’s Center for Internet and Society, said that HazteOir “needs to accept there are journalists who may focus on investigating them, or people who may speak about them [...] even give negative opinions.”
“The need for this information to remain [online] prevails because it is of public interest,” Barata told openDemocracy. “Therefore, the attempt to try to delete it – well, I think that is an attempt to wash their image, but it’s not legally supported.”
CommentsWe encourage anyone to comment, please consult the oD commenting guidelines if you have any questions.