The Latest: Spain analyzing source of fake news on Catalonia
BRUSSELS (AP) — The Latest on the Spain-Catalonia political crisis (all times local):
Spain’s defense minister says the government is analyzing who is behind a disinformation campaign targeting the region of Catalonia amid suspicions that Russia and Venezuela might be involved.
Maria Dolores de Cospedal has told reporters in Brussels that “many of the actions come from Russian territory,” but that it’s not yet possible to determine exactly what their source is.
She said some of them are “repeated from Venezuelan territory.”
The minister declined to say what impact the disinformation might have on the Dec. 21 regional elections in Catalonia, or how big the fake news campaign is.
She said the number of fake news items about Catalonia “is changing every day. The figure cannot be specified.”
Spain’s foreign minister says he will brief his European Union counterparts on alleged cyber-meddling from Russian territory and elsewhere aimed at spreading misinformation about the independence push in the northeastern region of Catalonia.
Alfonso Dastis said he would tell the EU’s top diplomats Monday in Brussels that data showed internet traffic by media networks “in Russia and other countries” after a banned Oct. 1 secession referendum in Catalonia.
Referring to a recent London meeting between WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and a prominent Catalan pro-independence figure, Dastis also said there were signs that 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. Spain’s government hasn’t provided evidence to back the interference claim.