The 17-A trial and the Spanish State’s reaction
The start of the trial of the Barcelona and Cambrils islamist terror attacks in August 2017 has taken us back to the beginning of the most tense three-month period in Catalonia’s recent history. The well-established ties of the mastermind behind the attacks, Imam Abdelbaki es-Satty, with Spain’s intelligence service is still the source of questions, as we recall that the 17 August attacks were staged less than six weeks before Catalonia’s independence vote on 1 October.
Three years after the terrorist outrage, one political conclusion is increasingly clear: the response by the Catalan police, the Mossos d’Esquadra, won them greater respect and international recognition and defined them as a force that protects because, when necessary, it will locate, aim and shoot. There is no more definitive expression of public power than the legal use of a firearm. The Spanish State had a great chance to tell the world that its de-centralised model worked but, far from that, it reacted as if it had lost a monopoly to the least desirable bidder.