Catalangate: PSOE's last chance
BarcelonaWhen they met in September 2021 to start off the dialogue table, the Catalan and Spanish presidents, Pere Aragonès and Pedro Sánchez, agreed that they did not have to set deadlines because the most important thing was to "build trust" that would allow them to move forward. And it is clear spying on sixty pro-independence politicians and activists using Israeli spyware Pegasus in a scandal known as Catalangate has left this "trust" in tatters. President Aragonès considers that the matter is "an operation of state" against the independence movement and has called on the Spanish government to carry out an investigation with independent supervision to clarify this case of spying on public representatives, civil servants and activists. Citizen Lab researchers point out that this software can only be acquired by states and, therefore, clearly point to the Spanish secret services.
For the moment, the Spanish government denies any responsibility and limits itself to saying that if a judicial investigation is opened, they will collaborate in whatever way necessary. But that is the bare minimum. The Spanish government should be the most indignant about the publication of an investigation in the international press that directly affects its reputation. It is the Spanish government that should have already initiated an investigation of its own accord: how could a case of illegal spying on democratically elected representatives be minor?
This matter is presented as a last opportunity for the PSOE to demonstrate what its true commitment is: firstly, to democratic regeneration, since this espionage began under Rajoy's government, but continued under Sánchez's; and, secondly, to a dialogued resolution of the Catalan conflict. The Catalan government is right when it says that these situations cannot be normalised and a bilateral relationship cannot continue as if nothing had happened. The Pedro Sánchez's PSOE has to show whether it acts with the same diligence as Felipe González's PSOE did in 1995, when over a similar case of mass spying, the Cesid wiretapping case, a vice-president (Narcís Serra), a Minister of Defence and the director general of the secret services were brought down.
Because, if it was not the Spanish government, as they claim, it would be even more urgent to investigate to see if there is a third country interfering in Spanish politics. Whichever way you look at it, this violation of personal communications and privacy is too big a scandal to be buried in the daily news. The two tracks, the judicial and the political, must be activated in parallel because they have different objectives. The first has to clarify the facts and condemn those responsible. And the second has to discern if this Spanish government has a sincere will to resolve the Catalan conflict by democratic means and stop once and for all the repression and violations of rights that were put in place to stop the Independence bid.