The Pegasus case, the espionage scandal involving dozens and dozens of pro-independence personalities, has experienced an unexpected leap of scale this Monday, after the Minister of the Presidency, Felix Bolanoshas announced that they can confirm that Israeli software has also been used against the Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchezand the Defense Minister, Margaret Oaks.
The reactions have not been long in coming and some of the main leaders of the independence parties have also spoken out, in some cases showing doubts about the facts, while in some cases they have shown solidarity with Sánchez and Robles. The link between the different actors in the movement is the demand for an investigation commission to clarify “all” the facts -a demand that has been maintained since the magazine new yorker revealed the espionage scandal – as well as the purge of “political responsibilities”.
The reactions of ERC and Junts have been clearly different, to the point that Esquerra states that the announcement is a “smokescreen”. At the same time, this morning the first lawsuits were filed against the Israeli company NSO -owner of Pegasus software- for espionage against independentists, specifically by Òmnium Cultural and the CUP.
The former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont -whose environment was spied on with Pegasus- lamented that Moncloa “has had to wait until there was an infection with Pegasus in the cell phones of the president and the minister to consider that it is an extremely serious matter and to investigate it”. “When we Catalans denounced it, we didn’t deserve so much consideration”he added on Twitter.
The Moncloa has hoped that you will make an infection with Pegasus to the mobiles of the President of the Government and the Minister of Defense because they consider that it is an extremely serious case and to investigate. When I denounce the Catalans, we do not deserve so much consideration.
— krls.eth / Carles Puigdemont (@KRLS) May 2, 2022
He has also commented that the “violation of the privacy of Sánchez and Robles is a very serious crime that threatens democracy“, for which he has expressed his “solidarity with them, as victims, and the maximum demand towards them, as responsible for not having done anything until the outbreak of ‘Catalangate’“.
The violation of the privacy of @sanchezcastejon and Minister Robles is a serious crime that threatens democracy. The greatest solidarity with them, with the victims, and the highest demand for them, with those responsible for not having found the #CatalanGate esclat
— krls.eth / Carles Puigdemont (@KRLS) May 2, 2022
The general secretary of Together, jordi sanchez, has underlined the following in the same network: “that Pedro Sánchez has been spied on does not remove any reason to continue thinking that the sewers of the Spanish State are behind the ‘Catalangate'”. To add that “in any case, today the espionage against independence is certified” and to conclude that “more than ever, independent commission of inquiry”.
More distance have marked ERC and the CUP. The general secretary of ERC, Martha Rovirahas reacted on Twitter saying that “Moncloa says that Moncloa has been spied on by Moncloa with the Pegasus that Moncloa has. Now, the political responsibilities will not be taken by Moncloa.”
The president of ERC, Oriol Junquerashas called for “maximum transparency to clarify the facts” and has warned that announcements such as today’s should not serve as “possible alibis”but his party continues to demand “political responsibilities”.
It is evident that the Spanish state has caused massive and illegal espionage on the entire independence movement. Per això, i lluny de possibles coartades, we demand political responsibility. I pel bé democràcia, cal the maximum transparency to clarify all the fets.
– Oriol Junqueras ?️ (@junqueras) May 2, 2022
In the same network, the president of the Government, Pere Aragones, added that “all political espionage is extremely serious” and recalled that “it has been denounced for days” from the independence movement “without obtaining explanations from the Spanish government”. “When the massive espionage is against the Catalan institutions and the independence movement, silence and apologies. Today, everything is rush. Responsibility must be taken now.” He has also insisted that “a thorough investigation with independent oversight and accountability remains urgent. The Spanish government is late.”
Tot espionatge politic es d’extrema gravetat. Fa die que ho denunciem sense to obtain explanations from the Spanish government. When mass espionage is against Catalan institutions and independence, silence and excuses. Avui, all are presses. Cal assume responsabilitats ja.
– Pere Aragonès i Garcia ? (@perearagones) May 2, 2022
The CUP deputy in Congress, Albert Botranhas commented the following on Monday’s announcement: “Smoke screen to turn executioners into victims? Divert attention abroad? Or the CNI itself spying ‘for the unity of Spain’?“, asks the deputy. In any case, he says in the tweet, “an urgent investigation commission is necessary to clarify all the facts.
Smoke curtain to turn botxins into victims? Divert the cap attention to the stranger? Or is the CNI itself espiant “per la unitat d’Espanya”? In any case: with an urgent investigation commission to clarify all the fets.#CatalanGate
— Albert Botran Pahissa (@albertbotran) May 2, 2022
Outside the independence movement, the president of the United We Can parliamentary group in Congress, James Asenshas qualified as “the biggest espionage scandal” in the history of Spain, the one carried out with the Pegasus system, after the state government has assured that it also affected Pedro Sánchez and Margarita Robles.
“Let the list of spies increase,” after learning of the alleged case of espionage against pro-independence leaders a few weeks ago, “it only confirms that we are facing the biggest espionage scandal in our history,” he stated on Twitter and added that the position of his group “remains investigate and purge responsibilities“.
On the other hand, this Monday Òmnium Cultural and the CUP have presented the first complaints for the Pegasus espionage case in the investigating court number 32 of Barcelona, which is already investigating the espionage of the minister and former president of the Parliament Roger Torrent as well as the ERC leader in Barcelona, Ernest Maragall.
As for Òmnium, with the lawsuit on behalf of Marcel Mauriformer vice president and spokesperson for the organization, Elena Jimenezresponsible for the international area, and Txell Bonetjournalist and colleague of Jordi Cuixart, the entity intends to demonstrate the illegal involvement of the Spanish State in the espionage plot and open the door to an investigation that allows all the bodies and powers of the State involved to be charged.
The CUP has presented the complaint for espionage to the deputy in Parliament Carlos Riverathe deputy in Congress Albert Botran and the former deputy David Fernandez for a crime against privacy, specifically discovery and disclosure of secrets. The president of Omnium, Xavier Antichdeclared that “the Catalangate, the illegal espionage and the violation of fundamental rights that it entails are one more example of the State’s dirty war against independence and dissidence”.
“We see again that the State has no limit when it comes to stopping the struggle for self-determination”, has added. According to him, “attacking Òmnium means attacking civil society” and considers that the acceptance of these practices by the justice system could set a precedent for the whole of European society.
The complaints, which are nominally directed against the Israeli company NSO Groupowner and responsible for software of cyber espionage of Pegasus telephones, highlights the massive and serious violation of fundamental rights, such as the right to secrecy of communications and privacy, and which also has the indirect effect of violating other rights such as freedom of expression or the right to defense, which are a consequence of the circumstances in which the attack took place, perpetrated by alleged illegal practices of the Spanish State.
The main objective of the complaints is focused on three concrete actions. These go through facilitate and investigate all documentation linked to Catalangate, so that they are known to all public opinion; a European Investigation Order to clarify the origin of the financing and determine the criminal responsibilities of the purchase and illegal use of Pegasus; and the establishment of control mechanisms so that citizens can know if their communications have been intervened taking into account the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), already applied in Bulgaria, Hungary or Russia, mechanisms that Spanish legislation does not clearly contemplate.