Wednesday, November 30

A report by the Pegasus commission of the European Parliament points to the Government in espionage on Catalan independentistas

The Moroccan and Spanish Government. They are the two institutions that the preliminary report of the rapporteur of the Pegasus commission of the European Parliament, Sophie in ‘t Veld (liberal of the Dutch party Democrats 66) points to in the cases of espionage to the Spanish Executive and the Catalan independentistas, respectively. “The Spanish Government was probably the first client of the European Union of the NSO group [creadores de Pegasus]”, says the report.

“It is widely believed that Moroccan authorities spied on Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez; to the Minister of Defense, Margarita Robles, and the Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, in a similar way to the case of the French president and the ministers”, states the report, which must be submitted to a process of amendments before being approved. by the parliamentary committee. And, due to the positions defended by popularsocialists and part of the liberals (Citizens), it is likely that the text will be lowered.

“It has been reported that the Moroccan government could be potentially responsible for this attack, however, this information has not been confirmed,” qualifies the report on espionage to the Spanish government.

“At least 65 people were attacked at the Catalan Gate”

“The target of a second group of victims is known as the Catalan Gate,” the report notes: “It includes Catalan parliamentarians, members of the European Parliament, lawyers, members of civil society organizations, and some relatives and staff related to those victims. The scandal first broke in 2020, but it was not until April 2022 that Citizen Lab completed its investigation and the scale of the scandal was revealed. The results of that investigation showed that at least 65 people were attacked.”

The document indicates that “in May 2020, the Spanish authorities admitted having spied on 18 of those 65 victims with judicial authorization.” In this sense, the Sophie in ‘t Veld report states: “The Spanish Government has provided little information so far on the role it has played, invoking the need for confidentiality in relation to national security. However, the surveillance of the Catalan targets was carried out by the Spanish authorities, mainly in relation to the independence referendum of October 1, 2017 in Catalonia and subsequent events. The Spanish government was probably the first EU client of the NSO group [creadores de Pegasus]”.

At the same time, the report notes that “a detailed analysis of the attacks shows a clear pattern. Most of the Catalan Gate attacks coincide and are related to moments of political relevance, such as court cases against Catalan independentists, rallies and communication with Catalan leaders who live outside of Spain. Such surveillance includes, for example, the lawyer-client communications of an imprisoned pro-independence activist on the eve of his trial, contacts between colleagues or communications relating to the taking of seats in the European Parliament. Given that the authorities have acknowledged only 18 of the 65 cases, and that the court orders for those cases have not been disclosed, it is not possible to establish how they would have an immediate impact or constitute an imminent threat to national security or the integrity of the country. Condition”.

“In contrast to the accelerated nature of the case of [Pedro] Sanchez et al. in Madrid, the cases that have been presented in Barcelona by Catalan victims of spyware are advancing slowly”, criticizes the report.

The document further states that “the attack on Catalan citizens with spyware began in 2015 and has been carried out on a large scale since 2017. After initial media coverage in 2020, the scandal broke out across Europe in April 2022 with the publication of the CitizenLab report. from the University of Toronto. Given the passage of time since the beginning of the espionage and these revelations, it has not been possible to identify or further investigate a number of targets due to various factors, including several targets disposing of the phone in question.”

“In total, it has been confirmed that 65 Catalans were attacked with spyware, 63 with Pegasus, four with Candiru and at least two people were attacked by both”, the text states: “At least 51 people were successfully infected The director of the CNI, Paz Esteban, has acknowledged before the Official Secrets Commission that 18 of those 65 people were hacked by the Spanish authorities with the required judicial authorization from the Supreme Court. The Spanish government has refused to comment on whether the remaining victims were its targets. Among the 18 alleged legal targets are the current president of Catalonia, Pere Aragonés, the former president and current MEP Carles Puigdemont, and other pro-independence politicians and their associates. Most of those 18 people were never charged with a crime, such as members of civil society organizations, journalists and lawyers, and yet they were included on this list. Defense Minister Robles has relied heavily on the Official Secrets Act rather than expanding on the motives behind the surveillance of those specific targets. The 65 Catalan targets have at some point been in contact with Catalan separatists living outside of Spain.”




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