Title: Operation Catalonia: Extensive Surveillance and Harassment Targeted Not Just Pro-Independence Circles
The recently revealed documents and audios obtained by ElNacional.cat shed light on the extensive surveillance and harassment carried out by the Spanish government’s Operation Catalonia, targeting the independence movement. While pro-independence individuals were the primary focus, it becomes evident that even well-known Catalan personalities with no inclinations towards sovereignism were not spared. This article explores the breadth of targets and tactics employed by the operation.
Wide Casting of the Net
The documents, spanning from 2012 to 2016, include memos with confidential information on Activities in Catalonia (AEC), investigations carried out by the Information Technology Support Groups (GATI), and proposals for investigation based on received information from the Internal Affairs Unit. The operation left no stone unturned, following trails in all directions to gather information that could be used against pro-independence leaders. Unfortunately, this often led to the creation of fake reports leaked to certain media outlets.
King Juan Carlos I and Iñaki Urdangarin’s Inclusion
Among the surprising revelations is the involvement of Spain’s abdicated king, Juan Carlos I, and his son-in-law, Iñaki Urdangarin, in the operation. According to a police memorandum, private detective Francisco Marco claimed to have evidence of Urdangarin’s alleged relationship with a prostitute in Barcelona. The memo further suggests that this information was intended to force Urdangarin’s separation from his wife, the Infanta Cristina. The former king, described as an “umbrella” of the Pujol clan, also appears in the police report.
Investigations Beyond Independence Circles
Operation Catalonia’s scope extended beyond pro-independence individuals. The documents reveal possible lines of investigation targeting prominent figures such as real estate businessman Felipe Massó, Carles Vilarrubí and Sol Daurella, president of Cobega, and businessman Carlos Sumarroca. Catalonia senior prosecutor Martín Rodríguez Sol, who resigned in 2013 after expressing support for Catalans’ right to decide, was also suggested for investigation. Furthermore, the operation cast suspicion on members of the judicial field, certain journalists, and even attempted to control the editorial line of La Vanguardia newspaper.
Tactics of Pressure and Extortion
Aside from the surveillance and investigations, Operation Catalonia employed tactics of pressure and extortion. The operation sought to force Javier Godó, owner and publisher of La Vanguardia, to redirect the newspaper’s editorial line. Judges and prosecutors were not exempt from such tactics, as recorded conversations between police commissioner Villarejo and Francisco Martínez, the interior minister’s number two, revealed attempts to collect compromising information to exert pressure. Financial compensation was also mentioned as a means to influence informers and journalists.
The revelations from the Operation Catalonia documents highlight the widespread surveillance and harassment carried out by the Spanish government against the independence movement. The operation’s net was cast wide, targeting not only pro-independence circles but also well-known Catalan personalities. The tactics employed, including the involvement of the former king and the use of pressure and extortion, raise serious concerns about the government’s actions during this period..