It needs a touch of irony, as Catalan humorous music group La Trinca used in their famous song La dansa del sabra, which deals with the attempted coup d'état on 23rd February 1981, the role of king Juan Carlos and the Civil Guard, to repeat that verse in which the monarch, addressing Jordi Pujol, then president of Catalonia, says: "Calm, Jordi, calm, it's the Civil Guard, you be calm, ah, mother, fear!". Because this Tuesday various agents of the Civil Guard have passed through the Catalan independence trial being held in the Supreme Court as witnesses and, at many times, has had the feel of a Berlanga movie over its level of extravagance and surrealism.
From an agent from the armed police who, imbued with a sudden flash of memory, recalled in the court having seen that 20th September, during the demonstration in front of the Catalan economy ministry, the then speaker of the Catalan Parliament, Carme Forcadell, whipping up the masses to another agent who that day had seen the demonstrators with "faces of much anger, they weren't normal faces". All that, doubtless surpassed by the head of the police team put together for the detention of Lluís Salvadó who, talking about how long the investigations and proceedings carried out beforehand found no better response to get out of the jam than to say "time is relative".
It was a day that gave a certain idea of how the Civil Guard agents' appearances will go: broad strokes and exaggerations. Apparently, that is, with their lesson well-learnt, repeating the fear they felt, the hatred on demonstrators' faces, the tumult, the absence of police charges and, above all, forgetfulness. The permanent forgetting of many of the details of what happened and which are key to taking apart some of their statements. Like when an agent declared under oath that there had been no cordon by the Catalan police on 20th September 2017 in front of the Catalan foreign ministry and the defence wasn't allowed to show a video from that day in which it could be seen the agent's testimony was wrong.
As the days of the hearing go by, and the sixth week has begun this Tuesday, the enormous harm caused to the defence by the decision imposed since the first day by presiding judge Marchena that the documents and videos filed in evidence will be seen in different hearings is becoming clear. It's not a neutral decision and the passage of the days increases this perception since the witnesses can testify whatever they want without any immediate countering which could dispel their narrative, with the resulting harm for the defendants. The least informed and those with their own interests, two very numerous groups, stay by their testimony and that ends up appearing, in the end, in numerous papers, radio stations and TV channels. The defences do well to complain even though Marchena always repeats that it's a firm decision by the court and that they can be calm because there will be a hearing for the purpose. These details are much more important than they appear. The devil is in the details, as the English proverb goes.