The Catalan independence movement is obliged, from both its political and civil wings, to give a strong political response to the Spanish state's massive and illegal espionage attack on a scale hitherto unknown in any European country. Twenty-four hours after the grave revelations resulting from the diligent work of the University of Toronto's research centre, the Citizen Lab, and the extensive report in The New Yorker magazine, there have been many statements, several proposals, the announcements of legal complaints and even an acceptance by the Catalan government that its confidence in Pedro Sánchez has been broken. These are commendable initiatives, but they are not enough, due to the serious assault on democracy and freedoms represented by the so-called CatalanGate affair.
It seems as if amid the noise of the ongoing partisan struggle that is a constant in Catalonia, which aspires to be a state but almost never behaves as such, there is a failure to grasp the historical dimension of the moment. The Catalan institutions, their highest leaderships, the heads of the civil society organizations, lawyers and many others have been attacked in a situation that even the European Commission has considered unacceptable and, the same day, the European Parliament has set up a commission to investigate Pegasus and other spyware. Surely, no decision ever taken by the Spanish executive - because, whether by action or omission, that is where the epicentre is, let no-one be in doubt - with the exception of the GAL death squads of the 1980s, has such serious consequences for, and is so indictable in, a state under rule of law.
Let's say it bluntly: Spain cannot be relied on to clarify the truth. Not political Spain either - in which the PSOE, the PP, Ciudadanos and Vox will stick together like glue. The cordon sanitaire of the far right, which Pedro Sánchez likes to talk about so much, transforms, on issues like this in which the unity of Spain prevails over the rule of law, into a partner that will never let you down. Nor can one have any expectations of the media and the print newspapers published in Madrid apart from some very rare exceptions, at least this first day of the affair. Not to mention the Spanish TV networks. Intellectuals, influencers, artists, legal professionals? There will be few who want to bring themselves any difficulties with the Spanish state.
It is already coming into view: there will be reactions ranging from indifference to lies and contempt. The Spanish government's first response was so clear that there no need to even disguise it. A total denial and a reminder of what the rule of law is. The issue is therefore sealed with lock and key. The illegal actions that have been carried out will never be recognized and the concealment will be total even if the justification of the official secrets act has to be used. Only a hypothetical intervention by European justice or one of the countries in which related cases are to be filed might shed a small crack of light.
No one will want to clear up the responsibilities, as it is the state itself that has committed mass espionage against pro-independence citizens. The fact that it affects, among other leaders, the four presidents that Catalonia has had since 2010 should encourage Artur Mas, Carles Puigdemont, Quim Torra and Pere Aragonès to make a joint response in defence of Catalonia's highest institution. The presidency of the Generalitat of Catalonia has a political obligation, but also a moral one which, in the end, is the one that will endure. A thankless task on many occasions, but an obligation.
Now it is up to all of them to be up to the task - and not at the level of the easiest and most comfortable reactions, but the true obligations of the position that they have publicly sworn to defend and protect.