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After days of testimony in the Catalan independence trial from nameless Civil Guard agents, today saw one of the most highly-anticipated of them take the witness stand. With the others, we only knew their ID numbers; with today's witness, we knew their name: lieutenant colonel Daniel Baena, the head of the investigation into the events of 2017.

His language was strong, talking of an "clearly insurrectional climate" in Catalonia after 20th September. He said that "The situation in Catalonia was a powder keg. Those days, all of us police who had a minimum level of responsibility knew that any small incident could lead to an uncontrollable escalation, but fortunately that didn't happen".

One keenly awaited topic was his alleged links to a Twitter profile with the display name Tácito (as Tacitus is known in Spanish). Asked about it by lawyer Andreu Van den Eynde, representing Oriol Junqueras and Raül Romeva, he said his supposed link to the account "has been refuted in the press, in the Congress, in the Senate...".

Van den Eynde then brought up the subject of Tácito's profile picture, asking if he had published the same image on his personal Facebook or Instagram accounts. Baena said he didn't remember having done so.

The account in question dedicated itself to attacking politicians, including some of those Baena was investigating in the cases relating to the Catalan referendum. The sample tweets below, for example, all read "Behaviour typical of organised crime structures when they find out they're under investigation".

tuits tacito

The questioning led to a number of other interesting remarks. For example, he said that investigations had started in 2016, long before the referendum. He also said they had been investigating individuals, not organisations like ANC or Òmnium and that at one point they wanted to attach a tracking device to a car, but the competent judge disallowed it.