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When my party decided to vote in favour of the investiture of Pedro Sánchez as Spanish prime minister and allow another legislature with a left-wing government in Spain, I was fully aware of some of the negative consequences that this would entail. Some of them I anticipated to my political interlocutors, who looked at me in disbelief.

I did not have to wait too long. Monday, November 6th, 2023 was the day we had initially chosen to make public in Brussels the agreement signed between my party and the PSOE that would allow the investiture of Pedro Sánchez. On that very day, neither before nor after, but precisely on that November 6th, the judge of Spain's National Audience court, García-Castellón, decided to investigate me for a crime of terrorism. The case in which I am now being prosecuted as a terrorist had been on hold for several years; no investigation had been carried out nor had any testimony been taken from anyone about the alleged terrorist plot that organized the public protests in 2019 against the sentence of the Spanish Supreme Court that sentenced Catalan political and social leaders to a total of 100 years of prison. The fact that the judge decided to revive the case on the same day that the political agreement for the investiture was to be announced is not a coincidence, because it has been known for years - and unfortunately accepted as inevitable - that some judges coordinate court agendas with political ones.

That García-Castellón is a judge who is extremely kind to the PP is described by his curriculum vitae and also by his decisions. His prosecution of Podemos and Pablo Iglesias for an alleged plot of illegal financing and money laundering will go down in history as a textbook case of lawfare, and also as one of judicial impunity to carry out abuses and turn personal ideological and religious animosity into judicial crusades aimed at saving Spain from Reds and separatists.

In the weeks that followed, the political debate in Spain became tense and inflamed to unimaginable levels. The investiture of Pedro Sánchez and the processing of the Amnesty Bill triggered a harsh reaction from the right and the far right, with weekly demonstrations, the besieging of the Socialist Party headquarters and calls for disobedience. Some of these demonstrations were violent, and some of the calls clearly had a coup-like nature. The European right put itself at the service of the PP strategy and decided to involve the European Parliament in the debate on a national law that had yet to be passed, and to turn the appearance of Pedro Sánchez - at the time, holder of the rotating president of the Council of the EU - into an embarrassing spectacle.

All this reaction does not come about by spontaneous generation. Four days before judge García-Castellón decided to investigate me as a terrorist, former Spanish prime minister José María Aznar made a statement in which he openly instigated it

All this reaction does not come about by spontaneous generation. Four days before judge García-Castellón decided to investigate me as a terrorist, former Spanish prime minister José María Aznar made a statement in which he openly instigated it: "Whoever can speak, let them speak; whoever can do something, let them do it; whoever can move, let them move. Every person in their responsibility must be aware of the situation we are in." Aznar is the major reference figure for the authentic, powerful Spanish right. I mean the right wing of the economic, judicial and media sectors. His words found a diligent response on the three fronts of influence. García-Castellón responded immediately, the conservative press unleashed a fierce campaign, while business representatives - and the church as well - continued to mobilize against the Amnesty Bill.

The offensive was yet to intensify. On January 30th, the Spanish Congress had to debate and vote on the Amnesty Bill. In another of these completely fortuitous coincidences of agenda, a judge in Barcelona, known for his hostility to the independence process, decided to reactivate a case he had already shelved, and intends to accuse me of the crime of high treason against the state for having conspired with Russian spies to carry out nothing less than the destabilization of the European Union. In a matter of weeks, I have accumulated accusations of two of the most severely punished crimes in the Spanish penal code - terrorism and high treason - which no-one had raised in a period of more than six years. Six years in which they had not stopped watching me, spying on me and persecuting me; and yet they only realized that I was a terrorist and a traitor to the homeland just a few weeks ago, coinciding with one of the most significant political agreements that has occurred since the death of Franco.

The construction of the case relating to the so-called Russian plot has many similarities with the construction of the conspiracy theory over the bomb attacks of March 11th, 2004, in Madrid. For years afterwards - and there are still people who think so - fuel was poured on the idea that the attacks were the work of ETA - José María Aznar himself called the media to confirm this, when all the signs already pointed to jihadism - with the intention of harming the electoral expectations of the PSOE and benefiting those of the PP. The amount of journalistic literature and supposed expert reports aimed at sowing doubt about what had really happened was spectacular, colossal. Rarely have so many hours of radio and television, so much print and so many rumours on the social media of the time been dedicated to feeding such a falsehood.

The modus operandi is the same. Conclusions are manufactured from unrelated facts. Sufficient credibility is created so that someone will end up buying a defective product and putting it into circulation, duly presented as an independent investigation, and there is always a judge who, also coincidentally, ends up receiving the cases. The bubble gets bigger, feeds on itself and becomes impossible to stop, until one day it bursts.

This strategy has also dragged in a European Parliament that has become more and more of a sounding board for the partisan strategies of national delegations, instead of ensuring democracy, fundamental rights and equality between all citizens of the Union. The Spanish PP has managed to impose its standards on the European conservative majority, and that is terrible news for the future of the Union. But we will have time to talk about that. The lightness with which the whole Russian affair has been treated is appalling. I am deeply concerned, because I do not see a more effective way to achieve Putin's goals of dividing and weakening the EU than to put the credibility of the European institutions at the service of strategies to destroy political opponents using methods unbecoming of a democracy.

There has been no Russian plot or collusion with the Putin regime in any sense. No one will find in my decisions, in my statements, books and speeches, votes... anything that can be interpreted in this way

There has been no Russian plot or collusion with the Putin regime in any sense. No one will find in my decisions, in my statements, books and speeches, votes... anything that can be interpreted in this way. Enough years have passed and I've read enough Cioran and Kundera that anyone who has taken the trouble to find out my opinion on the Putin regime - then and now - will have drawn an unequivocal conclusion. Unfortunately, that asks for too great an effort that would repudiate the easy headline.

I have no doubt that in the countries of the European Union there are intelligence agents from many hostile countries, including Russia. I hope it also happens the other way around. And nor do I have any doubt that these agents collect information and that their ministries analyze the political situation from their perspective and their interests. I am completely unaware of what the Russian strategy is in relation to the historical conflict that Catalonia has with Spain, beyond its official statements in favour of the unity of Spain. Just as I am also unaware of that of the rest of the countries in the world, beyond also saying the same thing that Russia has said. However, if someone from outside had ever thought of using us to erode the European Union, they would have failed. It hasn't happened, and we would never let it happen. Catalonia's independence process has historical roots and goes very far back in time, but not far in geography. I mean that you don't have to go to the Urals to find the reasons that drive it.

What fuels and triggers Catalonia's independence process is not any enemy power. The millions of people who have taken part in demonstrations every year to ask to vote have not been moved by the Russians. The Russians were not behind the reform of the Catalan Statute of Autonomy. Nor the results of the Catalan elections, which year after year have led to a pro-independence majority in the Parliament of Catalonia: they were not manipulated by the Russians. Nor was the tenacity with which the institutions and the people of Catalonia organized the referendum on 1st October 2017. Probably, for some of the proudest and most nostalgic sectors within Spain, it suits them better to explain that it was not we Catalans, normal people, from the street, properly organized, who defeated them, but rather that if it had not been for the undercover Russian spies, Spain would have stopped the referendum.

I feel sorry for those who have bought that story, but things have never happened in that way.

We know a lot about dirty war, and we know that those who have interfered most in Spanish democracy have been precisely the patriotic police, the patriotic judges and the systemic corruption of the PP. Here the European Parliament would find very well-founded reasons to express deep concern, because there are some of its Spanish deputies who have great responsibility. There are some who are afraid and remain silent. There are others of us that have not done and will not do, no matter how many problems we face. I recommend the article published by journalist Elisa Beni in elDiario today, February 8th, entitled "Da bastante miedo"; they will understand the sentiment that exists right now in several sectors of Spanish society, not necessarily those that are independentists or allies. "It's scary - writes Beni - to be able to trust so little in a system that is capable of carrying out judicial-media pincer actions to force court proceedings for non-existent or artificially inflated crimes. This is what scares me, and so many people who know, even if they prefer not to get into trouble."

I will fight to puncture this indecent bubble, and for all the anomalies of these proceedings to come to the surface. Hopefully the European Parliament and Spain can conduct a truly independent investigation, with rapporteurs who have no partisan or national interests. No apriorisms or prejudices. I doubt that they are capable of it, because it is not the truth that is of interest here, but rather the narrative.

There is one other thing of which I am completely convinced. If my party had allowed the investiture as Spanish prime minister of the PP candidate, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, or had prevented that of Pedro Sánchez, we would have been spared all of these spectacles. And we'll talk about that too when it's time. As in the Russian plot, everything will become known.