Written by Jordi Oriola Folch
There is concern in the EU that some states are spying on mobile phones with the Pegasus software, which allows the tapping of written and spoken communications, but also gives access to all mobile phone content (images, audios, data…) and allows changes to be made (in passwords, texts, communications…) and activates cameras and microphones. Apart from being very invasive because it violates the right to privacy, it is democratically very dangerous because, with the stolen information, it allows political blackmail.
Following the disclosure by the prestigious Canadian organisation Citizen Lab that 65 Catalan pro-independence politicians, activists and lawyers had been spied on with Pegasus, Spain has had to acknowledge that a judge had authorised at least 18 of these cases.
As a result of this concern, the European Parliament has set up a committee to investigate Pegasus cyberespionage in EU countries. The intense activity of Spanish MEPs from all parties, bordering on harassment of committee members, meant that initially only Hungary and Poland were considered for investigation, where the volume of alleged cases is much lower than in Spain. However, due to its seriousness, a special mission to Spain has been included for 20-21 March, headed by Dutch MEPs Jeroen Lenaers and Sophie In’t Veld and accompanied by three MEPs from the country under investigation, as well as an Austrian, a Polish, a Slovakian and a Catalan pro-independence MEP.
The mission had been announced a month in advance and planned to meet with the Spanish Prime Minister, ministers and members of parliament, but the Spanish government informed them, only a week beforehand, that they could not receive them on 20 March because it was a public holiday in Madrid and that they had just scheduled a motion of censure on the government for 21 March (which they must have arranged to coincide with this). On this pretext, the president of the government and the ministers involved declined to meet with the committee and would only be received by the congressional Defence Committee. But this was not possible either, the MEPs waited for two hours in a room in Congress and the committee never arrived. They were only received in protocol by the Secretary of State for European Affairs.
After this surreal incident, the committee tried to reconvene through a telematic meeting a week later. But it was not possible because they could not find translators and because the Spanish MEPs refused to hold their meeting in English because they were in Madrid.
Spain shows that it does not want the truth to come out and that points to it as the perpetrator of this violation of rights. If Spain dares to treat MEPs with such disregard, we can imagine how it belittles the violation of the rights of the Catalan citizens who were illegally spied on. If Europe does not stand up to Spain, Europe will be soiled by these criminal practices of this EU member state acting outside the law in “its war” against the right of Catalans to decide their future in freedom.