Police report confirms existence of ‘Operation Catalonia’ during Spanish Government’s last term of office
An operation to discredit politicians who supported Catalonia’s pro-independence process was launched by the Spanish police during the last term of office. This is what Catalan newspaper ‘El Periódico’ has published this Tuesday, supporting its exclusive with a 500-page-long police report which proves the plot. According to the report, smearing pro-independence politicians was indeed one of the main competences that Inspector José Villarejo was entrusted with. It is claimed that Villarejo launched ‘Operation Catalonia’ together with former police Head of Internal Affairs, Marcelino Martin Blas, in 2012, coinciding with electoral periods. In an interview with ‘Catalunya Ràdio’, Catalan Vice President, Oriol Junqueras, said that he considered these plots “repugnant” and that they make him “cringe”.
Barcelona (CNA).- A 500-page-long police report has proved that there was an ‘Operation Catalonia’ aimed at smearing pro-independence politicians during the Spanish Government’s last term of office, held by the Conservative People Party (PP). According to an article published this Tuesday by ‘El Periódico’, to discredit the whole pro-independence process in Catalonia was one of the main competences that Inspector José Villarejo was entrusted with. It is claimed that Villarejo launched ‘Operation Catalonia’ together with former police Head of Internal Affairs, Marcelino Martin Blas, in 2012, coinciding with electoral periods. Catalan Vice President, Oriol Junqueras, said that he considered these plots “repugnant” and that they make him “cringe”. The news comes less than a month after the release of several tapes that proved that current Spanish Minister for Home Affairs, Jorge Fernández Díaz and former Director of Catalonia’s Anti-fraud Office, Daniel De Alfonso, plotted to discredit Catalonia’s main pro-independence parties.
Another name which appears in the report is that of Rafel Redondo, Villarejo’s lawyer and partner. He joined Maria Victòria Álvarez, the former girlfriend of the eldest son of Jordi Pujol, who is the historical leader of the centre-right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU), in his declaration before the Court, during which she accused Pujol’s son of having shady business. Redondo also joined Javier De La Rosa, another person involved in the revelations made by Victòria Álvarez and former PP leader in Catalonia, Alicia Sánchez-Camacho, and which were later leaked. Redondo aimed to have the whole trial moved to Spain’s National Audience when Barcelona’s High Court decided to close the case.
The report also refers to Francisco Nicolás, a young man who has become popular in the last years for having allegedly worked for Spain’s National Intelligence Centre (CNI). According to the investigation, Nicolás is said to have contacted Pujol’s family to offer them assistance in the different trials they had to face. In exchange, he would have asked for information to discredit left-wing pro-independence ERC.
Junqueras: “It makes me cringe”
Catalan Vice President, Oriol Junqueras, said that he considered these plots “repugnant”. “It makes me cringe and I want them as far away as possible”, he stated in an interview with ‘Catalunya Ràdio’. Junqueras lamented that the Spanish Government used “the sewers of the state” to “discredit Catalonia’s pro-independence process” by “land, sea and air”. Nevertheless, he pointed out that “they haven’t succeeded”.
Junqueras called again for the dismissal of current Spanish Minister for Home Affairs, Jorge Fernández Días, who has repeatedly denied the existence of a dirty war against Catalonia’s pro-independence process. Fernández Díaz was recently involved in another smear scandal; recordings published by Spanish newspaper ‘Público’ showed that he and former Director of Catalonia’s Anti-fraud Office, Daniel De Alfonso, plotted to discredit Catalonia’s main pro-independence parties. According to Junqueras, “in any normal and democratic country” such scandals would have led to the resignation of the Ministry for Home Affairs and the President of the Government.
Conspiracy involving PP and Catalonia’s Anti-fraud Office
In mid-June, a smear conspiracy between Fernández Díaz and the Director of Catalonia’s Anti-fraud Office, Daniel De Alfonso, who has since been dismissed, came to light.According to the tapes published by ‘Público’, De Alfonso offered a plan to Fernández Díaz to renew Liberal ‘Convergència’’s leadership. ‘Convergència’ (CDC) was Catalonia’s governing party at the time the recordings are said to have taken place, in 2014. De Alfonso bid for Germà Gordó, Catalan Minister for Justice at that time, to replace Mas at the head of Convergència and assured that many businessmen in Catalonia also supported the plan. De Alfonso told Fernández Díaz that former Catalan Minister for Home Affairs, Ramon Espadaler, leader of Christian Democrats ‘Unió’ [the party in coalition with Convergència for nearly 40 years] agreed with the plot as well.
De Alfonso also referred to the possibility of a joint list which would gather together the two main pro-independence parties in Catalonia at that time, which were Convergència and left-wing ERC. Such a list, which was later created as ‘Junts Pel Sí’, “would be madness”, stated De Alfonso. “This is worrying because if they win, and this is likely to happen, and none of the other parties are able to reach an agreement, these people can call for a unilateral declaration of independence…and then there will be blows”.
Fernández Díaz, who was PP’s candidate for the Spanish Elections in Barcelona, considered himself a “victim” and described the recordings as “illegal techniques” which aimed “to damage a political adversary and a particular party [PP]” during the race for the Spanish Elections.
For his part, De Alfonso, who was dismissed from office by the Catalan Parliament, considered himself a “victim” of “an illegal recording” which was “biased” and “taken out of context”. The now former Director of Catalonia’s Anti-fraud Office considered all the parties in the Chamber “hypocritical” and accused them of submitting him to a “summary trial” and wanting an Anti-fraud Office which is “overawed” and “docile”.