Puigdemont denounces to Europe that he was spied on with Pegasus: “We are absolutely defenseless”
Carles Puigdemont appeared this Thursday before the European Parliament to denounce, along with other Catalan MEPs, that he was a victim of Pegasus espionage and to demand answers about the involvement of the Spanish State in the so-called 'CatalanGate', as the scandal is known due to the infiltration of the mobile phones of up to 65 political leaders, lawyers and activists in favor of the independence of Catalonia< /strong>. “It is true that the Pegasus attacks cannot be attributed to someone in particular and that is what generates panic, because we are absolutely defenseless”, pointed out the Catalan “ex-president”.
In the European parliamentary commission that investigates the surveillance against its members, Puigdemont and MEPs Toni Comín, Jordi Soler and Diana Riba have agreed to point out that more than half a year after an investigation by the Canadian organization CitizenLab uncovered the case, they still do not know who ordered the investigation. 'hack' your devices and violate your privacy. The manufacturer of this 'software', the Israeli company. NSO Group, assures that it only sells it to governments.
The 'CatalanGate' scandal to the director of the National Intelligence Center (CNI), Paz Esteban López, to admit that they had spied on 18 people under judicial authorization from the Supreme Court, 11 of whom were directly close to Puigdemont. Shortly after, she was removed from office. what? passed with the other cases? with what? legal coverage was accessed What about the cell phones of the other victims, if there were any? These are some of the questions that the Catalan MEPs seek to clarify and for this they have asked the commission to put pressure on both the NSO and the Government of Spain.
Political espionage ;tico
During the more than two hours that the parliamentary committee has lasted, the Catalan MEPs have denounced that, according to the forensic analysis of CitizenLab, they were spied on at key political moments. Comín's cell phone was 'hacked' in January 2020, shortly after being admitted as a member of the European Parliament with immunity to circulate within the EU – “something that the Spanish State did not accept.” n does not respect”– and shortly before organizing the pro-independence meeting held in Perpinyà.
Riba's was on two occasions: once in the middle of the trial of the leaders of the 'procés' and another during the days in which he used his mask. The mobile “to discuss with the lawyers the defense of my partner (Raül Romeva) and the political rights of Oriol Junqueras” when he was imprisoned but also ;n elected as MEP.
The Catalan MEPs have also denounced that Spain has not created an investigation commission to clarify what happened and have pointed out that it is a case of “political espionage” that supposes a “betrayal of the values and principles of the EU“. Already in 2020, a journalistic investigation led by The Guardia and El País uncovered that Pegasus had been used to tap the phone of the then 'president' of the Catalan Parliament, Roger Torrent , so as well as other pro-independence figures such as Ernest Maragall or the 'cupaire' Anna Gabriel.
Pegasus allows its clients to infect the mobile of its victims to have access to all their telecommunications and even allows to activate both the camera and the microphone of the device to turn it into a spying tool. Everything, without the victim being aware of it, as the MEPs have confirmed. “I had no indication of an abnormal functioning of my mobile and I found out by chance that I had been spied on, which suggests that the cases we know of are only the tip of the iceberg”, Jordi Soler, a member of the ERC and vice president of the Greens group in the European Parliament, has pointed out.
The succession of international scandals regarding the use of this espionage program forced the European Parliament to organize a commission to investigate its impact. In recent months, they heard the testimony of journalists and activists whose privacy was violated in almost every corner of the continent, but they had not yet done so with the victims who work as democratically elected political representatives. Pegasus is infamously known for being used to spy on the highest profile political leaders, such as the Spanish president Pedro Sánchez or the French Emmanuel Macron, but especially for being used in dictatorships and autocracies around the world to monitor, persecute and repress political dissidence and critical journalists or activists against the system. NSO's client countries include Saudi Arabia, Mexico, India, Rwanda, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates.