December 8, 2022

The Queens County Citizen

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Spain | Madrid is still plagued by a spy scandal

Spain |  Madrid is still plagued by a spy scandal

The Spanish government is struggling to get out of a scandal that has been revealed to have targeted dozens of Catalan people through powerful spyware. Pegasus.

Posted at 7:00 p.m.

Mark Thebodo

Mark Thebodo

Defense Minister Margarita Robles announced in the middle of the week that she had fired director of the Spanish National Intelligence Center (CNI) Paz Esteban for not covering up the affair.

Although the politician confined himself to the need for this decision to “strengthen” and “modernize” the intelligence service, the initiative was widely regarded as a political gesture aimed at easing the anger of the Catalan allies under the government of the first socialist minister. Pedro Sanchez.

The president of the Catalan regional government, Pere Aragonese, is leading the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC), an independent organization that supports Mr. Sanchez, one of those targeted by controversial software.

How far do the outrages go?

John Ramon Resina, a professor at Stanford University who is closely monitoring the political developments in Catalonia and Spain, did not expect Mr Aragones to provoke anger until the overthrow of the central government.

He does not want to settle with M’s departureMe Esteban, Catalan voters may not forgive him for being too complacent towards Madrid under the circumstances, he said.

What the elected Catalans really wanted was the departure of MMe Robles, but I do not think they are going to get it.

Stanford University Professor Joan Raman Resina

The first allegations of wiretapping targeting Catalan leaders were made in 2020 after a Citizen’s Lab investigation in Toronto revealed that at least three elected officials, including the Speaker of the Catalan Parliament, had been gratefully spying on the area. To Pegasus.

Canadian researchers continued their efforts and concluded in a report released in mid-April that at least 65 people were being monitored using spyware directly or indirectly associated with the independence movement.

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Remote access

The product of the NSO Group, an Israeli company, allows remote access to the entire content of the mobile phone and in some cases can be installed without even activating its owner-corrupted link.

States must officially use software to fight crime and terrorism, but in many countries many researches are being used to spy on dissidents, journalists or political actors.

Many of the victims of telephone infections during the “Catalangate” were members of the European Parliament, Mr. There are high-level leaders like Aragonese, as well as lawyers and members of civil society.

The Citizen Lab team made it clear that wiretaps could not be attributed to a particular government without a doubt, but that strong circumstantial evidence suggests Madrid.

Mr. Resina claims the Spanish state initially dismissed the wire tapping allegations before Mr.Me Esteban did not agree before a parliamentary committee last week that Catalan-elected officials were in fact CNI in sight. She assured without elaborating that everything was done legally.

Security vulnerabilities

Mr. Sanchez and Mr.Me Robles was also targeted Pegasus. Local media have argued that the surveillance in 2021 may have been leaked by Morocco during the diplomatic crisis with Madrid.

Daily El PaisIn an editorial published a few days ago, the flaws in the security of the Spanish state highlighted by the tapping of ministers “could not be without consequence”, more than the wire tapping without justification described by many Catalan leaders by the CNI.

Joan Ramon Resina doubted whether the central government was really trying to shed full light on the actions of the intelligence service in Catalonia.

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During the first auditory revelation with Pegasus In 2020, requests for a public hearing were not answered. “All major parties [à Madrid] Stand together on this issue, ”the analyst said.

The Spanish right also condemned CNI’s decision to fire the newspaper director ABC It goes so far as to talk of a “rebellion” that represents “another victory for the Catalan separatists”.

The controversy erupted as the People’s Party rallied in the elections. According to the Politico site, the right-wing party would be in a position to win a narrow majority with the support of the far-right Vokes party if new elections are held.

The withdrawal of ERC support for the Pedro Sంచnchez government could lead to a major political change in this context. “That’s why they don’t move the boat much,” Mr Resina said.