“Operation Catalonia”

Was it done for the sake and defence of the State? Fair enough, then. Hardly a scandal

Every day news outlets are publishing further details about Madrid’s “Operation Catalonia”. The Spanish government-sanctioned efforts included a “patriotic” police unit, spying on institutions, fabricating evidence, conducting politically-motivated fishing investigations and other misuses of the State’s instruments. These were employed in an unlawful manner in order to persecute dissidents or further certain parties and political views.

In most cases —but not all— the information can be traced back to Spanish police superintendent Villarejo. The media run the stories, but keep them low profile so they are met with the general public’s total indifference. None of the revelations have been denied and —contrary to what you would expect— none of them have caused a massive political outrage. Perhaps, deep down, nothing can shock Spain’s public opinion and it only feigns outrage when it benefits someone.

Any democratic culture is built on setting limits to power. Spain’s long authoritarian tradition means that a sizeable segment of the country’s public opinion does not expect such limits to be enforced. On the contrary, it believes that a state reason is above and beyond any such limits. It resigned itself to that many years ago. Whatever the details disclosed, it makes no difference. Actions themselves do not matter, only the intended purpose does. Was it done for the sake and defence of the State? Fair enough, then. Hardly a scandal.

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