Baena: Catalonia was "a powder keg" in the insurrection period "from September 20 to the enforcement of article 155"

The person in charge of the reports on which the accusations are based stated that he was investigating the pro-independence process since November 2015
Baena: Catalonia was "a powder keg" in the insurrection period "from September 20 to the enforcement of article 155"

Baena: Catalonia was "a powder keg" in the insurrection period "from September 20 to the enforcement of article 155"

The person in charge of the reports on which the accusations are based stated that he was investigating the pro-independence process since November 2015
Josep Maria Camps/Irene Vaqué Updated
Baena: Catalonia was "a powder keg" in the insurrection period "from September 20 to the enforcement of article 155"

The Lieutenant Colonel of the Guardia Civil, Daniel Baena, in an archive image

The witness who testified this Tuesday morning is a key figure in the judicial investigation against the pro-independence leaders: lieutenant colonel of the Guardia Civil Daniel Baena, maximum responsible authority for the reports on which the accusation for rebellion is based.

Baena, who is still the current chief of the judicial police of the Guardia Civil in Catalonia, wanted to declare without nor his image neither his name being made public, although his identity was already known by his police ID number, T43166Q.

He was summoned at the request of the State Prosecutor's Office and the Attorney General's Office, as well as the defenses of Joaquim Forn, Oriol Junqueras and Raül Romeva.

He was investigating the pro-independence process since November 2015

Questioned by State prosecutor Consuelo Madrigal, Baena explained that the judicial police of the Guardia Civil started to investigate the pro-independence process after the declaration of independence of the Catalan Parliament on November 9, 2015.

As he explained, at that time the prosecutor's office of the National High Court ordered the judicial police of Catalonia – as well as the Catalan Police (Mossos) - to investigate whether, as a result of that declaration, steps towards independence were taken.

The witness said that in January 2016 two proceedings were opened to investigate both the Cesicat (the Security Information Center of Catalonia) and the future Tax Agency of Catalonia.

Prosecutor Consuelo Madrigal, interrogating Daniel Baena on Tuesday in the Supreme Court

Court 13 of Barcelona joined the investigations

He continued by explaining that in March 2017 the Judge of court 13 of Barcelona entrusted him to look into Santi Vidal's statements about future state structures, thus beginning by investigating three persons: him, Josep Lluís Salvadó and Carles Pi i Sunyer:

"The object of the investigation of Court number 13 was precisely to see what degree of plausibility there was in these statements, because, if so, those investigated could be committing crimes. Well, they could be misusing public funds for criminal actions, since these actions had been declared unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court. "

To questions from Madrigal, Baena said that in this investigation they found out that the Catalan Government was preparing the 1-O referendum:

Madrigal: "And how did the preparations for the referendum develop?, not only in the sense of the misuse of public funds, but also concrete preparations for the referendum, as of what you discovered through the investigations ordered by court number 13?"

Baena: "Well, when the line of investigation of communications and other operational activities around the objectives were activated, we observed that the correlation they maintained and the events they lead to were directly related to the preparation of the referendum, both with the people who were gathering and directing activities as well as with the object of their ends. "

Madrigal: "Did the responsibilities of officials or members of the Generalitat begin to arise through these investigations?"

Baena: "Yes, they arose, indeed. It was the case of General Directors and General Secretaries."


"Clearly insurrectional atmosphere"

According to Baena's narrative, in September 2017, the "atmosphere" was becoming more severe, and September 20 turned out to be a "clearly insurrectional" day:

"Here, the atmosphere lived, since I designed many of the devices of the judicial police, actions that we had to do,… here we already had our hypothetical scenarios in which we could find ourselves in an atmosphere that we could qualify. And, according to the objectives and  the number of actions that were produced, the atmosphere was clearly insurrectional. "

"That was a powder keg, it's unquestionable"

Baena later assured that this "insurrectional period" ended once article 155 was enforced:

"Those days, any policemen with a mínimum sense of responsibility knew that, in that situation, any small incident could lead to an uncontrollable escalation, but fortunately it was not like that. But that not being the case does not mean that the circumstances of this period were not what they were. The feeling that we, the 3 police bodies that were there had, was that we were facing a powder keg. It is unquestionable. "

"The insurrectional period took place from September 20 until the enforcement of article 155."

Joaquim Forn's lawyer, Xavier Melero, complained about the witness's use of the concept of "insurrectional period", and the president of the court, Manuel Marchena, justified it:

Melero: "I submit to the consideration of the room whether the witness should use the expression" insurrectional period"  to gloss his comments."

Marchena: "He values ​​what he saw in this way and it is evident that the room does not feel in no way any link nor any consideration as a definitive proof by an assessment made by the witness."

"Special design" for September 20

The witness revealed that the macrooperation of the investigations of September 20 was "designed" very secretly to "prevent proof from being destroyed":

"On September 19 we intervened Unipost, where we detected all the letters sent to the voters and the tables. That was a hard blow. But on September 20 we had to make a special plot so that the registration operation would not be known, to prevent proof from being destroyed in the places where we wanted to carry out the searches. September 20, with all the searches undertaken in different areas of the Catalan Government, constituted a change. "


Related interactive resource: The keys of the Catalan independence trial


"Complete corroboration" after examining both the Moleskine agenda and the Enfocats document

The witness stated that two of the basic documents of the accusation, the Moleskine agenda and the Enfocats document, both confiscated from Josep Lluís Salvadó on September 20, "corroborated" everything they were investigating:

"Then, we got a definitive corroboration with the agenda, and then we had another vision of the general corroboration of the Catalan Pro-independence process with the Enfocats document."

"What about the Enfocats document? Why did we give it so much importance and thus we warned judges about it? Because we stated that everything that we had been investigating in the first inferences we made as a result of the investigation could be verified in the Enfocats document."

"The key to all this was the disconnection"

In this sense, the witness assured that Salvadó had 14 measures planned to "implement on October 2":

Baena: "When Mr. Salvadó's office was searched, a series of measures to be implemented were found for October 2. So much so that, when independence was declared, the Parliament ordered the Catalan Government to carry out a series of measures. I think they were 14 or so. These measures were among those ordered by the Parliamentary executive. The very same measures that Mr. Salvadó prepared in his office."

Madrigal: "What do you mean?"

Baena: "A Catalan tax agency, a cybersecurity agency, the national ID's, borders ... I know this from references, because I was told by the people to whom I commissioned this report. Also the development of VAT collections. All that basic infrastructure for a State to be self-sufficient whenever the so called disconnection happened. Because the key to everything was the disconnection."

"Concertation" among pro-independence leaders

As he said, Salvado's documents detailed how the tasks were distributed in the pro-independence process:

"Some of our groups detected that they were doing a general task, which was: providing human resources, material resources, coordinating actors involved, both the Government and the Parliament and social entities."

In response to questions from the prosecutor, Baena admitted that only some dates written in the Enfocats document coincided with events that had actually happened. It was the case of "citizen mobilizations".

He also explained that, after finding the documents of Salvadó, that the latter dedicated himself to identifying "the concertation" between the different actors of the pro-independence process:

"What we were doing was simply trying to detect connections or interviews between people, especially the institutional representatives of these organizations. It was the way to look for the concertation and it was the way to investigate: to show that there were contacts between those people who were both in charge of the institutions and mentioned in the agenda"

He also assured that they did not investigate the CDRs because they did not fit into what they were looking for, and that they incorporated the ANC and Òmnium into the investigations after finding Salvadó's documents.

According to what he said, in the agenda of another researcher on 20-S, Josep Maria Jové, he assured himself that "the degree of conflict with the Spanish state should be increased".

The use of force on 20-S

Regarding 20-S, Baena said that the judge ordered the use of force against demonstrators gathered before the Ministry of Economy should it have been necessary:

Madrigal: "Were they willing to obey the judicial order?"

Baena: "The court order was complied with, but the judge ordered to act if the physical integrity of the members of the commission who were inside the Ministry was altered or seriously in danger."

Madrigal: "Did you ponder this danger?"

Baena: "Yes, but the decision was not taken because it was not reached at the Ministry."

On what happened from September 20 on, Baena made a quantitative balance of the "mockery" and other actions against barracks of the Guardia Civil: 88 in total, 43 of which occurred between September 20 and October 27, day of the enforcement of article 155.

As for the referendum campaigns, the witness said that he was surprised that the "Civisme" campaign was deemed as a matter of urgency, and that this made them suspect that it was, indeed, the referendum.

According to Baena, the registration of Catalans abroad was "a basic tool for holding the referendum", so that citizens who were not in Catalonia on October 1 could participate.

After almost two hours of interrogation from Madrigal to Baena, Marchena suspended the sitting for half an hour. It resumed shortly after 12:30 pm, with further questions from the prosecutor about details of the investigation into the alleged misuse of public funds in relation to the referendum.

Witness questioned by the defenses

Baena appears before Supreme Court as a witness and not as an expert.

The defenses can take advantage of this fact to request the declaration to be limited or invalidated, bearing in mind that the Criminal Procedure Law establishes that any given witness can only answer questions on facts he knows directly and has witnessed.

The Baena reports have been the basis of the three main causes opened by the 1-O referendum: the one of the Supreme Court, the one of court number 13of Barcelona and the one of the National Court.

Tácito, or Maquiavelo

In addition, the court denied an expert evidence of the defense of Junqueras and Romeva to track the Twitter account of the profile Tácito - @nmaquiavelo84-, very critical of the independence movement, to determine if the lieutenant colonel is behind it.

Defense councel Andreu Van den Eynde already asked questions about this profile in this Monday's sitting, but Judge Marchena cut him off and warned him that the question had "no meaning from the point of view of the relevance of the facts that constitute the moment of the accusation ".

Van Eynde has replied that he could show "a bias" that would compromise the "credibility" of the witness, and Marchena has responded that he can assert this approach in his report.

Catalan independence trial