PP patriotic police spied on 69 Podemos deputies through Interior databases | Spain

Documentary evidence of alleged illegal spying on the 69 deputies won by Podemos in the December 2015 elections has reached the National Court, where Judge Santiago Pedraz is investigating the manoeuvres of the so-called patriotic police during the Popular Party’s mandate against its political opponents. The massive tracking carried out by the agents between 2015 and 2016, with hundreds of searches in police databases, affected all newly elected Podemos parliamentarians, including Pablo Iglesias, Yolanda Díaz, Ione Belarra and Irene Montero.

The now documented police operation was part of the interest of the then number two of the Interior, Francisco Martínez, in his conversations in January 2016 with the chief commissioner of the Central Operational Support Unit, Enrique García Castaño. when searching for information that would damage the reputation of the newly elected Podemos deputies. This is evident from the WhatsApp messages exchanged between the politician and the police commander, which were extracted from the mobile phone seized from Martínez during the investigation into the case. Kitchen cabinet, the alleged illegal police spying on former PP treasurer Luis Bárcenasto steal documentation about the suspected financing of the Conservative Party.

National Court Judge Santiago Pedraz launched a judicial investigation in February following a complaint from Podemos alleging that it had been a victim of the manoeuvres of the National Police and the Ministry of the Interior during the government of Mariano Rajoy.

The National Police Internal Affairs Unit has now sent the judge the report on the use of police databases in 2015 and 2016 to investigate various aspects of the lives of the 69 Podemos parliamentarians.

“Looking at the 69 of Podemos is taken away, but leaves a trace”

This was the conversation between Martínez and Castaño on January 30, 2016:

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Francisco Martinez: Of those from Podemos who had a history… Were you able to confirm anything?

Garcia Castaño: Well, I asked about it and I'm going to call because I didn't ask again. It slipped my mind.

Martinez: It would be very interesting to know… And if they went over topics abertzalesissues of violent extremism, etc.

Garcia Castaño: Josetxu Arrieta, the only one who belongs to ETA.

Martinez: Was he convicted?

Garcia Castaño: Yes.

Martinez: And the rest nothing?

Garcia Castaño: Nothing?

Martinez: Do I say if the others are clean? No street violence, anarchsetc.?

Garcia Castaño: I'll look at it again, but I don't think so.

Martinez: Caguenlaputa (…) Someone has to be untrustworthy.

Garcia Castaño: We will see.

Francisco Martinez: Look with attentive eyes.

Garcia Castaño: Everything they have seems little to you, Castiñeira [Jefe de la Brigada Provincial de Información] He must have what he has, because he has worked on it for a long time. (…) I ask him.

Francisco Martinez: And what about the others? You don't send me anything….

Garcia Castaño: That bastard Germán tells me that this afternoon, because if you look at the 69 it's worth it, but you have to look at them one by one and of course it leaves a trace.

This “trail” appears in the July 8 report sent by the police to Judge Santiago Pedraz, which describes hundreds of questions about the 69 Podemos agents in police databases (Argos, Sidenpol and others). Consultations without apparent reason and without judicial protection. These databases allowed know the police data of the persons under investigationthe content of police procedures affecting those spied on, their travels, accommodations or vehicles and other types of information. It was espionage aimed at following the lives of the 69 Podemos parliamentarians.

Delegates spied on

In some cases, there are barely half a dozen consultations; in others, there are dozens or hundreds. Among the deputies allegedly being spied on are Vice-President Yolanda Díaz, the current Minister of Social Rights, Pablo Bustinduy; the former leader of Podemos, Pablo Iglesias, the general secretary of that formation, Ione Belarra; former minister Irene Montero, or Sumar's current spokesman in Congress, Íñigo Errejón.

Pablo Iglesias. The number of searches for the then leader of Podemos amounted to 121, evenly distributed between 7 January 2015 and 29 December 2016, the two full years of data that the judge had requested from the police. The analysis shows that 39 different users carried out the maintenance of information in four different databases (as shown in the document accessed by EL PAÍS), the majority in Argos (59) and Personas (46). Among the search terms, the words 'accommodation', 'jewelry' and words referring to plane or boat trips stand out.

Iñigo Errejón. The then deputy of Podemos and today the spokesman of Sumar in Congress appears in the police report with 34 searches in three different databases by 10 police users. The dates of the consultations range from January 14, 2015 to December 11, 2016.

Yolanda Diaz. The current vice-president of Congress and minister of labor was relatively unknown when the alleged illegal spying on Podemos deputies broke out. Despite this, she is one of the deputies who have been subject to the most database queries: 401 between January 2, 2015 and December 30, 2016. At least 230 users followed Díaz, mainly in the Sindepol database.

Irene Montero: The former Minister of Equality, then deputy, was spied on by 18 police users between January 13, 2015 and July 27, 2016 via 28 searches in the police databases of Argos and Sindepol.

Ione Belarra. The then Podemos deputy for Navarra in the Congress of Deputies and now the party's general secretary, was investigated by the National Police at least thirteen times between January 2015 and October 10, 2016, although he was subject to more intense investigations from February 2016 onwards than the previous year, with the former Minister of Social Affairs being followed up to seven times.

Pablo Bustinduy. The current Minister of Social Affairs was spied on in 2016 while he was part of the Podemos team. He was then the ideologist of the purple party and spokesperson of the Foreign Affairs Committee and in 2016 a deputy in the Congress of Deputies. Bustinduy was tracked down on 13 occasions; a year earlier their data had been consulted six times.

Joan Baldovi. The spokesman for Compromís in Valencia also appears on the list of deputies investigated by the Interior. Baldoví was at the top of the list in the 2015 general elections with the Compromís-Podemos coalition for Valencia for the Congress of Deputies. His name appears to be registered 15 times; all searches took place from January 2016 to December of that year.

Operation discredited

The collection and the use of personal data for police purposes is a criminal offence against the right to private and family life, as well as to his home and correspondence, according to Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which specifies that “there shall be no interference by public authorities” unless “necessary in the interests of national security, public safety, the economic well-being of the country, the maintenance of order or the prevention of crime.” The analysis of these searches reflects a disproportionality, both because of the time at which this spying was carried out and because of the number of searches carried out in different databases.

This police operation, supposedly illegal, was launched when the PP feared losing the government after the December 2015 elections, due to a possible alliance between PSOE and Podemos together with other minority forces that would allow them to add the necessary 176 deputies. In order to neutralize this possibility, the Ministry of the Interior planned an operation that consisted of discrediting Podemos deputies by looking for an element in their lives that could give rise to social reproach.

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