Photo: Carles Puigdemont, by Sergi Alcàzar
Video: Carles Puigdemont, by Roberto Lázaro
By Marta Lasalas
ML: This week it was confirmed that the CNI (Spanish National Intelligence Centre) had contacts with the imam of Ripoll [the leader of the semi-foiled Barcelona terrorist attacks], what do you think when you hear this news?
CP: First of all, if it has been us who made these assertions, we would have had thousands of people demanding us to show proof, and without being able to pass these tests, they would have called us liars. There were, however, many strange things. Now it has been proven that this Imam was not only a person whom the CNI had previously flagged, and located, but they had actually worked with him. This re-opens our right to ask many questions – ones we asked around the time of the attacks, which we will repeat now.
ML: For example?
CP: Is the security of the Catalans in the hands of this information service and the Spanish police guaranteed? Don’t the Mossos d’Esquadra guarantee it better, despite the fact they have been intervened with [via article 155]? Why has Mr. Trapero been thrown to the dogs and Mr. Forn today in prison when they were the real actors behind the neutralisation of the Jihadist threat in Catalonia? This creates a lot of mistrust in the Spanish security system, in the Spanish information system. They have not been loyal to the citizens. Because of this disloyalty we do not know if we could have avoided the attack and many deaths completely. We simply do not know. And we have the right to ask ourselves: What else are they hiding from us? How far is the long arm of the CNI in our country? What do more than 10,000 unnecessary policemen actually do here in Catalonia, in a country of peace? Are we allowed to ask these things? Yes. Enric Millo [Central Government representative in Catalonia] would have told us that we were lying if we had said in August what was already happening, that the Imam of Ripoll had contacts with the CNI. And then who would have been believed – Mr. Millo or us? We couldn’t bring proof to the table. But it was obvious. And now it has been proven. What will be found out over the next three months about Operation Catalunya? I would recommend, just to be safe, that people be very cautious when it comes to believing the versions of the story promoted by the Spanish State.
ML: This Thursday, the Spanish president, Mariano Rajoy, made his first visit to Catalonia after 155 and asked companies that do not leave Catalonia.
CP: What cynicism! The intellectual and material author of the attempt to make companies leave Catalonia in order to argue how we were bad is now telling them to come back. An easier way of doing this might have been not passing an illegal decree which facilitated the transfer of companies to Spain!
ML: The National Development Agency (Foment de Treball Nacional) has called for incentives for companies to return …
CP: Above all, they should feel ashamed to propose that would give a tax break to these companies which have left, to return. I think that should be the other way around. We have to reward those who have stayed, those that despite the pressures they have bet on continuing in Catalonia. Those who, due to interests that they will explain one day, have changed their registered office, I think we should not give them any prizes. It seems that they are still encouraging companies to go, so that they can come back, and we will give them tax incentives. Is this the PP’s policy to stimulate the economy? It’s backwards. The vast majority of companies have not left. And economic data, despite the story the PP tells, continues to show that Catalonia is a robust and solvent economy. Rajoy has realized the failure of his strategy because he is suffering economic consequences in Spain. And if he has bad news in Spain, then there is bad news for Europe, and since Europe has his ear at present, I can assure you he is being told Europe is not very happy at all. The northern countries that are getting tired of paying bills for the south are beginning to get restless. Let it be clear that the economic bill that Rajoy and the PP and its coalition of partners wanted the Catalans to pay, because in their eyes we did not behave well, could end up being paid by all of Europe, and this probably explains why Mariano Rajoy is now attempting to undo the very serious error he has committed.
Original Text: http://www.elnacional.cat/ca/politica/puigdemont-brusselles-entrevista-imam-cni_215970_102.html