Lieutenant Colonel T43166Q of the Civil Guard, Daniel Baena

Although Case 20907/2017 has a few months to go, Daniel Baena was the last of the heavyweight witnesses to appear in Criminal Chamber 2 of Spain’s Supreme Court in this mad Spanish tale of power, corruption, espionage, torture, perjury, and now trolling taking place under the watchful eye of the procedurally flexible president of the court, Manuel Marchena.

On being sworn in, Civil Guard Lt. Col. T43166Q, Daniel Baena, principal investigating officer in Special Case 20907/2017, admitted to having been prosecuted for an offence in Section VII of the Spanish penal code: “On torture and other felonies against moral integrity”.

Civil Guard Lt. Col. T43166Q, Daniel Baena, being sworn in Special Case 20907/2017, the “trial against the Catalan process”

Torture and other felonies against moral integrity are described in Articles 173-177 of the Spanish penal code and cover degrading treatment of another person, physical or psychological violence in the home or the workplace: that is torture, domestic violence, mobbing, bullying and so on. Daniel Baena said the offence was “personal” and that he had received a fine.


As head of the Civil Guard’s judicial police unit in Catalonia, David Baena was the principal investigator of the Catalan leaders currently on trial or in exile. His investigations began in 2015, the year after the Citizen Participation Process on the Political Future of Catalonia on 9 November, 2014, the vote popularly referred to as “9N”. The order to investigate came from Javier Zaragoza, then Chief Prosecutor of Spain’s National High Court and now one of the Supreme Court’s prosecutors acting in this case. Interestingly, Javier Zaragoza was absent from court throughout Baena’s testimony.

Baena’s reports are the basis for the cases against Catalan leaders in the Supreme Court, the National High Court, the Catalan High Court and the Barcelona Instructional Court and , as such, Baena’s testimony and credibility are of the utmost importance. It was Baena who was responsible for providing evidence of rebellion and sedition to fit the narrative. The collusion between Zaragoza and Baena began a little more than three years ago. It was Zaragoza that altered the list of crimes that could be tried in the National High Court, rather than a Provincial Court, to include rebellion and sedition.

Defence counsel attempted to show that the opening of the investigation was irregular as it lacked notitia criminis, the report to the prosecutor alleging that a crime has been committed. In other words, the defence counsel is suggesting that the investigation began as a fishing trip. Baena replied that he had been primarily investigating misuse of public funds.

Baena referred to the autumn of 2017 as an “insurrectional period”, a period of violent uprising, and said that Catalonia was a “powderkeg”. At the same time he admitted that no politicians were arrested during this time as there was no evidence of violence or incitement to violence.

No testimony from either Spanish police officers or members of the Partido Popular in the trial would be complete without a moment of perjury which is impossible to verify due to Marchena’s block on documentary evidence and certain defence witnesses. In Daniel Baena’s case, it goes to the heart of his impartiality and professionalism as a top police officer, and also his reliability as a witness.

It was discovered by Público journalist, Carlos Enrique Bayo, that Daniel Baena had been using a personal Twitter account, under the name of “Tácito” (Tacitus), to attack independentist leaders. Bayo was not allowed to give testimony, but was in possession of audio in which Baena first admits to being “Tácito”, then backpedals furiously, realising his mistake. Daniel Baena commits perjury when he denies the fact.

Moment in which Baena denies being Tácito and the audio that disproves it – TV3

Baena’s second-in-command, who was supposed to follow him into the witness chair was suddenly indisposed and did not appear. The second curious absence of the day.

So once again in this surreal trial the viewers at home know the truth, as do most in the chamber, but everyone has to pretend they don’t. Sadly, most Spaniards are ignoring the trial, only interested in the long-established narrative to which witness Baena has contributed so much, the narrative that guarantees the guilty verdict, and thereby the oneness of Spain. Nobody’s interested in the litany of irregularities the trial has so far notched up in the safe hands of Manuel Marchena, the Spanish State’s capable and reliable goalkeeper, always there with a timely intervention.

And still there is no evidence of “violent uprising” or “organised violence” or incitement thereto. No sign of a riot, except from the Spanish police, and the only injured remain the unarmed voters, independentist pedestrians, and the still traumatised sector of the Catalan population.

It is petrifying, it is 1 October, it is the full power of the State, and the truth matters not one jot. It is the quintessential post-truth trial.

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