Gov’t vows to be ‘severe’
Not long ago, all the Argentines witnessed Mr. ‘K’ having to purge the top brass of the armed forces to cleanse them of any officers suspected of eliminating dissidents during the 1976-83 military regime. Since then, the armed forces have been self-critical of their role during the military regime. The air force was the last to apologize in a statement by its head, Brigadier Eduardo Schiaffino, on March 9. The army and the navy had done the same in 1995 and 2004 respectively. Under Kirchner’s presidential period, Congress also quashed two amnesty laws that had shielded and favored hundreds of alleged human rights abusers from court prosecution. The navy spying scandal strikes the entire Argentine society just as the country braces to mark the 30th anniversary on Friday of the March 24, 1976, coup d’état that ousted the elected government of María Estela Martínez de Perón, who came to rule after the death of her husband, three-term president Juan Perón. A request coming from the mere president, Congress last week turned March 24 into a national holiday. The paramount is quite a different one in Chubut, though. Governor Mario Das Neves said that the spying aimed at “keeping an ideological control of the population.”
“They were keeping track of politicians, social leaders and journalists, some of them were even categorized like in the old days, such as ‘Jew’ and ‘Marxist’,” said the governor. Das Neves appeared in court yesterday morning, met with the judge in charge of the investigation, Jorge Pfleger, and requested that the provincial state be accepted as a litigant party so that state lawyers can have access to the files. Das Neves told reporters shortly after the meeting that there is evidence showing that the intelligence agents had to report to the Almirante Zar base every Wednesday with information about the people they were investigating. Pfleger said that he will focus on “the chain of command,” hoping to find out who ordered the spying.“There is a chain of command we will try to unveil,” said the judge.
(Herald staff with news agencies)