On judges and prosecutors. On rallies and figures. From Nisman to Pollicita.
A brief introduction and some thoughts.
I‘ve been told that over the last few days, whenever I was done speaking at an official event, TN, the cable TV channel owned by the media monopoly Clarín, would write titles like: “She didn’t mention Nisman” or “She didn’t talk about the 18F march”.
It is true that when I speak through nationwide simultaneous broadcasts it makes it a tiny bit harder for them to do their institutionally destructive and predatory work. But press freedom is fortunately not affected. The nationwide campaign of discouragement and hatred, commanded by Clarín, enjoys the privilege of free expression 24/7, 365 days a year round.
But coming back to the reproach to me for my “silence”, it is remarkable that when I speak about what some don’t want, a prosecutor demands that I keep quiet, and when I don’t speak about what they want, they demand that I speak. In short: words and silence seem to have owners in Argentina.
In fact, even as a citizen before becoming President, I have always had the habit of analyzing, evaluating and then giving an opinion on any event once it’s occurred. It is a healthy habit that I don’t intend to give up.
On judges and prosecutors
The event that had taken place was the unprecedented call made by prosecutors, supported by quite a number of judges, to a rally they said was being organized to demand “justice” in connection with the death of prosecutor Nisman, something really as unusual as it would be if Ministers of the Executive Branch made a similar call demanding better “management by the government”, while other prosecutors claimed that the purpose was to pay tribute to their dead colleague. I will not go into detail on the background of the prosecutors organizing the rally, which is widely known and comes as no surprise to anyone. However it remains, at least, a curiosity that two of them were accused by relatives of victims of Amia cause and hinder the task of Nisman own.
However, I must point out the report prepared by Spanish journalists on two of them, including their links with Argentine hooligans and their “business deals”, which did not lead to any reaction or even comment by any member of the Judiciary when the extent of collusion was exposed. Or could it be that they have been taking these selective “silences” seriously and for quite some time already?
The truth is that the rally attended by the full spectrum of opposition parties and their presidential candidates, except for left-wing groups, was anything but a tribute to a person who died tragically, with the obvious exception of the victim’s immediate family.
It was possible to see political leaders laughing out loud, live and in the flesh, as well as marchers carrying signs with offensive and insulting slogans against the government. It wasn’t a “silence” march either, because the silence was stridently broken by the speech of a representative of a trade union group that is fiercely opposed to the government. In other words: both in gestures and in words and quite visibly, 18F was definitely an anti-government rally called by prosecutors and supported by judges and by the full political spectrum of the opposition.
In brief: a rally by several members of one branch of the State, the Judiciary, against another branch established by the Constitution: the Executive. That was what could be seen, heard, filmed and photographed. In other words, the event that took place.
And here I go back to the beginning. It was advisable to wait, because it could have been a march to pay tribute to a Prosecutor that was found dead in suspicious circumstances, as stated by the case file title, or it could be what it really was: purely and simply an opposition rally.
If the rally had one great merit, it was the fact that in Argentina –your country-, you can disagree, you can insult the Government and the President and you can march freely. It wasn’t always like that, and I’m not thinking about the military dictatorship. I still remember what happened to those who decided to express their disagreement on 19 and 20 December 2001, on Plaza de Mayo square in Buenos Aires. Repression, over 30 dead, fire opened on the crowd, martial law. Over 13 years later, no one has been arrested or sentenced for these incidents. Fernando De la Rúa was President at the time.
On rallies and figures
The controversy over the rally and the number of those who attended it deserves a special analysis. There are some explicit and some implicit elements. In order to avoid subjectivity, let´s use the opposition media as a source in doing the analysis.
As regards the explicit component, I should say that the two largest opposition marches against our Government were:
– The one organized by Mr. Blumberg, purportedly an engineer, at the Congress Square, on 1 April 2004.
– The one was organized by the Rural Landowners Organizations at the Monument to the Spaniards, on Libertador Avenue, on 15 July 2008, following a 127-day long lock-out, supply shortages, roadblocks, etc. This one was bigger than the first one.
The news reports and photographic documents in the newspapers Clarín and La Nación over the course of the following days eloquently reflect this.
Front page of Clarín on Friday 2 April: “150,000 gathered outside Congress and rallies nationwide. One of the largest gatherings since the return of democracy”.
Front page of La Nación on the same day: “Some 150,000 at the largest popular demonstration in years…”.
It is quite remarkable to see how both newspapers can count the number of people so accurately to come up with the same figure.
Also remarkable is the precision of La Nación newspaper in comparing both gatherings. 237,000 people at the one on Libertador Avenue and 103,000 people at the Congress for the gathering headed by Néstor Kirchner.
Just a look at the front pages of both newspapers on 19 February and their photographic accounts is enough to show that the purported figure of 400,000 (!) people is pathetically ridiculous and politically manipulated.
The photographs and their use of perspective, the texts, the occupied common physical space and their capacity make the lie far too blatant.
Why, then, this obvious insistence on adding zeros to a march?
Because after all, therein lies the hidden and implicit objective of the rally: 18F is no tribute to a Prosecutor, or even an unusual demand for justice, but rather the baptism of fire of the Judicial Party.
And that Judicial Party must exhibit “mass support” (not “popular”, a notion unthinkable for those who attended the event) to endorse and give an air of legality to any judicial botch-up, with no regard for the provisions of the laws, the substantive and procedural codes or even the Constitution.
18F. The baptism of fire of the Judicial Party.
The true political and institutional event of 18F is the public, and at this point undeniable, coming out of the Judicial Party.
This is the new weapon against Popular Governments, and it has come to replace the Military Party in the role that the latter played in our tragic past in respect of Lawful and Legitimate democratic Governments.
But the strategy does not consist any longer in violent coup d’états that interrupt the operation of the institutions and of the Constitution.
New methods are more sophisticated. The new Judicial Party works in coordination with the concentrated economic powers and, mainly, with the monopolistic media machinery in an attempt to destabilize the National Executive, while at the same time disregarding the decisions of the Legislative branch. That is to say, we are dealing with an überpower that rises above the institutions that were established through the vote of the people.
This Judicial Party is made up of groups of Judges and Prosecutors who are linked to, and promoted by, the large media and economic groups. Many of them are also supporters of the impunity laws for the crimes committed within the framework of State Terrorism under the last Military Dictatorship; others are former political officials of the 90s, and nearly all are closely connected with the underground heads who were removed from the intelligence organizations.
This Judicial Party plays a double role by fabricating judicial cases and simultaneously hindering progress in others. It is this Judicial Party that summons the Minister of Justice to declare half an hour before the House of Representatives commences the debate on the new Criminal Procedural Code. It is the same Judicial Party that summons the Treasury Attorney General to declare four days after she filed an appearance in the proceedings relating to the outlandish accusation of Prosecutor Nisman by submitting a 60-page document and documentary evidence, which disprove the absurd “criminal plan devised by the Argentine President and her Foreign Minister, and approved by the Argentine Congress”.
It is the Judicial Party that delays cases relating to crimes against humanity such as the appropriation of the newsprint manufacturer Papel Prensa during the last Military Dictatorship by Hector Magnetto, Ernestina Herrera de Noble, Bartolome Mitre and the former owners of La Razón newspaper. Despite the incredible amount of documentary and testimonial evidence in that case, to date none of those accused by Graiver’s widow, who was arrested and tortured during the Military Dictatorship, has been summoned.
In relation to this emblematic case, is it true, as some newspapers have reported, that the Judge hearing the case, Mr. Ercolini, participated in the rally? I do not think so. That would be too much.
It is the Judicial Party that fails to adopt any decisions and delays the case on money laundering reported by Hernan Arbizu, former Vice President of the JP Morgan in Argentina. Mr. Arbizu not only incriminates himself, but also provided a thorough description of how he laundered money of the members of Clarin Group. This case has been open for years, but not a single person has been summoned yet.
It is the Judicial Party that still blocks the application of the Media Law, ruled constitutional by the Supreme Court, through an endless series of precautionary measures.
It is the Judicial Party that has given rise to the “express protective justice on request” or “forum shopping”. It was also this Party that requested the declaration of Prosecutor Gonella, who investigates money laundering and drug trafficking matters, thus allowing an accusation made by a judge who is in a relationship with Valentin Temes Coto, a drug dealer sentenced to 20 years imprisonment for smuggling three tons of cocaine.
It is the Judicial Party that makes accusations against companies on account of mere administrative offenses while the judge hearing the case is a shareholder of commercial companies, which is prohibited, thus violating the Law. What is more, those shares were purchased with loans from State-owned Banks (Banco Provincia de Buenos Aires) and private businessmen. A funny detail: the companies of which the judge is a shareholder committed the same administrative offences as the accused companies. Incredible, yet true. These are some perks of the omnipotence, impunity, and discretional powers that come with the mere fact of being a Judge in this country. About paying income taxes, don’t get me started on that…
It is the Judicial Party that harasses the Public Prosecutors’ Office in a way never seen before with constant complaints, requests for declarations, and searches, as well as by hindering the operation of this institution, which was established by the 1994 Constitution as a body independent of any of the three branches of government in order to guarantee independence in the task of administering justice for all citizens.
It is the Judicial Party that for the first time in history judges unconstitutional an international treaty signed and ratified by Parliament in the exercise of its constitutional powers that are exclusive and exclusionary of these two branches of the national government. Decisions that, therefore, are not judiciables, as it has been said by the own doctrine of the Court.
This Judicial Party does not run for elections. Their members do not pay taxes, and they hold their functions and prerogatives for life. One of them is about to turn a hundred years old. Wouldn’t it be great to be a Judge?
A note on rallies and figures
As I write this, someone brings me the front page of La Nacion newspaper’s edition of 19 April 2013. Here it is. It is priceless:
This was published almost two years ago. Pay attention to the headline and the subheading: it says that it is the biggest protest march against the Government. That it was even greater than the ones of 13S and 8N. Remember 8N? The green rally. No, I do not mean global warming. That rally was in New York; I was there, and it was really crowded. The one here was on account of the measures applicable to the US dollar.
The protest march shown in the photograph was related to the reform of the judicial system, which was approved by Congress but rejected by the Judiciary. The newspaper article claims that “thousands of people” participated in the march. Have a look at the picture and take a look at the previous ones. You can draw your own conclusions.
There is another detail. If you pay attention, next to the picture there is an article entitled “The analysis: A fragile and overwhelmed Cristina.” I think that the one who needs analysis (psychoanalysis?) is the author of the article. If you pay closer attention, on the cover of the La Nación newspaper of 19 February, my birthday, there is another article entitled: “The scenario. Cristina’s Galtieri-style rule.” Of course I read neither article, but someone who goes from being “fragile and overwhelmed” to being like a dictator in two years’ time has a remarkable power to recover… And I don’t even drink a sip of alcohol – in fact, I don’t even like it. There are others who could not say the same, though. They seem to drink quite often. Anyway, some delights of the media and further evidence of how little the media recall what they publish. Such a shame.
It is quite simple, actually: the latest protest against the Government will always be the most numerous. This time it was 400,000 people, so I’m guessing next time the figure will be around one million.
From Nisman to Pollicita
I am looking at a copy of the letter sent by Prosecutor Gerardo Pollicita – who is currently in charge of the accusation filed by Prosecutor Nisman – to the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Argentine Republic, Mr. Julian Dominguez. This letter informs that Mr. Pollicita will not appear before Congress on Monday 23. The heads of the Justice, Foreign Relations and Constitutional Affairs Committees of Congress had invited Mr. Pollicita because the accusation revolves around the Memorandum of Legal Cooperation entered into between Argentina and the Islamic Republic of Iran in connection with the AMIA bombing. The memorandum was signed by the Executive and approved by Congress, because it is a complex federal proceeding that requires the participation of both the Executive and the Legislative branches.
The reasons given by Prosecutor Pollicita to decline the invitation to appear before the Argentine Congress and explain such a serious accusation involving the President, the Foreign Minister and a Member of Congress (among others) are quite curious, and they further demonstrate the way in which the Judiciary operates.
He invokes the “confidentiality of the proceedings” and explains that his appearance before Congress “would imply answering the requests” (sic) of the Members of Congress, which could frustrate “different lines of investigation” if the details became public.
Where was Prosecutor Pollicita when Prosecutor Nisman went on a media tour giving all sorts of hints and clues about his accusations on TV, radio and the newspapers? Where was he when Nisman decided to appear before Congress at the invitation of the opposition? How do the Prosecutors of the Judicial Party work? Why do they accept the invitations of the opposition but decline the invitations of the Government?
This is what I referred to when I talked about the Judicial Party. Not only is it a Party, but it is also part of the Opposition and attempts to destabilize the Government – but not just any Government: this Government.
The Government of Memory, Truth and Justice.
The Government that repealed the impunity laws.
The Government that opened all classified files and allowed all intelligence agents to talk about the AMIA case. The only Argentine Government that asked for legal cooperation with the Islamic Republic of Iran before the UN in order to solve the AMIA case.
The Government that has allocated more economic and human resources than any other to those investigating the terrorist attack committed against AMIA twenty-one years ago, for which not a single person has been detained or convicted.
The Government that has established the Universal Child Allowance Plan. The Government that has recovered the money taken from workers and given to private pension and retirement funds managers. The Government that has achieved the highest levels of social inclusion in terms of social security. The Government that has established adjustable pensions.
The Government that established the Procrear, Progresar and Conectar Igualdad Programmes for universal access to loans, youth allowances and computer access, respectively.
The Government that has made the largest investment in trains in the last 50 years – new trains for people to travel in decent conditions.
The Government that has streamlined the process to obtain a National ID card and passport, for it to no longer be an ordeal.
The Government that has released the country from its foreign debt. The Government that has paid the IMF and the Paris Club but refuses to pay usurious interest rates to vulture funds. The Government that has the intention of paying 100% of its creditors on an equal, fair and egalitarian basis.
The Government that has created more than 5 million jobs and reinstated collective bargaining agreements. The Government that reactivated the Council for the National Minimum Wage. The Government that has reindustrialized the country and achieved the highest wages in Latin America, both in terms of nominal value and purchasing power.
The Government that has built the most important infrastructure works in 50 years. The Government that has completed the Yacyreta dam and the Atucha II nuclear power plant. The Government that has built and launched the first Argentine satellite into space, creating ARSAT, the Argentine State-owned company of satellite solutions.
The Government that has resumed the Strategic Nuclear programme by investing more than USD 11 billion. The Government that has repatriated more than 1,000 scientists and has created the Ministry of Science and Technology.
The Government that has opened 9 new National Universities and created the most inclusive national scholarship programme in our history.
The Government that has expanded the rights of its citizens by legislating same-sex marriage, and gender identity and equality.
The Government that has re-established the Rural Worker Statute and offered inclusion to domestic service employees for the first time in history, granting them all the necessary labour and social security rights.
The Government that has said NO to the FTAA (ALCA) and YES to MERCOSUR, UNASUR, and CELAC.
And, believe it or not, the Government that has allocated the largest budget to the Judiciary.