The "Gestapo" from inside

Commissioner and accountant Hernan Casassa confirmed before the Bicameral Commission for the Oversight of Intelligence Organizations and Activities that he is the person who speaks and explains in two audios revealed by Page 12 how the judicial table worked and how was the mechanism for setting up cases in the province of Buenos Aires during the macrismo. In addition to ratifying the content, his story went even further: he said that the former governor Maria Eugenia Vidal, his former chief of staff Federico Salvai and the attorney Julius Conte Grand –whom he already mentioned in the recording– also participated in the national judicial table that, according to what he said he was aware of, met on Thursdays every fortnight at the call of the Federal Intelligence Agency (AFI). He also linked the leaders of the Civic Coalition Elisa Carrió and Paula Oliveto with espionage and the dubious use of information to create files.

Casassa had been summoned by a Bicameral subcommittee formed for these issues that includes Rodolfo Tailhade, Eduardo Valdés and the radical Miguel Bazze. He appeared at noon on Thursday with a good predisposition and, in addition to confirming the audios and the content, delivered material to show the link between Carrió, Vidal and the Internal Affairs Audit of the Buenos Aires Police, a dependency that already in the recording indicated as key in the illegal collection of information.

The AFI and the FIU to arm causes

The peculiarity of his description is that it showed that the setting up of cases in the province was not an isolated issue but that there was a generalized policy of spying and criminal charges that, everything suggests, was managed from the Casa Rosada and the AFI. What was revealed in his account is that the files –especially against opposition politicians and trade unionists– would have been nurtured with contributions from the AFI, Internal Affairs and also from the Financial Information Unit (UIF), as this diary was able to reconstruct.

The audios were presented last week by Alberto Pérez, former chief of staff of the former governor Daniel Scioli, before the federal judge of La Plata, Ernest Kreplack. The court opened a separate but related file with the one investigating the “anti-union Gestapo” and the meeting of the judicial table on June 15, 2017 at the Buenos Aires headquarters of Banco Provincia, which was recorded by at least three cameras placed in the seventh floor of the entity and whose footage appeared in the AFI. The suspicion is that the intelligence center itself placed them.

Casassa was, in his time as Deputy Commissioner of Illegal Assets of the Buenos Aires Superintendency of Investigations, who participated in raids on Pérez’s home and several Scioli properties, among other former officials who were opened a case for alleged illicit enrichment. The complaint that originated it had been made by Carrió. The former chief of staff is scheduled for Tuesday to ratify his complaint.

The spies in the center

The central and repeated role of the AFI together with the possible espionage is what enabled the intervention of the Bicameral. In the Bapro video where the former Buenos Aires Minister of Labor is seen Marcelo Villegas As the protagonist in the meeting with businessmen and other officials to whom he expresses his desire to have their own “Gestapo” in order to “end the unions”, three former directors of the AFI are also present. Two of them — the former Director of Legal Affairs Juan Sebastian DeStefano and the former chief of staff of the agency Dario Biorci— they actively participate in the explanation about how to file criminal charges against trade unionists, among whom the leader of the Uocra is mentioned Juan Pablo “Pata” Medina. Biorci tries to find out what claims the employers came up against on behalf of the union. As claiming food or work clothes does not seem like a criminal claim, according to Villegas himself, De Stéfano ends up suggesting generating a provocation to film it. Also present was the former operational director of Counterintelligence, Diego Dalmau Pereyra. These are three well-known names for the Bicameral, since they appear in all the investigations on espionage during the government of Mauricio Macri.

In the “Gestapo” file, Judge Kreplak asked the AFI on Thursday to report whether Vidal, Villegas or any of those present at the Bapro table entered the body between May 1 and December 31, 2017: the former Minister of Infrastructure Roberto Gigante, the former Undersecretary of Justice Adrián Grassi, the Mayor of La Plata, Julio Garro, and Senator Juan Pablo Allan, and –for the private sector– Marcelo Jawroski, Ricardo Alconada, Guillermo Moretto, Jorge Oscar Del Rio, Fabian Cusini, Fernando Sacrachi, and Bernardo Zaslascky. To the latter he added them to the call crossings that he had ordered about the officials, including Vidal.

The great court table

Cassasa said in one of the audios that the Bicameral made him listen to: “Internal Affairs is exactly the office where, by order of (Cristian) Ritondo, they looked for all the information to file the cases. It was the judicial set-up, the judicial table they had with Vidal, Salvai, Conte Grand –which was crazy for him to be there– and Ritondo. That office had access to the Nosis, spoke with the FIU, requested information from all sides”. Before the deputies, he confirmed that framework typical of the province of Buenos Aires, but added that the same characters were invited to the (national) judicial table that met on Thursday afternoons every fortnight.

The commissioner pointed out that they were summoned to attend the AFI. What is certain, according to information that has long been in the hands of the Bicameral based on previous investigations into espionage during the macrismo, is that some of the invitations came from a secretary of the former head of the Intelligence Agency and a friend of Macri. , Gustavo Arribas, and others were sent from an e-mail from the office of the former Chief of Staff, Mark Pena, where sometimes the meetings were. In some of these emails, the former Minister of Justice also appeared as recipients. Germán Garavano, the former head of advisers to the Presidency Jose Torello and the former Secretary of Legal and Technical Paul Clausellas. As is known, a permanent and crucial member was Fabian “Pepin” Rodriguez Simon, who is still in Uruguay without responding to the Argentine Justice, who summoned him for questioning.

All roads lead to the Casa Rosada

There is a wide range of data that leads us to suppose that the policy of spying, generating causes and bringing opposition leaders and trade unionists to justice was centralized in the Casa Rosada. In the particular case of the meeting at Bapro, the cameras installed were not security cameras, they were not aimed at the entrances but at the table and, as Raúl Kollmann reported, involved a technological deployment, including the installation of microphones to achieve good quality of Audio. It is still a mystery who authorized its entry and placement, although there would be some clues. To this we must add some chronological coincidences that join the Buenos Aires cast with the national one.

Little more than a month before the meeting where he spoke about the Gestapo, Minister Villegas met with Arribas and Macri at the Casa Rosada. It was May 4. It is a rarity that a provincial minister, with limited powers, meets with the head of state. It would not be strange if the strategy against other leaders such as Robert Baradel The Hugo Moyano, who were spied on.

Five days later, according to information from the Bicameral, the AFI delivered a report on the La Plata Uocra that pointed to the activities of “Pata” Medina. Two days before and also after, Macri began to insist with his crutch of “the labor lawsuit mafia” and to blame workers who initiate lawsuits for violations of their rights, all in a context of dismissals and precariousness. At the same time, he began an offensive against judges who ruled against the business community and who endorsed peers that the macrismo did not want. A few hours after the summit at Bapro, for which it is worth remembering that no attendee registered their entry, Garavano and Arribas went to la Rosada. Would filming be available and was the plan beginning to run? Medina was denounced 15 days later for alleged coercion and threats. They arrested him at the end of September.

Carrio’s footprint

The other section of the audio that Casassa also confirmed equates the Internal Affairs function of the police with a “group of tasks” that relates to Carrió. “That judicial table that was Conte Grand, along with Vidal, something impossible due to the division of powers, they cannot have contact, they were the ones who put together the case. And they were the ones who with the Avellaneda prosecutor (in allusion to Sebastián Scalera), they destroyed Moyano, who wanted to put him in jail. They met at the SIDE, there is a couple of pieces of information, I checked, they fired me. Once they had everything set up, they asked the FIU to put together that folder, to put together that information, and then, magically, it appeared in Carrió’s hands. And Carrió brought the case or sent one of his henchmen to denounce…”

Before the Bicameral, Casassa linked Carrió and Oliveto directly with who was head of Internal Affairs of the Buenos Aires, Guillermo Berra. He gave the deputies a video of a 2018 act where they are both in an act with Vidal. The former governor applauds Berra and says that they were neighbors of Morón but that she had brought him from the City’s General Auditor’s Office, where she met him through Oliveto. He says that he took him because they were looking for someone independent to control the police themselves and congratulates him for having separated 9,200 agents. Berra was prosecuted in 2020 for obtaining “information and storing data on natural and legal persons that have nothing to do with the sphere of administrative control of the provincial security force” between 2016 and 2019. But the case did not advance further.

Casassa promised to deliver more material and asked to postpone some clarifications. Next Tuesday Conte Grand is summoned before the commission. The legal representatives of the two distribution companies of the cameras installed in the Banco Provincia must also go, where the deputies will make an ocular inspection that same day.

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