The images were erased. The missing family member left the chats he shared with his family. Everything was strange and shocking for the relatives of the 44 crew members of the ARA San Juan when detecting strange movements on their cell phones when the Argentine Navy ship had already sunk for several weeks. The episodes, denounced during the government of Cambiemos, acquired new relevance after the investigation carried out by federal judge Martín Bava and which ended with Mauricio Macri prosecuted for espionage on the relatives of the submariners. But, above all, what they denounced as an alteration in their telephones had a profound effect on the families, who This Wednesday they asked the comptroller of the Federal Intelligence Agency (AFI), Cristina Caamaño, if the agency has the capacity to determine if information was intentionally deleted from mobile phones.
Long before it was proven that the AFI had followed them, relatives of the submariners had a feeling: the Macri government was always one step ahead. Some felt their phones overheated; others thought they were listening. The concern was greater when they saw that messages from theirs, their photos were deleted and they were even left without the possibility of continuing to call the answering machine with the intention of hearing, at least, the voice they missed.
The relatives – mostly women – told the then Minister of Defense, Oscar Aguad, about the unusual activity that was being reported on his phones when he appeared before the bicameral that was investigating what happened with the ARA San Juan. Aguad told them that he would denounce the situation. And so he did, as did the plaintiff attorney Valeria Carreras.
However, until a few weeks ago, the families had never had a version from the Macri government about what might have happened to the phones. The theory was offered on November 10 by Aguad, when he testified as a witness before Judge Bava in the espionage case that had Macri as the main defendant.
Aguad said that, after the families told him about the deletions on their phones, he asked what could have happened to the former head of the Navy José Luis Villán.
– Doctor, do you know what happens with cell phones? We disabled all cell phones of the crew. This is most likely the cause of the images disappearing.
According to Macri’s former defense minister, The Navy decommissioned the phones in March 2018 because they belonged to the force’s fleet. Family members deny it and say they were private phones. The plaintiff attorney Valeria Carreras even suggested that the strange events happened after the families went to the Casa Rosada to see Macri on February 6, 2018, but had to leave their phones before entering the meeting. On the contrary, Aguad downplayed it and maintained that it was a common practice for all visitors to the then president – even for ministers.
Carreras went this afternoon to meet with Caamaño at the AFI headquarters to see if there is a way to determine how the phones were wiped.
The ultimate intention of the relatives is to recover the photos or messages that disappeared in 2018. An expert advising the lawyer told her that it was possible. It is not yet known what the body’s response will be. Most likely, the concern will have to be channeled judicially. After the meeting, Carreras told this newspaper that he will make a presentation in the Caleta Olivia case in which these irregularities are being investigated.
The situation with the phones had already been a talking point in the meeting that Caamaño held on October 14 with the women – mothers, couples and sisters – that Carreras sponsors. The meeting –concreted by Zoom– had taken place while the case for espionage on family members was in full process in the Federal Court of Dolores.
Caamaño was the one denounced in September 2020 that the AFI, from its Mar del Plata delegation, had followed the families to anticipate to Macri what his claims would be. Judge Bava prosecuted for these facts the former president, the former director general of the AFI Gustavo Arribas, the deputy director Silvia Majdalani, the former operational directors of Counterintelligence Diego Dalmau Pereyra and Martín Coste, the former director of Internal Meeting Eduardo Winkler, the former head of the Mar del Plata base Nicolás Iuspa Benítez and five agents who reported in that department.
At the time of issuing the prosecutions, Bava maintained that the complaint about the altered telephones – filed by Aguad during the Macri government – was evidence that the Cambiemos administration was aware that family members were being subjected to surveillance. Since no action was taken from the AFI, this inactivity was a sign, for the judge, that there was a plan to spy on them.
In a few days, when the January fair is over, Macri will return to the fray with his goals that include getting rid of the judge, taking the cause to the promised land of Commodore Py or getting an annulment.
Introvert. Beer guru. Communicator. Travel fanatic. Web advocate. Certified alcohol geek. Tv buff. Subtly charming internet aficionado.