Argentina Recruits DHS to Target Dissident Twitter Users

PanAm Post – Belen Marty

Argentina’s government appears to be following Orwell’s 1984 as an instruction manual. Daniela Dupuy, a prosecutor with close ties to President Kirchner, has launched an investigation into the online activity of 11 Twitter users and requested the assistance of the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS). These 11 users have been accused of “harassment,” based on their demonstration of support for a public prosecutor who was recently removed by Argentina’s judiciary.  

According to Clarín, on June 16, all 11 accounts under investigation received an email from Twitter in English on behalf of the Department of Homeland Security to inform them of the cooperation request from the Kirchner administration.

Dupuy ordered Walter Bernal, head of Argentina’s Federal Police Tech Crime Division, to use “all available means” to investigate the Twitter accounts of those who have been publicly supporting former prosecutor José María Campagnoli.

Fascism 2, the gnocchi doesn’t know how to copy the name, it’s with a double “n”

The Twitter accounts in the crosshairs are: @SergioFDoormann@richito18@eleduMOP,@ProcuLegitima@Vigoroth92@CarlBonifatti@mariaFerrante@anamagarupstre,@scarlet1864@anabelochio, and @andres. Several accounts have already been deleted.

Campagnoli and His Supporters

José María Campagnoli was a public prosecutor until December 2013, when he was suspended and removed from office, after the Public Prosecutor’s Office Tribunal for Prosecution charged him with malfeasance.

Campagnoli was investigating businessman and Kirchner ally Lázaro Báez on charges of extortion, along with Federico Elaskar, a former owner of a financial firm accused of money laundering. For his investigation of Báez, his boss, Prosecutor General Alejandra Gils Carbó, initiated an impeachment procedure to remove him from his post.

“Access logs” The maternalist state even asked for our passwords. In a democracy, they wouldn’t get them.

On Tuesday, the Tribunal for Prosecution said Campagnoli’s case was adjourned until July 17, after one of its members resigned.

Campagnoli’s successor, Cristina Caamaño, filed a misdemeanor complaint against the users that have allegedly “harassed” her on Twitter. In response, the group supporting Campagnoli accused Caamaño of abusing her authority.

Ignacio Rodríguez Varela, one of the Twitter users under investigation, said on Tuesday morning that the US Embassy in Buenos Aires had rejected the government’s requests. In addition, Rodríguez Varela told Infobae that he is “a clear victim of political persecution.”

ATTENTION The US Embassy informed us that they have rejected requests for our Twitter accounts and other pro #Campagnoli

The Twitter user @Vigoroth92, who asked to remain anonymous, told PanAm Post that he initially had no idea what the email he received from the United States government was about, but wasn’t surprised the Argentinean government would resort to such measures.

“I remember receiving this email in English, but I skimmed it and instantly dismissed it, because I thought it was another Twitter privacy-related notice. I never imagined that this was an order requesting personal information, but really, you can expect anything from this government.”

He called the request “unfortunate” and explained that the Prosecutor’s Office is toeing the government’s line. “This is not the first intrusion into the privacy of individuals. For instance, we’re about to have an ID with biometric data, the AFIP [federal tax agency] demands that if you buy more than AR$1,000 worth of groceries, you must present your national identity card, etc.”

“Argentina’s justice has some positive elements and others not so positive, as in all institutions. The progress or decline of individual liberties of every inhabitant of this country will depend on them. Kirchnerismo hates institutions and therefore hates justice,” he added.

The only thing we were missing to be another Cuba/Venezuela was to be persecuted for our opinions on Twitter. This is a fascist government. Confirmed.

Regarding Campagnoli’s case, @vigoroth92 again expressed his support and described it as “the tip of the iceberg of Kirchner’s corruption.”

“He’s an honest, simple, hardworking man,” he concluded.

Argentina’s Foreign Ministry has expressed regret that InfobaeLa Nación, and some politicians repeat what they consider false information reported by Clarín. “By denigrating the Foreign Ministry, they show they have no concerns over becoming Clarín’s unofficial spokespeople,” reads a statement issued on its website.

A Growing Surveillance State?

Over a week ago, the Argentinean government informed its citizens that they will soon be required to carry a new national ID card, storing biometric data, medical records, public transportation records, and social security data.

In the same vein, the executive recently created the controversial “Ministry of National Thought” led by the philosopher Ricardo Forster, a strong supporter of the Kirchner administration.

Translated by Daniel Duarte.

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