Argentina ex-president Macri accused of spying on 400 journalists

In this file photo taken on December 01, 2018, Argentina's President Mauricio Macri listens to a journalist's question during the final press conference, on the second day of the G20 Leader's Summit, in Buenos Aires. (AFP)
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Updated 08 June 2020

Argentina ex-president Macri accused of spying on 400 journalists

  • The complaint was lodged by Cristina Caamano, who has been tasked by center-left President Alberto Fernandez to carry out an audit of AFI as part of a reorganization process

BUENOS AIRES: Argentina’s Federal Intelligence Agency (AFI) has called for an investigation into former president Mauricio Macri for allegedly spying on more than 400 journalists, a source told AFP on Sunday.
Dozens of foreign journalists, including several representing AFP, appeared on a list of people to be investigated in relation to the G20 and World Trade Organization (WTO) summits held in Buenos Aires in recent years.
“The complaint was lodged on Friday and tomorrow (Monday) all the evidence will be presented,” the official source told AFP on condition of anonymity.
Around 100 academics, businesspeople and prominent figures from civil society also appeared on the list.
The documents relating to the case were found in three dossiers named “2017,” “G20 Journalists” and “Miscellaneous,” in a safe in the office of the AFI’s former director of counterintelligence.
Buenos Aires hosted the 11th WTO Ministerial Conference in 2017 and the 13th G20 Summit a year later.
“The investigation into the journalists was straightforward. They dug up information from social media and that way built an ideological and political profile,” said the source.
The complaint was lodged by Cristina Caamano, who has been tasked by center-left President Alberto Fernandez to carry out an audit of AFI as part of a reorganization process.
According to the complaint, the profile information included “political preferences, social media posts, sympathy for feminist groups, or political and/or cultural content among others.”
The comments included whether or not “they were critical of the current government” of Macri, who held office from 2015-2019.
Other comments referred to “showing affinity for Peronism,” Fernandez’s political movement that was in opposition at the time, “supporting the government,” “asking on Facebook for the liberation of Lula,” the jailed leftist former Brazilian president who has since been released, or if they “signed a petition for legalized abortion.”
Each profile was marked in either green, yellow or red, supposedly an indication aimed at assisting the foreign affairs ministry in the accreditation processes for the WTO and G20 events.

Caamano has asked for an investigation to be opened against Gustavo Arribas, the former AFI director, and his deputy Silvina Majdalani, as well as Macri as the person “responsible for setting strategic guidelines and the objectives of national intelligence policy.”
The complaint states that the background checks on journalists were “neither ordered nor authorized by any magistrate.”
The foreign correspondents association hit out at Macri for the “inadmissible” investigations, while two Argentine press unions also blasted the former administration.
The dossier relating to the WTO conference was more exhaustive and included information on businesspeople, trade unionists and social leaders, listing personal details such as salaries and wealth.
It’s not the first time Macri has been investigated for alleged spying.
He is currently under investigation for spying during his presidency on political allies and opponents, including former president Cristina Kirchner and Buenos Aires mayor Horacio Rodriguez Larreta.
He was prosecuted for spying while mayor of Buenos Aires, a post he held from 2007-2015, but that case was dismissed two weeks after he assumed the presidency.
 


TWITTER POLL: Wearing masks to be a norm even with availability of coronavirus vaccine

Updated 11 July 2020

TWITTER POLL: Wearing masks to be a norm even with availability of coronavirus vaccine

DUBAI: The World Health Organization has advised on the use of medical masks as to limit the spread of certain respiratory viral diseases, including COVID-19.

“Current information suggests that the two main routes of transmission of the COVID-19 virus are respiratory droplets and contact,” the global health body said in its advisory.

Masks can be used either for protection by healthy persons – to protect themselves from transmission – or by infected individuals to prevent onward transmission.

 

 

The WHO likewise advised that governments should encourage the wearing of masks where there is widespread transmission and physical distancing is difficult, especially that a vaccine for coronavirus has yet to be developed that could offer protection to individuals.

Wearing masks have become a norm that even the availability of a vaccine in the future would not deter almost half of Arab News readers that were polled – at 46.6 percent – compared with those who said they will ditch these protections – at 29 percent – once a coronavirus inoculation goes into market.

Almost a quarter of those that were polled meanwhile said they did not mind either way.

Reader @KaysarRoni said face masks is essential when going to the market, to shop or to pray in the mosques, but would be “harmful for health” when worn all the time.