October 7, 2022

Filtering and persecution of generals exacerbates Chile crisis

Santiago de Chile (EFE).- Hacker leaks of more than 400,000 secret e-mail messages from the Joint Chiefs of Staff (EMCO) and a new case of alleged corruption have sparked a new crisis in Chile, leading to layoffs and prosecutions in Chile. the military, an institution with deteriorated prestige.

As reported this Friday, Chilean justice has ordered the prosecution of five retired generals for their alleged responsibility for alleged repeated crimes of embezzlement of public funds worth 455 million pesos (about $500,000).

Police personnel establish a checkpoint in Santiago on September 22, 2022. EFE / Elvis Gonzalez

The visiting Secretary of the Court Martial, Romy Rutherford, in charge of the “Army Fraud” case and its many aspects, is investigating crimes allegedly committed between December 2007 and March 2018 and is prosecuting dozens of officers in that context. officers of the Chilean military branch.

In particular, Rutherford brought Guillermo Hernán Porcile Arellano, Alberto Eduardo González Martin, John Eduard Griffith Spielman, Sergio Patricio Ahumada Labbé and José Manuel Llanca Zuazagotía to court.
The zeal is situated as the last scene, to date, of a long parade of active and retired military personnel through the Chilean courts, in acts of corruption in which the protagonists were members of the high command.

Real estate purchases, luxury cars, travel, parties and tourism by fiscal means are part of a fiscal shelf with 1,392 volumes and 46 multi-sided notebooks, and an alleged embezzlement of the state treasury that has so far exceeded 8.5 million euros amounts to.

It is not the first time in a democracy that crimes related to illegal enrichment in the leadership of the Chilean army have been investigated, a practice that historians say was deeply rooted during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990).

Since the return of democracy, all commanders-in-chief of the Chilean army have been linked to millionaire fraud, with Humberto Oviedo, Juan Miguel Fuentalba and Óscar Izurieta also being prosecuted for corruption crimes.

security breach

The new judicial accusation coincides with the scandal unleashed by the massive leak of EMCO emails carried out by the hacker group Guacamaya, which has uncovered more than 400,000 messages and numerous documents classified as “reserved”, “secret” and “top secret”. ”.

Police personnel work in Santiago on September 22 on prevention, control and safety of the community. EFE / Elvis Gonzalez

The leak forced Defense Secretary Maya Fernández to rush back to Chile from New York, where she accompanied the President of the Republic, Gabriel Boric, at the UN General Assembly, and forced the departure of the United Nations on Thursday. head of the EMCO. General Guillermo Paiva.

“Faced with the known facts regarding the failure of the security of the emails of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the President of the Republic has instructed the Minister of National Defense to return to the country to respond to these events,” they communicated from the Chilean government.

In addition to handing the files over to military justice to further a criminal investigation, the Executive ordered an administrative summary to establish associated responsibilities.

Congress, meanwhile, has already taken action and the National Defense Commission has already convened the Secretary of State, along with the Undersecretary and the head of EMCO, to account for the magnitude of the leak.

Boric thinks the dismissal is sufficient

“It seems correct to me that General Paiva has taken his responsibility,” Boric said when asked at a press conference in New York.

“What I can tell you is that we as a state are working on this together with all the commanders-in-chief,” the president said, emphasizing that the priority is “to safeguard the national interest” while supporting the minister’s management. defense.

“You can be absolutely sure that we will take the opportunity and that the institutions will work,” he insisted.

In addition, this morning the arrival of Vice Admiral José Luis Fernández at the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was confirmed, while Brigadier General Mario Grez Casanueva will conduct the brief investigation into the email leak.

The President of Chile, Gabriel Boric (c). EFE/Alberto Valdes

According to local investigations, the leaked files contain cybersecurity, communications and border surveillance data, as well as sensitive information about intelligence and satellite surveillance systems.

On September 19, and during the armed forces’ protocol parade to mark the national holidays, groups of attendees – some relatives of members of the government – booed and insulted President Boric – in an act unprecedented in modern times that unleashed criticism from the government and part of the political class.

Web Edition: Natalia Sarmiento.

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