February 2013, statement by Julio

February 18th, 2013

STATEMENT by Julio Alberto Poch at the ESMA trial

Mrs. President of the Tribunal, Your Honors,

I first want to express the tremendous indignation and frustration that I feel for finding myself prosecuted, dragged to a trial, and in addition, deprived of my freedom.  I want to be as clear as possible in my statement, because I have been brought to trial for a terrible misunderstanding, only for having been misunderstood in a conversation. My words were skewed and, with the passage of time, totally distorted. I will declare before you with the force of the truth and based on my total innocence.

I am wrongfully accused of crimes and murders that I have NOT committed. My conscience is clean because I am innocent! I swear to God and my children!

More than 3 years ago I was violently torn from my family, my home and my job, all of them in the Netherlands. It was an arbitrary and unnecessary detention. With these false allegations they want to destroy my life, my reputation and my good name.

The Argentine State should respect the National Constitution by protecting its citizens from arbitrary detentions, guaranteeing the presumption of innocence, and the equality before the law. But it does not! Moreover, the Constitution guarantees the right to freedom of expression. Then it is a shame that I am accused, only for having given my personal opinion during a conversation about Argentine politics. That conversation with Dutch colleagues took place in Bali in 2003.

I always respected the human rights of all persons. It is unacceptable that now, in the name of Human Rights my rights are violated.

We have reported this “witch hunt” before international bodies, such as the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights, the European Commission of Human Rights, Amnesty International and the Government of the Netherlands. The latter pledged to “monitor” the trial. I am grateful for the presence of the Ambassador of the Netherlands.

This ordeal began on September 22, 2009 when I was unjustly detained in Valencia, Spain. At that time I was accused, with no proof, of having been based as a Naval Aviator in the School of Mechanics of the Navy (ESMA), and therefore, of having been involved in crimes against more than 800 victims. The Argentine justice had requested to Spain my arrest and extradition while at the same time the media – in a sensationalist way – prejudged me and condemned me in advance.

But in fact this story began first in the Netherlands, with a complaint filed in mid-2006 by a Dutch pilot named Engelkes, who had not participated in that conversation in Bali. Again, by someone who was never in Bali. He had only heard stories from others. From Spain, where I was detained, we requested in Court to be sent back to the Netherlands to defend myself from that complaint. But both Spain and the Netherlands refused me that possibility. I could not defend myself from the Argentine allegations because in Madrid they could only rule for – or against – my extradition to Argentina. It was a combined action of the three countries in order to leave me completely defenseless.

As I stated from the start before all the judges, and I repeat now before this Court:

-I was never based in the ESMA. I was not sent there in commission. I was not even visiting in the ESMA for a day.

-I was not part of any of the so-called task forces, neither at the ESMA, nor anywhere else.

-I did not take part in the fight against terrorism in the years that I was in the Navy.

-I had nothing to do with the so-called “death flights”.

I did not confess anything because I have nothing to confess! I have a transparent and crystal-clear past.

In the Netherlands there was no investigation. In July 2008, two years after the first complaint, the Dutch justice requests international aid to Argentina.

This is important because it shows that until 2008, I – Poch – did not exist in the investigation. To the point that judge Torres had to ask who Julio Poch was to the National Registry of Persons and the Navy. But the truth is that since my name appeared in the case everything favors me and proves my innocence.

Judge Torres travels to the Netherlands and hears the statements of 4 Dutch pilots, of which only two – Weert and Brouwer – had been present at the dinner in Bali.

In January 2010, I voluntarily accepted my extradition to Argentina to prove my total lack of involvement in the acts and allegations because all this was a blunder! My extradition took place in May 2010.

Once in Argentina, however, despite all the evidence of my innocence that we presented and my preliminary statements, in June judge Torres indicts me just the same for the crime of illegal deprivation of liberty in relation to 615 cases of the ESMA, including several victims of the so-called “death flights”.

Your Honors, I also want to categorically state that I did not take part in the “death flights”, neither as a pilot, nor copilot, nor as a crewmember.

In addition, I do not have now – nor did I have previously-, any knowledge whatsoever about the existence of these “flights”. Throughout the years I learned what was published in the media. If those “flights” existed, it seems to me something totally aberrant and inhuman! But I never said that I had been involved in them. I would not give myself a prominence that I did not have! That is total nonsense.

ANNULMENT OF THE FIRST INDICTMENT

We appealed my indictment, and on October 28, 2010 the Federal Chamber declared the NULLITY of the indictment based on 3 fundamental points. I quote:

 

1: The statements of Julio Alberto Poch before those witnesses cannot be considered a “confession” in procedural terms, for not having been made in court.

2:  In the appealed resolution the preparation of Poch to pilot transport aircraft and/or helicopters with the capabilities that were pointed out when describing the operation deployed in relation to the “death flights” in the period in which they were carried out, has not been proved. It must be recalled that in these cases aircraft was used that could transport a certain quantity of passengers and /or cargo, an extreme that the combat aircraft that Poch piloted, on account of their structure and specific function, would not possess.

3: The examining Judge has sustained in his decision the character of “crewmember” of Poch in the death flights, without that being appropriately supported either. Beyond his service in that role in May 1976 (once) and October 1976 (two days) in the U-16 (Albatross) airplane, the records or elements do not arise from the development of the resolution thus adopted, that could lead him to conclude that those opportunities were linked to some of the events that, on principle, have been identified as having derived in “death flights”.

 

 

Let me clarify that this latter point arose because given the overwhelming evidence that I could not have been “pilot” of the ‘flights’, judge Torres had resorted to the alternative that then I had been a “crewmember” in them.

The Federal Chamber ordered the judge to take into account the testimonies of my former squadron commanders and of the experts in Naval Aviation. In addition, regarding the witnesses, my defense had submitted notary statements from several Dutch pilots that contradicted those initial statements by Weert and Brouwer. Then the Federal Chamber also ordered to clarify these discrepancies.

Since my indictment had been annulled, at the end of 2010 I was released, regaining my freedom but without being able to leave the country and therefore without returning to my home in the Netherlands.

 

Statements of The Hague – January 2011

In order to clarify all the statements in January of 2011, 12 Dutch pilots who could testify about the case were heard in The Hague, both those who testified in 2008 before Torres, as well as the pilots who had done so before a notary. During 10 Days those 12 Dutch pilots answered the questions of the prosecution and the defense before a Dutch judge.

These testimonies of The Hague were – and still are – fundamental for understanding how the misunderstanding occurred during the conversation in Bali. It was perfectly clear that I never spoke of my personal involvement, or said to be involved in any crime. They all admit that I never spoke in the first person. It also became evident that some of the Dutch pilots misinterpreted my sayings, jumped to conclusions and that there was no confession!

I anxiously awaited my acquittal in the case, but Judge Torres, instead of accepting the exculpatory evidence of the new testimonies, indicted me again on June 9th, 2011. Although he grants the lack of merit in 574 acts of the first indictment when it was proved that I was not at the ESMA, he still indicts me for 41 victims that had been “transferred” in the “death flights”.

Thus, I come to the sad conclusion that the judges and prosecutors of the examination phase do not seek Truth or Justice.  They just seek to “create” guilty persons. They need “scapegoats” for the “death flights, using arguments with no logic or common sense. They are all presumptions and conjectures.  After the appeal of the new indictment, the Federal Chamber, in its resolution of September 29th, 2011, reverses its ruling of October 2010 without any substantiation. Only 11 months later, exactly the same two judges of the Federal Chamber, state their doubts but confirm my indictment saying:

“we have the firm conviction that it is in the context of the trial itself where, due to the greater degree of immediacy and confront that it offers and in the broader margin of debate that it guarantees, those aspects which here have been proved with the temporariness of this preparatory instance, may be aired and elucidated with precision.”

Yes, but meanwhile I must remain in detention, including the duration of the trial, which may last several years. An outrage!

The judges of the Federal Chamber reduce the number of victims from 41 to 30, due to the periods during which I was in Commission in the United States and aboard the aircraft carrier.

In their words they say that they:

 “.. .grant the lack of merit regarding those acts produced in times in which the defendant did not have the possibility of providing his participation.”

That is to say that only for the “possibility of my participation,” they accuse me of the 30 remaining acts! This is a very dangerous reasoning. As I will show later, the disappearance of these victims cannot be linked to my service in the Navy.

I demand JUSTICE

As a citizen of Argentina and the Netherlands, I demand Justice!

According to the dictionary of the Spanish language:

“Justice is the quality or virtue of proceeding or judging, respecting the TRUTH.”

I can prove my INNOCENCE with the TRUTH of:

–          My preliminary statements.

–          My Service and Concept Files.

–          My two Flight Logbooks of the Navy.

–          My personal diary of those years.

–          The statements of the Dutch pilots.

–          The statements of my former Squadron Commanders.

–          The statements of the experts in Naval Aviation.

–          The large amount of documentary evidence, provided by the Navy, but nearly all of it obtained on request of my defense.

 

retirement.

But when I requested my retirement, the COAN, CL James Whamond said:

“.. .the retirement of the requester affects the Naval Power given that he has a high level of training in an aircraft of fundamental importance in the event of conflict as is the A-4″.  If his retirement was granted and he was later on summoned, several months and a great quantity of flying hours would be needed to regain his current level. The requested retirement must not be granted for the time being.”

 

 

Statements of my former Commanders

In the Navy, the Commander of the Squadron is responsible for its airplanes and the missions that they perform.

According to the General Regulations of Naval Service (R.G.S.N.) the Commander and the 2nd Commander are responsible for the tasks and activities performed by their staff.

 

Lieutenant Novais

The 2nd Commander of the 1st Attack Squadron during the year 1976, the then Teniente de Navío (Lieutenant) Roberto Novais, stated on 19 October 2010:

 

 

Question:-Is it possible that Poch had been trained to pilot multiengine transport aircraft of the type of the Electra, and/or DC3, and/or Fokker? He replied:

“No, he was not trained to fly multi-engine aircraft, nor could he do so because in the Naval Aviation, when one is in a Squadron, it is forbidden to fly airplanes from other posts.”

That he should say if beyond that formal impediment, a pilot of the characteristics of Poch with his training could result suitable to fly the mentioned type of aircraft, he replied:

“No, the prohibition is based on multiple factors of a technical order, the first being that in order to fly a specific aircraft type you need to qualify, and to qualify you need to take the course for that specific aircraft, and then complete the whole stage of adaptation to the airplane to be enabled to become a crewmember, mainly in multiengine aircraft.”

Whether he remembers if during the time that Poch was his subordinate, he had been commissioned to carry out any mission in the ESMA?, Novais replied:

“No pilot of the Squadron was appointed in Commission to any other post during the year 1976, remaining all of them in the Squadron.”

That he should say if notwithstanding the answer to the previous question, he considers possible that Poch had been able to carry out missions such as the ones described, without him and/or the Commander of the Squadron being aware of it, he replied:

“No, impossible.”

 

Captain Colombo

The Capitán de Navío (Navy Captain) Jorge Colombo was the 2nd Commander of the 3rd Fighter and Attack Squadron in the years 1977 and 1978. Then he was the Commander of that same Squadron in 1980 and later Commander of the Super Etandard Squadron in the Malvinas (Falklands) war. In his statement of September 28, 2010 he said:

Question: Is it possible that the pilots Poch, Barraza and Pettinari had been trained to pilot multiengine transport aircraft of the type of the Electra, and/or DC3, and/or Fokker? he replied:

“It is not allowed in the Navy for a Fighter and Attack pilot to fly another type of aircraft other than that to which he is appointed to fly in the Squadron, particularly when the pilot is an aircraft carrier pilot as this is a very demanding task that requires great training and high risk.

Whether he remembers if during the time that Poch was his subordinate, he had been commissioned to carry out any mission in the ESMA?, Colombo replied:

“Negative. The task of an aircraft carrier pilot requires or required a full-time, exclusive and absolute dedication. It is not possible to do another task. You cannot. When you are in this Fighter and Attack Squadron, you should be dedicated only to that because if not, you get killed.”

 

Captain Lavezzo

The Commander of the 3rd Fighter and Attack Squadron during the years 1978 and 1979, the then Capitán de Corbeta (Captain) (and now Vice Admiral) Julio Lavezzo, stated on November 4, 2010:

Question:-Is it possible that Poch had been trained to pilot multiengine transport aircraft of the type of the Electra, and/or DC3, and/or Fokker?

 “Not in the least, flying the A-4Q in the aircraft carrier required exclusive dedication and the highest level of training in the type of aircraft and type of operation – aircraft carrier.”

That he should say if notwithstanding the answer to the previous question, he considers possible that Poch had been able to carry out missions such as the ones described, without him and/or the Commander of the Squadron being aware of it, he replied: “Negative, totally impossible.”

-That he should say if he remembers that the then Lieutenant Poch had requested his retirement or dismissal from the Navy, and if so if he remembers what decisions were adopted on the different occasions in which this happened, he replied:

“At the end of 1979 I was sent to France to take the command of the Super Etendard Squadron. During 1980, while I was in France and Lieutenant Poch was in the Application School, I had to make the proposal for the pilots to be sent to France to fly this airplane, among whom I had considered Lieutenant Poch. When it came to my knowledge that he intended to request his dismissal, I wrote him a letter trying to motivate him not to do so, given the career advancement that flying a cutting-edge airplane, unique in the world would mean. I was motivated to make the attempt I mentioned by the consideration that his conditions as a pilot deserved for me; but despite what I described he stood by his decision to leave the Navy, and from then on I never had any relation or contact with him”.

 

Statements of the Experts in Naval Aviation

Capitán de Fragata (Frigate Captain) Alberto Pérez  

On November 1, 2010 CF Pablo Alberto Pérez provided his statement, appointed by the Court of judge Torres as an expert of the Naval Aviation as the Chief of Logistics of the Naval Aviation Command.

Having the witness seen the report detailing the aircraft of the Navy with the capability of throwing airborne cargo without losing flight capability and asked to say which of them Poch was trained to pilot or integrate the crew, he said:

“Taking into account the training received by Poch as it emerges from his flight logbooks, he was not trained to pilot or integrate the crew of any of the aircraft listed in this report, since none of them was Fighter and Attack aircraft”.

After analyzing the logbooks and files of Poch, that he should say if he detected any irregularities in the documents in question, Pérez replied:

“No, no irregularities.”

That he should say what requirements a person needed to fulfill to be copilot of an airplane and if it is required to take a training course to that effect, he replied that:

“In general to fly any type of aircraft of the Navy not only are you required to prove that you are a naval aviator but you also need to comply with the theoretical and practical courses that emerge in the course of training for each aircraft in particular.”

 

It is necessary to clarify that the license to fly an airplane is totally different from a license to drive a car. You obtain a pilot license, but then each model and type of aircraft requires a different rating which must be registered in the pilot’s license after completing the theoretical and practical courses plus the applicable examinations. Then you need to fly a minimum of hours to keep the rating. This is not a mere formality, each model and type of aircraft is different from the other in limitations, speeds, engines, emergencies, etc.

Capitán de Navío (Captain) Fernando SAMOS

On November 15, 2010 CN Fernando Samos provided his statement, appointed by the Court of judge Torres as an expert of the Naval Aviation. On that occasion Captain Samos presented information in printed and digital format regarding different models of aircraft from the Naval Aviation at the time of the events.

Asked by the judge the reason why he has stated that the airplanes CANNOT throw cargo in flight, CN Samos replied:

B-80: “in relation to the BE-80, it cannot launch cargo because the passenger door opens to the outside and if any cargo is thrown, it would hit against the depth rudder located in the tail. If this happens, the aircraft can enter in emergency and lose its capability to maneuver in flight. Structural damage may appear due to the force and aerodynamic moments that deform the structure of the door, that is to say, the door cannot be closed again.”

We already saw that I performed some flights in the B-80 during the years 1973 and 1974 as copilot and crewmember, at the stage of my training as a pilot. I remember that it was strictly forbidden to open the door in flight for the reasons outlined by Captain Samos.

Regarding the C-45, CN Samos said: “The Beechcraft C-45 cannot launch cargo (in flight) because the passenger door opens to the outside and if any cargo is thrown, it would hit against the depth rudder located in the tail. If this happens, the aircraft can enter in emergency and lose its capability to maneuver in flight. Structural damage may appear due to the force and aerodynamic moments that deform the structure of the door, that is to say, the door cannot be closed again. In addition to this there may also be damage in the rudder, resulting in the aircraft not having the capability of moving in the air.”  End of quote

 

As the accusation against me had collapsed, judge Torres wants to make the C-45 appear as a transport airplane. The statements of the experts clearly show that it was not an airplane suitable for throwing cargo in flight. And this eliminates the absurd suspicions that the airplane C-45 could be suitable for the “death flights”.

In addition it was very limited by its age and lack of equipment. But as if this was not enough, I was not a pilot of C-45!

I flew in the C-45 one day in my entire career, on February 28, 1975, while I was assigned to the CIFCAN in the BAPI. That day I was invited by a pilot of the Reconnaissance Squadron, showing under “Position on board” as copilot and crew member. These were day local flights in the area of Punta Indio, first in the 1-G-53 C-45 and then the 1-G-56. Of course I did not perform any landing.

Having been aboard a C-45 only one day indicates that I was not a pilot of it.

The now Capitán de Navío (R) (Navy Captain) Naval Aviator Marcelo Bóveda belonged to the Reconnaissance Squadron in 1975. In his statement of 24 November 2010 he speaks about the C-45.

Asked to say if he had in 1975 the training and license to fly as Commander of the aircraft C-45, Captain Bóveda replied:

I did, I acquired it throughout the year 1975 and during the year 1976 I acquired the license as Commander of C-45 and B-80. The Reconnaissance Squadron had three airplanes, two C-45 and one B-80. The airplanes were specifically photographic.

That he should say if he remembers that at the same time Julio Poch had identical training and license to fly the C-45, he replied:

“I never saw him aboard a C-45, I do not know if he flew or not, but if he appears in any flight in his logbook as copilot, it could be that they offered him to be a copilot in a flight with instructor. It happens that young pilots took advantage to record flight hours as copilot. The C-45 at that time was at the end of its lifespan and that is why such things were allowed because it was very obsolete in all its instruments. The C-45 was an aircraft that could fly with a single pilot. (…) If Poch made a flight on that airplane, it must have been a circumstancial coincidence”.

 

That the C-45 (and the B-80) required a single pilot is confirmed by the Handbook of the C-45 that says:

The Handbook of the C-45 airplane, reads as follows:

The normal crew consists of a pilot, or a pilot and a co-pilot.

Dual controls are provided, but it is not necessary to have a co-pilot to operate the aircraft.

The seating facilities for the passengers consist either of removable chairs for four passengers or removable chairs for three passengers and a couch for one passenger.

 

 

MY OWN CONCLUSIONS

Conclusions on the Allegations and Accusations

To finish, I will refer to the terrible charges which are imputed to me. I ask you to put yourselves in my shoes. I am a person that lived all my life according to the law, I never committed a crime. It was extremely painful to return to my country humiliated, accused of acts that I did not commit and that go completely against my principles.

Your Honors, Justice has been deceived by the initial false testimonies of a couple of Dutch pilots. In the statements of The Hague it was clarified that I was misunderstood and that there was no confession!

As we have seen, some of the factors that contributed to an incorrect interpretation of my words in the conversation of Bali were:

–          Poor communication for talking in English

–          Ignorance and lack of knowledge of the subject

–          Personal prejudices

–          Differences in culture and temperament

–          Jumping to wrong conclusions

–          Not clarifying the doubts

–          Memory failures

–          The elapsed time

 

That a character like Engelkes attempts to incriminate me in Holland for his personal purposes, is very serious. But it is even more serious and unusual that the prosecutor Eduardo Taiano and the examining judge Sergio Torres do the same! That is to say, they did everything possible to incriminate me in the ESMA and the “death flights.

Here there was no serious investigation. They were not interested in seeking the truth or elucidating the facts. They are unable to admit their error, perhaps to justify my scandalous and mediatized arrest in Spain, and my subsequent extradition.

I can understand the pain of the relatives of the victims, and I am really sorry. But the fact that there have been missing persons in no way justifies “accusing for the sake of accusing”.  Justice is not done to the victims, accusing and prosecuting an innocent person. Only more victims are created that way! In this process, my family and I are also victims.

 

The allegations and accusations:

All the allegations are generic and vague. They do not specify the basics of an accusation of a crime or offence. That is, the characteristics of time, method and place:

When did the death flights occur?

There is a total lack of precision and seriousness in the allegations, when due to their gravity they should be the opposite. The hours and dates of the flights are unknown. In some of the 30 cases of which I am accused the date of “transfer” is unknown “, such as in cases 118 (Alvarez) and 129 (Bayon). Only the date of arrest is mentioned. Then how can I defend myself?

In other cases, the accusation mentions the dates of “transfer” with an approximation of a month, but raising more doubts. For example, in cases 23 (Calabria), and 24 (Tapia), it is stated that the “transfer” would have taken place in December 1976. But in case 25 (Cacabelos) it says that his transfer would have been in January 1977, together with cases 23 and 24!

Other examples of ambiguity in the date of transfer are: case 32 (Fernandez) whose transfer would have been in “July or August” 1976, case 65 (Grosso) in “late August or early September” 1976, case 287 (Cigliutti Meiani) in “November or December” of the same year, and also case 405 (Fidalgo de Valenzuela) in “February or April” 1978. Is that ignorance my fault?

As I already mentioned, among the 30 cases that are imputed to me are the 12 victims that belong to the group called Iglesia Santa Cruz (Holy Cross Church), who would have been transferred in December 1977. It is totally illogical that all the accused pilots are charged with the flights for those same 12 victims. The same as with the other crimes attributed to me, I did not have any involvement in the disappearance of the “Iglesia Santa Cruz group”, nor did I have any knowledge of the fact, except what came out in the media. According to the prosecution the 12 members of the Iglesia Santa Cruz Group would have been arrested between December 8 and 10.

In the indictment is the statement by Alberto Girondo who said:

“…that 10 or 15 days after the prisoners kidnapped at the Iglesia Santa Cruz came, they were moved from “capucha” to the basement, and from there outside the E.S.M.A.”

 

As I already showed, on December 14, 1977 I started my readaptation to the A-4Q performing a flight in the 3-A-306 in the Comandante Espora Naval Base (BACE), near Bahia Blanca, 700 km from Buenos Aires. There are also flights recorded in the next few days until the end of December and throughout the month of January 1978. Although it is not my intention to refute all the allegations, I would like to show their absurdity with another example. I am charged with the cases of 7 victims, who would have been allegedly “transferred” in January 1977.

In the Navy, the Annual Leave was an act of service. It could not be used to carry out activities or commissions in other destinations. The Leave was ordered by the Squadron through its 2nd Commander. In my case, that year 1976 and beginning of 1977, I belonged to the 1st Attack Squadron and flew the Aermacchi. As my 2nd Commander, Captain Roberto Novais categorically stated, this year we did not go to any Commission. For my family these were the vacations awaited throughout the whole year. In December 1976 my transfer to the 3rd Fighter and Attack Squadron had been issued, and I had to report for duty in February 1977 after completing the Annual Leave.

With my wife and our five-month-old son we remained in the area of Veronica, Punta Indio, and at the end of January we moved to Bahía Blanca where I had managed to get official housing. It is unfounded and malicious to assume that I dedicated my annual leave to perform “death flights” in another (naval) destination, when I was not licensed or trained to fly any transport aircraft!

With what type of airplane?

With what type of airplane were the “death flights” performed? Moreover, the accusation should specify in which flight it is suspected that these crimes were carried out.

Based on what Scilingo said, airplanes such as the Electra and the Skyvan are suspected. As we saw, I never flew in those transport airplanes. The Skyvan airplane belonged to Prefecture.

Judge Torres went as far as stating that training was not needed to fly those airplanes because anyway, the intention was to kill the passengers, and therefore there was no need to worry about the safety of the flight! However, the same judge said that the “flights” would have been secret and clandestine. Then the logical thing would be that a plane crash would be very undesirable.

There were several pilots who testified about the great difference between an Electra airplane and an A-4 aircraft (already incorporated as evidence), among them the former commanders of Electra, Luiz B. Magalhães, and of the P-3 Orion (military version of the Electra), Jos Kiviets. Here we can see the cockpits of both airplanes. In addition, Transavia Commander Henk Potze explains the following:

“A question arose if a pilot of a combat aircraft could fly a transport aircraft without receiving any training in this particular type of airplane. My answer to that question is short: No, this is impossible. Each plane has its own special systems, its own and unique flying characteristics, its own limitations. When they are not followed strictly, this leads to the destruction of the aircraft, either on land or in the air.

Also, no pilot in the world would want to risk the life of the occupants, including his own. Therefore this would never happen in any situation, not even in a situation of war. It would simply not make sense.

The process of learning how to operate a specific type of aircraft, usually takes several weeks, I would say at least six weeks, but usually more in the order of two to three months. This is the theoretical training, followed by a few weeks in the Flight Simulator, then instruction in the plane, then the flight training itself under the supervision of a flight instructor. Finally, a flight exam is conducted under the supervision of a flight examiner.”

 

Why would they use me for the flights?

It is not logical that the Navy and the Naval Aviation would take the trouble to use a Fighter and Attack pilot like me to perform the “flights”. I was not functional to the purposes allegedly wanted. They had to bring me from Bahía Blanca, more than 700 km away from Buenos Aires. You might also think about the lack of secrecy and confidentiality.

Like hundreds of other pilots, I was a Naval Aviator at the time of the events, but that does not make me automatically guilty of horrendous crimes. On the contrary, the Naval Aviation had invested a lot in my training as a Fighter and Attack pilot. I did not have the capability of flying or being a crewmember of any of the suspected transport aircraft. I did not belong, nor could I fly in any of the Transport Squadrons of the Navy.

Where is there evidence of my participation or of my guilt?

Of course, it does not exist, because with speculation and absurd reasoning facts cannot be changed. Reality and history cannot be changed with unfounded accusations. They cannot blame me in an arbitrary manner for the criminal acts of others.

Finally I show again the photograph aboard the aircraft carrier in 1978 with all the pilots of the Fighter and Attack specialization, including myself. None of them participated in the fight against terrorism because we were trained for a conventional war against a possible external conflict.  The whole Navy knows that I am innocent.

Your Honors, the impossibility of determining those responsible does not authorize to create presumptions of guilt for those of us who did not have anything to do, only for having belonged to the Navy!

Since the investigation was a failure, Prosecutor Taiano and judge Torres did not hesitate to invent and lie with impunity. How could I not be indignant! With every day I spend in prison it is hard for me to understand it. I cannot believe that only for a conversation I have been over 3 years unfairly detained!  My wife and children are far away in Holland, and I already have 3 Dutch grandchildren whom I still do not know!

Your Honors, I would like that you are left with no doubt of my innocence and I hope that this Tribunal has the courage to do Justice…