a Message from Julio

Message from Julio A. Poch Wednesday, December 10th, 2014
Marcos Paz, Province of Buenos Aires.
Dear Friends, Colleagues and Visitors of the FJJP site.

Once again the end of another year is approaching. This will be my sixth Christmas in captivity! I wish to give you an update of the ESMA trial. Nobody seriously thought this trial would end in the 24 month period that the TOF 5 Tribunal had initially planned. And by the two year mark last month we were (and still are) busy with the witness testimonies phase.

In this kind of huge mega-trial with more than sixty defendants it is easy to be individually overlooked, lost among other more important and emblematic ESMA defendants and unable to bring the evidence of my innocence to the attention of the court. Fortunately due to the international repercussions of my case we were granted enough time to present our witnesses and evidence to the Tribunal. By means of my Navy dossier, my flight logbooks and the valuable testimonies of my former Navy Squadron Commanders we proved I only flew fighter and attack aircraft (the two-seat Aermacchi MB-326, and both the single seat and two-seat version of the Skyhawk A-4) during the entire period of the military government, just as I have truthfully stated from the beginning. The testimonies of the two ‘experts’ in Naval Aviation were crucial to show I never flew or could have flown any of the suspected aircraft of the “death flights”, namely the Lockheed Electra or Douglas DC-3.

As many of you already know, some of the Dutch pilots testified once again, this time by videoconference from The Hague, spread out during the months of August, September and October. I am very thankful to all those who testified in my favor. But it was very sad to hear colleagues testifying against me trying to justify the unjustifiable. Even now, after almost 11 years, they are unable to admit the possibility that they may have misunderstood my words during that infamous dinner of Bali in 2003. They stubbornly insist with their pathetic excuse that it was their own “perception” and “interpretation” from which they drew their own “conclusions” of our conversation. The last one to testify surprised us all by adding more outrageous lies, by dramatically naming other colleagues. His “new” story was that those colleagues supposedly had also heard me talk about my participation in the “death flights”. He probably thought that the colleagues he named would not bother to react to avoid getting involved. But he was wrong. These colleagues had the courage to come forward immediately to state emphatically that he was lying. They have now stated this legally by means of notary acts.

For the judges of the Tribunal however, these “new” stories constitute only more ‘hearsay’. Basically as a result of all the Dutch statements it became clear there was never any ‘confession’ of crimes on my part. How can I confess something I never did? How does someone confess during a dinner? I was sure these former ‘colleagues’ had been lying from the beginning, but now we have the evidence to press charges for false testimony.

But still, it makes me wonder… Did these colleagues really misunderstand? Are they pathological liars or are they doing this on purpose? Are they mentally sound? Are they just trying to save their reputations by justifying their own cowardly acts or have they been paid to initiate and sustain this witch hunt?
Maybe it’s a combination of these factors. I will probably never know what or who is really behind this. It’s all very suspicious. But of course I hold them legally responsible for all the damages caused to my family and to me by their sayings and their actions, and therefore have initiated legal action with liability claims against them.
Now that the summer judicial recess is coming in January, we have been informed of the trial planning for next year. The witness phase will finalize by the end of this month of December. The defendants who want to make an extra statement will be allowed to do so in February. Then in March will take place the accusation statements of the prosecution. And finally, beginning in April, it will be the turn of the defense statements. The TOF 5 Tribunal is aiming to end this trial by July of 2015.

Thus the end still seems far away and as unreachable as a mirage in the desert. In the meantime I will strive to stay strong and healthy to continue to endure this long and undeserved deprivation of my freedom. Freedom that I should never have lost. Given all the evidence of my innocence and favorable testimonies, I feel justified to expect with optimism my acquittal at the end of the trial.
I want to thank all those who have helped and supported us through these rough times. Thanks for all your messages, letters and personal visits. Those who want to write to me the old fashioned way can do so to this address:
Sr. Julio Alberto Poch – Mod. 4 / Pab. 6
C. P. Nro. II Marcos Paz
1727 Marcos Paz, Prov. de Buenos Aires, ARGENTINA

I wish you all a very PEACEFUL and FREE Holiday season!
With friendly greetings,

Julio