Alleged Death Flight Pilot Fights Charges with Legal Tools Denied to Victims of Argentina’s Dirty War

Julio Alberto Poch, whose career progressed from death flights to commercial flights. (Photo: El País)

by Kurt Fernández

BUENOS AIRES—Julio Alberto Poch, the former Argentine naval pilot being held on charges that he flew hundreds of “vuelos de la muerte” or death flights during the 1976-83 military dictatorship, appeared relaxed as he walked into federal court in Buenos Aires on May 20.

Poch was recently extradited from Spain in a sequence of events that began after alarmed colleagues at the Dutch airline testified to an Argentine federal judge that Poch, an airline employee, had bragged about such feats as having piloted planes that disposed of leftist terrorists during Argentina’s “Guerra Sucia,” or Dirty War.

In an affirmation of the rule of law—and in stark contrast to the conditions in which many victims of the Dirty War were “brought to justice”—Poch was neither hooded nor in leg irons nor naked nor drugged as he stepped from the fourth floor elevator at the federal judicial building in Buenos Aires’ Retiro neighborhood.

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Argentina renews Falklands claim

Lucia Newman of Al Jazeera reports from Buenos Aires.

It has been 28 years since Britain and Argentina went to war over the disputed Falkland islands – known as the Malvinas by Argentines – in the South Atlantic.

Britain emerged victorious from the conflict and the islands have since grown prosperous from tourism and fishing among other things.

Now with oil companies exploring the waters surrounding the islands, tensions between the two countries are rising again.

As Argentina pays tribute to the soldiers who fell in the conflict, many people, including the president, are raising their voices against the continued British rule over the islands.

The Take: Occupy, Resist, Produce

With a massive economic crisis underway I thought it timely to post The Take by Naomi Klein and Avi Lewis on Argentina’s experience. An inspirational look at how workers reacted to losing their livelihoods by occupying their factories, resisting the authorities and co-operatively producing goods for the benefit of themselves and their communities.

In suburban Buenos Aires, thirty unemployed auto-parts workers walk into their idle factory, roll out sleeping mats and refuse to leave. All they want is to re-start the silent machines. But this simple act – the take – has the power to turn the globalization debate on its head. Armed only with slingshots and an abiding faith in shop-floor democracy, the workers face off against the bosses, bankers and a whole system that sees their beloved factories as nothing more than scrap metal for sale. With The Take, director Avi Lewis, one of Canada’s most outspoken journalists, and writer Naomi Klein, author of the international bestseller No Logo, champion a radical economic manifesto for the 21st century.

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