AMLO government spies against journalist and citizens who speak out against him

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Spying on journalists is expanding at a rate not known in previous administrations, and the number of officials in President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s government who are searching for journalists’ sources of information or tracking whether they have hidden interests that perjure up their opinions has expanded. This is an issue that the press doesn’t usually report because, unless they catch the government practically in the dark, it has no way of knowing which journalists are under investigation. But the secrets aren’t forever.

Javier Tejado, who has access to inside information, denounced on Tuesday the espionage against several columnists. In his well-informed column in El Universal, Tejado said that the undersecretary of Security and Citizen Protection, Ricardo Mejia Berdeja, requested information about columnists – such as himself – who have written about the National Register of Mobile Phone Users, which has been denounced as an intrusion into the private lives of citizens with objectives that go beyond fighting crime, as the authorities argue.

In this abuse of powers, as Tejado pointed out, “they seek to find journalists’ links with mobile phone companies, which denotes little capacity for self-criticism because of a law that is simply poorly designed.” This espionage requested by Mejia Berdeja was raised by Tejado as a contradiction of the official and the government he represents. Spying on journalists, he says, “shows the misuse that certain officials can make if they were given the information and biometrics of cell phone users.”

Tejado does not abound which agency he requested information from, but it is inferred from his text that it did not go to Plataforma México, attached to the Secretariat of Security. There are not many other agencies that can do so, but it is highly likely that the request was to the National Intelligence Center, which replaced the Cisen, under the responsibility of General Audomaro Martínez, an old friend and collaborator of President López Obrador, who has repeatedly said that political espionage was eradicated in his government. This is a lie.

Roof talked about a spy line, but it’s not the only one. The National Intelligence Center has open investigations, requested in the National Palace, against several political columnists who have published texts that have bothered them. Some are under constant investigation, such as two other collaborators of El Universal, Carlos Loret and Héctor de Mauleón. Two more of that newspaper have also been investigated by the civilian intelligence service, Mario Maldonado, who writes a column in the business section, and Salvador Garcia Soto, who has a political column. López Obrador has publicly complained about another columnist for that newspaper, Roberto Rock, because he has access to inside information, but it is not known if he has also been subjected to an investigation.

The National Intelligence Center is not the only one involved in spying on journalists. Defense Secretary General Luis Cresencio Sandoval ordered direct physical surveillance and intercepted phone calls and emails from an El Financiero columnist who last October advanced preparations for the National Guard to move to the National Defense Secretariat. In the Secretariat of Security and Citizen Protection, on the other hand, they reactivated the modular malware Pegasus, sold by the Israeli company NSO Group –and which has several distributors in Mexico–, which penetrates mobile devices and can read all messages, emails, view internet search history, extract photographs and stored files, find passwords, contacts and intercept calls.

Pegasus gained notoriety during the administration of President Enrique Peña Nieto because the Citizens Lab at the University of Toronto discovered that it was being used to spy on activists and journalists, which was a scandal. This has not been the case in López Obrador’s government, despite several allegations in the past about espionage. In this space, for example, it was published in October that the National Intelligence Center had been investigating the leaders of the National Anti-AMLO Front and activists protesting water loss in the press of La Boquilla in Chihuahua. A month later, El Universal resumed the existence of an investigation into the leaders of the so-called FRENAAA, which the government denied.

López Obrador’s government has been spying everywhere. A Navy intelligence unit dedicated to tracking drug cartels was ordered to stop monitoring them in order to obtain sensitive information from businessmen, to be used against those who resisted blackmail to pay additional taxes to those they had to cover. It is not new that this type of espionage is going on, but it is a contradiction between what the president says and the facts. In the past, refusals of espionage were less vehement and sought plausible solutions – without much success, by the way.

Spying on journalists is certainly not new. During the administration of President Ernesto Zedillo, this space published the list of eight of them whom the then interior secretary, Emilio Chauyfett, had asked to investigate. A short time before, journalist Jorge Luis Sierra revealed in a now-defunct portal, To2, the military intelligence files of several journalists monitored from the government of Jose Lopez Portillo until then, the 90s. What represents a variation of spying on journalists is how they have increased the number of columnists under follow- up.

This government democratized spying against journalists in a progressive way, with political objectives. This is at least what Roof shows in his column. The abuse of the powers of officials and the lack of internal controls to contain the excesses of power are worrying and alarming, as he points out. Unlike in the past, such counterweights no longer exist. On the contrary, they have closed ranks against the new enemy, the columnists.

This government democratized spying against journalists in a progressive way, with political objectives.

Spying on journalists is expanding at a rate not known in previous administrations, and the number of officials in President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s government who are searching for journalists’ sources of information or tracking whether they have hidden interests that perjure up their opinions has expanded. This is an issue that the press doesn’t usually report because, unless they catch the government practically in the dark, it has no way of knowing which journalists are under investigation. But the secrets aren’t forever.

Javier Tejado, who has access to inside information, denounced on Tuesday the espionage against several columnists. In his well-informed column in El Universal, Tejado said that the undersecretary of Security and Citizen Protection, Ricardo Mejia Berdeja, requested information about columnists – such as himself – who have written about the National Register of Mobile Phone Users, which has been denounced as an intrusion into the private lives of citizens with objectives that go beyond fighting crime, as the authorities argue.

In this abuse of powers, as Tejado pointed out, “they seek to find journalists’ links with mobile phone companies, which denotes little capacity for self-criticism because of a law that is simply poorly designed.” This espionage requested by Mejia Berdeja was raised by Tejado as a contradiction of the official and the government he represents. Spying on journalists, he says, “shows the misuse that certain officials can make if they were given the information and biometrics of cell phone users.”

Tejado does not abound which agency he requested information from, but it is inferred from his text that it did not go to Plataforma México, attached to the Secretariat of Security. There are not many other agencies that can do so, but it is highly likely that the request was to the National Intelligence Center, which replaced the Cisen, under the responsibility of General Audomaro Martínez, an old friend and collaborator of President López Obrador, who has repeatedly said that political espionage was eradicated in his government. This is a lie.

Roof talked about a spy line, but it’s not the only one. The National Intelligence Center has open investigations, requested in the National Palace, against several political columnists who have published texts that have bothered them. Some are under constant investigation, such as two other collaborators of El Universal, Carlos Loret and Héctor de Mauleón. Two more of that newspaper have also been investigated by the civilian intelligence service, Mario Maldonado, who writes a column in the business section, and Salvador Garcia Soto, who has a political column. López Obrador has publicly complained about another columnist for that newspaper, Roberto Rock, because he has access to inside information, but it is not known if he has also been subjected to an investigation.

The National Intelligence Center is not the only one involved in spying on journalists. Defense Secretary General Luis Cresencio Sandoval ordered direct physical surveillance and intercepted phone calls and emails from an El Financiero columnist who last October advanced preparations for the National Guard to move to the National Defense Secretariat. In the Secretariat of Security and Citizen Protection, on the other hand, they reactivated the modular malware Pegasus, sold by the Israeli company NSO Group –and which has several distributors in Mexico–, which penetrates mobile devices and can read all messages, emails, view internet search history, extract photographs and stored files, find passwords, contacts and intercept calls.

Pegasus gained notoriety during the administration of President Enrique Peña Nieto because the Citizens Lab at the University of Toronto discovered that it was being used to spy on activists and journalists, which was a scandal. This has not been the case in López Obrador’s government, despite several allegations in the past about espionage. In this space, for example, it was published in October that the National Intelligence Center had been investigating the leaders of the National Anti-AMLO Front and activists protesting water loss in the press of La Boquilla in Chihuahua. A month later, El Universal resumed the existence of an investigation into the leaders of the so-called FRENAAA, which the government denied.

López Obrador’s government has been spying everywhere. A Navy intelligence unit dedicated to tracking drug cartels was ordered to stop monitoring them in order to obtain sensitive information from businessmen, to be used against those who resisted blackmail to pay additional taxes to those they had to cover. It is not new that this type of espionage is going on, but it is a contradiction between what the president says and the facts. In the past, refusals of espionage were less vehement and sought plausible solutions – without much success, by the way.

Spying on journalists is certainly not new. During the administration of President Ernesto Zedillo, this space published the list of eight of them whom the then interior secretary, Emilio Chauyfett, had asked to investigate. A short time before, journalist Jorge Luis Sierra revealed in a now-defunct portal, To2, the military intelligence files of several journalists monitored from the government of Jose Lopez Portillo until then, the 90s. What represents a variation of spying on journalists is how they have increased the number of columnists under follow- up.

This government democratized spying against journalists in a progressive way, with political objectives. This is at least what Roof shows in his column. The abuse of the powers of officials and the lack of internal controls to contain the excesses of power are worrying and alarming, as he points out. Unlike in the past, such counterweights no longer exist. On the contrary, they have closed ranks against the new enemy, the columnists.

Source: elfinanciero.com.mx

Mexico Daily Post