In a few days Gustavo Maldonado López digital activist from Chiapas, will fulfill two months unjustly deprived of his liberty. In social networks and use of images, text and information gathering Gustavo denounced abuses that the mayor of Tuxtla Gutierrez, Samuel Toledo Córdova, and maintained a relentless critique of Chiapas government headed by Manuel Velasco Coello.
On the 8th of August, 2013 Gustavo was arrested on false charges of drug dealing, we now know that the so-called “Molecular Detector” the GT -200 made in England played a central role, although in 2011 the Mexican scientist Luis Mochán showed that, the also called “Devil’s Ouija” is a millionaire fraud . The evidence indicates that Eduardo Sánchez, vice-minister of Normativity and Media of the Interior Ministry and Federal government spokesman, or is misinformed or lying flat. As we will demonstrate, this “Ouija” is still used in Mexico and points against political dissidents.
The case of Gustavo Maldonado
In Chiapas, around 10:18 pm, local time, on Thursday August 8th, anonymous account on Twitter @el_incomodo published: “Last night the payment arrived for the blackeyed hosting monitor that PGJE (Chiapas Attorney General) hired to find myself and others… They paid 47,400USD each semester”. At 10:20 pm the same day, Gustavo Maldonado retweeted the information also the information appeared on his Facebook wall. Days earlier, the uncomfortable account had published comments on alleged conduct of both the Governor Velasco Coello, as the Attorney Raciel Lopez Salazar in a context of political tension which has lasted several months in Chiapas.
At the end of his journey on Internet that Thursday, at approximately 10:46 pm Gustavo posted a video that states: “sadly we have seen how the state of Chiapas courses his very history in complete darkness, out of the light of justice and freedom of speech. We have witnessed the repression against activists…”, as real as a prophecy upon him, few minutes later he was arrested by three police officers when crossing a street .
As details on the case arise, we witness the darkness and corruption of Chiapas authorities. Gustavo is accused of drug dealing at the bar known as Toro Rojo, located near his home, but he is works as manager in an internet cafe own by his family, occupation that allowed him to be a digital activist, besides being a college student. The files contain no charges or direct testimony but the ones of the police officers who arrested him. At Propuesta Civica within our journalists and human rights defenders protection program have decided to accompany this case.
The Ouija revives
On January 7th , 2013 Dr. Mochán testing on the GT- 200 gained notoriety worldwide since it was released by Cornell University. Called “double blind”, the experiment consists on hiding from GT- 200 operator a prohibited substance in one of eight boxes. The results indicate that from 20 attempts only three times it guessed the location, which is equivalent to random results. Not only we owe to this great Mexican scientific to document this detector fraud, but his work in 2011 made that Ernesto Cayetano go free, along with a commitment of justice from the young Judge Karla Macias Lovera. Another case where teacher Mochán helped with his studies was Juanita Velasquez’s who attended an inn in Morelos state and was arrested by soldiers who used the GT-200. Juanita spent more than two years in prison. In the end, although she beat the “Devil’s Ouija” she still is paying the consequences.
In the case of two persons tried by Macias Olvera, whose freedom was challenged by the PGR (Mexican Attorney General), was conducive for the Mexican Supreme Court of Justice attract the case, requiring the National Defense Ministry an item of the GT-200. The military never delivered the item. It appears that the federal government discovered lying, preferred desist the impugnment.
Defeated at a federal level, the “Ouija” revived in Chiapas in the case of Lopez Maldonado. A careful review of the case records, we knew that investigating an anonymous call to 089, on April 13th, 2013, Carlos Mario Lopez Gomez, 2nd Commander at Search Unit of the Attorney General of Chiapas, came up with an GT-200 item along with “sensor cards for cannabis and cocaine” at the corner of the streets 5th North and 3rd West, place where, according to his plain informative part, the substances were located.
On April 24th, 2013, a month before the commander Lopez ratify their version before the Prosecutor Attorney Denny Aguilar Vazquez, the sentence for fraud against James McCormick and a bit later, against Gary Bolton, both partners of Global Technical Ltd, manufacturer of miraculous GT-200 detector, was announced. Despite this, the operator of the detector from Chiapas, appeared on June 25th to ratify its report and said enthusiastically: “The GT-200 item that I refer in my report is a portable molecular detector, which works using sensor cards. Within the city its effectiveness is 150 meters and 750 meters around in open space”.
Later the PGJE official was neat in detail and showed an unusual reliance on that technology, “I used the GT-200 with the COCAINE card, resulting POSITIVE readings, using this device primarily in West 3rd street pointing to North 5th and 4th streets, and just on the left side of the street resulted “POSITIVE” readings, precisely in the house that is located in the central part of the street being this a bar called “El Toro Rojo”… that said, in consideration to the person that endorse and the experience in handling the item that I have, I found no need to move the device at North 4th street”.
The officer closes its ratification with astonishing statements: “Finally I want to say that I have the expertise in handling GT-200 device since 5 years, and have received many courses being perfected in practice at 100 percent certainty.”
After this “evidence”, the PGJE prosecutor decided to turn necessary instructions to a group of researchers that in later days gathered “numerous testimonies of neighbors and merchants” under which pointed to “The Devil” as the drug dealer operating in the area. None of the people who spoke with the police allegedly refused to give his name or testify before the Attorney General authority.
The performance of the GT-200 and the set of alleged anonymous whistleblowers are part of the argument of the PGJE to apprehend Gustavo and underlying the Third Criminal Judge Jesus Aguilar Zúñiga to issue formal arrest order without matter that it is unlawful.
If not for the GT-200 existence, they may have made pornography charges as the Attorney General did in the case of blogger Hector Bautista in 2010. The truth is that the informative part of Captain Lopez and the file, we know the protocol that the PGJE follows in case of anonymous whistleblowers. 1. Complaints are recorded. 2. An operator with the GT-200 is sent to place. 3. Reports are ratified and investigators are sent to ‘positive’ sites. 4. Suspects are detained and 5. Suspects are apprehended and presented to a criminal judge. It is clear that in case of a “negative” reading in step 2, everything stops.
Between 2008 and 2012 1,112 artifacts were sold to the federal government and 27 state governments for about 450 million pesos (34.1 million USD). In 2011 the National Human Rights Commission said it had received at least 3,786 complaints for abuses during unjustified raids that were conducted based on these devices.
McCormick recently was sentenced to 10 years in prison and Bolton will spend seven years behind bars. The question is How much longer will have to spend in prison Gustavo Maldonado? While the indifference of most media and much of the society the case of Gustavo plays into oblivion, Raciel Lopez, Attorney General in Chiapas , sustain it will continue using the devices ” because to them they work fine”. Not without reason, he was the one who bought them.
15 years ago in the desert of Chihuahua I see a peasant helped with a wand, he showed where to dig for water beneath the earth. Dowsers who practice dowsing can boast , that despite being labeled as fans, they do not hurt anyone. I was saved of charges, perhaps by the criterion of a military in Baja California, although I waited for four hours at a checkpoint because a GT-200 had detected something. I meet again the “Ouija” last 4th of June in the hands of a smiling soldier in Hermosillo, Sonora airport.
The difference is that the wands do not cost millions of dollars to corruption and fraud. More important, How many innocents are paying now in jail for crimes they did not commit? And if there really is a bomb that threatens the lives of people, does the GT-200 could detect the bomb or a variant of the same fraud called ADE65?
We must spread by all possible means the work of Luis Mochán and other Mexican scientists, so that this information reaches the ear of the unjustly imprisoned, their families and their lawyers and so we can contribute to their freedom. In Andres Tonini blog is a great compilation.
As the case of FinFisher spying software, I believe that any technology given to the authorities without any control from civil society will eventually be used against us, often against those who have less or those who face the power.
We demand the immediate freedom of Gustavo Maldonado Lopez.