About Orwell and the case of Mónica and Francisco


Original text in German
Über Orwell und der Fall von Mónica und Francisco

English translation
No Trace Project

That every metropolis fulfills all the criteria of a panopticon, well, that is not really saying anything new. The question becomes, which city has a higher density of surveillance technology at its disposal and how intensively is it used?

Therefore, it is obvious that Orwell's ideas of a completely monitored society were accurate, but not in the dimension that he imagined, or the foundations for it. In particular, dictatorship is unnecessary, which for him would be an important basis of this complete surveillance, to bring it about. Complete surveillance is therefore not an expression of a specific system of capitalism, but it is inherent to its political administration and articulation, namely, the state. So it is a false dichotomy to think that complete surveillance would only be the result of a more “authoritarian” system. Such a way of thinking only feeds on the desire and ideology that the state in better hands could wear a friendly mask. We see this also in the midst of the debate about the corona virus, where leftist groups, but also anarchists, see the saber-rattling of the repression, the introduction of curfew, of quarantine, etc., as a protofascist development and do not want to understand that the state, no matter which — whether democratic or other varieties — always carries such mechanisms and powers (as a monopoly) to guarantee its survival. The political administration and the organization of the State always remains the same, only the criteria and the ideologies of the political forces in power change, this would no longer be a false dichotomy. The State has historically used all the means at its disposal to guarantee the smooth running of its business. The nation-state is therefore the logical consequence, as well as the class society, of capitalism and not the other way around.

We consider this important to say yet again because we never get tired of wanting to understand the basis of the state and capitalism in order to be able to destroy it in real terms. There are far too many foolish historical examples that show us what paths are taken when this is not clear from the beginning.

Now to the case of Mónica and Francisco.

On July 24 [2020], Mónica Caballero and Francisco Solar were arrested in Chile. We have extensively dealt with their detention trial, which was broadcast live on television. This detention trial is in no way comparable to what we are familiar with in Germany or other EU countries. If we think about the fact that such a detention examination here lasts about 10 minutes, simply to clarify whether an accused person is to be remanded in custody because, for example, there is a risk of flight or a risk of collusion, this is apparently different in Chile. It is not clear to us if there is always a live broadcast on television, or if it is due to the covid measures.

Briefly, we want to tell you who Mónica and Francisco are. Monica and Francisco are two anarchists and both were arrested in Chile in 2010 for allegedly committing several explosive attacks. The case became known as the “Caso Bombas” (Bomb Case), in which about a dozen people were accused. Both were released after eight months in pre-trial detention and the case was dropped. In 2013, both were arrested in Barcelona and sentenced to 12 years in prison, which was later reduced to 4 years and 6 months in prison for allegedly placing an explosive device in the cathedral “El Pilar” in Zaragoza, which also exploded. After 3 years and 6 months, they were deported to Chile, in addition to being banned from entering Spain for the next eight years.

In order to give you some insight, we will try to describe what happened during this detention.

As already briefly mentioned, Mónica and Francisco were arrested on July 24th and on July 26th the detention hearing began, which lasted about 4 hours. People who were present or representatives of various institutions, some of which were also represented as joint plaintiffs: the judge, the public prosecutor's office, the Ministry of the Interior, the Chilean Post Office, the City Hall of Santiago de Chile and the lawyers of both defendants.

The judge began by asking whether the arrest was with or without violence. Both said that they were taken to the ground and no force was used, both were told the reason for arrest and a warrant was handed out. The apartments were immediately searched. This is the only moment in which both Mónica and Francisco will speak.

The prosecution explained in detail what the two are accused of.

On July 25, 2019, a letter bomb arrived at the Huechuraba police station, delivered by a mail carrier. This exploded in the office of an officer, as a result two people were seriously injured, one slightly less and five people were lightly injured. What was surprising for us at that moment was that all police officers who were affected by the attack were shown with names and pictures. Now the prosecution started showing video footage from different perspectives from the day before, which allegedly shows the defendant dropping off two packages at the post office. The clothes are described and a movement profile is made where a lot of cabs had been used. All license plates, names, which routes were driven and the corresponding prices were evaluated, and it was added that all cab drivers were questioned as witnesses.

Since on the exploded package, the sticker was not destroyed, where and when the package was delivered could be quickly traced. The name of the sender of the packages is said to have been a police officer. That is why one charge is misappropriation of names. A handwriting comparison was made to show that the signatures on the two packages were made by the same person.

On a video, he is said to be seen getting into a cab and driving it into the city. The driver could be found and described the defendant. Since the cab driver always drives with Google Maps, all locations were stored. On a video it is allegedly seen how he changes his clothes and is on his way with a bag. Subsequently the clothes are searched for, which are allegedly found in a trash can on July 28, 2019. The garbage collector and neighbors testified that this garbage can is never emptied. A cap was found there, which can also be seen on the video from the post office, male DNA was found on it as well as on the other clothes, but they also had different DNA.

On the same day there was also a letter bomb that was sent to the ex-Minister of Interior, this was x-rayed and delivered to the reception. It was defused and Francisco's DNA was allegedly found on it.

The second action which took place, according to the prosecutor's office, occurred on February 27, 2020; two bombs were placed in a park and exploded after a delay. Both are accused of setting off one bomb to attract police so that the second bomb would go off 25 minutes later to kill police officers with it. This also emerges from the communique for this action.

Now, as described earlier, cab drivers are questioned, countless camera recordings are analyzed, and movement profiles are created. It is interesting to see how the police investigate. Mónica, for example, is accused of having made four phone calls warning of the bombs. However, according to the police, it was not possible to react to these calls because of how little information was given. In any case, these calls are said to have always been made from the same cell phone and to have been picked up by the same radio tower which took place at a distance of 1400 meters. There are also said to be countless camera recordings of her. If she is not to be seen at times, it is investigated which bus she was on, how far it drove, according to the public prosecutor's office. Since all tickets are stored in an internal bus system, it can be determined when and where these were bought. From there, it could allegedly be traced from where to where Mónica moved. On the whole case, the clothes of both defendants, because they allegedly changed them several times, play a major role. In the course of the custody examination, the prosecution emphasizes this several times, as well as that the defendants changed their appearance with wigs, moustaches, disguises (change of appearance e.g., by false bellies, false nose) and make-up.

Furthermore, the websites where the communiques of the actions were published were also presented as evidence, the anarchist and multilingual site Contrainfo, which was also used in the action in Spain in 2013.

In the focus on the use of cell phones, the purchase of these also played a role, in which the saleswoman in the cell phone store, described a person who was supposed to be Mónica.

The authorities used photos of both of them found on social media to make biometric matches. The purpose of these was to prove that the two people seen on the surveillance cameras were the accused. The distances of the eyes, wrinkles, moles, birthmarks, piercing scar, ear size, mouth, nose and other features were compared.

So were the tattoos, jewelry and shoes of Mónica, which allegedly coincide with footage from surveillance cameras in the subway, where a person is seen wearing tattoos.

During the house searches, clothing was found that can be seen on the videos.

During the investigation, during which both were under surveillance, the garbage of both was also searched to recover DNA, among other things.

After a year of investigation, which is still ongoing, about 20,000 hours of video footage have been analyzed and countless witnesses have been questioned. Both are accused of attempted murder in several cases, as well as planting explosive devices.

Francisco is serving his sentence in a high-security prison and Mónica in “normal” custody.

For the time being, the detention is set at six months.

Of course, there are many things that could be mentioned in the four hours of the detention examination, but which would be redundant or go into too much detail, such as the cabs, the tickets, clothing and movement profiles.

For us, it is impressive to see how a detention hearing has taken place in this case in Chile and how much “evidence” is already put on the table at such an appointment. Without being any kind of experts on the reality of Chile, we think that for various reasons there is an attempt to get things done. What do we mean by that?

Because of the current situation in Chile, given the revolt that has been taking place since October 2019, the disastrous political and economic situation of the country, making an example and, above all, a personal reckoning with Mónica and Francisco, who could not be imprisoned in 2010.

These are, of course, speculations and hypotheses that we are throwing around, but they do not seem far-fetched. We will continue to report on this case and express our thoughts on it, as well as on topics related to repression.

We wish them both much strength

Freedom for all prisoners

Long live anarchy

Here are the videos of the detention trial to watch: The first two are the recordings of the whole trial and the third part is only the prosecution's evidence.

  1. Youtube
  2. Youtube
  3. Youtube

Documentary of the Caso Bombas: Youtube