Archive for the ‘Argentina’ Category

Cristina Fernandez’s misguided response to a national tragedy

| January 30th, 2015 | No Comments »
The Economist

Few Argentines doubt that the country’s intelligence services needed a shakeup. But the way it happened satisfied almost nobody. On January 26th the president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, wheelchair-bound from an ankle injury, appeared on television to announce that she would propose a law to scrap the main intelligence agency, the Intelligence Secretariat (SI), and replace it with a new body whose directors would be named by her and approved by the Senate.

This happened while the SI is at the centre of a furore set off by the death from a gunshot of Alberto Nisman, a prosecutor who had accused Ms Fernández and other senior officials of trying to thwart his investigation into the 1994 bombing of a Jewish centre in Buenos Aires, Argentina’s worst terrorist attack. The president, who denies the allegations, quickly pronounced his death a suicide, then hinted that he was murdered by ... Read More

Cry for Argentina as terrorists and gangsters get away with murder

| January 30th, 2015 | No Comments »
Article Appeared in The Washington Times

By Clifford D. May

“When heads of state become gangsters, something has to be done.” Winston Churchill said that. It’s a proposition not many people nowadays endorse. Fewer still take it upon themselves to stand up to the thugs-cum-statesmen.

Alberto Nisman was an exception — right up until last week when he was found dead, a .22-caliber bullet in his brain. Shocking? Yes. Surprising? Hardly. He and those who knew him (myself included) were always keenly aware that this was possible — perhaps likely. To say he was courageous would be a gross understatement.

A little background: Mr. Nisman, 51, was an Argentine federal prosecutor, chief investigator of the 1994 bombing of AMIA, a Jewish cultural center, in Buenos Aires. Eighty-five people were killed in that terrorist attack.

In 2006, Mr. Nisman formally accused the rulers of the Islamic Republic of Iran of directing the bombing, and of deploying Hezbollah, Tehran’s terrorist foreign legion, to carry ... Read More

Dead Argentine prosecutor wary even of his guards

| January 29th, 2015 | No Comments »
From AFP

By Josefa Suarez

Buenos Aires (AFP) – The prosecutor whose suspicious death set off a crisis for Argentina President Cristina Kirchner no longer trusted even his bodyguards at the violent end of his life, an assistant said Wednesday.

A tense Diego Lagomarsino, his voice breaking at times, recounted at a news conference in Buenos Aires how Alberto Nisman had pleaded to be given the .22-caliber revolver that was used to put a bullet through his head. Who pulled the trigger is not clear.

Nisman’s security chief has been suspended and is under investigation along with two other members of his guard detail, a court source said.

The 51-year-old special prosecutor was found dead at his home January 18, a day before he was to go before a congressional committee to make a bombshell accusation: that Kirchner shielded Iranian officials implicated in the 1994 bombing of a ... Read More

Jewish leaders in Argentina boycott Holocaust ceremony

| January 28th, 2015 | No Comments »
From the Washington Post

By Joshua Partlow

BUENOS AIRES — Argentina has the largest Jewish population in Latin America, at roughly a quarter-million people. But when the Foreign Ministry holds its annual Holocaust commemoration ceremony Tuesday evening, the country’s most important Jewish organization will not be in attendance.

The rift between the government and the Jewish community here is another consequence of the turmoil wrought by the death of a top prosecutor, Alberto Nisman, earlier this month. For years, Nisman had been the lead investigator into the 1994 bombing of the Jewish cultural center AMIA (the Spanish initials for the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association). But recently, Nisman was focused less on the attack and more on his own government, which he accused of working secretly to freeze the investigation and absolve Iranian officials of blame.

His accusations against President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and others, followed quickly by his own shooting death, have outraged Jewish leaders here.

“There are certain moments in ... Read More

Argentina’s insane political scandal, explained

| January 27th, 2015 | No Comments »
Vox

The news from Argentina reads like a real-life locked room mystery: on January 18, Alberto Nisman, a prosecutor who had recently accused Argentinian President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner of conspiring with Iran to subvert the prosecution of a terrorist attack, was found dead in his home, the door locked from the inside.

Although Nisman’s death initially looked like a suicide, many believe that he may have been murdered. The gun that killed him was found lying next to his body, but there was no gunshot residue on Nisman’s hands, suggesting that he was not holding it when it was fired. And a number of Nisman’s colleagues and supporters have come forward to say that he had made appointments to see them in the days following his death.

On January 22, President Kirchner, who had initially referred to Nisman’s death as a suicide, publicly changed course and released a statement saying ... Read More

Who Killed Alberto Nisman?

| January 26th, 2015 | No Comments »
Wall Street Journal WSJ-01

By MARY ANASTASIA O’GRADY

It’s hard to know who had most to gain—and the least to lose—from the death of Argentine federal prosecutor Alberto Nisman. I’d say it’s Iran.

Nisman was scheduled to testify last week to the Argentine Congress about his investigation into the 1994 bombing of a Buenos Aires Jewish community center that killed 85. In 2006 he indicted seven Iranians and one Lebanese-born member of Hezbollah for the crime. None have been captured, though the Lebanese suspect was killed in 2008 in Syria.

Earlier this month Nisman filed a criminal complaint in an Argentine court, alleging that President Cristina Kirchner and Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman had crafted a secret agreement with Iran to let the terrorists off the hook in exchange for Iranian oil largess and Iranian purchases of Argentine grain.

Nisman claimed he had a solid case against la presidenta and her alleged co-conspirators, and he released a summary of a 300-page report on his ... Read More

Death of prosecutor shakes faith in president, government institutions in Argentina

| January 26th, 2015 | No Comments »
FoxNews.com

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina –  Faced with one of the biggest crises of her presidency, Argentine President Cristina Fernandez has given her countrymen a confusing and sometimes contradictory view of how her most damaging accuser was found dead, at first seeming to accept the idea of suicide and later describing it as an elaborate murder plot to undermine her government.

Fernandez’s response to what reads like a whodunit movie script — prosecutor Alberto Nisman is found dead with a bullet in his head hours before he was set to elaborate on explosive allegations against Fernandez — has deepened a political crisis with wide implications for the last year of her presidency and perhaps even for the future of the country beyond that.

For the first time in her presidency, Fernandez appears to have lost control.

“It’s possibly the most difficult moment politically that (the ruling party) ... Read More

Argentine Phone Calls Detail Efforts to Shield Iran

| January 23rd, 2015 | No Comments »
The New York Times

By JONATHAN GILBERT and SIMON ROMERO

BUENOS AIRES — Intercepted conversations between representatives of the Iranian and Argentine governments point to a long pattern of secret negotiations to reach a deal in which Argentina would receive oil in exchange for shielding Iranian officials from charges that they orchestrated the bombing of a Jewish community center in 1994.

The transcripts were made public by an Argentine judge on Tuesday night, as part of a 289-page criminal complaint written by Alberto Nisman, the special prosecutor investigating the attack. Mr. Nisman was found dead in his luxury apartment on Sunday, the night before he was to present his findings to Congress.

But the intercepted telephone conversations he described before his death outline an elaborate effort to reward Argentina for shipping food to Iran — and for seeking to derail the investigation into a terrorist attack in the Argentine capital that killed 85 ... Read More

Argentina: The strange death of Alberto Nisman

| January 23rd, 2015 | No Comments »
Financial Times

By Benedict Mander and John Paul Rathbone

Last Saturday, Alberto Nisman sent a playful photograph to a friend of his desk strewn with papers and fluorescent highlighters — a sign of the Argentine prosecutor’s diligent preparations for a congressional hearing that promised to be the highlight of his career.

Three days earlier, the 51-year-old had formally accused Cristina Fernández, the Argentine president, of trying to cover up Iran’s alleged role in Argentina’s worst ever terrorist attack: the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community centre in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people. Nisman was due to present his case, the fruit of a decade of painstaking investigations, on Monday.

On Sunday night, however, just hours before the hearing, Nisman was dead. His mother, with the help of a locksmith, forced her way into his apartment and found him lying in a pool of blood beside a .22 calibre pistol and a casing in the bathroom ... Read More

The retreat of U.S. interests from Latin America has left a vacuum for the Chinese to fill

| January 22nd, 2015 | No Comments »
Wall Street Journal WSJ-01 BY ILAN BERMAN You have to feel a bit sorry for the Obama administration. The White House in December announced plans to normalize diplomatic relations with Cuba, including establishing a U.S. Embassy in Havana and formally revisiting Cuba’s status as a state sponsor of terrorism. The move was a clear effort by Washington to distinguish itself in a new international theater.

But that gambit was soon eclipsed by another: In a meeting that could herald a significant shift in the Western Hemisphere’s balance of power, China hosted a high-profile summit earlier this month with the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, or Celac.

Celac is a relatively recent invention. Conceived in 2010 at a meeting in Caracas hosted by Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez , it is designed to deepen integration among Central and South American states—while excluding the U.S. and Canada. The 33-member bloc explicitly styles itself as an alternative to the U.S.-led Organization of ... Read More

Desconcierto en el Gobierno por la carta de Cristina Kirchner

| January 22nd, 2015 | No Comments »
Clarin

Por Lucia Salinas

La Casa Rosada aún no se repone del impacto que genera en la gestión la muerte de Alberto Nisman, pero hoy a la incertidumbre se sumó la segunda carta de Cristina Kirchner sosteniendo que el fiscal “no se suicidó”. Este vuelco en el planteo oficial, generó desconcierto en algunos despachos de Balcarce 50.

“El lunes empezamos diciendo que era un suicidio, pero señalábamos que de ser así era inducido, ahora depende de la Justicia”, sostuvo un alto funcionario del Gabinete después de difundida la carta. Los días no son tranquilos, la preocupación no disminuye y el discurso oficial se va acomodando día a día. Un ministro cercano al círculo más íntimo de Presidencia sólo esbozó “es un desconcierto total”, pero nadie contradice ni plantea estar en desacuerdo, todo lo contrario: fortalecer la imagen presidencial y unificar el discurso “es la prioridad”,expreso el funcionario.

Como cada decisión de relevancia institucional ... Read More

Argentine Phone Calls Detail Efforts to Shield Iran

| January 22nd, 2015 | No Comments »
The New York Times

By JONATHAN GILBERT and SIMON ROMERO

BUENOS AIRES — Intercepted conversations between representatives of the Iranian and Argentine governments point to a long pattern of secret negotiations to reach a deal in which Argentina would receive oil in exchange for shielding Iranian officials from charges that they orchestrated the bombing of a Jewish community center in 1994.

The transcripts were made public by an Argentine judge on Tuesday night, as part of a 289-page criminal complaint written by Alberto Nisman, the special prosecutor investigating the attack. Mr. Nisman was found dead in his luxury apartment on Sunday, the night before he was to present his findings to Congress.

But the intercepted telephone conversations he described before his death outline an elaborate effort to reward Argentina for shipping food to Iran — and for seeking to derail the investigation into a terrorist attack in the Argentine capital that killed 85 ... Read More

Argentina Court Publishes Late Prosecutor’s Full Accusations Against President Kirchner

| January 22nd, 2015 | No Comments »
International Business Times

By Brianna Lee

Suspicions are still abounding in Argentina over the shocking death of federal prosecutor Alberto Nisman, who was found shot in the head in his home this week just hours before he was due to present evidence behind blistering accusations against President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. Those accusations are now public in the form of a nearly 300-page tome, and Argentines are scouring the pages to detect any hints of a link between the document and his tragic demise.

Nisman had spent the past decade investigating the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, Argentina’s worst terrorist attack in history — and the greatest murder of Jewish civilians anywhere since World War II — that resulted in 85 deaths and 300 injuries. No one was ever convicted of the crime. The prosecutor, who said he collected a wealth of information through wiretaps of secret conversations, was ... Read More

Cristina Kirchner, sobre la muerte del fiscal Alberto Nisman: “El suicidio (que estoy convencida) no fue suicidio”

| January 22nd, 2015 | No Comments »
La Nacion

La presidenta  Cristina Kirchner puso en duda esta mañana que el fiscal  Alberto Nisman,que la denunció por encubrimiento a Irán en la causa AMIA , se haya suicidado, pidió “mucha protección” para  Diego Lagomarsino, el asistente que le entregó el arma al funcionario, y reclamó que se investigue a la custodia.

“Los interrogantes que se convierten en certeza. El suicidio (que estoy convencida) no fue suicidio”, sostiene Kirchner en una nueva carta publicada esta mañana mediante la red social Twitter, donde advierte que al fiscal fallecido le proporcionaron datos falsos para la denuncia de encubrimiento.

La Presidenta pidió “mucha protección al Sr. Lagomarsino”, el colaborador de Nisman que le llevó el arma calibre 22 con el que se habría disparado y sostuvo que “resulta muy conveniente que se ordenen sumarios e investigaciones lo más rápidamente posible” sobre los policías federales que custodiaban a Nisman.

En fragmentos previos a la extensa carta, Cristina Kirchner había afirmado que “a esta altura los interrogantes que planteaba ... Read More

Cristina Kirchner: “Estoy convencida de que no fue suicidio”

| January 22nd, 2015 | No Comments »
Clarin

Cristina Kirchner volvió a elegir las redes sociales  para referirse a la muerte del fiscal Alberto Nisman. Desde su cuenta oficial de Twitter, la Presidenta remitió esta mañana a una nota, escrita en primera persona, en la que tira por la borda la -hasta ahora- versión oficial de los hechos: “Estoy convencida que no fue suicidio”, asegura.

“Los espías que no eran espías. Los interrogantes que se convierten en certeza.  El suicidio (que estoy convencida) no fue suicidio.”, con estas líneas Cristina dio por tierra hace instantes con la principal hipótesis sobre la muerte del fiscal.

El marcado giro en el discurso oficial experimentado en las últimas horas -cuando los funcionarios dejaron de atacar la actuación del fiscal en la denuncia contra la Presidenta por presunto encubrimiento del atentado a la AMIA y comenzaron a instalar que Nisman fue víctima de una operación-, se ve reforzado por las propias palabras de Cristina ... Read More

Argentina’s Fernandez says death of prosecutor was not suicide

| January 22nd, 2015 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in Reuters

By Hugh Bronstein

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – The death of a prosecutor investigating the bombing of a Jewish community center was not a suicide, as was initially reported, Argentine President Cristina Fernandez said on Thursday.

Alberto Nisman, lead investigator into the 1994 attack on the AMIA Jewish center that killed 85 people, was found dead in his apartment late Sunday, a 22 caliber pistol by his side.

He had accused Fernandez of trying to derail his investigation into the bombing and was due to present his case to Congress hours later on Monday.

The government says two key witnesses in Nisman’s case against the president had been falsely presented to him as state intelligence agents.

Fernandez said the deception discredited Nisman’s charges against her and points to a conspiracy to smear her name.

“They used him while he was alive and then ... Read More

Argentina’s Murder Mystery

| January 21st, 2015 | No Comments »
Bloomberg

By Mac Margolis

Alberto Nisman had a reputation as an independent and fearless prosecutor. That’s one reason why in 2004 President Nestor Kirchner assigned him to look into the deadly 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires. The attack killed 85 people, but the investigation into the case had been languishing in the courts ever since.

Nisman was found Sunday night lying on the floor of his bathroom, a single .22-caliber bullet wound to the head and a small Bersa revolver by his side.

The mysterious death — no suicide note, no gunpowder traces on his hands, apparently no witnesses — shook the nation. This was a national tragedy compounding another. What happens next will determine if it will also be a travesty.

What’s clear is that Nisman died in his 13th-floor apartment in Puerto Madero, an upscale Buenos Aires neighborhood.

What’s murky ... Read More

A Troubling Death in Argentina

| January 20th, 2015 | No Comments »
Wall Street Journal WSJ-01

Argentine federal prosecutor Alberto Nisman was set to deliver proof to the Argentine Congress Monday of an alleged cover-up by President Cristina Kirchner of Iran’s responsibility in the 1994 terrorist attack on a Buenos Aires Jewish community center. Hours before the hearing, Nisman was found dead in his Buenos Aires apartment.

Argentine security officials said a .22 caliber pistol and one shell were found near the body. Within hours the government’s secretary of security declared Nisman’s death an apparent suicide. The coroner hasn’t made a final ruling but the timing of his death is cause for suspicion. Last week he filed a criminal complaint alleging that Mrs. Kirchner and foreign minister Hector Timerman conspired to bury the truth about the bombing of the Jewish center, which killed 85, in exchange for deals to sell food to Tehran and buy its oil.

Known for his independence, Nisman claimed in a summary of a report released ... Read More

Puzzling Death of a Prosecutor Grips Argentina

| January 20th, 2015 | No Comments »
The New York Times

By JONATHAN GILBERT and SIMON ROMERO

BUENOS AIRES — Police sentries guarded the federal prosecutor’s luxury high-rise building. His door on the 13th floor had been locked from the inside, and a gun with a spent cartridge was found on the floor near his body. There was no suicide note.

Just one day earlier, on Saturday, the prosecutor, Alberto Nisman, said, “I might get out of this dead.”

From the moment 10 years ago when he was assigned to investigate the 1994 suicide bombing of a Jewish center here that left 85 people dead, Mr. Nisman, an even-keeled lawyer, became entangled in a labyrinthine plot that he traced to Iran and its militant Lebanese ally, Hezbollah.

But it was only in the past week that Mr. Nisman, 51, leveled explosive accusations that top Argentine officials, including President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, had conspired with ... Read More

Argentina: A tragic turn to a sensational terror investigation will have political implications

| January 20th, 2015 | No Comments »
The Economist

LAST week Alberto Nisman, a federal prosecutor, made national and international headlines when he accused Argentina’s president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, of attempting to cover up Iran’s involvement in the country’s deadliest-ever terrorist attack. Late on January 18th he was found dead in his bathroom with a gun by his side. Whatever its cause, this tragic turn to a sensational case will have big political implications.

Mr Nisman (pictured) was the chief investigator of the 1994 bombing of AMIA, a Jewish centre in Buenos Aires, which killed 86 people (including the terrorist) and injured hundreds. In a 300-page document filed with a court on January 14th he alleged that Ms Fernández, the foreign minister, Héctor Timerman, and others had opened up backchannel negotiations with Iran, whose officials are suspected of organising the attack. The idea was to reach an agreement clearing the Iranian suspects in return for ... Read More

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