Posts Tagged ‘Iran’

Argentina president criticises Alberto Nisman and Israel over 1994 bombing

| March 2nd, 2015 | No Comments »
The Guardian UK

Argentinian president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner said on Sunday the prosecutor who had accused her of a criminal cover-up had also praised her, characterizing the late Alberto Nisman’s actions as contradictory in a sharply worded speech that included a rebuke of Israel over the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community centre.

Fernández said documents had been found in Nisman’s safe, one written in December and the other in January. She said in both he spoke favourably of the president’s speeches to the United Nations aimed at getting justice for the attack on the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association, which killed 85 people.

She said that was contradictory to his allegations that she and other top officials in her administration had orchestrated a cover-up with Iran to shield officials allegedly responsible in a grain-for-oil deal. Fernández has rejected the allegations and Iran has long denied involvement in the bombing.

“Which Nisman do I go with?” she said. “With the ... Read More

A timeline of Venezuela’s slide toward disaster

| March 2nd, 2015 | No Comments »
Global Post


LIMA, Peru — How did it all go so horribly wrong?

Back in 1998, when Hugo Chavez was first elected president, many Venezuelans’ expectations could not have been higher.

The burly former paratrooper vowed to end the politics that had allowed corruption to thrive and vast oil wealth to fritter away. More than anything else, Chavez gave a voice — arguably for the first time in the South American nation’s history — to the poor majority.

Seventeen years later, the economy is in shambles, and Chavez’s handpicked successor, President Nicolas Maduro, is locking up store owners and opposition leaders, drawing angry protesters into the streets. The death toll increased again last week when a 14-year-old schoolboy was shot in the head, reportedly by police.

The mayor of the capital Caracas, Antonio Ledezma, was detained Feb. 19 and charged the next day for ... Read More

Argentina OKs revamp of spy service after Alberto Nisman’s death

| February 26th, 2015 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in Reuters

Argentina lawmakers passed a bill Thursday to revamp the country’s intelligence service, parts of which President Cristina Fernandez has portrayed as sinister, accountable to no one and possibly responsible for the death of a star prosecutor.

Fernandez’s leftist government submitted the bill after state investigator Alberto Nisman was found dead on Jan. 18, a few days after he accused Fernandez of trying to cover up Iran’s alleged role in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center. She rejected the accusation as “absurd.”

Fernandez says the new state security body established under the legislation will be more accountable. But government opponents say the legislation does little more than change the name of the spy agency and had been rushed through Congress. The opposition boycotted some of the debate.

It is still not known if Nisman shot himself in the head or was murdered. Fernandez’s government has said rogue agents tricked Nisman into making ... Read More

Argentina’s Kirchner reeling from scandal

| February 19th, 2015 | No Comments »


Hundreds of thousands rallied yesterday in Buenos Aires demanding justice in the suspicious death of Alberto Nisman, the lead investigator in a 10-year-long inquiry into the 1994 bombing of the Argentine-Jewish Mutual Association (AMIA) in Buenos Aires, which left 85 people murdered. Nisman was found dead in his home on January 18, hours before he was expected to accuse President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner of obstructing the investigation into Iran’s culpability. Protesters demanded “justice” and “truth” and denounced the Kirchner government. Such popular unrest, the ongoing inquiry into Nisman’s death, and the discovery of a draft warrant for Kirchner’s arrest have triggered a crisis for Argentina’s government.

This week, Kirchner accused the United States and Israel of meddling in Argentina’s internal affairs. She did not give evidence to support this claim but appears to be resorting to a familiar appeal to nationalism in a desperate attempt to ... Read More

Thousands Protest In Argentina Demanding Answers In Prosecutor Alberto Nisman’s Death

| February 19th, 2015 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Associated Press


BUENOS AIRES (AP) — Thousands of Argentines marched in the capital Wednesday demanding answers in the mysterious death of prosecutor Alberto Nisman exactly one month after he was found in his bathroom with a bullet in his right temple.

Protesters waved Argentine flags and carried white signs with black letters that read “Justice!” and “Truth!” Many also carried umbrellas to repel a burst of summer rain.

Blanca Perez, 81, said she believed Nisman had been murdered and the government needed to account.

“If we don’t have justice, we won’t have liberty,” she said. “The government has lost control of the situation.”

Organized by several prosecutors, protesters planned to walk from Congress to the iconic Plaza de Mayo in downtown Buenos Aires. While police declined to provide estimates, the 10-block stretch, plus many surrounding streets, burst with people, suggesting it was one of the biggest of several marches since Nisman’s ... Read More

Alberto Nisman’s Death Underscores Argentina’s Legacy Of Mysterious Violence

| February 12th, 2015 | No Comments »
The Huffington Post

By Sebastian Rotella 

A year and a half ago, I talked to Alberto Nisman, the Argentine special prosecutor whose mysterious death has made international headlines.

I didn’t know Nisman, but I knew the case he was investigating: the terrorist bombing that killed 85 people at a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires in 1994.

As a foreign correspondent, I had done a lot of reporting on the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in the history of the hemisphere. I interviewed survivors, investigators, diplomats, spies and shady characters from Latin America, the U.S. and the Middle East about an investigation plagued by corruption and cover-ups. Years later, I had watched from afar when Nisman succeeded in indicting Iranian officials and Hezbollah terrorists and securing Interpol warrants for them.

Nisman’s startling death last month left Argentina, a country for which I have great fondness, in turmoil. Sadly, that’s not unusual. The history of Argentina, and much of Latin ... Read More

Groups, States Supported by Cuba Continue to Spread Terror

| February 10th, 2015 | No Comments »
The Washington Free Beacon

By Daniel Wiser

U.S. officials are considering removing Cuba from a list of state sponsors of terrorism, even as Cuban allies continue to launch military attacks and trade for weapons.

As part of President Barack Obama’s announcement in December that he would normalize relations with Cuba, Obama instructed Secretary of State John Kerry to review Cuba’s terror designation and issue a report in six months.

While reports indicate that the administration is leaning toward removing Cuba from the terror list, such an action would conflict with the Cuban regime’s support for Colombian militants, Iran, and North Korea.

Cuban President Raul Castro and his government have been hosting peace talks since 2012 between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), a communist insurgency that has battled the Colombian military since the 1960s in a conflict claiming 200,000 deaths. U.S. diplomatic cables leaked in 2010 revealed that Cuba had harbored ... Read More

Argentina’s president asked to testify about mysterious death of prosecutor

| February 5th, 2015 | No Comments »
The Guardian UK

Argentina’s President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner has been asked to testify in court on the death of Alberto Nisman, the crusading prosecutor who had accused her of conspiring to cover up Iranian involvement in the country’s worst terror attack four days before he died. A lawyer representing Diego Lagomarsino – the computer technician who gave Nisman the gun which killed him – said that the president may be able to shed light on the mysterious death, which has shocked Argentina.

Last week the president spoke at length about Lagomarsino in a televised speech, suggesting he and Nisman had an “intimate” relationship and that he may have been an agent for Argentina’s secret service, rogue elements of which Fernández suspects murdered Nisman. On Wednesday, Lagomarsino’s lawyer Maximiliano Rusconi, who denies his client was a spy, presented a writ at court asking for the testimony of Fernández and Oscar Parrilli, the head of the country’s main intelligence organisation “seeing as they ... Read More

Iran’s Man In Argentina Speaks On Prosecutor’s Mystery Death

| February 4th, 2015 | No Comments »
The Daily Beast

BUENOS AIRES — Confusion reigns two weeks after the death of Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman. The judicial authorities still claim all indications lead to suicide, but it appears no one in Argentina believes this, not even President Cristina Kirchner herself, who flip-flopped between calling the death a suicide and a homicide in the first two days following his demise.

On Sunday, Viviana Fein, the prosecutor investigating Nisman’s “unnatural death,” announced that no documents had been found in his residence. On Monday, she was forced to backtrack, humiliatingly, in front of the media, when the Argentine broadsheet Clarín published images not only of documents, but of an arrest warrant Nisman had drafted that called for the detention of President Cristina Kirchner and Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman, both of whom he accused of participating in a massive cover-up regarding Iran’s role in two terror attacks that rocked Buenos Aires ... Read More

Judge turns away Alberto Nisman’s case against president of Argentina

| February 3rd, 2015 | No Comments »
The Guardian UK

By Jonathan Watts

An Argentinian judge has refused to pursue allegations that president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner conspired with Iran to cover up the nation’s deadliest terrorist attack – raising the prospect of the case dying along with the prosecutor who presented it.

The accusation was made in January by Alberto Nisman, who less than a week after presenting the indictment was found dead with a bullet in his head.

In a nearly 300-page legal document he had claimed that the president, her foreign minister Hector Timmerman and other aides plotted to shift the blame for the 1994 bombing of the Amia Jewish community centre so that Argentina could secure access to Iranian oil.

The allegations shocked Argentina, which has already seen one former president, Carlos Menem, indicted for trying to subvert the course of justice regarding the attack, which killed 85 people.

But many analysts said Nisman’s case was flawed because it relied too heavily on ... Read More

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 »

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


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 »

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

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

Argentine Phone Calls Detail Efforts to Shield Iran

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


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

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