Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #836 The Death of Alberto Nisman and the AMIA Bombing

Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash drive that can be obtained here. The new drive is a 32-gigabyte drive that is current as of the programs and articles posted by 12/19/2014. The new drive (available for a tax-deductible contribution of $65.00 or more) contains FTR #827.  (The previous flash drive was current through the end of May of 2012 and contained FTR #748.)

You can subscribe to e-mail alerts from Spitfirelist.com HERE

You can subscribe to RSS feed from Spitfirelist.com HERE.

You can subscribe to the comments made on programs and posts–an excellent source of information in, and of, itself HERE.

Listen: MP3

This program was recorded in one, 60-minute segment

AMIA Bombing

Introduction: Continuing analysis of the AMIA bombing, the program begins with a reprise of information from FTR #457. In addition to further discussion of the possible role of Monzer al-Kassar in the events surrounding the bombing, the program highlights an alleged deal between former Argentine President Carlos Menem and Al-Kassar concerning a missile and nucler reactor deal with Syria. Despite a forewarning of the bombing, the attack took place without interference from the Argentine authorities.

After then president Carlos Menem cancelled the deal and made a good will visit to Israel (at the urging of his good friend George H.W. Bush), the reactor and missile deal was canceled. The 1992 attack on the Israeli embassy in Argentina and the AMIA bombing followed shortly afterward.

In FTR #155, we examined the sale of Condor missiles and nuclear capabilities to Saddam Hussein. The possibility that the Underground Reich brokered Condor sales to both Iran and Syria needs to be considered. Given that the Bormann network has consummate influence in Argentina, they may have been punishing the Argentines for reneging on the deal.

The AMIA “investigation” was bungled from the start, with evidence being buried and/or mishandled. For an account of the many evidentiary tributaries running in and out of the milieu implicated in this investigation, see FTR #835.

A synoptic account of key individuals, institutions and events in the AMIA investigation: several people linked to former Argentinian president Carlos Menem; individuals linked to the Iran-Contra scandal; neo-Nazi elements in Argentina; investigations into fugitive Nazi war criminals; the resignations of two justice ministers involved in the AMIA investigation; the suspicious deaths of numerous individuals linked to one or another of the elements figuring in several related investigations; evidentiary tributaries linking the AMIA bombing to the Oklahoma City Bombing, the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland and the Achille Lauro hijacking in 1985.

Following the shooting death of prosecutor Alberto Nisman, it emerged that he was going to indict Argentine president Kirchner for effecting a cover-up, allegedly in exchange for an oil deal with Iran.

Hezbollah saluting

He also observed that “I might get out of this dead.” He died on the weekend before his scheduled testimony before the Argentinian congress on a Monday.

Shortly after his death, president Kirchner attacked Nisman for participating in a destabilization of her government. Both Kirchner and her aides referred to Nisman’s death as a “suicide.”

Nisman was reported to have been afraid of the very guards who were supposed to protect his life.

Program Highlights Include: The presence of the DNA of a second, unidentified person in Nisman’s apartment; a female witness in the death of Nisman presented an account of apparent irregularities in the behavior of the police officers handling the crime scene; that witness’s expression of fear for her safety; the discovery of the charred body of an unidentified female victim across the street from Nisman; irregularities in the statements of officers on Nisman’s security detail; Nisman’s fear for the safety of his daughters because of his investigation; Kirchner’s intent to rebuild the Argentine intelligence service, following its disbandment by the president.

1. First, the broadcast revisits FTR #457 and the treatment presented in that program on the subject of the AMIA bombing—one of the first Islamist terrorist incidents in Latin America and apparently connected to the bombing of the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires two years earlier. (For more about the AMIA bombing, see FTR#’s 529109328330341.)

“Terrorism’s New Geography” by Sebastian Junger; Vanity Fair; December/2002; p. 192. (This article does not appear to be available online.)

. . . . Terrorism established itself beyond a doubt in Argentina in the early 1990’s. Around 10 o’clock on the morning of July 18, 1994, a white Renault Traffic packed with 600 pounds of ammonium nitrate—a fertilizer—and fuel exploded next to the Argentine-Israeli Mutual Association in downtown Buenos Aires. The explosion was so powerful that it brought down most of the seven-story building. The driver—no one knows who he was—disappeared. Eighty-six of the 100 or so people then I the building died in the blast. A woman who happened to be crossing the street just before the explosion had nearly been hit by the Renault van as it took the turn onto Calle Pasteur, and recalled glaring at it, but did not get a good look at the driver. She could not say whether he was old or young, Arab-looking or not; all she could say was that he had seemed to be alone.

2. Among the principal players in the bombings was Monzer al-Kassar. (For more about Al-Kassar, see—among other programs—RFA#’s 323538—available from Spitfire—as well as FTR#’s 109341.) Material discussed in this program alleges an Al-Kassar role in the Condor missile project, discussed in FTR#’s 155384.)

Idem.

Terrorists had struck once before. Two years earlier, a Ford F-100 truck loaded with the high explosive Semtex had blown up in front of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires and killed 29 people. The truck had been bought in Ciudad del Este with hundred-dollar bills reportedly traced to a currency-exchange house in Lebanon that belonged to Monzer al-Kassar, an infamous arms dealer. Al-Kassar had extensive ties to the Syrian government and its intelligence apparatus and was suspected of a laundry list of illegal arms deals and terrorist acts, including the 1985 hijacking of the Achille Lauro cruise ship. He was also suspected of brokering a deal in 1989 between Argentinean president Carlos Menem and Syria, whereby the Syrians would make a $100 million ‘campaign contribution’ to Menem in exchange for the sale of a nuclear reactor and an Argentinean missile system called Condor II. A bilateral pact between Syria and Iran tied both countries to the purchases.

The Condor missile had a range of 1,000 kilometers and was widely considered to be superior to the Russian Scud missiles that were already available to Syria. Under heavy pressure from the United States, Menem—a close friend of the first President George Bush, who forced through a $300 million deal for Enron in Argentina, in which the company received huge tax breaks—made a goodwill visit to Israel and reneged on both the missile-system and nuclear-reactor sales. Critics accused him of pursuing a ‘carnal’ relationship with the United States, and within months terrorists had carried out the first of their two attacks.

3.  The article discusses the Syrian background of Menem and his entourage, as well as some of the scandals surrounding his wife. (For more about this subject, see FTR#’s 109341373.) The program then proceeds to discuss the cover-up of the AMIA bombing—set forth in considerable detail in FTR#109.

Idem.

To no one’s surprise, the investigation into the bombing of the Argentine—Israeli Mutual Association—known by its Spanish acronym, AMIA—was bungled from the start. The crime scene was trampled by the police, rescuers, and the simply curious, and nearly all the physical evidence—including body parts of the victims—was collected in plastic bags and dropped off at an open-air dump. Three years later the bags were dug up and thrown into the Rio de la Plata. Nevertheless, some progress was made in the case, though in the hall of mirrors that is Argentinean politics it was hard to tell who was a villain and who was a scapegoat. Investigators traced the white van used in the attack to Police Commissioner Juan Jose Ribelli, who for years had been suspected of using his position to run an extremely lucrative side business trafficking stolen cars to Paraguay. Investigators soon discovered that Ribelli had received a $2.5 million payment from an unknown source—possibly as a payoff for the crime, or for taking the fall. (Ribelli claims it was an inheritance.) And 66 recordings from police wiretaps of a Ribelli associate mysteriously disappeared during the investigation. In the end, 14 more policemen and four of their associates were arrested for the bombing.

5. An informant attempted to alert the Argentinean authorities to the impending AMIA bombing—to no avail.

Idem.

And it got even stranger. Fifteen days before the AMIA bombing, it turned out, a shadowy Brazilian named Wilson Dos Santos had visited the Argentinean Consulate in Milan and tried to warn officials of the upcoming attack. His girlfriend was part of the terror cell that had carried out the embassy attack in ’92, he said, and they had another attack planned, for a building in Buenos Aires that was ‘under construction’—the AMIA building. The Argentinean diplomats dismissed him out of hand, but after the attack he was quickly found in Brazil by none other than Mario Aguilar Risi, who had also had advance warming of the attack from his own sources.

Risi had just been cleared of kidnapping charges and been released from prison. While in jail, Risi says, he wrote numerous letters to Argentina’s then interior minister, Carlos Corach, as well as to a federal judge, explaining that he had deep sources in terrorist cells in Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil, and that these cells were planning a devastating attack on the AMIA building. He was ignored, the attack occurred, and as soon as Risi was released from prison he tracked down Dos Santos. In Brazil he videotaped himself with Dos Santos, who made a brief statement that he was returning to Buenos Aires to tell the truth.”

According to Risi, dos Santos had agreed to testify as long as his identity was not revealed, but in Buenos Aires, as soon as he made his statement to the presiding judge, Juan Jose Galeano, his name and photograph were leaked to he press. Dos Santos immediately recanted everything, explaining that the AMIA warning had simply been a lucky guess. Judge Claudio Bonadio threw him in jail to await trial for perjury charges.

6. More about the failed investigation:

Idem.

The investigation—or cover-up—blundered along for years. Its most vocal critic was the number-two investigator in the case, Claudio Lifschitz. Two and a half years into the investigation, Lifschitz quit in disgust and wrote a book called AMIA: Why the Investigation Was Made to Fail. It alleged that the entire probe had been compromised in an effort by President Menem to cover up his ties to Syria and Iran. The two bombings went unsolved for years, but support for Lifschitz’s accusations emerged suddenly last July, when The New York Times and The Washington Post reported that a former Iranian intelligence officer, using the name Abdolhassem Mesbahi and other wise known as ‘Witness C,’ had testified to Argentinean investigators that the 1992 embassy bombing was planned by a diplomat at the Iranian Embassy in Buenos Aires and supervised by a senior Iranian intelligence officer. Months after the bombing, Mesbahi said, an emissary from Menem flew to Teheran to accept a $10 million payoff to cover up the first bombing as well as any ‘future’ acts of terrorism. The money, according to Mesbahi, was deposited in a numbered Swiss bank account controlled by Menem—a fact later confirmed by Swiss investigators. . . .

7. About the alleged suicide of Nisman and the alleged deal between president Kirchner’s government and the Iranian mullahs (note that Nisman foreshadowed his own demise in a statement before his death):

“Puzzling Death of a Prosecutor Grips Argentina” by Jonathan Gilbert and Simon Romero; The New York Times; 1/19/2015.

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 Iran to cover up responsibility for the bombing as part of a deal that would supply Iranian oil to Argentina. Now, the mystery has deepened with the discovery of Mr. Nisman’s body on Sunday — the day before he was to testify before lawmakers about those accusations.

The timing of his death, and the outrage and skepticism it provoked in Argentina and elsewhere, raised a torrent of new questions about an unresolved case that many here call a national disgrace.

The latest turn is convulsing Argentina’s political establishment over whether the country’s acutely politicized institutions can ever prosecute those responsible for the bombing, one of the deadliest anti-Semitic attacks since World War II.

“This has turned into an attack on the credibility of the fundamental institutions of the republic,” said Santiago Kovadloff, an essayist and columnist for the newspaper La Nación.

Officials in Mrs. Kirchner’s government were quick to assert that Mr. Nisman appeared to have killed himself. The security minister, Sergio Berni, said evidence at the scene, including a .22-caliber pistol and spent cartridge found near Mr. Nisman’s body, indicated suicide. Autopsy results announced later said he had died of a bullet wound to the head.

The bullet was almost definitely fired from the Bersa pistol that lay next to his body, according to an unidentified police official quoted by Télam, the state news agency. The government’s national firearms registry also said that Mr. Nisman had two guns registered in his name. It was unclear whether the Bersa was one of them.

Another line of investigation, Télam reported, was that the gun used may have been lent by a friend to Mr. Nisman.

News of his death immediately prompted doubts and questions from the political opposition and leaders of Argentina’s Jewish community, Latin America’s largest with an estimated 250,000 people. “Everything is far more sordid than it appears,” said Elisa Carrió, an outspoken congresswoman. “They killed him or they induced his death.”

On Twitter, Rabbi Sergio Bergman, a congressman, called Mr. Nisman “victim 86 of the AMIA attack,” using the Argentine acronym for the Argentina Israelite Mutual Association, the destroyed Jewish community center.

Mr. Nisman, who had been selected to investigate the bombing by Néstor Kirchner, Argentina’s former president and Mrs. Kirchner’s late husband, had been expected at the hearing to explain the criminal complaint he filed last week against Mrs. Kirchner; her foreign minister, Héctor Timerman; and others.

On Sunday afternoon, the officers assigned to guard Mr. Nisman were concerned because they had been unable to contact him by telephone and his Sunday newspaper still lay outside his apartment. They called his family, but his mother was unable to open the apartment door with a spare key because a key was stuck in the lock on the other side. A locksmith was called, and Mr. Nisman’s mother entered the apartment with the officers.

The prosecutor investigating Mr. Nisman’s death, Viviana Fein, told reporters on Monday morning that there were no witnesses and no suicide note. She said she was awaiting evidence that included closed-circuit television footage and a list of phone calls. She also said that Mr. Nisman had not eaten dinner Sunday.

Ms. Fein emphasized that it remained unclear whether Mr. Nisman had killed himself. In comments broadcast on Argentine radio, she said that the gun found at his side may not have been his, and that investigators were reviewing his phone records and text messages to determine if he had been receiving threats.
“We cannot say that this case is solved,” Ms. Fein said.

After years of inquiry into the 1994 attack, marred by delays and corruption charges, Mr. Nisman seemed to bring vigor to the investigation after taking over in 2005. He accused Hezbollah of having carried out the bombing and senior Iranian officials of having planned and financed it, accusations that Hezbollah and Iran’s government have long denied.

The charges put a deep chill on relations between the two countries until 2013, when they reached an agreement to investigate the attack.

The president did not comment on Mr. Nisman’s death. But Aníbal Fernández, a top official at the presidency, was quoted by Argentine news media as saying he believed Mr. Nisman had killed himself. Declaring that he was “stupefied,” Mr. Fernández also sought to assure that the investigation into the bombing would not be undermined if Mr. Nisman had filed his years of findings properly.

Mr. Nisman seemed to have dropped an oddly prophetic hint last Wednesday, telling a TV interviewer, “With Nisman around or not, the evidence is there.”

He disclosed last week that he had obtained intercepts of telephone calls between Argentine intelligence agents and Iranian officials in which details of the secret deal were discussed. He accused Mrs. Kirchner of directly ordering a covert team of negotiators to make an offer “from the shadows” to Iran. In return, Mr. Nisman said, Argentina guaranteed immunity to former Iranian government officials in an effort to obtain Iranian oil to ease Argentina’s energy shortage.

Pointing to delays that have long shrouded the investigation, and to the endemic pressuring of judges and prosecutors here, the political opposition demanded a transparent and speedy inquiry into his death.

“We’re used to things in Argentina remaining in the dark,” said Gabriela Michetti, an opposition politician.

Further fueling suspicions here is Argentina’s recent history of suspicious deaths officially described as suicides. In 1990, for example, the death of a former top customs official who had been investigating irregularities was presented as a suicide. An autopsy later showed that he had been struck in the face before the bullet that killed him was fired.

The political opposition and large Jewish community here have fiercely objected to the agreement with Iran, calling it a vehicle for immunity. The agreement was also ruled an unconstitutional overreach of the executive branch by a local court last year.

The Anti-Defamation League, the New York-based group that campaigns against anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry, said in a statement that Mr. Nisman’s death was “another tragic episode in the sordid saga of Argentina’s failure to act decisively and unceasingly to find, arrest and prosecute those responsible for the AMIA terror attack.”

A crowd of thousands gathered outside the presidential palace here Monday night to protest the mysterious circumstances shrouding Mr. Nisman’s death. They clapped in unison, and some held signs that read “Cristina murderer,” a reference to the president, or “I am Nisman.”

“They forced him to suicide, which is the same as murder,” said Cecilia Viñuela, 50, a publicist who was in the crowd. “I’m angry and sad because I know we will never know the truth.”

8. Initially, Kirchner responded to criticism of her with a blistering attack on Nisman’s credibility and a rushed judgment that his death was suicide. It is noteworthy that the security minister for Argentina was present at Nisman’s apartment within a very short time following discovery of the body.

After its initial branding of the death a suicide, Argentine officials opined that the death may have been arranged by vengeful Argentine intelligence agents, possibly with the assistance of people from the Clarin group in the media.

“Argentine Leader Criticizes Dead Official” by Jonathan Gilbert and Simon Romero; The New York Times; 1/20/2015.

Facing a public outcry over the mysterious death of Alberto Nisman, the prosecutor leading the investigation into the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center here, President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and her allies lashed out at the dead man on Tuesday, questioning whether he had allied himself with forces seeking to weaken her government.

In a rambling 2,100-word letter posted on her Facebook page, Mrs. Kirchner, whom Mr. Nisman had accused of orchestrating a cover-up to protect Iranian officials implicated in the bombing in exchange for Iranian oil, said that Mr. Nisman had been part of an effort to “sidetrack, lie, cover up and confuse” attempts to finally resolve the case.

The attacks on Mr. Nisman after his death, including assertions in the state-controlled news media that he had been manipulated by Antonio Stiusso, a former intelligence official ousted last month by Mrs. Kirchner, raised questions here on whether her government was supporting efforts to determine the cause of his death.

“Instead of offering a position on the institutional turbulence and protests, the presidency put itself in the role of detective,” said Carlos Pagni, a columnist for the newspaper La Nación, questioning why Mrs. Kirchner would scrutinize Mr. Nisman’s travel itinerary and refer to newspaper headlines critical of her.

Mrs. Kirchner did not elaborate on why she had referred in her letter to Mr. Nisman’s death as a suicide, an assessment echoed by her top aides and political supporters. Some of Mrs. Kirchner’s opponents say Mr. Nisman, 51, might have been murdered at his apartment on Sunday. He was to testify before Congress on Monday about his findings.

He had accused senior Iranian officials of plotting the 1994 bombing and Hezbollah, Iran’s Lebanese ally, of carrying it out. He charged that Mrs. Kirchner and her foreign minister, Héctor Timerman, had later promised to absolve former Iranian officials accused of masterminding the attack, which killed 85 people, as part of efforts to obtain Iranian oil to ease Argentina’s energy shortage.

The prosecutor investigating Mr. Nisman’s death, the latest twist in the long inquiry into the bombing, said on Tuesday that no traces of gunpowder residue had been detected on his fingers, bolstering suspicions among some here that he had been killed by someone else.

But the prosecutor, Viviana Fein, emphasized that she had been told that the barrel of a .22-caliber Bersa pistol, which was found next to Mr. Nisman’s body, was probably too small to leave residue. The authorities said it had been borrowed from a friend.

International ballistics experts agreed that, unlike a revolver, the Bursa might not have left traces of gunpowder. “For investigative purposes, this might raise a flag, but you cannot conclusively say he didn’t fire the gun,” said Ronald L. Singer, a forensic scientist and the technical and administrative director of the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office in Fort Worth.

The presence of the security minister, Sergio Berni, at Mr. Nisman’s apartment after the body was discovered in a bathroom on Sunday night has also raised questions about possible government interference. Mr. Berni said in a television interview on Tuesday evening that he had not entered the bathroom and had made efforts to protect evidence.

Ms. Fein said she would examine Mr. Nisman’s telephone records and possible threats against him, and whether he had any psychological problems.

As her investigation continued, the government authorities suggested that Mr. Nisman’s death had been a result of an elaborate plot, perhaps involving vengeful former intelligence officials and the Clarín Group, a news organization critical of Mrs. Kirchner.

Jorge Capitanich, Mrs. Kirchner’s cabinet chief, said investigators needed to verify whether Mr. Nisman had received threats from “current, displaced or foreign” intelligence agents.

In a statement, the Clarín Group rejected any connection to Mr. Nisman’s findings or his death, calling such positions “conspiracy theories.”

9. Nisman had drafted a warrant for president Kirchner’s arrest.

“Dead Prosecutor Had Drafted Warrant to Arrest Argentina’s President” by Dylan Scott; TPM Livewire; 2/3/2015.

The Argentinian prosecutor whose death has sparked widespread protests had drafted an arrest warrant for the country’s president prior to his death, the New York Times reported Tuesday.

Prosecutor Alberto Nisman had been investigating the 1994 bombing of the Argentina Israelite Mutual Association, which killed 85 people, and whether the government of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner had protected Iranian officials from being prosecuted for the bombing in exchange for oil.

Nisman was killed by a gunshot to the head at his apartment on Jan. 18, the day before he was scheduled to speak to the country’s Congress about his findings.

Now investigators say they found a drafted arrest warrant for Kirchner and other top Argentinian officials in the garbage at Nisman’s apartment. The warrants alleged that Kirchner had tried to protect Iranian officials from being arrested and charged for the Jewish center bombing, according to the Times.

Kirchner has denied that there was any deal with Iran to exchange legal protection for oil and accused Argentinian intelligence of stringing Nisman along in his investigation. After his death, she pushed for the intelligence agency to be dissolved.

10. Among those viewed with fear and suspicion by Nisman were his own guards. Members of his security team have been suspended and had apparently made contradictory statements.

“Dead Argentine Prosecutor Wary Even of His Guards” by Josefa Suarez [Agence France Presse]; Yahoo News; 1/28/2015.

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 Jewish charities office, known as AMIA.

Lagomarsino, a computer expert and the last person known to have seen Nisman alive, said the prosecutor was desperate for the gun, saying: “I no longer trust even my guards.”

“He told me that he was not going to use the weapon,” Lagomarsino said.

The car-bombing of the AMIA was the worst terror strike on Argentine soil in modern history and remains a wound in the collective history of Argentina’s Jewish community, Latin America’s largest.

No prosecution has been completed in the case, two decades on; 85 people were killed and 300 injured.

Kirchner denies the claims prepared by Nisman, and alleges that his death — which initially was suspected suicide — was a plot to discredit her, suggesting Nisman was manipulated by former intelligence agents who then killed him to smear her.

Nisman contended that the government had agreed to swap grain for oil with Tehran in exchange for withdrawing “red notices” to Interpol seeking the arrests of the former and current Iranian officials accused in the bombing.

According to Lagomarsino, Nisman told him that — as well as his own safety — he also feared for that of his two daughters, who are seven and 15 years old and were on vacation in Spain at the time.

“Do you know what it is like that your daughters don’t want to be with you because they are afraid something will happen to them?” Lagomarsino quoted Nisman as saying.

Lagomarsino, who had been reluctant to hand it over, said Nisman badly wanted the gun to “carry it in the glove compartment in case some crazy person came by shouting, ‘You traitor!’ This was a weapon that was truly on its last legs.”

After Nisman’s death, Lagomarsino was charged with giving a firearm to someone other than its registered owner. He is the only person to be charged so far in the murky case.

He was at the news conference with his lawyer, Maximiliano Rusconi, who said earlier he would ask that Kirchner be called to testify in his client’s case.

On Monday, Kirchner, 61, announced plans to disband Argentina’s Intelligence Office and replace it with a new federal intelligence agency.

Investigators initially said they believed Nisman committed suicide, but classified his death as “suspicious” and said they have not ruled out murder or an “induced suicide.”

Ruben Benitez, a Nisman confidant who has been suspended, coordinated a security team of 10 officers who protected the prosecutor.

According to a leaked statement made to the investigation’s head prosecutor, Benitez said he advised Nisman against buying a gun just days before his death.

But the suspended officers have come under scrutiny for contradictory statements to the investigating prosecutor, Viviana Fein.

Nisman was mourned at a small family-only ceremony Wednesday at a Jewish cemetery on the outskirts of Buenos Aires. Some demonstrators showed their respects outside waving signs reading “Cristina = Killer” and “We are all Nisman.”

Kirchner was planning to travel to key economic partner China on Saturday despite the maelstrom.

11. DNA from a second, unidentified person was found in Nisman’s apartment.

“Argentina: DNA from 2nd Person Found in Dead Prosecutor’s Case” [Reuters]; NBC News; 2/10/2015.

Forensic experts in Argentina have found DNA evidence of a second person in the apartment where an Argentine prosecutor was found dead last month in a case that has shaken the country.

Alberto Nisman was found in his bathroom on Jan. 18, a bullet in his head and a pistol by his side. He had been scheduled to bring a case to Congress the next day accusing president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner of trying to derail the criminal investigation into possible Iranian involvement in the bombing that killed 85 people in a Jewish community center.

The judge in the case filed court papers saying a sample “corresponding to a genetic profile different from Nisman’s” had been found; until Tuesday there had been no evidence of anyone else in Nisman’s apartment.

The president’s chief of staff told reporters on Tuesday that everything pointed to a suicide. But messages from the government, including the president, have been contradictory.

Friends have said Nisman showed no signs of being suicidal and was ready to go to Congress on Jan. 19 to present his case.

The next big step in the investigation is expected to be testimony by former Argentine master spy Antonio Stiusso, who was fired by the president in December. The government says Stiusso manipulated Nisman into leveling the conspiracy accusation against the president in reprisal for his firing.

12. The charred body of an unidentified woman was found across the street from Nisman’s former residence. It is unclear how she died or if her death was in any way linked to Nisman’s. A witness to the removal of Nisman’s body described alleged irregularities in the handling of the body. She also said she feared for her life.

“Argentina: Witness ‘Lives in Fear’ After Charred Body Found Across from Dead Prosecutor’s Apartment” by Frances Martel; Breitbart; 2/17/2015. 

As Argentine investigators attempt to uncover the mystery behind the death of prosecutor Alberto Nisman, a new wrinkle has appeared in the investigation: the body of an unidentified middle-aged woman, deposited and burnt across the street from Nisman’s apartment.

Neighbors called the police around 3 AM on Monday, citing a large fire that had been found in an electrical room at a power station. As the fire was near a power station, authorities expected to find an electrical fire, but instead found an unidentified body and a container labeled “ethyl alcohol,” indicating that the body had been deliberately set on fire.

Argentine newspaper Clarín reports that the woman’s body was found to be drenched in a combustible, and witnesses stated they did not hear any voices or signs of conflict, indicating that she may have already been dead when brought to the street across from Le Parc apartment complex that was once home to Nisman. Authorities first reported that the woman had been electrocuted, given her body’s proximity to the electrical station, but later recanted that hypothesis as the cause of death.

The Clarín reports police have proposed two hypotheses: that the woman set herself on fire, thus eliminating the possibility of conflict and explaining why neighbors did not hear any screams, or that she had been killed elsewhere and her body merely disposed at the location, perhaps to send a message. Authorities say it may take weeks to conduct DNA testing and identify both the woman and her cause of death.

In the interim, those involved in the investigation into Nisman’s death have expressed deep concern. Nisman was found with a gunshot wound in his forehead in his home on January 18, the day before he was to present before the Argentine Congress a report claiming that President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner had conspired with the Iranian government and Hezbollah to protect the terrorists responsible for the 1995 bombing of the Argentine-Israeli Mutual Association (AMIA), the deadliest terrorist attack in Argentina’s history. His death was initially ruled a suicide, but investigators later opened the case up for further investigation after Fernández de Kirchner herself said in a blog post she believed Nisman was killed by nefarious characters attempting to smear her name.

Prosecutors have since taken up Nisman’s mantle, and Fernández de Kirchner has been formally charged with working to protect known terrorists in order to secure favorable gas prices from the Islamic Republic of Iran. The President’s term concludes at the end of this year, and with it her possession of executive immunity. The Argentine court system must now determine whether they will pursue the case against Fernández de Kirchner and her Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman.

At least one witness involved in the Nisman investigation has said she is concerned for her safety and is demanding law enforcement issue her extra protection. Natalia Gimena Fernández was leaving her job as a waitress in the neighborhood the night Nisman was found dead. Having walked by the Le Parc complex, she claims police interviewed her, and during the process she observed a number of disturbing irregularities with the proceedings.

“When we were sitting at the stairs, they brought the stretcher and in that they took away the body [of Alberto Nisman]. It was like 3:30 am. He was wrapped up in a black sack. They took him to the right but 15 minutes later they put him back again and took him to the left,” she claims. The men, she claims, were laughing as they moved the body. She also claimed she was offered coffee which she was told was made in Nisman’s Nesspreso coffee pot.

Prosecutor Viviana Fein, who is in charge of the Nisman investigation and was identified as being on the scene by Fernández herself. has dismissed the young woman’s claims as “ridiculous” and rejected them as admissible evidence in the investigation. Nonetheless, Fernández tells Clarín that she fears for her safety: “I am scared and would like some type of protection. I live in fear.”

11. In assessing the “tangled web” of evidentiary tributaries we spoke of in our previous program, we should remember that the “Nazi” connection and the “Iranian connection” are not mutually exclusive. In this context, it is important to remember that the Iranian fundamentalist regime has long had contexts with Nazis—so-called “neo”-Nazis and members of the old guard. Bank Al Taqwa director Achmed Huber has been very close to the regime in Tehran and the Ayatollah Khomeini’s exile in France was paid for by Francois Genoud. Huber has also served as a liaison person coordinating the activities of Islamic fascists and both American and European neo-Nazis. (For more about Huber, Iran, Genoud and the neo-Nazi connections, see FTR#’s 343352354456499.) “Iran’s so-called Holocaust conference this week was billed as a chance to force the West to reconsider the historical legitimacy of Israel. But why would the Iranians invite speakers with so little credibility in the West, including a former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard and disgraced European scholars? That question misses the point. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad portrays such conference participants as David Duke, the former Klan leader, and Robert Faurisson of France, who has devoted his life to trying to prove that Nazi gas chambers were a myth, as silenced truth-tellers whose stories expose Western leaders as the hypocrites he considers them to be. . . .The two-day meeting included no attempt to come to terms with the nature of the well-documented Nazi slaughter, offering only a platform to those pursuing the fantasy that it never happened. In addition the organizers of the conference, a small circle around the president, have been building ties with neo-Nazi groups in Europe. . . . [Emphasis added.]”
(“Iran Leader Uses Conference on Holocaust to Push Agenda” by Michael Slackman [New York Times]; The San Francisco Chronicle; 12/14/2006; p. A28.)

Discussion

One comment for “FTR #836 The Death of Alberto Nisman and the AMIA Bombing”

  1. You don’t say…:

    Associated Press

    Argentine lawyer Alberto Nisman ‘may have been forced to kill himself’

    The mysterious death of the man who investigated Argentina’s worst terrorist attack could been induced suicide, says former prosecutor

    Thursday 19 May 2016 22.26 EDT

    Alberto Nisman, who investigated Argentina’s worst terrorist attack before he was found dead in his home last year, may have been forced to kill himself, a prosecutor who was formerly in charge of his case has said.

    Viviana Fein, who in December was removed from the investigation into Nisman’s mysterious death, had said before that it was likely suicide.

    But in an interview with local radio station La Red, she acknowledged for the first time that it was possible he was “induced” to kill himself.

    Fein said that Nisman had several back-and-forth calls with “six or seven people”, including the country’s former spy chief, Antonio Stiuso, and then-army chief Cesar Milani on 18 January 2015. The body of Nisman, who led the probe of the 1994 AMIA Jewish center bombing in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people, was discovered on that day in his apartment with a gunshot wound to the head.

    “I find it suggestive and noteworthy that personalities of this calibre were on the same day of his death talking uninterruptedly,” Fein said.

    Nisman had been scheduled to appear in Congress the next day to present allegations that then president, Cristina Fernandez, orchestrated a secret deal to cover up the alleged role of Iranian officials in the attack. Fernandez denied the allegations and judges threw out the case.

    Conspiracy theories have flourished around the case. While some people including his family believe Nisman killed himself because he felt his claims against the former president lacked proof, others say he was murdered because he was a threat to the Argentine and Iranian governments.

    “I find it suggestive and noteworthy that personalities of this calibre were on the same day of his death talking uninterruptedly”

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 21, 2016, 12:01 pm

Post a comment