Sunday, February 08, 2015

Gareth Porter on the Nisman suicide and the AMIA case in Argentina

Historian Gareth Porter writes about the AMIA and Alberto Nisman cases in Argentina in The Nisman murder and the AMIA terror bombing: A tangled thread; the article appears also at Consortium News under the title A Rush to Judgment in Argentine Bomb Case? 02/07/2015.

TV Pública argentina recently presented this report on recent developments in Visión 7 - Nuevas declaraciones en la causa Nisman 02/06/2015:

Porter raises the very obvious question about the opposition's conspiracy theory, one with no evidence at all, that President Cristina Fernández (CFK) somehow had him murdered:

In the context of Argentine political culture, with its long experience of impunity for crimes committed by the powerful, the circumstances of his death have led to a general conviction that the government must have been behind his murder.

But there is good reason to be cautious about that assumption. Nisman’s case against Kirchner was problematic. The central accusation in his affidavit, made 96 times, according to press accounts, was that Kirchner and Timerman had sought to revoke the Interpol arrest warrants against the former Iranian officials. But Ronald K. Noble, the secretary general of Interpol for fifteen years until last November, denied Nisman’s accusation. Noble declared, “I can say with 100 percent certainty, not a scintilla of doubt, that Foreign Minister Timerman and the Argentine government have been steadfast, persistent and unwavering that the Interpol’s red notices be issued, remain in effect and not be suspend or removed.”

Noble’s denial raises an obvious question: Why would the Kirchner government, knowing that Nisman’s main claim could be easily refuted, have any reason to kill him on the eve of the presentation of his case? Why give those seeking to discredit the government’s policy on the AMIA bombing the opportunity to shift the issue from the facts of the case to the presumption of officially sponsored assassination?
Porter suggests that Nisman's official charges against the current Iranian suspects in the 1994 AMIA bombing was similarly flawed as the charges against Cristina and her Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman:

The presentation of facts or allegations as proof of guilt, even though they proved nothing of the sort, was also a pattern that permeated Nisman’s 2006 “Request for Arrests” in the 1994 AMIA bombing. Contrary to the general reverence in the news media for his indictment of senior Iranian officials for their alleged responsibility for the bombing, his case was built on a massive accumulation of highly dubious and misleading claims, from the “irrefutable evidence” of Rabbani’s participation in planning to the identification of the alleged suicide car bomber. This writer’s investigation of the case over several months, which included interviews with US diplomats who had served in the Embassy in Buenos Aires in the years following the AMIA bombing as well as with the FBI official detailed to work on the case in 1996-97, concluded that the Argentine investigators never found any evidence of Iranian involvement.

Nisman asserted that the highest Iranian officials had decided to carry out the bombing at a meeting on 12 or 14 August, 1993, primarily on the testimony of four officials of the Mujahedeen E-Khalq (MEK), the Iranian exile terrorist group that was openly dedicated to the overthrow of the Iranian regime. The four MEK officials claimed to know the precise place, date and time and the three-point agenda of the meeting.
Everything I've seen about the charge against CFK Nisman made is ridiculous. But Porter's assertion about Nisman's AMIA arrest request for the AMIA bombing suspects seems to go against one of the argument's Cristina's defenders are making, which is that the sloppy nature of the report making charges against CFK suggests that Nisman himself didn't actually prepare the document.

Porter concludes, "The fact that Nisman’s two indictments related to Iran and AMIA were extremely tendentious obviously does not dispose of the question of who killed him. But whatever the reason for his being killed, it wasn’t because he had revealed irrefutable truths about AMIA and Argentine government policy."

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