Sunday, March 08, 2015

Argentine opposition keeps going after the President over prosecutor Nisman's death

Argentine President Cristina Fernández' opposition isn't giving up on trying to hang the apparent death-by-suicide of prosecutor Alberto Nisman around her neck. Along with the frivolous charge he made against her to portray her as a friend of Iranian terrorists.

TV Pública argentina reports on recent developments in Visión 7-Causa Nisman: Fein citó a peritos de la querella 06.03.2015:

One of the leading faces of this continuing push is Sandra Arroyo, a judge who is also the ex-wife of Nisman and the mother of his two children. The latest version of the accusation is that somehow the death scene was altered in order to conceal the fact that Islamic fundamentalists murdered him. (Horacio Verbitsky, El cupo femenino Página/12 08.03.2015)

I don't know why in reading Verbitsky's story I was thinking that it would be hard for Americans to believe that the opposition could be using such cockamamie claims against the President with the full backing of major opposition figures. I guess it was just an American Exceptionalism moment. Because it's commonly claimed in FOXWorld that our President is a Kenyan Muslim Marxist atheist who hates America and loves Islamic fundamentalist terrorists and helps them kill American diplomats in Benghazi while Hillary Clinton hides her e-mails to her lesbian lovers.

The more I learn about the history of Argentina since the Second World War, though, the more I take it for granted that the American government and major economic interests routinely meddle in Argentine politics. The fact that there are depressing similarities in the way rightwingers in both countries sling sleaze isn't that surprising.

A former security official, Antonio Horacio Stiuso, is one of the key players in this political drama. It's already provided enough plot material for a variety of novels, police procedural TV episodes and movies. But it doesn't need the Hollywood treatment to be dramatic and convoluted on its own. As the Buenos Aires Herald reports, "Nisman used to work hand-in-hand with former Intelligence Secretariat (SI, formerly known as SIDE) Operations chief Antonio 'Jaime' Stiuso." (Lagomarsino back in Nisman spotlight 03/07/2015)

And the connection to the 1994 terrorist attack on the AMIA Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires adds more complications. Gareth Porter recounts how Israel in the 1990s adopted Iran as a bogeyman that has served various functions in Israeli foreign policy. (The long history of Israel gaming the 'Iranian threat' Middle East Eye 03/05/2015):

Other Israeli prime ministers [besides Nethanyahu] have played the Holocaust card for domestic purposes too. Yitzhak Rabin actually started it during his tenure as Prime Minister from 1992 to 1995, pointing to the alleged “existential threat” from Iran in order to justify his policy of negotiating with the PLO. It was also Rabin who established the propaganda theme of Iran as a terrorist threat to Jews across five continents that Netanyahu continues to cite today.

Later, however, Netanyahu would use the alleged Iranian threat to do exactly the opposite – refuse to reach an agreement with the Palestinians. Many former senior military and intelligence officials have never forgiven Netanyahu for what they consider a reckless policy toward Iran that they link to his failure to deal with the Palestinian problem. [my emphasis]
The AMIA attack is used as a major example of Iran's ability to project terrorist attacks far away from home, not only by Israeli politicians but by American neocons. After two decades of important players in American and Israeli foreign policy relying on the AMIA attack as a key propaganda point against Iran, there are enough people with more of an interest in keeping that story accepted as fact than in determining the actual perpetrators to have muddled the waters on this case for two decades now.

I've posted several times on the AMIA case, including years before the Nisman suicide. The case has never been solved. The Argentine government's theory of the case on which Nisman operated in investigating the case for years, is that Iranian-backed terrorists were involved. Cristina's government reached an agreement in 2013 with Iran to facilitate investigation of some Iranians who are suspected of involvement in the AMIA bombing. Former President Carlos Menem and two other officials are under indictment in Argentina over obstruction of justice in the early investigation of the case. There are indications that the Argentine intelligence service was involved in the bombing in itself in some way. But that has also never been proved.

It is important to recognize, however, that the assumption that has been routinely used for two decades in American commentary on this topic that Iran was obviously behind the AMIA attack has never been proven in court and is by no means circumstantially clear form the information in the public record.

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