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Was Argentine Prosecutor Alberto Nisman Assassinated?

A few hours before a scheduled Argentine Congressional hearing, the body of General Prosecutor Alberto Nisman was found locked inside his 13th floor apartment after his mother ordered the door broken in. Next to his body was a 22 caliber hand gun with a single spent shell.  Was this a self inflicted death  by the crusading 51 year old prosecutor who since 2005 was at the center of the 1994 AMIA Jewish Center bombing in Buenos Aires? Or was this as The Daily Beast suggested a possible hit by Iran:

In the world of intelligence, as distinct from the world of criminal justice, there has been little question that Iran was behind the AMIA bombing.

 Last week, Nisman had launched new allegations that both Argentinean President  Cristina de Fernandez Kirchner and Foreign Minister Hector Timerman had been involved in a cover up of a deal with Iran.  In exchange for shipments of oil charges of  Iranian involvement  in the 1994 AMIA bombing would be dropped.  See our Iconoclast post on Nisman’s  most recent allegations of corruption.  President Kirchner is barred from running for a third term in October 2015.  What is the lyric from the musical drama, Evita: “don’t cry for me Argentina”?

Arutz Sheva reported on Nisman’s allegations and Iranian officials allegedly  involved in the 1994 AMIA bombing:

Nisman accused Fernandez and other senior Argentine officials, including Foreign Minister Hector Timerman, of agreeing not to punish at least two former Iranian officials in the case.

“The president and her foreign minister took the criminal decision to fabricate Iran’s innocence to sate Argentina’s commercial, political and geopolitical interests,” Nisman said.

He added that “the impunity of the Iranians was ordered by the president and instrumented by Timerman” with the goal of scoring closer geopolitical ties with Iran, trading oil and even selling weapons.

Mohsen Rabbani, Iran’s former cultural attaché in Buenos Aires, and the Islamic Republic’s former intelligence minister, Ali Fallahian, are among the suspects in the July 18, 1994, attack.

Likewise, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was found to have been on the special Iranian government committee that plotted the 1994 bombing, according to an indictment by the Argentine government prosecutor investigating the case.

There are also allegations that Iran and Hezbollah’s master terrorist, the late Imad Mughniyah, may have been involved. The irony is yesterday, Mughniyah  son Jihad  and 10 others including  Iranian General Mohammad Ali Allahdadi were confirmed  killed in an Israeli helicopter attack  on a truck convoy  in Quneitra , Syria adjacent to the Golan.

The Daily Beast reported the strange circumstances behind Nisman’s death:

The circumstances revealed thus far by the police suggest a suicide. The history of Iran’s operations overseas inevitably suggest otherwise. And there are disturbing echoes of the world 20 or 30 years ago when Tehran, often in league with its clients in Hezbollah, waged a global war on the enemies of the Islamic Republic, deploying hit teams second only to the Israelis in their skill at assassination.

First, let’s look at the official communiqué about Nisman’s death issued by Argentina’s Ministry of National Security on Monday morning, with the facts of the case as the ministry says they are known:

Nisman’s lifeless body was discovered Sunday night in his apartment on the 13th floor of Le Parc Tower, which is part of a modern high-rise complex in the Puerto Madero neighborhood of Buenos Aires.

Ten members of the Argentine Federal Police force had been assigned to him as bodyguards, but it seems they were not deployed when he was at home. According to the communiqué, members of the team alerted Nisman’s secretary on Sunday afternoon that he was not responding to repeated phone calls. When they learned that he was not answering the doorbell of his house either and that the Sunday newspaper was still on the step, they decided to notify his relatives.

The bodyguards then collected Nisman’s mother at her home and took her to Le Parc. When they tried to enter, they found the door locked with the key on the inside. They called the building’s maintenance staff who then called a locksmith.  Nisman’s mother entered the apartment with one of the bodyguards, and they found Nisman in the bathroom, where his body was blocking the door when they tried to open it. They immediately called police crime scene investigators who entered the bathroom, apparently making as much effort as possible not to disturb the evidence.

            Nisman was on the floor with a .22 caliber pistol and one empty shell casing nearby.

The official communiqué does not say explicitly that he died from a bullet wound to the head, but that has been widely reported in Buenos Aires, as has the detail that the documents for his testimony before parliament were arrayed on his desk.

The Daily Beast report concluded:

How a murderer might have staged this apparent suicide will doubtless be the subject of speculation and conspiracy theories for years to come, as, indeed, is the case with the investigation into the AMIA bombing itself. That never resulted in a single conviction and was called a “national disgrace” by the late President Néstor Kirchner in 2005. The former Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, was among those who signed a petition ten years ago calling for justice, but to no avail.

[…]

Was Alberto Nisman somehow caught up in this long war of Iranian assassinations? Or did he decide for reasons we probably cannot know to end his own life?

The investigation will continue, unless somebody stops it.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. The featured image is of the Late Argentine Prosecutor Alberto Nisman. Source: Reuters.