In 1994, a terrorist outrage struck Buenos Aires: a massive SVBIED in a Renault Trafic van destroyed the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA) building, a Jewish community center, killing 85 people and wounding over 200. The high death toll was made possible because the bomb destroyed load-bearing walls and brought the entire building down.
The bomber was a Hezbollah foot soldier, an expendable splodydope, but the attack was planned and ordered by the highest levels of the Iranian government, including Quds Force head Ahmed Vahidi, later Defense Minister; plus Ahmad Reza Asghari, Ali Fallahijan, Imad Mughniyah, Mohsen Rabbani, Mohsen Rezai and Ali Akbar Velayati.
None of the Iranians have ever been brought to account, and one reason is that they spent large sums to buy immunity from Argentine politicians Carlos Menem, Néstor Kirchner and most recently Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. Despite pressure from above to desist, an Argentine Special Prosecutor, Alberto Nisman, brought criminal complaints against both Iranian and Argentine officials. The latest of these complaints was in January, 2015. With a deft use of judicially-approved wiretaps, Nisman exposed a 2013 Memorandum of Understanding between the Argentine and Iranian governments in which Argentina received Iranian oil, in return for withdrawing international warrants for the Iranian secret service personnel responsible for the mass murder, some of whom have risen to high state in Iran.
Immediately after President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner was added to his list of accused, Nisman was shot to death in his home (18 January 15), his death scene staged to make the murder look like a suicide. A successor, Gerardo Pollicita, has taken up the case.
If this sounds complicated, wait until you get into the details. For instance, as it became clear that Pollicita was going to continue to pursue the case against the President, a fire of unknown origin occurred in the basement of the Presidential residence, the Casa Rosada.
The only thing destroyed was the archive of records… very specific records.
The records burnt correspond to the Casa Rosada entry on Balcarce street, an access point used mostly by low-ranking employees and occasional visitors who must present an ID to enter. The fire did not reach the principal door, where the president, ministers, secretaries, and special guests go through.
However, a source inside the pink-hued seat of the presidency told Clarín: “Almost the whole database was deleted. Most of those who entered [the building] after the fire are ‘new’ people for the system. There are no records.”
The information, if it still exists in back-up form, could verify evidence in the intercepted audio files used by Nisman in his case against the president before being found dead in his apartment on January 19.
As Dubove notes, the wiretaps included discussions about visits to the Casa Rosada by the “parallel diplomacy” leader, Luis D’Elia, who would have had to enter and exit through that main entry given that he was not a government official at the time.
Americans think Watergate was a big scandal and Nixon was a bent politician. Yeah, it was, and he was, but not by world, or even hemispheric, standards. Sure, Harry Reid is worth tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars that miraculously appeared in his net worth while he was working for $170k a year, but the Castro and Chavez families have acquired unexplained billions. And in Argentina, this scandal’s cover-up hasn’t shrunk from murder. And the scandal itself began with the best part of a hundred murders. You won’t find a scandal like that in American politics, yet.
The Nisman investigation, his murder, and the continuing cover-up shines a lantern or two on something all of us active in Central and South America over the last 20-25 years have seen, and that’s increasing Iranian presence. And everywhere the Persians go, terrorism, either the crude AMIA bombing type carried out by a stupid, expendable splodydope imported from the Levant, or the sophisticated murder of Nisman type carried out by a local secret service in thrall to the mullahs, follows.
To learn more:
- AlbertoNisman.org. This site continues the work of the martyred Nisman. It may load slowly because it is under an intermittent DDOS attack, presumably by Argentine secret service hackers, but it contains transcripts and the full indictment of January 2015, in Spanish and English translation.
- After Nisman, a special report by Joseph M. Humire of the Center for a Secure Free Society (direct link to the .pdf) examines the baleful Iranian influence on South America, Central America, and the Caribbean, using Nisman’s murder as a peg on which to hang a continental-wide report. Highly recommended, as is SFS in general.