The curious case of Alberto Nisman

The government of Argentina is accusing unnamed “rogue agents” from within its own intelligence community of murdering federal prosecutor Alberto Nisman. Normally you wouldn’t find this blog dealing with an alleged murder in a South American country, but this particular one involves Iran, so I figure I should at least be keeping tabs on what’s happening.

Nisman was found dead in his apartment on Monday, with a handgun lying near his body. The apartment was apparently locked from the inside, and by outward appearances it looked like a suicide. One problem with that theory, though, is that Nisman didn’t appear to anyone who knew him as though he were suicidal, and he didn’t leave a note (I don’t think they’ve determined whether or not he fired the gun yet). What Nisman did leave behind was an unfinished criminal investigation into the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center, the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina, in Buenos Aires. Argentine prosecutors formally charged the Iranian government and Hezbollah with perpetrating the bombing in 2006, though IPS News’s Gareth Porter later found that in making that charge, the prosecutors relied on evidence provided by the wholly unreliable Iranian exile group Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK), so keep that in mind.

Nisman’s investigation had apparently uncovered evidence that the government of Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner had cut a deal with Tehran to bury evidence of Iran’s involvement in the attack, thereby obstructing Nisman’s work, in exchange for favorable trade considerations. Assuming Nisman was really on to something, the obvious suspects in his murder, also assuming it was a murder, would be someone working for Fernandez de Kirchner, or even the Iranians. But with elections coming up in October, Fernandez de Kirchner is under considerable pressure to keep Nisman’s murder from blowing up into a huge scandal that will squash any chance of her party holding on to the presidency. So she’s apparently floating this theory that Nisman was being used as a tool of these “recently fired” rogue agents, who were trying to frame and discredit her for a crime she didn’t commit, obviously, and recently decided that Nisman would be more useful to their efforts dead than alive.

Is there any evidence to support what Fernandez de Kirchner is saying? Heck, they haven’t even determined what actually happened to Nisman yet, let alone who might have been behind it if he was murdered. But unfortunately this man’s death is now a hand grenade in Argentine politics, so expect this story to get weirder and more offensive in the coming days.

2 thoughts on “The curious case of Alberto Nisman

  1. A small personal connection to this crime: a former girlfriend taught at a language school not far from the Jewish Center and on any ordinary day she might have been walking past when the bomb exploded. Fortunately for us she took a different bus in from Caballito that day so all we got was a bad scare. What a shame that the tragedy is continuing some twenty years later.

    Sometimes I try to speak with people about Paraguay and Ciudad del Este and smuggling and Hamas seems to be involved and maybe al Quaeda but nobody really knows, but I have kind of given up because because everyone seems to have a firmly established pre existing opinion and gets really testy in the presence of deviations from his program. Which is fine, as I don’t actually care (roll my eyeballs), I just like to be as well educated as possible and to discuss things with interesting people.

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