Alberto Nisman, the prosecutor in the case of the 1994 terrorist attack on the Jewish headquarters in Buenos Aires, was found dead during the weekend in his home; apparently murdered.
The murder took place shortly before the congressional hearings where prosecutor Nisman was supposed to present evidence denouncing the involvement of President Cristina Kirchner, Foreign Minister Hector Timmerman, as well as others in a conspiracy aimed at absolving Iran from responsibility for the bombing.
According to Mr. Nisman, the idea of absolving Iran was motivated by the desire to solve the Argentinean energy problem, by cutting a deal with Iran involving “oil for grains.” Without absolving Iran, such a deal could not have taken place.
Mr. Nisman found this evidence by listening to legally approved, intercepted conversations.
Mr. Nisman listened to an agent of the Argentinean intelligence service who happened to be a member of the group “La Campora”, a militant pro-government group headed by Maximo Kirchner, son of the president. This agent was the liaison to Iran and reported to the authorities of the Islamic Republic about an Argentinean plan to plant false evidence in order to accuse a right-wing group for the AMIA bombing. He is considered to be Ms. Kirchner’s favorite spy.
The liaison with Iran was also reinforced by Luis D’Elia, a rabid anti-Semite associated with the Kirchner government who attended seminars in Iran funded by the late president of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez. Mr. D’Elia developed strong relations with Iran including with Moshen Rabanni, the man believed to be the main person responsible for the AMIA bombing and who until this day continues to supervise a network of Hezbollah cells that operate in Brazil.
The idea to plant false evidence to implicate right-wing groups was inspired by Fernando Esteche, the leader of “Quebracho,” a very violent group that operates in Argentina and a vocal advocate of Iran and a rabid anti-Zionist.
Mr. Nisman was a hero, a man of great courage in a country where impunity prevails. Early in 2013, he exposed the presence of Hezbollah cells in 12 Latin American countries. Mr. Nisman also has strong connections in the United States.
At this point, it is not clear who committed this horrible crime. It could have been ordered by the president, herself; by intelligence agents loyal to Kirchner; or by the Iranians.
Whatever the case, it is the government of Cristina Kirchner that is responsible for this crime. President Kirchner needs to respond to the accusations raised by Mr. Nisman, even though he is now dead.
Under President Kirchner, Argentina has undergone a process of “Chavization.” It is becoming an authoritarian regime within a fragile 31-year-old democracy. Kirchner has confronted the legal system by trying to intimidate it. Her government is anti-American, and very ideological.
I personally do not believe that normalizing relations with Iran was merely a matter of “solving an economic problem. It was also an ideological stand as the government, itself, sympathizes with Iran and its anti-Americanism.
Furthermore, the Argentinean government has condemned the war on terror, including the war against the Islamic State. Argentina also abstained from issuing a statement of condemnation after the terrorist attacks that took place in France on Jan. 7 and 8 against a satirical French magazine and a kosher supermarket in Paris.
It is not expected that the Argentinean authorities will conduct a fair investigation as to who actually committed this crime, which has already been made to look like a suicide. Impunity is likely to prevail. However, regardless of this, it is clear that the Argentinean government is a negligent accomplice of terrorism.
The U.S. should suspend visas to members of the Argentinean government (as well as other governments in Latin America, mainly ALBA countries and Brazil) and its security institutions as a means to apply pressure on the Argentinean government. The U.S. must work in coalition with Europe so that Argentinean leaders are considered persona non-grata. Western countries must exercise pressure on Latin American countries to take these issues seriously and join the fight against terrorism. I discussed Latin America’s contempt for the terrorist threat in my last article.
As I am writing these lines, the social networks are mobilizing the population in Argentina to carry out major protests. In my mind, they should demand no less than the resignation of the nefarious government of Cristina Kirchner.
Luis Fleischman is a senior fellow at the Center for Security Policy (SecureFreedom.org).