Archive for the ‘Iran’ Category

Argentina: Side-by-side #Nisman

Friday, May 15th, 2015

The Wall Street Journal sums it up neatly:

To enlarge, and for the whole article, click here.

Argentina: Hitting new lows on the #Nisman murder

Friday, April 24th, 2015

Cristina Fernandez’s administration’s approach to Alberto Nisman is two-pronged:
1. Get the case Alberto Nisman filed a few days before his murder dismissed from the courts.
2. Engage in a full-spectrum smear campaign against Nisman.

The Washington Post has an editorial on #2, which now includes anti-Semitism:
Argentina’s president resorts to anti-Semitic conspiracy theories

WHAT DO lobbyists at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and the director of a Washington think tank have to do with hedge-fund manager Paul Singer and the Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman, who died mysteriously in January? Well, according to Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, they are all part of a “global modus operandi” that “generates international political operations of any type, shape and color.” They “ ‘contribute’ to financial attacks or simultaneous international media operations, or even worse, covert actions of various ‘services’ designed to destabilize governments.”

Cristina’s accusations, titled Everything has to do with everything when it comes to geopolitics and international power, first posted at her official website, are now missing, but The Guardian listed some of them:

Fernández says Nisman told leaders of the Delegation of Argentine Israeli Associations (Daia): “If necessary, Paul Singer will help us.” This is alleged to have happened two years ago when Nisman lobbied the body – which represents the country’s Jews – to mount a legal challenge a memorandum of understanding between Argentina and Iran.

Nisman and his supporters alleged that the memorandum was part of a conspiracy to cover up Iran’s involvement in the bombing in exchange for a trade deal – a charge denied by both Iran and Fernández.

The president’s allegations that Singer supported her critics were based on an article in the government-friendly newspaper Página 12 by Jorge Elbaum, a former executive director of Daia. Elbaum claimed Singer was funding opposition to the Iran-Argentina deal in Buenos Aires and Washington. The report says Singer also donated $3.6m between 2008 and 2014 to the Foundation for Defence of Democracies, a thinktank whose executive director, Mark Dubowitz, claims to be a friend of Nisman’s.

Fernández said she saw parallels between these activities and the Israeli government’s support for US members of Congress who aimed to block the recent US-Iran nuclear deal. In both cases, she said lobbyists and covert agencies organised financial attacks and media smear operations designed to destabilised governments.

Not only was Cristina’s original article erased from her official website, she did not bother to present any evidence (in court or elsewhere) to any of her accusations.

And, just this week, prosecutor Javier De Luca asserted that, when it comes to Nisman’s case, “There has been no crime.”

Argentina: Prosecutor drops #Nisman’s case

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

The only surprising thing about this is that it went this far:
Argentine Prosecutor Drops Case Against President Cristina Kirchner
Javier De Luca argued that accusations were spurious
(emphasis added),

In a 27-page decision, prosecutor Javier De Luca argued that Mr. Nisman’s case against Mrs. Kirchner and others was spurious. “The constitution prohibits the initiation and continuation of a criminal investigation simply to determine if a crime has been committed when it is readily clear that no crime has been committed,” Mr. De Luca wrote.
. . .
The prosecutor is a member of a pro-Kirchner group, Legitimate Justice, which some members of the judiciary say is focused on protecting government officials. The group’s leaders say they are trying to reform a judiciary that had become too close to big corporations and vested interests. Argentina ranks 127 out of 144 countries in the World Economic Forum ratings on judicial independence.

De Luca also argued that the negotiations with Iran with members of Cristina’s inner circle cannot be considered a crime since conspiracy is not included in the Argentine Penal Code.

Nisman’s writ: strike III and out?

Although the judges from that tribunal can question the grounds of De Luca’s decision they cannot take up the complaint itself, sources from the court told the Herald yesterday.
. . .
De Luca’s dismissal came the same day that Nisman’s mother, Sara Garfunkel, along with a group of opposition politicians and intellectuals filed a writ before the Supreme Court to keep her son’s complaint afloat, something that is not likely to happen at the influential Comodoro Py courthouse.

As Capt. Louis Renault famously said,

UPDATE:
Carlos Hos has a list of unanswered questions regarding Nisman’s murder (in Spanish)

Venezuela, national security threat; Argentina wants a Sandwich

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

Venezuela, national security threat:
Joseph Humire, co-editor of Iran’s Strategic Penetration of Latin America, writes Venezuela Has Earned Her Stripes as a National Security Threat
Obama Recognizes Transnational Organized Crime, a Budding Terror Pipeline

There is a larger concern, that Venezuela has become the epicenter for several national security threats in the region. In terms of threat analysis, the defense and intelligence communities often focus on three areas running parallel throughout the world: (1) transnational organized crime, (2) terrorism, and (3) WMD proliferation.+

The first two we know are being propagated in Venezuela. Each month more evidence surfaces on how PDVSA is sponsoring, the Bolivarian Armed Forces are brokering, and several high-ranking Venezuelan officials are implicated in transnational organized crime. Moreover, research at the Center for a Secure Free Society (SFS) uncovered a crime-terror pipeline being managed by Venezuela that sends drugs and funds to the Middle East and brings back foreign fighters or Islamic terrorists to the Western Hemisphere.+

But of even greater concern is the increasing evidence regarding Venezuela’s role in aiding and abetting WMD proliferation for rogue regimes, namely the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Read the whole article.

Argentina wants a Sandwich [island]:
In other news, Nicolás Maduro’s son, 24 yr old Nicolás Maduro Guerra, was in Argentina last year to inaugurate the first meeting of the Red de Apoyo a la Revolución (RAR) [Revolution Support Network] (h/t HACER),

“a social tool focused on strengthening the revolution’s progress in the battle of ideas and promoting the well-being of the Bolivarian people, under the leadership of [Venezuelan president] Nicolás Maduro Moros and the political, ideological and liberation thought of Bolívar and Chávez”.”

Their #1 item lists Hugo Chávez, Néstor Kirchner, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and Nicolás Maduro, as creators of a big homeland, i.e., a unification of South America under their leadership, of course.

Never mind that two of them already passed.

The #5 item asserts Argentina’s claim not only to the Falkland Islands, but also to the South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands.

If all of this doesn’t sound insane enough for you, here’s the RAR banner, featuring a silhouette of the very dead Hugo:

The bottom line in Arabic, I have been told means, “strong forces join the Bolivarian Revolution.”

Makes you wonder who bankrolled the banner, and the shindig.

———————————–

Throwback Thursday:
2006
n Gaza and Ramallah in the Palestinian Territories I am told that next to Arafat’s and Che Guevara’s posters, a new poster of Chavez is being added.

[A note on Spanish surnames: unlike English, the parental last name comes first and is followed by the maternal last name, hence Nicolás Maduro, Jr. is Nicolás Maduro Guerra]

Argentina: Yet another Iran connection

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

Argentina’s current ambassador to the OAS allegedly held accounts in Iranian banks totaling nearly US$48 million.

Máximo Kirchner held bank accounts abroad with Nilda Garré, says financial sector investigator
The son of Argentina´s president, Cristina Kirchner, is said to have been a joint accountholder in million-dollar bank accounts in the United States and Cayman islands with Argentina´s former ambassador to Venezuela

On Sunday, March 29, the Argentinean newspaper Clarín published an article in which it claimed that Nilda Garré had held bank accounts in the United States and Iran. One of the accounts mentioned by the newspaper was with Felton Bank, headquartered in the American state of Delaware, and amounted to US$ 61.5 million between 2005 and 2010.

The Iranian bank account was said to have been opened on April 28, 2011. This occurred only three months after a secret meeting held in the Syrian city of Aleppo in which the foreign ministers of Iran and Argentina negotiated the creation of a truth commission that would serve to cover up Iranian participation in the 1994 attacks against the Jewish association Amia in Buenos Aires, according to the Argentinean prosecutor Alberto Nisman who was murdered in January of this year.

Nilda Garré has been an influential figure within the Argentinean government since the first days of the presidency of the late Néstor Kirchner. She was Argentinean ambassador to Venezuela, Defense minister, Security minister and is currently ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS). She denied to Clarín that she had maintained bank accounts in the United States and Iran.

Garré, who was Argentina´s Defense minister when the Iranian government had asked Chavez to persuade Argentina to share nuclear secrets in exchange for money, “was in charge of handling this matter with her counterparts in Iran and Venezuela.”

The Iranian accounts totaled almost US$48 million.

See also: Afirman que Garré habría manejado dos cuentas en Irán
Sospechas de triangulación de dinero e insumos a través de Venezuela
Llegaron a tener 48 millones de dólares. Antes habría tenido otra en un banco de EE.UU. La ex ministra lo niega.



The dismissed Nisman case Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, March 30th, 2015

LatinAmerArgentina’s Federal Criminal Appeals Court refused to open an investigation into the complaint filed in January by former AMIA special prosecutor Alberto Nisman four days before he was found dead

Federal prosecutor Germán Moldes will try to reactivate the investigation against President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner next week

Accusations fly that

Prosecutor Viviana Fein is conducting the investigation into the death of Alberto Nisman “with an evident interest” of only showing that the AMIA special prosecutor committed “suicide.”

Meanwhile, Venezuelan defectors from Hugo Chavez inner circle are talking.

ARGENTINA
Falklands defence: Why is Argentina considering an aircraft deal with the Russians?
Russia’s potential deal to lease 12 long-range bombers to Argentina is causing Britain to rethink its protection of the Falklands. Why is Cristina Kirchner cosying up to Moscow?

BOLIVIA
Bolivian Mob Tries to Bury Alive Teacher Accused of Raping Girl

BRAZIL
Brazil Economy to Shrink, Joblessness Rises
The Brazilian central bank’s view of the economy is getting worse, with the official unemployment rate rising in February, as Latin America’s largest economy continues to struggle.

After Ratings Reprieve, Brazil Faces Tough News
President Dilma Rousseff got a big break when Standard & Poor’s maintained Brazil’s investment-grade credit rating, but Friday’s coming report on economic growth is expected to bring the embattled president bad news.

CHILE
Flood torrents devastate Peru and Chile

Two dead as flash flooding hits Chile Atacama desert region

COLOMBIA
Colombian Government, FARC Agree to Begin Land-Mine Removal

New IG Report: DEA Agents in Columbia Partied With Hookers Hired By the Drug Cartels

CUBA
Obama’s Cuba Folly Unfolds

ECUADOR

EL SALVADOR
Half Million People March Against Violence in El Salvador

FALKLAND ISLANDS
Britain to boost Falklands Islands defences

JAMAICA
Jamaican Prime Minister Rebukes Gay-Rights Protestors At New York Townhall

MEXICO
39 Central American Migrants Rescued in Mexico from Human Traffickers

PANAMA
Panama Canal sets sights on new $17 billion expansion project

As it enters the final stretch of a massive expansion, the Panama Canal Authority is setting its sights on an even more ambitious project worth up to $17 billion that would allow it to handle the world’s biggest ships.

Workers are now installing giant, 22-story lock gates to accommodate larger “Post-Panamax” ships through the Canal, one of the world’s busiest maritime routes.

The project involves building a third set of locks on the Canal. It is being headed by Italy’s Salini Impregilo and Spain’s Sacyr, and should open on April 1, 2016.

PARAGUAY
Paraguay Farmers March in Asuncion to Demand President’s Resignation

PERU
Floods in Chile and landslides in Peru after heaviest rain in 80 years

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rico Prepares for Luxury Shopping Amid Recession

Puerto Rico Mayor Gets 5 Years for Bribery

URUGUAY
Uruguay will no longer grant asylum to Guantanamo prisoners

The new Uruguayan government says it will no longer grant asylum to prisoners from the Guantanamo Bay detention centre.

In December, Uruguay gave sanctuary to six Arab men who had been held at the US base in Cuba for 12 years.

Opinion polls said most Uruguayans rejected the decision taken by outgoing President Jose Mujica.

Foreign Minister Rodolfo Nin Novoa also said Uruguay would stop taking refugees from the Syrian conflict.

Does that mean they’ll kick Syrians Jihad Abu Wael Dhiab, Ali Husain Shaaban, Ahmed Adnan Ajuri, and Abdelhadi Faraj, Palestinian Mohammed Abdullah Taha Mattan, and Tunisian Adel bin Muhammad El Ouerghi out of the country?

VENEZUELA
“Normalization” update: Venezuelan Castro puppet seeks to humiliate U.S. at the Summit of the Americas but Maduro Says “Venezuela Is Ready” for Dialogue with U.S. Of course. In his spare time, he indulged in vandalism,

Alicia Bárcena’s blinders

The week’s posts and podcast:
Cuba {heart} Iran: Love-terror

Words, words, words

How a German trial relates to the #Nisman case

Ecuador: Chinese loans, social media censorship

Today’s Colombian hookers update

Venezuela-Iran’s Aeroterror: Airplanes full of drugs & money

Podcast: US-Latin America: Cuba-Venezuela, elections in Mexico, Brazil, Argentina & more

Barrio 18 in El Salvador: A View from the Inside

The #Nisman Case and the Whitewashing of Iran

About that “Cuban side or the white side”

Thank you, Newsmax

Argentina: Beef for bombers

Today’s WSV* moment: Now Snowden wants to come back

Today’s immigration headlines

Ted throws his hat in the ring

Cuba {heart} Iran: Love-terror

Saturday, March 28th, 2015

You may recall that a few years ago I recommended this book:
Jon B. Perdue, director of the Latin American program at the Fund for American Studies, has written THE must-read book about our hemisphere, The War of All the People: The Nexus of Latin American Radicalism and Middle Eastern Terrorism.

The title refers to Hugo Chavez’s name for his war on U.S. “imperialism”, an ideological and political, violent war involving Iran, terrorist organizations from around the world, and drug money.

Now we have the Obama administration cozying up to Cuba and Iran (Ace has much more on the awful Iran deal), after having declared “the Monroe Doctrine is over.”

Meanwhile, Iran strives for hegemony.

Jaime Suchlicki writes on Cuba’s love for the ayatollahs (h/t Babalu):From Havana to Tehran
The strange love affair between a theocracy and an atheistic dictatorship.

Communist Cuba’s alliance with the Iran of the Ayatollahs dates to 1979, when Fidel Castro became one of the first heads of state to recognize the Islamic Republic’s radical clerics. Addressing then-Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini, Castro insisted that there was “no contradiction between revolution and religion,” an ecumenical principle that has guided Cuba’s relations with Iran and other Islamic regimes. Over the next two decades, Castro fostered a unique relationship between secular communist Cuba and theocratic Iran, united by a common hatred of the United States and the liberal, democratic West — and by substantial material interests. (In the photo, Iran’s Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi and Cuba’s Vice Foreign Minister Marcos Rodriguez attend a wreath-laying ceremony on Revolution Square in Havana on Sept. 7, 2011.)

Suchlicki recommends that Washington address Havana’s troublesome alliances with rogue regimes; I’m cynical enough to say it already has.

How a German trial relates to the #Nisman case

Friday, March 27th, 2015

Roya Hakakian explains Germany’s commitment to justice:
Iran’s Assassins in Berlin
The determination of the prosecutor, the press, and the Iranian exile community made all the difference in Germany, where the courts ruled against Iran’s highest leaders.

[Investigator Bruno] Jost had a major advantage. He was investigating in the shadow of the World War II blunders and the fundamental transformations that the German justice system had undergone. By the time the trial was set to begin, Tehran was no longer the focus of popular attention. Now, it was Germany, herself, on trial, with something grand to prove about her own credibility and the authenticity of her reformation.

In contrast,

Whether the same spirit can cross over into another continent to move the course of the Argentines’ investigation is to be seen. But this much is for sure: The sum of the 1994 AMIA bombing, Iran’s lethal role, the misconduct of former President Carlos Menem, an alleged conspiracy to halt the nuclear negotiations, the mysterious murder of Alberto Nisman, and the alleged corruption of President Cristina Kirchner or the Argentine Intelligence all add up to something larger. It is about Argentina herself, the state of her republic, and whether the ghosts of its dirty past are truly buried or still lurking in the shadows.

This us a must-read.

Venezuela-Iran’s Aeroterror: Airplanes full of drugs & money

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

Remember those direct Tehran-Caracas flights I posted about in 2008? The ones La Stampa reported about? (click on image to enlarge)

Well, they carried (carry?) terrorists, drugs, and money:
AEROTERROR: A regular flight from Caracas to Tehran carried more drugs and money than people

High-level Venezuelan defectors then started talking to Veja journalist Leonardo Coutinho. They told Veja that Aeroterror came to be a biweekly flight that carried drugs and cash to finance Iran’s activities in South America, and that it would stop in Damascus to pick up fake passports and other documents to ensure that Iran’s agents could move freely once they arrived in Caracas.

Aeroterror. Let that sink in for a moment.

Reports indicate that Chavez and Ahmadinejad planned Aeroterror at a meeting Caracas back in 2007, during which Ahmadinejad also asked Chavez to help him get Argentina to help Iran with its nuclear program. Since then, Iran has only strengthened its ties to South America.

Alberto Nisman was on the trail early on,

. . . Nisman published a report on the same subjects that he took to Interpol in 2007 — Iranian officials threatened to arrest Nisman after it was presented.

Veja’s article, Venezuela vendia passagens fantasmas para o “aeroterror”O voo que fez a rota Caracas-Damasco-Teerã entre 2007 e 2010 era deficitário, mas passageiros comuns nunca conseguiam fazer reserva em um de seus assentos, pois o avião destinava-se a transportar drogas, terroristas e dinheiro

According to Chavez exiles in the United States, the flights were used to carry dozens of Islamic extremists who had to travel to the West, from Iran and Syria, unnoticed.

It is unclear if the flights are still continuing.

The #Nisman Case and the Whitewashing of Iran

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

Ben Cohen writes about The Nisman Case and the Whitewashing of Iran

Consider, for example, the alleged role of the Iranian president, Hasan Rouhani, in whom President Barack Obama has placed so much faith regarding negotiations over Tehran’s nuclear ambitions. Rouhani was not among the Iranian officials named by Nisman in his 2006 report. The Miami Herald columnist Andres Oppenheimer, however, revealed in a January 21 article that Nisman had told him about an Iranian witness who had reported that Rouhani had been a member of a special-intelligence committee, “which in 1994 was overseeing secret operations abroad, including the AMIA bombing.” Oppenheimer wrote that Nisman “added privately that he believed in [the witness’s] testimony, and that as a member of the committee Rouhani was likely to have known of the AMIA bombing plan.”

Such a promising lead should be pursued. But the Argentine government is incapable and unwilling to do so, and the current American administration is determined to let nothing obstruct its pursuit of a nuclear deal with the Iranians.

Read the whole thing, keeping in mind

Iranian Leader Khamenei: Death to America; Obama Is Trying to Turn Our People against the Regime