Archive for the ‘terrorism. Latin America’ Category

Argentina: Yesterday, and today

Monday, January 26th, 2015

Yesterday:
June 2013, Douglas Farah & Mark Dubowitz, writing on Terror and Foreign Policy (read the whole article),

The election of Rouhani is a gift to the Argentine government of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who was already moving in the opposite direction to her prosecutor – rapidly forgetting her nation’s history by normalizing relations with the Islamic Republic’s soon-to-be former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and pushing the bombing investigation into cold storage.

Journalist: Prosecutor Tied Rouhani to Argentina Terror Attack 

The late Argentinian prosecutor Alberto Nisman accused Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani of involvement in planning the July 1994 terror attack on the AMIA Jewish Center in Buenos Aires, journalist Andres Oppenheimer of The Miami Herald reportedWednesday.

Andrés Oppenheimer:

Nisman told me that Rouhani was not among the eight Iranian officials whose international arrest he had requested to Interpol in 2006, but that he was a member of the committee that had planned the attack. Nisman added that a key witness, a former Iranian VIVEK official named Abolghasem Mesbahi, had testified that Rouhani was a member of the Vijeh committee at the time of the bombing.

Today:
January, 2015, Who Killed Alberto Nisman?
First his death was declared a suicide; now Argentina’s president says it was the work of her enemies. What about Tehran?

If Nisman was murdered, it involved a level of sophistication not normally associated with Argentina but not uncommon for Iran. Tehran has more than 40 years of experience knocking off meddlesome individuals abroad and is now trying to allay global distrust as it bamboozles Barack Obama about its nuclear-weapons program. Nisman’s search for truth may have put a target on his back.

More evidence points to a murder:

Argentinian federal prosecutor Alberto Nisman was shot from a distance of at least 15 centimeters [6 inches]
. . .
The finding completely contradicts the government’s initial claims that Nisman had committed suicide, an assertion president Cristina Fernandez Kirchner has since backtracked from.

The forensics exam also confirmed that there was no exit wound, a result expected when a gun is pressed to the temple, the Federal Police source said.

Elsewhere, journalist Damián Patcher, who first broke the news of Nisman’s death,

had to flee Argentina in fear for his life:

After I left Argentina I found out that the government was still publishing wrong information about me on social media. The Twitter feed of Casa Rosada, the Argentine presidential palace, posted the details of the airline ticket I had bought, and claimed that I intended to return to Argentina by February 2 — in other words, I hadn’t really fled the country. In fact, my return date is in December.

The government proudly tweeted the details, thereby showing they’re keeping an eye on people,

Argentina: Why Nisman’s lawsuit matters

Saturday, January 24th, 2015

Joseph Humire explains (emphasis added),

Nisman knew that to get Iran to face justice, he would have to force their hand. Herein lies the importance of his most recent work. In sifting through the voluminous pages of Nisman’s formal accusation against Fernández de Kirchner and her cronies, one comes to realize that a strategic shift is taking place on the AMIA case. What had historically been an Argentine judicial case prosecuted under the country’s anti-terrorism laws was now morphing into a criminal case potentially taken to an international court.

In reading Nisman’s report, one realizes that he not so subtly and repeatedly suggests the Kirchner-Iran connection is a “criminal plot” against Argentine justice. Moreover, he tips his hand in his last televised appearance on the program “A Dos Voces” (Two Voices) stating: “there exists a [new] method to extradite the Iranians, so that they can face justice in the Republic of Argentina” and goes on to say “but an international organization will have to intervene.” The International Criminal Court in Switzerland could be such an organization, where Iran has signed but not ratified the Rome Statute.

More importantly, however, Nisman seems to have had an ace up his sleeve to further indict Iran on the AMIA case. Knowing its history of political assassinations and the likelihood that they would go to great lengths to prevent their accused from standing before a criminal court, the Islamic Republic should be a prime suspect behind the Argentine prosecutor’s suspicious death.

As Iran tries cleaning up its international image and alleviating economic pressure from international sanctions, Nisman was about to cause them a significant setback potentially costing the regime billions of dollars. President Obama ignored this during his State of the Union speech. For those working to stop the U.S. misguided rapprochement with Iran — the late, courageous Argentine prosecutor, Alberto Nisman, may have shown us a way.

It’s all about Iran

Friday, January 23rd, 2015

As Charles Krauthammer points out, Iran Isn’t Just Trying to Build a Nuclear Bomb, instead, Iran is marching toward conventional domination of the Arab world.

Krauthammer points to Iranian-backed Houthis seizing control of the Yemeni government, Iran sending in weapons, money and revolutionary guards and ordering Hezbollah to fight in Syria.

In Latin America, Iran has greatly expanded its presence and influence over the last decade – which directly affects the U.S. In 2007 an alleged Iranian agent, Abdul Kadir, plotted to blow up JFK airport in New York.

Read the rest of my article here.

Argentina: #Nisman’s murder is all about Iran

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

Let’s not lose track of the real story as we examine the details of last Sunday’s assassination of prosecutor Alberto Nisman: His murder is all about Iran.

Through his investigation of the 1994 AMIA bombing, Nisman found out that president Cristina Fernendez had allegedly been secretly negotiating with Iran since 2011, and conspiring to cover up Iran’s role in the 1994 terrorist attack. He brought a civil lawsuit last week, asking the judge to freeze $23 million of assets belonging to Mrs. Kirchner and the others named in the complaint, and was scheduled to testify to Argentina’s Congress on Monday, but was prevented from doing it by a single shot to the head.

Eli Lake writes on Argentina, Iran and the Mysterious Death of a Prosecutor

. . . Nisman made an enemy of Iran, a country with a history of killing its political opponents in foreign countries. In May 2013, Nisman issued a scathing report that implicated several senior Iranian officials by name in the AMIA bombing. Just four months earlier, Kirchner’s government had signed a memorandum of understanding with Iran to investigate the incident. Part of the deal, however, was that Nisman’s investigators would not be allowed to interview senior Iranian officials. Argentina also got a favorable trade pact to import Iranian oil in exchange for grain. Nisman said the terms of the Iran-Argentina joint investigation amounted to a coverup.

The AMIA attack occurred in 1994, before Iran’s government began trying to clean up its image with the rest of the world. It was before Iran elected its first reform government in 1997, and before Iran’s current government agreed to nuclear negotiations with China, France, Germany, Russia, the U.K. and U.S.

And yet many of the senior Iranian officials Nisman named still have influence. They include Ali Fallahian, who is today a member of the regime’s council of experts, the clerical body that would choose Iran’s next supreme leader; Ahmad Vahidi, who served as Iran’s defense minister between 2009 and 2013; and Ali Akbar Rafsanjani, the former Iranian president and a favorite interlocutor of many Western diplomats.

The news of Nisman’s death was first called a suicide. However, since Sunday, details have come to the surface – Here’s what has been revealed as of the writing of this post:

  • He was found in his bath­room in a pool of blood. Next to his body was a 22 cal­iber firearm and a bul­let casing.
  • He died from a bul­let to the head. Ear­lier accounts said the entry point was on his right side towards the rear of the ear; the offi­cial account says it was the right temple.
  • The police prevented medics from two ambulances (one arriving at 10:45PM, the other at 11:30PM) from entering the premises.
  • The inves­ti­gat­ing pros­e­cu­tor initially called it an “induced suicide.”
  • Nis­man left a shop­ping list for his housekeeper.
  • He had talked to his personal trainer on resuming his regular schedule.
  • Appar­ently none of the ten secu­rity offi­cers assigned to pro­tect Nis­man was sta­tioned on the thir­teenth floor of the apart­ment build­ing on which he lived. None were on the premises from Saturday until Sunday afternoon.
  • His apart­ment has a main entrance and a ser­vice entrance, but all the initial reports only men­tioned the main entrance.
  • Inves­ti­ga­tors found another means of access to the apart­ment through a hall­way where the air-​conditioners are located, with a door that leads to the apart­ment, where they found a fin­ger­print and a foot­print.
  • Ariel Lijo, the Argen­tin­ian judge who received Nisman’s 300 page com­plaint alleg­ing the involve­ment of Pres­i­dent Cristina​Fer­nán­dez de Kirch­ner and oth­ers in cov­er­ing up Iran’s cul­pa­bil­ity for the 1994 bomb­ing of the AMIA, ordered the seizure of all doc­u­men­ta­tion and other evi­dence referred to in the complaint.
  • Author­i­ties raided both his home and his office for all doc­u­ments regard­ing any of his investigations.

In addition to the Iran allegations, Cristina Fernandez’s administration is also allegedly involved in money laundering and precursor chemical trafficking, according to this report by Douglas Farah. Adding to the list are new accusations of cover-ups by another Argentinian prosecutor, Germán Moldes.

Nis­man had been barred by the Argen­tin­ian gov­ern­ment from tes­ti­fy­ing on Iran’s increased influ­ence in South Amer­ica at a U.S. Con­gress sub­com­mit­tee hear­ing in 2013.

Yesterday evening I was discussing Iran’s expanding influence with David Gerstman who emailed,

Lee Smith recently wrote that in regards to the nuclear negotiations Iran is “pushing through an open door.” It’s not just in terms of the nukes, it’s also in terms of the regional hegemony. The US is willing to cede a huge amount of the Middle East influence to Iran.

The Tower did a post on Iran’s destabilizing influence on the region and noted that when he first proposed reaching out to Iran, Obama said, “actions over many years now have been unhelpful when it comes to promoting peace and prosperity both in the region and around the world; that their attacks or their financing of terrorist organizations like Hezbollah and Hamas, the bellicose language that they’ve used towards Israel, their development of a nuclear weapon, or their pursuit of a nuclear weapon — that all those things create the possibility of destabilizing the region.”

And now to go along with the outreach, the destabilization has only accelerated.

Indeed,

Senator Robert Menendez (D – N.J.), the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, pushed back today against the White House’s claims that Congressional action could derail negotiations with Iran over its illicit nuclear program. In his State of the Union speech last night, President Barack Obama claimed that such initiatives “will all but guarantee that diplomacy fails” with Iran.

In his opening statement to a committee hearing titled “Iran Nuclear Negotiations: Status of Talks and the Role of Congress“, Menendez said:

The more I hear from the administration in its quotes, the more it sounds like talking points that come straight out of Tehran. And it feeds to the Iranian narrative of victimization when they are the ones with original sin: an illicit nuclear weapons program going back over the course of twenty years that they are unwilling to come clean on.

Bonus:
Argentine Phone Calls Detail Efforts to Shield Iran

UPDATE,
Read Claudia Rosett on Alberto Nisman’s Warning About Iran, especially page 2.

Analysis: Alberto Nisman and the Crisis of Democracy in Argentina

———————————-

In a lighter mode,

Mexican humorist Paco Almaraz has Cristina in the burnt-out unit, and brings up the names of “suicides” Brigadier Rodolfo Echegoyen, Jorge [sic – the correct name is Horacio] Estrada, Alfredo Yabrán, Lourdes di Natale and Marcelo Cattaneo (in Spanish).

—————————-

Linked to by Legal Insurrection. Thank you!
Linked to by IBD. Thank you!



Uruguay: Send more Gitmo alumni!

Monday, December 15th, 2014

While the world looks at the terrorist holding people hostage in Sydney,

Uruguay Tries to SetPattern on Guantanamo Detainees
President José Mujica’s Government Expressed Hope That His Nation’s Gesture Would Lead Other Countries to Resettle Prisoners From at the U.S.-Run Facility
.

Mujica didn’t say “send Uruguay more Giltmo alumni,” though.

Last week I was asking under what country’s passports would the six terrorists travel. It looks like there’s an answer (emphasis added):

Approved for release from a military hospital and given Uruguayan identity documents, the men moved into a small-three bedroom house in Montevideo provided by a labor confederation. “These men have gone through an extremely difficult situation,” said Fernando Pereira, a union official, “so we’re going to give them psychological support and care.”

Empathy, indeed.

Mr. Mujica’s government has signaled that it wants to help the Obama administration in its goal of closing the detention center, which cannot take place until countries take in prisoners the U.S. have cleared for transfers.

So far in Latin America and the Caribbean, 12 former inmates have been resettled, including two in El Salvador in 2012 and four in Bermuda in 2009. The six who came to Montevideo—four Syrians, a Palestinian and a Tunisian—are the first detainees to be resettled in South America.

What could possibly go wrong?

U.S. releases 6 al-Qaeda detainees to Uruguay

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

Following up on yesterday’s post, my post, U.S. releases 6 al-Qaeda detainees to Uruguay

Four were members of the “Syrian Group;” all are connected to Abu Zubaydah; only one was deemed as “medium risk,” the other five were “high risk.”

The four Syrians are Ali Husein Shaaban, Ahmed Adnan Ahjam, Abd al Hadi Faraj and Jihad Ahmed Mujstafa Diyab; from the West Bank, Mohammed Abdullah Tahamuttan; from Tunisia, Abdul Bin Mohammed Bin Abess Ourgy.

And as soon as they got to Uruguay, they were given rights to come and go as they please.

Colombia: FARC using al-Qaeda for European drug trade

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

Via Álvaro Uribe’s tweet,

FARC using al-Qaeda networks to bring in cocaine in Sahel FARC-coke-al-Qaeda

The EFE article (in Spanish, my translation) FARC Using al-Qaeda Networks to Bring in Cocaine in Sahel

The FARC attempt to bring cocaine into Europe through the Sahel [note: a band of desert stretching across Africa – from Senegal in the West to Eritrea in the East], and are relying on Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) networks active on the Argelia, Mali and Mauritania border, according to Monday’s Al Massae Moroccan newspaper.

The newspaper, quoting an official report, explains that the FARC use the Sahel as springboard to Europe, after entering through Argelia and Morocco.

According to sources, AQIM charges the FARC a 15% “tax” on the cocaine value to guarantee a sage passage through the vast area it controls from the Western Sahara to north Mali, Mauritania y Argelia.

This alleged collusion between the FARC and AQIM translates into heavier weapons traffic in the zone, believed to be paid by the drug trade.

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) has gone on the record supporting the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS).

The Telegraph has an interactive Al-Qaeda map: Isis, Boko Haram and other affiliates’ strongholds across Africa and Asia

Al Qaeda in the Islamic Magreb
Operates in the Saharan countries – mainly in southern Algeria and Libya, Mauritania, Mali and Niger. Formed from a hard-core of fighters involved in Algeria’s civil war in the 1990s, in which Islamist fighters took arms after a democratically-elected Islamic government was ousted. Briefly set up its own fiefdom in northern Mali in 2012, before being ousted by French-led security force in January 2013. Makes a living by kidnapping foreigners, earning an estimated $60m from ransoms in the last decade.

And Colombia’s president wants unelected FARC members in the Senate, and broadening the definition of “political crime” to include drug trafficking, but only for FARC members.

[Post corrected for more accurate translation.]



Uruguay: Gitmo alumni go free

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

They can travel out of the country, too,
Guantanamo Inmates Get Rights in Uruguay
Six former prisoners in the Guantanamo detention center in Cuba were set to begin their lives as free men in Uruguay on Monday, as President José Mujica said they could travel in and out of the country.

Six former prisoners in the Guantanamo detention center in Cuba were set to begin their lives as free men in Uruguay on Monday, as President José Mujica said they could travel in and out of the country.

Under what country’s passports?, you would ask. Once they get (Uruguayan?) passports, where will they go?

Most of the men—a Palestinian, four Syrians and a Tunisian—were likely to leave the hospital on Tuesday once they cleared extensive physical and mental tests and move into temporary housing, officials said.

“They will be able to bring their families here if they want,” Uruguay’s defense minister, Eleuterio Fernández Huidobro, told a local news station. “They will be accompanied by people to help them adjust to the language and other things. They will have to find jobs.”

Ah-hum.

It’s all about the empathy,

In a televised interview on Friday, Mr. Mujica—a former guerrilla who was imprisoned for 14 years—said that while he had long criticized the U.S. for its “interventions and abuses,” he couldn’t decline a request by Mr. Obama to accept the men.

in other empathy news,

Is ISIS at the border? UPDATED

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

Who to believe?

U.S. Pushes Back Against Warnings That ISIS Plans to Enter From Mexico

Militants for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria have traveled to Mexico and are just miles from the United States. They plan to cross over the porous border and will “imminently” launch car bomb attacks. And the threat is so real that federal law enforcement officers have been placed at a heightened state of alert, and an American military base near the border has increased its security.

As the Obama administration and the American public have focused their attention on ISIS in recent weeks, conservative groups and leading Republicans have issued stark warnings like those that ISIS and other extremists from Syria are planning to enter the country illegally from Mexico. But the Homeland Security Department, the F.B.I. and lawmakers who represent areas near the border say there is no truth to the warnings.

So the question remains,
Who to believe? This, or the Obama administration?

UPDATE:
Frances Martel:

One country the Islamic State has made significant efforts to infiltrate, however, is Canada. Canadian jihadists are a significant contingent of the Islamic State Western population, and the group has targeted the nation in its propaganda videos. In one particularly egregious attempt to recruit Canadian jihadists, the Islamic State released atribute video to dead jihadist André Poulin, a Canadian, using footage of the man explaining why he left Canada to fight for the Islamic State. Poulin describes his early days watching hockey and fishing and concludes that jihad is much more fulfilling than Canadian life.

Moderate Muslims in the country have also raised the alarm that their congregations are being infiltrated by terrorist groups. Pacifist Canadian leader Syed Soharwardy, founder of the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada (ISCC), received death threats from extremists for calling attention to their recruitment. “Absolutely I am convinced that this recruitment is going on right here in this country, under our noses, in our universities, in our colleges, in the places of worship, in our community,” he told Canadian public television. Canadian citizens are so at risk for being radicalized by Islamist terrorist elements that the mother of one slain Islamic State jihadist has founded a support group for Western families struggling to cope with the loss of their child to jihad, and for those who fear their children are being radicalized and hope to prevent them from leaving to Iraq and Syria.

UPDATE
Linked to by Outrageous Minds. Thank you!


Chile seeks foreign help in subway bombing case

Thursday, September 11th, 2014

Chile seeks foreign help in subway bombing case

Prosecutor Raul Guzman didn’t say which countries had been contacted, but said “international agencies” had been asked for help in the investigation into the blast, which was the latest in a wave of 29 small bombings or attempted bombings in Santiago this year.

While no one has claimed responsibility for Monday’s attack in Santiago’s posh Las Condes neighborhood, police say they are looking at anarchist groups, which have claimed some of the past attacks.

President Michelle Bachelet boosted security at subway stations and elsewhere and has said she will use the country’s tough, dictatorship-era terrorism laws in the case.

September 11 is not only the date of the second World Trade Center attack, but also the Chilean coup; I don’t know if this means anything to the perpetrators.