Archive for the ‘terrorism’ Category

Argentina: Gitmo alumnus “ready to fight”

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

Today’s Capt. Louis Renault moment

comes from Argentina via Uruguay:

Syrian Jihad Ahmad Diyab, one of the six Gitmo alumni released to Uruguay last month, went to Argentina (link in Spanish), to request that that country issue asylum to other Gitmo alumni,

“I’ll never forget my comrades there, and that’s why I came here to fight.”

Diyab’s mother is Argentinian.

Here’s his interview, in Spanish, where he claimed he was just a regular guy living with his family until the Americans dragged him out of his home and sent him to Gitmo,

Thomas Joscelyn shows otherwise:

The four Syrians transferred — Ahmed Adnan Ahjam, Ali Husein Shaaban, Abd al Hadi Omar Mahmoud Faraj, and Jihad Ahmed Mujstafa Diyab — were all allegedly members of the so-called “Syrian Group.” The JTF-GTMO files describe the “Syrian Group” as “comprised of dismantled terrorist cells that escaped Syrian authorities and fled to Afghanistan (AF) in 2000.”

Part of the reporting in the JTF-GTMO files on the so-called “Syrian Group” came from the Syrian government, which was opposed to this particular group of jihadists but also eventually allied with al Qaeda in the fight against American forces in Iraq. Ultimately, in a form of blowback, that one-time alliance would fracture.

Lying (Taqiyya and Kitman)

There are two forms of lying to non-believers that are permitted under certain circumstances, taqiyya and kitman. These circumstances are typically those that advance the cause Islam – in some cases by gaining the trust of non-believers in order to draw out their vulnerability and defeat them.

This report says that Diyab also goes by the name of Abu Wael Dihab; in it an Uruguayan official asserts that “none of the former detainees has expressed the intention of leaving nor made any efforts to,” even when Diyab stated in an interview that he had no desire to return to Uruguay. None of the six have accepted any employment offers, all dropped out of state-provided Spanish lessons.

The Delegación de Asociaciones Israelitas Argentinas, or DAIA (Delegation of Israelite Argentinian Associations) is worried about the possibility of a new Islamist attack in Argentina, following the theft of a TOW 2 missile and 130 FAL rifles from the armed forces.

(On a lighter vein, separted at birth? Christian Bale).

Argentina: Why we’ll probably never learn the truth about the #Nisman murder

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015

Princeton University professor Jeremy Adelman explains it clearly, “The Nisman affair is a saga that braids together incompetence, corruption, and murder on a global scale.

The other dark shadow cast over this controversy is the history of Argentina’s intelligence services. Their origins date to the first Juan Perón government (1946–55), which enlisted Nazi war criminals to serve as Perón’s spies. During the military junta’s rule in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the services were deeply involved in repressing the opposition and colluding with neighboring dictatorships. After the return to democracy in 1983, many argued that the intelligence services needed to be cleansed or disbanded. They weren’t. In the course of the AMIA investigations, the Secretariat of Intelligence became part of the problem. One former investigator, Claudio Lifschitz, claimed he was abducted and tortured by SI agents. The intelligence services have been hoarding incriminating evidence on all sides, using it to empower a secret state within the state.

As with so many rackets, internal feuding broke out inside the SI. Some factions patronized President Fernández; others freelanced. Last December, President Fernández launched a purge. This tipped the scales. One of the ousted SI agents was the chief of operations, the murky Antonio Stiusso. Stiusso had been feeding Nisman transcripts of wiretapped conversations between top Fernández aides and senior Iranian officials about squelching the AMIA inquiry and food-for-oil bargaining. Some in the president’s circle said Stiusso was conniving with American sources in a campaign to isolate Iran.

Sure enough, the government is now saying that Nisman talked with Stiusso and they want to question Stiusso (link in Spanish), “on the nature of his relationship with Nisman,” scoring two points for creating suspicion – one on innuendo, and on politics.

It’s not clear if Stiusso has been found.

A new DNA profile has been found at Nisman’s apartment on a coffee cup, and they’re trying to determine to whom it belongs. Diego Lagomarsino, who allegedly brought Nissan his gun, has already stated he had coffee with Nisman.

Government supporters are saying Cristina Fernandez, not Nisman, is the real victim.

(h/t Babalu)

Back to Adelman,

At this stage, it is hard to know what is worse: the rot in Argentine public institutions that can’t investigate an atrocity after 20 years, the depths to which Argentine hopes for truth and accountability have plunged, or the sordid spectacle of a president personalizing a crisis she helped to create?

All of the above.

Or, as Simon Romero put it, Whodunit? In Obsessed Nation, Question Becomes Who Didn’t

UPDATE:
Linked to by Babalu. Thank you!

Colombia: Is that a Russian RPG in your pocket?

Thursday, February 5th, 2015

The Santos administration’s peace talks with the FARC resumed yesterday in Havana. Maybe they’ll bring this up:

Colombia military seizes anti-aircraft rockets ‘meant for FARC’

Colombia’s military said Wednesday it had seized 16 anti-aircraft rockets which were allegedly destined for the rebel group FARC.

The commander of the Pegasus Task Force, General Luis Fernando Rojas, announced that as well as the rockets which are capable of taking down an aircraft, the army also seized 20 other cargoes and 470 loads of 40mm grenades.

The Russian-made RPG 7V anti-tank rockets were on their way to the 29th Front of the FARC when they were intercepted by the military, Rojas said.

The general stated that the operation was conducted in the municipality of Aldana, which borders Ecuador.

How’s that truce going, folks?

Argentina: #Nisman is front-page news at the NYT

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

While the White House is purportedly making deals with Iran,

Now the Jerusalem Post reports that European diplomats say the deal between Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is for Tehran to keep about 6,500 centrifuges in return for “guaranteeing regional stability” — using Iranian influence to keep Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria in check. International sanctions that Obama claims have forced Iran to the negotiating table would be lifted.

Suddenly, the lead investigator of a terrorist attack involving Iran (possibly was the foremost expert on Iranian operations in Latin America) turns up dead . . . the day before he was scheduled to testify to his country’s Congress on his allegations that the country’s president had colluded with Iran to interfere with the investigation.

Prior to his death he had told a reporter

that he had evidence tying Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires.

The Washington Free Beacon first reported that Rouhani was part of the secretive Iranian government committee that approved the AMIA bombing, according to witness testimony included in a 500-page indictment written by the late Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman, who was appointed to investigate the attack.

Simon Romero’s report made it to the front page of the NYT:
Draft of Arrest Request for Argentine President Found at Dead Prosecutor’s Home

Alberto Nisman, the prosecutor whose mysterious death has gripped Argentina, had drafted a request for the arrest of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, accusing her of trying to shield Iranian officials from responsibility in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish center here, the lead investigator into his death said Tuesday.

The 26-page document, which was found in the garbage at Mr. Nisman’s apartment, also sought the arrest of Héctor Timerman, Argentina’s foreign minister. Both Mrs. Kirchner and Mr. Timerman have repeatedly denied Mr. Nisman’s accusation that they tried to reach a secret deal with Iran to lift international arrest warrants for Iranian officials wanted in connection with the bombing.

Romero explains why Nisman didn’t go through with the arrest request,

Normally, a prosecutor in Argentina seeks an arrest out of concern that the people charged with crimes will try to corrupt the investigation or flee the country, according to Susana Ciruzzi, a professor of criminal law at the University of Buenos Aires who knew Mr. Nisman.

But in this case, some legal experts suspect that Mr. Nisman decided against requesting the arrest of Mrs. Kirchner because such a move would have been viewed as a political attack on the president in a case that has already polarized the nation.

Moreover, Mrs. Kirchner and Mr. Timerman have immunity as members of the executive branch. They could have been arrested only if a judge handling the case were to authorize a political trial similar to an impeachment process and ask Congress to lift their immunity, Ms. Ciruzzi said.

For both leaders to be stripped of their immunity would have required a two-thirds majority vote in both houses of Argentina’s legislature.

The draft was dated June 2014,

The date is important because, after Nisman’s death, Fernández de Kirchner claimed that the Special Prosecutor had decided to request her arrest only recently, while he was on a visit to Europe. The president implied strongly that unnamed foreign powers were manipulating Nisman, who spent more than a decade in charge of the investigation into the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish center in Buenos Aires.

Also in the draft, Nisman alleged that

Venezuela’s then-ambassador to Argentina, Roger Capella, had in 2006 contributed to the cover-up of the 1994 AMIA terrorist attack.

According to Nisman’s evidence, the Venezuelan diplomat helped foment protests against the arrest of Iranian suspects ordered by the Argentinean judiciary.

“The demonstration against the Argentinean court’s ruling was carried out by the Iranian embassy, headed by Luis D’Elía — supported by Iran’s middleman in Argentina, Jorge Alejandro “Yussuf” Khalil — and promoted by then-Venezuelan ambassador to Buenos Aires, Roger Capella,” Nisman wrote.

Fernandez’s chief of staff, Jorge Capitanich, tore up Clarin’s report showing the drafts in his press conference,

Viviana Fein,

the prosecutor in charge of the investigation into how he died, has radically revised her assessment of how he died, claiming that the deadly bullet entered not through his temple, as originally stated, but two centimeters – around three-quarters of an inch – behind his ear.

If Fein’s latest conclusion is borne out by the facts, it will further weaker the assertion that Nisman’s death was a suicide, since the the bullet’s point of entry strongly suggests that the trigger was pulled by someone else.

Yesterday she announced that she would be taking a vacation between February 18 and March 5.

Over in the Middle East, Iran and Hizbullah Mourn Mughniyeh and Plan Revenge Worldwide (h/t The Tower; emphasis added),

Nasrallah, for his part, in his speech on January 30, the day of remembrance for the fallen in the Kuneitra operation, asserted that all of the existing rules of the game with Israel before the Kuneitra operation were no longer in existence. In mentioning the assassination of the second leader of Hizbullah, Abbas Musawi, he alluded to the price Israel paid with the 1992 bombing attack on the Israeli embassy in Argentina carried out with Iranian assistance, implying that this would be a model for the response.

But none of this matters to the White House, where

Ideals, persuasion, feelings, and intent are now the stuff of foreign policy, not archaic and polarizing rules of deterrence, balance of power, military readiness, and alliances.

The deals with Iran roll right along.

Related:
Argentina: Intolerancia: El gobierno desafía una vez más la libertad de prensa de manera violenta

Did the Argentine Government Kill Alberto Nisman?



Colombia: Santos wants former FARC as cops

Friday, January 30th, 2015

Words fail me:

Colombia has become embroiled in a heated debate after President Juan Manuel Santos announced the possible creation of a rural police force similar to the French gendarmerie if the government signs a peace agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

The idea, Santos said, was to consolidate security in the regions most affected by the internal armed conflict, and he did not rule out the participation of demobilized ex-guerrilla members in that force.

Santos’ initial proposal did not mention the FARC, but when a journalist asked him about the possibility, the president thought about it and replied: “I hadn’t thought about that, but I would not rule it out. We could very well negotiate something like that with the other party [FARC],” he told the press in Paris after meeting with French President François Hollande during an official visit to the country.

Considering how Santos wants unelected FARC in Congress, it’s no surprise that many were outraged, among then Uribe,

“Santos has destroyed the self-esteem and initiative of law enforcement, and now he finishes them off by announcing the creation of terrorist police forces”

Let’s hope Santos was only talking off the top of his head.

The Santos administration talks with the FARC will resume on February 4 in Havana.

Argentina: Cristina wants to dissolve Secretariat of Intelligence

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

Let’s keep in mind that the Secretary of Intelligence was first on the murder scene,
Argentina leader wants shakeup after scandal

Kirchner has sent a draft bill to the country’s parliament which, if passed, would mean the Secretariat of Intelligence (SI) is replaced by the Federal Intelligence Agency.

Cristina would have us believe that Nisman, probably one of the most knowledgeable people on Iran’s presence in Latin America, was

a naive investigator who was used by others who fed him false information

I wonder whether anyone believes Kirchner at this point.

However, Alberto Nisman’s death ‘responsibility of pro-Kirchner intelligence operatives’, claims ex-official
Former senior Argentine security official blames presidential loyalist cell for killing of prosecutor as Cristina Kirchner calls for intelligence agency to be dissolved

But in the latest twist to the dramatic saga, the former senior official said that it was in fact Kirchner loyalists in the intelligence services (SI) who were responsible for Mr Nisman’s death.
He said that political operatives from the president’s Peronist faction took control of the SI after she fired its director John Stiusso and his deputy in December for allegedly being too close to the US and Israeli intelligence services.

Why kill Nisman after so many years?

Because, it is alleged, that among the Iranians who participated in the decision to bomb the AMIA buliding was none other than the current president of Iran, Hassan Rouhani.

Juan Zarate underlines why Alberto Nisman’s death is significant,



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,

UPDATE
Linked to by Neo-neocon. Thank you!

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

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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).

—————————-

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