Archive for the ‘terrorism’ Category

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

———————————-

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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Argentina: NISMAN DEAD, UPDATED

Monday, January 19th, 2015

Hours before he was schedule to report/testify in a closed hearing to the Argentinian Congress regarding his investigation of Cristina Fernandez’s corrupt dealings with Iran, federal prosecutor Alberto Nisman has been found dead of a gunshot wound to the head.

He was found dead by his mother in the bathroom of his home,

The Security Ministry released a statement saying that Mr Nisman’s bodyguards had raised the alarm after he failed to answer their phone calls on Sunday.

Concerned about his welfare, they fetched Mr Nisman’s mother and tried to enter his apartment, the statement said.

They found the door locked from the inside with a key still stuck inside.

After a locksmith gained access, they found Mr Nisman’s body in the bathroom.

He had said in an interview with Clarin (which has been in Fernandez’s crosshairs in the past), I may end up dead from this.”

Clarin has a roundup of international news media coverage here.

Who will obtain justice for Alberto Nisman?

Nisman was a man determined to follow the facts, and committed to achieving justice. When Imad Mughniyeh was killed, allegedly by Israel, in a February 2008 car-bombing in Damacus, he told me he felt no sorrow at the terror chief’s death, but neither did he feel that justice had been served.

What seems particularly tragic about the death of Alberto Nisman in Buenos Aires this week, the death of a brave, decent, seeker of justice, an honest man who would not be intimidated or deterred, is that there will be nobody of comparable caliber and guts to ensure justice for him.

Added:

Haaretz’s Noga Tarnopolsky tweets:

more here.

UPDATE:
I must clarify: While the BBC tiptoes about the cause of death, Clarin’s report specifically states:

Aunque no se conocieron los detalles del hecho, trascendió que su cuerpo apareció sin vida en el baño, aparentemente en la bañadera.

Las primeras informaciones indicaron que tenía un disparo en la cabeza de un revólver de pequeño calibre. Sobre su escritorio estaba la documentación que el fiscal iba a presentar hoy en Diputados. La confirmación de la muerte la dio el juez que invtervino [sic] en la causa, Manuel De Campos, y las primeras hipótesis hablaban de un “supuesto suicidio”.

Todavía hay muchas dudas con respecto a lo que pasó. “Les pido cautela y que esperen los informen. En los próximos días sabremos las causas de la muerte. Encontramos un arma”, contó la fiscal Viviana Fein, una de las primeras en llegar.

My translation – please credit me and link to this post if you use it:

While the details are not known, it was learned that his body was found in the bathroom, apparently in the bathtub.

The earliest information indicated he had a shotgun wound to the head from a small caliber weapon. On his desk was the documentation he was going to present today at the Chamber of Deputies. Judge Manuel De Campos, who was involved in the case, confirmed the death, and the first hypothesis claim an “apparent suicide.”

Many doubts remain as to what happened. “I ask for caution and to wait for information. We will know the cause of death in the following days. We will find a weapon,” stated prosecutor Viviana Fein, one of the first to arrive at the scene.

Spain’s El Pais, however, moves the body,

Lo encontraron en el baño. Su cuerpo inerte bloqueaba la puerta. A su lado se halló un arma y un casquillo de bala.

My translation,

He was found in the bathroom. His lifeless body was blocking the door. Next to him a weapon and a shell casing [correction: cartridge shell is the more accurate term] were found.

Linked to by The Lid. Thank you!

Argentina: Cristina’s corrupt deals with the Ayatollahs

Saturday, January 17th, 2015

Alberto Nisman, General Prosecutor of the AMIA 1994 bombing, filed a criminal complaint on January 14

against President Cristina Kirchner , her foreign minister and others, accusing them of conspiring to cover up an investigation into Iran’s alleged involvement in the 1994 bombing

Nisman, who was barred by the Argentinian government from testifying on Iran’s increased influence in South America at a U.S. Congress subcommittee hearing in 2013, accuses Cristina of ordering Foreign Minister Hector Timerman and others to negotiate immunity for Iranian suspects in exchange for allowing Argentina to import Iranian oil. Meanwhile,

Mr. Nisman has asked Judge Lijo to freeze $23 million of assets belonging to Mrs. Kirchner and the others named in the complaint. There was no time frame for a decision to be handed down on whether to proceed with a case against Mrs. Kirchner or the others. Court cases in Argentina can sometimes take many years to resolve.

Nisman inadvertently began uncovering evidence of the plot during the investigation of the AMIA bombing.

Likewise,

In 2009, his sleuthing led to the indictment of Carlos Menem, who was president at the time of the attack. He was accused of tampering with evidence that implicated a Syrian businessman. The case is still in progress.

However, judge Rodolfo Canicoba Corral, in charge of the AMIA investigation, criticized Nisman over procedural issues, saying that “the prosecutor has arrogated powers to investigate other things outside this procedure,” and claims to have found out from broadcast news about Nisman’s complaint.

On her part, Cristina says the accusations are an attempt to destabilize her government.

A brief roundup:
Prosecutor claims Argentina’s president hid Iran role in 1994 bombing
Alberto Nisman accuses Cristina Fernández of ‘fabricating the innocence of Iran’ over blast at Jewish community center offices that killed 85 people
. In the 300-page complaint,

Nisman claims that the president decided to “not incriminate” former senior Iranian officials for their roles in planning the bombing, and instead has sought a rapprochement with Tehran, “establishing trade relations to mitigate Argentina’s severe energy crisis,” the Buenos Aires Herald reported.

When her agreement with Iran was challenged in the Argentinean courts, “and here is the criminal (aspect), the president ordered to divert the investigation, abandoning years of a legitimate demand of justice, and sought to free the Iranians imputed (in the case) from all suspicions, contradicting their proven ties with the attack. She decided to fabricate ‘the innocence of Iran’,” the newspaper quoted Nisman as alleging.

Oil and trouble
A prosecutor accuses the president of obstructing justice in the country’s biggest terror case

In 2013, Argentina announced that it would collaborate with Iran in a joint commission “to advance knowledge of the truth about the attack,” as Ms Fernández wrote on Twitter at the time. The country’s Jewish population, the world’s seventh largest, was puzzled and angry about the accord. Now the prosecutor, Alberto Nisman, alleges that the controversial deal was reached in back-channel negotiations that Ms Fernández initiated with Iran. He claims that she offered to cover up the involvement of any Iranian officials in exchange for increased trade. Argentina would export grain to Iran, while Iran would sell oil to Argentina to ease its severe energy deficit.

In the end, for reasons that are still unclear, the negotiations failed and the deal fell apart. But Mr Nisman has marshalled evidence of the talks in a 300-page document that he filed in a Buenos Aires court. “They decided, negotiated, and assured the impunity of the fugitive Iranians in the AMIA case with the aim of faking Iran’s innocence to serve geopolitical and commercial interests,” Mr Nisman declared. The allegations against Ms Fernández, her foreign minister, Héctor Timerman, and others are based on “irrefutable proof” from two years of investigations and myriad wiretaps, Mr Nisman claims.

Kirchner Accused of Covering Up 1994 Terrorist Bombing
Prosecutor: President Made Secret Deal with Iran for Cheap Oil

Fernandez Graft Cases Multiply in Argentine Electoral Year

Argentina’s Jews Reel From New Twist in Terror Probe
Prosecutor Accuses President Christina Kirchner of Conspiring to Cover Up a Probe Into a 1994 Terrorist Attack on a Jewish Center

Argentina’s Kirchner Named in Criminal Complaint
An Argentine prosecutor filed a complaint against President Cristina Kirchner, her foreign minister and others for allegedly conspiring to cover up a probe into Iran’s alleged involvement in the bombing of a Jewish community center.

A federal prosecutor in Argentina has filed a criminal complaint against President Cristina Kirchner , her foreign minister and others, accusing them of conspiring to cover up an investigation into Iran’s alleged involvement in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in this capital city.

The prosecutor, Alberto Nisman, said on Wednesday that Mrs. Kirchner had ordered Foreign Minister Hector Timerman and others to negotiate immunity for Iranian suspects in hopes this would reestablish trade ties and allow Argentina to import Iranian oil to ease a domestic energy crisis. The alleged plan didn’t come to fruition, however.

Prosecutor: Argentinian President Plotted to Cover Up Iranian Role in AMIA Bombing

Charlie Hebdo: 5 million

Thursday, January 15th, 2015

Five million copies are being issued this week following last week’s massacre:

Air France bought 20,000 copies of Charlie Hebdo to distribute to passengers.

Spain’s El País is all-in, not only showing the cover on the front page, but showing and translating into Spanish the special issue’s centerfold (click on image to go to El País),

Contrast that with Sky News’s anchorwoman:

and Pope Francis:

Pope Francis said Thursday there are limits to freedom of expression, especially when it insults or ridicules someone’s faith.

It’s a good thing the pope can express his opinion freely, without fear that someone may force him to STFU.

Bonus:
Where’s the Lead in the Pencil?



Who’s publishing the new Charlie Hebdo cartoon? UPDATED

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

Buzzfeed has the list:
Here’s Who Is And Isn’t Publishing The New Charlie Hebdo Cover Image
Libération, the newspaper where Charlie Hebdo staff have been working since the attack, unveiled the cover of the magazine’s next edition on Monday. Some news outlets have been censoring themselves when it comes to publishing cartoons of Muhammad after the deadly Paris attack last week.

UPDATE:
My initial reaction to the “Tout est pardonné” (all is forgiven) was “Rien n’est pardonné” (nothing is forgiven). Ace’s Laura looks at what it really means.