Argentina: NISMAN DEAD, UPDATED

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!

The Saturday night Century of Sinatra post

January 17th, 2015

The fabulous Pundette and the excellent @MarkSteynOnLine are celebrating the Sinatra Century.

Pundette’s countdown includes The Last Dance,

while Steyn is Home on the Range. Home on the range, you ask? Oh yes. Go read it.

Early Sinatra was fabulous.

Argentina: Cristina’s corrupt deals with the Ayatollahs

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

Film: Boyhood

January 16th, 2015

My son recommended #BoyhoodMovie; it ‘s close to being the near-perfect Great American Movie of all time.

Read my review here.



Starting the day with Smart Diplomacy

January 16th, 2015

Lurch brought a friend to Paris:

Some of the reaction:

John Podhoretz

May God help us. Our secretary of state brought James Taylor with him to Paris and had Taylor sing “You’ve Got a Friend.” THIS HAPPENED. I want to escape America in a balloon.

This week’s podcast: Live at 1PM Eastern

January 15th, 2015

with host Silvio Canto, Jr., and archived for your listening convenience.

Cuba: Effective Friday UPDATED

January 15th, 2015

What this country doesn’t need is a good $2 Cuban cigar.

Alberto de la Cruz predicted it, Obama may release his new Cuba sanctions policy tomorrow against the apartheid Castro regime

Today, the Administration announces new regulations for Cuba travel, trade

Here’s the White House Statement by the Press Secretary on the Publication of Regulatory Changes regarding Cuba (emphasis added)

Last month, President Obama announced historic changes to our Cuba policy, beginning the process of normalization between our countries, and announcing his commitment to ease restrictions on American citizens and businesses. Today, the U.S. Departments of the Treasury and Commerce took a significant step forward in delivering on the President’s new direction by publishing regulatory amendments to existing Cuba sanctions. These changes will immediately enable the American people to provide more resources to empower the Cuban population to become less dependent upon the state-driven economy, and help facilitate our growing relationship with the Cuban people.

We firmly believe that allowing increased travel, commerce, and the flow of information to and from Cuba will allow the United States to better advance our interests and improve the lives of ordinary Cubans. The policy of the past has not worked for over 50 years, and we believe that the best way to support our interests and our values is through openness rather than isolation. The United States remains committed to our enduring objective of promoting the emergence of a more prosperous Cuba that respects the universal rights of all its citizens.

So, no, not effective Friday, effective immediately? The NYT says

a set of new regulations to take effect on Friday easing decades-old restrictions on travel, business and remittances

so let’s not split hairs over the date; after all, everyone knew something like this was coming.

UPDATE:
Read it and weep, Fact Sheet: U.S. Department Of Commerce and U.S Department Of The Treasury Announcement Of Regulatory Amendments To The Cuba Sanctions

Charlie Hebdo: 5 million

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?



Cuba’s outdated Cold War mentality

January 14th, 2015

Since the next round of US-Cuban discussions is scheduled for January 21 and 22 (a week from today) in Havana, it’s worth taking a look at Cuba’s outdated Cold War mentality.

Read my article here.

Image from Comrade Šterpin at The People’s Cube.

Venezuela: Qatar gives a band-aid

January 14th, 2015

No specifics, though:
Qatar Helps Venezuela Weather Oil Crisis
Venezuela Will Receive ‘Several Billion Dollars’ in Financing From Qatari banks, President Nicolás Maduro said, as Opposition Members Criticized the Leader’s Economic Stewardship.

“They’re giving us enough oxygen to cover the fall in crude prices,” he said in remarks carried on Venezuelan state television.

An untold amount, in an untold date, by unnamed banks.

Sounds like a deal!

Meanwhile, Venezuelan authorities are doing what they do best:
Over 1.5 Million Diapers Seized from Venezuela Warehouse

A government raid on a warehouse in western Venezuela has resulted in the confiscation of more than 1.5 million diapers along with over 360 tons of detergent and thousands of pounds of food which were being illegally hoarded.

Venezuelan Vice President Jorge Arreaza said on state television Monday that during the raid, 1,523,776 diapers, 360 tons of detergent powder, as well as conditioners, razors and towels, were found.

In the warehouse, situated in Zulia province, there were also 15,000 units with thousands of liters (gallons) of infant milk substitute, 17,076 kilograms (37,646 pounds) of beans, 11,176 liters (2,952 gallons) of milk, 40,250 kilograms (88,736 pounds) of maize flour and 30,000 kilograms (66,139 pounds) of rice, Arreaza said.

They also found sanitary napkins, shampoos of different brands, soap powder, toothpastes, batteries, napkins, food supplements, milk powder, salsas and pet food.

No band-aids there.

And people who photograph the long lines and empty shelves are sent to jail.

Juan Cristobal Nagel posted videos of folks Overcoming capitalist savagery at Farmatodo Bella Vista: