Argentina: Nisman’s door was unlocked

January 21st, 2015

New developments:
1. The locksmith called to open Alberto Nisman’s door on Sunday asserts that the service door to the apartment was unlocked,

“Anyone could have opened it.”

2. 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. They found a fingerprint and a footprint.

3. Spain’s El País published a PDF file of the civil complaint Nisman filed last week. The Kirchner regime released it to the public following popular outcry.

4. Last week Nisman transferred for safekeeping 330 CDs containing evidence to another person for safekeeping

5. Alberto Nisman will be buried at the Jewish cemetery, and not in the section reserved for those who have committed suicide, according to this report from Brazil’s R7 (link in Brazilian Portuguese).

In the Jewish faith, suicide is considered a sin against the Creator, and people who take their lives are buried in a separate area. However, Rabbi Ioni Shalom stated,

“I don’t believe he will be buried in the suicide section, because it is not certain that he did indeed commit suicide. And even if that were the case, he may have done so to protect someone, his family or even the whole [Jewish] community, since he was subjected to enormous threats – and that would be a noble attitude”

Both major Argentinian Jewish associations, AMIA (Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina) and DAIA (Delegación de Asociaciones Israelitas Argentinas), are working to have Nisman buried near the victims of the 1994 attack.

Read also my post The curious case of the dead Argentinian prosecutor UPDATED summarizing all the findings so far.

Ecuador: Censorship on line

January 20th, 2015

Simeon Tegel asks, Is Ecuador’s president using U.S. law to censor critics?

Ecuadoreans who dare to post content critical of Correa and his government on Twitter, YouTube and Facebook say they are finding their images and videos systematically targeted and taken down.

Even more unexpected is the justification being given time and again: the supposed violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), passed by Congress in 1998.

The law, intended to combat online piracy, holds Internet companies liable for copyright violations they host, however unwittingly. It also establishes a fast track “notice and takedown” process for rights holders to inform social networks and search engines when copyright is being breached.

As a result, those websites now automatically remove the content, and even close down repeat violators’ accounts. In practice, democracy activists say, that’s allowing a repressive government to shut down many of its online critics.

Human Rights Watch says this would be the latest move in Ecuador’s “deplorable free speech record.”

The Committee to Protect Journalists has more on Ecuador.

Argentina: Who killed #Nisman?

January 20th, 2015

  • No traces of gunpowder on his hands
  • Gun was not his
  • 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
  • Theory of “induced suicide”
  • Minister for State Security on the scene before police investigating authorities
  • 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
  • Left shopping list for his housekeeper

Following the outpour of outraged citizens in Buenos Aires and the country, the government has issued more information:

Spain’s El País reports (link in Spanish) that forensic tests showed no traces of gunpowder on Alberto Nisman’s hands.

The prosecutor in charge of the case, Viviana Fein, explains it as, “Coming from a small caliber weapon, 22 caliber, usually that causes that electronic sweeps show no results.” The weapon had no silencer.

Fein had previously revealed that the gun that shot the bullet in Nisman’s brain was not his, although he owned and had permits for two firearms; additionally,

Fein said she would not rule out the possibility that Nisman was “induced” to suicide.

Which, of course, opens innumerable spin opportunities for the government propaganda machine.

The AP suggests that none of the ten security officers assigned to protect Nisman was stationed on the thirteenth floor of the apartment building on which he lived.

The time of death appears to have been in the mid-afternoon, while none of his bodyguards were present.

Fein also had Nisman’s office raided today.

Timeline: The Events Leading to Alberto Nisman’s Death

Now Nisman is dead meaning that Kirchner and Iran can rest a lot easier. Are we to believe that his death is really a suicide, as the Argentinian government claimed today?

Related:
Argentine prosecutor’s death: The latest act in the Iran-Israel saga
Alberto Nisman was the Argentine prosecutor investigating Iran’s hand in the 1992 and 1994 bombings of Jewish targets; Imad Mughneiyeh, father of the Hezbollah commander killed in Syria on Sunday, was suspected of organizing the Argentina attack.

UPDATE:
Floor plan,

Nisman lived in Apartment 4 (shaded in green, bottom left).

The plot thickens: The government Secretary for Security was on the scene before the investigating authorities (including Fein and the coroner’s office).

Alberto Nisman Death: Judge Seizes Evidence, Initial Autopsy Findings Released (h/t David Gertsman).

“A suspicious death:” John Batchelor talked about Nisman in last night’s show.

UPDATE 2,
Nisman left a shopping list for his housekeeper.

The easement Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

January 19th, 2015

LatinAmerThis Carnival is dedicated to the new meaning of the word easement, which, following last Friday’s U.S. Department Of Commerce and U.S Department Of The Treasury Announcement Of Regulatory Amendments To The Cuba Sanctions now includes “making a deal where one gets nothing in return.”

However, the big news of the day is Alberto Nisman’s death by a gunshot wound in his home while his bodyguards were absent. Go to this morning’s post for more.

ARGENTINA
THE LONESOME DEATH OF ALBERTO NISMAN

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

ARUBA
Aruba Tops 1 Million Visitors for First Time

It also makes Aruba one of just five Caribbean destinations above the 1 million mark, along with the Bahamas, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Puerto Rico.

Cuba’s 1 million visitors sure made a difference so far, or haven’t they?

BOLIVIA
Bolivian Peasants Urged On by Drug Traffickers Hold Hostage, Beat 4 Police

BRAZIL
Petrobras’s Lesson for Latin America
We Ignore Cronyism at Our Peril

Codenamed Lava Jato, or “car wash,” the investigation into Petrobras operations by police and public prosecutors revealed a colossal corruption scheme involving former top executives, construction companies, and prominent politicians from the governing coalition dominated by the Workers’ Party (PT). Evidence uncovered so far suggests the privileged club of racketeers pocketed billions of dollars under the cover of public contracts.

CHILE
Chile’s Penta Case Pulls Dozens Into Corruption Scandal
Officials Took Cash for Influence, Allege Prosecutors

Chile’s Landmark Electoral Reform Passes Senate Hurdle
Binomial System on the Way Out, Gender Quota on the Way In

After a marathon 20-hour session on Wednesday, January 14, the Chilean Senate approved reform to an electoral system that dates back to the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. The objective is to increase the number of deputies and senators, and change the voting mechanism from binomial to proportional.

COLOMBIA
Why is Colombia Smuggling Coca Base to Honduras?

Colombia’s Santos Orders Discussion of Bilateral Cease-Fire with FARC

COSTA RICA
Costa Rica’s Quakers dodged US draft, now face perils of changing world
After leaving Alabama in 1951, small group of American pacifists maintains community in Central American highlands

CUBA
U.S. eases Cuba embargo

Breaking News from the Rumor Desk: Fidel gravely ill due to “embolia” (embolism)

Via Babalu,
* Obama will allow Americans to use credit cards in Cuba
* Castro will continue to prohibit private businesses from accepting credit card payments

ECUADOR
Ecuador targets cartoonist as world rejects Paris attacks

EL SALVADOR
U.N.’s Ban Ki-Moon Worried by El Salvador Violence as Murders Soar

FALKLAND ISLANDS
Bronze bust of Margaret Thatcher unveiled in Port Stanley
A statue honouring former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who lead Britain to victory in the 1982 conflict to defend the islands the Falkland Islands, has been unveiled in Port Stanley.

HONDURAS
U.S. Seeks to Seize Properties Bought by Corrupt Honduran Officials

IMMIGRATION
CBO: ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS GRANTED EXECUTIVE AMNESTY WOULD BE ELIGIBLE FOR CERTAIN FEDERAL BENEFITS

México: las rutas de los migrantes que no pueden viajar en La Bestia

MEXICO
DECOMPOSING BODY OF MURDERED MEXICAN ACTRESS FOUND IN WATER TANK

Mexico’s Unemployment Drop Points to Labor Market Recovery
Unemployment In Mexico Last Month Was 3.8%

MEXICO PROVIDING BIRTH CERTIFICATES TO ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS IN U.S.

Losing marijuana business, Mexican cartels push heroin and meth

PANAMA
Obama to Meet With Cuban Dictator Raul Castro in Panama

PERU
Peru’s Entire Economy Is Threatened By Anchovies

Peru Currency Drops to Lowest Since 2009 After Surprise Rate Cut

PUERTO RICO
Google to Launch ‘Modular’ Smartphone
Google plans to launch a ‘modular’ smartphone in Puerto Rico, part of an audacious and risky effort by the Internet giant to upend the way mobile devices are designed, built and sold.

Sony to Withdraw from Puerto Rico after 25 Years, Web Site Says

URUGUAY
Uruguay Offshore Bidding Plans Hinge on Oil Recovery

VENEZUELA
Venezuelan Bishops Get Religion

Venezuela’s Bishops Have A Message For Pope Francis on Communism

Wow! Venezuela bishops tell Pope Francis the downside of socialism and communism

Report: Coup Plot Possible Against Socialist Venezuelan President. Not quite yet.

Venezuelan oil basket down to USD 39.19 per barrel

The week’s posts and podcast:
Argentina: Cristina’s corrupt deals with the Ayatollahs

Starting the day with Smart Diplomacy

Cuba: Effective Friday UPDATED

Charlie Hebdo: 5 million

Venezuela: Qatar gives a band-aid

Who’s publishing the new Charlie Hebdo cartoon? UPDATED

Cuba: Finally, the list of the 53 UPDATED

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
Film: Boyhood

Cuba’s outdated Cold War mentality

Podcast



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.