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.
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
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