Sunday, September 23, 2018

the Argentina-Iran crime fiasco

7-20-15    Since the 1980s,
Argentine federal prosecutor Alberto Nisman wrote, Iran had established a “vast spy network” inside Argentina that gathered information, picked targets and recruited local helpers.  The coördinator of the AMIA operation inside the country was an Iranian named Mohsen Rabbani, who for many years was a leader at a mosque in Buenos Aires called Al Tawhid.  It was Rabbani, Nisman said, who financed the attack, oversaw the purchase of the Renault and directed the assembly of the bomb.
  Nisman tracked the movements and telephone conversations of Rabbani and others in the days and hours leading up to the attack, showing that most of the plotters were talking to one another and to the Iranian Embassy in Buenos Aires. Nearly all of them left Argentina before the bombing, as did the Iranian Ambassadors to Argentina and several neighboring countries.  But Rabbani stayed behind.  He had recently been appointed a cultural attaché at the Iranian Embassy and was thus the beneficiary of diplomatic immunity.  Remarkably, he remained in Argentina for three more years, proclaiming his innocence, and was never taken into custody….
  Robert Baer, a former American intelligence official who tracked links between Hezbollah and Iran, said. “Mugniyah never did anything without the green light of the Supreme Leader.”
  In 2007 Interpol’s general assembly endorsed Nisman’s indictment and issued “red notices” for five Iranian officials, calling on member states to arrest them.  Interpol declined to issue warrants for the former Iranian President, Foreign Minister and Ambassador—not because the proof did not merit them but because the agency’s bylaws prevent it from pursuing national leaders….
  On January 27, 2013, Kirchner announced that she had struck an agreement with Iran to set up the truth commission.  The agreement did not call for a trial of the Iranian suspects, and none of its findings would be binding. ….
  Among other things, Iran and Venezuela had established a weekly flight between Caracas and Tehran, and the two governments had set up a two-billion-dollar fund for investments in both countries. American officials say that Chávez also granted safe haven to operatives from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and from Hezbollah.  In 2007 Chávez agreed to allow Iran and Hezbollah to use Venezuela as the base for a drug-trafficking and money-laundering network, according to a former American official who worked on narco-terrorism investigations.  The official told me that the network netted the Iranians and Hezbollah as much as a billion dollars a year, with the Caracas-Tehran flights often being used to ferry drugs.
  As Cristina Kirchner solidified her relationship with Chávez, Argentina grew closer to Iran.  During her first term trade between the two countries doubled, with Iranians buying large quantities of Argentine grain. …
  In the days before Nisman died he believed that the Iranians were coming for him.  When he met Bullrich, the congresswoman, he told her that he had overheard wiretapped conversations of Argentine military-intelligence officers saying they had passed his personal information to agents of Iran—on orders from Kirchner.  Nisman said the Iranians knew “about him, about the investigation, with details about his family, about his daughters, about all the movements of his daughters.”
  Since the Islamic Revolution the Iranian regime has maintained an aggressive assassination program.  The regime has been accused of murdering at least eighteen people living outside Iran, most of them Iranian dissidents.  The most notorious murders took place in 1992, when Iranian agents gunned down four Kurdish exiles at a Greek restaurant in Berlin.  In that case German prosecutors had pursued Iranian officials relentlessly, much as Nisman did.
10-30-17   former Argentine intelligence operative, Ramon Bogado,…testified that the former Argentine government of Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner negotiated a secret pact with the Iranians in 2011 to exonerate Tehran of responsibility for the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish center in Buenos Aires.  According to Bogado, a part of the deal involved the transfer of nuclear expertise, technology and equipment to Iran from Argentina….Any nuclear transactions, Bogado said, would be moved through shell companies in Uruguay and Argentina, under the watchful eye of the late Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez—whom Bogado confirmed was the key influence on Kirchner in her decision to embrace Tehran as strategic partner….
  It’s important to remember that by the time the secret pact was signed by former Argentine Foreign Minister Hector Timerman and his Iranian counterpart, Ali Akbar Salehi, in January 2011, the revelation of Iran’s surreptitious nuclear activities was almost a decade old….Bogado’s statements in Argentina are a reminder that the Iranian regime’s goal is to obtain complete, unsupervised authority over its nuclear program.  To that end it will do its level best to circumvent any restrictions laid down by the international community—just as North Korea did.
12-11-17      In May 2013 Nisman released a 500-page indictment outlining how Iran had penetrated not just Argentina, but also Brazil, Uruguay, Chile, Guyana, Paraguay, Trinidad, Tobago and Suriname, and how it used mosques, social service organizations and its own embassies to radicalize and recruit terrorists.  Mr. Nisman also shared information that helped American authorities determine that Mohsen Rabbani, the Iranian embassy cultural attaché and one of the AMIA bombing masterminds, helped four men, including his disciple, a Guyanese official named Abdul Kadir, plot to blow up the fuel lines at Kennedy International Airport in New York.  Mr. Kadir is serving a life sentence in the United States for the foiled plot, which could have led to the loss of countless lives.
  In a normal democracy investigating the murder of a man like Alberto Nisman would be a top priority.  But Ms. Kirchner and her allies assured that justice for Mr. Nisman’s murder was stymied for years.
  That changed three months ago, when, under Argentina’s new president, Mauricio Macri, a fresh investigation by the Argentine national police found that Mr. Nisman had been drugged with Ketamine, a drug used to sedate animals, then brutally beaten before he was shot in the head.
  The case against Ms. Kirchner is based on more than 40,000 legal wiretaps and other evidence, much of it collected by Mr. Nisman, which reveals a secret backchannel between her government and Iran.
10-18-17       The former agent,
Ramon Bogado, told an inquiry into the collusion between Iran and the government of former President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner that the offer of nuclear assistance had been communicated to the Iranians by officials in Venezuela.
Presenting 18 documents to the court which he said detailed the nuclear offer, Bogado — a former agent with the SIDE national intelligence agency — added that it addressed how Iran could circumvent international sanctions to receive nuclear technology.  Argentina, which began its own domestic nuclear program in the 1960s, is considered a global leader in nuclear technology.


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