The news related to the death of Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman this past Sunday is arriving in torrent. Nisman was killed under suspicious circumstances on the eve of the explosive testimony he was to give regarding his government’s complicity with Iran to suppress the investigation of the 1994 Jewish community center bombing; the suspicious circumstances include the staging of his death as an apparent suicide.
The New York Times reports that Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, against whom Nisman was to testify, has modified her position on the cause of Nisman’s death:
Confronted with a deepening scandal, the president of Argentina abruptly reversed herself on Thursday, saying that the death of the lead prosecutor investigating the 1994 bombing of a Jewish center was not a suicide as she and other government officials had suggested.
Instead, President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner suggested that the prosecutor’s death was part of what she hinted was a sinister plot to defame and destroy her.
The president’s change of position added a major new twist to the suspicious death of the prosecutor, Alberto Nisman, whose body was found in his luxury apartment in Buenos Aires late Sunday with a fatal gunshot wound to the head.
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After Mrs. Kirchner’s suggestion that his death appeared to be a suicide, her new explanation on Thursday was contained in a letter posted on her website, saying that Mr. Nisman had been manipulated by others to smear her.
“They used him while he was alive and then they needed him dead,” Mrs. Kirchner wrote in the letter, which she subtitled, in part, “The suicide (that I am convinced) was not suicide.”
The president offered no clear explanation or evidence as to who might have been responsible.
According to Kirchner, Nisman’s death was all about her. I take that as a sign that the evidence will take the cause of Nisman’s death in a direction away from suicide. The rest of the Times story notes that the suspicious circumstances continue to proliferate.
In a separate story, the Times provides a glimpse of what Nisman had on his mind at the time of his death:
Intercepted conversations between representatives of the Iranian and Argentine governments point to a long pattern of secret negotiations to reach a deal in which Argentina would receive oil in exchange for shielding Iranian officials from charges that they orchestrated the bombing of a Jewish community center in 1994.
The transcripts were made public by an Argentine judge on Tuesday night, as part of a 289-page criminal complaint written by Alberto Nisman, the special prosecutor investigating the attack. Mr. Nisman was found dead in his luxury apartment on Sunday, the night before he was to present his findings to Congress.
But the intercepted telephone conversations he described before his death outline an elaborate effort to reward Argentina for shipping food to Iran — and for seeking to derail the investigation into a terrorist attack in the Argentine capital that killed 85 people.
Argentine prosecutors suspect Iran of shielding guilty parties in the bombing of a Jewish center in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people.
The deal never materialized, the complaint says, in part because Argentine officials failed to persuade Interpol to lift the arrest warrants against Iranian officials wanted in Argentina in connection with the attack.
The phone conversations are believed to have been intercepted by Argentine intelligence officials. If proved accurate, the transcripts would show a concerted effort by representatives of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s government to shift suspicions away from Iran in order to gain access to Iranian markets and to ease Argentina’s energy troubles.
Suffice it to say that the Nisman case isn’t going away any time soon and we will do our best to keep up with it.