Kirchner reverses herself, says Nisman death 'not a suicide'
Argentina president Cristina Kirchner reversed her government's position on the death of prosecutor Alberto Nisman, saying now that his death was not a suicide.
The reversal comes as evidence gathered by Nisman proving that the government covered up Iranian involvement in the 1994 suicide bombing of a Jewish community center was released on Thursday. Kirchner is saying that Nisman was killed to discredit her government and that the prosecutor was "misled" by people posing as intelligence agents who fed him wrong information.
Kirchner, after flip-flopping on the suicide theory, is now trying to convince the public that Nisman was duped by people whom he wrongfully thought were intelligence agents and who gave him false information.
Kirchner is acting the part of a concerned woman who feels sorry for Nisman for being misled by people who she says were trying to act against the government, used Nisman for their own purposes, and then finished him off when they had no more use for him.
How delightful. At least she no longer believes Nisman killed himself. It’s the bad people who did it.
Earlier this week, a locksmith debunked the theory that it must have been a suicide because the bathroom door was locked. He said the service door to the late prosecutor’s apartment was closed but unlocked.
Government prosecutor Viviana Fein said that the locksmith was mistaken, insisting that the service door of Alberto Nisman’s apartment was locked when his mother and the bodyguards arrived, the Buenos Aires Herald reported.
Fein explained the different versions by pointing out that there were two locks on the service door and that Nisman’s mother had unlocked one of them before the locksmith arrived.
Argentine senator Ernesto Sanz said that if Kirchner “thinks he was killed, she needs to remove Security (Ministry) chiefs. This is very serious…. If they first thought that it was a suicide and now they don’t, it is because there is someone linked to the State who convinced them of this.”
Security Secretary Sergio Berni said Nisman’s apparent murder was an “operation against the government,” according to the Herald.
“Everyone understands that this was a big operation against the government,” Berni said in a radio interview, explaining that murdering Nisman only made his complaints more serious.
In other words, if someone murdered Nisman it was not to protect Kirchner but rather to make her appear even more suspicious.
That doesn't even sound plausible. Meanwhile, the 289-page criminal complaint contained some interesting facts:
Mrs. Kirchner, the complaint says, ordered intermediaries to secretly negotiate a deal with Tehran to offer immunity for Iranian suspects in exchange for Iranian oil. Mr. Nisman, who had spent a decade investigating the bombing of the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association center, or AMIA, had in a previous report accused Iran of masterminding the attack.
“In effect, Argentina’s president issued an express directive to design and execute a coverup plan to dissociate the Iranians accused in the AMIA attack,” Mr. Nisman wrote in the complaint, which was made public late Tuesday by Judge Ariel Lijo.
The government on Wednesday declined to comment on Mr. Nisman’s report. But cabinet Chief Jorge Capitanich said the government is working to clear up Mr. Nisman’s death and the AMIA case. “The judicial investigation is essential, and it is ongoing,” he said.
The Iranian Embassy in Buenos Aires declined to comment, but Tehran has in the past denied involvement in the attack.
Last week, Mr. Capitanich had called Mr. Nisman’s allegations “outrageous, illogical and irrational.” On Monday, on her Facebook page, Mrs. Kirchner issued a letter implying that Mr. Nisman was part of a conspiracy to cover up the investigation into the bombing, the worst terror attack on Jews since World War II. She didn’t offer evidence.
Many in the Jewish community—including top leaders—were close to Mr. Nisman. But not everyone here was impressed by his work.
Gerardo Beer, 67 years old, whose brother was killed in the bombing, said he believed the government had been committed to shedding light on the crime. He said that Mr. Nisman “never made any progress in the investigation.”
“And in his nearly 300-page complaint,” Mr. Beer said, “there is nothing that directly involves President Kirchner.”
Nisman apparently had recordings of Kirchner and her top deputy telling associates to proceed with the cover-up. Other recordings reveal that the Argentine government coveted Iranian oil and proposed a swap of beef and grains for petroleum in 2012. For that to happen, Nisman says, the government had to whitewash Iranian involvement in the Jewish community center bombing and come up with another "culprit."
In the days leading up to his death, Nisman sent several e-mails to associates that contained the evidence he had accumulated. The prosecutor was concerned that if he was killed, the evidence did not disappear.
It appears now that he was successful.