Justice accepts no preconditions – and neither did Alberto Nisman. A professional and personal look at a man who paid with his life to find out the truth.
Prosecutor Alberto Nisman, who was murdered yesterday in his home, thought that the Argentinian Government should have an interest in getting to the bottom of the massive terrorist attack on the Jewish AMIA building 20 years ago · It turns out that President Kirchner and her Foreign Minister Timmerman preferred dark deals with Iran over truth and justice · Today, Je Suis Nisman
Yesterday, Prosecutor Alberto Nisman was set to arrive at the Argentinian Congress and present evidence of secret agreements between the Argentinian President and Foreign Minister and Iran. The agreements, signed by President Cristina Kirchner and Foreign Minister Hector Timmerman with the Iranians, were meant to remove Iran’s responsibility for the mega-terrorist attack at the building of the AMIA, the umbrella organization for Argentinian Jewry, in which 85 were killed and hundreds wounded. As we all know now, hours before the scheduled appointment, Nisman was found dead in his apartment in Buenos Aires. The obvious “coincidence” of these two events leaves no room for doubt – Nisman was murdered by people who wanted to shut him up forever.
Nisman was aware of the threats to his life; he even stated in an interview four days before his death that justice will come to light even if he is murdered: “whether I’m alive or not, the evidence is there,” he said. Yesterday stormy demonstrations in his memory took place at the Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires. The call of the marchers was to expose the evidence Nisman had uncovered and to bring his killers to justice. The demonstration ran with the theme Je Suis Nisman (I am Nisman). This demonstration saw Argentina taking leave of one of its bravest and most determined seekers of justice, who paid for his truth-seeking with his life.
Justice Accepts No Preconditions
Nisman was already very important figure in the global struggle against terrorism last decade when he revealed Iran’s involvement in the terrorist attacks against the Israeli Embassy in Argentina in 1992 and the attack on the AMIA building in 1994. The investigation he conducted, which included hundreds of testimonies and examination of SIGINT (Signals Intelligence), proved that Iran carried out the AMIA bombing through Iranian agents deep inside South America and her embassy personnel in Buenos Aires. The importance of the investigation went beyond Argentinian affairs when Nisman founds evidence proving that the attacks in Argentina were just part of an Iranian global network of terrorism.
In addition, Nisman’s investigation proved that former Argentinian Prime Minister Carlos Menem, the Argentinian Justice System and the Interior Ministry all conspired to quash the story and cover up suspicions against Iran so that trade links between the countries could continue. In the face of Nisman’s determined struggle against the Argentinian establishment, the government of Argentina had no choice but to recognize the facts. Thus, in 2006 Nisman issued arrest warrants against 8 Iranians and one Lebanese citizen accused with planning and carrying out the attack. These terrorists worked with the suicide bomber who carried out the attack, a Lebanese Hezbollah member named Ibrahim Hussein Berro, who was smuggled into Argentina via the Brazilian border. For its part, Iran refused to cooperate with the investigation, arguing that the accusations were a “Zionist Plot of a Jewish Prosecutor.”
A year later, Nisman achieved another victory over Iran. To the horror of the large Iranian delegation which arrived at an Interpol summit held in Marrakesh in 2007, it was decided to issue international warrants against Iranian agents charged with carrying out the attack. At the Interpol summit, 78 out of 118 state representatives present – over 70% of votes – voted for issuing the warrants, with Brazil actually voting against Nisman; Venezuela abstained.
“Iran boycotted the investigation and made its cooperation with it conditional on Argentina agreeing in advance not to charge a single Iranian,” Nisman related in his speech at the Interpol summit before the historic vote, “but justice accepts no preconditions. Iran must extradite those suspected of the most brutal crime committed within and against my country – a crime against humanity which cries out for justice to be done.” Nisman succeeded in sweeping his audience to vote for justice to be pursued.
The Iranian Connection with the Jewish Foreign Minister
Those were ostensibly heady days. It appeared that the dominoes would continue to fall into place after the Interpol summit. But since then, the Argentinian government has changed its attitude towards the investigation in general. Argentinian Foreign Minister Hector Timmerman – son of Jewish prisoner of conscience Jacobo Timmerman – declared that he doubts the charges against Iran. Timmerman’s strange declaration came in the wake of very heavy pressure by Iran against Argentina. Argentina conducts a great deal of trade with Iran, including the importing of oil and the export of grain and meat, Argentina’s traditional natural resources. So there is a very powerful economic interest for both parties to silence the issue.
Nisman, however, would not yield to economics – he began to independently investigate President Kirchner and Foreign Minister Timmerman. Last week he declared that he has proven beyond the shadow of a doubt that the two acted to deliberately quash the investigation and even signed secret agreements with Iran. These were the findings he was supposed to bring before the Argentinian Congress before he was shot.
Here he provides his first public accusations against the Argentinian government:
I met Alberto Nisman in 2008, when he was visiting Israel. My father, who was working on writing Nisman’s incredible story in a book entitled To Kill Without A Trace, hosted the prosecutor in our home. Nisman came in a suit on his way to visit senior Israeli officials in the Government and the Mossad. Despite this, the first thing he did when he came into our house was to go to the backyard, and start jumping ecstatically on the trampoline like an excited child. I never succeeded in learning more about Nisman beyond this interesting spectacle. For me, it showed Nisman’s approach in his investigation – never fearing what other think of him in his relentless pursuit of justice and truth. His murder must trouble the minds of anyone who cares about his principles.
May his memory be for a blessing.
English translation by Avi Woolf.