Breaking Developments in Probe of Death of Argentine Prosecutor Nisman

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Alberto Nisman’s ex-wife  Federal Judge Sandra Arroyo Salgado in Buenos Aires, 1-24-15

Source: Martin Di Maggio/EPA

 

This weekend there were dramatic developments in the investigation into the death of Argentine Prosecutor Nisman involving his ex-wife, Judge Sandra Arroyo Salgado and Buenos Aires Herald Journalist Damien Pachter.   According to a report  from the Buenos Aires  Herald  Arroyo Salgado returned from a trip to Europe,   testified  for more than 8 hours before Investigative Prosecutor, Viviana Fein.  Arroyo Salgado requested  standing  in the investigation as a plaintiff on behalf of two teen age daughters from her marriage to Nisman .  The Herald noted that, “Should Arroyo Salgado be considered a plaintiff, she will have the right to request that investigators of her own choosing be involved in the probe into Nisman’s death. Judge Palmaghini has yet either to grant the request.”   In her testimony,  “she  provided information about Nisman’s sudden return from Europe and her doubts that he committed suicide.  Arroyo Salgado is a federal judge for the San Isidro district.

The Herald reported on court actions at the hearing given Judge Arroyo Salgado’s testimony:

During her testimony, Judge Fabiana Palmaghini ordered that new and confidential measures to collect evidence be implemented and the Federal Police was seen at Nisman’s residence. Fein also announced that she was awaiting the results of new ballistics tests that included samples for DNA testing and to determine if the bullet removed from Nisman’s body was fired by the gun found at his side.

There had been questions raised following the death of Nisman under mysterious circumstances that it was possibly not a suicide, but rather a murder. We noted in an Iconoclast post that Argentine President Kirchner  suggested in letters posted on her Facebook page  that Nisman’s death  it might a murder by rogue agents  from  the country’s intelligence service.   That despite Nisman’s allegations that both Kirchner and Foreign Minister Hector Timerman may have been part of a cover up involving withdraw of charges against several  Iranian officials in exchange a billion dollar trade deal  with Iran .  His investigations were contained in a Compliant that led to the issuance in 2007 of an Interpol warrant for the arrest of those Iranian officials allegedly involved in the 1994 AMIA Jewish Center bombing in Buenos Aires.

The Guardian in an article on  Saturday’s  court hearing in Buenos Aires noted who Kirchner accused of

involvement in Nisman’s death:

Fernández fingered spy chief “Jaime” Stiuso (whose real name is apparently Antonio Horacio Stiuso) as her main suspect. The 61-year-old intelligence operative has become a household name after Fernández alleged that Stiuso provided Nisman with hundreds of hours of intercepted calls on which the prosecutor built his case, accusing the president of attempting through secret negotiations to derail Nisman’s attempts to extradite five Iranian officials to stand trial for the AMIA Jewish community center blast in 1994.

Stiuso has never been seen in public and has been interviewed only once in his life, last month a few days before Fernández fired him from his top post at the intelligence secretariat.

“Stiuso was obsessed with the AMIA case,” says Rodis Recalt, the journalist from Noticias magazine who interviewed him. “He worked closely with Nisman to build the case against Iran.”

“Stiuso left Argentina, just in case,” says Recalt. The larger question remains who blew up the AMIA 20 years ago, still one of the most politically charged open wounds in Argentinean society.

“It doesn’t matter if I know who blew up the AMIA,” Stiuso told Recalt before being dismissed by Fernández. “All that matters is what I can prove.”

Given the role of Argentina’s intelligence agency, SIDE, in the Nisman investigations, Judge Arroyo Salgado had been involved in several investigations involving the intelligence services.  The Herald noted that “in 2012 the judge, who is a former public defender, indicted former SIDE intelligence agency head Juan Bautista “Tata” Yofre for having hacked public email accounts between 2006 and 2008 to sell information.”

Damian Pachter, The Buenos Aires Herald Reporter

Source: Reuters

 Saturday, Damian Pachter, The Herald journalist who broke the story on Nisman’s death fled Buenos Aires, arriving Sunday  in Tel Aviv. Ynet.com reported the circumstances behind his flight  in a story, Journalist who reported Nisman’s death lands in Israel:

  Pachter announced via the Argentinean Journalist Forum on Saturday that he noticed “suspicious surveillance”, and thus decided to escape. “I am leaving because my life is in danger,” said Pachter, who specializes in international relations.

“The journalists’ forum is notifying that Damian Pachter left the country due to threats over his personal safety,” the group wrote on its Twitter account.” As Pachter explained to the forum, yesterday he noticed suspicious sources trailing him, and felt that he had to leave the country at this stage.”

Meanwhile, a police source told the Associated Press on Friday night that the ten officers in Nisman’s security detail were taken in for questioning. According to the source, the investigators are examining how long it took the two officers posted outside Nisman’s door to inform their commanders that he did not answer his phone

 

 Damian, who has Israeli citizenship will be holding a news conference today about the circumstances behind his flight from Argentina.  Ynet.com   these comments from  Pachter: 

“I came to Israel because I am an Israeli citizen I lived here the most important years of my life and this is a place where I feel safe,” Pachter said Sunday after landing in Israel.    

“I left because the Argentinean government pursues  me because of my news report regarding the death of prosecutor Alberto Nisman who died in unresolved way last week.  So I was the first who reported  on that and now I am kind of suffering the consequences,” he said.

Watch this Reuters video interview with Pachter upon arrival in Israel:

 

As Alice in Wonderland might comment about the circumstances of Nisman death, “curiosier and curiosier”.  Earlier today we interviewed Yedioth Ahronoth intelligence columnist, Dr. Ronen Bergman who  met Nisman in Israel through the auspices of  Argentine – Israeli, Gustavo Perednik, author of To Kill without a Trace: A Prequel to 9/11-Iranian Bombs in Buenos Aires.  We hope to bring you an article in the February  New English Review  regarding Bergman’s entre to Nisman and role in facilitating Nisman’s liaison with Israeli intelligence officials, both former and then currently serving. Bergman, at the time  was in the final stages of completing his major investigative work, The Secret War with Iran: The 30-Year Clandestine Struggle Against the World’s Most Dangerous Terrorist Power”.

 

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