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WikiLeaks cables illustrate Nisman’s US ties

Special prosecutor often met with, and anticipated developments to, Embassy officials

1. Nisman reveals Judge's next move

Subject AMIA ARREST WARRANTS COULD COME EARLIER THAN ANTICIPATED

Origin Embassy Buenos Aires (Argentina)

Cable time Wed, 1 Nov 2006 21:04 UTC

Classification CONFIDENTIAL

1. (C) Summary: AMIA Prosecutor Alberto Nisman told CDA and EmbOffs that Judge Canicoba Corral could issue arrest warrants for the eight indictees as early as this Friday, November 3. It was expected that Canicoba Corral would not want the case sitting on his desk for any length of time, but ratifying the prosecutors 801 page resolution and issuing arrest warrants in just over a week is extraordinary and also indicates that the Casa Rosada has given its tacit approval that the process go forward.

(…)

2.(C) On November 1, CDA, A/LegAtt and PolOff met with AMIA prosecutor Alberto Nisman. Nisman thanked the Embassy and USG once again for its support for his efforts and for the public statements of support following the October 25 release of the investigative report and indictments (Ref. B).

Nisman tells US officials that Judge Rodolfo Canicoba Corral, presiding judge for the AMIA investigation, is likely to promptly decide on this recommendation that Iranian suspects be indicted in connection with the attack

2. A helping hand

Subject AMIA UPDATE: NISMAN TRAVELS TO LYON WITH MUCH-IMPROVED APPLICATION FOR RED NOTICES

Origin Embassy Buenos Aires (Argentina)

Cable time Fri, 19 Jan 2007 22:22 UTC

Classification CONFIDENTIA

1. (C/NF) LEGATT and the Department of Justice's Office of International Affairs (OIA) have reviewed the GOA's revised application for Interpol arrest warrants ("Red Notices"), which AMIA Special Prosecutor Alberto Nisman gave to LEGATT on January 17. LEGATT advises that the 9-page application is much improved over the original 2-page application submitted on November 15, 2006. On January 19, USDOJ/OIA advised that three of the nine needed improvement, including the warrants for former Iranian Ambassador to Argentina HadiSoleimanpour, former Iranian diplomat Ahmad Reza Aghari or Mohsen Randjbaran, and Hezbollah leader Imad Fayez Moughnieh. OIA also indicated that most of the explanations for the nine indicted suspects contained statements that were presumptuous conclusions of guilt. OIA recommends that these statements should be modified to indicate that they are attributed to witnesses, records, surveillances, or other types of evidence uncovered in the investigation.

2. (C/NF) LEGATT relayed OIA's observations and recommendations to Nisman, who was appreciative of Embassy and Washington's support. Nisman stated that he would edit the application to incorporate OIA's comments by expanding on some of the information that would further clarify the evidence the GOA has to support the allegations. Nisman, two of his deputies, and Ambassador Gonzales depart for France on January 19 at 11pm. Alejandro DiNizo, Chief of Argentina's Interpol office departs on January 20 at 2pm. WAYNE

As the Iranian suspects were not residing in Argentina, Nisman requested that Interpol issue international arrest warrants but only after the local offices of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs (OIA) made recommendations for improvements. The special prosecutor incorporated the suggestions and thanked US contributions.

3. The prosecutor apologizes

Subject ARGENTINA: AMIA PROSECUTOR EXPLAINS HIS REQUEST FOR ARREST OF MENEM AND OTHERS IN AMIA CASE

Origin Embassy Buenos Aires (Argentina)

Cable time Tue, 27 May 2008 10:18 UTC

Classification CONFIDENTIAL//NOFOR

(…)

2. (C) AMIA Special Prosecutor Alberto Nisman called the Ambassador May 23 to apologize for not giving the Embassy advance notice that he would be requesting the arrest of former President Carlos Menem and other former government and judicial officials for their alleged cover-up/hindrance of the investigation into the local connections with the 1994 Hizballah-executed terrorist bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center. He was especially apologetic that his announcement coincided with the visit of FBI Deputy Director Pistole. Nisman several times said that he just did not think of Mr. Pistole's visit connecting to his announcement.

(…)

3. (C) He noted that he was very sorry and that he sincerely appreciates all of the USG's help and support and in no way meant to undermine that. He said he had been up for 48 hours straight before the announcement preparing it and that he was so focused on getting the details of his case and charges right that he did not think of whom else to inform, especially outside of Argentina. Nisman said he thought th U.S. was primarily focused on who carried out and supported the attack itself, and that we would not care so much if he went after persons suspected of hindering the initial investigation. (Comment: As noted in para 9 of ref A, Legatt officers have for the past two years recommended to Nisman that he focus on the perpetrators of the terrorist attack and not on the possible mishandling of the first investigation. Such action would only confuse the victims' families and distract from the hunt for the real culprits, they argued.) Nisman said he had originally hoped to make his announcement earlier in the week, but it took him longer to get ready than he had planned.

Nisman called the US Ambassador to offer his apologies that his request for former president Carlos Menem’s arrest coincided with the visit to Argentina of the FBI’s Deputy Director. Nisman said ‘he did not think of whom else to inform.’ In the same cable, the Embassy notes that the FBI had encouraged Nisman to focus on the attacks not the alleged cover-up. Days later, Nisman offered more explanations (below).

4. The prosecutor explains himself

Subject ARGENTINA'S SPECIAL AMIA PROSECUTOR DEFENDS HIS ACTIONS

Origin Embassy Buenos Aires (Argentina)

Cable time Thu, 29 May 2008 15:57 UTC

Classification CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN

1. (C) Summary: AMIA special prosecutor Alberto Nisman explained to Embassy Officers on May 27 his reasons for requesting the arrests of former President Carlos Menem and other officials (ref B) for their alleged roles in obstructing justice in the investigation of the 1994 terrorist bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center. He denied the motivation was political, regretted the coincidence of his announcement with the visit of the FBI Deputy Director, and discounted this would negatively affect the case against the Iranian indictees.

(…)

2. (C) With emboffs, Nisman rejected the idea that his action was politically motivated, describing in some detail the evidence supporting his conclusions.

(…)

4. (C) Emboffs noted that Nisman’s actions did not appear to be prompted by any new information but were based on a rehash of old theories about the "Syrian connection" and could complicate international efforts to bring the Iranian indictees to justice. Nisman contended that the call for Menem's arrest evolved as his team continued to review files and interview witnesses. (…) Nisman stated that he had no further role in that aspect of the case and that he would continue his focus on uncovering new leads and strengthening the evidence against the Iranian indictees.

(…)

(C) Comment: Nisman is not the sort to have gone public with the recommendation for Menem's and other's arrests without some direction from higher-ups. From what has been made public, there appears to be little "new" information to have warranted his highly publicized arrest recommendations, which leads to speculation about political motives. Nisman may still be currying favor from the Casa Rosada with a view to a favorable judicial appointment in the future. As noted ref A, the Casa Rosada may have hoped Nisman's charges against Menem and the others would bump the farm strike and other bad news off the front pages. (They didn't.) If the GOA was hoping to appease victims' family groups that have been pressuring the GOA to show progress on the AMIA Investigation(s), they have had little success there, either. WAYNE

5. An indictment request foretold

1. (C) Special Prosecutor Alberto Nisman called on the Ambassador May 19 to notify us that the following day he would ask Judge Rodolfo Canicoba-Corral to indict a new suspect in the 1994 bombing of the Argentine Jewish Mutual Association (AMIA). Nisman described his painstaking effort to establish the suspect's links to both the environs of the AMIA site, a mosque in Buenos Aires, and his links via cell phone calls to Iranian diplomat and bomb plot suspect Mohsen Rabbani and a cell phone in the Tri-Border Area registered in the name of "Marques."

In this confidential diplomatic cable dated May 19, 2009, Nisman advises the US Embassy of his next request for an indictment of a new suspect in the case, before Canicoba Corral had even received the writ.

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