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Cable de las sospechas de EE.UU acerca de la investigación sobre el atentado que destruyó la sede de la mutua AMIA en Buenos Aires

ID: 155524
Date: 2008-05-27 10:18:00
Origin: 08BUENOSAIRES717
Source: Embassy Buenos Aires
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN
Dunno: 04BUENOSAIRES2540 08BUENOSAIRES646 08BUENOSAIRES702 98BUENOSAIRES5826
Destination: VZCZCXYZ0001
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBU #0717/01 1481018
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 271018Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1162
INFO RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMCSUU/FBI WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/HQ USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L BUENOS AIRES 000717

NOFORN
SIPDIS

WHA FOR A/S SHANNON, DAS MCMULLEN AND DMCCARTHY
WHA/BSC FOR DRUCKER, FRIEDMAN, AND SHOWELL
NEA/IR FOR HWOOSTER
S/CT FOR VIRGINIA PALMER AND ARNOLD SIERRA
NSC FOR GREG GATJANIS AND JUAN ZARATE
FBI FOR CTD IRAN-HIZBALLAH UNIT AND ASSISTANT DIRECTOR TOM
FUENTES OIO AMERICAS UNIT

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/23/2028
TAGS: PTER, PREL, PGOV, KJUS, AR
SUBJECT: ARGENTINA: AMIA PROSECUTOR EXPLAINS HIS REQUEST
FOR ARREST OF MENEM AND OTHERS IN AMIA CASE

REF: A. BUENOS AIRES 0702
B. 1998 BUENOS AIRES 5826
C. 2004 BUENOS AIRES 2540
D. BUENOS AIRES 646 AND PREVIOUS

Classified By: Ambassador E. Anthony Wayne for reasons
1.4 (b) & (d).


1. (C) Summary: AMIA Special Prosecutor Alberto Nisman
called the Ambassador on May 23 to apologize for not giving
the Embassy advance notice of his (ref A) request for the
arrest of former President Menem and other GOA officials for
their alleged roles in the cover up of the "local connection"
in the 1994 terrorist bombing of the AMIA Jewish community
center. He also assured the Ambassador that the coincidence
of the arrest request with the visit of FBI Deputy Director
Pistole was completely unintentional. He confirmed that the
GOA had been aware ahead of time that he was going to make
the announcement and said that he had been able to advance
the case using newly declassified documents from Argentina's
national intelligence agency (SIDE). Contacts at the Foreign
Ministry and at the Argentine Jewish political organization
(DAIA) suspect, however, that the specific timing of Nisman's
announcement was driven more by domestic politics than by
significant new developments in the case. End Summary.

Nisman Explains His Announcement
--------------------------------

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.

4. (C) Nisman explained that the government had known ahead
of time that he was going to make the announcement this week
and that his decision to go ahead with the internal case was
made possible by Argentina's national intelligence agency
(SIDE) giving him new information: a set of previously
unreleased documents which SIDE declassified (SIDE had been
promising him more declassified documents for months).
Nisman said the new evidence, copies of previously secret
documents, made the case extremely strong. For example, he
said it showed that GOA officials had been in touch with
Iranian Cultural attache Moshen Rabbani, as well as with
various Islamic figures and questionable Argentines of Syrian
origin. Nisman said that there had been great pressure from
the Jewish community to move forward with indictments.
Families of the bombing victims and others concerned with the

case felt very passionately about bringing to justice those
officials whom they felt had obstructed or halted progress in
finding those who locally abetted the attack. Nisman said he
looked forward to providing the Embassy a fuller read out
next week. (Septels will report comments by President
Fernandez de Kirchner and Justice Minister Anibal Fernandez
during meetings with Deputy FBI Director Pistole on the
handling of the AMIA investigation under ex-President Menem.)

MFA Contact Provides Additional Information
-------------------------------------------

5. (C) A highly placed MFA contact discussed the case with
the DCM on May 23. He worked closely with the Embassy on GOA
preparations for the 2007 Interpol Executive Committee and
General Assembly meetings. This MFA source stressed that
Nisman's actions will not dissuade the GOA from continuing
its pursuit of the five subjects for whom Interpol has issued
Red Notices. He did not, however, dismiss a possible
political angle to Nisman's decision to file charges. He
noted that Nisman, in his assessment, "is completely beholden
to Alberto Fernandez" (Chief of Cabinet) and obeys
Fernandez's orders without question, and he did not discount
that the timing of the announcement was "a political
operation ordered by Alberto Fernandez."

6. (C) MFA source pointed out that Nisman has been privy "for
years" to the "local connection" information yet had done
nothing with it. He noted that he had not yet seen anything
new with respect to Menem's possible role in this case. Our
MFA source said that the timing of the announcement -- with
the agricultural strike still unresolved, with President
Fernandez de Kirchner's (CFK) popularity plummeting, and with
the FBI Deputy Director conveniently in town, making an
appearance at AMIA -- convinced him that the Casa Rosada
ordered Nisman to go forward with the charges against Menem
in an attempt to shift the negative media focus away from CFK
and the farm dispute and onto the former president. Asked
whether he though the charges against Menem had any basis in
fact, he said he had no real basis to know for sure, but
opined that it was hard to believe that "Menem could have
been so stupid."

Jewish Community Views
----------------------

7. (C) PolOff met May 23 with XXXXXXXXXXXX. DAIA is the political umbrella
organization representing most of Argentina's numerous Jewish
entities, including AMIA. XXXXXXXXXXXX echoed much of what the
DCM picked up in paras 5-6. He said that Nisman's action,
and its timing, were likely driven by the Casa Rosada's
desperation to change the daily headlines from farm crisis
and inflation reports. XXXXXXXXXXXX said that was nothing new
in what Nisman is charging Menem and the others with.

8. (C) XXXXXXXXXXXX said that the group of AMIA victims'
families, Memoria Activa (MA), had been pressuring the GOA to
fulfill its commitments made before the OAS' Human Rights
Commission to fully investigate the case. He cited a recent
interview MA representatives gave to the local Jewish press
highly critical of the lack of government action. MA and
most of the Jewish community in Argentina have been very
positive about the Kirchner administrations' efforts, but
this attitude is changing, said XXXXXXXXXXXX. He related that
MA had requested a recent meeting with CFK, which was not
granted, and that they met instead with Secretary General of
the Presidency Oscar Parrilli, "standing in a hallway".
Neuburger said that Parrilli was very impatient, with an
attitude of "what else do you want."

9. (C) PolOff noted that the DAIA President, as well as the
President of AMIA, had both made public statements supportive
of Nisman's actions. XXXXXXXXXXXX said that they had little
choice but to support publicly any action that appeared to
imply progress in the case. He said, however, that the DAIA
leadership was very concerned that the AMIA case was, once


again, being used for domestic political considerations and
was also concerned about the possible impact on the
international case and the Red Notices. One final piece of
information offered by XXXXXXXXXXXX(which the Embassy cannot yet
confirm) is that Argentina's Prosecutor General Esteban Righi
will be stepping down soon and that Alberto Nisman is
supposedly a leading candidate for the position.

Comment
-------

10. (C) Was the timing of Nisman's announcement politically
motivated? Probably. Does he have additional, new
information gleaned from SIDE files that further implicates
Menem and others in a possible obstruction of justice case?
Possibly. Embassy will try to get more information from
Nisman and others about the nature of that information and
will also work with the Foreign Ministry to head off Iranian
efforts to use this latest development to their advantage.
If, as many suspect, Nisman's announcement was an attempt by
the GOA to bump the farm strike off the front pages, it
failed miserably as the breakdown of government-farm sector
negotiations is top news in all of the media.
WAYNE