Monday, March 2, 2015

Political Scandal of the Week: Argentina by Caleb Wright

Spanish soap operas are known for ridiculous drama, but rarely do we get anything that lives up to them. However, Argentina is beginning to. The current political scandal in Argentina is honestly rather ridiculous, and involves not only assassinations (officially ruled suicides), corrupt politicians, and what seems like ancient history.
It started back in 1994, when Argentina suffered its largest terrorist attack ever. Yet, no one was ever convicted. As The New York Times reported back in 2009,
In the 15 years since the bombing of the Argentine Jewish Mutual Aid Association here, the deadliest terrorist attack in this country’s history, the case has become a symbol of the failings of Argentina’s judicial system … Despite all the international attention, despite investigative help from Israel and the United States, no one has been convicted for the July 18, 1994, bombing of the community center, in which 85 people died and more than 300 were injured.
Allegedly, Iran was behind the attack, either indirectly through the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah, or directly through covert operations. Back in 2006, Alberto Nisman, the prosecutor, indicted Iranian officials. In January of this year, he filed an official report saying that top officials, including the President Kirchner, covered for Iran, since Iran and Argentina were in the process of negotiating an oil deal.
The night before he was going to present this report to the lawmakers, he was found dead in his apartment. The police and the President originally agreed it was a suicide; however, a few days later, President Kirchner released a statement officially blaming rogue intelligence agents, declaring on her website:
The spies that were not spies. The questions that become certainties. The suicide that (I am convinced) was no suicide. 
President Kirchner has since proposed legislation to dissolve the federal intelligence service and replace it with a brand new organization; she has had feuds with the service in the past. Keep in mind, President Kirchner was one of the people accused by Nisman, and now she is questioning his “suicide,” while at the same time denying the claims he made before his death.
At this point, it’s incredibly difficult to know what level of involvement President Kirchner had in the Iranian cover-up and the Nisman assassination; as a former security official told The Telegraph
[President Kirchner] does not have to give a specific order. Her people compete to satisfy her perceived wishes. 
Whether or not President Kirchner knew about any of this corruption is hard to say. But regardless, it’s hard to see a situation in which justice is achieved for Alberto Nisman or the victims or the 1994 bombing. It’s an ending melancholy as a Spanish soap opera.

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