In a potentially embarrassing development for the government of Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, a leading newspaper, La Nación, has reported that a key ally of Alberto Nisman, the investigator of the bombing of the 1994 AMIA Jewish Community Center who died under mysterious circumstances, was allowed to leave the country after questioning, directly contradicting her portrayal of him as a fugitive from justice.
During her September 30 address the to the UN General Assembly, Fernández de Kirchner fumed that the United States was “protecting” Antonio “Jaime” Stiuso, the former head of Argentina’s counter-intelligence service. An international alert for Stiuso was released by Interpol at the beginning of this month.
According to La Nación, Stiuso was briefly held by immigration officers as he tried to leave Argentina on February 18, four weeks after the death in suspicious circumstances of Nisman. The two men had worked closely together since 2004, when former President Nestor Kirchner launched a fresh investigation into the Iranian-backed bombing of the AMIA Jewish Center in Buenos Aires a decade earlier. The paper said that following telephone exchanges with intelligence chief Oscar Parrilli, Fernández de Kirchner’s chief spymaster, Fabiana Palmaghini, the judge in the Nisman case, and Viviana Fein, who is investigating Nisman’s death, Stiuso was permitted to cross the border into Uruguay.
Parrilli has since confirmed that there was “no reason” to hold Stiuso, though he bitterly attacked La Nación‘s reporting of the story, declaring, “Even the things that are true, La Nación transforms them maliciously. They seem like Stiuso’s lawyers.”
Reporting on the diplomatic row between Fernández de Kirchner and the U.S., The Washington Post noted that Stiuso’s significance lies in the fact that he is “a figure at the center of the most sensational murder investigation in recent Argentine history.” A recent statement from the Argentine Foreign Ministry asserted that Fernández de Kirchner had “complained” at the UN “about the lack of cooperation from the US government in an issues very closely linked to international terrorism as was the 1994 attack on the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires (which killed 85 and injured hundreds).”
But given the sustained allegations against Fernández de Kirchner that she and her government colluded with Iran to exonerate the Tehran regime and its Hezbollah proxy of responsibility for the AMIA bombing, along with the widespread belief that Nisman was murdered, there is good reason to believe that her anxiety over Stiuso is motivated by self-interest.
“CFK made a song and dance at the UN about the Americans and Stiuso,” Tower contributor Eamonn MacDonagh commented. “Now it turns out, rather unfortunately for her, that Stiuso left Argentina legitimately. Given her statements since then, he was probably wise to have gotten out of there.”
In an apparently separate development, Argentina’s Supreme Court, which is independent of the Presidency, has issued an international arrest warrant against a Hezbollah terrorist accused of involvement in the 1992 bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires–two years before the AMIA atrocity–in which 22 people were murdered and more than 200 injured. The terrorist was named as Hussein Mohamad Ibrahim Suleiman, who, the Buenos Aires Herald reported, confessed to Jordanian authorities in 2001 that he had transported the explosives used in the blast.