In These New Times

A new paradigm for a post-imperial world

Timeline: Israeli Embassy and AMIA bombings.1992-2006

Posted by seumasach on May 16, 2008

by Colin Buchanan

1992

17th March. Bombing of Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires.

At 10 pm that same day, according to investigating judge Bisordi, the head of security at the Israeli embassy, Roni Gorni made an intervention pushing the investigation towards the theory of a suicide car bomb. The local police thought the bombs had been taken into the building. Bisordi recalls the irregular manner in which evidence purporting to support the car bomb thesis had been collected [1]

1994

18th July. Bombing of the Asociacion Mutual Israelita de Argentina(Argentine Israelite Mutual Association, or AMIA) building in Buenos Aires, killing 85 people.

Hours after US and Israeli governments blamed Iran and Hezbollah. Israeli soldiers are involved in the clean up operation with the blessing of President Menem.

Later that same day, Argentinian intelligence agents claim to have identified the car allegedly used in the bombing and its owner, Carlos Telleldin, a policeman, of Lebanese descent who runs a suspect car business on the side. He is personally linked to the higher echelons of the Federal police( the perfect patsy, involved in petty crime, of middle- eastern descent and linked to others who can be implicated). [2] 

23rd July. Investigating Judge Galeano travels to Caracas to interview Monoucher Moatamer, a former Iranian diplomatic who presents detailed claims of Iran’s supposed role in the AIMA bombing. These claims, which allege the implication of personnel at the Iranian embassy in Buenos Aires, were to form the basis of Galeano’s investigation.

27th July. Arrest of Telleldin

31st July. “Clarin”, a Buenos Aires daily, outs Moatamer as a CIA agent.[3]

1995 

Throughout 1995 the investigation centers around Telleldin with intention of pressuring him to implicate circles within the Argentinian police. Included in this process are Verges, torturer from the dirty war of the seventies, the Mossad , SIDE(Secretaria del Inteligencia del Estado, the Argentinian intelligence agency) and Judge Riva Aramayo who conveyed a message to Telleldin from minister of the interior Corach that “nothing bad will happen to him” if he implicates other police in the bombing.[4]

But, all to no avail, until:

1996 

At the beginning of July, Telleldin is offered $400,000.

Shortly afterwards three high- ranking police officers and one retired policeman are accused of participation in the bombing attacks.This is designated as the “local connection” to Hezbollah and, ultimately, to the Islamic Republic of Iran.[5]

Towards the end of the year a document entitled “Buenos Aires police are being scapegoated” is circulated, presumably from within the Federal Police. It questions, in an ironic manner, the car bomb thesis, listing all the witnesses who say that there was no car bomb. It mockingly questions how the car bomb managed to make it to the fourth floor, the epicenter of the explosion, and points out the exceedingly suspicious circumstance that none of the Israeli personnel in charge of security were killed in either of the two terrorist attacks.[6]

1997

A video showing Judge Galeano making the above, particularly generous, inducement to Telleldin is circulated from within the SIDE and even appears on Argentinian TV. This is not seen as in any way affecting the ability of Galeano to continue at the head of the investigation. In order to strengthen the case against the “local connection”, Dr. Alberto Nisman is added to the team. Together, Galeano, prosecutors Mullem, Barbaccia and Nisman along with Beraja, head of DAIA (Delegación de Asociaciones Israelitas Argentinas, the leading organization of the Jewish community in Argentina) constitute in the words of Memoria Activa, the association of relatives of the AIMA victims, “La Gran Confradia” – “The Brotherhood” [7].

15th May The report of the National Academy of Engineers, commissioned by the Supreme Court, is heard. On the insistence of Beraja and DAIA this was held behind closed doors. However, the seventy seven page document came into the possession of Libre Opinion, who have published a summary on their website[8]. In their report, these experts expressed their absolute certainty that the explosions at the Israeli Embassy came from bombs within the building.

“The day after this session, the spokesman for the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires deplored these conclusions and accused the Supreme Court of anti-semitism.” [9]

21st July. Clarin.

“Spokesmen from the Isreali embassy reaffirm to this paper their position of holding Iran responsible, as the ideological godfathers of the bombings at their embassy and AMIA, and demand that the case should be delegated to a federal judge”

[The judge in question was, of course, to be Galeano.]

“In the President’s office the complaints are even more strident: “A short time ago this ridiculous hypothesis of the bombs inside the building came out whereas the only thing which is certain is that there was a car bomb””.[10]

What this really meant was that the Supreme Court, having associated itself with the Engineers report, was to renounce its constitutional primacy. Opponents of this move argued that:

“it would not be correct to delegate the investigation, since, according to Article 117 of the constitution, in cases connected to embassies the supreme Court has “original and exclusive competence”” [11]

In reality, Argentina had already, from the start, ceded its sovereignty around this issue, Isreal assuming sole competence to investigate within the embassy and blocking access to the Argentinian authorities.

At the end of 1997 a cross-party commission of the two legislative chambers, with a remit to oversee the investigation, concluded that: “..there is no concrete evidence of a link between the police force of the province of Buenos Aires and the AMIA bombings. [12]

1998

At the beginning of the year and with the “Brotherhood” back in the driver’s seat, the investigation “bore fruit” with new, more acceptable, findings.

The investigation now claimed to have proof of the implication of Iran in the AMIA bombings and duly expelled seven embassy staff. A former Iranian agent Abdolghassen Mesbahi specifically pointed the finger at Mohsen Rabbani, cultural attaché to the Iranian embassy in Buenos Aires as a key planner of the attack, with the help of the “local connection” [13]

. Rabbani was held in Germany but released due to lack of evidence. [14]

But there are always the party poopers:

“We have had official contacts with Mossad and the Israeli police. From what they have told us, there is absolutely no evidence of a connection with Iran and Hezbollah. We have also asked for help from the CIA and they haven’t contributed much either.” Carlos Corach, Argentinian Minister of the Interior. [15]

1999 

For the developments throughout this year I quote from Memoria Activa’s short history of the affair.

“Another of the big announcements which government offered society whilst backing the criminal actions of Galeano was the creation of the “Departamento Unidad de Investigación Antiterrorista”of the Federal Police (DUIA). Corach had thought it up to act as the armed wing of the Brotherhood. They placed in charge a senior police chief: commissioner Palacios, who had been linked to the investigation from the start. Years later this same DUIA would receive much deserved recognition when the DAIA in an official public ceremony presented it with a bronze plaque. It was almost like saying: “to the Federal Police, purveyors of cover-ups, for cover-up services provided”.

…..And in the years that followed the detention of the “Buenos Aires brigades”, [i.e.the “local connection”] this DUIA under Palacios was a real mob outfit under the protection of the Brotherhood. They went looking for possible suspects and after detaining them and pressuring them as necessary, left them malleable in the hands of Judge Galeano in the courtrooms of comodoro Py, so he could get more fake evidence against the police and add it in to the false hypothesis he was constructing.

….Even so, and before that inexcusable bronze plaque, it was the Israeli ambassador to Argentina himself, Yitzak Aviran, who thanked Corach for having helped the Jewish community with this initiative: “- you have helped in many ways, including some that I can’t even mention” he said.

……And so it went on, with , on offer this year to calm the demonstrations in the calle Pasteur[ seat of AMIA] , the demand of prosecutors Mullen, Barbaccia and Nisman for a life sentence for Carlos Telleldin and the Buenos Aires Brigade, reinforcing in this way each and every crime and irregularity in the proceedings.

At the end of the year the country’s luck, as well as that of the case itself( which would change for ever with the setting up of new tribunal ) , appeared to change with the fall of Menem.[16]

2001

September, 2001. A Federal hearing, a judicial review of the case against the Carlos Telleldin and the “local connection”, is opened under judges Larrambere, Gordo and Pons.

“The September 11th attacks against the twin towers provoked one of the last and most embarrassing blunders by the Brotherhood: they tried to link Osama Bin-Laden to the AMIA bombings.”[17]

2002

The DAIA and the Menemist branch of the SIDE oppose the interviewing of members of the intelligence services at the hearing, alleging a threat to national security.[18]

2003

21st August. Hade Soleimanpour arrested in UK after Argentinian investigators requested his extradition. Presiding judge, Mr Justice Royce said that the 400 page report presented by the Argentinian authorities did not contain “any clear evidence demonstrating his involvement”.[19] Soleimanpour’s counsel, Mr Alun Jones QC, described the Argentinian government’s case as being based on “innuendo, hearsay and suspicion.[20]

13th November. Soleimanpour released due to lack of evidence.[21]

“Israeli diplomatic sources, claiming to have read a “final” report from the SIDE, attributed the authorship of the alleged suicide bombings to Ibrahim Hussein Berro despite the claims by his brother that he was already dead at the time of the AMIA bombings”. [22]

December, 2003. Judge Galeano is finally dismissed and replaced by Canicoba Corral.

2004

12th September.The Federal hearing concludes its investigation. Carlos Telleldin and the “local connection” are cleared of all charges relating to the bombings.[23]

The court continued, however, to insist on the car bomb thesis despite the testimony of at least a dozen witnesses, who swore blind that there was no car bomb. This was dealt with in a section of the report headed “Those who didn’t notice it”[i.e.the car bomb]. Prominent amongst those was Gabriel Alberto Villalba.

“He related that…..his glance being directed towards the police patrol car in front of AMIA, he saw suddenly an explosion which came out of the main entrance of the building, from the inside outwards, which covered everything “and a ball of fire which came from the building towards the street”.

Another witness was Juan Carlos Alvarez, a street cleaner who was standing in front of the main entrance just where the car bomb was meant to have passed- he would have been knocked over by it or all but- when the explosion happened. Miraculously, he survived, the doorman with whom he had been speaking only seconds before dying instantly. He also failed to “notice” the car bomb, laden with 300 kilos of explosive, turn at speed, its breaks screeching as it came straight at him. He paid a heavy price for his insistence: in an article which appeared in October 2006 [24] he recounts how his treatment at the hands of the prosecutors nearly lead him to suicide. He has suffered terrible after effects from the bombing and now lives in poverty in Buenos Aires without the medical support that he needs.

Effectively, the court claimed that the failure of these witnesses to see the car bomb was attributable to post-traumatic stress rather than to the more obvious explanation that it simply wasn’t there. It therefore claimed that the alleged discovery of the parts of the car bomb ( the one that they now alleged that Carlos Telleldin had innocently sold to persons unknown –not the “local connection” – without realizing for what purposes it was required) constituted more solid evidence than the adverse eye-witness accounts, despite its agreement with defence counsel that “ the identification and registration of the evidence had not been carried out in a trustworthy manner”. In other words, in spite of the fact that the evidence could have been planted, as judge Bisordi had suggested was the case in the embassy bombing.

With regard to the the alleged Iranian connection to the local police the ruling was categorical:

“Firstly, we must emphasise that the prosecutors have raised this grave accusation but have provided absolutely no evidence to back it up”.

The alleged connection was that of Mohsen Rabbani, cultural attaché at the Iranian Embassy with Ribelli, of the “local connection”. The ruling effectively ridicules the evidence purporting to establish this link:

“On the other hand, inexplicably they tried to establish a link between Ribelli and Rabbani on the basis that the district of Canuelas – where Rabbani’s mosque was located – was close to Lobos where several members of Ribelli’s family lived.
This argument doesn’t stand up to the least analysis on account of its puerility and light-mindedness. It is beyond all logic to resort to the mere geographic proximity of two districts in order to establish culpability. Note that, on this basis, all the residents in the vicinity of Canuelas must have been implicated in this bombing”. 

However, by reaffirming the thesis of the car bomb, against tremendous odds, the 2004 ruling left the gate open to acusations against Iran.( The court had ruled merely that Telleldin and co. were not the “local connection” to Iran: it had not ruled on the question of possible Iranian culpability)

2005

And so it was that early in 2005, after a meeting with members of the American Jewish Committee , Kirchner decided that the inquiry was to continue on the basis of the car bomb thesis [25], which had taken such an awful battering over the years and which, if not exactly unscathed, at least had not yet been untirely blown apart, as it were; at least not in the minds of the prosecutors.

But who were the prosecutors to be, given that they had all been thoroughly discredited after the long and painstaking attempt to implicate local police linked to Islamic terrorists had been shown to be an immense criminal conspiracy?

Well I never! If it ain’t ……

.
2006

25th October, “The report of AMIA prosecutor Alberto Nisman, who was appointed by Kirchner to fully investigate the bombing, identifies seven Iranians, including former Iranian President Rafsanjani, who should be arrested for their involvement in the attack. The 800 page report also lays out in detail the decision- making process in planning the AMIA bombing”. [26]

So are old friend , Alberto Nisman, has risen like a phoenix from the ashes of so many burnt out attempts to implicate the Islamic Republic of Iran in the AMIA bombing, to, once again, lead the charge. He plows a lonely furrow as his former colleages, veterans, one and all, of the Brotherhood’s 14 year campaign of manipulation and falsification, now face serious criminal charges: 

September. 2006. “Hugo Anzorreguy, SIDE, Juan Jose Galeano, ex federal judge, Ruben Beraja, ex president of the DAIA (Delegacion de Associaciones Israelitas Argentinas), ex prosecutors Eamon Mullen and Jose Barbaccia are charged with embezzlement,perverting the course of justice, illegal detention, forced confessions, falsification of official documents, with the prospect of from 2 to 20 years imprisonment.” [27]

But Nisman was as much part of the cover-up as they were – a fact that has not esacaped the attention of a leading Argentinian film-maker:

“Following a meeting in Washington in May 2006 at which two senior judges from Buenos Aires were present, strong pressure was applied against both the Argentinian government and judicial authorities. In response, a group of Argentinian citizens lead by Dr. Oscar Abduri-Bini has issued a legal indictment before the Buenos Aires High Court against the American Jewish Committee and the prosecutors Nissman and Martinez Burgos for obstruction of justice”.[28]

We will continue to monitor events as they unfold in this truly astounding and disturbing case.

[1] Bisordi, leading judge in Isreali embassy case denonces influence of Israel and rejects car bomb theory. http://www.iransolidarity.endofempire.org/index.php

[2] Memoria Activa is an association of relatives of the victims of the AMIA bombing. They have an excellent year by year account of the entire history athttp://www.memoriaactiva.com/cronica%20de%20un%20encubrimiento/memoriaactiva.2006.pdf?2006=.

[3] http://www.fcen.uba.ar/prensa/micro/1994/ms160.htm

[4] http://www.memoriaactiva.com/cronica%20de%20un%20encubrimiento/memoriaactiva.2006.pdf?2006=.

[5] http://www.perspectivamundial.com/2003/2705/270508.shtml

[6] This document can be found on the website of Libre Opinion who have played a central role in exposing the cover-up.http://redkalki.libreopinion.com/noticias/2006/08/informe_ldo_amia.htm

[7] http://www.memoriaactiva.com/cronica%20de%20un%20encubrimiento/memoriaactiva.2006.pdf?2006=.

[8] http://redkalki.libreopinion.com/noticias/2006/08/informe_ldo_embajada.htm

[9] http://www.iransolidarity.endofempire.org/news.php?page=650

[10] http://www.clarin.com/diario/1997/07/21/t-00401d.htm

[11] ibid.

[12] La Nación, Buenos Aires, 19-12-97

[13] http://www.perspectivamundial.com/2003/2705/270508.shtml

[14] (http://www.iransolidarity.endofempire.org/news.php?page=650)

[15] (Haaretz, 6 de enero de 1998)

[16] http://www.memoriaactiva.com/cronica%20de%20un%20encubrimiento/memoriaactiva.2006.pdf?2006=.

[17] http://www.memoriaactiva.com/cronica%20de%20un%20encubrimiento/memoriaactiva.2006.pdf?2006=.

[18] http://www.memoriaactiva.com/cronica%20de%20un%20encubrimiento/memoriaactiva.2006.pdf?2006=.

[19] http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/3103314.stm

[20] ibid.

[21] http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3266011.stm

[22] http://www.rebelion.org/noticia.php?id=37800 

[23] The full judicial report can be found at: http://www2.jus.gov.ar/Amia/

[24] http://www.periodicotribuna.com.ar/Articulo.asp?Articulo=167)

[25]. . http://www.rebelion.org/noticia.php?id=37800

[26]http://news.yahoo.com/s/usnw/20061025/pl_usnw/american_jewish_committee_welcomes_report_on_iranian_responsibility_for1994_amia_bombing173_xml

[27] http://www.rebelion.org/noticia.php?id=38033

[28] http://www.iransolidarity.endofempire.org/news.php?page=650

2 Responses to “Timeline: Israeli Embassy and AMIA bombings.1992-2006”

  1. [...] http://inthesenewtimes.com/2008/05/16/timeline-israeli-embassy-and-amia-bombings1992-2006/                                    [...]

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