Families and friends
of the victims of the July 18, 1994 bombing of the Argentine Israelite
Mutual Association that killed 85 and injured hundreds recall the attack last month. Having
admitted to a botched investigation, the
present government of Argentina appears to have
given up on identifying the
culprits. The U.S. and Israel have long claimed that the bombing
was an Iranian
Iran, the CIA and the Mossad all Suspected in Argentina Bombing Coverup (La
"From the very beginning, the United States and Israel accused Iran
of this terrorist attack. ... The Tehran government responds, 'where is the
evidence?' Among the Argentine public, there is a growing sense that Washington
and Tel Aviv have turned the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association into just another
instrument in the fight against terrorist states."
The aftermath of the 1994 bombing of the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association in Buenos Aires, Argentina. While the U.S. and Israel accuse Iran of mounting the attack, in legal terms, the culprits and their motives remain a mystery.
It has been 18 years since
the terrorist bombing attack that destroyed the
headquarters of the Asociación
Mutual Israelita Argentina (Argentine Israelite Mutual Association,
or AMIA) in Buenos Aires, leaving 85 people dead and over 300 injured.
Investigations into the attack have left the truth equally devastated: zero
results. Nothing here, nothing there. What happened that day is anyone’s guess.
From the very beginning, the
United States and Israel accused Iran of this terrorist attack. However,
despite pressure from both countries, the case remains open, and all signs are
that it will be difficult to close with any finality - similar to the case of
of the Israeli Embassy in Argentina’s capital in March of 1992 (29 dead,
In 2003, President Nestor
Kirchner called the investigation into the case a “national disgrace.” A year
later, the Argentine Supreme Court issued a decree on the material responsibility
and/or coverup by the state.
Among those indicted after
the investigation included former President Carlos Menem and Ruben
Beraja (former head of the Delegation of Argentine-Israeli
Associations and president of the Banco Mayo, who served two years in
prison for bank fraud), former Judge Juan Jose Galeano, a number of other judges
and attorneys, and several agents from the Secretariat
of Intelligence - all who have been accused of undermining the investigation.
In January 2005, after the
American Jewish Committee, a lobbying group, met with President Kirchner, the
case took a suprising turn. Two months later, before the Inter-American
Commission on Human Rights, Kirchner acknowledged the government's responsibility.
He admitted that the state had worked to ensure that evidence in the case
dissapeared. However, his new attorney general, Alberto Nisman, was very-well
received by Israel, the American Jewish Committee, the Asociación Mutual
Israelita Argentina and the Delegation of Argentine-Israeli Associations.
Revisiting the case of
deposed Judge Galeano (i.e.: involving the Iranian car bomb, in a vehicle
driven by a Lebanese suicide bomber, who the Mossad says was a member of Hezbullah), Nisman sought the
extradition of six Iranian government officials, and asked Interpol to issue orders
to detain a number of them (including former Iran President Akbar Hashemi
The Tehran government responded:
that is all well and good, but where is the evidence? Meanwhile, Interpol had
already suffered embarrassment after the arrest in London of Hadi Soleimanpour,
former Iranian ambassador to Argentina, who was detained by Scotland Yard and later
released for a lack of evidence.
In early December 2008, members
of the American
Jewish Congress (recall that this group lobbied the U.N. Security Council
to impose diplomatic and financial sanctions on Iran) returned to Buenos Aires to
meet with President Cristina Fernandez Kirchner [wife of deceased Nester Kirchner].
And in July 2009, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman was present at a
ceremony commemorating the bombing.
In her address to the
opening of the U.N. General Assembly (9/21/11), President Fernandez Kirchner continued
to push for cooperation between Iran and the Argentine judiciary [watch video
below]. Meanwhile, a former diplomat and opposition legislator from the Menem Administration,
Diego Guelar (who later became foreign secretary), published an article
recommending that Argentina cut all diplomatic and commercial ties with Iran.
In short, concern continues
to sieze the Jewishcommunity in Argentina. The only
speaker at the official July 18 ceremony commemorating the anniversary of
the terrorist attack was AMIA President Guillermo Borger. Meanwhile, organizations
like the APEMIA[The Association to Expose the Impunity of the AMIA Slaughter, a group
seeking further investigation into the terrorist attacks] paid their respects at
their own memorial event in part by criticizing those running the AMIA and
Borger insisted that the
memorial event was not political. But when President Fernandez Kirchner declined
to participate because of a trip to Bolivia, he condemned the government in La
Paz [Bolivia] for recieving Iran's defense minister as an honored guest. And
with malice he added: "We are surprised and offended that some choose to
The refusal to allow family
members of the victims to speak was no accident. Last year, speeches made by Borger
contained a plethora of accusations against Commissioner Jorge Fino Palacio (the
former head of the United Antiterrorist Unit of the Federal Police, who is
under investigation for undermining the case). Former right-wing Buenos Aires
Mayor Mauricio Macri had planned to appoint Fino Palacio as chief of police. In
July 2011, Macri admitted that appointing Fino Palacios was to be done on the “...
recommendation of the CIA and Mossad.”
Among the Argentine public,
there is a growing sense that Washington and Tel Aviv have turned the Argentine
Israelite Mutual Association into just another instrument in the fight against
terrorist states. Should the Court find that there was no impunity [on the part
of the Argentine authorities], Attorney General Nisman commented that the
people already know what happened in the attack, and that, “... it will be up
to the international community to demand answers from Iran.”
In short: if the Argentine
government issues clear charges against Iran, then the United States and Israel
will be cleared of any criminal responsibility or concealment of the facts. Because
after all, Iran is guilty ... right?