The Alberto Nisman story just keeps spiraling in new and bizarre directions. The last time we checked, the Buenos Aires Herald reporter covering the story had fled the country in fear for his life. Since then, Argentinian President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner has announced that she’s going to get rid of her country’s current Intelligence Secretariat and replace it with…a different intelligence service, I guess. Coincidentally or not, after she made that announcement investigators suddenly seem to have discovered that Nisman was holding a draft arrest warrant for Fernández, along with her foreign minister, Héctor Timerman, for conspiring with Iran to quash evidence of Iranian involvement in the 1994 bombing of the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina in Buenos Aires. There’s some suspicion that Nisman was holding on to the draft because he had decided not to actually move forward with those two arrests, which would have obviously made for one hell of a national scandal had they actually taken place. But the very existence of the warrant is scandalous enough.
Over at Slate, Joshua Keating has helpfully run down the leading candidates in Nisman’s murder (assuming it was, in fact, a murder, not a suicide, which still isn’t clear). Somebody inside Israeli military intelligence is saying that they have “heavy suspicions” that Iranian agents killed him, and certainly that’s the obvious place to start, though it’s hard to think of a bad deed that the IDF wouldn’t pin on Iran if it could (also, let’s recall that the case for Iran’s involvement in the 1994 AMIA bombing probably rests on evidence provided by a pretty dubious source). The Fernández government certainly could have offed Nisman to keep his investigation from going anywhere, but as Keating notes, unless Nisman was planning to arrest Fernández (and if that’s the case, what was he waiting for?), her government would have been better off riding out the case than drawing massive amounts of new attention to it by assassinating the prosecutor. It may well be that Nisman was killed by people who were pushing the case against Fernández (maybe even by his own assistant), perhaps because Nisman hadn’t moved forward on the arrest warrant.
Fernández isn’t really helping her own cause when she takes time out of her state visit to China to…make fun of Chinese accents. No, really:
HAHAHAHA wow that’s good stuff. She’s saying that the Chinese people who were at her event on Wednesday were there for the rice and petroleum, but since them damn Chinamen sure do talk funny (oh man, this is good material!), instead of saying “arroz“ and “petróleo,” they would probably say ALOZ AND PETLOLEO AAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA oh man, sorry about that. Anyway, this would be dumb coming from anybody but is inexcusable coming from a head of state, and it’s inexcusably dumb coming from a head of state who’s in China to try to encourage Chinese investment in her own country’s floundering economy. Fernández issued a “sorry, not sorry” follow up tweet about how she just needed to, like, lighten the mood with some jokes, you know? Maybe, or maybe she should think about sitting the next couple of plays out.