The Assassination of Mughniyeh

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The Assassination of Mughniyeh

Postby American Dream » Mon Feb 25, 2008 2:43 pm

http://www.counterpunch.com/morris02252008.html

The Assassination of Mughniyeh
A Death in Damascus

By ROGER MORRIS



It was another car bomb in the Middle East, the victim this time one of those "notorious terrorists" seemingly generic to the landscape. Hezbollah's Imad Mughniyeh died February 12 in Damascus as he lived most of his forty-five years, in that world of searing blast, mutilation, mayhem, and aftershock of cold fear.

Yet behind fleeting, often hackneyed reports of his death, he was no ordinary figure in the long blood-red line of killers and killed. Given a murderer's good-riddance by Washington and Jerusalem while a martyr's memorial from Gaza and Beirut to Baghdad and Tehran, Mughniyeh was emblematic of the gulf between worlds-of atrocities and abject failure of statesmanship on all sides, in which American policy has its own half-century share.

Millions on his head, Mughniyeh led a largely unseen life. But some of its milestones can be glimpsed from the archive of the past fifty years in the Middle East. It is in part the story of a man, a country, a region pitted against the United States in a shadow war of intervention and resistance, attack and reprisal, most Americans never saw.

No outrage or theology of the oppressed can rationalize the savagery of a Mughniyeh, spiraling vengeance that leaves the non-state terrorist-or the government practicing its own version in the guise of "special operations" or covert action-no better than the evil they claim as justification, and their cause ultimately no less betrayed. But there will be no end to reciprocal brutality and defeat in the Middle East until the history Mughniyeh embodies is understood.

Born in 1963 to Shiite peasant parents in Tayr Dibba, a village in impoverished southern Lebanon, he grew up in a cinder block house with no running water in a Levant of vast inequity, where pre-World War II French colonialism and then postwar U.S. support heedlessly fastened Western control with the proxy political-economic repression by the Maronite Christian minority with its avowedly fascist Phalangist party and militia. That client tyranny, masked by Beirut's cosmopolitan façade, was perpetuated by the 1958 military intervention of US Marines and the ensuing CIA corruption of Lebanese politics through the 1970s, including millions in covert subsidies to the Phalange and numerous Lebanese politicians.

He was nine in July 1972 when near where he lived in south Beirut's Shiite slums the city's first car bomb, planted by the Israelis in retaliation for the recent Lod Airport massacre, blew up the spokesman of the group behind the Lod attack, Palestinian poet Ghassan Kanafani, along with his 17-year-old niece Lamees with him for a shopping trip.

Mughniyeh was thirteen in 1976 when the CIA and Israel covertly backed the invasion of Lebanon by Syria to thwart the emergence of a broad nationalist coalition representing the country's Islamic majority and supported by the Palestinian Liberation Organization.

He was an eighteen-year-old engineering student at the American University of Beirut in 1981 when the U.S. gave a "green light" to the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in pursuit of the PLO.

He was nineteen in the summer of 1982 when the Israeli Army, with covert U.S. aid, laid siege to Beirut, raking the city with artillery, devastating Shiite neighborhoods. (Osama bin Laden would say later it was the attacks on Beirut's high-rise apartment buildings that prompted him to retaliate against New York skyscrapers.)

By 1982, like several of his boyhood soccer team, teenage Mughniyeh joined the combined PLO and Lebanese nationalist resistance to the invasion, becoming a sniper along the Green Line. He watched that September as the West negotiated the PLO's exit from Lebanon with guarantees that U.S. and other peacekeeping troops would protect Palestinian refugee camps from reprisal by hostile Lebanese factions-only to see the US Marine force swiftly withdrawn, leaving Lebanese militias to massacre helpless hundreds at the Shatila and Sabra camps as Israeli forces looked on. Even US officials, Secretary of State George Shultz and National Security Advisor Robert McFarlane, would call the episode "treacherous" and "criminal."

In April 1983, a bombing of the US Embassy in Beirut killed several CIA agents pivotal in past covert actions in Lebanon, an attack Mughniyeh was later accused of "masterminding." But there would be no real evidence of his role-only that the bombing was in retaliation for the Marine withdrawal allowing the Shatila and Sabra slaughter as well as earlier interventions.

He was twenty in September 1983 when the U.S. Sixth Fleet intervened in the Lebanese Civil War by firing on rebel forces fighting the reactionary Phalangist regime, the USS Virginia and John Rodgers pounding hills above Beirut with 24,000 pounds of ordnance, soon followed by the battleship New Jersey's small car-size 2,000-pound shells inflicting untold civilian as well as combatant casualties.

On October 23, 1983, a truck bomb with 12,000 pounds of explosives killed 241 Marines quartered at the Beirut Airport after being sent back to Lebanon. U.S. officials later accused Mughniyeh in the attack, though again there would be no evidence-only that the assault on the Marines was in retaliation for the U.S. naval shelling and other interference in Lebanon's civil war. "We still do not have the actual knowledge of who did the bombing of the Marine barracks at the Beirut Airport," Caspar Weinberger, the Secretary of Defense at the time, told PBS in 2001, "and we certainly didn't then."

A turning point came for Mughniyeh came in 1985 when he was a twenty-two-year-old bodyguard to Sheikh Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah. A fiery preacher, spiritual mentor to many in the rising political consciousness of Lebanon's Shiite community, Fadlallah took no political role, opposed violence and sectarian division, and defied growing Iranian influence in Lebanon. But on March 8, 1985-in reprisal for the Marine barracks bombing, and in an operation goaded by the Israelis and funded by the Saudis, both of whom saw Fadlallah as a threat to their own interests in Lebanon-the CIA tried to car-bomb Fadlallah. By chance the cleric escaped harm, but the huge explosion ravaged the poor Shiite area where he lived, wounding 200 and killing 80, among them Fadlallah's bodyguards and Mughniyeh's close friends. The next day, a banner hung over the smoking ruins-"Made in the USA."

With the Fadlallah bombing, Mughniyeh joined the terrorist arm of the increasingly militant political impulse among Lebanon's Shiites from which Hezbollah soon emerged, and as the resistance movement's chief of security and intelligence, he joined one of history's more vicious chain reactions.

Later in 1985 he reportedly interrogated kidnapped CIA agent William Buckley who soon died in captivity, and whose abduction set in motion the Washington sequel of trading arms for hostages that led to the Iran-Contra scandal.

In July 1985 he was involved in the hijacking of TWA Flight 847 with the brutal killing of U.S. Navy diver Robert Stethem, for which Mughniyeh and others were indicted by an American court.

In 1988, he was implicated in the kidnapping and murder of Marine Colonel William Higgins serving with UN peacekeeping forces in Lebanon, a crime a U.S. official would describe as a "blood debt" driving Washington's further intervention in Lebanon and the region.

Over the 1980s, Mughniyeh conducted much of the Middle East's shadowy minuet with Washington in which dozens of Western hostages were taken and traded for American arms for the Palestinians and Iranians as well as Hezbollah-the U.S. feeding Iran weapons in its 1980s war with Iraq while supplying the Iraqis intelligence on Iran in a ruthless policy of bleeding both.

Mughniyeh evaded numerous U.S. and Israeli attempts to assassinate him, including a 1994 car bomb that killed his brother. Become mythic, in the West a faceless monster, in the Middle East a tall, handsome, well-dressed hero fluent in English and French, he was widely credited with historic feats, including the deployment of armor-piercing roadside bombs driving Israeli forces from Lebanon in 2000 and 2006, and plaguing the U.S. occupation of Iraq. "When in doubt, and we are always in doubt about this,' said an ex-CIA official, "blame Mughniyeh."

His death, predictably, was shrouded in intrigue and menace. As Hezbollah threatened revenge, there were reports that he had been planning some retaliation for the recent Israeli bombing of Syria, that the headrest explosive in his SUV was triggered by satellite as only the U.S. or Israel could have managed, that some of his Syrian hosts may have conspired with the CIA in some new cabal, or even that the killing was faked so that he could go still deeper underground. In the old ceaseless, senseless cycle, reprisals were in the offing.

About his life, as Churchill said of historical tragedy, the terrible ifs accumulate. If in a Lebanon free of any real cold war Russian threat the West had not so reflexively and so long colluded with the colonial oligarchs against a political-economic democracy bringing long-term stability. If there had been from any side an equitable peace between Palestinians and Israelis. And perhaps most decisively, if the U.S. had not continuously thrown its vast weight into the scales-furtively if not always openly-with so little knowledge and sensibility that it ended with enemies America and its Israeli client need never have made.

How history will see Mughniyeh-vicious killer, fierce patriot, or both-will depend, of course, on who writes it in the era's clashing dogmas. If only his death could teach, this figure who killed so many might yet save lives. But so long as the world's greatest power lacks the wisdom and courage to face its past culpability and change its course in the Middle East, the key to so much else in its policies at home as well as abroad, one outcome seems sure. In some cinder block hovel in south Beirut, the rubble of Gaza, or the walled-in ghettos of the West Bank, some young man, or woman, is waiting to take his place.




Roger Morris, who served on the Senior Staff of the National Security Council under Presidents Johnson and Nixon before resigning over the invasion of Cambodia, is an award-winning historian and author of several bookson Nixon, Kissinger, Haig, and the Clintons. More recently, he co-authored with Sally Denton The Money and the Power, a history of Las Vegas as the paradigm of national corruption. His new book Shadows of the Eagle a history of US policy and covert action in the Middle East and South Asia, forthcoming from Knopf in 2008.

[A shorter version of this article ran in Canada's Globe and Mail February 23]
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Postby AlicetheKurious » Mon Feb 25, 2008 4:04 pm

This article is such a mishmash of truth and utter bullshit it's unsalvageable.

The author really should stick to things he knows about.

Mughniyeh was a brilliant military strategist for the Lebanese resistance, and he is credited with engineering the defeat and withdrawal of the Israeli occupation army, one of the most powerful armies in the world, from Lebanon in 2000. He is also considered to be one of the architects of Israel's second defeat in its invasion of Lebanon during the summer of 2006. In other words, he led the Lebanese resistance in the only two defeats in Israel's 60-year history of wars of aggression and terrorism.

Thus it's not surprising at all that he'd be maligned as a "terrorist", and that his enemies would publish lies and all sorts of baseless accusations about him; what else can one expect from people whose career consists of one terrorist atrocity, and one lie, after another. Nobody seems to have noticed the irony that Israel, that great enemy of terrorism, used its signature method of car-bombing to assassinate him, along with several other people, within the territory of another sovereign country.

Last week, Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hizbullah, spoke eloquently about Imad Mughniyeh's life, his career, and what he has meant to the Lebanese resistance. I'll mention only one thing that he said. Speaking to a crowd of thousands of supporters of the Lebanese resistance, he reminded them that during the darkest times of Israeli occupation and bombing, Mughniya fought in the front lines alongside the resistance fighters on hilltops and in the very heat of battle, and that many of them witnessed his courage and heroism first-hand.

Mughniya was not a terrorist, although one would never know it by the amount of toxic lies being parroted dutifully by one pundit and journalist after another.

He was a hero of his country's national resistance against a vastly more powerful, exceptionally murderous foreign army invading and occupying his country.

May every vicious invader and occupier face a million Imad Mughniya's.
"If you're not careful the newspapers will have you hating the oppressed and loving the people doing the oppressing." - Malcolm X
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Postby American Dream » Mon Feb 25, 2008 5:02 pm

AlicetheKurious wrote:
This article is such a mishmash of truth and utter bullshit it's unsalvageable.


Well granted that the term "terrorist" as currently constituted, is bullshit, since it exempts the State and demonizes non-State actors, let's look at he record.

According to his Wikipedia page, Mughniyah was involved with:
The April 18, 1983 bombing of the United States embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, which killed 63 people including 17 Americans. He was later blamed for the October 23, 1983 simultaneous truck bombings against French paratroopers and the U.S. Marine barracks, attacks which killed 58 French soldiers and 241 Marines. On September 20, 1984, he is alleged to have attacked the US embassy annex building. The United States indicted him (and his collaborator, Hassan Izz al-Din) for the June 14, 1985 hijacking of TWA Flight 847, which resulted in the death of U.S. Navy diver Robert Stethem.[11] He was also linked to numerous kidnappings of Westerners in Beirut through the 1980s, most notably that of Terry Anderson, and William Francis Buckley, who was the CIA station chief in Beirut. Some of these individuals were later killed, such as Buckley, who was brutally beaten.[12] The remainder were released at various times until the last one, Terry Anderson was released in 1991. Mugniyah has also been tied to the Khobar Towers bombing in 1996, which killed 19 Americans and one Saudi citizen[13].

Mughniyah has been formally charged by Argentina with participating in the March 17, 1992 bombings of the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires, which killed 29 and the AMIA cultural building in July 1994, killing 86 people.[14] He has also been accused of orchestrating the 2000 abductions of three Israeli soldiers in the northen part of Israel and the kidnapping of Israeli businessman Elchanan Tenenbaum, and the more recent 2006 Israel/Lebanon conflict, killing eight soldiers and abducting two.


If most of this is true, then Mughniyah was involved with the slaughter of many innocents, as well as quite a few not-so-innocents. Does this make him any better than Bush, Sharon and the other much-feted war criminals who have sanction of the State? No. Does this make him much worse? Also, no.

The difference in the ends (neo-Colonialism vs. anti-Colonialism) does not excuse the means (slaughtering innocents). Whether one is on the side of David or Goliath, murdered kids are murdered kids.

That's honestly how it looks to me.

Is there something I'm missing?
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Postby AlicetheKurious » Mon Feb 25, 2008 8:12 pm

American Dream said:

The difference in the ends (neo-Colonialism vs. anti-Colonialism) does not excuse the means (slaughtering innocents). Whether one is on the side of David or Goliath, murdered kids are murdered kids.


You won't get an argument from me about that.

As for the Wiki laundry list, even before checking the actual facts, a couple of things should inspire skepticism:

1) Helloo. These "facts" originate with the same media that's been engaged in a systematic campaign to demonize Arabs and Muslims for decades; the same media that assured everybody that "Saddam" did indeed have WMD's, that 9/11 was masterminded by OBL from a cave in Afghanistan and executed by 19 Arabs with box cutters, that America was invading Iraq to spread freedom and democracy, etc., etc. It's always good to approach Western media coverage of Arabs with a hefty pinch of salt;

2) He "was blamed", "is alleged", "was linked", "tied", "accused", etc. Well, I "blame" you for my booboo, and I "accuse" you of flooding my bathroom, and I "link" you to the mysterious rash I'm getting from all these agenda-driven accusations without evidence!

I don't have time to do a detailed analysis of each one of these libels, at least not right now, especially since nothing is easier than coming up with accusations, when the accuser is not fussy about actual evidence.

So let's take the Argentina bombing as an example, because it's one of the worst items on the list, it's an unambigiously terrorist act in the sense that it deliberately targets innocent civilians, and Wiki specifies that Mughniyah was "formally charged by Argentina" for the attacks.

First, Hezbullah categorically and strenuously denied it had anything to do with the attacks (in view of my own experience of their credibility vis a vis the American corporate media and certainly Israel, that's a not insignificant point).

Second, it appears there's far more to this story than meets the eye.


article | posted January 18, 2008 (web only)


Bush's Iran/Argentina Terror Frame-Up

Gareth Porter

Research for this article was supported by the Investigative Fund of The Nation Institute.


Although nukes and Iraq have been the main focus of the Bush Administration's pressure campaign against Iran, US officials also seek to tar Iran as the world's leading sponsor of terrorism. And Team Bush's latest tactic is to play up a thirteen-year-old accusation that Iran was responsible for the notorious Buenos Aires bombing that destroyed the city's Jewish Community Center, known as AMIA, killing eighty-six and injuring 300, in 1994. Unnamed senior Administration officials told the Wall Street Journal January 15 that the bombing in Argentina "serves as a model for how Tehran has used its overseas embassies and relationship with foreign militant groups, in particular Hezbollah, to strike at its enemies."

This propaganda campaign depends heavily on a decision last November by the General Assembly of Interpol, which voted to put five former Iranian officials and a Hezbollah leader on the international police organization's "red list" for allegedly having planned the July 1994 bombing. But the Wall Street Journal reports that it was pressure from the Bush Administration, along with Israeli and Argentine diplomats, that secured the Interpol vote. In fact, the Bush Administration's manipulation of the Argentine bombing case is perfectly in line with its long practice of using distorting and manufactured evidence to build a case against its geopolitical enemies.

After spending several months interviewing officials at the US Embassy in Buenos Aires familiar with the Argentine investigation, the head of the FBI team that assisted it and the most knowledgeable independent Argentine investigator of the case, I found that no real evidence has ever been found to implicate Iran in the bombing. Based on these interviews and the documentary record of the investigation, it is impossible to avoid the conclusion that the case against Iran over the AMIA bombing has been driven from the beginning by US enmity toward Iran, not by a desire to find the real perpetrators.

A 'Wall of Assumptions'

US policy toward the bombing was skewed from the beginning by a Clinton Administration strategy of isolating Iran, adopted in 1993 as part of an understanding with Israel on peace negotiations with the Palestinians. On the very day of the crime, before anything could have been known about who was responsible, Secretary of State Warren Christopher blamed "those who want to stop the peace process in the Middle East"--an obvious reference to Iran.

William Brencick, then chief of the political section at the US Embassy in Buenos Aires and the primary Embassy contact for the investigation, recalled in an interview with me last June that a "wall of assumptions" guided the US approach to the case. The primary assumptions, Brencick said, were that the explosion was a suicide bombing and that use of a suicide bomb was prima facie evidence of involvement by Hezbollah--and therefore Iran.

But the suicide-bomber thesis quickly encountered serious problems. In the wake of the explosion, the Menem government asked the United States to send a team to assist in the investigation, and two days after the bombing, experts from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms arrived in Buenos Aires along with three FBI agents. According to an interview the head of the team, ATF explosives expert Charles Hunter, gave to a team of independent investigators headed by US journalist Joe Goldman and Argentine investigative journalist Jorge Lanata, as soon as the team arrived the federal police put forward a thesis that a white Renault Trafic van had carried the bomb that destroyed the AMIA.

Hunter quickly identified major discrepancies between the car-bomb thesis and the blast pattern recorded in photos. He wrote a report two weeks later noting that in the wake of the bombing, merchandise in a store immediately to the right of the AMIA was tightly packed against its front windows and merchandise in another shop had been blown out onto the street--suggesting that the blast came from inside rather than outside. Hunter also said he did not understand how the building across the street could still be standing if the bomb had exploded in front of the AMIA, as suggested by the car-bomb thesis.

The lack of eyewitness evidence supporting the thesis was just as striking. Of some 200 witnesses on the scene, only one claimed to have seen a white Renault Trafic. Several testified they were looking at the spot where the Trafic should have been when the explosion occurred and saw nothing. Nicolasa Romero, the wife of a Buenos Aires policeman, was that lone witness. She said she saw a white Renault Trafic approach the corner where she was standing with her sister and her 4-year-old son. But Romero's sister testified that the vehicle that passed them was not a white Trafic but rather a black-and-yellow taxi. Other witnesses reported seeing a black-and-yellow taxi seconds before the explosion.

Argentine prosecutors argued that pieces of a white Trafic imbedded in the flesh of many of the victims of the explosion proved their case for a suicide bomb. But that evidence was discredited by Gabriel Levinas, a researcher for AMIA's own legal team. Levinas is a member of a leading Jewish family in Buenos Aires who had published a human rights magazine during the dictatorship (his uncle's car was used to kidnap war criminal Adolf Eichmann and spirit him off to Israel for trial in 1961.)

He discovered that the manufacturer of the white Trafic had been sent fragments of the vehicle recovered by the police for analysis and had found that none of the pieces had ever been put under high temperature. That meant that these car fragments could not have come from the particular white Trafic that police had identified as the suicide bomb car--since that vehicle was known to have once caught fire before having been recycled and repaired.

Yet despite the lack of eyewitness testimony and the weakness of the forensic evidence, the State Department publicly embraced the suicide-bomb story in 1994 and 1995.

The Problem of Motive


Independent investigators have also long puzzled over why Iran would have carried out an action against Argentine Jews while its Hezbollah allies were embroiled in armed struggle with the Israeli military in Lebanon. In their 2006 indictment of several Iranian nationals in the bombing, Argentine prosecutors argued that Iran planned the AMIA attack because Carlos Menem's administration had abruptly canceled two contracts for the transfer of nuclear technology to Iran.

But the indictment actually provides excerpts from key documents that undermine that conclusion. According to a February 10, 1992, cable from Argentina's ambassador in Iran, the director of the American Department of Iran's foreign ministry had "emphasized the need to reach a solution to the problem [of nuclear technology transfer] that would avoid damage to other contracts." Iran thus clearly signaled its hope of finding a negotiated solution that could reactivate the suspended contracts and maintain other deals with Argentina as well.

On March 17, 1992, a bomb blast destroyed the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires--an incident for which the Argentine prosecutors also held Iran responsible. The indictment, however, quotes a top official of INVAP, an Argentine nuclear firm that dominated the National Commission on Atomic Energy, as saying that during 1992 there were "contacts" between INVAP and the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran "in the expectation that the decision of the national government would be revised, allowing the tasks in the contracts to be resumed." The same official confirmed that negotiations surrounding the two canceled projects continued from 1993 to 1995--before and after the AMIA explosion. Those revelations suggest that the Iranian attitude toward Argentina at the time of the bombing was exactly the opposite of the one claimed in the indictment.

The Hezbollah motive for involvement in the AMIA bombing, according to the indictment, was revenge against the Israeli bombing of a Hezbollah training camp in the Bekaa Valley in early 1994 and the Israeli kidnapping of Shiite leader Mustapha Dirani in May. That theory fails to explain, however, why Hezbollah would choose to retaliate against Jews in Argentina. It was already at war with the Israeli forces in Lebanon, where the group was employing suicide bomb attacks in an effort to pressure Israel to end its occupation. Hezbollah had a second easy retaliatory option available, which was to launch Katyusha rockets across the border into Israeli territory.

That is exactly what Hezbollah did to retaliate for the Israeli killing of some 100 Lebanese civilians in the town of Qana in 1996.
That episode inspired greater anger toward Israel among Hezbollah militants than any other event in the 1990s, according to Boston University Hezbollah specialist Augustus Richard Norton. If Hezbollah responded to this Israeli provocation with Katyusha rockets on Israeli territory, it hardly makes sense that it would have responded to a lesser Israeli offense by designing an ambitious international attack on Argentine Jews with no connection to the Israeli occupation.

The Frame-up

The keystone of the Argentine case was Carlos Alberto Telleldin, a used-car salesman with a record of shady dealings with both criminals and the police--and a Shiite last name. On July 10, 1994, Telleldin sold the white Trafic the police claimed was the suicide car to a man he described as having a Central American accent. Nine days after the bombing Telleldin was arrested on suspicion of being an accomplice to the crime.

The police claimed they were led to Telleldin by the serial number on the van's engine block, which was found in the rubble. But it would have been a remarkable lapse for the organizers of what was otherwise a very professional bombing to have left intact such a visible identification mark, one that any car thief knows how to erase. That should have been a clue that the attack was likely not orchestrated by Hezbollah, whose bomb experts were well-known by US intelligence analysts to have been clever enough, in blowing up the American Embassy in Beirut in 1983, to avoid leaving behind any forensic evidence that would lead back to them. It should also have raised questions about whether that evidence was planted by the police themselves.

It is now clear that the Menem government's real purpose in arresting Telleldin was to get him to finger those they wanted to blame for the bombing. In January 1995, Telleldin was visited by retired army Capt. Hector Pedro Vergez, a part-time agent for SIDE, the Argentine intelligence agency, who offered him $1 million and his freedom if he would identify one of five Lebanese nationals detained in Paraguay in September 2004--men the CIA said might be Hezbollah militants--as the person to whom he had sold the van. After Telleldin refused to go along with the scheme, an Argentine judge found that there was no evidence on which to detain the alleged militants.

The Buenos Aires court, which threw out the case against Telleldin in 2004, determined that a federal judge, Luisa Riva Aramayo, met with Telleldin in 1995 to discuss another possibility--paying him to testify that he had sold the van to several high-ranking figures in the Buenos Aires provincial police who were allies of Menem's political rival, Eduardo Duhalde. In July 1996, Judge Juan Jose Galeano, who was overseeing the investigation, offered Telleldin $400,000 to implicate those police officers as accomplices in the bombing. (A videotape made secretly by SIDE agents and aired on television in April 1997 showed Galeano negotiating the bribe.) A month after making the offer to Telleldin, Galeano charged three senior Buenos Aires police officials with having involvement in the bombing, based on Telleldin's testimony.

"The Whole Iran Thing Seemed Kind of Flimsy"


In an interview last May James Cheek, Clinton's Ambassador to Argentina at the time of the bombing, told me, "To my knowledge, there was never any real evidence [of Iranian responsibility]. They never came up with anything." The hottest lead in the case, he recalled, was an Iranian defector named Manoucher Moatamer, who "supposedly had all this information." But Moatamer turned out to be only a dissatisfied low-ranking official without the knowledge of government decision-making that he had claimed. "We finally decided that he wasn't credible," Cheek recalled. Ron Goddard, then deputy chief of the US Mission in Buenos Aires, confirmed Cheek's account. He recalled that investigators found nothing linking Iran to the bombing. "The whole Iran thing seemed kind of flimsy," Goddard said.

James Bernazzani, then the head of the FBI's Hezbollah office, was directed in October 1997 to assemble a team of specialists to go to Buenos Aires and put the AMIA case to rest. Bernazzani, now head of the agency's New Orleans office, recalled in a November 2006 interview how he arrived to find that the Argentine investigation of the AMIA bombing had found no real evidence of Iranian or Hezbollah involvement. The only clues suggesting an Iranian link to the bombing at that time, according to Bernazzani, were a surveillance tape of Iranian cultural attache Mohsen Rabbani shopping for a white Trafic van and an analysis of telephone calls made in the weeks before the bombing.

Shortly after the bombing, the biggest Buenos Aires daily newspaper, Clarin, published a story, leaked to it by Judge Galeano, that Argentine intelligence had taped Rabbani shopping for a white Trafic "months" before the bombing. A summary of the warrants for the arrest of Rabbani and six other Iranians in 2006 continued to refer to "indisputable documents" proving that Rabbani had visited car dealers to look for a van like the one allegedly used in the bombing. In fact, the intelligence report on the surveillance of Rabbani submitted to Galeano ten days after the bombing shows that the day Rabbani looked at a car dealer's white Trafic was May 1, 1993--fifteen months before the bombing and long before Argentine prosecutors have claimed Iran decided to target AMIA.

In the absence of any concrete evidence, SIDE turned to "link analysis" of telephone records to make a circumstantial case for Iranian guilt. The SIDE analysts argued that a series of telephone calls made between July 1 and July 18, 1994, to a mobile phone in the Brazilian border city of Foz de Iguazu must have been made by the "operational group" for the bombing--and that a call allegedly made on a cellphone belonging to Rabbani could be connected to this same group. The FBI's Bernazzani told me he was appalled by SIDE's use of link analysis to establish responsibility. "It can be very dangerous," he told me. "Using that analysis, you could link my telephone to bin Laden's." Bernazzani said the conclusions reached by the Argentine investigators were merely "speculation" and said that neither he nor officials in Washington had taken it seriously as evidence pointing to Iran.


Then, in 2000, one more defector surfaced with a new tale of Iranian responsibility. Abdolghassem Mesbahi, who claimed he was once the third-ranking man in Iran's intelligence services, told Galeano the decision to bomb the AMIA had been made at a meeting of senior Iranian officials, including President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, on August 14, 1993. But Mesbahi was soon discredited. Bernazzani told me American intelligence officials believed that by 2000, Mesbahi had long since lost his access to Iranian intelligence, that he was "poor, even broke" and ready to "provide testimony to any country on any case involving Iran."

A Questionable Informant

Bernazzani admitted to me that until 2003, the case against Iran was merely "circumstantial." But he claimed a breakthrough came that year, with the identification of the alleged suicide bomber as Ibrahim Hussein Berro, a Lebanese Hezbollah militant, who, according to a Lebanese radio broadcast, was killed in a military operation against Israeli forces in southern Lebanon in September 1984, two months after the AMIA bombing. "We are satisfied that we have identified the bomber based on the totality of the data streams," Bernazzani told me, citing "a combination of physical and witness evidence." But the Berro identification, too, was marked by evidence of fabrication and manipulation.

The official story is that Berro's name was passed on to SIDE and the CIA by a Lebanese informant in June 2001. The informant claimed he had befriended a former Hezbollah chauffeur and assistant to top Hezbollah leaders named Abu Mohamad Yassin, who told him that a Hezbollah militant named "Brru" was the suicide bomber. That story is suspicious on several counts, the most obvious being that intelligence agencies almost never reveal the name, or even the former position, of an actual informant.

The September 2003 court testimony of Patricio Pfinnen, the SIDE official in charge of the AMIA bombing investigation until he was fired in January 2002, casts serious doubt on the informant's credibility. Pfinnen testified that when he and his colleagues went back to the informant with more questions, "something went wrong with the information, or they were lying to us." Pfinnen said his team ultimately discarded the Berro theory because the sources in Lebanon had "failed and were not certain." He concluded, "I have my doubts about [Berro] being the person who was immolated."

After Pfinnen was fired in a power struggle within the intelligence agency, SIDE named Berro as the suicide bomber in a secret report. In March 2003, just after that report was completed, Ha'aretz reported that the Mossad had not only identified the bomber as Berro but possessed a transcript of Berro's farewell telephone call to Lebanon before the bombing, during which he told his parents that he was going to "join" his brother, who had been killed in a suicide bombing in Lebanon. When the 2006 indictment was released, however, it became clear that no evidence of such a call existed.

In September 2004, a Buenos Aires court acquitted Telleldin and the police officials who had been jailed years earlier, and in August 2005 Judge Galeano was impeached and removed from office. But Galeano's successors, prosecutors Alberto Nisman and Marcelo Martinez Burgos, pressed on, hoping to convince the world that they could identify Berro as the bomber. They visited Detroit, Michigan, where they interviewed two brothers of Berro and obtained photos of Berro from them. They then turned to the only witness who claimed she had seen the white Trafic at the scene of the crime--Nicolasa Romero.

In November 2005, Nisman and Burgos announced that Romero had identified Berro from the Detroit photos as the same person she had seen just before the bombing. Romero, on the other hand, said she "could not be completely certain" that Berro was the man at the scene. In court testimony, in fact, she had said she had not recognized Berro from the first set of set of four photographs she had been shown or even from a second set. She finally saw some "similarity in the face" in one of the Berro photographs, but only after she was shown a police sketch based on her description after the bombing.

Bernazzani told me that the FBI team in Buenos Aires had discovered DNA evidence that was assumed to have come from the suicide bomber in an evidence locker, and Nisman took a DNA sample from one of Berro's brothers during his visit in September 2005. "I would assume, though I don't know, that once we got the brother's DNA, they compared them," he said. But Nisman claimed to a reporter in 2006 that samples had been contaminated. Significantly, the Argentine indictment of the Iranians makes no mention of the DNA evidence.

Despite a case against Iran that lacked credible forensic or eyewitness evidence and relied heavily on dubious intelligence and a discredited defector's testimony, Nisman and Burgos drafted their indictment against six former Iranian officials in 2006. However, the government of Néstor Kirchner displayed doubts about going forward with a legal case. According to the Forward newspaper, when American Jewish groups pressed Kirchner's wife, Christina, about the indictments at a UN General Assembly in New York in September 2006, she indicated that there was no firm date for any further judicial action against Iran. Yet the indictment was released the following month.

Both the main lawyer representing the AMIA, Miguel Bronfman, and Judge Rodolfo Canicoba Corral, who later issued the arrest warrants for the Iranians, told the BBC last May that pressure from Washington was instrumental in the sudden decision to issue the indictments the following month. Corral indicated that he had no doubt that the Argentine authorities had been urged to "join in international attempts to isolate the regime in Tehran."

A senior White House official just called the AMIA case a "very clear definition of what Iranian state sponsorship of terrorism means." In fact, the US insistence on pinning that crime on Iran in order to isolate the Tehran regime, even though it had no evidence to support that accusation, is a perfect definition of cynical creation of an accusation in the service of power interests.


http://www.thenation.com/doc/20080204/porter
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Postby American Dream » Tue Feb 26, 2008 12:32 pm

AlicetheKurious wrote:
As for the Wiki laundry list, even before checking the actual facts, a couple of things should inspire skepticism:

1) Helloo. These "facts" originate with the same media that's been engaged in a systematic campaign to demonize Arabs and Muslims for decades; the same media that assured everybody that "Saddam" did indeed have WMD's, that 9/11 was masterminded by OBL from a cave in Afghanistan and executed by 19 Arabs with box cutters, that America was invading Iraq to spread freedom and democracy, etc., etc. It's always good to approach Western media coverage of Arabs with a hefty pinch of salt;

2) He "was blamed", "is alleged", "was linked", "tied", "accused", etc. Well, I "blame" you for my booboo, and I "accuse" you of flooding my bathroom, and I "link" you to the mysterious rash I'm getting from all these agenda-driven accusations without evidence!



I am not informed enough to know much of anything about these specific charges against Mughniyeh. If indeed he is completely innocent of these acts, then he may be a honorable combatant, who engaged in warfare against other combatants. Even though I detest violence of all sorts, I have much less of a problem with that than crimes which injure or kill non-combatants. If, on the other hand, he is culpable for the some or all of the violence described, then that is a much more problematic situation.

These sorts of charges bring us to a similar place that investigators reach regarding covert operations by state actors- covert operations are by definition covert, and hence easy to dispute, harder to prove...

Is there evidence either way regarding Mughniyeh?
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Postby AlicetheKurious » Tue Feb 26, 2008 3:59 pm

American Dream said:

Is there evidence either way regarding Mughniyeh?


I don't understand the question. Are you asking whether there is evidence implicating Mughniyeh in the Argentina bombing? The answer is no. I thought my previous post made that clear. He was never named as a suspect, even. And there is no case against those who WERE accused.

But then, Israelis and Americans are accustomed to making whatever accusations they want, or happen to serve their agenda, and not have to actually provide evidence, or anything like that. And they get away with it, over and over. It's rare indeed that an independent investigator checks out the case for him or herself, as the Nation did in the article I posted. And even then, it gets published in the Nation, or whatever small publication, and nowhere else, whereas baseless accusations by Americans and Israelis receive massive, unquestioning media coverage.

Contrast that to the mountains of solid, irrefutable evidence of Israeli and American crimes against many, many innocent victims, for which they are never prosecuted.

Or are you asking whether there is evidence of Mughniyeh's involvement in the other items on the Wiki list? You don't pay me enough to work as your private investigator, but I can tell just by glancing at that list that as usual, the accusers are full of shit. Especially the Marine barracks bombing, which was very probably one more in a long line of Israeli false-flag attacks. They had the motive, means and opportunity, and the timing served THEIR interests above all.

For one thing, one of the Marines' responsibilities was to protect the Palestinian refugee camps through a negotiated agreement with U.S. Special Envoy Philip Habib, where Habib gave the PLO fighters Reagan's personal guarantee that the civilians in the camps would remain safe, in exchange for the PLO to accede to Ariel Sharon's demand that they leave Lebanon. Sharon had already arranged the massacre of the camps, and everything was ready. But what to do about those Marines? He couldn't risk a fight with the Marines, what if they stepped in to stop the carnage?

Sharon engineered the "suicide bombing", Reagan pulled the U.S. out of Lebanon, and then the slaughter could begin as planned.

The added benefit, was the shock and horror that spread throughout the U.S. at those terrible, terrible Arabs.

If you really insist, I'll try to find something about the forensic evidence that supports this scenario. In any case, no, there is NO evidence, NONE, that Mughniyeh was involved in that bombing, either.

But hey, who needs evidence, when you own the media, right?
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Postby American Dream » Tue Feb 26, 2008 7:41 pm

AlicetheKurious wrote:
I don't understand the question. Are you asking whether there is evidence implicating Mughniyeh in the Argentina bombing?


Not specifically. I was asking whether there is evidence either way regarding the litany of violence mentioned in the Wikipedia article. If the man was framed on all counts, it means one thing. If there is good evidence to suggest that he was involved in some of these acts, it means something else entirely.

Not unlike the Ritual Abuse controversies, showing that one or two acts is misrepresented does not necessarily illuminate the big picture. Simply saying that "they" run the media, doesn't really resolve all the questions.

I will reiterate that if some of these charges are true, then the comparisons to Israeli and American atrocities are readily apparent, and nobody gets a free pass, whether they have the sanction of the State, or not...
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Postby AlicetheKurious » Wed Feb 27, 2008 7:57 am

What you are doing is basing your moral judgment solely on the self-serving lies propagated by war criminals.

Being inundated with a version of reality viewed solely through a zionist lens, I don't blame you for your ignorance, your smug self-righteousness.

The Israelis, and Americans, for that matter, have a long history of treating people like vermin to be exterminated, and maligning their victims, along with those who resist.

You are essentially demanding that the victim of a terrorist bombing be judged and convicted based solely on the obnoxious lies, no matter how outrageous and baseless, propagated by his killers.

...showing that one or two acts is misrepresented does not necessarily illuminate the big picture.


Of course it does: the onus is on the false accusers, with their history of fabricating evidence to malign the targets of their murderous rage, to provide genuine evidence to back up their charges. The accused should be considered innocent until proven guilty, especially if the accuser has zero credibility.

And yet, you seem to demand that the onus should be on the accused to prove his innocence in response to what amounts to little more than hot air, blown by murderers and thieves.

We live in a strange world indeed, where the criminal is the prosecutor, judge, jury and executioner, and the victim is on trial.

I repeat: Imad Mughniya was a brilliant military commander and strategist of the Lebanese resistance. He was instrumental in thwarting Israel's expansionist dreams of Lebanon not once, but twice, thus helping the Lebanese resistance to do what all the armies of the Arab states have been unable to do: successfully defend their territory against the zionist invaders.

It is for this reason that he is so vilified and maligned, and it is for this reason that he was so brutally murdered. As Israel prepares to launch yet another war of aggression against Lebanon, Olmert and his goons decided to improve their odds of success this time, by assassinating him, as they have assassinated so many others, in a terrorist car bombing.

Do you really expect the Israeli thieving, lying, mass murderers, and their agents, to say: "Mughniyeh was a national hero"? or, "We have to kill him because he is so good at defending his country"? If you do, you are terribly naive.

No, instead they say, "He is a terrorist," and they slander him, so that this man's career spent organizing his people into a formidable national resistance, is transformed through the magic lens of zionist propaganda, into a life spent killing helpless women and children.

The Lebanese have suffered so much, paid such a terrible price for their misfortune in sharing a border with the malignant zionist thing. If they don't resist, they are enslaved, or ruthlessly exterminated; if they do, they are "terrorists". The terrorists are never the ones who invade, destroy, bomb, pillage, kidnap and murder tens of thousands of innocent people. Those are the accusers. And it is their victims who must defend and justify themselves against recycled Orwellian accusations.

I will reiterate that if some of these charges are true, then the comparisons to Israeli and American atrocities are readily apparent, and nobody gets a free pass, whether they have the sanction of the State, or not...


The comparisons to Israeli and American atrocities are only 'readily apparent' if one believes, like Rabbi Yaakov Perrin, that "One million Arabs are not worth a Jewish fingernail," as he so eloquently said at the eulogy of mass murderer Baruch Goldstein, who slaughtered dozens of Palestinians as they prayed in a mosque in Hebron [al Khalil].

Because even if every lying accusation against Imad Mughniyeh were true, and far more besides, this would not come close to being comparable to the mind-boggling scale of American and Israeli atrocities against innocent Arab and Muslim civilians, conducted on their own land, in their own homes.

So, unlike you, I do not accept the comparison. As for 'nobody getting a free pass', I'm sorry, I didn't realize that I was talking with someone from another galaxy...
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Postby American Dream » Wed Feb 27, 2008 9:31 am

AlicetheKurious wrote:
What you are doing is basing your moral judgment solely on the self-serving lies propagated by war criminals.

Being inundated with a version of reality viewed solely through a zionist lens, I don't blame you for your ignorance, your smug self-righteousness.

The Israelis, and Americans, for that matter, have a long history of treating people like vermin to be exterminated, and maligning their victims, along with those who resist.

You are essentially demanding that the victim of a terrorist bombing be judged and convicted based solely on the obnoxious lies, no matter how outrageous and baseless, propagated by his killers.


I don't see here in this position so much Rigor. It seems as though the only two positions posited here are: Hezbollah's, which thoroughly exculpates their side from any war crimes whatsoever, or: the Israeli Government's, which would thoroughly condemn them as "terrorists".


My position is that war crimes are war crimes. Here's what I said before:

The difference in the ends (neo-Colonialism vs. anti-Colonialism) does not excuse the means (slaughtering innocents). Whether one is on the side of David or Goliath, murdered kids are murdered kids.



This seems like a solid principle to me. I'm concerned here, Alice, because this difference in perspective seems like it's polarizing toward totalistic explanations I'm not comfortable with. I'm also not comfortable with the trend toward personal denigration. We may just have to agree to disagree and let it go at that, if the tenor of this conversation continues in that direction.

That said, I'll agree that Israel's atrocities in Lebanon have justifiably horrified much of the world, myself included, and that Hezbollah's defeat of the Israeli attacks of 2006 were an impressive victory against the neo-colonial aggression of the Israeli/American faction.

I still maintain that all parties should abstain from war crimes, and uphold Human Rights consistently. These should be universal principles.
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Postby Ben D » Thu Apr 17, 2008 8:14 pm

Unfolding developments....

Fars: Syria Arrests Saudi Official Over Mughniyeh Assassination


(RTTNews) - In a move that could have far reaching consequences, Syria arrested a Saudi official in connection with the assassination of top Hizbullah commander Imad Mughniyeh, Iran's semi-official Fars news agency reported Tuesday.

A high-ranking defense official in Saudi Arabia's embassy in Damascus, who was connected to a Syrian woman on whose name the two explosives-laden cars used to kill Mughniyeh were registered, was arrested by Syrian security forces, Fars quoted an Iranian source as saying.

The source said though Israel masterminded the assassination, locals with Syrian, Jordanian and Palestinian citizenships executed the operation. The men bought or rented apartments near Mughniyeh's residence in Damascus and surveyed his activities from there, the source said.

The agency blamed the delay in publishing the results of the Syrian inquiry on pressure from Gulf States including Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

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Postby AlicetheKurious » Fri Apr 18, 2008 5:10 am

Imagine my shock.

...though Israel masterminded the assassination, locals with Syrian, Jordanian and Palestinian citizenships executed the operation.


Behold the root pattern underlying the disastrous condition of the Middle East today.

(It works equally well if one substitutes "American", "Saudi", "Sudanese", "Ethiopian" or so many others, depending on the "operation").

P.S. Ben D, kindly embed the link, so the side borders can fit on my screen.
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The Assassination of Alberto Nisman

Postby MinM » Thu Jan 29, 2015 7:19 pm

With the strange case of Alberto Nisman in the news it's interesting to look back at this story from The Nation ..
AlicetheKurious » Mon Feb 25, 2008 7:12 pm wrote:...it appears there's far more to this story than meets the eye.

article | posted January 18, 2008 (web only)

Bush's Iran/Argentina Terror Frame-Up

...Team Bush's latest tactic is to play up a thirteen-year-old accusation that Iran was responsible for the notorious Buenos Aires bombing that destroyed the city's Jewish Community Center, known as AMIA, killing eighty-six and injuring 300, in 1994. Unnamed senior Administration officials told the Wall Street Journal January 15 that the bombing in Argentina "serves as a model for how Tehran has used its overseas embassies and relationship with foreign militant groups, in particular Hezbollah, to strike at its enemies."

This propaganda campaign depends heavily on a decision last November by the General Assembly of Interpol, which voted to put five former Iranian officials and a Hezbollah leader on the international police organization's "red list" for allegedly having planned the July 1994 bombing. But the Wall Street Journal reports that it was pressure from the Bush Administration, along with Israeli and Argentine diplomats, that secured the Interpol vote. In fact, the Bush Administration's manipulation of the Argentine bombing case is perfectly in line with its long practice of using distorting and manufactured evidence to build a case against its geopolitical enemies...

The Frame-up

The keystone of the Argentine case was Carlos Alberto Telleldin, a used-car salesman with a record of shady dealings with both criminals and the police--and a Shiite last name. On July 10, 1994, Telleldin sold the white Trafic the police claimed was the suicide car to a man he described as having a Central American accent. Nine days after the bombing Telleldin was arrested on suspicion of being an accomplice to the crime.

The police claimed they were led to Telleldin by the serial number on the van's engine block, which was found in the rubble. But it would have been a remarkable lapse for the organizers of what was otherwise a very professional bombing to have left intact such a visible identification mark, one that any car thief knows how to erase. That should have been a clue that the attack was likely not orchestrated by Hezbollah, whose bomb experts were well-known by US intelligence analysts to have been clever enough, in blowing up the American Embassy in Beirut in 1983, to avoid leaving behind any forensic evidence that would lead back to them. It should also have raised questions about whether that evidence was planted by the police themselves...

A Questionable Informant

Bernazzani admitted to me that until 2003, the case against Iran was merely "circumstantial." But he claimed a breakthrough came that year, with the identification of the alleged suicide bomber as Ibrahim Hussein Berro, a Lebanese Hezbollah militant, who, according to a Lebanese radio broadcast, was killed in a military operation against Israeli forces in southern Lebanon in September 1984, two months after the AMIA bombing. "We are satisfied that we have identified the bomber based on the totality of the data streams," Bernazzani told me, citing "a combination of physical and witness evidence." But the Berro identification, too, was marked by evidence of fabrication and manipulation.

The official story is that Berro's name was passed on to SIDE and the CIA by a Lebanese informant in June 2001. The informant claimed he had befriended a former Hezbollah chauffeur and assistant to top Hezbollah leaders named Abu Mohamad Yassin, who told him that a Hezbollah militant named "Brru" was the suicide bomber. That story is suspicious on several counts, the most obvious being that intelligence agencies almost never reveal the name, or even the former position, of an actual informant.

The September 2003 court testimony of Patricio Pfinnen, the SIDE official in charge of the AMIA bombing investigation until he was fired in January 2002, casts serious doubt on the informant's credibility. Pfinnen testified that when he and his colleagues went back to the informant with more questions, "something went wrong with the information, or they were lying to us." Pfinnen said his team ultimately discarded the Berro theory because the sources in Lebanon had "failed and were not certain." He concluded, "I have my doubts about [Berro] being the person who was immolated."

After Pfinnen was fired in a power struggle within the intelligence agency, SIDE named Berro as the suicide bomber in a secret report. In March 2003, just after that report was completed, Ha'aretz reported that the Mossad had not only identified the bomber as Berro but possessed a transcript of Berro's farewell telephone call to Lebanon before the bombing, during which he told his parents that he was going to "join" his brother, who had been killed in a suicide bombing in Lebanon. When the 2006 indictment was released, however, it became clear that no evidence of such a call existed.

In September 2004, a Buenos Aires court acquitted Telleldin and the police officials who had been jailed years earlier, and in August 2005 Judge Galeano was impeached and removed from office. But Galeano's successors, prosecutors Alberto Nisman and Marcelo Martinez Burgos, pressed on, hoping to convince the world that they could identify Berro as the bomber. They visited Detroit, Michigan, where they interviewed two brothers of Berro and obtained photos of Berro from them. They then turned to the only witness who claimed she had seen the white Trafic at the scene of the crime--Nicolasa Romero.

In November 2005, Nisman and Burgos announced that Romero had identified Berro from the Detroit photos as the same person she had seen just before the bombing. Romero, on the other hand, said she "could not be completely certain" that Berro was the man at the scene. In court testimony, in fact, she had said she had not recognized Berro from the first set of set of four photographs she had been shown or even from a second set. She finally saw some "similarity in the face" in one of the Berro photographs, but only after she was shown a police sketch based on her description after the bombing.

Bernazzani told me that the FBI team in Buenos Aires had discovered DNA evidence that was assumed to have come from the suicide bomber in an evidence locker, and Nisman took a DNA sample from one of Berro's brothers during his visit in September 2005. "I would assume, though I don't know, that once we got the brother's DNA, they compared them," he said. But Nisman claimed to a reporter in 2006 that samples had been contaminated. Significantly, the Argentine indictment of the Iranians makes no mention of the DNA evidence.

Despite a case against Iran that lacked credible forensic or eyewitness evidence and relied heavily on dubious intelligence and a discredited defector's testimony, Nisman and Burgos drafted their indictment against six former Iranian officials in 2006. However, the government of Néstor Kirchner displayed doubts about going forward with a legal case. According to the Forward newspaper, when American Jewish groups pressed Kirchner's wife, Christina, about the indictments at a UN General Assembly in New York in September 2006, she indicated that there was no firm date for any further judicial action against Iran. Yet the indictment was released the following month.

Both the main lawyer representing the AMIA, Miguel Bronfman, and Judge Rodolfo Canicoba Corral, who later issued the arrest warrants for the Iranians, told the BBC last May that pressure from Washington was instrumental in the sudden decision to issue the indictments the following month. Corral indicated that he had no doubt that the Argentine authorities had been urged to "join in international attempts to isolate the regime in Tehran."

A senior White House official just called the AMIA case a "very clear definition of what Iranian state sponsorship of terrorism means." In fact, the US insistence on pinning that crime on Iran in order to isolate the Tehran regime, even though it had no evidence to support that accusation, is a perfect definition of cynical creation of an accusation in the service of power interests.

http://www.thenation.com/doc/20080204/porter

http://www.democraticunderground.com/110836660
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Re: The Assassination of Mughniyeh

Postby American Dream » Thu Jan 29, 2015 7:31 pm

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Re: The Assassination of Mughniyeh

Postby MinM » Sat Jan 31, 2015 10:48 am

ImageWashington Post @washingtonpost · Who was Imad Mughniyah, a senior Hezbollah figure killed in joint CIA-Mossad operation? http://wapo.st/1CL6Ahp
Image

Sgt U.R. Problematic ‏@onekade: Why did the CIA decide to talk publicly about its assassination operation? As a warning about US vengeance. Image

Tim Shorrock @TimothyS · Jeff Stein @spytalker adds crucial details: "How the CIA Took Down Hezbollah's Top Terrorist, Imad Mugniyah." http://bit.ly/16aKLMr

Tim Shorrock @TimothyS: "Mugniyah hit was a CIA op authorized personally by Pres. Bush & carried out by the CIA under direct supervision of director Mike Hayden."

...One of official is quoted as saying that operatives detonated some 25 practice bombs at a CIA facility in North Carolina “to make sure we got it right,” killing Mughniyah while avoiding civilian causalities. The real bomb was triggered remotely in Tel Aviv by Mossad agents, according to the report, but CIA operatives in Damascus acted as spotters and could have called off the attack.

Samar Hajj, a Lebanese analyst who is close to Hezbollah, said the report reinforced the impression — true or not — among officials in the Iranian-backed group that covert Israeli operations are signed off in Washington. She said that disclosures in the report would add urgency to desired Hezbollah attacks against Israel, after both sides exchanged fire Wednesday in a flare-up that triggered fears of war...

https://twitter.com/washingtonpost/stat ... 8712129539

https://twitter.com/RT_com/status/561482970599784450

https://twitter.com/PostRoz/status/561564302449324034

https://twitter.com/washingtonpost/stat ... 8159744001

https://twitter.com/yarotrof/status/561437966158286848

https://twitter.com/RMSchneiderman/stat ... 9952123904

https://twitter.com/NPM1026/status/561423604391608320

https://twitter.com/ZaprudskyOU/status/ ... 6342381571

https://twitter.com/John_Hudson/status/ ... 8735211520
ImageJeff Stein @SpyTalker · #Bush gave final order for #CIA to kill #Hezbollah Terrorist #Mugniyah at Camp David on Xmas Eve 2007 http://www.newsweek.com/imad-mugniyah-cia-mossad-303483
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Re: The Assassination of Mughniyeh

Postby MinM » Sun Feb 01, 2015 6:50 pm

Some Questions On Today's Mughniyah Stories

In the Washington Post Adam Goldman and Ellen Nakashima report today on the 2008 death of Hizbullah operator Imad Mughniyah.

On the same day Jeff Stein reports the same story for Newsweek. There are some differences in the details.

Mughniyah died from a tire blowout on a spare tire. The tire was filled with C4 explosives and metal balls and exploded at the back of a Toyota 4wd when Mughniyah walked past.

So far it had been assumed that the assassination had been a Mossad plot but the "news" in the story, based on "former U.S. intelligence officials", is that the CIA was heavily involved and that Bush gave the order to kill Mughniyah.

Two Israeli reporters, sometimes disseminators for Mossad phantasies, add some not so important bits.

The main difference between the two main stories, important in its legal aspect, is in who pressed the button. The Washington Post version:

The device was triggered remotely from Tel Aviv by agents with Mossad, the Israeli foreign intelligence service, who were in communication with the operatives on the ground in Damascus. “The way it was set up, the U.S. could object and call it off, but it could not execute,” said a former U.S. intelligence official.

The Newsweek version:

The kill was made all the harder by the way the bomb would be detonated. There was a two-second delay from the time the CIA and Mossad agents in the lookout post pushed the button to when the bomb exploded. Under the plan, the Mossad agent would ID Mugniyah, and the CIA man would press the remote control.
...
Finally, on the night of February 12, 2008, after two months of round-the-clock surveillance, they caught Mugniyah alone.

“They made a positive ID. Click. One, one thousand; two, one thousand...ka-boom.

So in the Neweek version some CIA guy is guilty of murder while in the Washington Post version somebody in Tel Aviv should be hanged for it.

According to Elijah J. Magnier, who in 2008 reported the story from the Syrian side, the Newsweek version is the more correct one. Magnier also had some additional details in his tweets today.

But aside from the content of the story, which I do not believe to be really relevant, there are questions that could need some answers:

Why is the Washington Post "dumping" the story into the Friday evening/Saturday morning news hole? Usually such a story would be published Saturday evening/Sunday morning thereby and fetch some time on the Sunday shows.

Why is the story coming out now? Has it to do with the spat between Obama and Netanyahoo? Is it a diversion from Israel's recent loss against Hizbullah? Has it to do with the U.S. negotiations with Iran?

The story was obviously ready for some time to be put out by two competing papers. Both were likely waiting for a go from their sources to publish it. Why was the "go" given now? By whom?

Posted by b on January 31, 2015 at 01:54 PM | Permalink
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As I understand it, Newsweek had the story, but CIA convinced them not to publish. WaPo ignored CIA's request, which explains why both showed up at once. It's like the drone base again.

Posted by: emptywheel | Jan 31, 2015 2:16:18 PM |

http://www.moonofalabama.org/2015/01/so ... ories.html
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