What Alberto Nisman Found, and How It Might Have Gotten Him Killed

July 16 2015

Alberto Nisman, the Argentine prosecutor investigating Hizballah’s 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish center in Buenos Aires, discovered evidence of collusion between the Argentinian government and Iran in covering up the latter’s role in the attack. Along the way, Nisman also uncovered an expanding Iranian presence in South America, as Dexter Filkins reports:

According to former Venezuelan officials, Hugo Chávez introduced [then-Iranian president Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad to leaders throughout Latin America. Among other things, Iran and Venezuela had established a weekly flight between Caracas and Tehran, and the two governments had set up a two-billion-dollar fund for investments in both countries. American officials say that Chávez also granted safe haven to operatives from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and from Hizballah. In 2007, Chávez agreed to allow Iran and Hizballah to use Venezuela as the base for a drug-trafficking and money-laundering network. . . .

As [Argentinian president] Cristina Kirchner solidified her relationship with Chávez, Argentina grew closer to Iran. During her first term, trade between the two countries doubled, with Iranians buying large quantities of Argentine grain. . . .

In Nisman’s view, Kirchner and [Foreign Minister Héctor] Timerman were so eager to strengthen their alliance with Iran that they were willing to sacrifice national sovereignty. “Let there be no doubt,” Nisman wrote. “The criminal plan consisted of eliminating the charges that the Argentine courts had filed against the Iranian officials [in connection with the AMIA bombing], and the best means that was found to clear those charges, provide immunity, and portray the matter in the tidiest possible manner to a deceived nation was to sign [an agreement with Iran to drop the investigation].”

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Read more at New Yorker

More about: Alberto Nisman, AMIA bombing, Argentina, Hizballah, Iran, Politics & Current Affairs, Venezuela

Will Costco Go to Israel?

Social-media users have mocked this week new Israeli finance minister Bezalel Smotrich for a poorly translated letter. But far more interesting than the finance minister’s use of Google Translate (or some such technology) is what the letter reveals about the Jewish state. In it, Smotrich asks none other than Costco to consider opening stores in Israel.

Why?

Israel, reports Sharon Wrobel, has one of the highest costs of living of any country in the 38-member Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

This

has been generally attributed to a lack of competition among local importers and manufacturers. The top three local supermarket chains account for over half of the food retail market, limiting competition and putting upward pressure on prices. Meanwhile, import tariffs, value-added tax costs and kosher restrictions have been keeping out international retail chains.

Is the move likely to happen?

“We do see a recent trend of international retailers entering the Israeli market as some barriers to food imports from abroad have been eased,” Chen Herzog, chief economist at BDO Israel accounting firm, told The Times of Israel. “The purchasing power and technology used by big global retailers for logistics and in the area of online sales where Israel has been lagging behind could lead to a potential shift in the market and more competitive prices.”

Still, the same economist noted that in Israel “the cost of real estate and other costs such as the VAT on fruit and vegetables means that big retailers such as Costco may not be able to offer the same competitive prices than in other places.”

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Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Costco, Israel & Zionism