Damian Pachter of the English-language Buenos Aires Herald is currently in Uruguay, en route to Israel.
In 1994, the Argentine-Israeli Mutual Association in Buenos Aires was bombed, leaving 84 dead. (source) To date, nobody has been held responsible for the crime, but Argentina and Iran reached a 2013 deal where they would jointly investigate the crime.
Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman in 2013 released an indictment in which Iran and Hezbollah were accused of being behind the crime.
Then, in early January of this year, Nisman released an indictment in which he accused senior Argentine officials of giving possibly culpable Iranians a pass. (source)
He asked a judge to call Fernandez and others, including Foreign Minister Hector Timerman, for questioning.
“The president and her foreign minister took the criminal decision to fabricate Iran’s innocence to sate Argentina’s commercial, political and geopolitical interests,” Nisman said.(source)
The night before he was to unveil details of the indictment, Nisman was found dead in his apartment – a single .22 caliber slug resting in his brain. (source) Few think it was the suicide that it was supposed to look like. Even Argentina’s president stated that she thought it was a murder, but not one by her government to silence the critic. Her stated theory is that someone else killed Nisman, to cast suspicion on the Argentine government. (source) Another story is that the death was part of an internal power struggle within Argentina’s intelligence agency. (source)
“Disregarding the evidence, the facts or the real responsibility for the attack, the Iranians were going to be absolved from the case, Iran was going to be ‘whitewashed’ and this came from ‘high up,’ that’s to say it had the presidential seal,” Nisman wrote in the report. “Everything was agreed, they were going to use the AMIA case as a pawn to satisfy geopolitical interests.” (source)
Pachter broke the story of Nisman’s death, and said that after discovering that his phones were tapped and that he was being followed, he fled the country.
“I’m leaving because my life is in danger. My phones are tapped,” he told the website Infobae. “I’m going to come back to this country when my sources tell me the conditions have changed. I don’t think that will be during this government,” Patcher said. Pachter provides the full story of his escape at Ha’aretz. (source)Moreover, the official Twitter account of the Argentine Presidency tweeted a screenshot of Aerolineas Argentinas internal booking system. It is reported to me by an Argentine colleague that releasing this type of information is illegal under Argentinean law. Pachter says that the information, showing a return date of February 2 is fabricated to make it seem like he had not fled Argentina. (source)
This kind of thing needs American eyes and American voices. I am aware of this because I find myself recently embroiled in the fight for press freedom in Argentina. I am proud to represent the interests of the esteemed Argentine journalist, Jorge Lanata. (motion, story, CIJA Press Release, order)
But, we need to understand that a threat to press freedom anywhere is a threat to press freedom everywhere.