Dr. Alberto Nisman, a Warrior for Justice, a Friend, a Martyr


Earlier this week, the body of Dr. Alberto Nisman was found in his apartment in Buenos Aires with a bullet in the head. He was the prosecutor who had been investigating the bombing of the offices of the Argentinean Jewish community building, AMIA, in 1994, and the cover-up by people at the highest levels of the government.

I saw in him a model of the tireless fighter for the truth and justice, as well as a friend and colleague. I am shocked by his death.

In late-2007, as part of his investigation of the atrocity, in which 85 people were killed, Nisman came to Israel to meet with senior intelligence officials, and was my guest for at my house for a long conversation. We spoke about his probe and about the information I had gathered on the subject for my book, The Secret War With Iran.

Nisman, who was escorted by Argentinean born Jewish writer, Gustavo Perednik,  told me then that he was determined to settle the account with not only the Hizballah and Iranian agents behind the bombing, but also with the Argentinean officials and politicians who were covering up for those agents.

“The most senior officials involved in the prosecution, members of the intelligence service, along with my government, conspired to disrupt the discovery of the truth about the Iranian connection and avoid bringing those responsible to justice,” he said.

Then, at that meeting, I was sure that these were empty, boastful words. Who would dare, I thought, to take on the authorities in that country, with the history of the murderous junta and secret services, and especially in one of the most fraught political affairs it had ever seen?

I was wrong – Nisman dared. He submitted a series of indictments, and did not hesitate to come out boldly against some of the most powerful people in the country, for obstructing the investigation and the proceedings with fictitious evidence. This, even when it was clear that he was in jeopardy and had bodyguards watching him, and even after he recently decided that he had sufficient proof to accuse the incumbent president of Argentina. He openly charged her with making a deal behind his back, and behind the backs of all the Argentineans, to plaster over the whole case in exchange for huge petrochemical deals with Iran.

The terror attack, the investigation and the cover-up inspired the script for a movie, “AMIA” that the well-known Israeli filmmaker Amos Gitai and myself (as well as Marie-Jose Sanselma and Sari Turjeman) have written together. Nisman is the hero of that script, contemplating the Rashomon of different versions. In the original plan for the script, we thought he would ultimately pay with his life for his courageous investigation. We changed that later, because it looked too banal and expected.

In my last telephone conversation with him Nisman sounded happy and more determined than ever to stick with his mission. “I will continue until these corrupt people are prosecuted,” he told me in a voice full of life. He was eagerly anticipating the movie, which would perpetuate the affair and his tenacious investigation. This week, he paid for his tenacity with his life. Reality has dictated a sad, Hollywood, ending for out movie, almost a cliché.

In my eyes, Nisman was a martyr, a man who was prepared to sacrifice his life to see justice done.

YNET has published excerpts from my 2007 interview with him. Here is the link: