Viewing cable 04BUENOSAIRES2712
Title: AMIA TRIAL UPDATE

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
04BUENOSAIRES27122004-09-23 20:24:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Buenos Aires
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BUENOS AIRES 002712 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR WHA/BSC, WHA/PPC, EB/IFD/OMA, S/CT 
NSC FOR TOM SHANNON AND MIKE DEMPSEY 
FBI FOR CTD/IRAN-HIZBOLLAH UNIT FOR SSA 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/16/2014 
TAGS: PGOV PINR PREF PREL PTER KJUS AR AMIA
SUBJECT: AMIA TRIAL UPDATE 
 
REF: BUENOS AIRES 2540 
 
Classified By: AMBASSADOR LINO GUTIERREZ FOR REASONS 1.4(B) AND (D) 
 
¶1.  (C)  SUMMARY:  Recused trial judge Juan Jose Galeano 
tendered his resignation September 13 to the President in the 
face of the ongoing investigation into the alleged 
irregularities committed in his investigation of the 1994 
terrorist bombing of the Jewish Community Center (AMIA). 
President Kirchner has apparently decided to take no action 
for the moment on the resignation, allowing the Council of 
Magistrates' investigation of Galeano to continue.  In 
another interesting twist, Federal Judge Claudio Bonadio, who 
is also looking into the AMIA investigation irregularities, 
is now himself under the microscope as another federal court 
this week called into question his impartiality, asking the 
executive branch to report on Bonadio's political 
responsibilities/linkages to the former Menem administration 
and Carlos Corach in particular, the former Minister of 
Interior under Menem.  Corach confidant Mario Baizan (please 
protect), described to PolOff the recent three-judge panel 
decision (Ref. A) to acquit the 22 Argentine defendants (the 
"local connection") of all charges related to the 1994 
attack, and to investigate Galeano, Corach and others, as a 
political decision orchestrated by the Kirchner 
administration.  The Kirchner administration did send a clear 
message of support for the recent judicial decision when 
Justice Minister Rosatti paid a visit September 10 to the 
Council of Magistrates and praised the courage of the 
three-judge panel, particularly its call for an investigation 
into Galeano's and others' actions.  Embassy has no 
indications that the court's September 2 acquittal and call 
for investigations was, in any way, influenced or 
orchestrated by the Kirchner Administration.  Undoubtedly, 
the Kirchner Administration sees any investigation or turn of 
events that could cast aspersions on Menem and his 
government's actions/inactions in the AMIA issue as a bonus. 
END SUMMARY. 
 
¶2.  (C)  On September 13, Judge Juan Jose Galeano, the 
original judge in the investigation and trial of the 1994 
terrorist bombing of the AMIA Jewish Community Center, 
tendered his resignation to President Nestor Kirchner. 
Galeano's resignation would have terminated the ongoing 
investigation of the Council of Magistrates into his conduct 
of the investigation and trial.  It also would close off the 
opportunity for Galeano to defend his actions and, perhaps, 
to divulge possibly embarrassing information about any number 
of past and current political figures.  Interestingly, 
President Kirchner has decided to take no action on the 
resignation (he has neither accepted nor refused it) allowing 
the Council's investigation to move ahead. 
 
¶3.  (C)  In a meeting with PolOff September 15, Mario Baizan 
(please protect), a close confidant of former Menem Interior 
Minister Carlos Corach (who is implicated in the AMIA 
investigation irregularities), described the September 2 
acquittal and call for investigations of Galeano, Corach and 
others as a political attack aimed at placing the blame for 
the failed investigation on former Menem-era officials.  As 
support for his contention, Baizan said that the narrative of 
the three-judge panel in its September 2 verdict almost 
exactly mirrored the scenario laid out publicly some time ago 
by First Lady and Senator Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner 
(i.e. that the Menem administration had purposefully hindered 
the investigation, covered up several interesting 
international leads -- including to Syria -- and sought to 
find convenient local scapegoats).  Baizan, who is well 
positioned to comment on the history of the attack and 
subsequent investigation (he served as a liaison under Corach 
in the Interior Ministry with Argentine, Israeli and U.S. law 
enforcement and intelligence services), stated that this 
verdict, and what he sees as the Kirchner Administration's 
political manipulation of the investigation, will hinder 
eventual efforts to bring the authors of the crime to 
justice. 
 
¶4.  (C)  Baizan explained that the court's decision 
discredits all the evidence that Judge Galeano had uncovered 
in his investigation.  Baizan also alerted PolOff that Judge 
Claudio Bonadio, already looking into Galeano's investigation 
irregularities, was himself going to be investigated because 
of alleged conflicts of interests from his time working under 
Corach in the Interior Ministry's Legal and Technical 
Secretariat at the beginning of the Menem Administration. 
 
SIPDIS 
Removing Bonadio, Baizan said, would stall those 
investigations, further hindering an ultimate resolution of 
that aspect of the case.  (Note:  The day after PolOff's 
meeting with Baizan, the press reported that the First 
Federal Court had requested the administration provide a 
report on Bonadio's activities during the Menem 
Administration.) 
 
¶5.  (C)  Comment:  The court's September 2 acquittal of the 
Argentine defendants, and its calls for an investigation into 
the original judge's and Menem-era officials' actions, has 
muddied the waters and given renewed life to old and new 
conspiracy theories.  Kirchner is walking a fine line.  While 
Kirchner and the GOA have clearly shown they are anxious to 
move the AMIA investigation forward (e.g. by releasing 
classified documents and making intelligence personnel 
available for testimony), the opportunity to focus attention 
on the alleged mishandling/cover-up of the initial 
investigation by the Menem Government is irresistible. 
Fortunately for Kirchner, this aspect of the continuing AMIA 
saga has a life of its own and will require little 
encouragement from the government.  What will be more 
important for his administration in the long run is how the 
government now facilitates and promotes the efforts to 
identify and prosecute the still-at-large authors and agents 
of the terrorist attack.  The Jewish community and groups 
representing the victims' families are pressuring the 
government to renew its efforts to try to bring the suspected 
Hizbollah and Iranian culprits to justice.  The three-judge 
panel that issued the September 2 acquittal ruling does not 
release its detailed ruling until October 29.  At that time, 
it will become clearer what sort of evidence exists against 
Galeano, Corach and others, and how much of the evidence and 
testimony collected by Galeano can be used in the continuing 
case.  Our discussions with Judge Galeano, former 
prosecutors, and SIDE, (the intelligence service), as well as 
a review of the AMIA indictment, indicate that the 
investigation was based mostly on circumstantial evidence 
that required further extensive corroboration and that the 
investigators failed to exhaust local and international 
leads.  We believe it is very unlikely that, 10 years later, 
whatever leads remain will yield useful evidence. 
GUTIERREZ