January 05, 2020

Inside the Mysterious Death of a Prosecutor Investigating an Alleged Iran Terror Attack That Killed 85 Jews
Despairing portraits of injustice—writ both small and large—don’t come much bleaker than Nisman: The Prosecutor, the President and the Spy, Netflix’s six-part docuseries about a terror attack in Argentina, the theories and investigations that followed, and the unbelievably shady death of the man accusing the country’s president of colluding with foreign powers to let the perpetrators go free. Even on a streaming platform known for its pessimistic true-crime works concerning the unknowability of truth, Justin Webster’s documentary is a gut-punch of a non-fiction exposé, recounting a tangled tale with few clear answers and considerably less hope.The story of scandals piled on top of crimes piled on top of more scandals, all of it leading to endless questions and unending misery, Nisman: The Prosecutor, the President and the Spy (available now) is, first and foremost, about the July 18, 1994, bombing of the Jewish cultural center AMIA (Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina) in Buenos Aires that left 85 dead and more than 200 injured. AMIA was the worst terror attack in Latin American history, and it fell to Jewish-Argentinian native Alberto Nisman to prosecute the case. In that trial, Nisman and his colleagues seemed to successfully argue that the heinous atrocity was carried out via a truck bomb that was procured by known criminal Carlos Telleldín, and that the suicide driver was a member of Hezbollah. Their contention that Telleldín had been in league with a cabal of crooked cops, however, fell apart thanks to mid-trial revelations, resulting in few credible culprits.How Two Online Sleuths Helped Track Down a Hollywood-Obsessed Internet KillerHow the Truth Disappears: Chinese Censorship and My Film ‘One Child Nation’Nonetheless, the ambitious and morally righteous Nisman was asked to continue investigating AMIA. With the aid of Antonio “Jamie” Stiuso—the No. 2 intelligence agent in the country at the time—he came to believe that those responsible for the tragedy were the powers-that-be in Iran, who had employed their Hezbollah proxies to do the deed in a manner similar to the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center (among others). In the ensuing decade, Nisman mounted a highly public legal campaign against Iran as well as Argentinian President Cristina Kirchner, who—along with her chancellor Héctor Timerman, and others in her cabinet—he claimed had conspired with Iran to let the suspected terrorists behind the attack go free. So convinced was Nisman that Kirchner had tried to rescind Interpol’s “Red Notice” arrest warrants for the wrongdoers, all in order to solidify business dealings with Iran, that he filed a formal complaint in 2015 charging the president with treason.And then, on Jan. 18, 2015, a day before he was set to appear before Congress to present evidence in support of that charge, Nisman was found dead in his apartment, the victim of a single gunshot wound to the head.Suspicious timing, no? Anyone with a semi-functioning frontal lobe immediately suspected foul play. And the fact that Nisman had voiced plenty of concern about his personal safety, but shown no signs of suicidal depression (he was a separated father of two who was devoted to his daughters, and living a single life amidst a bevy of models), only amplified such hunches. The problem was, the forensic evidence was, and remains, inconclusive; for all the testimony presented by experts, replete with CGI recreations and gunpowder residue and blood-spatter analysis, there’s simply no way to definitively know whether Nisman did the deed himself, or if a third-party shooter was responsible. Even a late eye-opener about ketamine in Nisman’s system (possibly related to his earlier Wikipedia searches about psychedelia?) can’t fully convince one that he was offed by a nefarious agent.Then again, nothing in Nisman: The Prosecutor, the President and the Spy is 100 percent persuasive. The links between Iran and the AMIA bombing come across as frustratingly insubstantial. The same goes for Argentinian intelligence agencies’ own potential role in the crime. There are tons of wiretap conversations featuring a shadowy inside-man known as Allan Bogado, who was supplying Iran with intel on Nisman and Kirchner. Yet despite director Webster getting Bogado on camera to talk about his conduct, it’s never clear whether he was a traitor, a double-agent, or a fraud. There are also calls between Stiuso and fellow intelligence cohorts in the hours leading up to the discovery of Nisman’s body that, according to prosecutor Viviana Fein, point to pre-release knowledge about his death—but their purpose is never ascertained. That Nisman was flush with an eye-opening amount of cash (far more than his income would have provided) is merely another in a string of questionable details sans decent explanation.In other words, good luck parsing almost any element of Nisman: The Prosecutor, the President and the Spy, which is drowning in dates and developments from the past quarter-century of Argentinian politics. Webster employs timelines, dramatic recreations, crime-scene footage, new and old interviews, and obnoxious TV broadcasts (which function as their own damning critique of a media world gone mad) to try to streamline his knotty material while simultaneously shaping it in a dramatic thriller-mystery mold. The effort, alas, is only partially successful. No matter the six-hour-plus runtime, there’s sometimes too much information to lucidly process, especially given that the director eschews a straightforward chronology, jumping backwards and forwards in time to shine a light on various investigative avenues. A working knowledge of recent Argentinian history will help viewers navigate these turbulent waters. Still, a simpler, less adventurous narrative structure would have made this twisty-turn affair quite a bit easier to digest.Nisman: The Prosecutor, the President and the Spy eventually suggests that Nisman may have been the victim of a conspiracy himself, orchestrated by Stiuso, a 30-year intelligence operative whose cagey interviews are marked by Cheshire Cat grins and shrugged-shoulder expressions that imply he knows infinitely more than he’s letting on. Stiuso’s ability to cling to his powerful position through multiple regimes (some dictatorial, some democratic) is a testament to his cunning ability to manipulate and exploit. Ultimately, this formidable and mysterious spy seems to be the true mastermind of this sprawling saga—and a figure who proves that outsiders (such as Nisman) wade into treacherous espionage waters at their own great peril.
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Star Wars Director Says It's About Time A Woman Makes A Star Wars Movie
Jan 02, 2024
Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Sharmeed Obaid-Chinoy is directing an upcoming Star Wars movie that brings back Daisy Ridley in the role of Rey. Obaid-Chinoy will become the first woman to direct a Star Wars film, dating back to the franchise's origins in the 1970s. Speaking about this, Obaid-Chinoy told CNN that she is "very thrilled" to make the movie and create something that is "very special.""We're in 2024 now, and I think it's about time we had a woman come forward to shape the story in a galaxy far, far away," she said.Obaid-Chinoy won Best Documentary, Short Subjects Academy Awards for Saving Face (2012) and A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness (2015).In 2020, Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy told the BBC that a woman would eventually direct a Star Wars movie, saying that would "absolutely" happen, "without question." Victoria Mahoney was a second unit director on The Rise of Skywalker, but a woman has never claimed a top directing credit on a Star Wars movie.On the TV side of things, The Mandalorian has featured a number of female directors, including Deborah Chow and Bryce Dallas Howard. Chow went on to direct the Obi-Wan TV series, too.Another high-profile franchise that has never had a female director is James Bond. Producer Barbara Broccoli and Skyfall director Sam Mendes have both said they want to see a woman direct a future 007 film.As for Obaid-Chinoy's Star Wars movie, little is known about it apart from the fact that Ridley will come back to play Rey. It is expected that this film will be the first of the three new Star Wars films to come to theaters, possibly releasing in December 2025.According to a report, Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight is writing the Rey movie, taking over for Damon Lindelof and Justin Britt-Gibson.
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NBA Names Clare Akamanzi CEO Of NBA Africa
Jan 02, 2024 15:29
The NBA named Clare Akamanzi – an accomplished business executive and international trade and investment lawyer – as CEO of NBA Africa. Akamanzi will start her position on Jan. 23, 2024, and report to NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum. In this role, Akamanzi will oversee the NBA’s business and basketball development efforts in Africa and will be responsible for continuing to grow the popularity of basketball, the NBA and the Basketball Africa League (BAL) across the continent, including through grassroots basketball development, media distribution, corporate partnerships, and social responsibility initiatives that improve the livelihoods of African youth and families. For the last six and a half years, Akamanzi was CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), where she spearheaded Rwanda’s economic development by enabling private sector growth. Under Akamanzi’s leadership, RDB implemented several business policy reforms and initiatives that led to significant investment and development for the country, including through partnerships with the BAL, Arsenal FC, Paris Saint-Germain FC, FC Bayern Munich and TIME Magazine, among others. “Clare’s business acumen, international experience and familiarity with basketball and the NBA make her the ideal executive to lead our business in Africa,” says Tatum. “NBA Africa and the Basketball Africa League are well-positioned for continued growth, and under Clare’s leadership we believe these initiatives will transform economies, communities and lives across the continent.” “I’ve seen firsthand how sports can positively impact businesses, families and communities in Africa, and the NBA and the BAL are a perfect example of that,” says Akamanzi. “The NBA has done an incredible job growing basketball and the economy around it across the continent, and I’m excited about the enormous opportunities ahead to build on that momentum.” Previously, Akamanzi was Chief Operating Officer of RDB and Head of Strategy and Policy Unit, Office of the President of the Republic of Rwanda. She has extensive international trade, business and diplomatic experience, having previously worked for the Rwandan Government at the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland and at the Rwandan Embassy in London, England. Akamanzi has worked or studied in seven different countries and holds an honorary LLD from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, in recognition of her work in Rwanda. She earned a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she was the recipient of three prestigious awards for academic excellence and distinguished contribution to the community: the Lucius N. Littauer Fellows Award, the Raymond & Josephine Vernon Award and the Robert Kennedy Public Service Award. In addition, Akamanzi holds a Master of Laws degree in international trade and investments from the University of Pretoria in South Africa, and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. Akamanzi has served on several company boards, including the World Health Organization (WHO) Foundation, ECOBANK and Aviation, Travel and Logistics (ATL) company. She was recognized by Forbes as one of Africa’s Top 50 Powerful Women in 2020.
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