drives like a demon from station to station (skramamme) wrote in ontd_political,
drives like a demon from station to station
skramamme
ontd_political

Assassination & Israel's role in passport fraud

I wasn't sure if this has received any coverage outside of the affected (effected?) countries but it looks like there might be a little explaining in order since this mess has come to light;

The implication is clear: Australia has apparently become a convenient passport factory for Israeli agents.

AUSTRALIAN passports are basically very safe, according to Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard. And so they are, if ''very safe'' is measured by head counts. Most people can leave the country and return to it without risk of their passports being used to create fake identities for members of assassination squads dispatched by foreign intelligence agencies. As the world now knows, however, three Victorians living in Israel, Joshua Bruce, Adam Korman and Nicole McCabe, were among 26 people from several countries whose passport details appear to have been stolen and used in precisely that way. Although Israel has maintained its usual practice of neither confirming nor denying involvement in what it calls ''targeted killings'', the assassination in Dubai last month of a Hamas operative, Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, is generally believed to have been the work of the Israeli secret service, Mossad, whose agents are said to have used stolen identities to enter and leave the Gulf state.

The governments of Australia and the other nations whose citizens' identities were used - Britain, Ireland, France and Germany - have all issued strong diplomatic protests at the misappropriation, though without directly accusing Israel of responsibility for it. The diplomatic niceties were preserved in Foreign Minister Stephen Smith's judiciously phrased statement that ''If the results of that investigation [by ASIO and the Australian Federal Police] cause us to come to the conclusion that the abuse of Australian passports was sponsored or condoned by Israeli officials, then Australia would not regard that as the act of a friend''.

Nor should it. The question, however, is whether Israel recognises any obligation to comply with the legal and ethical standards prescribed by the international community for the use of travel documents, and whether, in the case of countries such as Australia, Israel is willing to reciprocate the loyal friendship and diplomatic support they have shown towards the Jewish state since its foundation. The insouciant attitude that Israel's government has adopted to the diplomatic row over the identity thefts suggests, on the contrary, that Israel regards itself as bound by no such obligations, and is constrained only by a need to defer to nations whose friendship is too important to alienate. It is noteworthy that no American passports were used in the Dubai operation.

The indifference Israel has shown to the wider world by this exercise goes beyond its apparent willingness to betray the trust of Mr Bruce, Mr Korman and Ms McCabe, who are presumed to have no knowledge of what was being done in their names.

As The Age reports today, three Australian men who migrated to Israel in the past decade and retained dual citizenship have returned here on several occasions to change their names legally and obtain new passports. All three are reported to have used their new Australian identities and passports to enter countries that do not allow visits by Israeli citizens, including Iran, Syria and Lebanon, and to have worked for a European telecommunications company with a subsidiary in Tehran. The implication is clear: Australia has apparently become a convenient passport factory for Israeli agents.

Five years ago the then Palestinian representative in Australia, Ali Kazak, warned that this was happening, and claimed that a Mossad agent in Sydney had obtained 25 false passports. Shortly after, two suspected Mossad agents were arrested in New Zealand and served six-month jail sentences after pleading guilty to charges of having attempted falsely to obtain a passport. The incident led to strong condemnation of Israel's action by then New Zealand prime minister Helen Clark, who suspended diplomatic relations between the two countries. Ties were not restored until after an Israeli apology, more than a year later.

Mr Kazak says that his warnings were played down by the Howard government's attorney-general, Philip Ruddock, although the foreign minister in that government, Alexander Downer, says his recollection is ''that over time we have raised this issue with the Israelis''. If Mr Downer's memory is correct, Israel was obviously unmoved by his representations. And now, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who has described himself as a strong supporter of Israel, says he is deeply concerned and ''Australia will not be silent on this matter''. If the investigations by Australia's security services do conclude that Israeli operatives misused Australian passports, it must be hoped that Mr Rudd is as resolute in his response as Miss Clark was in New Zealand. Israel should understand that although Australia's friendship is not in doubt, that friendship is not a licence for Israeli agents to behave as they please.

Assassins with suspected links to the Israeli spy agency Mossad are believed to have stolen the identities of three Victorians.

Australia is not satisfied with Israeli explanations about the fraudulent use of Australian passports in the assassination of a Hamas operator, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says.
Mr Rudd said today the federal government had to "proceed very carefully" in the controversy because of its complex security nature.
...
"When it comes to Australian passport fraud or the use and abuse of Australian passports, this government has an absolutely hard line on defending the integrity of our passport system because millions of the travelling public depend on that each year," Mr Rudd told reporters.
"That is why the foreign minister has called in the Israeli ambassador and asked for an explanation. Thus far we are not satisfied with that explanation."
Assassins with suspected links to the Israeli spy agency Mossad are believed to have stolen the identities of three Victorians.
The suspects were then involved in the murder of senior Hamas operative Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in a Dubai luxury hotel on January 20.
Mr Rudd sidestepped criticism from one of the three Australians involved that they had not been contacted by Australian officials.
...


Australia and the other countries that have been dragged into this murky episode are demanding answers to how their passports wound up in the hands of an apparent Israeli hit squad. Austria is also working to establish claims the suspects used the country as a communications base.


The man ''Joshua Bruce'' carried one of three Australian passports Dubai police have linked to an alleged hit squad they believe was sent to kill Mabhouh. Joshua Daniel Bruce is indeed an Australian, he was born in Melbourne and now lives in Israel. So does Nicole Sandra McCabe and so does Adam Marcus Korman, the other two Australians.
None of them were in Dubai that fateful night. Their faces don't match the passports that put them there. And neither do the other suspects identified.
...
Israel is displaying all the usual stubbornness it brings to such controversies. ''Israel never responds, never confirms and never denies,'' the country's Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, said in one of the rare official comments on the case. Besides, say other Israeli politicians, it's a good thing that Mabhouh is dead.
But this time, at least, Israel may find it has to do some fast explaining. Australia and the other countries that have been dragged into this murky episode are demanding answers to how their passports wound up in the hands of an apparent Israeli hit squad. Austria is also working to establish claims the suspects used the country as a communications base. And with the web of deceit likely to grow - Dubai police say more suspects will be identified in coming days - the pressure on Israel will only intensify.


'I'm terrified'


A terrified Australian woman whose identity was used in the assassination of a top Hamas official says the federal government has not yet offered her any help.
Pregnant Nicole McCabe, 27, said she had no idea how her identity was stolen, as she still had her Australian passport in her Tel Aviv apartment, where she lives with husband Tsahi Look.
...
"I'm terrified. I haven't slept and I'm shaky.
"I'm worried for my health and I'm worried for my baby's health.
"I have no idea how they got hold of my passport, Obviously it's not my photo.
Ms McCabe, who is six months pregnant, has lived in Israel for two-and-a-half years and last left six months ago when she visited Australia and Thailand.
Joshua Bruce and Adam Korman also had their identities stolen and used in fake passports held by the alleged assassins.
Mossad, Israel's secret service, is believed to be behind the organised hit.

I don't know about you, but I'd be pretty freaked out if my passport, and therefore my identity, was used in a political assassination because god only knows who might want to pay a little visit for some payback.
It's a little bit like The Rainbow Warrior all over again, except instead of France it's Israel.
Can you imagine the ruckus if this had been a group of Iranian operatives using US passports instead?

*Links are highlighted- these all come from The Age, Melbourne, Australia.
Bolding/underlining mine.*
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