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Israeli plot to get New Zealand passports: Israeli Friendly Fires

By Dr Shahid Qureshi :- 

The daily Telegraph reported on 16th February 2010: “Mossad hit squads were known to have used forged foreign passports. Canada and New Zealand have both had disputes with Israel in recent years over suspected Mossad agents trying to use forged passports on operations.

The Foreign Office said the British passports were “fraudulent”, while the Irish foreign ministry said it had issued “no such passports” in the names used. A spokesman for the German Government in Berlin said: ‘the passport number on the German document was also fake.

Police in Dubai circulated photographs of the suspects, who used six British passports, three Irish, one German and one French. The Foreign Office was investigating how the identities of six innocent Britons — at least three of whom lived in Israel — came to be used by the alleged hit team. Israel refused to comment on claims that the 11- strong hit squad were its agents, but any admission that it was behind the assassination would threaten Britain’s fragile intelligence-sharing agreement with Mossad.

But it has a chequered history: Margaret Thatcher closed the Mossad operation in Britain in 1987 after it mounted an operation in London to kidnap Mordechai Vanunu, the whistle-blower who revealed secrets about Israel’s nuclear arsenal.”

“A quadriplegic, wheelchair-bound cerebral palsy sufferer was the victim of an alleged plot by Israelis looking to secure a New Zealand passport. The clandestine plan unravelled in the Auckland District Court yesterday when two men appeared in a case fast-tracked in highly unusual circumstances. Papers given to Judge Chris Field showed how suspicious Internal Affairs staff called in police who set a trap.

Defence lawyers Grant Illingworth, QC, and Nigel Faigan, representing Eli Cara and Uriel Zoshe Kelman, consented for the case to proceed to trial although they did not concede there was a prima facie case. According to the police, a third Israeli man, Zev William Barkan, tried to get the passport in the name of the New Zealander.

In unsigned hand-up depositions, a Lynfield GP, Howard Way, told the court that he was visited by a man using the name of the cerebral palsy sufferer. He was suffering from a minor ailment. At the end of the consultation the man, said to be Barkan, asked him to witness his passport application, which he did.

He said he needed a passport urgently to go to Australia to get married. He “was calm and gave me no reason not to believe him. I filled out the form”.

The alleged ruse in the doctor’s surgery was all part of the plot to assume a new identity. A post box and a voicemail phone service were also set up in the name of the victim, whose birth certificate was used to lodge the passport application.

When Internal Affairs staff noticed an irregularity, they rang the applicant. Ian Tingey, an investigations officer with Internal Affairs, said that the applicant had a Canadian or American accent. “When I quizzed him on his accent his explanation to me was he had not travelled or held a New Zealand passport before but had spent a lot of time in New Zealand with Canadian friends and family.”

The officer said that he spoke to the father of the person named in the application who said his son was wheelchair bound and in residential care. Police were tipped off and a covert operation was set up.

According to the police allegations, Barkan left the country and the passport was to be picked up by one of the other two. On March 23 a man contacted the department but refused to pick up the passport personally. He wanted it sent to Auckland Company Travcour, which specialises in obtaining visas and travel documents.

Later that day a man contacted Travcour and told them to courier the passport to an apartment building in St Paul St, Auckland. According to the summary, as the package was delivered to the building, Cara was allegedly keeping watch but did not see the police arrive. The manager of the apartments told police he had received a call from an ex-tenant who asked if a package could be delivered there. He was told that a taxi would be sent to pick it up. When the taxi arrived, Cara was sitting in a nearby cafe, allegedly paying close attention to the taxi driver as he parked.

Cara was himself under surveillance by the police. “As the taxi driver got out of his vehicle and approached the apartment entrance, the defendant Cara got up from his position at the cafe and directly shadowed the taxi driver into the apartments,” the police summary alleges.

The taxi driver had been told to take the package and deliver it to a person with the cerebral palsy victim’s Christian name at an address in Freemans Bay. As the taxi driver picked up the package from the counter, Cara was standing behind him, watching, the police claim.

When Cara went to follow, he was stopped by the police. An officer went with the taxi driver to Freemans Bay. Kelman was allegedly hiding waiting to pick up the package. He walked off quickly and allegedly hid his cellphone in bushes but he too was detained by the police.

According to the police summary neither Cara nor Kelman had an explanation for why they were involved in wanting to obtain the New Zealand passport, nor did they say what their involvement was. They claimed that they did not know each other, but the police say their inquiries contradict this claim.

Further evidence to the court gave details of their time in New Zealand. Michael Zandvoort, of the North Shore, said Kelman, whom he knew as John, told him he had a contract in Europe and would be away for two months, “something to do with West European embassies”.

“John never told me specifics about the company he worked for but it was something to do with security and detecting bugs. “Courtesy: www.nzherald.co.nz

Kofi Anan UNSG said: ‘there is a rise in anti Semitism in the world. Who is to blame for that? Vandals deface Jewish graves in New Zealand reported Reuters on 16 July, 2004, Vandals have smashed headstones and gouged swastikas and Nazi slogans in a Jewish cemetery in New Zealand, a day after Wellington froze ties with Israel over two suspected Israeli spies jailed for trying to obtain a passport by fraud.

Prime Minister Helen Clark said it was not known whether the attacks were linked to the court case and condemned the desecration. She said Israel’s offer of an informal apology for the passport affair was not enough to revive relations.

Vandals attacked 16 graves in the Jewish part of a cemetery in Wellington that dates to the 1880s, a day after Uriel Zoshe Kelman and Eli Cara were jailed for six months for trying to obtain fraudulently a New Zealand passport by assuming the identity of a wheelchair-bound cerebral palsy victim.

“Someone’s used some sort of stick or tool to gouge swastikas into the grass around the graves. Words like ‘Sieg Heil’ have been scratched into the footpath,” a city council spokesman said.

Clark expressed outrage. “But we condemn those actions without reservation,” she told New Zealand radio. The head of the New Zealand Jewish Council said the desecration of the graves was linked to the passport case and the diplomatic sanctions against Israel.

New Zealand frozen all high-level contact between the two countries on Thursday and said the two men were linked to Israeli intelligence service Mossad. New Zealand has small Jewish communities but no history of anti-Semitic behaviour, with only occasional acts of vandalism of Jewish buildings.

Clark said it was possible Israel would wait until the two men had served their sentences before offering any apology. Israel’s Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said on Thursday, ‘Israel was sorry about the incident and would seek to restore relations’.

“The ball is in Israel’s court as to where it wants to move from here,” Clark told the radio. “Three months ago we asked for an apology and an explanation. That has not been forthcoming.”

Australia would consider helping New Zealand and Israel to patch up relations, Prime Minister John Howard said. Howard told Australian radio that he did not want to interfere in the affairs of other countries, but added that he had good relations with Clark and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Israeli President Moshe Katzav is due to visit Australia next month, but Clark said he will not be allowed to travel to New Zealand as originally planned.

The question any sane person would be asking is this friendship worth having which becomes a liability over and over again? It is like sleeping with the enemy.

(Dr Shahid Qureshi is British Journalist and Security analyst)

Views expressed are not of The London Post

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