Saturday, May 29, 2010

All the Way With Mossad?

Has Australia gone all the way with Mossad?

The 'evidence' so far:

"The idea of Mossad operating in Dubai or other Middle East areas would not surprise most people, but Australians may be surprised at Mossad agents in Canberra." (Mossad's man in canberra has to go, John Lyons, The Australian, 25/5/10)

Not really, John.

"Since the killing of a Hamas leader in Dubai in January, Mossad has been held up to unprecedented scrutiny. Among the information that has emerged is the revelation that Mossad has an officer based in the Israeli embassy in Canberra. Confirmation of Mossad's Australian presence has emerged by Canberra's insistence on 'the London model' - code for Mossad's Australian station chief being expelled rather than a Foreign Ministry official... The Israeli embassy in Canberra has 6 Foreign ministry officials and a commercial attache. On top of that is the Mossad agent, whose name Israel declares. Countries deemed to be 'friendly' to Australia, such as Israel and the US, declare their intelligence officers. Much of their job is liaising with the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) and the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS)... Given the relationship between Israel and Australia, it is unlikely Mossad would try to pay Australian officials. Rather, Mossad would be interested in anyone in Australia who might pose a threat to Israel. In recent years, some Australians have had their passports cancelled, on ASIO's recommendation, to stop them going overseas. Often the major concern has been that the individuals might be planning to travel to the Middle East to engage in an act of terrorism against Israel. Israel wants to find out about such individuals in the source country rather than allowing them to enter Israel. The Mossad officer in Australia can engage in his own investigations but the majority of his work would be trying to find out what Australian authorities are learning about Islamist groups. Much of the information gathered by ASIO and ASIS is not accessible to Mossad - Australian intelligence officers are not permitted to share information branded AUSTEO, or Australian Eyes Only - but an effective Mossad officer would develop relationships with ASIO and ASIS officials and learn as much as possible about groups of concern." (ibid)

So that's it then?

Not by a long chalk:

"Australian security agencies use false passports issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs to allow covert operations to function overseas, intelligence sources have admitted. Following the admission by the Deputy Opposition Leader, Julie Bishop, about Australia's use of fake passports, sources confirmed Australia has a long-standing tradition of providing passports to overseas intelligence agencies. These countries are within the 'Western intelligence club' - specifically Britain, the United States, New Zealand and Canada, sources confirm... Security agencies, including the international spy agency, the Australian Secret Intelligence Service, as well as ASIO and the federal police, use false passports issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs to allow covert operations overseas. Australia does not use the identities of its citizens or forge existing passports. Rather, it creates a passport of a fictitious person and provides it to an intelligence operative... The Australian government would also be extremely judicious in its use of such passports, particularly so when providing them to other countries." (Australia part of fake passport swapping club, Dylan Welch, Sydney Morning Herald, 27/5/10)

OK. So Australia's issuing fake Australian passports to US, UK, NZ and Canadian intelligence agencies. Is Israel also part of this fake passport swapping club?:

"The major source of Australia's intelligence is through the ABCA [America, Britain, Canada, Australia] countries and anything of critical interest to both countries [Israel and Australia] will be passed on regardless of this affair', an Australian security analyst with extensive Middle East experience says." (No blow to intelligence flow, Mark Dodd, The Australian, 26/5/10)

Should that be ABCAI?

Cast your mind, dear reader, back to the words of Israeli intelligence expert and Haaretz journalist Yossi Melman (see my 28/3/10 post Up To Our Necks): "A third role [of Mossad] was to maintain secret, clandestine but very vital and useful contacts with its counterparts, whether it's... ASIO or... the CIA or... M16. And they have developed over the years very, very intimate relations, sharing information and... assessments and even, nowadays, going into the field, enjoying the operations in the war against global terrorism..." (The Mossad, Rear Vision, Radio National, 24/3/10)

Going into the field, enjoying the operations in the war against global terrorism?

Have we gone all the way with Mossad?

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