First Published: 2010-02-26

 
Mossad 'regularly' faked Australian passports
 

Ex-Mossad agent: Israel uses 'false flag' in most operations to avoid suspicion in Arab states.

 

Middle East Online

Alleged Australian passport Photo released by Dubai police

SYDNEY - Israel's Mossad has regularly faked Australian passports for its spies, an ex-agent said on Thursday, as anger grew over the use of foreign travel documents for an alleged assassination.

Former Mossad case officer Victor Ostrovsky told ABC public radio that the spy agency had used Australian passports for previous operations before last month's assassination of a top Hamas commander in Dubai that has been blamed on Israel.

He said agents had little trouble passing themselves off as Australians as few people in the Middle East have much knowledge about the country.

"Consider the fact that Australians speak English and it's an easy cover to take, very few people know very much about Australia," he said.

"You can tell whatever stories you want. It doesn't take much of an accent to be an Australian or New Zealander, or an Englishman for that matter.

"And I know people had been under Australian cover not once (but) quite a few times. So why not use it (again)?"

Australia summoned the Israeli ambassador and warned that the countries' friendly ties were at risk after Dubai police named three Australian passport-holders in a list of new suspects in the murder of Mahmud al-Mabhuh.

Britain, Ireland, France and Germany expressed similar outrage after people holding documents from their countries were also linked to the January 20 killing in a luxury Dubai hotel.

Israel has previously dismissed claims from Ostrovsky, who is now an author and has detailed various accusations against the country in his books.

He said Mossad prefers to use "false flag" passports as Israeli papers frequently invoke suspicion in the Middle East.

"They need passports because you can't go around with an Israeli passport, not even a forged one, and get away or get involved with people from the Arab world," he said.

"So most of these (Mossad) operations are carried out on what's called false flag, which means you pretend to be of another country which is less belligerent to those countries that you're trying to recruit from."

Ostrovsky said Mossad had a "very, very expensive research department" dedicated to manufacturing the fake documents which simulates different types of paper and ink.

"If they create a passport at a top level for use of that nature... I don't think anybody will be able to find the difference," he said, adding there was no chance any of the people named as suspects were Mossad agents.

"Except for James Bond, who actually pronounces or announces his arrival at the scene by saying, 'I'm Bond, James Bond', most people who work in the intelligence field don't present themselves by their real name," he said.

The Australian newspaper said Ali Kazak, a former Palestinian representative to Australia, had warned in 2004 that a Mossad agent in Sydney had obtained 25 false Australian passports.

In March 2004, two suspected Mossad agents were arrested in New Zealand and later convicted for fraudulently trying to obtain passports from the country, prompting diplomatic sanctions.

 

Egypt Christians bury victims with tears, anger

UN says nations bombing IS must protect civilians

Palestinians end mass hunger strike in Israel jails

Probe finds over 100 Mosul civilians killed in US air strike

Syria girls escape war with Snow White

Egypt hits jihadists as IS claims deadly attack on Christians

Britain arrests two more in Manchester attack probe

Turkey charges opposition newspaper staff

Death toll in Tripoli clashes reaches 52

Hundreds of migrants rescued in major operation off Libya

Ramadan in Libya: little cash, much violence

UN braces for up to 200,000 Iraqis to flee Mosul

Iraq forces launch broad attack on IS holdouts in Mosul

Civilians flee IS-held Syria cities after deadly strikes

At least 28 dead in Tripoli clashes

26 killed in attack on Egypt Christians

Turkey identifies 'intelligence weaknesses' before coup attempt

Tunisia opens trial over 2015 beach massacre

Syria army takes control of key road

US-led strikes kill 35 civilians in east Syria

Palestinian president says US should mediate hunger strike

Libya says working closely with Britain over concert attack

EU leaders, Erdogan meet in bid to ease tensions

Myanmar to deport Turkish family wanted for alleged coup links

Iran says it has built third underground missile factory

Trump gets rough ride in EU, NATO meeting

Saudi minister confident on oil output deal

Egyptians brace for austere Ramadan

Qatari FM says country victim of smear campaign, particularly in US

Britain probes jihadist network amid row with US intelligence

Egypt blocks several media websites including Jazeera

IS suicide bomber kills five in Somalia

Israel uneasy over 'crazy' regional arms race

Algeria president replaces Prime Minister

16 civilians dead in coalition strikes near Raqa

4 arrested in Tunisia anti-corruption drive

German MPs call off Turkey visit as tensions fester

Palestinian hunger strike row draws solidarity, controversy

Britain raises terror alert, deploys troops after concert massacre

Qatar probes state news agency hack

At least 20 migrants killed in Mediterranean

Israeli joy at Trump visit lacks substance

Oman evacuates Australian man from Yemen

Bahrain police open fire on Shiite protest, kill five

Turkey arrests hunger strikers on terror charges