Australian passports used in Dubai killing

February 25, 2010 by J-Wire
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Israel’s ambassador Yuval Rotem was summoned to FOreign Minister Stephen Smith’s office following the announcement in Dubai that three Australian passports had been used by the team which assassinated Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai last month.

A spokesman for the Israeli Embassy told J-Wire  that Ambassador Yuval Rotem “will convey the message he received to Jerusalem.”

In an announcement to Parliament, Minister Smith said that three passports, in the names of Nicole McCabe, Adam Korman and Joshua Bruce, had been “duplicated or altered”.

He said that the he had demanded full co-operation and thorough investigation into the affair.

Media reports state that all three Australians involve live in Israel.

J-Wire publishes Minister Smith’s announcement in full:

Foreign Minister Stephen Smith

“On the 20th of January this year, senior Hamas figure Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was found murdered in a hotel room in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

On the 16th of February, police in Dubai announced that falsified passports from the United Kingdom, Ireland, France and Germany had been used in connection with the case.

Late on the 22nd of February, Dubai authorities approached Australian officials in the UAE with an enquiry about two Australian passports in possible connection with the murder.

Late on the 23rd of February this week, Dubai authorities confirmed to Australian officials that they were investigating the use of a total of three Australian passports in connection with the murder.

Since that time, Australian officials have been fully cooperating with the Dubai authorities in their investigations.

Yesterday, Wednesday the 24th of February, I spoke to my counterpart, United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister, His Highness Sheikh Abdullah.

Yuval Rotem

I advised him that the Australian Government was taking the matter extremely seriously and that the Australian Government, its officials and its agencies would continue to fully cooperate with Dubai authorities.

Overnight, Dubai authorities announced publicly that, in connection with the murder, they were investigating three people who had used Australian passports.

The passports concerned were under the names of Joshua Bruce, Adam Korman and Nicole McCabe.

The Australian Government is very gravely concerned that these Australian passports appear to have been used fraudulently.

The Government has asked the Australian Federal Police to investigate the possible fraudulent use of these passports.

The Australian Federal Police will conduct a full investigation with the assistance of the Australian Passport Office and other relevant agencies, including the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, ASIO.

The Australian Federal Police will continue to cooperate closely with authorities in Dubai in the investigation into the murder of al-Mabhouh.

Preliminary analysis by the Australian Federal Police, together with the Australian Passport Office, shows that the three Australian passports appear to have been duplicated or altered.

At this stage, Australian officials have no information, no information to suggest that the three Australian passport holders were involved in any way, other than as victims of passport or identity fraud.

The Australian Government condemns in the strongest possible terms the misuse and the abuse of Australian passports.

Mr Deputy Speaker, earlier this morning I called in Israeli Ambassador to Australia, Ambassador Yuval Rotem.

I made it clear to the Ambassador that the Australian Government regards this as a matter of the gravest concern.

I underlined to Ambassador Rotem that Australia expected the Israeli Government, its officials and its agencies, to cooperate fully and transparently with the Australian Federal Police investigation into this matter.

Mr Deputy Speaker, we will all be rightly concerned about the impact this incident will have on the Australians concerned, and their families.

Officials from the Australian Passport Office have been in the process of contacting Mr Bruce, Mr Korman, and Ms McCabe and their families.

We will, of course, offer the three Australians full consular support and assistance.

The Australian Government is committed to ensuring the integrity of Australia’s passports.

Considerable resources and effort is put into ensuring the integrity of the Australian passport.

Indeed, Australia is a recognised leader in the development and implementation of secure passport technology.

Regrettably, no document is ever completely safe from people who try to tamper with it for criminal or illegal purposes.

The three passports in question here were issued in 2003.

Since that time there have been a number of significant enhancements to Australian passports.

The Australian Government will continue to make the security and integrity of the Australian passport system one of its highest priorities.

Mr Deputy Speaker, I will keep the House informed of developments in this matter.”


2 Responses to “Australian passports used in Dubai killing”
  1. Andre C (no passport) says:

    Larry, Larry, Larry. Uri Avinery says those things at the drop of a hat. If an  Israeli breaks wind then it wouldn’t take very long before you’ll find Uri clacking away on his typewriter bloviating about imagined Israeli misdemeanors. Arafat was poisoned by the Israelis, blah, blah blah … and stuff the facts and never mind the lack of evidence.

    The evidence in this matter is all over the place and it’s by no means clear that Israel’s Mossad was involved in Dubai. There are enough uncharacteristic aspects to raise some doubts and the fact that we know at least three Palestinians are involved muddies the picture even further. 

    In days of yore when Mossad was years ahead of the espionage pack, it would have been one of few possible suspects in such a forged passport scam but these days they’re a dime a dozen throughout the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Ten years ago, I could have picked up a NZ passport at any bazaar in Kuala Lumpur. Modern technology and scanning has made it even easier to commit identity theft and if you want to point the finger at the Jews, it’s oh, so easy. Isn’t it?

    But let’s face it – even if it was the Mossad, then its actions were proportionate this time unlike those of your own country Larry.

    Australia is part of a coalition of nations carrying out targetted killings of hundreds of Afghans as we speak. This week, American led NATO forces murdered 27 civilians in an action aimed at the Taliban. It was described in the media as a “blunder”. 

    Had the soldiers been Israelis fighting against el-Mabhouh’s Hamas which is committed to genocide against Jews and the destruction of Israel, Avineri and his comrades in arms would have been screeching about “war crimes” not mere “blunders”. 

    Such an attitude is racism, pure and simple and we should never pander to such a hateful and destructive ethos.

  2. Larry Stillman says:

    Uri Avnery has a blog post on the Dubai hit-squad/fake passports scandal, in which he says

    “The Dubai affair is reinforcing the image of Israel as a bully state, a rogue nation that treats world public opinion with contempt, a country that conducts gang warfare, that sends mafia-like death squads abroad, a pariah nation to be avoided by right-minded people.”

    Avnery’s whole piece is blistering reading which moves one away from any feelings of secret pride, to deep concern about the Mossad’s power.

    Of course the morality of extra-judicial killings is an extraordinarily difficult one. Who would not have wanted to get rid of Hitler? But the hard question for Israel is; do such killings bring about a resolution of the conflict? The answer is no. If anything, they only reinforce hard lines on either side and create only more terrorism.

    Combine this with Israel pinching other people’s passports (including Australia), and Israel really alienates it friends, particularly because while on the one hand, claiming to be a country that behaves legally, it cocks a snoot at other countries and takes advantage of them.

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