Skip to comments.New Zealand Blasts Israel After Alleged Mossad Agents Arrests
Posted on 04/20/2004 1:02:45 PM PDT by aculeus
The New Zealand Government called in an Israeli diplomat over suspected Mossad spies arrested in New Zealand, and demanded the Israeli Government return any bogus New Zealand passports it might have.
The New Zealand Herald says, in a rare intervention, Acting Foreign Affairs Minister Jim Sutton summoned the Canberra-based Acting Israeli Ambassador Orna Sagiv a week ago after two Israeli men were arrested in Auckland allegedly trying to obtain a false New Zealand passport.
Mr Sutton said the ambassador was called in to have the 'riot act' read - 'and for me to say on behalf of the New Zealand Government that we required a full accounting of what they were up to'.
'If there are any New Zealand passports, incorrectly and improperly in their hands, we want them all returned.'
Meanwhile, it has emerged that Australian spy-catchers have been investigating a suspected Israeli spy ring for a month.
A spokesman for Attorney-General Philip Ruddock confirmed Monday that the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) had been investigating the matter.
He told Melbourne's Herald-Sun that ASIO had been in touch with its New Zealand counterparts.
The New Zealand Herald reported Eli Cara, 50, and Uri Zoshe Kelman, 30, appeared in the Auckland District Court on Friday for a depositions hearing and have denied charges of trying to obtain a New Zealand passport and taking part in an organised crime group to obtain a false passport.
Two other men believed to be connected to the case are Zev William Barkan, 37, and a fourth man thought to be in New Zealand. Police believe Barkan has left the country, using a U.S. passport.
David Baker, who is a spokesman in Israel for Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, said the Prime Minister's office would not be talking. When asked if he would respond to questions sent to the office, he said, 'You can send them, but we will not be responding'.
Both Cara and Kelman were bailed until a High Court appearance next month. Bail conditions were that Cara stay at the President Plaza Hotel and Kelman at the Duxton.
But a hotel staff member told the Herald Cara checked out of the President Plaza Hotel at the weekend and, when contacted yesterday, the Duxton said Kelman was leaving the hotel today.
The case surrounds claims that Barkan allegedly stole the identity of a wheelchair-bound cerebral palsy sufferer to obtain a false passport.
Kelman and Cara were accused of helping to get the passport for Barkan.
In Australia, the Herald-Sun said the arrests would have set off alarm bells at ASIO headquarters in Canberra.
The security agency's job is to gather information to warn the Government about activities that might endanger Australia's security.
The newspaper's sources said if Israel had gone to the trouble of setting up a genuine business in Sydney as a front for spying, it was an 'extraordinary' step. Eli Cara is alleged to have been running a travel agency in Sydney, however Australian police have established the agency is bogus.
The allegations summarised:
* Two Israeli citizens appeared in an Auckland court on Friday charged with passport fraud.
* Eli Cara, 50, and Uri Zoshe Kelman, 30, face three charges after being arrested in a police sting operation late last month.
* The charges include attempting to obtain a New Zealand passport, and taking part in an organised crime group to obtain a false passport.
* Cara, who claimed to be a Sydney travel agent, has travelled to New Zealand 24 times since October 2000.
* Another Israeli, Zev William Barkan, 37, fled NZ. A fourth man is believed to be in hiding.
* The men are suspected of being Mossad agents.
Mossad enjoys a high reputation among world intelligence communities but has become notorious for falsifying foreign nations' passports and for botched undercover operations abroad, reported The New Zealand Herald.
Most recently, two Israelis were sentenced to three years' jail after pleading guilty to approaching a prohibited military area in Cyprus.
Udi Hargov and Igal Damary were spotted loitering in an area where a secret shipment of Army equipment was being unloaded - a shipment about which only the National Guard hierarchy knew.
The men were arrested at a fishing village on the southern coast. At their seaside apartment detectives found radio transmitters tuned in to police frequencies.
The men said they were part of a crack anti-terrorist unit to prevent an act of terror against Israel.
They denied spying on Cyprus on behalf of Turkey, but refused to say what the mission was.
However, it is believed to have been a bungled Mossad operation, possibly related to anti-aircraft missiles the Greek-Cypriot Government was planning to deploy on the island.
There were other embarrassments only months earlier. A self-confessed Israeli spy was given a one-year suspended prison sentence by a Swiss court for his part in a bungled wire-tapping operation.
The spy, known only by his pseudonym Issac Bental, was also barred from entering Switzerland for five years for what sentencing judge Hans Wipraechtiger called a 'callous violation of Swiss sovereignty'.
Bental's target was a Swiss citizen of Lebanese origin, who Mossad thought had links with Hizbollah Islamic extremists.
In March 1999 a retired agent was convicted of faking reports suggesting Syria was about to attack Israel.
A year earlier, two Mossad agents posing as Canadian tourists were captured in Amman after attacking a Hamas leader, Khalid Mashal, with a high-tech device intended to poison him. Mashal's life was saved after he was treated with an antidote demanded of the Israelis by a furious King Hussein.
A deal was reached to spare the agents from trial in Jordan by exchanging them for Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, imprisoned in Israel.
But the diplomatic fall-out resulted in Canada withdrawing its ambassador in Israel in protest at the use of its passports for espionage.
Since that incident Canadian passports have been off limits, The New Zealand Herald reported Mossad sources as saying.
If he is sincere in his requirements, perhaps a years stay in Israel may be the most enlightening way for him to find out.
Like it or not, Israel is capable of doing wrong. This is an example. Don't try to defend the indefensible.
SILENCE, fool! Don't you know you're not allowed to challenge an accusation of "anti-semitism"? Doubleplusungood! To be accused is to be guilty. If you weren't guilty, you wouldn't have been accused.
I am Jewish and since childhood I heard about the antisemitism of NZ. For at least part of my lifetime they had either explicit or unstated immigration quotas for Jews...We were told that Jews generally were not welcome in NZ.
,,, who the hell told you that? Most people with that sort of info think New Zealand is a trademark on a pound of butter.
Jews in New Zealand... I can tell you that there aren't a whole lot of them here, but the ones I'm aware of are typical of what I know them to be - hard working, a love of business and they're not in Courts or on welfare. Send plenty more here, but keep the ones who tell you bullshit like that right where they are.
As all entities are, however with the capabilities Israel has, the demise which has been bestowed upon them, they have proved it to be a viable asset to be tolerant.
An asset which many states of government or institutions don't consider to be an asset.
My case has just been closed.
I appreciate your endeavors in your taking advantage of your communication outlet as we all have "most graciously" done from time to time.
Your input is greatly appreciated.
Being able to pose as New Zealand tourists makes them less conspicuous than flashing their Mossad credentials
Mind you, I doubt they're Mossad. I know Mossad aren't as error-free as they used to be but this still seems kind of clunky.....Israeli action possibly, maybe one of the other agencies...
Spy-types tend to be a bit more graceful and have better connections then this. Besides if you want a passport for just about any country you can general find it being sold in any major city. No need to travel to New Zealand when you can buy the same thing in Paris.
Which might provide some evidence that they are, um, not very welcome in those parts?
Tell me what you know about difficulties Jews have in New Zealand.