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  1. #1
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    British Investigate ID Theft By "Mossad" Hit Squad In Dubai

    British investigate ID theft by 'Mossad' hit squad in Dubai

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/new...cle7029155.ece

    2/17/2010

    British authorities were today investigating whether any its nationals had their identities stolen by the assassination squad who killed a Hamas leader in a Dubai hotel.

    Police in the Gulf state are conducting an international manhunt for 11 suspects in the murder of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in his hotel room on January 19.

    The investigators have named Melvyn Mildiner, Stephen Hodes, Paul Keeley, Jonathon Graha, James Clarke and Michael Barney as the British passport holders suspected of involvement in the murder, along with three with Irish passports, including a woman, and the holders of a German and a French passport.

    The Foreign Office and the Irish Government confirmed today that the passports used were fake.

    "We are aware that the holders of six British passports have been named in this case. We believe the passports used were fraudulent and have begun our own investigation," said a spokesman.

    "We have informed the authorities in the UAE (United Arab Emirates) that this is the case, and continue to cooperate closely with the Emiratis on this matter," he added.

    Today Melvin Adam Mildiner, a British-Israeli contacted in Israel, denied that he was the man named by Dubai police.

    "I am obviously angry, upset and scared -- any number of things," he said. "And I’m looking into what I can do to try to sort things out and clear my name. I don’t know how this happened or who chose my name or why, but hopefully we’ll find out soon."

    The picture of Mr Milivner issued by the Dubai police did not match pictures posted by him on his Facebook and Twitter accounts.

    Colleagues of Susan Hodes, the mother of Stephen Daniel Hodes, said she had been thrown into panic by the apparent theft of her son's her name by the assassins.

    At her workplace Urban & Rural Estates, in Manchester, a colleague said: "It's not her son. She has got a child called Stephen Daniel Hodes and she is in a complete tizz. Thankfully there was the picture which is not her son. Whether someone has stolen identity or whether there are two Stephen Daniel Hodes I don't know. She called in the office in a complete panic. It's just very uncomfortable for her."

    Ireland said the three alleged Irish citizens on the wanted list do not exist. In Germany, officials said the passport number give by Dubai for the lone German suspect is either incomplete or wrong.

    Identity theft is a established tactic in the murky world of targeted killings. A Mossad agent involved in the bungled assassination attempt of the Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal stole the identity of a Canadian living in Israel to obtain a Canadian passport.

    It is understood that the mastermind behind the killing was the French passport-holder, Peter Elvinger. He was the last of the assassination team to arrive in Dubai and took a plane out of the city at around 19.30 on January 19, about an hour before the murder took place.

    In CCTV footage of the victim and suspects released by Dubai police, Al-Mabhouh is shown being tracked by his assassins throughout the day of the murder, who donned an array of disguises, including fake beards and wigs.

    Surveillance teams rotated in pairs waiting for Al-Mabhouh’s arrival at the luxury Al Bustan Rotana hotel near Dubai airport.

    Al-Mabhouh checked into his hotel at 15.25 on January 19. As he entered the lift to go up to his room, he was joined by two members of the team carrying tennis rackets and dressed in sports gear. They followed him to establish his room number before another member of the team checked into the room across the corridor.

    Five hours later Al-Mabhouh was dead. Dubai police maintain he was suffocated, though Hamas has said he was electrocuted and other reports have claimed he was poisoned.

    Four men are believed to have carried out the killing, with a further five planning the operation and keeping watch.

    Issam al-Humaidan, Dubai’s Attorney General, announced this afternoon that the emirate’s public prosecutor would seek extradition of the suspects to the United Arab Emirates once they are arrested. Details of the local investigation and the suspects’s identities have now been passed to Interpol.

    Hamas has directly accused Israel’s spy agency Mossad of carrying out the killing. Dubai police said that Israeli involvement has not been ruled out, despite the stated nationality of the 11 suspects in their passports.

    A former high-ranking Mossad official, Rami Yigal, told Israel Army Radio that the assassin “does look professional". But Mr Yigal said it “doesn’t look like an Israeli operation" because of the apparent shortcuts, such as allowing members to be videotaped by security cameras.

    Mr Yigal declined to speculate on who could have done it, but said that al-Mabhouh had many enemies and was at the centre of bloody feuds. “He was not new to terror ... and he had many contacts with people who had good reason to want him dead,” he said.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


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    The truth about the Mossad
    The recent, outlandish assassination in Dubai may prove the most damaging yet in the Mossad's history of high-profile, bungled operations. How did it squander its reputation for ruthless brilliance?

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010...k-mossad-dubai

    Ian Black The Guardian, Friday 19 February 2010

    Last November, a sharp-eyed Israeli woman named Niva Ben-Harush was alarmed to notice a young man attaching something that looked suspiciously like a bomb to the underside of a car in a quiet street near Tel Aviv port. When police arrested him, he claimed to be an agent of the Mossad secret service taking part in a training exercise: his story turned out to be true – though the bomb was a fake.

    Israel's Secret Wars: A History of Israel's Intelligence Services by Ian Black, Benny Morris 634pp, Avalon Travel Publishing No comment was forthcoming from the Israeli prime minister's office, which formally speaks for – but invariably says nothing about – the country's world-famous espionage organisation. The bungling bomber was just a brief item on that evening's local TV news.

    There was, however, a far bigger story – one that echoed across the globe – two years ago this week, when a bomb in a Pajero jeep in Damascus decapitated a man named Imad Mughniyeh. Mughniyeh was the military leader of Lebanon's Shia movement Hizbullah, an ally of Iran, and was wanted by the US, France and half a dozen other countries. Israel never went beyond cryptic nodding and winking about that killing in the heart of the Syrian capital, but it is widely believed to have been one of its most daring and sophisticated clandestine operations.

    The Mossad, like other intelligence services, tends to attract attention only when something goes wrong, or when it boasts a spectacular success and wants to send a warning signal to its enemies. Last month's assassination of a senior Hamas official in Dubai, now at the centre of a white-hot diplomatic row between Israel and Britain, is a curious mixture of both.

    With its cloned foreign passports, multiple disguises, state-of-the-art communications and the murder of alleged arms smuggler Mahmoud al-Mabhouh – one of the few elements of the plot that was not captured on the emirate's CCTV cameras – it is a riveting tale of professional chutzpah, violence and cold calculation. And with the Palestinian Islamist movement now vowing to take revenge, it seems grimly certain that it will bring more bloodshed in its wake.

    The images from Dubai follow the biblical injunction (and the Mossad's old motto):"By way of deception thou shalt make war." The agency's job, its website explains more prosaically, is to "collect information, analyse intelligence and perform special covert operations beyond [Israel's] borders."

    Founded in 1948 along with the new Jewish state, the Mossad largely stayed in the shadows in its early years. Yitzhak Shamir, a former Stern Gang terrorist and future prime minister, ran operations targeting German scientists who were helping Nasser's Egypt build rockets – foreshadowing later Israeli campaigns to disrupt Iraqi and (continuing) Iranian attempts to acquire nuclear and other weapons.

    The Mossad's most celebrated exploits included the abduction of the fugitive Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann, who was later tried and hanged in Israel. Others were organising the defection of an Iraqi pilot who flew his MiG-21 to Israel, and support for Iraqi Kurdish rebels against Baghdad. Military secrets acquired by Elie Cohen, the infamous spy who penetrated the Syrian leadership, helped Israel conquer the Golan Heights in the 1967 Middle East war.

    It was after that that the service's role expanded to fight the Palestinians, who had been galvanised under Yasser Arafat into resisting Israel in the newly occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. The 1970s saw the so-called "war of the spooks" with Mossad officers, operating under diplomatic cover abroad, recruiting and running informants in Fatah and other Palestinian groups. Baruch Cohen, an Arabic speaker on loan to the Mossad from the Shin Bet internal security service, was shot in a Madrid cafe by his own agent. Bassam Abu Sharif, of the Marxist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, was badly disfigured by a Mossad parcel bomb sent to him in Beirut.

    Steven Spielberg's 2006 film Munich helped mythologise the Mossad's hunt for the Black September terrorists who massacred 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics. Eleven of them were eliminated in killings across Europe, culminating in the small Norwegian town of Lillehammer, where a Moroccan waiter was mistaken for Ali Hassan Salameh, the Munich plot's mastermind. Salameh was eventually killed by a car bomb in Beirut in 1979 – the sort of incident that made Lebanese and Palestinians sit up and notice last year's botched training episode in Tel Aviv.

    Some details of the assassination of Mabhouh last month echo elements of the campaign against Black September – which ended with the catastrophic arrest of five Mossad agents. Sylvia Raphael, a South African-born Christian with a Jewish father, spent five years in a Norwegian prison; she may have been among the young Europeans in Israel who were discreetly asked, in nondescript offices in Tel Aviv, if they wished to volunteer for sensitive work involving Israel's security. Other agents who had been exposed had to be recalled, safe houses abandoned, phone numbers changed and operational methods modified.

    Over the years, the Mossad's image has been badly tarnished at home as well as abroad. It was blamed in part for failing to get wind of Egyptian-Syrian plans for the devastating attack that launched the 1973 Yom Kippur war. Critics wondered whether the spies had got their priorities right by focusing on hunting down Palestinian gunmen in the back alleys of European cities, when they should have been stealing secrets in Cairo and Damascus. The Mossad also played a significant, though still little-known, role in the covert supply of arms to Ayatollah Khomeini's Iran to help fight Saddam Hussein's Iraq, as part of the Iran-Contra scandal during Ronald Reagan's presidency.

    It has, in addition, suffered occasional blows from its own disgruntled employees. In 1990, a Canadian-born former officer called Victor Ostrovsky blew the whistle on its internal organisation, training and methods, revealing codenames including "Kidon" (bayonet), the unit in charge of assassinations. An official smear campaign failed to stop Ostrovsky's book, so the agency kept quiet when another ostensibly inside account came out in 2007. It described the use of shortwave radios for sending encoded transmissions, operations in Iran for collecting soil samples, and joint operations with the CIA against Hezbollah.

    But the worst own goal came in 1997, during Binyamin Netanyahu's first term as prime minister. Mossad agents tried but failed to assassinate Khaled Mash'al – the same Hamas leader who is now warning of retaliation for Mabhouh's murder – by injecting poison into his ear in Amman, Jordan. Using forged Canadian passports, they fled to the Israeli embassy, triggering outrage and a huge diplomatic crisis with Jordan. Danny Yatom, the then Mossad chief, was forced to quit. Ephraim Halevy, a quietly spoken former Londoner, was brought back from retirement to clear up the mess.

    The Dubai assassination, however, may yet turn out to be far more damaging – not least because the political and diplomatic context has changed in the last decade. Israel's reputation has suffered an unprecedented battering, reaching a new low during last year's Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip. "In the current climate, the traces left behind in Dubai are likely to lead to very serious harm to Israel's international standing," the former diplomat Alon Liel commented yesterday.

    Even though Israel is maintaining its traditional policy of "ambiguity" about clandestine operations, refusing to confirm or deny any involvement in Dubai, nobody in the world seems to seriously question it. That includes almost all Israeli commentators, who are bound by the rules of military censorship in a small and talkative country where secrets are often quite widely known.

    It would be surprising if a key part of this extraordinary story did not turn out to be the role played by Palestinians. It is still Mossad practice to recruit double agents, just as it was with the PLO back in the 1970s. News of the arrest in Damascus of another senior Hamas operative – though denied by Mash'al – seems to point in this direction. Two other Palestinians extradited from Jordan to Dubai are members of the Hamas armed wing, the Izzedine al-Qassam brigades, suggesting treachery may indeed have been involved. Previous assassinations have involved a Palestinian agent identifying the target.

    Yossi Melman, the expert on intelligence for Israel's Haaretz newspaper, worries that, as before the 1973 war, the Israeli government may be getting it wrong by focusing on the wrong enemy – the Palestinians – instead of prioritising Iran and Hizbullah.

    "The Mossad is not Murder Inc, like the Mafia; its goal is not to take vengeance on its enemies," he wrote this week. "'Special operations' like the assassination in Dubai – if this indeed was a Mossad operation – have always accounted for a relatively small proportion of its overall activity. Nevertheless, these are the operations that give the organisation its halo, its shining image. This is ultimately liable to blind its own ranks, cause them to become intoxicated by their own success, and thus divert their attention from their primary mission."

    From an official Israeli point of view, the Mossad has an important job to do. Its reputation for ruthlessness and cunning remains a powerful asset, prompting what sometimes sounds like grudging admiration as well as loathing in the Arab world – where a predisposition for conspiracy theories boosts the effect of the disinformation and psychological warfare at which the Israelis are said to excel.

    The government's official narrative, of course, is that Hamas is a terrorist organisation that pioneered horrific suicide bombings, fired thousands of rockets at Israeli civilian targets and – despite occasional signs of pragmatism or readiness for a temporary truce or prisoner swap – remains dedicated to the destruction of the Jewish state. It refuses to admit that its ever-expanding West Bank settlements remains a significant barrier to peace.

    In western countries, including Britain, there was widespread anger at the 1,400 Palestinian casualties of the Gaza war. Barack Obama has declared the occupation "intolerable". Netanyahu heads the most rightwing coalition in Israel's history; his famous quip that the Middle East is a "tough neighbourhood" no longer seems to justify playing dirty.

    Yet Israelis, and not just those on the right, worry that their very existence as an independent state is being de-legitimised. And, judging by the jobs section of the Mossad website, there are still plenty of opportunities for Israel's wannabe spies: challenging positions are available for researchers, analysts, security officers, codebreakers and other technical work. Speakers of Arabic and Persian are invited to apply to be intelligence officers.The work involves travel abroad and a "young and unconventional" environment.

    It is a novelty of this episode that ordinary Israeli citizens are angry that their identities appear to have been stolen by their own government's secret servants – one reason why the Mossad chief Meir Dagan may find his days are numbered. But it is hard not to detect an undercurrent of popular admiration for the killers of Mabhouh. The day after the sensational CCTV images and passport photos were shown, the Israeli tennis champion Shahar Pe'er reached the quarter-finals of a major international competition in the emirate. "Another successful operation in Dubai," the Ynet website headlined its story.

    Ofer Kasti, Haaretz's education correspondent, did not have his passport cloned, but he does bear a striking resemblance to the hit-squad member named as Kevin Daveron. "My mum rang and asked gently if I'd been abroad recently," he wrote. "Friends asked me why I hadn't brought back any cigarettes from the duty free shop in Dubai. I thought I sensed admiring glances in the street. 'Well done,' said an elderly woman who came up to me in the supermarket and clapped me the shoulder. 'You showed those Arabs.'"
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


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    UAE summons EU envoys, Times sources say Netanyahu met Mabhouh assassins

    http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article....icle_id=111995

    By The Daily Star and Agence France Presse (AFP)
    Compiled by Daily Star staff
    Monday, February 22, 2010

    DUBAI: The use of forged passports in the assassination of a Hamas commander in Dubai is a global security threat, a United Arab Emirates minister said on Sunday, vowing to bring those behind the killing to justice.

    Dubai police say the 11 suspects in the January 19 killing of Palestinian Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in one of the emirate’s luxury hotels used forged passports from Britain, France, Ireland and Germany, and were probably Israeli agents.

    “The abuse of passports poses a global threat, affecting both countries’ national security as well as personal security of travellers,” UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahayan was quoted as saying on state-news agency WAM. “We fully intend that those responsible are brought to account for their actions,” Nahayan said.

    The report said that United Arab Emirates State Minister for Foreign Affairs Anwar Mohammad Gargash summoned EU ambassadors on Sunday to brief them on the case and seek their support in the investigation.

    Dubai’s police chief said last week he was 99-percent sure Israel’s intelligence agency Mossad was behind the killing and would seek Interpol’s help to arrest its chief if there was enough evidence.

    Israel is coming under mounting pressure from its European allies over the incident. Britain last week urged Israel to cooperate in its investigation into the apparent use of faked UK passports in the assassination, and Ireland has also expressed concern.

    Both countries called in their Israeli ambassadors last week, and the UK and Irish foreign ministers are expected to meet their Israeli counterpart, Avigdor Lieberman, in Brussels, Belgium, on Monday.

    French Prime Minister Francois Fillon on Saturday condemned the assassination and called for the truth about the killing to be established.

    Austria said last week that it was investigating the suspected use of at least seven mobile phones with pre-paid Austrian chips by the suspects in Mabbouh’s killing.

    The UAE has asked all the countries involved to “build on the positive steps they are already taking to strengthen procedures preventing the abuse of passports,” WAM said.

    The UAE has no diplomatic relations with Israel.

    But it has established low-level contacts in recent years, with some Israeli officials attending events in the Gulf Arab state.

    Israeli intelligence experts dismissed Sunday the prospect of lasting diplomatic fallout for Israel or damage to its Mossad spy agency over the spotlight shone on the assassination.

    “The bottom line is that an important deed was done, by whomever, in the war on terrorism,” Uzi Dayan, a former head of Israel’s National Security Council, said on Army Radio.

    Citing a policy of “ambiguity” with regard to its intelligence activities, Israel has neither confirmed nor denied Hamas allegations that a Mossad team was responsible.

    “I intend … to underline our deep concern about the fake use of passports in Dubai and to seek reassurance and clarification on this very serious issue,” Irish Foreign Minister Micheal Martin told the Irish Times on Friday.

    In contradiction to Dayan’s comments, a senior EU diplomat says Israel’s suspected role in the slaying, and the killers’ alleged use of forged EU passports will harm Israel’s relations with the European bloc.

    The official said the passport controversy “will be harmful for the way Israel is treated by the EU” since it comes on top of strong criticism over Israel’s 2008 attack on Gaza.

    The EU diplomat spoke on condition of anonymity Sunday, a day before the EU’s 27 foreign ministers meet in Brussels. Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman will also be in Brussels to see EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, among others.

    Also Sunday, British daily The Times – citing unidentified sources – reported that Premier Benjamin Netanyahu had met with the perpetrators of the Dubai killing as early as January, and had authorized the mission himself.

    “As the man who gives final authorization for such operations, Netanyahu was briefed on plans to kill Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, a member of Hamas, …” The Times reported.

    “The mission was not regarded as unduly complicated or risky, and Netanyahu gave his authorization, in effect signing Mabhouh’s death warrant,” the Times report added.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


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