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 Sunday, August 08, 2004

  PASSPORT FRAUD: Tactic of Intimidation by Smear Utterly Repugnant
- Commentary by Nick Turner

Other Breaking News
  • A VIDEO aired yesterday that purportedly showed an American being decapitated in Iraq was a hoax.The American, Benjamin Vanderford, contacted in San Francisco, said he videotaped the staged beheading at his friend's house using fake blood. Read here for more
  • US forces in Iraq claimed yesterday to have killed 300 insurgents loyal to the radical Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr in fighting in Najaf. A spokesman for Sheikh al-Sadr denied and said 36 militiamen died in several Iraqi cities from clashes . Read here for more
  • US Army Private Lynndie England, photographed holding a leash tied to the neck of a naked Iraqi detainee, claimed she was commended for humiliating prisoners at Abu Ghraib jail, according to Army investigators on Friday. Read here for more
  • The young military policeman who blew the whistle on Abu Ghraib testified that he had waited a month to turn over incriminating photos to investigators because it was "a hard call" to send his own friends to prison. But Sgt. Joseph Darby said at the hearing that he finally acted because he was shocked by the photos and worried that the abuse was about to resume."It violated everything I personally believed in and everything I had been taught about war. It was more of a moral call than anything," Darby testified. Read here for more
  • Four former finance employees at Halliburton Co. contend that a high- level and systemic accounting fraud occurred at the company between 1998 and 2001,. The filing details alleged accounting improprieties that go far beyond those outlined by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Read here for more
  • A Turkish company is pulling out of Iraq after captors threatened to behead one of its drivers.Turkish television broadcast a video purportedly showing the kidnapped truck driver in Iraq repeatedly urging fellow truckers not to come to the country.A newscaster said his captors threatened to behead the man unless his company withdrew from Iraq within 48 hours. Read here for more
  • The Bush administration blew the cover Monday of double agent Muhammad Naeem Noor Khan. On Sunday August 1, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge announced a new alert against an al-Qaeda plot concerning fincial institutions in New York and Washington, DC.Pressed for details by the New York Times, some Bush administration official revealed that the information came from a recently arrested man in Pakistan named "Khan." The New York Times published his name on Monday.Read here for more
  • There is an obvious growth of anti-Jewish sentiments worldwide. One cannot disregard anymore the rise in Judaeophobia and always consider it as just propaganda and manipulation. By the way, I prefer the use of the term Judaeophobia to the more common, and in itself racist term “anti-Semitism.” One of the best methods at the moment to fight Judaeophobia is to stop the Israeli crimes!It is as simple as that. Read here for more

  • 27th July 2004

    It must be pretty evident to most New Zealanders that the attack on Helen Clark by Ted Lapkin, of the Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council's journal, was founded on a series of factual misrepresentations, false comparisons and unsupported inferences.

    Mr Lapkin condemned what he perceived to be a contrast between the Prime Minister's casual attitude to the trafficking of faked New Zealand passports in Bangkok and her fury at the attempt by Israeli agents to obtain a genuine one here.

    If he has any evidence for his assertion that the Bangkok forgery ring is being run by al Qaeda, Mr Lapkin would do a service to the war against terrorism and international crime by revealing it.

    According to information made public, the 23 faked New Zealand passports seized in Bangkok, along with faked passports of other countries, were produced for the black market by a criminal ring and available to all comers.

    It is possible that some had been acquired by al Qaeda terrorists, but no one apart from Mr Lapkin has affirmed publicly that the forgery operation is being run by al Qaeda. His complaint that our Foreign Ministry treated the matter dismissively in saying it had no confirmation that al Qaeda may be using them is nonsensical, given that the Thai police quoted by Mr Lapkin made clear this was only speculation.

    The attempt by a group of Israelis to obtain a genuine New Zealand passport under false pretences is in a very different category.

    This was not a "rather amateurish" plot by "a couple of errant Israelis", as Mr Lapkin would have us believe. It involved at least four people, one of whom is known to have been a long-time Israeli diplomatic "attache" (usually a non-diplomat operating under diplomatic auspices).

    Only through a minor slip was it detected, and it is reasonable to suspect the same methods may have been successfully used on previous occasions.

    The authorities in Israel have not denied that the men caught were Mossad agents, and, in fact, the respected newspaper Ha'aretz has reported they were.

    But, according to the same newspaper, Mossad managed to persuade Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to stop his Foreign Ministry providing any apology or explanation to New Zealand.

    If the plotters were just a couple of "errant Israelis", why did they go to such extraordinary lengths to get a New Zealand passport in Auckland when they could have obtained one for a tiny fraction of the cost and effort in Bangkok?

    Obviously, the Bangkok ones are inferior imitations, but would this matter to a couple of "keystone cops", as Mr Lapkin portrays them?

    There is a rather large difference between an Asian criminal gang passing off faked passports and the intelligence service of a sovereign state trying by criminal means to obtain a genuine one. There is also a difference between the co-operative attitude of the Thai Government and the refusal of Israel to confront the truth.

    Mr Lapkin's suggestion that Helen Clark has portrayed Israel as being a physical threat to New Zealand's national security is nonsense. But there are obvious security implications for New Zealand in having Mossad agents travelling round the world on New Zealand passports.

    Equally ridiculous is the attack on the Prime Minister for her failure to "rebuke" the Taleban over an alleged al Qaeda plot hatched from a "virtual command centre" in Auckland in 2000 against the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor in Sydney.

    Despite initial reports of such a plot, it turned out to have little substance. Certainly the men involved were Afghans and were engaged in organised crime, but they were actually anti-Taleban, and after investigation it seems that neither New Zealand nor Australian police concluded they presented a terrorist threat.

    And Mr Lapkin's statement that Helen Clark has "made common cause with bedfellows" in the Hamas terrorist organisation is both false and reprehensible.

    No only did the Prime Minister state publicly that her criticism of Israel should not give comfort to Hamas but her Government has long been on record as repeatedly condemning Hamas terrorism.

    It has also (along with many other governments round the world) criticised some Israeli actions, such as the construction of "the wall" on Palestinian territory, and this perhaps accounts for Mr Lapkin's condemnation of what he sees as the "moral bankruptcy" of her Middle East policy.

    If Mr Lapkin's logic is accepted, no one can ever make the least criticism of Israel without being accused of making "common cause" and being "bedfellows" with its Hamas terrorist enemies.

    This tactic of intimidation by smear, designed to silence criticism, is utterly repugnant in a democracy.

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