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One-Week Thread: Australia Expels Israeli Diplomats



 
 
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  #1  
Old May 25th, 2010, 11:06 pm
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One-Week Thread: Australia Expels Israeli Diplomats

The controversy over the alleged use of forged passports from other nations has resurfaced this week with the expulsion of an Israeli diplomat from Australia. This follows the expulsion of an Israeli diplomat from the United Kingdom in March, for the same reason.

NY Times version.

Haaretz version.

Sydney Morning Herald Version.

This'll be a "bit shorter than one-week" thread, with a narrow focus (ie, stick to issues directly related to the questions).

1. Do you think that expelling diplomats is an appropriate response to Israel's apparent forging of foreign passports?

2. Do you think that it was appropriate for Israel to forge foreign passports in the interest of their own national security?

3. Do you think that state forgery of passports is a widespread intelligence practice?


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  #2  
Old May 26th, 2010, 6:15 pm
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Re: One-Week Thread: Australia Expels Israeli Diplomats

Taking up question three: there is a difference between the creation of fake passports and forgery.

Australia, like just about every country, produces fake Australian passports for intelligence operatives who need to travel covertly.

However, these are technically legal as they are done within the law and with the cooperation of the passport issuing authority. The same applies in the very rare cases where passports are produced for foreign agencies.

What Israel did was steal the identity of real people and forge the passports of foreign nations without the permission or cooperation of those countries.

SMH


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Last edited by Wab; May 27th, 2010 at 4:38 am.
  #3  
Old May 27th, 2010, 6:29 am
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Re: One-Week Thread: Australia Expels Israeli Diplomats

1. Do you think that expelling diplomats is an appropriate response to Israel's apparent forging of foreign passports?
Yes. It's a quite normal way to make a point without totally breaking the diplomatic connections.

2. Do you think that it was appropriate for Israel to forge foreign passports in the interest of their own national security?

I can't see how it could be. In my opinion identity theft can hardly be considered anything else than a crime.

3. Do you think that state forgery of passports is a widespread intelligence practice?
I don't think that states issuing passports of their own country with fictional names and personalia for their secret agents is rare at all. I wouldn't even call it forgery. But about this kind of forgery of foreign passports I have no clue.


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Old May 27th, 2010, 8:04 am
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Re: One-Week Thread: Australia Expels Israeli Diplomats

1. Do you think that expelling diplomats is an appropriate response to Israel's apparent forging of foreign passports?

Expelling diplomats is one among several established ways of sending a message of displeasure to another state. It's more disgruntled than, say, caling in a diplomat to ask for an explanation, but it doesn't strike me as out of the ordinary. If I recall correctly, this sort of thing happened quite regularly, and (overtly at least) for smaller reasons, between Cold War opponents.


2. Do you think that it was appropriate for Israel to forge foreign passports in the interest of their own national security?

No. I think Wab summed it up well.
I guess there wouldn't have such an uproar if they had just faked non-Israeli passports for fictitious individuals. But a state has the obligation to protect its citizens, and stealing somebody's real identity, forging their passport and then committing a crime in a third country is a threat to the person whose identity has been stolen.

As part of that obligation to protect citizens, states ought to keep their passports secure and difficult to forge in order to protect their citizens and keep the travel documents they issue trustworthy. Quite a lot of care is taken with this in western states. Thus it's pretty embarrassing for a state if something like this happens.

Hence, Israel actually embarrassed the countries in question, apart from putting those individuals whose identities were stolen into a very bad position. A state which embarrasses other states in this way (especially states which are ususaly rather friendly) is way out of line, IMHO. Expelling a diplomat to underline the seriousness of sch behaviour seems totally OK, once one thinks about it.

3. Do you think that state forgery of passports is a widespread intelligence practice?

Probably yes.
Obviously, as others have said, they'll issue their own documents under false names for secret services.
I am pretty convinced (though obviously I can't know) that the more professional secret services can produce convincing foreign documents, too (I wonder whether friendly states such as the US and the UK are willing to allow each other to do this?).

I am not particularly fussed that, because it's probably inevitable and mostly probably not particularly damaging.

What I really object to is to fake passports of people who really exist. What on earth were they thinking?!!!


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Last edited by Klio; May 27th, 2010 at 8:08 am.
  #5  
Old May 27th, 2010, 9:38 am
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Re: One-Week Thread: Australia Expels Israeli Diplomats

Quote:
Originally Posted by Klio View Post
1. Do you think that expelling diplomats is an appropriate response to Israel's apparent forging of foreign passports?

Expelling diplomats is one among several established ways of sending a message of displeasure to another state. It's more disgruntled than, say, caling in a diplomat to ask for an explanation, but it doesn't strike me as out of the ordinary. If I recall correctly, this sort of thing happened quite regularly, and (overtly at least) for smaller reasons, between Cold War opponents.
I'm sure the Australian govt was particularly galled by the fact that Israel had done this before and had given undertakings that it wouldn't happen again.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AP
Foreign Minister Stephen Smith told Parliament the operation to kill Hamas official Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in a Dubai hotel room in January was not the first time Israel had forged Australian travel documents. He did not elaborate on previous incidents, but said the latest transgression breached "confidential undertakings" between the two countries.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/...HPidQD9FSV1EO0
After two Mossad agents were convicted of illegally obtaining a NZ passport in 2004, NZ suspended high level diplomatic ties for 12 months. NZ had no option of expelling a diplomat as Israel had no embassy in NZ at the time.

Quote:
What I really object to is to fake passports of people who really exist. What on earth were they thinking?!!!
Probably that they'd get away with it.


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Old May 27th, 2010, 9:52 pm
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Re: One-Week Thread: Australia Expels Israeli Diplomats

What's even worse is that (as far as I remember) at least some of the people whose identity was stolen ha close ties to Israel, or were foreigners or people with double citizenship in Israel.

EDIT: I remembered correctly: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/new...cle7039272.ece

Which means that they hurt, after a fashion, their own people.

It's just insane.



EDIT2:
Back in March Britain also expelled an Israeli diplomat to show its displeasure about the cloned passports


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Last edited by Klio; May 27th, 2010 at 9:57 pm.
  #7  
Old May 28th, 2010, 9:44 am
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Re: One-Week Thread: Australia Expels Israeli Diplomats

I think the main issue here is not that they forged Australian passports, but the fact that real Australian citizens had their lives jeopardised by the use of these. If they were entirely fake identities, there would be no problem. But some poor Australian people were descended upon in their homes and accused of being assassins because of this.

I don't know about everyone else, but I was a bit freaked out by the idea that if I moved to a foreign country, my passport details could be reforged and used in government intelligence missions. Particularly since this occurred with a country we have such a wonderful relationship with!

So yes, I do think kicking out the diplomat was the right thing to do, even if I think it's regrettable we have had to resort to this action. However, in general, I don't mind entirely fake identities being used with another country's stamp for intelligence missions.


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Old May 28th, 2010, 4:34 pm
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Re: One-Week Thread: Australia Expels Israeli Diplomats

Quote:
1. Do you think that expelling diplomats is an appropriate response to Israel's apparent forging of foreign passports?
Symbolically so, yes.

Quote:
2. Do you think that it was appropriate for Israel to forge foreign passports in the interest of their own national security?
No, particularly when allied nations are involved.

Quote:
3. Do you think that state forgery of passports is a widespread intelligence practice?
Probably, yes.


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Old May 31st, 2010, 1:54 am
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Re: One-Week Thread: Australia Expels Israeli Diplomats

Saw this on CNN, and my response is this: Australia is it's own nation. It can expel whomever it wishes for whatever reason. It's not my place to say how right or wrong Australia is in this. Unless it was an American Citizen they expelled, then I'd just want to know what he/she did to deserve it. But I wouldn't do anything about it, as it(Australia) isn't my nation(United States).

-Tibbetts


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Old May 31st, 2010, 11:36 am
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Re: One-Week Thread: Australia Expels Israeli Diplomats

1. Do you think that expelling diplomats is an appropriate response to Israel's apparent forging of foreign passports?
No, unless these diplomats carried forged passports. But I can understand it, I just don't think it's the right response.

2. Do you think that it was appropriate for Israel to forge foreign passports in the interest of their own national security?
Hell no!!! Just imagine all the things they would do and say if someone entered Israel on a state forged Israelian passport....

3. Do you think that state forgery of passports is a widespread intelligence practice?
I sure hope not.


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Old June 3rd, 2010, 11:22 pm
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Re: One-Week Thread: Australia Expels Israeli Diplomats

1. Do you think that expelling diplomats is an appropriate response to Israel's apparent forging of foreign passports? I think Australia has the right to do what it sees fit in this type of situation. It's their government, their country - they have the right to say members of a foreign entity can't or shouldn't be there.

2. Do you think that it was appropriate for Israel to forge foreign passports in the interest of their own national security?
I have a feeling this is probably quite common. I'm not surprised by it, in any case.

3. Do you think that state forgery of passports is a widespread intelligence practice?
See above.


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Old June 4th, 2010, 5:53 am
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Re: One-Week Thread: Australia Expels Israeli Diplomats

The issue wasn't people being here, but the Israeli government forging the Australian passports of Australian/Israeli dual nationals.


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Old June 9th, 2010, 2:44 pm
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Re: One-Week Thread: Australia Expels Israeli Diplomats

I know.
I'm simply saying that Australia can do pretty much whatever wants to do in a case like this. If they want those people out of the country, they can certainly expel them. If they don't, then they can place restrictions on them. I's really up to them.


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Old June 9th, 2010, 4:36 pm
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Re: One-Week Thread: Australia Expels Israeli Diplomats

Actualy, in the context of international diplomacy a country which wants to maintain links with other countries cannot do what it wants. Expelling diplomats is a strong signal, and that instrument of communicating displeasure can only be used for fairly serious reasons.

Of course, Australia could (legally speaking) expel whom it wants to expel. But it would very quickly lose all credibility with the international community - it's usually unpredictable states such as North Korea which would do such things without good reason. Hence, politically/realisticly speaking, Australia can't do what it likes in these matters.

The fact that they saw fit to take such a serious measure shows that they were very seriously put out by the affair and that they expected enough other countries (particularly developed countries) to consider their move as an acceptable response.


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Old June 9th, 2010, 5:46 pm
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Re: One-Week Thread: Australia Expels Israeli Diplomats

Me thinks the week is gone already.


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