Is Mossad planning a terrorist attack during the Rugby World Cup, a major international sporting event in Auckland, New Zealand on 23 October?
Update: Israelis Were Flown from Christchurch to Wellington Aboard RNZ Air Force 757
Among the further mysteries that emerged yesterday was confirmation from Key’s office that Michal Fraidman, Guy Jordan and Liron Sade left Christchurch on one of the earliest flights out after the February 22 earthquake, on an air force 757.
Update: Almost Completely Censored
RB sends a Google search that reveals a sentence that is now removed from all mainstream media:
However, sources said the SAS had entered the zone to secure sensitive material belonging to the Israeli nationals now at the centre of the spying claims.
Here is a screenshot of what remains on Google:
New Zealand Memory Hole (Click for large size)
I want to start by noting that it’s getting more difficult, by the hour, to find the full text of this story as it was first published by The Southland Times. Almost all references to this story have been polluted with the absurd denials and gibberish that John Key has added throughout the day.
In addition to providing the full, original text of the story, I want to highlight an incredible admission by Shemi Tzur, the Israeli Ambassador to New Zealand.
Within hours of the February 22, 2011 earthquake striking Christchurch, Tzur, who is based in Canberra, flew to Christchurch, met up with the surviving members of Mizrahi’s team, and drove them to the airport. It is being widely reported that Mizrahi’s associates left New Zealand within twelve hours after the earthquake struck, but there is hardly any mention of the fact that Tzur himself drove them them to the airport:
Israeli Ambassador Shemi Tzur has dismissed as “science fiction” suspicions that agents of Israel’s secret service, Mossad, had been caught up in the Christchurch earthquake in February.
Mr Tzur, who is based in Canberra but flew into Christchurch hours after the earthquake, said he was “shocked and upset” that New Zealand’s intelligence agencies would have such suspicions.
The three friends of Ofer Mizrahi, who was killed instantly when the van the four were in was crushed by falling concrete in the central city, had left New Zealand so hurriedly because they were shocked and crying and wanted to go home.
“I drove his three friends to the airport so they could go home. They were shocked and crying, they were just talking about their friends.
“To suggest anything else, someone has been feeding you science fiction.
“These were youngsters holidaying in your beautiful country … we encourage our young people to visit New Zealand.”
Mr Tzur said he was aware that Mr Mizrahi was found to be carrying more than one passport when identification checks were being made of the earthquake victims – “I was handed a parcel of his effects and it did contain more than one passport” – but dual citizenship was common in Israel because of difficulties over the use of Israeli passports in some other countries.
He said he had not been told anything about Mr Mizrahi being found with five or six passports and to suggest that he and his friends were anything other than young tourists made him upset.
Now, why was it so critical for the ambassador himself to fly all the way from Canberra, into a disaster zone, to personally drive these Israelis to the airport? My guess is that Shemi Tzur is actually Mossad’s Chief of Station and that he planned to recover passports (or other materials) that Mizrahi was carrying and smuggle them out of the country using his diplomatic bag.
How many passports did he receive? He admits to receiving, “more than one passport,” but, maybe, in the scramble to get Fraidman, Jordan and Sade (assuming that those are their real names) out of New Zealand, something was missed. Something still needed to be recovered.
That’s when an Israeli “rescue team” was sent in, probably with the directive to recover passports (or other materials) related to whatever Mossad operation was underway when it was interrupted by the earthquake. The New Zealand Government denied this “rescue team” access to the red zone in central Christchurch. The “rescue team” entered the red zone anyway and was apprehended by armed New Zealand “officers.” Interestingly, the New Zealand military is now denying that the SAS presence in Christchurch after the earthquake had anything to do with the unauthorized entry of the Israeli “rescue team” into the red zone.
As messy as all of this is, it’s only the start. The article discusses the SIS investigation into whether or not Israeli medical personnel may have been doing double duty for Mossad by dropping backdoors on to computer systems used by the police.
Hours into the aftermath of The Southland Times piece, everywhere you look now, it’s: Move along, there’s DEFINITELY nothing to see here. They were just backpackers who wanted to get home to Israel in a real hurry—and hopped a ride to the airport with the Israeli Ambassador who had just flown in from Canberra… Mmm hmm.
John Key gives us the all clear. However, Fred Tulett, the author of The Southland Times piece, stands by the information he published and is convinced that the SIS investigation is ongoing. He was interviewed by Mary Wilson on Radio New Zealand’s Checkpoint program: Audio from Wednesday 20 July 2011:
Journalist who broke the story doesn’t buy Key’s explanation
The journalist whose story sparked the speculation today about Israeli spy operations in Christchurch says he is not buying the Prime Minister’s claim that the investigations are all over. (3?59?)
Ok, so, what do I think is happening here?
There is a lot of speculation that identity theft was probably behind this situation in Christchurch. In case you don’t know, Mossad operations related to identity theft are an Israeli tradition in New Zealand. This Guardian piece is from 2004:
The prime minister of New Zealand angrily denounced Israel and imposed diplomatic sanctions on it after two suspected Mossad agents were jailed for six months for trying on false grounds to obtain a New Zealand passport.
The plot, which involved obtaining a passport in the name of a tetraplegic man who had not spoken in years, provoked a furious reaction yesterday.
“The breach of New Zealand laws and sovereignty by agents of the Israeli government has seriously strained our relationship with Israel,” said the prime minister, Helen Clark.
“This type of behaviour is unacceptable internationally by any country. It is a sorry indictment of Israel that it has again taken such actions against a country with which it has friendly relations.”
High-level visits between the two countries will be cancelled, visa restrictions imposed for Israeli officials, and an expected visit to New Zealand by Moshe Katsov, the Israeli president, later this year has been cancelled.
Ms Clark said Israel had ignored requests made three months ago for an explanation and an apology.
The action marks the most serious rupture in New Zealand’s international relations since Wellington suspended diplomatic relations with France in 1985 after French agents bombed Greenpeace’s anti-nuclear ship Rainbow Warrior in Auckland harbour.
Maybe that’s it. As I write, however, the countdown timer for the Rugby World Cup indicates 50 days 19 hours until the start of that major international sporting event in New Zealand.
If anything happens at the Rugby World Cup, let’s make sure that the media doesn’t experience amnesia with regard to this situation.
Here’s the full text of the original story as it was first published:
I’m not able to find this story on The Southland Times site now. If anyone can find a link to the original story, I’d appreciate it. Until then, I will reproduce the full text here:
SIS on Trail of Spies
by Fred Tulett
The Southland Times
July 20, 2011
The police national computer has been under scrutiny in the aftermath of the Christchurch earthquake in February because of fears Israeli agents loaded software into the system that would allow backdoor access to highly sensitive intelligence files.
The Security Intelligence Service ordered the checks as part of an urgent investigation of what one SIS officer described as the suspicious activities of several groups of Israelis during and immediately after the earthquake.
Three Israelis were among the 181 people who died when the earthquake destroyed most of Christchurch’s central business district on February 22. One was found to be carrying at least five passports.
An unaccredited Israeli search and rescue squad was later confronted by armed New Zealand officers and removed from the sealed-off “red zone” of the central city.
The response of the Israeli government to the three deaths appears extraordinary. In the hours after the 6.3 quake struck:
* Prime Minister John Key fielded the first of four calls that day from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
* Israel’s Ambassador in the South Pacific, Shemi Tzur, who is based in Australia, booked flights to Christchurch, where he visited the morgue.
* Israel’s civil defence chief left Israel for Christchurch.
* A complete Israeli urban search and rescue squad was assembled and flown to Christchurch, arriving about the same time as …
* Three people who had smashed their way out of a van crushed by a concrete pillar in the central city, leaving a fourth person dead in the vehicle, arrived back in Israel.
Those four Israelis – Ofer Benyamin Mizrahi, 23, from Kibbutz Magal near Haifa, Michal Fraidman, Liron Sade and Guy Jordan – would later become a prime focus of the SIS investigation, along with the Israeli search and rescue squad and a group of forensic analysts from Israel that worked in the Christchurch morgue helping to identify earthquake victims.
The four, two men and two women, had been shopping in the central city on the morning of the earthquake and had returned to their van, parked in Gloucester St, when the quake hit. Mizrahi, the driver, was killed instantly, and Jordan, in the front passenger seat, smashed a window and climbed through the hole to escape. The two women, Fraidman and Sade, who were sitting in the back seat, also managed to crawl out.
They were unable to reach Mizrahi and, after taking photographs of the crushed van, made their way to Latimer Square, where Israeli officials had set up an emergency meeting point. Within 12 hours they had left New Zealand.
On Sunday, February 26, Mizrahi’s body was recovered from the van and taken to the morgue where, during routine identity checks, he was found to be carrying at least five passports.
Meanwhile, the search and rescue squad dispatched from Israel had arrived in Christchurch but the offer of help was rejected by New Zealand authorities because the squad did not have accreditation from the United Nations.
According to Israeli newspaper reports, the squad was being funded by the parents of two other Israelis killed in the earthquake, Ofer Levy and Gabi Ingel, both 22, who were said to be in New Zealand on a backpacking holiday. The parents made repeated public appeals for the Israeli team to join the rescue, appeals that were dismissed by the New Zealand authorities until squad members were discovered in the sealed off “red zone” of the central city.
It is understood the squad members were confronted by armed New Zealand officers and removed from the area. That confrontation is understood to have led to intense diplomatic exchanges between New Zealand and Israel, though police have refused to comment on the incident or even acknowledge that it occurred, and the Israeli ambassador says he had not been advised of any such incident.
Another Israeli group, a forensic analysis team sent by the Israeli government, was welcomed in Christchurch and worked on victim identification in the morgue.
However, the SIS also began to have suspicions about this group when it began investigating possible links between the cache of passports found with Mizrahi, the immediate flight of his three companions, the high-powered Israeli interest shown in the earthquake, the unexplained behaviour of the supposed “search and rescue squad” and a mysterious seventh Israeli, in New Zealand illegally, who was first reported missing in the quake and then, weeks later, was reported to have left the country. They were also interested in the Facebook tribute page set up for Mizrahi that has attracted only five “likes” in the more than four months it has been on the social media site.
When it was realised the forensic analysts could have accessed the national police computer database, an urgent security audit was ordered.
As the SIS officer explained, it would take only moments for a USB drive to be inserted in a police computer terminal and loaded with a program allowing remote backdoor access.
“We were concerned that could have happened,” the officer said.
“We carried out an urgent audit. If it had been done it would eventually have given the Israelis access to all of our intelligence.”
The national database holds all records of convictions, firearms licences, lost and stolen property, criminal behaviour and identifying marks and observations taken by police. It is capable of sophisticated searching and data matching. The officer said the audit had not identified any suspicious files so far, but a wider SIS investigation was continuing.
“It all looks suspicious, but a lot of what the Israelis do raises suspicion. So lots of smoke but we haven’t found any fires. The file remains open though.”
Intelligence agencies have become hypersensitive to sophisticated hacking after the malware “agent.btz” was infiltrated into the computer systems of United States Military Command three years ago.
The US believes Russian agents were responsible and Deputy Defence Secretary William Lynn has described it as “a digital beachhead” for a foreign intelligence agency to attempt to steal data. Attempts to remove the malware have so far been unsuccessful – new, more potent variations of agent.btz are still appearing.
The SIS officer said the agency was also aware of a comment posted on the website of the Russian newspaper Pravda that the Christchurch earthquake had disrupted an Israeli spy base in the city.
The Southland Times asked police national headquarters for comment on the actions and activities of various Israeli groups after the earthquake. After considering the request for nine days, the police issued a brief statement, attributed to Assistant Commissioner Malcolm Burgess, confirming that three Israelis had died in the earthquake, that the van in which Mizrahi died had been recovered and examined, that police had not been involved in the decision to exclude the Israeli search squad, and that “police do not discuss or disclose details of personal effects found with any of the 181 victims”.
Mr Tzur, also approached for comment, said it was “science fiction” that any Mossad agents had been involved.
More: Police Database Like Gold to Spies, Says SIS Expert Hager
Via: Dominion Post:
Secret information contained on the police national computer would be like gold to foreign intelligence agencies, and highly valuable for espionage purposes, says investigative journalist and SIS expert Nicky Hager.
“You’ve got potential names you could steal and use, you’ve got all their backgrounds. You’ve got this fantastic resource on another country,” he said. “If you’re an intelligence agency that would be a very high-value thing to seize.”
It emerged yesterday that the Security Intelligence Service ordered a review of the national police computer system amid fears that Israeli agents had gained access to it after the Christchurch quake by loading sophisticated malware to obtain highly sensitive intelligence files.
Hager, who has written extensively about covert intelligence activities, believes any breach of the system by Israeli Mossad agents was likely to have been opportunistic in the aftermath of the earthquake, rather than premeditated.
“That wasn’t the purpose of the mission they were here for. If you were in an intelligence service, there’s many reasons you want to have a list like that, opportunistic or otherwise. It’s a gem for them.”
However, high-level intelligence shared between New Zealand and the United States gleaned through the Blenheim spy base would not have been accessible through the police computer, he said.
If Israeli spies were based in Christchurch, their original mission would probably have been passport-related. New Zealand passports were highly sought-after by foreign spies as they raised low levels of suspicion at immigration checks.
If the dead man had multiple passports, that suggested links to espionage, Hager said.
“When there are people with multiple passports they can be high-level criminals. But coming from Israel, it sounds suspiciously like intelligence services – the strongest suspicion, I would say.”
Both Hager and Labour leader Phil Goff called on the prime minister to come clean about the incident rather than hiding behind claims of national security.
“You can’t just say this is about security because whose security are you talking about?” Hager said. “Israeli security? If you’ve got foreign spies in your country, it isn’t a good enough reason.”
Police national headquarters issued a statement denying its computer system had been compromised.
Defence Force chief Lieutenant General Rhys Jones revealed yesterday that SAS personnel had been deployed in the red zone immediately after the quake for humanitarian aid purposes. But he denied reports that SAS soldiers had been issued with ammunition and deployed in relation to an unaccredited Israeli search and rescue squad.
Identity theft may have been Israelis’ goal – analyst.
New Zealand passports are “extremely valuable” and it is most likely four Israelis in Christchurch at the time of the February 22 quake were on an identity-theft mission, a political risk consultant says. (Scoop.NZ)
Earthquake unmasked team of Israeli spies in New Zealand, Daily Mail Reporter (admits they changed the original article).