Israel Targets … New Zealand?

by , April 24, 2004

What’s up with Israel’s preoccupation with wheelchair-bound paraplegics? First, they offed Sheikh Yassin, the blind paraplegic known as the spiritual mentor of Hamas, with a few well-aimed shots from an Israeli helicopter gunship. Now the news out of New Zealand is that Israeli spies used yet another wheelchair-bound paraplegic to illegally procure a passport in his name for their own purposes.

Two of the spies have been caught red-handed, and arrested, while one has fled the country and police are still looking for a fourth Israeli who is believed to be still at large. While not admitting that the four are spies – but not denying it, either – New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Helen Clark, is furious, and has vowed “a strong and public response once the court action has concluded.”

What in heck is going on in New Zealand?

According to the New Zealand Herald, the police set a trap for the Mossad spooks when officials became suspicious about this particular passport application, and, noting an irregularity, contacted the alleged applicant – who turned out to be not only wheelchair-bound but also in residential care. He wasn’t going anywhere.

According to officials, the man who made the phony application was one Zev William Barkan, who had an American or a Canadian accent. He claimed to be going to Australia to get married, and was therefore in a hurry.

The police were informed, and the trap was baited. Barkan left the country, and arranged to have the passport picked up by his two friends, Eli Cara and Uriel Zoshe Kelman. Someone contacted the passport office on March 23 but would not pick up the passport in person.

Instead, it was to be sent to a company, Travcour, that is in the business of procuring visas and other travel documents. Later, Travcour was contacted by someone who told them to deliver the passport to an address in St. Paul, Auckland. The landlord at the address told police that he had been in contact with a former tenant, who said he was expecting a package, and that he would send a taxi to pick it up.

When the taxi approached, Cara, who was sitting in a nearby café, keeping a close watch on the proceedings, followed the taxi driver into the building. The police soon swooped down on Cara, and in the process caught his accomplice, Kelman, who was waiting to pick up the package: he tried to walk away, and hid his cell phone in some bushes, but the cops got him, too.

The Herald reports:

“Neither Cara nor Kelman had an explanation for why they were involved in wanting to obtain the New Zealand passport, nor did they say what their involvement was. They also claimed they did not know each other. Another police witness, Michael Zandvoort, said Kelman, whom he knew as John, told him he had a contract in Europe and would be away for two months, ‘something to do with West European embassies’.

‘John never told me specifics about the company he worked for but it was something to do with security and detecting bugs.’”

The Sydney travel agency Cara claimed to operate turned out to be nonexistent, and he had no explanation for his involvement in trying to get the passport. Kelman’s story was likewise unconvincing. Read this fascinating transcript to see how two Mossad spies, caught doing their dirty work in an ostensibly friendly country, stood up under police interrogation. My favorite part:

Cop: Mr. Kelman saw police and ran away.

Cara: (Pulls a face and nods)

Cop: Ironically, like you, Mr. Kelman is also Israeli.

Cara: (Pulls a face)

Cop: Why would Mr. Kelman want to pick up this fraudulent New Zealand passport, any idea?

Who would want a New Zealand passport – and for what purpose? That country’s passports are very much sought after and highly prized on the black market, especially by terrorists, on account of the visa-free access they provide to a wide range of destinations, including the U.S. In 1997, Mossad agents utilized Canadian passports in a botched attempt to assassinate an official of Hamas in Jordan. On a more ominous note, an Al Qaeda terrorist involved in the Millennium Plot to bomb Los Angeles International Airport had been traveling with a stolen New Zealand passport.

The brouhaha over this incident is threatening to exacerbate Israel’s already dubious image as a persecutor of paraplegics as well as Palestinians. Already the lawyer for the accused Israelis is whining that his clients can’t get a fair trial on account of all the “prejudicial publicity.” The point being that any and all coverage of this incident is considered by the Israelis to be “prejudicial.” Prime Minster Clark’s reply is something you would never hear from an American or Canadian politician in similar circumstances:

“I see already that lawyers for the accused are using the excuse that the news media in New Zealand is doing its job to try and claim that these two people will not get a fair trial. I absolutely reject that. They will get a fair trial and justice will run its course.”

That’s telling ‘em, Helen!

What Clark and the NZ government want to know is whether Mossad spies are traipsing all over the world disguised as Israeli “tourists.”

What has the Israelis in a tizzy is that the New Zealand media, unlike their American and Canadian counterparts, aren’t shielding what was clearly an illegal Israeli covert action taking place inside their country, one that, furthermore, victimized someone who was hardly in a position to defend his own interests.

In the U.S. , you’ll remember, when a similar – but larger-scale – covert action was initiated by the Israelis, this time involving surveillance of government buildings, the matter was denied not only by the Israeli embassy but also by the Justice Department and other officials – and largely ignored by the media. This in spite of a detailed story in Salon, and a leaked government report compiled by an interagency task force. Reports by the Fox News network, Die Zeit, and Le Monde all detailed the story of how an Israeli spy operation in the U.S. tracked the 9/11 hijackers 24/7. As Fox investigative reporter Carl Cameron reported in a December 17, 2001 broadcast:

“Since Sept. 11, more than 60 Israelis have been arrested or detained, either under the new patriot anti-terrorism law, or for immigration violations. A handful of active Israeli military were among those detained, according to investigators, who say some of the detainees also failed polygraph questions when asked about alleged surveillance activities against and in the United States.”

“There is no indication that the Israelis were involved in the 9/11 attacks, but investigators suspect that the Israelis may have gathered intelligence about the attacks in advance, and not shared it. A highly placed investigator said there are “tie-ins.” But when asked for details, he flatly refused to describe them, saying, “evidence linking these Israelis to 9/11 is classified. I cannot tell you about evidence that has been gathered. It’s classified information.”

As Scotland’s Sunday Herald reported, along with the ABC News program 20/20, five Israelis were seen videotaping as the jetliners ploughed into the World Trade Center, and were later picked up with a strong suspicion that they were part of a Mossad operation.

I explored the Israeli angle to the events surrounding 9/11 in my recent book, The Terror Enigma: 9/11 and the Israeli Connection, and I don’t want to repeat myself here. Suffice to say that whatever uses Israel was going to put that fraudulently obtained passport, and whatever others it acquired under false pretenses, it bodes ill not only for New Zealand but for the rest of us as well.

Read more by Justin Raimondo