Wednesday 26th of January 2022

passport to oblivion...

bishop passport

Deputy opposition leader Julie Bishop says Australia's security agencies engage in passport forgery - the very practice that prompted the Rudd Government to expel an Israeli diplomat.

Ms Bishop became embroiled in the fake passports scandal after calling yesterday's expulsion “an over-reaction”.

She told Fairfax Media: “It would be naive to think that Israel is the only country in the world that has used forged passports, including Australian passports, for security operations.”

When asked directly if Australian intelligence agencies forge passports, Ms Bishop – a former cabinet minister in the Howard government – replied “yes”.

The fake passports controversy erupted after the January murder of top Hamas arms dealer Mahmoud Al-Mabouh in a Dubai hotel room.


Miss Bishop should be sacked from her shadow...

curry favours...

But in a statement later, she denied having told The Age online that Australian intelligence agencies had forged the passports of other nations.

''My responses were referring to the fact that forged Australian passports have been used previously … I have no knowledge of any Australian authority forging any passports of any nation.''

The government this week announced its investigations had found Israel had forged the passports. But Ms Bishop said it had not been proved. She called the expulsion an overreaction designed to curry favour with Arab nations as Australia chases a seat on the United Nations Security Council.

unfit to serve...

from the ABC

The Federal Government says Opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Julie Bishop is unfit to serve in her portfolio after breaching a protocol on commenting about the possible use of forged passports by Australian spies.

Ms Bishop has been strongly critical of the Government's decision to expel an Israeli diplomat in retaliation for the use of forged Australian passports in the assassination of a Hamas leader.

When asked yesterday if she thought Australian intelligence agencies used fake passports she replied, "Yes", but later issued a statement in which she backed away from the comments.

a prize goose .....

from Crikey .....

Greg Sheridan was right! About Julie Bishop that is...

Canberra correspondent Bernard Keane writes:


What's the point of Julie Bishop's political existence?


Scroll back 15 months, to February last year, when she gracefully exited the shadow Treasurership under pressure from some less-than-graceful male colleagues. Admittedly, she'd made a hash of the position, and in record time, but she was still deputy leader, so she needed a senior portfolio. So she was hidden in Foreign Affairs, where usually only Greg Sheridan actually notices if you stuff up.

In fact the principle task of a Coalition foreign affairs spokesperson, either in Government or Opposition, is simple: keep The Australian happy, which means pretty much keeping Greg Sheridan and Paul Kelly happy.

Problem was, she did stuff up, and Greg Sheridan noticed. In August, in the sort of language Sheridan usually reserved for the limp-wristed shillyshalling foreign policy Leftariat, he excoriated her over the Opposition's handling of the Stern Hu matter, saying of the Coalition "it has probably for the moment definitively forfeited the right to be taken seriously as an alternative government."

In case you were left wondering, Sheridan emphasised the point, calling Bishop's response "internally contradictory, unprincipled, amoral beyond even the exigencies of parliamentary hypocrisy and profoundly stupid. Bishop was a dud shadow treasurer and is now a dud foreign affairs spokeswoman."

Bishop had followed first Andrew Robb, and then Helen Coonan, in the role. Robb was the only frontbencher to lay a glove on Rudd early in the term, but then was moved to climate change by Malcolm Turnbull. Coonan barely had time to get her feet under the desk before she was moved to make way for Bishop.

Now not merely has Bishop managed to reveal confidential information about national security matters, she's made herself look a prize goose. Her defence is that she didn't understand the question. The exchange went:

Bishop: "It would be naive to think that Israel was the only country in the world that has used forged passports, including Australian passports, for security operations."

Tim Lester: "What - we do?"

Bishop: "Yes."

Quite what part of "What - we do?" isn't clear is something of a mystery.

A defence along the lines of "I was a prize dill overplaying my hand as always and I'll try to exercise better judgement in the future" might at least have earned her some Abbott-style "hey at least I admit I lie under pressure" points.

It was a red-letter day for the Coalition on foreign policy because Tony Abbott addressed the Asialink National Forum here in Canberra yesterday, along with the Prime Minister. Asialink is a Melbourne-based centre for promoting Asian engagement.

While Rudd offered his usual foreign policy boilerplate, Abbott chose to use the forum to tear into Labor, assailing Paul Keating's focus on Asia, celebrating John Howard's foreign policy skills, and attacking Rudd over people smuggling, refusing to sell uranium to India and Rudd's Asia Pacific Community proposal. Abbott accused Rudd of "unilaterally-conceived utopian visions", "giving up" on APEC, and blamed him for failing to reverse the trend of fewer Australian schoolchildren learning a second language.

It's not the first time Abbott has felt the need to launch partisan attacks over foreign policy. He used President Yudhoyono's address to Federal Parliament in March to talk about the increase in people smuggling and damn with faint praise Rudd's engagement with Indonesia "rather than nebulous new communities."

It doesn't matter a great deal in the scheme of things, really, but it's a subtle indicator both of Tony Abbott's view of foreign policy and what sort of foreign policy focus he'd have if he ever became Prime Minister.

How do they get away with it? Mark Latham.

I would like to point out that no matter what I think personally, the Corporation's funding and support for the Abbott/Bishop rabble has long passed a joke.

I cannot understand or condone the behavior of Mz Bishop and I really believe that if Abbott and his rabble are to be considered as a viable alternative to a Rudd Government, which has piloted us through the worst recession since 1929, it has to be a lie that only Murdoch could sell. 

What was John Laws’ claim “when you are on a good thing stick to it”.  I have never liked that bloke.

Sometimes the optimist, I find it hard to come to terms with the Australian public being so stupid as to ignore the enormous and cancerous interference in our nation and its economy by the alliance between the Liberal Party and their sponsors, the multinational Corporations.

For goodness sakes, these Coalition people are really traitors.  We pay them to betray us? 

Let’s face it, the behavior of the Abbott/Bishop rabble would be considered as traitorous in most independent nations.

As a simple man, I have been aware of the periods of many Prime Ministers and governments in my lifetime but, one thing is certain – when Australians are in trouble they vote Labor.  Check it.

We Australians are in trouble. 

When the information of a so-called democracy is controlled by a foreign monopoly of supply and there is no “opposition” powerful enough to provide an alternative opinion, what must the people believe? What can they believe?

Finally, I hope that the Murdochracy is identified for what it is and that the Australian people will rise above this traitorous con, as did our forbears in the English industrial revolution.

God Bless Australia and may we eventually exercise the right to control our own resources. NE OUBLIE.



no irish joke about israeli shtoch...

The Irish Republic is to expel an Israeli diplomat over the use of fake passports in the killing of a Hamas official in Dubai.

Foreign Minister Micheal Martin said an investigation had proved that eight Irish passports used in the operation were forgeries.

Hamas official Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was found dead in a Dubai hotel in January.

Dubai police have said they are 99% sure Israeli agents were involved, though Israel says there is no proof.

Mr Martin said Israel had been "requested to withdraw a designated member of staff of its embassy" and that he expected the request would "be quickly acceded to".

"The misuse of Irish passports by a state with which Ireland enjoys friendly, if sometimes frank, bilateral relations is clearly unacceptable and requires a firm response," he said.

Forged British, French, Australian, and German passports were also used in the Dubai operation.

The UK and Australia have already expelled Israeli nationals over the forgeries.


see toon at top...

some hold babies...

After having stared a garden gnome to breaking point on the Chaser's Yes We CANberra, Julie Bishop is kissing toads to make sure the bile is up and running...


Politicians are renowned for holding babies during election campaigns, but in Darwin today it was a large cane toad named Rabbit that Julie Bishop had in her hands.

The deputy leader of the Opposition did her best to hold the pest, which weighed almost a kilogram, but when it started to puff up in size she became rattled.

"Oh, he's blowing up," Ms Bishop said, quickly handing it over to the Country Liberal's candidate for Solomon, Natasha Griggs.

"Why is it that most politicians get to hold babies and I get to hold a cane toad?" Ms Bishop joked.


see toon there too...

tightening the nuts...

Opposition finance spokesman Andrew Robb is considering a challenge to deputy Liberal leader Julie Bishop.

The Liberal Party, due to meet tomorrow morning to regroup over its narrow election defeat, has been alive with rumour today about the possibility of a leadership rearrangement.

Leader Tony Abbott's unifying influence over the course of the recent campaign renders him beyond challenge at tomorrow's meeting, but Mr Robb has been talking to colleagues today about the feasibility of a run for the deputy's position.

"Following the decision yesterday, Andrew has naturally been speaking to his colleagues about a range of issues," a spokesman for Mr Robb said late this afternoon when contacted by ABC News Online.

It is understood Mr Robb has called a number of MPs and senators today but is yet to reach a decision about whether to run.

Mr Abbott warmly endorsed his deputy at yesterday's concession press conference, and has signalled he does not plan major changes to the Coalition's frontbench in the weeks ahead.

While there has been longstanding hostility to Ms Bishop in some quarters of the party, it is understood Mr Abbott's desire for the Coalition to present a model of stability may militate against a change at this time.


Yep... Tony and the "cockroach" suit each other... See toon at top.


Latest: Federal Opposition finance spokesman Andrew Robb has decided not to challenge deputy Liberal leader Julie Bishop when the party meets in Canberra tomorrow.

Mr Robb had been considering a run for the deputy's job and was sounding out his colleagues, but the signs were that there was strong backing for Ms Bishop to keep her position.

about ben zygier...

This item could have been placed in a number of lines of blog but I thought it would be most appropriately linked to Ms Bishop and her ambition to be the next Foreign Minister for fakes and fudges. See toon at top...:



SECURITY officials suspect that Ben Zygier, the alleged spy who died in a secret Israeli prison in 2010, may have been about to disclose information about Israeli intelligence operations, including the use of fraudulent Australian passports, either to the Australian government or to the media before he was arrested.

Mr Zygier ''may well have been about to blow the whistle, but he never got the chance'', an Australian security official told Fairfax Media.

Sources in Canberra are insistent that the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) was not informed by its Israeli counterparts of the precise nature of the espionage allegations against Mr Zygier. However, it is understood that the Melbourne law graduate had been in contact with Australian intelligence officers.

Read more:


zygier mossad kerfffffuffffle....


As the world now knows, the Prisoner X case was the subject of a court order issued in 2010 that was extreme. There was to be no public discussion, mention or hint of 'Prisoner X', 'Mister X', 'cell number 15 in Ayalon Prison', the conditions there or 'anything about that cell'. The judge also ruled that any mention or hint of the very existence of the gag order was an offence.

My sources told me that it was "all hands on deck" for Mossad and Israel's internal security service Shin Bet. Their intelligence had told them that the mainstream Israeli media would most likely grudgingly abide by the court gag order, and that the main task for censors would be to "pull down" the work of bloggers who would be posting links to our story.

It did not work out quite like that.

Minutes before the program aired in Australia on Tuesday night, Israel's Haaretz newspaper defied authorities by posting the Foreign Correspondent promo on its website. The prime minister's office reacted immediately.


On the instructions of PM Benjamin Netanyahu, the editors in chief and owners of Israel's main media outlets were summoned. It was now an hour after the Foreign Correspondent story had gone to air in Australia.

The meeting was addressed by the head of Mossad, Tamir Pardo. Israel's chief censor was also present. The Mossad chief passionately urged media outlets not to report details of the Foreign Correspondent program, saying it would deeply embarrass the security services. He told the editors they should heed his advice in the interests of national security.

An editor who was present has told me that media representatives "turned" on the Mossad chief. They complained that for too long gag orders had frustrated the healthy functioning of the press, and a review was needed to take account of changes in the media landscape. One editor accused the Mossad chief of "treating the Israeli public like fools".


Has there been a "double-cross" gone wrong, at Mossad?....



mossad compo?...

The Israeli government has reportedly offered to pay hundreds of thousands of pounds in compensation to the family of "Prisoner X" – an agent of the Mossad with Australian and Israeli citizenship who took his own life while secretly imprisoned for undisclosed "grave charges".

An unnamed source was quoted in the Haaretz newspaper claiming a compensation deal was agreed six weeks ago following the conclusion of an official inquiry into the death of Ben Zygier, who was imprisoned in 2010 under a false identity and who killed himself in Unit 15, a "secret prison" within Ayalon jail near Tel Aviv.

Reports of a secret deal with the family follow claims by Zygier's lawyer that he had protested his innocence on the day before his death in a cell that was supposed to have been monitored 24 hours a day.

Its also comes amid mounting calls for the Mossad and the Israeli prison service to face investigation over their alleged negligence in the scandal. A justice ministry official said the judge who had originally handled the case has demanded a further inquiry "to examine issues of negligence".

"If she [the judge] had not found anything suspicious, she would not have transferred the case," said the official, adding that charges would be filed if the investigation finds there was any negligence in monitoring Zygier during his detention.

Neither Zygier's Israeli wife nor his Australian parents have spoken publicly about his detention or his death. His wife is believed to have fled her home in Israel owing to the unrelenting media interest in her late husband. The Prisoner X case, which was thrust into the international spotlight after an Australian documentary named Zygier earlier this week has prompted a furious debate in Israel over both its military censorship regime, which had tried to silence reporting about the case with draconian gagging orders, and the ability of Israel to "disappear" some prisoners.

passport rackets...


Kuala Lumpur: Crime agencies say the discovery that two of the passengers aboard missing Malaysia Airlines flight 370 were using stolen passports has revealed a key flaw in international airline travel security.

The international policing organisation Interpol says more than a billion travellers last year boarded planes without their passports being checked against its data base of 40 million lost or stolen passports.

Interpol has confirmed the passports used by passengers on flight 370 were entered into Interpol’s database after they were stolen in Thailand where there is a thriving passport racket. 

Read more:
The biggest passport racket could be in "intelligence"... Basically, some countries give fake passports (often those of real persons other than the operative, i.e. "stolen" identity) to their spies as to hide their country of origin (and of course purpose)... This is possibly why I have not heard a squeak from our illustrious Ms Bishop and her boss Tony Abbott on the "passport issue" of flight 370... unless I missed the briefing and the three words tut-tut-tut...
From Gus's bunker, it's hard to know what happened to the plane or if the passport thieves had anything to do with the disappearance. In short we've got to wait... The plane has "strangely" disappeared. Even if had flown on "silently" (no radio contact), radar stations all over East-Asia would have spotted it. The plane has not blow-up in flame... The Yankee spy satellites (classified) designed to spot "flash" points on the surface of the earth did not spot it. Most likely it plunged into the ocean, who knows...
But the problem of passports, especially those used by Mossad as mentioned at the top of this line of articles, is a "security" risk, especially when the Israelis are after you...


cheating the public with her own squeeze...

Julie Bishop has claimed $32,000 in taxpayer-funded family travel for her long-term boyfriend but says she is not obliged to disclose his financial interests on the parliamentary register because he is not her "spouse" or de facto partner.

In a case that highlights how a couple who is not married or living together can avoid being classified as a spouse under the parliamentary rules, the Foreign Minister has avoided listing property developer David Panton on her parliamentary register of interests because they do not live together.

Because Mr Panton is not listed as a spouse, Ms Bishop has never declared any complimentary travel, hospitality or flight upgrades he may have received while accompanying her around Australia or on missions abroad.

Read more:


That is a rort, no matter one looks at it. Please pay back the cash and resign. That would be the only honourable thing to do... But we're not holding our breath.

In regard to another running gag in the Liberal (CONservative) Party, Michaelia Cash should resign. I know some decent people who have suggested that Michaelia was an ambitious decent clever person and I got a bit of a serve by posting a couple of nasty toon about Ms Cash lying about the raid on the workers offices. 

I will say here, whether male or female, with power comes responsibilities that should be devoid of politics. Michaelia Cash's rant about the female staff in the office of Bill Shorten is beyond the pale and she should resign forthwith. Her unacceptable attack shows that power has gone to her head, that her ambitions have turned to hypocrisy and nastiness — and that power has corrupted her spirit beyond repair (if she was a decent person before these nasty episodes of political hubris).


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