Friday, February 19, 2010

Dubai police call on Interpol to help arrest Mossad head.

The pressure on Israel is intensifying as Interpol releases "wanted" notices for the 11 people suspected of having taken part in the kidnap, torture and murder of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh.

The faces of an 11-strong alleged hit squad appeared on the Interpol website this morning, 48 hours after authorities in the United Arab Emirates issued arrest warrants for the killing last month of the Hamas operative Mahmoud al-Mabhouh.

Their offences are listed as "crimes against life and health". The group stands accused of entering the emirate state using forged or stolen European identities, murdering the militant in his hotel and then fleeing the country on 19 January.

The red wanted notices are not international arrest warrants, but allow details of fugitives to be released worldwide with the request that the wanted person be arrested and extradited.

The Emirate's police chief went even further by calling for the head of Mossad to be arrested for his organisation's role in the affair.

Interpol should help arrest the head of Mossad if Israel's spy agency was responsible for the killing of a Hamas commander in Dubai, the emirate's police chief said today.

In comments to be aired on Dubai TV, Lieutenant General Dahi Khalfan Tamim called for Interpol to issue "a red notice against the head of Mossad ... as a killer in case Mossad is proved to be behind the crime, which is likely now".

Tamim said that the Dubai authorities were virtually certain that Mossad was behind the assassination of Mabhouh, as the incident threatened to turn into a diplomatic row between Israel and Britain over the use of false British passports.

"Our investigations reveal that Mossad is involved in the murder of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh. It is 99%, if not 100%, that Mossad is standing behind the murder," Tamim told the National newspaper in the United Arab Emirates.

The Israeli government are sticking by their formula of neither confirming nor denying their involvement, but this is now becoming an international incident, and the release of the passport images of the suspects who entered Dubai has only brought this story screaming back to life.

But the Israelis are sticking by their tried and tested formula:

The Foreign Secretary's comments came after an apparently fruitless meeting in London between the Israeli ambassador Ron Prosor and Sir Peter Ricketts, the permanent secretary who heads Britain's diplomatic service, which lasted just 14 minutes with no sign of any intelligence being shared. As the Israeli envoy left Whitehall, he said: "I was unable to add any information. I could not shed new light on the said matters".

There was a similar outcome in Dublin where the Israeli ambassador, Zion Evrony, had an hour's meeting with a senior Irish diplomat over how three Eire passports were used in the assassination. "I told him I know nothing about the event," Mr Evrony said afterwards.

The outcry over this is said to have stunned the Israelis and I can imagine why. After all, since 9-11 there has been an incredible shift - mostly brought about by the attitude of the Bush administration - in the way government's feel able to shun international law as long as they can claim that they are hunting down terrorists.

But one only has to reverse the situation, and imagine say an Israeli government official captured, tortured and killed by Iranians using false passports, to see how outrageous Israel's actions were.

For far too long government's have only had to say that what they were engaging in was "fighting terrorism" to have their every excess indulged.

This is why Netanyahu refuses to accept the Goldstone report. He refuses to accept that their should be any limit placed on any government action as long as that government can claim that it was "fighting terrorism".

If any good can come out of this incident and the outcry surrounding it, it is this: ALL governments should realise that we can't harp on about international law as it relates to our adversaries and imagine that we can flout it ourselves when it suits as our purposes.

Israel may have carried out the most recent outrageous act, but the secret prisons operated by the United States and the practice of extraordinary rendition which many European governments have been said to have taken part in, are all part of this "anything goes" attitude towards international law which the Bush administration championed and which, shamefully, much of Europe went along with.

This notion that we are the good guys and they are the bad guys has had a corrosive effect on our commitment to live within international rules. An "anything goes" attitude to international law will only result in anarchy.

This is why I am so dismayed that the Obama administration appear determined to leave the crimes of the Bush administration unpunished.

At some point we have to draw a line in the sand and say loudly what is legal and what is not. Israel's recent actions may be outrageous, but they are no more outrageous than what was routinely carried out by the previous American administration. When does Obama plan to demonstrate that what they did was wrong? Until he does, Israel and other nations will simply say that they are fighting terrorists, and dare anyone to try to insist that this fight should be governed by laws.

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