Robert Fisk: Britain's explanation is riddled with inconsistencies. It's time to come clean

How could the Arabs pick up on a Mossad killing, if that is what it was? Well, we shall see

Share
Related Topics

Collusion. That's what it's all about. The United Arab Emirates suspect – only suspect, mark you – that Europe's "security collaboration" with Israel has crossed a line into illegality, where British passports (and those of other other EU nations) can now be used to send Israeli agents into the Gulf to kill Israel's enemies. At 3.49pm yesterday afternoon (Beirut time, 1.49pm in London), my Lebanese phone rang. It was a source – impeccable, I know him, he spoke with the authority I know he has in Abu Dhabi – to say that "the British passports are real. They are hologram pictures with the biometric stamp. They are not forged or fake. The names were really there. If you can fake a hologram or biometric stamp, what does this mean?"

The voice – I know the man and his origins well – wants to talk. "There are 18 people involved in the killing of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh. Besides the 11 already named, there are two Palestinians who are being interrogated and five others, including a woman. She was part of the team that staked out the hotel lobby." Two hours later, an SMS arrives on my Beirut phone from Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. It is the same source.

"ONE MORE THING," it says in capital letters, then continues in lower case. "The command room of the operation was in Austria (sic, in fact, all things are "sic" in this report)... meaning the suspects when here did not talk to each other but thru the command room on separate lines to avoid detection or linking themselves to one another... but it was detected and identified OK??" OK? I ask myself.

My source is both angry and insistent. "We have sent out details of the 11 named people to Interpol. Interpol has circulated them to 188 countries – but why hasn't Britain warned foreign nations that these people are using passports in these names?" There was more to come.

"We have identified five credit cards belonging to these people, all issued in the United States." The man will not give the EU nationalities of the extra five – this would make two women involved in Mr Mabhouh's murder. He said that EU countries were cooperating with the UAE, including the UK. But "not one of the countries we have been speaking to has notified Interpol of the passports used in their name. Why not?"

The source insisted that one of the names on a passport – the name of a man who denies any knowledge of its use – has travelled on it in Asia (probably Indonesia) and EU countries over the past year. The Emirates have proof that an American entered their country in June 2006 on a British passport issued in the name of a UK citizen who was already in prison in the Emirates. The Emirates claim that the passport of an Israeli agent sent to kill a Hamas leader in Jordan was a genuine Canadian passport issued to a dual national of Israel.

Intelligence agencies – who in the view of this correspondent are often very unintelligent – have long used false passports. Oliver North and Robert McFarlane travelled to Iran to seek the release of US hostages in Lebanon on passports that were previously stolen from the Irish embassy in Athens. But the Emirates' new information may make some European governments draw in their breath – and they had better have good replies to the questions. Intelligence services – Arab, Israeli, European or American – often adopt an arrogant attitude towards those from whom they wish to hide. How could the Arabs pick up on a Mossad killing, if that is what it was? Well, we shall see.

Collusion is a word the Arabs understand. It speaks of the 1956 Suez War, when Britain and France cooperated with Israel to invade Egypt. Both London and Paris denied the plot. They were lying. But for an Arab Gulf country which suspects its former masters (the UK, by name) may have connived in the murder of a visiting Hamas official, this is apparently now too much. There is much more to come out of this story. We will wait to see if there are any replies in Europe.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Home Care / Support Workers

£7 - £10 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This care provider is looking for Home ...

Recruitment Genius: Web Team Leader

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...

Recruitment Genius: Client Manager

£27000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A growing, successful, friendly...

Recruitment Genius: Property Negotiator - OTE £20,000+

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family owned, independent ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Separate lives: Boston’s streets illustrate the divide between the town’s communities  

Migrants have far more to offer than hard work and wealth creation, yet too many exist in isolation from the rest of society

Emily Dugan
Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird has sold 40 million copies  

Go Set a Watchman: Harper Lee’s new novel is more than just a literary event

Joseph Charlton
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate