Mossad’s Use of Canadian Passports: Canadian Press Calls for Inquiry into Allegations Regarding Mossad Use of Passports
By Faisal Kutty – Until last Sept. 25 a Canadian passport was considered one of the safest travel documents available. That was the day on which members of a Mossad assassination squad using altered passports of Canadian Jewish residents of Israel botched an attempt to murder Khaled Meshal, the political chief of the Hamas Islamic movement, in Amman. Now, according to Canadian press reports, including an article titled “Are Canadians in Jeopardy?” in Maclean’s, Canadians traveling in the Middle East are already encountering difficulties.
The failed mission carried out on Jordanian territory had the blessings of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who accepted “final responsibility” for the decision. The murder bid not only strained relations with Israel’s friendliest Arab neighbor, it also raised concerns in Canada. Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axworthy reacted by recalling Canada’s ambassador, David Berger, on Oct. 2. David Viveash, Canadian chargé d’affaires in Tel Aviv, said “the whole affair has raised a number of questions for Canada.” One concern was how Israel’s Mossad came into possession of Canadian passports. According to Viveash, Canada has “protested vigorously” the use of Canadian passports by counterintelligence agents for the past 30 years.
The Mossad obviously concluded that the protests did not apply to Israel. Canadian journalists learned that Canadian immigrants to Israel are routinely asked to turn over their passports for Mossad use. Norman Spector, the first Jewish Canadian to serve as ambassador to Israel (from 1992 to 1995), confirmed this but then alleged that Canadian authorities are aware of it and turn a blind eye. In a series of media statements bound to complicate the lives of hundreds of Canadians living and working in 45 Muslim countries around the globe, Spector suggested that Canada’s intelligence service actively cooperates with Israeli agents. He told the Toronto Star that “there has been an attempt to sort of cover up all of this right from the beginning.”
Spector, who now is the publisher of the Jerusalem Post, claimed in numerous media interviews and in his columns in the Jerusalem Post and the Globe and Mail that he knows from experience that there is extensive “active” cooperation between Mossad and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS). Even chargé d’affaires Viveash admitted that the CSIS is “in touch” with its Israeli counterpart and cooperates with it in combatting terrorism, drug traffic and other crimes. He told the Jerusalem Post that “Canada has security cooperation with a number of allies.”
Arab Canadian groups have been complaining for some time about that close cooperation. Immigration Canada uses information supplied by Mossad, which is known to plant disinformation for political purposes, in considering refugee and immigration claims from Israel and Palestine. Spector seemed to confirm this in his Nov. 7 column in the Globe and Mail when he wrote:
Canadian immigrants to Israel are routinely asked to turn over their passports for Mossad use.
“For its part, Canada is reluctant to have it known that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) shares information with its counterparts around the world, including with Israel’s Mossad. Most of the information provided by Israel is routine, although it can be very helpful in rooting out terrorists and other undesirable elements who wish to take advantage of Canada’s liberal immigration policies. On occasion, however, the information can be especially valuable. Israel has supplied information in the past that allowed Canadian authorities to uncover spies operating in Canada. Israeli operational agents have been given to understand that the use of Canadian passports is the quid pro quo.”
Foreign Minister Axworthy, who is on record as stating that CSIS shares information with Mossad about terrorism but “does not undertake any kind of overseas operation,” has brushed aside Spector’s comments as irresponsible and threatening the safety of Canadians abroad.
But Spector won’t be shushed. “It goes beyond information sharing,” claims Spector. “There are joint operations.” He has reported, for instance, that there was a CSIS operative working for him at the Tel Aviv embassy and that he was a witness to “a lot” of CSIS activities. Spector, who also served as former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney’s chief of staff, said that Canadians do not know of Canada’s obligations pursuant to its commitments at the Sharm el-Sheikh anti-terrorism summit in March 1996.
Some Canadian commentators suggest that 48-year-old Spector’s aim is to embarrass the current government and sell his newspaper, which has a circulation of 30,000. The first charge is leveled because he was removed from his post as ambassador to Israel by the incoming Liberal government in 1995 to make room for its own political appointee. Spector claims that his objective in “coming out” is to ensure that Foreign Minister Axworthy does not get away with “pulling the wool over Canadians’ eyes.” He told the Toronto Star that he is driven by his new vocation as a journalist whose role is “exposing lies, writing about the facts and gaining a hearing for one’s views.”
Spector appears to tailor his comments to suit his readers, however. In his columns in Canada and comments to Canadian journalists, he gives the impression that he is concerned about Canada’s interests. He goes so far as to suggest that Israel has not apologized properly and has not given its commitment not to use Canadian passports.
When he addresses Israeli audiences, however, Spector appears to justify the use of Canadian passports. For instance, he told the Jerusalem Post that Canada’s reaction to the passport fiasco raises questions as to Prime Minister Chrétien’s commitments made at the Sharm el-Shaikh anti-terrorism summit in March 1996. He also pointed out that Canadian passports were used to rescue U.S. diplomats from Tehran in the 1980s. “If Israel had asked Canada for permission to use its passports in an anti-Hamas operation, would it have complied?” Spector asked rhetorically to the Jerusalem Post. “Is Canada with us or against us?”
Some observers, including the Toronto Star, are calling on the government to order a parliamentary inquiry into Spector’s allegations. The Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC), a watchdog agency set up to monitor the activities of CSIS, has asked CSIS to respond to the allegations. If Spector’s allegations that CSIS participated in “overt” operations with the Mossad are true, notes Ron Atkey, a former head of the SIRC, the CSIS has acted illegally.
Note: First Published: JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1998, Pages 26-27
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