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back to article Britain expels diplomat over faked passports in Hamas hit row

Britain plans to expel an Israeli diplomat over the use of counterfeit UK passports in the Dubai murder of a Hamas military commander, the BBC reports. Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, founder of Hamas's military wing, was murdered in a Dubai hotel room on 19 January by members of a 27-strong hit squad who entered the Arab state using fake …

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Troll

Passport Control

How will they know it was really him boarding the flight for the Middle East?

And not some unfortunate UK tourist who's passport has been cloned by crooks?

And if it was cloned, would that prove his identity anyway?

I'm so confused.

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Paris Hilton

Need to get my eyes checked

I mis-read the title of this article as "Britain explodes diplomat..."

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WTF?

Oooh explusion

Big wow. What /exactly/ is diplomatic immunity supposed to be for? Surely it's not designed to provide a license to do whatever you want with impunity. Is it?

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Anonymous Coward

St James Court

There is no diplomatic immunity in this country (even if it appears in movies).

There is a registry list at St James Court, however it does not guaranty (full) immunity, so members of the list could (in theory) still be charged and sent to trial for crimes committed over here. All in theory of course

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Kind'a

Britain is a signatory to the relevant conventions granting immunity to diplomatic personnel.

It is more of a question does the fact that it has not implemented them in a specific domestic law matter or not. There are precedents both ways and the priority of domestic vs international is not set in stone in the statute books like in countries with non-medieval legal systems so difficult to say.

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Silver badge

Guilty party?

I'm not sure he's being expelled because of his guilt, but because the UK has to show its displeasure. However, in doing so, we are no better then Israel itself:

4th Geneva Convention, article 33. No protected person may be punished for an offense he or she has not personally committed.

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Grenade

In a just world...

...replace "expels" with "knights". Grenade because, well, kinda obvious.

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FAIL

Got to be seen to do a little something eh ?

Expel a diplomat. Get the USA to issue some statement about their disappointment re: occupied land announcement timing. That's it - that make everything balanced because the public (worldwide) are stupid.

US / USA - cut all funding. Stop selling arms. Enforce UN decisions made years ago.

If you have a mis-behaving child because they are spoilt - stop spoiling them.

If you have a mis-behaving child because they are starving - feed them.

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Big Brother

76 Soviet Diplomats

Anyone else got a feeling they've seen this on TV? Ermm 25+ years ago*? "Official Secrets" - Yes Prime Minister 10 Dec 1987

Govt has PR disaster (in the current case MORE money-grubbing scum - again). Govt expels "diplomat" to give the media something else to feed on.

Shame it didn't work this time :)

*"Official Secrets" - Yes Prime Minister 10 Dec 1987

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Bronze badge

Unfortunate

It is not unreasonable for Britain to express concern, because this sort of thing does expose British citizens travelling abroad to increased risk.

However, responding by expelling a diplomat is excessive. Britain should remember that all of civilized humanity is on the same side in the war against terrorism, whether Hamas terrorism against Israel, or al-Qaeda terrorism against Britain, such as the attack of July 7, 2005 in London.

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Boffin

Missing the point

I do feel your post, along with others these past couple of months, have missed the point somewhat. Few people have argued that taking out a Hamas leader was unjustified (he had sworn to destroy Israel, after all). The issue is with implicating nationals of countries with whom Israel is supposed to be friendly.

Trying to make a link with 7/7 is misguided. However badly Britain was seen to behave in order to 'justify' those attacks, and despite the very real threat that Hamas poses, the international view of Israel is that it just doesn't seem to want to help itself. That's why the diplomat goes.

An interesting article in the FT a few weeks ago suggested the best thing that happened to the Irish peace process is when Irish Americans stopped perpetuating the conflict by sending money to buy arms, and maybe Israel would find better things happened to it if it wasn't the annoying little kid in the playground with its much bigger and stronger friend backing it up all the time. Would it be forced to grow up, the writer wondered?

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How about

Israeli terrorism against Palestine?

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Anonymous Coward

Excessive??

How is deporting a forgien national suspected of espionage excessive, especially as the replacment spy will probably have touched down in the UK before the first spy has even started packing?

A\C just in case mosad are watching

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FAIL

Balance

Israel: A multitude of UN resolutions against them but not enforced. White Phosphorus. Destroying UN schools + staff. Shooting journalists. Using European IDs for assasinations.

Expelling a diplomat is excessive ?

Two kids fighting in the playground. Some middle-eastern states give a stick to one kid (because he say he's going to kill the other kid) and the UK and the US give a gun to the other. The other kid thinks guns aren't enough and he develops his own Nuclear Weapons. All the time, the weaker kid keeps saying he's going to kill the one with the guns and nuclear weapons so he keeps on being given sticks and we conspire against him.

"all of civilized humanity" - so unless you're from Israel, Europe or the US you are uncivilised ?

You wonder why the UK - key ally of the US - is a target ? We created the problem of Israel and Palestine and the US will have to sort it out. The UK and US need to show balance - if that means standing up to Israel (and the strong lobbying in the US) then this is a step in the right direction.

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neb
FAIL

oh...

...do fuck off

theres a good zionist

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FAIL

Ummm....

Hey John help me a little - I seem to be confused. Is civilized humanity on the side that plans and performs extra-legal assassinations or is that the terrorists?

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Thumb Up

Blimey!

How did you get away with that? I posted a clause from a Geneva Convention and it got disappeared :-(

A/C this time.

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Thumb Up

El Reg looking after your health

Only A/C is safe, Mossad operate everywhere. So, to save your life, your submission was rejected.

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Joke

Rimmer Diplomacy

"The expulsion is intended to send a message that Britain will not tolerate the misuse of its passports by foreign intelligence agencies, whether or not they work for friendly countries"

loose translation:

"The time for talking is over. Now call it extreme if you like, but I propose we hit hard and we hit fast, with a major, and I mean major, leaflet campaign."

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Right

"Now, if that's not enough, I'm sorry, it's time for the T-shirts"

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Flame

"Games" is true

If someone cloned my passport & used it to travel on an assassination I'd be very pissed, and not at all happy if the punishment was merely some diploment being sent to stand in the corner for a few weeks.

At the very least I'd want to see the ambassador & team all dumped onto the next El Al flight, with a clear message to their boss that replacements would be on probabtion for a long time.

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Flame

Did Israel borrow your passport?

I had my passport taken off me and out of my sight for 15 minutes when leaving Israel at Eilat airport a couple of years ago. The exact same thing happened to a friend at Ben Gurion airport. Why Israel need to examine passports in private for 15+ minutes is beyond me. If they're copying them for identity fraud then they must have a nice little collection by now.

Out of curiosity I contacted the UK passport office, they offered a full price replacement. Though once Israel have used it for an assassination I'll be entitled to a new one for free. Jolly good.

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Anonymous Coward

Not just Isreal

I know a few people who've had the same problem at US immigrations control as well.

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Black Helicopters

Did Israel borrow your passport?

I just listened to the full anouncment from and questions to Milliband. Gerald Kaufman, a normally fairly pro-Israeli MP used some extremely colourful phrases which I suspect were only enabled by parliamentary privilege. He described the passport and security systems at Ben Gurion airport as (IIRC) "outrageous criminal operations", and asked Milliband if he would like information that he (Kaufman) had, from personal experience, which relate to the case.

Curious and curiouser...

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Gold badge
Joke

AC@16:28

"I know a few people who've had the same problem at US immigrations control as well."

I'd guess that's more to do with the literacy level of TSA staff.

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And then

Not one of you wouldn't like to be a hitman doing that lovely job they did in Dubai. It was the stuff of male fantasy.

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fantasy

A team of 20+ people taking out one guy with a pillow, and then getting their photos plastered over the world news. Nope, sorry, that doesn't even come close to decent fantasy.

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Anonymous Coward

biometric passports won't make any difference

Also worth noting, Israel have also been caught trying to obtain genuine NZ passports in the names of disabled people but with the biometric information of their own agents.

Presumably Israel is more successful than not in obtaining passports in this way. I suspect biometric passports won't make much of a difference to their operations.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2004_Israel_%E2%80%93_New_Zealand_spy_scandal

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Anonymous Coward

Message

"A team of 20+ people taking out one guy with a pillow, and then getting their photos plastered over the world news. Nope, sorry, that doesn't even come close to decent fantasy."

I think the message is that if you wage war against Israel, they might suffocate with your own pillow. They did something similar with a Canadian engineer who built a long-range "supercannon" for Saddam a couple of years ago.

Their objective is to instill fear into their enemies and that does not mean they have to conceal their work. Concealment being pretty impossible nowadays with those CCTV cameras everywhere.

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Flame

Not a message, a reply

To the message - If you plonk a racist country down on land other people are living on, getting gaffa-tape & ball-bearing rockets thrown at you is getting off fucking lightly.

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Thumb Down

Pillows

As compared, say, to an SAS-style bullet in the head, with one guy always left alive to run to his mates with his pants full of the brown stuff? I know which I'd find more scary.

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Anonymous Coward

"Will biometric passports undo spies?"

I somehow doubt it. I've always been sceptical of the claims of Blunket and his successors that the ID cards database (which will also be the passports database in due course) will be made secure through biometrics, and each biometrically validated individual will have one identity only, for the simple reason that they will *have* to build in the ability to have multiple identities for their own spooks.

And if there's going to have to be a backdoor, will they really be able to ensure only they know about it and can use it?

In fact, I can see a reciprocal trade among close allies in fake-genuine biometric IDs: CIA needs a new identity for one of its agents and gets a genuine UK biometric ID in return for a genuine US biometric passport for an MI6 spook from the UK.

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Gold badge
Joke

26 people to kill 1 man

Mossad is unionised?

Who knew.

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Bronze badge

Real life

@Liam Johnson - please go back to your online fantasy games and leave the real world to responsible people...

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Coat

Serves them right

Any British person that goes to live in Israel deserves all they get - having their identity stolen should be the least of the troubles visited upon them. Especially if they then choose to adopt dual-nationality in a country that shouldn't even exist.

They are probably lucky that Mossad didn't just bump them off to stop them whingeing.

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