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Posted Saturday, July 24, 2004

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National Business Review
NZ, Saturday, July 24, 2004

Fourth "Israeli spy" a Kiwi academic

by Francis Till

CURRENT affairs and entertainment broadcast programme Holmes on Friday revealed the identity of a man it said was the mysterious fourth suspect in the drip-fed passport affair, Anthony (Tony) David Resnick.

Mr Resnick is 35-year-old family man and former St John Ambulance paramedic -- and a native New Zealander who spent 13 years in Israel, at least part of them as an ambulance worker.

During the opening segment of the half-hour show, presenter Paul Holmes fronted a story reported by Robyn Janes that said Mr Resnick was a "person of interest" to the police and that he had left the country without warning on the 24th of March and had since resigned from his job.

Ms Janes said that unspecified sources had told the Holmes programme that police had executed a search warrant on Mr Resnick's office at Auckland University of Technology, where he had been working for the last several years as a lecturer. The Resnick family home, where he lived with his wife and children, is now empty, the Holmes programme reported, and Mr Resnick's father said he had been in contact with his son but did not indicate where his son might be.

The New Zealand Herald said Mr Resnick had gone to Israel, but did not substantiate that claim. It somewhat oddly identified Mr Resnick as "a practising Jew," and said he had been a member of the Jewish Council in Auckland.

According to the Herald, Mr Resnick was "a respected and well-liked paramedic with the St John Ambulance in Auckland before taking a job as a lecturer in the division of healthcare practice at AUT two years ago."

Stephen Goodman, president of the Jewish Council in Auckland, told the Herald he would be "very surprised" if Mr Resnick were involved in the passport affair.

Neither the Herald nor the Holmes programme revealed the source for conclusions that Mr Resnick was the fourth man and police told the Holmes programme that no comment would be forthcoming "on any specific matter" pertaining to its investigation of the passport affair.

The disappearing Zandvoort and other odd twists

BarkanBut purported plot kingpin Ze'ev Barkan (left) and his alleged sidekick Tony Resnick are not the only figures to have vanished from the scene.

The Weekend Australian said a police witness in the case against Eli Cara and Uriel Kelman, identified in the New Zealand press as Michael Zandvoort, may have been using a fabricated identity.

The Weekend Australian said it had been unable to locate Mr Zandvoort and that when its reporters had spoken with a woman by that name, they discovered she was wheelchair-bound and had lost her passport in Australia. The woman told the paper that shortly after that she had started receiving phone calls for a Mr Zandvoort, someone she had never heard of.

"I don't believe he exists," she told the Weekend Australian. "I am the only Zandvoort in New Zealand."

A quick search of Telecom's online white pages reveals that there are several listings for Zandvoort in New Zealand, however.

Still, the Weekend Australian said the woman "believes she too may have been caught up in a fake passport scandal."

The same story includes a new twist on the role of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) in the affair.

Early versions of the story included speculation that the ASIO had tipped New Zealand intelligence and police officials off about a purported Israel spy ring, but the Weekend Herald says it was the other way around.

According to the Weekend Australian, at some point after Mr Cara's arrest New Zealand authorities alerted ASIO, which subsequently raided Mr Cara's rented home on Sydney's north shore.

The Weekend Australian has contended that Mr Cara's claim to have worked for an Israel-based travel agency, Eastward Bound, is dubious since no such agency had filed required business papers in Australia. It said the Haifa headquarters of the agency "didn't appear to know that it even had a Sydney branch" -- but also said that the agency had not returned calls and that Mr Cara's employment with the agency while he was in Israel had been substantiated by a third party.

It also says the community in which Mr Kelman lived in Israel, a young and family-friendly town of 17,000 named Shoham, is "well known as home to former defence force and Mossad agents." It does not reveal sources for that claim.

The story partly repeats an earlier, undocumented assertion that Mr Cara's mother, Zehava Werner, has said her son (and Mr Kelman) were on "a mission" to New Zealand about which she knew little.

The Weekend Australian said Israeli commentators "have no doubt that the men are Mossad."

Not proof, just smudge

Yesterday, The Age clarified the significance of government revelations that Mr Barkan, the alleged mastermind of the purported passport scammers, had worked in Israel embassies in Brussels and Austria.

Closing a story on an alleged visit to New Zealand by a "senior Mossad regional representative" based in Singapore, it quotes Foreign Minister Phil Goff as saying that Mr Barkan's work as an attache in those embassies did not constitute evidence that he worked for an intelligence agency and was not the basis for the belief by the New Zealand government that the four-man ring was a state-run operation.

"That [the embassy work] gives some indication of the man's background. It is not in itself proof that he was in the employment of the Israeli secret service, and that certainly isn't the information on which the Government has based its belief that these people were in fact employed by the Israeli secret service," he is quoted by The Age as having said.

Not so bad after all?

The Age cites limited circulation newsletter TransTasman as a primary source for the widely-circulated tale of a visit from a senior Mossad agent on a "please explain" summons from government and says the newsletter claimed the official was summoned for questioning only days after the the initial arrests.

According to TransTasman, it said, the Mossad official was questioned by "senior public servants, security service officials and police offices."

"While not disclosed in court the carpeting is understood to have been designed to ascertain whether the Israeli intelligence service was focusing attention on New Zealand, or trying to access New Zealand passports for use in other parts of the world, on the basis New Zealand's benign security reputation might lessen scrutiny by border agencies," it quotes TransTasman as having said.

The TransTasman reported that the official did not admit that the men were Mossad agents but, according to the New Zealand Herald, the report suggested there was "a private understanding, if not admission, that the offenders were operatives."

The Herald said the visit was by a group, identified the visitors as "regional Israeli intelligence officers," depicted them as "anxious," and said the goup was "likely to have included defence officers based in the Israeli embassy" in Singapore.

The Age reports that the TransTasman concluded: "The nature of the charges faced by the two convicted Israelis indicates officials concluded Mossad's actions were directed at passports only."

There was no mention of earlier assertions by the prime minister that the men had not been charged with espionage activities because: "It may well have been hard to be able to supply the evidence for allegations of espionage as defined under the law."


New Zealand jails two Mossad spies, punishes Israel | Suspicions voiced that New Zealand Jews smashed up their own cemetery
Two Israelis plead guilty to trying to acquire a New Zealand passport | The spies who stole my name
Mossad sending hostile New Zealand Message Via Asian-Based organisations after arrest of two agents
May 19, 2004: BBC reports that Lebanon smashes Mossad assassination ring
May 13, 2004: The 1979 Mossad Assassination attempt on Ambassador John Dean: Dean papers with full taste of Mossad's evil opened at Jimmy Carter's Presidential Library
May 9, 2004: Israelis with fake docs arrested in Tennessee, 'how to fly' leaflet found; were seen to toss something else out of Ryder truck, FBI called in
May 1, 2004: Crown Prince Abdullah says Zionists behind Terror attacks in Saudi Arabia
A history of Mossad's overseas bungling
Apr 29 -- May 2004: Secrecy surrounds two Mossad agents when they reappear in Auckland court on NZ passport forgery charges | Police fear al Qaeda terrorists using NZ passports following arrest of 2 men in Thailand and seizure of fake NZ passports | The two Mossad agents charged with NZ passport offences photographed in Auckland reporting to police as part of bail conditions | Two men believed by senior Government figures to be Israeli secret service agents have been arrested in Auckland trying to obtain a false New Zealand passport | One Mossad agent entered NZ on a fake Canadian passport

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