Australian special forces secretly operating in Africa, says newspaper

Special Air Service RegimentBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS| intelNews.org |
One of Australia’s most prominent newspapers suggested in a leading article yesterday that a secret Australian special forces squadron has been illegally conducting espionage operations in several African countries during the past year. According to Melbourne-based The Age, the 4 Squadron of Australia’s Special Air Service Regiment (SASR) has been deployed in “dozens of secret operations” during the past 12 months, in countries such as Kenya, Nigeria and Zimbabwe. Members of 4 Squadron have been operating dressed in civilian clothing, carrying forged identity papers, and with strict instructions to deny any connection with SASR if captured, said The Age. Although the existence of 4 Squadron has never been officially acknowledged, the unit is believed to have been established in 2004 or 2005, and is currently thought to be based at Swan Island in Victoria, north of the town of Queenscliff. Its initial mission was to provide armed protection to officers of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) whenever the latter are deployed in warzones or other exceptionally dangerous overseas environments. But 4 Squadron’s missions in Africa, which The Age says were authorized in 2010 by then Prime Minster Kevin Rudd, do not include ASIS officers, and instead require SASR members to act both in a military and civilian capacity in espionage assignments. According to the paper’s allegations, 4 Squadron missions have involved regular assessment and evaluation of inter-African border control standards, developing scenarios for evacuating Australians, mapping out landing sites for possible military interventions, and gathering first-hand intelligence on local politics and the activities of insurgents. The paper claims that the scope and breadth of 4 Squardon’s African assignments have raised concerns within the SASR, with some senior officials viewing the unit’s actions as “a possibly dangerous expansion of Australia’s foreign military engagement”. Read more of this post

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Israeli envoy ‘in alarm’ after Australia expels Mossad agent

Yuval Rotem

Yuval Rotem

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
The Israeli ambassador to Australia, who was in Israel on business, expedited his return to Canberra yesterday, immediately after Australia announced the expulsion of Israel’s senior Mossad representative in the country. Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz reports that ambassador Yuval Rotem decided to cut short his trip to Israel “in alarm”, as the “escalated crisis” between Israel and Australia appears to be deepening. As intelNews readers read on April 14, Australia had announced the pending expulsion after official investigations by Australian law enforcement and intelligence authorities revealed beyond doubt that the Israeli spy agency Mossad had forged at least four Australian passports. The passports were among several Western identity documents employed by Mossad agents in targeting Hamas official Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, who was assassinated in a luxury Dubai hotel last January. Read more of this post

Australia to expel Israeli diplomat over Mabhouh assassination

Stephen Smith

Stephen Smith

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Australia has announced that it plans to expel an Israeli diplomat from the country, in connection with forged Australian passports that were used by Israeli intelligence agency Mossad. At least four Australian passports were among several Western passports employed by Mossad agents in targeting Hamas official Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, who was assassinated in a luxury Dubai hotel last January. But the Australian government has said it will delay the planned diplomatic expulsion until it has “further advice” about the case from the country’s intelligence authorities. An investigation by the Australian Federal Police, which was completed last week, appears to have failed to yield enough answers. Read more of this post

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