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Banks Accept Dubai Assassins' Stolen IDs 291

Posted by kdawson
from the beyond-naked-in-public dept.
schliz writes "Public scrutiny did more harm than good last week, after Australian police and the media released details of three stolen passports allegedly used in the assasination of a senior Hamas member in Dubai. As if having their identities stolen for an assassination wasn't enough, it turns out the victims' passports had not been cancelled by the government, so the details that were published by the media in fact could be used to open fraudulent bank accounts."
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Banks Accept Dubai Assassins' Stolen IDs

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  • by LostCluster (625375) * on Sunday February 28, 2010 @11:36PM (#31311634)

    It seems like every government in the world has something equal to our Social Security Number being used for national identification... and no way to scrub your permanent record of what they want to record about you, or even an easy way toget your record cleaned if somebody should take your identity and uses it. Lifelock is basically selling insurance that if your ID is stolen, they'll do the legwork up to $1 Million in filing paperwork and making calls on your behalf to get things back to normal.

    Israel basically doesn't care about what they've done to these people because for them their war against Hamas justifies anything... they've been doing War on Terror since day one of their existence. The least these people should be able to expect is that their government would cancel their stolen passports... but apparently that's too much to ask.

    • by Cougar_ (92354) on Sunday February 28, 2010 @11:47PM (#31311716) Homepage

      Their passports have not been stolen, they still have the originals in their possession. The passports used for the assassination were counterfeits.

      • by LostCluster (625375) * on Sunday February 28, 2010 @11:49PM (#31311728)
        That's "stolen" in the RIAA definition... illegal copying must be stopped!
      • by deniable (76198) on Sunday February 28, 2010 @11:50PM (#31311736)
        That's why the GP said ID in the first paragraph. They were counterfeit, but used valid data, hence they're as good as stolen. Oh wait, are you using a subtle piracy isn't theft argument?
      • by WaXHeLL (452463) on Monday March 01, 2010 @01:04AM (#31312094)

        Their passports have not been stolen, they still have the originals in their possession. The passports used for the assassination were counterfeits.

        Actually, some of the involved passports were fraudulently obtained from their respective governments.

      • by umghhh (965931) on Monday March 01, 2010 @05:10AM (#31313344)
        I just wonder about few things:
        • since when do we trust Dubai's security/police/judiciary to deliver results that actually show the reality? Strangely they were not capable of catching a known terrorist before he got victimized by somebody - so how efficient are they really and how much can we trust them
        • is there any evidence that his was done by mossad? Even if we trust Dubai police (which I personally do not but I do not have to either - not living there etc) can they with all their professionalism actually find out who did it?
        • why is this a problem if a known terrorist gets killed and it is not a problem when he can travel as he pleases (he was obviously well known in Dubai)?

        What really annoys me with this thing is that media and sad majority of people just jump to the conclusions without even passing the information trough their brains. Every now and then certain thing happens and for reasons that are not comprehensible for a thinking person whole world gets bananas - last time it was I think with Georgia that was 'attacked' by Russia. This just shows that one cannot trust any information provided.

        BTW: not all of the passports were stolen or counterfeited - at least ones issued by German authorities were genuine albeit the actual persons whose identities were used knew nothing about these documents (or so they say).

        • Israel labels 95% of all Lebonese as terrorists. From what I have read all the passports were stolen from people living in Israel, the Israeli government has their details (which were modified). Mossad are not interested in "finding out" who did it. Australia, the UK, France, Germany, and Ireland are all supporters of Israel, what benifit do they gain from pointing the finger at Israel?

          With the Georgian thing you had Putin strenuosly and IMHO convincingly denying the claim (maybe not in the US media), Israel are simply ignoring this in the hope it will go away.
          • Israel labels 95% of all Lebonese as terrorists. From what I have read all the passports were stolen from people living in Israel, the Israeli government has their details (which were modified). Mossad are not interested in "finding out" who did it. Australia, the UK, France, Germany, and Ireland are all supporters of Israel, what benifit do they gain from pointing the finger at Israel?

            From what I have read only 3 of the 11 were living in Israel. At least two were lving in their home countries at the time of the assasination (they were interviewed by the press at a location in their home country, which was listed in the article about the interview as their home). The biggest reason to think that this wasn't a Mossad assasination is the number of people in the assasination team. Eleven seems like a rather large group for an assasination of the sort that the details so far made public indicates this was.
            If Mossad did not do this, what interest do they have in identifying the people or organization that did?
            The only one of those countries that I do not know is not a supporter of Israel is Australia. France and Germany lean toward the Arab side of the conflict. The UK and Ireland are (from Israel's perspective) at best neutral.

          • by rtb61 (674572) on Monday March 01, 2010 @11:03AM (#31316212) Homepage

            Now you have the reason why those countries are so upset. Use of fake passports by governments to commit crimes places holders of valid passports from those countries whose passports have been counterfeited at risk. Were the countries whose passports were counterfeited, actually participating in those crimes and, should any person carrying that countries passports now be suspect.

            Just look at the way the US treated people who held passports from suspect countries, people who were profiled based upon their countries reputation. Those countries whose passports were counterfeited now have to pay the full cost of investigations to substantiate there non-involvement in the crime, preferably by capturing and prosecuting the people who used the fake passports as this is the only means by which they can prove there were not involved in criminal activities in another country.

            So how will these cost be passed back to the Israeli government (likely hundreds of thousands of dollars) will the Israeli government hand over the criminals who forged the documents and, stole citizens identities, now putting them at risk.

        • Strangely they were not capable of catching a known terrorist before he got victimized by somebody
          Why should the Dubai police arrest this man?
          why is this a problem if a known terrorist gets killed and it is not a problem when he can travel as he pleases (he was obviously well known in Dubai)?
          Again, why should the Dubai police arrest this man?

    • by nedlohs (1335013) on Monday March 01, 2010 @12:21AM (#31311882)

      If it was my passport that was counterfeited and I happened to be visiting, say China, at the time I'd probably prefer the government not just cancel my passport out from under me.

    • by LukeWebber (117950) on Monday March 01, 2010 @12:22AM (#31311884)

      It's actually not that hard to get a new Australian passport issued, especially if you have as good a reason as these people. It's not even slightly analogous to the American SSN.
      The big problem here is that the relevant authorities simply didn't think to cancel and re-issue before publishing the details to the world.

      • by zill (1690130) on Monday March 01, 2010 @07:39AM (#31314018)
        What's the point of getting a new passport? We're talking about identity here. These Innocent people will have their names associated with terrorism forever unless they change their names. Getting a new passport won't change that fact.

        The No Fly List does not include passport numbers or any other government issued ID number for the obvious reason that any number or ID issued by the government can be re-issued (even the SSN). For example I had my passport stolen before and it only took $100 to get it replaced. I could have easily lied about the theft and ended up with two passports that have different passport numbers.
    • by whoever57 (658626) on Monday March 01, 2010 @12:34AM (#31311958) Journal

      It seems like every government in the world has something equal to our Social Security Number being used for national identification..

      The problem is not the issuance of a government ID, the problem is that businesses are allowed to ask for it and use it as a form of ID.

      I don't recall telling banks in the UK any government-issued ID numbers, but I haven't opened a bank account there recently.

      • by shabble (90296) <qkjj13x02@sneakemail.com> on Monday March 01, 2010 @04:34AM (#31313142)

        I don't recall telling banks in the UK any government-issued ID numbers, but I haven't opened a bank account there recently.

        Money laundering requirements in the UK generally take the form of 2 or more pieces of documentation that prove both who you are, and where you live. (Drivers licence or passport for who you are, tax notices, benefits letters, utility bills for address.) Used in conjunction with data held by Experian/Equifax (which includes electoral information as backup for where you live.)

        The closest you'll get to explicitly handing over a government issued ID number to a bank is if you open an ISA (Individual Savings Account - limited tax free savings,) and they ask you for your National Insurance number.

    • by PinkyGigglebrain (730753) on Monday March 01, 2010 @02:26AM (#31312464)
      "War of Terror"

      Fixed that for you.

      Both sides justify their dirty tactics by the existence of the other.
    • by SuperKendall (25149) on Monday March 01, 2010 @03:32AM (#31312842)

      Israel basically doesn't care about what they've done to these people

      That hasn't been proven and the last known whereabouts of two of them were boarding a ship for IRAN [richardsilverstein.com].

      Why would Israeli agents be doing that? You know very little about middle eastern politics if you think only the Israelis want people dead.

    • This is _NOT_ a problem with social security numbers (or national identification numbers). What this is about is the lack of strict regulation on their use and proper oversight.

      If you can open a bank account just by having the information that is on a passport the there's a failure in procedure here, not an intrinsic security risk with national identification numbers. That is to say; any procedure that uses information found on a passport to authenticate that you are who you claim to be are relying on security through obscurity.

      The online banks that were tested in the article failed and I'm surprised they haven't been slapped silly by government regulators for lax security. (They would be in norway, which has had NIN since 1960's)

    • "It seems like every government in the world has something equal to our Social Security Number being used for national identification.

      In Australia the Tax File Number (TFN) is similar to the US SSN. However your TFN is used for tax purposes only, not as a catch all national ID. In no way is it connected to passports, drivers licenses, medicare card, ect. In fact it's illeagal to ask [ato.gov.au] for it except for very specific uses.
    • by HateBreeder (656491) on Monday March 01, 2010 @10:00AM (#31315168)

      Israel basically doesn't care about what they've done to these people because for them their war against Hamas justifies anything...

      Ahh... without a single shred of evidence, you would still judge and convict Israel.

      Lefties and their selective morality...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 28, 2010 @11:44PM (#31311694)

    That makes me think that Hamas and Isreal deserve each other.

    • by LostCluster (625375) * on Sunday February 28, 2010 @11:46PM (#31311710)
      Yeah... it seems life was better here when we let those in arguments that will never be settled fight among themselves instead of letting them fight us in their home land.
    • by Opportunist (166417) on Monday March 01, 2010 @12:51AM (#31312050)

      Well, .... aw heck, I got karma to burn. I'm pretty sure not too many would care about their struggle, just wake us when one of you remains and have at it. What bothers most of the world is just that they can't keep to themselves and pull us into their struggle. It's a bit like two kids fighting in the sand pit under your window. Would you care if they didn't scream louder than you can turn your TV set?

    • by alchemy101 (961551) on Monday March 01, 2010 @01:46AM (#31312274)
      The heartless person in me has always thought that the rest of the world should just step aside and let themselves wipe each other out from the face of the Earth and let it be an important lesson to the rest of us.
    • by ja (14684) on Monday March 01, 2010 @02:22AM (#31312444) Homepage
      What exactly did the Palestinians do to deserve being deported by Jewish terrorists?
    • by blind biker (1066130) on Monday March 01, 2010 @03:46AM (#31312934) Journal

      OK, let's see: the Dubai police has, so far, incriminated 26 suspects which have fled the country, two of them to Iran. The only individuals actually captured by the Dubai police are 3 Palestinians. (That would make the number of operatives equal to 29). Additionally, the police actually found succinylcholine (a muscle relaxant) in Mabhouh's blood (so he wouldn't fight back when, allegedly, smothered with a pillow). Some of the passports used by the alleged operatives belong to Israeli citizens (7 of them, IIRC).

      You don't see any problem with these?

      First of all, 29 operatives - that's a recipe for disaster; the more people involved, the higher the likelihood for an error. Mossad has used two to four people in the past, even for much higher profile targets (we know this from the few botched missions). As for how much does adding people to the operation increase the likelihood for error, it's given by the formula 1 - (1 - q)^n, where q is the likelihood that one agent will screw up, and n is the number of participating agents.
      Secondly, no Israeli agent would flee to Iran - because it's a paranoidly tightly controlled police state.
      Thirdly, Mossad would never use identities stolen from Israeli citizens, as that would endanger the lives of said citizens (and protecting lives of Israeli citizens is one of Mossad's raison d'etre), AND it would point a giant flashing sign at Israel. Mossad doesn't need to use Israeli citizen's identities.
      Fourthly, Mossad does not leave traces behind them. Their targets have historically been either shot or their death defied forensics.
      Fifthly, the only captured people are Palestinians. This would point at the involvement of Fatah rather than Israel.

      The whole operation, while successful, seems mired in sloppiness (having such a large group of people involved, all of them identified - WTF? And leaving evidence at the scene etc. etc.), which should be enough to discredit the claim that Mossad was in involved.

      • by IgnoramusMaximus (692000) on Monday March 01, 2010 @04:47AM (#31313234)

        ... Mossad has used two to four people in the past, even for much higher profile targets (we know this from the few botched missions) ... which should be enough to discredit the claim that Mossad was in involved ....

        You've confused propaganda about Mossad activities spread by Israel and US-dwelling Israeli citizens (many of them in positions of great power in US media and entertainment industries) which was until not so long ago the "dominant" view in the absence of the Internet and ubiquitous digital cameras, with reality.

        The truth is that Mossad (and most other intelligence agencies) was always this sloppy, but they operated in a very forgiving environment, where all the successes could be safely exaggerated and all the screw-ups completely swept under the carpet.

        The Dubai situation is simply what happens when the terrain on which Mossad had chosen to operate differs significantly from a typical impoverished, inept, technologically in the dark-ages back-water where they usually do their dirty deeds.

        And it is a sign of things to come. Mossad is being put on notice: your usual shit will not fly anymore and no amount of selective propaganda will compensate for the realities of the digital age and Orwellian police-state mass digital surveillance that is becoming the norm in the Gulf states.

        • by jabuzz (182671) on Monday March 01, 2010 @05:34AM (#31313472) Homepage

          Still does not explain two of the alleged operatives fleeing to Iran. If that is accurate it would make Mossad involvement seem very unlikely, especially given that Hamas have plenty of other enemies.

        • by blind biker (1066130) on Monday March 01, 2010 @05:47AM (#31313546) Journal

          I think I listed plenty of reasons, and each argument by itself is enough to discredit the claims by the Dubai police. (e.g. Forged Israeli national's passports? Please.).

          All you have as a retort is a handwaving argument about secret services being all sloppy. Well, I know the CIA has been sloppy, there is proof of it (like the double-agent in Afghanistan that blew up 7 american FBI and CIA agents), and there have been unsuccessful Mossad operations, but there is no proof of sloppy Mossad executions. Your handwaving does not constitute an argument.

      • by u38cg (607297) <calum@callingthetune.co.uk> on Monday March 01, 2010 @09:03AM (#31314612) Homepage
        You are assuming independence. Given they probably all receive similar training and have similar cultural backgrounds, I would reckon Qn has a positive covariance and hence the chances of a fuckup are even worse :p
      • by Xest (935314) on Monday March 01, 2010 @10:59AM (#31316142)

        I think it probably was Mossad, but the whole situation is a little odd.

        Fleeing to Iran is weird certainly, the inclusion of Palestinians is odd. I don't see the use of Israeli citizen's passports as odd though, as the passports used were of people with dual citizenship and as such probably aren't seen by Mossad as "true citizens" such that they were probably treated as fair game, the fact they had British passports etc. was a bonus.

        There were other odd things though- as was said, they didn't bother to do anything about the security cameras, the faked passports were easily identified as fake, sloppily so- unique identifiers on the passports for example didn't use the correct combination of letters and numbers on some of them, so not only were they not valid identifiers, but the identifiers weren't even of the right pattern.

        I suspect we'll never know what happened, and I suspect Israel is at least somewhat responsible, but I do wonder perhaps if they were working with another country which wasn't quite so experienced at this.

  • Obscure the details. (Score:4, Informative)

    by deniable (76198) on Sunday February 28, 2010 @11:45PM (#31311700)
    I thought that the details had been obscured by the government when it made the release. It appears that the ABC and Seven blurred the important numbers. Others broadcast the details without editing. I thought we had enough of these on Media Watch last year to teach them a lesson.
  • by hduff (570443) <hoytduff@NoSPAM.gmail.com> on Monday March 01, 2010 @12:03AM (#31311784) Homepage Journal
    Recent IT events have suggested that the Australian government is below par as far as their critical thinking skills go, so this is a surprise?
  • Slowly we lose sight of how a nationally recognized ID was not always required to do mundane things like opening a checking account.
    Australia (like many other Western nations) is slowly becoming a police state. That somebody's identity card was used to assassinate someone in the middle east is not the problem here.

  • by thenextstevejobs (1586847) on Monday March 01, 2010 @01:56AM (#31312312)
    opening an account doesn't really get me anywhere. now if i can borrow a little money...
  • Enough (Score:5, Insightful)

    by daveime (1253762) on Monday March 01, 2010 @01:59AM (#31312326)

    Getting tired of kdawsons scaremongering bullshit.

    Can we have it corrected please, the headline reads like it has already happened ?

    "Banks Could Conceivably Accept Dubai Assassins' Stolen IDs"

    (And then only if they'd been living under a rock).

  • by tsotha (720379) on Monday March 01, 2010 @03:37AM (#31312868)
    Oh, sure, these criminals may think they're getting away with something, but in Australia the penalty for such things is the boot [wtso.net].
  • by Aceticon (140883) on Monday March 01, 2010 @05:45AM (#31313540)

    ... to check on the status of things [hasthelarg...rldyet.com]

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