UPDATE: Israel’s Channel 10 has revealed that the alias of the arrested Mossad agent is Eric Rassineux. His passport is displayed here. It is the first Israeli source also to confirm that Canada is holding him. For those knowing Hebrew, here is the report (which begins 11 minutes into the video).
Finally a break in the story of a week ago or so in which Dubai’s police chief revealed that an unspecified non-European country had arreseted a Mossad suspect in the assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabouh. The officer also revealed the tantalizing details that the country refused to cooperate with Dubai in the investigation and refused to divulge any details about the suspect or why or how he was arrested.
The country revealed to Dubai that it had arrested Rassineux in June (which means it may have held him even before then), which begins to explain the Emirates frustration with that nation’s opacity. Out of this frustration, Dubai has uppped the ante by revealing that the country is Canada:
“We want clarity on this issue. We want the Canadian authorities to tell us exactly what the details are — the thing that is discomfiting is the lack of transparency on this,” he told Reuters.
Mr. Tamim said he had been informed that Canada would send a representative to Dubai to provide further information, but did not know when a debriefing would take place.
Canadian officials have not responded to requests for comment from Reuters.
Knowing this, we can now understand why the secrecy. The current Canadian government is ultra-supportive of Israel partly out of its right-wing ideology and partly out of alliances it has created with uber-Israel Jewish groups in Canada. The arrest would deeply embarrass this government because it would put it into conflict with Israeli interests. Now that the news is public Israel can be expected, as it did with Germany, to begin a fierce lobbying campaign to free its spy asset. Shortly, I predict Canadian’s will see the big guns of the Jewish community (Aspers, Greenbergs, Reitmans, Reichmanns, etc.) linking up to pressure any government official they can get their hands on to make this case go away. I would expect that if there is any way the government can free or release this suspect without violating Canadian law it will try to do so. That’s why I’m urging all Canadian human rights groups, especially progressive Jews to begin lobbying their members of Parliament and government officials not to cave to such pressure. Demand a transparent legal process and full accountability. This suspect should be brought before judges and a case should be mounted against him. If not this, then Canada should extradite the suspect to Dubai for proper justice to be administered there. Let’s begin by forcing the government’s justice minister to make a statement acknowledging Canada has the suspect and what it plans to do with him.
The next step must be to identify who the real suspect is (or says he is), which might help unravel some more of the various mysteries surrounding this case. Here is a hint:
According to Al Ittihad Arabic daily, the suspect was one two people caught by the hotel’s CCTV cameras wearing tennis gears as they staked out Al Mabhouh’s room in the Bustan Rotana Hotel.
If this is true, then something I wrote immediately after the hit turns out to be wrong. I believed (foolish me) that the Mossad would keep these agents on ice at home for years in order to deaden the scent. That appears to have been wrong. The Mossad appears to have wanted to taunt the world’s police authorities as if to say that we can send our operatives wherever we want whenever we want. Either we believe you can’t identify us or we believe you won’t dare arrest us for fear of the politicial embarrassment that will follow. Which means that Meir Dagan is even more reckless than I thought.
This may at least partially explain Bibi Netanyahu’s threat to open a Knesset investigation of the al-Mabouh hit, a threat almost unprecedented in Israeli spycraft, which Dagan parried by squelching it. I believe that the price for Dagan for killing the investigation was his resignation, which he apparently wasn’t willing to offer. I say this because otherwise I see no need for Netanyahu to have threatened an investigation which he then allowed Dagan to stymie.
I’m speculating that with the last name Rassineux, that he must be a French-speaker or that at least this is part of his spy identity. This would explain why he might use a Canadian identity in order to pass himself off as French Canadian.
Paul Woodward wrote a post speculating last week that the suspect had been captured by the U.S., which was very tantalizing. He wasn’t far off.
UPDATE: Canada’s conservative Globe and Mail is reporting that Canadian government authorities are denying they are holding any suspect in the Dubai killing. Maybe they’ve rendered Rassineux “extraordinarily” to an ice-house jail in Hudson’s Bay and even the government doesn’t know its existence.
If the current Canadian statement is true, and I wouldn’t concede that at all at this point, then it is possible that Canada did detain him when it informed the Dubai police of this in July, but that it quietly released the suspect after that and never told Dubai that it had. It’s further possible that Dubai did know he’d been released and is now seeking to embarrass the Canadians for doing so.
There is something in the tone of the Globe and Mail report that is so dismissive of the Dubai claim that it makes you wonder whether the paper is subtly acting to bolster the government’s claim of non-involvement. When I read spin like that in ostensible news stories is tells me there may be something that the story would rather conceal than reveal.
More as events unfold.
- Dubai Police: Hamas Hit Suspect Nabbed in Canada (nytimes.com)