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Alleged Israeli Spy Loses Appeal for Australian Haven

April 10, 1992
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Ari Ben-Menashe, an Israeli who claims he would be prosecuted if forced to return to Israel, has lost his appeal for refugee status in Australia.

But some opposition politicians say the ruling Labor Party is trying to get rid of him because of possible embarrassing revelations.

Ben-Menashe, 40, gained notoriety after claiming on national television here last year that he paid a $6.2 million bribe to a political party to use Western Australian port facilities for secret weapons shipments bound for Iran.

Ben-Menashe also said he could corroborate the so-called “October Surprise,” the allegation that Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan and his running-mate, George Bush, promised arms shipments to Iran in 1980 if it would delay the release of U.S. Embassy personnel held hostage in Teheran until after Reagan’s election.

Investigations have proved Ben-Menashe’s claims of bribery and gun-running in Western Australia to be false, but not before the self-proclaimed Israeli spy had high-level meetings with federal politicians and repeated his charges to a Royal Commission investigating corruption in Western Australia.

Sen. John Coulter, leader of the opposition Australian Democratic Party, suggested that Ben-Menashe is being “deported” because it would “spare the Labor Party a scandal.”

According to Coulter, Ben-Menashe, whose visa expires April 18, could face “a risk similar” to Mordechai Vanunu, an Israeli nuclear technician serving a life sentence for revealing Israel’s nuclear weapons capabilities.

The Immigration Department refuses to comment on Ben-Menashe’s case.

But Ben-Menashe says he hopes to return to Australia on a tourist visa later this year to launch his book, “Profits of War,” which he promises will contain further evidence of bribery and corruption.

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