≡ Menu

Prisoner X was Mossad Agent, Ben Zygier

You are currently browsing comments. If you would like to return to the full story, you can read the full entry here: “Prisoner X was Mossad Agent, Ben Zygier”.

{ 77 comments… add one }
  • Moti February 12, 2013, 2:33 AM

    Your source claimed Mr. X was an Iranian general, not it appeared the Mr. X was a mossad agent.
    Why ask that source – assuming it is the same source, anything ? apparently he was wrong before.
    With the level of accuracy it seems that you are being fed stories that contribute significantly to Israel’s deterrence. you should check if your source isn’t located at mossad headquarters.

  • Ross m February 12, 2013, 2:39 AM

    Bob Carr is the current Australian foreign minister

  • Bob Mann February 12, 2013, 2:56 AM

    Now that it turns out your source was being fed misinformation which in turn was given to you in a manner that caused you to confidently report that misinformation as fact, perhaps it is time to ditch this source?

    Recall, you wrote at the time: “While there is a possibility my source was provided with false information upon which this story is based, I strongly doubt it and stand by the story.”

    You do not seem like the type who wants to be used by Mossad disinfo campaigns. You cannot trust the source moving forward, can you?

    • Richard Silverstein February 12, 2013, 3:14 AM

      Believe me, there have been such conversations between me and my source on this subject.

  • Michael February 12, 2013, 3:09 AM

    Bob Carr is current Australian Foreign Minister – not former.

  • Moti February 12, 2013, 4:19 AM

    Documentary available here
    link to mega.co.nz

  • Joel February 12, 2013, 4:25 AM

    The ‘most secure cell in Israel’ has bars on it.
    I don’t buy it.

  • irit February 12, 2013, 4:43 AM

    maybe you should reconsider your positions on other cases alleging severe abuse of human rights by Israeli gov towards its own. You repeat here the dogma that this is usually done only to Palestinians. Wrong.

  • Moti February 12, 2013, 4:51 AM

    Story is also available here:
    link to abc.net.au

    Richard if anyone would like to contribute, shouldn’t they contribute to ABC Australia ? After-all what what exactly was your role in bringing this story to light ?

    • Richard Silverstein February 12, 2013, 5:37 AM

      Did you forget that I have sources ABC doesn’t have in both Israel & Australia? ANd there is information in my post that isn’t in the documentary?

      Yes, you make a nice gift to ABC. All my other readers who wish to contribute will do so here.

      I warn you there’s only so much nudnik-ing I can tolerate before I lose patience entirely.

    • separate tables February 12, 2013, 11:34 AM

      The ABC is not particularly known for its investigative journalism – especially when the results are likely to further embarrass Israel. For an organisation that regularly takes a pro-Zionist stance in its choice of commentators on Middle East affairs it has already gone about as far as it can go. I suspect the Zionist machine is already at work to stifle any further discussion in the MSM in Australia.

      • Orange February 12, 2013, 2:37 PM

        I bet you are right, separate tables. Amazing that this story ever got out at all. I suspect that some member of his family or the Jewish establishment in Aust secretly dissented, and leaked the story.

      • Artyblartfast. February 12, 2013, 5:49 PM

        I disagree with your comment regarding the ABC’s reputation for investigative journalism. Pro-zionist blah blah blah. Here we go again. Brain exploded.

  • Tom D February 12, 2013, 5:21 AM

    Kevin Rudd is the former Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard is the current PM as of 2010, and therefore the question is of what did her government know of the case and when it knew.

  • Fred Plester February 12, 2013, 6:36 AM

    The refusal of the family to cooperate with Australian authorities over this raises the question of whether or not he had been spying for Mossad against Australia, and he had to be locked up to stop him spilling the beans about this.

    There are very few technologies which America has not shared with Israel: they are determined to obtain all of these, of course, including the kind of over the horizon radar for which the Jindalee Operational Radar Network or “JORN” was the full scale prototype for America as well as Australia.

    The RAAF has also done a lot of studies on ways of destroying WMD with minimal environmental contamination and the Australian Scientific and Technical Organization was the original developer of wave-pattern analysis technology now used by the US Navy to track submarines and locate underwater features, including wrecks and lost equipment.

    You could say that America has been farming out to Australia, development of technologies that it’d prefer not to involuntarily share with Israel, and the spying in this case is likely to have by Israel and against both Australia and its American partner. That’s before you even consider the advanced technology for which Australia is the primary developer and America a customer. This stuff, some of it very leading edge indeed, is simply not in America’s gift when Israel demands it be given it.

    You need to quit using the word “ally” to connect Israel with major western powers.

  • Alex February 12, 2013, 6:38 AM

    Australian/Israeli relations aside, this revelation makes me even more curious about what Prisoner X did that resulted in such a severe reaction from Israeli. I guess we may never know.

    • Zhu Bajie February 12, 2013, 5:47 PM

      It could be anything. Maybe he had sex with the wrong person. Secrecy like this allows even the most petty grudges to be pushed to great extremes.

  • Joe Ker February 12, 2013, 6:57 AM

    So Israel will make one of its citizens disappear in the name of national security…?

    Makes one wonder who will play Sarah Netanyahu in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s future musical about the country ;-)

    • amaris February 12, 2013, 9:48 AM

      Why, Miss Piggy of course ;-)

    • Fred Plester February 13, 2013, 3:37 AM

      I don’t know about the casting, but “Nacht und Nebel” sounds like a classic musical title.

  • actuali February 12, 2013, 7:01 AM

    good work for ABC

  • Marilyn February 12, 2013, 7:51 AM

    Australia allowed the US to disappear two citizens to Gitmo, they have allowed Dubai to jail citizens without charge.

    The thing is being an Australian citizen is not worth the paper it is printed on – the real question is how many jews from Australia and other countries are breaking their own countries laws to join Mossad using false ID’s and names?

    If a muslim had done this in Australia the ranting would have been heard all the way to whichever country they had come from.

    I am disgusted that Israel still calls itself a democracy yet can kill people from friendly countries with complete impunity.

    • Alex February 12, 2013, 8:52 PM

      Thanks Marilyn Shepherd.

  • Ron February 12, 2013, 10:33 AM

    What possible information could he have revealed that Israel resorted to kidnapping and holding a Jew holding Israeli citizenship in isolation – a treatment which is typically reserved to Palestinians in the Jewish State? That Israel is spying on Australia using its Jewish citizens? That’s hardly surprising to anyone. That Mossad agents still use Australian passports to carry out operations? Not new either. Not to be the conspiracy theorist, but the only thing I can think of which would really jeopardize Israel would be if he had information about Israel’s/Mossad involvement with 9/11.

    • Joe Ker February 12, 2013, 10:56 AM

      “Not to be the conspiracy theorist, but the only thing I can think of which would really jeopardize Israel would be if he had information about Israel’s/Mossad involvement with 9/11.”

      Your theory is about as likely as the agent holding information regarding Alien landings in area 51.

      • Ron February 12, 2013, 11:07 AM

        “Your theory is about as likely as the agent holding information regarding Alien landings in area 51.”

        That’s what they said about the Lavon Affair…. until he turned out to be true.

    • dana February 12, 2013, 1:36 PM

      Ron, you are probably on to something. I think that 11 years after the event, we are beginning to see the start of some unraveling of the cover-up. They, whoever ‘they” are, are usually ridiculing so-called “truthers’ saying that there’s no way so many people could be kept quiet. for long. The thing is, some probably started to make noises, and we are beginning to see all kind of strange crimes, killings, murder-suicides, bizarre accidents that scream cover-up and what not. Just one example – not to overdo my contention: the Saad Al-Hilli/Sylvain Mollier’s murder execution style in France. Yes, I know the French police point fingers at lone crazed killers, but they always do, don’t they? There is no proof, and I certainly have none, that Saad knew anything but that very strange massacre is an example of the mysterious goings on where victims were people that COULD HAVE known something.

      On this case what I agree with Ron about is that it would have to have been some major misstep by the australian/Israeli agent to have brought such a fate upon his head. He has been driven to suicide – that much is clear, even if he was “helped” along. The israeli services did not even treat the killer of an Israeli PM this way. AND reduced his family to catatonic silence. It had to have been a HUGE breach of the code of silence. Surely it couldn’t have been some disclosure to eg, hezbollah or Iran. Israel isn’t really afraid of them. Ultimately israel is afraid of only one country, and that’s the US. So that’s where the breach must lie, Who knows, perhaps the hapless ben was a friend of one of them “dancing israelis”?

    • Orange February 12, 2013, 2:57 PM

      Ron, you are not alone in this suspicion. I think it is the subtext to this remark, from the ABC’s news website:

      Former ASIS operative Mr Reed told the ABC: “However the transgression came about, it would have to be involved with espionage, treachery – very, very sensitive information that known to others would pose an immediate threat to Israel as a nation state.”

    • David Kessler February 13, 2013, 9:31 AM

      You mean evidence as opposed to the reams of speculation and crackpot theories that have been advanced thus far (holograms projected into thin air, “dancing Israelis” etc). Yes such “evidence” would be damaging, but to conjure up evidence that doesn’t exist by speculation – in the face of the well-documented facts – is to allow ones own agenda to run away from reality.

      I think Richard’s theory is far more plausible.

  • Ohyeah February 12, 2013, 11:56 AM

    CIA agent. Message to Obama & the CIA not to spy on Israel.

  • Stamin Korbin February 12, 2013, 1:28 PM

    I have pointed this out to you before Richard – when you report something that has been “leaked” to you by someone who claims to be in the know, since you have absolutely no way of verifying the matter, by publishing it you are you reporting, you are simply acting as a tool in the machinations of others.

    What can demonstrate more clearly the worthlessness of this type in blogging that this story, where you nonchalantly report that your previous “great scoop” was a steaming pile of worthless turds…

    Wouldn’t it be a good idea – since your source has been exposed by this as a fraud, or more to the point, you have been exposed as a hapless pawn in his game – to go through all your output and identify to the faithful readers of this blog which items of news in the past were also “leaked” to you by this same source and make us all aware of this by providing a list of links to stories from this source…

    • Richard Silverstein February 12, 2013, 2:19 PM

      @Stamin Korbin:

      Wouldn’t it be a good idea…

      I just did in a comment I posted.

      As for steaming pile of worthless turds, I think you’ve just about pegged yourself…

  • dana February 12, 2013, 1:47 PM

    Richard, regarding your source. I think he may have been used to “leak” information for some time, probably not just to you. he (I assume it’s a ‘he’, may or may not know he is used, but it isn’t like israelis to be all that naive). once can happen, twice is a bit of a copincidence, and 3 9and I am counting three cases that may or may not be traced to the same source) is a major stretch. I have no doubt that some of the “leaks” he has sent your way were true enough, but that’s how they do it, isn’t it/ mix some truth with untruth?

    Fordow disclosures were done with all due deliberation, in a concerted way. Targeting blogoshere and off-MSM in particular. So that should be warning enough. adding this one to the mxi is quite strange.

    What puzzles me now though, is whatever happened to Askari, the Iranian general? could there have been more than one prisoner x? and if one person has been driven to suicide, couldn’t more have found the same fate? or could the iranian still be held somewhere in israel and be alive? I think you should ask your source – he awes you that much!

    • Richard Silverstein February 12, 2013, 2:17 PM

      I think you’re dead on in what you say. This is precisely what happened. But the source feeding my source the bogus information gave him the Fordo & Asgari story (& also some that turned out to be true, just as you say). So we’re leery of this particular source going forward. But this isn’t his only source within the intelligence apparatus. Others have proven more trustworthy.

      I’m dying to know about Asgari as well. We’ve uncovered one mystery, another remains.

  • dana February 12, 2013, 1:57 PM

    Richard, you are mentioned – prominently – in the Haretz story on ridiculous censorship in Israel:

    link to haaretz.com

    • Richard Silverstein February 12, 2013, 2:15 PM

      Thanks, like Zygier Haaretz had disappeared me from its pages for several years. Now, I’m undisappeared!

  • Karma Is A Botch February 12, 2013, 2:00 PM

    I would like to think that this dude was locked away for the “crime” of selling to the Americans the list of all the US Navy secrets that Jonathon Pollard had stolen and sold to the Israelis.

    After all, it’s now decades later and the Israelis still haven’t produced a list of all the intel that Pollard had handed over…

  • Amir February 12, 2013, 2:25 PM

    Ron& dana
    Lets think bigger. Israel’s involvment in: the kiling of Fantz Ferdinand, planting Stallin as head of the ussr, the truth behind the murder of JFK, the masterminds of the final solution, the creaters of the tsunami, creators of ultra stupid people…….

    • Richard Silverstein February 12, 2013, 2:31 PM

      People like you are oh so smart. Pls spare us yr “wit.”

      • Amir February 13, 2013, 1:29 PM

        is that the best you have. The problem with blogs like this is that its for the convienced. One lunatic inspire the other. There is no room for others. Why try to argue make point (other than pointless) make sense etc. when you have ron dana & karma you feel at home with your cospiracy theories. Im sure that one of you was also kidnaped by an elien

  • Kevin Herbert February 12, 2013, 3:13 PM

    Joe Ker

    Can you help me understand your view re 9/11 by explaining why you dispel the Truthers views.

    Maybe you’d like to start by explaining the destruction of Building 7.

    • zee February 12, 2013, 4:41 PM

      Other than doctored photographs by truthers, s there any proof that “Building 7” ever existed? There’s no trace of it now.

      • Richard Silverstein February 12, 2013, 6:38 PM

        @Zee: Off topic.

    • Richard Silverstein February 12, 2013, 6:37 PM

      Nah, nah. Not here gentlemen. That belongs somewhere else. Stay on topic. Follow the comment rules.

  • Shay February 12, 2013, 3:21 PM

    One note, I’m not sure that all dual citizens who are incarcerated by one of the countries in which they are a citizens of necessarily triggers informing the other country by default or as a courtesy. In this case he was an Israeli citizen who had lived iand married and brought up children n Israel for 10 years before his incarceration and death.

    • Richard Silverstein February 12, 2013, 6:35 PM

      Incarceration & death of another country’s citizen in your country triggers automatic notification under all commonly accepted protocols (except Israel’s obviously).

      • Ilan February 13, 2013, 2:31 AM

        from: The Age (Australian broadsheet newspaper)
        link to theage.com.au

        Foreign Minister Bob Carr’s office has revealed an Australian diplomat was aware Melbourne man Ben Zygier had been detained in an Israeli prison before his death in 2010.

        • Ilan February 13, 2013, 2:22 PM

          even more details clearly indicating that Australia was trying to keep track of Zygier
          link to theage.com.au
          WHEN Ben Zygier died alone in a maximum-security prison in Israel he was under investigation by ASIO, which suspected him of using his Australian passport to spy for Israel, Fairfax Media can reveal.

          Benji, as he was known in Jerusalem, reacted angrily when Fairfax Media confronted him in early 2010 with allegations that he was working for Israel’s security agency, Mossad.

          ”Who the f— are you?” an incredulous Mr Zygier asked Fairfax’s then Middle East correspondent Jason Koutsoukis. ”What is this total bullshit you are telling me?”

          He expressed shock at the suggestion he was under any kind of surveillance and said that he had also changed his name for personal reasons.

          ”I have never been to any of those countries that you say I have been to,” Mr Zygier said. ”I am not involved in any kind of spying. That is ridiculous.”

          Do you know more about this story or Ben Zygier? Email us here

          Koutsoukis said: “He was at first angry, then exasperated that I wouldn’t accept his denials at what I was putting to him.

          ”He told me he was like any other Australian who had made aliyah [immigration to Israel] and was trying to make a life in Israel.”

          Fairfax Media spoke to Mr Zygier in Israel in early 2010 after learning that ASIO was investigating at least three dual Australian-Israeli citizens who had emigrated to Israel in the past decade. At the time, ASIO would not comment on the case. On Wednesday, the agency again refused to comment.

          Each of the men had travelled back to Australia separately to change their names and obtain a new passport, two intelligence sources said at the time in Koutsoukis’ story published in The Age.

          One man had changed his name three times, and others had changed theirs twice, the source said, from names that identified them as European-Jewish to ones that were Anglo-Australian.

          In each case, the men had used the new passports to travel to Iran, Syria and Lebanon – all countries that do not recognise Israel and do not allow Israelis, or anyone with an Israeli stamp in their passport, to enter. Israel also bans its citizens from travelling to these countries for security reasons.

          Along with his Ben Zygier identity, he also used Ben Alon, Ben Allen and Benjamin Burrows.

          At the time, Fairfax Media was investigating the men’s involvement with a European communications company that had a subsidiary in the Middle East. The company’s chief executive denied the men were ever employed by the organisation.

          It is believed – although Fairfax Media has been unable to confirm – that Mr Zygier travelled back to Australia in 2009 to do an MBA at Monash University.

          A source at the time observed him over several days sitting with a group of students from Saudi Arabia and Iran at the university’s Caulfield campus.

          The source said: ”[Australian Taxation Office] records from 2008 show that he applied for and was approved a HECS loan for postgraduate studies at Monash University where he is currently [November 2009] studying.”

          Since 2006, Monash has been involved in education in Middle Eastern countries, and in 2007 it proposed an initiative for higher-degree students from Saudi Arabia.

          Apart from his move to Israel and his MBA study, little is known about Mr Zygier’s movements over the decade before he died, except that he was working in insurance law at the Australian firm Deacons in 2002.

          In Israel Mr Zygier married a local woman with whom he had two children, the ABC reported.

          It was well known that Israel approached people who emigrated from other countries to assist it by handing over their passports, an Israeli intelligence expert told Fairfax in 2010.

          ”Their names are used later but the person providing the passport is not involved,” the expert said.

          It is understood the ASIO investigation into Mr Zygier and the two other men began at least six months before the January 10, 2010, assassination of senior Hamas commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, widely believed to have been carried out by Mossad using Australian and European passports.

          Three of those suspected of taking part in the assassination were travelling on Australian passports, using the names of dual Australian-Israeli citizens, authorities in Dubai confirmed.

          There is no suggestion that the three Australian names linked to Mabhouh’s assassination are connected to Mr Zygier or the other men investigated by ASIO.

          After initially denying the Australian government had any knowledge that one of its citizens was detained in Israel, Foreign Minister Bob Carr said some officers in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade were aware of his detention.

          The revelations raises questions about how much the Australian government knew about the conditions under which Mr Zygier was being held in the maximum security Ayalon Prison.

          The ABC’s Foreign Correspondent program, which named Mr Zygier as ”Prisoner X”, said he hanged himself in the specially constructed cell that was meant to be suicide proof.

          Mr Zygier was held in isolation – and in secret – in Unit 15, a separate wing of Ayalon Prison that contains just a single cell in Israel’s most secure prison in Ramla, near Tel Aviv.

          The cell is believed to have been built for Yigal Amir, who murdered Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in November 1995.

          It is described as a cell within a block within a prison. The inmate in Unit 15 was allowed no visitors and even after his death his identity was a state secret, protected by a court-issued gag order despite continuing protests from human rights groups.

          ”He is simply a person without a name and without an identity who has been placed in total and utter isolation from the outside world,” a prison official was quoted as saying in the Israeli media in 2010, when news of ”Prisoner X” first broke, and was then suppressed.

          It is unclear what, if anything, Australia was told by the Israeli authorities about the death in custody of one of its citizens, or whether any consular assistance was provided to Mr Zygier during his time in solitary confinement.

          Do you know more about this story or Ben Zygier? Email us here

      • Shelly K February 13, 2013, 7:41 AM

        Sorry, but you are simply wrong about this. Unless there is a bilateral agreeement between the countries, there is no protocol whatsoever requiring automatic notification in the case of incarceration.

  • Blabbaer February 12, 2013, 6:09 PM

    What of the possibility that Zygier was not Prisoner X and has been fitted up to remover scrutiny? The connection is only that Prisoner X and Zygier ‘died’ at the roughly same time. Zygier may have fallen off a motorbike or died from some other reason and his corpse being used in the service of Israel.

  • jack February 12, 2013, 9:48 PM

    Seems to me that you should burn the source who lied to you before. If he lied to you he doesn’t merit the anonymity he presumably requested.

    • Richard Silverstein February 13, 2013, 12:43 AM

      @Jack: I would like to, but doing so would harm others I work with & potentially burn relationships with them. But all of us know who misled us & will do our best not to be misled again.

  • Sharon February 12, 2013, 10:49 PM

    Why all the self-righteous self-praise and fake sense of urgency? (“We must make Israel aware of this story.”). You want a scoop, and couldn’t care less how much damage you to Israel, or for that matter Zygier’s family. There is nothing whatsoever about the story that Israelies or anybody else need to know or would benefit in any way from knowing. So please cut the BS.

    • Richard Silverstein February 13, 2013, 12:39 AM

      @Sharon: That must be why 28,000 people visited this site today, over 70% of them from Israel…because there’s nothing whatsoever about the story to interest them or that they need know about. I’m so pleased that 20,000 Israeli voted with their mice & keyboards against yr embrace of amnesia & ignorance.

    • roger February 13, 2013, 7:57 AM

      @Sharon: at the least, idealistic Australian Jews should be aware of how personal involvement with Mossad can end for them.

  • Agent X February 13, 2013, 1:48 AM

    Try and determine how many passports he had. Trace what countries he traveled to using those passports then research what major activities occurred during those times.
    I will take a guess here and say he entered a country or countries prior to a major terrorist attack, assassination attempt or failed attack that occurred within a friendly country or involved a close Ally. Alternatively he may have been involved in the assassination of Yasser Arafat.
    For example was he in New York 2001, Paris in 2002, Tbilisi 2005 or London 2005.

    • Fred Plester February 14, 2013, 3:04 AM

      None of those involved in the 7/7 attack lived in London: the nearest was one who lived in Aylesbury, the rest lived in West Yorkshire.
      They did, however, assemble at Luton Central station before proceeding to London (I think the MPS were looking at the wrong (Thameslink) trains and missed the temporary service that was running from Manchester to King’s Cross in London at the time, via Sheffield and Luton. There was NO CCTV of them on the Thameslink service. The temporary service was because of long-term engineering work on the West Coast Mainline between London and Manchester.)

      It is Luton, particularly the El Al operation at Luton Airport, which hosts Mossad operations in the UK.
      However, Luton is also the most obvious place for a carload of men from West Yorkshire to meet someone from Aylesbury and travel on into London by train, especially with all sorts of delays on the West Coast Mainline.

  • stanley February 13, 2013, 3:13 AM

    So first Mr X was an Iranian, now he is an Australian. So your “intelligence source” much like your writing is a joke.

    • Richard Silverstein February 13, 2013, 12:55 PM

      Except that the Israeli government just officially conceded that Prisoner X was precisely who the ABC documentary says he was. Sorry guy.

  • Jennifer February 13, 2013, 4:12 AM

    I just wanted to add – I am so embarassed that my grandparents donated money to help make Israel a state back in the 40’s. They (foolishly) thought that jews who were not fortunate enough to live in Australia needed somewhere to call their own.
    Every time I read about Israel, it is an embarassment. I used to be proud that some of my ancestors were among the first Jews in Australia, and that some other ancestors were celebrated in Israel, but not any more.
    This outrageous series of events was preceded in Sydney newspapers last week by a story about wacko orthodox women wearing more on their heads than any moslem woman.
    If this had happened in an Arab country, there would be cries for blood, but because Israel is SUPPOSED to be somewhat civilized, I bet nothing will eventuate.
    Truly, people need to look into their hearts and work out where their loyalties lie; if you are Australian, then act like one. People often say that moslems who don’t want to be here (Australia) should go back where they came from and I say if you feel the same as a Jew, then renounce your citizenship and go join what seems to be one of the most right wing, repressive, discriminatory, religious and secretive excuses for a democracy in the world – Israel!

  • alastair February 13, 2013, 4:23 AM

    Zygier was obviously murdered by the Israeli state to shut him up permanently.

    As an Australian of non-jewish persuasion, i am disgusted by the fact that jewish-Australians would not lift a finger to help Australia (a country that has always been a safe haven for Jewish people), but are ready to spy either on Australia for Israel, or to use Australian identities to spy for Israel elsewhere.
    It just goes to show who the fair dinkum Aussies are compared to those that use us for their own convenience or enrichment

Leave a Comment