What do a high speed L.A. car chase, a deadly fungus, a man who may or may not be a Mossad biological weapons scientist, and an unknown Mr. X held incommunicado in an Israeli jail have in common? Perhaps very little or a great deal: therein lies the tale.
In 2009, a man named Joseph Moshe, who claimed he was a former Mossad microbiologist who had done research on a deadly fungus at a California lab, allegedly threatened the president (though this account has been disputed). While on his way to the Los Angeles Federal building, the police killed his engine with an electromagnetic pulse, smashed his windshield in and pumped three tear gas rounds and pepper spray into his car, none of which persuaded him to give up.
Finally, after being tasered he was subdued and arrested. But before he could appear in court he was transferred to a state mental hospital. From there he seems to have disappeared. In a Huffington Post thread, a commenter claims Moshe was returned to Israel where he has not been heard from since.
A Truthout article from May, 2010 ties Moshe to a mysterious and virulent fungus epidemic which has killed at least 30 people in an outbreak in the Pacific Northwest that first surfaced in 1999:
…Researchers at Israel’s Institute for Biological Research, located in Ness-Ziona about 20 km from Tel Aviv, have worked with the Cryptococcus gatti fungus. They also report that mysterious Israeli-American scientist Joseph Moshe, 56 years old, may have conducted covert studies with the fungus while he was recently living in California. This report concerning Moshe is especially interesting because Moshe was briefly in the international spotlight in 2009 when he was the subject of a spectacular chase and arrest by the LA police department and SWAT team, assisted by the FBI, Secret Service, CIA, US Army and several other unidentified federal officials. That highly unusual arrest has never been fully explained to the media, and the whereabouts of Moshe has remained unknown since its occurrence.
…According to the Los Angeles media, which recorded the entire incident by helicopter and ground cameras, Moshe claimed to be “a former Mossad microbiologist” who had telephoned a police dispatch number before his pursuit and had made “threatening statements about the White House and the president.” Reportedly, Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan confirmed this when he spoke with several Los Angeles reporters.
…Two former Fort Detrick biochemists, have also linked Moshe to a mysterious disease that is becoming alarmingly common in Vermont and other states, including California. The disease is known to have killed or incapacitated at least 10 to 20 rural dwellers and farmers. This disease is said to be Morgellons disease or “a rare, mutated form of Morgellons disease.”
Haaretz reported on this outbreak of the Cryptococcus gatti fungus as well and noted a possible tie-in between Moshe and the fungus. Haaretz’s security analyst, Yossi Melman, wrote in more detail (Hebrew) about Moshe. He notes a theory that Joseph was also attempting to blow the whistle on Baxter Pharmaceuticals, which was allegedly testing an H1N1 vaccine in Ukraine, then undergoing a severe Swine flu outbreak which resulted in 360 deaths. Joseph, according to some accounts, claimed the vaccine was tainted and was attempting to make this known to U.S. authorities when he was apprehended.
Meanwhile, last June I wrote a post about a mysterious “Mr. X,” being held incommunicado in Ayalon Prison. In an article that was subsequently removed by the Israeli censor, a reporter noted that the man’s identity was unknown even to his jailers, that he was not allowed any visitors, and that no one even knew what his crime was or whether he had indeed committed one.
A commenter in the post thread suggested that Mr. X was Joseph Moshe and linked to the Truthout article. A Reddit link to a now defunct website, josephmoshe.org, also claims Moshe is Mr. X. One wonders what happened to the website.
Even if you discount some or even most of the theories recounted above, the possibility that Joseph may be held as Mr. X in Ayalon Prison should be enough for Israeli journalists to ask the Israeli prison authorities whether they’re holding him or not. Even if he’s not Mr. X, I think the Israeli public has a right to know who Mr. X really is and why he is being held incommunicado. What has this man done to deserve the treatment he’s receiving?
If it turns out that Joseph IS Mr. X it will call to mind another case with certain similarites. One of the most embarrassing espionage cases in Israeli history involved Dr. Marcus Klingberg, a senior biological weapons research scientist who also worked at the Ness Ziona lab mentioned in several of the articles linked above. The Shin Bet suspected Klingberg of spying for the Soviet Union, disappeared him for 10 days during which he confessed to spying, and then sentenced him to a long prison term. He wasn’t heard from again for the next ten years. He completely vanished. His family simply didn’t know what happened to him. The State wouldn’t tell them or the nation anything. After suffering several major strokes in prison, the State allowed him to leave prison and the country where he now lives in exile.
Unfortunately, Israel has a habit of disappearing inconvenient individuals who pose, not a danger to the state, but an embarrassment to it and its intelligence organs (it also did so to Anat Kamm for a time). One wonders what embarrassment the case of Mr. X may be concealing.