On the sixth anniversary of the kidnapping and disappearance of Iranian Gen. Ali Reza Asgari, an Iranian Revolutionary Guard general said:
“We have a lot of evidence proving that members of the Israeli intelligence service (Mossad) have kidnapped Asgari from Turkey and transferred him to Israel,” Iran’s Deputy Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Daqiqi said on Saturday.
As readers here will recall, I first exposed the fact that Asgari was in an Israeli prison and that he was the same Prisoner X who had either died or been murdered in 2011. Journalist-apologists for the Israeli security establishment took me to task after Iran demanded a UN investigation of the matter. He claimed that I’d needlessly caused an international incident. But even in his rebuttal, he carefully avoided targeting several of my keep claims in this matter (notably that he’d been kidnapped in Turkey).
If the Mossad did kidnap Asgari and throw him into an Israeli jail, it would be only one in a long series of such extraordinary renditions beginning with Adolph Eichmann, up to and including Mordecai Vanunu and Dirar Abusisi. The list even includes an Israeli engineer, Maj. Avner Israel, who allegedly sold military secrets to the Egyptians in the 1950s. After being lured by a honeypot agent to a European rendezvous, he was kidnapped, drugged and put on a plane. But he died of an overdose because the doctor on board didn’t correctly calculate the dosage. All traces of the man (whose body was dropped out of a plane into the Mediterranean) and the botched operation were obliterated and not a word of it was known until fifty years after the fact. The doctor responsible for this death (and for the drugging of Adolph Eichmann) committed suicide recently. These are the wages of sin of the national security state.
Maariv wrote an Asgari follow-up story (Hebrew) which completely botched my coverage of this story:
The blogger, Richard Silverstein, even claimed Asgari died in an Israeli prison after undergoing torture. At any rate, it later became clear the story was unfounded and Silverstein later conceded as much. Iran took advantage of the false report to blame Israel for his kidnapping.
This is a blatantly false account. I never remotely said my Israeli source’s account was false or baseless. What I did say was that while some have disputed my account, none have offered any definitive evidence that it is wrong. I conceded that I had not been able to find independent evidence to corroborate that Asgari was Prisoner X and had died in an Israeli prison. I conceded that since I only had one source (a reliable one at that) it was possible he was wrong. But again, I reiterated that I had no reason to believe he was. I never said the report was wrong.
I will be writing to Hayim Iserovich, the unfortunate nonse who penned this nonsense, and his editor, demanding a correction. But Israeli newspapers never admit they’re wrong: I suppose it’s considered effete and unmanly. The fact that they never concede error, of course, is one of the reasons their credibility, with few exceptions, is so low.
UPDATE: I must own up to being wrong on at least one account. After writing to Iserovich, he agreed to correct his report and removed the offending language. More power to him!