The Lonesome Death of Mossad Agent, Ben Zygier
Today, three brave Israeli MKs dared ask the Israeli attorney general, Yaakov Neeman, what he knew about the fate of Ben Zygier, the Australian-Jewish Mossad agent disappeared by Israel’s intelligence apparatus in 2010. Neiman answered that if the story was true, that he knew nothing about it since the prisoner would not have fallen under his jurisdiction. Translation: it’s not my job. But it would be the job of the Internal Security minister Aharanovich. He’s not talking. At least not right now. But in 12 hours he will address the Knesset and make some sort of mealy-mouthed statement that will raise a thousand questions and answer few.
What’s extraordinary about this is that the MK who questioned Neiman used Zygier’s name in the Knesset and so broke an ironclad taboo not to publicly expose the identity of Israeli agents, even after they die.
My guess is that Zygier was not just disappeared, but that once he entered the Israeli prison he didn’t exist. Neiman admitted that Zygier had never been tried for his alleged crime. That means that unlike Marcus Klingberg, the KGB spy who was also disappeared for many years, Zygier wasn’t even given the semblance of due process.
Let’s ask ourselves why a state would do such a thing. My impression is that if the Australian Jew had sold his country down the river–say, selling state secrets to the highest bidder, that Israel wouldn’t hesitate to put such a person on trial. A public trial would, at the least, deter anyone else from taking that road. But what if Zygier did this out of an act of conscience? What if he was so troubled by something he did or saw that he sought to expose it?
I’m just using this as a hypothetical and haven’t checked whether the dates correspond chronologically, but say he was one of the Australian-Israelis heard speaking English with an Aussie accent on the Mavi Marmara during the attack. Let’s say he saw point-blank executions. Let’s say he could attest that cold-blooded murder was planned beforehand, and not just done in an act of spontaneous rage. Such exposure would cause irreparable harm to Israel’s relations with Turkey and Australia. That might be worth disappearing someone. Further, the notion that a Mossad agent would betray his agency and country for the sake of conscience is something quite unprecedented in Israel. Such instances are rare to the point of obscurity. For Zygier to have done something like would strike a blow to a patriotic national consensus supporting the intelligence services no matter what they do. It would mark a fundamental break with patriotic tradition. Something an Israeli government might decide it could not afford.
Another astonishing aspect of this case is that Bibi Netanyahu summoned the editor’s committee of managers of all the Israeli news outlets and asked them to respect a gag not for the sake of national security, but in order to protect a national agency “from embarrassment.” Can anyone imagine the media of any other democracy in the world accepting such a burden? Yet Israel’s have. They have reported the Knesset debate, but nothing further. I know this annoys the hell out of Haaretz because they mockingly published a story about this along with a map that blacked out all of Israel. (By the way, this marks my “undisappearance” from the pages of Haaretz, in whose pages I have not been mentioned for years). This is similar to the mocking story Yediot published during the Anat Kamm affair in which 2/3 of the words were blacked out. Within a few days the gag was lifted more out of shame than anything else.
UPDATE: Another aspect of Bibi’s pitch to the editors for omerta was that this affair would embarrass “a foreign government.” This presumably would be Australia. But how would it embarrass Australia beyond the matter of Zygier abusing his Australian passport for espionage? Unless of course, Zygier was doing such things with the knowledge of Australian officials who either turned a blind eye or accepted it.
Australian FM Bob Carr just released a statement amending a previous one in which he said the Australian government knew nothing of Zygier’s case until the family asked for his body to be repatriated to Australia. In fact, an Australian diplomat in the Tel Aviv embassy knew the Mossad agent had been arrested. That raises the question what the foreign ministry did or tried to do on his behalf. The foreign minister at the time of his arrest was Kevin Rudd, which might implicate him in some way if his ministry did not do everything it could have on Zygier’s behalf (see more on Rudd below).
Another Australian report goes a bit farther and implies that an Australian intelligence agency was informed of Zygier’s detention (presumably by the Mossad), which in turn notified the foreign ministry. The question is what happened after that and why more wasn’t done to help Zygier. At the least, it seems the government has a lot of accounting to do. It seems they essentially abandoned one of their own citizens to his fate.
One facet of this story is deeply troubling: the response of the family. If your son had the same fate Zygier did, even if you were a patriotic Zionist, wouldn’t you exert all the pressure in your power to find out what happened? The Australian foreign minister said his government was hampered by the family’s unwillingness to lodge any formal request for assistance. Since the victim was incommunicado, a family request was necessary but not forthcoming. I would understand (at least in principle if not in practice) if you remained silent out of loyalty to Israel and a wish not to embarrass it. But it’s my understanding the family’s motives were not these. This will hopefully be explained further in the by and by.
As to who might’ve leaked this story to the ABC network which aired the documentary yesterday. There is one Australian who might benefit from exposing this story: Kevin Rudd. The Labor Party is deep in the pits in terms of the next election and revealing this story would further harm the chances that Julia Gillard can lead the party. It would naturally turn to him for leadership and offer him another opportunity to be prime minister. The danger, however, is that this scandal might so damage not just Gillard, but the entire party, that it sends the Liberal Party to victory in the election.
UPDATE I: Sol Salbe tells me that the deputy leader of the Opposition Liberal Party, one of the most kosher of pro-Israel politicians on the national scene had a meeting today with the Israeli ambassador. She said she would tell him that while she could accept secrecy in guaranteeing national security she could not accept a gag order simply to save embarrassment. As Sol said, when one of its most prominent right-wing supporters tells Israel to end the gag, you know it’s in a losing battle.
A few hours ago (around 7PM on February 13th) Israel partially removed the press gag. What does that mean? Not very much. Now Israeli journalists can tell you Zygier was wearing white socks when he hung himself. But seriously, they can now report on the ABC documentary. Before they couldn’t even mention it. But they can only tell what was reported in the TV program. They can’t do any original reporting on the story. Imagine you’re a beat reporter for the local newspaper in Oshkosh or Paducah and the police chief tells you you can only report on a city council corruption scandal according to what’s published in a newspaper in Toronto or Melbourne. Make sense?
Jodi Rudoren’s front page NY Times article has been published. She mentions Tikun Olam accurately, as far as it goes, noting the error in my reporting Prisoner X. She does neglect that I was the first foreign journalist who reported Zygier’s existence as Prisoner X, which I would think is a fact worth noting.
Thanks again to Sol Salbe for offering me the benefit of his thoughts, wisdom and conjecture on this story.
67 thoughts on “The Lonesome Death of Mossad Agent, Ben Zygier – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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This is a very well stated article.
I suppose that your blog is getting a record number of hits from Australian sources, as people seek out information.
On your speculation about Kevin Rudd – very to the point. Rudd was Prime Minister when the Dubai incident happened, and he ordered a Federal Police investigation into the use of the Australian passports. Not long afterwards, a storm of intrigue arose, and he was forced out of office by an internal coup in his own party. Julia Gillard, who replaced him, is noted as having the strongest affiliations to Israel of any leading member of the Labor Party. There were rumours that the policy Rudd took in regard to the Dubai affair was one of the reasons for animosity towards him, although there is no actual evidence of this (well, there wouldn’t be.)
Also, Kevin Rudd is a former diplomat, and as such, would have many links to the world of the intelligence agencies. Who ever leaked this matter, had high level media contacts, and high level spook-world contacts. This diplomat/former Prime Minister has both.
And out of respect for Kevin Rudd, I would say that he would be very concerned about such human rights abuses, and the sad fate of this Australian citizen.
This is not the 1960s anymore. The time when israelis could attack a US ship and get away are over.
the three were not brave because they have parliamentary immunity and because the parties that they represent.
Now if they were members of Likud or Yesh Atid then they would have been brave.
Also if they want him disappeared as a Mossad agent he met a tragic death in the line of duty overseas.
It does happen. That is disappeared.
As to Marcus Klinsberg peope knew he was ” disappeared” but they did not speak about it. His daughter and wife knew he was imprisoned. Co workers knew he disappeared,knew it was security related but did not know the details.
Richard, ave you or your source ever felt you were undersurvailance?
I do know that Israel does gather intelligence about potential terrorist threats in the US.
THe State told everyone that he disappeared on a trip abroad. That is what I heard his family was told. I never heard that his family knew he was in prison, but that’s certainly possible.
I do not know whether I’m under surveillance but I act as if I might be at any time. I try to be as transparent as I can & not shield my actions unless being too public would harm or implicate another person (ie. a source).
sorry idid not. Intend to imply you were a terrorist.
I in a very akward way i wanted to say that Israel runs intelligence operations in the US.
It does that alright.
And if the yield of such operations is something of no use to Israel, it will barter information and technology to America’s enemies and potential enemies to get something it can use. China’s stealth fighter programme wouldn’t be happening without Israeli help.
If there wasn’t a powerful Israeli fifth column in Congress and the Senate, the US would probably treat Israel as an enemy state.
I think it must relate to Israel’s unmentionable convention breaching chemical or germ weapons programs. As an Australian we probably wish we had some state secrets worthy of high espionage and protecting but we are way too boring. I will say this, if you grow up in suburban Melbourne you would be totally, totally unprepared for the cutthroat world of spying and life affecting consequences. The closest international dispute during my lifetime is East Timor, maybe 4000km+ away. I certainly wouldn’t trust my naive instincts coming from a cotton wooled island continent where national tensions are about sport. It’s very, very possible this guy screwed up rather than acted up due to being insensitive to the gravity of a situation. I think I would find it impossible, having grown up in Melbourne, to appreciate quite how serious or deadly tensions and nerves are in the rest of the world.
You’d be surprised how much American and British military technology is developed in partnership with Australia, and even more of it is tested in Australia. Supposedly, Australia is a more secure location than South Africa, where the range fees are cheaper, but I begin to wonder if this is still true.
It’s a lot easier to obtain clear and meaningful footage of tests in Australia than the Falklands or Stornaway, for example, and you’re less likely to have to treat top scientists for hypothermia. The downside is that spy satellites get a good view, too, whereas the odds are strongly against any satellite getting clear shots of something on the runway at Stornaway or Mount Pleasant, which is partly why those runways are so big in relation to the islands they are on.
Tests of radar and communications equipment tend to happen in Australia, though, because the key factor is not satellite photography but distance between the test site and possible signal monitoring stations.
This could be the beginning of another Lavon Affair.
Very likely he was hidden away simply because of who his father was. That more than justifies the extraordinary measure and the secrecy. The evidence of that will surely be visible shortly.
I can attest from my family, that the loyalty to the junta surpasses the natural love instincts, and money plays a role as well. You can examine the Vanunu case, to see how the family is “worked” to finally neglect the victim. Families are easily manipulated ,as you were too, with all kinds of lies, diversion, bribes, pitting, and since they agreed in the first place to “play the game” (namely, to let their son enter this game), they are usually trapped well before this happens. You easily took the “iranian bait”, didnt you ? imagine what other tools are in that box of manipulations. The shepherd is eating the sheep, and saying its for the protection of the tribe.
We’ve seen the heat being turned on a Jewish South African judge by the country’s Jewish community, to order, so it’s possible the family in this case do have a great deal to fear.
A major question must be why they imprisoned him before his accidental suicide under observation and didn’t just have him ‘accidented’ or suicided straight away. They must have needed some information from him, information that is important enough to risk this exposure. Does anyone have any information about his erstwhile colleagues in the Australian Mossad?
Richard, could you please email me a contact telephone number for you. I’m a journalist with the ABC, based in Melbourne, Australia.
“Further, the notion that a Mossad agent would betray his agency and country for the sake of conscience is something quite unprecedented in Israel.” This statement may well be true for Mossad agents but, still, the case of M. Vanunu (mentioned by an earlier comment) comes to mind as a precedent.
Yes, but as you say not a Mossad agent. Although I respect greatly what he did.
Why do you respect people who betray their country? In what way would the disclosure of Israel hypothetical nuclear technology be useful to Israel? You may not like Israel but you must agree than a person who betrays his country’s interests is a sociopath. BTW, this also applies to other countries. An Iranian who would reveal information that could damage Iran would not have my sympathy either.
Depends which was “his country”.
If Israel required him to do Australia harm, rather than “cause embarrassment” he might have regarded that as treason, with Mossad regarding refusal to betray Australia brown and fair as treason, too.
Kudos, Richard, for being the first to break this story. This could be as big if not bigger than the Lavon Affair, yet I suspect we will not know in our lifetimes unless internal spats at higher echelons cause someone to leak more information.
The information Ziegier held must have been earth shattering as far as Israel is concerned since this kind of treatment for an Israeli Jew is unheard of. And the only thing in my opinion that could shake Israel’s foundations and warrant such secrecy would be something similar to the Lavon Affair – false flag operations against its sponsor, the United States, in an effort to draw it into the “war on terror”.
I would probably differ on your political conclusions.
1. The Liberal Party are probably the recipients of any Jewish community largesse and donations. The timing of the release of the story- now 2 years since the body was deceased- may be an election ploy aimed at trapping Abbott into saying something.
2. Lee Rhianonn may or may not have something to do with it. She has taken a lot of flak for her attitude to Israel, but in this case, she is probably just sitting back like polly enjoying her cracker.
3. Families are usually silent if they have a member who is a nutcase/ insane. This appears to be the likeliest explanation for the family’s silence. I know that in my own family a certain person of dubious mental stability, is never spoken of, and everyone treads around their health problem (but, of course, even the maddest of people do not deserve unspecified incarceration without due processing under mental health laws), but no claims seem to have been made in this case.
4. anyone can claim to be a secret agent, and, correspondingly, suss third world governments can claim that anyone is a “danger” to security and never have to back it up with one iota of evidence, especially in countries where the rule of law does not prevail; it has always been the hallmark of totalitarian regimes worldwide that people can disappear in the middle of the night and never be heard of again. You can go back to Nazi Germany if you like but there has been numerous illustrations since. The general thread is a total lack of accountability, and answerability to any legal process. There are certainly impressions of this to date.
We may have to invent a class of country lower than third world. If Israel now wants to join the bottom feeders, including those around it, it leaves little differentiation with those countries that practice this sort of thing on a much wider scale with even less compunction or regard for human life and Western humanistic values, which probably covers quite a bit of the Middle East. If you can’t beat the others, join them.
As a keen observer of Australian politics I think that it is highly doubtful and highly unlikely that Kevin Rudd was involved in leaking this information. Of course it is theoretically plausible, but it’s unclear how this information would embarrass Julia Gillard and how it would help him – it’s all too remote. Kevin Rudd is currently more concerned about finding out who leaked an unflattering video of him swearing onto Youtube.
I agree. I can’t see much advantage for Rudd in this unless there’s a lot more to it and Gillard was actively involved in covering it up, say closing down a Rudd initiated inquiry.
I doubt this will be a big issue for Australian domestic politics. Much as the political classes might get exercised about Israel, pretty much everyone else expects them to behave badly, but beyond that couldn’t give a damn one way or the other. If it was New Zealand or the UK, there’d be an uproar.
I don’t believe the suicide story. That facility was specifically built to prevent suicides of prisoners and everything that went in there has been checked a hundred times for its suicide assisting potential.
@Amir: I should add that originally my source told me that Prisoner X had been murdered. I could never verify that & don’t want to put that out there as fact. But the suicide story is suspect in many ways. If it really happened then the prison guards were incredibly negligent. But don’t forget that the Shabak essentially had control of the prisoner & told the prison guards to keep hands off. So a gap may’ve been created which Zygier fell through & so got an opportunity to kill himself.
His alleged day of death does coincide chronologically with a time that Israel prison services might be expected to find themselves under particular turmoil/strain: just over week or so after the Carmel forest fire deaths of that busload of prison services cadets.
Could perhaps such a gap be created/exacerbated by simple gross negligence?
(Picture top-ranked prison guards at, say, a memorial service — with back-up coverage coming from, say, some group of rookie guards that had no idea how to correctly monitor all the fancy suicide prevention technology. Pretty damn embarrassing to an already quite embarrassed ministry…)
Just another thought to consider.
The extraordinary conditions under which the man was detained, would surely have made it more likely that he’d be desperate and isolated enough to attempt suicide, too.
It’s not usually the maximum security prisoners who succeed in committing suicide in mainstream jails.
“Neiman admitted that Zygier had never been tried for his alleged crime”?
Richard, where did you get that from? that would be the real story here if it were true, but I think its not and you are misleading your readers.
“Can anyone imagine the media of any other democracy in the world accepting such a burden?”
We were informed that the NYtimes and Washington post accepted such a burdon just a week ago and for lesser reasons.
My conclusion so far – much ado about nothing.
On an ABC Radio during an interview in which I participated, Channel 10’s chief correspondent confirmed he had not been tried. I believe the ABC documentary says the same thing. THere were no legal proceedings concerning Zygier’s case. If you can find any, let me know. And that IS the story. It’s a story of the total degradation of the rule of law & decimation of due process and citizen rights.
What the U.S. media agreed to do in the drone case, while despicable, in no way matches the situation regarding the Israeli media in this case. In this case, a Mossad agent was disappeared and allowed to commit suicide. While I of course value the lives of Muslims killed in drone strikes, it would be far different in terms of political impact, if a drone killed a CIA agent or if the U.S. government disappeared without trial a CIA agent who had betrayed the U.S. THAT’S what happened here.
So Ne’eman did not in fact admit to this, rather you got it from a channel 10 correspondent (who is unassumingly just as much in the shadow as the rest of us). You can see Ne’eman’s answers to the parliamentary query here: http://www.hakafe.com/post100398.html#post100398
Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. He might have been judged and the process sealed, as is very common when dealing with sensitive information, _everywhere_ in the world.
US drones have killed US citizens not just foreign Arabs and Muslims. Your argument has no legs to stand on.
“he was one of the Australian-Israelis heard speaking English with an Aussie accent on the Mavi Marmara during the attack”
Who says they heard Ausssie accents on the Mavi Marmara during the attack?
Sol Salbe, an Israeli-Australian Jew informed me of that.
Sol got it wrong.
An Aussie journalist on one of the little ships belonging to the flotilla said that an IDF commando with an Aussie accent boarded the little ship he was on. That small ship did not report violence during the boarding.
No one on the Mavi Marmara reported any Aussie accented commandos on that boat.
Paul McGeough was on one of the boats and heard the Australian’s talking.
There were several Australians on board the flotilla. Wikipedia refers to 3 but mentions the names of 2 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_participants_of_the_Gaza_flotilla
I doubt the Mavi Marmara connection.
First, Richard’s initial report on Prisoner X dates June 13, 2010. The Ynet report about him dated a day or two earlier. According to the report, some of the personnel at the Ayalon prison were puzzled by a prisoner being detained there for some time without getting any visits or any contact with the outside world. The Mavi Marmara incident took place on May 31, 2010. This leaves only about 10 days for Prisoner X to be arrested, delivered to the Ayalon jail and kept there long enough to arouse the puzzlement of the prison servicemen about his isolation. This seems too short a span.
Second, the co-operation of the Australian intelligence service with the Mossad in this matter would be strange in the months after the Israeli misuse of Australian passports exploded in the Mabhuh asassination on January 19, 2010.
I suspect that Zygier was detained in early January 2010, or perhaps even a few weeks earlier. What his alleged misdeed was, is hard to guess. But given the several loosy ends of the Mabhuh assassination, it stands to reason that the asassination was carried out speedily under some sort of emergency order, without full attention being paid to cover all the ends. Perhaps Zygier was somehow suspected of being prone to disrupt or disclose the Mossad surveillance of Mabhuh. Then, the Aussie spy agency would be somehow cajoled into silencing the detention of Zygier, perhaps just days before Mabhuh was assassinated. This scenario would also provide an additional reason for a strong reaction of the Australian government when it realized that co-operation with the Israelis in the Zygier affair was repaid by Israel with a misuse of Australian passports.
Also, it is interesting that to illustrate his point about Aussie Jews coming to Israel and servng the state, Bormann chose to air an interview with a medical student who worked with Palestinian youth. This is not a typical way of how the State of Israel would employ foreign Jews willing to serve it, and Bormann must be erudite enough to know that. Is he hinting that Zygier was having a close relationship with some Palestinian person (with Israeli citizenship or without it), and was therefore perceived by the Mossad as a potential security threat?
I read all the I.Asimov books. Your theories are far better then any book ever written.
You should move into science fiction.
Here is a prsent for you: his wife’s name is tali and this isa photo from their marriage
I believe I know his wife’s name & if I’m correct it isn’t Tali. I don’t want to invade his family’s privacy in any way.
Few points I found intersting:
1) The prison cell was suicide-proof. Are we witnessing the 2nd case of execution in Israel outside the military law (3rd if we count military court)? The first was Eichmann’s, who was executed in the same prison BTW.
2) Coincidently, Ehud Barak flew to the US 2 days ago, which matches the date of the broadcast. So I’m putting my money this case has to do with US-Israel relations
3) I heard MK Miri Regev (Likud) on radio today, and remembered she used to be the chief censor. To those who don’t know, she is one of the stupidest MKs ever, so stupid I wonder how she can walk and breath at the same time. Her being the cheif censor tells you what masterminds head this institution
no facts at all only “My guess is that Zygier was not just disappeared”, ” My impression is that if the Australia…”. “I’m just using this as a hypothetical and haven’t checked whether the dates correspond chronologically…”
Since the Australian media in general and the ABC in particular are rabidly pro-zionist and generally subservient to anything put out by Likudniks, have you any idea why they are splashing this story and presenting it as their main headline? Is there something else going on?
There is some more info regarding your speculation of the Marmara link:
Reports refer to him behind held since the beginning of 2010 which does not coincide with the marmara story, however the first article was put up by ynet on the 13th of June which is 2 weeks following the marmara affair. You can see documents in the link.
Has anyone considers that its possible that Ben was “turned” while on assignment and began supplying information to “enemy” organizations or governments?
In this case Israel may have intercepted Ben and tried to turn him back, possibly by using his family and friends as leverage. This could explain why all his acquaintances are silent.
dear richard the level of interoperability between mossad and australia’s fascist faggott security services is complete and total ……my opinion is that the above zygier was a ‘joint’ asset of the above whose job was to ‘eliminate’ anyone who raised a hand [or point out the ringleaders for elimination] against the boarding party
apparently he went soft [went native] and as such is a ‘qisling’ to the above security concerns
our security services think they can roam the world bang up anyone on any charge, anywher, no evidence, no court, no lawyers, no rights………. totally out of control as long as faggie the policman or agent can bag a ter and be usss usss usss usss[famous]
oh!!! the government of cowards that puts little children in concentration camps till they are mentally affected for the rest of their lives actually putting itself out to protect a citizen of its own balls balls balls and balls
peter dawson radford coldwarrabbit
The recent story in the Sydney Morning Herald is pretty telling…that Australian journalists had already outed him as a spy in 2010 (prior to this obviously) due to characteristic Mossad name changing……that is even obvious to Australian news services. How crazy is it Australian journalists confronting a spy and watching his response…he really looks small time to me which makes his public enemy #1 status even more interesting.
“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.” (sydney morning herald)
So this guy was outed spy known to ASIO for six months and known to commercial media. This guy was a free man walking freely in Israel in early 2010 and had ZERO worth as an outed spy. Logic suggests he CANNOT have done anything ‘secret’ after that time, so either:
– he didn’t tell Mossad about his being unearthed by Fairfax
– he blabbed to ASIO? (Doesn’t seem to be the case)
– Mossad used him for Top Secret service after being outed (doubtful)
– Mossad were slow on the uptake
Mabhuh was assassinated Jan. 19, 2010. It would be very interesting to know whether the Fairfax phone interview with Zygier took place before or after that date.
The very fact that he returned to Israel after being interrogated by ASIO is remarkable. If he were a double agent (working knowingly for some “big enemy” of Israel), he would have understood that his chances to stay alive and free are not large.
Moreover, if Fairfax interviewed Zygier on phone while he was in Israel in early 2010, this means that he was not arrested immediately on his return from Australia.
His frequent change of Australian passports under different names doesn’t look a smart move as well. Of course, he may have been ordered by the Mossad to do that just for the sake of the service gaining several usable passports, but exploiting him in this dumb way means he wasn’t especially valuable to the Mossad as a personal asset.
There are two many things here that don’t add up. But we may all know more soon.
Surely the real hero here is the whistleblower from the prison services that leaked out the story to ynet and then to the Australian press.
Why is no one spilling out his praise?
Perhaps they’re all trying not to focus attention on him, which wouldn’t end well.
Why do you think the whistle-blower is an Israeli ? make’s more sense he’s an Australian.
Enough folks at the Australian administration knew about the case, The inserting fact is that the story aired at the 5 anniversary to killing of Imad Mughniyah.
A lot of people knew about Prisoner X, including leftist activists is Israel, even before he committed suicide. Read the Yossi Melman’s report in Walla, in Richard’s following article.
In these kind of stories, it is very hard to know what is real and what is not. If indeed Mr. Zygier was betraying Israel then it is hard to feel sorry for him. I have very little respect for people who betray their country. In the US, this would result in a drone strike against you and the people standing next to you. In most countries writing in an internet blog could get you killed, in a democracy you have to betray your country and become a threat to national security.
Richard, I don’t think your Marmara hypothesis holds water, partly because of the dates. Here’s another hypothesis: 2009/2010 was a pretty weird year for the Israel intelligence: no less than three “Aman” officers committed suicide (http://reshet.tv/חדשות/News/Politics/Security/Article,43871.aspx). This was after Lebanon managed to expose a network of Israeli spies in its telecom company – some were caught and at least one managed to escape to Israel (http://www.news-israel.net/article.asp?code=21872). The dates seem to work better here, and this was THE major failure of the Israeli intelligence over the past few years. What’s more, YNET published that Zygier worked in “Iran, Syria, and Lebanon”, which means that he was involved in some way or another as an Israeli agent in Lebanon.
Ron that is a 5 star post, very thoughtful and very informative.
More likely this suicide was linked to Afghanistan …
FOB Chapman: Jordanian double-agent killed 7 CIA officers in suicide blast
KHOST, Afghanistan (CNN) Jan. 5, 2010 – The bomber was identified as Human Khalil Abu-Mulal al Balawi, from the Jordanian town of Zarqa, also home to the late Abu Musab al Zarqawi, the one-time leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq. Both the Jordanian and U.S. intelligence agencies apparently believed al Balawi had been rehabilitated from extremist views and were using him to hunt Ayman al Zawahiri (Muslim Brotherhood). Also killed in the attack was Jordanian Army Captain Sharif Ali bin Zeid, a cousin of King Abdullah of Jordan.
In my comment in other thread Oui @ February 18, 2013 at 1:25 PM
“The accusation against Ben Zygier must have been as grave as the Vanunu affair. I’m thinking more along the line of the Hariri assassination. The Mehlis Report got the wrong suspects and the STL trial of Hezbollah agents is very weak and based on circumstantial evidence provided by Western powers and Israel. One of Australia’s top cops and former chief investigator for the tribunal, Nick Kaldas, reiterated accusations that Hezbollah was behind the killing.”
I have tried to explain the link between Ben Zygier – Mossad – Hariri assassination here. I certainly welcome any comments to this theory.
Here’s my best guess. Look at several things that we already know:
(1) Part of Zygier’s job was in Lebanon.
(2) In 2010/2011 the Lebanese government and Hezbollah managed to expose an espionage network in several telecom companies. Some agents were caught, one apparently managed to escape to Israel (http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2011/11/201111295498547664.html)
(3) Three Israeli “Aman” officers committed suicide in 2010, when the networks started being exposed.
(4) Today, Netanyahu said that the affair would embarrass a “foreign government”. Everybody thinks this is Australia, but it could actually be the U.S.
(5) Zygier could have been a double agent, who exposed those networks. This is VERY embarrassing for the Mossad (since he was their agent, and he basically turned in both Israeli and American agents). And in addition, this is very embarrassing for the CIA and the U.S.
It also explains what he was doing in an Israeli jail, in deep lockdown. That was the puzzler – why he was in an Israeli prison in solitary confinement. You’ve just given a very plausible explanation.
I too think that Lebanese telecoms could be key to this story if Zygier was involved in selling Israeli trojan horses to the compromised companies. The UN Special Tribunal for Lebanon’s (STL) case made for Hezbollah guilt in the murder of Rafik Hariri is largely dependent on dicey cellphone data from the companies thoroughly compromised by Israel’s Lebanese intel assets.
I knew about one 8200 suicide linked to the busted spies but not the others. The reaction seemed extreme. But, if the spymasters feared exposure of an Israeli role in Hariri’s killing, eating one’s gun seems more reasonable.
As does the extreme behavior of Israeli authorities toward Ben Allen/Benjamin Burrows if he somehow threatened to blow the whistle.
America is deeply invested in all aspects of Hariri’s assassination from the crime scene “evidence” to the design and promotion of the STL. Oh yes, we would be “embarrassed” if our dear ally were to be outted as responsible for the evidence making the case and/or as some speculate, the killing itself.
Odd that the name of the suspected European shell (or not) company remains a secret as it’s at the core of the ASIO investigation. I’ve seen some Israeli hints that it may be in Italy.
The hypothesis that Zygier was involved in a covert operation and then leaked information about this to others, though possible, admittedly seems unlikely due to what several posts have correctly pointed out is a degree of unprofessionalism (uncharacteristic of a top level agent) evident in his MOD.
One possibility which strikes me as plausible, is that Zygier somehow had access to large amounts of classified information which he was planning to, or had already, leaked to a third party (such as an internet organization making public classified information) as an act of conscience. An argument against this would be why the Israeli state was so concerned with secrecy here, rather than publicizing something like this and using it as a deterrent to others. On the other hand, such publicity would uncover ineptness within Mossad in information storage and/or recruitment practices, which they may want to avoid to maintain their feared reputation. Remember that one of the few US prisoners subject to similar levels of isolation and security, was Bradley Manning, another seemingly low level officer suspected of similar crimes.
Another possibility canvassed by Marc Goldberg blogging at Times of Israel also strikes me as plausible, namely that Zygier was turned by ASIO during interrogations and was caught (by Israel) in the act of passing large amounts of classified information to the Australians. This would explain the Australians seeming reticence in extending consular assistance to Zygier during his arrest and subsequent incarceration, (and thus risk exposing their own complicity in the whole affair).
If he was an ASIO asset in Israeli custody, sooner or later Mossad assets would have been lifted by the Australians against his safe return.
None of the possibilities given so far for Zygier being a threat that could “threaten Israel as a *nation state”..which was how the reason for his disappearence was put by intell experts familiar with the degrees of treatment various Israeli traitors/whistleblowers receive in Israel…..and as compared for instance to the treatment of Rabin’s assassin and Vanuan nuke whistleblower.
The only things I see that could have warranted disappearing Zygier are that he was in fact getting ready to betray Israel on something….or…. he knew something that he didn’t even intend to reveal, but was so explosive it was too dangerous to let him roam the earth with that knowledge, so in llieu of killiing a fellow Jew who hadn’t actually betrayed Israel , they imprisoned him.
Further I doubt that it had anything to do with murder on the Free Gaza ship or assassinations or spying or covert activities in Iran or even ‘posing’ as US CIA agents as they once did ….those Israeli activities are already well known and assumed and acknowledged by everyone….and are no ‘threat’ to Israel as a nation state…. Israel has been doing these types of things for decades and never held to account for it, so there’s no reason for them to think they would be now.
No, it has to be something much bigger than these things. Who could threaten the’ end of Israel’ as a nation state?…only the US. There is no other country Israel is afraid of dropping the last straw on. What would make the US ‘end Israel’ or threaten to end it? That is the question. Whatever it is, it’s big and it’s bad and it’s something we know nothing about yet and probably never will know.
The only possible thing I can imagine that would ‘end Israel as a nation state’ is some action by the US..and the only thing there I can imagine that would make the US take action against Israel is iron clad proof that Israel was planning to or tried to launch a false flag attack against some US interest or installation in the ME, setting up Iran for it to get the US to attack Iran.
I would have to double check but if memory serves it was 2009 or 2010 that our then head of Joint Cheifs of Staff made a visit to Israel and in conference with their military heads spoke about avoiding any “USS Liberty” like accidents. This was reported in the JP and Haarazt so those inclined can probably google it up.
You may be barking up the wrong tree a bit. Any tinpot Jewish court appears capable of doing anything without scrutiny. You get that in fascist countries.
Instead of looking at who held him and under what circumstances, maybe you should concentrate on his movements prior to arrest and how he was arrested.
If he was intending blowing the whistle on some aspect or other of Israel’s “security” he would not, surely, have done so in Israel itself. No-one in their right mind would be so stupid.
In countries where the rule of law prevails (which is not Israel by the way), illegal arrest taints and voids the validity of all subsequent proceedings (speaking in general terms). Israel has in the past commit international crimes of kidnapping people in other countries and bringing them back to Israel.
There would have to be some inkling here, that if he was intending to blow any whistle, he may not have been in Israel itself when “arrested” and another Israel international crime may be on the cards. That is what you should be concentrating on
Jewish court? I didn’t know that israel had Jewish courts for anything other than religious divorce.
Don’t bother answering it is a rhetorical question