Revelations by Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s (ABC) progamme Foreign Correspondent on 12 February, 2013 have fired up Australian onliners. The mysterious Prisoner X who allegedly committed suicide in an Israeli gaol in 2010 was not only a dual citizen of Australia and Israel, but also a Mossad agent.
J-Wire, Jewish online news from Australia and New Zealand, responded the next day:
The ABC program was careful to point out that certain issues which could be interpreted as facts are in fact mere speculation.
They say they “understood Zygier had been recruited by Mossad”. The ABC correcty points out that countries such as Australia and New Zealand are quiet and “innocent”.
There is no doubt that Ben Zygier “disappeared” in 2010 and human rights activists have criticized the Israeli government for the secret imprisonment of Prisoner X.
Israeli media has been silenced by powerful laws which impact on the nation’s security.
In Australia, messages left for the Zygier family remain unanswered.
Was Ben Zygier “Prisoner X”… perhaps only time will tell, and perhaps a substantial amount of time.
They underestimated the power of the media. The Israeli government tried to continue its censorship but has now come clean apparently:
Israel has confirmed the reported suicide of an Australian prisoner who had worked for the Israeli spy agency Mossad, according to Al Jazeera.
Israel broke its silence on Wednesday after Australia's ABC news network first revealed the identity of Prisoner X, a 34-year-old man who had used three different names, including Ben Zygier, Ben Allen, and Ben Alon.
The Australian government also admitted knowledge of his mysterious life and death, after initial denials. What and when they knew will be an ongoing debate no doubt.
Asher Wolf wants answers now:
@Asher_Wolf: Prisoner X never stood trial, was jailed for crimes unknown & died alone. The diplomats & politicians who abandoned him must face an inquiry
It’s not the first time that Mossad's use of Australian passports has caused tension between the two normally friendly nations. Fake passports were used in the assassination of Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh in 2010.
Amelia Freelander is following connections between the events:
@antloewenstein: Will #Australian media ask necessary questions about #Zionist community after exposure of another likely spy? http://www.richardsilverstein.com/2013/02/12/prisoner-x-was-mossad-agent-ben-zygier/ …
According to Silverstein:
Back in 2010, I reported that Israel had arrested an unidentified individual, and imprisoned him in total secrecy in an Israeli jail. The cell he occupied had once housed Yigal Amir Even his jailers didn’t know who he was.
Wmmbb of Duckpond asks the big questions in the post PRISONER X, MURDERED?:
Speculation around the death of Ben Zyglier will now be rife. What could he have done?
The Happy Antipodean is concerned that speculation soon becomes fact in the media:
In early stories doubt was cast over the way Zygier died but today suicide is being stated as a fact…
Surprising amid all of this media scrutiny is the silence of Zygier's Melbourne family, which is prominent in the Jewish community. No media organisation has so far been able to extract new information from any of its members.
Abalinx, a supporter of the opposition Liberal Party in Australian, is concerned about support of citizens overseas:
It is bad enough when an Australian dies alone in his own country. It is worse when he or she dies alone in a foreign country, forgotten even by his own government. Even though Prisoner X (now identified as Ben Zygier) took on a dual Israeli citizenship does not absolve the Australian Foreign Affairs Department for failing to pass on the information up higher for further discussion.
Dr Ben Saul of the Sydney Centre for International Law canvasses many of international law questions at the Drum:
The Israelis are masters of all the dark arts: assassination (from Munich), abduction (from Eichmann onward), torture (of Palestinian prisoners), pre-emptive military strikes (from Iraq to Syria), violent interception of civilians at sea (the Gaza flotilla), and colonising foreign territory (the juiciest parts of Palestine).
He finishes by reflecting on local Jewish sentiment about the case:
Australia's Jewish communities are also aghast at this episode and deserve better. After giving so much to support to Israel, one would hope that Israel would treat Australian Jews serving their other homeland with greater dignity, whatever they have done.
You know you’re on a winner with an exclusive scoop like this one. Mark Scott, Managing Director of ABC, tweeted:
The #prisonerx hashtag has plenty more…