LATEST NEWS: Judicial Post Mortem: Zygier Tranquilized Before Death, Body Bruised
A spokeswoman for Senator Carr says the Minister was initially advised that the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFAT) was unaware of Mr Zygier’s detention.
“DFAT has now advised that some officers of the department were made aware of Mr Allen’s detention at the time in 2010 by another Australian agency,” the spokeswoman said in a statement.
“Minister Carr has asked department secretary, Mr Peter Varghese, to review the handling of this consular case.”
See comments about story in the Jerusalem Post, most readers justify act with reference to US detention, rendition and Gitmo.
This stain will remain for decades on US abuse of Human Rights.
(Tikun Olam) – 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. His jailers apparently did a lousy job of monitoring Prisoner X, as he was called and he hung himself from a bar in his cell. In December 2010, Australian Jewish media reported that Ben Zygier had died in Israel and was to be buried in Melbourne’s Jewish cemetery. There was little spoken about the cause of death.
Now Australia’s ABC network blows open the story (transcript here). Prisoner X was not an Iranian general, as my Israeli source reported to me at that time. He was a Mossad agent named Ben Zygier, age 34 with two small children and an Israeli wife. Yossi Melman, reporting in Walla (the report is displayed here, but has been censored and removed by the military censor) says no one knows why he was imprisoned, but that it must have involved a crime that endangered the existence of the State of Israel. That’s a pretty hefty sentence even for security-obsessed Israel. This has to mean he was involved in an act considered treason. It might possibly involve selling secrets to an enemy power. Jonathan Pollard comes to mind in the U.S. context.
Today’s update, very interesting … Ben Zygier Visited Iran Undercover for Mossad, Recruited Saudi, Iranian Students at Australian University
(Guardian) – Like the fictional Man in the Iron Mask, Israel’s infamous “Prisoner X” was allegedly held in solitary confinement in conditions of such strict secrecy that even his own jailers were told neither his name nor the crime he had allegedly committed.
The man’s identity became the subject of intense speculation when he was reportedly found hanged in his cell in 2010, but the prisoner’s existence has never been officially acknowledged by Israel’s government, which has gone to extraordinary lengths to stifle media coverage of the case. Now, however, new evidence has been uncovered by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that strongly suggests Prisoner X was an Australian citizen, Ben Zygier, whom it described a Mossad agent.
In the immediate aftermath of ABC’s claims, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that the Israeli prime minister’s office had called “an emergency meeting of the Editors Committee … to ask its members to co-operate with the government and withhold publication of information pertaining to an incident that is very embarrassing to a certain government agency”.
Later in the day the gagging orders were explicitly linked to the claims about the dead Australian by several Israeli MPs who also raised questions about the affair during a debate in the Knesset.
A new documentary screened this week for ABC’s Foreign Correspondent programme claims Zygier used the name Ben Alon or Ben Allen after moving to Israel. He was secretly imprisoned in Ayalon prison in Ramla in the wing built to accommodate Yigal Amir, the assassin of the Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, ABC reported.
The 34-year-old was married to an Israeli woman and was the father of two young children. He had reportedly spent a number of months in the cell before his death.
Zygier’s father Geoffrey, a prominent leader of the Melbourne Jewish community, apparently refused to speak to the programme makers.
Continue below the fold …
(JPost) – The citizens of Israel will soon learn information on a sensitive anonymous prisoner case that the government has kept under wraps, MKs told Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman on Tuesday.
“An article was published that an Australian prisoner committed suicide under a different identity. Do you know about the situation? Do you confirm that it occurred?” asked MK Ahmed Tibi (United Arab List-Ta’al), in reference to a report from earlier in the day by Australia’s ABC News.
“Are there people in prisons whose incarceration is kept secret? What are the supervision mechanisms on this kind of imprisonment?” demanded Hadash MK Dov Henin. “What are the possibilities for parliamentary supervision on such incarcerations? How can the public be critical in this situation?” Meretz MK Zehava Gal-On told Neeman, “I want to hear your stance on the fact that journalists volunteer to censor information at the government’s request.”
Referring to the informal forum that includes the heads of the country’s Hebrew press outlets and The Jerusalem Post, she asked, “Is it proper that the Prime Minister’s Office invited the Editors’ Committee to prevent news from being publicized? Today, we hear that in a country that claims to be a civilized democracy, journalists cooperate with the government, and that anonymous prisoners, who no one knew existed, commit suicide.”
Details of the case are expected to be released Wednesday.