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April 20, 2014 / 20 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Prisoner X’

Australian Book: Prisoner X Leaked Information to Iran

Sunday, February 23rd, 2014

Ben Zygier, the Australian-born Mossad agent previously known as Prisoner X, leaked sensitive information about Israel’s espionage operations against Iran, according to a new book.

In the book titled “Prisoner X,” the code name given to Zygier after he was taken and imprisoned by Shin Bet in early 2010, Australian journalist Rafael Epstein claims Zygier revealed intelligence about operations he had been involved in to an Iranian businessman he was with at Monash University in Melbourne in 2009.

“It was this Iranian who played a key role in his downfall,” Epstein wrote in an exclusive extract published in The Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne’s The Age newspapers Saturday.

“Put simply, Ben said too much to the wrong person at the wrong time,” according to Epstein, who claims that “sources in Australia and Israel say [Zygier] revealed details of his work to an Iranian businessman who was at Monash University’s Caulfield campus while Zygier was also studying.”

Epstein suggests that “sources in Australia and Israel claim the Iranian knew that what he was hearing was valuable, and relayed the information to Iran. Tehran’s security services started talking about the Mossad agent, and the details revealed by Zygier then became part of the electronic traffic between Iran and a European capital city. This electronic communication traffic was then picked up by the massive surveillance network operated by Israel.”

“Zygier was also the subject of a significant ASIO operation at the time, with concern over his use of his Australian passports for Mossad operations overseas,” Epstein writes, adding that “details of Zygier’s work, and of another Australian Mossad agent he was working with in Italy, were leaked by Australian intelligence sources to then Fairfax journalist Jason Koutsoukis. One of Koutsoukis’ sources claimed to have been following Zygier on the streets of Melbourne.

Epstein’s thesis contradicts previous media reports, which claimed that in 2008 Zygier flew independently to Eastern Europe in a bid to turn a Hezbollah associate into a double agent. But his apparent attempt to prove his worth to his Mossad superiors reportedly backfired and he allegedly exposed two Lebanese nationals working for the Mossad.

“It comes as no surprise then that when Ben babbled in Melbourne, the Mossad heard about it in Tel Aviv via Tehran,” according to Epstein.

JTA content was used in this report.

Settlement Deal Reached with Family of “Prisoner X”

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

In a settlement deal between the state and the family of Ben Zygier (aka Prisoner X), the State of Israel has agreed to pay the family NIS 4 million. As part of the settlement deal, the state will not assume any responsibility for the suicide of the former Mossad agent, or mistakes that were made in his recruitment.

NIS 2.4 million will be paid in 2013, and then an additional NIS 400,000 will be paid every year for 4 years.

Second ‘Prisoner X’ Identified as Palestinian Authority Arab

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

An Israel court partially lifted a gag order Wednesday on the case of a second “prisoner X,” held in secret in a high-security prison, and identified him as Wael Abu Reda of Gaza. He is charged with committing “crimes against the security of the country.”

Australian media earlier this year exposed the secret incarceration of a an immigrant from the country who worked for the Mossad and hanged himself in prison. Security officials arrested him after he carried out an unauthorized mission that crippled a Mossad attempt to return three dead bodies of Israelis killed in the First Lebanon War and also exposed one of the intelligence agency’s most important agents in Lebanon.

The Australian, Ben Zygier, was thrown into the highest security cell in Israel, in the same area of the cell of Yigal Amir, who assassinated Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin.

Like Zygier, Abu Reda disappeared mysteriously. He had last been seen in Egypt last month. The gag order on details and background of his arrest remains in effect for at least 10 more days.

His wife, Amani Abu Reda, told the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency last week that her husband disappeared during a visit to Egypt for medical treatment. The International Committee of the Red Cross informed the family that he was the in custody of Israel.

Judge: Failures by Prison Staff Caused the Death of Prisoner X

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

Israeli State Attorney Moshe Lador decided on Thursday that the Prison Service staff who were involved in the scandal of inmate Ben Zygier, known as “Prisoner X,” will not be charged.

Lador has determined that there isn’t sufficient evidence that their negligence caused Zygier’s death. Nevertheless, the investigation’s findings will be handed over to the Prison Service for a possible disciplinary action.

Ben Zygier

Ben Zygier

Earlier, Judge Daphne Blatman-Kdrai issued her report on the the death of Prisoner X, which found serious failings in the conduct of the Prisons Authority. The Judge wrote that her investigation shows prima facie evidence of failure by various components of the Prisons Authority that caused the prisoner’s death.

The judge rejected the State’s motion to close down the investigation of circumstances surrounding the death of the prisoner without determining fault. The judge also ruled that those responsible for the supervisory practices should have anticipated that by maintaining a stricter watch on the prisoner’s behavior they could have prevented him from committing suicide.

The report details a conversation between Zygier and his wife on his final day, December 12, 2010. It states that at the conclusion of the call the intelligence NCO on duty noticed that the prisoner was crying, nervous and upset, since the conversation between Prisoner X and his wife included difficult information.

The report further stated that the deceased prisoner asked to give his wife a note, but the Intelligence NCO refused. In response, the prisoner tore up the note angrily. His wife asked to allow it to enter the cell again, to calm her husband down. The NCO agreed, despite the breech in procedure. According to NCO, when they left the booth, the wife was crying.

The intelligence NCO made it clear in his testimony that he passed the information about the event to the social worker, and she in turn told investigators that she did not see the prisoner gushing emotions as an exceptional event and did not issue any instruction on this matter.

According to the social worker, at six in the evening was on the phone with the guard, who reported that the prisoner was relaxed and watching TV. At close to 7 PM, the prisoner went into the bathroom and never came out.

Israel May Be in Hot Water over Prisoner X’s Aussie Passport

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

Australia has confirmed that “Prisoner X,” since identified as Ben Zygier, worked for the Israeli government, and it warned Israel it faces a strong protest if it is proven his home country passport was misused.

Zygier, alias Ben Alon and Ben Allen, hanged himself in an Israeli jail two years ago after having been arrested for an unknown charge, but his identity was not revealed until last month.

It is assumed he worked for the Mossad and at some point acted against Israel’s interest, possibly through a treasonous act.

Foreign Affairs Minister Bob Carr told reporters in Australia that a Dept. of Foreign Affairs (DFAT) report has raised serious problems on how the case was handled.

He also said there are still many unanswered questions, one of the most serious being the issue of passports.

“Certainly if Australian passports were misused here, that’s something we are forced to take very seriously,” Senator Carr said. “No country can allow the integrity of its passport system to be compromised.

If it is confirmed that Israel misused his passport, “We’ll be registering the strongest protest,” Carr added.

He dismissed reports that Zygier was involved in the assassination of a senior Hamas official in Dubai in January 2010, when some of the killers used Australian passports.

The incident prompted the expulsion of an Israeli diplomat from Australia, one of the most pro-Israel countries in the world.

Netanyahu: Excess Exposure on ‘Prisoner X’ Hurts National Security

Sunday, February 17th, 2013

Prime Minister Netanyahu on Sunday responded for the first time to the scandal that shook up Israel and Australia, over the suicide of former Mossad member Ben Zygier in an isolation cell in Israel, as Netanyahu’s own office was futilely attempting to block its publication.

Netanyahu emphasized the importance of security – even at the expense of freedom of expression. “Over-exposure of security and intelligence activities may seriously harm state security,” Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu chose to refer mainly to the public debate that surrounded the attempt to silence the story at first, and the sweeping gag order imposed on the entire affair.

“I would like to say that I completely trust the security forces of the State of Israel,” he said. “They are completely dedicated and committed to ensure that we can live in this country. I also trust absolutely the legal authorities in Israel.”

The Prime Minister said that “the security and intelligence forces of Israel operate under the full supervision of the legal authorities, which are completely independent. This combination of maintaining security and maintaining the law, also preserves the freedom of expression.”

He emphasized the special security conditions of the state of Israel, saying: “We are not like all the other countries. We an exemplary democracy and maintain the rights of detainees and human rights not less than any other country, but we are also more threatened and challenged, and so we must take care to maintain the proper operation of our security forces.”

He concluded: “And so I ask everyone, do let the security forces continue to work quietly, so that we can continue to live in security and peace in Israel.”

Meanwhile, Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr said he was seeking answers from Israel over the 2010 death of “Prisoner X” in an Israeli jail, as part of its own probe into the case.

“We have asked the Israeli government for a contribution to that report,” Carr told reporters. “We want to give them an opportunity to submit to us an explanation of how this tragic death came about.”

Prisoner X Met With Lawyer Before Suicide

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

More details are slowly coming to light in the case of Ben Zygier, also known as Prisoner X.

A day before he committed suicide, Zygier met with outside defense attorney Avigdor Feldman, besides his meetings with his regular attorneys Roi Belcher, Moshe Mazor and Boaz Ben-Tzur. Zygier had been considering his legal options, including the possibility of a plea bargain. What the charges were is still unknown, but Feldman said the charges were very serious.

On Thursday, a Kuwaiti newspaper, Al-Jarida, claimed that Zygier was one of the members of the Mossad team which assassinated Hamas terrorist Mahmoud al-Mabhouh. But after the assassination, for some reason, Zygier contacted the Dubai authorities and gave them detailed information on the assassination. According to the paper, Zygier was then captured by Israel after he went into hiding.

What has also come to light is that Israel is not running “black prisons” as some people claimed, but rather that Zygier was kept out of contact with other prisoners and his identity was secret to those without high enough clearance for security reasons, though all the while Zygier was allowed to meet with his lawyers who were defending him against the charges being brought against him by the state of Israel.

Questions arose as to how Zygier managed to kill himself in a maximum security cell with 24 hour camera surveillance. It turns out that the cell’s bathroom is not monitored, and that is where he hung himself.

MKs, Australia, Challenging Israel on ‘Prisoner X,’ Black Prisons

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

An inquiry has now been ordered into the way Australian diplomats handled the imprisonment of Ben Zygier-Alon, “Prisoner X,” in Israel, Australian media report (Foreign Media: Ex-Mossad Agent Committed Suicide in Israeli Prison). Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Bob Carr has ordered the review after learning that an Australian diplomat in Tel Aviv had been told by Israeli authorities about the jailing of Zygier-Alon in 2010.

But said diplomat chose not to pass the information on through appropriate channels.

“Prisoner X” was found dead in his isolated, high-security cell in late 2010.



Australia’s Foreign Minister had said earlier that his office not aware of the man’s suicide under false identity until his parents asked for help in bringing his body back to Australia. He was buried in a Jewish cemetery in Melbourne.

An ABC report said Zygier had been living in Israel for about 10 years before his arrest in early 2010 and was married with two children. At some point he was recruited by Mossad.

It was not clear why he was arrested in 2010, but he was taken to Ayalon Prison in Ramla. There he was held in isolation until his suicide in December 2010.

A heated debate took place on Tuesday in the Knesset during the speech of Justice Minister Yaakov Ne’eman, over the story of an attempt by the Prime Minister’s office to clamp down on publication of a story that exposed Israel as running a “black prison” type operation where at least one prisoner disappeared only to reappear after committing suicide in his cell.

“It was published today that an inmate with an Australian citizenship has committed suicide in one of Israel’s prisons under a fake identity,” the Arab Ra’am-Ta’al party MK Ahmed Tibi inquired of the Minister. “He was registered under an identity other than his own. Do you know about the case? Do you confirm the fact that an Australian citizen committed suicide in prison, under a false identity, and without publicity for the fact that he was a prisoner and detained in a prison in the state of Israel?”

Meretz Chairman MK Zahava Gal’on also posed an inquiry to Ne’eman: “Mr. Minister, I want to hear your view about the fact that journalists volunteer to censor information at the request of the authorities. Does it appear proper to you that the prime minister’s office would assemble the Editors’ Committee to prevent publication of an episode that could embarrass Israel?”

The Editors’ Committee is an informal forum of the editors and owners of the main Israeli media. It meets regularly with the prime minister, cabinet members and senior officials, for “background” information. In past years, the committee championed the self-censorship of the Israeli media, with the understanding that the information reported to the committee would not be published, even after it appeared in another source.

Obviously, any attempt to repress information in the age of the Internet is both delusional and makes the PM’s office and the Editors’ Committee look like a relic from a 1960s spy novel.

Gal’on continued: “Is it permissible to conduct clandestine arrests in Israel in the name of security needs?”

Gal’on reminded the minister that she was the one who revealed the existence of interrogation facility in Camp 1391, Israel’s secret Guantanamo Bay. The Guardian described it, in 2003: “Facility 1391 has been airbrushed from Israeli aerial photographs and purged from modern maps. Where once a police station was marked there is now a blank space. Sometimes even the road leading to it has been erased. But Israel’s secret prison, inside an army intelligence base close to the main road between Hadera and Afula in northern Israel, is real enough.”

At the time, MK Ga’on appealed to Israel’s Supreme Court, which ruled unequivocally, as she put it Tuesday: “that you cannot keep people in secret detention and that this will not happen again in Israel.” Then she continued: “And now we hear that in a country that claims to be a proper democracy, journalists are collaborating with the government without a directive from the High Court that there is clear and imminent danger to state security, that hidden prisoners commit suicide and no one knows about their existence.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/mks-australia-challenging-israel-on-prisoner-x-black-prisons/2013/02/13/

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