Mon Feb 18, 2013, 06:49 PM
Purveyor (19,999 posts)
'Prisoner X' And The Security Elite's Unchecked Power
These are the main details which have been made public in the affair of Ben Zygier, also known as ‘Prisoner X’: Zygier was probably recruited by the Mossad in the years following his immigration to Israel; the Australian secret service grew suspicious of Zygier after he changed his name and took out new passports four different times; according to the latest reports, Zygier gave the Australians details regarding the identity of Mossad agents and of at least one operation in which he was involved.
Zygier was arrested in Israel upon his return from Australia in 2010. His identity and the details of his arrest and trial were kept secret, but his family was informed. Reports on his arrest in the Israeli press were censored and Knesset members who asked for details about his case were made to believe that he was well taken care of.
After more than nine months in which he was detained in complete isolation, Zygier’s lawyers presented him with a plea bargain carrying a very long prison sentence. At that point, he asked to meet famous human rights attorney Avigdor Feldman, whom he probed about alternative options. The following day, he was found dead in his cell. His death wasn’t reported by the Prison Service through the usual channels, and media stories were censored yet again.
A complete media blackout was maintained until details of the case were published by Australia’s ABC news network last week. I wrote about the censorship effort here. It is worth noting that as more and more details emerge, it is becoming less and less likely that the publication of the Zygier affair will put the lives of Israeli agents in danger today. The whole affair seems more like an attempt to cover up the Mossad’s and – more troubling – legal system’s failures, starting from using friendly countries’ passports for covert operations and all the way to the secret trial, isolation and mysterious events surrounding the prisoner’s death. The last bit is important: “legal sources” spoke to the Israeli media last week, promising that this was a “unique case,” with unique circumstances, which led judges to permit the state to keep him isolated and his identity secret. Yet this one-in-a-million prisoner was not guarded with extra care. Rather, he allowed to die so easily.
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