Report: ‘Prisoner X’ leaked info on Mossad operations, including one in Italy, to Australian intelligence
By End the Lie
According to a report from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), suspected Mossad agent Ben Zygier – also known as “Prisoner X” – was arrested by his Mossad handlers after they believed he leaked information on Mossad operations to the Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO).
Recently, it was reported that the Israeli government silenced media over the apparent suicide of Zygier in Israeli custody while yesterday it was also reported that Australia is seeking information from Israel on his death.
Some of the leaked information included plans for a major classified mission in Italy that “had been years in the making,” according to the ABC.
The ABC notes that it is unclear who initiated the contact but unnamed sources stated that on one of the four trips back to Australia before he died in 2010 he applied for a work visa to Italy.
The ABC’s Foreign Correspondent program reported just last week that Zygier, who also went by Alon, Allen and Burrowes, was secretly jailed in Israel’s Ayalon prison in Ramle where after 10 months “it is claimed he committed suicide.”
The wording of the ABC’s report seems to cast doubt on the suicide claim, although little is known since, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed “the threats his country faces justify the extraordinary measures and the secrecy shrouding the case,” according to the New York Times.
However, a recent article from the ABC points out that Zygier “allegedly killed himself in a top secret, supposedly suicide-proof Israeli prison cell,” a claim which is indeed a bit suspicious.
Indeed, Israel’s service went above and beyond to conceal Zygier’s incarceration, even preventing reporting on the issue for some two years.
According to the ABC, “Zygier was one of three Australian Jews who changed their names several times, taking out new passports for travel in the Middle East and Europe in their work for Mossad.”
Zygier’s activities were numerous, according to the report, including the establishment of a communications company in Europe for Mossad, employing two other Australian dual citizens, which exported electronic components to Arab countries and Iran.
Zygier frequently returned to Australia with his wife and children and at once point came into contact with ASIO, which according to the ABC, led Mossad to be concerned.
“Mossad was worried he might pass on operational methods and secrets of the organization, including information about the major Mossad operation planned for Italy,” according to the ABC.
The involvement of ASIO in this thoroughly mysterious story is quite interesting since Israeli intelligence and Australian intelligence have been far from friendly since 2010.
After Australia expelled an Israeli diplomat in 2010 when an investigation concluded that “Australian passports were used in a suspected Mossad operation to assassinate Palestinian arms trader Mahmoud Mabhouh,” according to the ABC, the relationship went quickly downhill.
Yesterday Netanyahu made his first public remarks on the coverage of the incident, most of which called for the press to ease off the issue.
“In this combination of maintaining security and abiding by the law, freedom of speech is also maintained, but overexposure of security and intelligence activity can damage, sometimes even seriously damage, national security,” Netanyahu said, according to the Washington Post.
“We are not like other countries,” Netanyahu continued. “We are more threatened, more challenged, and therefore we must maintain proper activity of our security agencies, so I ask everyone — let the security forces carry on their work quietly so we can continue living in security and tranquility in the state of Israel.”
A top secret Israeli investigation into Zygier’s death ended just two months ago concluding that it was indeed a suicide while Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr is going to release his own inquiry into Zygier’s death.
According to the ABC, Carr’s report is “expected to outline to some extent ‘which agencies knew what’ of the arrest and death of Zygier, and how the Department of Foreign Affairs managed the case.”
Meanwhile, Australian Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus said that he does not see the need to conduct an inquiry into his department or Australian intelligence agencies over Zygier’s death, according to the Australian.
It is currently unclear when Carr’s inquiry will be completed although according to the BBC Carr “demanded that Israel provide information on Prisoner X for the report, which will look at all communications between Australia and Israel.”
“We want to give them an opportunity to submit to us an explanation of how this tragic death came about,” Carr said.
It remains to be seen if and how Israel will comply with the inquiry.
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