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Fact Checking the Prisoner X Story

Posted By Daniel Greenfield On February 18, 2013 @ 11:04 am In The Point | 3 Comments

For those not following this story, Ben Zygier, an Israeli-Australian, who worked for the Mossad, turned traitor, was arrested and held anonymously as Prisoner X until he managed to commit suicide. Zygier reportedly attempted to sell the names of other agents to Dubai and was held in a cell with close monitoring, a table, a bed, a chair and a television set. He had access to a lawyer and his family knew where he were.

Naturally this isn’t going to prevent the media from throwing a fit anyway. Since Zygier was originally from Australia, much of the noise around this story is also taking place there. Bob Carr, the Foreign Affairs Minister in Australia, has turned into a rabidly hostile figure when it comes to anything involving Israel.

At the Herald Sun, the invaluable and often censored conservative journalist Andrew Bolt provides a timely fact check of the media hype.

Fact check: Zygier’s family was notified immediately on his arrest and hired a lawyer to defend him.  Israel also briefed Australian diplomats on Zygier’s arrest 10 months before his death and informed them of his alleged ‘’serious offences under Israeli national security legislation’’.

Fact check: ”Complete secrecy” is false, and “disappear them” an exaggeration. True, the public at large did not know of Zygier’s arrest. But his own family did, as did anyone they may have told, including lawyers.

Fact check: Another false allegation by implication.  Zygier had a lawyer, Avigdor Feldman, who met him in jail and was preparing a plea bargain.

Fact check: Zygier’s arrest may not have been raised with Carr, but his department had indeed been told.  Carr has since admitted “The Israeli government … advised the Australian government”.

The Mossad are certainly not saints. Like every intelligence service, they have their toxic aspects. And the Israeli prison system, like every other, has its issues. But there are no serious fact-based allegations being made. Merely hyped up noise being driven by Zygier’s supposed status as Prisoner X on the theory that where there are secrets, there is wrongdoing.


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