Ben Zygier, RIP
Israel’s international fifth column exposed
The shocking story of Ben Zygier, a 34-year-old Australian recruited by the Mossad and quite possibly murdered in an Israeli jail cell in 2010, has exposed Israel’s international fifth column to the light of day. This whale surfaces every once in a while. Remember the "passport farm" run by the Israelis in New Zealand back in 2004? Similar operations were uncovered in Australia and in Israel itself: regarding the latter, travelers to the Jewish state had their identities stolen, their passports duplicated and handed out like candy to Mossad agents. Then there were those two FBI raids on the Washington headquarters of AIPAC, the powerful Israeli lobby, during the course of which agents surrounded the building and carted out boxes of documents and computer hard drives as part of the Steve Rosen-Keith Weissman affair, in which two top AIPAC officials were indicted and tried for stealing US secrets from the Pentagon, and only had their case dropped because a trial would have revealed those secrets to the world. And who could forget that 2001 Fox News four-part series reported by Carl Cameron, which concluded there was evidence the Israelis were watching the 9/11 hijackers on American soil and failed to report their movements to US authorities?
This time, however, the story has an unusual twist. It appears that Zygier, a fervent Zionist, discovered something that caused him to turn against his Mossad bosses – something so sensitive, of such importance to the Jewish state, that his incarceration in a Israel’s high security Ayalon prison – in a "suicide-proof" cell originally designed for Yitzhad Rabin’s assassin – was a closely-guarded secret. Prison personnel were not told his identity, and a media blackout was imposed shortly after the story of "Prisoner X" came out in the Israeli media. All mentions of the arrest were scrubbed from Israeli web sites.
That was two years ago. Now we learn Zygier "committed suicide" in his suicide-proof cell.
The Australians had been on his trail for a while. He and two other Australians who had emigrated to Israel and then returned after changing their names – and applying for Australian passports – were under investigation for engaging in espionage. An Australian journalist had questioned Zygier about his activities, and he furiously denied being involved in any covert activities on Israel’s behalf. There are reports of his interrogation by ASIO, Australia’s intelligence agency.
There seems little doubt Zygier was recruited by Mossad ten to twelve years ago: his friends are now recalling it. The New York Times says he used at least four names: Ben Zygier, Ben Alon, Ben Allen and Benjamin Burrows, traveling to Iran, Syria, and Lebanon on behalf of his Israeli paymasters. The nature of his transgression has yet to be definitively revealed, yet the story is coming out in spite of the Israeli government’s frantic efforts to stop it. The Sydney Morning Herald reports:
"Australian security officials suspect that Ben Zygier, the spy who died in a secret Israeli prison cell in 2010, may have been about to disclose information about Israeli intelligence operations, including the use of fraudulent Australian passports, either to the Australian government or to the media before he was arrested.
“‘[Zygier] may well have been about to blow the whistle, but he never got the chance,’ an Australian security official with knowledge of the case told Fairfax Media yesterday.
"Sources in Canberra are insistent that the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) was not informed by its Israeli counterparts of the precise nature of the espionage allegations against Mr Zygier. However, it is understood that the former Melbourne law graduate had been in contact with Australian intelligence."
There is much speculation surrounding the reasons for Zygier’s arrest: the most popular appears to be that he was about to reveal details of the 2010 Mossad hit job in Dubai, during which an entire team of some 20 Mossad agents succeeded in murdering an Arab arms dealer with links to Hamas.