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Friday, February 15, 2013

Was Ben Zygier a Mossad spy?

It's being said that Australia didn't do enough to help Ben Zygier, an Australian Mossad agent who hanged himself in an Israeli prison in 2010.  Foreign Minister Bob Carr said that he never sought consular help from Australia, nor did his family.  So it's either a storm in a teacup or a cover-up that stinks to high heaven.  

But the question still remains - how does a man hang himself in a "suicide-proof" cell under constant surveillance?

Zygier's relatives here in Australia were never told why their son, a law graduate, was arrested, only that it involved "national security."  Even his lawyer Avigdor Feldman, wont say what the charges were, because of some mysterious gag order placed by Israel.

We would never have known at all if it wasn't for the ABC's excellent television programme Foreign Correspondent.  They discovered that the father of two, who moved to Israel from Melbourne, died when he was a secret prisoner in an Israeli prison known as Prisoner X.

Zygier's lawyer Feldman said he visited him in prison a few days before he died to discuss his options - he could accept a plea bargain for a lesser sentence or contest the charges, face a trial and risk a longer sentence.   Feldman said he didn't notice any sign of depression in his client but hinted that it was the persistent psychological torture and months of solitary confinement that finally tipped him over the edge. 

Our spy agency ASIO said they were notified in February 2010 that Zygier, a dual Israeli-Australian national, had been detained.  He was once a target of their investigations, they said, but were satisfied that he was not involved in espionage in Australia, and were more interested in his links to Mossad and their practice of recruiting dual citizens.

Henry Greener

Family friend Henry Greener wants answers.  "The irony is that Ben was a soft, gentle, sensitive young man and I don't think he was the type.  But since he had military training, had a law degree and was fit and intelligent, he would have been a target for them - they only recruit the best of the best, but to me, he would have been the last person I could imagine being a Mossad spy."

So was Zygier about to blow the whistle on Mossad's use of Australian passports to practice skullduggery around the world?  They were reportedly used in the assassination of Hamas commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in a Dubai hotel room in 2010.  I have a feeling that we'll never know.