February 19, 2013, - 4:50 pm
The Australian media is as anti-Israel as most other Western media (as in very), and so it is no surprise that the Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC) is trying to fan anti-Israel flames in Aussie-land by exposing the death of Ben Zygier a/k/a “Prisoner X,” a dual Australian-Israeli citizen who became a Mossad agent. Zygier committed suicide in 2010 in the Ayalon Israeli prison, where he was detained because he violated Mossad rules. The whole thing was kept quiet, which is understandable, as no (smart) nation discusses its spy operations.
ABC claims that Zygier’s violation was his disclosure to Australian authorities (specifically the ASIO–the Australian Security Intelligence Organization) of the names and identities of other Mossad spies and classified details on the assassination of HAMAS arms dealer Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh a/k/a “Abu Abed” in a Dubai hotel room. Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu says that is not the reason the Zygier was in detention and that Israel has complete cooperation with the Australians. Regardless of whether or not that is true, it’s clear that ABC is trying to imply that Israel somehow caused Zygier’s suicide or that Zygier was murdered because medication was found in his bloodstream and the Australians claim this caused his death. But there is absolutely no proof of that. In fact, he hanged himself from a bed sheet. I believe he did get caught betraying the Mossad and Israel and couldn’t face possible life in an Israeli prison.
ABC claims that Zygier was placed in a suicide-proof cell and that he was supposed to be watched. The prison warden says this is not true. An Israeli judge (they are usually leftists) issued a report blaming Israel for not watching him closely enough and allowing a “window of opportunity” in which Zygier could commit suicide.
That said, Zygier became a Mossad agent. He knew the risks. He also knew he had a certain commitment to secrecy. If he violated that commitment and, in fact, endangered Israeli lives and Israeli missions by giving classified information to Australia and outing Israeli spies and Mossad agents, I really couldn’t care less what happened to him as a result (even though I know Israel is “the good guys” and doesn’t murder spies and traitors–google the names “Victor Ostrovsky” and “Mordechai Vanunu,” either of whom could’ve and probably should’ve been assassinated, but weren’t). When you join a top spy agency and then betray the country to which you committed your allegiance, all bets are off. Why did he want to commit suicide? Is it because he knew he jeopardized Israel’s intelligence and spy operations and was about to face he music? Sure looks like it.
Ben Zygier made his bed, no matter the circumstances of his death. As my University of Wisconsin law professor, the great Stewart Macaulay, would say, “You pays your money, you take your chances.” This is the life he chose, and if he betrayed his compatriots, he deserved whatever he got. No tears for him, no matter what happened.
That’s the life of a spy. You know that when you choose that life. Ben Zygier a/k/a Ben Allen a/k/a Ben Alon was an Australian Jew, who moved to Israel and became an Israeli citizen ten years ago and had an Israeli wife and kids. He chose to join the Mossad. I feel for his family and his death is certainly tragic. But it’s being used as propaganda against Israel.
Australia is upset that fake Aussie passports were used by some of the agents in the Mabhouh assassination–and it’s never been proven or admitted who those agents were or if they worked for Israel (though it’s pretty likely they did). Australia expelled an Israeli diplomat over the incident because it was more important that Australia was “embarrassed” than the fact that a major arms dealer for HAMAS (who was working with the Iranians) was wiped out and innocent lives were likely saved s a result.
And, so, it’s quite clear that the sudden leaking of information to ABC by someone in the Australian government is an attempt to embarrass Israel (allegedly with the help of some left-wing, self-hating Israeli prison guard). The half-hour ABC video news report (at the ABC link above) uses actors, re-enactments, dark music and drumbeats, anti-Israel comments by a guy from the known anti-Israel outfit “Human Rights Watch,” and a bunch of high-tech silliness to paint a negative picture of Israel and vilify the Jewish State. There is not a single Israeli source or interview with a Zygier family member or friend, all of whom declined (gee, I wonder why). ABC admits it doesn’t know what happened or why, and yet it engages in non-stop speculation. It’s absurd and completely one-sided baloney.
In the short term, it might hurt Israel’s PR for a few days and provides buttered popcorn of the mind for Israel-haters. In the long term, Israel has agents, methods, and sources to protect. And no one agent’s life is more important than the lives of everyone else who worked with him.
Ben Zygier is buried in Australia.
Only the United States treats major spies, like the Walkers, Aldrich Ames, and Robert Hanssen (who spied for our enemies), with kid gloves (and treats spies for our allies, like Jonathan Pollard, like crap). We are still paying out Hanssen’s pension, even though while working for the FBI, he outed and caused the deaths of many American spies in the Soviet Union and, later, Russia. Under American law, you lose your pension from a private employer if you commit misconduct, but not the U.S. government, which hands out pensions no matter what, it seems. (A reader who retired from the federal government notes, “You lose your US Govt pension only if you commit treason — other ‘misconduct’ (your word) or non-treason felonies won’t stop it.”) We are nice to the traitors.
Smart countries aren’t.
Tags: ABC, Abu Abed, Australia, Australian Broadcasting Company, Ayalon prison, Ben Allen, Ben Alon, Ben Zygier, Benjamin Netanyahu, Binyamin Netanyahu, Dubai, Israel, Jews, Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh, Mossad, Mossad spy, Prisoner X