Zygier’s Alleged Crime Against Mossad: Worse Than Blabbing to Australia

Although Israel’s government has released portions of the official report on the death of Ben Zygier — and that is the only name being used for the Australian-born Israeli who was found hanged in a high-security prison cell in December 2010 — there is no confirmed information on what Zygier was doing for Israel’s foreign espionage agency, the Mossad. And no official word as to what was his alleged crime.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has publicly dismissed the notion that Zygier betrayed Israeli secrets to Australia.

part of the ASIO agency website

In fact, considering that he was facing a prison sentence of greater than 10 years — based on one of his lawyer’s statement that a plea bargain would have included “a double-digit sentence” — it is difficult to believe that the “grave offense” was spilling information to a friendly intelligence service, specifically Australia’s ASIO.

Yes, identifying secret operatives or methods would be damaging — and Israel’s security agencies would punish any employee who did that.

But Zygier’s case glows with the sense of greater importance. A grave crime, in this field, would be unauthorized and intense contacts with hostile foreign agents, perhaps compromising an ongoing Israeli operation, or worst of all causing the death of Mossad personnel or their hired agents.

As for the fact that releasing almost any information on the Mossad’s work can be damaging, the revelations in the past week since Zygier’s identity was revealed by Australia’s ABC television include circumstantial evidence that he — and two other ex-Australians believed to have been working for the Mossad — were running a secret operation based in Italy.

a screen grab from Australian ABC’s documentary Feb. 12

The assumption is that the target country was Iran, and it seems only reasonable that a company in Europe serving as cover for the Mossad might be selling goods to Iran.  We have reported that Israel managed, over the years, to see to it that faulty equipment was shipped to Iran’s nuclear program.

We can note also that Italy historically has been cooperative with Mossad efforts. Israel’s secret agency feels that its counterparts in Italy are quite friendly.


February 21, 2013

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