Former Mossad officer describes Zygier affair as ‘scandalous’
February 25, 2013 5 Comments
By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
A former member of Israeli spy agency Mossad, who claims to have worked in the same covert-operations unit as Ben Zygier, has described the latter’s incarceration and subsequent death as “scandalous”. The Australian-born Zygier was a Mossad officer several years before he was placed in solitary confinement following his arrest in Israel, in February 2010. Known to the outside world only as ‘Prisoner X’, he allegedly killed himself in his cell a few months later. Earlier this month, when an Australian television program identified ‘Prisoner X’ as Zygier, the Australian government admitted it had been aware of its citizen’s incarceration and death, but chose not to extend to him diplomatic support. So far, the Mossad, Israel’s foremost covert-action agency, has remained silent on the matter. But a former Mossad operative, who uses the name Michael Ross, has weighed in with his opinion. Ross was born in Canada and converted to Judaism before joining the Mossad for 13 years, seven of which he claims to have spent in the same covert-operations unit as Zygier. Although he never met his Australian-born colleague, Ross wrote in The Daily Beast in the weekend that he and Zygier “were in the field at the same time, albeit in different units”. In his article, the former Mossad spy dismisses allegations that Zygier may have betrayed his employer, saying that he has seen no evidence that the Australian-born Jew was not dedicated to the mission of the Mossad. He argues that the circumstances surrounding Zygier’s incarceration in solitary confinement were “scandalous”, because the jailed spy presented “no danger to the public”. Instead, says the former spy, Zygier could have been dismissed from the spy service and placed under house arrest for as long as it would have been necessary for the accusations against him to be “dealt with internally”. Instead, Zygier’s treatment did not serve the public interest and bears “all the worst elements of legal expediency excused by national security interests”, claims Ross. The former Mossad operative, who now lives in Canada, also accuses Zygier’s Mossad commanders of compromising him by sending him to Australia on numerous occasions to alter his name and passport, something which must have alerted the Australian authorities. Ross also criticizes the “churlish and clearly vindictive behavior” of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, which is believed to have leaked Zygier’s name to the Australian journalist. Zygier was arrested in Israel after the journalist exposed him. “It is painfully obvious” that Zygier was betrayed by both Israel and Australia, concludes Ross, “each in their own reckless way”.