Friday Feb 15, 201305:02 AM GMT
Israeli Premier Netanyahu threatened media over Prisoner X: Report
Ayalon prison near Tel Aviv, where ‘Prisoner X’ committed suicide in 2010
Ayalon prison near Tel Aviv, where ‘Prisoner X’ committed suicide in 2010
Thu Feb 14, 2013 10:35AM
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A report says Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had issued threats to stifle the media regarding the case of a reportedly Australian ‘Mossad agent’ before having to admit his secret detention in 2010.

According to a report by the Guardian on Thursday, the Israeli regime was forced to acknowledge the existence of ‘Prisoner X’ following a two-year effort to gag any media reports about the case.

On February 12, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reported that Ben Zygier was “found hanged in a cell with state-of-the-art surveillance systems” near Tel Aviv in late 2010.

Originally born in Melbourne, the 34-year-old man with a dual Australian-Israeli citizenship had worked for the Israeli spy agency, Mossad, the ABC said.

The Israeli regime was forced to admit the prisoner’s existence after Australian media disclosed the secret.

The Guardian further wrote that the controversial case “saw the office of Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, threaten editors with fines or jail if they disclosed details about the case earlier this week.”

Israeli newspaper Haaretz also reported that Netanyahu had called for an urgent meeting with top editors on February 12 to ask them to withhold “publication of information pertaining to an incident that is very embarrassing to a certain government agency,” apparently referring to Mossad.

The story first emerged in June 2010, when Israeli Ynet news website published a brief report regarding the Prisoner X without elaborating. However, the story was quickly taken offline until the ABC resurfaced the case.

According to the Guardian, the Tel Aviv regime’s efforts to stifle media “backfired as Israel faced a deluge of embarrassing revelations about the case which appeared to expose the detailed workings of its overseas intelligence agency in the most graphic detail, as well as the growing irritation of Israel’s allies over the Mossad’s behavior.”

The revelation came after it emerged that Zygier had been accused by Australian journalist Jason Koutsoukis at Fairfax newspapers of being a spy shortly before his arrest.

Koutsoukis had also said Zygier was under investigation by Australia’s intelligence services and was about to be arrested over using his Australian passport for spying.

The journalist had also angered Zygier by asking if he came back to Australia to change his identity and get a new Australian passport for espionage.

The Guardian further wrote that the issue of the Mossad operations involving citizens of its allied nations and use of their passports has led to serious friction with the regime’s friends over the recent years.

“There are informal rules,” said a source familiar with intelligence co-operations, the Guardian reported.

“You inform your allies if you want to speak to someone or do something. There is a feeling the Israelis don’t play by the rules.”

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