Sunday, February 17, 2013
and treason go together hand in hand. Nevertheless there are two
revelations associated in one way or another with the "Prisoner X"
affair that help to renew our appreciation of how thoroughly these two
things are intertwined.
If you have not been following the "Prisoner X" story very
closely, or if you have been following it closely but do not
understand what the ruckus is all about, I am afraid that you and I
are on the same page. The story was released last week after having
been kept quiet for quite a while. By "being kept quiet" I mean from
the media. The actual people involved, including the family of
"Prisoner X" and just about everyone in Australia knew all about it
and in fact some had been visiting the perp.
For a couple of years, anti-Semitic bloggers have been spreading
the rumor that Israel had seized and was holding in secret captivity
an important espionage figure, named as an Iranian general by these
bloggers. The anti-Semitic unemployed pro-Iran blogger from Seattle,
Richard Silverstein, who likes to claim he is Israel's "Wikileaks,"
had a wikileak in his shorts when it turned out that the "jailed
Iranian" he had been "reporting" about was in fact an Australian Jew
(This is noteworthy because some of the less intelligent journalists
on the planet, including a few in Israel, like to cite Dickie
Silverstein as if he has any credibility and as if he is a serious
journalistic source. If you want to see who this Silverstein really
is, go to www.kapodickie.blogspot.com and especially
Anyway, while only portions of the story have emerged and are
clarified, it turns out that "Prisoner X" was one Ben Zygier, an
youngish Australian Jew who was active in the Marxist Hashomer Haztair
movement and moved to Israel to live on one such Hashomer Haztair
Marxist kibbutz for a while. You will see in a moment why I emphasize
Some of the following is based on filling in the blanks and
reading between the media lines (as usual, I have no insider
information). But it looks like Comrade Zygier was recruited at some
point by the Mossad, Israel's CIA, and played some sort of role in the
assassination of a Hamas senior operative in Dubai, one Mahmoud al
Mabhouh. According to media accounts, Israeli agents used foreign
passports to get into Dubai and then to "recycle" the terrorist. You
may recall that at the time I posted a blog item in which I offered
the Israeli agency to use my own passport any time it wanted.
In any case, as far as can be understood from the coyness in
the media reports, Zygier's role was to find some Aussies and maybe
Kiwis whose passports could be used for the operation. For reasons
that are not clear but I suspect have to do with him being a Marxist,
it seems that Zygier then changed sides and started leaking details
about that operation to Gulf Arabs working for Iran. Israel was
trying to keep the business about the foreign passports quiet,
although I think most of the world long ago learned about this, and so
Israel arrested Zygier and tossed him into solitary, in fact into the
very same cell once occupied by Yigal Amir, the assassin of Rabin.
Why all this should interest the media more than the holding of
al-Qaeda terrorists in prisons around the world (and not only in
Gitmo) is not clear.
Zygier was kept there, not entirely secretly or incommunicado, and
his family from Australian paid him regular visits. At some point he
committed suicide, something that people in jail sometimes do. This
happened two years back. So this old story became a new story when
the non-Israeli media started gabbing about it and eventually the
Attorney General in Israel okayed reporting it. (Israel has an
almost-never-used censor official for discussion in the media of some
sensitive military secrets, things like names of agents.) And that is
pretty much it.
One curious twist to this is that almost NO ONE in the media is
mentioning Zygier's Marxism or ties to the Far Left in Israel, and in
fact I myself only discovered it buried in small fonts on an inside
page. One would think that the fact that an apparent traitor and
double agent was also a Far Leftist might carry some interest.
But the other interesting twist to all this is in an Op-Ed today
in Yediot Ahronot published by Eitan Haber. He is a hardcore Labor
Party Menshivik in Israel and has sat in the Knesset. He may be best
known for being the official who spoke to the media and announced
officially that Yitzhak Rabin had been murdered. Haber then was a
leader in the movement of McCarthyism to paint all non-leftists as
complicit in Rabin's murder and to insist that Rabin was murdered by
the exercise of freedom of speech by Rabin's critics.
Anyhow, ordinarily Haber's opinions are not worthy of debunking.
But in today's column he reveals another interesting connection
between treason and leftism. He discusses the case of the nuclear spy
Mordecai Vanunu. As you recall, Vanunu was arrested while trying to
reveal oodles of secrets about Israel's nuclear capabilities and
infrastructure. Vanunu was a communist who held a minor position in
the Dimona nuclear facilities (talk about incompetence of Israeli
intelligence services!), and somehow got access to sensitive
materials. He had become an anti-Israel communist when he was a
student at Ben Gurion University (does that surprise you?). He has
since become the resident martyr saint for anti-Israel communists all
over the world, including people like Noam Chomsky.
Well, in his column today Haber releases some details about the
Vanunu treason that were not previously known, at least not by me.
It seems that at first some details of the espionage and arrest of
Vanunu were leaking out and reaching the British media, including an
offer by Vanunu to sell documents he had stolen from the nuclear
facility. The same British media who later broke the story were
skeptical that the story was for real and refused to run it.
Meanwhile, the Israeli government was assembling some Israeli
journalists to speak with them quietly about how the story should be
handled if it broke. Right after that meeting, the editor in chief of
Haaretz, Gershon Shoken, telephoned the Haaretz reporter in the UK,
who then made sure the British media knew about the briefing in
Israel. The Brits then understood that the story was for real and ran
it, with all the collateral damage this caused.
Haber's motive for telling this story is that he wants readers
to understand that, in such matters, SH*T Happens. My motive in
reporting the story is that I want readers to understand that Leftist
Treason Happens, including in the Palestinian newspaper published in
Hebrew, Haaretz, and in Marxist Hashomer kibbutzim.
It also behooves us to bear in mind that when it comes to Labor
Party McCarthyism, Haber Happens.