Paul P. Mealing

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Sunday, 17 February 2013

Prisoner X

The original story of this, aired last Tuesday, 12 Feb. 2013, is very disturbing to say the least. His imprisonment was so sensitive and security-averse for Israel that a gag order was put on all media in the strongest terms. The impression one gets is that the Israelis wanted him to disappear completely, and then, almost conveniently, one might say, he suicided in circumstances where suicide should be impossible. This all occurred in 2010.

A later story in the same week (Thursday) gives a slightly different story where DFAT  (Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade for Australia) apparently did know of his imprisonment and his family had been informed, and he had access to legal counsel.

On the same night (Thursday) we have an interview with a Melbourne-based foreign correspondent, who apparently spoke to Ben Zygier (believed to be prisoner X) prior to his imprisonment.

This entire story is an embarrassment to Israel, and must surely strain relations between Australia and Israel, not least because it is now apparent that Israel is recruiting Australians on Australian passports to visit countries, that Israeli citizens can’t enter, for espionage purposes.

Addendum 1: If nothing else, this story reveals the necessary self-regulating role that journalism plays in a democracy. Apparently, Israel still maintained a gag order on their own media even after this was aired on Australian TV, but now they can't ignore it.

Addendum 2 (11 May 2013): There is an update to this story, which is both instructive and tragic.

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