Did Ben Zygier, the Australian-Israeli identified by Australian media last week as the mysterious “Prisoner X” who died in Israeli prison in 2010, also have British citizenship?
Australian reporter Jason Koutsoukis broke the story in February 27, 2010 that the Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO) had been investigating three Australian-Israelis suspected of links to Mossad. He confronted two of the (unnamed) men about the allegations, quoting one in his 2010 report:
“I have never been to any of those countries that you say I have been to,'' he said. ''I am not involved in any kind of spying. That is ridiculous.”
The same man is also believed to hold British citizenship, and is believed to have come to the attention of British intelligence after he had changed his name.
Now see what Koutsoukis told The Guardian last week, after the Australian Broadcasting Company aired an investigation suggesting that Prisoner X who had died in Israel's Ayalon prison in December 2010 was Ben Zygier :
At the time Zygier said: “I have never been to any of those countries that you say I have been to, I am not involved in any kind of spying. That is ridiculous.”
So we now know the man who told Koutsoukis in 2010 “I have never been to those countries” was Zygier. And that Koutsoukis indicated that he had been told at the time— presumably by Australian intelligence–that Zygier had also previously come on the radar of British intelligence for taking out a passport in a new name.
If Koutsoukis' original information was correct, that Zygier also had British citizenship and another British alias, it would be interesting to know what the British government and intelligence services might know about the case and how Israel came to suspect that Zygier was compromised.
Update: Why did Israel move to arrest Zygier in February 2010? One possible theory is also suggested by information in Koutsoukis's February 27, 2010 report. Continue reading