Ben Zygier was close to blow whistle about Israeli secret mission

Ben Zygier

Australian security officials have claimed that Ben Zygier, the suspected Mossad spy known only as Prisoner X, may have been close to blow the whistle on Israeli intelligence operations.

"Zygier may well have been about to blow the whistle, but he never got the chance," an Australian security official was quoted by a media report as saying.

He was in a process to reveal about Israeli intelligence operations, including the use of fraudulent Australian passports, either to the Australian government or to the media before he was arrested, an AAP news agency report said.

There are contradictory reports from sources in Canberra who said that Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) was not informed by its Israeli counterparts of the precise nature of the espionage allegations against Zygier.

However, it has come into light that Zygier was in contact with human rights lawyer Avigdor Feldman, the day before he apparently hanged himself in an Israeli prison.

Feldman said: "When I saw him, there was nothing to indicate he was going to commit suicide," adding that he was rational, focused and without self-pity.

Feldman said he was surprised "that a man who was being held in a cell like that, a cell which was being monitored and checked 24-hours a day, could manage to commit suicide by hanging himself."

"I understood that he was told he was likely to face the longest possible jail term and that he was likely to be ostracised by his family," he said.

Australia government was informed in February 2010 through intelligence channels that the Israeli authorities had detained a Australian citizen.

Foreign Minister Bob Carr yesterday told a senate hearing, Australian government sought "specific assurances" that Zygier's legal rights would be respected and that "the Israeli government responded that the individual would be treated in accordance with his lawful rights as an Israeli citizen. The government relied on these assurances."

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