Friday, February 15, 2013

Prisoner X 3: How Dumb Are We?

Apart from the inevitable fascination with the reason for Prisoner X's incarceration and suicide/murder in Israel's top security prison, at least 4 other aspects of the case should give us pause for thought. In this post I'll discuss the two I consider to be of lesser importance, leaving the other two for the next post.

To begin with the least important, consider this extract from Fairfax Middle East correspondent Ruth Pollard's 14/2/13 report Strange fate of Benji, the suspected spy:

"It is believed Mr Zygier travelled back to Australia in 2009 to attend Monash University, where he was doing an MBA... A source observed him over several days sitting with a group of students from Saudi Arabia and Iran at the university's Caulfield campus. The source said: '[Australian Taxation Office] records from 2008 show that he applied for and was approved a HECS loan for postgraduate studies at Monash University where he is currently [November 2009] studying."

In light of the current HECS debt of $6.2 billion dollars* it's appropriate to ask whether Ben Zygier, or whatever name he'd been using at the time, had discharged his debt to the Australian taxpayer before returning to Israel. If not, the Australian taxpayer surely has a right to know that he/she is unwittingly funding the education/work of Mossad operatives and to ask the classic question: How dumb are we then?

[*See Lost HECS debt $6.2bn, & rising, Andrew Trounson & Christian Kerr, The Australian, 21/1/13.]

Next, consider the following data from the same report:

"Each of the men had travelled back to Australia separately to change their names and obtain a new passport, two intelligence sources said... One man had changed his name 3 times, with others having changed theirs twice, the source said, from names that identified them as European-Jewish to ones that were Anglo-Australian. The men had used the new passports to travel to Iran, Syria and Lebanon..." 

Now that was back in the last decade when ASIO, which, according to Pollard, "won't comment," was supposedly "investigating" these 3 dual Australian-Israeli citizens.

So what, if anything, has been the result of ASIO's investigation? Is any member of the government aware of its findings? If not, why not? If so, what steps have been taken/are being taken to ensure that this blatant abuse of our passport system by foreign agents does not continue?

And beyond that, there's the question of whether, in light of this, it is really in the national interest for our intelligence agencies - ASIO and ASIS - to be in bed with Mossad, a matter dealt with in my 29/5/10 post All the Way With Mossad?

Surely too, this particular aspect of the Prisoner X case, warrants a reiteration of the above classic question: How dumb are we?


Anonymous said...

Hmmm, is the name of the game collusion? Meaning: All the way!
Now, why people talk of treason in the case of Ben?
One cannot help thinking of Vanunu (another "Australian connection").

Anonymous said...

From Anonymous (3d?) to Anonymous,

Read today newspapers.

Peter D said...

An interesting story, with different details coming thick and fast. I bet our local tv news channels are kicking themselves that they aren't allowed to cover it. They'd normally go to town on a story like this.