The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #149592   Message #3480825
Posted By: freda underhill
17-Feb-13 - 06:40 PM
Thread Name: BS: Prisoner X - an Australian prisoner dies
Subject: BS: Prisoner X - an Australian prisoner dies
Julian Assange, David Hicks, Mamdouh Habib and now Prisoner X - Australians in overseas jails don't get much help from Australia.

Australians first heard about Prisoner X last week - two years after he died in an overseas prison. Australian diplomats seem to universally avoid any sensitive or challenging situation that Australians find themselves in overseas. He was unrepresented and his existence was unknown to the Australian people. By all accounts, he was a kind-hearted family man, loved by his friends and family. Knesset Member Eitan Cabel said the defence establishment had questions to answer over making "people vanish".

Prisoner X turned out to be Ben Zygier, a Jewish Australia who disappeared two and a half years ago. Zygier was recruited by Mossad sometime in 2001 but was allegedly speaking with ASIO (Australia's internal intellegence agency) about Mossad's practice of using fake Australian passports for espionage operations when he was arrested.

n his first public comment on the death of Mr Zygier, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defended the country's security services and warned that "the over-exposure of security and intelligence activity could harm, sometimes severely, state security".

"We are not like other countries ... we are more threatened and face more challenges; therefore, we must maintain proper activity of our security agencies," he said after the government's weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday, describing the security forces as operating with "endless dedication and commitment" to Israel's safety.

In Australia, ASIO has the same attitude.

While governments hold pseudo enquiries, security agencies around the world now have powers to act outside any legal framework. They are completely unaccountable and therefore any torture, death or abuse that happens under their watch cannot be investigated, challenged or punished. As soon as someone is labelled a security risk or terrorist, they are fair game.

It may be that cover-ups are about protecting a country's security. They could also be about protecting mistakes and abuse by agencies from being investigated, but we will ne4ver no. There needs to be a security ombudsman in every country, with powers to fully investigated claims of torture, disappearance and unlawful detention.