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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Report: Zygier not the only Australian recruited by the Mossad

Germany's Der Spiegel reports that at least two other Australians were recruited by the Mossad around the same time as Ben Zygier.
There are no answers, but Zygier and two other Australian Jews who also worked for the Milan firm were reported to have been successful agents. "The nature of their business gave them access to military and secret installations," said an Austrialian intelligence source.
Zygier's case provides insight into the methods of Mossad. It shows how the service recruits agents and masks operations.
As a young man, Zygier got involved with the "Community Security Group" in Melbourne, a kind of Jewish citizens' defense league. These groups often have links to Mossad and are instructed by agents. Ben Zygier was probably recruited in this way. At around the same time, Paul Y. and David Z. were recruited.
Australian Jews are particularly attractive to the Mossad because of a quirk in the law: Australians are allowed to change their first and last names once a year. It's a wonderful way to adopt a new identity.
After he completed his education, Zygier emigrated to Israel. Y. and Z. also moved there. The three of them -- all holding Israeli and Australian citizenship -- got jobs with the Milan-based firm. Back in Australia, they applied for new names. Ben Zygier got the names Benjamin Burrows and Benjamin Allen. Y. and Z. also changed their names at least twice.
All three men visited Iran. One of them visited Syria, Egypt and Dubai. (Okay, I know other Israelis who have visited Dubai and I know many Israelis who have visited Egypt - including me in 1980). Zygier's two colleagues are said to be living in Israel.

I suspect that the company in Milan, which sold satellite communications equipment, was passing bad equipment to the Iranians (something about which there has been speculation in the media here). If so, they did it quite well.

I don't know why the Mossad arrested Ben Zygier, and I doubt anyone who does know is saying. The Mossad is not known for giving explanations. Nor should they be.

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