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Israel’s Prisoner X Scandal: Israeli/Australian Held, Impossibly Commits Suicide, Story Under Gag Order for Two+ Years

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Wow, this is ugly, and these two videos help explain why.

Israel imprisoned a dual citizen (Australian/Israeli) who went by various names, including Ben Zygier, Ben Allen, and Ben Alon, and was a suspected member of the Mossad. He was held on security grounds (mind you, never charged of a crime) and supposedly committed suicide in what Aljazeera described as a “virtual isolation of a state-of-the-art surveillance cell designed to prevent suicide.”

This took place in 2010. There has been a news blackout on the story. As Shir Hever, an economic researcher in the Alternative Information Center, tells the Real News Network:

Netanyahu actually tried to convene an emergency conference of all the major editors of the major media channels in Israel to convince them to suppress the story. At the same time, the Israeli court issued a gag order making it illegal not only to say that there is a prisoner kept anonymously in the Israeli prisons, or that there was and he committed suicide; but even to report that there is a gag order, even that was illegal. And also, the military censor, which is usually in Israel a passive kind of institution that only accepts for review articles before they are published, has actually taken an active position and demanded that certain articles would be removed or would not be published in advance.

Aljazeera indicates that the embargo was nevertheless broken (“The information just started appearing all over the internet,” per Rob Peled, former head of Movement for Freedom of Info in Israel) that both the Israeli and Australian governments are making bare minimum disclosures.

It’s important to recognize the seriousness of what happened. Israel “disappeared” someone (at least for two years until the coverup failed), and even worse, someone who was a foreign citizen. This is the sort of thing that took place in Chile under Pinochet. What did Zygier know and why was Israel so desperate to keep him from revealing it?

Video from Aljazeera. You can read the related story here.

The Real News Network account gives more analysis. You can read the transcript here.


More at The Real News

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60 comments

  1. Mary Bess

    Convene a conference of all news editors in Israel? Have the Israeli court issue a gag order? Were they trying to suppress this story or launch it on a global scale?

  2. timotheus

    Apparently, he had something to do with the assassination of Mahmoud Mabhouh in Dubai, perhaps as a direct participant, and may have wanted to spill some interesting beans. And foreign governments let this go despite the use of European and Australian passports in carrying out a state-directed assassination. Then again, why should this surprise anyone given the Obama Kill List? But if the Iranians decide to imitate it, we’ll have WW3.

    1. Synopticist

      The Iranians already do imitate Israels actions, by trying to blow up Israeli diplomats in places like Thailand and Georgia, and getting Hizbollah to murder Israeli tourists in Bulgaria.

      1. jsmith

        BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

        I mean, really.

        You…chortle…actually…snicker…believe those fairy tales?!!

        BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

        Here’s another one, stop me if you’ve heard it before…

        19 Arab hijackers armed with box-cutters….

        Here’s some info about those ingenious Iranian “terror” plots so you’ll stop embarrassing yourself.

        http://www.pacificfreepress.com/news/1/11120-false-flag-suspected-in-israeli-diplomat-dehli-car-bombing.html

        http://theintelhub.com/2012/07/20/israel-likely-behind-bulgaria-false-flag/

        I bet you also believe Iran really did try and hire drug cartel hitmen to ice the Saudi ambassador, too, huh?

        Pathetic.

      2. Mr. Jack Mehoff

        Lmao @ Synop. Why do zionist’s always bring up their persecution as a justification for the crimes they commit? Crawl back in your hole.

    1. Adam

      Ah yes, on authority of a pretty openly antisemitic Australian website, complete with the dual loyalty insinuation against Australian Jews: “Israel’s raison d’être is racial discrimination and ethnic cleansing.” One can disagree, even vehemently, with particular Israeli policies, but to go so far as to make such a claim is consistent only with a deep animus toward the very existence of the state of Israel and the idea that Jews, like any other group of people, are entitled to rights of self-determination and sovereignty.

      1. diptherio

        Hey, it’s Hasbara! Nice job, Adam, way to throw that anti-semite bit out there early, good thinking. I didn’t find anything anti-semitic at all in the story, only anti-Israel/Zionism. There are plenty of Jews who share this extremely negative view of Israel. Take Neturei Karta International, for instance. From their website:

        There is a vile lie, which stalks the Jewish people across the globe. It is a lie so heinous, so far from the truth, that it can only gain popularity due to the complicity of powerful forces in the “mainstream” media and educational establishment.

        It is a lie which has brought many innocent people untold suffering and if unchecked has the potential to create extraordinary tragedy in the future.
        It is the lie that declares that Judaism and Zionism are identical.

        Nothing could be further from the truth.

        Judaism is the belief in revelation at Sinai. It is the belief that exile is a punishment for Jewish sins.

        Zionism has for over a century denied Sinaitic revelation. It believes that Jewish exile can be ended by military aggression.

        Zionism has spent the past century strategically dispossessing the Palestinian people. It has ignored their just claims and subjected them to persecution, torture and death.

        Torah Jews the world over are shocked and pained at this short-lived dogma of irreligiosity and cruelty. Thousands of Torah scholars and saints have condemned this movement from its inception. They knew that the pre-existing good relationship between Jews and Muslims in the Holy Land was bound to suffer as Zionism advanced.

        The so-called “State of Israel” stands rejected on religious grounds by the Torah. Its monstrous insensitivity to the laws of basic decency and fairness appall all men be they Jewish or not.

        We of Neturei Karta have been in the forefront of the battle against Zionism for over a century.

        Our presence here is to refute the base lie that the evil, which is Zionism, in some way represents the Jewish people.

        The reverse is true.

        We are saddened day in and day out at the terrible toll of death emanating from the Holy Land. Not one of them would have occurred if Zionism had not unleashed its evil energies upon the world.

        As Jews we are called upon to live in peace and harmony with all men. We are exhorted to be law abiding and patriotic citizens in all lands.

        We condemn the current Zionist atrocities in the Holy Land. We yearn for peace based upon mutual respect. We are convinced that this proposed mutual respect is doomed to fail as long as the Israeli state exists. We welcome its abolition in a peaceful manner.

        May we be worthy of true redemption when all men will join in brotherhood in His worship.

        Anti-semites, right? Oh wait a minute, they’re f-ing Hasids!

      2. Doug Terpstra

        “Israel’s raison d’être is racial discrimination and ethnic cleansing.”

        To many people that statement is manifestly self-evident —supported by evidence of decades of persistent, illegal, militarized settlement; of the Apartheid, double-sized Berlin wall; extrajudicial assassinations; extrajudicial demolition of Palestinian homes and orchards; theft of water and other resources; day-to-day abuse and humiliation and denial of travel for people under illegal occupation; from denial of the right of return for Arab refugees; from the near-starvation embargo stranglehold of the world’s largest concentration camp in Gaza, from the many bombings and invasions of Lebanon, Syria, Iraq . . . and so on.

        When “the very existence of the state of Israel” is publicly, openly-predicated on ethnic and religious purity, along with volumes of racist statements by Israeli leaders denigrating Palestinians as subhuman, it’s a rational and legitimate point of debate. You may disagree with the above statement, but to wield the worm-riddled cudgel of anti-Semitism to automatically discredit a source is increasingly effective in light of decades of evidence to support it. Facts are remarkably persistent after so many decades.

        1. Adam

          What is the raison d’etre of Australia? Of France? To suggest that Israel needs to have a raison d’etre is itself to engage in a type of hypocrisy.

          As far as antisemitism–if the shoe fits… The article wasn’t just criticizing specific Israeli policies and actions. It was criticizing the right of Israel to exist. Unless one is going to argue that states in general forfeit their right to exist because of human rights abuses (which would leave few, if any states around), this is an argument that selectively applied to Israel, which is hardly the worst human rights abuser in the world. What motivates that kind of selective application sure looks like antisemitism to me.

          1. MRW

            Give it a break. Everyone is tired of anti-semitism accusations and over-wrought Jewish claims to it. No one gives a damn anymore. Fix Palestine before you lecture the world about hard done by you are.

          2. Auschwitz on the Jordan

            Wow Adam is one dumb fuck who evidently never heard of, much less read, Implementing the Responsibility to Protect, which, if applied to Bibi along with Qaddafi, would quickly put a bayonet up Bibi’s hairy butt too! But don’t worry, nobody’s gonna come and bomb the shit out of you under pretext of imposing a no-fly zone or anything, because you all accidentally sterilized yourself while nuking your Palestinian death camp inmates with DU. You go extinct, you get a do-over! That’s R2P Rule #40.

            Just goes to show ya, don’t sterilize the Ethiopians – you’ll be less inbred, and smarter, and pull fewer autogenocidal dumbshit boners with American bombs.

          3. Yves Smith Post author

            Wow, this isn’t even good hasbara. Go back to hasbara training school. Obvious straw manning (saying our article denied Israel’s right to exist) backfires! You’ve just lost all cred here. Keep putting your foot in mouth and chewing.

      3. Yonatan

        Adam, states are defined by their boundaries. Perhaps you could point me to map the shows the boundaries the Israeli government deems to define the limits of the state of Israel?

        1. Mr. Jack Mehoff

          Actually the zionist’s have a state, its Israel. They owe allegiance only there. Boundaries do not matter. They reside around the world, sending the spoils to the motherland. Its always been so and always will be. Read their holy book for confirmation. They consider the rest of humanity as Goyum. Thats the equivalent of cattle. Meaning to be used for their gain. If you think they have any decency in store for anyone who is not zioist, think again….

    2. what's acouple hundred warheads between friends?

      Actually, your state is entitled to sovereignty only to the extent that it complies with the UN Charter, core human rights, and the Rome Statute. And your big concentration camp of a state shits on those prerequisites of responsible sovereignty. So no sovereignty for you, you pissed it away.

    3. Auschwitz on the Jordan

      Wow Adam is one dumb fuck who evidently never heard of, much less read, Implementing the Responsibility to Protect, which, if applied to Bibi along with Mooomar Qaddafi, would quickly put a bayonet up Bibi’s hairy butt too! But don’t worry, nobody’s gonna come and bomb the shit out of you crazy Zionazis under pretext of imposing a no-fly zone or anything, because you all accidentally sterilized yourself while nuking your Palestinian death camp inmates with DU. You go extinct, you get a do-over! That’s R2P Rule #40.

      Just goes to show ya, don’t sterilize the Ethiopians – you’ll be less inbred, and smarter, and pull fewer autogenocidal dumbshit boners with American bombs.

  3. diptherio

    Welcome to our modern nightmare-state, where the fascists rule but no one is allowed to call them fascists because that would be, you know…impolite.

    It is shameful that we, as a species, have allowed social systems to develop in which this kind of abuse of authority is even possible. Why do we allow certain Presidents and Prime Ministers exemption from the law? Why do we allow Government Agencies to operate in secret? Why do we countenance all of this, why do we continue to put up with it? Shameful.

    We are frightened of bogey-men and shadows and so we handover our liberties, along with our brains, to people whom we give the role of “society’s parents.” Thus, we all become society’s children, not allowed to question the actions of daddy, not allowed to offer our opinions or voice our complaints, expected to be seen and not heard, and definitely not allowed to strike out at daddy, even if he does take the strap to us on a daily basis.

    It’s shameful that we have allowed this situation to develop, shameful that we have allowed ourselves to be thus infantilized, and shameful that we allow this situation to continue. Some of us have determined to become adults, and so have stopped obeying daddy, stopped even listening to his dictates. But most, even those who claim to be progressives, continue to pay heed to daddy and follow his rules (even though he doesn’t feel the need to), and willingly hand over their autonomy and their treasure to daddy whenever he demands it, with nary a peep of true defiance. At most, they want daddy to chill out on some of his most egregious behaviors, but they’ll never question his ultimate authority to rule over the rest of us. At heart they are children and wish to remain children; their only true wish is that they had a different daddy.

    Shameful, I say.

    1. psychohistorian

      Nicely stated.

      The concept of private ownership of property, inheritance and the delusion that those with more deserve more than the rest are the underpinnings of western social organization.

      We can only wish that shame will have some effect on our social organization. Show me the shame of the LAPD or of Israel.

    2. Glenn Condell

      You’re on to something there with the ‘daddy’ stuff. I recall thinking along those lines when the Kool Aid media set collectively swooned about the return of the ‘grown-ups’ when Cheney and Rumsfeld came back with Dubya. The appeal of the very idea of authority, rather than any rationale for it, was palpable. MoDo especially seemed affected, but it was fairly general.

      ‘We are frightened of bogey-men and shadows and so we handover our liberties’

      Here is a lady, one of the many unsung heroes of the IP conflict, who is not frightened. Her name is Huwaida Arraf. She and her (Jewish) partner are peace activists. Compare and contrast her courage and humanity with the soldiers she is confronting:

      http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article21676.htm

  4. Manofsteel11

    How about a CRITICAL REVIEW of what we do know?!
    1. Choosing Aljazeera as an unbiased source of information about Israel is like choosing the f***ing settlers’ Arutz Sheva as an objective source to learn about the Palestinian democracy.
    2. Ben X chose to become a spy- a world that is made out of people who by definition lie for a living, sabotage, and even kill. Like any ‘democratic state agency’ he signed legal documents that clearly stipulate his fate in case he betrays his recruiters. Does anybody think that this type of thing does not happen with the French, British, Australian or other spy agencies?
    3. Did he vanish as some media outlets would argue? We now know that a number of courts dealt with his case in close doors. We also know that he appealed to the supreme court with regard to certain aspects. He had a known long list of defense lawyers. His Israeli wife supported a plea deal that was offered to him. The Australians knew about all of this all/most of the time and perhaps even worked with the Israelis, as reflected in their actions/inaction. But why mention all these minor details?!
    4. Why did the Israeli courts, censor and PM try to stop the story? Perhaps this person was involved in ongoing undercover operations? Would the mere publishing of his name put his former colleagues and their sources at risk of being killed? Would other intel agencies be able to backward engineer his trail and end various strategic operations? Is there a point where a state is allowed to keep things in the dark? Don’t all states do that?
    5. As you eloquently point out- nobody really knows what made Israeli apparatuses make the decisions they made. Speculation/psychological warfare/diversion includes, but is not limited to, the Iranian nuclear program and straw companies, anti-iranian terror groups and the killing of their leader, the killing of a Hamas rocket export/import senior person, criminal acts by an agent of the state and possibly treason (with some hints of him being a double or triple agent). Given this ‘constructive ambiguity’- how can one judge whether Israel’s acts met the principle of proportionality?
    6. Of course, Israel the racist state to criticize.
    Blame it for winning wars by force, conquering territories, pushing the locals into enclaves, making people disappear, building walls, etc.
    Then count the number of times you mention European imperialism in Africa, Chinese interventionism and resource hoarding all over the Globe, Assad’s daily massacre, Saudi sponsorship of Salafi killers, Iran’s brutality against its own people, the demolition of churches and Buddhist shrines all over the Muslim world, suicide bombings that are still going on in Iraq, not to mention the former Mexican territories, native-american discrimination, comparative death penalty numbers, decades long brutality in most nations, recent ethnic cleansing and genocide in various parts of Europe, Asia and Africa.
    Finally, check the open critical public discussion about prisoner X in Israel.
    Should Israeli parliament members, NGOs, journalists and public be commended or condemned for their reaction?
    Shouldn’t this tragic incident promote a discussion about President’s Obama plans to close Guantanamo and end the drone programs, rather than always dwelling on that godforsaken spec of ‘holy’ land?

    Why disclose all the KNOWN facts if you can leave it all open the speculation?

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      This is a lot of smoke blowing to get past the facts you don’t deny:

      1. X was being held without having been charged in a maximum security facility

      2. X was pretty clearly executed. There is no way he could have committed suicide in that facility, which was designed (among other things) to prevent suicides.

      3. Israel suppressed the story for over two years. Went to extreme lengths to do so.

      As for Aljazeera, the story was first reported on ABC, Australia’s version of the BBC. So try again depicting this as some sort of hostile plot. And your mention of Aljzaeera is pure ad hominem, you don’t dispute the information they present.

    2. AK

      The whole Israeli “everyone else did genocide so now it’s our turn too” is rather tiresome and at least somewhat puzzling coming from the nation that was ostensibly founded on the principle of “Never Again”.

      Find a better argument please.

  5. grass mud horse covering the middle

    The e-hasbara agitprop brigade inserts its blood slimed tentacles into almost any online discussion that even mentions Israel. I shit in their beards.

    1. Synopticist

      Maybe they do, but that doesn’t make Israel’s enemies the good guys. With the possible exception of Fatah, they’re all a damn sight worse.

      1. grass mud horse covering the middle

        Worse isn’t possible in this instance. Israel is a rogue apartheid nuclear weapons state with a get out of jail free card from Uncle Sam for… well *everything*. In terms of danger to global peace and international law, Israel is exponentially more dangerous than all its enemies combined because they are rendered completely unaccountable for anything they do by the completely unconditional support of the world’s only military superpower. Unlike their enemies, they can do whatever they please and there will be no consequences–thus there are no disincentives constraining their worst behaviors. If any other state or organization flouted international law and human rights to the degree that Israel does, there would be enforceable sanctions put in place and widespread and effective condemnation in at least the Western sphere. The biggest bully on the world stage has immunized them from those potential consequences, so the little regional bully has free rein to inflict the effects of its racist, extreme right wing bellicosity on an entire region.

        1. Synopticist

          Worse is a hell of a possibilty.
          Just ask the relatives of dead 60,000 Syrians, or people raped in Iran’s gulag, or even a few million Christian Eygptians, petrified of what may be to come.

          I’m no great fan of the Israeli right, to put it mildly, but there are nastier people in the region.

    2. Glenn Condell

      ‘The e-hasbara agitprop brigade’

      They are called sayanim, in the plural. Non-Israeli Zionists resident elsewhere prepared to help Mossad get around pesky obstacles, likes laws and the rights of sovereign countries.

      You could have read about this on Wikipedia, until the page was deleted.

  6. ebear

    “This is the sort of thing that took place in Chile under Pinochet.”

    A more appropriate comparison would be the present day United States.

    http://tinyurl.com/cdaav5v

    Pinochet’s Chile has long been the poster child of repressive regimes, but frankly the comparison is inappropriate and smacks of bias. You might as well say this is the sort of thing that took place in Nazi Germany, but of course that statement inherently defeats itself where Israel is concerned.

    Of course if you’d said this is the sort of thing that happens in China, or North Korea, or as I pointed out, the USA, it wouldn’t be nearly as inflammatory, would it? So, where does this bias come from – this double standard by which Israel gets judged? Should we compare them to say, Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran? Would that be more appropriate? How about France, Italy, the UK or even the USA? What’s the baseline here, or are Jews by their history, or even their very nature, held to a higher standard than everyone else?

    1. diptherio

      So you’ve seen people defending the policies of those countries here on NC? There is no double standard, Israel just happens to be in the spotlight today. Tomorrow it will be back to how fascist the US gov’t is, don’t worry.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      Wow, get better in your distortions.

      1. The case in Israel is an actual incident. Do you have an actual incident in the US you can point to? The Taibbi article is about a policy which has yet to be implemented

      2. Even people who are detained indefinitely are not subject to a media gag order

      3. Nor is the policy of indefinite detention = to execution by implausible suicide. Now you can correctly surmise we are on that trajectory, but we have not gotten there yet.

      So as of now, Chile is an apt comparison. And yes, the US is looking more and more like that neoliberal paradise.

      1. JohnDT

        1. The US has managed multiple prisons all over the world through its proxies.
        It has trained armed militias and secret police forces. It is the number one producer/supplier of weapons. It has been involved in everything from using nuclear weapons to drone killings across its borders and in remote corners of the world (did you ever count the long list of tens of wars in Wikipedia?). It gives the enlightened liberal Saudis full immunity and arms them with advanced weapons while they oppress women and cut the hands of small thieves while hanging the major ones in the streets. It arms and funds the democratic progressive forces of the Muslim Brothers in Egypt as they burn down churches and set their divine law. It gives EU, Israel and other proxies the green light to fight others. Its death penalty policies are not typical to any democracy, Israel included. Obama did not close Guantanamo nor did he reduce the number of offshore killings he orders (including a couple of documented case involving people with a dual citizenship). And you seriously believe you know what is going on behind close doors within the maze of dark corridors where secretive state apparatuses work? We have not gotten there yet, or its hard to find evidence of the secret parts when we have so much clear evidence well documented about our deeds over recent years? This reminds me of the inability to find evidence in order to bring people from Wall St to justice…
        2. Major espionage cases have been brought to the public’s attention in the past, and spies were put in jail with full public knowledge.
        When Israeli security officials did not obey the law they were put in prison.
        Liberals there fight for justice and peace and human rights just as they do here. Israeli citizens have been known to go out to the streets and protest against injustice, war and inequality. The Israeli supreme court, media, members of Knesset, academicians and opinion leaders have made more progress than in many other democracies around the world. Why single it out?…
        3. The spy who was detained was not there “indefinitely”- Haaretz and other media outlets suggest there were legal proceedings in court and the person full legal representation (well-known Israeli lawyers). He was offered a plea deal and he declined.
        4. The gag order should be put in perspective- The spy and/or his passport where likely used over some time and could easily be traced back, thus exposing people, methods and ongoing operations. Any decision maker who has active operatives deployed and fears for their lives is likely to act to protect them over some rights of a single person. On the other hand, it is not only that the prisoner was kept alive, but it would seem that the authorities made every effort to keep him alive, with sensors in his cell and visits from his family and lawyers. Clearly- Chile-like practices.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          I regularly criticize US policy and our practices. India’s citizens do even worse to women (they are regularly burned to death by husbands). That is not the issue here and the fact that you start with that says you are on pretty weak ground.

          However you are still getting past a big issue here:

          All those US facilities, which are mainly run by thuggish friends, are in the pursuit of conflict or our many nasty undeclared wars. They aren’t happening on our soil to our nationals, although that is almost certainly about to start. And even the horrific case of a US citizen who had the bad fortune to be Muslim and got rounded up and tortured for months thanks to extraordinary rendition wasn’t killed. As awful as US behavior is (and it’s piss poor) this case is different than anything we are known to have done so far.

          X had a dual passport, Australian/Israeli. This was not someone in a nation the principal is hostile to, it’s someone who is a citizen and has the passport of an ally.

          Jewish Forward makes no mention that his incarceration was pursuant to a judicial process (that he’d been charged). In fact, if there was an “plea deal” it could well be to tidy up the fact that he’d been imprisoned.

          And if he was offered a plea deal, why the suicide in impossible circumstances?

          This also strongly suggests his incarceration was extralegal:

          Tzachi Hanegbi, a lawmaker from Netanyahu’s conservative Likud party said he had never been informed of Zygier’s arrest as chairman of the parliamentary defence panel at the time.

          “This requires explanation,” Hanegbi said. “Usually, every significant subject, whether it is impressive achievements or embarrasing failures, is laid out before the subcommittee.”

          http://forward.com/articles/171405/israel-parliament-plans-prisoner-x-probe-shrugging/?p=all#ixzz2LD3kh0CX

        2. Yves Smith Post author

          ebear,

          I didn’t acknowledge them because they are irrelevant. You have never refuted Israel’s conduct with X being a “disappearing” which is what happened in Pinochet’s Chile. Nor have you denied that Israel’s turning Palestine into a ghetto is like that of Chile in detaining over 40,000 people. Instead you blow smoke that the US does bad shit too. Guess what? Unlike you, who seem to think that justifies Israel’s bad conduct, I deplore the bad conduct of the US’s as well. You straw man in trying to suggest I think the US occupies some sort of moral high ground. If you read this site at all, and you evidently don’t, you’d see I criticize US policy on pretty much a daily basis.

          And if you mean this Martin Armstrong, there is no relevance to the case at hand:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_A._Armstrong

      2. ebear

        “Do you have an actual incident in the US you can point to?”

        Martin Armstrong for one.

        And of course this:
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_detainees_at_Guantanamo_Bay

        But as to my main point:

        “So as of now, Chile is an apt comparison.”

        Sorry, but you’re the one distorting things here.

        ********************************

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Estadio_Nacional_Julio_Mart%C3%ADnez_Prádanos

        After the coup d’état of September 11, 1973 that ousted President Salvador Allende, the stadium began to be used as a detention facility. An article in Harvard Review of Latin America reported that “there were over eighty detention centers in Santiago alone” and gave details of the National Stadium and others.[3]

        Over 40,000 people spent time in the compound during the junta regime. Twelve thousand detainees were interned between September 11 and November 7.[4] The field and gallery were used to hold men, while women were held in the swimming pool changing rooms and associated buildings. Locker rooms and corridors were all used as prison facilities while interrogations were carried out in the velodrome.[5] The Red Cross estimated that 7,000 prisoners occupied the stadium at one point, of whom about 300 were foreigners. According to the testimonies of survivors collected by the humanitarian group, detainees were tortured and threatened with death by shooting. Some were shot on the premises and then taken to unknown locations for execution.

        ********************************

        Thousands routinely abused, even murdered merely for their political beliefs, and (on the basis of one incident) you compare Israel to that? Do you ever own up to egregious errors, because this is definitely one of those times.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          X was disappeared just like what happened to people in Pinochet’s Chile. About 3,000 or 4,000 were disappeared, if I recall correctly. You bring up a different issue, again in classic hasbara style, to muddy the discussion.

          I didn’t bother mentioning Palestine…..and there are more than 40,000 Palestinians who are kept in gulag-like conditions. So if we are going to broaden the comparison to other behavior Israel engages in, the comparison to Chile still holds up. Remarkable that you refuse to acknowledge Israel’s heinous conduct towards Palestinians. So keep talking, you are just digging a deeper hole.

          1. ebear

            “Remarkable that you refuse to acknowledge Israel’s heinous conduct towards Palestinians. So keep talking, you are just digging a deeper hole.”

            Not sure if you’ll read this since we’re already knee deep in the NC memory hole so I’ll try and keep it short. I never mentioned the Palestinians because they weren’t part of YOUR original point, which was a comparison of how Israel treats one of it’s own citizens, not people in the occupied territories. That was the point I was making. If you want to broaden the discussion I’m up for it, but as you’re no doubt aware there’s enough fuel to keep that fire going for decades without ever mentioning Munich, aircraft hijackings, Achille Lauro, suicide bombers and, oh, sorry – I wasn’t going to mention that was I?

            I also note you failed to address Martin Armstrong or Guantanamo which were replies to your request for examples. If you’re not going to refute, you could at least acknowledge.

            As for holes, I don’t open my mouth unless I know what’s coming out of it and if I make a mistake I quickly correct it, so any hole I’m digging here is entirely your own perception.

  7. jsmith

    Repost cuz I tripped the censor:

    Just to remind everyone of the digital hasbara movement:

    GIYUS is a global digital movement of activists who campaign on behalf of Israel. Here they have the names, pictures and facebook links to those activist involved in the flotilla campaigns a la pro-life nuts

    http://www.giyus.org/2011/06/these-are-the-faces-of-the-new-anti-semitism-please-report.html

    Here’s the wiki entry for the – this is actually real – the Jewish Internet Defense Force:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_Internet_Defense_Force

    The Jewish Internet Defense Force (JIDF) is an organization that uses social media to mobilize support for campaigns against websites and Facebook groups that promote or praise what it regards as Islamic terrorism or antisemitism. The group’s website describes the JIDF as a “private, independent, non-violent protest organization representing a collective of activists”.[3] The JIDF’s work has been termed “hacktivism” by some media outlets.[4][5]

    And before there was the JIDF there was Megaphone:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Megaphone_desktop_tool

    The Megaphone desktop tool is a Windows “action alert” tool developed by Give Israel Your United Support (GIYUS) and distributed by World Union of Jewish Students, World Jewish Congress, The Jewish Agency for Israel, World Z*******t Organization, StandWithUs, Hasbara fellowships, HonestReporting, and other pro-Israel public relations organizations. The tool was released in July during the 2006 Lebanon War. By June 2011, the tool became no longer available through the GIYUS website. An RSS newsfeed is available.[1][

      1. Skippy

        As someone with a life long experience in the building game and explosives experience (mining – military), I have to say… I am completely unsatisfied with the investigation.

        Skippy… I am not alone in this regard.

      2. wake up and smell the coffee

        The 9/11 crowd has done itself a disservice by putting weak and strong information together, allowing critics to dismiss the weaker points some of them raise.

        However, there are some serious problems with the official 9/11 story:

        1. Extremely tall narrow buildings falling at close to the speed of freefall from asymetrical hits high up, and very neatly into their footprints to boot. You’d expect instead to have the building collapse around the site of the hits (asymetrical) and have that part shear off and damage the rest of the building and neighboring buildings as it fell.

        2. Collapse of the core

        3. Molten metal in the basement, stayed molten for weeks. Airplane fuel does not burn remotely hot enough to produce neough energy to do that. Temperature was too high as well

        4. Thermite reside at the site. Thermite is not something you’d see as a result of an airplane strike.

        5. Pictures of the vertical elements of the core near ground level showing 45 degree angle cuts to the metal. Impossible to produce via an airplane impact.

        6. The tidy, complete collapse of WTC 7, which had not been hit by a plane or meaningfully by debris.

        Now if you can explain these, I’m all ears.

        1. Glenn Condell

          ‘The 9/11 crowd has done itself a disservice by putting weak and strong information together, allowing critics to dismiss the weaker points some of them raise.’

          I am not so sure it was the ’9/11 crowd’ that put the bad stuff in with the good.

    1. Charles LeSeau

      I once made a comment on Alternet to some right winger who was claiming that as a collectivist I was thoroughly “authoritarian.” In the same thread but a different post he had written how he was completely pro-Israel and I couldn’t resist pointing out the irony of him calling me authoritarian in light of that (especially since I have never outright supported anything or anybody politically like he was doing).

      The same day my gmail account was hacked and logged into from Israel and I always wondered if it was a coincidence or if someone read my comment and decided to go digging around my private correspondence, searching in vain for antisemitic remarks.

      1. Glenn Condell

        Around the time of the Gaza massacre I commented a lot at Mondoweiss; some of my pieces touched upon Lobby pressure of local media. A friend some time later alerted me to the fact that my name appeared in the annnual AIJAC (local AIPAC) report listing anti-semitic commentary on the web. I was proud of that, but worried too.

        1. Mr. Jack Mehoff

          Don’t worry, If you’ve said anything bad about the US Gov you’re on the same list. And YES they do keep them lists. There’s a lot of names on them. But that’s not all bad. Its going to take critical mass to change anything. And the actions of the US gov and the Israeli Gov feed that mass. There will be worse to come before things change for the better. Be prepared.

  8. Karsten S.

    Wow Yves, you really are going off the deep end!
    Not even a day ago you were proposing that Germany had turned into a country where private militias rule:
    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/02/amazons-thuggish-security-force-in-germany-shows-state-does-not-have-a-monopoly-on-violence.html
    Now you choose to pick on Israel(once again). I´m not even going to argue the issues but I do have a Headline for you: http://www.timesofisrael.com/germany-to-help-israelis-stuck-in-unfriendly-countries/ ; http://www.welt.de/print/die_welt/article113678476/Deutsche-Konsulate-helfen-Israelis.html ;
    Maybe we can read your thought´s tomorrow on how Israel and Germany are conspiring to subvert the rule of law, human rights and all that is good and decent and how NC and the US will ride to the rescue?

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      1. I see you’ve commented in two days under two different handles, Not a sign of good faith.

      2. You then completely straw man our post on Amazon. It had just about zero to do with Germany per se; it was about how companies can and do use violence, just like the state.

      3. To continue the straw manning, no where is there a suggestion that the US take action. This site has been a vocal opponent of US imperialism.

  9. Kilo

    Nietzsche: “Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster . . . for when you gaze long into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”

    I think this ship has long sailed in Israel.

  10. Dan

    What else can one expect from this shitty little Apartheid state? I mean, how many thousands of Palestinian men, women, and children are rotting in their torture dungeons or have been murdered or disappeared?

  11. JCC

    Popping Ben Zygier into Google gives a ton of very interesting links.

    Here is a little bit from the BBC ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-21496738 ):

    On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defended the necessity of keeping some information out of the public domain.

    “We are not like all other countries,” he said. “We are more threatened, more challenged, and therefore we have to ensure the proper activity of our security forces.”

    “Allow the security forces to work quietly so we can continue to live securely and safely,” he added.

    It is Paranoia at it’s finest.

    I remember as a kid when people like Moshe Dyan were International Heroes. Times have changed. Between stories like this (and it took mainstream media a shameful 3 years to address it) and their abhorrent treatment of Palastinians, the general attitude has understandably changed regarding the State of Israel. It’s too bad that Israel has sunk to such low levels. And it’s really too bad that it took so long to catch them at it.

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