The Mystery of Israel’s ‘Prisoner X’

• Australian man working for the Mossad found “suicided”; may have turned against Israeli bosses

By Ralph Forbes

“He is simply a person without a name and without an identity who has been placed in total and utter isolation from the outside world,’’ an Israeli prison official told the media in Israel in 2010 when news of a mysterious ‘‘Prisoner X’’ first leaked—before it quickly vanished down the Memory Hole.

Who is this mysterious Prisoner X? According to the Israeli press, his name is Ben Zygier, an Australian, who had moved to Israel and reportedly worked for Mossad, Israel’s secret intelligence agency, until he did something that so enraged the espionage agency they locked him away in a secret cell, took away his identity and had the courts bar the media from reporting on him.


Even now when Tel Aviv and other international capitols are being rocked by revelations, the United States mass media—in contrast with AMERICAN FREE PRESS—continues to cover up the scandal and mysterious death of Prisoner X. Is the U.S. media even more controlled than Israel’s media, which is tightly regulated under the pretext of national security censorship?

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The existence of Prisoner X and his identity is an Israeli state secret ordered by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It has been enforced by the Israeli military, the intelligence community, the Israeli courts and the “editors committee,” which censors all information in the mini-police state.

According to reports, Shin Bet, Israel’s Federal Bureau of Investigation, devised a cover story for Prisoner X’s widow to tell to her family, friends and neighbors so they wouldn’t know her husband had been arrested. She told everyone he had cancer and was in treatment. After his death, she told them that he’d died of cancer. Either Shin Bet lied to her or forced her to lie for years.

Prisoner X was secretly locked in solitary confinement in the dreaded Ayalon Prison under a false name in Unit 15, a secret prison-within-a-prison. Prisoner X’s imprisonment was so secret that not even his guards knew his name. He was held in isolation in a separate wing that contains only a single cell deep within Israel’s most secure, maximum security prison.

Israel’s Prisoner X was closely monitored by guards and four cameras 24 hours a day, seven days a week. However, he supposedly hanged himself in the specially constructed cell that was meant to be suicide proof.

Even Maariv, Israel’s second largest Hebrew language daily newspaper, admitted that immediately after Prisoner X’s alleged “suicide,” intelligence personnel in civilian garb swarmed his cell. Only after secret police cleaned up the site was the forensics team permitted to enter. Police and Shin Bet officers refused to acknowledge the incident. The prison service and Shin Bet agreed only to say that “a prisoner had committed suicide in his cell.”

Personnel within the prison told Maariv, “They were astonished at this version and agreed that there is more unknown than known regarding the circumstances of his death.” One prison official says “the suicide story beggars belief” because there are four video surveillance cameras in the cell. Prisoner X was imprisoned for eight months in a tiny cell, from which he was never allowed out. It had an iron door, which permitted no view of the hallway outside, so he could not communicate with the outside world.

Even hard-bitten prison guards mocked the regime’s “official” story. One reason this story is known at all is because prison personnel were aghast at the treatment meted out to Prisoner X.

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Ralph Forbes is a freelance writer based in Arkansas. He is also a member of AFP’s Southern Bureau. Contact him at [email protected].