Today The Age revealed further details regarding the Ben Zygier (aka Prisoner X) saga. These details supply some sort of closure to Zygier's spying adventure story. Assuming the details are reliable, several new conclusions may be deduced that contradict some assumptions I have made here in the past.
Most notably, it appears Zygier did betray Israel. No, he did not wake up in the morning and decide to do so, he was merely outmatched in a cloak and dagger competition, but the end result is that of betrayal. It also appears as if the previously published revelation on with which I passed judgement on the case were quite inaccurate (which is where I admit being wrong before my critics).
However, assuming the dust is now settled with the publications of these revelations in a generally reliable newspaper (although I regard The Age to be a publication in a rapid downward spiral), my main argument still stands: there isn’t and there never was a case for making a person totally disappear off the face of the earth, with or without the presumption of innocence (which still very much applies to this never to be convicted person). The argument where hiding Zygier's identity prevents intelligence damage for Israel seems irrelevant: By the time Zygier was arrested the damage was already done, for a start; second, there was nothing that couldn’t have been solved by having a closed trial, the way trails are often held in cases of minors.
I might have been wrong before about the facts, but the conclusion remains the same: in the case of Ben Zygier, Israel did not act in the way a democracy should; instead it behaved the way an Assad class dictatorship does. Worse, there is no indication towards Israel regretting and attempting to address this past mistake.
It appears I was wrong: the Prisoner X saga is far from over.
According to an Haaretz newspaper blogger (see Hebrew post here), who relies on another blogger (see Hebrew post here), The Age's story is blatantly unreliable. The two bloggers are claiming it would have been impossible for Zygier to achieve what The Age is now saying he had achieved, betrayal wise, given the way the Israeli Mossad works. They also claim The Age's report contradicts the stories they have heard from their own sources (stories they cannot publish due to Israeli secrecy laws). It therefore appears, according to them, that The Age was fed with systematic bullshit coming from a Mossad source with the intention of clearing that institution's name.
What do I make of this late development? Who is right and who is wrong?
Well, my answer is simple: I don't care. I don't care because I think the matter of Zygier's innocence is irrelevant. Sure, it would be great if it turns out the man was innocent, but my main quarrel is not with whether he did something or didn't; my main quarrel is with a state seeing fit to hide any shred of evidence concerning the existence of a person. Whether Zygier is a criminal or not according to Israeli law does not change the fact he is entitled to due process. If Eichmann deserved it, so does one Ben Zygier.
29/3/2013 update: Haaretz publishes even more stuff that contradicts The Age's revelations.