Peter Beaumont’s “unnamed source” affirms Guardian narrative about ‘Prisoner X’


Observer foreign affairs editor Peter Beaumont just published his seventh report over the course of three days on Prisoner X – a man believed to have been an Australian-Israeli Mossad agent jailed by Israel because he was about to reveal state secrets to Australian authorities or the media, who committed suicide in his cell in 2010.

His latest piece, co-authored with Phoebe Greenwood, on Feb. 16 is titled ‘Israeli government to compensate family of Prisoner X‘, and is based on “an unnamed source” quoted in Haaretz, claiming a compensation deal was agreed to following the conclusion of an inquiry into the death of the prisoner (aka, Ben Zygier).

Beaumont’s latest post attempts to buttress the narrative, advanced in his other reports on Prisoner X, that Israel behaved in a manner inconsistent with democratic norms.  As we noted previously, one of Beaumont’s reports from Feb. 14 includes the following passage, citing the analysis of unnamed commentators:

“The latest revelations come amid a growing outcry over the case in Israel, with some comparing the treatment of Zygier to that meted out in the Soviet Union or Argentina and Chile under their military dictatorships.”

In his latest report, he cites an “unnamed source“, thus:

“According to one unnamed source familiar with the Zygier case who spoke the YNet website: “When an Israeli is detained for security offences, a process begins, but no one knows how it will end. He disappears into interrogation rooms, and no one knows where he is. They do it using two tools: A gag order and an injunction that prevents the detainee from meeting with an attorney.”

However, contrary to the claims made by the source cited by Beaumont, not only did the detainee in this case meet with his attorney (Avigdor Feldman), but did so, according to an official at the State Prosecutor’s Office quoted in the same Feb 15. Ynet story Beaumont cited, “within days” of being incarcerated.

The official at the State Prosecutor’s Office added the following: 

 “…the picture painted by the media is far from reality. There are no ‘prisoners x’ in the State of Israel…It’s an expression taken from dictatorships where people were made to disappear without having seen a lawyer or family. There was no such thing here.”

In the past 25 years there were very few cases in which it was decided for security reasons to hold prisoners under pseudonyms.

In those cases, as in this particular case, the families were immediately made aware of the arrest and within a number of days the prisoner was given access to legal counsel. As in regular cases, there was due criminal process with the prisoner able to petition the court like any other inmate.”

Consistent with this Israeli official’s argument, a definitive study in ‘Homeland Security Affairs’ determined that, regarding issues “such as how long an individual can be detained without access to counsel for purposes of interrogation”, Israel “provides more overall due process and substantive rights to [security] detainees than America’s years of incommunicado and indefinite executive detention”.

To serious journalists, providing readers with relevant context and a comparative political or legal analysis of the issue matters.

Beaumont’s story, on the other hand, like so many other reports about Israel written by his fellow Guardian Group ‘journavists‘, cited only those “sources”  who confirmed his desired political narrative.

60 comments on “Peter Beaumont’s “unnamed source” affirms Guardian narrative about ‘Prisoner X’

  1. Peter Beaumont: Foreign affairs correspondent and part-time American TV critic. Haven’t we all heard enough from this lame-o?

    • Levick’s story, like so many other reports written by ‘CIF Watch‘, cited only those “sources” who confirmed his desired political narrative.

      • Patently false, as the article quotes (and refutes) Beaumont, who does confirm Levick’s “desired political narrative.”

        • “An Australian-Israeli Mossad agent jailed by Israel because he was about to reveal state secrets to Australian authorities or the media, who committed suicide in his cell in 2010.”

          An Australian-Mossad agent who REPORTEDLY committed suicide in his cell.

          TO this day, no independent investigation was conducted that would allow us to conclude whether what happened in a suicide-proof cell under video watch 24/24 was suicide or assassination. Hopefully such an investigation will soon take place in keeping with the Law.

          • “Would allow us”… Speaking in plurals there, Troll?
            It appears you’ve been spending too much time in Amsterdam’s notorious, ‘weed’-hawking coffee-shops… Are you hearing voices now too?
            By the way, there are only 7 days in a week. Even in Amsterdam. So he was being watched, if at all, ’24/7′, not “24/24″ — whatever the hell that means.

        • OMG! The Grauniard uses “unnamed sources” to report on the Prisoner X affair!

          So do New York Times, the Sydney Morning Herald, the Washington Post, USA Today, Haaretz, the Jerusalem Post, the Los Angeles Times, YNet News, the Independent, the Daily Telegraph, the Australian, Le Monde, Volkskrant, El Mundo, El Pais, Figaro, Maariv, the Financial Times, the Washington Times, Mac Clutchy, Reuters, AP…

    • “Observer foreign affairs editor Peter Beaumont just published his seventh report over the course of three days on Prisoner X”

      … and Haaretz has published what must be its 20th report on Prisoner X.

      WIll Levick attack Haaretz too?

      • Nat: “WIll Levick attack Haaretz too?”

        We’ve been here before haven’t we? Can you remember the answer to which you were referred sometime ago? Have you forgotten already why ‘Levick’ does what he does and doesn’t do what he doesn’t do?

        BTW, if you want to sound like an authentic Israeli, don’t forget the apostrophe in Ha’aretz, otherwise you sound like just another pompous Englishman / woman/ whatever, who elongates all their vowels in the almost incomprehensible name of universal justice and humanity.

    • Perhaps Nat has missed the purpose of this blog, which is to monitor the Guardian’s obsessive anti-Israel coverage. If Nat wishes to launch a blog to monitor Haaretz’ obsessive anti-Israel coverage, he is free to do so. There is plenty of material available for that.

      • The purpose of this blog is not to ” to monitor the Guardian’s obsessive anti-Israel coverage”.

        he purpose of this blog is to launch personal attacks against Guardian journalists and other Britons whose work does not please whoever runs this website.

        • Nat – if you fail to comprehend the difference between a criticism of the work of an individual and a “personal attack” then that is your problem (one of many you seem to have), not Adam Levick’s.

          • Monitoring the press and criticizing the press is healthy and useful.

            However launching personal attacks against journalists and systematically quoting sources which only promote one’s political agenda does NOT quality as “monitoring” or “criticizing” the press.

            • “However launching personal attacks against journalists and systematically quoting sources which only promote one’s political agenda does NOT quality as ‘monitoring’ or ‘criticizing’ the press.”
              Of course not “Nat.” Let’s all go back to the tried and true journalistic methods of Mr. Beaumont by quoting unnamed sources making demonstrably false claims.

            • Ah, it never ceases to amuse me:
              A troll, “Nat”, adjudging what can, or can’t, be “qualified” as criticism of the press.
              Hilarious!
              So let’s play your game, Dutch troll:
              Where did the article “personally attack” Journalists?
              Where did it quote sources promoting a “Political agenda”(Ynet is the most popular newspaper in Israel, and the Naval Post-Grad. school is non-partisan, as are all US military institutions)…
              Now, tell us, is exposing you here for a really pathetic troll going to harm your salary? Are your handlers mad at the shoddy services you’ve been providing?

        • “[T]he purpose of this blog is to launch personal attacks against Guardian journalists and other Britons whose work does not please whoever runs this website.”
          A quote from the article to buttress your claim is in order. Call your organ grinder to see if he can come up with one.

      • The Guardian is merely following and reporting on Israel’s obsessive compulsive behaviour towards the Palestinians in every facet of life under the occupation.
        Israel is also somewhat obsessive in relation to whether Palestinians should be considered as human beings or merely some kind of contagion like vermin or insects.
        It is this obsession which is so lethal.
        if you consider your opponent to be less than human it is that much easier to kill him.This has been a big problem for the Americans,particularly in Vietnam and latterly,the early phase of the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

        • Matthew , is this really a point? Your concerns for Palestinians is pure fakery. Your lack of concern for their brothers and sisters in places like Syria and elsewhere belies your obsessions. 21 countries and not one of them democratic. 200,000,000 live “under occupation”. Go bleat over there.

          • Would that be a hollow core?Are cockroaches unhappy about the comparison with Palestinian infants? Do you think that Israeli sniper on Instagram “thinks “he is looking at a cockroach?

            ________________________________

        • Israel is also somewhat obsessive in relation to whether Palestinians should be considered as human beings or merely some kind of contagion like vermin or insects.

          Oh fuck off. Really.

        • Thayer: “if you consider your opponent to be less than human it is that much easier to kill him.This has been a big problem for the Americans,particularly in Vietnam etc”.

          And a problem that affected your own grandparents and their antecedents in relation to Europe’s oldest and most persecuted minority. And now, of course, by you, who sees the moral antithesis of the Jew in the modern state of Israel.

          Israel is just a convenient canvass (and no coincidence that it is full of Jews) on which you project all the nastiest and most visceral hatreds that your culture pretends it has eradicated from the modern body politic.

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