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Australia ‘deeply involved’ in Israeli ‘Prisoner X’ case: report

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Australian intelligence had detailed knowledge of the case of a Melbourne man thought to have been an Israeli spy well before he died in a Tel Aviv jail in 2010, a report said on Saturday.

“Every day that goes by you see how deeply involved they were,” a senior Israeli official told The Australian newspaper. “It is clear they were in the know long before he died.”

The unnamed source told the paper that Australian officials had suspected the man known as “Prisoner X” of spying for Israel and had interrogated him, adding “they (the Australians) knew many things”.

“Then, when the coffin was returned to Australia, they knew he was not some backpacker who got lost trekking,” the official said.

An Israeli probe into the death in December 2010 of the prisoner identified in Australian media as Ben Zygier, a 34-year-old Australian Jew recruited by Israel’s Mossad spy agency, found he had committed suicide.

But a justice ministry official told Israeli journalists the judge handling the case has demanded a further probe “to examine issues of negligence”.

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The fact that the detainee, held in a high security prison under continuous surveillance, managed to hang himself has raised questions and fed conspiracy theories that have been reported by the Israeli and Australian media.

Many questions remain unanswered in the mysterious case and Zygier’s family has not commented since the Australian Broadcasting Corporation broke the story naming him as Prisoner X last week.

Australian journalist Jason Koutsoukis, who interviewed Zygier several times in 2010 while working for Australia’s Fairfax Media, said the Melbourne-raised lawyer who moved to Israel in about 2002 had vehemently denied spying.

Australia’s Foreign Minister Bob Carr said last week he was troubled by Zygier’s death but could do little without a complaint from the family.

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Carr, who only became foreign minister in early 2012, had earlier said he had been told there was no record of contact between the prisoner’s family and the Australian embassy in Tel Aviv or the Department of Foreign Affairs in Canberra.

“So on my advice, the Australian government was not informed of his detention by his family or by anyone else,” he told the ABC.

Carr has since admitted that Canberra was informed in February 2010 — 10 months before Zygier died — that Israel had detained an Australian-Israeli citizen on national security grounds.

He has since ordered a review of Australia’s handling of the case.

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Carr said Canberra had sought assurances at the time that the detainee’s legal rights would be respected and that he was not being mistreated.

“At no stage during his detention did the Australian government receive any request from the individual or his family to extend consular support,” he added.

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Trump drowned in ‘heavy metal jokes’ after trying to tag Dem challengers as ‘motley crew’

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President Donald Trump trotted out a new catchphrase to mock the field of Democratic presidential candidates, but it didn't get quite the reaction he may have hoped.

The president insisted polls looked good for his re-election chances, despite leaked internal polling that says otherwise, and tried to tag his potential 2020 challengers as a "motley crew."

Only Fake Polls show us behind the Motley Crew. We are looking really good, but it is far too early to be focused on that. Much work to do! MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!

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Trump betting he can win re-election by spinning new conspiracy theories to explain investigations: report

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Special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into President Donald Trump's association with Russian efforts to undermine the 2016 presidential election may be over. But that does not mean the president is free from oversight.

According to Politico, Trump is still facing 15 civil and criminal probes by at least nine federal, state, and municipal agencies on everything from obstruction of justice to campaign finance violations to using his office to enrich his family and businesses. But president is not bothered by these investigations — or at least, he believes that he can use them to his political advantage.

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Meet the mysterious conservative lawyer who keeps turning up in the Russia probes

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A prominent conservative lawyer keeps showing up in dramas central to the Trump administration and its battles with Congress—and it turns out he has intimate knowledge of Felix Sater’s intelligence work for the U.S. government while he was working with Trump.

The Moscow-born Sater is the financial criminal and violent felon who worked closely with Trump for years while simultaneously serving as a long-term informant for the FBI and other national security agencies.

In 2015 and into mid-2016, Sater pushed for the development of a Trump Tower in Moscow with his old friend Michael Cohen, Trump’s longtime fixer, while trying to enlist support from the Russian government for Trump’s campaign.

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