Did Jonathan Pollard Deserve a Life Sentence?
On January 7, 2002, former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu stepped through the two-doored entry chamber of a prison sallyport. After the first fudge-brown steel and armored glass door slowly closed right-to-left behind him, Netanyahu passed his hand beneath a black light reader along the left wall. It illuminated a small security stamp on his hand, not unlike the type disco clubs use. Behind opaque, silver-tinted windows, watchful security officers in the control room completed their checklist, approving Netanyahu's access. Then in a low mechanized rumble, the entry chamber's long second door opened left-to-right, admitting Netanyahu to an inner corridor of the prison. He was ushered just down the hall and then into a large room on the right, filled with vending machines and tables. There, waiting for him was the man Netanyahu wanted to see.
The prison was not in Israel, it was in North Carolina. Netanyahu had flown to Raleigh Durham and then driven the forest-lined 20 minutes to the Federal Correctional Institution at Butner. It was all to talk to America's most controversial Jewish prisoner, now serving his 17th year of incarceration. The prisoner, 09185-016, was Jonathan Jay Pollard, the American Jew who pleaded guilty in 1986 to spying for Israel, and was abruptly sentenced to life imprisonment despite a binding plea bargain that restricted any request for so harsh a term.
For the next few hours, within earshot of a National Security Agency monitor, Netanyahu and Pollard spoke about the anguish of his imprisonment and practical ideas to set him free."Contrary to perfidious rumors about his manner," remembers Netanyahu in a telephone interview,"Pollard was absolutely clear and in control-both intellectually and emotionally. Remember, he did not work for anyone but Israel, yet continues in jail after 17 years. However, others did work for other countries, and they were set free long ago. A great injustice has been perpetrated by keeping Pollard endlessly in jail."
Netanyahu's crusading tone is now a common feature of the Jonathan Pollard saga. Since that tumultuous afternoon, March 4, 1987, when federal Judge Aubrey Robinson stunned his courtroom by imposing a life sentence, Pollard has been the cause célèbre of an international movement to free him. The roster of the renowned passionately advocating for Pollard's release, or the overturn of his sentence, is nothing less than spectacular. It includes every Israeli Prime Minister since the crime, from Yitzhak Rabin to Ariel Sharon; Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel, who has visited Pollard twice in prison; numerous members of Congress led by Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY); a collection of distinguished law professors, such as Harvard's Charles Ogletree and American University's Michael Tigar; a cast of Hollywood luminaries; and an armada of America's most celebrated defense attorneys, including Harvard's flamboyant Alan Dershowitz and Theodore Olsen, now the U.S. Solicitor General. Legions of grass-root supporters both within America's Jewish community and the Israeli electorate, emotionally agitate as well for Pollard's immediate release.
At the same time, Pollard's continued lengthy incarceration is fiercely demanded by an equally vocal multitude. Virtually the entire U.S. intelligence and defense establishment, with CIA director George Tenet acting as point man, want Pollard to rot in jail forever. Few are as adamant as senior intelligence officers who happen to be Jewish, contacted by this reporter. Numerous ranking members of Congress, such as Sen. Joseph Lieberman, an extraordinary number of America's best placed and most respected Jewish communal and pro-Israel activists, such as the leadership of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, also do not object if Pollard remains behind bars. What's more, the outspoken voices of condemnation are privately embraced by many top Jewish communal leaders who are revolted by Pollard's misguided treachery. Opinion makers, columnists and journalists-many of them Jewish, such as syndicated Jewish media columnist Douglas Bloomfield--have filled the airwaves and printed pages with damnation for Pollard's betrayal. The hardliners are fortified by multitudes of average Americans who part company with their Jewish friends over the Pollard spy case.
Certainly, numerous unanswerable contradictions, unsolvable mysteries, bizarre coincidences and sordid details populate the Pollard saga-enough to fill at least four books. The gold standard,"Territory of Lies" was penned by journalist Wolf Blitzer (then a Jerusalem Post correspondent and now CNN anchor), following his controversial late 1986 and early 1987 prison interviews with the spy. Added to those, hundreds of in-depth magazine investigations and TV reports have since picked at and probed the minutia of the case.
While no one will ever resolve the endless Pollard intrigues, there is one haunting question towering above all others: just why has Jonathan Pollard been imprisoned so long? Pollard was convicted of a single count of disclosing documents to an ally foreign government, in violation of Title 18, section 794c. The far more serious crime of selling classified information to an enemy nation, such as Iraq or the Soviet Union, violates section 794b, and generally fetches a life sentence. But in contrast, those who divulge the nation's secrets to allies, section 794c, always receive lesser sentences.
For example, Navy Lt. Cmd. Michael Schwartz (not Jewish), who passed classified documents to the Saudis from 1992 to 1994 was simply discharged from the military, but never prosecuted, and served no jail time. Others who sold or disclosed documents to friendly countries such as Great Britain, Egypt, the Philippines or South Africa, generally received terms from two to four years and were released early. True, these espionage incidents were vastly less damaging than Pollard's crime, and often did not involve compensation. Israel paid Pollard in cash, jewels and expensive travel for his espionage, which his first wife Anne abetted.
Even still, the conclusion is inescapable. Pollard has by far received the longest sentence in U.S. history for spying for a friendly government. His life term rivals only those handed down to America's greatest traitors, such as Aldrich Ames, whose treachery killed American agents, and John Walker who revealed our nuclear submarine positions to the Soviets. In fact, at least one of Walker's family of accomplices has already been released after serving fifteen years of a 25 year sentence.
So why is Pollard still in prison after 17 years with no end in sight to his life sentence? Anti-Semitism has been ruled out by numerous Jewish organizations. Pundits, prominent and obscure, suggest the spy's knowledge of America's secrets are so sensitive, his enemies so powerful, the politics so volatile, his crime so severe, the Jewish spy can never be released.
But after an intense review of thousands of pages of Pollard-related documents, and dozens of interviews with prosecutors, senior intelligence officers, current and former Israeli and American government officials, the defense attorneys, and Jonathan Pollard himself, the answer now seems to focus on just two men. The first is Pollard's own original defense attorney, Richard A. Hibey, who is accused in Pollard's court papers of failing his client with"inadequate and unprofessional handling" of the sentence phase. The other is, of course, Jonathan Pollard himself, whose provocative conduct while in federal custody sealed his own fate.
Pollard's only hope for freedom is now a habeas corpus action launched by his new pro bono attorneys. A habeas corpus petition argues that a defendant was denied Constitutional rights for one or more reasons. In this case, lawyers argue that"ineffective assistance of counsel" deprived Pollard of due process. If granted, Pollard would be re-sentenced. Though generally hard-to-prove, such a petition seems borne out by the facts in this case.
Pollard's route to a life behind bars, when analyzed, follows six distinct phases: 1) the crime; 2) his alienating pre-sentencing media campaign; 3) the government's retaliation; 4) the judge's angry response; 5) the legal inaction of Pollard's attorneys; and 6) the combative high-profile post-sentencing campaign to free him.
Ironically, no one has ever been able to reliably identify exactly what secrets Pollard sold to Israel--not even generically. Jewish leaders, such as Anti-Defamation League national director Abraham Foxman, who have been briefed by trustworthy sources have constantly been told the same refrain:"If you only knew how severe the damage was!" Despite reams of guesswork, media speculation and Washington's porous nature, the details are still undisclosed.
But those details are clearly enumerated in a 46-page sworn declaration to the sentencing judge by then-Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, most of which has been classified top secret. The secret affidavit includes a classified analysis of twenty illegally disclosed documents.
Although the Weinberger declaration was presented as the prosecution's most powerful sentencing memo, it was in fact specifically requested by Judge Robinson."The judge requested, the court asked, for a confidential, highly-classified summary to report the damage done," Weinberger told me in an interview. Although the declaration was signed by Weinberger and submitted as the Secretary's personal affidavit, the damning document was in fact assembled piecemeal by an inter-agency group of intelligence officials independently assessing Pollard's damage to their own operations. A redacted copy of that sworn 46-page declaration, obtained by this reporter, together with information and analysis reported by several of the actual contributors, indicates that Pollard indeed compromised the most sensitive aspect of American intelligence. More than just intelligence substance, Pollard revealed the carefully guarded aspect of American intelligence, known as"sources and methods."
Three classifications govern U.S. intelligence: confidential, secret and top secret. Beyond top secret is a special designation called Sensitive Compartmented Information [SCI]. SCI represents the highest stricture on America's greatest intelligence secrets. Beyond even the highest security clearance, SCI limits access to those with a demonstrated"need to know" the specific files. Adding a" code word" to a top secret/ SCI classification, restricts access to those not only with a top secret clearance but also code word-specific authority.
As a key analyst in the Office of Naval Intelligence, Pollard enjoyed SCI multi-codeword access to many of the nation's most sensitive intelligence projects and daily cable dispatches."More than 1000 unredacted messages and cables," of which a significant number were not just top-secret but" codeword sensitive," were delivered to Pollard's Israeli handlers, according to the Weinberger Declaration. These messages and cables displayed source references. By piecing those dispatches together, a foreign source could theoretically narrow the identities of specific sources overseas. That said, no U.S. intelligence agents to date have actually been harmed by Pollard's disclosures, intelligence sources concede. Actual harm to sources is an important consideration in assessing the damage.
In addition, Pollard gave the Israelis more than 800 unredacted reports and publications. The many reports and publications-some of them dozens of pages long and featuring satellite photos--also displayed tell-tale source identification. These publications are typically redacted to protect sources and methods, and only then shared with the intelligence agencies of other countries under what the Weinberger Declaration calls,"a quid pro quo basis… in exchange for desired information or other valuable assistance." Recipient nations are required to safeguard the information. Pollard's disclosures meant America lost horse-trading leverage with Israel's intelligence services. But more importantly, Israel was suspected of re-editing and then itself trading the information with other intelligence services under its own quid pro quos. Washington resented that its secret information was no longer under U.S. control. It could theoretically end up anywhere, including Moscow, as a bargaining chip while Israel was trying to free Soviet Jews.
One of the largest of copied documents was a special Compendium of intelligence community documents, classified secret, according to a former Navy intelligence source who personally reviewed Pollard's disclosed reports. The special Compendium outlined for the Israelis exactly how much Washington was withholding under a March 1982 Israeli-American intelligence sharing agreement, profoundly restricted after Israel bombed Iraq's Osirek nuclear reactor. The Compendium was in many ways an index to the voluminous coded and numbered documents Pollard's handlers asked him to retrieve.
Numerous intelligence reports about Soviet missile systems, delivered by Pollard, exposed the way America analyzed Soviet weapons.
Among the most sensitive materials were reports from the Sixth Fleet's Air Reconnaissance Squadron TWO, codenamed VQ-2, headquartered in Rota, Spain. The forward-deployed squadron's motto is"We deliver critical electronic combat information to our forces: Any place, any time!" In Pollard's day, VQ-2 continuously deployed EA-3B Skywarriors and later the EP-3E ARIES over-the-horizon electronic eavesdropping aircraft across the Mediterranean. VQ-2 provided invaluable intelligence during the 1973 Yom Kippur War, the 1982-83 evacuation of Beirut, and America's precision night-time bombing of Libya in April 1986. By providing unredacted VQ-2 dispatches, revealing America's time and place acquisition methods, Pollard enabled Israel to virtually track America's own intelligence capability in the Mediterranean and even over Israel itself. This was crucial in Israel's 1985 bombing of the P.L.O. headquarters in Tunis, codenamed Operation Wooden Leg, which depended upon Israeli F-15s evading both American and Arab listening posts over North Africa.
But all of it together was dwarfed by photocopying for Israel the massive 10-volume RASIN Manual, according to a principal author of the Weinberger Declaration. An acronym for Radio and Signal Intelligence [RASIN], the precious manual is known as"the Bible," according to the intelligence officer. The RASIN Manual details America's global listening profile, frequency by frequency, source by source, geographic slice by geographic slice. RASIN was in effect, a complete roadmap to American signal intelligence. Pollard's handlers required the spy to locate and copy the most up-to-date edition.
When Pollard's attorneys tried to argue at the sentencing that although the spy had delivered volumes of classified papers,"the damage here is not serious damage," Judge Robinson stopped them cold. Raising his arm, and cautioning them not to verbalize the sensitive information, the judge warned,"Well, then I would ask you to just think--and not articulate. … I would ask you to think about the Secretary of Defense's Affidavit, as it related to only one thing--and I won't even pinpoint it--as it related to only one category of publication." Judge Robinson added,"Would you like to come to the bench, and I will refresh your recollection to what I am referring to." A hushed classified bench discussion followed. Informed sources say Pollard's RASIN Manual disclosure was the crux of that secret courtroom exchange held just moments before the outraged judge finally pronounced a life sentence. Some estimate the loss of the RASIN manual cost America billions of dollars, and many years, to completely restructure our worldwide eavesdropping operation.
By any measure, Pollard's crime was lasting and inexcusable.
THE OUTRAGEOUS MEDIA CAMPAIGN
To avoid a public trial, the government negotiated a binding, written plea agreement with both Pollard and his first wife Anne. By way of background, plea agreements govern conduct of prosecutors and defendants in the time leading up to sentencing."A plea agreement is exactly what the two words suggest," explains distinguished former federal Judge George Leighton, who has studied the Pollard case."It is an agreement between defendant and government governing the guilty plea and the length of sentence the government will insist upon. This is done to induce the defendant to relinquish the important right of trial. The government must live up to the agreement, and the plea agreement can be enforced against the government."
Pollard's binding plea agreement required him to cooperate fully with a cascade of polygraph examiners and intelligence investigators. This he did.
In return, prosecutors promised that while they would indeed request substantial jail time, they would not ask for the maximum: life. Toward that end, prosecutors promised to stress to the judge the spy's post-arrest cooperation with investigators and polygraphers, and limit their allocution of facts to the circumstances of his espionage. As such, prosecutors agreed to omit aggravating details of Pollard's high Israeli-paid lifestyle, suggestions of cooperation with South Africa, and other aggravating factors that could easily inflame the sentencing judge to mete out a longer term. As part of the overall deal, Anne, who assisted Pollard's espionage, would be shown leniency with a minimal term, and bail while awaiting sentence would not be opposed.
The two agreements were"wired," that is, both Pollards had to comply with all provisions.
Both agreements also routinely required the Pollards to obtain specific approval from the Director of Naval Intelligence for any media interviews or publication. Clearly, the government's intent was to restrict further classified disclosures, including inadvertent ones, and basically deprive the Pollards of any notoriety, prestige, income or other benefit that interviews, books, or movies might bring. Such conditions are standard in many plea agreements, especially those involving espionage. Keeping your mouth shut and displaying remorse is"job one" when throwing yourself at the mercy of the court.
But the Pollards tried to outsmart mercy. They decided to rally the American Jewish community and massage public opinion, hoping to create outside pressure on the judge and prosecutors to dispense a reduced sentence.
Without the knowledge of his attorney, Pollard granted two exclusive prison interviews to Wolf Blitzer, then Washington correspondent for the Jerusalem Post. In these interviews, Pollard brashly presented himself as a highly motivated Jew determined to help Israel in the face of an intransigent American intelligence community endangering the Jewish State."No Bumbler but Israel's Master Spy," the headline declared. Moreover, a letter from Pollard ran on the front page of the Jerusalem Post decrying his"judicial crucifixion," and assuring"the gains to Israel's long-term security were worth the risks" he took. The letter even lamented the fact that"no one has summoned the [Jewish] community to put a stop to this ordeal."
What a disaster. Press interviews with prisoners awaiting sentencing are virtually unheard of. Pollard's defiant, combative tone was more than astonishing. After learning of one of the interviews, Pollard's defense attorney Richard Hibey is said to have shrieked so loudly into the phone, a partner rushed in to see if he was okay.
The Jerusalem Post campaign seemed Jonathan Pollard's total undoing. But that damage was surpassed by wife Anne's audacious interview with Mike Wallace on"60 Minutes." In her interview, Anne told the nation,"I feel my husband and I did what we were expected to do, and what our moral obligation was as Jews, what our moral obligation was as human beings, and I have no regrets about that." 60 Minutes aired just a few days before the scheduled sentencing.
Remorse was now out of the question.
Prosecutors Joseph diGenova and Charles Leeper were outraged, as was Judge Robinson. So was Pollard's now humiliated defense attorney Hibey, who was expected to keep his client in line.
"I assure you, Judge Robinson got a videotape of the"60 Minutes" interview the very next day," recalls Hamilton Phillip Fox, one of Pollard's subsequent defense attorneys, in an office interview."It was a classic case of how not to behave," a senior member of the prosecution team told this reporter.
Jewish officers throughout the American intelligence community were equally incensed that the Pollards might make all American Jews seem disloyal."There are more than a few Jews loyally and quite properly serving their country in intelligence," explained one highly-placed Jewish intelligence analyst."None of us wants to be looked at cross-eyed when we walk into a room, people wondering if we are the next Pollard. He had no right!"
Pollard's antagonistic media gamble sealed his fate. He was now doomed.
Angry prosecutors would now manifest their rage and exact their revenge. It was inadvisable to throw out the binding plea agreement, claiming the Pollards breached the spirit of the media strictures. With no plea agreement, the government would have to start from scratch and prosecute the case in a public trial. Instead, prosecutors themselves simply breached the plea agreement to make sure Pollard was thrown in jail for life.
Prosecutors were obligated by the plea agreement to confine their arguments to the details of the crime and make no effort to provoke a life sentence. Instead, in a memorandum to the judge originally classified secret, diGenova castigated"the tactic which he [Pollard] has relentlessly pursued during recent months-to garner support for a 'political solution' to the criminal proceedings pending before this Court. Defendant continues to express his hope that his incarceration may be cut-short by a 'diplomatic or administrative' solution." DiGenova added,"Defendant has solicited political efforts by Israel to obtain his release." Twice the prosecution denounced these"attempts to glorify his actions." Time and again, prosecutors returned to the Wolf Blitzer interviews as flagrant violations of the plea agreement and egregious examples of Pollard's unabated deviousness. The prosecutors declared:"This pattern of public relations gambits undertaken by defendant … has demonstrated that he is … contemptuous of this Court's authority."
All of it was strictly outside the four walls of the binding plea agreement. But prosecutors understandably wanted the judge to grasp that Pollard was trying to go over the court's head to publicly or politically pressure for a reduced sentence. Any judge would be inflamed.
For reinforcement, diGenova presented an unprecedented last minute four-page affidavit from Secretary of Defense Weinberger who essentially asked for"life imprisonment," even though the plea agreement expressly prohibited such a request. Life sentences had been dealt just months before to several notorious spies. Weinberger's affidavit made clear to the judge,"It is difficult for me, in the so-called 'year of the spy' to conceive of a greater harm to national security." The message was clear: give Pollard life-regardless of the plea agreement.
"The reference to the 'year of the spy,' was an undisguised reference to the Walker, Whitworth and Pelton cases," insist numerous post-sentencing amicus filings, including Pollard's own September 2000 Motion for Resentencing. That motion specifies,"Newspapers and magazines discussing those cases, had proclaimed 1985 the 'year of the spy.' … Each [spy] had been sentenced to life in prison. … The government had no reason to mention the 'year of the spy' other than to call the judge's attention to these other spies. … Without using the words 'life in prison,' the government was asking for a sentence of life in prison in none-too-subtle terms."
Indeed, even the FBI's own history website declares that 1985 was"The Year of the Spy," and lists Pollard's name alongside the nation's greatest traitors.
At the sentencing on March 4, 1987, prosecutors again emphasized that Pollard was a deceitful and outrageous media manipulator, hammering at the Blitzer interviews. If that was not enough, prosecutors further disregarded the plea agreement by invoking extra information guaranteed to inflame the judge. Judge Robinson was one of the District of Columbia's most respected African-American judges. Prosecutor Charles Leeper, in making his final arguments, disclosed to the judge that Pollard had written a personal letter home decrying his condition in the DC jail, where he encountered hostile, primarily black inmates, many among the city's most violent criminals.
"Parenthetically," Leeper tossed in,"I should mention that he [Pollard] asked for leniency because he says he is disliked by his fellow inmates. I wonder if it has occurred to him that when he describes publicly people with whom he is incarcerated, using terms such as, and I quote, 'The most degenerate group of subhuman individuals collected under one roof,' that he may be the cause of his own problems."
That was so clearly an appeal to Judge Robinson's personal racial instincts that when defense attorneys objected, Judge Robinson brushed the remark aside, quipping,"Do you honestly think that that is going to make any difference? … Give me some credit."
But the damage had been done. Between the Pollards' outrageous interviews and the prosecution's unbridled breach of the plea agreement, there was little hope.
THE JUDGE'S ANGRY RESPONSE
Judge Robinson's courtroom was tense throughout the late afternoon proceeding that March 4, 1987.
"It was as though you had pissed on the judge's desk," recalls a senior member of the prosecution team. He added,"We originally calculated he would be out by 2002. [Jonathan] Jay [Pollard] had time served since November 23, 1985. Figure 15-17 years. But the judge was steamed--really steamed. In fact, as the judge was speaking, some thought the sentence might run up as high as 25 years. Then one of the prosecutors turned to me and said 35 years. But I felt it coming. As the judge was getting ready to pronounce; I told one of the guys, 'I think he's going away for the full ride.'"
Judge Robinson ignored the prosecution's clear violation of the binding plea agreement. He agreed that Pollard deserved the worst punishment possible. Stern, determined, and provoked, Robinson announced,"I think I should state for the record that during my entire tenure in this court, I have never had more voluminous submissions in connection with the sentencing of a defendant than I have had in this case. And in addition to those voluminous submissions by each side, I have also received numerous communications directed to the court with respect to this procedure.
"I have read all of the material once, twice, thrice, if you will," Judge Robinson continued,"and I have given careful consideration, not only to the submission, but to argument of counsel, and I pronounce the sentence as follows…"
The breathless courtroom waited. As the judge pronounced the word"life," the room erupted into chaos. People were shrieking in dismay. Anne collapsed into hysteria. Guards lifted her off the floor only to hear her own five-year sentence. Blitzer's book, Territory of Lies, recalled the courtroom bedlam best, when he wrote:"The guards dragged Anne out of the courtroom. By now, she was screaming, completely overcome with hysteria. Pollard could not help her. Indeed, federal marshals forcibly separated them."
Pollard was taken away to begin his life sentence.
THE DEFENSE FAILURE
The prosecution's excesses and breach of plea agreement should have been objected to by Israeli government-paid defense attorney Hibey. But they were not.
Nor did Hibey call for an evidentiary hearing on the last-minute affidavit by Secretary Weinberger using language essentially signaling a life sentence and justifying it with the assertion,"It is difficult for me, in the so-called 'year of the spy' to conceive of a greater harm to national security."
Ironically, during a May, 2002 interview with Caspar Weinberger regarding his recent published memoir, In the Arena, this reporter asked Weinberger why the Pollard incident was left out of the book. Weinberger casually replied,"Because it was, in a sense, a very minor matter, but made very important." Asked to elaborate, Weinberger repeated,"As I say, the Pollard matter was comparatively minor. It was made far bigger than its actual importance." Pressed on why the case was made far bigger than its actual importance, Weinberger replied,"I don't know why-it just was." Had Hibey called for an evidentiary hearing on Weinberger's affidavit, the veracity of his assertions could have been assessed.
In response to Weinberger's startling admission some fifteen years later, Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, declared,"This raises serious questions about Weinberger's sworn comments at the time which now seem contradictory. I wish he had made this clear years ago."
Moreover, Hibey failed to object to the repeated prosecution assertions that Blitzer's interviews were unauthorized, a notion that seems impossible since they were conducted with the permission of the Department of Justice and Bureau of Prisons inside the prison itself. Indeed, the whole idea of Blitzer's interviews being unauthorized seems preposterous on its face. How does a reporter for a foreign newspaper, especially a newspaper in the country that commissioned the spying, walk into a prison setting to freely interview a spy whose talkativeness and propensity for super-secret disclosures could only further damage American intelligence? Prosecutors insist Blitzer did it not once but twice
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Julien - 10/1/2003
Also, The judge does the sentencing, not the prosecutors. Despite what recommendations they agreed to, I would still have to believe the judge would have given him life.
Julien - 10/1/2003
As an Orthodox Jew and fervent supporter of Israel, I think he's getting what he deserves. I don't understand how the author thinks the prosecutors needed to stick to their agreement. But in any event, a retrial would have landed him in jail for life anyway. there was a whole lot of stuff not included in that indictment that they could have used. Even if he got more than he should have, he's a descpicable manipulative person whom I can't spend my time or political capital defending. I have more noble causes.
S. G. - 9/17/2003
This made me realize how anti-semitic our government is.
They claim that they aren't "playing favorites", however, anyone with eyes can see they are being unfair.
NEVER before has a person been given a life sentence for passing info to a US ally.
By the way, how do we know his crime was so bad? They haven't told us WHAT it was he passed to Israel.
Bill - 9/2/2003
Asaf's comments about the U.S. "spying on Israel" is untrue. The USS Liberty was in international waters monitoring radio traffic from all sides when it was attacked by unmarked Israeli aircraft. There has never been a Congressional investigation of this incident, and there never will be until we have meaningful campaign finance reform. Pollard is a traitor, and must stay in jail, forever separated from the money paid to him by Israel.
R. Piper - 6/13/2003
The romantic intro told me that this was going to be an attempt to cover a steaming pile of turds with roses.
And I was not disappointed.
It's amusing how Black obviously thinks that he can hoodwink someone into feeling sorry for a proven traitor.
If Pollard had any morals he wouldn't be in jail. And if Black had any morals he wouldn't be wasting our time.
Oh well, Israeli Patriots of feather always stick together.
Asaf - 11/8/2002
Thank you Gus for the insight that Israel is not an ally of the US but rather a friend of the US. Now I ask you Gus why would the US not hand over the information it was obligated to by treaty to give to its little friend? Pollard's real crime was that he embarassed the US by getting caught. I will remind you that it was the US who spied on Israel. The US did not admit it had a Nazy ship in a war zone when Israel asked before sending out its planes. It was only because an Israeli pilot recognized the US uniforms that so few US soldiers lost their lives. (The Liberty did not fly the US flag till after the first streif) However the affair always reddens American cheeks for not successfully covering their ass. That is why Pollard was punished so severly. He embarassed you.
Gus Moner - 9/10/2002
I am baffled by the interest in this supposed injustice for a person who admitted his crime and has been judged to be psycholgically fit to stand trial.
The argument he spied for a friendly country and should have got a leaner sentence seems absurd. He admitted he spied, not for an ally, but for a "friendly" country. It begs the question, how friendly is a country when it spies on its most staunch ally?
How many blacks and other minorities are not today chafing under wrongful convictions and disproportionate sentences? Please, there are plenty of innocent people wrongly condemned behind bars, many facing death, living in much more inhuman conditions than Mr. Pollard. You could dedicate some or all of your time, research and over 4,100 words to help free these real vicitms from erroneous and unjust sentences.
Try tackling that, if you want to do good for humanity.
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