|Wednesday, September 26, 2001|
Terror in the U.S. and the Jonathan Pollard case
By Larry Dub
© 2001 WorldNetDaily.com
In a bitterly ironic way, the devastating terrorist assaults on New York and Washington which recently claimed thousands of innocent American lives bring to mind the desperate and futile attempts of Jonathan Pollard to save America and Israel from just such a catastrophe.
In the early 1980s, Jonathan Pollard was a civilian analyst in an anti-terrorist unit of the U.S. Navy. He was responsible for identifying state sponsors of terrorism in the Middle East, analyzing information on terrorist activities and briefing American officials on the probability of terrorist strikes, both at home and abroad.
Pollard's unceasing message in these briefings and in the reports he submitted was if America did not combat terrorism abroad, the battle would eventually be brought home to be fought on American soil. Much to Pollard's dismay, as long as his reports were only about murdered Jews and Israeli targets, his exhortations were met with indifference. His warnings and his recommendations – which if implemented threatened to disturb America's relations with her so called "moderate" Arab allies – were largely ignored.
For example, Jonathan Pollard was deeply troubled that the U.S. government did not seem to appreciate the threat to American interests posed by Saddam Hussein. He repeatedly warned American officials of the dangerous game the U.S. was playing – both in arming Iraq and providing it with sensitive intelligence. He also tried desperately to hold the U.S. to its commitment to warn Israel of "the Butcher of Baghdad's" lethal plans for the Jewish State. In his efforts to get this information legally released to Israel, Pollard appealed all the way up the chain of command in the Pentagon. To no avail. In desperation, Pollard finally gave the information to Israel himself.
Essentially, Jonathan Pollard warned Israel that Saddam Hussein was planning to scorch the Jewish State with weapons of mass destruction. What is perhaps most shocking of all, though, is the fact that this vital information was being purposely withheld from Israel by the U.S., Israel's closest ally.
While the exact reason for this betrayal will probably never be known, at least two high-ranking members of the American National Security establishment at the time – Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger and Deputy CIA Director Admiral Bobby Ray Inman – were well aware of Iraq's genocidal intentions toward Israel, and chose to blindside the Jewish state. Their motive, it seems, was to curry favor with the Egyptians and the Saudis who viewed Saddam's covert strategic arsenal as a means to finally destroy Israel.
Nevertheless, thanks to Jonathan Pollard, Israel was ready with gas masks and sealed rooms when Iraq attacked her during the Gulf War.
In warning Israel, Jonathan broke the law. He deserved to be punished. But the punishment has to fit the crime. The usual sentence for spying for an ally is 2-4 years. Jonathan is about to complete his 16th year of a life sentence, with virtually no possibility of parole.
Jonathan Pollard did not spy against the United States. He was never indicted for intent to harm the United States, nor for treason, though he has been falsely accused of both. He received his life sentence without benefit of trial, as the result of a plea bargain which Jonathan honored and the U.S. violated.
Jonathan received a sentence far harsher than most of those who spied for an enemy nation. Twentieth-century spies Michael Walker, Clayton Lonetree and Richard Miller, who spied for the Soviet Union and did inestimable damage to American national security, are all free men today. Only Jonathan Pollard, a Jew who spied for the Jewish State, remains in prison with no end in sight.
Additionally, the case of Michael Schwartz highlights the disparity in sentencing between Jew and non-Jew and between Israel and other U.S. allies. Schwartz, a non-Jew who spied for Saudi Arabia, was arrested, confessed and indicted. But before he ever stood trial, a quick deal was worked out in order to appease America's Saudi ally. His punishment? Loss of his Navy job, rank and pension. Whereas Jonathan Pollard got life for his activities on behalf of a U.S. ally, Schwartz did not get a single day in prison.
An article ("Crime and Punishment," LA Jewish Journal – 04/03/98) by J.J. Goldberg, Editor of The Forward (N.Y.), cites high-level Washington sources indicating that the Joint Chiefs of Staff acted through Caspar Weinberger to secure a life sentence for Jonathan Pollard that has nothing to do with Jonathan's guilt or innocence and everything to do with sending an intimidating message to Israel and to the American Jewish community: "High-ranking sources say that it was the Joint Chiefs of Staff who urged the judge, through then-Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger, to ignore the plea agreement and throw the book at Pollard. … They wanted to send a message. ... Pollard is still in jail, these sources say, not because his crime merits his lengthy sentence – it doesn't – but because too many American Jews still haven't gotten the message."
Perhaps this explains why both the American justice system and the clemency process have been repeatedly subverted in the Pollard case and why, in spite of the patently false accusations against him, Jonathan Pollard remains in prison nearly 16 years later.
Granted, there is resistance to releasing Jonathan Pollard from numerous officials and institutions in Washington which have gone to great lengths over the years to exaggerate and fabricate the damage Pollard allegedly did to U.S. national security. The record, however, has never supported these unsubstantiated claims.
Congressman Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., recently wrote a letter to President Bush in which he stated: "The facts of the case show that none of the information provided by Mr. Pollard resulted in the loss of lives or the utility of any agents, the need to replace or relocate intelligence equipment, the loss of sources of information, or the compromising of technology. And while sentences in espionage cases are traditionally proportional to the damage caused, Mr. Pollard's sentence is in gross violation of this principle. Having reviewed many of the documents in the case myself and received numerous briefings on the subject, I believe that if anyone were to conduct an original review of Mr. Pollard's case, they would come to the same conclusion that I have: Mr. Pollard's sentence does not fit his crime."
Indeed, the Government's own Victim Impact Statement (VIS), which was submitted to the court prior to sentencing indicated that Pollard's greatest "sin" was that by giving Israel vital security information which permitted the Jewish state to act in its own defense, he had made Israel "too strong" and thus angered America's "moderate" Arab allies.
The assertion that Pollard had disturbed the balance of power in the Middle East by making Israel "too strong" is absurd. As pointed out by David Zwiebel, Esq., in his 1997 critique of the VIS:
For decades, Washington has sought to assure Israel of a qualitative military and strategic advantage vis-א-vis its Arab neighbors; Pollard's actions were, if anything, consistent with this goal.
Moreover, events of subsequent years (and especially the Gulf War) have shown America's enormous credibility with its allies in the Arab world; Pollard's actions had no discernible impact here.
Finally, intelligence-sharing between the United States and Israel has actually been strengthened in the past decade, culminating in a historic strategic cooperation agreement between the two states in 1996; Israel now receives real-time data throughout the day from U.S. intelligence satellites.
If Pollard's actions indeed "adversely affected U.S. relations with both its Middle East Arab allies and the Government of Israel," as claimed in the VIS, it seems fair over a decade later to say that such adverse impact was of short duration.
Nevertheless, in response to the "moderate" Arab allies' complaints that Pollard had made Israel "too strong," the entire American judicial process was subverted. This judicial subversion resulted in an unprecedented life sentence for Jonathan Pollard, which was intended not only to send a severe warning to Israel, but more importantly, to placate America's oil-rich Arab allies.
In spite of the passage of time which has exposed government allegations against Jonathan Pollard as either gross exaggerations or outright lies, and in spite of all the evidence to the contrary, America continues to punish Jonathan Pollard as if he had committed a far more serious crime and as if Israel were an enemy state. Meanwhile America continues to indulge her "moderate" Arab allies as if she were unaware of their connection to and tolerance of terrorism.
As of September 11, 2001, the above situation is no longer tolerable. America's sufferance of Arab "allies" who tolerate terrorism and give it safe haven must cease immediately; and the grossly disproportionate sentence meted out to Pollard to placate these so-called allies must be immediately resolved.
What can be done to bring resolution to the Pollard case which has for 16 years remained impervious to due process and truth? In 1998, a political solution was sought and found – but never implemented. That solution remains viable to this day.
Most Americans and Israelis know that on the heels of the Pollard crisis at the Wye River Summit in 1998, former President Clinton promised former Prime Minister Netanyahu that he would review the Pollard issue. What very few people know is that both prior to the Wye summit and then, again, as an integral part of the Wye accords, President Clinton had, in fact, committed the United States to freeing Jonathan Pollard. The U.S. commitment still stands to this day, waiting to be honored. Israel has fulfilled its part of the deal. The U.S. must live up to its end of the agreement.
In order to understand why America still owes Jonathan Pollard to Israel, it is necessary to understand the sequence of events before, during and after the Wye River Summit. According to a variety of eyewitness participants, including Mr. Netanyahu himself, this is what happened:
In September 1998, just before the mid-term congressional elections, President Clinton (who at the time was facing impeachment hearings and in need of a foreign policy PR victory) asked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to attend a three-way summit with the Palestinians at Wye River, Maryland. Clinton knew that a successful summit at Wye just before the Congressional elections would be good not only for his image, but would also reap political benefits for the Democrats in their bid to regain control of Congress. As an inducement to Netanyahu, Clinton promised to release Jonathan Pollard within the context of the summit.
Understanding the value of Jonathan Pollard for his own re-election bid, and needing him as a sweetener to sell any kind of "peace" deal to the Israeli people, Netanyahu ignored the entreaties of Republican friends like Newt Gingrich, who implored him not to hand a PR victory to the Democrats, and agreed to attend the summit.
Once the Summit was underway, Clinton "forgot" his promise to free Pollard. Netanyahu knew he had been had but there was little he could do about it at that point.
Talks at Wye soon broke down over the release of Palestinian murderers with Jewish blood on their hands, and over Israel's request for the extradition of Ghazi Jabali, the chief of police in Gaza who was wanted for his role in planning and executing terrorist attacks in Israel. To break the stalemate, the Palestinians suggested Jonathan Pollard as the solution. They proposed that Pollard be "sold" to Netanyahu once again: The U.S. would give Jonathan to Israel in return for Israel's freeing hundreds of Palestinian terrorists, and immunity for Ghazi Jabali.
The U.S. and Israel agreed to the Palestinian plan to swap Pollard for terrorists and murderers. President Clinton personally worked out the details in a late-night private session with Palestinian and Israeli representatives. According to the deal, Prime Minister Netanyahu was to receive a letter from President Clinton the next morning (one of approximately 30 letters the Americans had promised) guaranteeing Pollard's release for November 11, 1998, one week after the U.S. House elections. Jonathan Pollard did not agree to this deal. He was not even consulted.
Had Pollard been consulted, he would have warned the U.S. and Israel that making deals with terrorists only encourages them – and that his freedom should be arranged in a way that redresses the injustices in his case and brings honor to both the United States and Israel.
Nevertheless, the fact remains that Pollard's release was negotiated at Wye in a currency agreed upon by both Israel and the United States.
What is more, the Pollard negotiation was the deal-maker at Wye which allowed the summit to be successfully wrapped up and a signing ceremony to be planned for the next morning in Washington on Friday, October 23, 1998.
Only hours before the signing ceremony, P.M. Netanyahu received all of the American letters that had been promised to him except one – the one guaranteeing the release of Jonathan Pollard. Netanyahu threatened not to attend the signing ceremony unless he got the Pollard side letter. Clinton said, "Trust me." Netanyahu, knowing he was about to be double-crossed by Clinton over Pollard for the second time, refused.
Netanyahu demanded that in the absence of a letter of guarantee, Pollard should be freed into his custody immediately, or no signing ceremony. Ariel Sharon, who was then a Cabinet minister and is now prime minister of Israel, supported Netanyahu and they threatened to leave Wye without signing the Accords.
In order to take the pressure off President Clinton, CIA chief George Tenet leaked the news of Pollard's imminent release to the media in a deliberate – and ultimately successful – attempt to torpedo the deal. He sent emissaries to Capitol Hill to hold emergency meetings with leading senators and congressmen to enlist their support in publicly denouncing Pollard's release. Many lies were told by the CIA emissaries to convince the American legislators to act swiftly and in unison. Believing the lies, the legislators complied and began an unprecedented series of public actions to prevent the release of Jonathan Pollard.
Meanwhile, at Wye, under heavy pressure and still fearful that Netanyahu would not back down, Clinton quickly negotiated a private fall-back position with Netanyahu: Clinton would publicly promise to do a "speedy review" of the Pollard Case and he would use that review to free Pollard a few months later, parallel to the release of the 750 Palestinian terrorists who were part of the price Israel had agreed to pay for Pollard.
Under heavy public pressure and betrayed by his own minister of defense, Yitzhak Mordecai, who closed ranks with Clinton, Netanyahu reluctantly and with misgivings accepted this private deal. The signing ceremony was held in Washington as scheduled.
Netanyahu's capitulation at Wye and the lopsided deal he brought home from the summit, now that Pollard was no longer publicly perceived to be a part of it, would shortly cost him his premiership. This, in turn, would jeopardize the private deal that Netanyahu had made with Clinton because it required the next prime minister to ensure that Pollard's release was delivered as promised by the U.S.
After the signing of the Wye Accords, when Clinton had all that he wanted from the Israeli leader, the White House falsely accused Netanyahu of having injected Pollard into the summit at the last moment. However, eye-witnesses to the Pollard deal at Wye, including the Israeli and the Palestinian who had negotiated the deal with Clinton, and the former Israeli Cabinet secretary, Dani Naveh (currently minister without portfolio), all later contradicted the White House version of events and affirmed that President Clinton had committed the United States to the release of Jonathan Pollard as an integral part of the Wye Accords.
When Netanyahu returned to Israel after Wye, he created a firestorm of publicity by releasing 200 Palestinian common criminals from Israeli prisons. The Palestinians were outraged because they insisted that these common criminals were not the prisoners that they had bargained for at Wye. The Americans also angrily protested. Netanyahu reminded Washington that the Wye Accords do not specify exactly which prisoners Israel must release.
Critics wondered why the prime minister would so deliberately antagonize the Americans this way. Only those close to Prime Minister Netanyahu understood that this was Netanyahu's private, pointed reminder to Bill Clinton that if he were thinking of double-crossing him over Pollard yet a third time, he should think again. No Pollard, no release for the Palestinian murderers and terrorists. Unfortunately for Jonathan Pollard, Netanyahu's government fell before he was able to act on this.
In a meeting with Netanyahu right after his electoral defeat in the Spring of 1999, Jonathan Pollard's wife, Esther, received assurances from Netanyahu that the new prime minister, Ehud Barak, had been fully briefed about what had been agreed to at Wye and about the fall-back position – that is to say, Israel had yet to free the 750 terrorists with blood on their hands and was still supposed to receive Pollard home in what would be publicly presented as a parallel "gesture" from President Clinton.
Not long after Barak took office, the 750 Palestinian murderers and terrorists walked out of prison as free men. Jonathan Pollard remained in his American jail cell.
In an attempt to justify Clinton's reneging at Wye, a story was leaked to the press that George Tenet had threatened to resign as head of the CIA if Pollard were released. It became popular to cite the opposition of the American intelligence community as the reason Clinton did not honor the U.S. commitment at Wye to free Pollard. This would soon be exposed as nothing more than a lame excuse.
In September of 1999, Clinton ignored a solid wall of opposition from the Justice, Intelligence and Defense Departments and Congress, and invoked his powers of executive clemency to free a group of unrepentant FALN terrorists in an apparent attempt to gain Hispanic support for his wife in her N.Y. Senate bid. In doing so, Clinton effectively put the lie to the notion that any government agency might tie his hands or influence his decision in matters of clemency. CIA chief Tenet's alleged threat to resign was clearly an excuse, not the reason, for keeping Pollard in prison.
More than two years after Wye, President Clinton's "speedy review" of the Pollard case still had not occurred. Jonathan Pollard remained in prison while the U.S. continued to extract Israeli concessions for his release. Those who still believed the myth that the American intelligence community was tying the hands of President Clinton also clung to the belief he would finally honor America's promise to release Jonathan Pollard at the end of his term, when he could do so without fear of political reprisal.
But when Clinton left office in January 2001, Jonathan Pollard was not included among those to whom he granted clemency, in spite of the American commitment to free Pollard as an integral part of the Wye Accords; in spite of the appeals of the Jewish community; and in spite of the demonstrable injustices of the Pollard case which include:
a grossly disproportionate sentence;
a plea agreement violated by the U.S. (honored by Pollard);
the use of secret evidence;
a false charge of treason;
ineffective assistance of counsel;
a lack of due process; and
a sentencing procedure infected by false allegations and lies.
On his last day in office, Clinton granted clemency to 140 people. Many of these pardons were judicially insupportable and it was suspected that many of the recipients had "bought" them with very large financial contributions. The most flagrant of these tainted pardons was granted to a notorious billionaire, a criminal fugitive from justice who never stood trial, much less spent time in prison.
Again, although the legal system and the clemency process have repeatedly failed to do justice in the case of Jonathan Pollard, there remains one last avenue for relief. The commitment that the United States made at Wye to free Jonathan Pollard is still in effect – still viable – and has yet to be honored. On February 28, 2001, Minister Dani Naveh, an eyewitness to the Wye deal, made the following remarks in the Knesset Record:
The former President of the United States, Bill Clinton, made an explicit commitment to the then-Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, to release Jonathan Pollard. … This promise was made prior to the Wye Summit and [again] during the course of the negotiations at Wye. ... This was not a personal promise made to a particular prime minister. ... This was a promise made to the State of Israel and to the People of Israel.
– Dani Naveh, minister without portfolio
As Naveh clearly indicated, at Wye, Mr. Clinton acted in his capacity as president of the United States and the commitments he made as an integral part of the Wye Accords are binding upon successive administrations until fulfilled. The current prime minister of Israel, Ariel Sharon, was also an eyewitness to America's promise to free Jonathan Pollard. Both morally and legally, Sharon has no right to "forgive" that commitment to free Jonathan Pollard which was paid for so heavily in Israeli blood, territory and self-respect.
Since the Wye Summit, terrorist chief of police Ghazi Jabali has remained immune from all charges and, to this day, continues to plan and promote terrorist attacks against Israeli civilian targets. Thanks to the U.S., the ranks of his bloodthirsty "army" are now larger by 750 terrorists – the price Israel paid at Wye for Jonathan Pollard. It is high time for America to fulfill her end of the deal by releasing Jonathan Pollard. His life sentence is a travesty of justice – the product of malicious lies – driven by America's determination to appease her Arab allies.
Jonathan Pollard put it best when he recently said, "My release must be a matter of principle – of justice and of due process – and it should reflect the honor and integrity of the U.S.-Israel special relationship. Israel has already paid for my release at Wye. It is time to collect it."
Now, more than ever, Israel must honor its commitment to Jonathan Pollard by collecting on America's promise to free him – and America must fulfill its commitment to Israel.
By releasing Jonathan Pollard, America will demonstrate her renewed commitment to equal justice for all – untainted by political motive – and reaffirm her relationship to Israel as a valued ally and faithful partner in the war against terrorism.
Larry Dub has been associated with the Pollard case since the time of Jonathan Pollard's arrest in 1985. He became Jonathan Pollard's Jerusalem-based attorney in 1994. He and his partner, Baruch Ben-Yosef, filed a series of suits in the Supreme Court of Israel which resulted in the government of Israel recognizing Jonathan Pollard as a bona fide Israeli agent and in granting him Israeli citizenship.
In the U.S., Jonathan Pollard is represented by Eliot Lauer and Jacques Semmelman of Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP – Park Avenue, N.Y.
For further information on the Pollard case, visit the Justice For Jonathan Pollard Web Site.