Skip to comments.George Washington, Jonathan Pollard and the Jews
Posted on 03/24/2005 7:35:43 AM PST by wesley_windam-price
Editor's note: Esther Pollard is the wife of imprisoned spy Jonathan Pollard, a former U.S. Navy intelligence analyst who was convicted in 1985 of one count of passing classified information to an ally, Israel, and sentenced to life imprisonment in spite of a plea agreement that was to spare him such a sentence. Jonathan became the only person in the history of the United States to receive life imprisonment for spying for an ally.
Esther discusses recent developments related to a bombshell lawsuit filed on behalf of her husband charging that Jonathan's lawyer at the time of his sentencing, Richard Hibey, neglected to file any notice of appeal or inform Jonathan he had the right to appeal; publicly announced Jonathan had no avenue of appeal even though he did; failed to challenge a secret last-minute memo submitted to the court all but demanding a life sentence after the government promised not to seek such a sanction; and committed various other errors that denied Jonathan effective representation.
"The problem with Mr. Pollard is that he thinks he is unique."
These words were spoken about my husband, Jonathan Pollard, by a judge in the U.S. Appeals Court for the District of Columbia.
Jonathan is in his 20th year of an unprecedented life sentence for his activities on behalf of Israel. On March 15, Jonathan's pro bono attorneys, Eliot Lauer and Jacques Semmelman, appeared before a panel of three judges in the U.S. Appeals Court. Despite outward appearances, Jonathan's case was never heard.
One of the judges, Judge Karen Henderson, asked no questions and made no comments of any kind. Another judge, Judge Judith Rogers, briefly engaged counsel for both sides. The third judge, Judge David Sentelle dominated the hearing. He was openly hostile, mocking and scornful.
Unchallenged by the other two judges, Judge Sentelle hijacked the hearing. He sidetracked the oral argument, verbally harassing and nitpicking on irrelevant matters until the attorneys' time was up. Consequently, the only one heard that day was Judge Sentelle; and much of what he said was either irrelevant or deeply offensive.
For example, Judge Sentelle went so far as to insist that in this case the court does not have the authority to allow Jonathan's security-cleared attorneys access to their client's own sentencing file. How much more obvious could Sentelle's contempt be, than to suggest that the court has no authority over court documents!
Worse, Judge Sentelle's hostile declaration, "The problem with Mr. Pollard is that he thinks he is unique," was deeply offensive to Jews and reverberated painfully in Israeli media reports.
"You are not unique" is code talk that has been used over and over again throughout the ages by those hostile to Israel and Jews, to deny concerns that Jews are being singled out for "special treatment." It is the most routine of anti-Semitic devices, and it seems that it is always used precisely when Jews are indeed being singled out.
What makes Judge Sentelle's remark even more stunning is that it so blatantly flies in the face of the facts.
The case is unique
Here are some of the unique features of the Pollard case that Judge Sentelle wishes to dismiss:
Cruel and unusal punishment
Another unique feature of this case is the repeated attempts by the FBI to make Jonathan "buy" his way out of nightmarish prison conditions by incriminating other prominent American Jews. He was repeatedly asked to point out "co-conspirators" on lists of Jewish names he was shown. Jonathan adamantly refused.
More troubling still are the numerous episodes of cruel and unusual punishment that Jonathan has been subjected to not only at the start of this case, but even as recently as the fall of 2003 when he was held in Washington for two weeks pending a Sept. 2 court date.
Some examples of cruel and unusual punishment Jonathan has endured include:
Politics not justice
Perhaps the feature of this case that is the most disturbing is the way in which it has been exploited over the last two decades by government agencies. Jonathan's continued incarceration has been a very useful tool for the government in the following ways:
The case is used to undermine Israel
To blacken Israel by blackening her agent, "unnamed" American officials continue to slander Jonathan in the media, falsely accusing him of crimes he was never accused of or indicted for treason, compromising codes and betraying agents, among others. These false accusations are always made in the media, never in a court of law where Jonathan might challenge his accusers.
The case is used to slander Jews
Government memos, like the one the Defense Department issued in 1996 that was leaked to the media, cite the Pollard case as the reason the Jews cannot be trusted. The 1996 Defense memo identified Israel as a "non- traditional adversary," not an ally. The Pollard case is always dredged up and paraded in the media by the government officials any time a new spy case breaks, or whenever Israel needs to be brought to heel. The 1997 Mega Spy Scandal (which turned out to be baseless) and the recent AIPAC Spy Scandal are examples. Both cases had nothing to do with Jonathan Pollard, yet his name was blasted all over the media as the prime example of how Israel and the Jews cannot be trusted.
The case is used to pander to the Arabs
In the government's damage assessment of the case the Victim Impact Statement the worst "damage" that Jonathan was accused of was that he had angered the Arab allies by making Israel too strong. The harsh sentence he received and the "special treatment" he has been subjected to has been and continues to be an "offering" to appease the oil-rich Arabs.
The case is used to purge Jews from government
Jonathan was not the cause of anti-Semitism in the intelligence community; he was one of its victims. But his case is still used to justify government witch hunts to root out Jews in sensitive positions and cancel their security clearances. The David Tanenbaum and Adam Ciralsky cases both were Jews ousted from the intelligence community because of their affiliation with Israel are examples of this purge.
Hiding behind a veil of secrecy
The Justice, and Defense Departments, along with the intelligence community, willingly collude to keep the truth about the Pollard case buried. This ensures that the government can continue to exploit the case for other purposes, such as the above. It also explains why the government is so determined to keep Jonathan's own court docket hidden under a veil of secrecy.
The best legal minds in the country support Jonathan's right to access the material in his own sentencing docket. The American Civil Liberties Union, The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, The American Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists and prominent individuals have filed a "friend of the court" brief in support of access to the documents. Their amicus brief expresses some compelling concerns about this case.
Others who have expressed their concerns about this case are: Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., who said that she is troubled by "sentencing issues" in the Pollard case; Sir Rudy Giuliani, the No. 3 man at the Justice Department when the Pollard case broke, has repeatedly said that there is nothing in the Pollard file to justify the sentence he received; Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., and other American legislators have voiced similar concerns. All those who have seen the classified file, including Schumer and Weiner, say that it does not contain any justification for the life sentence Jonathan received.
And then there's Dennis Ross, special envoy to the Middle East during the Clinton administration. In his new book, "The Missing Peace," Ross openly acknowledges that Jonathan's sentence is disproportionate and that he should be freed without condition.
Nevertheless, says Ross, Jonathan is too valuable as a bargaining chip with Israel to be freed as a matter of simple justice. Instead, Ross explains, Pollard should go free only in return for major concessions from Israel during "final status talks" with the Palestinians. No other American ally is treated with such disdain. Clearly it is politics, not justice that drives the Pollard case.
The problem is not with Mr. Pollard
No, Judge Sentelle. The problem is not with Jonathan Pollard.
It is with those American officials who, through five successive administrations, have used this case as a device to call into question the loyalty of American Jews and Israel's reliability as an ally.
The problem is with those officials in the Justice, Defense and intelligence agencies who allow the case to fester because it is such a fine weapon with which to bludgeon Israel and the Jews.
And of course, the problem lies with Israel and the American Jewish leadership whose silence and complicity have exacerbated the situation and prolonged Jonathan's agony. By continuously turning their backs on government excesses and judicial inequities in the Pollard case, they have tried to convince themselves that this really has nothing to do with them. Then along comes Judge Sentelle and reminds them that it does.
Israel and the American Jewish leaders have sat back for nearly two decades, patiently waiting for the American justice system to prove that it works as well for Jews as it does for every other religious minority. Yet, every time Jonathan Pollard the Jew who spied for the Jewish state encounters the American justice system, the entire Jewish world is slapped in the face all over again.
George Washington and Jonathan Pollard
Over 200 years ago, President George Washington visited the Truro Synagogue of the Jewish community of Rhode Island. He later penned a letter to the community declaring that Jews are welcome as full citizens of the United States of America and equal in every respect:
"It is now no more that toleration is spoken of," Washington wrote, "as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people, that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights." He also declared that the government gave "to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance."
Denied justice for 20 years, Jonathan's case has become a noxious poison draining the vitality of the American Jewish community and undermining America's relationship with Israel. If the promise that George Washington made to American Jews 200 years ago is to be honored; if the Jewish community in America is to have a future in this country, then justice for Jonathan Pollard, long delayed, must finally be done.
The Pollard case is not only about Jonathan Pollard. It is about America's real attitude toward Jews and its relationship with Israel. It is also about whether or not the nation that is so devoted to bringing freedom to other parts of the world is capable of freeing itself. Government lies and judicial collusion are keeping Jonathan Pollard in prison. It is time for them to stop.
As long as Jonathan Pollard remains in prison, truth and justice in America are in prison too.
Esther Pollard is the wife of imprisoned spy Jonathan Pollard. For further information on the Jonathan Pollard case, visit the J4JP website.
Let him rot. He is an enemy of the United States of America and has proven this to be the case by his documented actions.
George Washington was an incredible human being and should be revered by all Americans and everyone else that loves feedom. But what does he have to do with this case?
Why would you post it here?
Since Mar 22, 2005
Pollard is still in jail? Good! Keep the spying rat there.
Oh crap. Just crap. What bilgewater.
Your old man spied on his own country. Divided loyalties are not an acceptable excuse. His loyalties weren't supposed to be divided. He betrayed his own country on the presumption that he knew better than the "others" who would disagree with such an action.
If this was an Arab-American in the foriegn service who spied on America on behalf of some ostensibly-friendly power, like Pakistan, you wouldn't be using the "anti-semite" card.
I'm as pro-Israel as the next guy around here, but I must admit I'm quite tired of people who trot out the charges of anti-semitism to cover criticism for their own actions.
We don't treat such complaints very seriously when it's somebody like Mumia the Cop-Killer claiming the only reason he's in jail is because of racism. This Pollard issue deserves the same sort of critical response.
I am a Jew, and I say "Shut up Esther Pollard". Your husband committed a treasonous act. Deal with it.
That was the first time I heard that particular charge, but then this all happened pre-IT era and I had to rely on Swedish newspapers for information regarding this case.
Any links or background information?
And a maded-up name with suspicious Hollywood connections, to boot. Jonathan Pollard is just where he deserves to be for the rest of his life. He is lucky he wasn't executed.
A plane was at the ready.
AT the last moment, Clinton told Netanyahu that George Tenet, then CIA director, said he'd resign if Pollard would be released.
Clinton told Netanyahu that the deal was off.
Just some more interesting facts about this case.
I have no opinion on whether the man was lied to by our government or not.
Pollard recevied a harsh sentence for the same reason that Julius and Ethel Rosenberg did. In both cases, individuals rationalized that their actions were not treasonous because they were spying for an ally. (The Soviet Union was our WWII ally when the Rosenberg spy ring began.) Such cases are inevitably treated very seriously in order to send a message to others who might be tempted by the same line of thought. We simply can't have people conducting their own, personal foreign and intelligence policies. Pollard certainly should have known better.
The information was very critical, in some cases it caused the loss of life, in others it required the expenditure of thousands of hours of technical and scientific labor and millions of dollars to compensate for his act.
Pollard also had clearances at the highest level. These required that he swear allegiance to the US. He violated our trust and his oath. It is difficult to determine what punishment is suitable for him. Perhaps, he will be suitably rewarded in the afterlife.
He's about 20 minues from me; every single time I see his name, I wonder if I rode over there, would the guards let me spit on him.
I'm still scratching my head wondering why (at the time of Pollard's espionage activities) Israel didn't just go through diplomatic channels to obtain any information they wanted. They almost certainly would have been given whatever they asked for, unless of course the U.S. government had reason to believe that the Israeli government/intelligence community were not 100% solid in their alliance with America. Obviously there was some loyalty problem with the particular contact(s) that Pollard worked with (hence the HUMINTEL losses). Pollard still needs to come clean with everything he did and everyone he worked with if he ever expects to walk free. His idiot wife is doing him no favors by putting words in the judge's mouth and depicting him as some anti-Semitic monster, which he clearly isn't.
bump with no comment
How many times has the FBI or the CIA lied to a criminal about sentencing? If you compare Pollard to other criminal scum like drug dealers, informants etc you will find that his case is not so irregular.
That a lying, cheating traitor would call the US Govt a liar seems a bit rich. Who lied first? Who SOLD information for financial gain while compromising US security?
Would you spit on other spies, who spied for the enemy. No you wouldn't, because they are not there, 'cause it's OK to spy for the enmy..
If you're a Pollard supporter, there's not much sense discussing truth with you.
(1) Who Pollard was spying for is irrelevant.
(2) Whether he's Jewish, Rastafarian, or a follower of Voodo is irrelevant.
(3) When you take a position such as his you are told up front what the penalties are for releasing the information in your custody to someone not cleared for it.
(4) You sign a paper detailing them. For compartmented information you sign a separate piece of paper for each program.
(5) There is no doubt, no possibility that Pollard did not know what he was doing.
(6) He released the information knowingly and deliberately. IT DOES NOT MATTER TO WHOM.
(7) He got caught. He goes to prison. End of story.
I sympathize with Mrs. Pollard and admire her loyalty to her husband. Had Pollard not betrayed his country things might have worked out better for them both.
I'm another Jew who thinks he should rot. What he did was treason in my book. Don't do the crime if you don't want to do the time.
You only like half of the truth. The other half is none of other spies, even those who spied for the enemy, received punishment even close to what Pollard got. But this is OK. And I am not a Pollard supporter.
If you can't do the time, DON'T DO THE CRIME!
And quit whining. You are lucky you weren't executed.
I know just as much as you do, I would bet.
And he got what he got; I don't care what anybody else got; he deserves to be right where he is. Forever.
I could never understand that people argued he should have less of a sentence because other people got less jail time. Surely it would be better to shoot the lot of them, that way they can all be equally dead, traitorous scum. I bet he would not be crying out for fair play if the rest of them had gotten what they deserved.
"...if the rest of them had gotten what they deserved".
Thing is they did not and nevr will, end of story. That's why singling out Pollard out of the entire "traitorous scum" crows seems odd. This is the reason I am trying to understand this phenomenon.
The question should not be why release Pollard but why not re-sentence the other traitors. Peopele are forced time and time again to reiterate the fact of his treason because people keep on caliming that he was acting in good faith, being discriminated gainst blah blah blah.
If people started doing this about Taliban Lindh or those spies from the 80's then they would get the same response. The sentences should be INCREASED not DECREASED. If people can be imprisoned for life for three strikes or for drink driving then treason should be as well.
Why would anyone call for this scum to get a lesser sentence because some other pond life did? They should be calling for a greater and far harsher sentence. So he got stripped naked and treated badly, so do the terrorists and traitors at Gitmo.
Still don't get why he got special treatment while others escaped. But I guess I will never know that.
I always explain my position this way:
I could care less who you spy FOR, you were sentenced for spying AGAINST the UNITED STATES.
Nothing like a little perpective.
Sounds like Moral Relativism. A spy is a traitor and should not see the light fo day. Pollard was not forthcoming about his activities. The extent of his treason is huge. Maybe he got harsher treatment because he committede a greater breach of security than any other spy in modern history?
aybe because the information he sold caused huge damage and expense to the security of the US?
Need there be any other reason?
"Rather than try to come up with some nefarious plot against jews.."
Is this what it's all about?
"Rather than try to come up with some nefarious plot against jews.."
Is this what it's all about?
Yes Israel's greatest ally and supporter did not punish Pollard for treason and selling secrets of national security at all or because he exposed US spies, communication systems etc etc but they actually imprisoned him because he was Jewish.
"Need there be any other reason?"
What reasons, there are only questions.
Do you think Robert Hansson caused more or less damage?
Till then, he sits in cold storage. Naked, apparently, if we believe his defenders.
Do you think Hansson should have recieved the piddling sentence he got?
If you were arguing for an increase in his sentence I would agree with you but it seems you are saying that traitors should only recieve a decade or so behind bars for betraying and damaging their country.
The damage both these men did should not be rewarded with early release or compassion of any kind.
Absolutely. If he can be used as a tool for making up for the damage he has done then great but it would have to be something pretty damn big to make up for what he did.
He was Imprisoned for espionage against the US, not because he is Jewish. Why others got away with lighter punishments and everybosy seems to be half as mad? What is so special about Pollard. Why is he causing people such major wedges. Hannsen doesn't, Aimes doesn't, as dozens of others. I am trying to understand.
Ask anyone on this board and they will tell you what they think should happen to all traitors to the US. Pretty much everyone here would tell you that they should all hang. No one here would give preference to ANY traitor.
Fine call him a traitor instead. Semantics does not lessen the fact he betrayed the US and should be lined up with all other spys.
Unfortunately, I'm afaid we'll never know what really went on behind all this.
Kudos to WND for publishing this article, which states a viewpoint still controversial in the conservative movement.
And btw, I thought it had been revealed some time ago that the liquidation of our agents in Russia was actually because of info provided by Aldrich Ames. Is Pollard a scapegoat for this as well?
However, interestingly enough, other traitors are rarely, if ever, discussed here. But with a certain regularity Pollart threads appear and people seem to be rearly mad. I will play open with you. I am from Israel and I really want to understand this phenomenon.
The charge is always made that people who question the Pollard sentence want "special treatment." The fact is, that Pollard has been given special treatment--treatment completely unlike those convicted of the similar crime on behalf of other allies.
But why call for lesser sentences for Pollard when they should be calling for a greater sentences for the other traitors?
Why use this discrepecy to be lenient to traitors? Surely they should all be treated equally harshly not equally leniently?
Post a thread on Hannson and see how many people call for his sentence to be decreased. You will not find a taker. Everyone will say the same, shoot the bastard. Exactly what people say about Pollard.
I think he should have a life sentence as should all the others.