Skip to comments.Esther Pollard Appeals to Obama for Her Husbandís Release
Posted on 06/04/2009 9:39:21 AM PDT by Avi Kane
The wife of Jonathan Pollard read a letter to American President Barack Obama appealing for her husband's release during a protest rally opposite the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem Wednesday night.
The demonstration was aimed at Obamas cold shoulder towards Israel. Pollard is serving a life sentence in a U.S. prison for spying for Israel.
Mr. Obama, my husband Jonathan Pollard has now served more than six times the usual sentence for the offense he committed," Esther Pollard said. "After more than two decades of the harshest afflictions in prison, including seven years in solitary confinement, it is time to release him, before it is too late for America to make amends before the Almighty G-d of Israel."
(Excerpt) Read more at israelnationalnews.com ...
a traitor is a traitor - he got off easy
I don't get it - what did he do wrong?
As others write, Pollard is a traitor and deserves far worse than he got. From my perspective as an American, he should have been hung or shot for his treason. Rotting in jail for the rest of his pathetic life is second best.
Sorry, a traitor is a traitor. A spy is a spy.
My support for Israel is strong, but Pollard has nothing to do with supporting Israel.
The protest organizers lose a little credibility when they allow Pollard’s wife to interject her unrelated claims.
Like, I'm sooo sure 0bama will like, totally pardon him, yaknow?
Israel does not necessarily have the same foreign policy
as the US. If trading info stolen from us to China or Russia
were in Israels interest, they would do it. Its easy to get the impression that they are one of the 57 states instead of an independent and somewhat stiff-necked country.
This is one good treason for keeping Pollard in the cells.
Pollard gave information on many things...not just the Iraqi nuke site...he was also caught giving info to SAfrica and to Pakistan.
No, he is where he needs to be.
I’m actually very curious as to why the Israeli government is so interested in him. He wasn’t purely ideological, he did it for money and he spied for Muslim countries as well.
He was not a citizen of Israel until after he was caught spying.
I would have waterboarded him long ago to find out what else he disclosed.
If I had my druthers, every single person who betrayed American secrets to a foreign power - ANY foreign power - would either receive a death sentence or life with no parole (save trading them for one of our people that got caught).
HOWEVER, that’s not what we do. As Mrs. Pollard mentioned in her letter, we usually let these people off considerably earlier. We do, for example, let people off who spied for (otherwise) friendly powers (or non-hostile ones, whichever term you prefer) in a considerably shorter period of time than those who spied for outright hostile powers like Russia, China, etc. But even spies for hostile powers serve, on average, far lighter and less harsh sentences than Pollard already has served. Again, I don’t like those light sentences, but facts are facts.
Which brings me to my conclusion: if there is to be anything approaching “Equal Justice Under Law” (you know, that phrase that is supposed to actually mean something, and which is carved into the front of the Supreme Court), then Pollard must be released immediately. Frankly, he should have been released a long time ago. Virtually equal treatment for virtually equal crimes - that’s what “Equal Justice Under Law” means.
Another factor to be considered here is that there was a deal between Pollard and the US government before sentencing, under which Pollard would provide as complete an account of what he took and how he did it, in return for a recommendation of a lenient sentence. Pollard abided by his part of that agreement...but the government did not. First off, there was no recommendation of leniency made. Second, and very disturbingly, Caspar Weinberger (then Secretary of Defense AND AN AGENT OF ONE OF THE PARTIES TO THE CASE) met with the judge ex parte (i.e. by himself, outside of the courtroom, and without the knowledge of the other party) and made a very strong recommendation that Pollard be given life without parole. Aside from the horrible impropriety of the action itself (and Weinberger was a highly intelligent and experience attorney, so he KNEW better - and should have been disbarred for doing this), is the fact that he was descended from Jews...and had, throughout his career, bent over backwards to prove that his family history had no effect on his job, policy positions, etc. While otherwise admirable, in this case his own insecurity has led to the excessive punishment of a person who had nothing to do with Weinberger’s imagined problem (”imagined” because I’m not aware of any problem he ever encountered regarding his family history). So you have excessive punishment combined with extremely bad faith on the part of the government - Pollard should be released, since his continued incarceration is a stain on our system.
“then...Pollard must be released immediately”
We know he spied for Israel, SAfrica, and for Pakistan...
...due to secred classification, we the public, do not know the extent of what he released.
He is where he should be but if anybody let’s him go it will be a weak on security President like Obama, who will be hardline on Israel and then throw them a bone with Pollard.
What Pollard knew is 24 years old - and of little or no consequence now. The fact that he is still in prison reeks of either anti-Semitism OR a vendetta (or both).
I don’t give a damn who releases him - such a release will end a serious injustice.
Again, as I stated in my first post on this thread, it is my absolute preference that anyone who spies for any country against this one be executed or put away for life without parole. But we MUST be consistent. Pollard, for all the wrong that he did (and he DID do a lot of bad things) does not deserve this treatment while others who did similar or worse are freed in 1/3 or less of the time. More importantly, WE do not deserve a judicial system that can abuse human rights to such an extent.
Free Pollard. NOW!
If believe that if Pollard had been a Muslim terrorist, he would have been released already.
Maybe this has something to do with it.
“Ron Olive, the agent in charge of counterintelligence for the NIS at the time of Pollard’s arrest, published a book about the case in 2006. Olive told the BBC that the incident was “one of the most devastating cases of espionage in US history” during which Pollard stole over “one million classified documents”.
Sentencing and incarceration
Pollard was sentenced to life in prison on one count of espionage on March 4, 1987. The prosecutor complied with the plea agreement and asked for “only a substantial number of years in prison”; Judge Aubrey Robinson, Jr. imposed the life sentence after hearing the statements of the Secretary of Defense, the Director of Central Intelligence, and other U.S. government officials (plea agreements are not binding upon judges). In 1987, Pollard began his life sentence, which he is still serving. Pollard’s wife, Anne, was sentenced to five years in prison but was released after three and a half years because of health problems.
At the time of Pollard’s sentencing there was a rule that mandated parole at thirty years for prisoners like him if they had maintained a clean record in prison. That parole date would be November 21, 2015. Also, Pollard was eligible to apply for parole after eight years and six months, though he has never done so.
Pollard is federal prisoner #09185-016 and is incarcerated at the Butner Federal Correction Complex in Butner, North Carolina.
A sane country would’ve hanged this pucker.
As it is, we’re spending too much money keeping him alive.
Why inject anti-simitism into Pollard’s treason? How does this apply for his spying for Pakistan and South Africa?
BTW, rather than reducing Pollard’s sentence because others got lighter sentences, why not seek similar just sentences for others found guilty of treason against the US?
While his case is certainly not a shining example of American justice, the fact is he did the deed as evidenced by his guilty plea, and got the maximum sentence. Not what he expected, but that's life, which he gets to spend in prison.
Call me biased but I could give 2 shits what the wife of a traitor and Israeli spy has to say about our country
That is the crux of the problem. The Justice Department and the NIS have acknowledged for years that all information in the Weinberger pre-sentencing letter has been declassified. But they refuse to declassify the letter itself, or let his lawyers, who have the necessary clearances, to see the letter. It should be declassified, then we can see what he did, and what he didn't. Particularly significant given the fact that the damage assessment, which Weinberger relied on, was written by Aldrich Ames. Who obviously would have motivation to cast blame on someone aside from himself. Better to do it now when, if he was sentenced based on Ames crimes, he could be released after serving a reasonable sentence than waiting 30 years and finding out he was sentenced based on faulty information.
Note my post 20. You can’t possibly know the basis of his sentencing unless you have access to classified documents that neither his lawyers nor Pollard himself have. It’s possible there’s a miscarriage of justice here, and there may not be. The only way we’ll know is if the sentencing letter is released.
Someone mentioned to me that the damage Pollard caused was worse that Ames, Jannsen, the Walker Family and others COMBINED.
Crown Jewel type stuff.
That could be true, he's accused anecdotally for damage also attributed to others, but until the basis of the sentence is declassified, we'll never know. You might note my prior posts, the damage assessment on Pollard was done by Aldrich Ames who obviously had a motivation to lie.
>>basis of the sentence is declassified
I do not believe that in cases involving espionage and treason, there is any stipulation for the declassification. Why should Pollard’s betrayal be subject to special treatment. Anyway, its moot til 2015.
IMO, it shows how bad his damage was that the bigwigs of the Reagan Administration, no enemy of Israel after all, came all out for throwing the book at him.
I love Cold War espionage and spy stories and I intend to read the book by Olive (headed Counter Intel) during this time. Have you read the book? If you have, curious as to your impression.
It tells me something that the Judge did an extraordinary thing. After the plea agreement (which intel people say Pollard did not uphold his side of the bargain by giving comprehensive info) the Judge was going to give Pollard a fairly mundane light sentence.
But Cap Weinberger, interceded with strong enough of a case that the Judge gave him Life.
Since then 4 Chiefs of Naval Intelligence have went public and private to strongly advise that Pollard not be shown leniency. 7 Secretaries of Defense have done the same.
The guy let out some bad info to include the actual Manual of electronic intelligence/surviellance around the world. That was huge. There are also Intel claims that some Intel people behind the Iron Curtain were killed and methods compromised permanently and severely.
George Tenent interceded when Clinton was going to pardon him after a promise was made to Bibi at Wye River. We will never know the whole story but something was up with this guy.
Declassifying documents isn't a matter of special treatment, particularly when the government acknowledges the contents have been declassified. And making the information, in this case a two decade old letter, available to the defendents attorneys, who have the necessary security clearances, is quite common. As to it shows how bad his damage was that the bigwigs of the Reagan Administration, no enemy of Israel after all, came all out for throwing the book at him., that might be true. But at the time thoses bigwigs of the Reagan administration didn't know that the assessment of that damage was done by a Soviet spy, Aldrich Ames. Today we do, so it's reasonable to be certain those extrajudicial charges were legitimate by allowing him an appeal. As to the bigwigs, you'll note that although Weinberger considered it a major case at the time, when asked why he left it out of his autobiography, he noted it was an insignificant footnote to his life. He may be guilty as sin, but it wouldn't be the first time government has covered up an error.
Anyone who has worked in U.S. counter-espionage over the last 50 years will tell you that they've had as much trouble dealing with Israeli spies as they did with Soviet spies during the height of the Cold War.
I haven’t. What I find troubling is the fact that he was sentenced based on essentially extrajudicial evidence which he didn’t have the opportunity to confront, for all practical purposes doesn’t even know the contents. And the fact that the assessment was done by a Soviet spy. Adding in the fact that his lawyer “forgot” to file an appeal, his case reflects poorly on our justice system, irrespective of the level of his guilt. I wouldn’t expect the NIS or the DD to support leniency, I don’t support a pardon either. I do think the letter should be made public, and he should have an opportunity on appeal to address the evidence. I don’t want to address all the claims because obviously we don’t know, but many of those compromised agents were the reason Ames went to jail. If Pollard did it, well maybe Ames is unjustly imprisioned. It is fodder for a spy novel, except these guys would get killed off instead of clogging the legal system.
>by allowing him an appeal
That has the potential to open a Pandora’s box, and reexamine all that has transpired so far.
I doubt there is ANYONE in the Israeli or American governments who wishes to revisit L’Affaire Pollard.
He will no doubt remain in jail. Where he belongs.
That's true, though the story will be known one day. Pollard could save everyone a lot of trouble by applying for a parole, which I'm sure he'd get, and it would be over with. But he won't.
Assuming that story is true, I'd say his actions are a pretty strong indication that the government's rationale for keeping Pollard in prison is based on some extraordinary circumstances.
Bill Clinton supposedly promised the Israeli government that he would issue a clemency order for Pollard before he left office. The fact that someone as unprincipled and emotionally stunted as that moron felt a need to keep him behind bars is a very telling sign, too.
It’s an amazing and tragic case. I’m not certain, though, that it’s just Ames provided info. Here is a link to a Jewish author commissioned by the Jewish Investigative Journalism Fund for Jewish Journals and newspapers http://web.archive.org/web/20060107223010/http://www.forward.com/issues/2002/02.06.28/news.pollard.html , who agrees that there are some legal questions in the case, yet admits that the damage that was done was above content to the heart of the sources and methods of which the US relies, mainly it’s electronic eavesdropping and surveillance system around the world.
“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.”
>>Pollard could save everyone a lot of trouble by applying for a parole, which I’m sure he’d get, and it would be over with.
Why, in your estimation, is he not doing so. And how come the certainty that he would get it....
And why ask for his release when he’s not willing to go on a parole hearing himself.
>>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.
Yup, the Crown Jewels summation.
I don't care what the reasoning is behind the "other side" .
I don't know, I can only assume he want's to be "vindicated", though you can't be vindicated after pleading guilty. Can't be certain, but I've never heard of him causing trouble in prison, and he'd be leaving the country, I'd be surprised if he didn't get out, particularly when the parole is mandatory in another 6 years.
You can find credible people who say he deserved the sentence, and credible people who say it’s a miscarriage of justice. While I recognize attorneys represent all sorts of people, I’m tempted to believe that Theodore Olson wouldn’t have represented him for years if he didn’t believe he was denied justice. It’s not the kind of case you pad a political resume with. We simply won’t know until the sentencing letter is released. As I noted before, I think the judicial record is problematic.
If getting caught spying for Israel results in a life sentence, it sets a high cost to the activity, and it reduces the number of people willing to take the risk of passing info to Israel.
They're not. Israel goes to great length to recover prisoners. Pollard has been denied status as a prisoner of Zion, which would obligate Israel to go to great lengths to secure his release, on several occasions. Israel doesn't consider him an Israeli agent, simply someone they paid for information. His wife is quite outspoken as are many politicians on the Israeli right, so pressure is periodically brought to bring the issue up.
“...some people say it’s a miscarriage of justice...”
That claim can be made within our judicial system because our system takes such precautions to rightfully make the government prove it’s case to a high state of probability.
However, specifically in this case, one of critical spying and intelligence methods, every government will have security protocols that are going to come out of high ranking government officials. So, the defense claim is nearly guaranteed due to national security.
A defense claim of “release the classified documents” so I can defend myself is almost prerequisite in any spying case. It’s also certain that the documents won’t be released. Everything I’ve read on this case points to not just the highest security classifications but executive intervention to protect national security. I haven’t seen anything that supports the claim that there has been declassification of ALL of the information.
Just as the Bush Admin, imo, rightfully waterboarded/tortured high level terrorists to protect the nation...there are circumstances where unique intervention in a national security spying case gets intervention.
Civil Rights and Libertarian complaints aside, sometimes you have to trust your government. I’m sure you’re aware that Israel does the same thing and probably to a greater extent due to their precarious and vulnerable position in the Middle East.
This tension has played out throughout American history - between total freedom and limits on that freedom, as it does in other countries.
>>Im tempted to believe that Theodore Olson wouldnt have represented him for years if he didnt believe he was denied justice.
Oh, come on, you really believe that.
Lawyers do it for the money.
Who paid Olson’s fees? Only if he did it pro bono would his representation mean anything else.
In general I’d a agree with you, but Ted Olson is a political animal, and it’s odd to go from representing Ronald Reagan in Iran-Contra. But he represented Wen Ho Lee too, so maybe spies interest him. I wouldn’t base a decision either way on Olson’s presence, his interest could be primarily a function of the unusual legal issues.
Well right now Olson’s involved in litigation to overturn the voter ban on homosexual marriage in California.
Anyway, don’t think the Pollard issue works to the benefit of Israel or the American Jewish community.
Let bygones be bygones, let sleeping dogs lie.
Easy for me to say, eh.
But part of the reason for the book being thrown at him was specifically that a friend, Israel, had been running such an OP against its best friend and benefactor.
I think there was tremendous anger in the Defense and Intelligence state organs of America against both Pollard and Eitan.
Pollard (among others) should have hanged, and I’d be happy to urinate on his grave.
Not really, attorneys (and judges) have necessary security clearances, and when necessary proceedings are non-public. You may recall discussions of the process relative to GITMO trials. In any case, that’s no longer an issue, the information in the letter is declassified, there’s no reason not to declassify the letter, certainly no reason not to let his attorneys read it. As I understand it the primary legal issues revolve around the fact that he was presumably sentenced based on the letter, the content of which was in all liklihood unrelated to the crime he plead guilty to. The fact that other than 60 seconds in the courtroom, neither he nor his attorneys know what the basis of his sentencing was, thus were unable to contest the facts. And the fact that his attorney “forgot” to file his appeal, thus it was denied. A decision (not to get an appeal) upheld 2-1 on appeal. It may not be a miscarriage, we can’t know, but the system was clearly abused. I’ll note if he’d received the death penalty as many suggest, he’d have gotten his appeal.
>>Ill note if hed received the death penalty as many suggest, hed have gotten his appeal.
Ah, now the sentence makes sense. No one wanted any more dirty laundry aired.
There's another one who should have been treated to a short rope and a long drop.
Yes, but we don’t execute people much any more.