This past week or so, I'd been reading more about the case of Jonathan Pollard and the requests to pardon him after so long a time. I also found some very alarming stuff. Let's begin with a very galling item I found from Peter Schweizer
, where he claims that Pollard's supporters are wrong, and to justify his standing, he cites the work of propagandist Seymour Hersh
, a writer for the New Yorker. who claimed that the info Pollard gave to Israel ended up in the hands of the Soviet Union.
But what really raised my eyebrows was when Schweizer revealed that he'd worked:
...under the late Caspar Weinberger, who was Sec Def during the Reagan Administration, for more than a decade.
That's when I realized that there was something really wrong with this man who refused to comprehend the reason why a number of rabbis and their wives signed letters
urging not to sell property to Arabs or to date/marry them. As Phyllis Chesler, when she wrote recently about the case, told
...Caspar W. Weinberger whose paternal grandparents were Jews and whose father was a Jewish lawyer. When Caspar was a boy, he was taunted for supposedly being Jewish. His mother was a Christian and he was raised as a Christian. When he visited Yad Vashem, the Memorial to the Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust, he said loudly: “I am not a Jew.” He said this in response to the guard who told him that “he, too, would have been murdered in the Holocaust.”
Weinberger submitted a 40 page affidavit in which he insisted that Pollard should be harshly sentenced. In later years, he said that “the Pollard matter was comparatively minor.” Weinberger is now dead and no doubt roasting in Hell. One wonders: What did he have over CIA head George Tenet (who threatened to resign when President Clinton suggested pardoning Pollard)? What did Weinberger have over President Bush’s Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, both of whom went along with Weinberger’s revenge?
This is the man whom Schweizer considers a master in law and order? One of the commentors
noticed this too that he wasn't being particularly honest and pointed out the irony of his using a [leftist] propagandist's article to uphold his position. And are there any court documents to prove exactly what happened? I'm sure there's something he could've offered, but he hasn't so far. The only thing here I can agree with is that Pollard shouldn't be released as a way for Obama to try undermining Israel's security.
Rachel Ehrenfeld, on the other hand, gives a much better argument
, that he should be released, but NOT as a bargaining chip. She also tells that:
Pollard received a life sentence in 1987 for transferring classified information to Israel. The data involved Iranian, Syrian, Iraqi, and Lebanese ballistic missile development and nuclear and biological warfare capabilities. He also transmitted information on planned terrorist attacks against Israel, probably saving Israeli lives. The U.S. withheld this data from Israel despite a 1983 memorandum of understanding entitling Israel to such disclosure.
Pollard received and is serving a much longer sentence than most others who were convicted of selling America’s secrets to its enemies. The much-publicized discovery of a Russian spy-ring in 2010 ended with the United States swapping ten Russian sleeper agents for four Americans held by Russia on charges of espionage. Michael S. Schwartz, a U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander, who between November 1992 and September 1994 illegally transferred Department of Defense classified documents and computer diskettes to the Saudis, plea-bargained to avoid a court-martial and imprisonment. He was discharged from the Navy in 1995 without serving jail time. J. Reece Roth, a professor of engineering who passed U.S. Air-Force secret technologies to China and Iran, was sentenced to four years in prison in 2008. And Robert Kim, who spied for South Korean, was sentenced to nine years in jail in 1997. He was released in 2004.
Pollard’s sentence was disproportionate and unusual. In his letter to Obama, Netanyahu noted that Pollard’s sentence greatly exceeded the penalty requested by his prosecutors at the time of the plea bargain agreement.
If Pollard only gave the info to Israel, then while I won't dispute whether his taking the data without permission was illegal, I will have to dispute why he got a such a staggering sentence where the other examples cited did not.
If there's anything more troubling though, it's some of the replies to the articles, who, whether they believe Schweizer's side of the story, are being most shockingly vile in their responses, calling for Pollard to be executed, or worse. Are these even conservatives? If they are, they've done their side a grave disservice. Disagreement is one thing, but being so foul depending on the circumstances is another. As Phyllis Chesler later said
, Martin Peretz wasn't making things any better when he stooped to disturbing stereotypical descriptions of Israel.As Rick Richman says
, Pollard's release is unlikely, though stranger things have happened. That said, there are some other conservatives from the time of Reagan who also support Pollard's release: Former secretary of state George Schultz has come out on behald of Pollard
(via Israel Matzav
), and asked that he be pardoned too:
I am writing to join with many others in urging you to consider that Jonathan Pollard has now paid a huge price for his espionage on behalf of Israel and should be released from prison.
I am impressed that the people who are best informed about the classified material he passed to Israel, former CIA Director James Woolsey and former Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Dennis DeConcini, favor his release.
I find the letter you received from former Attorney General Michael Mukasey of the Bush administration particularly compelling.
And the Jerusalem Post
"This is huge because he is the only one out of the Reagan-Weinberger-triumverate who were involved in the case who is still alive, and he is saying enough is enough," Pollard's wife Esther said. "This is significant news that a man of his stature has gotten involved. It adds dramatically to the compelling nature of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's dramatic call for Jonathan's release." Schultz is the first former US cabinet minister to openly call for Pollard's release and is a respected Republican figure. People involved in the effort to release Pollard said Schultz's endorsement would go a long way toward persuading other Republicans to join the campaign.
I hope they'll follow him and help, even though there's no telling if this'll bear any fruit.
Update: I also thought to point to some more info on Pollard referencing the Walker family and Christopher Boyce
, whose sentences around that time were also pretty minor compared to his, and they spied for Russia, whereas Pollard did for a friendly country.
And, Jan 17, the Jerusalem Post has reported
that Pollard's father, Morris, is traumatized by these events, and what he feels is an overwhelming miscarriage of justice.
A growing number of senior United States intelligence and counterinsurgency officials say that by bunching up there, insurgents are ultimately making it easier for American drone strikes to hit them from afar.
American officials are loath to talk about this silver lining to the storm cloud that they have long described building up in the tribal area of North Waziristan, where the insurgents run a virtual mini-state the size of Rhode Island. This is because they do not want to undermine the Obama administration’s urgent public pleas for Pakistan to order troops into the area, or to give Pakistan an excuse for inaction…
With several hundred insurgents largely bottled up there, and with few worries about accidentally hitting Pakistani soldiers battling militants or civilians fleeing a combat zone, the Central Intelligence Agency’s drones have attacked targets in North Waziristan with increasing effectiveness and have degraded Al Qaeda’s ability to carry out a major attack against the United States, the senior officials said.