Sunday, November 12, 2006

One pardon I can support

I just found an interesting article about Jonathan Pollard. I have only recently learned about Jonathan Pollard through Irina's blog and from my good friend David. Basically, what I learned was that all Jonathan Pollard did was acquire information the US promised Israel, but reneged on. The information was given not to the USSR or China or even France, but to Israel, a nation that the US should be sharing such information with anyway. I am severely disappointed in Ohlmert for not even presenting the case for granting a pardon to a man who acted for his (Ohlmert's) interests, especially if Bush would pardon him, which is a great gesture, though better late than never. Of course I don't know if Bush would do it, especially now that he is kowtowing to Baker and the other fringe of anti-semitic, oil-happy WASPs his dad used. But regardless the request is at least worth asking. As far as I am concerned Jonathan Pollard is a political prisoner. What he did was basically a misdemeanors, except it exposes the US's guilt in not sharing vital information with a friend. I love my country and happily serve America, but when my country is wrong, she's wrong, and when it comes to Jonathan Pollard, my beloved nation is in the wrong, and needs to do the right thing. He not only deserves a pardon, but an apology and compensation for all the time taken from him, and oh yeah...a trial, too.

19 comments:

Revolutionary Blogger said...

I like this form of patriotism. I think Jonathan Pollard should be given a congressional medal of honor. If only those blatant anti-Semites at the Justice Department had realized that what is good for Israel is good for the US.

You might also find this FOX news smear also as despicable as this false detention of poor Pollard. ;-)

BaconEating AtheistJew said...

RB, those are pretty old Fox flicks.
I notice it was put on Youtube during the war that Lebanon started, but I think the stories go back to 2001 or 2002, correct me if I'm wrong. Oh and everyone spies, and big drug dealers originate from lots of countries.

As far as Pollard goes, he was guilty.
Putting the fact he a is a Jew and he tipped off Israel into the mix makes fellow Jews compassionate about this case, however think about it this way.

Lets say he of Saudi Arabian descent, and he shared classified info with the Saudis.

I realize, if someone thinks it is life and death, and one has close relatives in the country in question, it has to be very tough to keep quiet. But he broke the law, and he is a traitor by definition.

I think his sentence was too harsh when you take the circumstances into account, but he definitely committed a crime.

Red Tulips said...

BEAJ:

I agree with you 100%. That said, I am glad that Pollard did what he did.

Thomas Forsyth said...

RB> I do wodner how seriously I should take you somedays. Now I wonder what you think about the Hansen case, where Robert Hannsen was selling information not to an allied nation, but to the Soviet Union. He was given the same sentence as Pollard, and his family even gets 39K a year from his pension.

BEAJ> I don't deny that he committed a crime and violated his oath, but I don't see him as a traitor. I also wodner why America didn't share the vital information with Israel. In the case of Saudi Arabia, the US has been toadying to the Royal Family since the 30s, so I doubt they'd have the same need, unless it was information that wasn't life or death.

Now, IMO Pollard should have been fired and stripped of his security clearance after a trial, and given a suspended sentence. I also think there should be an investigation into why the US didn't share the information with Israel, which could probably be traced to some backroom deals with James Baker and OPEC, but that is just speculation.

Now, I would agree with you about 98% (I can never agree 100% with anyone on general principle). However, he has been punished and I think now a pardon is perfectly appropriate, if not overdue.

Red Tulips> I'd say we share the same viewpoint, too. I'd also say give him a trial, and if he's declared guilty he can get time served, and be restricted from State Dept facilities. Plus I wonder what Esther Pollard has gotten in the form of pension. After all, Robert Hannsen's family gets 39K a year. They should get nothing as Robert's espionage income would generate at least 200K a year in interest.

Irina Tsukerman said...

BEAJ: Misdemeanor IS a crime. Perhaps, you meant felony? I don't know; I've always thought of treason as selling out your country to the enemy. Granted what Pollard did would definitely classify as a violation of his duty to the Navy, and various related crimes... but I honestly don't think I'd put him in the same category as John Walker Lindh, who fought against American soldiers, and who got twenty years in prison, and not even for treason.

Mr. Smarterthanyou said...

But the problem is, Israel sells weapons systems to places like China, and we seem to prefer to sell it to them directly in exchange for campaign contributions (Clinton & who knows else, undoubtedly GOP guys too).

So we don't know that what Israel gets, China ends up with.

Revolutionary Blogger said...

Just out of curiosity, would you support a Mexican-American sharing state secrets with Mexico? After all, we are all allies. Or how about a Turkish-American sharing secrets with Turkey regarding impending terrorist attacks on his racial homeland from the Kurdish terrorists?

Or is this a special case because it has to do with Israel, Holocaust trauma, etc.

Red Tulips, I'd like your opinion as a lawyer on what type of legal defense can be created in such a case of espionage? Does the "it's only our ally" defense work in the court of law?

If so, where can I start contributing?

Red Tulips said...

RB,

Last I checked, I did not write this entry and said I agreed with BEAJ, though I am glad that Pollard did what he did, because it is good that Israel has this information for its defense. Perhaps you should be writing your response to Thomas.

That said, Irina's point, which is valid, is that Pollard is being punished at a level greater than other people who have done similar things, or even worse things.

Revolutionary Blogger said...

Sorry Red Tulips, my mistake, I redirect my question to Thomas then.

BaconEating AtheistJew said...

Irina, I didn't put in the same class as the others you mentioned.

He wasn't using the information to hurt the USA. But it was still a punishable crime.

Thomas Forsyth said...

RB> Before I respond, I want to what you mean by "holocaust trauma". I have an idea what you are accusing Red Tulips of, but I'll reserve judgment until I know for certain. I don't know about all the posters or readers at c4a, but some of them have lost family members to the Holocaust or have relatives who survived the Holocaust. Now, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt,a nd reserve a resposne until you explain yourself.

Now, I view Jonathan Pollard's case as an individual circumstance of a man who gave promised, but withheld information to an allied nation. Now, if I recall correctly, the maximum sentence for spying on behalf of an allied nation is what, 12 years? Now, I admit that after re-reading Pollard did plead guilty, but he was under durress, so at least let him have a trial.

Now, after 8 years of extra confinement, I don't think a pardon is unreasonable. I am not saying he should be given back his old job or his security clearance, just compensated his GS salary for those 8 years and given a coach flight to Israel, where he has citizenship.

Now, you asked me about other cases. If the person was of Mexcian descent but America born, well same guidelines: 12 or I think it's now 10 years...also since I am judging the Pollard case individually, also the only threat to Mexico are some loco Zapatistas and our interests aren't threatened if Mexico defends herself against them.

For Turkey, I am split as I love Istabul, but am very sympathtetic to the Kurds. However, I am against the Kurdish Worker's Party committing an attack on Turkish civilians, and I'd rather Turkey prevent such an atatck, than Kuridsh seperatists hitting Ankara or Istanbul and a lot of innocent Kurds facing an ugly backlash. Of course, the Turkish descended spy should be punished, but not with a life sentence. Same would go if the spy had Irish, English, Danish, Dutch, or even French or German descent.

Irina> Now, you present the best point. The life sentence on Pollard makes him equivalent to gneuine traitors like Robert Hanssen or Aldrich Ames.

Also, Eric Margolis, a journalist who attempts to link Pollard to Ames and Hanssen is a writer for The American Conservative, Pat Buchanan's magazine. Coincidence?

I'd also agree about John Walker Lindh, and let's check my passport: oh yes on page 4: Loss of Citizneship (3) Serving in the Armed Services of a foreign state. Now the US didn't recognize the Taliban, but I'd include ragtag enemy thug militias in the number 3 category. He should have been stripped of his citizenship for his stunt and left in the mercy of the Afghani authority, but he plea bargained for 20 years, and unless he goes Whittaker Chambers, our mercy was wasted on him.

Irina Tsukerman said...

BEAJ: I am not denying he committed a crime. But that crime wasn't treason.

Revolutionary Blogger said...

.let's check my passport: oh yes on page 4: Loss of Citizneship (3) Serving in the Armed Services of a foreign state.

Don't bring this up, as many in the IDF are US citizens. You wouldn't want them to loose US citizenship now...would you? Especially, don't mention it to US Democrats, I wouldn't want them to loose Rahm Emanuel who served a minor role in the IDF during the Gulf War.

Before I respond, I want to [know] what you mean by "holocaust trauma".

First of all, sincere sympathies to all those who lost loved ones. By "Holocaust Trauma" I mean interpreting anything and everything as an existential threat to the Jewish State or to all members of the Jewish faith. Glorying Pollard as some sort of savior of Israel could be linked to such trauma.

Pollard provided Israel with the names of American agents in the Soviet Union. The names were later traded to the Soviet Union by Israel and a number of key CIA agents were executed as a result. If Pollard provided some top secret info that saved millions of Jewish lives then I might even understand your point, but the fact that his info contributed to the death of fellow Americans is a little disturbing.

Since Lady justice should be blind, all spies, whether they are Puerto Rican, Jamaican or Israeli should be punished equally.

I'm not here to annoy you, I just want to understand how some people still hold the belief that he was some type of political prisoner.

Red Tulips said...

RB:

You are treating as fact what is speculation, created by Eric Margolis of Pat Buchanan's magazine. Pat Buchanan is not exactly a reliable source of information about anything Jewish or Israel.

In a 2002 letter to IMRA, U.S. District Court Judge George N. Leighton wrote:

"At the time Mr. Pollard was sentenced in March of 1987, the court placed under seal approximately forty pages of material filed in the court's docket. These included portions of a declaration by then-Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, and portions of pre-sentencing memoranda submitted to the court by the government as well as by the defense. The materials were sealed because the government said they contained classified information, some of which could affect national security if disclosed inappropriately.... Mr. Pollard and his attorney at the time were permitted to read the sealed pages before sentencing. However, despite the provision in the protective order for future access, no attorney representing Mr. Pollard has been permitted to see these pages since 1987. While this denial of access has severely hampered the efforts of Mr. Pollard's new attorneys to secure justice for their client, it has proved convenient for his adversaries. For years, adversaries have exploited the sealed pages to generate political opposition to relief for Mr. Pollard by spreading, in the press, rumors and outright falsehoods. Since the accusations floated in the media are nowhere to be found in the open court file, they would either be substantiated in the sealed pages, or not at all. As no one representing Mr. Pollard has been allowed access to the sealed pages, Mr. Pollard's adversaries have had unbridled license to spread falsehoods with virtually no risk of contradiction... 'The government's conduct in this case is highly disturbing."

Revolutionary Blogger said...

Red Tulip,

Point well taken. Anything associated with Pat Buchanan reeks with Xenophobia and hate. I personally can't stand the man.

Moving on to another source. Seymour Hersh in The New Yorker claims that "a number of officials strongly suspect that the Israelis repackaged much of Pollard's material and provided it to the Soviet Union" and that "a significant percentage of Pollard's documents, including some that described the techniques the American Navy used to track Soviet submarines around the world, was of practical importance only to the Soviet Union" (Seymour Hersh, The New Yorker, January 18, 1999, Why Pollard Should Never Be Released).

There are no links with Hersh and antisemitism, plus he was born into a Jewish family. Also, he is a Pulitzer Prize winner.

Jason said...

""Pat Buchanan is not exactly a reliable source of information about anything Jewish or Israel.""

Buchanan isn't a reliable source on anything.

And I never knew American Conservative was his magazine. But it makes perfect sense.

Red Tulips said...

Jason:

True on Buchanan.

RB:

Seymour Hersh specualated about Pollard. He is prone to making speculations, true or false.

He also has flat out admitted to making up facts when it suits him. Sorry, but Hersh speculation is not enough for me to condemn Pollard with anything.

http://nymag.com/nymetro/news/people/features/11719/index.html

Thomas Forsyth said...

RB> Well, your definition isn't as bad as I thought it would be, but since I am an ex-Catholic and the last of my ancestors to enter the US did so in the late 19th century, though one of them was from Frankfurt, so you'd be barking up the wrong tree on that regard.

Of course, you could shift gears and bring up Catholic guilt, for I was riased by an Irish Catholic mother, and they have great guilt trip powers :)

My support for Pollard is not due to anything beyond what I know about the case and that he is being used to make an example of, or some red meat to toss the EU, UN, or OPEC.

Lady Justice should be blind in a verdict, but not in the sentence. It once again depends on what happened, plus Puerto Rico is a US Commonwealth so a poor example.

Also, your sources are based upon a Buchananite and a guy who admits to making stuff up. But being a Revolutionary and all, you can go 3 for 3 and add something from Z Mag ;)

As for US Citizens and the IDF, I imagine there is an exception with the State Dept as what I quoted is from my passport and not some well kept secret. I'd be more concerned about McDermott meeting with Sadaam back in '02, when it comes to loyalty issues, or the case with retired Bishop Thomas Gumbleton of Detroit.

Mr. Smarterthanyou said...

If you are required to serve in a foreign military due to dual citizenship, it's ok. If you volunteer, then you theoretically chose to give up citizenship.