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In 1983, President Reagan had signed an agreement with Israel for the bilateral exchange of information. It was the same kind of information that Pollard felt compelled to provide Israel.

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Free Republic

Monday, August 20, 2001

It's Time To Free Jonathan Pollard

Alan Caruba


THERE'S a story of a Jew whom the Romans decided to feed to the lions. They dug a hole in the Coliseum and buried him in it, standing up, with only his head and neck showing. Then they let out a lion that had been starved for two days and, of course, the lion with his mouth drooling went straight for the Jew and began to circle his prey. When the lion drew close, the Jew bit it. It yelped and ran away. From the Coliseum stands, someone yelled, "Jew, fight fair!" The Jews of Israel have had to fight, first to dislodge the British who regarded Palestine, the ancient Roman name given to Israel in a vain effort to erase its rightful name from history, as a protectorate. After World War II, the British Empire went into decline and, in one of the great miracles of modern times, the ancient nation of Israel was reborn in the wake of the outright murder of six million Jews by the Nazis.

When its independence was declared and surrounding Arab nations attacked, there were those who yelled, "Jews, fight fair!" They fought as any people for whom fighting for their very lives must fight. This time there was no repeat of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising where the world learned that Jews can and will fight against great odds. In 1987, a former navel [sic] intelligence officer, Jonathan Jay Pollard, was sentenced to life in prison without any chance of parole, for having passed classified information to the Israelis. He is the only person ever to be so severely punished for spying on behalf of an American ally. What Pollard did, in essence, was to provide Israeli intelligence with information being denied to them by the United States; information that was critical to their ability to defend themselves against the same Arab nations that have repeatedly attacked them. Nations that call for their destruction.

Pollard was never accused or indicted on a charge of treason. In comparable cases where people who committed the offense of spying for an ally in time of peace, and then pled guilty and cooperated with the government, they have been given a median sentence of four to five years, serving on an average between three and four years. Why does Pollard remain in prison to this day? In his book, The Hunting Horse (Prometheus Books, published in 2000), author Eliot Goldberg points out that, in 1983, President Reagan had signed an agreement with Israel for the bilateral exchange of information. It was the same kind of information that Pollard felt compelled to provide Israel. As an intelligence expert, he knew it was being deliberately and knowingly denied.

"Specifically, wrote Goldberg, "Pollard agreed to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate a federal statute that prohibits a person from communicating to a foreign government information relating to the national defense-either with intent (or reason to believe) that the information will be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of a foreign nation."

Conspiracy, not treason. Since the 1980's the United States has discovered one truly treasonous spy after another, including high-ranking members of the Central Intelligence Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. They sold out their nation to a degree so much worse as to have compromised our entire national security system. But Pollard remains in jail for having passed along classified information the US, as a matter of national policy, refused to share with an ally. What we do know is that the US worked closely with Iraq's Saddam Hussein during his eight year war with Iran, the sworn enemy of this nation, providing him not merely with weapons of war, but with the components of deadly gas warfare. What we do know is that, during the Reagan administration, the US secretly worked to provide weapons of war to Iran, a scandal that was to become known as Iran-Contra.

In his book, Under Fire, Lt.Col. Oliver North, wrote that Casper Weinberger, then Secretary of Defense, "seemed to go out of his way to blame the Israelis for every problem in the Middle East."

It was a letter from Weinberger to District Court Judge Aubrey Robinson that led to the unusually harsh sentence given Pollard. Was Weinberger lying when he claimed Pollard had posed a severe threat to our national security? Yes. It is worth recalling that it was Casper Weinberger who, under oath before Congress, lied repeatedly about the Iran-Contra affair. It is Weinberger who would have gone to jail had the father of the current President not pardoned him. What has emerged has been the existence of a top secret US policy to keep the various wars in the Middle East at a level where neither combatant could win. What has emerged is the realization that US Middle East policy has always been subject to the approval of Saudi Arabia. It is not so much peace in the Middle East that has been the objective, but the flow of oil upon which this nation is so utterly dependent.

It was for this reason that George H.W. Bush put together a coalition to punish Iraq for its invasion of Kuwait, surely to be followed by one of Saudi Arabia, if it were to prove successful. It was for this reason, with total victory in its grasp, the US failed to end the regime of a man, Saddam Hussein, who represents the greatest threat to peace in that area of the world today, rivaled only by Iran.

Here's where it gets really murky. When one talks of traitors to this nation, cannot this term be applied to all those, including powerful members of Congress, who have fought to keep this nation from gaining access to a huge reserve of oil on US territory, the Alaskan National Wildlife Reserve? Why would anyone want to keep this nation from achieving a degree of security based on our own oil? Cannot this term be applied to a President who effectively made it impossible for the US to have access to a huge reserve of high-grade coal in Utah, when this nation is dependent on coal for the generation of 52% of its electricity? Today, the fanaticism of Islamic fundamentalism, fueled and financed out of Iran, that most threatened the stability of the Middle East and poses a threat to the United States. These are the same people who took American diplomats hostage in Iran, holding them for over a year. These are the same people who blew up the World Trade Center in New York.

These are the same people waging a war of terrorism in the midst of Israel, despite having signed peace agreements in Oslo more than eight years ago.

United States foreign policy in the Middle East has been a total failure. That failure dates back to the administration of Jimmy Carter who would not support our then ally, the Shah of Iran, giving rise to the Khomeini revolution. It is a policy that pays lip service to Israel as an ally and then compelled it to stand idle as Iraqi Scud missiles fell on its cities. And the voice in the Coliseum cries out "Jew. Fight fair!"

Fairness and justice demands that Jonathan Jay Pollard's sentence be commuted and that he be allowed to immigrate to Israel. President George W. Bush can send a message to our Middle Eastern enemies by righting a wrong done to an American who sacrificed his freedom because of a failed and foolish foreign policy being played out today in the streets of Jerusalem.

Related items on this website:

  Jewish Clamour for Release of US Spy Pollard mounting to Crescendo
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