Will Disclosures Help Unlock Jonathan Pollard's Cell?

April 23, 1995 - John Loftus - The Miami Herald

Ten years ago, the FBI arrested Jonathan Pollard, whom they thought was a high-level American spy for Israel. In May 1995, Pollard will have his first parole hearing. A few people in the US intelligence community are starting to concede that Pollard may have been just a low-level dupe whose 40 year sentence was

grossly disproportionate to his crime

. One investigation for Naval Intelligence privately admitted that "ninety percent of the things we accused him of stealing,

he didn't even have access to


The reason for the turn-about in the intelligence community can be traced to recent disclosures that may be the keys to unlock Pollard's cell. The first disclosure was the recent confession of CIA agent Rick Ames that he (not Pollard) was responsible for leaking top-level secrets to the Kremlin that caused the deaths of many US agents inside the Soviet Union.

At the time, many journalists (including the author) took the intelligence community's allegations against Pollard seriously. It was well known that once there had been KGB moles inside Israeli intelligence (Klinberg and Kalmanovich, for example). If Pollard gave US secrets to the Mossad, it was quite plausible that an as yet undiscovered Soviet mole could have leaked them to the KGB.

In hindsight, the non-existence of a recent Soviet mole in Israel can be suggested by the fact that not a single word of the US raid on Libya was leaked in advance to Moscow, despite full knowledge and participation from Mossad agents on the ground who spotted the US airstrike on the Libyan targets. As it turns out, American secrets were safer in the Mossad than they were in the CIA while Ames was around.

While Ames may have first floated the " blame Pollard " trial balloon, Caspar Weinberger may have had his own motives for inflating the accusations. Both Pollard and Oliver North could (and later did) denounce Weinberger as the man who secretly opposed Israel. Pollard discovered that

the Defense Department was holding back as much as 75% of the available intelligence, and even feeding Israel false information


Pollard's biggest blunder, according to our sources in the intelligence community, was that he never realized the importance of what he knew. For that matter, neither did the Israelis. Most of the information Pollard passed was routine, low-level data on Soviet sponsored arms shipments to PLO proxies. Or so everyone thought.

In March, 1984, US hostages were kidnapped in Lebanon. Quite by accident, in April 1984, Pollard reported to the Israelis that he had discovered a pattern of illegal arm shipments smuggled through Greece. Acting on Pollard's tip, the Israelis passed word to the Greek government which staged a raid in May 1984, seizing an entire freighter full of arms. A minor incident, which Pollard forgot about, but which is

the crux of the campaign to shut him up for life


Pollard had not stopped a PLO shipment out of Greece,

he had blown the whistle on Vice President George Bush's first attempt to trade arms for hostages

. The May 1984 Greek shipment had been arranged, at Bush's request, by a Syrian contract agent working for the White House. In the last four chapter of The Secret War Against the Jews, we document each of the shipping manifests, bank accounts, and arms transaction, and corroborate them with cross-citations to matching entries in Oliver North's diaries.

The secret agent behind the White House's 1984 shipments was Monzer Al-Kassar, a well-known Syrian fixer and middle-man. Monzer is identified in North's recently declassified diaries as " M-the mediator " for the release of hostages in Iran. North's Swiss bank records also confirm that the White House paid Monzer millions of dollars to purchase arms for the Contras. There is no doubt about his identity.

Unfortunately, North never did a background check before putting Monzer on the White House payroll. North did not discover, until too late, that the CIA, DEA, and INTERPOL, have all red-flagged Monzer as an international terrorist and drug dealer. One Congressional report describes Monzer's Syrian syndicate as responsible for 20% of the heroin reaching the United States. Reader's Digest even ran an article describing Monzer's criminal connections. Incredibly, any dentist office in America knew more about Monzer that the White House. North's incompetence had created the threat of a major political scandal.

When the Pollard case erupted in 1985, the White House was frantic to find out how much the Israelis had learned about Monzer's 1984 arms deals. North noted in his diary that the Israelis had "positively ID'd" several of the 1984 shipments. Luckily for North, neither Pollard nor the Mossad had suspected that Monzer was working for the White House. This left the way open to hide North's embarrassing Syrian connection, by shifting the blame for future arms deals to the unwitting Israelis.

To this day, Congress still believes that Israelis initiated the arms to Iran shipments in 1985. The evidence is indisputable that Bush's first shipments through the Syrians began in 1984, more than a year before the Israelis were dragged in as scapegoats. Pollard's " routine " data on 1984 Greek shipping patterns

could have exposed the fraudulent chronology given to Congress

during the Iran-Contra Hearings.

Jonathan Pollard, the one man who might have put the pieces together and ruined Bush's run for the Presidency,

was buried alive in federal prison under a ton of exaggerated accusations

. Pollard still did not realize what had happened to him, or why, until his father sent a copy of our book to his prison cell.

While Pollard was undoubtedly guilty of a despicable act, and deserved imprisonment, he has already served ten years,

three times

the sentence that should have been imposed for foolish and naive misconduct. Pollard is eligible for release this year but because of the previous hyperbole in the media, it is not expected that President Clinton will have the political breathing room to release Pollard until after the 1996 election. The Pollard incident may have been much ado about nothing, but the principal actor will have to remain behind bars for reasons that

have nothing to do with his crime, and everything to do with politics


The irony is that Pollard is still in jail for the wrong reasons,

while the real villain is free

. In March 1995, Monzer was acquitted by a Spanish court of hijacking the Achille Lauro cruise ship. That Monzer got off free is not surprising. After all, he had publicly threatened to expose a Spanish political scandal. It also helped Monzer's case when one prosecution witness fell out a window, another had his children kidnapped, and all the American DEA evidence was excluded from evidence. The Spanish judicial system is not alone too blame. Monzer is the world's most untouchable terrorist, perhaps because he has worked for so many of the world's intelligence services, and unlike Pollard, knows too many embarrassing secrets to ever spend a day in jail.

John Loftus of St. Petersburg, is a former Justice Department Attorney and co-author with Mark Aarons of The Secret War Against the Jews published last year by St. Martin's Press.