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 . 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
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.