The Pollard Miscarriage of Justice
September 27, 1996 - Irving Warshawsky - The Jewish Press
To its credit, The Jewish Press has followed a policy of keeping its readers fully informed on the Pollard case. President Clinton's decision not to commute Jonathan Pollard's life sentence need not bring an end to efforts to free him. If one believes a "
fundamental miscarriage of justice" has occurred, the opinion of Judge Steve Williams in the failed appeal process, those efforts need to continue. The question, is, how may they best be directed?
Here, guidance exists from the Dreyfus affair. Had not the French government been forced (embarrassed) into revealing that its evidence of treason against Alfred Dreyfus was tainted, in all likelihood Mr. Dreyfus would not have been able to leave prison alive.
Today, as in the past, a veil of secrecy surrounds the Pollard case, hiding the truth, not unlike in the Dreyfus affair. And it is here where efforts to free Pollard need to be directed:
to lift the veil of secrecy, to expose the truth.
In the plea bargain agreement with the government, Jonathan Pollard pleaded guilty to illegally passing classified information to Israel,
not to the crime of "treason." Yet that, as many believe, was the crime he was sentenced for. This legal "bait and switch" tactic has been attributed by many to Caspar Weinberger's last minute intervention in the sentencing process.
When Judge Robinson imposed his harsh prison sentence, he had in his possession Weinberger's pre-sentencing memo, intended to influence his judgment. Today,
nearly 11 years later, that memo remains "classified secret."
If that memo contains "lies and distortions," as some suspect, and if it influenced Judge Robinson's decision to impose the maximum penalty under the law when a lesser one would have been appropriate, then, as Judge Williams has written, a "fundamental miscarriage of justice" has occurred.
What is to be done? If Jonathan Pollard is to be freed, it is necessary to pressure the Clinton Administration into declassifying the Weinberger memo, and to expose it to public scrutiny. (Secret reviews of secret evidence to reveal that truth, which the Clinton administration has relied on, is
not the American way.)
The justification of national security to keep the Weinberger memo "classified secret" is no longer credible, given how much the world has changed since that memo was written. And there is no more appropriate time than now, during the presidential campaign period, to pressure the Clinton Administration into declassifying that memo.
If there are indeed "lies and distortions" in the memo intended to subvert justice, President Clinton would then have to reconsider his decision not to commute Jonathan Pollard's life sentence. To do otherwise would not only taint the Presidency but also the American justice system.
That may be too high a price to pay.
West Bloomfield, MI