Pollard's Ordeal Cries Out For An Independent Inquiry

George Topas - The Jewish Press - July 4, 1997

The prolonged incarceration of Jonathan Pollard who is serving his 12th year in prison, is most disturbing, especially to someone who was deprived of freedom during the Holocaust in Europe for five and a half years and can well appreciate such deprivation.

The N.Y. Times (6/24/97) casts interesting light on the disparity of our justice system in meting out sentences for spying. It reports that a former F.B.I. agent was sentenced to 27 years in prison for spying for the Soviet Union and, after that government fell, [for] Russia." The F.B.I. agent referred to Earl Pitts,

who was charged with selling U.S. intelligence secrets "for more than $224,000 from 1987 to 1992."

"The only other F.B.I. agent caught spying, the report continued, "

was Richard W. Miller arrested in 1984 and sentenced to 20 years in prison," also for spying for Moscow

. He has since been released, after serving

only nine years

. This punishment was meted out to an F.B.I. agent, to someone who is entrusted with protecting us from spies,

a guardian of U.S. security


Jonathan Pollard, by contrast, was sentenced to life in prison, without parole, for passing United States intelligence to

an ally of the United States to whom this intelligence was allegedly promised but denied


All the

sordid details

of the

C.I.A.'s high ranking agent Aldridge Ames' treasonous sell-out to the Soviet KGB

, which virtually destroyed the C.I.A. network, and resulted in the execution of many of its agents, have been released and are public knowledge. By contrast, in Pollard's case, specific details of his passing information concerning the Arab military threat to Israel's survival are shrouded in mystery and Pollard has been declared a security risk. This, 12 years after his conviction and nearly a decade after the fall of the Soviet empire! He was promised leniency for his cooperation by the U.S. Department of Justice, but the Government prosecutor reneged on that promise. Instead, Pollard has received the harshest sentence that can be imposed - for spying for a friendly ally. After all these years, the public is entitled to know why Pollard's punishment for spying for an ally is so much greater than that of those spies who were lightly punished or just released for much worse offenses.

Pollard's mistreatment appears all the more glaring when compared with the government's treatment of former U.S. Naval Officer, Michael Schwartz, who was charged with

spying for our oil-ally, Saudi Arabia

. He was

dishonorably discharged and let go, scot-free


Could the fact that Messrs. Miller and Schwartz are Gentiles, and Mr. Pollard is a Jew, have something to do with the double standard displayed in Pollard's case

The perceptible discrimination which permeates the mistreatment of Pollard is further exhibited by President Clinton's repeated refusal to commute Pollard's sentence to time already served.

In the absence of some specific compelling reason, such as showing substantive potential damage to U.S. security, Pollard should be released, or the Government should give valid cause for still considering Pollard a security risk. So far the Government's conduct in dispensing equal justice is not convincing, and rather deplorable.

I firmly believe that Pollard's sentence - what Judge Steven Williams called "a fundamental miscarriage of Justice" - should be redressed without further delay, for justice delayed is justice denied.

The Jewish community, which means you and I and our leaders, should

stop begging

for clemency for Pollard but demand an independent judicial inquiry in ALL aspects of the Pollard affair, here in the United States and in Israel. Let the truth be made known. Thirteen-year-old intelligence is, in all probability, obsolete today and hardly a reason for continued detention of Pollard as a "security risk." The disparity in the mistreatment of this offender exhibits all the symptoms of ethnic discrimination. Let the government prove that it is not so, before an independent and impartial panel. Only such an independent body can examine the entire case and come up with a credible report.

It should be made clear to all concerned that we shall not let the matter rest until the entire case gets a fair review and the punishment meted out to Jonathan Pollard is revised to be commensurate with his presumed offense and proportionate with similar offenses committed by others.