General Assembly Briefed on Pollard

November 1998

Canadian human rights expert and activist, McGill University's Law Professor Irwin Cotler made the following comments to the General Assembly of Federations, held in Jerusalem in November (1998):

Regarding Jonathan Pollard:

"Jonathan Pollard committed a crime for which he deserved to be punished, as he himself has acknowledged. But he has been punished for a crime that he did not commit, and unjustly punished for the crime he did commit."

"In a word, Pollard was never tried, nor convicted, of treason; rather, he was charged and convicted of one count only of conveying classified information to Israel. Yet, former Prosecutor Joseph DiGenova and representatives of the CIA, intelligence community, defense establishment, and the like continue to knowingly disseminate this false accusation, particularly in the aftermath of Wye.

"Second, the median sentence for others who have committed a similar offense is 2-4 years. Pollard, however, has now entered his 14th year of a life sentence - a clear denial of equality before the law.

"Third, representatives from the CIA, the intelligence community, the defense establishment, et al, continue to "indict" Pollard for compromising American "sources" and "methods", including "charging" Pollard with the deaths of American agents abroad. However, no evidence has ever been produced to substantiate this charge. On the contrary, the Aldrich Ames case is but one case-study of dissembling by the CIA et al - of attempting to deflect attention away from those whom, like Aldrich Ames, did indeed compromise "sources" and "methods" as acknowledged by Ames himself; of suppressing the disclosure of information that would indict the pro-Iraq policy of the American political establishment in the 80s; and of precluding examination of CIA intelligence failures in the 80s and 90s."