Public Advocate Green And WJC VP Schindler Appeal to Clinton

The Algemeiner Journal (NY) - September 17, 1999

"It is a miscarriage of justice for Jonathan Pollard to be sitting in prison for life because of charges that were never openly aired or scrutinized and to be convicted of one crime - espionage- and sentenced for another - treason - for which he was never indicted."

Mark Green, NY Public Advocate

Public Advocate Mark Green, after visiting Jonathan Pollard in the 14th year of his "disproportionate sentence", joined Rabbi Alex Schindler, Vice president of the World Jewish Congress, in a public appeal to President Clinton to grant clemency to Jonathan Pollard because of the "miscarriage of justice" which characterizes the case.

Green's involvement with the Pollard case began seven years ago when Pollard contacted him from prison. In June, after Schindler, who has been involved with the case since 1991, called Green they decided to visit Pollard together on August 31. This was Green's first visit to Pollard at the Butner Federal Correctional Institute in North Carolina where he is the only Jew.

The Public Advocate was not allowed to bring in a note pad, cell phone, or the two books he had brought for Pollard as a gift. Esther Pollard, the prisoner's wife, who joined Green and Schindler at the meeting, received the books written by Green after the meeting.

Pollard, said Green, came into the empty visit-room with long hair and wearing brown prison fatigues with his name and register number emblazoned on them. He was "composed but distressed", Green told the Algemeiner Journal. Three feet behind the small table where the three visitors sat with Pollard, stood a naval intelligence officer who listened to and monitored their meeting.

Pollard, Green told the Algemeiner Journal, "spoke as a prisoner, someone who believes that society has let him down. He spoke of his personal feelings and dreams of the future." Green and Schindler left the meeting with the idea of an open appeal to Clinton for clemency.

Green and Schindler's appeal rests on three arguments: "the grossly excessive sentence" Pollard received in a "broken plea agreement" and the "miscarriage of justice that occurred when Pollard was convicted of one crime (spying on behalf of an American ally) but sentenced for another (treason) for which he was never indicted." Green called this an "absolute outrage".

The appeal urges the White House to complete its review of the Pollard case. Green told the Algemeiner Journal that he had met a year ago with National Security Advisor Sandy Berger who had agreed to review the case. The appeal also alluded to a private understanding between former P.M. Netanyahyu and President Clinton about Pollard's release that was agreed to at the Wye Summit, which was connected to the Accords, but that has never materialized.

Green attributed the absence of action on the case to individuals in the defense and intelligence establishment spreading false charges in the media, slandering Pollard. The Green/Schindler appeal reminds the President that "charges in the press are not facts in court."

The appeal states that Pollard is "the only person ever given a life sentence by the U.S. for spying for an ally." The average punishment for such a crime is 4 years, Green told the Algemeiner Journal.

Pollard signed a plea bargain, waiving his Sixth Amendment rights to a trial in return for which he expected a "substantial but equitable sentence" because of his cooperation with the prosecution and because of the standard of sentencing that had been established in previous similar cases of friendly espionage. "It defies logic" to believe that Pollard would have agreed to waive his rights had he known that the punishment would be life imprisonment without parole, reads the appeal.

The plea bargain was violated after the prosecution introduced, at the last minute before sentencing, a secret memorandum from then Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger which FALSELY accused Pollard of "treason" and urged the court to impose a life sentence. Pollard has never been allowed to challenge the false charges in the Weinberger memorandum and neither he nor his cleared attorneys have ever been allowed to see it again since the day that it was used to imprison him for life. (Weinberger himself later received a Presidential pardon for his role in the Iran-Contra affair.)

The Weinberger memorandum has never been made public. It cannot be obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, Green told the Algemeiner Journal, because "it is said to contain security secrets." Since no one - even with appropriate security clearances - has ever been allowed to access this document since the day it was introduced at Pollard's sentencing, it has never been challenged or scrutinized.

It is a miscarriage of justice for Jonathan Pollard to be sitting in prison for life because of charges that were never openly aired or scrutinized and to be convicted of one crime - espionage- and sentenced for another - treason - for which he was never indicted, said the appeal.

Green told the Algemeiner Journal that he "believes that this is an Administration which can be persuaded to do the right thing." More and more people, he said, are realizing that Pollard has served 14 years- including 7 in solitary- and are saying "enough is enough."

  • See the original text of the Green/Schindler Appeal to Clinton.