Pollard Suffers Another Setback
Debbie Maimon Yated Ne'eman Front Page Feature November 21, 2003
For those who have been following the Jonathan Pollard story, last week's ruling turning down his request for a re-sentencing was deeply disappointing.
Those closest to Pollard and to the inner story behind his excessively harsh punishment of which Pollard has already served 18 years say they were not surprised at Judge Hogan's dismissal of the prisoner's two motions.
"Make no mistake. There never was any intention of this judicial sham providing relief for Jonathan," said Pollard's wife, Esther, who is convinced that powerful individuals in government are determined, for well-hidden, personal reasons, to see Pollard live out his years behind bars.
"We were not surprised by the court's rejection of Jonathan's motions," Mrs. Pollard wrote. "Why not? For us, the handwriting was on the wall ever since Jonathan returned from Washington after the oral arguments on Sept. 2.
Campaign of Harassment
It was then, she said, that Pollard was able for the first time to tell anyone about "the severe deprivation, mistreatment, and affliction he was quietly subjected to in Washington."
Mrs. Pollard's testimonial about the psychological torture applied to Pollard in the two weeks leading up to the court hearing is staggering. It paints a picture of unidentified "higher ups" carrying out a pernicious program aimed at breaking Pollard down to the point where he would be certain to "dig his own grave" in the courtroom, by behaving provocatively and inappropriately.
The program of harassment included denying him the right to shower, change his clothes or to have any contact with family, friends or counsel.
Pollard was held in extreme isolation, without distraction of any sort. He was not permitted tallis, teffilin, tehillim or even a siddur.
"His locked-down cell was in the medical unit, opposite a small prison library. He could see the books from his cell. Every day, he pleaded to be given a bookany book. His request was met with much sympathy but with the response that orders "from higher up" would not permit it," Mrs. Pollard writes.
Rabbi Pesach Lerner was in touch with the Chaplain at Arlington Detention Center. At first the Chaplain assured Rabbi Lerner that like all the other prisoners, Pollard could receive "chaplaincy" visits and that he could receive whatever religious items he needed.
Apparently, those instructions were reversed on orders from "higher up": no chaplaincy visits were allowed, in fact, no visitors whatsoever; no phone privileges, and no contact with the outside world whatsoever, including newspapers, radio and magazines.
According to Mrs. Pollard, for the duration of her husband's stay in Washington, the orders were to handle him "as if he were a violent criminal and a maximum security risk, to be chained and shackled for all movement."
"When [Pollard] was given his one and only shower in two weeks, the shower was located about 10 feet away from the cell in which he was held. The guards were instructed to shackle him hand and foot and use "belly chains" on him to move him the 10 feet to shower. After the shower, Pollard was moved back to his cell in chains."
After two weeks of this extreme treatment, Pollard was kept hungry and thirsty and then brought into the court room under threat that if he spoke or made eye contact with anyone, he would be forcibly removed and punished.
"Many people wondered why it was that Pollard had been summoned to Washington at all for the court hearing on the re-sentencing request," Mrs. Pollard writes. "They wondered even more when Jonathan neither spoke, nor was spoken to, during the court proceedings."
The only point of bringing him to Washington, supporters say, seems to have been to put him on display, to stage for the world the illusion that the judicial system was going out of its way to respect his rights.
At the same time, to reinforce their case that Pollard is a dangerous, unrepentant criminal, they hoped the cruel treatment would provoke a show of provocative, unrepentant behavior on his part in public.
Despite his ordeal, Pollard behaved with complete restraint in court, nodding appreciatively to his wife and to the ranks of supporters that packed the courtroom in a show of solidarity.
Secret Evidence Convicted Him
The hearing was not an actual appeal, but rather a forum for Pollard's attorneys to present their arguments once again on behalf of allowing him to request re-sentencing.
Pollard is currently not eligible to actually appeal his sentence of seventeen years ago, since his lawyer at the time, Richard Hibey, declined to file a routine notice of appeal within the time allowed.
Hibey also failed to object when prosecutors violated the plea agreement and asked for life imprisonment, and failed to challenge a secret affidavit used to convict Pollard.
"Hibey's fees were paid by the Israeli Government, as is well known," a source close to Pollard said. "But it is not clear whose orders he was following when he gave up on defending his client."
That negligence, willful or accidental, stymied all future efforts to appeal Pollard's sentence.
The September hearing which Pollard, after 16 years, was finally granted, gave him the chance to request a re-sentencing on the grounds that his constitutional rights were violated when the government violated its plea agreement with him. He also argued that an incompetent defense sabotaged his legal rights.
Pollard demanded that his counsel be given clearance to see the secret and damning last-minute memo by then-Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger that led to his life sentence.
Despite the agreement not to seek a life sentence, government prosecutors did just that, basing their action on the Weinberger denunciations that accused Pollard of "treason" a far more serious crime than spying and one that Pollard was never charged with.
Prosecutors also leaned heavily on Weinberg's allegations that Pollard "had caused the greatest harm to national security" in American history.
What was the nature of that harm? Though the Weinberger memo remains classified, U.S. officials have maintained that information provided by Pollard to Israel was transmitted to the Soviets and played a role in the arrest and execution of more than 40 American agents in Russia.
At the time of Pollard's sentencing the American security establishment may well have believed that story, writes former CIA officer and author John Loftus in defense of Pollard, in Moment magazine.
Now, however, it is known that CIA official Aldrich Ames and FBI agent Robert Hanssen sold the names of the American agents to the Soviets.
What Pollard Stole
In addition to proving that Pollard was completely innocent of the major charges against him, namely that Pollard leaked the names of U.S. spies behind the Iron Curtain, Loftus's article sheds light on another mystery: why Pollard is still in prison if the government knows he is innocent.
"Pollard in fact did steal something that the U.S. government never wishes to talk about," Loftus writes. "Several friends inside military intelligence have told me that Pollard gave the Israelis a roster that listed the identities of all the Saudi and other Arab intelligence agents we knew about as of 1984, including Osama bin Laden."
This information has been corroborated by Israeli sources, as well. At that time, this list, known in intelligence circles as the "blue book," would have been relatively unimportant to the United Statesbut not to Israel.
"Since 9/11, however, Pollard's "blue book" is of profound interest to everyone, including the U.S.," notes Loftus. "These particular agents are now a major embarrassment to the Saudis and to the handful of American CIA chiefs who had employed these Saudi intelligence agents on the sly."
Some of the names on this listsuch as Osama Bin Ladenturned out to be leaders of terrorist groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood and what we now call Al Qaeda.
Why A Free Pollard Is A Threat
"Pollard's file shows that, contrary to what Congress was told, U.S. intelligence knew perfectly well that they were laundering money through Saudi Arabia to fund known terrorists in their drive to oust the Russians from Afghanistan," Loftus writes.
To protect themselves from charges of negligence, senior members of US intelligence covered up the Saudi-Al Qaeda connection right up to 9/11.
In addition, writes Middle East analyst Emmanuel Winston, "Pollard did the unthinkable. He spilled the beans to the Israelis that their deadly enemies, the Iraqis were being armed with poison gas, biological substancesall with the connivance of the most powerful people in Washington."
An indication that CIA heads knew their jobs would be on the line if the truth ever came out about this and other scandalous betrayals of duty is a footnote from recent Middle East history:
At the U.S. backed Israeli-Palestinian negotiations at the 1998 Wye River Conference, then Prime Minister Netanyahu insisted on Pollard's release as part of the final agreement.
According to many sources, Former President Clinton gave his word that he would arrange Pollard's release. A stunned Israel was told to prepare to welcome Pollard along with Netanyahu on the prime minister's return.
The plan collapsed however, when CIA chief George Tenet announced suddenly that if Pollard were released, he would quit his post. Clinton immediately reneged on his word, insisting he had promised nothing but a "review" of the Pollard case.
Who knows how much damage a free Pollard would be capable of? Who knows how many powerful men shudder at the thought of the secrets he could spill?
Dirty secrets that Jonathan might reveal if he were free is not the reason for the on-going persecution of Pollard. If there are any dirty secrets that powerful men so fear, they are know only to themselves, not to Jonathan Pollard.
Rather, Jonathan's incarceration to this day continues to be used to fuel a nefarious political agenda. It is a dagger aimed at the heart of Israel and the American Jewish community.
His grossly disproportionate sentence has for 18 years been exploited by those elements within the American administration who have no use for the U.S.-Israel special relationship, to call into question Israel's reliability as an ally, and the loyalty of the American Jewish Community. As long as they can keep Jonathan in prison, the can continue to exploit his plight.
As long as the American Jewish leadership and the Government of Israel continues to bury its collective head in the sand and to pretend that this case is only about Jonathan, enemies of the Jewish People will continue to take advantage of the Pollard case to the detriment of the Jewish State and the Jewish community at large.