Pollard Group: Report's Timing Designed To Keep Him In Prison
Hillel Fendel - Arutz-7 News - November 13, 2006
The Committee to Bring Jonathan Pollard Home says the timing of last night's report against Pollard [on Israeli TV Channel 10] stems from the fear that President Bush might agree to pardon him.
The Supreme Court has turned down Pollard's request to disqualify his former handler from serving as a Cabinet minister, the government will not support granting Pollard "Prisoner of Zion" status - and an Israeli TV report negatively portrays Pollard just as Prime Minister Olmert is scheduled to meet with U.S. President Bush.
Israel's Channel 10 news reported last night the story of Ronald Olive - the FBI agent who has capitalized on his 1985 capture of Pollard outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington by writing a book and delivering frequent lectures on it. Olive accuses Pollard of spying merely to puff up his own ego and of "stuffing documents into a suitcase 2-3 times a day, 3-4 times a week, for 18 months."
Pollard himself has said that in fact, he used a small briefcase to make a total of 11 drops of information to the Israelis. He says that the Americans routinely exaggerate the amount of information he gave Israel by counting one page of a document as if it were the entire document - even if that document was several volumes long.
Olive, apparently enthusiastic over his arrest of a famous spy, says that Pollard stole some of "the most closely-guarded secrets of the United States" and gravely endangered U.S. security. This, despite the fact that Pollard was never indicted for compromising U.S. codes, agents, or war plans, was not charged with treason, and was convicted only of one count of passing classified information to an ally, without intent to harm the United States.
The information Pollard provided Israel was supposed to have been provided to Israel according to a 1983 U.S.-Israeli Memorandum of Understanding. It included Syrian, Iraqi, Libyan and Iranian nuclear, chemical, and biological warfare capabilities that were being developed for use against Israel, as well as information on ballistic missile development in these countries and planned terrorist attacks against Israeli targets.
Channel 10 also screened a surveillance camera video, with Olive's spirited narration, showing Pollard taking papers from a drawer in his desk, placing them into his briefcase, and walking out of his office with the case.
The Jerusalem-based Committee to Bring Jonathan Pollard Home says that the report is full of easily refutable lies, and that it was designed only to sabotage all chances that U.S. President Bush's might consent to pardon him.
"The timing of the 'exclusive' item on the U.S. Navy on Channel 10 [the video was screened on MSNBC a month ago - ed.] is not coincidental," the organization said in a statement last night. "Its broadcast just a day before Olmert and Bush are to meet, and a week before Pollard concludes his 21st year in prison, stems from a fear by the anti-Israeli elements in the American intelligence community - who always work to prevent his release - that Bush is likely to respond favorably to an official Israeli request for his release."
Full of Lies "The report was full of lies that can be refuted in an absolute manner," the organization states, "but the main point was not only its besmirching of Jonathan - but the creation of the impression that there is widespread opposition to his release."
Olive claimed, for instance, that Pollard received $54,000 in money and gifts from the Israelis. However, even the FBI concluded, after nine months of investigation including polygraphs, that Pollard acted for ideological reasons only, not for profit. This fact was also recognized by the sentencing judge, who declined to fine Pollard - even while disregarding a plea bargain arrangement and sentencing him to an unprecedented life term in prison.
"Every day that Jonathan Pollard remains in prison," said civil rights proponent Law Professor Alan Dershowitz of Harvard University, "is another day of injustice."
Minister Eitan not Disqualified In a related item, the Supreme Court rejected a petition by Pollard to disqualify his former handler, Rafi Eitan, from serving as a Cabinet minister. Eitan was the director of Israel's Lakam intelligence agency which recruited Pollard, a U.S. Navy analyst, in 1984.
Pollard, who submitted his suit on May 1, shortly after Prime Minister Olmert formed his government and named Eitan as Minister for Pensioners' Affairs, maintained that Eitan betrayed him and is not worthy of sharing governmental responsibility for Israel's citizenry. The suit claimed that Eitan consciously abandoned his agent to the hands of the FBI, and falsely told the Americans that Pollard had acted alone and without Israeli supervision. It further claimed that Eitan has withheld a critical document from both the Israeli and U.S. authorities - despite knowing that it could attain Pollard's freedom and thus save his life. The suit maintained that Rafi Eitan made a calculated choice, ever since Pollard was arrested in 1985, to protect the political careers of his friends by sacrificing a soldier in the field.
Supreme Court President Dorit Beinish rejected the petition, stating that Pollard had not succeeded in proving his claims. Pollard's counsel, Attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, said afterwards, "It is regrettable that the Supreme Court follows the government's path and shakes off its responsibility for Pollard... True, Rafi Eitan denies everything we claimed, but did not bring a shred of evidence to disprove our claims. Neither did the government deny our claims, but said only that the Supreme Court should not intervene in the matter."
MK Uri Ariel (National Union), head of the Pollard lobby in the Knesset, said today, "The Supreme Court's decision should prod Minister Eitan to do whatever necessary on behalf of getting Pollard out of jail. He should be in charge of the matter on behalf of the government."
Ministers Won't Support PoZ Status for Pollard In yet another blow to Pollard, the ministerial committee for legislation - which determines the government's stance on proposed legislation - has nixed a bill by MK Effie Eitam (National Union) that would recognize Pollard as a Prisoner of Zion.
"The government is misleading the public," Eitam responded. "It claims to be working on Pollard's behalf, but in practice, it torpedoes every initiative in his favor, and does not make great efforts to have him released."