Pollard: In Jail Because He's A Jew

Brad E. Kauffman - Special to the Jewish Times [Baltimore] - November 02, 2007

After meeting recently with the staffers of six U.S. Senators regarding the Jonathan J. Pollard case, I have come to the unfortunate conclusion that most of our political leaders have turned a blind eye to his unbearable suffering.

Through their silence, our Senators and Congressmen have acquiesced to the government's blatant violation of Jonathan J. Pollard's constitutional rights. Even more disturbing, our leaders seem to have no problem with the government holding Jonathan J. Pollard to a harsher standard because he is a Jew.

One staffer incorrectly told me that his Senator did not have jurisdiction to raise the issue of executive clemency for Mr. Pollard. That's an obvious misnomer. In 1999, 60 U.S. Senators sent an inflammatory letter to President Bill Clinton urging him to not commute Mr. Pollard's sentence. The letter proved to be influential in President Clinton's absurd decision to skip over Mr. Pollard and instead pardon FALN terrorists from Puerto Rico.

[J4JP clarification: There was no link between President Clinton's decision to pardon the FALN terrorists, very shortly after reneging upon his commitment to free Jonathan Pollard. Nevertheless, Clinton's pardon of the FALN terrorists (to improve his wife's position with the Hispanic community during the NY Senate race) puts the lie to the claim that at Wye Clinton buckled under to the threat of CIA head George Tenet to resign if Pollard were freed. Four months later Tenet also threatened to resign over the FALN clemencies, but Clinton ignored him and did as he pleased. Tenet was Clinton's excuse for reneging on Pollard, not the reason. For more information see the FALN Clemency Page and The Wye Double-Cross Page].

If the Senators in 1999 believed they had jurisdiction to oppose executive clemency for Mr. Pollard, they certainly have the absolute authority today to urge President George W. Bush to commute Mr. Pollard's sentence.

Why then are our leaders adverse to the plight of Jonathan J. Pollard? Unfortunately, supporting executive clemency for a Jew who spied for the Jewish state is risky business. The Senators are afraid of angering the anti-Jewish elements within the CIA which regularly spreads lies about Jonathan J. Pollard. Our leaders' inability to decry the government's disgraceful treatment of a Jewish citizen, due to a fear of offending the CIA, reinforces the fact that anti-Semitism continues to be a powerful force in America.

The week of October 15th tragically marked 8,000 days that Mr. Pollard languishes in prison for a crime where the median sentence is two to four years in prison. Mr. Pollard is the only person in the history of America to receive a life sentence for spying for an ally. Prominent legal authorities across the U.S. unequivocally state that Mr. Pollard was not deserving of a life sentence.

Former Secretary of Defense Casper Weinberger, the very man who is responsible for Mr. Pollard's life sentence, even admitted that the whole Pollard case' "was made far bigger than its actual importance."

In their briefings to the Senate, the prosecution never alleged that Mr. Pollard compromised codes or U.S. Satellite Communications. Mr. Pollard did not have access to codes as a GS-12 Navy Analyst. Despite Sen. Fred Thompson's (R-Tenn.) erroneous assertion at the Republican Jewish Coalition Forum that Jonathan J. Pollard "spied against my country," the prosecution never charged Mr. Pollard with harming the U.S. In what amounts to a procedural atrocity of monumental proportions, the prosecution submitted falsified evidence in the form of the Weinberger Memorandum which inflamed the judge causing him to impose a life sentence.

If Sen. Thompson is concerned that Mr. Pollard compromised national security which clearly did not occur, where was his outrage when Samuel Morrison sold satellite photographs to Great Britain? Mr. Morrison served two years in prison. [J4JP correction: The grandson of a prominent Navy historian, Morrison served

3 months

in prison before he was released!] Likewise, where was Sen. Thompson's outrage when Abdel Kader Helmy transferred arms shipments to Egypt which ended up in the hands of Saadam Hussein? Mr. Helmy served five years in prison. [J4JP correction: Helmy served

2 years

and then was released!]

How is it possible for a Muslim or Christian who spies for an ally to take a catwalk into prison, but a Jew convicted of the same crime causing no harm to the U.S. is subjected to severe cruel and unusual punishment as well as intense physical and psychological torture? What ever happened to the legal principle that the punishment must fit the crime? That principle does not apply to American Jews who spy for an ally.

I suggest that if President Bush is serious about his pledge to eradicate worldwide anti-Semitism, he should start in the U.S. and immediately grant Jonathan Pollard executive clemency. As long as Jonathan Pollard unjustifiably remains in prison, America's purported image of having a fair and equitable judicial system will be in disrepute.

Brad E. Kauffman is a law student at the University of Baltimore.

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