25th Anniversary Review Series - Article #20:
Caspar's Ghost - Weinberger Memo Omits Key Involvement - by Edwin Black
Justice4JPnews - May 6, 2010
To mark Jonathan Pollard's in American captivity - which is also his 25th year of abandonment and betrayal by the government of Israel - J4JP will be reviewing some of the best-written, most informative, and most interesting articles, essays and information written about the case over the last two and a half decades.
This is article number 20 of the series, written by Edwin Black, an award-winning author and journalist, best known for his book "IBM and The Holocaust". This article, originally published in The Jewish Week [NY] in June of 2002, reports on Black's interview with former US Secretary of Defense, Caspar Weinberger (now deceased) following the publication of Weinberger's memoirs.
During the interview, Black presses Weinberger to explain why his memoirs do not mention Jonathan Pollard. After all, when Pollard was sentenced, Weinberger ranted and raved that Pollard was "the worst spy" in the history of the US!
Weinberger unabashedly responds that the Pollard case had really been a "minor matter" which had been exaggerated, blown out of all proportion to serve another agenda.
In the 8 years since this nugget of truth was made public by Weinberger, not a single American official or Jewish leader has had the moral integrity to act on this stunning revelation! Jonathan Pollard is still in prison after 25 long years, not because of what he did, but because his case was blown out of all proportion to serve another agenda!
A little additional history sheds a lot of light.
Earlier in the same year that Black interviewed Weinberger, Jonathan Pollard was very much on the journalist's mind. At that time, Black had been commissioned by the American Jewish Federations to write an apparent whitewash of the Pollard case for their newspapers. It would appear that such a whitewash was needed to relieve the pressure Jewish leaders were feeling from their constituents as a result of their callous indifference to Pollard's plight. Relying on his reputation as an award-winning investigative journalist, the Federation newspapers published Black's piece as if it were some stunning new analysis of the case. It was nothing of the sort.
Black's "analysis" minimized the injustice to Pollard, blamed the victim, and assured Jewish readers from coast to coast in America, that if Pollard will just sit still for another year or two, his lawyers will be able to clear up this whole "misunderstanding" and Pollard will be free in no time at all. American Jewish community leaders breathed a sigh of relief and shelved Pollard once again.
In the 8 years that have passed since then, Jewish leaders (with very few exceptions) have virtually ignored the Pollard case and written Pollard off as if he were already dead (G-d forbid). American congressmen and senators take their cue from the leaders. Their collective indifference is even more outrageous in light of Weinberger's admission - nearly a decade ago - that Pollard's sentence and the accusations leveled at him were out of all proportion to the actual offense he committed!
Twenty five years into a life sentence, Jonathan Pollard continues to rot in prison with no relief in sight.
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Weinberger memoir omits key involvement
Edwin Black - Special To The Jewish Week (NY) - June 14, 2002
Caspar Weinberger's plain-prose memoir, generally devoid of emotion, recounts his rise to the top of the defense establishment and his controversial tenure there.
What "In the Arena" [Regnery] does not recount is his pivotal involvement with the Jonathan Pollard spy case. Weinberger was called upon by the judge to assess the damage Pollard, a civilian Navy analyst, did to national security.
Asked in an interview why he omitted the incident, Weinberger casually replied, "Because it was, in a sense, a very minor matter but made very important." Asked to elaborate, Weinberger repeated, "As I say, the Pollard matter was comparatively minor. It was made far bigger than its actual importance."
Pressed on why the case was made far bigger than its actual importance, Weinberger answered, "I don't know why it just was."
In the first chapter, Weinberger bluntly lays to rest the assumption that he was raised Jewish, noting that both his father and grandfather were indifferent to any religion dating back to a synagogue quarrel in Bohemia involving the family three generations earlier.
Weinberger instead was influenced by his mother's interest in the Episcopalian Church. Later, during his Harvard days, he became an active Episcopalian, noting that his "faith in God has been an enormous influence and comfort all my life."
Weinberger's intense interest in things military started with his "illegal" attempt to join the Royal Air Force in 1941 to fight Germany before the United States joined the war. (He was turned down because of bad eyesight.) Later he did enlist in the Army, serving in the South Pacific. There he met an army nurse, Jane, who would become his wife.
Weinberger tells how his World War II service was invaluable training for when he became secretary of defense in 1981.
"In particular, I was stuck by the terrible lack of foresight that had left America so unprepared (in 1941) materially, psychologically, and in trained manpower for war. ... In 1981, I saw that, again, we had basically the same shortages of equipment and qualified personnel at the height of the Cold War."
Laced throughout the book is Weinberger's immense devotion to and admiration of Ronald Reagan, whom he credits with winning the Cold War. The turning point, Weinberger writes, was "when President Reagan, in perhaps his most major violation of conventional wisdom, blatantly told the world that Communism was an Evil Empire."
It was Weinberger, of course, as secretary of defense, who built up America's military might to show the Soviets that Reagan meant business.
An exception to the emotionless telling of his life is a chapter in which Weinberger laments the "horribly debilitating" toll of his indictment by the special prosecutor during the Iran-Contra debacle. Weinberger insists Reagan was totally unaware of the conspiracy. The personal humiliation for Weinberger and his family, and the financial toll in legal bills, is retold mincing no words.