Justice4JPnews - May 18, 2010
To mark Jonathan Pollard's 25th year 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 21 of the series. It was written in March 2005 by Esther Pollard and published as an exclusive commentary by Worldnetdaily, following Jonathan Pollard's final Appellate Court Hearing in 2005. This hearing was yet another attempt to bring Jonathan's case back to court so that the merits of his case might be heard. To this day, the merits of Jonathan's case have never been heard in a court of law. It is fitting to repeat the previous statement so that the reader can fully grasp the fact that a man has been held, and continues to be held, in an American prison for twenty-five years even though the merits of his case have never been heard in a court of law!
All of Jonathan Pollard's legal avenues in the United States have been exhausted. The final avenue of appeal, the US Supreme Court has also ducked the Pollard case repeatedly, refusing to hear it. For those who are wondering, the US Supreme Court does not have to explain why it refuses to hear a case.
The continued incarceration of Jonathan Pollard, now in his 25th year of a life sentence with no end in sight is America's badge of shame and Israel's dishonor.
The article below contains a wealth of information which must shock and alarm fair-minded readers. It needs no further introduction.
"The problem with Mr. Pollard is that he thinks he is unique."
These words were spoken about my husband, Jonathan Pollard, by a judge in the US Appeals Court for the District of Columbia.
Jonathan is in his 20th year of an unprecedented life sentence for his activities on behalf of Israel. On March 15, 2005, Jonathan's pro bono attorneys, Eliot Lauer and Jacques Semmelman, appeared before a panel of three judges in the US Appeals Court. Despite outward appearances, Jonathan's case was never heard.
One of the judges, Judge Karen Henderson, asked no questions and made no comments of any kind. Another judge, Judge Judith Rogers, briefly engaged counsel for both sides. The third judge, Judge David Sentelle dominated the hearing. He was openly hostile, mocking and scornful.
Unchallenged by the other two judges, Judge Sentelle hijacked the hearing. He side-tracked the oral argument, verbally harassing and nitpicking on irrelevant matters until the attorneys' time was up. Consequently, the only one heard that day was Judge Sentelle; and much of what he said was either irrelevant or deeply offensive.
For example, Judge Sentelle went so far as to insist that in this case the court does not have the authority to allow Jonathan's security-cleared attorneys access to their client's own sentencing file. How much more obvious could Sentelle's contempt be, than to suggest that the court has no authority over court documents!
Worse, Judge Sentelle's hostile declaration, "The problem with Mr. Pollard is that he thinks he is unique" was deeply offensive to Jews and reverberated painfully in Israeli media reports.
"You are not unique" is code talk that has been used over and over again throughout the ages by those hostile to Israel and Jews, to deny concerns that Jews are being singled out for 'special treatment.' It is the most routine of anti-Semitic devices, and it seems that it is always used precisely when Jews are indeed being singled out.
What makes Judge Sentelle's remark even more stunning, is that it so blatantly flies in the face of the facts.
THE CASE IS UNIQUE
Here are some of the unique features of the Pollard case which Judge Sentelle wishes to dismiss:
CRUEL AND UNUSAL PUNISHMENT
Another unique feature of this case is the repeated attempts by the FBI to make Jonathan "buy" his way out of nightmarish prison conditions by incriminating other prominent American Jews. He was repeatedly asked to point out "co-conspirators" on list of Jewish names he was shown. Jonathan adamantly refused.
More troubling still, are the numerous episodes of cruel and unusual punishment which Jonathan has been subjected to - not only at the start of this case, but even as recently as the fall of 2003 when he was held in Washington for two weeks pending a September 2nd court date
Some examples of cruel and unusual punishment Jonathan has endured include:
POLITICS NOT JUSTICE
Perhaps the feature of this case which is the most disturbing is the way in which it has been exploited over the last 2 decades by Government agencies. Jonathan's continued incarceration has been a very useful tool for the Government in the following ways:
The Justice, Intelligence and Defense Departments willingly collude to keep the truth about the Pollard case buried. This ensures that the Government can continue to exploit the case for other purposes, such as the above. It also explains why the Government is so determined to keep Jonathan's own court docket hidden under a veil of secrecy.
The best legal minds in the country support Jonathan's right to access the material in his own sentencing docket. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), The American Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists (AAJLJ) and prominent individuals have filed a "Friend of the Court Brief" in support of access to the documents. Their Amicus brief expresses some compelling concerns about this case.
Others who have expressed their concerns about this case are: Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, who said that she is troubled by 'sentencing issues' in the Pollard case; http://www.jonathanpollard.org/ciralsky.htm, the number 3 man at the justice department when the Pollard case broke, has repeatedly said that there is nothing in the Pollard file to justify the sentence he received; Senator Charles Schumer, Congressman Anthony Weiner and other American legislators have voiced similar concerns. All those who have seen the classified file, including Schumer and Weiner, say that it does not contain any justification for the life sentence Jonathan received.
And then there's Dennis Ross, Special Envoy to the Middle East during the Clinton Administration. In his new book, THE MISSING PEACE, Ross openly acknowledges that Jonathan's sentence is disproportionate and that he should be freed without condition.
Nevertheless, says Ross, Jonathan is too valuable as a bargaining chip with Israel to be freed as a matter of simple justice. Instead, Ross explains, Pollard should go free only in return for major concessions from Israel during "final status talks" with the Palestinians. No other American ally is treated with such disdain. Clearly it is politics, not justice which drives the Pollard case.
THE PROBLEM IS NOT WITH MR. POLLARD
No, Judge Sentelle. The problem is not with Jonathan Pollard.
It is with those American officials who, through 5 successive administrations, have used this case as a device to call into question the loyalty of American Jews and Israel's reliability as an ally.
The problem is with those officials in the Justice, Intelligence and Defense Departments who allow the case to fester because it is such a fine weapon with which to bludgeon Israel and the Jews.
And of course, the problem lies with Israel and the American Jewish leadership whose silence and complicity have exacerbated the situation and prolonged Jonathan's agony. By continuously turning their backs on Government excesses and judicial inequities in the Pollard case, they have tried to convince themselves that this really has nothing to do with them. Then along comes Judge Sentelle and reminds them that it does.
Israel and the American Jewish leaders have sat back for nearly 2 decades, patiently waiting for the American justice system to prove that it works as well for Jews as it does for every other religious minority. Yet, every time Jonathan Pollard - the Jew who spied for the Jewish state - encounters the American justice system, the entire Jewish world is slapped in the face all over again.
GEORGE WASHINGTON AND JONATHAN POLLARD
Two hundred years ago, President George Washington visited the Truro Synagogue of the Jewish community of Rhode Island. He later penned a letter to the community declaring that Jews are welcome as full citizens of the United States of America and equal in every respect:
"It is now no more that toleration is spoken of," Washington wrote, "as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people, that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights." He also declared that the government gave "to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance."
Denied justice for 20 years, Jonathan's case has become a noxious poison draining the vitality of the American Jewish community and undermining America's relationship with Israel. If the promise that George Washington made to American Jews two hundred years ago is to be honored; if the Jewish community in America is to have a future in this country, then justice for Jonathan Pollard, long delayed, must finally be done.
The Pollard case is not only about Jonathan Pollard. It is about America's real attitude towards Jews and its relationship with Israel. It is also about whether or not the nation which is so devoted to bringing freedom to other parts of the world is capable of freeing itself. Government lies and judicial collusion are keeping Jonathan Pollard in prison. It is time for them to stop.
As long as Jonathan Pollard remains in prison, truth and justice in America are in prison too.