Iraq, covert arms transfers at heart of Pollard Case

January 1, 1999 - Eugene Narrett, PhD - Metrowest Daily News (Boston)

This is the week of resolutions. If our time and energy was directed less toward silly jokes and more toward correcting injustices, next December 31 might bring true joy, a world re-established by sincerity and kindness.

In describing God's plan for a redeemed world, Isaiah exhorts us to "undo the bonds of injustice, and let the oppressed go free!" Applying this noble challenge requires the knowledge to prevent others from doing evil in your name. Americans need to become knowledgeable on two issues festering in 'expert' hands: the endless crisis with Iraq and the lying with which the Executive Branch manages our response to it. Both issues have become part of the fabric of our national life and both converge on the brutal treatment three successive Administrations have inflicted on former Naval Intelligence officer, Jonathan Pollard.

Routinely falsely labeled a "traitor," Pollard is now in the 14th year of a life sentence for one count of "passing classified information to an ally," satellite photos and analysis of missile sites and non-conventional weapons in Iraq, Iran, Syria and Libya. "Memos of understanding" required the CIA and State Department to share this information with Israel, the first target of these weapons, but other covert policies intervened.

In 1988, the State Department brokered a curious trade after the Iran-Iraq war. Iraq sent 100 combat jets to Iran that lacked maintenance facilities for the Soviet-built fighters. So our government arranged transfer of the jets to Syria. Congress turned a blind eye, as it did when James Baker (who served George Bush and Ronald Reagan) organized a $4 billion payment to Syria for sitting out the Gulf War. During these years, Syria occupied Lebanon and made it a world center for currency counterfeiting and heroin smuggling, for relentless attacks on Lebanese Christians and, through proxies, on Israel.

In spring 1991, shortly after the Gulf War, billions of dollars supposedly damaged US military equipment was transferred to the ruling cliques of America's Arab client states. Before this were the even murkier Iran-contra drugs-for-weapons deals. Data on these deals is believed to be among the information purged from the disks and hard drives of every White House computer (including those on Air Force One) at Baker's order late in 1992. Joseph De Genova, the Justice Department Attorney who oversaw this work for Baker also prosecuted Jonathan Pollard and continues to feed the media lies about his case.

For twenty-five years, American and European governments have armed Saddam Hussein, withheld the relevant intelligence from Israel and maintained their influence in the Middle East by promoting and managing the resulting crises. Israel's 1967 and 1973 victories have been undone and the PLO inflated into a terrorist mini-state allied to Iraq. Those involved in these activities fear exposure, as reflected in the their dishonest and hysterical responses to calls for Pollard's release.

When Jonathan Pollard gave Israel information about Iraqi and Syrian chemical weapons he complied with the principles our government codified at Nuremberg in 1948. Saddam's chemical weapons are intended for genocide as shown when he promised "to burn half of Israel." Officials of any government who helped arm Hussein are complicit in his crimes so they intend that whistle-blower Pollard die to cover their sins.

Like all uncorrected injustice Pollard's torment has and will spread. The current administration has let corporations arm China even more blatantly than they did Iraq. In early December, the CIA admitted tipping off Hughes Electronic officials about an impending probe by Congress of its Clinton-approved missile technology transfers. The China-connection goes to the heart of this Administration's corruption.

A lawsuit recently filed by a former CIA official suggests how dangerous a policy built on lies will become. Attorney Adam Ciralsky was dismissed from his job in the office of the CIA General Counsel "under suspicion of unauthorized contact with Israel." For the CIA (now 'monitoring compliance' with the Wye Accord), this includes "speaking Hebrew well, attending an orthodox synagogue and visiting Israel frequently." Polygraph tests for these "security risks" have been in place since 1952.

The firing of Ciralsky lends credence to arguments that Pollard's extra-judicial punishment is meant to intimidate Americans who care about Israel, a state that irritates corporate interests in the Middle East. In the-mid 1980s, vilifying Pollard helped silence opponents of large arms sales to Saudi Arabia and Jordan and of making Israel negotiate with the PLO.

Injustice is never isolated but sprouts from a tangle of related lies. Perjury produces anarchy. Not only is it long overdue that Jonathan Pollard be released it is vital for Americans to disentangle and illuminate the decades of deceit underlying government policies in the Middle East. That would help produce a New Year worthy the name.

Eugene Narrett, PhD, teaches Writing at Boston University.