New Revelations On The Pollard Case

November 23, 1995 - Ben Caspit - Ma'ariv

Now that Pollard has been granted Israeli citizenship he is confronted with the real challenge: convincing the American Administration to release him immediately. Israeli citizenship was the first victory that Pollard has had since he entered prison exactly ten years ago. "This is the first time that they're not rejecting me, they're not dismissing me, they're not abandoning me, said Pollard two days ago. Finally I feel at one with my people."

His lawyers, Larry Dub, Gidi Frishtik and Alon Gellert, who filed the brilliant petition with the High Court that ultimately engendered Israeli citizenship for Pollard, are now planning the next stages. Aside from their great satisfaction and their sharing in Pollard's joy, they know that the real battle is far from decided.

Israeli citizenship, in essence, does not change the basic position of the Americans, which rejects out of hand any possibility of early release for Pollard. Commutation of Pollard's sentence (not


, as other newspapers mistakenly reported yesterday) can only be granted by the President of the United States, Bill Clinton. Behind Mr. Clinton stand arrayed both the Justice and Intelligence branches of his administration. Most of the people in those departments are opposed to releasing Pollard. The main challenge, therefore, is still ahead. And in this respect, Pollard and his attorneys hold several important cards, among them the Victim Impact Statement.

This refers to the statement which the U.S. prosecution gives to the judge before sentencing. In this statement, the prosecution details the damage that was caused as a result of the activities of the accused and its estimation of what future damage is likely to be caused. The Victim Impact Statement carries a great deal of weight in determining what sentence the judge will impose. Jonathan Pollard has succeeded in obtaining a copy of his own Victim Impact Statement. Considering the severe punishment meted out to him - a life sentence - one would have expected the Victim Impact Statement to contain a long and detailed list of the terrible damage that Pollard has supposedly caused the United States. After all, this is what the Americans have been claiming for the last ten years, at every opportunity.

However, Jonathan Pollard's Victim Impact Statement - a copy of which has been provided to Ma'ariv - hardly takes up half a page and the contents consist of obscure allegations that Pollard caused "great damage" to American Intelligence, that his activities caused "harm and problems in the Middle East." That's it - without details and without examples provided.

(Ed. Comment: The prosecution stated that they had drawn their information for the Victim Impact Statement, point for point, from the classified Damage Assessment of Pollard's activities. Since the classified Damage Assessment contains no specifics or examples of damage, neither does the Victim Impact Statement! This is the reason why, for nearly ten years, American officials obstructed all of Pollard's attempts to obtain his own Victim Impact Statement - a document which is routinely provided to all prisoners.)

Larry Dub, Pollard's lead attorney, yesterday told Ma'ariv, "According to this damage assessment, the judge should have imposed a sentence on Pollard of no more than ten years."

So why did they sentence him to life? Dub: "Because of Weinberger's letter, of course."

Caspar Weinberger, then Secretary of Defence, sent a secret letter to the sentencing judge in which he requested that the maximum sentence possible be imposed on Pollard. Pollard recently discovered what was written in that document by Weinberger - the document which sealed his fate.

The question is. why? Why did Weinberger go after Jonathan Pollard? Dub: "Don't forget that, at the time, there were many spies working in Washington who were subsequently exposed. Every time that damage was done to American intelligence as the result of some spy, they blamed it on Jonathan."

This certainly stands out in the case of Aldrich Ames, the spy who was arrested two years ago. He worked on behalf of the Soviets and caused enormous damage to American Intelligence. The Russians executed a number of American "moles" because of the information given to them by Ames. Thus, when Pollard was arrested, Ames jumped at the opportunity to lay the blame for most of his own activities at Pollard's door; and in that way he distanced himself by a good few years from the American anti-espionage investigations.

Moreover, in those days Israel did not enjoy any kind of special favor with the American Defence Department. It was headed by Weinberger, who was never considered a great lover of Israel, and who had a secret pact with Admiral Bobby Ray Inman, the deputy head of the CIA. According to this pact, important intelligence was withheld from Israel - including intelligence vital to its national security - in spite of the 1983 Letter of Understanding between Israel and the United States that obliged the Americans to share. Pollard discovered this situation and decided not to remain silent. The secret intelligence embargo imposed upon the state that he so loved, drove him to do what he did. He exposed Weinberger and Inman, and they threw him into prison for the rest of his life - a sentence totally disproportionate to the offence he had committed.

Jonathan Pollard is now approaching the moment of truth. This is the time to unify all forces and to go forward in unison. In order to do so, Pollard's supporters must put aside their anger, their quarrels and their differences of opinion and start anew. This is said with particular reference to members of Pollard's family, his parents and especially his sister, Carol.

His parents and sister have, for a long time, been waging a stubborn and relentless war against his wife, Esther. They were not happy with the match right from the start, but they don't seem to recognize the fact that she is Jonathan's choice, and they must show respect for her. Yesterday, his sister, Carole Pollard, responded to Jonathan's having received citizenship in a negative and disparaging way. She did not know how to be gracious, like her father, Dr. Morris Pollard (who had also strongly opposed this initiative), who said "My son's happiness is my happiness."

Now is the time that Pollard's family must transcend their personal feelings. If they continue to sabotage Jonathan's initiatives, to oppose his wishes and to pull him in opposite directions, they are likely to wait for their loved one for a long time to come.

  • See Also: The Admiral Bobby Ray Inman Page