Weinberger Memo was Hatchet Work

James Patterson - The Indianapolis Star - December 15, 2001

The United States is unique in history, in that its government is subservient to the people, not the other way around. Heaven forbid. U.S. citizens are beholding to no iconoclastic governmental authority, for they are the government.

"What is true of every member of the society, individually, is true of them all collectively; since the rights of the whole can be no more than the sum of the rights of the individuals," Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1789.

According to those democratic principles, the right of the individual trumps that of government. That being the case, the sight of former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger making the rounds on television news shows is, at best, nauseating.

This is the same Weinberger whose vitriolic memorandum about American spy Jonathan Pollard killed Pollard's chances to avoid a life sentence and irresponsibly accused the former Naval Intelligence Service analyst and his wife of "treason."

What the Pollards pled guilty to, passing intelligence secrets to Israel, a close U.S. ally, regarding terrorists and other enemies of the Jewish nation, was an agonizing, illegal act by Jonathan Pollard, but it was not treason, the only crime defined by the Constitution.

According to Hoosier author Mark Shaw's book, Miscarriage of Justice: The Jonathan Pollard Story, Weinberger wrote, "I respectfully submit that any U.S. Citizen, and in particular a trusted governmental official, who sells U.S. secrets to any foreign nation should not be punished merely as a common criminal. Rather the punishment imposed should reflect the perfidy of the individual actions, the magnitude of the treason committed, and the needs of national security."

Surely, it takes one to know one. "While Weinberger crucified Pollard for breaking the law," Shaw wrote, "he was doing so as well. That was the opinion of Independent Counsel Lawrence Walsh and a grand jury that indicted Weinberger on June 16, 1992. He was charged with five counts, including obstruction of justice and perjury. When those charges were dismissed on technicalities, Weinberger was re-indicted on the Friday before the presidential election between George Bush and Bill Clinton" in the Iran-Contra arms-for-hostages deal. Weinberger was later pardoned by former President Bush.

Shaw states, "The crux of the case against Weinberger concerned his refusal to acknowledge possession of 7,000-plus pages of notes (1,700 dealing with Iran-Contra) he wrote during the Iran-Contra Affair."

Walsh wrote in Firewall: The Iran-Contra Conspiracy and Cover-up, "Our fascination with disclosure (notes that Weinberger denied existed) was matched by a deepening realization that Weinberger, hero or not, had deliberately lied to the Tower Commission, to Congress, and to us."

Both Pollard and his prosecutor, Joseph diGenova, claimed Weinberger had been loose with the facts. According to Shaw's book, Pollard vehemently denied Weinberger's claim that the documents given to Israel had "compromised U.S. intelligence-gathering sources and methods."

And Weinberger told Middle East Quarterly in a 1999 interview that he had filed the devastating memorandum about Pollard "at the request of the United States District Court." DiGenova told Shaw that was a lie. It's unconscionable that Pollard's lawyers didn't get a glimpse of the 46-page memo until the day of sentencing. The memo remains secret.

If Weinberger was telling the truth, U.S. District Judge Aubrey Robinson was as much to blame as the government. His guilty plea should have been set aside and a trial held.

Weinberger, who told journalist Wolf Blitzer that Jonathan Pollard "should have been shot," denied that his motives in writing the scathing memo were anti-Semitic. Subtle, prejudicial feelings are hard to prove, but Bechtel Corp., the company where Weinberger was general counsel when he joined the administration of the elder Bush, was so deeply tied to the Arab world that it built a chemical plant in Iraq for Saddam Hussein.

Pollard has been imprisoned 16 years, more than three times as long as anyone who's ever spied against the U.S. for an ally. What a shame he got life largely on the word of a man indicted twice for lying.

James Patterson is a Star editorial writer.

Justice4JP Note on "Miscarriage of Justice: The Jonathan Pollard Story"

Recirculation of the above op-ed should not be construed as an endorsement of "Miscarriage of Justice: The Pollard Story", or any other book on the Pollard case. For reliable source material, Justice4JP recommends the Justice4JP web site at jonathanpollard.org.

The Justice4JP Web site is the only source of information endorsed by Jonathan and Esther Pollard.

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