Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Pollard. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Pollard. Sort by date Show all posts

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Watch List: Pollard's Father Speaks

Today's Washington Post features a lengthy editorial regarding a possible pardon for Jonathan Pollard, who has now spent 25 years in prison. It is written by Pollard's father and a lawyer in Israel.

First, the piece recognizes that Pollard "was arrested for passing to Israel classified U.S. data concerning Iraq, Syria and other Arab states, including evidence of Saddam Hussein's development of chemical weapons." But it claims that "the type of information [he] transmitted was part of an intelligence flow the United States had previously shared with Israel but that was cut off after Israel destroyed Iraq's nuclear reactor in 1981."

Second, it is charged that Pollard was "singled out" and that his subsequent life sentence is the only one ever given to someone for "spying for an American ally or neutral country." We are not aware of any specific data on what we assume must be an extremely narrow class of criminal defendants (the piece says "more than 20"), or the relative degree of criminality among them. But the general point is attributed to Lawrence Korb, a former assistant secretary of defense. Korb also claims former defense secretary Casper Weinberger had an "almost visceral dislike of Israel."

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Watch List: Pollard, Again and Again

The Washington Post, New York Times and Wall Street Journal are all reporting on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's reading of a letter in Parliament, asking President Obama to pardon or commute the sentence of Jonathan Jay Pollard. Pollard is serving a life term for spying on behalf of Israel. Attempts to have him released have been ongoing (see previous coverage here). 39 members of Congress have expressed support for his release.

Netanyahu said Pollard - who was sentenced in 1987 but not officially recognized as a spy by Israel until the late 1990s - “has reportedly served longer in prison than any person convicted of similar crimes, and longer than the period requested by the prosecutors at the time of his plea bargain agreement.” In part, this has to be attributed to the fact that Pollard spent years attempting to land - by extraordinary means - a presidential pardon, as opposed to a mere commutation of sentence.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Jonathan Pollard Released After 30 Years !

The Los Angeles Times reports 61 year old Jonathan Pollard, long on our Pardon Watch List, has been paroled !

No other individual has been the focus of letters and phone calls of support for pardon to the Editor of this blog. The campaign for Pollard's release has been enduring and relentless, first calling for pardon, then commutation of sentence.

In November 2010, 39 members of Congress submitted a "Plea Of Clemency" to the White House on Pollard's behalf, asking for an immediate release. In February 2011, Arlen Specter, Chairman of hte Senate Intelligence Committee, wrote a letter to President Obama stating that Pollard should be pardoned and released. Specter was the second Chair of that Committee to publicly call for the release of Jonathan Pollard.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Watch List: No Pardon for Pollard!

Now that Dan Quayle and Mike Huckabee have spoken, Frank Anderson, a 27-year CIA veteran, has a piece in the L.A. Times which argues Jonathan Jay Pollard should "never" be pardoned because his life sentence is "appropriate." Anderson says espionage "is a serious crime" that deserves "severe punishments" and "strong condemnation" because it is "always a betrayal of the spy's duty to his country and countrymen." As for the notion that Pollard was spying on behalf of an "ally" (Israel), Anderson writes:
The essential point is that any nation that steals American defense or intelligence secrets does serious damage to our nation. It might be our friend in many other important ways. In this, it is the enemy. Pollard's crime would not be less heinous had he committed it on behalf of Canada or Ireland. His betrayal would not be more serious had he acted for Russia or North Korea. The judge who sentenced Pollard did not choose the punishment because of the country Pollard spied for but because disclosure of the secrets Pollard peddled did such damage to our country.
Anderson also claims that Pollard "violated a plea agreement" that "might otherwise have led to a lesser sentence" when he "launched a media campaign." As a result, it was Pollard who "brought maximum punishment upon himself." In addition, Pollard has chosen not to apply for parole. See complete editorial here.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Watch List: Commutation for Pollard?

Probably no individual on our Pardon Watch List has received so much attention as has Jonathan Pollard. Now, Dan Ephron of Newsweek has written a piece which actually has a "news" element about it. As Ephron puts it, Pollard was sentenced to life in prison 23 years ago "for selling to Israel some of America's most guarded secrets." Now, Pollard's lawyers have told Newsweek that an application has been filed for a commutation of sentence (as opposed to a full and unconditional pardon). PardonPower has long been completely baffled as to why this was not the strategy of Pollard's lawyers to begin with, especially since, as Ephron reports, "much of the U.S. intelligence community" opposes any form of clemency on his behalf.

Newsweek also reports that former CIA director James Woolsey "would support Pollard's release on two conditions: that he show contrition and renounce any profits from books or other projects linked to the case." In the past, Woolsey has opposed clemency for Pollard. But, now, he says "a quarter of a century," is typically reserved for "only the hard-line Soviet bloc spies." See Newsweek article here.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Watch List: "No" to Pollard Appeal

There may be 75,000 signatures on a petition, but ABC News reports President Obama "slam the door" on any appeal for a commutation of the life sentence given to "Israeli spy" Jonathan Pollard (see our Pardon Watch List here). Jay Carney said, "Our position has not changed, and will not change today. Mr Pollard was convicted of extremely serious crimes." The remarks came as Presidency Obama was about to meet with Israeli President Shimon Peres - who is said to be "under pressure" to reject the presidential medal of freedom if clemency is not offered to Pollard. Obama previously rejected a request from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to free Pollard. An Israeli petition urging Pollard's release is said to have 75,000 signatures. See story here.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Watch List: Pollard's Petition

The Jerusalem Post reports that attorneys Eliot Lauer and Jacques Semmelman have filed a new petition for a commutation of sentence on behalf of fifty-six Jonathan Pollard, who is serving a life sentence. The Post says the petition "comes amid a wave of calls for the release of the Israeli agent and following new revelations of apparent government malfeasance made public by senior officials with first-hand involvement in the case." It is also claimed that the US "had violated an oral agreement with Israel to release Pollard after 10 years." Finally, the Post reports that, at the time of Pollard’s sentencing, "secret charges were laid against Pollard blaming him for the crimes of a Russian mole within American intelligence, Aldrich Ames. Pollard was neither informed of these charges nor given a chance to challenge them in a court of law." These actions were said to be the result of Caspar Weinberger’s “visceral dislike” of Israel. See story here.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Watch List: Ideas for Pollard

At it is reported that a Rabbi is publicising a list of 12 ideas aimed at securing a presidential pardon for Jonathan Pollard.

1. Talk about Pollard wherever possible - with friends, in the store, in classes, on the radio, in written articles, and wherever possible.
2. Wear a blue Pollard bracelet.
3. Recite prayers, including public prayers in the synagogue during the Torah reading.
4. Mention Pollard in wedding and Bar-Mitzvah invitations and Grace After Meals cards.
5. Post bumper stickers and the like wherever permitted.
6. Give to the cause; helping to redeem captives is the best charity there is.
7. Involve non-religious people.
8. Write to MKs, Prime Minister Olmert, and U.S. President Bush.
9. Write to Pollard himself, though only in English.

See story here.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Watch List: Pollard on the Plate?

Today's Wall Street Journal notes Roi Lachmanovitch, a spokesman for Israel's right-wing Shas party says, "We are planning on putting the Pollard issue on the agenda when Bush arrives." The goal? A pardon for Jonathan Pollard, the former U.S. intelligence analyst. President Bush and earlier presidents have refused to grant a pardon and National Security Council spokeswoman Kate Starr says the U.S. position on Pollard hasn't changed. The article notes:

Mr. Pollard's most-vociferous backers have been anything but discreet. When President Bush came to Israel in January, the first visit here of his White House tenure, they plastered the sides of Jerusalem buses with ads comparing the U.S. president with the leaders of the Islamist groups Hamas and Hezbollah. Each is holding captured Israeli soldiers.
The Journal also says Pollard "claimed he was acting as a loyal Jew worried about Israel's survival, but he also received some $50,000 from the Israeli government, along with a promise that more cash would follow. " See Wall Street Journal article here.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Watch List: Pollard and Kadish

Jonathan Pollard, on our Pardon Watch List, says he does not know Ben-Ami Kadish, who was recently arrested for spying for Israel between 1979 and 1985. Pollard's wife says her husband had only heard of Mr. Kadish, a former Army engineer, when the arrest was publicized. This report also says Pollard's wife "further played down speculation that the new affair could hurt Israel's efforts to win clemency for Pollard, who is scheduled to go free from prison in 2015." Meanhile the L.A. Times blog observes:

Critics of Israel and numerous intelligence professionals have long maintained that Pollard was the tip of the iceberg. For many out there, the infamous tale of the Israeli art student spy ring remains one of the criminally under-explored stories of recent years.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Hill: Pollard, Pardon, Donations, Diplomacy

The Hill reports "Jewish supporters" of President Obama "are ramping up their lobbying campaign to release Jonathan Pollard." How? By claiming the move would "go a long way in easing tensions between the Jewish community and the White House." Pollard was given a life sentence for spying in 1987 and it has been continuously reported that "more than two dozen lawmakers and other policymakers" endorse a pardon.

Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) admirably asserts a pardon would bolster U.S. relations with Israel. But a "senior member" of Pollard's campaign for clemency says a pardon might have a more profound impact on Obama's campaign donations: "There are people who have withheld giving money ... who are holding back. It should be a no-brainer ... it will get [Obama] brownie points. The hope is that he’ll do it for justice.”

The Hill reports that there was "much speculation" in late 2007 and early 2008 that President George W. Bush would pardon Pollard "during his last days in office," but does not cite a single credible authority for such an expectation. See full story here.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Huckabee on Pollard

It is reported (here) that former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee is calling on President Obama to grant clemency to Jonathan Pollard. Pollard has now spent 26 years in federal prison for spying on behalf of Israel. Says Huckabee:
“Right now we don’t need anything that reflects that we are anything but an absolute ally of Israel. This [freeing Pollard] would send the right message to the rest of the world, that America is not pulling back on its friendship and relationship with Israel but it is accelerating it and making sure that we are taking every step possible to solidify those bonds.”
Without referencing any particular benchmark, Huckabee also says Pollard has served a disproportionately long sentence.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Watch List: 200 Rabbis Support Pollard

It is reported that the Zionist Organization of America and 200 Israeli "chief rabbis" have asked President Bush to grant a pardon Jonathan Pollard, the former U.S. Navy analyst who was sentenced to life in prison in 1987 for spying for Israel. A letter from the ZOA says:
"The on-going imprisonment of Jonathan Pollard is unnecessary, unjust, disproportionate and inexplicable in terms of protecting the national interest. We respectfully appeal to you to put an end to what is now an inequitable term of imprisonment and pardon Jonathan Pollard."
The 200 regional and municipal chief rabbis note:
"Jonathan Pollard is currently serving his 23rd year in prison. He is ill and his condition is serious. We respectfully request that you act mercifully towards him. Please grant him clemency as a humanitarian gesture to the Jewish People and the State of Israel."
See article here.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Watch List: Pollard Rally

According to this report, thousands of people rallied on Monday in Jerusalem to show their support for the pardon/commutation of sentence of Jonathan Pollard (see our Pardon Watch List). It is said that there was "hope" that President Bush will actually "bring Pollard with him when he arrives in Israel on Wednesday." The report describes Pollard in this manner:
Jonathan Pollard is well into his 23rd year of a life sentence with no possibility of parole for passing classified information to a United States ally - Israel. He is the only person in the history of the United States to receive a life sentence for spying for an American ally. The median sentence for this offense is 2-4 years. The data in question included information about Iraq's offensive weapons capabilities.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Obama to Pollard, "No."

The following passage is from Business Insider:
The argument is based on the position that [Jonathan Pollard] has already served 28 years for actions that benefited a key U.S. ally but did not harm the national security of the U.S. More than 200,000 people have signed an online petition for his release and top Israeli officials have indicated that they will ask Obama for his release. (In 2010 officials offered to extend the temporary moratorium on settlement construction in exchange for the Pollard's release.) But last week Obama told Israel's Channel 2 that he is not about to free Jonathan Pollard from prison because he “committed a very serious crime." 
See full story here.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Watch List: Pollard on the Table?

The Philadephia Bulletin reports that President George W. Bush has invited Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to the White House and "Israeli government officials in Jerusalem" are telling the local media that the meeting "is geared to coordinate the release of the Israeli spy, Jonathan Pollard, from prison." Pollard has now been in prison for 22 years following a conviction for spying on behalf of Israel. But the Bulletin also suggests, the Pollard story might "serve as an appropriate distraction for the Israeli public and not on sensitive negotiations with Israel's Arab neighbors." See article here.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Watch List: Biden No Fan of Pollard

Here are some exceprts from an article at YNet News which highlights a 2007 interview with Joeseph Biden, Barack Obama's vice presidential candidate:

Biden also commented on Jonathan Pollard, sentenced to life in prison for espionage charges. "He has to serve his sentence. There's a rationale, in my view, why Pollard should be given leniency. But there is not a rationale to say, 'What happened did not happen and should be pardoned'," he said.

"My worry is that, if I were president, to go and pardon Pollard would make a lie out of the notion that there are certain rules. You cannot give classified information, period. Even to a friend. If this were Great Britain, it would be the same thing."

Monday, January 14, 2008

Watch List: Jonathan Pollard

The Washington Post is reporting on an item previously discussed here. In 1986, naval intelligence worker Jonathan Pollard plead guilty to passing top-secret information to Israel. He is now serving a life sentence for passing what some estimate to be thousands of pages of documents. The Post reports there is now a "ramping up" of the campaign for a presidential pardon. His wife also believes the "political situation finally seems to favor freeing him." However, a White House spokesman says, there are "no plans" to "change his status" and the Post opines that a pardon would "surely infuriate the U.S. intelligence establishment" where "deep animosity toward Pollard remains." Pollard's former lawyer, Alan Dershowitz, favors a full pardon, but argues that a commutation of sentence to 25 years "is a very realistic option." See the Post story here.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Pollard: Good Cop / Bad Deputy Routine

The New York Times reports that, in a recent meeting between Vice President Jospeph Biden and a group of rabbis in Florida, the topic of the Obama administration's failure to release Jonathan Pollard was brought up. Biden, who is on tour to convince Jewish voters that the president is really on their side, dove on the grenade as follows:
“President Obama was considering clemency, but I told him, 'Over my dead body are we going to let him out before his time. If it were up to me, he would stay in jail for life.”
It is also reported that Obama has yet to respond to formal requests from President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Others note that Biden's comments were a "flip-flop" from a 2007 video interview (seen here) "in which he expressed support for Pollard's release via commutation of his sentence." But, of course, this is the beauty that is Biden. He can (and does) say just about anything. But no one really pays much attention, much less seeks to hold him accountable. See story here and here and here and the Times article here.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Pollard on the Table, But Not Among Those Pardoned

It is reported that a "spokesman" for Benjamin Netanyahu claims the Israeli prime minister discussed a possible pardon for spy Jonathan Pollard during the recent meeting in Washington. A "formal request" was sent to the White House "a few months ago."

With some irony, President Obama granted eight pardons on Friday - something he very rarely ever does. But Pollard's name was not among the recipients. See story here.

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