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August 23, 2014 / 27 Av, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Jonathan Pollard’

Obama Promises Peres A-G Will ‘Check Into’ Pollard

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

U.S. President Barack Obama assured Israel’s outgoing President Shimon Peres on Wednesday he would ask Attorney-General Eric Holder to “check into” an offer that Peres made regarding the case of former Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard.

Peres’s office submitted his request to the White House prior to arriving for what will be his last official state visit as Israel’s president.

“I made an offer but won’t go into details about it,” he told reporters on Wednesday. However, he did discuss the specifics with members of the Pollard family, he said, before presenting the plan to Obama.

“If I share too many details it will just ruin things,” he said at the briefing. “I cannot say that [the president] responded positively on the spot. I don’t want to add to what he said, which was that the U.S. Attorney-General would decide.”

Pollard is entering his 29th year of incarceration in a North Carolina prison after being convicted in 1985 on a single charge of passing classified information to an allied nation, Israel. The crime usually carries a maximum penalty of up to four years in jail. But although Pollard’s attorneys worked out a plea bargain with the prosecution, during the sentencing a note was passed to the judge. Suddenly Pollard was charged with and convicted of treason without recourse to a new trial. His attorney had no access to the evidence that had apparently led to the new charges, which was locked due to “national security” — and instead Pollard found himself sentenced to life in prison. All attempts at appeal have since failed.

Since Peres was serving as Israel’s prime minister at the time of Pollard’s arrest, and since it was he who submitted the documents to the U.S. with Pollard’s fingerprints that were used to incriminate him, it is Peres who is most likely to persuade Obama now to grant clemency for humanitarian reasons.

He and Obama also share a unique status as being the only two current heads of state in the world who are both Nobel Peace Prize winners.

Pollard’s health has deteriorated significantly over the past several years, and the request by Peres is reportedly to be based on the issues of Pollard’s extremely poor health, the impact on his wife, and the length of his time already served — in short, humanitarian reasons. At age 90, Peres this year retires from politics and made a promise to Pollard’s wife and the people of Israel prior to his departure that he would try to win her husband’s release during his visit to the U.S. He is scheduled to meet again with Obama Thursday.

President Peres Meets with Esther Pollard Prior to His US Trip

Sunday, June 22nd, 2014

JERUSALEM – President Shimon Peres met this morning (Jun. 22) with Esther Pollard, wife of incarcerated Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, and the heads of the Knesset Caucus to Free Jonathan Pollard, MK’s Nachman Shai Ayelet Shaked, at the President’s residence in Jerusalem.
The meeting took place a day before Peres is scheduled to depart for his final foreign visit, to the United States, where he will meet with President Obama and deliver a speech at Congress. Esther Pollard, began by thanking President Peres and said, “I am grateful to you, Mr. President, for receiving us so close to your departure to the United States. Jonathan’s health has deteriorated and his situation is serious. I hope that now, after 30 years, your request for his release will be heard.”

Coordinator of the campaign to free Jonathan Pollard, Efi Lahav, said: “We know that you, Mr. President, have made significant efforts during your term in office and now we believe in your ability to persuade the President of the United States. We believe your upcoming visit to the US is the most serious opportunity yet to release Jonathan Pollard.”

President Peres said he would raise the request based upon humanitarian grounds with President Obama and with the senior leadership of the United States, “It is a national responsibility to work to free Pollard, I will speak to the President of the United States on behalf of the people of Israel. I intend to do this during my meetings in Congress and at the White House.”

MK Ayelet Shaked said, “You have done a lot on behalf of the State of Israel and the people of Israel both in Israel and abroad; I believe that only you can use your influence on the American leadership to bring Jonathan home.” MK Nachman Shai added: “There is a national consensus, which crosses party divides in the Knesset, of Jews and Arabs who agree that Jonathan Pollard must be released. I believe that if the President of the United States hears from you that the issue is important to you and to the people of Israel there will be progress.”

NRG reports that U.S. officials said in recent days to staff members of the campaign to free Pollard that after Pollard’s release was previously placed on the table by the US Government within the framework of a political deal tied in with the peace negotiations, it has been proven that there is no real reason to prevent Pollard’s release. They said that currently a political deal is not at hand, so it is now a question of a humanitarian gesture on the part of President Obama.

Israeli citizens recently launched a petition requesting that Peres return for the US with Jonathan pollard. “At this time, when the diplomatic process is not on the agenda, we ask that you become our advocate and that you bring to bear the full weight of your influence in the U.S. so that justice and compassion may prevail and Jonathan will be released without any further delay,” the petition reads. “We believe that there would be nothing more noble and just, than to use this unique opportunity to save a life.”

MKs to Peres: Ask Obama to Free Pollard

Sunday, June 22nd, 2014

President Shimon Peres met this morning met with Esther Pollard and the heads of the Knesset Caucus to Free Jonathan Pollard, MK Nachman Shai and MK Ayelet Shaked. The meeting took place one day before the president is scheduled to depart for his final official foreign visit, to the United States, where he will meet with President Obama and deliver a speech in Congress.

Esther Pollard, Jonathan’as wife, began by thanking President Peres and said, “I am grateful to you, Mr. President, for receiving us so close to your departure to the United States. Jonathan’s health has deteriorated and his situation is serious. I hope that now, after 30 years, your request for his release will be heard.”

The Campaign Coordinator of the campaign to free Jonathan Pollard, Efi Lahav said, “We know that you, Mr. President, have made significant efforts during your term in office and now we believe in your ability to persuade the President of the United States. We believe your upcoming visit to the US is the most serious opportunity yet to release Jonathan Pollard.”

President Peres said he would raise the request based upon humanitarian grounds with President Obama and with the senior leadership of the United States, “It is a national responsibility to work to free Pollard, I will speak to the President of the United States on behalf of the people of Israel. I intend to do this during my meetings in Congress and at the White House.”

MK Ayelet Shaked said, “You have done a lot on behalf of the State of Israel and the people of Israel both in Israel and abroad – I believe that only you can use your influence on the American leadership to bring Jonathan home.” MK Nachman Shai said, “There is a national consensus, which crosses party divides in the Knesset, of Jews and Arabs who agree that Jonathan Pollard must be released. I believe that if the President of the United States hears from you that the issue is important to you and to the people of Israel there will be progress.”

Jonathan Pollard Praying for the Boys

Sunday, June 15th, 2014

Jonathan Pollard is praying for the safe return of the kidnapped boys, and has asked that Jews around the world do the same, according to a Jerusalem Post report.

Eyal Yifrach (19), Gilad Sha’ar (16) and Naftali Frankel (16) were kidnapped by Hamas terrorists on Thursday night.

Israel Slams Claim of Spying on U.S.

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman slammed a report by U.S.-based Newsweek magazine claiming Israel has been “spying” on America.

The foreign minister told listeners on Israel’s Voice of Israel government radio Wednesday morning, “First of all, these are malicious accusations. . . I would not agree to any spying on the United States, not in any form, directly or indirectly.”

Israeli Embassy spokesperson Aaron Sagui also flatly denied the charges, telling Newsweek, “Israel doesn’t conduct espionage operations in the United States, period. We condemn the fact that such outrageous, false allegations are being directed against Israel.”

The report, published Tuesday by Newsweek, quoted anonymous senior intelligence officials in the United States, and Congressional staffers.

Written by journalist Jeff Stein, the report began with the question, “Whatever happened to honor among thieves? When the National Security Agency was caught eavesdropping on German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cell phone, it was considered a rude way to treat a friend. Now U.S. intelligence officials are saying – albeit very quietly, behind closed doors on Capitol Hill – that our Israeli “friends” have gone too far with their spying operations here.”

Stein wrote the espionage had allegedly been revealed in recent visa waiver briefings, saying the spying came under cover of trade missions and joint defense technology contracts. The alleged primary target: “America’s industrial and technical secrets,” according to his report.

Last month a senior House aide also noted the U.S. intelligence community is concerned that adding Israel to the visa waiver program would make it easier for Israeli spies to enter the country, the CQ Roll Call news site reported.

Counter intelligence agents, wrote Stein, had called Israel’s “espionage activities in America… unrivaled and unseemly,” and said they went “far beyond activities by other close allies, such as Germany, France, the U.K. and Japan.” Unnamed Congressional staffers referred to testimony at the briefings as “very sobering … alarming … even terrifying … damaging.”

Of course, wrote Stein, the United States spies on Israel as well. He quoted a former top CIA operative who told him that Israel was “the last place you wanted to go on vacation” because of ‘heavy-handed Israeli surveillance.’

Israel’s foreign minister, however, said Wednesday morning that he heard no complaints about “spying” during a meeting with members of Congress on a visit to the United States last month. Mr. Liberman told listeners he believes the charges are the work of saboteurs trying to scotch relations between the two countries.

The U.S. visa waiver program enables travelers to the United States to enter the country without first having to obtain a visa. According to a statement by the Department of Homeland Security quoted by Newsweek, requirements for entry to the program include “enhanced law enforcement and security-related data sharing with the United States, timely reporting of lost and stolen passports, and the maintenance of high counter-terrorism, law enforcement, border control, aviation and document security standards.”

Israelis face a high rate of visa refusal by the U.S. due to the problem of young people entering the country and then staying past the expiration date of tourist visas in order to work illegally.

Another obstacle to Israel’s acceptance to the program is the U.S. government’s perception of alleged discrimination against Arab Americans in Israeli security protocols.

US Lawmakers Meet with Cuba’s American Jewish Prisoner, Alan Gross

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

Four U.S. lawmakers met in Cuba on Monday with imprisoned American Jewish hostage Alan Gross. The legislators visited the jailed social worker at a prison hospital due to his medical condition, which is precarious.

Gross was arrested in December 2009 while visiting Cuba to provide internet access for the Jewish community there. According to a report posted by the Havana Times he was employed at the time by Development Alternatives, Inc., and contracted by USAID, an American government agency.

Gross was subsequently sentenced to 15 years in prison for “crimes against the integrity of the State.” Cuban authorities said he was caught “carrying sophisticated telecommunications equipment prohibited on the island, working for a well-funded, secret USAID program designed to topple the Cuban government.”

Speaking to reporters in Havana following their visit, delegation leader U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee said in a brief statement, “It is in the interests of both our countries to start negotiations, not just talks. It is time for both countries to make a serious commitment to enter into negotiations without preconditions.”

For years, Cuban leader Raul Castro has been trying to persuade the Obama White House to enter negotiations to free the “Cuban Five” — spies who were caught and jailed for espionage in the United States in 1998. Two have already been released, having served their terms. One is serving a double life sentence. President Barack Obama has reportedly shown no inclination to discuss the matter with Cuban officials, and no apparent interest in a swap deal for Alan Gross.

(Likewise Obama has had no interest in discussing a deal to commute the sentence of American-Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard to time served. After having agreed to a plea bargain, Pollard was nevertheless sent to prison on a life term in 1987 on a single count of passing information to an ally. Often jailed under harsh conditions at the prison where he is held in North Carolina he is presently in extremely frail health. Hundreds of appeals to U.S. presidents through the decades have left all unmoved — including Obama, who has been approached by the current Israeli government.)

U.S. Representatives Gregory Meeks (D-NY), Sam Farr (D-CA) and Emanuel Clever (D-MI) also took part in the delegation to Cuba. They met with Alan Gross for 90 minutes, according to the report. The delegation reportedly then met with Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez.

There have been no diplomatic relations between Washington and Havana in more than half a century. But Gross, age 65, has vowed that by the end of this year, he is determined to return home to the United States, either “dead or alive.”

Pollard Again

Friday, April 11th, 2014

It is always sad to see the reactions about freeing Pollard. He might be free today when you read this, but as I write he is still locked up. The American president seems to feel that since he has someone of ours (Pollard) and Israel wants him freed, Israel should free 400 or more Arab murderers and stop building in Judea and Samaria in return. Excuse me, please, for not understanding. I am sure that everyone in the United States already realizes that anyone who was caught spying against the U.S. for an enemy power would be out of jail after 10 or 20 years.

What is special about Jonathan Pollard? He did spy for another government, but I guess that it is far worse because he spied for an American ally rather than spying for an enemy. It is true that the information he passed was important to that American ally (Israel) and that the information was being withheld from Israel for some unknown reason, despite the agreements to share between allies. I guess that spying for a friendly government is worse than spying for an enemy government and gathering information useful against American interests. Pollard is a Jew who was helping Israel. Whoops, that may be much worse than being a Christian or a Muslim spying against America.

I do not know if Pollard did what he did for altruistic reasons or if he did it for money or if, as some news sources love to claim, he was unstable all along. Pollard was a civilian working for U.S. Navy intelligence. A family friend seems to have set him up with an Israeli handler and Pollard volunteered to spy.

Today it seems immaterial what secrets he passed along, but from reports it was related to artillery developments in several Arab countries. It was reported that the Israelis continued to ask for secrets directly related to their security which included information about Arab and Pakistani nuclear secrets and capabilities of the Soviet weapons in Arab hands, which the U.S. should have shared with its ally, Israel!

I do not believe that Pollard was innocent or that he should receive a commendation for his acts. America withheld data from Israel because it felt that it was in the best interest of the United States to do so, even if I disagree. There are reports that Pollard did it for the money and that he handed over “suitcases of secrets” until his arrest in November 1985. No citizen should be allowed to make that kind of decision, even if he wasn’t doing it for the money. How would we react if a Muslim American would steal United States secrets about Israel and turn them over to Saudi Arabia, an American ally?

But enough is enough. Many spies who spied for Russia, an enemy of the U.S., have been released after serving fewer years in prison. David Henry Barnett was a CIA officer convicted of espionage, who admitted that he had sold CIA secrets to the Soviets. He was sentenced to 18 years’ imprisonment and was paroled in 1990 after serving only ten years.

Harold Nicholson was convicted of selling U.S. intelligence to Russia and was sentenced to 23 years, 7 months of imprisonment in 1997. Prosecutors believed that he had sold the identities of all the U.S. intelligence officers stationed in Russia, as well as the identities of his trainees at the CIA school.

William Kampiles, a CIA officer, was charged with espionage, and convicted. His prison sentence was reduced to 19 years, and he was released in 1996, after serving 18 years.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/focus-israel/pollard-again/2014/04/11/

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