Posts Tagged ‘Jonathan Pollard’
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with Jonathan Pollard’s wife, Esther, on Tuesday evening, July 28. Netanyahu called her, following the news that an American parole board had unanimously approved the release from prison of Jonathan Pollard this November.
Netanyahu said: “After decades of effort, Jonathan Pollard will finally be released. Throughout his time in prison, I consistently raised the issue of his release in my meetings and conversations with the leadership of successive U.S. administrations. We are looking forward to his release.”
Pollard, a former U.S. intelligence analyst, had been serving a life sentence for spying on behalf of Israel. He was imprisoned in 1985. He is scheduled to be released this November 21.
Pollard was eligible for mandatory parole after serving thirty years in prison. As of this fall, he has completed those thirty years.
Jonathan Pollard is expected to be freed November 20, according to a decision by the U.S. Parole Commission, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked confirmed Tuesday.
U.S. media, however, are reporting that Pollard is to be released on November 21. He is the only American citizen ever sentenced to life in prison for spying on behalf of a U.S. ally.
Regardless of which date it is, the White House said in a statement there was “no link” between the decision and the Iranian nuclear deal with the U.S.-led delegation of world powers, or “any other ongoing foreign policy matter,” according to The Hill.
There has been much speculation in media circles as to whether the Pollard “ace in the hole” was pulled in order to sweeten the bitter Iranian nuclear pill that President Barack Obama shoved down Israel’s throat. If so, it’s not likely to win the game: an ace in the hole cannot match an existential threat.
Pollard, 60, received a sentence of life in prison that lasted 30 years on a single count of passing classified information to an ally. He was arrested in 1985 and convicted in 1987 of spying for Israel.
In accordance with parole board regulations, Pollard must remain in the United States for the next five years, his attorney said. President Barack Obama could allow him to move to Israel sooner if he so chooses, however.
The former Israeli agent is not in good health; he underwent surgery in March 2014 for problems with his gall bladder, kidneys and intestines. In December 2014, Pollard lost consciousness and was again hospitalized. His current health status is reportedly stable.
(JNi.media) Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Monday rejected news stories that said convicted spy Jonathan Pollard is slated to be paroled this year. Pollard was sentenced to life in prison in 1987 for selling classified information to Israel.
Rumsfeld tweeted on Monday: “Releasing spy Jonathan Pollard doesn’t make the #IranDeal any less of a disaster for Israel & the free world.”
In his next tweet, Rumsfeld posted a letter from 1998 and a memo from 2001 asking presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush respectively not to release Pollard. The letter from 1998 was signed by seven former defense secretaries: Donald Rumsfeld, Melvin R. Laird, Frank C. Carlucci, Richard Cheney, Caspar Weinberger, James Schlesinger and Elliot Richardson.
In the 2001 memo, Cheney, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice and Rumsfeld called freeing Pollard “enormously damaging to our efforts to keep spies out of our government.”
Rumors that former Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard may be released from prison – either within the next few weeks, or on parole if the parole board sees fit to release him at its hearing in November – have no connection with U.S.-Israeli discussions about the nuclear deal with Iran.
That is what Washington is saying, and it is what Israeli politicians are repeating.
The U.S. Justice Department said the terms of Pollard’s sentence require that he be released after 30 years unless the government can prove that he violated rules in prison or is likely to commit additional crimes.
In a statement issued Friday, Marc Raimondi said, “The Department of Justice has always and continues to maintain that Jonathan Pollard should serve his full sentence for the serious crimes he committed, which in this case is a 30-year sentence as mandated by statute.”
However, the White House rejected the idea that it was using Pollard’s release as a wedge to pressure Israel to back off on the Iranian nuclear issue.
“There is absolutely zero linkage between Mr. Pollard’s status and foreign policy considerations,” said National Security Council spokesperson Alistair Baskey at a briefing Friday.
Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked supported the statement, telling local television Channel 2 news on Saturday night, “There is no political or diplomatic involvement here… It is an American legal procedure: the parole commission needs to approve his release from prison after 30 years,” she explained.
First reported by The Wall Street Journal, there are numerous reports that the U.S. may release Pollard before the date of his parole hearing. However, not one official or politician has confirmed those rumors on or off the record.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu made a personal call to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry Saturday night after hearing that former agent Jonathan Pollard fell unconscious in a North Carolina prison and was taken to a hospital.
Netanyahu urged the United States to grant release to the former spy, who has applied for parole but whose request was rejected by the parole board.
“Pollard’s life is in danger. After 30 years in prison it’s time he should be released and live the rest of his life as a free man,” Netanyahu said Saturday night after the phone call.
Netanyahu’s efforts were followed up by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, which also issued a statement urging President Barack Obama to commute the remainder of Pollard’s sentence to time served.
“We urge President Obama, especially in this holiday season and given Mr. Pollard’s worsening health, to take steps immediately to expedite Mr. Pollard’s release and to commute his life sentence to the more than 29 years he has already served,” the group stated.
Authorities plan to return Pollard to the infirmary at the federal prison where he is incarcerated in Butner, North Carolina. Reportedly he will require surgery in the coming days, according to activists working for his release.
The former Navy analyst was convicted on a single count of passing classified information to an ally — Israel — and has been in prison since his arrest in 1985. He was sentenced to life in prison in 1987 despite having agreed to a plea bargain deal with the prosecutor’s office. The crime for which he was jailed usually carries a sentence of two to four years in prison.
Jonathan Pollard has returned to his jail cell after his brief hospitalization on Friday when he lost consciousness.
He may have to undergo surgery, but for the time being is back where has been for 30 years, sentenced to life for the crime of turning over Pentagon secrets for Israel, an offense that usually carries a sentence of 2-4 years in jail.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, while speaking with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry Saturday night, asked that President Barack Obama release Pollard. He said in a statement, “Jonathan is sick, his health in in danger, and after 30 years in prison it’s time he is released. We’ll continue to fight until his release.”
No one really knows how much Israeli officials have been honest in their demands that the United States free Pollard.
Rafi Eitan, his Mossad “handler,” said this past week that Pollard ignored an ”escape plan” that Israel had suggested and instead opted for trying to claim asylum in the Israeli Embassy, to which Eitan vehemently objected.
Rabbi Pesach Lerner, former Executive Vice President National Council of Young Israel and involved in the Pollard case for more than 20 years, wrote on the Hamodeia website Thursday, “He [Pollard] told me the only escape plan he ever received from his Israeli handler, Rafi Eitan, should the operation be compromised, was an emergency phone number to call. He received no special training for emergency evacuation and no instructions for such an event.”
Pollard is in poor health. Unless the United States frees him, we will never know the truth, and that may be why no American president has taken the humanitarian step to release him.
Everyone may be afraid of the truth.