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November 22, 2014 / 29 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Jonathan Pollard’

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.

Jonathan Pollard: An Israeli Hero

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Our Sages say that in the month of Nissan, the people of Israel were redeemed from Egyptian bondage, and in the same month they will be redeemed in the future. This is a special month: the month of liberty. So who knows? Maybe this will be the month of our brother Jonathan Pollard’s redemption.

According to news reports, Secretary of State John Kerry is proposing that Israel expand the fourth scheduled release of Palestinian terrorists (a group that includes 14 Arab citizens of Israel) along with instituting a construction freeze in Judea and Samaria. All of this in exchange for the privilege of continuing to bask in the glory of the presence of the murderer of our Israeli sportsmen at the Munich Olympics, Mahmoud Abbas.

For all of this, Israel may get Pollard. Or maybe not.

On numerous occasions, Pollard has told me that he is not willing to go free in exchange for murderers. In principle, he is certainly right. The terrorists should have been executed long ago, and Pollard should have been out of prison long ago. Israel, however, being utterly at odds with its identity, is incapable of justifying its existence as a Jewish state. It cannot deal with the claim of the “justice of the Palestinian cause.” The result: we pay in the hard currency of a construction freeze or the release of murderers in exchange for the farce of a “peace process” that is supposed to address the Arab demand for justice.

Since Oslo Israel has discarded all the fundamental values of a normal nation, values like sovereignty, justice, morality and the sanctity of life. In light of that, and since this process will lead to the terrorist release and construction freeze that Kerry proposes with or without Pollard’s release, then at least he should go free.

The amazing Jonathan Pollard, however, refuses to participate in a Parole Board hearing as a precursor to his possible release. “I am not willing for other Jews to be murdered in exchange for my release,” he has said to me. When his words have been put to the ultimate test, he stands by them – making Pollard a modern-day hero of Israel. For the U.S. to use Pollard as a political bargaining chip is unbelievably villainous. In a meeting with the U.S. ambassador to Israel a few weeks ago, I made this position clear to him.

As a side note regarding a construction freeze, the 2011 crisis over the high cost of housing broke out as a result of a previous construction freeze in Judea and Samaria. The additional pressure that was suddenly added to the housing market in Israel’s pre-1967 borders was like the extra vehicles that turn a traffic jam into a traffic gridlock. Thus I assume that an additional construction freeze will result in an additional housing shortage and an additional leap in housing prices.

But what won’t we do for the privilege of chatting with Mahmoud Abbas for another half year?

Nissan means “our miracles.” Apparently, we need a miracle. No, not the splitting of the physical Red Sea – as our physical and material situation has never been better. Instead, we need a miraculous “splitting” of our slave mentality. We need to leave the bondage of a slave’s mentality for the mentality of liberty.

The modern-day redemption from Egypt is totally an internal, Jewish affair. We are the Children of Israel and we are Pharaoh. It is we who are breathing life into the puppet, Mahmoud Abbas, and enslaving ourselves to his puppeteering. I pray that in this propitious month of Nissan, we will choose redemption.

NYT Promotes Arch-Terrorist as Peacemaker

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

Marwan Barghouti is serving five life sentences in an Israeli prison for premeditated murder in attacks that killed five people, plus a few other crimes. The original prosecution charges accused him of perpetrating 37 attacks, running terrorist organizations, and recruiting and training terrorists.

The fact that Barghouti is also the most popular Palestinian Arab leader tells worlds about the Palestinian Arabs’ unreadiness for a credible peace agreement. Barghouti was a terrorist kingpin during the second intifada and unapologetically calls for a third intifada. He’s definitely not a Gandhi-type figure with peaceful instincts.

But that’s not the way the New York Times describes him in an article at the top of the foreign-news section in the April 8 edition (“Prisoner In Israel Is Linked To Talks – Popular Palestinian Serving Life Terms,” by Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren, page A4).

Rudoren suggests that releasing Barghouti could be the key to revive moribund negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. To buttress her argument, she digs up Palestinian Arabs who view Barghouti as the Palestinian Arab parallel to Jonathan Pollard, the convicted U.S. spy for Israel who’s serving a life term.  A perfect trade, it would seem. – Barghouti for Pollard.  Never mind that the former is a serial murderer – a charge not affixed to the latter.

What it comes down to, according to Palestinian Arab fans of Barghouti that Rudoren is eager to quote, is simply:  “Why not? Pollard is very important to Israel and Barghouti is important to us.”

But it happens that this quid pro quo is more the product of a feverish Rudoren imagination than the key to revival of peace negotiations.  Still, Rudoren and the Times are determined to go the extra mile to humanize Barghouti.

Consequently, Times readers are told that Barghouti “has a roommate and a television with 10 channels.  He can read any newspaper published in Israel but cannot have a computer.”  If the Times had its way, this nice Palestinian Arab fellow would not be so deprived.

In similar solicitous vein, Rudoren adds that Barghouti’s wife sees him every other Tuesday for 45 minutes, through glass; the last time they touched was in 2006.”  Ah, those tough Israeli prison conditions.

And here comes the ultimate punishment of Barghouti: “Last month, Ms. Barghouti brought their only grandchild, Talia, who was born last summer, but the baby was barred at the last door before the visiting room because she is not a first-degree relative.”  Get out the hankies!

To give the appearance of evenhanded reporting, Rudoren lays out in detail the charges against Barghouti – but not until the second-before-last paragraph.  How many readers, one might ask, get that far?  Which is of course, why Rudoren arranges that Barghouti’s dark side takes second place to all those up-close-and-personal, heart-tugging descriptions of a thoroughly scrubbed clean arch-terrorist.

And no cameos, of course, of Israeli victims of Barghouti’s terrorist forays.  That would go counter to Rudoren’s agenda.

Originally published at The American Thinker.

State Dept Press Corps Angry ‘Israel is Pushing Pollard Release’

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

In Tuesday’s daily press briefing conducted by the State Department spokesperson Marie Harf, several members of the media insinuated that it was Israel that raised the issue of Jonathan Pollard’s release from prison, as a condition for continuing the U.S. mediated “peace process” negotiations currently underway.

In fact, in a briefing that lasted less than 35 minutes, more than a third of the time was spent on the issue of Jonathan Pollard, and every one of the questions asked by the State Department press corps appeared to be an effort to convince the State Department that what they all characterized as an Israeli effort to get Pollard released was an outrage.

It was the first set of questions that was raised, it was the penultimate set of questions, and the questions were raised by no fewer than five different journalists, representing media outlets from across the globe.

Throughout the questioning, Harf maintained a solid line of no comment. She refused to comment on whether Pollard’s release was a matter under discussion during the “peace talks.”

The one definitive statement made repeatedly by Harf was “the President has not made a decision to release Jonathan Pollard.”

But several extraordinary things happened during the press conference, that is, extraordinary in addition to what seemed to be a united front by the journalists who were cross-examining the State Department spokesperson as to why would the U.S. buckle under a demand from Israel to release a convicted spy.

First, a significant comment made by Harf was deleted from the official transcript. That deletion specifically appeared to confirm for the journalists that Israel was the party which had raised the release of Pollard, rather than, as was the general sense in the Israeli media, that it was the U.S. who raised the issue in a desperate attempt to keep the “peace talks” alive.

Reproduced below, is the first relevant section of the transcript of Tuesday’s briefing. Even before this question, it should be noted, the journalist asking this first series of questions claimed that it was Abbas who cancelled the meeting with Secretary of State Kerry, not the other way around, as it has been generally reported.

QUESTION: (at 2:55) Do you want to give us some kind of readout on how it was that the Pollard release was put back up on the table? I know there’s been a lot of conflicting information over the last week, when these reports first surfaced in the Israeli press. We’d like a little clarification on exactly when and why and how, and whether or not Pollard’s release is still on the table, given that Abbas looks like he – that is what’s making him negative on the process right now. (at 3:23)

MS. HARF: (at 3:24) Well, a few points on that. First, the President has not made a decision to release Jonathan Pollard. I want to be very clear about that. Jonathan Pollard was convicted of espionage and is serving his sentence. I don’t have any further update on his status to provide today. In terms of this being a topic, (at 3:38)

THIS IS WHERE THE AUDIOTAPE OF THE PRESS CONFERENCE AND THE TRANSCRIPT DIFFER DRAMATICALLY.  WHAT HARF SAID AS REVEALED IN THE AUDIOTAPE, THOUGH IT DOES NOT APPEAR IN THE TRANSCRIPT AT ALL, IS:

it should be uh no surprise that the Israelis have frequently raised Jonathan Pollard in our discussions, uh, uh, throughout the peace process or at large, but I’m not going to get (at 3:50)

AND THEN THE TRANSCRIPT AND THE AUDIOTAPE RESUME TRACKING:

(at 3:51) into any of the details of the discussions that they’ve had with Secretary Kerry.

12 Hours, 2 Meetings for Netanyahu & Kerry; Abbas & Kerry, 0

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has left Israel without speaking to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, and after two intense meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in less than 12 hours.

Kerry met in Jerusalem with Netanyahu for several hours on Monday evening and then again for another two hours on Tuesday morning before leaving to attend scheduled NATO ministerial meetings in Brussels on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Although there was a possibility that Kerry might have gone to Ramallah for a quick meeting with Abbas late Monday night, he chose not to do so. It is believed he will return to Israel in the coming days, possibly to meet with Abbas at that time instead.

Abbas, meanwhile, chaired his own meeting Monday night with top officials from the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the PA’s leading Fatah faction.

Officials decided to again appeal to United Nations agencies for recognition of the PA as an independent sovereign nation if Kerry does not force Israel to free a final group of 30 terrorist prisoners, according to the PA official who spoke with reporters.

Rumors that long-incarcerated Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard might be freed from a U.S. prison as a way to keep the talks going again were raised, but there has been no confirmation by an official source, U.S. or Israeli, that the report was true.

Likewise, an alleged proposal from Israel last Friday offering to free an additional 400 PA terrorist prisoners in exchange for the PA continuing the talks until the end of 2014, and refraining from its appeal to the United Nations, has not been confirmed.

White House spokesperson Jay Carney has told reporters he has “no update” on the status of Jonathan Pollard, and Israeli government officials are tight-lipped about the latest developments under discussion with the PA.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/scoreboard-12-hours-2-meetings-for-bibi-kerry-0-for-abbas/2014/04/01/

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