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December 8, 2016 / 8 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Pollard’

The Pollard Saga Continues

Wednesday, August 24th, 2016

The recent rejection by a federal judge of Jonathan Pollard’s request for a change in his onerous parole conditions – he cannot travel to Israel and he must wear an electronic monitor, limiting the jobs he can be hired for – is but the latest in a series of injustices visited upon an American citizen who has more than paid his debt to society for crimes he committed nearly 35 years ago.

It is an oft-told story that the U.S. government reneged on a plea bargain that Mr. Pollard struck in which he was not to receive a life sentence and that, despite several attempts to do so, was never permitted to withdraw. And now after serving his full statutorily defined “life sentence,” he is not being permitted to get on with his life.

No other person convicted of similar crimes has ever been treated by our criminal justice system the way he has. We have no doubt that Israel was the beneficiary of his crime still rankles the intelligence community and others and has been a factor in his unique treatment. And perhaps this reality has driven the support Mr. Pollard has drawn from the Jewish community.

In any event, Mr. Pollard seems unable to persuade federal judges to override the dictates of our prosecutorial bureaucracy and cut him some slack.

There is one particularly perplexing element in the mix that has never been addressed. The federal prosecutors who charged Mr. Pollard and subsequently entered into the plea agreement with him necessarily did so on behalf of their client, the United States government. So the agreement had to have had the approval of officials who made an assessment of the nature and seriousness of the crimes. Yet all that seems to have gone by the boards and the continuous torment directed his way seems to have assumed a life of its own.

It is time for this unseemly persecution to end so that Mr. Pollard can at least attempt to resume a normal life.

Editorial Board

Why is Pollard Being Forced to Violate the Jewish Sabbath?

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016

{Originally posted to the Elder of Ziyon website}

There was always something wrong about the Pollard case, a cloud of hovering stench. Pollard was punished for giving critical info to an ally; info the U.S. was bound to give that ally (Israel) according to signed agreements between the two countries. But still, the U.S. called it “spying” and put Pollard behind bars for life, the same sentence given Aldrich Ames for the treasonous act of sharing critical U.S. defense secrets with the enemy.

Pollard was no threat to anyone, and still, the powers that be didn’t let him attend his father’s funeral. He was dangerous to no one and still the powers that be let him waste away without proper medical treatment. Lame duck presidents running out  their final days in office could have pardoned Jonathan Pollard, but did not do so.

One might suppose that Pollard was the Jew behind bars, a captive  proxy for all the ways U.S. presidents wanted to slap Israel’s hands for being too uppity. And now that he’s been sprung, they’re still slapping him around, the Jew Pollard. They have taken away the thing that is dearest to him, his observance of the Jewish Sabbath.

And they won’t give it back.

Here is how they make Jonathan Pollard break Shabbos:

By the terms of his parole, Pollard is forced to wear an electronic tracking device on his wrist, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The device cannot be removed and must be recharged by Pollard’s own hand. This can only be accomplished by Pollard plugging the device into an electric socket and sitting immobile for several hours a day. It is a violation of the Jewish Sabbath to plug an electric device into an electric socket.

Now when fully charged the transmitter lasts, at most, 24 hours, that is as long as Pollard is sitting still at the base station. If he moves outside the range of the receiver, however, the device begins to track his location, which uses up the battery faster.

Since the duration of the Sabbath is 25 hours (not to mention Jewish holidays which are twice as long), even if Pollard were to sit absolutely still at the base station, he’d need to plug in the device to recharge it at least once during this time, thus violating the Sabbath.

But there’s more: in addition to being forced to violate the Sabbath, Pollard is unable to attend Sabbath services where he might be able to pray with the prescribed quorum of 10 men (a minyan). At an earlier hearing, Pollard’s lawyers argued that, “Courts have held that ‘an opportunity to worship as a congregation by a substantial number of prisoners may be a basic religious experience and, therefore, a fundamental exercise of religion.’”

Perhaps the most irksome part of all of this is the fact that Pollard’s right to observe the Jewish Sabbath was sacrosanct as long as he remained in prison. From the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) website:

Courts have also found that restrictions requiring prisoners to violate the Sabbath or other religious duties violate the First Amendment. McEachin v. McGuinnis, 357 F.3d 197, 204-05 (2d Cir. 2004) (intentionally giving Muslim prisoner an order during prayer may violate First Amendment); Love v. Reed, 216 F.3d 682 (8th Cir. 2000) (failure to provide inmate with food from the prison’s kitchen on Saturday for his consumption on Sunday violates the Establishment Clause where the inmate’s sincerely held religious belief prevented him from leaving his cell or working on the Sabbath, or eating food prepared by others on that day); Hayes v. Long, 72 F.3d 70 (8th Cir. 1995) (requiring Muslim prisoner to handle pork violated First Amendment); Murphy v. Carroll, 202 F. Supp. 2d 421, 423-25 (D. Md. 2002) (prison officials’ designation of Saturday as cell-cleaning day violated Free Exercise rights of Orthodox Jewish prisoner).

While in prison, Pollard could keep Shabbos to his heart’s content. Having been “set free” however, his conditions are actually more, and not less onerous. The question is “why?”

It is widely accepted that the information Jonathan Pollard shared with Israel has been long ago rendered moot and therefore harmless. Releasing him to such harsh conditions in which he cannot leave the house to seek gainful employment or observe his most basic religious rights seems to be gratuitous and cruel: retributive. Of U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest’s recent decision to keep these restrictive parole conditions in place, Nachman Shai, head of the Knesset’s Pollard Caucus, said, “It is frustrating to see that the unmerciful pursuit of Pollard by American authorities continues,” Shai said. “We have been saying ‘enough is enough’ for so long, and the response has been insensitivity and inflexibility. He should be allowed to live a normal life, but he can’t when he is stuck to his house and prevented from working in a manner that has passed all limits of what is reasonable. They let him leave jail, so they should have let him have a longer string.”

One has to wonder whether there is something darker to the decision to deprive Pollard of his civil liberties, just as there was something dark about keeping him imprisoned for so long. Oft-quoted essayist Ahad Haam said that “More than Jews have kept the Sabbath, the Sabbath has kept the Jews.” It is no exaggeration to say that remembering the Sabbath day and keeping it holy ensured Jewish survival, helping the Jews outlive enemy after enemy over a two-thousand year span. It is what set the Jews apart from the others, helped us stay what we were and still are, so many years later. It kept us alive as a people, a nation.

And maybe that’s the problem, from the perspective of those who insist on taking this cherished right, the right to keep the Sabbath, away from one man, Jonathan Pollard.

Our efforts to honor Sabbath day despite the Crusaders, despite the Inquisition, despite the Holocaust makes it rankle all the more that the courts have played fast and easy with this, our cherished observance. They have deemed our Jewish Sabbath not important enough for them to stop playing this game with Jonathan Pollard, in which they rob him of everything he cares about, by making him break Shabbos.

Or maybe it’s the complete opposite of that: they want to break him.

If you look at the photos of Jonathan Pollard, you can see it happening. He is no longer a cunning New York Jew in a whole mess of trouble, but a kindly-looking meek man, afraid of his own shadow.

All he has left, it seems, is his Yiddishkeit and his love of Israel.

Which is why they’ll never let him have those things. They’ll never let him observe his Jewish religion or live in the Jewish State.

That would be letting him win, the Jew. The Jew Pollard.


Varda Meyers Epstein

Court Rejects Pollard Appeal of Parole Terms

Friday, August 12th, 2016

Convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, 62, who was released on parole last November on Thursday lost his appeal to ease his stiff probation conditions. Pollard served out a 30-year sentence, the longest prison term imposed on a spy from a friendly country in US history. Manhattan federal judge Katherine Forrest rejected Pollard’s request to ease his release requirement to wear an electronic tracking device and to have his computer be monitored by the authorities.

Pollard’s attorneys told the court their client was not a flight risk and that whatever secrets he knew of thirty years ago couldn’t possibly have any value to anyone. In addition, they said the arbitrary required for monitoring his computer meant Pollard couldn’t get a job with an investment firm.

The judge cited the facts that Pollard received an Israeli citizenship while behind bars meant that he was a flight risk, and a letter from James Clapper, the director of US National Intelligence, stating that the secrets Pollard learned in the 1980s were still secrets today.

David Israel

It’s Time To End The Pollard Inquisition

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

Last November, after serving 30 years of a life sentence in federal prison, Jonathan Pollard was paroled. Not because the government cut him any slack, but because life termers typically serve 30 years and it was doubtless too much, even for Mr. Pollard’s federal tormentors, to contemplate the notion that the only way he would leave prison would be in a coffin.

However, not content with having long treated Mr. Pollard so differently from others similarly situated – he is the only American ever given a life sentence for spying on behalf of an ally – there were broad, severe, and unprecedented restrictions placed upon him while he serves his parole period; restrictions that prevent him from traveling to Israel and, effectively, from becoming gainfully employed.

When Mr. Pollard was released and the restrictions announced, we commented (editorial, Nov. 27, 2015) on the venality of his incarceration and parole terms. We believe that editorial bears reprinting in light of Mr. Pollard’s continuing predicament.


Cutting Jonathan Pollard Some Slack

The release on parole of Jonathan Pollard from federal prison after he served 30 years of a life sentence for espionage has not eased the concerns many of us have had about this case. Indeed, the Obama administration’s refusal to allow Mr. Pollard to resettle in Israel only deepens those concerns.

While Mr. Pollard pleaded guilty to spying against the United States, the discriminatory treatment he has received at the hands of the government argues for his freedom to move to Israel. And therein lies the story. Spies are generally allowed to return to the land of their spymasters after serving their sentences, actually sometimes even before their sentences are up if a swap can be arranged.

We cannot help but believe the treatment of Mr. Pollard was and is rooted in the fact that he spied for Israel. Unfortunately, there is a surfeit of misinformation about what he did that provides cover for his highly unusual treatment.

For example, in an editorial arguing against allowing Mr. Pollard to move to Israel, The New York Times said this:

Under the rules of his parole, he cannot leave the United States for five years without permission, and the Obama administration has shown no intention of letting him go. It should not: Mr. Pollard grievously violated the laws and the trust of his country…. Many facts remain unknown because Mr. Pollard pleaded guilty, and his case did not come to trial. But the known facts do not warrant special consideration.

So despite “Many facts remain[ing] unknown” and the “known facts” having never been proved at trial, the Times and others are prepared to simply assume the worst about Mr. Pollard.

The story of his indictment and plea bargain raises other serious questions about his treatment. Thus, he was charged under a federal espionage statute that makes it a crime to deliver classified information to a foreign government “with intent or reason to believe” either that the information would result in “injury” to the U.S. or that the information would work “to the advantage of a foreign nation.”

Mr. Pollard was indicted under the “advantage” rather than the “injury” provision and subsequently pleaded guilty to providing secret information to Israel with knowledge that it would benefit that country. He was never charged under the “injury” provision. Yet not only had no one ever drawn a life sentence for violating the “advantage” provision, no one had ever drawn a life sentence for providing secret information to an ally under any circumstances. Moreover, government prosecutors agreed not to seek a life sentence in his case.

However, after the plea bargain was entered into and before the sentencing, federal prosecutors started providing information to the sentencing judge that they claimed pointed to all manner of injury Mr. Pollard had inflicted on the United States. Mr. Pollard’s lawyers were never given the opportunity to dispute those claims at a trial because Mr. Pollard, with his plea deal, waived his right to a trial. Yet this information apparently swayed the judge and he imposed a life sentence.

The strong likelihood that prosecutors violated the plea agreement didn’t matter. To be sure, there are some who contend that it was Mr. Pollard who breached the agreement because he had agreed not to go public about his case without permission and then sat for media interviews. Of course this argument ignores the fact that Mr. Pollard by then was already in federal detention and would not in any way have been accessible to the press without approval by the bureau of prisons.

In addition, the federal prosecutors who charged Pollard and subsequently entered the plea agreement with him did so on behalf of their client, the U.S. government. So the charge and agreement had to have had the approval of officials who had made an assessment of the nature and seriousness of Mr. Pollard’s crime. Yet all of that just went by the boards.

It is high time that Mr. Pollard be cut just a little slack. At the very least he should be allowed to get on with his life where he wants to lead it.

Shortly after that editorial appeared, a federal judge in Manhattan, upon prompt application of Mr. Pollard’s lawyers challenging the restrictions, ordered the government to provide an explanation for the unusual parole conditions.

The judge, Katherine B. Forrest, sitting on the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, ordered the U.S. Parole Commission to provide the “factual basis” for the restrictions and to identify whether Mr. Pollard carries “in his head” information that could be damaging to the public. She added that “the current record is insufficient to support the breadth of such conditions [restrictions].”

Both the Justice Department’s submission and the Pollard response have been submitted to Judge Forrest and a ruling is expected shortly. Prosecutors have until now prevailed in their case against Jonathan Pollard based on the strength of supposition and secret, undisclosed information. At long last, the basic facts of the Pollard story may soon see the light of day.

Editorial Board

US Defense Official to Court: Pollard Still Security Risk

Sunday, April 17th, 2016

National Intelligence Director James Clapper claims that recently freed Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, who spent the past 29 years behind bars in a maximum security prison, where national security information was not readily available, presumably, nevertheless still holds information that could harm American national security, which is why he must endure the strict parole conditions imposed on him for the next five years. These include not permitting him to move to Israel, where he has been granted citizenship.

Clapper submitted a document to a New York court and the parole commission handling Pollard’s case saying that Pollard continues to hold “sensitive and confidential information classified as top secret” that could harm American national security, Israel’s Channel 10 News reported Friday.

US District Court in the Southern District of New York on Tuesday granted Pollard a hearing of his appeal against the parole conditions, which require him to wear a GPS device that violates Shabbat and holidays. Also, his computers are being monitored by the government, which Pollard says limits his employment opportunities.

Pollard’s lawyers Eliot Lauer and Jacques Semmelman wrote the judge a letter saying, “Even assuming some information [inside Pollard’s head] is still ‘classified’ as a practical matter, it is extremely unlikely that Mr. Pollard remembers, or could possibly remember, the details of 30-year old information to an extent that it could be of any value to anyone.”

The lawyers added, “There is nothing before the commission to indicate that Mr. Pollard ever memorized the documents he delivered, or that he could possibly remember any usable details 30 years later.”

David Israel

Pollard’s First Wife Suing Israel

Sunday, November 22nd, 2015

Anne Pollard, the “forgotten” Pollard who was jailed along with her husband Jonathan but for a shorter time, is suing the Israeli government for millions of dollars for allegedly abandoning her.

Anne Pollard served 3 years and 4 months in prison, out of a five-year term, while her husband’s life sentence in jail was curtailed Friday.

She is arguing in her suit that the Mossad abandoned her and for defamation and Jonathan from the day the Israeli Embassy refused to allow them asylum.

Jonathan Pollard divorced her from his jail cell after she left prison. He then married Esther after Anne moved to Israel. She returned to the United States and then moved back to Israel in 2010.



Jewish Press News Briefs

US Won’t Let Pollard Out of Country for Five Years

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015

Jonathan Pollard will be a free man in November, but not totally free.

His supporters were happy to hear this week that parole will be granted in November, but hopes that he would move to Israel were squelched by the Obama administration.

The White House said that Pollard had committed “very serious crimes” and Alistair Baskey, a spokesman for the White House’s National Security Council added:

The president has no intention of altering the terms of Mr. Pollard’s parole.

Parolees are not allowed to leave the United States for five years without permission

Pollard was convicted for providing Israel with sensitive classified information. but spy charges were dropped. Nevertheless, prosecutors equated his crime with those of some of America’s most notorious spies.

Obama administration officials deny that Pollard’s pending release is tied to the nuclear deal with Iran, which Israel vociferously tried to prevent. The American government previously has tried to use Pollard as a wild card to tempt Israel into serious concessions to the Palestinian Authority.

In November, Pollard will have served 30 years in jail, making him automatically eligible for parole and switching the burden of proof from those appealing for an early release to prosecutors to provide evidence why he should not be freed.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/us-wont-let-pollard-out-of-country-for-five-years/2015/07/29/

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