Israel abandons Pollard againIf the Knesset had any conscience, it would be ashamed of what it did this evening. Unfortunately, as a collective, the Knesset has no conscience. Many of its members have no conscience either.
Tonight, the Knesset voted down a bill that would establish a plan to bring about the release of convicted spy Jonathan Pollard by a 43-32 vote. The government opposed the bill.
Pollard was a US Navy analyst who was convicted of spying on Israel's behalf in 1986. He entered into a plea bargain with the United States government, in which he waived his right to a trial in return for restrictions on sentencing. At the urging of a number of government officials - principally then Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger - Pollard's guilty plea was accepted but his plea bargain was thrown out and Pollard was sentenced to life in prison. Weinberger died in March 2006.
Israel did not acknowledge that Pollard spied on its behalf until 1998, at which time then-Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu attempted to have Pollard freed as part of the Why Why Wye agreement. Then-President Bill Clinton agreed to free Pollard, but reneged on the agreement when then-CIA director George Tenet threatened to resign. Pollard has been in jail in the US since 1986.
"Kadima and Olmert are not interested in endangering the security of Israel, but also that of Jonathan Pollard," said MK Gilad Erdan (Likud), who initiated the bill. "Olmert is unable to do what it takes and issue a strong request to return [Pollard]."I realize that some of my American readers may be unhappy with my defense of Pollard. I will state my position as simply as possible:
Earlier this week, MK Zevulen Orlev (NU-NRP) requested that State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss investigate the Pollard case and consider intervening on Pollard's behalf. Orlev said that the State Comptroller Committee, which he heads, would vote on an official resolution asking Lindenstrauss to prepare a report on why Israel has not managed to secure Pollard's release.
MK Estherina Tartman (Israel Beiteinu) also raised the issue of Pollard's release earlier this week, arguing that instead of releasing Palestinian prisoners, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert should consider focusing his efforts on Israeli citizens.
1. Pollard committed a crime for which he was punished and for which he has spent twenty-two years in prison.
2. Pollard's sentence for spying on the US on behalf of a friendly nation was far in excess of the sentences other spies have received for spying on the US on behalf of much less friendly nations.
3. Pollard's Israeli handlers were kept out of the United States and continue to disgrace us by serving in high positions in the Israeli government. Pollard has taken the fall for everyone for twenty-two years.
4. It is wrong for the US to continue to hold Pollard. It is even more wrong for the Israeli government to use Pollard and then throw him away like a used rag. Shame on the Knesset!
Update 7:30 AM
Over at LGF, Thanos was kind enough to post a list of other people caught spying on the US for foreign governments in the time since Pollard was arrested, and the sentences they received:
MICHAEL WALKER, part of the infamous WALKER SPY RING, was arrested in 1985, the same year as Jonathan Pollard. The spy ring he belonged to operated for 17 years, selling sensitive US military secrets to the Soviet Union, causing what authorities described as extensive damage to national security. He was sentenced to 25 years. WALKER IS A FREE MAN TODAY.And that doesn't begin to tell the story of why Israel has abandoned Pollard.... Shame, shame, shame....
CLAYTON LONETREE, a marine sergeant guarding the US Embassy in Moscow, spied for the KGB and was sentenced in 1987 to 30 years. He gave the Russians the floor plans of the US Embassies in Moscow and Vienna, endangering the lives of all who worked there. His sentence was reduced 3 times. LONETREE IS A FREE MAN TODAY.
RICHARD MILLER is the first FBI agent ever tried for espionage. He turned over secrets, including a counter-intelligence manual, to the Soviets. He was sentenced to 20 years. MILLER IS A FREE MAN TODAY.
ABDELKADER HELMY, a missile researcher, was sentenced in 1989 for selling technology related to the Condor Missile project to Egypt which found its way to Iraq. He got 48 months and served considerably less. HELMY IS A FREE MAN TODAY.
SAMUEL MORISON, a Navy analyst, removed scores of confidential material, including photos he sold that were printed in Jane's Defense Weekly. The Photos were classified SCI; exposing such sensitive material carries a mandatory life sentence. The grandson of an illustrious Navy Historian, his family ties are the only way to explain why in 1985 he was sentenced to only 2 years, and served only 3 months. What is more, in spite of extreme opposition by the CIA to clemency, Morison received a full pardon from former President Clinton in January 2001. MORISON IS A FREE MAN TODAY.
RONALD MONTAPERTO For over a decade, Ronald Montaperto, a former pentagon analyst gave highly classified information to the Chinese which seriously damaged US National Security by hampering US efforts to track China's covert arms sales to nation sponsors of terrorism such as Iran, Syria and Pakistan. Montaperto was recently sentenced to 3 months in prison! Montaperto's miniscule sentence is nearly completed and by the time you read this you can be sure that MONTAPERTO IS A FREE MAN TODAY