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Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Olmert ordered to 'show cause' on Eitan appointment

The 'Supreme Court' today refused to restrain Prime Minister Ehud Olmert from appointing Rafi Eitan as a minister in his government. But in response to a petition by imprisoned American Jonathan Pollard - who was sentenced to life for spying for Israel - the court gave Olmert three weeks to 'show cause' why he considers Eitan fit to be a minister.

Pollard and his wife have charged that Eitan has a secret document that could gain Pollard's release from prison were he to hand it over to the Americans.

According to the petition, the document includes a list of all the classified documents that Pollard handed over to Israel in 1984 and 1985.

Eitan was in charge of a spy operation called Lekem, which enlisted Pollard, who was then working for the US Navy. Pollard provided the Israelis with information on the deployment of Arab military forces and other classified information taken from US military intelligence. He was arrested by the FBI on November 21, 1985 and was eventually sentenced to life imprisonment in violation of his plea bargain with the American government.

"Even today, Eitan refuses to help Pollard," his lawyers wrote. "For 21 years he has refused to hand over to the Americans or to the proper authorities in the Israeli government a document that is in his sole possession and of which he holds the only copy, and which the prime minister could use to save Pollard."

"The Americans have never been certain that they received from Israel all the documents that Pollard provided during his service to Israel," they continued. "Had Eitan handed over this document to the Americans at any time during these past 21 years, the Americans would have closed the affair, knowing Israel had returned all the material. This document would have lifted all the accusations that were fabricated against Pollard." [Maybe. It certainly would not have hurt Pollard's cause. CiJ]

According to the Jerusalem Post, the lawyers also charged that Eitan refused to help Pollard escape from the US after the FBI began investigating him. Instead, he lied to Pollard, telling him to stall for time so that the Israelis involved in the affair could return to Israel and avoid arrest. The lawyers charged that Eitan deliberately used Pollard as a scapegoat and left him behind to take the rap.

You ask: what are Eitan's real qualifications for whatever cabinet post he gets? Those are found in the caption of a picture that accompanied the JPost article linked above:

Rafi Eitan. Presented as an adorable Mr. Magoo type, he is actually a legendary former spy, the bad guy of the Pollard affair and a present-day multimillionaire with vast business interests in Cuba.

Money talks and....


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