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This might be huge.

From the intensely pro-Israeli paper INN:

Jonathan Pollard's wife Esther said this morning that U.S. President Bush is ready to free the imprisoned Israeli - but that Prime Minister-designate Ehud Olmert has to make the request.

Speaking on Channel Two's Monday morning television talk program, Esther Pollard said, "Someone who is very close to President Bush came to me last night and said that Bush is ready to free Jonathan even in time for the upcoming Passover holiday [which starts Wednesday night] - as long as Olmert makes an official request."

She said that the source with whom she spoke is "known very well to Mr. Olmert as trustworthy and having close ties with the U.S. President."

There is no telling whom she is referring to although I could take a few guesses.  

Esther Pollard has an official website but the news section is a few days behind current events.  I did look on there and failed to find any similar mention of Bush being willing to pardon Pollard.

So why pardon Pollard now?  It might be because his last legal appeals have been exhausted.  His last petition to have his sentence overturned was denied in July 2005 and in March 2006 the Supreme Court itself refused to re-open the case.  The only way Pollard will ever be a free man now is if the President of the United States pardons him.

His wife and many others defend what Pollard did, minimizing the damage he caused to American intelligence and saying he did it to protect Israel because the US was "violating" an agreement to share intel with Israel.  I've written before in some detail what a load of baloney that is.

Pollard made damn good money to spy for Israel.  And when I say "spy", I mean cart out entire truckloads of data, including cipher books and extremely valuable manuals and procedures describing the very highest level of sensitive intelligence operations.  

Pollard's wife and others make it seem like he was "double crossed" because he got a life sentence for pleading guilty to a single charge.  Yet this is the result of a plea bargain, one condition of was the freeing of his wife Esther so she could go to Israel and agitate for his release.  There's nothing unfair about the plea bargain at all.

According to Pollard's wife, the pardon (if it comes) could be here by the beginning of Passover, which begins on the night of Wednesday (tomorrow).  I sincerely doubt that Bush would pardon Pollard unless there was some major political benefit to doing so and right now I don't see that happening.

I am instead reporting this both because there is a chance it could happen and because Esther seems to be talking with someone fairly high up in the Bush administration.  I've heard of the October Surprise but this may indeed go down as the Passover Surprise.  Keep your ears open!

Cross-posted from the doubleplusungood crimethink website Flogging the Simian


Originally posted to Soj on Tue Apr 11, 2006 at 06:49 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  What's freeing an Israeli spy (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    stodghie, jmmcgowanjm

    ...when you have already lied to the American people in order to start a never-ending war and in countless other ways?  When you have broken your oath of office and also the law, and then said, "yeah, so what?"  This could very well happen, as Bush has let very few opportunities to do the wrong thing pass him by.

  •  The JOC (Joint chiefs of Staff) (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    stodghie, Sanuk, Ptah the Great
    are determined to keep Pollard locked up.

    This is a battle within the US Praetorian Guard.

    Who is in charge.  BTW-I wonder what the
    Pentagon was doing, thinking while watching
    the USS Liberty being attacked by Israel.


    •  The USS Liberty (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tirge Caps

      What on earth does the Liberty incident have to do with this? That was 29 years ago now. It involved no one who is currently in power on either side. While tragic, it doesn't have to be mentioned every time US/Israeli relations are.

      Lying can never save us from another lie - Vaclav Havel

      by Muwarr90 on Tue Apr 11, 2006 at 07:08:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  39.. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        oops, 39 years ago. My math skills are lacking this AM.

        Lying can never save us from another lie - Vaclav Havel

        by Muwarr90 on Tue Apr 11, 2006 at 07:14:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Linked always because of this (0+ / 0-)
        Polygraphs & Tall Tales

        What's more, a tragedy occurred in 1967, during the Six-Day War, that had a strongly negative effect on the feelings of many Navy personnel toward Israel.  The Israelis bombed an American intelligence-gathering ship, the USS Liberty, killing 34.  Israel apologized and claimed, quite plausibly, that it was an accident caused by Israeli pilots mistaking the Liberty for an Egyptian ship.  Friction was exacerbated because the Israelis insisted that the U.S. vessel had been in a war zone while the Americans maintained it had been in international waters. 

        A version of the sinking had been gossiped around the Navy that was far more sinister.  It also reflected unfavorably on both the United States and Israel as allies.  According to this story, President Lyndon Johnson wanted an Israeli victory but not one that was nearly so quick and decisive as the Six-Day War turned out to be.  The White House wanted to cultivate friendly relations with the Arab nations because of America's extreme reliance on oil and, to that end, the Liberty was there to gather intelligence that would be shared with the Arabs and used against Israel.  Thus, the Jewish state deliberately attacked a ship of its most important ally.  This account of the tragedy is highly fanciful but the fact that it was believed at all is both symptomatic of and a contributing factor to the alienation of some Navy personnel from Israel.

        Jay Pollard got access to classified data after two years on the job.

        The Above is Bull Shit

        Now th Real Story

        FROM:        James Bamford
        TO:        Steve Aftergood
        DATE:        July 25, 2001
        SUBJECT:    Response to charges made in Secrecy News on July 17, 2001

        An item by Steve Aftergood in the July 17, 2001 issue of Secrecy News concerned my new book on the National Security Agency, Body of Secrets. It related to my chapter on Israel's massive, unprovoked, daylight attack on the NSA spy ship USS Liberty in 1967. Thirty-four Americans were killed and another 171 were wounded when Israeli fighters poured into the ship more than 800 rounds of cannon fire, rockets, heavy bombs, and even burning napalm. That was followed by three Israeli PT boats, which fired five torpedoes at the ship, hitting it with one and virtually destroying the vessel. Israeli gunners then fired at the rubber life rafts thrown into the sea by sailors attempting to flee the burning ship. Machine-gun fire was also targeted against the escaping sailors, leading many of them to believe that it was Israel's intention to sink the ship and kill everyone on board. (The casualty rate was nearly an incredible 80 percent). Israel clamed the attack was a mistake -- the Liberty, they said, was mistaken for an Egyptian ship. But throughout the attack, which lasted more than an hour, the Liberty was flying a large American flag, had its name painted in English in five-foot letters across the stern, never fired a shot, and was virtually unarmed.

        My Edit-Like the Triangulated Crossfire Assassination of JFK, the Stolen Elections of 00,02,04, and 911 Made in America, as long as a myth is continued understanding
        of RealTime Events-Pollard being released(Amazing),
        Hamas: Israel severing security ties with PA is 'declaration of war', will never be understood.


  •  Huge how? (0+ / 0-)

    Bush'll get a small uptick in Jewish support, perhaps--but I'd imagine that'd be vanishingly small. Pollard would fade away. A one-cycle newsstory. What's huge?

    Let there be sharks - TracieLynn

    by GussieFN on Tue Apr 11, 2006 at 07:05:44 AM PDT

    •  Bush pardons a spy (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      stodghie, Thom K in CA

      Bush, big defender of America, pardons a foreign agent. You don't think that might put another dent in his armor?

      Also, why would he consider doing this? Why would he grant this request? Is he expecting something from Israel in return? There have been a lot of rumbles about Iran and Israel doesn't seem to be on board, exactly.

      I think there are more implications to this than "small uptick in Jewish support", since I strongly doubt that most American Jews are in favor of espionage committed against their country, even if the guilty party is an Israeli agent.

      My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right. Sen Carl Schurz

      by Bill Rehm on Tue Apr 11, 2006 at 07:10:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Damn straight (9+ / 0-)

        I'm an American, and this guy is a traitor.

        I always felt Clinton was right to resist some of the numbskulls in the Democratic party regarding Pollard's pardon.

        How's this for a headline:
        "Spy for us, we'll out you.
        Spy on us, we'll pardon you.
        George W. Bush, the new fifth column."

      •  No dent. (0+ / 0-)

        No: I think the polling will show that nobody much cares--and those who even know the name 'Pollard' either are forever lost to Bush, or might waver slightly in his support. Also, they wouldn't frame this as 'pardoning foreign agent' but 'Bush cutting through ridiculous red tape to free someone on our side.' Not true, perhaps, but certainly frame-able.

        Also, I don't imagine Israel gives a shit about Pollard, particularly--certainly not enough to support more of Bush's idiocies.

        And I can't speak for 'most American Jews', but I know a few octogenarian Jews in Connecticut who despise Bush, despise Lieberman, and still think that Pollard, though guilty, got a raw deal. These are people who very clearly remember a few other Jews being executed for espionage in the States.

        In fact, I think in some ways this issue mirrors the whole Cynthia McKinney thing (though, of course, there's absolutely no comparison in terms of seriousness).

        Let there be sharks - TracieLynn

        by GussieFN on Tue Apr 11, 2006 at 07:31:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  no, i think you are wrong and here is why. (0+ / 0-)

          bush is in an increasingly bad position on his faux stand as a defender of the homeland. the port deal, the lies about iraq, the increasingly bad news from iraq, and the possible attack on iran show him to be anything but good at foreign policy and the welfare of americans. he is getting bad press everyday. i don't think even our lapdog press would let that pass. the only ones defending it in my opinion would be the israeli lobby and the far right wing fundies.

  •  He's sending a signal to the evangelicals (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ptah the Great

    I have no idea what but any mention of Israel, Passover and Easter sends them into tizzies of Rapture anticipation.  Throw in a nuke or two at Iran and he's shooting for the real Armageddon.  It's just that they endtimers don't know they are going to enjoy a front row seat just like the rest of us.  So, the endtimers think that all of the nations of the world have to unite against Israel in the end.  Nice.  I wonder how the Israelis feel about that?  
    Or It could be that Israel is extorting Bush.  Maybe they have information that the press would have a field day with.  Maybe they want Pollard in return?  Nah, he's a spy.  They've got plenty of those.  He took one for the team and will sit it out in a US jail in perpetuity.  What is he for them?  Not enough of a prize to go to the mat for.  
    Yup, I'm guessing Bush is trying to sway the endtimers.  

    -3.63, -4.46 "Choose something like a star to stay your mind on- and be staid"

    by goldberry on Tue Apr 11, 2006 at 07:22:58 AM PDT

  •  If you think (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    stodghie, Tirge Caps

    the intelligence community is annoyed with Bush now, wait until he pulls this stunt (it remains to be seen if he will).

  •  The argument over Pollard (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    is far less his guilt (guilty as hell), than the severity of his sentence, as compared to others similarly situated.

    •  Another argument over Pollard... (0+ / 0-)

      is that the crimes Weinberger (y"sh) accused Pollard of were actually committed by Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen.  And BTW, Pollard was the one Ames framed for his crimes!

      More to the point, it could also be argued that Pollard gave Israel information it was privy to in the first place under a Memorandum of Understanding, yet the Reagan administration (again, y"sh) held back for some reason.  Perhaps the undue influence of Pat Buchanan (remeber, that was the same guy who pushed and pushed to get Reagan to speak at the Nazi cemetery at Bitburg)?  Additionally, two other arguments could be made in favor of Pollard: Osirak and preparations for the first Gulf War.  To conclude: Ames and Hanssen hurt our national security.  Pollard never did.  Sure, he committed a crime, but the maximum sentence for what he did was 10 years.  Also, there are reports of Pollard being tortured in prison.  Where are you Gitmo folks now?  It had to have started somewhere, and it may have started with that.  Geez, it's hard out here for a Zionist Democrat.

    •  100% right... (0+ / 0-)

      I am a huge supporter of America.  I am a huge supporter of Israel.  I am a huge supporter of folks who help Israel.  But Jonathan Pollard spied on my country.  I think he should be put in jail and all this discussion of pardoning is stupid (its a fairly large issue among the orthodox).

      That said, as I understand it, the severity of his sentence is really disproportionate with similar crimes.  I don't know if that's really the case.  The people that make those arguments would want him pardoned even if the punishment was 2 weeks in the slammer.  BUT--if that is true--and ONLY if that is true--I'd support his pardon when the amount of time he should be serving has expired.

      •  Michael Schwartz (non-Jew) spied for Saudi Arabia (0+ / 0-)

        Yet has never spent a single day in prison!  Don't you think that's your first clue for the double-standard?

      •  More disproportionate sentences (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Peter Lee (for Communist China): 1 FRIGGIN' YEAR in a halfway house
        Abdul Kadel Helmy (for less-than-reliable Egypt): sentenced to 4 years, released after 2
        Robert Kim (for South Korea): 9 years
        Joseph Santos (for Cuba): 4 years
        Harold Nicholson (for the Soviet Union): ONLY 23 years
        Aldrich Ames: life in Club Fed, not federal pound-me-in-the-ass prison
        William Kampiles: sentenced to 40 years, released after 19 years

        Well, you get the point now: serving less for doing more.

      •  More disproportionate sentences (0+ / 0-)

        Peter Lee (for Communist China): 1 FRIGGIN' YEAR in a halfway house
        Abdul Kadel Helmy (for less-than-reliable Egypt): sentenced to 4 years, released after 2
        Robert Kim (for South Korea): 9 years
        Joseph Santos (for Cuba): 4 years
        Harold Nicholson (for the Soviet Union): ONLY 23 years
        Aldrich Ames: life in Club Fed, not federal pound-me-in-the-ass prison
        William Kampiles: sentenced to 40 years, released after 19 years

        Well, you get the point now: serving less for doing more.

  •  Bush outs a spy (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nancelot, Eric Novinson

    then pardons a man who was spying on the US.

    I feel safer

    With a big ol' lie And a flag and a pie And a mom and a bible Most folks are just liable To buy any line Any place, any time ~ FZ

    by f furney on Tue Apr 11, 2006 at 07:48:50 AM PDT

  •  Zero evidence. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JPhurst, sofia

    Did you know that the word "gullible" isn't in the dictionary?  Look it up, and you'll see.

    Some whack-job internet site prints a rumor from a convicted coke-head spy's wife and everybody's in a tizzy.

    We got some nice bridges here in New York -- anyone want to buy shares?

    Is America finally suffering from Idiot Fatigue?

    by LarryInNYC on Tue Apr 11, 2006 at 07:50:09 AM PDT

    •  Do you have any two for ones? (0+ / 0-)

      eh, I'll give you a good price on the Manhattan if you throw the Williamsburg in...

      ... we now know a lot of things, most of which, we already knew... (-dash888)

      by Tirge Caps on Tue Apr 11, 2006 at 08:13:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The WTC was a Port of (NY NJ) Property (0+ / 0-)

      but somebody managed to 'buy' it with a 99 year lease and they got a two for one on that deal.

      And then there Robert Moses who managed to gain control of Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority funds to build his projects.

      So with faith, nothing is impossible. W teaches me that daily.

      Since the Bush admin is clearly incompetent, there's the tendency to chalk the entire shitstorm that is their presidency up to that. (Patriotically Incorrect)

      by Carbide Bit on Tue Apr 11, 2006 at 10:04:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Nobody's your friend like a Prez positioned (0+ / 0-)

    just right for extortion.

    Pollard 'leaked' hundreds of thousands of pages to Israel many thousands of which, wound up in the Soviet Union.

    A good source is:
    "Robert Maxwell: Israel's Superspy : The Life and Murder of a Media Mogul"

    Note the Media Mogul phrase. Still confused about editorials that contradict what the papers writers are saying?

    Charisma does not save republics, Courage does. (adigal)

    by Carbide Bit on Tue Apr 11, 2006 at 08:18:05 AM PDT

    •  Again, you are mistaken (0+ / 0-)

      It is well-known that Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen framed Pollard for their crimes.

      •  Follow-up (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Here's the food-for-thought I was talking about: (from the Jerusalem Post)

        "At the time of Pollard’s sentencing, the American security establishment may well have believed that story. Now, however, it is known that CIA official Aldrich Ames, and FBI agent Robert Hanssen, sold the names of the American agents to the Soviets. Ames, it appears, skillfully deflected suspicion to Pollard for years. (Ames ability to do use Pollard as a red herring has itself been a source of anger against Pollard in certain security circles. Ames was not arrested until 1994 and Hanssen until 2001.)

        Loftus’ article contains one bombshell revelation: an internal Navy intelligence review of the Pollard case, conducted after the arrest of Ames and Hanssen found that Pollard lacked the security clearance to obtain access to the names of American agents in the Soviet Union. He could therefore never have provided that information to Israel."

        •  Is this the Jeruselem Post owned by Black (0+ / 0-)

          Conrad Black's Hollinger International whose board included Henry Kissinger and Richard (onto Iran) Perle... the Jeruselem Post that made Paul Wolfowitz their man of the year?

          Since the Bush admin is clearly incompetent, there's the tendency to chalk the entire shitstorm that is their presidency up to that. (Patriotically Incorrect)

          by Carbide Bit on Tue Apr 11, 2006 at 09:56:30 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Free the asshole (0+ / 0-)

    Pollard is a ultra-right wing loon whose release will be a pain in the ass for most Israelis, who don't need one more schmuck shilling for Greater Israel when the majority of the country has been ready for a land-for-peace deal for a generation now.

    But the guy's been in jail for 20 years.  I hardly think that releasing him after two decades behind bars will make others think that committing treason is a good career move.  And a release will come with one considerable benefit -- we won't have to hear about this shithead any more.  Man, with that as an incentive, I'd be willing to pay for a prison break myself.  The Pollard supporters have turned whining into an art form.

    By the way, the article you cite refers to "freeing" Pollard, not pardoning him.  There's a difference.

    To me, the intriguing aspect of this news is the role of Rafi Eitan, now the head of a party likely to be in Kadima's governing coalition, then Pollard's handler.  None of the speculation I am seeing on this board about why Pollard might be released brings this up -- a further sign that most of those who regularly comment on Israel at DKos don't know anything about that country outside of the fact that they hate it.  Thus, the subtleties of Israeli politics mean nothing to them.

    And what's with the hyperlink on the word "Passover?" Do you seriously think there is anyone here, Jew or Gentile, he doesn't know what Passover is?  You might as well hyperlink on the word "baloney" -- most of us haven't encountered it since summer camp and could probably use a reminder.

    Fox News - We Distort, You Imbibe.

    by richter on Tue Apr 11, 2006 at 08:34:14 AM PDT

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