Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Pollard spy case

It's time for me to dive back into the murky waters of Lake Blogistan. I must confess that it was pleasant not to think about the news for a while.

Let us consider the strange case of Jonathan Pollard, the treasonous former intelligence analyst who had specialized in Soviet matters in the 1980s. Many people who don't know the case well presume that he worked for the CIA; actually, he toiled on behalf of a little-known group within Naval intelligence called Task Force 168. There is some mystery as to how he managed to acquire a security clearance, since the CIA had rejected him due to his history of drug usage. As soon as he had wormed his way into the U.S. intelligence community, he sent feelers out to the intelligence services of both South Africa and Australia. This was a man who desperately wanted to betray the United States, and he wasn't very picky as to his potential dance partners.

Finally, inevitably, he established a relationship with Israel. In the mid-1980s, Pollard gave the Israelis enough secret documentation to fill a room not much smaller than my first apartment. His treason was uncovered in 1985; in 1987, he pleaded guilty to a charge of espionage.

Until 1998, the Israelis refused to admit that Pollard had worked for them, even though he had taken $1500 a month from spymaster Rafael Eitan. This inability to admit the obvious was a bit like a married man denying an affair while slipping off the condom.

Jonathan Pollard has spent some three decades in prison. During that time, many pro-Israel writers (including -- but of course! -- the beloved Alan Dershowtiz) have argued passionately in favor of his release. The Obama administration now seems determined to let Pollard walk free on November 20 of this year in order to sooth Israeli feelings after the Iran deal. This gesture seems pointless, since Israeli opposition to that wise agreement will remain implacable.

Seymour Hersh revealed that the Israeli leadership sent Pollard's pilfered information directly to the Soviet Union, at a time of heightened Cold War tensions, in return for the expedited immigration of Soviet Jews. The original Hersh piece, published by the New Yorker in 1999, is behind a paywall, but Justin Raimondo quotes the relevant portion, which you can also find here. According to Hersh, former CIA Director William Casey said the following to a station chief:
‘For your information, the Israelis used Pollard to obtain our attack plan against the U.S.S.R. all of it. The coordinates, the firing locations, the sequences. And for guess who? The Soviets.’ Casey had then explained that the Israelis had traded the Pollard data for Soviet émigrés. ‘How’s that for cheating?’ he had asked.”
There was much more, of course -- in fact, we may not even know the worst of it. (And by "we," I mean not just the American public but also the intelligence community.)

Most of the current stories about the Pollard case give the impression that his upcoming release is a routine matter of "mandatory parole," as many journalists have put it. As Raimondo points out, this idea is ridiculous.
There is no such thing as “mandatory parole.” What’s mandatory is that the Parole Commission must consider parole in Pollard’s case, but they are free to deny it on the grounds that a) Pollard violated rules while in custody, and 2) that he may commit crimes if released. Although the government has made it clear it will not oppose parole, both conditions apply to Pollard and constitute grounds for denial.
You've got to wonder about the media automatons who have mindlessly repeated the term "mandatory parole" in story after story. If you Google the name "Jonathan Pollard" and the phrase "mandatory parole" (in quotes), you'll find that this nonsense has appeared in articles published by The Washington Post, USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, NBC and other major news organizations. This degree of journalistic obeisance is quite remarkable.

Fortunately, Raimondo is at the very top of his game. Until I read his piece, I did not know that Pollard has shown an absolute lack of remorse, preferring to view his continuing incarceration as an example of the gentile world's ineradicable anti-Semitism. Apparently, we are supposed to believe that anti-Semites have run the United States government during the last few decades.
Aside from all this, after agreeing to plead guilty and entering into a written plea agreement, Pollard brazenly violated its terms by doing two interviews with Wolf Blitzer, then a correspondent for the Jerusalem Post. The written plea agreement specifically forbade Pollard from doing interviews, or otherwise engaging in any written or broadcast accounts of his crimes, without the permission of the Director of Naval Intelligence. The intent here was to prevent the public dissemination of any more classified material, and Pollard and his lawyers agreed to these terms in exchange for the promise of leniency for himself as well as his wife, who had assisted him in his crimes. Yet Pollard went behind his lawyer’s back and did the Blitzer interviews, in a clear attempt to chuff himself up as a martyr to the cause of Israel and to mobilize the Jewish community behind him.

Prosecutors – and the judge – retaliated by throwing the book at him.
Many of my readers would become furious at me if I suggested that (say) Leslie Van Houten deserves parole, even though she has been an exemplary prisoner whose remorse is unquestioned.

The Pollard affair is, or should be, a simple matter. Parole may be justifiable if Pollard has met the criteria -- but if he has not, then the November 20 release will be an injustice. If Raimondo has the story right, then the traitorous Jonathan Pollard should remain in prison until he kicks the habit of arrogance.

That said: I suspect that the Pollard story still has a few hidden compartments. Why was this man given access to so much classified material, even though the CIA had rejected his application due to his history of drug abuse? Consider these paragraphs from his Wikipedia bio:
Pollard was given temporary non-SCI security clearances pending completion of his background check, which was normal for new hires at the time. He was assigned to temporary duty at another NIC Department, the Naval Intelligence Support Center (NISC) Surface Ships Division, where he could work on tasks that did not require SCI clearance. NOSIC's current operations center and the NISC were co-located in Suitland, Maryland.

Two months after Pollard was hired, the technical director of NOSIC, Richard Haver, requested that he be terminated.[20] Pollard had offered to start a back-channel operation with the South African intelligence service and lied about his father's involvement with the CIA.[20] Instead of terminating Pollard, Haver's boss reassigned him to a Navy human intelligence (HUMINT) operation, Task Force 168 (TF-168). This office was within Naval Intelligence Command (NIC), the headquarters for Navy intelligence operations (located in a separate building, but still within the Suitland Federal Center complex.) This may have been due to Pollard's having a friend from graduate school in the South African intelligence service.[20] It was later discovered that Pollard had lied repeatedly during the vetting process for this position: he denied illegal drug use, claimed his father had been a CIA operative, misrepresented his language abilities and his educational achievements, and claimed to have applied for a commission as officer in the Naval Reserve.[20] A month later Pollard received his SCI clearances and was transferred from NISC to TF-168.
Published accounts indicate that his approaches to both the South Africans and the Australians were brazen and unprofessional. It's hard to believe that a reckless man like Pollard managed to escape the detection of both the CIA and the NSA as he offered his wares to any and all buyers.

In short: The overall picture we have is of a man who should never have been granted access to secret material -- yet somehow, he managed to scoop up enough classified goodies to fill an entire room. Did the system fail? Or was something else going on?

It is quite possible that someone "on high" intended for Pollard to pass information on to the Israelis or the South Africans. The information he acquired may have included disinformation -- stuff that we wanted another government to believe.

Such games have been played before.
After 30 years in prison Pollard should be released.

I despise the blood-drenched entity for which he spied, and for which he still works, and I despise the arrogant scumbags who twist and bullshit in favour of it, including him. But that doesn't make me lose my humanitarian principles. His arrogance shouldn't keep him in prison any longer. He's an Israeli spy - do we expect him to be a decent guy with morals?

Hersh can say Casey said whatever. I don't believe an intelligence analyst paid by a foreign agency could singlehandedly have ensured that the agency got hold of the entire US attack plan against the USSR. The Zionists are so powerful in the US that they would have held that information anyway. They have never had any underlying loyalty to the US, whether in its relations with the USSR or in any other matter. In short: big deal.

When the frame is set by the ongoing news agenda, the big picture gets obscured. That's one of the functions of 'news'.

The only reason Pollard has been kept in jail - unlike the hundreds of art students, movers, dancing photographers, neocon 'experts' etc. etc. etc. - is that he is small fry and his continued incarceration was useful to US intel chiefs who wanted to keep a bit of loyalty from the more dimwitted of their own officers and known assets for whom the penny hadn't dropped yet regarding who the US belongs to. Didn't Tenet threaten to resign because releasing Pollard would have been bad for CIA morale? Well that's what I'm sayin'. He didn't threaten to resign over the fact that Israeli assets do practically whatever the fuck they want in the US, including at a senior level.

That pair of US traitors, working for Israel, against whom the criminal charges were dropped as soon as Obama came to office (or was it George W Bush?) - I was going to mention their names here and say they were probably much bigger fry than Pollard, but after 10 minutes searching the web I couldn't find them. Not even when I asked for pages that didn't contain the word "Pollard".

As Orwell put it, those who control the past control the future, and those who control the present control the past.

Couldn't the US find a single one of their own spies held by the Israelis for whom Pollard could have been swapped? A "backpacking planespotter"? A "businessman caught in a spy flap"? That kind of thing? Why not? Because servants don't spy on their masters. (Or at least, if they do, it's considered a very different sin from people spying on their own masters for another lot of masters.)
Recently, in an interview to a German television chanel M. Hayden said that
it is a common understanding among all secret services, internationally,
like "When You steal my secrets, shame on ME.
When I steal Your secrets, shame on YOU"
Extract, in German ->
The first time we can be SURE he doesn't lie.
"Hersh can say Casey said whatever. I don't believe an intelligence analyst paid by a foreign agency could singlehandedly have ensured that the agency got hold of the entire US attack plan against the USSR. The Zionists are so powerful in the US that they would have held that information anyway."

That last sentence is ridiculous. The attack plan on the USSR would have been on of America's most well-guarded secrets. That fact led me to suspect that someone wanted Pollard to get hold of that material -- because why would an untrustworthy jerk like him have access to it? Did everyone in that Task Force have that kind of access? I don't think so. Frankly, I'm not even sure that the guy who ran Task Force 168 would have need to know.

It's worth noting that Pollard claimed that he had been ordered to try to pass information to the Australians, and that his Australian contact immediately suspected that the approach was some sort of "CIA ruse."

All in all, I can't claim to know just what happened. But I think that the real story is rather more complex than we have been told.

By the way, do you know what the code name was for the attack plan against the USSR in Harry Truman's time? MAJESTIC.

Cute, huh? Looks to me like some clever counterintelligence officer had a lot of fun with that one.
LOL @ "Majestic" :-)

Pollard was an intelligence analyst. What sort of intelligence would he have been analysing that would have given him a need to have access to the whole of the US attack plan against the USSR, "the coordinates, the firing locations, the sequences." How many people in the entire US Navy have that information?
How can the highly-guarded military secrets be safe when even President Clinton thought his phone calls were bugged by a foreign power?
In civilized countries, 20 years is considered a life sentence. It's barbaric to keep a human being locked in a prison for 30 years who is not a danger to society. Pollard is not a danger to anyone.

What I know about the inhuman American prison and "justice" system makes gives me sympathy for the Israeli position in the Pollard case where there otherwise I wouldn't have any at all.

pollard was more interested in coke than judaism before prison. I imagine his devotion will last as long as his incarceration.

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