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NY mayoral hopeful Quinn urges Obama to free Pollard

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You do the math: Christine Quinn is expected to run for mayor in NY next year. She is the speaker of the NY City Council. Yesterday she released this letter calling on Obama to commute the sentence of Jonathan Pollard, the spy for Israel inside Navy Intelligence who has spent many years in prison:

Mr. Pollard has spent more than 26 years in prison for the serious crimes he committed, regarding which he has expressed great remorse,” Quinn’s letter reads. “Mr. Pollard has served a longer time in prison than many others who were found guilty of similar activity on behalf of nations that, like Israel, are our allies.”

“I know I share similar views of many past and current American elected officials, as well as Israeli leaders,” the Speaker indicates a change of times, that has become a consensuses issue, one that has united Israeli and American officials from both sides of the aisle.

“It is time for mercy,” Quinn writes the President. “Commuting the sentence of Mr. Pollard would be viewed as a great act of compassion.”
Therefore, I respectfully urge you to use your constitutional power to treat Mr. Pollard the way others have been treated by our nation’s justice system, and commute his sentence, Speaker Quinn concludes her personal letter.
Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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26 Responses

  1. Les on December 27, 2012, 12:16 pm

    Don’t you just love the way our media encourages our politicians to sell themselves to the Israel Lobby. No money could buy such positive publicity for our grovelers.

  2. Leper Colonialist on December 27, 2012, 12:34 pm

    I just emailed Speaker Quinn to let her know that she doesn’t speak for me re JJ Pollard.

    I suggest others do the same, if for no other reason that to clog up her email box.

    • rob on December 27, 2012, 7:58 pm

      Thanks Leper Colonialist, I just emailed her on the website you provided.

      I also suggested she read: “Capturing Jonathan Pollard, How One of the Most Notorious Spies in American History was brought to justice” By Ronald J. Olive, Special Agent, NCIS (Ret.)

      Great book on how much damage he did.

    • peterfeld on December 27, 2012, 11:53 pm

      “I was quite disturbed by your letter to President Obama on Speaker letterhead asking for the release of Jonathan Pollard, who betrayed our country and damaged our national security. Releasing Pollard to what would certainly be a hero’s welcome in Israel would be the worst possible signal to send and would be an act of official irresponsibility. I would hate for President Obama to think your comments represent the views of New Yorkers or that we might have a mayor who shows such cavalier disregard for our national security.”

    • American on December 28, 2012, 8:33 pm

      Done, thanks for link.

      I asked her how much in money and votes the Jewish orgs and US Zionist donors had promised her campaign for Mayor if she would advocate for Pollards release.

      Might as well have some fun and heap it on…it’s impossible to insult self serving politicians anyway.

  3. MLE on December 27, 2012, 12:34 pm

    He doesn’t express remorse, he accepted the citizenship of the country he was spying for and that’s where he’d go if he’s released. That’s not remorse, that’s “I did right by the country with which my loyalties lie and I’m only sorry I got caught so soon and couldn’t give any really useful information”

    • ToivoS on December 27, 2012, 7:52 pm

      Pollard couldn’t give any really useful information”

      Actually he revealed some very useful information for the Soviet Union at least. And Israel happily passed it on to them.

      • MLE on December 28, 2012, 12:02 am

        It’s more of a take on “I have but one life to live for my country”. Had he not been caught he would have continued passing secrets. This wasn’t a one time under duress. He knew where his loyalties lied

      • Les on December 28, 2012, 2:28 pm

        Pollard handed over just about every scrap of information that existed about US missiles including the names of a network of double agents who the Soviets eliminated. I don’t know that Quinn would know what “eliminated” means.

  4. Mndwss on December 27, 2012, 1:40 pm

    When i do the math: I find that many politicians have no soul…

    And they did not sell their soul to the devil, they never had a soul.

    0 – 0 = 0

    I want to tell you my secret now…

    I see corrupt/evil/dumb people who call themselves politicians.


    Cole: I want to tell you my secret now.

    Malcolm: Okay.

    Cole: I See dumb People.

    Malcolm: In your dreams? While you’re awake? Dumb people, like in your school? Or out in the streats?

    Cole: Walking around like regular people. They only see what they want to see. They don’t know they’re dumb.

    Malcolm: How often do you see them?

    Cole: All the time. They’re everywhere.

  5. David Doppler on December 27, 2012, 1:54 pm

    I’m against releasing Pollard, but, as his sentence and life run down, it is a chip to use with the Israelis. Would I trade a Pollard release as part of a package for a peace treaty mutually acceptable to Israel and Palestine? Would Obama? Think of it as salve for whichever Israeli Prime Minister incurs the wrath of his right wing by reaching an end to the “peace process” short of ethnic cleansing, and it starts to become interesting.

    • piotr on December 28, 2012, 9:17 pm

      I think Obama tried to induce Netanyahu to settlement freeze early on, and probably a package deal could work, but that would compromise the ideal of indivisible Eretz Israel.

      In general I am against keeping people in prison for more than 25 years, but clearly USA has many thousands of such inmates and Pollard is not a particularly worthy cause, to put it delicately. US government was quite merciful with his wife who was an active participant. If Israel want some nice gesture, it can be done, why not, if there is anything to reciprocate for. But I do not see anything of that nature.

  6. yourstruly on December 27, 2012, 6:51 pm

    a change of time that has become a consensus issue, one that unites israeli and american officials from both sides of the aisle?

    it’s a time for mercy?

    commuting pollard’s sentence, an act of compassion?

    treat mr pollard the way others have been treated by our justice system?

    like the person saying how come i’m the one that gets a ticket? what the heck, mine wasn’t the only car that missed that red light”

    based on?


    equality being?

    the one equals one

    • Egbert on December 28, 2012, 4:21 pm

      Israel would renege on the deal as soon as they got what they wanted.

  7. ToivoS on December 27, 2012, 7:40 pm

    Quin whines: “Mr. Pollard has served a longer time in prison than many others who were found guilty of similar activity on behalf of nations that, like Israel, are our allies.”

    Without mentioning that the information Pollard was passing on was being traded to the Soviet Union. Those of us outside of US intelligence circles do not know the full extent of the problem but it seems clear that a number of our spies inside the Soviet Union were revealed and executed. Now what ally would do that to the US?

    Pollard should rot in jail, not just for his crimes but for the crimes of Israel. He obviously knows where his primary loyalties are. We all know that if released he will be welcomed “home” as a hero. This one case has to illustrate most clearly that US and Israel interests are not the same. Of course there are others namely the USS Liberty and the war in Iraq.

  8. Nevada Ned on December 28, 2012, 2:58 am

    Letting Pollard out of jail sends a message to Israel and to Israeli spies.

    It sends the wrong message.

    Keeping Pollard in jail sends the right message.

  9. Qualtrough on December 28, 2012, 8:48 am

    This line really galls me:

    “I know I share similar views of many past and current American elected officials, as well as Israeli leaders

    As if sharing the views of elected officials of the very nation that employed him as a spy is some kind of endorsement! You really couldn’t make this stuff up, it is that unbelievable. Future generations are going to look back on Israel’s ‘special’ relationship with the USA and wonder how that was tolerated for so long.

    • Mooser on December 28, 2012, 12:07 pm

      “Future generations are going to look back on Israel’s ‘special’ relationship with the USA and wonder how that was tolerated for so long.”

      I know this is in a lot of ways way off the mark, but when I found out more about the “China Lobby” supporting “Nationalist” China in America, a lot of similarities come to light.

  10. Binyamin in Orangeburg on December 28, 2012, 10:35 am

    Does she support compassion for Leonard Peltier?

  11. Sin Nombre on December 28, 2012, 11:24 am

    ToivoS wrote:

    “This one case has to illustrate most clearly that US and Israel interests are not the same.”

    And this is precisely why Quinn chose it. It’s effectively saying to the New York Israeli partisans “Hey, look, see? I am *perfectly* okay with advocating the U.S. getting screwed over for Israel’s benefit.”

    Who, after all, would really be surprised to see some NY mayoral candidate, if the issue were hot, come out calling the U.S. Liberty survivors anti-semitic scum or etc.? Not I.

    After all what do we see already with Bloomberg? THE domestic Gun Control Advocate, not long ago threatening to stop supporting Obama because of his perception that Obama was insufficiently supporting the armed-to-the-teeth-with-American-made-and-American-paid-for-assault-rifles settlers so they can continue to steal and squat on Palestinian land.

    Does anyone believe that Bloomberg gets even a molecule of the irony here? Advocating the criminalizing of Americans while supporting Israelis doing worse?

    Does anyone believe Bloomberg or Quinn would hesitate for even a heartbeat sacrificing damn near any American interest for Israel?

  12. MichaelRivero on December 28, 2012, 11:35 am

    Quinn ought to lose on this issue alone. Pollard stole US nuclear warfare secrets and sold them to Israel. Israel then turned around and traded those same US nuclear warfare secrets to the USSR in exchange for increased emigration quotas for Russian Jews. The US nuclear deterrent, which cost our parents’ generation $5 trillion (back before QE when a trillion was really a lot of money) , was compromised, and had the USSR launched an attack at that time, the US would have been destroyed.

    When Julius and Ethyl Rosenberg stole US nuclear warfare secrets and sold them to the USSR, they got the electric chair. Pollard deserves exactly the same.

  13. Leper Colonialist on December 28, 2012, 2:58 pm

    Want to play Devil’s Advocate and have some guilty fun at the expense of your Israel First/Neo-Conservatives acquaintances?

    Argue the case that JJPollard is a candidate for Enhanced Interrogation Techniques [that’s Dershowitz-speak for what is more commonly termed torture].

    It’s a lot of fun! At the expense of awful persons with whom you are politically at sword’s-point already, so…

    Thinking back, the premises for applying EIT to KSM and his jihadist compatriots were:

    1. they had engaged in [violent] acts detrimental to the interests of the US ; and
    2. they were witholding crucial information about future acts detrimental to the USA.

    Well, I’m no lawyer, but common sense tells me that JJP meets both of those criteria: Espionage is not considered an act friendly to or in furtherance of US interests. As well, the supposed harsh treatment meted out to Pollard has been explained by his refusal to divulge the many and sundry details of his illegal activities on behalf of our great ally Israel. A refusal totally at variance to the terms of his pleaa bargain agreement.

    So, in a nutshell, ther you have it.

    Those taking my advice, please report back and let me know how it went.

  14. American on December 28, 2012, 9:52 pm

    And then there’s this……

    Pollard Espionage Ring Still Unfolding

    Clemency for nothing premature

    by Grant Smith, February 09, 2011
    Print This | Share This Almost one year ago Victor Gilinsky and Roger J. Mattson penned the stunning article “Revisiting the NUMEC Affair” in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. It describes how in the 1960s Israeli agents and their U.S. collaborators stole highly enriched uranium from the Pennsylvania NUMEC plant for Israel’s first atomic weapons.

    The two former Nuclear Regulatory Commission officials’ exposé reveals how 337 kilograms of material, enough for several weapons, made their way into Israel’s Dimona nuclear weapons facility likely packed in the same sealed containers as lawful radioactive agricultural and scientific equipment shipments. It cites a secret CIA diversion briefing held at the NRC, credible official audits of materials lost to processing waste and absorption versus diversion,

    >>>accounts of CIA recovery in Israel of HEU traces matching the Portsmouth signature of NUMEC’s government-supplied uranium, and the plant owner’s deep and ongoing ties to Israeli intelligence case officers and suspicious activities.<<<<

    Inadvertently, these expert nuclear diversion researchers make a very strong case against releasing Jonathan J. Pollard, currently sentenced to life in prison for spying for Israel. In 1986 espionage investigators discovered and alerted the press that Pollard’s handler, Rafael Eitan, shared the same birth date as a supposed “chemist, Ministry of Defense, Israel” who visited NUMEC on Sept. 10, 1968, as part of a “four- man team.” But it is now clear that the entirety of the Israeli spy network of agents and operations has not yet been fully revealed.

    Gilinsky and Mattson charge that NUMEC gravely misled the Atomic Energy Agency when it applied for permission to host Avraham Bendor (listed as a visitor from the Department of Electronics, Israel), Avraham Hermoni (scientific counselor, Israeli embassy, Washington), and Ephraim Biegun (Department of Electronics, Israel). NUMEC claimed they were all scientific experts visiting Zalman Shapiro to discuss “thermo electric devices.”

    But citing an FBI file released under the Freedom of Information Act [.pdf], Gilinsky and Mattson prove not only that NUMEC lied to the AEC, but that Israel’s clandestine espionage network, in which Pollard was only a small cog, was much larger than previously known.

    According to the two experts, Israel desperately wanted HEU from the U.S. for bomb-making in the late 1960s, since scientists could not be sure that their plutonium-based complex would work as designed, and HEU could be used as a driver fuel at Dimona. This is why Israel sent over its top spies to pick up American taxpayer-funded HEU from Shapiro, a devout Israel supporter and president of a local Zionist Organization of America chapter.

    Shapiro, investigated for years as a national security risk, was meeting with Israel’s top covert operatives, none of whom had any expertise in “thermo electric devices.” Ephraim Biegun was head of the Israeli technical department of its Secret Services between 1960 to 1970. Avraham Hermoni was technical director of Israel’s nuclear bomb project at RAFAEL and had a role in the highly decentralized Dimona project. Bendor was a long-time Shin Bet operative and Eitan’s “right-hand man” on overseas operations. A 2001 Energy Department audit found that NUMEC’s losses were highest between 1966 and 1968, and only returned to industry standards after Shapiro left NUMEC when Babcock and Wilcox Company bought the plant in 1971.

    This latest revelation of the identities and motives of Israel’s clandestine network in the U.S. has been all but drowned out by growing calls for Pollard’s release. As might be expected, the Zionist Organization of America has intensified its calls for Pollard’s release. Former Vice President Dan Quayle is the latest voice in the growing choir of U.S. and Israeli politicians demanding Obama release the convicted Israeli spy. In a Jan. 31 letter, Quayle argued that “a life sentence for the crime committed is very extreme.” He joins former Secretary of State George Schultz and former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, along with 38 members of Congress who have formally called for Pollard’s release

    Pollard filed his own request for clemency with the U.S. pardon attorney on Oct. 15, 2010. On Jan. 3 Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu became the first Israeli prime minister to publicly call for Pollard’s release after September negotiations for an illegal settlement freeze in exchange for additional U.S. arms and aid collapsed. Though billed as a measure to “soften Israeli opposition to peace concessions with the Palestinians,” it is curious that American proponents of clemency demand nothing useful from Israel in exchange for Pollard.

    Given the latest revelations, this negotiating stance is clearly unacceptable.

    Although Israel promised cooperation in the aftermath of Pollard’s treason, it stonewalled U.S. investigators sent to Israel and never returned the stolen classified U.S. documents. Contrary to Quayle and Mukasey’s statements, this rendered a full U.S. damage assessment of documents sent to the Soviet Union impossible, particularly during the tail end of the Cold War when it mattered most. “MEGA,” an Israeli mole(s) suspected of helping handler Rafael Eitan task Pollard with specific file number requests, was never unmasked, and despite newly released FBI files, Israel’s espionage wing responsible for obtaining klystrons, krytons, and other nuclear technologies in addition to raw materials from the U.S. was also never fully revealed in time to thwart its many procurement activities with U.S. collaborators.

    Petitioners such as Lawrence Korb, a former U.S. assistant secretary of defense, claim that former Secretary of Defense Casper Weinberger’s classified briefing to Judge Aubry Robinson exaggerated the harm done to U.S. national security and led to an unduly harsh sentence. But it is much more likely that Pollard’s own clumsy attempts to avoid accountability sealed his fate. In court Pollard solicited classified documents in an attempt to prove that “it was the established policy of the Department of Justice not to prosecute U.S. citizens for espionage activities on behalf of Israel.” Pollard’s public relations campaign, which violated agreements with the court, included interviews with former AIPAC newsletter editor Wolf Blitzer in which Pollard compared himself to an Israeli pilot shot down behind enemy lines. None of this performance garnered sympathy from Judge Robinson. ''

  15. American on December 28, 2012, 10:41 pm

    And this MW flashback

    ”There was a great exchange on Wolf Blitzer the other night between Rep Eliot Engel, a cosponsor of the most recent bill to get Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard released, and the prosecutor in the original case, Joseph di Genova, a former US Attorney for DC who prosecuted Pollard on the topic.

    But by the end of the exchange, di Genova was so ticked off with Engel’s bloviating on this issue that he had clearly shifted to the “let Pollard rot camp.”>>>>

    The bloviating and whining on this definitely turns people off whatever thoughts of a humantiarian release they might have.
    Israel threw him off, wouldn’t own him and now they want him out as some kind of Jewish hero?

    The demand to release Pollard seems to me not to be because Israel gives a damn about him, but because he is symbol of a Jew being punished for what he did that involved Israel…..a real downer thought and puts a chill on that tribal unity for Israel thing…..might make Jews think twice about the loyalty thingy too…then where would Israel be?

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