Why Is Israeli Spy Jonathan Pollard Back in the News?

Over the past two months, Benjamin Netanyahu has mentioned the fate of jailed Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard six times in meetings with President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The Israel lobby also mounted a letter-writing campaign on Pollard’s behalf.

When Pollard was arrested for espionage in the 1980s, Tel Aviv swore he was part of a “rogue” operation. Only 12 years later did Israel concede he was their spy the entire time. That insider espionage by a purported ally damaged U.S. national security more than any incident in U.S. history.

During an earlier term as Prime Minister, Netanyahu secured a verbal agreement from Bill Clinton in 1998 to release Pollard. Clinton then faced a rebellion among U.S. intelligence agencies aware of the damage done. Clinton backed down and Netanyahu backed off.

Pollard took more than one million documents for copying by his Israeli handler. When transferred to the Soviets, reportedly in exchange for the emigration of Russian Jews, that stolen intelligence shifted the underlying dynamics of the Cold War.

What has its entangled alliance with Israel cost the U.S.? The U.S. committed $20 trillion to Cold War defense from 1948-1989 (in 2010 dollars). Pollard negated much of that outlay yet even now Israel pretends to be an ally. Few believe it; many realize the U.S. has been played for a fool.

Why Now?

The timing could be a Christmas season plea for clemency after 25 years of imprisonment. Former Assistant Secretary of State Lawrence Kolb now claims the sentence was excessive due to a personal distaste for Israel by then Secretary of Defense Casper Weinberger.

At trial, Pollard claimed he wasn’t stealing from the U.S.; he was stealing secrets for Israel—with whom the U.S. has a “special relationship.” Aware of the harm done by Pollard during the Reagan-era defense buildup, Weinberger pressed for a longer sentence than the prosecution.

From 1981-1985, this U.S. Navy intelligence analyst provided Israel with 360 cubic feet of classified military documents on Soviet arms shipments, Pakistani nuclear weapons, Libyan air defense systems and other intelligence sought by Tel Aviv to advance its geopolitical agenda.

Even while in prison, Pollard’s iconic status among pro-Israelis may have played a strategic role. Or was it just coincidence that Tel Aviv announced a $1 million grant to their master spy ten days before 911? Is that how Israel signals its operatives in the U.S.?

Could that explain the timing of Israel’s latest announcement? Could this news flurry be a signal to pro-Israeli volunteers (sayanim in Hebrew) that another operation is underway?

Timing is Everything

Tel Aviv routinely schedules its operations during political “downtime” in the U.S. The Suez crisis was scheduled for the last week of President Eisenhower’s 1956 reelection campaign. Fast forward to 2008 and Israeli troops invaded Gaza just after Christmas, killing 1,400 Palestinians before exiting just prior to the Obama inaugural.

That well-timed provocation generated more outrage at the U.S. as Israel’s reliable enabler. The carnage also catalyzed reactions worldwide that undermined peace talks.

This latest news about Pollard coincides with another political downtime. The U.S. Congress has adjourned and the White House has shut down for the holidays. Plus WikiLeaks successfully removed peace talks from the news and restored talk of war with Iran.

If there is another “incident” in the U.S. or the E.U., will the evidence point to Tehran? Islamabad? Damascus? If the U.S. cannot be persuaded to invade Iran, can it be provoked to do so? Stay tuned.

What Next?

Tel Aviv may be growing desperate and for good reason. Israel and pro-Israelis were the source of the fixed intelligence that induced the U.S. to invade Iraq in response to the provocation of 911. Those facts are well known to intelligence agencies worldwide.

As with Pollard, Tel Aviv denies it.

With Pollard back in the news, anything is possible. Recall how long it took for a confession that he was an Israeli spy. Don’t hold your breath waiting for Tel Aviv to concede its role in provoking its primary ally to pursue a Zionist agenda in the Middle East.

Absent the mass murder of 911, would the U.S. now find itself at war in the Middle East? Absent another provocation, Americans are not inclined to expand these wars. At least not yet.

“I know what America is,” Benjamin Netanyahu assured a group of Israelis in 2001, apparently not knowing his words were being recorded. “America is a thing you can move very easily, move it in the right direction.”

Pollard has long been a rallying point for Jewish nationalists, Zionist extremists and ultra-orthodox ideologues. Only time will tell why he is back in the news. And whether this news is a means for moving the U.S. in the right direction.

Jeff Gates is author of Guilt By Association, Democracy at Risk, and The Ownership Solution. Read other articles by Jeff, or visit Jeff's website.

12 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. mary said on December 23rd, 2010 at 7:35am #

    What can we do but weep as we read this latest threat from the murderers? The TV news channels have nothing to say. It’s just endless comment on how many £billions will be spent in the shops today and some growing friction within the Tory and Liberal Democrat coalition. Actually both parties are fascists.


    23 December 2010 Last updated at 11:08


    The UN says at least 62 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli action in Gaza so far this year

    Continue reading the main story
    Israel and the Palestinians
    Going nowhere fast?
    ‘Off the record’ views from officials
    Q&A: Resuming direct talks
    Mid-East talks: Where they stand

    A senior Israeli army officer has told the BBC that as long as Hamas remains in control of the Gaza Strip, another war is “only a question of time”.

    He said the Palestinian Islamist group had re-armed so much since the Israeli offensive two years ago that it was now in a stronger position militarily.

    There has been an increase in rocket fire coming from Gaza in the past week.

    Earlier, Israeli defence officials said tanks fitted with a new missile defence system would be deployed near Gaza.

    The announcement came after Palestinian militants for the first time used a Kornet tank-piercing missile.

    On 6 December the Russian-made laser-guided missile – which carries 10kg (22lb) of high explosive – penetrated the tank’s armour, but did not injure its crew.

    The UN has condemned the firing of “indiscriminate” rocket and mortar attacks by militants in Gaza in recent weeks.

    Talk of war

    Israeli Chief-of-Staff Lt-Gen Gabi Ashkenazi said the Kornet missile was “among the most dangerous that we have seen on this front and was not used even during the Lebanon war”.

    “The situation in the south is very fragile and explosive,” he warned.

    Speaking to the BBC’s Jon Donnison on Wednesday, another senior Israeli army officer from the Gaza division said: “As long as Hamas remains in power, it is only a question of time before there is another conflict.”

    Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat** also warned that tensions were escalating in the region, and that any Israeli attack on Gaza would only lead to further bloodshed.

    “Military solutions such as these won’t achieve anything and will only complicate the situation,” Mr Erekat said.

    Missile-defence tanks

    The Israeli-developed active protection system (APS) – known as Trophy – is designed to destroy missiles like the Kornet.

    The system, which has so far been fitted to a battalion of Merkava Mk4 tanks, uses radars and sensors to identify threats, then releases special explosives to neutralise them.

    No Palestinian militant groups has claimed the attack.

    Hamas is not thought to have been behind the increased rocket fire from Gaza this week, to which Israel retaliated with air strikes.

    However, Israel has said it will increase attacks on Hamas facilities even if the movement is not directly responsible.

    The Islamist group has controlled Gaza since June 2007, after winning elections in 2006 and then forcing its secular rivals Fatah, the party of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, out of the territory.

    The UN has said at least 62 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli action in Gaza so far this year. Over the same period, one Thai farm worker has been killed by rockets fired from the coastal territory into Israel.

    Two years ago, a 22-day clash between Israeli forces and Palestinian militants in Gaza left an estimated 1,300 Palestinians and 13 Israelis dead.

    ** a quisling
    I am in despair as the second anniversary of Cast Lead approaches.

  2. Ismail Zayid said on December 23rd, 2010 at 9:31am #

    Netanyahu is right when he says:“I know what America is, …America is a thing you can move very easily, move it in the right direction.” The Israeli lobby can dictate American policy in the Middle East and both Netanyahu and Obama know that.

    As to Pollard, Netanyahu is offering his charade of extending the so-called settlement freeze, in return for the release of Pollard, and he will get that, and the settlements’ expansion will continue.

  3. mary said on December 23rd, 2010 at 10:06am #

    One murder and the attempted murder of three others including children by the IDF murderers. These are IDF snipers at work.

    From the medialens message board just now.

    Will BBC News Online consider this worthy of coverage? Will they describe it as a major escalation if so? And will they describe any subsequent rocket attacks from Gaza as retaliatory in nature?

    ‘Four Palestinians were wounded by Israeli gunfire in northern Gaza on Thursday, including a 14-year-old boy who was shot in the head, Palestinian medical sources said.

    The Israeli military confirmed that soldiers opened fire on several people who entered a security zone along Gaza’s northern border with Israel.

    A military spokesman, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said soldiers began shooting after firing warning shots, but that he was aware only that two Palestinians were wounded, both being hit in their lower bodies.

    Adham Abu Selmiya, spokesman for the Hamas-run medical services in the Gaza Strip, told AFP that two people were seriously wounded by gunfire, and another two were lightly wounded.

    “Four workers were injured as they searched for aggregate (gravel) in the northern Gaza Strip, two of them seriously, including a 14-year-old child who was hit in the head,” Abu Selmiya said.

    The other wounded were a 17-year-old shot in the back, who was in serious condition, an 18-year-old shot in the hand, classed as lightly wounded, and a 22-year-old also shot in the back whose injuries were light, he said.

    Soldiers regularly open fire on Palestinians collecting building material from the rubble of destroyed buildings close to the border between the coastal enclave and Israel.

    The border area has been deemed a no-go zone by Israeli soldiers who fear infiltration and kidnapping attempts.

    Between March 26 and December 10 this year, Israeli troops have shot at least 19 Palestinian children as they collected gravel in northern Gaza, charity group Defence for Children International said this month’.



    Palestinian hospital sources now reporting that at least one the men shot has died. – Peter Today, 4:52 pm

  4. Mulga Mumblebrain said on December 23rd, 2010 at 10:49pm #

    mary, discussion, even mention, of Gaza has loyally disappeared from the Zionist sewer of the Australian media. The revelation by an Israeli group that Israeli state policy in Gaza was deliberately designed to create chronic malnourishment in children, thereby stunting their physical and mental growth (a form of functional genocide) was totally ignored. Israel can get away with anything, and the media instead is replete with ever more vicious Islamophobia, emanating from Jewish Zionazis and their goyim stooges. And Ovadia Yosef let us know, candidly, just what the Zionazis think of the goyim, a revelation, naturally, unreported in the media.

  5. mary said on December 24th, 2010 at 3:37am #

    Good to have you back Mulga. This is a letter sent by my brother to Jon Donnison, the BBC ME reporter. He has sent an automatic reply that he is out of the office until January 3rd.

    To Jon Donnison BBC Gaza correspondent

    Dear Mr Donnison,

    A few words from me as a senior citizen of benighted Britain and as a licence payer.

    This came my way –
    23 December 2010 Last updated at 11:08 {http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12064775}

    New Gaza war ‘only a question of time’

    1. I am not sure whether you are the author. I noted the dispassionate comments of quisling Erekat speaking from the safety and comfort of Ramallah. I am sure he was quoted correctly.

    2. “Two years ago, a 22-day clash between Israeli forces and Palestinian militants in Gaza left an estimated 1,300 Palestinians and 13 Israelis dead.” Clash was it? Vilnai promised a ‘greater shoah’ ie greater holocaust (small ‘h’ for Gentiles) in February 2008. He unleashed that 10 months later. A hudna had been agreed in July 2008, just as the IOF began preparations for major bombardment and invasion of all areas in Gaza. Was the first 15 minutes after 11.00 hrs 27 December 2008 a ‘clash’? You will know that 215 humans were murdered in that time and over 400 injured; they were mostly graduating policemen and children changing shifts. The images I show of the dead police demonstrate flail limbs from multiple fractures and there are flash burns. I say it is likely that thermobaric weapons were the instruments and that they are used frequently by barbarians on Palestinians and by the UK in Afghanistan. Read Ewa’s account of the clashes between AK 57s and hand made rockets and every weapon mustered by the world’s fourth largest ‘clashing’ army.

    Article by Ewa Jasiewicz ‘Riding on Fire’ http://www.counterpunch.org/ewa01082009.html

    In this long article, Ewa records multiple grotesque acts of inhumanity, such as the barring of ambulance workers from the injured. These workers are targets too. She testifies to the shredding of GCIV and the rest.

    3. If one regards another Cast Lead (you know the name derives from a lead spinning top used in a game of chance during Hannukah) as a clash, it does allow one to report the casual pronouncements by the execrable Askenazi – well, casually. As a doctor and surgeon, I take great exception to the manner in which you report these promises of killing, the maiming of body and mind, and the destruction of the temple of the family, the home. 4000 homes were totally destroyed last time in the Dreidel Clash.

    Mr Donnison. Meet up with Ewa Jasiewicz and with Eva Bartlett. Report for humanity please. Do not update the report if it is yours but, instead, rewrite it.

    For truth, reason and justice

    David Halpin FRCS

    ps I am not copying this to Ms Boaden. There is no point in doing that.

    GC1v – Fourth Geneva Convention
    Helen Boaden is the Head of BBC News, seemingly a Zionist supporter, and from our experience, someone who hides behind the shield of the BBC complaints system.
    Eva Jasiewicz is one of the International Solidarity Movement workers who was in Gaza during Cast Lead.

  6. mary said on December 24th, 2010 at 4:18am #

    We had the benefit of the Pope’s Thought for the Day on BBC Radio 4 today in which he referred to ‘God’s chosen people, the Israelites…’!!!

    No reference was made to the terrible crimes his clerics have perpetrated against children over decades and no apologies were given. He does however pray for ‘families and children’. What hypocrisy. His TFTD was just more of the Catholic church’s PR.


    Audio and transcript

  7. Rehmat said on December 24th, 2010 at 5:34am #

    Pollard is an Israeli hero. Several parks and streets are named after him. The campaign for his release have been one of the item on Israel’s conditions to sit across the table with PLO leaders to talk about the so-called “Great Offer” which the later cannot refuse.

    Pollard’s release is the only one of six Israeli demands Washington has not okeyed officially as yet for exchange of Israel’s 90-day freeze on new illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank, but the Jews can carry out their dirty Judaization of East Jerusalem.

    Here is list of other five “goodies” offered by Ben Obama to Benji Netanyahu….


  8. Mulga Mumblebrain said on December 26th, 2010 at 3:41pm #

    mary-excellent letter from your brother. Has the invertebrate liar (thank-you, Arthur Daley) replied yet? Did you hear the hideous propaganda rant on the World Service’s ‘Body and Soul’ concerning ‘anti-semitism’ a couple of weeks ago? Propaganda so base, bigotry and lies so brazen that only the Zionazis could manage it. I found the contribution from Howard Jacobson, who I loathe with an intensity that surprises me, typically despicable. The second episode touched on the vile situation in the Baltic fascist states where anti-semitism, real Jew hatred, is back, big time, thanks to the restoration of the fascist emigres that came with the collapse of the Soviet. Much as I sympathise with the few Jews left in the Baltic states, where the slaughter in the Judeocide was so fiendish and determined, I couldn’t help thinking, given how the Zionazis were prominent in attacking the Soviet and aiding its collapse, ‘as ye sow, so shall ye reap’, or even more apt, ‘I have sown the wind and reaped the whirlwind’. The BBC has gone beyond joke and farce into the realm of travesty, as its bosses seek ever more feverishly to serve their Zionazi controllers. But, have you noticed, they are never satisfied, no matter how deep you bow, or how fetchingly you crawl on your belly to kiss the hem of their robe?

  9. Mulga Mumblebrain said on December 26th, 2010 at 3:47pm #

    mary, I think perhaps that should be ‘Heart and Soul’,

  10. jayn0t said on December 26th, 2010 at 7:02pm #

    Mulga – your passionate denunciation of Zionist influence in the media is welcome, but you also bemoan “the vile situation in the Baltic fascist states where anti-semitism, real Jew hatred, is back, big time, thanks to the restoration of the fascist emigres”. Isn’t it possible that this is a bit of an exaggeration, a bit of hasbara, too? It’s interesting that quite a few of the former Soviet colonies are trying to have their sufferings equated with the Nazi Holocaust. They want to commemorate the Nazi-Soviet pact instead of the Judeocide. Calling this aim ‘fascist’ doesn’t quite do it justice. The Nazi/Soviet analogy is inexact, and it lets the US and Britain off the hook completely, but it’s a little bit better than the official view of WWII we have all been taught, and it undermines a central premise of Zionism. Hence the hysterical reaction against these ‘fascists’.

  11. mary said on December 27th, 2010 at 11:45am #

    Some people wonder why we put ourselves on boats and sail across the Mediterranean to Gaza. We face one of the most vicious armies in the world, armed with only our determination.

    On this, the second anniversary of Israel’s brutal assault on Gaza when 1400 Palestinians were killed, we want you to know you are not forgotten.

    If governments refuse to hold Israel accountable for its war crimes against a civilian population, we, in civil society will continue to sail again and again until Israel’s brutal siege is over. We will return in the spring.


    Greta Berlin

  12. mary said on December 29th, 2010 at 5:39am #

    We have read a lot in the media about the hanging of a Mossad spy in Iran, after he was tried and sentenced, but nothing about this Iranian general murdered in Ayalon Prison. The story has been covered up.


    Both deaths in this murky world of spying are to be deplored.