Beyond the Cusp

July 25, 2015

What Price for Release of Jonathan Pollard?


According to The Wall Street Journal, American officials said on Friday that there is reported information that the Obama administration is preparing to release Jonathan Pollard. So it begins once again, the rumored word that President Obama may or may not be considering allowing the release of Jonathan Pollard in the next few days, weeks, months after Parole Board of the Justice Department ruling due to be held for Jonathan Pollard November 21, 2015. So, just for the record we may as well get the blizzard of quotes out of the way and then editorialize.

In a vaguely stated release it was noted that some officials had strongly denied on Friday that there was any link between the Iran deal and the prospective release of Jonathan Pollard, stating that any decision to release Jonathan Pollard would be made by the United States Parole Commission.

When any comment was requested of the White House a spokesperson referred questions to be addressed to the Justice Department whose spokesperson declined to comment on a matter as such might prejudice the case which may be coming up or not before the Parole Commission.
The AFP reported that in a similar vein, a National Security Council spokesperson emphatically stated that the timing of the rumored release was not part of any deal concerning or in any way having to do with any deal and was purely to be considered without prejudice by the United States Parole Commission and the Department of Justice.

A report recently aired in the Algemeiner claimed, the Justice Department is “seriously considering” releasing the 61 year-old Jonathan Pollard on November 21.

Alistair Baskey stated for the record, “Mr. Pollard’s status will be determined by the United States Parole Commission according to standard procedures.” He went on to firmly emphasize, “There is absolutely zero linkage between Mr. Pollard’s status and foreign policy considerations.”

Further quotes and statements sent to President Obama three years ago when Jonathan Pollard was approaching completion of serving his twenty-seventh year of imprisonment and the signs it was beginning to have physical effects upon his health, a group favoring his release made the following video:




The running theme in these most recent speculations and the commentary from Administration and Government spokespeople stresses this one central point, namely that any consideration at this time have nothing, repeat, absolutely nothing to do with the recent deterioration of relations between President Barack Hussein Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry over the Iranian Nuclear Agreement signed this past week in Vienna. These claims appear to mirror the claims that United States Defense Secretary Ashton Carter arrival this week in Israel also was not going to in any way promise arms, protection or anything additional in the relations between any of the nations on his trip to the Middle East, especially on his stops in Israel and Saudi Arabia. His visit, it was stressed, will not be addressing the Iranian Nuclear Agreement and is in no way connected to that deal. This is purely a scheduled review of military preparedness and an opportunity for allies to exchange information and express their mutual needs and expectations while discussing the situations in the Middle East except there will not be couched any references about the recent Iranian Nuclear Agreement. That sets my mind so much at ease to know that Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter’s visit is purely to converse about defense matters and to address any expectations each side may have with the other and, of course, to address any weapons requests as might be seen to be necessary to fill in gaps in the allies and their total encompassing defensive weapons systems. Any appearance that this might be a mission to provide weapons systems as bribes to keep old allies less demonstrative in their concerns about the latest developments and their possible signaling of a new alignment in the Middle East as nothing could be further from the truth, honest.


We will likely see how much the visit by Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter results in the toning down of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and his protestations over the Iranian Nuclear Agreement and his voicing his hopes and expectations for the United States Congress to pass legislation blocking the United States participation for the deal. The only problem with such reasoning is this line leads one to believe that the United States Congress could be duly influenced by any additional caterwauling by the Israeli Prime Minister. True, his might be amongst the considerations though his position is well known and his continued rants will prove ineffectual as those who are opposed to this deal and pretty much set in stone as are those who wish to support the President in his foreign policy moves as they may feel the President is privileged to certain information which Congress may not possess and others simply desire to support their party’s President as he is in many ways their President. If Netanyahu’s statements are to have any additional effects they will be due to constituents agreeing with his views being driven to write their Congressmen and Senators and give them their advice and stand on this issue which might actually make a difference because votes come election time are what matters and people who write their representatives are the type who remember your voting record.


In all honesty, where weapons might be of some use, it would be especially helpful to park an Aegis Destroyer just off Tel Aviv might be very useful providing their radar was directly made available to the Israelis as the Aegis systems are amongst the most advanced in the world. Further, should this Aegis Destroyer be equipped with Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) Army anti-ballistic missile systems, it would be considered extremely nice if it would assist in the elimination of any ballistic missile threats perceived to be incoming as any assistance to the Israeli systems would be appreciated. We here at Beyond the Cusp would be particularly appreciative if any missile be computed to strike along the shores of the Mediterranean and just south of the Lebanon border being intercepted, especially if they were targeting town hall square in Nahariya, really appreciative. If such would be asking too much, that would be just fine as the Israeli intercept systems are very robust, especially in the short and mid-range missiles, rockets, mortars and potentially artillery rounds as the Iron Dome tracking ability gives very accurate real time launch and trajectory path information used largely for decisions by the Iron Dome whether the projectile will strike a built up area or in a field away from any civilian or known military positions and habitats and whether or not to fire an expensive intercept missile.


Last summer delivered intercept rating of over ninety percent accurate detection, decision-making and striking rate as something thought near impossible just a few years ago and right up until the Iron Dome’s performance under wartime conditions and heavy bombardment their performance was a miracle. The true miracle though came after an Iron Dome battery had the unthinkable occur, but perhaps it is best to allow the unit in charge of this battery tell this miracle of a true event,

“A missile was fired from Gaza. Iron Dome precisely calculated [its trajectory]. We know where these missiles are going to land down to a radius of 200 meters. This particular missile was going to hit either the Azrieli Towers, the Kirya (Israel’s equivalent of the Pentagon) or [a central Tel Aviv railway station]. Hundreds could have died.”
“We fired the first [interceptor]. It missed. Second [interceptor]. It missed. This is very rare. I was in shock. At this point we had just four seconds until the missile lands. We had already notified emergency services to converge on the target location and had warned of a mass-casualty incident.”
“Suddenly, Iron Dome (which calculates wind speeds, among other things) shows a major wind coming from the east, a strong wind that…sends the missile into the sea. We were all stunned. I stood up and shouted, ‘There is a G0d!’ I witnessed this miracle with my own eyes. It was not told or reported to me. I saw the hand of G0d send that missile into the sea.”


Just an explanation from an United States Army anti-tank M67 90mm recoilless rifle bearer, a weapon which fires what is called a ‘fire and forget’ round, which means once fired you are finished aiming it, it goes straight until it strikes the target, a tree or the ground. The necessary wind to blow a rocket off course such a distance as described would also be sufficient to put every last soldier and anybody else on the ground either in a ditch or blown off their feet tumbling until they find somewhere to duck. The strong wind needed to so divert a rocket that close to target would be in excess of one-hundred MPH or one-hundred-sixty-one KPH. Such is well beyond a strong wind and we are talking even above gale force winds and into category-two hurricane force winds. The 90mm rockets fired in various conditions from thirty degrees below zero Fahrenheit (minus thirty four and a half degrees Celsius) to over one hundred degrees Fahrenheit (almost thirty-eight degrees Celsius) with wind as high as forty MPH (sixty-four KPH) and the effect on the rocket was most affected by the thirty below zero temperature as being a solid fueled rocket it accelerated extremely slowly at that temperature but still flew straight. The rocket most likely to have been targeted at Tel Aviv would be the Hamas named M-75 rocket which they build using the Syrian provided plans for the M-302 Chinese WS-2 and the Iranian 333-mm Fajr-5 carrying a 200-lb (90-kg) warhead up to 45 miles (75 km) would likewise be far too heavy and with insufficient side profile and being a round tube with fins is extremely stable in flight. Their being diverted by a strong wind would be possible but not at any sufficient strength that would not have had adverse effects on the people at the Iron Dome sight and the Tel Aviv area. With all things equal, I am glad that whatever or whomever interceded to divert what would have been a devastating rocket strike harmlessly out in the Mediterranean protecting us, all I can say is, “Bless and thank You, Hashem, bless and thank You from the deepest parts of my heart and soul and may Your blessings always be deserved by Israel and her people.”


Perhaps Hashem might also give the United States officials or President Obama a slight nudge and return Jonathan Pollard to his wife and family while his health makes such a reunion a far more joyous occasion and that he may heal while under Your kindness and the wonderful climate and wondrous rains that grace our crops and refresh the rivers and lakes so necessary to life and for this we give our thanks, even those who give it little thought, those little thoughts are their manner of thanking You Hashem as even the slightest of our thoughts which are pleasant are a gift You permit us as Your consideration of us as Your chosen and cherished friends and through whom You wish to bless others who gain more in their lives that come from You through the inventive and wondrous imaginations granted us. Bless You Hashem for all You give us and the every amazement as we bask in the miracles presented us often unknown but never unappreciated are Your works. Bless Hashem and His miracles large and small.


Beyond the Cusp


June 12, 2012

Should Pollard Receive Presidential Pardon?

On the subject of Jonathan Pollard spying for Israel and handing them classified photographs presumably of the Iraqi Osirak nuclear complex and reactor, it would have been easier to write of if he will be pardoned by United States President Obama at the behest of Israeli President Peres; very likely not. Instead, let’s look at the somewhat more controversial subject of if Jonathan Pollard should receive a pardon and be released. There are more sides, opinions, complications, over-simplifications, added-complications, theories, conspiracies, excuses, explanations, and lastly, accusations that to fully examine this subject and take in every obtuse angle which are splattered throughout the blogosphere and try to make heads or tails of it will drive one’s sanity right over the proverbial cliff. So, rather than actually go to a place more insane than where I am accused of residing, I figured I would simply try to write using things from my Swiss cheese memory. So, off we go into one more romp through blunderland.

The most important controversy about the entire Jonathan Pollard affair refers to exactly what he was guilty of. This is not what he was charged with or what he pleaded guilty to or even what the agreement was, we can go there in good time. The problem is there are many who claim that the judge broke the plea agreement when he received confidential, classified information which revealed the true extent to Pollard’s perfidy. I thought I might address what is likely the most serious of the supposed secret told to the judge right before sentencing. It was claimed that Pollard had sold the Russians the complete list of all our agents in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union which cost us both numerous agents’ lives and years of careful placement of placing people in the sensitive positions where they could best complete their missions. Here is the singular problem with this scenario. Jonathan Pollard worked as a Navy intelligence worker who handled photo reconnaissance and other related data and information. As such, guess what, Pollard had absolutely no access to the lists of our operatives, especially Central Intelligence Agency operatives, behind the Iran curtain. The real problem with Pollard revealing such information was simply impossible. Another claim from those on the opposite end of the spectrum is that Pollard was set up by being accused for all the misdeeds performed by master spy Aldrich Ames in order to divert the investigations by providing a believable suspect, though eventually Ames was caught. This is difficult to believe as I would hope any Judge worthy of trying such an important espionage case would be sufficiently knowledgeable to realize the limitations of Pollard’s security access dismissed much of what such claims would have entailed.

So, perhaps we should proceed under the premise that Pollard was charged with the same charges as were included in his plea deal and there were no other extraneous factors. Jonathan Pollard pleaded to the charge of passing sensitive classified information to an allied power. One has to remember that Pollard was nothing more than the person passing on information he came across in the performance of his Navy Department employ. He was not planted in the United States by a foreign country and actually passed on information that might have technically been covered under an agreement the United States has with Israel to provide them with intelligence information and satellite pictures pertaining to areas of what is referred to as special and mutual interests. One might have thought that satellite high-resolution pictures of the Iraqi Osirak Nuclear Power Plant would have fallen under such a classification. The problem was that the State Department did not consider that such intelligence was of any relative importance which Israel should be privileged to acquire. Since these items were classified, considered sensitive information, and determined of no interest to the Israelis, Jonathan Pollard had committed an act of espionage.

The passing of classified information, even to an ally, is very serious and very illegal and anybody caught and convicted of doing so, plea deal or not, deserves serious sentencing. The standard sentence has been reported to be an average of two to four years for passing such to an ally and as much as eight, though usually just four or five, for passing such information to an enemy state. Most often, somebody who is found guilty of passing sensitive information, which is not as secretive or as serious as classified items, to an enemy country is most often exchanged for whoever is found guilty of spying in said country in order to have a warm body to offer for trade long before they finish serving their sentence. My most unimpressive memory tells me that often they serve only two to four years despite what the sentence passed down.

So, what are we to believe should be done with Jonathan Pollard who has now languished for over a quarter of a century? One of the problems is that Pollard was spying for Israel who the United States would never stoop to spying against. Partially this is due to the fact that Israel very often informs the United States through one of the varied channels available of their military operational intentions, shares a fair amount of their intelligence information, and has agreements through which many of their military research is conducted in a shared manner jointly with American companies and appropriate American interests, and generally works willingly with the United States in many other areas. The truth of the matter is that Jonathan Pollard may very well be being held to the end of his life sentence simply as to be used as an example of the United States not operating under the direction and influence of Israel or their overly exaggerated influence reputably held by AIPAC. Releasing Pollard would cause a situation where somebody from the State Department would need to explain how releasing an Israeli master super spy, Pollard’s deeds have been inflated to the standard of rivaling the likes of Bond, James Bond, rather than leaving him to rot till death in some long forgotten dungeon, or if we have to be civil, a nice prison cell. Plainly put, releasing Pollard would mean admitting that some people went to great lengths to go overboard over the “Pollard Affair” and that perhaps he was given somewhat longer sentence than was rational, let alone believable. There will be no admission of such. The State Department and others in the seats of power will never ever admit to having been ham handed and blowing this case way out of proportions, thus Jonathan Pollard, the greatest spy since Mata Hari, will forever rot in prison and never be a free man. If some are feeling particularly generous, maybe they will allow Jonathan Pollard to travel to Israel to be buried, but maybe not.

Beyond the Cusp

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