Beyond the Cusp

January 8, 2014

Terror Lawyer Released While Jonathan Pollard Rots

The lawyer who represented the Blind Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman who masterminded and organized the first World Trade Center bombing among other terror defendants, Lynne Stewart, was ordered released due to health problems. Doctors claimed she has less than eighteen months to live as she has been diagnosed with breast cancer that has metastasized to her lungs and bones as well as type-2 diabetes and numerous other health problems. She was originally sentenced to ten years for having passed sensitive information she had received due to her representing the Blind Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman as well as messages from the Sheik to terrorist leaders and representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. Her actions compromised numerous methodologies the United States had in use to monitor and track terror operatives. Among the information she passed on to terrorist leadership in Egypt and the Middle East included actionable information which permitted the terrorists to alter their methods so as to avoid American detection and possibly revealed names of operatives who had given the Americans information thus placing their lives at risk. During her resentencing trial it was revealed that the three judge panel of the federal appeals court had noted specifically that Stewart exhibited a “stark inability to understand the seriousness of her crimes.”


Meanwhile, Jonathan Pollard has begun his twenty-ninth year of a life sentence after being convicted of passing intelligence information to an allied power, Israel. While I would not try to minimize his crime, the information he passed has been defined as information of Arab military capabilities and assets and none was concerning any American assets or personnel and the information could have been covered under an agreement between the United States and Israel on information sharing which was ordered ignored by the State Department directing the Department of Defense. Even comparing the sentencing of Jonathan Pollard and Lynne Stewart makes one see that at least one of these two sentences makes little sense. Either Pollard was sentenced way beyond his crimes or Stewart was treated with kid gloves for her crimes. When a person who gave information on enemy military capabilities, assets and locations of the allied nation to whom the intelligence was given is sentenced to life while another who revealed methods and names as well as passing instructions to commit terrorist acts within the United States compromising the nation in numerous ways is sentenced to merely ten years there is some serious inequality in sentencing which should be obvious to anybody. Additionally, Lynne Stewart has never apologized or stated she had any regrets over her actions and has gone so far as to claim she had done nothing wrong as she was simply serving her client and conscience while Jonathan Pollard has admitted his crimes and apologized and shown contrition. As far as the argument that Ms. Stewart is in failing health, so is Mr. Pollard. Where President Clinton had promised to release Pollard as part of the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians but after the Israelis held up their half of the bargain President Clinton laughed in Prime Minister Netanyahu’s face and called him a sucker for having believed Pollard would actually be released. President George W. Bush likely asked his father, former President Bush, and his father’s advisors, the same advisors who had convinced the Judge in Pollard’s case to throw out the agreement of a plea bargain and throw Pollard in prison for life. I hold President George W. Bush responsible for not taking the effort to research Pollard’s case himself and instead relying on slanders from those who were responsible for the life sentence.


I know that there will be those who will claim that the people from the State department knew of other crimes and that Pollard had turned over to the Russians the names of twenty American agents from the CIA. There is one problem with claiming that Johnathan Pollard had revealed the names of American agents anywhere, let alone Russia. Pollard was a Naval photographic evaluator who studied spy plane and satellite photos and discerned rocket launching, air defense, and other military potential targets. His clearance was limited to the level necessary to complete those kinds of evaluations and interpretations. He had no clearance nor could he have ever had access to information such as the names of active agents or any other CIA information. His clearance was limited to Naval photographic files and the actual photographs, nothing more. He not only did not have any clearance for information on CIA spies, he had no access to any information from the CIA unless the CIA sent photographs to the Navy to be inspected and interpreted for information, an unlikely but possible scenario, but personnel information would have been far beyond any access that Pollard was cleared to receive. He worked at a Naval operations center and likely never even set foot in any CIA building anywhere or at any time. Perhaps if Johnathan Pollard had instead given information to the Muslim Brotherhood he would have been freed long ago, but he foolishly gave the information to the Israelis and did it without receiving the huge sums of money some have claimed. He has stated that what he had done was a bad error in judgment and he expressed remorse all to no avail. Yet without any contrition or remorse Lynne Stewart is going home and I am willing to bet she lives well past the eighteen months that she is claimed to have remaining to her. Where I feel sympathy for her illness, I still am suspect that soon we will hear of her remarkable turnaround and her cancer having gone into remission, meanwhile her serving of her sentence will also have gone into remission.


Beyond the Cusp


January 14, 2013

If at First You Don’t Convict, Try Try Again

Well, Egypt is opting for their first of what may become a series of do-overs as they prepare to hold a second trial for deposed President Hosni Mubarak. Not satisfied with the result of life in prison sentencing, the Court of Cassation, Egypt’s top appeals court, has accepted the State’s appeal for Mubarak as well as his two sons Alaa and Gamal, his former interior minister Habib al-Adly and top security chiefs on their numerous charges including responsibility for the deaths of protesters during the revolution that led to Mubarak stepping down from power. The new trials will have a high probability of attaining the desired result of executions of those responsible for years of oppression. If we study this presumptive oppression it will reveal everything one needs to know about the impetus driving these new trials.

When we take a sober and somber view of Egypt under President Morsi and the large influence of the Muslim Brotherhood against the Egypt under the long running Mubarak regime we find two diametrically opposed governments that share a remarkable but eerie sense of similarities. Under President Mubarak Egypt held the Muslim Brotherhood under limits bordering on repression while Coptic Christians were sheltered from directed hatreds and violence by the Muslim majority. Under President Mubarak Egypt had a sense of balance where every group knew they had a feeling of guaranteed minimum of rights and freedoms as long as they minded their politics and did not challenge the ruling elites. There was an excess by the ruling elites under Mubarak which was mostly financed by an officially accepted level of corruption. Perceptions of the new Egypt under President Morsi with a strong Muslim Brotherhood influence over the mechanisms of power are coming into focus despite their short time ruling the post-Mubarak Egypt.

The first and most obvious difference is the influence wielded by the Muslim Brotherhood and the precarious position those remaining Coptic Christians who have been unable or unwilling to leave to escape the new and dangerous position in which they find themselves. The Coptic Christians and the Muslim Brotherhood have changed positions in an uncomfortable manner where the Muslim Brotherhood has gone from facing repression to enforcing repressions while the Coptic have gone from protected minority to repressed and despised minority under an uncomfortable level of perfidious suspicions. Another difference is that under Mubarak the average Egyptian knew the rules and could live their lives under a relative comfort that they would be safe provided they stayed within the laws while the laws are under a slow but building transformation which will eventually end with the Sharia, or at least a Sunni interpretation of the sharia will come to be the law of the land and along with it the fear of falling within the crosshairs of any cleric who has a sufficient following. This will be particularly true for any non-Muslims, especially the Coptic minority.

The one improvement thus far has been a definitive drop in the amount of corruption. This perceptible drop may be due to the near collapse of the Egyptian economy which will become a severe problem if measures are not instituted to allow for a return to normal economic opportunities. One main sector of the Egyptian economy that has suffered from the turmoil and unrest resulting from the uprisings has been the tourist industry, a mainstay of the Egyptian economy and essential if Egypt is going to restore their economic engine. This retrial which will be perceived by many outside of Egypt as simply a viscous and vindictive witch hunt to satisfy a demand by the most hateful of the anti-Mubarak forces for their blood revenge. Where there is quite likely a kernel of validation of their desire for retribution but their desire to retry these officials from the Mubarak era rather than be satisfied with the life sentences most of them received have the aroma of a form of tribal vengeance. One must question if a retrial and the emotions it will bring back to the fore and the possible unrest with rekindled conflicts is worth the price that will be played by the currently so fragile Egyptian economy. It would appear logical that getting Egypt to move on rather than retrying the past and getting Egyptians back into a normal cycle of life, work, and moving forward with healing would be better than reopening recent wounds and cleansing them with salt, fire and executions simply to satisfy the revenge of those who were denied the power they now wield would be preferable. But that is my feelings from afar; perhaps those closer to the flames will take somewhat longer to cool from the recent fires of change.

Beyond the Cusp

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