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Friday, March 15, 2013

Laws Are For Suckers

 Israeli protesters hold portraits of former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and Jewish-American spy Jonathan Pollard during a protest in front of the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv on July 17, 2012 to call for the release of the spy. (JACK GUEZ / AFP / Getty Images)

In The Daily Beast:

In advance of President Obama’s scheduled March 20 visit, Israeli society at every level is waging an unprecedented, all-out public effort to press for the release of Jonathan Pollard, the American Jew serving a life sentence for spying for Israel. The past month has seen figures as diverse as President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, far-right Likud lawmaker Moshe Feiglin and former Hamas hostage Gilad Shalit calling on Obama to commute Pollard’s sentence to time served and set him free. So has the board of governors of the Jewish Agency for Israel, the massive international Jewish charity. More than 150,000 Israelis have signed an online petition calling for his release. The Knesset held a special debate in his honor on March 6.
Pollard’s case has been a cause celebre in Israel and the organized Jewish world since his arrest in 1985. A civilian analyst with U.S. Naval Intelligence, he had volunteered his information services to Israel in June 1984, believing, as he later claimed, that America was withholding data vital to Israel’s security. Arrested 17 months later, he pleaded guilty in return for leniency, but received a life sentence for reasons that remain murky and hotly contested. Some activist American Jews began calling in the early 1990s for his sentence to be reduced, claiming life imprisonment for spying for an ally was unprecedented and unjustified. Israel, after initially calling it a “rogue operation,” admitted in 1998 that Pollard had worked for a little-known intelligence agency and asked for his release. Every president since then has been asked and refused.
Pollard’s advocates are a sometimes-uneasy coalition of far-rightists who view him as a Jewish martyr, if not a hero, and moderates who see his severe sentence as unfair. Opponents of his release say that while only a handful of American spies have received life sentences, few have ever compromised so vast a trove of highly sensitive information. The two sides also argue back and forth over whether he was motivated by ideals or money....

I was always under the impression that Osama Bin Laden was motivated by ideals. He ended up in Davy Jones' Locker.
Mr. Pollard is lucky his name is not Rosenberg.
As an American who is bound by the laws of his country, I find this story and the attitudes expressed in it to be insulting. 


Add to this an example of what happens when things go the other way:

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel's prime minister on Sunday defended the actions of his country's security forces following a public uproar over the mysterious death of a man who apparently hanged himself while being held secretly in a maximum-security prison.
Israel has said little about the case. But Australian media have said the man, identified as Ben Zygier, was an Australian immigrant to Israel who served in the Mossad spy agency at the time of his death in December 2010. Zygier reportedly was imprisoned for unspecified security offenses.
In his first comments on the affair, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he "completely trusts" Israel's security forces and legal system. He said that freedom of expression is important, but Israel faces extraordinary threats and therefore must keep silent on some details of national security affairs like this one.
"We are not like all other countries," Netanyahu told his Cabinet. "We are more threatened, more challenged, and therefore we have to ensure the proper activity of our security forces."
"Allow the security forces to work quietly so we can continue to live securely and safely," he added.
The affair, suppressed by Israeli authorities until Australia's national broadcaster broke the story last week, has shined a rare spotlight on the murky dealings of the Mossad and brought scrutiny on Israel's system of military censorship and gag orders.
Critics have accused the Israeli government of trying to cover up the affair and are demanding a full investigation, fueling a debate about balancing national security and freedom of information in a country that prides itself as a vibrant democracy. Israeli officials have said that while the matter was kept from the public, the prisoner was given legal representation and maintained contact with his family...
Yahoo News 03/15/2013

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