Mercy For Everyone But Pollard?

Written by Audrey Russo on March 10, 2013

Jonathan_PollardOne of the ideals and hopes we have as Americans is equality under the law. Whatever is written into our laws is applied equally to all citizens. 
Now, when it comes to espionage, there are different thresholds for different crimes against our nation, all dependent upon the damage to national security. Understandable indeed. But, when we find that there is a severe inequity in our treatment of spies from enemy states over friendly states … and an apparent favoritism of the former … we have an issue that must be resolved post haste.
Case in point: In 1985, Jonathan Pollard was indicted on one charge: One count of passing classified information to an ally, without intent to harm the United States. He was sentenced to Life in prison. 
This was unprecedented.
No one in US History has ever received a life sentence for passing classified information to an ally, except Jonathan Pollard. He was never accused of, or indicted for treason. Nor was he ever indicted for harming the US. His only indictment was one count of passing classified information to an ally. The normal sentence this charge carries is 2 to 4 years. Yet, lacking benefit of trial and as the result of a government-violated plea agreement, Pollard received the same sentence as the infamous Aldrich Ames … a high-ranking CIA employee ( the chief of counter intelligence in Eastern Europe and the USSR) who spied for the Soviet Union and was indicted for treason. A traitor who gave critical defense secrets to a US enemy, which resulted in the deaths of at least 11 US agents.
That screams inequity to me…
For your comparison, here are a few examples of how sentences were meted out to those who spied for:
American Allies – Peter Lee spied for China, received 1 year in halfway house/ J. Reece Roth spied for China and Iran, received 4 years/ Samuel Morison spied for Great Britain, received 2 years (served 3 months)/ Philip Selden spied for El Salvador, received 2 years/ Robert Kim spied for South Korea, received 9 years.
American Enemies – Elsa Alvarez spied for Cuba, received 3 years/ Mohammed Reza Alavi spied for Iran, received 15 months/ Brian Horton spied for the Soviet Union, received 6 years/ Hassan Abu-Jihaad spied for Al-Qaida, received 10 years/ Troung Dinh Ung spied for North Vietnam, received 15 years/ James Hall spied for Soviet Union and East Germany, received 40 years/ Robert Hanssen spied for Soviet Union, received Life sentence.
These few examples show a stark inequity of punishment for the crimes committed by Pollard.

Additionally, the treatment of Pollard while incarcerated has been abhorrent. Pollard spent 7 years in solitary confinement. Jonathan Stuart Grassian, a psychiatrist who studies solitary confinement, found that common effects of solitary confinement include increased sensitivity to stimuli, hallucinations, and other changes in perception, as well as cognitive problems including memory loss, difficulty thinking, and impulsiveness. Those are the results for a much briefer period of solitary.
Pollard was also unjustly held for a year in a mental asylum for the criminally insane (which may have been the result of the prolonged period of solitary). There, he was routinely deprived of his clothing and eyeglasses in attempts to degrade and crush him. 
The question is why? What’s the reasoning for this cruel treatment? Why this interminable sentence? The disparity between this punishment and the sentences for other similar offenders, is immense.
It’s time for our nation to show mercy to this man. And since Mr. Obama portrays himself to be a great friend to the Jewish State, why not show that friendship in a magnanimous move to either commute his sentence or straight out pardon Pollard?
Because, according to the Judeo-Christian Scriptures: Mercy is better than sacrifice (Hosea 6:6).
Shalom through strength…

Image: Jonathan Pollard, U.S. Navy I.D. picture. Scanned from Territory of Lies, Wolf Blitzer; source U.S. Navy; public domain

Audrey Russo is the Host of the weekly REELTalk Radio Show (NYC). Audrey writes a column for and handles Middle East/National Security/Terrorism/Cultural Issues, and her articles can be read in several other news/opinion journals. She is also a contributor on Audrey's Radio Show can also be heard on the Leading Edge Radio Network. Audrey is also an active member of the NYC performing arts community as a singer and actor.