Former spy Jonathan Pollard is set to be released from a federal prison in North Carolina on Friday, 30 years after he was caught selling American intelligence secrets to Israel. But he'll be on a short leash as he rebuilds his life as a free man.Netanyahu Wants US Release of Israeli Spy Pollard Kept Low-Key
Pollard, 61, was given a life sentence in 1987 in a case that has complicated diplomacy between the two countries.
He's expected to settle in the New York area while he spends at least the next five years on parole. He will be barred him from traveling outside the country, including to Israel, without permission. Many in Israel view him as a hero.
Both the Justice Department and Pollard's lawyers have so far declined to discuss his parole conditions, but one longtime supporter, Rabbi Pesach Lerner of New York, told a radio interviewer this month that Pollard would have to abide by a curfew and wear a GPS unit to track his movements.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has instructed Israeli officials to keep low-key about Friday's scheduled release by the United States of Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, a Cabinet minister said.Netanyahu bars ministers from talking about Pollard | The Times of Israel
The former U.S. Navy analyst's espionage for Israel in the 1980s remains a strain on ties with Washington and his parole terms dictate that he stay in the United States for five years.
Pollard, sentenced to life in prison after being convicted in 1987 of passing reams of classified information to Israel, has been behind bars since his arrest in 1985.
Now 60, he has said he wants to immigrate to Israel where his second wife lives and where he can expect to receive substantial Israeli government back-pay. He was granted Israeli citizenship while in prison.
Ahead of the Friday release of American-Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu barred his ministers from publicly discussing the parole, government sources told Hebrew-language media on Wednesday.
Noting that Pollard’s parole from a US federal prison after 30 years would likely attract a significant media buzz in Israel, the prime minister explicitly instructed ministers to stay away from the topic in any upcoming public appearances or during radio and television interviews, the Walla news site reported.
Sources close to Netanyahu said the prime minister considered the matter to be a “very sensitive issue,” and the directive was an effort to prevent a spat with US President Barack Obama for not commuting Pollard’s life sentence.
America's (Black) political prisoners exposed
...parole denials are occurring across the U.S. The denials are based on politics, not lack of prison time, threats to society or troublemaking inside penal institutions, according to advocates. Officials want to contain and punish these highly politicized inmates, most of whom are in their 50s and 60s, advocates add.Release The COINTELPRO Political Prisoners | PopularResistance.Org
“When (political prisoners) go to parole board hearings, prosecutors aren’t launching legal appeals, but emotional appeals by bringing out police, firemen, family members, all saying he or she should stay in,” said Francisco Torres, a onetime Black Panther. Last year the courts finally dropped accusations that he murdered a police officer in 1971.But not only have political prisoners done their time, their behavior in prison has been exemplary, say advocates.Many have quelled prison riots and in some instances, wardens have commended them.“They’ve gotten certificates and diplomas in prison so when it’s time for them to get out, they’re told they’re being held in there because of their politics basically, their beliefs and their thoughts,” Mr. Torres said.
Human rights activists are calling on the government to grant amnesty and unconditional freedom to all political prisoners incarcerated because of COINTELPRO, a secret federal law enforcement program that destroyed Black and dissident organizations in the 1960s and 1970s.Beyond Innocence: US Political Prisoners and the Fight Against Mass Incarceration
Men and women who sacrificed their lives so others could enjoy civil liberties and human rights in America are now aging and suffering failing health as they languish in prison, some for 40 years, and many in solitary confinement cells, unfit even for dogs, said their advocates.
It is imperative that those they fought for remember and fight for them, said the activists.
J. Edgar Hoover, former head of the FBI, began the covert, illegal CounterIntelligence Program in 1956 to destroy militant organizations.
The National Jericho Movement, which advocates for political prisoners inside the United States, wants emergency congressional hearings on the impact and continuing legacy of America’s domestic war against soldiers in the Black Liberation Struggle. It also wants political prisoners released and some activists want the freedom fighters compensated for their unjust suffering.
President Obama's recent statements about mass incarceration, together with his decision to commute the sentences of 46 people serving lengthy and life sentences in federal prison on drug charges, treat "nonviolent drug offenders" as the symbolic figureheads of America's prison problem. This framing seems to imply that everyone else actually deserves to be in prison.
But the world's biggest prison system is not filled with nonviolent drug offenders alone. Before and alongside the war on drugs, mass incarceration was built through the wholesale repression of radical movements - especially in communities of color.
Take, for example, the cases of two other people who have long sought commutations from Obama and other presidents before him: Leonard Peltier and Oscar Lopez Rivera. Both men are longtime activists who have each served more than 30 years in prison and garnered international support for their release from figures such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu and organizations such as Amnesty International.
Prison Radio | Home