The nomination of Charles Freeman as head of the United States National Intelligence Council and the issues surrounding it clearly go beyond the statements or opinions of one man.
There is no doubt that Charles Freeman is a capable man with a great deal of experience and many contacts, who could be valuable in government service. After all, the King of Saudi Arabia is not a fool, and he would not have given a million dollars to someone who was an incapable nonentity. Rich and powerful people get rich and powerful and stay that way by knowing where to put their money.
There is also no doubt that Charles Freeman was a singularly inappropriate choice to make critical judgment calls about United States intelligence. He might not be quite the "fanatic" that Brett Stephens claims
him to be, but Freeman is certainly opinionated, open to charges of bias, and shows very poor judgment. Brett Stephens was right to point out that Freeman's opinions about China are just as problematic and outspoken as his views about the Jewish question. Freeman has positioned himself as a foe of minorities and dissidents, unless of course, they happen to be anti-Israel. He is also an outspoken apologist and advocate of Mao Tse Tung, repression of Tibetans and Chinese dissidents. It is doubtful that even pro-government Chinese who can speak freely on the issues have the same glowing assessment of Mao that Freeman does, and those opinions are certainly not indicative of a mind capable of well honed intelligence judgments.
There was no chance that Freeman as intelligence analyst would ever see the slightest possibility that Israel was in the right about any issue, or that Israeli intelligence might be correct on any point where it conflicted with views of his friends. Just as it would be absurd to appoint the head of AIPAC to vet US intelligence, so it was equally absurd and bizarre to nominate the President of the MEPC and a member of the board of the Iranian-American Council to that post.
The supporters of Freeman never fought for him on the issues, but rather on the one irrelevant bogey man issue of "Israel Lobby." Whether or not Dennis Blair, Director of National Intelligence, intended it, the struggle over the nomination of Freeman became an outpost in the battle in a war against Israel and supporters of Israel. It was intentionally billed as such by those who oppose Israel under the guise of "tough love." The issue is billed as support for settlements or "hard line" Israeli negotiating positions vis-a-vis
the Palestinians, but that facade is transparent to anyone who wants to look. Some of the rhetoric has now degenerated into frank attacks on "Jews."
The most outspoken advocates of Freeman's candidacy are hard line anti-Zionists who rant against the "Israel lobby," with the infamous professor Stephen Walt
at their head, flanked by people like M.J. Rosenberg
, who thinks that the Washington Post is a "bastion of neoconservatism" and the unfortunately irrepressible Philip (Mondo) Weiss
. Pundit Steve Clemons
explicitly turned the whole affair into a juvenile contest between the "Israel lobby" and the "right thinkers," with the Israel lobby getting a sop in the form of the meaningless and powerless appointment of Dennis Ross to be special adviser in charge of nothing.
What is scary, is that Freeman was supported by a distinguished list of US ambassadors and former ambassadors, who presumably see nothing wrong with calling the pathetic and hopeless Tibetan resistance to Chinese oppression a "race riot," and are likewise happy with Freeman's apologetic and childish praise for that hero of the Chinese people, Mao Tse Tung. The list of signatories of the letter published in support of Freeman included: Ambassadors Thomas R. Pickering, Ronald E. Neumann, Samuel W. Lewis, Ronald Spiers, Nicholas A. Veliotes, Brandon Grove, William C. Harrop, Robert E. Hunter, Thomas D. Boyatt, Roscoe S. Suddarth, Harry G. Barnes, Jr, Avis Bohlen, Howard B. Schaffer, Edward M. Rowell, Robert V. Keeley, James R. Jones, and Patricia Lynch-Ewell.
All these people are now on record as supporting the candidacy for a critical intelligence post of a man who insists that Israel is at fault for everything in the Middle East and who lauded Mao Tse Tung
If all those good people support ambassador Freeman, how can we be so sure we are right?
Freeman's own words in his published speeches and his letter following his withdrawal are the best witnesses against him. US policy toward China on the Tibet issue has been, all things considered, cowardly and expedient. It is mostly discretion with very little valor. Chinese goods of questionable quality flood US markets, and the US has done nothing to stop Chinese genocide against the Tibetan people or repression of dissent in China, other than issuing some lame protests from time to time. That's understandable and par for the diplomatic course. After all, as Stalin said, one dead person is a tragedy, a million dead people are just a statistic. Nobody cares, especially if they aren't white, right?
But Freeman wasn't satisfied with that. In his own words
The majority of Chinese appear to believe, for example, that public reaction here to the recent race riots by Tibetans and to unrest among other Chinese minorities proves the existence of a plan by the United States and its western allies to divide, dismember, weaken, and humiliate China. The admirably stiff upper lip and unwillingness to politicize the Olympics that President Bush has shown in the face of these events will, I hope, help to convince them that they are wrong. But I wouldn't count on it. The level of patriotic indignation in China against posturing by American and European politicians over Tibet is already so high that a long-term clamp-down in Tibet seems inevitable, while public support in China for continued cooperation with the West can no longer be taken for granted.
Evidently, Freeman wants to shut up even criticism of China by private citizens and politicians, which he denigrates as "posturing." Curiously, he is quite adamant about his own right to criticize real or imagined Israeli rights violations. Freeman thinks it is OK to shut up critics in this way. Here are Freeman's ideas about human rights:
"I do not believe it is acceptable for any country to allow the heart of its national capital to be occupied by dissidents intent on disrupting the normal functions of government, however appealing to foreigners their propaganda may be. Such folk, whether they represent a veterans' 'Bonus Army' or a 'student uprising' on behalf of 'the goddess of democracy' should expect to be displaced with despatch from the ground they occupy."
"The main lesson those leaders who survived the affair have drawn from it, in fact, is that one should strike hard and strike fast rather than tolerate escalating self-expression by exuberantly rebellious kids."
(Sources: here and here)
Freeman would presumably have endorsed the Kent State Massacre and the 1905 shooting of the revolutionaries by the Tsarist police. Evidently, Freeman thinks the US government made a mistake when it didn't call out the troops and massacre the Vietnam war protestors and the civil rights marchers who gathered there in peaceful protest. He is quite the person to attract the support of progressives.
It is apparent from the above Freeman quotes that he is not interested at all in "speaking truth to power" as his supporters claim. He is a "realist," which means, in his interpretation, an appeaser of those who are perceived to be powerful and violent at the expense of the dissidents and powerless. His crusade against Israel, supported by all those ambassadors, is based on the common perception in the US diplomatic corps that has never been altered since before the Six Day War that Israel is a "non-viable client state" that exists at the pleasure of the United States and must do its bidding.
In his "you won't have Freeman to kick around any more" parting letter a self-righteous orgy of self-pity, Freeman smears everyone who dares to oppose his candidacy or his wild assertions about Israel, Zionism and China. Here is his spiel:
The tactics of the Israel Lobby plumb the depths of dishonor and indecency...
...There is a special irony in having been accused of improper regard for the opinions of foreign governments and societies by a group so clearly intent on enforcing adherence to the policies of a foreign government.
Anybody who dares to oppose Freeman's ideas about the Middle East or China is accused of being a traitor acting in the interests of a foreign government. Freeman also had the temerity to claim:
I have never sought to be paid or accepted payment from any foreign government, including Saudi Arabia or China, for any service, nor have I ever spoken on behalf of a foreign government, its interests, or its policies. I have never lobbied any branch of our government for any cause, foreign or domestic
Freeman publicly boasted that his MEPC got a million dollars from the King of Saudi Arabia, and noted that he was glad that the Saudis had decided to invest in public relations. That money paid his salary. His encomium to lauded Mao Tse Tunglooks like it was either the most childish bit of "intelligence" that any analyst ever produced or it was a paid political advertisement.
The battle is not over and it won't be. The anti-Israel lobby lobby have already started their blood libel are casting Freeman as a latter day Simon of Trent. If you think I am exaggerating, read Robert Dreyfuss's rant in the Nation: :
Joining in on the trashing of Freeman were the (let's face it) hard-line Jews of the Democratic Congress, including Senator Charles Schumer of New York, Rep. Steve Israel (yes, he is actually named "Israel") of New York, and of course, that former Democrat, Joe Lieberman -- all of whom crowded into the amen corner with AIPAC...
At last the Jew word is out. "Hardline Jews" no less. And Dreyfuss and the Nation are not above juvenile wordplay with people's names, either. Don't let the "progressive" aura of The Nation or its pretensions to intellectuality fool you. Dreyfuss is a "hardline" right-wing anti-Semite who used to edit Executive Intelligence Review, described by Wikipedia as "the flagship journal of the Lyndon LaRouche movement." The demented jibe at Steve Israel's name speaks for itself. Dreyfuss's article is just one of many that mourn the innocent victim of the "hardline Jews." More will follow
Make no mistake. This is not a matter of Democrats or Republicans or Obama. These are the same folks who went after the "Mossad Agents" in the Bush administration. They represent the career diplomats and their groupies who have always been the enemies of Israel and the Jewish people in the United States. These are the fellows who President Truman referred to as "the striped pants boys."
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Replies: 5 Comments
The danger of expressions such as Freeman's from US govt is that states interpret these as blessing to act in a manner which runs counter to the complexities of US interests. Let us not forget Jean Kirkpatrick's apparent encouragement to S. American states which allegedly led to the Falklands / Malvinas War. At that time had the US not swung its full backing behind the British, the rift between the US & UK would have unbridgeable and pandered to the significant anti-US bloc that exists in Europe.
The US of course can distance itself from Israel and end any form of aid. But in doing so it would end it ability to influence Israel's commcercial / industrial activity. It has not escaped the US's industrial military complex just how much Israel has encroached upon its tradional markets. In order to fund Israel defence requirements, Israel would have to even more aggressively market its military products.
Extend these ideas beyond the Middle East and one can readily see that Pax America that exists in the Orient could rapidly disintegrate. In the case of China this could rapidly disintegrate into all out war between China and Taiwan. This would disrupt trade across the northern Pacific, and the outcome is far from guaranteed.
There must also be concern if the Us does adopt such policies that the democratic / western enclaves that exist around the world would interpret this as positive abandonment by the US, which would lead to global destabilisation. Such instability would drag the world further into economic collapse in which the US would suffer terribly.
Apologists like Freeman for China's excesses overlook the fact that although China dreives enormous benefit from access to US markets, it does little or nothing to engage in reciprocal trade on an equal basis. The consequence has been a massive outflow of capital from US. This situation is closer to the pre-Opium War period than anything else and suggests the same impulses towards instability. Certainly the Chinese leadership's paradigm is astonishingly close to that of Imperial China.
That Freeman appears to know nothing of the histories of greater Asia is deeply worrying if he and others allowed positions of influence.
Rod Davies, Tuesday, March 17th
According to respected international lawyer Franklin Lamb a recent CIA report gives the Israeli state 20 years before it collapses. Apparently members of the US Senate Intelligence Committee have seen the report which argues that a two-state solution is no longer realistic and that a one-state solution is the only viable democratic option. It predicts:
"an inexorable movement away from a two-state to a one-state solution, as the most viable model based on democratic principles of full equality that sheds the looming specter of colonial Apartheid while allowing for the return of the 1947/1948 and 1967 refugees. The latter being the precondition for sustainable peace in the region."
According to Lamb the CIA refers to the rapid and unexpected downfall of Apartheid South Africa (unexpected by the CIA that is which was of course a supporter of the racist regime, with the US government refusing to support sanctions, along with Thatcher's Britain) and of the Soviet Union.
gary, Monday, March 16th
How many Gary? 2?
The bulk of the anti-zionist groups is Natray Karta, which holds less then 130 thousand jews from diverse backgrounds:
There is a small minority of ultraorthodox anti-zionists, they base their arguments on jeremiah's statement that jews shouldn't return to the land until the messiah came. They believe that they have full rights to israel, but they won't go back till the messiah comes back.
Other groups are secular, mostly assimilated jews, who call themselves jews for social and pliticall issues, but they lack cultural knowledge about their people. They just like being the misunderstood rebels and getting a few pats on the back from peope that woul'd stamp on their rights without thinking twice.
You do know that the word "jews" is a stub name? a name given to the inhabitants of the southern israelite kingdom called judea? The real name is Israelites. They(if they are religious) pray toward jerusalem, you break the cup at a wedding representing the destruction of the temple by the romans, you leave a piece of your house's wall unfinished to represent the lacking of a homeland, in the old testament, 4 of the 5 chapters, talk solely about how the israelites went to Eretz Israel.
You aperentaly have no idea, how important that place is to the jewsih people.
Here in Argentina, there are 3 jewish organizations and youthgroups, all of them are obviously pro-israel. Jews around the whole world celebrate Iom Hatmaut.
They only blind jews are the ones blind towards their people and culture and that are blindfolded and herded by organizations who basically like jews, just not what they do or think.
Oh, and israel is a haven, if a jew is atacked he can seek refuge in Israel, such as many of them did in my country in 2001 when wild antisemitism flooded the whole country. For once in 2000 years the people of israel(Jews) can fight back if mistreated, and not left at mercy and willingnes of their host countries to react, do some people not like that? well, of course many would say no, but what would you expect?
If jews went and made themselves a country in the moon, it would be demonized, it is a state where jews dare to be independent!!
So please, no hypocricy, if you want to support the palestinians support them as hard as you want but don't bring jews in the argument or try to express your concern for them while in the subject because you are going to have a priority problem in that issue.
Erick, Sunday, March 15th
zionism has not created a haven for Jewish people. Far from it, it has created a nightmare. Thankfully many in the western countries are starting to break from their blind zionist allegiances.
gary, Friday, March 13th
Freeman's suggested appointment by the Obama administration raises legitimate questions about Obama's innermost thoughts vis-a-vis Jews and Israel. All too many voters chose to ignore the red flags of his Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers, and Nation of Islam relationships.They are far more important to Jewish survival than his apologists would have us believe.
Howard Wolf, Thursday, March 12th
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