Tag Archives: Charles Freeman

Goodbye Chas Freeman- how dumb do they think we are?

In the immediate aftermath of Chas Freeman’s decision to step down from consideration as top intelligence analyst, there is a lot of finger-pointing about who is to blame.

There is no doubt that there was a campaign led by former AIPAC operative Steve Rosen to discredit Freeman because of reasonable statements he has made about Israel and US foreign policy.  Rosen is a man, mind you, soon going to trial for spying. In fact, Max Blumenthal’s excellent piece on Rosen’s bullying tactics uncovered this juicy tidbit:

The one-time power broker suddenly became persona non grata on Capitol Hill. In 2007, Rosen announced a new mission to The Forward’s Nathan Guttman: avenging “the strong anti-Israel sentiment among individuals in America’s intelligence community, which he believes is what led to the investigation against him in the first place.”

Blumenthal also looked under the rock to find this other AIPAC tie to the campaign:

Spencer Ackerman, a national-security reporter for the Washington Independent, first reported the rumors. “Reporter friends of mine have told me that AIPAC has been shopping oppo research on Freeman around,” Ackerman wrote on March 5.

Writers like The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg, The New Republic’s Marty Peretz, Rich Lowery at The National Review and The Weekly Standard’s Michael Goldfarb, happily joined in and within minutes, the anti-Freeman chorus was singing in tune.

But it is also true that the campaign against him started gaining ground in Congress when additional concerns surfaced regarding his financial relationships with Saudi Arabia and China. Despite Freeman’s statement to the contrary, many will insist to the bitter end that he was taken down, not by his Israel politics, but by these other concerns:

“This was not about Israel, it was about a revolving door through which Freeman rotated and was paid handsomely,” said Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), after Freeman withdrew his name from consideration on Tuesday. The New York congressman was referring to the idea of the former ambassador to Saudi Arabia going from serving the U.S. government, to being paid by foreign governments and then returning to government service.

“There was a steady revelation of financial conflicts of interest involving foreign powers that were troubling,” said Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), who along with Israel, led the opposition in Congress. “If it had simply been a dispute about Middle East policy, he would have survived.”

But the reasoning is false. And its untrue.  Somebody started the pile-on and as conservative journalist Andrew Sullivan, Max Blumenthal and others have identified, it’s clear who it was. Not people concerned about financial ties of public servants, or as MJ Rosenberg points out, people who give 2 cents about human rights, but rather those concerned with protecting the terrible status quo of unconditional US support for Israel–even when Israel shoots itself and everyone else in the foot time and time again. Others may, thankfully, have authentic concerns about human rights in China and Saudi Arabia, but they did not create this campaign.

Further, Freeman himself blamed the Israel Lobby in no uncertain terms, which means that he stepped down, clearly devastated by the personal attacks and smears about his relationship to Israel, exactly as he was meant to. This is the goal of intimidation through these full throttle attacks- just ask Jimmy Carter, or Archbishop Tutu or Bill Moyers for heaven’s sake. Even if a former Nobel-prize winning president can survive the onslaught, as painful as it has personally been for Carter, the lesson to the rest of us is clear. Don’t even try.

From Freeman’s statement:

The tactics of the Israel Lobby plumb the depths of dishonor and indecency and include character assassination, selective misquotation, the willful distortion of the record, the fabrication of falsehoods, and an utter disregard for the truth. The aim of this Lobby is control of the policy process through the exercise of a veto over the appointment of people who dispute the wisdom of its views, the substitution of political correctness for analysis, and the exclusion of any and all options for decision by Americans and our government other than those that it favors.”

This has been a litmus test to see if a new order of reality-based policymakers has once and for all moved back to DC after the last very long exile. The answer, for the time being, isn’t very pretty. It’s not just the Palestinians who are the most obvious losers. It’s certainly the US, but also Israel.

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Bullies win: Charles Freeman out.

In my post this morning, I suggested the nomination of Charles Freeman for top intelligence analyst post would be the test for Glenn Greenwald’s optimistic theory that the age of right-wing “pro-Israel” bullying was over. Well, score one for the bullies:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The candidate for a top U.S. intelligence post withdrew from the running on Tuesday after angering some in Congress with remarks on Israeli “oppression” of Palestinians, and about China.

The office of Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair said in a statement that Charles Freeman, who had been picked to head the National Intelligence Council, had asked not to proceed.

Blair had accepted Freeman’s decision with regret, the statement said.

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Greenwald declares end of the “neocon lynch mob”- Charles Freeman tests thesis.

Salon’s Glenn Greenwald, one of the smartest commentators on the blatant hypocrisy (and self-destructiveness, it sadly needs to be said) of the Israel-right-or-wrong crowd. He has been writing lately about what he sees as the new irrelevance of the neocon/Israel-is-always-right bloviators.

Greenwald tends to group the Abe Foxman/Dershowitz types and the Wolfowitz/Perles in the same category, which may not be entirely fair. Nonetheless, as unpleasant as it may be to contemplate, the Israel/Jewish ties of many neocons who pushed for war with Iraq have now been thoroughly picked dry (by both both fair-minded analysts and anti-Semites, for good measure.)

Greenwald’s point is that these guys led us down the road to a terrible and useless war, and that folks aren’t going to listen to them now when they start screaming about Iran and Israel.

A few weeks ago, Greenwald took on The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg after Goldberg accused Greenwald of “doing the work of anti-Semites”, you know, for writing smart analysis about bad Israeli policy. One wonders if it occurs to any of these critics that nobody does the work of anti-Semites better than Israel- as Olmert himself recently observed as brought to our attention by Sol Salbe’s Middle East News Service- when they seemingly remorselessly attack a completely trapped and largely civilian population… but I digress.

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