Category Archive 'Charles W. Freeman'

12 Mar 2009

Not Just the Zionists

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Greg Pollowitz explains, at National Review Online, that it was not simply Neocon Zionists who torpedoed the Freeman nomination. It was his financial ties to foreign governments (the Saudis and China) and his own extreme statements, particularly those expressing contempt for human rights in China, that did him in.

Meanwhile, David Broder is shedding big, salty tears over the nation’s loss of the services of someone so “thoughtful and obviously smart as hell,” with a special gift for seeing “how situations look to the people on the other side,” particularly when those other people are lining his pockets.

Why, Freeman is so smart, Broder argues, that he would have been able to “explain” Chinese behavior in the recent incident in which Chinese vessels harassed a US intelligence ship in international waters.

I’m sure Freeman would have said that the Chinese were simply re-asserting their national pride after being so cruelly mistreated by the Western powers in the 19th century, and that their making innovative maximalist claims to territorial sovereignty over the South China Sea is a natural expression of their wounded dignity to which we should understandingly concede. Behaving otherwise on our part would be arrogant and provocative. See, Mr. Broder? The country doesn’t need Charles Freeman as head of NIC. I can tell you myself just what he would have said.

11 Mar 2009

Freeman Withdraws From Consideration for Head of National Intelligence Council

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Former Saudi Ambassador Charles Freeman said he was throwing himself under the bus, as a form of protest against the nefarious domination of American foreign policy by the International Zionist Conspiracy.

Washington Post:

Charles W. Freeman Jr. withdrew yesterday from his appointment as chairman of the National Intelligence Council after questions about his impartiality were raised among members of Congress and with White House officials.

Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair said he accepted Freeman’s decision “with great regret.” The withdrawal came hours after Blair had given a spirited defense on Capitol Hill of the outspoken former ambassador.

Freeman had come under fire for statements he had made about Israeli policies and for his past connections to Saudi and Chinese interests. …

In an e-mail sent to friends yesterday evening, Freeman said he had concluded the attacks on him would not end once he was in office and that he did not believe the NIC “could function effectively while its chair was under constant attack.” He wrote that those who questioned his background employed “selective misquotation, the willful distortion of the record . . . and an utter disregard for the truth.”

Such attacks, he said, “will be seen by many to raise serious questions about whether the Obama administration will be able to make its own decisions about the Middle East and related issues.” And he said he regretted that his withdrawal may cause others to doubt the administration’s latitude in such matters.


But, as Greg Sargent reports, Chuck Schumer is trying to take credit for pushing him.


Andrew Sullivan finds the process interesting. The debate was in the blogs, not the MSM.

There are a couple of things worth noting about this minor, yet major, Washington spat. The first is that the MSM has barely covered it as a news story, and the entire debate occurred in the blogosphere. I don’t know why. But that would be a very useful line of inquiry for a media journalist.

The second is that Obama may bring change in many areas, but there is no possibility of change on the Israel-Palestine question. Having the kind of debate in America that they have in Israel, let alone Europe, on the way ahead in the Middle East is simply forbidden. Even if a president wants to have differing sources of advice on many questions, the Congress will prevent any actual, genuinely open debate on Israel. More to the point: the Obama peeps never defended Freeman. They were too scared. The fact that Obama blinked means no one else in Washington will ever dare to go through the hazing that Freeman endured. And so the chilling effect is as real as it is deliberate.


Our own original 2/26 posting was one of the earliest.

26 Feb 2009

Another Really Dubious Intel Appointment

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Charles Wellman Freeman, Jr.

Barack Obama’s choice to lead the National Intelligence Council, the body which advises policy makers on global strategy and which produces the National Intelligence Estimate, is reported to be former Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Charles W. Freeman, Jr.

The radical left is rejoicing over what even the Blog describes as an “amazing appointment.”

Freeman’s position on the political map can be identified by the fact that he succeeded George McGovern as head of the Middle East Policy Council.

He is renowned for anti-War-on-Terror and anti-Israel public pronouncements, as well as for statements sympathetic to the viewpoint of despotic regimes like those of Saudi Arabia and China.

Marty Peretz, at New Republic, expresses profound indignation at this appointment.

Here is the most stunning prospective appointment of the Obama administration as yet. Not stunning as in “spectacular” or “distinguished” but stunning as in bigoted and completely out of synch with the deepest convictions of the American people. What’s more, Charles “Chas” Freeman is a bought man, having been ambassador to Saudi Arabia and then having supped at its tables for almost two decades. …

That Chas, as he is so artfully called, also made himself a client of China and China a client of himself, is evidence that he has no humane or humanitarian scruples that underlay well, his unscrupulous political views, viz, his remonstrance to Beijing that it should have smashed the democracy protests as soon as they emerged on the streets. …

Chas Freeman is actually a new psychological type for a Democratic administration. He has never displayed a liberal instinct and wants the United States to kow-tow to authoritarians and tyrants, in some measure just because they may seem able to keep the streets quiet. And frankly, Chas brings a bitter rancor to how he looks at Israel. No Arab country and no Arab movement–basically including Hezbollah and Hamas–poses a challenge to the kind of world order we Americans want to see. He is now very big on Hamas as the key to bringing peace to Gaza, when in fact it is the key to uproar and bloodletting, not just against Israel but against the Palestinian Authority that is the only group of Palestinians that has even given lip-service (and, to be fair, a bit more) to a settlement with Israel.

That Freeman would be chosen as the president’s gatekeeper to national intelligence is an absurdity.

The appointment of head of the NIC does not require Senatorial confirmation, so, outrageous as it is, this one is probably a done deal.

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