March 11th, 2009

Chris Keeley

Intel Pick Withdraws Nomination, Blasts Israel Lobby

Intel Pick Withdraws Nomination, Blasts Israel Lobby

The Obama administration’s pick to become the nation’s top intelligence analyst has withdrawn his nomination after an intense lobbying campaign by backers of Israeli government policies. Former US Ambassador Charles “Chas” Freeman had come under Republican-led opposition over his comments criticizing Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land. Freeman has years of diplomatic experience, including stints as US ambassador to Saudi Arabia and assistant secretary of defense. Some Democrats joined in on the opposition to Freeman’s appointment. In a statement, Democratic Senator Charles Schumer took credit for Freeman’s withdrawal, saying, “I repeatedly urged the White House to reject him, and I am glad they did the right thing.” In a statement, Freeman blasted lobby groups, lawmakers and pundits who support Israeli government policies for forcing his withdrawal. Freeman wrote, “The tactics of the Israel Lobby plumb the depths of dishonor and indecency…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.” Freeman continued, “I regret that my willingness to serve the new administration has ended by casting doubt on its ability to consider, let alone decide what policies might best serve the interests of the United States rather than those of a Lobby intent on enforcing the will and interests of a foreign government.”
 

Chris Keeley

Let's see if the New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal have the decency to publis

Let's see if the New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal have the decency to publish this statement.


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Chas Freeman
Date: Tue, Mar 10, 2009 at 6:19 PM
Subject: [Salon] Chas Freeman bows out
To: Salon


To all who supported me or gave me words of encouragement during the controversy of the past two weeks, you have my gratitude and respect.
   
You will by now have seen the statement by Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair reporting that I have withdrawn my previous acceptance of his invitation to chair the National Intelligence Council.

I have concluded that the barrage of libelous distortions of my record would not cease upon my entry into office.  The effort to smear me and to destroy my credibility would instead continue.  I do not believe the National Intelligence Council could function effectively while its chair was under constant attack by unscrupulous people with a passionate attachment to the views of a political faction in a foreign country.  I agreed to chair the NIC to strengthen it and protect it against politicization, not to introduce it to efforts by a special interest group to assert control over it through a protracted political campaign.

As those who know me are well aware, I have greatly enjoyed life since retiring from government.  Nothing was further from my mind than a return to public service.  When Admiral Blair asked me to chair the NIC I responded that I understood he was “asking me to give my freedom of speech, my leisure, the greater part of my income, subject myself to the mental colonoscopy of a polygraph, and resume a daily commute to a job with long working hours and a daily ration of political abuse.”  I added that I wondered “whether there wasn’t some sort of downside to this offer.”  I was mindful that no one is indispensable; I am not an exception.  It took weeks of reflection for me to conclude that, given the unprecedentedly challenging circumstances in which our country now finds itself abroad and at home, I had no choice but accept the call to return to public service.  I thereupon resigned from all positions that I had held and all activities in which I was engaged.  I now look forward to returning to private life, freed of all previous obligations.

I am not so immodest as to believe that this controversy was about me rather than issues of public policy.  These issues had little to do with the NIC and were not at the heart of what I hoped to contribute to the quality of analysis available to President Obama and his administration.  Still, I am saddened by what the controversy and the manner in which the public vitriol of those who devoted themselves to sustaining it have revealed about the state of our civil society.  It is apparent that we Americans cannot any longer conduct a serious public discussion or exercise independent judgment about matters of great importance to our country as well as to our allies and friends. 

The libels on me and their easily traceable email trails show conclusively that there is a powerful  lobby determined to prevent any view other than its own from being aired, still less to factor in American understanding of trends and events in the Middle East.  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.

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 – in this case, the government of Israel.  I believe that the inability of the American public to discuss, or the government to consider, any option for US policies in the Middle East opposed by the ruling faction in Israeli politics has allowed that faction to adopt and sustain policies that ultimately threaten the existence of the state of Israel.  It is not permitted for anyone in the United States to say so.  This is not just a tragedy for Israelis and their neighbors in the Middle East; it is doing widening damage to the national security of the United States.

The outrageous agitation that followed the leak of my pending appointment 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.  I regret that my willingness to serve the new administration has ended by casting doubt on its ability to consider, let alone decide what policies might best serve the interests of the United States rather than those of a Lobby intent on enforcing the will and interests of a foreign government. 

In the court of public opinion, unlike a court of law, one is guilty until proven innocent.  The speeches from which quotations have been lifted from their context are available for anyone interested in the truth to read.  The injustice of the accusations made against me has been obvious to those with open minds.  Those who have sought to impugn my character are uninterested in any rebuttal that I or anyone else might make. 

Still, for the record: 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.  I am my own man, no one else’s, and with my return to private life, I will once again – to my pleasure – serve no master other than myself.  I will continue to speak out as I choose on issues of concern to me and other Americans.

I retain my respect and confidence in President Obama and DNI Blair.  Our country now faces terrible challenges abroad as well as at home.  Like all patriotic Americans, I continue to pray that our president can successfully lead us in surmounting them.



Chris Keeley

Photochrom Travel Views

 

Photochrom Travel Views

 
Photochrom Travel Views. "...Published primarily from the 1890s to 1910s, these prints were created by the Photoglob Company in Zürich, Switzerland, and the Detroit Publishing Company in Michigan. The richly colored images look like photographs but are actually ink-based photolithographs, usually 6.5 x 9 inches. Like postcards, the photochroms feature subjects that appeal to travelers, including landscapes, architecture, street scenes, and daily life and culture. The prints were sold as souvenirs and often collected in albums or framed for display.
 
Chris Keeley

Works by Robert D'Alessandro

http://www.gittermangallery.com/html/exhibresults.asp?exnum=18845

Works by Robert D'Alessandro

 
Robert D'Alessandro... Sixth Ave, New York City (1969, Vintage gelatin silver print). From Works by Robert D'Alessandro at Gitterman Gallery. "...In the early 1970’s the American flag was everywhere. Given the social climate at the time with the Civil Rights Movement, the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X and the Kennedys, the Vietnam War and Watergate, people were actively questioning the ideals their country stood for. The photographs in his 1973 book Glory (Elephant Publishing Corporation, NYC), depict the ways in which people were using the American flag to make their personal feelings about America known."

http://www.gittermangallery.com/html/exhibresults.asp?exnum=18845
 
Chris Keeley

David Goldblatt: In Boksburg

http://www.michaelstevenson.com/contemporary/exhibitions/goldblatt/boksburg/index.htm

David Goldblatt: In Boksburg

 
David Goldblatt: In Boksburg at Michael Stevenson Gallery in Cape Town, SA. "...In Boksburg, taken in 1979-1980 on the East Rand of the Witwatersrand. Goldblatt's book was published in 1982 but this will be the first time that the full series has been shown in the 30 years since the photographs were taken. The spread of Boksburg's new suburbs across the veld and the daily life of the town encapsulated - to Goldblatt's eye - the intricacies of the lunacy of ordinary white middle-class life in the years of apartheid. As he wrote in the foreword: 'Boksburg is shaped by white dreams and white proprieties. Most of its townspeople pursue the family, social and civic concerns of respectable burghers anywhere, while locked into a deep and portentous fixity of self-elected legislated whiteness."

http://www.michaelstevenson.com/contemporary/exhibitions/goldblatt/boksburg/index.htm
 
Chris Keeley

Look Me in the Eyes: Russian Photographic Portraits

Look Me in the Eyes: Russian Photographic Portraits

 
Lens Culture... Look Me in the Eyes: Russian Photographic Portraits. "...The photography exhibition 'Regarde-moi dans les yeux' (or 'Look me in the eyes'), at the Russian Tea Room Gallery is an attempt to study the question of identity of Russian photography. Through the portraits of their comrades, the photographs exhibited here approach the issue of Russian photography like a magnifying glass, trying to answer two crucial mirroring questions: 'What is a Russian portrait?' and 'What does Russian photography truly look like?'"

http://www.lensculture.com/russians.html