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Wed, 11 Mar 2009 12:49:03 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Fw: Greenwald: Charles Freeman fails the loyalty test. Read, Share....
>    Charles Freeman fails the loyalty test
>*Under attack for his insufficient devotion to Israel, the long-time
>diplomat's appointment is withdrawn.*
>*Glenn Greenwald*
>Mar. 10, 2009 |
>*(Updated below
>- Update II
>- Update III
>-* *Update IV
>- Update V
>Obviously, John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt are rabid, hateful
>paranoids -- total bigots and anti-Semites -- for having suggested that
>there are powerful domestic political forces in the U.S. which
>enforce Israel-centric orthodoxies and make it politically impossible to
>question America's blind loyalty to Israel.  What irrational lunacy on
>their part <>:
>    Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair announced today
>    that Ambassador Charles W. Freeman Jr. has requested that his
>    selection to be Chairman of the National Intelligence Council not
>    proceed. Director Blair accepted Ambassador Freeman's decision with
>    regret.
>In situations like this, it is often impossible to know whether the
>appointee really did voluntarily withdraw or whether he was forced out
>and is merely being allowed to say that he withdrew.  To his credit,
>Adm. Blair was in the Senate this morning defending Freeman from the
>likes of Joe Lieberman
>but everything that is publicly known about Freeman makes it seem
>unlikely that he would have voluntarily withdrawn due to the shrieking
>criticisms directed at him.  If he were forced out -- and there's no
>basis for assuming he was until there's evidence for that -- then that
>reflects quite badly on the Obama administration's willingness to defy
>the Bill Kristols, Marty Peretzes, and /National Review/s of the world
>when it comes to American policy towards the Middle East.
>In the U.S., you can advocate torture, illegal spying, and completely
>optional though murderous wars and be appointed to the highest
>positions.  But you can't, apparently, criticize Israeli actions too
>much or question whether America's blind support for Israel should be
>*_UPDATE_*: Prior to the announcement that the Freeman appointment was
>terminated, Max Blumenthal documented
>that the man leading the anti-Freeman assault was Steve Rosen,
>the long-time AIPAC official currently on trial for violations of
>the Espionage Act in connection with the transmission of classified U.S.
>information intended for Israel. Blumenthal also quotes foreign policy
>analyst Chris Nelson as follows:
>    Freeman is stuck in the latest instance of the *deadly power game
>    long played here on what level of support for controversial Israeli
>    government policies is a "requirement" for US public office. * If
>    Obama surrenders to the critics and orders [Director of National
>    Intelligence Dennis Blair] to rescind the Freeman appointment to
>    chair the NIC, it is difficult to see how he can properly exercise
>    leverage, when needed, in his conduct of policy in the Middle East.
>    That, literally, is how the experts see the stakes of the fight now
>    under way.
>Blumethal also suggested that right-wing Israel fanatics in the U.S. are
>particularly interested in controlling how intelligence is analyzed due
>to their anger over the NIE's 2007 conclusion that Iran had ceased its
>pursuit of nuclear weapons.
>    "It's clear that Freeman isn't going to be influenced by the lobby,"
>    Jim Lobe, the Washington bureau chief of Inter Press Service,
>    remarked to me. "They don't like people like that, especially when
>    they're in charge of products like the NIE. So this is a very
>    important test for them."
>Blumenthal further noted that the leader of the anti-Freeman crusade in
>the House, Rep.  Mark Kirk, is Congress' top recipient of
>AIPAC donations.   Identically, Greg Sargent previously reported that,
>in the Senate, "concern" over Freeman was expressed by Sen. Chuck
>Schumer directly to Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel
>Does anyone doubt that it's far more permissible in American political
>culture to criticize actions of the American government than it is the
>actions of the Israeli Government?   Isn't that rather odd, and quite
>self-evidently destructive?
>*_UPDATE II_*: Andrew Sullivan on "The Freeman Precedent"
>    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.
>Actually, Obama's DNI, Adm. Blair, did defend Freeman, but only today,
>and it's true that no other Obama officials did.  As usual, it was a
>bipartisan onslaught of government officials marching in lockstep
>loyalty to AIPAC mandates, with nobody outside of some bloggers and
>online writers defending Freeman.  Though I was just arguing yesterday
>that the rules for discussing Israel in the U.S. have become more
>and I still think that, this outcome was probably inevitable given the
>refusal of virtually all influential Beltway factions to deviate from
>mandated loyalty to the right-wing Israel agenda.  That it was
>inevitable doesn't make it any less grotesque.
>*_UPDATE III_*: Chuck Schumer -- who supported Bush's nomination of
>Michael Hayden for CIA Director despite his key role in implementing
>Bush's illegal eavesdropping program, and supported Bush's nomination
>of Michael Mukasey as Attorney General despite his refusal to say that
>waterboarding was torture -- is now boasting about the role he played in
>blocking Freeman's appointment
>all based on Freeman's crimes in speaking ill of the U.S. Israel:
>    Charles Freeman was the wrong guy for this position. *His statements
>    against Israel were way over the top* and severely out of step with
>    the administration. I repeatedly urged the White House to reject
>    him, and *I am glad they did the right thing.*
>That's certainly evidence that (a) Freeman was forced out, and (b) his
>so-called "statements against Israel" were the precipitating cause.
>*_UPDATE IV_*: Lynch mob leader Jonathan Chait of Marty Peretz's
>magazine, who spent the last week denying
>that Israel was the driving force behind the attacks on Freeman, brings
>himself to acknowledge the truth
>now that Freeman has been vanquished for his blasphemy:
>    Of course I recognize that the Israel lobby is powerful, and *was a
>    key element in the pushback against Freeman*, and that it is not
>    always a force for good.
>What I find most mystifying is that Israel-centric fanatics actually
>think it is a good thing for Israel to impose these sorts of
>Israel-based loyalty tests and orthodoxies on American politics.  Polls
>show that Americans overwhelmingly want the U.S. Government to be
><> in the
>Israel/Palestinian dispute and substantial portions of Americans do not
>favor American policies towards Israel
> Isn't it rather obvious that at some point, there will be a substantial
>and understandable backlash as Americans watch people like Chuck Schumer
>openly boast that anyone who makes "*statements against Israel*" that he
>deems "over the top" will be disqualified from serving in our
>Government, despite a long and distinguished record of public service
>and unchallenged expertise?
>*_UPDATE V_*: Good for Charles Freeman for going down with a fight,
>issuing an impassioned and highly persuasive statement/warning
>about what the failure of his appointment, which he says he terminated,
>means for the U.S.:
>    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.*
>Freeman's full statement is here
><>.  How
>anyone thinks that it is helpful to Israel to impose these blatant
>litmus tests of Israel-loyalty on American politics is truly
>mystifying.  Foreign policy expert Larry Rothkopf says
>that the failure of Freeman's appointment "cost the United States
>intelligence and policy communities the benefit of a truly unique mind
>and set of perspectives" and "have also contributed to what can only be
>characterized as a leadership crisis in the U.S. government."  Judging
>by Freeman's statement today, Rothkopf is absolutely right.
>* -- Glenn Greenwald*
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