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Published on March 10th, 2009 | by Jim Lobe

17

Freeman’s Statement

If you haven’t seen it already, here is Chas Freeman’s statement on the withdrawal of his appointment as chairman of the National Intelligence Council (NIC):

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You will by now have seen the statement by Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair reporting that I have withdrawn my previous acceptance of his invitation to chair the National Intelligence Council.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.

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17 Responses to Freeman’s Statement

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  1. avatar Mike says:

    In a matter of a month two key appointments (one Anthony Zinni and now Chas Freeman) have been torpedoed by the Israeli lobby.

    I fear for America.

  2. avatar Jon Harrison says:

    Mr. Freeman’s statement says it all. This matter deserves far more attention than it has received. It has been reported to a minimal extent; the average American has not heard a word about it. Yet we have incessant coverage of so many relatively unimportant events.

    There are two issues here. The first was raised by Freeman in his statement: U.S. policy is being manipulated by certain people who place Israel’s interests before those of the United States. This should be brought to the attention of the American people by the American media – but as usual when it comes to Israel, our media sees, hears and speaks no evil. This site is one of a few devoted to a unbiased examination of the facts. Unfortunately, the reach of this and other like-minded sites cannot compare to that of the media outlets sympathetic to the Lobby.

    The second issue I find even more disturbing. Actions like the campaign against Freeman cause a buildup of resentment that eventually may (must?) lead to an explosion. The Lobby is contributing to a growth in anti-Semitism — indeed, to some extent it is creating anti-Semitism. The consequence of this, I fear, will be violent. There is a terrible paradox here. While in the past an innocent population was victimized by purveyors of the Great Lie, today it is the potential victims who are telling lies — lies that imperil their own cause, and more.

  3. avatar Michael Polan says:

    I have always been surprized at the power of this lobby, this personal attack is fueled by an American citizen who has committed treason against his own government by leaking information to Israel. I admire Mr Freeman’s clear and straightforward defense of his character and am saddened that such an articulate and decent man should not be able to advise his government in this difficult time

  4. avatar Carroll says:

    Every time Israel goes unpunished for it’s agressions and every time the US zionist are successful in preventing people like Freeman and Zinni from representing US interest they become bolder and bolder in their madness.

    I use to think that surely the majority of congress would come to it’s senses and do something about this subverting of US government by the foreign interest of US zionist…then I thought perhaps Obama would bring some balance to this issue ….but I no longer have any expectation of that happening.

    I don’t think it is alarmist to say that the US zionist and the Jewish Lobby will destroy America…they have already destroyed our government…..it can’t end any other way now.

    @Jon..
    “The second issue I find even more disturbing. Actions like the campaign against Freeman cause a buildup of resentment that eventually may (must?) lead to an explosion. The Lobby is contributing to a growth in anti-Semitism — indeed, to some extent it is creating anti-Semitism. The consequence of this, I fear, will be violent. There is a terrible paradox here. While in the past an innocent population was victimized by purveyors of the Great Lie, today it is the potential victims who are telling lies — lies that imperil their own cause, and more.”

    I have a problem with characterizing the current resentment of (some) Jews as anti-semitism. The majority of the resentment out in the public is justifed and deserved. For 60 years the Jews themselves have created and at the very least let their communities and leaders create the image that Jews=Israel.
    We Americans ( and the world) have been told for decades by Jews themselves that Jews=Israel, it’s not something we thought up ourselves.

    So let’s not use ‘anti semitism” to describe what is happening even when saying they or Israel are creating it themselves. It wouldn’t matter if they are Jews, Buddhist or Methodist or the Cuban Exile cabal or mixed ethnic Communist or German Nazis undermining America, the resentment of them and what they are doing would be the same.

    Using anti semitism to describe the general disgust over their tactics and agenda is the same as their using anti semitism to smear critics and deflect criticism of what they are in reality, actually doing,have been doing before our very eyes…and it just doesn’t wash as an excuse or defense any longer.

    We need to start being very clear and precise about exactly what this is.

  5. avatar Jon Harrison says:

    I agree with you, Carroll. You misunderstood my point, or perhaps I should say I was unclear. I myself am very critical of Israel and even more so of the Israel Lobby here in the U.S. But I certainly did not mean that I or anyone else who feels as I do is anti-semitic. What I meant to convey is that some people can be pushed over the line into outright anti-semitism by the actions of Israel/the Lobby. And that anti-semites can more easily fan the flames of hate when Israel and Jews here in the States heap fuel on the fire.


About the Author

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Jim Lobe served for some 30 years as the Washington DC bureau chief for Inter Press Service and is best known for his coverage of U.S. foreign policy and the influence of the neoconservative movement.



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  • Named after veteran journalist Jim Lobe, LobeLog provides daily expert perspectives on US foreign policy toward the Middle East through investigative reports and analyses from Washington to Tehran and beyond. It became the first weblog to receive the Arthur Ross Award for Distinguished Reporting and Analysis of Foreign Affairs from the American Academy of Diplomacy in 2015.

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