Why is the media silent about Charles Freeman’s case?
Daniel Pipes remercie Steve Rosen pour son article qui a déclenché la vague ayant mené à l’élimination de la nomination de Charles Freeman trois semaines plus tard. Il s’agit du même Steve Rosen qui est accusé de haute trahison pour le scandale d’espionnage (nucléaire) à l’AIPAC. L’affaire Freeman ramène ainsi à la surface l’affaire d’espionnage à l’AIPAC de même que les accusation à l’endroit de Rosen.
Par Charles Freeman
Charles Freeman, un diplomate chevronné qui devrait devenir le principal analyste des services de renseignements américains s’est désisté mardi. Il a publié une déclaration accusant le « Lobby Israélien » de « diffamation ».
Voici le texte de sa déclaration.
Ceux qui m’ont soutenu et encouragé pendant la polémique de ces deux dernières semaines, vous avez ma gratitude et mon respect.
Vous avez vu maintenant la déclaration du directeur du Renseignement national, Dennis Blair, disant que je suis revenu sur ma précédente acceptation de son invitation à la présidence de la National Intelligence Council.
J’en ai conclu que le déluge de déformations calomnieuses de mes antécédents ne cesserait pas avec ma prise de fonction. Au lieu de cela, les efforts déployés pour me salir et de détruire ma crédibilité continueraient.
Je ne crois pas que le National Intelligence Council pourrait fonctionner de manière efficace si son président fait constamment l’objet d’attaques venant de personnes peu scrupuleuses avec un fervent attachement aux opinions d’une faction politique dans un pays étranger. J’ai accepté de présider le NIC pour le renforcer et le protéger contre toute politisation, et non pas pour le soumettre aux efforts déployés par un groupe d’intérêt spécial désirant imposer leur contrôle à travers une longue campagne politique.
Comme ceux qui me connaissent le savent bien, j’ai beaucoup aimé la vie depuis que je me suis retiré du gouvernement. Rien n’est plus éloigné de ma pensée que le retour au service public.
Lorsque l’amiral Blair m’a demandé de présider le NIC, j’ai répondu que je comprenais qu’il « me demandait de donner ma liberté d’expression, mes loisirs, la plus grande partie de mes revenus, de me soumettre à la coloscopie mentale d’un polygraphe, et de reprendre un travail quotidien avec de longues heures de travail et une ration quotidienne de mauvais traitements politiques« .
J’ai ajouté que je me demandais «s’il n’y avait pas une sorte d’inconvénient à cette offre. » J’étais conscient du fait que personne n’est indispensable, je ne suis pas une exception.
Il m’a fallu des semaines de réflexion avant de conclure qu’étant donné la situation difficile sans précédent dans laquelle se trouve actuellement notre pays à l’étranger et au niveau interne, je n’avais pas d’autre choix que d’accepter l’appel au retour dans le service public.
J’ai alors démissionné de tous les postes que j’avais et de toutes les activités dans lesquelles j’étais engagé. J’attends maintenant avec impatience de revenir à la vie privée, libre de toutes mes obligations antérieures.
Je ne suis pas assez prétentieux pour croire que cette polémique me concernait directement et non des questions de politique publique. Ces questions n’ont pas grand-chose à voir avec le NIC et ne sont pas au cœur de ce que j’espérais faire pour contribuer à la qualité de l’analyse mise à la disposition du président Obama et de son administration.
Pourtant, je suis attristé par ce qu’ont révélé au sujet de l’état de notre société civile la polémique et les critiques publiques au vitriol de ceux qui se sont consacrés à l’entretenir. Il est évident que nous, les Américains ne pouvons plus avoir une sérieuse discussion publique ou un jugement indépendant sur les questions de grande importance pour notre pays, tout comme nos alliés et amis.
Les diffamations me concernant et leurs pistes d’emails facilement traçables montrent de façon certaine qu’il y a un lobby puissant déterminé à empêcher que soit diffusé toute opinion autre que la sienne, et encore moins de laisser les Américains comprendre les tendances et les événements au Moyen-Orient.
La stratégie du Lobby Israélien touche le fond du déshonneur et de l’indécence et comprend la diffamation, les citations sélectives inexactes, la déformation volontaire d’un dossier, la fabrication de mensonges, et un total mépris de la vérité. L’objectif de ce lobby est le contrôle du processus politique par l’exercice d’un droit de veto sur la nomination des personnes qui contestent le bien-fondé de son point de vue, la substitution d’une justesse politique de l’analyse, et l’exclusion de toutes les options pour la prise de décisions par les Américains et notre gouvernement autres que celles qu’il favorise.
C’est particulièrement ironique d’être accusé d’égards déplacés pour des opinions au sujet de sociétés et de gouvernements étrangers par un groupe ayant aussi clairement l’intention de faire appliquer une adhésion à la politique d’un gouvernement étranger – dans ce cas, le gouvernement d’Israël.
Je pense que l’incapacité de l’opinion publique américaine à débattre, ou du gouvernement à examiner toute option de politique américaine au Moyen-Orient opposée à la faction au pouvoir en Israël a permis à cette faction d’adopter et de maintenir des politiques qui à terme menacent l’existence de l’État d’Israël. Il est interdit à qui que ce soit aux États-Unis de le dire. Ce n’est pas seulement une tragédie pour les Israéliens et leurs voisins au Moyen-Orient, mais cela nuit de plus en plus à la sécurité nationale des États-Unis.
L’agitation scandaleuse qui a fait suite à la fuite concernant ma nomination imminente sera considérée par beaucoup comme soulevant de graves questions quant au fait de savoir si l’administration Obama sera en mesure de prendre ses propres décisions sur le Moyen-Orient et les questions liées. Je regrette que ma volonté de servir dans la nouvelle administration ait fini par jeter le doute sur sa capacité à examiner, sans parler de décider quelles politiques pourraient le mieux servir les intérêts des États-Unis au lieu de ceux d’un Lobby ayant l’intention de faire respecter la volonté et des intérêts d’un gouvernement étranger.
Devant le tribunal de l’opinion publique, contrairement à une cour de justice, on est coupable jusqu’à preuve du contraire. Les allocutions d’où des citations ont été tirées hors de leur contexte sont disponibles pour tous ceux qui sont intéressés par la lecture de la vérité. L’injustice des accusations portées contre moi est évidente pour ceux qui ont l’esprit ouvert. Ceux qui ont cherché à attaquer ma personne ne sont pas intéressés par les réfutations que je ou quelqu’un d’autre pourrait faire.
Néanmoins, pour le dossier : je n’ai jamais cherché à être payé ou accepté le paiement d’un gouvernement étranger, que ce soit l’Arabie Saoudite ou la Chine, contre tout service, je n’ai jamais parlé au nom d’un gouvernement étranger, de ses intérêts, ou de ses politiques. Je n’ai jamais fait pression sur n’importe quelle agence de notre gouvernement pour une raison quelconque, étrangère ou nationale.
Je suis moi-même, personne d’autre, et à mon retour dans la vie privée, je servirai une fois de plus – et à mon grand plaisir – personne d’autre que moi. Je vais continuer à m’exprimer comme je le voudrai sur des sujets qui me préoccupent, moi ainsi que d’autres Américains.
Je garde mon respect et ma confiance dans le président Obama et DNI Blair. Notre pays doit maintenant faire face à de terribles défis à l’étranger comme au niveau national. Comme tous les Américains patriotes, je continue de prier pour que notre président puisse nous aider à les surmonter.
La lettre originale, écrite par monsieur Freeman:
Freeman speaks out on his exit
Une ingérence trop visible
Affaire Freeman : le Lobby israélien vacille
par John J. Mearsheimer | Washington | Focus |Alors que la coalition qui a porté Barack Obama à la Maison-Blanche s’entredéchire, le Lobby israélien (AIPAC) est parvenu à écarter l’ambassadeur Freeman de la présidence du Conseil du Renseignement national. C’est que, depuis plusieurs années, Chas Freeman est le leader d’un courant, au sein du département d’État et de la CIA, qui tente de recentrer la politique de Washington au Proche-Orient sur les intérêts nationaux US. Il a organisé la publicité autour du livre critique des professeurs John J. Mearsheimer et Stephen M. Walt, il a aidé à la conclusion des contrats pétroliers entre la Chine et l’Iran, il a organisé l’invitation du président Ahmadinejad à l’université de Columbia et, plus récemment, a apporté son soutien à l’envoyé spécial de l’ONU dans les Territoires palestiniens Richard Falk. Pour lui barrer la route, le Lobby israélien l’a accusé de servir les intérêts saoudiens et chinois ce qu’il ne pouvait démentir sauf à révéler son rôle exact au sein des services de renseignement US. Cependant, l’action (lire le reste…)
Freeman: US run by Israeli Lobby
On Charles Freeman’s Withdrawal
by Stephen M. Walt
(co-author of The Israel Lobby, version française) http://walt.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2009/03/11/on_chas_freemans_withdrawal
As you might expect, I have a few thoughts on Charles Freeman’s decisionto withdraw from consideration as chair of the National IntelligenceCommittee. First, for all of you out there who may have questioned whether therewas a powerful « Israel lobby, » or who admitted that it existed butdidn’t think it had much influence, or who thought that the real problemwas some supposedly all-powerful « Saudi lobby, » think again. Second, this incident does not speak well for Barack Obama’s principles,or even his political instincts. It is one thing to pander to variousspecial interest groups while you’re running for office — everyoneexpects that sort of thing — but it’s another thing to let a group ofbullies push you around in the first fifty days of your administration.But as Ben Smith noted in Politico, it’s entirely consistent with mostof Obama’s behavior on this issue. The decision to toss Freeman over the side tells the lobby (and others)that it doesn’t have to worry about Barack getting tough with Netanyahu,or even that he’s willing to fight hard for his own people. AlthoughAIPAC has issued a pro forma denial that it had anything to do with it,well-placed friends in Washington have told me that it leaned hard onsome key senators behind-the-scenes and is now bragging that Obama is a »pushover. » Bottom line: Caving on Freeman was a blunder that could comeback to haunt any subsequent effort to address the deterioratingsituation in the region. Third, and related to my second point, this incident reinforces mysuspicion that the Democratic Party is in fact a party of wimps. I’m nottalking about Congress, which has been in thrall to the lobby fordecades, but about the new team in the Executive Branch. Don’t theyunderstand that you have to start your term in office by making it clearthat people will pay a price if they cross you? Barack Obama won anhistoric election and has a clear mandate for change — and thatincludes rethinking our failed Middle East policy — and yet he wouldn’tdefend an appointment that didn’t even require Senate confirmation. Why?See point No.1 above. Of course, it’s possible that I’m wrong here, and that Obama’s team wasactually being clever. Freeman’s critics had to expend a lot ofammunition to kill a single appointment to what is ultimately not adirect policy-making position, and they undoubtedly ticked off a lot ofpeople by doing so. When the real policy fights begin — over the actualcontent of the NIEs, over attacking Iran, and over the peace processitself — they aren’t likely to get much sympathy from DNI Blair and itis least conceivable that Obama will turn to them and say, « look, I gaveyou one early on, but now I’m going to do what’s right for America. » Idon’t really believe that will happen, but I’ll be delighted if Obamaproves me wrong. Fourth, the worst aspect of the Freeman affair is the likelihood of achilling effect on discourse in Washington, at precisely the time whenwe badly need a more open and wide-ranging discussion of our Middle Eastpolicy. As I noted earlier, this was one of the main reasons why thelobby went after Freeman so vehemently; in an era where more and morepeople are questioning Israel’s behavior and questioning the merits ofunconditional U.S. support, its hardline defenders felt they simply hadto reinforce the de facto ban on honest discourse inside the Beltway. After forty-plus years of occupation, two wars in Lebanon, and thelatest pummeling of Gaza, (not to mention Ehud Olmert’s own comparisonof Israel with South Africa), defenders of the « special relationship »can’t win on facts and logic anymore. So they have to rely on rawpolitical muscle and the silencing or marginalization of those with whomthey disagree. In the short term, Freeman’s fate is intended to send themessage that if you want to move up in Washington, you had better makedamn sure that nobody even suspects you might be an independent thinkeron these issues. This outcome is bad for everyone, including Israel. It means that policydebates in the United States will continue to be narrower than in othercountries (including Israel itself), public discourse will be equallybiased, and a lot of self-censorship will go on. America’s Middle Eastpolicy will remain stuck in the same familiar rut, and even awell-intentioned individual like George Mitchell won’t be able to bringthe full weight of our influence to bear. At a time when Israel badly needs honest advice, nobody in Washington isgoing to offer it, lest they face the wrath of the same foolishideologues who targeted Freeman. The likely result is further erosion inAmerica’s position in the Middle East, and more troubles for Israel aswell. Yet to those who defended Freeman’s appointment and challenged thelobby’s smear campaign, I offer a fifth observation: do not lose heart.The silver lining in this sorry episode is that it was abundantly clearto everyone what was going on and who was behind it. In the past, thelobby was able to derail appointments quietly — even pre-emptively –but this fight took place in broad daylight. And Steve Rosen, one ofFreeman’s chief tormentors, once admitted: « a lobby is like a nightflower. It thrives in the dark and dies in the sun. » Slowly, the light is dawning and the lobby’s negative influence isbecoming more and more apparent, even if relatively few people have theguts to say so out loud. But history will not be kind to the likes ofCharles Schumer, Jonathan Chait, Steve Rosen et al, whose hideboundviews are unintentionally undermining both U.S. and Israeli security. Last but not least, I cannot help but be struck by how little confidenceFreeman’s critics seem to have in Israel itself. Apparently they believethat a country that recently celebrated its 60th birthday, whose percapita income ranks 29th in the world, that has several hundred nuclearweapons, and a military that is able to inflict more than 1,300 deathson helpless Palestinians in a couple of weeks without much effort willnonetheless be at risk if someone who has criticized some Israelipolicies (while defending its existence) were to chair the NationalIntelligence Council. The sad truth is that these individuals are deathly afraid of honestdiscourse here in the United States because deep down, they believeIsrael cannot survive if it isn’t umbilically attached to the UnitedStates. The irony is that people like me have more confidence in Israelthan they do: I think Israel can survive and prosper if it has a normalrelationship with the United States instead of « special » one. Indeed, Ithink a more normal relationship would be better for both countries. Itappears they aren’t so sure, and that is why they went after CharlesFreeman. Stephen M. Walt is the Robert and Renée Belfer Professor ofInternational Relations at Harvard University. He is co-author of TheIsrael Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy.
Pressure of Jewish lobby results in withdrawal of nominee considered
too ‘pro-Muslim’ by Zionist coalitions
By Michael Collins Piper
It had to happen: The Obama administration is under fire from the Jewish lobby. The first shot came from Abe Foxman, chief of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) of B’nai B’rith, a key cog in the Jewish lobby. Foxman expressed dismay that Obama appointed former Sen. George Mitchell (D-Maine)—who is of Arab extraction—as his Middle East negotiator.
Foxman was angry that Mitchell was perceived to be too neutral, that in the past Mitchell had not adhered to an all-out pro-Israel stance during a previous stint working to broker peace between Israel and the Palestinian refugees. Foxman expressed outrage at the idea that the United States should demonstrate any “evenhandedness” in conducting Middle East Policy.
Now the Jewish lobby is shrieking at the appointment of Charles Freeman, a former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia, as chairman of the National Intelligence Council, the influential body that, last fall, outraged Israel by asserting that Iran’s nuclear arms program was not so far advanced and threatening as Israel’s supporters insisted.
Israel National News describes Freeman as “a sharp critic of Israel.” Freeman upset Israel by asserting the United States should confer with Hamas, which he called “the only democratically elected government in the Arab world.”
Elsewhere, the former ambassador declared:
We destroyed the Iraqi state and catalyzed anarchy, sectarian violence, terrorism, and civil war in that country. . . .Meanwhile, we embraced Israel’s enemies as our own; they responded by equating Americans with Israelis as their enemies. We abandoned the role of Middle East peacemaker to back Israel’s efforts to pacify its captive and increasingly ghettoized Arab populations. We wring our hands while sitting on them as the Jewish state continues to seize ever more Arab lands for its colonists. This has convinced most Palestinians that Israel cannot be appeased and is persuading increasing numbers of them that a two-state solution is unfeasible. . . . Now the United States has brought the Palestinian experience—of humiliation, dislocation and death—to millions more in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Now, three leading congressional supporters of Israel, Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) and Republicans Mark Kirk (Ill.) and Eric Cantor (Va.)—an Orthodox Jew who serves as the minority whip in the House—are demanding an inquiry by the inspector general for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence into ties between the Middle East Policy Council, a private group—which has been critical of the U.S.-Israel “special relationship—that has been chaired by Freeman and which has received funding from Saudi Arabia.
One critic of Freeman’s group charged it had published “anti-Semitic canards” about “a powerful Jewish cabal” in the U.S. Kirk proclaimed: “Given his close ties to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, we request a comprehensive review of Ambassador Freeman’s past and current commercial, financial and contractual ties to the kingdom to ensure no conflict of interest exists in his new position.”
And his GOP colleague, Cantor, added: “Charles Freeman’s past associations and positions on foreign policy are deeply alarming. His statements about the U.S.- Israel relationship raise serious concerns about his ability to support the administration’s attempts to bring security, stability and peace to the Middle East.”
(Apparently Kirk and Cantor believe it is entirely appropriate for Americans with close ties to Israel and foreign Jewish interests to be appointed to high office.)
Mark S. Devenow, writing on the website of the Jewish Telegraph Agency, said, “The fact that Obama would even think of appointing such a rabid anti-Israel partisan . . . ought to be alarming to every Jew who voted for this callow and insouciant person in whom the leadership of the free world is now vested.”
Noting that 76 percent of American Jews had claimed to have voted for Obama, Devenow added, “Shame on us for bringing, or helping to bring, this [president] on ourselves.” [Note: As AFP went to press. Freeman withdrew his name from consideration.—Ed.]
A journalist specializing in media critique, Michael Collins Piper is the author of The High Priests of War, The New Jerusalem, Dirty Secrets, The Judas Goats, The Golem, Target Traficant and My First Days in the White House All are available from AFP.
(Issue # 12, March 23, 2009)
March 13, 2009
Charles Freeman’s withdrawal from his appointment as head of the National Intelligence Council has attracted a great deal of comment. But the most amazing parts of his statement are the least commented on. To wit:
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.
This is a rather unvarnished statement of disloyalty. Indeed, Freeman’s comment bears more than a passing resemblance to Pat Buchanan’s famous comments on the neoconservatives who engineered the US invasion of Iraq on behalf of Israel:
They charge us with anti-Semitism—i.e., a hatred of Jews for their faith, heritage, or ancestry. False. The truth is, those hurling these charges harbor a “passionate attachment” to a nation not our own that causes them to subordinate the interests of their own country and to act on an assumption that, somehow, what’s good for Israel is good for America.
And in case anyone missed it, Freeman made the accusation of disloyalty twice more:
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 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.
And yet, coverage of the Freeman withdrawal in the mainstream media has ignored these allegations. (In fact, as Andrew Sullivan noted, the MSM basically ignored the issue entirely.) The Washington Post article(posted also at the Los Angeles Times website) summarized the situation by saying only that “Freeman had come under fire for statements he had made criticizing Israeli policies and for his past connections to Saudi and Chinese interests.” It quoted Freeman’s statement that he did not believe that the NIC “could function effectively while its chair was under constant attack » but left out the rest of Freeman’s sentence: “by unscrupulous people with a passionate attachment to the views of a political faction in a foreign country.”
The Post’s editorial on the subject bordered on the bizarre, claiming that any suggestion that the Lobby was behind the failed appointment was nothing more than a “conspiracy theory.” Please!
The New York Timesarticle included some of Freeman’s very negative comments on the Israel Lobby, but also included the denial of any influence by a spokesman for AIPAC:
Mr. Freeman blamed pro-Israel groups for the controversy, saying 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.”
Joshua Block, a spokesman for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a lobbying group, said Tuesday that his organization had not taken a formal position on Mr. Freeman’s selection and had not lobbied Congress members to oppose it.
Again, no mention of disloyalty. And although both the New York Times and the Washington Post took Block at his word in denying AIPAC’s involvement, Block was lying through his teeth. According to Stephen Walt, despite claiming that it had no role in the affair, AIPAC “leaned hard on some key senators behind-the-scenes and is now bragging that Obama is a ‘pushover.’”
The only mention of the disloyalty issue I have been able to find in the MSM is Melanie Phillips’ column in The Spectator (London) titled “Exit, Spraying Venom.” Phillips quotes Freeman’s “passionate attachment to the views of a political faction in a foreign country” comment, describing his comments as a whole as a “gross libel against American Jews, through its false and malevolent accusation of untoward and uniquely powerful and damaging political power.” Phillips concludes:
Given the unhinged hatred towards Israel and the Jews coursing through the west, which was given rocket fuel in the US by the Walt/Mearsheimer travesty which invested Jewish conspiracy theory with a wholly spurious aura of academic respectability, it was inevitable that if Freeman bit the dust the Jews would be blamed.
Wow! Clearly Phillips is the one who is unhinged. But not for the first time. She has been quoted as believing while « individual Palestinians may deserve compassion, their cause amounts to Holocaust denial as a national project. »
In making his charges of disloyalty, Freeman’s comments must be understood as indicting not only the usual suspects, such as AIPAC and Daniel Pipes’ Middle East Forum (current home of Steve Rosen, the former AIPAC operative who is being tried for espionage on behalf of Israel and was the first to flag Freeman’s appointment). Minimally, Freeman is also indicting the Jewish Senators and Congressmen who pushed hard on this issue. (Non-Jewish politicians like Rep. Mark Steven Kirk, who took up the Lobby’s cause in Congress, are guilty of nothing more than mundane things like subservience, cowardice, and the desire to be reelected.) The Jewish names mentioned most prominently in the Congressional campaign against Freeman have been three Zionist stalwarts: Sen. Charles Schumer, Rep. Steve Israel and Sen. Joe Lieberman.
It is noteworthy that Schumer and Israel expressed their complaints to Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s Chief of Staff. Emanuel has been described as “a fierce partisan of Israel” who volunteered to aid the Israel Defense Force during the 1991 Gulf War. He was doubtless a sympathetic ear.
One wonders why the ADL has not made a statement on Freeman’s comments. It may well be that the entire organized Jewish community hopes for a quick death for this incident — the less said the better at this point. This same logic would explain why the disloyalty issue is not discussed in the MSM: Disloyalty is a very grave charge that the goyim shouldn’t even be thinking about. As Steven Walt points out, lobbies live in the dark and die in the light of day. It’s hard to imagine Abe Foxman complaining that Freeman’s accusation of disloyalty is yet another anti-Jewish canard when it’s not very difficult for even the most braindead among us to see that there is a whole lot of truth in it.
It is important to realize the gravity of the charge of Jewish disloyalty. It is a charge that has repeatedly surfaced throughout Jewish history beginning in the Book of Exodus where Pharaoh says: “Behold, the people of the children of Israel are too mighty for us; come, let us deal wisely with them, lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that, when there befalleth us any war, they also join themselves unto our enemies, and fight against us, and get them up out of the land” (Exod. 1:9–10).
The first example I am aware of in American history was the successful campaign by Jewish organizations to abrogate a trade agreement with Russia during the Taft Administration in 1911. In promoting the bill, Jewish spokesmen favored formulations in which the problem was couched as an American problem rather than as a problem for American Jews (even though the difficulties for American Jews were only a pretext for a campaign that was actually directed at changing the status of Russian Jews).
Similarly, as I noted in my last column, Jews around the world have been advised to frame the Iranian threat to Israel as a global problem, not simply as a problem for Israel.
The charge of disloyalty stems from a very simple fact: Jews sometimes have interests as Jews that are not the same as the interests of the society as a whole. And because the organized Jewish community has often had power far beyond its numbers, there is a very real possibility that Jewish influence would compromise the interests of the society as a whole. We have already seen this in the successful neoconservative promotion of the war in Iraq — the focus of Buchanan’s ire (and by now proved beyond a shadow of a doubt with an avalanche of other treatises on the subject). Of course, right now, the conflict revolves around Israel and the “existential threat” it sees in Iran.
The interesting thing now is what will happen to Adm. Dennis C. Blair, the Director of National Intelligence and the person who appointed Freeman. Blair not only defended Freeman to the bitter end, his stated views on Iranian nuclear capability are very much opposed by Israel (and hence the Israel Lobby). On March 10, Blair noted that « The overall situation — and the intelligence community agrees on this — [is] that Iran has not decided to press forward . . . to have a nuclear weapon on top of a ballistic missile. » This conflicts with the Israeli perspective. In commenting on the disparity in views, Blair stated that « the Israelis are far more concerned about [Iran’s nuclear capability], and they take more of a worst-case approach to these things from their point of view. »
Blair is implying that the Israeli and the American views are not the same. Horrors! This is doubtless a grave offense in the eyes of the Israel Lobby — a group that seemingly cannot even imagine that Israel and the US may have different interests.
he Lobby still has some work left to rid the government of people with ideas that differ from theirs. But they expended quite a bit of energy and credibility with the heavy-handed tactics they used in torpedoing Freeman and enforcing their version of foreign policy orthodoxy. Their next battle may be even more difficult.
The good news is that the machinations of the Lobby are more open than ever. The vast majority of the debate happened on the Internet. The MSM was late in reporting it, and in the end it left out critical details. This is yet another nail in the coffin of the credibility of the MSM, and it means that people who are serious about understanding current events are going to rely even less on it. People will read the New York Times not for « all the news that’s fit to print, » but to try to understand why the Times left out what it did. Sadly, this indictment of the MSM also applies to mainstream conservative pundits such as Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, and Rush Limbaugh.
It is noteworthy that, as J. J. Goldberg has pointed out, the Obama Administration has initiated foreign policy positions that are quite different than the Bush Administration, including high-level negotiations with Syria, approving the dialogue between the British and the political wing of Hezbollah in Lebanon, and steps that might be interpreted as a more conciliatory approach to Iran. Already, Zionist hardliners like Morton Klein of the Zionist Organization of America are up in arms about Hillary Clinton’s « troubling transformation. »
While it is too early to see where this is heading, whatever happens is going to be all over the Internet. That is a major problem for the Lobby — and one that will only get worse in the future.
Kevin MacDonald is a professor of psychology at California State University–Long Beach.
Stephen J. Sniegoski’s book, « The Transparent Cabal, » received a favorable review in the current issue of « Middle East Policy »– Spring 2009, Vol. 16 Issue 1, pp. 146-149. « Middle East Policy » is the journal of the Middle East Policy Council, which until recently had been headed by Chas Freeman (Ambassador Freeman was appointed by Admiral Dennis Blair to head the National Intelligence Council until pressure from the pro-Israel lobby resulted in his withdrawal as more about such is included after the following):
Before Freeman, its president was George McGovern. The reviewer was Thomas R. Mattair, who is the head of the book review section and an expert on Middle East Policy. Dr. Mattair is the author of author of « Global Security Watch – Iran: A Reference Handbook » (Praeger Security International, 2008)
Overall, Dr. Mattair’s review is very favorable. For example, he writes:
« Sniegoski also does an excellent job of documenting the important role
neoconservatives played during the George W. Bush administration. »
While he does not think that Sniegoski sufficiently proved his argument that a goal was to fragment Israel’s enemies, he acknowledges that the proofwould be difficult to obtain. And he does write that « The author
effectively shows the similarity of Israeli Likudnik and neoconservative
thinking during the past two decades. » This is a very significant point.
And I would think that fragmentation of Israel’s enemies represents a
large part of the Likudnik geopolitical strategy.
Dr. Mattair concludes favorably: « Aside from whether Sniegoski proves his thesis about fragmentation, however, this is a very good book that will make readers think about the price the United States has paid for accepting and acting on the neoconservative agenda. »
This favorable review should have a strong impact on other journals and
potential reviewers who are not in the Israel Lobby camp His book should not be considered an anti-Semitic « hate » book or a book that is too dangerous to touch. Other reviewers should feel safe to review the book.
And, or course, Mattair points out that the « The Transparent Cabal » is a
very serious work of scholarship, which makes a considerable contribution to understanding the neocons’ role in shaping US foreign policy. It certainly deserves to be reviewed, not ignored. (Other favorable comments about the book can be found at:
Middle East Policy; Spring 2009, Vol. 16 Issue 1, p146-162, 17p
The Transparent Cabal: The Neoconservative Agenda, War in the Middle East, and the National Interest of Israel, by Stephen J. Sniegoski. Light in the Darkness Publications,2008. 440 pages, including notes and index. $24.95, hardcover.
Thomas R. Mattair, author of global Security Watch Iran: A Reference Handbook (Praeger Security International, 2008)
In this well-written, well-organized book, Stephen J. Sniegoski makes some compelling arguments about neoconservatives: (1) they were the driving force behind the Bush administrations war in Iraq, (2) their motivation was based on their belief that American interests in the Middle East are virtually identical with the Israeli Likud partys beliefs about Israeli interests in the region, and (3) these mutual interests lie in destabilizing Israels adversaries and reconfi guring the environment rather than in the traditional American policy of stabilizing the Middle East. Others have plowed this same ground, but Sniegoski has marshaled a prodigious amount of evidence and added some new elements. He notes that these arguments have often elicited charges of anti-Semitism, particularly from neoconservatives themselves.
He points out, however, that they sometimes acknowledge being a largely Jewish group, and he dismisses the charge of anti-Semitism by noting that many Jewish Americans have made his basic arguments.
The author provides a good defi nition of neoconservatives: primarily Jewish individuals who began as liberals and leftists but migrated to the right in the late 1960s and early 1970s. They began to see McGovern and Carter Democrats and the Nixon and Ford Republicans as insufficiently devoted to anti-communism, military strength, interventionism and Israel and gravitated first to Senator Henry Jackson (D-WA) and then to the Reagan Republicans. Again, Sniegoski is careful to cite Jewish authors who have offered the same definition. Moreover, he identifies the leading neoconservatives along with their intellectual inspirations, family and institutional connections, financial patrons, media outlets, Christian Right supporters, ad hoc groups, liberal and conservative pro-Zionist Jewish allies, and ties to Israel.
Sniegoski argues that, while the neoconservatives were the driving force for the war with Iraq in 2003, the basic idea of offensive war to weaken Israels neighbors, induce regime change and reconfi gure the region has been an element of Zionist thinking since Vladimir Jabotinsky in the 1920s. It was part of Ben-Gurions thinking in the 1950s and has been ascendant among Likud leaders since their electoral victory in 1977. His claim that by reconfiguration Likudniks have meant destabilizing and fragmenting the region into a mosaic of weak ethnic and sectarian entities draws heavily perhaps too heavily on a 1982 article by Oded Yinon, who argued that the ongoing Iran-Iraq War would result in an ethno-sectarian division of Iraq, and also on a 1982 article in which Yoram Peri warned against this. After the unhappy consequences of Israels invasion of Lebanon in 1982, Sniegoski argues, Likud drew an important lesson: Such a war must not alienate Israeli public opinion and must be supported by the United States. Therefore, U.S. support for a stable Middle East, an uninterrupted flow of oil, and Arab-Israeli compromises for peace had to be changed.
The author effectively shows the similarity of Israeli Likudnik and neoconservative thinking during the past two decades. The Reagan administration supported Iraq during the Iran-Iraq War as a bulwark against the revolutionary Islamic Republic of Iran. This concerned Israel, which viewed Iraq as a major adversary and thought even post-revolutionary Iran could be a potential ally. Israel and neoconservatives, particularly Michael Ledeen, promoted U.S. arms sales to Iran in 1985-86 as part of an ultimately unsuccessful effort at rapprochement. Sniegoski also recounts Israeli Likudnik and neoconservative concern when George H.W. Bushs administration continued to support Iraq for two years after the end of this war in 1988. This administrations effort to tie U.S. housing-loan guarantees for Soviet Jewish immigrants in Israel to a halt to Israeli settlement building in the West Bank and East Jerusalem was also a sore point. In fact, Israeli Labor party leaders and a wide range of Jewish Americans also shared these views. Sniegoski then asserts that Israel and the neoconservatives sought not only the overthrow of Saddam Husseins regime but also the destabilization and ethno-sectarian fragmentation of Iraq as their favored outcome of Operation Desert Storm in 1991. He provides no evidence to support this, however. He does show that, when Israeli leaders again including Labor leaders saw that Iraq was contained and shifted their concerns to an Iranian threat, neoconservatives like Ledeen, who had argued for rapprochement with Tehran, quickly shifted to emphasizing an Iranian threat.
Sniegoski also does an excellent job of documenting the important role neoconservatives played during the George W. Bush administration. They insisted that Iraq was a greater terrorist threat than al-Qaeda and were developing military plans for overthrowing Saddam Husseins regime in the earliest months of 2001. He also stresses the role they played after 9/11 in arguing that Iraq should be an initial target and later that Iraq, Iran and Syria should become targets soon after the first stage of U.S. military operations in Afghanistan was complete. They also argued that Israeli military actions against Arafats Palestinian Authority should not be criticized. Other questionable actions of the neocons are recounted:
producing erroneous intelligence to support the war against Iraq
opposing cooperation with Iran and Syria after 9/11, including the grand bargain
claiming that the United States faced a monolithic Middle Eastern terrorist threat, not because of U.S. policies but because of the very existence and values of the United States, and that the terrorist threat to Israel was part of this threat and should be jointly confronted
advocating democracy promotion to combat tyranny (not all neoconservatives agreed with this)
wanting to widen Israels summer 2006 war with Hezbollah into Israeli and/or U.S. military action against Syria and Iran
opposing the December 2006 Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group recommendations to include Iran and Syria in regional efforts to stabilize Iraq
opposing the gradual withdrawal of U.S. combat forces from Iraq
proposing and supporting Bush’s surge of additional forces to Iraq in 2007
criticizing the December 2007 National Intelligence Estimate conclusion that Iran had suspended a nuclear-weapons program in 2003
calling continually for war against Iran and Syria.
Sniegoski also shows that, with a few possible exceptions, the positions and actions of the neoconservatives were in synch with Israel under Likud leader Ariel Sharon and Kadima leader Ehud Olmert. Israel may have initially thought that war against Iraq would be a mistake, in that Iraq was necessary to balance Iran, and that Iran should be the U.S. target after Afghanistan. However, Israel did support war against Iraq before Iran and Syria when it learned that this was the commitment of the Bush administration. It also advocated most of the rest of the neoconservative program for expanding the global war on terror through military action to bring about regime change in Iran and Syria.
One of the most interesting elements of this story, which has been told before, is that a small group of neoconservatives and Israelis, including Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, David Wurmser and Meyrav Wurmser, recommended to Benjamin Netanyahus Likud government in 1996 that Israel engage in preemptive military action to overthrow Saddam Husseins regime as a first step in creating a more favorable regional environment for Israel, and that they explained how Israel could obtain U.S. support. This small group recommended the establishment of a Hashemite monarchy in Iraq, aligned with Hashemite Jordan. They also advised Netanyahu to weaken, contain and roll back Syria, particularly to break its influence in Lebanon. According to Sniegoski, Wurmser explained in subsequent writings that he envisioned a Hashemite Iraq with a weak central government and maximum autonomy for tribal, ethnic and sectarian communities. Wurmser also clarified that he sought regime change in Syria for the same purpose. This tends to support the authors argument that fragmentation of neighboring states has been an Israeli and neoconservative objective. This goes beyond what one fi nds in Mearsheimer and Walts The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy. Sniegoski also mentions some Israeli and American support for ethnic opposition forces in Iran and provides evidence of individual neoconservatives who proposed detaching Saudi Arabias oil rich Eastern province. It is also clear that Netanyahu and others oppose returning the Golan to Syria, which means that Syria is already fragmented. However, much more evidence about a wider range of leading Israelis and neoconservatives, particularly inside the Bush II administration, would have been needed to make the case.
It might be difficult to provide suffi cient evidence that neoconservatives or Israeli Likudniks seek fragmented, powerless states surrounding Israel as a desired outcome except for the fact that they are carrying out such a plan in the West Bank, which Likudniks and neoconservatives want to divide into non-contiguous enclaves. On the other hand, deductive reasoning would suggest that military action to overthrow an authoritarian government ruling over diverse ethnic and sectarian communities might very well lead to fragmentation. It would have helped, however, if Sniegoski had examined the positions of these individuals in 2002-03 on what Iraq might look like after Saddam. Did they foresee a weak central government and provinces with very extensive autonomy? It would also have helped if the author had examined their positions on Iran after regime change. Did they expect successful movements of ethnic separatism or autonomy? Which ones were seeking a fragmentation of Lebanon as a result of the summer 2006 war?
Sniegoski argues that neoconservative claims about threats from Iraq and the possibilities for a flowering of democracy in the region have been deliberate deceptions to mobilize public support. It is likely that some individuals found democracy promotion to be a convenient idea; others may have merely been engaging in wishful thinking or underestimating the challenges. The neocons clearly did not accept the result of the Palestinian election in 2006. The recent election in Iraq seems promising, but the situation remains fragile.
Aside from whether Sniegoski proves his thesis about fragmentation, however, this is a very good book that will make readers think about the price the United States has paid for accepting and acting on the neoconservative agenda.
Dr. Stephen Sniegoski appears on the ‘American Dream’ broadcast for Press TV to talk about his book ‘The Transparent Cabal’ ==> top of the following URL:
The Transparent Cabal: The Neoconservative Agenda, War in the Middle East,and the National Interest of Israel:
Freeman: Israel’s policies destructive to US
Chas Freeman slams ‘destructive’ Israeli policies
Press TV (the Iranian channel) just did a 30 minute interview with Ambassador Freeman (but the ‘American’ media won’t!) in New York (click on the ‘Media Player’ link at the following URL to watch such if interested further):
Exclusive Interview with Chas Freeman:
Freeman: US run by Israel lobby
Chas Freeman forced by Israel Lobbies to withdraw from NIC:
Additional at http://NEOCONZIONISTTHREAT.COM
Wed, 11 Mar 2009 16:04:37 GMT
The chairman-designate of the US National Intelligence Council declines to take the post citing the Israeli grip on Washington as a reason.
On Tuesday, Charles W. Freeman wrote a fiery letter announcing his withdrawal and attacking the Israeli Lobby for a smear campaign aimed at preventing his appointment. The move followed accusations of unwelcome allegiance to Saudi Arabia and China of Freeman who is known for his anti-Israeli stance.
Freeman, an outspoken critic of Israel and the US support for the Jewish entity, blamed the “unscrupulous people” of the lobby for “outrageous agitation” and “character assassination” after it was known that Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair had tipped him to head the council. The body produces the National Intelligence Estimate listing the reported threats to US security.
“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 wrote.
“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,” the letter added.
The outspoken politician said he had clear evidence against the lobbyists who are “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.”
During his headship of the Middle East Policy Council (MEPC), allegations were leveled against Freeman that he functioned as “a mouthpiece for Saudi Arabia” in exchange for money from the Saudi royalties. He has also been accused of bias towards Beijing for constantly advising the White House to forge stronger China ties.
“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,” Freeman continued.
He wondered if President Barack Obama’s administration could formulate its own Middle East policy despite the lobby.
He also warned that the body’s coercive methods ultimately “threaten the existence of the state of Israel.”