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February 24, 2009
Obama's New Spy Chief Publishes a Vicious Anti Israel Journal
Ben Smith has confirmed that Chas Freeman has been offered and accepted President Obama's invitation to be the Chairman of the National Intelligence Council, the intelligence community's primary big-think shop and the lead U.S. governmental body in producing national intelligence estimates.
For the last dozen years, Freeman, the former US Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, has been President of the Middle East Policy Council (formally known as the American Arab Affairs Council) a lobbying group for the Arab world. One of the group’s primary functions is to publish a quarterly journal called Middle East Policy. The journal is filled with anti-Israel messages that are beyond even the broadest definition of mainstream of U.S. thinking on the region. As the President of the organization responsible for this vicious and biased journal, the appointment of Freeman as a gatekeeper for U.S. intelligence is a very disturbing matter.
The Chairman of the National Intelligence Council is just like the editor of a journal. He must review, edit, add context to, and decide what to present to the President in terms of good intelligence. Therefore it is reasonable to predict Freeman's handling of the NIC job by looking at his work as President of MPEC and the journal that is published under his authority, Middle East Policy.
As you are about to see, the vicious and distorted polemics that have passed through his editorial desk prove that Freeman is not qualified to be the "editor" of America's intelligence.
In MIDDLE EAST POLICY, VOL. XV, NO. 3, FALL 2008, the Editor's Note perpetuates the anti-Israel slander that the Iraq war was waged for Israel:
...beginning that the war was an excuse to enlarge the U.S. strategic “footprint” (as neocon William Kristol calls it) on top of the lakes of oil in the Gulf region and make life safer for Irael, starting with the easiest problem case, Iraq. If the governments in the area did not come around, no problem; American troops were there in any case and would protect Israel....In a New York Times op-ed (July 18), Benny Morris put the matter to Bush/Cheney crudely: bomb the suspected sites now or Israel will have to use nuclear weapons on Iran later. Call it extortion, if you will. But perhaps a better term is moral hazard: having been “insured” by the United States, Israel does not have to be cautious or even sensible. The Georgians seem to have learned this lesson too, and without having to pay the high premium that a first-class standing army of lobbyists requires. Anne Joyce August 15, 2008In another Editor's Note (July 07 ) IDF is depicted using Nazi military tactics during the Six-Day-War:
As regime-change advocates would have it, real peace talks cannot happen first; a deal with Syria involving an exchange of land for peace would cement in place the ruling Baath party of Bashar al-Asad. If he were to regain through negotiations the Golan Heights, occupied by Israel since its Blitzkrieg of June 1967, he would be a god to his people, having set right what his father could not. A popular leader is very hard to topple, even in a weak state...
That same editorial goes on to say that political campaigners do not criticize Israel for fear of being labeled anti-Semitic:
Honest debate in this election season is hampered, as always, by the political correctness (or, rather, the abject fear) of mainstream political figures, both neoconservative and neoliberal, and the media will not get out ahead of them. They all have to protect themselves from the charge of antisemitism, which has now been successfully conflated with criticism of the State of Israel...
This Editor's Note from the Fall 2007 issue accuses the US of working to protect Israel’s "victim status:"
This hamstrung U.S. diplomacy but protected Israel's victim status and left it free to annex as much Palestinian land as possible (see articles on the current lack of peace by Kelman, Kasrils and Peled-Elhanan). We still allow Israel to call the shots. Ehud Barak, a contender for power again, has said that talking to Hamas had to wait until Israel had a military deterrent to the low-tech missiles that have been lobbed into Israeli towns from the Gaza Strip. There is no sign that the U.S. government, whichever party leads it, will talk Israel down from this position. And the current fiasco in the making buying off Fatah and starving Hamas is an Israeli plan that Washington has had to accept…
For those wishing to dig deeper, the MEPC website can be found here.
While one can certainly disagree with other views of the middle-east and its problems, the views expressed by the Chas Freeman led MEPC are not within even the broadest mainstream currents of U.S. thinking on the region. It is not merely that the think tank is anti-Israel; the viciousness and contempt of its views, and the openness of MEPC's bias, make the appointment of Freeman to "edit" the intelligence information of the United States a very disturbing matter.
Sammy Benoit is the Editor of Yidwithlid