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Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair has selected Charles W. Freeman, Jr. to be Chairman of the National Intelligence Council (NIC). As Chairman, Ambassador Freeman will be responsible for overseeing the production of National Intelligence Estimates (NIEs) and other Intelligence Community (IC) analytic products.
March 10, 2009
Statement by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence
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.
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.
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 re-examined.
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?
The assault on Charles “Chas” Freeman Jr., a former ambassador tapped to lead the National Intelligence Council, is the first blow in a battle over the Obama administration’s Middle East policy. Steven Rosen, a former director of the American Israel Political Affairs Committee due to stand trial this April for espionage for Israel, is the leader of the campaign against Freeman’s appointment…
The Israeli lobby’s mounting frustration with the intelligence community suggests another reason for its opposition to Freeman. As NIC director, Freeman would oversee the production of National Intelligence Estimates, the consensus judgment of all 16 intelligence agencies—essentially the official analysis of the U.S. government on global realities. When the December 2007 NIE found that “in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear-weapons program,” and that Iran was “less determined to develop nuclear weapons than we have been judging since 2005,” advocates for a preemptive U.S. strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities reacted with anger and dismay. Neoconservative scholar Daniel Pipes—Rosen’s new boss at the Middle East Forum—decried the NIE as “a shoddy, politicized, outrageous parody of a piece of propaganda.”
“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.”
more at link
IPS: What about longer-term strategic issues that may not be getting enough attention?
CF: One is very apposite today, and that is the future of the U.S. dollar as a reserve currency. At Bretton Woods, the dollar became the global reserve currency, backed by gold. A quarter century later, Nixon eliminated the gold backing for our currency.
Dollar hegemony has been central to our ability to basically go off the tracks fiscally and financially here. It has enabled us to avoid addressing all sorts of problems with which we’re now afflicted, and it has enabled us to avoid having financial discipline being imposed on us of the sort we have insisted be imposed on every other country under IMF (International Monetary Fund) guidelines.
The role of the dollar as a universal currency for reserve and trade settlement purposes is absolutely central to our international power and reach. Furthermore, we have used the fact that the dollar is an extension of our sovereignty to impose unilateral sanctions all over the place and to manipulate the global banking sector to enforce our policies, even when those policies — say, with respect to Iran — are not supported by others.
So we have a big stake in this, and when we get the dollar into trouble, as we have done, this is very, very fundamental. We now have China, Russia, Brazil, India, South Korea, at least, and very likely others, calling for the gradual elimination of the dollar as a reserve currency and its replacement by stages with something else — in the case of the Chinese proposal, with special drawing rights under the IMF.
I’ve seen this coming for well over a year, and have been talking about it. It’s now upon us, and it is not a problem you can send the fleet to solve. In the end, if you create a situation where people don’t want dollars, there’s nothing you can do about that. So I think this is a strategic issue...