from Nouvelles en trois lignes/Three Line News Items/ Short Stories
with perhaps "more in mind" than his own punning use of the Faits Divers' Nouvelles en trois lignes--
he may have been thinking also of the example of Gusrave Flaubert
who several decades earlier had created out of a provincial journal’s Faits Divers the novel Madame Bovary:
“Delphine Delamare, 27, wife of a medical officer in Ry, displayed insufficient austerity. Worse, she ran up debts. To avoid paying them, she took poison.”
Nurse Elise Bachmann, whose day off was yesterday, put
on a public display of insanity.
A complaint was sworn by the Persian physician Djai Khan
against a compatriot who had stolen from him a tiara.
A dozen hawkers who had been announcing news of a
nonexistent anarchist bombing at the Madeleine have
A certain madwoman arrested downtown falsely claimed
to be nurse Elise Bachmann. The latter is perfectly sane.
On Place du Pantheon, a heated group of voters attempted
to roast an effigy of M. Auffray, the losing candidate. They
Arrested in Saint-Germain for petty theft, Joël Guilbert
drank sublimate. He was detoxified, but died yesterday of
The photographer Joachim Berthoud could not get over the
death of his wife. He killed himself in Fontanay-sous-Bois.
Reverend Andrieux, of Roannes, near Aurillac, whom a
pitiless husband perforated Wednesday with two rifle
shots, died last night.
In political disagreements, M. Begouen, journalist, and
M. Bepmale, MP, had called one another "thief" and
"liar." They have reconciled.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
MuzzleWatch: Charles Freeman's statements & 2 articles re his withdrawal from NIC Chair
1. Charles Freeman’s statement on shameful smear campaign
2. Bullies win: Charles Freeman out.
3. Greenwald declares end of the “neocon lynch mob”- Charles Freeman tests thesis.
4. More Recent Articles
5. Search MuzzleWatch
Charles Freeman’s statement on shameful smear campaign
Wow. Wow. Wow. Chas Freeman says, ” 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….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.” Foreign Policy has his entire statement:
Retired Amb. Chas Freeman, who said today that he no longer accepts an offer to chair the National Intelligence Council, has just sent this message:
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.
• Email to a friend • Article Search • Related • View comments • Track comments •
[Rate 'Charles Freemanâ€™s statement on shameful smear campaign']
Bullies win: Charles Freeman out.
In my post this morning, I suggested the nomination of Charles Freeman for top intelligence analyst post would be the test for Glenn Greenwald’s optimistic theory that the age of right-wing “pro-Israel” bullying was over. Well, score one for the bullies:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The candidate for a top U.S. intelligence post withdrew from the running on Tuesday after angering some in Congress with remarks on Israeli “oppression” of Palestinians, and about China.
The office of Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair said in a statement that Charles Freeman, who had been picked to head the National Intelligence Council, had asked not to proceed.
Blair had accepted Freeman’s decision with regret, the statement said.
• Email to a friend • Article Search • Related • View comments • Track comments •
[Rate 'Bullies win: Charles Freeman out.']
Greenwald declares end of the “neocon lynch mob”- Charles Freeman tests thesis.
Salon’s Glenn Greenwald, one of the smartest commentators on the blatant hypocrisy (and self-destructiveness, it sadly needs to be said) of the Israel-right-or-wrong crowd. He has been writing lately about what he sees as the new irrelevance of the neocon/Israel-is-always-right bloviators.
Greenwald tends to group the Abe Foxman/Dershowitz types and the Wolfowitz/Perles in the same category, which may not be entirely fair. Nonetheless, as unpleasant as it may be to contemplate, the Israel/Jewish ties of many neocons who pushed for war with Iraq have now been thoroughly picked dry (by both both fair-minded analysts and anti-Semites, for good measure.)
Greenwald’s point is that these guys led us down the road to a terrible and useless war, and that folks aren’t going to listen to them now when they start screaming about Iran and Israel.
A few weeks ago, Greenwald took on The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg after Goldberg accused Greenwald of “doing the work of anti-Semites”, you know, for writing smart analysis about bad Israeli policy. One wonders if it occurs to any of these critics that nobody does the work of anti-Semites better than Israel- as Olmert himself recently observed as brought to our attention by Sol Salbe’s Middle East News Service- when they seemingly remorselessly attack a completely trapped and largely civilian population… but I digress.
Greenwald takes on the shrill tone of Jeffrey Goldberg’s attacks:
Indeed, people like Goldberg are becoming extra rancid and reckless in their rhetoric precisely because they know that these rhetorical devices have ceased working. There is a definite sea change when it comes to American policy debates toward Israel. They no longer possess the ability to stifle dissent through thuggish intimidation tactics and they know that, which is why they can now do nothing but turn up the volume on their name-calling attacks.
Whereas these smear tactics once inspired fear in many people, now they just inspire pity. They no longer work. Very few Americans are going to refrain from expressing their views on American policy towards Israel out of fear that the Jeffrey Goldbergs of the world are going to screech “anti-Semitism” at them. Neocons are far too discredited and their policies far too self-evidently destructive for them to intimidate anyone out of questioning their orthodoxies. Now, watching neocons recklessly spew their bitter little epithets in lieu of (and in order to suppress) debate is like watching an old, dying dragon sadly trying to breathe mighty fire from its mouth but collapsing in a debilitating coughing fit instead — or is like watching a disgraced, post-censure Joe McCarthy in 1956 stand in an empty Senate chamber and rail against hidden Communists. Nobody cares.
People like Jeffrey Goldberg — and his comrades at places such as Commentary and the ADL — have so abused, over-used, manipulated and exploited the “anti-semitism” and “anti-Israel” accusations for improper and nakedly political ends that those terms have become drained of their meaning, have almost entirely lost their sting, and have become trivialized virtually to the point of caricature.
In a different lengthy piece, also worth reading in full, Greenwald also points to NYT columnist Roger Cohen’s latest gutsy columns, the predictable blowback by the usual “neconservative lynchmob”, and Cohen’s refusal to back down. While I want to believe Greenwald that it’s a brand new day, and that analysts in this country might finally start to have reality-based conversations about Israel and US policy, the fact is that being a cohanim must play no small role in giving Cohen the cojones required to stand up to charges of anti-Semitism.
And now, here’s the chance to test Greenwald’s thesis: Charles Freeman. He’s been nominated to be the chair of the National Intelligence Council. As Stephen Walt wrote:
As soon as the appointment was announced, a bevy of allegedly “pro-Israel” pundits leapt to attack it, in what The Nation’s Robert Dreyfuss called a “thunderous, coordinated assault.” Freeman’s critics were the usual suspects: Jonathan Chait of the New Republic, Michael Goldfarb at the Weekly Standard, Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic, Gabriel Schoenfeld (writing on the op-ed page of the Wall Street Journal), Jonah Goldberg of National Review, Marty Peretz on his New Republic blog, and former AIPAC official Steve Rosen (yes, the same guy who is now on trial for passing classified U.S. government information to Israel)….
What unites this narrow band of critics is only one thing: Freeman has dared to utter some rather mild public criticisms of Israeli policy. That’s the litmus test that Chait, Goldberg, Goldfarb, Peretz, Schoenfeld et al want to apply to all public servants: thou shalt not criticize Israeli policy nor question America’s “special relationship” with Israel. Never mind that this policy of unconditional support has been bad for the United States and unintentionally harmful to Israel as well. If these pundits and lobbyists had their way, anyone who pointed that fact out would be automatically disqualified from public service.
Andrew Sullivan has a timeline of the attack machine and how it all works.
Phil Weiss says former AIPAC honcho-turned-spy-suspect Steve Rosen, is now calling for the head of Israel Policy Forum’s MJ Rosenberg, of all people (the clear-eyed progressive Zionist Rosenberg is one of the better true friends Israel has ever had), for supporting Freeman. Rosen can yell all he wants, but is anyone listening?
Now support is building in Congress for putting the kabosh on Freeman, so perhaps it is way too soon to do the victory dance over the death of pompous bully-ism.
As Greenwald said:
Ultimately, the greatest weapon to defeat these campaigns is to highlight the identity and behavior of their perpetrators. Just consider who is behind the attack on Freeman; how ugly and discredited are their tactics and ideology; and, most importantly, how absurd it is, given their disgraceful history, that they — of all people — would parade around as arbiters of “ideological extremism” and, more audaciously still, as credible judges of intelligence assessment. …..
It’s destructive enough to artificially limit debate on a matter as consequential as U.S. policy towards Israel. We’ve been doing that for many years now. But it’s so much worse that the people who have been defining and dictating those limits are themselves extremists in every sense of that word when it comes to Israel and U.S. policy towards that country. Their demands that no distinctions be recognized between Israeli and Americans interests have been uniquely destructive for the U.S. Few things are more urgent than an expansion of the debate over U.S. Policy in this area, which is exactly why this radical lynch mob is swarming with such intensity to destroy Freeman’s reputation and fortify the limitations on our debates which, for so long, they have thuggishly enforced. If someone like Freeman can occupy a position like Chair of the National Intelligence Council — handpicked by Obama’s DNI, an Admiral — the taboos they are so desperate to maintain will erode just that much further.