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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Republicans gearing up to oppose Freeman nomination

Eli Lake reports in the Washington Times that Republican Senators are gearing up to oppose the nomination of Chas Freeman to serve as chairman of the National Intelligence Council ahead of testimony by National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday.
In a letter sent Monday to Dennis C. Blair, the director of national intelligence, seven Republican senators - led by the panel's vice chairman, Christopher S. Bond, Missouri Republican - said the appointment of Mr. Freeman as chairman of the National Intelligence Council (NIC), “sends the wrong message.”

“Given our concerns about Mr. Freeman´s lack of experience and uncertainty about his objectivity, we intend to devote even more oversight scrutiny to the activities of the NIC under his leadership,” the senators wrote. The letter was made available to The Washington Times.

Mr. Blair's appointment of Mr. Freeman has sparked the first political battle involving President Obama's intelligence community.

Defenders of the nomination include more than a dozen career diplomats who wrote the Wall Street Journal last week to praise Mr. Freeman's temperament and experience as a former ambassador to Saudi Arabia, senior envoy to China and high-level Pentagon official.

Those who oppose the nomination cite Mr. Freeman's financial ties to Saudi Arabia and China, past criticism of Israel and comments that appear to defend Chinese repression of human rights.
I don't know if 'lack of experience' is a fair charge, but lack of objectivity most certainly is. There is little doubt that Freeman is totally not objective when it comes to anything connected to the Saudis (whom he idolizes) and the Chinese.

What I found most amazing about this article is the assertion that Freeman's infamous email about the massacre at Tiananmen Square was taken 'out of context.' Well here's the email and you can all decide for yourselves if it was taken out of context:
"[T]he truly unforgivable mistake of the Chinese authorities was the failure to intervene on a timely basis to nip the demonstrations in the bud, rather than -- as would have been both wise and efficacious -- to intervene with force when all other measures had failed to restore domestic tranquility to Beijing and other major urban centers in China. In this optic, the Politburo's response to the mob scene at 'Tian'anmen' stands as a monument to overly cautious behavior on the part of the leadership, not as an example of rash action. . . .

"I do not believe it is acceptable for any country to allow the heart of its national capital to be occupied by dissidents intent on disrupting the normal functions of government, however appealing to foreigners their propaganda may be. Such folk, whether they represent a veterans' 'Bonus Army' or a 'student uprising' on behalf of 'the goddess of democracy' should expect to be displaced with despatch [sic] from the ground they occupy."
Seems pretty clear to me. And it seems pretty clear to human rights activists on behalf of China and Darfur too:
On Monday, two leading China human rights advocates, Xiaorong Li and Perry Link, sent members of that panel a letter expressing concern about Mr. Freeman and a copy of a letter from 87 rights activists sent Friday to Mr. Obama.

Rep. Frank R. Wolf, Virginia Republican, spoke with Mr. Blair on Monday to oppose the appointment. He said he would be sending Mr. Blair a pair of socks made by Tiananmen protesters in a Beijing prison that Mr. Wolf visited in 1991. He also will send Mr. Blair a videotape of two women from a Darfur refugee camp describing how they were raped by Sudanese forces.

“I elaborated a little more on why having visited Darfur and having seen what the Chinese have done, and CNOOC has done, how the oil money has helped fund [Sudanese President] Omar Bashir to kill innocent people,” Mr. Wolf said.
Remember when the Democrats claimed to be the party that cared about human rights?

P.S. Am I the only one who thinks that Freeman looks like he's undergoing the Heimlich maneuver in this picture (which I have used in every post about him)?


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