Now “Israel-lobby” conspiracy theorists like MJ Rosenberg will claim that James “F**K the Jews” Baker was just a shill for the for the Israel lobby, but this find by Mark Hemmingway of NRO is priceless. He sorted through the former Secretary of State’s Book, and only twice was Freeman’s name mentioned, each time he felt that Chas Freeman was “in the pocket” of the Saudi Government:

Given all this, I thought I would see what former Secretary of State James Baker thought of Freeman. Chas Freeman appears twice in the index of James Baker’s book The Politics of Diplomacy. Both passages relate to Freeman’s insistence that we go easy on the Saudis in terms of seeking their financial support for the Gulf War.

The first instance appears in a passage in which Baker is recounting his visit to Saudi Arabia in September 1990, to build up support for the coalition to expel Saddam from Kuwait:

From the start, they [the Saudis] were always advocates fro the massive use of force. We knew that if it came to war, permission to launch from Saudi bases would be automatic. And we suspected that the King was also willing to bear any burden asked by his American benefactors. Even so, I was urged by our ambassador, Chas Freeman, to go easy on the numbers. “They’re strapped for money,” he told me before the meeting. “Don’t press for too much right now.” I disagreed. (p. 289)

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Baker asked for a lot and got what he asked for from the Saudis. The next index entry for Freeman appears in connection with discussions in early January 1991, after the decision to attack Saddam’s forces had been made:

Our ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Chas Freeman, suggested to me that perhaps we shouldn’t ask quite so much of the Saudis. As a result of their previous commitments to Desert Shield, he said, they had a liquidity shortage that Saud hadn’t wanted to admit to me. It seemed to me to be a classic case of clientitis from one of our best diplomats. “I’m going in front of the Congress and I’m asking them to go ahead and fund this effort,” I said, “and I’ve got to explain that American blood will be spilled. If you think we’re not going to ask the Saudis to pay for this, you’ve got another thing coming.” It was the last I ever heard from him about going easy on the Saudis in terms of the costs of the operation. (p. 373).

I asked a foreign policy expert friend of mine what he makes of the above passages. This was his response:

My own person gloss is that Baker is a class act, and only said “one of our best diplomats” to throw him a bone. The fact that Saudi Arabia is so central to this period — and that the US ambassador to Saudi Arabia appears only twice in the book, shilling for the Saudis both times, and in passages that show Baker flatly disagreed with him, indicates what Baker really thinks of Chas Freeman. “Best diplomat” is just Baker being a great diplomat.

There is  another development in  “as the Freeman churns” a group of 87 Chinese dissidents sent a letter to President Obama requesting that he reconsider the appointment of Freeman

Dear President Obama: 

We are writing to convey our intense dismay at your selection of Charles W. Freeman to be chair of the National Intelligence Council. No American in public life has been more hostile than Mr. Freeman toward the ideals of human rights and democracy in China.

Mr. Freeman has a longstanding record of defending China’s authoritarian regime. In his view, for example, China’s nationwide democracy movement in spring of 1989, which protested government corruption and embraced international norms of human rights, was only the “propaganda” of “dissidents.” That movement ended in the use of tanks and machine guns to massacre hundreds unarmed protesters in Beijing on June 4, 1989,” but Mr. Freeman wrote, as recently as three years ago, that “the Politburo’s response to the mob scene at ‘Tiananmen’ stands as a monument to overly cautious behavior on the part of the leadership” and that “the truly unforgivable mistake of the Chinese authorities was the failure to intervene on a timely basis to nip the demonstrations in the bud.”

The prospect of a person with values such as these guiding our nation’s intelligence activity is truly frightening. It is difficult to see how a person with such a strong ideological tilt toward the Chinese Communist Party will be able to provide you with unbiased assessments of the very dynamic interactions among various aggrieved segments of Chinese society and their authoritarian government. But following these trends will be one of the most important tasks of the intelligence community in the coming years.

The June Fourth massacre, which Mr. Freeman so badly misreads, is not just something that happened twenty years ago. It remains a powerful symbol for the ideals of human rights and democracy among large parts of the Chinese populace. It also, quite plainly, has remained powerful in the minds of the Chinese leaders, who for twenty years have banned any mention of the massacre from textbooks and the media in China, and who take great care to detain and “control” any citizen who might want to observe the June 4 anniversary or make “sensitive” statements. “Dissidents” were pre-emptively confined to their homes during the recent visit to Beijing of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

We share your hope, Mr. President, that the United States might regain its moral standing in the world and once again be viewed as a universal beacon for fairness and justice. Your appointment of Charles Freeman could not be more damaging to this hope. Please reconsider.


1.Dan Wang, Visiting Fellow at St. Antony’s College of Oxford University, UK (He was no. 1 of the 21 student leaders on the Chinese government’s “wanted list” after the 1989 Tiananmen massacre. He spent 4 years in Chinese jail.)
2.Su Xiaokang, Chinese writer in exile, Delaware
3.Li-Zhi Fang, University of Arizona, AZ
4.Juntao Wang, Scholar, New Jersey. He got a 13-year sentence for his role in 1989
5.Fengsuo Zhou, Engineering, San Francisco, President, Chinese Democracy Education Foundation (He was no. 5 of the 21 student leaders “wanted” by Chinese government in 1989)
6.Gang Liu, Finance analyst, New York, (He was no. 3 on the “wanted” list of 21 student leaders after Tiananmen. He got a 6-years sentence in prison.)
7.Li Jinjin, former student participant in Tiananmen protests, lawyer, NY
8.Zhang Lun, former student leader in Tiananmen protests, in exile, Paris
9.Hu Ping, writer, editor of Beijing Spring, in exile, NY
10.Danxuan Yi, former student leader and imprisoned for his role in 1989 Tiananmen protests, business management, Boston
11.Tong Yi, former student participant in 1989 Tiananmen protests, imprisoned for 2 years, lawyer, NJ
12.Feng Congde, former student leader in the 1989 Tiananmen protests, Editor
13.Jian Zhang, student participant in 1989 Tiananmen protests, exile in France, Christian priest
14.Pokong Chen, independent writer, New York, (A student leader in Guangzhou and imprisoned for his role in 1989)
15.Zheng Cunzhu, democratic activist, CA (former student participant in Tiananmen protest)
16.Shao Jiang, PhD student, University of Westminster, UK (student leader of Peking University in 1989)
17.Jing Zhang, Editor of World Journal, New York, participant of 1989 movement in Guizhou Province
18.Mo Li, teacher, writer in exile, served in Chinese prison for participating in 1989 protests, Sweden
19.Yenhua Wu, participant in the 1989 protests, General Secretary Chinese Constitutionalists Association, CA
20.Xu Wenli, Democracy Wall activist, served many years in Chinese prison, Senior Fellow,Watson Institute for International Studies, Brown University
21.Yang Jianli, former political prisoner, President, Initiatives for China, Fellow, Harvard University
22.Chen Kuide, Editor-in-Chief of China in Perspective magazine, VA
23.Tao Ye, Staff Engineer, Minnesota, (President of Minnesota Chinese Democracy Foundation)
24.Xiao Qiang, University of California, Berkeley, CA
25.Bob Fu, President, China Aid Association
26.Sara L.M. Davis, Ph.D., New York
27.Victor H. Mair, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
28.Jonathan Mirsky, China journalist
29.Arthur Waldron, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
30.Paul Mooney, freelance journalist, Asia
31.Philip Williams, University of Montana, Missoula, MT
32.Bob B. He, Madison, WI
33.Judy J. He, Madison, WI
34.Shawn Zhang, Illinois
35.Zheng Xing, researcher, Davis, California
36.Jian Zhou, researcher, Los Angeles, CA
37.Steve Rasin, Associate Director, Cedar Management Consulting, Singapore
38.Arthur J. Liu, Esq., Inter-Pacific Law Group Inc., Oakland, CA
39.Yu-Tai Chia, San Jose, CA
40.Jen-Philippe Béja, Senior Researcher, CNRS/CERI-Sciences-Po, Paris, CEFC, Hong Kong
41.Liu Hongbin, Poet. Member, American PEN
42.Eugene Chudnovsky, Distinguished Professor of Physics, Lehman College, CUNY
43.Dorothy Hirsch, Washington DC
44.Pierre Hohenberg, New York University
45.Xiaorong Li, University of Maryland, College Park, MD
46.Perry Link, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ
47.Edward Friedman, University of Wisconsin
48.Leslie Earl Robertson, Leslie E. Roberson Associates
49.Barbara Zeller, Project Samaritan AIDS
50.Joseph L Birman, Distinguished Professor of Physics, City College & City University of New York
51.Wang Shenglin, financial risk analyst, Chicago, IL
52.Liu Xiaodong, freelance writer, Chicago, IL
53.Mike He, Graduate Student, University of California – Berkeley
54.Fred Leong, Federal Government retiree, San Francisco, CA
55.Ann Leong, Federal Government retiree, San Francisco, CA
56.Feng Su-ying, medical service retiree
57.Sophie C. Cook, Washington DC
58.Wenbo Yang, UC Berkeley
59.Fengshi Yang, composer, Chicago
60.Cheyo Wang, composer, Chicago
61.Su Lushen, freelance writer
62.Yenna Wu, University of California, Riverside
63.Jianan Wang, Virginia
64.Wen-He Lu, actuary, Delaware
65.Kai Chen, writer, Los Angeles, CA
66.Yanfeng Zhou, Head of the International Affairs Department of China Social Democratic Party, New York
67.Wei Xue, Publisher of Beijing Spring, New York
68.Qiu Yueshou, coordinator of Think-tank for Chinese Reconciliation, Australia
69.Cheng Xue, Writer-in-Residence at McMaster University
70.Zhang Xiaogang, Australia, Secretary of Chinese PEN Association
71.Lang Meng, Coordinator, Freedom to Write Committee of the Independent Chinese PEN Center, Hong Kong
72.William F. Mei, Businessman, Los Angeles,CA
73.Yinquan Liu, Los Angeles, CA
74.Charlie Xiao, Australia
75.Dr Feng Chongyi, Associate Professor in China Studies, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia
76.Sally Wang, Australia
77.Xiaoming Peng, editor of Euro-China Monitor (a newspaper), Germany
78.Yongzhong Pan, Secretary, Democratic China Front
79.Fei Liangyong, Chairperson of the Federation for a Democratic China (FDC)
80.Wang Longmeng, Paris
81.Fu Zhengming, Chinese scholar in exile, Sweden
82.Chen Shiqiang, educator, Hong Kong
83.Zhao Dongming, Self-employed, Australia
84.Luo Yungeng Self-employed, Australia
85.Tang Jingling, lawyer, China
86.Charles C. Gu, Rohnert Park, CA
87.Meryl D. Gu, Rohnert Park, CA