TEL AVIV, Israel – The Obama administration’s reported pick for a top intelligence post once peddled a book to U.S. public schools that falsely claims Muslims inhabited North America far before European explorers.
The book, funded by Saudi Arabia, also contains widely inaccurate anti-Israel Arab propaganda.
Charles “Chas” Freeman, the U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia during the first Gulf War, is slated to head the National Intelligence Council, according to multiple reports. Yesterday, it came to light Freeman has financial ties to the infamous bin Laden family – including dealings he defended after Sept. 11, 2001.
Freeman served as president of the Middle East Policy Council, a Washington-based Saudi backed nonprofit that received tens of thousands of dollars per year from the bin Laden family and other Saudi donors.
In 2003, Freeman’s council joined with California-based Arab World and Islamic Resources in selling to U.S. schools the “Arab World Studies Notebook,” set to be a textbook on Arab issues and history.
A report from that year by the Text Book League, an online resource on some 200 educational items for middle-school and high-school educators, highlighted major historical fabrications found in Freeman’s schoolbook including the claim Muslims inhabited the New World in pre-Columbian times and also spread throughout the Caribbean, Central America, South America and even Canada.
English explorers met “Iroquois and Algonquin (Native American) chiefs with names like Abdul-Rahim and Abdallah Ibn Malik,” the schoolbook claimed, without providing any evidence.
In actuality, the first Muslim to enter the historical record in North America was Estevánico of Azamor, who came with the Spanish in 1539. Islam is not believed to have taken root in Canada until the mid-19th century.
The book goes on to present Jesus as an “important figure” in Islam and states as fact it is “well known, the Quran was revealed through the Prophet Muhammad.”
The schoolbook “present(s) Muslim myths as ‘history,’ endorse(s) Muslim religious claims, and propagat(es) Islamic fundamentalism,” stated the Text Book League report.
An investigative article by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in 2005 further exposed some of the anti-Israel claims in the book Freeman was peddling.
The JTA found the book described Jerusalem as unequivocally “Arab,” characterized Jewish residence in the holy city as “settlement”; labeled the “question of Jewish lobbying” against “the whole question of defining American interests and concerns”; and suggested the Quran “synthesizes and perfects earlier revelations.”
Blogs and Israeli news media websites the past few days have been highlighting recent comments Freeman made that are perceived as heavily critical of Israel.
He told the Washington Institute of Foreign Affairs in 2007 that Israeli policy is generating anti-American sentiment while the Jewish state “no longer even pretends to seek peace with the Palestinians; it strives instead to pacify them.”
“American identification with Israeli policy has also become total. Those in the region and beyond it who detest Israeli behavior, which is to say almost everyone, now naturally extend their loathing to Americans,” Freeman claimed.
Freeman lauded Hamas as the only democratically elected government in the Arab world and claimed the terrorist group “is showing that if we offer it nothing but unreasoning hostility and condemnation, it will only stiffen its position and seek allies among our enemies. In both cases, we forfeit our influence for no gain.”
“The Journal is filled with anti-Israel messages that are beyond even the broadest definition of mainstream of U.S. thinking on the region,” wrote Sammy Benoit of the Yid with Lid blog.
Freeman has bin Laden ties
Yesterday, Ashley Rinsdberg, a Jerusalem-based researcher and blogger for the Daily Beast website dug up another issue that may cause even bigger worry for the likely Obama appointee – he had business ties to Osama bin Laden’s family and strongly defended the connections after 9/11.
Rinsdberg documented how as chairman of Projects International, Inc., a company that develops worldwide business deals, Freeman declared in an Associated Press interview just after the 9/11 attacks he was still “discussing proposals with the Bin Laden Group – and that won’t change.”
The Bin Laden Group is a multinational construction conglomerate and holding company for the assets owned by the bin Laden family. It was founded in 1950 by Sheik Mohammed bin Laden, father of the terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden.
Freeman told the AP companies that have “had very long and profitable relationships are now running for public relations cover.”
He said bin Laden remains “a very honored name” in the Saudi kingdom.
In a separate interview Sept. 28, 2001, Freeman told the Wall Street Journal he spoke at the time to two of Osama bin Laden’s brothers following the mega terrorist attacks. He said they told him the FBI had been “remarkably sensitive, tactful and protective” of the family during the current crisis.
The Journal noted Freeman’s ties to the bin Laden family went beyond admiration and business. He served as president of the Middle East Policy Council, a Washington-based Saudi backed nonprofit that at time was receiving tens of thousands of dollars a year from the bin Laden family.
Freeman maintained to the Journal that the bin Laden family company was closely aligned with American interests and that the group was part of the “establishment that Osama’s trying to overthrow.”
Osama bin Laden worked briefly in his family business and is reported to have inherited as much as $50 million from his father in cash and stock. The Saudi Bin Laden Group has invested in the Carlyle Group, a global private equity investment firm to which former President George H. W. Bush served as adviser. Former President George W. Bush sat on the board.