Sunday, October 18, 2009

chomsky on democracy

Noam Chomsky:

Imperial Presidency:

Strategies to Control the Great Beast

It goes without saying that what happens in the U.S.
has an enormous impact on the rest of the world-and
conversely: what happens in the rest of the world
cannot fail to have an impact on the U.S., in several
ways. First, it sets constraints on what even the most
powerful state can do. Second, it influences the
domestic U.S. component of "the second superpower," as
the New York Times ruefully described world public
opinion after the huge protests before the Iraq
invasion. Those protests were a critically important
historical event, not only because of their
unprecedented scale, but also because it was the first
time in hundreds of years of the history of Europe and
its North American offshoots that a war was massively
protested even before it was officially launched.

We may recall, by comparison, the war against South
Vietnam launched by JFK in 1962, brutal and barbaric
from the outset: bombing, chemical warfare to destroy
food crops so as to starve out the civilian support
for the indigenous resistance, programs to drive
millions of people to virtual concentration camps or
urban slums to eliminate its popular base. By the time
protests reached a substantial scale, the highly
respected and quite hawkish Vietnam specialist and
military historian Bernard Fall wondered whether
"Viet-Nam as a cultural and historic entity" would
escape "extinction" as "the countryside literally dies
under the blows of the largest military machine ever
unleashed on an area of this size"-particularly South
Vietnam, always the main target of the U.S. assault.
When protest did finally develop, many years too late,
it was mostly directed against the peripheral crimes:
the extension of the war against the South to the rest
of Indochina-hideous crimes, but lesser ones.

It's quite important to remember how much the world
has changed since then. As almost always, not as a
result of gifts from benevolent leaders, but through
deeply committed popular struggle, far too late in
developing, but ultimately effective. One consequence
was that the U.S. government could not declare a
national emergency, which should have been healthy for
the economy, as during World War II when public
support was very high. Johnson had to fight a
"guns-and-butter" war, buying off an unwilling
population, harming the economy, ultimately leading
the business classes to turn against the war as too
costly, after the Tet Offensive of January 1968 showed
that it would go on a long time. There were also
concerns among U.S. elites about rising social and
political consciousness stimulated by the activism of
the 1960s, much of it reaction to the miserable crimes
in Indochina, then at last arousing popular
indignation. We learn from the last sections of the
Pentagon Papers that after the Tet offensive, the
military command was reluctant to agree to the
president's call for further troop deployments,
wanting to be sure that "sufficient forces would still
be available for civil disorder control" in the U.S.,
and fearing that escalation might run the risk of
"provoking a domestic crisis of unprecedented

The Reagan administration assumed that the problem of
an independent, aroused population had been overcome
and apparently planned to follow the Kennedy model of
the early 1960s in Central America. But they backed
off in the face of unanticipated public protest,
turning instead to "clandestine war" employing
murderous security forces and a huge international
terror network. The consequences were terrible, but
not as bad as B-52s and mass murder operations of the
kind that were peaking when John Kerry was deep in the
Mekong Delta in the South, by then largely devastated.
The popular reaction to even the "clandestine war," so
called, broke entirely new ground. The solidarity
movements for Central America, now in many parts of
the world, are again something new in Western history.

State managers cannot fail to pay attention to such
matters. Routinely, a newly elected president requests
an intelligence evaluation of the world situation. In
1989, when Bush I took office, a part was leaked. It
warned that when attacking "much weaker enemies"-the
only sensible target-the U.S. must win "decisively and
rapidly." Delay might "undercut political support,"
recognized to be thin, a great change since the
Kennedy-Johnson years when the attack on Indochina,
while never popular, aroused little reaction for many

The world is pretty awful today, but it is far better
than yesterday, not only with regard to unwillingness
to tolerate aggression, but also in many other ways,
which we now tend to take for granted. There are very
important lessons here, which should always be
uppermost in our minds-for the same reason they are
suppressed in the elite culture.

Without forgetting the very significant progress
towards more civilized societies in past years, and
the reasons for it, let's focus nevertheless on the
notions of imperial sovereignty now being crafted. It
is not surprising that as the population becomes more
civilized, power systems become more extreme in their
efforts to control the "great beast" (as the Founding
Fathers called the people). And the great beast is
indeed frightening.

The conception of presidential sovereignty crafted by
the statist reactionaries of the Bush administration
is so extreme that it has drawn unprecedented
criticism in the most sober and respected
establishment circles. These ideas were transmitted to
the president by the newly appointed attorney-general,
Alberto Gonzales-who is depicted as a moderate in the
press. They are discussed by the respected
constitutional law professor Sanford Levinson in the
summer 2004 issue of Daedalus, the journal of the
American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Levinson writes
that the conception is based on the principle, "There
exists no norm that is applicable to chaos." The
quote, Levinson comments, is from Carl Schmitt, the
leading German philosopher of law during the Nazi
period, who Levinson describes as "the true éminence
grise of the Bush administration." The Administration,
advised by Gonzales, has articulated "a view of
presidential authority that is all too close to the
power that Schmitt was willing to accord his own
Führer," Levinson writes.

One rarely hears such words from the heart of the

The same issue of the journal carries an article by
two prominent strategic analysts on the
"transformation of the military," a central component
of the new doctrines of imperial sovereignty: the
rapid expansion of offensive weaponry, including
militarization of space, and other measures designed
to place the entire world at risk of instant
annihilation. These have already elicited the
anticipated reactions by Russia and recently China.
The analysts conclude that these U.S. programs may
lead to "ultimate doom." They express their hope that
a coalition of peace-loving states will coalesce as a
counter to U.S. militarism and aggressiveness, led by
China. We've come to a pretty pass when such
sentiments are voiced in sober respectable circles not
given to hyperbole.

Going back to Gonzales, he transmitted to the
president the conclusions of the Justice Department
that the president has the authority to rescind the
Geneva Conventions-the supreme law of the land, the
foundation of modern international humanitarian law.
Gonzales, who was then Bush's legal counsel, advised
him that this would be a good idea because rescinding
the Conventions "substantially reduces the threat of
domestic criminal prosecution [of administration
officials] under the War Crimes Act" of 1996, which
carries the death penalty for "grave breaches" of
Geneva Conventions.

We can see on today's front pages why the Justice
Department was right to be concerned that the
president and his advisers might be subject to the
death penalty under the laws passed by the Republican
Congress in 1996-and under the principles of the
Nuremberg Tribunal, if anyone took them seriously.

In early November, the NY Times featured a front-page
story reporting the conquest of the Falluja General
Hospital. It reported, "Patients and hospital
employees were rushed out of rooms by armed soldiers
and ordered to sit or lie on the floor while troops
tied their hands behind their backs." An accompanying
photograph depicted the scene. That was presented as
an important achievement. "The offensive also shut
down what officers said was a propaganda weapon for
the militants: Falluja General Hospital, with its
stream of reports of civilian casualties." These
"inflated" figures-inflated because our Leader so
declares-were "inflaming opinion throughout the
country" and the region, driving up "the political
costs of the conflict." The word "conflict" is a
common euphemism for U.S. aggression, as when we read
on the same pages that the U.S. must now rebuild "what
the conflict just destroyed": just "the conflict,"
with no agent, like a hurricane.

Let's go back to the NYT picture and story about the
closing of the "propaganda weapon." There are some
relevant documents, including the Geneva Conventions,
which state: "Fixed establishments and mobile medical
units of the Medical Service may in no circumstances
be attacked, but shall at all times be respected and
protected by the Parties to the conflict." So page one
of the world's leading newspaper is cheerfully
depicting war crimes for which the political
leadership could be sentenced to death under U.S. law.

The world's greatest newspaper also tells us that the
U.S. military "achieved nearly all their objectives
well ahead of schedule," leaving "much of the city in
smoking ruins." But it was not a complete success.
There is little evidence of dead "packrats" in their
"warrens" or the streets, which remains "an enduring
mystery." The embedded reporters did find a body of a
dead woman, though it is "not known whether she was an
Iraqi or a foreigner," apparently the only question
that comes to mind.

The front-page account quotes a Marine commander who
says, "It ought to go down in the history books."
Perhaps it should. If so, we know on just what page of
history it will go down and who will be right beside
it, along with those who praise or, for that matter,
even tolerate it. At least, we know that if we are
capable of honesty.

One might mention at least some of the recent
counterparts that immediately come to mind, like the
Russian destruction of Grozny ten years ago, a city of
about the same size; or Srebrenica, almost universally
described as "genocide" in the West. In that case, as
we know in detail from a Dutch government report and
other sources, the Muslim enclave in Serb territory,
inadequately protected, was used as a base for attacks
against Serb villages and, when the anticipated
reaction took place, it was horrendous. The Serbs
drove out all but military age men and then moved in
to kill them. There are differences with Falluja.
Women and children were not bombed out of Srebrenica,
but trucked out and there will be no extensive efforts
to exhume the last corpse of the packrats in their
warrens in Falluja. There are other differences,
arguably unfair to the Serbs.

It could be argued that all this is irrelevant. The
Nuremberg Tribunal, spelling out the UN Charter,
declared that initiation of a war of aggression is
"the supreme international crime differing only from
other war crimes in that it contains within itself the
accumulated evil of the whole." Hence the war crimes
in Falluja and Abu Ghraib, the doubling of acute
malnutrition among children since the invasion (now at
the level of Burundi, far higher than Haiti or
Uganda), and all the rest of the atrocities. Those
judged to have played any role in the supreme
crime-for example, the German Foreign Minister-were
sentenced to death by hanging. The Tokyo Tribunal was
far more severe.

There is a very important book on the topic by
Canadian international lawyer Michael Mandel, who
reviews in convincing detail how the powerful are
self-immunized from international law.

In fact, the Nuremberg Tribunal established this
principle. To bring the Nazi criminals to justice, it
was necessary to devise definitions of "war crime" and
"crime against humanity." How this was done is
explained by Telford Taylor, chief counsel for the
prosecution and a distinguished international lawyer
and historian: "Since both sides [in World War II] had
played the terrible game of urban destruction-the
Allies far more successfully-there was no basis for
criminal charges against Germans or Japanese, and in
fact no such charges were brought.... Aerial
bombardment had been used so extensively and
ruthlessly on the Allied side as well as the Axis side
that neither at Nuremberg nor Tokyo was the issue made
a part of the trials."

The operative definition of "crime" is: "Crime that
you carried out, but we did not." To underscore the
fact, Nazi war criminals were absolved if the defense
could show that their U.S. counterparts carried out
the same crimes. Taylor concludes that "to punish the
foe-especially the vanquished foe-for conduct in which
the enforcer nation has engaged, would be so grossly
inequitable as to discredit the laws themselves." That
is correct, but the operative definition also
discredits the laws themselves, along with all
subsequent tribunals. Taylor provides this background
as part of his explanation of why U.S. bombing in
Vietnam was not a war crime. His argument is
plausible, further discrediting the laws themselves.

Some of the subsequent judicial inquiries are
discredited in perhaps even more extreme ways, such as
the Yugoslavia vs. NATO case adjudicated by the
International Court of Justice. The U.S. was excused,
correctly, on the basis of its argument that it is not
subject to the jurisdiction of the Court in this case.
The reason is that when the U.S. finally signed the
Genocide Convention (which is at issue here) after 40
years, it did so with a reservation stating that it is
not applicable to the United States.

In an outraged comment on the efforts of Justice
Department lawyers to demonstrate that the president
has the right to authorize torture, Yale Law School
Dean Harold Koh said, "The notion that the president
has the constitutional power to permit torture is like
saying he has the constitutional power to commit
genocide." The president's legal advisers, and the new
attorney-general, should have little difficulty
arguing that the president does indeed have that
right-if the second superpower permits him to exercise

The sacred doctrine of self-immunization is sure to
hold for the trial of Saddam Hussein, if it is ever
held. We see that every time Bush, Blair, and other
worthies in government and commentary lament over the
terrible crimes of Saddam Hussein, always bravely
omitting the words: "with our help, because we did not
care." Surely no tribunal will be permitted to address
the fact that U.S. presidents from Kennedy until
today, along with French presidents and British prime
ministers, and Western businesses, have been complicit
in Saddam's crimes, sometimes in horrendous ways,
including current incumbents and their mentors. In
setting up the Saddam tribunal, the State Department
consulted U.S. legal expert professor Charif
Bassiouni, recently quoted as saying: "All efforts are
being made to have a tribunal whose judiciary is not
independent but controlled, and by controlled I mean
that the political manipulators of the tribunal have
to make sure the U.S. and other western powers are not
brought in cause. This makes it look like victor's
vengeance: it makes it seem targeted, selected,
unfair. It's a subterfuge." We hardly need to be told.

The pretext for U.S.-UK aggression in Iraq is what is
called the right of "anticipatory self-defense," now
sometimes called "preemptive war" in a perversion of
that concept. The right of anticipatory self-defense
was affirmed officially in the Bush administration
National Security Strategy of September 2002,
declaring Washington's right to resort to force to
eliminate any potential challenge to its global
dominance. The NSS was widely criticized among the
foreign policy elite, beginning with an article in the
main establishment journal Foreign Affairs, warning
that "the new imperial grand strategy" could be very
dangerous. Criticism continued, again at an
unprecedented level, but on narrow grounds-not that
the doctrine itself was wrong, but rather its style
and manner of presentation. Clinton's Secretary of
State Madeleine Albright summed the criticism up
accurately, also in FA. She pointed out that every
president has such a doctrine in his back pocket, but
it is foolish to smash people in the face with it and
to implement it in a manner that will infuriate even
allies. That is threatening to U.S. interests and
therefore wrong.

Albright knew, of course, that Clinton had a similar
doctrine. The Clinton doctrine advocated "unilateral
use of military power" to defend vital interests, such
as "ensuring uninhibited access to key markets, energy
supplies and strategic resources," without even the
pretexts that Bush and Blair devised. Taken literally,
the Clinton doctrine is more expansive than Bush's
NSS. But the more expansive Clinton doctrine was
barely even reported. It was presented with the right
style and implemented less brazenly.

Henry Kissinger described the Bush doctrine as
"revolutionary," pointing out that it undermines the
17th century Westphalian system of international order
and of course the UN Charter and international law. He
approved of the doctrine, but with reservations about
style and tactics and with a crucial qualification: it
cannot be "a universal principle available to every
nation." Rather, the right of aggression must be
reserved to the U.S., perhaps delegated to chosen
clients. We must forcefully reject the principle of
universality-that we apply to ourselves the same
standards we do to others, more stringent ones if we
are serious. Kissinger is to be praised for his
honesty in forthrightly articulating prevailing
doctrine, usually concealed in professions of virtuous
intent and tortured legalisms. He understands his
educated audience. As he doubtless expected, there was
no reaction.

His understanding of his audience was illustrated
again, rather dramatically, last May, when
Kissinger-Nixon tapes were released, over Kissinger's
strong objections. There was a report in the world's
leading newspaper. It mentioned, in passing, the
orders to bomb Cambodia that Kissinger transmitted
from Nixon to the military commanders. In Kissinger's
words, "A massive bombing campaign in Cambodia.
Anything that flies on anything that moves." It is
rare for a call for horrendous war crimes-what we
would not hesitate to call "genocide" if others were
responsible-to be so stark and explicit. It would be
interesting to see if there is anything like it in
archival records. The publication elicited no
reaction, refuting Dean Koh. Apparently, it is taken
for granted in the elite culture that the president
and his National Security adviser do have the right to
order genocide.

Imagine the reaction if the prosecutors at the
Milosevic Tribunal could find anything remotely
similar. They would be overjoyed, the trial would be
over, Milosevic would receive several life sentences,
the death penalty if the Tribunal adhered to U.S. law.
But that is them, not us.

The principle of universality is the most elementary
of moral truisms. It is the foundation of "just war
theory" and of every system of morality deserving of
anything but contempt. Rejection of such moral truisms
is so deeply rooted in the intellectual culture as to
be invisible. To illustrate again how deeply
entrenched it is, let's return to the principle of
"anticipatory self-defense," adopted as legitimate by
both political organizations in the U.S. and across
virtually the entire spectrum of articulate opinion,
apart from the usual margins. The principle has some
immediate corollaries. If the U.S. is granted the
right of "anticipatory self-defense" against terror,
then, certainly, Cuba, Nicaragua, and a host of others
have long been entitled to carry out terrorist acts
within the U.S. because there is no doubt of its
involvement in very serious terrorist attacks against
them, extensively documented in impeccable sources
and, in the case of Nicaragua, even condemned by the
World Court and the Security Council (in two
resolutions that the U.S. vetoed, with Britain loyally
abstaining). The conclusion that Cuba and Nicaragua,
among many others, have long had the right to carry
out terrorist atrocities in the U.S. is of course
utterly outrageous and advocated by no one. Thanks to
our self-determined immunity from moral truisms, there
is no fear that anyone will draw the outrageous

There are still more outrageous ones. No one, for
example, celebrates Pearl Harbor day by applauding the
fascist leaders of Imperial Japan. But by our
standards, the bombing of military bases in the U.S.
colonies of Hawaii and the Philippines seems rather
innocuous. The Japanese leaders knew that B-17 Flying
Fortresses were coming off the Boeing production lines
and were surely familiar with the public discussions
in the U.S. explaining how they could be used to
incinerate Japan's wooden cities in a war of
extermination, flying from Hawaiian and Philippine
bases-"to burn out the industrial heart of the Empire
with fire-bombing attacks on the teeming bamboo ant
heaps," as retired Air Force General Chennault
recommended in 1940, a proposal that "simply
delighted" President Roosevelt. That's a far more
powerful justification for anticipatory self-defense
than anything conjured up by Bush-Blair and their
associates-and accepted, with tactical reservations,
throughout the mainstream of articulate opinion.

Examples can be enumerated virtually at random. To add
one last one, consider the most recent act of NATO
aggression prior to the U.S.-UK invasion of Iraq: the
bombing of Serbia in 1999. The justification is
supposed to be that there were no diplomatic options
and that it was necessary to stop ongoing genocide. It
is not hard to evaluate these claims.

As for diplomatic options, when the bombing began,
there were two proposals on the table, a NATO and a
Serbian proposal. After 78 days of bombing a
compromise was reached between them-formally at least.
It was immediately undermined by NATO. All of this
quickly vanished into the mists of unacceptable
history, to the limited extent that it was ever

What about ongoing genocide-to use the term that
appeared hundreds of times in the press as NATO geared
up for war? That is unusually easy to investigate.
There are two major documentary studies by the State
Department, offered to justify the bombing, along with
extensive documentary records from the OSCE, NATO, and
other Western sources, and a detailed British
Parliamentary Inquiry. All agree on the basic facts:
the atrocities followed the bombing, they were not its
cause. Furthermore, that was predicted by the NATO
command, as General Wesley Clark informed the press
right away and confirmed in more detail in his
memoirs. The Milosevic indictment, issued during the
bombing-surely as a propaganda weapon, despite
implausible denials-and relying on U.S.-UK
intelligence as announced at once, yields the same
conclusion: virtually all the charges are
post-bombing. Such annoyances are handled quite
easily. The Western documentation is commonly expunged
in the media and even scholarship. The chronology is
regularly reversed, so that the anticipated
consequences of the bombing are transmuted into its

There were indeed pre-bombing atrocities: about 2,000
were killed in the year before the March 1999 bombing,
according to Western sources. The British, the most
hawkish element of the coalition, made the astonishing
claim-hard to believe just on the basis of the balance
of forces-that until January 1999 most of the killings
were by the Albanian KLA guerrillas attacking
civilians and soldiers in cross-border raids in the
hope of eliciting a harsh Serbian response that could
be used for propaganda purposes in the West, as they
candidly reported, apparently with CIA support in the
last months. Western sources indicate no substantial
change until the bombing was announced and the
monitors withdrawn a few days before the March
bombing. In one of the few works of scholarship that
even mentions the unusually rich documentary record,
Nicholas Wheeler concludes that 500 of the 2,000 were
killed by Serbs. He supports the bombing on the
grounds that there would have been worse Serbian
atrocities had NATO not bombed, eliciting the
anticipated crimes. That's the most serious scholarly
work. The press, and much of scholarship, chose the
easier path of ignoring Western documentation and
reversing the chronology.

It is all too easy to continue. But the-unpleasantly
consistent-record leaves open a crucial question: how
does the "great beast" react, the domestic U.S.
component of the second superpower? The conventional
answer is that the population approves of all of this,
as just shown by the election of George Bush. But as
is often the case, a closer look is helpful.

Each candidate received about 30 percent of the
electoral vote, Bush a bit more, Kerry a bit less.
General voting patterns were close to the 2000
elections; almost the same "red" and "blue" states, in
the conventional metaphor. A few percent shift in vote
would have meant that Kerry would be in the White
House. Neither outcome could tell us much of any
significance about the mood of the country, even of
voters. Issues of substance were as usual kept out of
the campaign or presented so obscurely that few could

It is important to bear in mind that political
campaigns are designed by the same people who sell
toothpaste and cars. Their professional concern in
their regular vocation is not to provide information.
Their goal, rather, is deceit. But deceit is quite
expensive: complex graphics showing the car with a
sexy actor or a sports hero or climbing a sheer cliff
or some other device to project an image that might
deceive the consumer into buying this car instead of
the virtually identical one produced by a competitor.
The same is true of elections, run by the same public
relations industry. The goal is to project images, and
deceive the public into accepting them, while
sidelining issues-for good reasons.

The population seems to grasp the nature of the
performance. Right before the 2000 elections, about 75
percent regarded it as virtually meaningless, some
game involving rich contributors, party managers, and
candidates who are trained to project images that
conceal issues, but might pick up some votes. This is
probably why the "stolen election" was an elite
concern that did not seem to arouse much public
interest; if elections have about as much significance
as flipping a coin to pick the King, who cares if the
coin was biased?

Right before the 2004 election, about 10 percent of
voters said their choice would based on the
candidate's "agendas/ideas/platforms/goals"; 6 percent
for Bush voters, 13 percent for Kerry voters. For the
rest, the choice would be based on what the industry
calls "qualities" and "values." Does the candidate
project the image of a strong leader, the kind of guy
you'd like to meet in a bar, someone who really cares
about you and is just like you? It wouldn't be
surprising to learn that Bush is carefully trained to
say "nucular" and "misunderestimate" and the other
silliness that intellectuals like to ridicule. That's
probably about as real as the ranch constructed for
him and the rest of the folksy manner. After all, it
wouldn't do to present him as a spoiled frat boy from
Yale who became rich and powerful thanks to his rich
and powerful connections. Rather, the imagery has to
be an ordinary guy just like us, who'll protect us,
and who shares our "moral values," more so than the
windsurfing goose-hunter who can be accused of faking
his medals.

Bush received a large majority among voters who said
they were concerned primarily with "moral values" and
"terrorism." We learn all we have to know about the
moral values of the Administration by reading the
pages of the business press the day after the
election, describing the "euphoria" in board rooms-not
because CEOs are opposed to gay marriage. Or by
observing the principle, hardly concealed, that the
very serious costs incurred by the Bush planners, in
their dedicated service to power and wealth, are to be
transferred to our children and grandchildren,
including fiscal costs, environmental destruction, and
perhaps "ultimate doom." These are the moral values,
loud and clear.

The commitment of Bush planners to "defense against
terrorism" is illustrated most dramatically, perhaps,
by their decision to escalate the threat of terror, as
had been predicted even by their own intelligence
agencies, not because they enjoy terrorist attacks
against U.S. citizens, but because it is, plainly, a
low priority for them-surely as compared with such
goals as establishing secure military bases in a
dependent client state at the heart of the world's
energy resources, recognized since World War II as the
"most strategically important area of the world," "a
stupendous source of strategic power, and one of the
greatest material prizes in world history." It is
critically important to ensure that "profits beyond
the dreams of avarice"-to quote a leading history of
the oil industry-flow in the right directions, i.e.,
to U.S. energy corporations, the Treasury Department,
U.S. high tech (militarized) industry, huge
construction firms, and so on. Even more important is
the stupendous strategic power. Having a firm hand on
the spigot guarantees "veto power" over rivals, as
George Kennan pointed out over 50 years ago. In the
same vein, Zbigniew Brzezinski recently wrote that
control over Iraq gives the U.S. "critical leverage"
over European and Asian economies, a major concern of
planners since World War II.

Rivals are to keep to their "regional
responsibilities" within the "overall framework of
order" managed by the U.S., as Kissinger instructed
them in his "Year of Europe" address 30 years ago.
That is even more urgent today, as the major rivals
threaten to move in an independent course, maybe even
united. The EU and China became each other's leading
trading partners in 2004 and those ties are becoming
tighter, including the world's second largest economy,
Japan. Critical leverage is more important than ever
for world control in the tripolar world that has been
evolving for over 30 years. In comparison, the threat
of terror is a minor consideration-though the threat
is known to be awesome. Long before 9/11 it was
understood that, sooner or later, the Jihadist terror
organized by the U.S. and its allies in the 1980s was
likely to combine with WMDs, with horrifying

Notice that the crucial issue with regard to Middle
East oil-about two-thirds of estimated world
resources, and unusually easy to extract-is control,
not access. U.S. policies towards the Middle East were
the same when it was a net exporter of oil and remain
the same today when U.S. intelligence projects that
the U.S. will rely on more stable Atlantic Basin
resources. Policies would be likely to be about the
same if the U.S. were to switch to renewable energy.
The need to control the "stupendous source of
strategic power" and to gain "profits beyond the
dreams of avarice" would remain. Jockeying over
Central Asia and pipeline routes reflects similar

There are plenty of other illustrations of the same
ranking of priorities. To mention one, the Treasury
Department has a bureau (OFAC, Office of Foreign
Assets Control) that is assigned the task of
investigating suspicious financial transfers, a
crucial component of the "war on terror." OFAC has 120
employees. Last April, the White House informed
Congress that four are assigned to tracking the
finances of Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, while
almost two dozen are dedicated to enforcing the
embargo against Cuba-incidentally, declared illegal by
every relevant international organization, even the
usually compliant Organization of American States.
From 1990 to 2003, OFAC informed Congress, there were
93 terrorism-related investigations with $9,000 in
fines; and 11,000 Cuba-related investigations with $8
million in fines.

Why should the Treasury Department devote vastly more
energy to strangling Cuba than to the war on terror?
The basic reasons were explained in secret documents
40 years ago, when the Kennedy administration sought
to bring "the terrors of the earth" to Cuba, as
historian (and Kennedy confidante) Arthur Schlesinger
recounted in his biography of Robert Kennedy, who ran
the terror operations as his highest priority. State
Department planners warned that the "very existence"
of the Castro regime is "successful defiance" of U.S.
policies going back 150 years, to the Monroe Doctrine;
no Russians, but intolerable defiance of the master of
the hemisphere. Furthermore, this successful defiance
encourages others, who might be infected by the
"Castro idea of taking matters into their own hands,"
Schlesinger had warned incoming President Kennedy,
summarizing the report of the President's Latin
American mission. These dangers are particularly
grave, Schlesinger elaborated, when "the distribution
of land and other forms of national wealth greatly
favors the propertied classes...and the poor and
underprivileged, stimulated by the example of the
Cuban revolution, are now demanding opportunities for
a decent living."

Let's return to the great beast. U.S. public opinion
is studied with great care and depth. Studies released
right before the election showed that those planning
to vote for Bush assumed that the Republican Party
shared their views, even though the Party explicitly
rejected them. Pretty much the same was true of Kerry
supporters. The major concerns of Kerry supporters
were economy and health care and they assumed that he
shared their views on these matters, just as Bush
voters assumed, with comparable justification, that
Republicans shared their views.

In brief, those who bothered to vote mostly accepted
the imagery concocted by the PR industry, which had
only the vaguest resemblance to reality. That's apart
from the more wealthy who tend to vote their class

What about actual public attitudes? Again, right
before the election, major studies were released
reporting them-and we see right away why it is a good
idea to base elections on deceit, very much as in the
fake markets of the doctrinal system. Here are a few
examples: A considerable majority believe that the
U.S. should accept the jurisdiction of the
International Criminal Court and the World Court; sign
the Kyoto protocols; allow the UN to take the lead in
international crises (including security,
reconstruction, and political transition in Iraq);
rely on diplomatic and economic measures more than
military ones in the "war on terror," and use force
only if there is "strong evidence that the country is
in imminent danger of being attacked," thus rejecting
the bipartisan consensus on "pre-emptive war" and
adopting a rather conventional interpretation of the
UN Charter. A majority even favor giving up the
Security Council veto.

Overwhelming majorities favor expansion of purely
domestic programs: primarily health care (80 percent),
but also aid to education and Social Security. Similar
results have long been found in these studies, carried
out by the most reputable organizations that monitor
public opinion. In other mainstream polls, about 80
percent favor guaranteed health care even if it would
raise taxes-a national health care system is likely to
reduce expenses considerably, avoiding the heavy costs
of bureaucracy, supervision, paperwork, etc., some of
the factors that render the U.S. privatized system the
most inefficient in the industrial world. Public
opinion has been similar for a long time, with numbers
varying depending on how questions are asked. The
facts are sometimes discussed in the press, with
public preferences noted, but dismissed as
"politically impossible." That happened again on the
eve of the 2004 elections. A few days before (October
31), the NY Times reported, "There is so little
political support for government intervention in the
health care market in the United States that Senator
John Kerry took pains in a recent presidential debate
to say that his plan for expanding access to health
insurance would not create a new government
program"-what the majority want, so it appears. But it
is politically impossible and there is too little
political support, meaning that the insurance
companies, HMOs, pharmaceutical industries, Wall
Street, etc., are opposed.

It is notable that these views are held by people in
virtual isolation. Their preferences do not enter into
the political campaigns and only marginally into
articulate opinion in media and journals. The same
extends to other domains and raises important
questions about a "democratic deficit" in the world's
most important state, to adopt the phrase we use for

What would the results of the election have been if
the parties, either of them, had been willing to
articulate people's concerns on the issues they regard
as vitally important? Or if these issues could enter
into public discussion within the mainstream? We can
only speculate about that, but we do know that it does
not happen and that the facts are scarcely even
reported. It seems reasonable to suppose that fear of
the great beast is rather deep.

The operative concept of democracy is revealed very
clearly in other ways as well. Perhaps the most
extraordinary was the distinction between Old and New
Europe in the run-up to the Iraq war. The criterion
for membership was so clear that it took real
discipline to miss it. Old Europe-the bad guys-were
the governments that took the same stand as the large
majority of the population. New Europe-the exciting
hope for a democratic future-were the Churchillian
leaders like Berlusconi and Aznar who disregarded even
larger majorities of the population and submissively
took their orders from Crawford, Texas. The most
dramatic case was Turkey, where, to everyone's
surprise, the government actually followed the will of
95 percent of the population. The official
administration moderate, Colin Powell, immediately
announced harsh punishment for this crime. Turkey was
bitterly condemned in the national press for lacking
"democratic credentials." The most extreme example was
Paul Wolfowitz, who berated the Turkish military for
not compelling the government to follow Washington's
orders and demanded that they apologize and publicly
recognize that the goal of a properly functioning
democracy is to help the U.S.

In other ways, too, the operative concept of democracy
is scarcely concealed. The lead think-piece in the NY
Times on the death of Yasser Arafat opened by saying,
"The post-Arafat era will be the latest test of a
quintessentially American article of faith: that
elections provide legitimacy even to the frailest
institutions." In the final paragraph, on the
continuation page, we read that Washington "resisted
new national elections among the Palestinians" because
Arafat would win and gain "a fresher mandate" and
elections "might help give credibility and authority
to Hamas" as well. In other words, democracy is fine
if the results come out the right way; otherwise, to
the flames.

To take just one crucial current example, a year ago,
after other pretexts for invading Iraq had collapsed,
Bush's speech writers had to come up with something to
replace them. They settled on what the liberal press
calls "the president's messianic vision to bring
democracy" to Iraq, the Middle East, the whole world.
The reactions were intriguing. They ranged from
rapturous acclaim for the vision, which proved that
this was the most noble war in history (David
Ignatius, veteran Washington Post correspondent) to
critics who agreed that the vision was noble and
inspiring, but might be beyond our reach because Iraqi
culture is just not ready for such progress towards
our civilized values. We have to temper the messianic
idealism of Bush and Blair with some sober realism,
the London Financial Times advised.

The interesting fact is that it was presupposed
uncritically across the spectrum that the messianic
vision must be the goal of the invasion, not this
silly business about WMDs and al-Qaeda, no longer
credible to elite opinion. What is the evidence that
the U.S. and Britain are guided by the messianic
vision? There is indeed a single piece of evidence:
our leaders proclaimed it. What more could be needed?

There is one sector of opinion that had a different
view: the Iraqis. Just as the messianic vision was
unveiled in Washington to reverent applause, a
U.S.-run poll of Baghdadis was released. Some agreed
with the near-unanimous stand of Western elite opinion
that the goal of the invasion was to bring democracy
to Iraq. One percent. Five percent thought the goal
was to help Iraqis. The majority assumed the obvious:
the U.S. wants to control Iraq's resources and use its
base there to reorganize the region in its interest.
Baghdadis agree that there is a problem of cultural
backwardness: in the West, not in Iraq. Actually,
their views were more nuanced. Though 1 percent
believed that the goal of the invasion was to bring
democracy, about half felt that the U.S. wanted
democracy, but would not allow Iraqis to run their
democracy "without U.S. pressure and influence." They
understand the quintessentially American faith very
well, perhaps because it was the quintessentially
British faith while Britain's boot was on their necks.
They don't have to know the history of Wilsonian
idealism or Britain's noble counterpart or France's
civilizing mission or the even more exalted vision of
Japanese fascists and many others-probably also close
to a historical universal. Their own experience is

At the outset, I mentioned the notable successes of
popular struggles in the past decades, very clear if
we think about it a little, but rarely discussed, for
reasons that are not hard to discern. Both recent
history and public attitudes suggest some
straightforward strategies for short-term activism on
the part of those who don't want to wait for China to
save us from "ultimate doom." We enjoy great privilege
and freedom, remarkable by comparative and historical
standards. That legacy was not granted from above, it
was won by dedicated struggle, which does not reduce
to pushing a lever every few years. We can abandon
that legacy and take the easy way of
pessimism-everything is hopeless, so I'll quit. Or we
can make use of that legacy to work to create-in part
re-create-the basis for a functioning democratic
culture in which the public plays some role in
determining policies, not only in the political arena
from which it is largely excluded, but also in the
crucial economic arena, from which it is excluded in

These are hardly radical ideas. They were articulated
clearly, for example, by the leading 20th century
social philosopher in the U.S., John Dewey, who
pointed out that until "industrial feudalism" is
replaced by "industrial democracy," politics will
remain "the shadow cast by big business over society."
Dewey was as "American as apple pie," in the familiar
phrase. He was in fact drawing from a long tradition
of thought and action that had developed independently
in working class culture from the origins of the
industrial revolution. Such ideas remain just below
the surface and can become a living part of our
societies, cultures, and institutions. But like other
victories for justice and freedom over the centuries,
that will not happen by itself. One of the clearest
lessons of history, including recent history, is that
rights are not granted; they are won. The rest is up
to us.


Debt, Drugs and Democracy

Noam Chomsky interviewed by Maria Luisa Mendonca

NACLA Report on the Americas, Vol. 33, No. 1 Jul/Aug
1999 [March 12, 1999]

QUESTION: How do you see the problem of Third World
foreign debt? What are the mechanisms through which
these countries become increasingly dependent on
international financial institutions?

CHOMSKY: The first thing to bear in mind is that debt
is not an economic problem. It's a political problem.
The debt is an ideological construction. Say I borrow
money from you, and I put the money in a Swiss bank,
or I buy a Mercedes, and then my creditors come and I
tell them, "I'm sorry -- I have no money. You pay it."
That is not the way it works. If I borrowed it, I have
to pay it.

Let's take the Brazilian debt. Who borrowed it? Not
the peasants, not the working people. In fact the
large majority of the population of Brazil didn't have
anything to do with the debt, but they're being asked
to pay it. That's like you being asked to pay if I
spent my money somewhere else and couldn't pay it
back. To the extent that there is a debt -- if you
believe in capitalist principles -- the debt ought to
be paid by the people who borrowed it. In this case
they are military dictators, some landowners and the

The Brazilian debt, like most of the Latin American
debt, is more or less comparable in scale to capital
flight. So, there's an easy way to pay the debt: Bring
the capital back.

The other question is: Should debtor countries have to
pay at all? The legal concept of "odious debt," which
is reasonably well-established in international law,
states that they don't have to pay. When the United
States "liberated Cuba" in 1898 -- meaning, prevented
Cuba from liberating itself -- it cancelled Cuba's
debt to Spain on the grounds that it was an odious
debt because it had been forced on Cuba by the
relations of subordination and power to which it was
subject, and therefore had no legal standing.

Other cases have actually come to international
arbitration. About 20 years later, Costa Rica refused
to pay a debt to the Royal Bank of Canada, claiming it
was an unfair loan. The arbitrator, Chief Justice of
the United States Supreme Court and former President
William Howard Taft, ruled against England -- then the
responsible authority for Canada -- in favor of Costa
Rica on the grounds that the debt had been imposed on
the Costa Ricans under unfair conditions of power, and
therefore had no legal standing.

By this standard, there is very little Third World
debt. An economist who is now U.S. Executive Director
of the International Monetary Fund, Karen Lissakers,
pointed out several years ago that Washington's
principles, "if applied today, would wipe out a
substantial part of the Third World indebtedness,"
because it was imposed under unfair conditions of
power and subordination.

It seems to me that the right way to the look at the
debt is to say that for the overwhelming majority of
the population there is no debt. They have nothing to
pay. They had nothing to do with borrowing it, they
got no gains from it -- in fact, they may even have
been harmed by it -- so why should they pay it? It
doesn't make any sense. If anybody ought to pay it,
it's the borrowers.

Then there's the question of whether that debt even
means anything. The whole idea of a debt is an
ideological concept having to do with power relations.

We can't overlook power relations -- they exist. If
somebody's standing over your head with a gun, you
can't say, "That's illegitimate, I refuse to do what
you say." You've got to live with it. Under existing
power relations, there's just no option but paying
this illegitimate debt, which is not a debt -- it's
robbery, basically. Sometimes you have to accept
robbery, and that is what's happened with Third World
debt. The right approach is to question the people
with the figurative gun -- the rich countries. They're
the ones who have to agree that there's no debt, and
they are the ones who can take the gun away.

This brings up other problems. From the time of
colonization, Latin American countries have not been
able to control their own wealthy classes. They don't
pay taxes and they don't have responsibilities. Latin
America is completely different in consumption
patterns than East Asia. In Latin America, there are
imports -- but they tend to be luxury imports for a
small group of wealthy elites. There is capital flow
by the wealthy to outside. In contrast, in East Asia,
in the last 30 or 40 years, the imports have been
capital goods designed to construct an economy. It's
relatively egalitarian -- not totally so, but much
more so than Latin America. The wealthy in East Asia
have responsibilities. They pay taxes, they are not
allowed -- up until recently, anyway -- to export
capital, and they're forced by a powerful state to
contribute to the development of the society. That's
just not true in Latin America.

Another difference, also going back to the colonial
period, is that the links between Latin American
countries are still very weak. They are all connected
individually to the external power, to France or
England last century and now to the United States. But
the interaction between countries has been very
limited and in a large country like Brazil, there
aren't even well-developed connections within the
country. They're all oriented toward the outside, so
the infrastructure and the culture and the imports and
everything else are all separated and related to the
imperial powers. Unless these internal problems are
overcome, there is no way to get rid of that
gun-pointing at peoples' heads. If they are overcome,
then Latin America as a whole could just refuse to pay
the debt, just as the United States refused to pay
Cuba's debt to Spain.

QUESTION: But today countries don't owe money to a
particular country. The debt is largely controlled by
financial institutions like the IMF.

CHOMSKY: Yes, but that's another form of robbery. The
IMF is a method for paying off investors and
transferring the risk to the taxpayers in rich
countries. There are two forms of robbery going on:
The populations in the debtor countries are being
robbed blind by austerity programs, while the
taxpayers in rich countries are also being robbed.
It's not as serious for the latter because they're
richer, but they're still being robbed. The IMF
socializes the risk.

This is quite important. People invest in Third World
countries because the yields are very high. So gains
are high in a market system if the risks are high.
They more or less correlate: the greater the risk, the
greater the gain. But here it is largely risk-free.
Private investors make enormous profits from very
risky investments, but then, through the international
financial institutions, they essentially have free
"risk insurance." The structure of the system is such
that the people who borrowed don't have to pay -- they
socialize it by making the population pay, even though
the population didn't borrow the money. The people who
invest -- they don't accept the risk, because they
transfer it to their own populations. That's the way
market systems work-through the socialization of risk
and through the socialization of cost, with the IMF
acting as "the credit community's enforcer," as
Lissakers puts it.

What, then, are the consequences for democracy? Over
the last 20 years, power has been transferred to the
hands of financial capital, so banks, investors,
speculators and financial institutions make policy.
The liberalization of financial flows creates what
some economists call a "virtual senate": if private
investors don't like what some country is doing, they
can pull their money out. They in effect come to
define government policy. That's the point of

There's nothing novel about this. When the Bretton
Woods system -- the international financial system --
was established in the mid-1940s, a fundamental part
of it was regulation of financial flows, to keep major
currencies within a fixed band close to each other so
that there would be no speculation in currencies.
There were also restrictions on capital flight -- and
there were good reasons for that.

It was understood that the liberalization of capital
flows harms the economy. Since liberalization of
capital started about 25 years ago, the whole
international economy has declined seriously. But
there's a more serious argument, which was clearly
articulated at Bretton Woods, that if you allow the
free flow of capital, you undermine democracy and the
welfare state. If a government is "irrational" -- if
it decides to do things for the general population
instead of for foreign investors, say, as Itamar
Franco was trying to do when he refused to pay his
state's debt to Brazil's central government then it
can immediately be punished by pulling out capital. So
the point of the liberalization of capital and its
effect is to diminish democratic control everywhere
and to undermine social programs. It ensures that
policy will be geared toward enriching investors, the
holders of financial capital, which becomes more and
more speculative, therefore harming the general

In the European Union, the power given to central
bankers is overwhelming. They set policy. That's a
strong weapon against democratic control of
policymaking in every area, and it's happening more
and more. And it's the predictable -- and surely the
intended -- effect of liberalization of capital flows.

There was an interesting article about this in The
Wall Street Journal a couple of days ago comparing
Mexico and Brazil. It said that Mexico is an "economic
miracle" -- the numbers all look fine, the
macroeconomic statistics are great, the growth rate is
going up, inflation is down -- just perfect, they're
following all the rules. It points out that there's
only one problem: The population is suffering badly.
The poverty rate is going up -- it was always terrible
but it's getting much worse. Starvation is getting
worse, people don't have jobs; the population is
suffering bitterly but it's called an "economic
miracle." Well, there's nothing surprising about that.
When Brazil was the darling of the international
investors, Brazil's generals said, "The economy is
doing fine -- it's just the people who aren't."

The article went on to ask, "How come Mexico has been
so well behaved? Why does it follow all the IMF
policies which lead to these effects?" It argued that
the reason is that Mexico is a dictatorship, and
therefore they can force the population to accept the
outside rules.

Then the article said, "Well, look at Brazil -- here
we're going to have some problems." Brazil is more
disorderly, it's more democratic, people don't
automatically follow the rules because they're forced
to do so by violent means. They did at one time -- in
the good old days under the generals -- but now it's
not working so well. So, it said, maybe Brazil is
going to be a harder problem to deal with than Mexico.

Economic austerity and what is called "financial
rectitude" can be imposed on countries if it's done
forcibly. A more democratic society won't accept it,
and therefore the reforms can't be so easily imposed.
Take a look at the standard histories of the
international financial system. In a recent book,
economist Barry Eichengreen points out that in the
late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the
flow of capital investment and trade relative to the
economy was not very different from what it is today.
By gross measures, globalization is about back to what
it was before World War I. But of course there are big
differences. One difference, as he points out, is that
investors in the pre-World War I period could be
confident that currencies would remain stable because
if anything went wrong, the cost of adjustments could
be forced on the population. This is what's happening
in Mexico-transferring the pain to the general
population to secure high profits for investors and
local elites.

According to Eichengreen, things changed in the
twentieth century. Parliamentary Labor parties and
unions emerged, the franchise was expanded, and
countries became more democratic, so governments could
no longer impose financial rectitude on a helpless
population. That, he says, is the basic reason that
Bretton Woods was constructed as it was. Governments
had to impose financial controls and regulations to
compensate for the fact that countries that had become
wealthy and industrialized had become more democratic.
We can extend his argument to the present: As you now
eliminate regulation, you force countries to become
less democratic. These things go together. There is no
way to impose Mexican-style reforms, in which most of
the population suffers so that foreign investors can
get paid off, except by some kind of force, and that's
just the problem that Brazil is now facing.

QUESTION: You have said that controlling natural
resources is a way to exert control over the
population. How do you see this problem, given that
one of the IMF's most important forms of control when
giving a loan is to impose conditions such as the
privatization of national industries?

CHOMSKY: The IMF, of course, means the United States.
It basically follows U.S. policy, which is not that
different from England's or France's or Germany's. The
major U.S. policies toward Latin America were
articulated quite clearly in 1945. That's when the new
world order was being created. Until World War II, the
United States, though it was the richest country in
the world, was not a major player on the world scene.
It was more or less a regional actor. But after World
War II, it was clear it was going to take over most of
the world. With regard to the Western Hemisphere, the
idea was very explicit: We're finally going to
implement the Monroe Doctrine. Up until now we
couldn't do it, because Britain and France were strong
competitors. But now we'll kick out Britain and France
and take the whole thing over ourselves. That was
explicit: This is "our little region over here," which
we're going to control. At a hemispheric conference in
Chapultepec, Mexico in February 1945, the United
States laid down the law. It imposed what was called
the Charter for the Americas, which banned "economic
nationalism" -- meaning development along national
lines. So, for example, Brazil would be allowed to
pursue what they called "complementary development,"
but not competitive development. In other words,
Brazil could develop its steel industry, but not
produce anything of high quality such as specialized
steel, which the United States was producing.

On the matter of resources, the United States was
concerned with what it called the "philosophy of the
new nationalism," which it saw as spreading throughout
Latin America, which holds -- I'm now quoting -- "that
the first beneficiaries of the development of a
country's resources should be the people of that
country." The U.S. government decided it couldn't
allow that because the first beneficiaries of the
country's resources had to be U.S. investors. And it
decided it had to knock out of their heads the idea
that the people of these countries should be primary
beneficiaries of their countries' resources. We have
to "protect our resources," as George Kennan, the head
of the State Department planning staff, put it --
referring to "our resources" that happen to be located
somewhere else. The United States opposed state
control of industry, fearing it might be responsive to
public interests. The IMF represents that policy. It's
been the policy for 50 years.

The way this worked can be seen in the way the United
States dealt with Guatemala. Recently, Guatemala has
been prominent in the news because of the release of
the report of the UN Commission for Historical
Clarification. One crucial part of what the UN
Commission pointed out is that Guatemala has been
subject to socio-economic arrangements imposed on it
by the United States and giant corporations. That's
the source of the problems. It's not just the 1954
U.S.-backed coup. Of course the CIA coup happened for
a reason: to maintain those socio-economic relations.
And this holds true throughout the continent. The
United States tries to enforce these socio-economic
relations as outlined in the Charter for the Americas
and numerous other internal documents.

Privatization plays a key role within this system.
That's exactly what's happening in East Asia. The West
in general, but particularly the United States, is
benefiting from the East Asian economic crisis in that
it's able to pick up financial and industrial assets
in East Asia that are now on the auction bloc. These
assets were developed by local working people and
industrialists and now they'll be picked up and owned
by Merrill Lynch and others at very low cost because
the Asian economies are in collapse. That's the point.
And, in fact, liberalization of capital played a big
role in that. South Korea, which was a very successful
economy -- not a pretty place, but a successful
economy -- was compelled to liberalize capital flows
in the early 1990s and within a few years this caused
it to collapse, as we would expect. Big flows of
speculation, big outflows, the collapse, and then
Western corporations and investment firms come in to
pick up the pieces.

QUESTION: What forms of control does the United States
use today compared with the Cold War period? Who are
the enemies today and how are they being created?

CHOMSKY: The Cold War was useful ideologically. Every
time you carried out an atrocity you could say, "Oh
well -- Cold War." Take Guatemala. Every newspaper
article says, "Yeah, we made a mistake. But of course,
it was the Cold War so what do you expect? Guatemala
and Central America were Cold War battle fronts." In
fact, Central America was no Cold War battle front --
there wasn't a Russian in sight! To say that Cuba was
involved is like saying that Eastern Europe was a Cold
War battle front because Luxembourg was supporting the
opposition. That's ridiculous. Latin America was in
the pocket of the United States. There was essentially
no Cold War issue. It was just the imposition of these
larger socio-economic structures. The Cold War was a

What happens after the Cold War ended? Well, the
policies continue without change, because the Cold War
had almost nothing to do with it. What happened is
that the pretext changed, and it changed very fast.

Every year, the White House presents Congress with a
glossy propaganda pamphlet explaining why you have to
have a huge Pentagon budget, and Congress passes it.
Every year prior to the collapse of the Soviet bloc it
was the same: "The Russians are coming -- we need to
defend ourselves." The interesting pamphlet to look at
was March 1990, after the Berlin Wall had fallen and
the Soviet Union was collapsing. Even the most wild
fanatic couldn't claim that the Russians were coming.
So what did they do? The Bush Administration submitted
the glossy pamphlet, same as before -- we need a huge
Pentagon budget, everything's the same -- but the
pretext had changed. It's not the Russians. Now it's,
and I'm quoting, "the technological sophistication" of
Third World powers -- that's the new enemy. So the
enemy is Brazil getting too sophisticated, so we need
a huge Pentagon budget. We also have to protect what
they call the "defense industrial base," a term that
means high-tech industry. In other words, the public
funds high-tech industry via the Pentagon.

They also said that we have to maintain the
intervention forces. For years, the intervention
forces have been mostly aimed at the Middle East,
because that's where the main resources are. There's a
huge intervention system that goes from the Pacific to
the Azores aimed at the Middle East, and that is to be
maintained. And then it had the following interesting
phrase: It said the forces have to be aimed at the
Middle East, where the threats to our interests "could
not be laid at the Kremlin's door." This means that we
accept that it's no longer the Russian threat, but the
threat of radical nationalism. The people of that
country may not agree that the beneficiaries of their
resources have to be in New York and London, and
therefore we need intervention forces. Notice that the
problem was not Iraq at that time. Iraq was an ally --
Saddam Hussein was an ally and a friend. So the
problem was just those people of the region who don't
understand that their resources and wealth have to go
to us. Something very crucial does change, however,
especially for the Third World: The collapse of the
Soviet Union eliminates the space for non-alignment.
Whether it was the Soviet Union or Mars -- it didn't
matter -- the existence of some other power left the
space for a degree of independence. Third World
countries could be in between the two powers, playing
one off against the other. That's how Cuba could
survive. Well, that's gone. So the space for
independence is gone, which means the Third World is
much more subject to U.S. power than it was in the
past. This also means that in Latin America, for
example, for the moment military intervention and
military coups are not as necessary. They may be ten
years from now, but they're not now. And the reason is
because of the controls of the virtual senate, the
controls provided by ideological constructs like the
debt, the liberalization of capital and the imposition
of Mexican-style reforms, as is happening in Brazil

The cooperation of Latin American elites is a key
element. These policies are not being forced on them.
They're choosing them. They're enriching themselves.
And that, again, is a classical pattern. Just as with
the British in India -- they didn't run the country
with British troops. They ran it with Indian elites
who were enriching themselves while the country was
falling into disaster. Latin America is a classic
example of this and it has been for a long time,
especially in the most violent parts of Latin America.
Take Colombia -- the most violent spot in Latin
America at the moment. But that goes right back to
socio-economic structures in which a tiny sector has
enormous control over land and other resources, and in
a rich country, much of the population is starving and
living in extreme poverty. Sure, that's going to lead
to violence.

QUESTION: And the drug war...?

CHOMSKY: Controlling the population in the United
States is a big problem. In fact, it's the biggest
problem: How do you control your own population? Well,
one way to control them is by having a foreign enemy.
So, if the Russians are coming, then people are
scared, and they are obedient. For about ten or 15
years now it's been pretty obvious the Russians aren't
coming. You can no longer play that game. So, new
enemies have to be concocted: international
terrorists, Hispanic narcotraffickers, Islamic
fundamentalists, and so on -- whoever you want. None
of these are credible threats. Let's take Islamic
fundamentalism. The United States has nothing against
Islamic fundamentalism per se -- after all, one of the
leading U.S. allies is Saudi Arabia, the most extreme
Islamic fundamentalist state in the world. We're not
worried about them. Furthermore, the United States has
nothing against fundamentalism. In fact, religious
fundamentalism is probably more extreme in the United
States than in Iran, so it can't be fundamentalism
that's the problem. It can't be Islam that's the
problem -- Saudi Arabia's just fine. So was Indonesia,
the largest (mostly) Islamic state, as long as the
corrupt and murderous dictatorship was maintaining
control. The real problem is independent nationalism.
Sometimes it takes the form of Islamic fundamentalism.
Sometimes it takes the form of the Catholic Church, as
in the 1980s when the United States was at war with
the Catholic Church in Central America. Who were they
killing? There's a picture of Archbishop Romero over
there. He wasn't an Islamic fundamentalist. He was a
"voice for the voiceless" -- so you kill him. The
Jesuits who were killed in El Salvador were dissidents
who were the voice of the poor, so you kill them. In
fact, a good part of the Central American war was a
war against the Catholic Church which dared to adopt a
"preferential option for the poor."

What about the drug war? The drug war has had no
impact whatsoever on availability of drugs or street
prices in the United States, but it has had other
effects. In Latin America, it's a cover for
counterinsurgency. In the United States, it has a dual
effect. First of all we must understand that the
United States itself is becoming a kind of Third World
society -- albeit a very rich one. So, a goal of the
social policies of the past 25 years has been to
create a small sector of extreme wealth and a large
mass of people who are somewhere between getting by
and misery-that's a typical Third World structure. In
a Third World country there's a lot of superfluous
people, like street children in Rio; what do you do
with them? In Brazil, they can be killed. In Colombia
there is limpieza social, or social cleansing -- a
euphemism for killing them. The United States is
purportedly a civilized country, so you throw them
into jail. So the prison population is going way up,
mostly because of drugs -- victimless crimes -- and
it's aiming at the "superfluous people," the people
who don't have any role in profit making in this kind
of a society.

And it has another effect: You frighten everyone else.
The United States is one of the very few societies --
I don't even know of any others -- where fear of crime
and drugs is used as a method of social control. There
is a huge propaganda campaign to make people terrified
of drugs and terrified of crime -- which is a code
word for being terrified of blacks and Hispanics and
so on, because of the class/race correlations. That
keeps the general population under control.

In the United States for the past 25 years, maybe
two-thirds of the population has seen their incomes
stagnate or decline even though they work much harder.
Many more hours of work -- more than any other
industrialized society -- for stagnating or declining
incomes. It's hard to get people to accept that, but
one way is to keep them frightened, and crime and
drugs do that. So, it's not that the drug war is a
failure; in fact, it's a great success. It has nothing
to do with the availability of drugs, but that's not
what it's for. It's serving other purposes, and
serving them pretty well.

QUESTION: What kind of political and social system
would you like to see?

CHOMSKY: I would like to see a system that eliminates
hierarchies and authoritarian structures. It would
extend freedom and democratic choices. It would mean
that people in workplaces and communities would
control everything that's involved in their lives,
including the productive apparatus, commerce, planning
for the future, distribution of resources and so on. I
think people would want a voluntaristic, anarchist
society. If they don't -- if they would prefer to be
ruled by slaveowners and dictators -- well, then I'm
wrong. But I don't think that's what people want, so
I'd like to see the kind of society that is moving in
those directions. And that extends to everything from
relations within the family to the organization of
global society. Patriarchal families are a form of
authority and subordination which I don't think are
good for anybody, and, I think people wouldn't want if
they had a choice. The same is true of international
society, which is ruled by either the direct violence
of military forces or the indirect violence of global
economic institutions, including the IMF, which serves
as "the credit community's enforcer." Neither at the
global level nor at the local level should such
arrangements be tolerated.


Introduction: Project Censored 25th Anniversary

Noam Chomsky

In Peter Phillips (ed.), Project Censored 2001, Seven
Stories Press, April, 2001

A review of the stories that have been selected by
Project Censored over 25 years reveals several clear
patterns. The stories are of considerable interest to
the media constituencies: the corporate sector, the
state authorities, and the general public. They fall
in a domain in which corporate-state interests are
rather different from those of the public. That such
stories would tend to be downplayed, reshaped, and
obscured ."censored," in the terminology of the only to be expected on the basis of even
the most rudimentary inspection of the institutional
structure of the media and their place in the broader

Media service to the corporate sector is reflexive:
the media are major corporations. Like others, they
sell a product to a market: the product is audiences
and the market is other businesses (advertisers). It
would be surprising indeed if the choice and shaping
of media content did not reflect the interests and
preferences of the sellers and buyers, and the
business world generally. Even apart from the natural
tendency to support state power, the linkage of the
corporate sector and the state is so close that
convergence of interests on major issues is the norm.
The status of audiences is more ambiguous. The product
must be available for sale; people must be induced to
look at the advertisements. But beyond this common
ground, divisions arise.

We can make a rough distinction between the managerial
class and the rest. The managers take part in
decision-making in the state, the private economy, and
the doctrinal institutions. The rest are to cede
authority to state and private elites, to accept what
they are told, and to occupy themselves elsewhere.
There is a corresponding rough distinction between
elite and mass media, the former aiming to be
instructive, though in ways that reflect dominant
interests; the latter primarily to shape attitudes and
beliefs, and to divert "the great beast," as Alexander
Hamilton termed the annoying public.

The managers must have a tolerably realistic picture
of the world if they are to advance "the permanent
interests of the country," to borrow the phrase of
James Madison, the leading framer of the
constitutional order, referring to the rights of men
of property. The world view of planners and decision
makers should conform to the permanent interests, not
just parochially but more broadly. The great beast, in
contrast, must be caged. The public must have faith in
the leaders who pursue "America's mission," perhaps
subject to personal flaws, or making errors in an
excess of good will or naivete, but dedicated to the
path of righteousness. Firm in this conviction, the
public is to keep to pursuits that do not interfere
with the permanent interests. It must accept
subordination as normal and proper; better still, it
should be invisible, the way life is and must be.

The political order is largely an expression of these
goals, and the doctrinal institutions.the media
prominent among them.serve to reinforce and legitimate
them. These are tendencies that one would be inclined
to expect on elementary assumptions, and there is
ample evidence to support such natural conjectures.

The realities are commonly revealed during the
electoral extravaganzas. The year 2000 was no
exception. As usual, almost half the electorate did
not participate and voting correlated with income.
Voter turnout remained "among the lowest and most
decisively class-skewed in the industrial world."[1]
This feature of so-called "American exceptionalism,"
reflecting the unusual dominance and class
consciousness of concentrated private power, has been
plausibly attributed to "the total absence of a
socialist or laborite mass party as an organized
competitor in the electoral market."[2] The same is
true of the "media market": it is virtually 100
percent corporate, with a "total absence of socialist
or laborite" mass media. In both respects, "the system

Control of the media market by private capital is no
more a law of nature than its control of the electoral
market. In earlier days, there was a vibrant
labor-based and popular press that reached a mass
audience of concerned and committed readers, on the
scale of the commercial press. As in England, it was
undermined by concentration of capital and advertiser
funding; one should not succumb to myths about markets
fostering competition. Unlike in most of the world,
business interests are so powerful in the United
States that they quickly took control of radio and
television, and are now seeking to do the same with
the new electronic media that were developed primarily
in the state sector over many years.a terrain of
struggle today with considerable long-term

Most of the population did not take the year 2000
presidential elections very seriously. Three-fourths
of the population regarded the process as a game
played by large contributors (overwhelmingly
corporations), party leaders, and the PR industry,
which crafted candidates to say "almost anything to
get themselves elected," so that one could believe
little that they said even when their stand on issues
was intelligible. On most issues citizens could not
identify the stands of the candidates.not because of
ignorance or lack of concern; again, the system is
working. Public opinion studies found that among
voters concerned more with policy issues than
"qualities," the Democrats won handily. But issues
were displaced in the political-media system in favor
of style, personality, and other marginalia that are
of little concern to the concentrated private power
centers that largely finance campaigns and run the
government. Their shared interests remained safely off
the agenda, independently of the public will.[3]

Crucially, questions of economic policy must be
deflected. These are of great concern both to the
general population and to private power and its
political representatives, but commonly with opposing
preferences. The business world and its media
overwhelmingly support "neoliberal reforms":
corporate-led versions of globalization, the
investor-rights agreements called "free trade
agreements," and other devices that concentrate wealth
and power. The public tends to oppose these measures,
despite near-uniform media celebration. And unless
care is taken, people might find ways to articulate
and even implement their concerns. Opponents of the
international economic arrangements favored by the
business-government-media complex have an "ultimate
weapon," the Wall Street Journal observed ruefully:
the general public, which must therefore be

For the public, the trade deficit had become the most
important economic issue facing the country by 1998,
outranking taxes or the budget deficit.the latter a
concern for business, but not the public, so that lack
of public interest must be portrayed as the public.s
"balanced-budget obsession."[5] People understand that
the trade deficit translates into loss of jobs; for
example, when U.S. corporations establish plants
abroad that export to the domestic market. But free
capital mobility is a high priority for the business
world: it increases profit and also provides a
powerful weapon to undermine labor organizing by
threat of job transfer.technically illegal, but highly
effective, as labor historian Kate Bronfenbrenner has
demonstrated in important work.[6] Such threats
contribute to the "growing worker insecurity" that has
been hailed by Alan Greenspan and others as a
significant factor in creating a "fairy-tale economy"
by limiting wages and benefits, thus increasing profit
and reducing inflationary pressures that would be
unwelcome to financial interests. Another useful
effect of these measures is to undermine democracy.
Unions have traditionally offered people ways to pool
limited resources, to think through problems that
concern them collectively, to struggle for their
rights, and to challenge the monopoly of the electoral
and media markets. Capital mobility provides a new way
to avert these threats, one of several that are
cleaner than the resort to violence to crush working
people that was another feature of "American
exceptionalism" over a long period.

No such matters are to intrude into the electoral
process: the general population is induced to vote (if
at all) on the basis of peripheral concerns.

Higher-income voters favor Republicans, so that the
class-skewed voting pattern benefits the more openly
pro-business party. But more revealing than the
abstention of those who are left effectively voiceless
is the way they vote when they do participate. The
voting bloc that provided Bush with his greatest
electoral success was middle-to-lower income white
working class voters, particularly men, but women as
well. By large margins they favored Gore on major
policy issues, insofar as these arose in some
meaningful way during the campaign. But they were
diverted to safer preoccupations.

The public is well aware of its marginalization. In
the early years of Project Censored, about half the
population felt that the government is run by "a few
big interests looking out for themselves." During the
Reagan years, as "neoliberal reforms" were more firmly
instituted, the figure rose to over 80 percent. In
2000, the director of Harvard.s Vanishing Voter
Project reported that "Americans. feeling of
powerlessness has reached an alarming high," with 53
percent responding "only a little" or "none" to the
question: "How much influence do you think people like
you have on what government does?" The previous peak,
30 years ago, was 41 percent. During the campaign,
over 60 percent of regular voters regarded politics in
America as "generally pretty disgusting." In each
weekly survey, more people found the campaign boring
than exciting, by a margin of 5 to 3 in the final

The election was a virtual statistical tie, with
estimated differences within the expected error range.
A victor had to be chosen, and a great deal of
attention was devoted to the process and what it
reveals about the state of American democracy. But the
major and most revealing issues were largely ignored
in favor of dimpled chads and other technicalities.
Among the crucial issues sidelined was the fact that
most of the population felt that no election took
place in any serious sense, at least as far as their
interests were concerned.

A leading theme of modern history is the conflict
between elite sectors, who are dedicated to securing
"the permanent interests," and the unwashed masses,
who have a different conception of their role in
determining their fate and the course of public
affairs. Over the centuries, rights have been won by
constant and often bitter popular struggle, including
rights of workers, women, and victims of a variety of
other forms of discrimination and oppression; and the
rights of future generations, the core concern of the
environmental movements. The last 40 years have seen
notable advances in this regard. But progress is by no
means uniform. New mechanisms are constantly devised
to restrict the rights that have been gained to formal
exercises with little content.

The political order was consciously designed to defend
the "permanent interests" against the "levelling
spirit" of the growing masses of people who will
"labor under all the hardships of life, and secretly
sigh for a more equal distribution of its blessings,"
Madison feared, that they may seek to improve their
conditions by such measures as agrarian reform (and
today, far more). The political system must "protect
the minority of the opulent against the majority,"
Madison advised his colleagues at the Constitutional
Convention. Power was therefore to be in the hands of
"the wealth of the nation," not the great masses of
people "without property, or the hope of acquiring
it," and who "cannot be expected to sympathize
sufficiently with [the rights of the propertied
minority or] to be safe depositories of power" over
these rights, Madison observed 40 years later,
reflecting on the course and prospects of the system
of which he was the most influential designer.

The problems and conflicts persist, though their
nature has radically changed over time. A particularly
important shift took place with the "corporatization
of America" a century ago, which sharply concentrated
power, creating "a very different America from the
old" in which "most men are servants of corporations,"
Woodrow Wilson observed. This "different America," he
continued, is "no longer a scene of individual
enterprise,...individual opportunity and individual
achievement" but a society in which "small groups of
men in control of great corporations wield a power and
control over the wealth and business opportunities of
the country," administering markets and becoming
"rivals of the government itself"; more accurately,
becoming barely distinguishable from "the government
itself." Wilsonian progressivism also gave a new cast
to the traditional vision of the political order. In
his "progressive essays on democracy," Walter
Lippmann, the most influential figure in American
journalism in the 20th century, described the public
as "ignorant and meddlesome outsiders" who should be
mere "spectators of action," not participants; their
role is limited to periodic choice among the
"responsible men," who are to function in
"technocratic insulation," in World Bank lingo,
"securing the permanent interests."

The doctrine, labelled "polyarchy" by democratic
political theorist Robert Dahl, is conventional in
elite opinion. It has been given still firmer
institutional grounds by the reduction of the public
arena under the "neoliberal reforms" of the past 20
years, which shift authority even more than before to
unaccountable private concentrations of power, under
the cynical slogan "trust the people." Democracy is to
be construed as the right to choose among commodities.
Business leaders explain the need to impose on the
population a "philosophy of futility" and "lack of
purpose in life," to "concentrate human attention on
the more superficial things that comprise much of
fashionable consumption." People may then accept and
even welcome their meaningless and subordinate lives,
and forget ridiculous ideas about managing their own
affairs. They will abandon their fate to the
responsible men, the self-described "intelligent
minorities" who serve and administer power.which lies
elsewhere, a hidden but crucial premise. It is within
this general framework that the media function.

Like other major sectors of the economy, the corporate
media are tending toward oligopoly. The process
reduces still more the limited possibility that public
concerns might come to the fore when they interfere
with state-corporate interests, or that state policies
might be seriously challenged.

On loyalty to state power, the common understanding is
sometimes articulated with refreshing candor. For
example, the leading political commentator of The New
York Times opened the new year by hailing Clinton.s
"creative compromise" for the Middle East. Since the
President has spoken, we "now know what the only
realistic final deal looks like," and "now that we
know what the deal looks like, the only question left
is: Will either side be able to take it?"[7] How could
there be a different question?

Not appropriate for discussion, and kept in the
shadows, are the terms of the President.s
statesmanlike plan. Anyone with access to the Israeli
press and a map, or the alternative media here, could
have discovered throughout the recent negotiations and
the seven-year "peace process" that Clinton.s
"creative compromise," like its predecessors, is
designed to imprison the Palestinian population in
isolated enclaves in the territories that Israel
conquered in 1967, separated from one another, and
from the vastly expanded region called "Jerusalem," by
Israeli settlements and infrastructure projects, and
also separated from the Arab world; one well-known
Middle East specialist estimates that "25 percent of
West Bank territory has been arbitrarily absorbed into
Jerusalem" alone, with U.S. authorization and
support.[8] In "Jerusalem," we learn from the press,
Arab neighborhoods are to be administered by Arabs and
Jewish neighborhoods by Jews. What could be more fair?
At least, until we look a little further and find that
the Arab neighborhoods are isolated sections of the
tiny former East Jerusalem, while the Jewish
"neighborhoods" that are to be integrated within
Israel include "settlements like Ma.ale Adumim"[9].a
city that was established well to the east in order to
bisect the West Bank.along with other "neighborhoods"
extending far to the north and south. Like other major
settlement projects of the Oslo period, Ma.ale Adumim
has flourished thanks to the Labor doves whose
magnanimity we are called upon to admire for their
"concessions" in the territories they conquered in
1967. Another part of the "compromise" is an Israeli
salient that partially bisects the remaining
territories to the north, and other mechanisms to
ensure that the resources and usable land of the
occupied territories will be in the hands of the
leading U.S. client state, long a pillar of U.S.
policy in the strategic Middle East region.[10] Without
proceeding, the outcome conforms very well to the
rejectionist stand that the United States has upheld
in international isolation for more than 25 years,
effectively denying the national rights of one of the
two contending parties in the former Palestine. The
record has been dispatched to the depths of the memory
hole with a degree of efficiency and uniformity that
is rather impressive in a free society. Without
substantial independent research, readers of the U.S.
media could scarcely have even a limited grasp of one
of the major stories of the year 2000.

Even the most elementary facts are not proper media
fare if they interfere with the image of impartial
benevolence. Consider just a single illustration: the
role of U.S. helicopters, very important to the
Israeli army because "it is impractical to think that
we can manufacture helicopters or major weapons
systems of this type in Israel," the Ministry of
Defense director-general General Amos Yaron reported.
The late 2000 confrontations began on September 29,
when Israeli troops killed several people and wounded
over 100 as they left the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem
after Friday prayers. On October 1, U.S. helicopters
with Israeli pilots killed two Palestinians. The next
day, helicopters killed 10 and wounded 35 at Netzarim,
the scene of a great deal of fighting: the small
Israeli settlement there is hardly more than an excuse
for a military base and roads that cut the Gaza Strip
in two, isolating Gaza City and separating it from
Egypt as well (with other barriers to the south). On
October 3, the defense correspondent of Israel.s
leading journal, Ha.aretz, reported the largest
purchase of U.S. military helicopters in a decade:
Blackhawks and parts for Apache attack helicopters
sent a few weeks earlier. On October 4, Jane's Defence
Weekly, the world.s most prominent military journal,
reported that the Clinton Administration had approved
a request for new Apache attack helicopters, the most
advanced in the U.S. arsenal, having decided,
apparently, that the upgrades were not sufficient for
the current needs of attacking the civilian
population. The same day, the U.S. press reported that
Apaches were attacking apartment complexes with
rockets at Netzarim. The German press agency quoted
Pentagon officials who said that "U.S. weapons sales
do not carry a stipulation that the weapons can.t be
used against civilians. We cannot second-guess an
Israeli commander who calls in helicopter gunships."
So matters continued. A few weeks later, the local
Palestinian leader Hussein Abayat was killed by a
missile launched from an Apache helicopter (along with
two women standing nearby), as the assassination
campaign against the indigenous leadership was

Rushing new military helicopters under these
circumstances was surely newsworthy, and it was
reported: in an opinion piece in Raleigh, North
Carolina, on October 12. An Amnesty International
condemnation of the sale of U.S. helicopters on
October 19 also passed in virtual silence.[12] Such
facts will not do. Rather, we must join in praise for
our leaders, recognizing that their words stipulate
the "only realistic final deal," while we ponder the
strange character flaws of the intended beneficiaries
of their solicitude.

The examples are selected virtually at random. In
fact, even the valuable record of 25 years provided by
Project Censored can do no more than barely skim the
surface. What it has been investigating is a major
phenomenon of "really existing democracy," which we
ignore at our peril.

[1] Thomas Ferguson and Joel Rogers, Right Turn (Hill
& Wang, 1986). [2] Walter Dean Burnham, "The 1980
Earthquake," in T. Ferguson and J. Rogers, eds, The
Hidden Election (Pantheon, 1981). [3] For data on the
elections, here and below, see Ruy Teixeira, American
Prospect, December 18; Thomas Patterson, head of the
Harvard University Vanishing Voter Project, op-eds,
NYT, November 8, Boston Globe, December 15, 2000. [4]
Glenn Burkins, "Labor Fights Against Fast-Track Trade
Measure," WSJ, September 16, 1997. [5] On how the feat
was accomplished, see my "Consent without Consent,"
Cleveland State Law Review, 44.4 (1996). [6] Uneasy
Terrain: The Impact of Capital Mobility on Workers,
Wages, and Union Organizing, Cornell 2000, updating
her earlier studies. [7] Thomas Friedman, NYT, January
2, 2001. [8] Augustus Richard Norton, Current History,
January 2001. [9] Jane Perlez, "Clinton Presents a
Broad New Plan for Mideast Peace," NYT, December 26,
2000. [10] As the "Clinton compromise" faced collapse,
it was finally recognized that the Palestinians object
to the Bantustan-style enclave structure imposed by
U.S.-Israeli diplomatic and development programs
during the Clinton years. See Jane Perlez, Joel
Greenberg, NYT, January 3, 2001, citing Palestinian
objections. [11] Yaron, Globes, Journal of Israel's
Business Arena, December 21, 2000. October 1-2
attacks, Report on Israeli Settlement (Washington DC),
November-December 2000. Amnon Barzilai, "Israel Air
Force closes largest helicopter deal of decade,"
Ha.aretz, October 3. Robin Hughes, "USA approves
Israel.s Apache Longbow request," Jane.s Defence
Weekly, October 4. Charles Sennott, Boston Globe,
October 4. Dave McIntyre (Washington), Deutsche
Presse-Agentur, October 3, 2000. Gideon Levy,
Ha'aretz, December 24, and Graham Usher, Middle East
Report, Winter 2000, on Abayat assassination in Beit
Sahur on November 9. [12] Ann Thompson Cary, "Arming
Israel...," News and Observer (Raleigh, NC), October
12. "Amnesty International USA Calls for Cessation of
all Attack Helicopter Transfers to Israel," AI
release, October 19, 2000.

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