This book is a MUST READ. Of course it is old now and the 911 inside job has uncovered a much deeper level of a criminal empire. BUT IT IS CRITICALLY IMPORTANT for us to have an understanding of the ways that our democracy is undermined by the ILLEGITEMATE OWNERS of this world. The book is freely availabe from zmag.org website. Blogspot adaptation by u2rh2.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Chomsky Lockerbie Bombing US drug dealers
Sunday, 29th November 2009
British MPs, activist say Malta should defend itself on Lockerbie case
Noam Chomsky, emeritus professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and renowned political activist, said the Lockerbie case is an illustration of conformism in the West.
Two former British Labour and Conservative MPs have joined American political activist Noam Chomsky in calling on the Maltese government to defend the country's reputation.
Prof. Chomsky and the British MPs are signatories to a letter sent to the government calling on Malta to support a demand for an inquiry by the UN General Assembly into the 1988 Pan Am bombing that claimed 270 lives.
The letter sent by the 'Justice for Megrahi' campaign, which includes relatives of the victims in the bombing, is also signed by South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
Tam Dalyell, Labour MP for 43 years, and Teddy Taylor, MP for the Conservatives for 36 years, said they had doubts about the original verdict. They said if the Maltese government supported a UN inquiry, then it could clear the country's name and help the families of the victims establish the truth.
Prof. Chomsky described the events surrounding the case of the convicted bomber Abdelbasset Al Megrahi as "a remarkable illustration of the conformism and obedience of intellectual opinion in the West".
He told The Sunday Times: "I think the trial was very seriously flawed, including crucially the alleged role of Malta. There is every reason to call for a very serious independent inquiry."
The 'Justice for Megrahi' campaign argues that the verdict was guided by political interests at the time and an inquiry by the UN General Assembly is required. They believe Malta has an equal interest in exposing who was really behind the act of terrorism.
Their hopes had been pinned on the appeal initiated by the convicted bomber. But Mr Al Megrahi, who has terminal prostate cancer, was freed last August on compassionate grounds and flown home to Tripoli to die with his family. Consequently, he dropped the appeal.
To this day, Mr Al Megrahi contends he has been the victim of a miscarriage of justice - a claim supported by the expert appointed by the UN to monitor the trial, Hans Kochler.
The original conviction of Mr Al Megrahi had relied heavily on the testimony of Tony Gauci, the owner of a shop in Sliema who said the Libyan had bought clothes from his shop that were later found wrapped around the bomb.
But it has since emerged that Al Megrahi's defence team had argued in the recent appeal that the Maltese witness was paid "in excess of $2 million", while his brother Paul Gauci was paid "in excess of $1 million" for their co-operation. Neither has ever denied receiving payment.
The former British Conservative MP referred to Mr Gauci's testimony when speaking to The Sunday Times. He said if "our friends in Malta" were willing to pursue the issue at the UN and seek the truth that may have been flawed by "a statement of a resident of Malta who appears to have benefitted enormously from his identification and who then moved to Australia", then the government would help relatives of the victims, and itself.
Mr Taylor recalled Malta's role in the Second World War, saying "British people my age have a very special regard for Malta as a centre of brave and trustworthy people who were willing to stand firm against fascism".
Mr Dalyell said: "I have believed since 1991 that the Crown Office in Edinburgh should have respected the stated view of the Maltese government, Air Malta, Luqa airport authorities and the Malta police that no unaccounted for luggage, let alone a bomb, was placed on the flight."
Although Malta has always denied any involvement in the act, it remains implicated by the government's refusal to take up the cause.
When Mr Gauci said in the original trial that he believed Mr Al Megrahi purchased clothes from his shop, it provided the prosecution with grounds to argue that the bomb had left from Malta and then transferred to the fateful flight.
Malta had provided ample evidence to support its contention that there was no unaccompanied luggage on Air Malta flight KM180 on December 21, 1988. But Malta's defence was trumped by Mr Gauci's testimony.
Jesmond Micallef (4 hours, 50 minutes ago) Malta's reputation ?? May I remind people of the UN approved Embargo on Libya. On the notion of Monetary Payment say for Justice, It seems to me that money does not indeed satisfies ones inner peace. I Love the truth too. Was it not American Intelligence Services such as the DEA conducting a Drugs operation in Syria. Is it a mere coincidence that operatives of this undercover operation ending up on this Il fated Flight ? Why where such people onboard a civil aircraft ? Has the ICAO anything to say about this ? Jimmy Magro (11 hours, 55 minutes ago) The issue here is not Libya or Megrahi. The focus is to defend the name of Malta and maintain our high standards in the international domain. How can one man's opinion be trustworthy more than that of the Malta Government, Air Malta, airport authorities, legal team led by the late Dr. Edgar Mizzi. It is a fact that the US used coersive methods to get Mr. Gauci says what they wanted. The US is also known to have used bonus money to get witneses in other cases and this could have happened in this case too. The Government should join the campaign to get the UN inquiry going for the sake of justice and Malta's name.
Oliver Kamm is a whore at the corporate banquet and intellectually dishonest liar. He probably is paid well to distort public opinion (necessary illusions!) and further the private agenda of corporate ownership of the planet ..
November 25, 2009 DANCING ON A MASS GRAVE - OLIVER KAMM OF THE TIMES SMEARS MEDIA LENS
One of our most relentless critics is Oliver Kamm, leader writer and blogger at The Times. Kamm joined the paper in 2008 having been an investment banker and co-founder of a hedge fund. In a 2006 blog, Kamm described us as .a shrill group of malcontents., an .aggressively simple-minded lobby. guilty of "unprofessional and often comically inept exegesis" whose approach .demeans public life.. An impressive claim to make about one writer living off donations, one writer working in his spare time after finishing full-time work, and a virtually unpaid webmaster. David Cromwell, Kamm added, is .an ignoramus.. (http://oliverkamm.typepad.com/blog/2006/12/media_lens_vs_h.html)
There is an overriding theme to Kamm.s criticism. We are, he tells anyone willing to listen, .a reliable conduit for genocide-denial.. Indeed, we are responsible for nothing less than .the denial of genocide and the whitewashing of the single greatest war crime to have been committed on European soil since the defeat of Nazism.. (See comments following the Times Higher Education review of Newspeak at: http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?storycode=409008)
Readers who have been receiving our alerts for many years - some hardy souls are into their ninth year - may be wondering what Kamm is on about. What genocide is it that we have been denying? Have we not been trying to +highlight+ allegations made by senior UN diplomats, such as Denis Halliday, of genocide in Iraq as a result of US-UK sanctions and the 2003 invasion? Indeed, when the Gandhi Foundation awarded us their 2007 International Peace Prize, the award was presented to us by Denis Halliday.
True enough. He adds: .Cromwell and Edwards's fantastic and bemused response to being exposed like this tells its own story.. (Ibid)
It certainly does - it indicates that we are bemused.
Kamm uses an intellectual sleight of hand. The term .genocide-denial. of course reminds one of .Holocaust denial.. Use of the former is intended to send a shudder of horror through readers. It is intended to suggest that we are comparable to the right-wing fanatics and neo-Nazis who deny the Holocaust. Indeed, Kamm is quick to make the connection:
.The stuff that they find so impressive is not merely the moral equivalent of Holocaust denial: it is the methodological equivalent too, using literally the same techniques. If the bodies can't be found, ergo, the genocide is a myth, according to this grotesque line of reasoning.. (Ibid)
Perhaps, then, one could slip a cigarette paper between us and Holocaust deniers. But to all intents and purposes we are the same.
Holocaust denial falls into a very special category. It is inextricably linked to anti-Semitic hatred, and has been used as a form of violence by other means - a way of continuing to demonise and attack the victims of one of history's worst crimes. Holocaust denial is not rejected because it is wrong to question and doubt claims of genocide. It is rejected because of the extreme racism and hatred motivating the doubt in this particular instance.
Beyond this special category, it is absurd to suggest that claims of genocide should be somehow beyond debate. Who decides when it is .the moral equivalent of Holocaust denial. to challenge such claims? Oliver Kamm of The Times? The British government? Media Lens?
The absurdity becomes clear as soon as we consider some examples. Was it .genocide-denial. when the BBC, ITN, the Observer and other media rejected Denis Halliday.s claim that sanctions, rather than the Iraqi government, were responsible for genocide in Iraq? Were Amnesty International responsible for .genocide-denial. when they told us in 2003 that, in the previous decade, Saddam Hussein had been responsible for executions in the .hundreds. per year, rather than in the 10,000s or 100,000s, as some political commentators suggested? Was it .genocide-denial. when newspapers challenged the methodology and results of the 2004 and 2006 Lancet studies that found nearly 100,000 and 655,000 excess deaths in Iraq since the 2003 invasion? Was it .genocide-denial. when the media favoured the Iraq Body Count study over the Lancet studies because .If the bodies can't be found, ergo, the genocide is a myth.?
When the Times Higher Education (THE) published a review of our new book, Newspeak, last month, we posted a response on their website - the first comment to appear. Kamm.s was the third:
.One point relevant to assessing the credibility of Media Lens's approach is that they maintain that reports of the Srebrenica massacre - an act of genocide, as determined by the International Court of Justice - are an example of Western corporate propaganda.. (http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?storycode=409008)
Kamm.s claims on Srebrenica may also come as a surprise to longtime readers. According to our archive, since 2001, we have published 2,777 pages of media alerts totalling some 1,026,606 words of material. Apart from affirming that a massacre did take place, we have written virtually nothing about Srebrenica. Our most significant discussion appeared in two media alerts published in late 2005 defending Noam Chomsky against the Guardian.s claim that he had denied there had been a massacre in Srebrenica. We helped create such a stir that the Guardian brought in an external ombudsman to examine the case. The ombudsman.s final report on the progression of events was published in the Guardian. It noted:
"6. Acrimonious correspondence with Noam Chomsky continues and an e-mail campaign, largely from an organisation called Media Lens, sparks off several hundred e-mails. Their website ('Smearing Chomsky - the Guardian in the gutter. 4/11/05) urges readers to e-mail the Guardian editor and others." (.External ombudsman report,. The Guardian, May 25, 2006; http://www.guardian.co.uk/readerseditor/story/0,,1782133,00.html)
We sparked off .several hundred e-mails. - perhaps as many as 500 - affirming that Chomsky had +not+ denied there had been a massacre in Srebrenica. In our alert, we recalled that in his January/February 2005 article, .Imperial Presidency,. Chomsky had described the November 2004 US assault on Falluja as involving .war crimes for which the political leadership could be sentenced to death under US law.. He added:
.One might mention at least some of the recent counterparts that immediately come to mind, like the Russian destruction of Grozny 10 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 the 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.. (Chomsky, .Imperial Presidency,. Canadian Dimension, January/February 2005)
We unearthed this comment ourselves, quoted it with obvious approval, and added:
.Clearly, then, Chomsky considers Srebrenica nothing less than a counterpart to crimes .for which the political leadership could be sentenced to death under US law...
Curious behaviour for writers arguing that .the genocide at Srebrenica was all a hoax..
Last month (October 15), Kamm wrote a blog entry, .The funny side of genocide.. The entry is headed by a picture of us receiving the Gandhi Foundation.s prize. This was intended ironically - the article focused on our alleged role in .genocide-denial.. Kamm commented:
.I mentioned in my earlier post what has come to be known as .Srebrenica denial.. The term is apt not only because Srebrenica denial is morally similar to Holocaust denial, in depicting a documented genocide as a hoax, but because it uses literally the same methods. It holds that if the bodies can't be found then it must be because the victims never existed. I gave examples of a couple of fringe websites that publish this sort of material. But there's a site that I might have cited and didn't. It's Media Lens.. (http://timesonline.typepad.com/oliver_kamm/2009/10/the-funny-side-of-genocide.html)
.The pre-eminent voice in the field of Srebrenica denial... is Ed Herman, a retired American professor of finance who has co-authored several books with Noam Chomsky. This sinister and absurd figure not only denies the massacre at Srebrenica: he is one of only two or three people I've ever come across who construct similar fantastic arguments about the genocide in Rwanda in 1994.. (Ibid)
The .sinister and absurd figure. is a brilliant and courageous political writer. He is co-author (indeed lead author) with Noam Chomsky of Manufacturing Consent - one of the classic works of political analysis.
With his usual civility, Kamm asks of Edward Herman, his co-author David Peterson and us: .why do I bother with these morons?. (Ibid)
Kamm clarified our role in helping Herman and Peterson do their dirty work. Of the Balkans, he wrote:
.Edwards and Cromwell are obviously clueless on the subject. They repeat and publicise what Herman says merely because Herman, with Chomsky, is the inspiration for their entire organisation: the originator of the so-called propaganda model of media power.. (Ibid)
It is certainly true that we have posted articles by Herman and Peterson discussing the massacre on our website. But it is simply false to suggest that they have argued that .the genocide at Srebrenica was all a hoax.. Herman and Peterson have written:
.The Srebrenica massacre took place in the month before Operation Storm, Croatia.s devastating attack and ethnic cleansing of some 250,000 Serbs from the Krajina, with over 1,000 civilians killed, including over 500 women and children.... (Edward Herman and David Peterson, .The Dismantling of Yugoslavia,. Monthly Review, October 2007; http://www.monthlyreview.org/1007herman-peterson1.php)
Their very rational concern is to discuss the .asymmetry in how the Srebrenica massacre and Operation Storm have entered the Western canon.. (Ibid) Their interest, then, is in precisely +comparing+ how these two horrific massacres were treated by Western politics and media. Herman and Peterson have also written:
"There is a good case to be made that, while there were surely hundreds of executions, and possibly as many as a thousand or more, the 8,000 figure is a political construct and eminently challengeable." (Herman and Peterson, .Milosevic's Death in the Propaganda System,. ZNet, May 14, 2006; http://www.zmag.org/znet/viewArticle/3884)
Herman and Peterson, then, are +not+ denying that mass killings took place at Srebrenica. They also do not accept the figure cited by Kamm and others, but that they are perfectly entitled to do. The point is that while critics are free to take issue with their facts, sources and arguments, it is nonsense to accuse them of sins that are the .moral equivalent of Holocaust denial.. And to associate us with Holocaust denial on the grounds that we publish their material is desperate indeed.
In reality, we have posted any number of articles by different writers taking different views on Srebrenica. We have, for example, posted links to dozens of articles by mainstream radicals like Robert Fisk, George Monbiot and Seumas Milne, who have all affirmed that there was a massacre at Srebrenica.
This was extreme even by Kamm.s standards. To suggest that we had treated the massacred victims of Srebrenica with such contempt, and to suggest that we had claimed there was no mass killing, was appalling. As Professor Douwe Korff, a leading European human rights lawyer, told us: .If this Kamm chap can.t provide any evidence for his claim, it really is a most damnable libel.. (Korff to Media Lens, November 19, 2009) And of course we have never made any such claim regarding Srebrenica. On the contrary, as discussed, we have repeatedly affirmed that there +was+ a massacre.
In a series of exchanges on the Times Higher Education website we asked Kamm to provide a quote from us in support of his allegation. Unusually for him, he failed to reply. We then wrote to him on November 18, copying the email to the Times Online editor:
We have made no such claim. If you can provide a quote by us in support of your accusation, please do so. If not, please remove this comment from the website.
David Edwards and David Cromwell
Kamm replied the next day. He did not offer evidence in support of his claim, nor did he agree to delete the comment from the website - the reasonable response given that he had invented the claim. Instead, he refused to discuss the issue with us and asked that any further correspondence be sent to the legal department at The Times and to his personal legal advisor. An odd reaction from someone who should be able to cut and paste the evidence into an email in a matter of seconds. His difficulty, of course, is that the evidence does not exist. The Times Online editor did not respond. We wrote to the Times Online editor again on November 23 and again received no reply. The comment remains in place but not a scintilla of evidence in support has been provided.
The problem is that mud sticks. As Chomsky noted of the Guardian.s claim that he had denied there had been a massacre at Srebrenica:
.Now I'm stuck with that, even though it is a deceitful invention of theirs.. (Email copied to Media Lens, November 3, 2005)
We, also, are stuck with Kamm.s invented smears.
Conclusion - Kamm.s Record
What of Kamm.s own record in accepting or protesting some of the great genocides of our time? As discussed, in September 1998, Denis Halliday, the UN humanitarian coordinator in Iraq, resigned describing the UN sanctions regime as .genocidal.. Halliday, who had set up and managed the UN's 'oil for food' programme in Iraq, was unequivocal that Western-led sanctions were responsible for the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children under five. In an interview, Halliday told us:
.Washington, and to a lesser extent London, have deliberately played games through the Sanctions Committee with this programme for years - it.s a deliberate ploy... That.s why I.ve been using the word .genocide., because this is a deliberate policy to destroy the people of Iraq. I.m afraid I have no other view at this late stage.. (Halliday, interview with David Edwards, March 2000; http://www.medialens.org/articles/the_articles/articles_2001/iraqdh.htm)
In February 2000, Halliday.s successor at the UN, Hans von Sponeck, also resigned. In his book, A Different Kind Of War - The UN Sanctions Regime In Iraq, von Sponeck wrote:
.At no time during the years of comprehensive economic sanctions were there adequate resources to meet minimum needs for human physical or mental survival either before, or during, the Oil-For-Food programme.. (Hans von Sponeck, A Different Kind Of War, Bergahn Books, 2006, p.144)
In 1999, the year separating Halliday.s and von Sponeck.s resignations, Kamm wrote in a letter to the Independent:
.The Clinton administration has been at pains to soften the sanctions regime... In October 1997 the US retreated from even a minor symbolic sanction - restricting travel for officials obstructing inspections - and agreed that Iraq should be allowed to sell oil to earn hard currency for food and medicine.. (Kamm, letter, The Independent, June 28, 1999)
Numerous experts in international law have condemned the Bush-Blair invasion of Iraq as a grave war crime. It has likely resulted in the deaths of more than one million people. And yet, in a letter to the pro-war Observer on January 26, 2003, Kamm took a different view:
.War against Saddam will uphold the integrity of UN resolutions, counteract nuclear proliferation and overthrow tyranny. All credit to you for serving as the authentic voice of liberal principle..
In May 2003, Kamm wrote:
.Contrary to the Liberal Democrats. depiction of it as the biggest foreign policy error since Suez, Iraq was the most far-sighted and noble act of British foreign policy since the founding of Nato. Mr Blair.s record exemplifies foreign policy .with an ethical dimension... (Kamm, 'Help, I'm a pro-war leftie,' The Times, May 2, 2005)
The Blair War Crimes Foundation argues that Blair is guilty of serious war crimes, including:
.Deceit and conspiracy for war, and providing false news to incite passions for war, causing in the order of one million deaths, 4 million refugees, countless maimings and traumas.. (http://blairfoundation.wordpress.com/letter/)
Kamm recently made a short film for the BBC.s This Week programme supporting Blair.s (unsuccessful) bid to become EU President. The film showed images of Blair pressing the flesh with various world leaders to a soundtrack of .Heroes. by David Bowie. Kamm said:
.Tony Blair is the dominant political leader of his generation. With Mrs Thatcher, he is one of only two British statesmen who is instantly recognised all over the world and whose name has real clout. His appointment as President of the European Council would give the institution coherence. It would be hugely annoying to the domestic constituency that accuses him of war crimes. He +should+ be President of the European Council.. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gtKdFvtpb9s)
In the exchange of emails on the THE website, we made the point that, if Kamm can accuse us of .genocide-denial., then we can certainly repay the compliment. But in fact, as discussed, we do not believe the term has any place in serious debate. Nor do we consider Kamm a .moron. or .sinister. for disagreeing with us. Reasoned discussion and disagreement - and respectful tolerance of disagreement - are what free speech and democracy are supposed to be all about.
The goal of Media Lens is to promote rationality, compassion and respect for others. If you do write to journalists, we strongly urge you to maintain a polite, non-aggressive and non-abusive tone.
From the Pen of David Horowitz: November 23, 2009 2009 November 23 by David Swindle
In retrospect, the anti-war movement to oppose American policy in Iraq had actually been launched on an international scale within weeks of the attack on 9/11, long before the lead-up to the Iraq war itself.
[ALLEGATION UNSUPPORTED. ANTI WAR HAD BEEN AROUND SINCE VIETNAM, KOREA, PANAMA, BOMBING OF LIBYA, BOMBING OF SUDAN, GULF WAR MASSACRE NO1 1991 (Hill Knowlton incubator lie) YUGOSLAVIA BOMBING and countless dead civilians ...]
This anti-war movement was a product of the same forces and organizations that had assembled to riot against the World Trade Organization in Seattle and against the World Bank in Prague and to promote the anti-capitalist agendas of the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre. It was spurred not so much by the actual events . either the attacks of 9/11 or the war against Saddam Hussein, as by the opportunities these events afforded to a radical movement whose permanent agenda was opposition to America and its perceived global .domination..
This agenda was summarized by the leading intellectual of the movement, Noam Chomsky, in a book titled, Hegemony or Survival. The title was itself a calculated echo of Rosa Luxemburg.s apocalyptic claim that the world faced a choice between .socialism or barbarism,. which had been issued almost a century earlier.
[AS THE WORLD WARS HAVE SHOWN - SHE WAS RIGHT]
Chomsky.s book was an attempt to make the identical case in contemporary terms.
[THE CASE IS CLEAR - THE EMPIRE'S "WARS" (MASSACRES) ARE NOT IN ANY PEOPLE's INTEREST. THE EVENTS OF 9/11 WERE A BLACK-OP BY A TINY ELITE OF DARK FORCES IN THE US MILITARY]
America.s pre-eminent global position, Chomsky argued, is a threat to world survival. This was because America supported a doctrine of aggressive war, wanted to extrude weapons into space, had obstructed the international control of weapons of mass destruction and undermined the Kyoto protocol, which was the .world.s. effort to protect itself from extinction through global warming.
[THAT IS HARDLY IN DISPUTE - WMD's ARE A THREAT TO OUR SURVIVAL]
Against this .nightmare. future, Chomsky went on, a world .rights. movement had arisen. .The solidarity movements that developed in mainstream America in the 1980s, concerning Central America in particular, broke new ground in the history of imperialism; never before had substantial numbers of people from the imperial society gone to live with the victims of vicious attack to help them and offer them some measure of protection. The international solidarity organizations that evolved from these roots now function very effectively in many parts of the world,..
[NOT EFFECTIVELY ENOUGH - AFGHANISTAN AND IRAQ WAR AND SYNTHETIC TERRORISM (FALSE FLAG TERROR ATTACKS ON OWN POPULATION) ARE STILL IN USE TODAY - CHECK WIKIPEDIA "gladio" AND globalresearch.ca ]
What Chomsky was describing in these passages was a 21st Century version of the .international civil war. between capitalists and socialists that Marx and Lenin had proclaimed in an earlier epoch: .One can discern two trajectories in current history: one aiming toward hegemony, acting rationally within a lunatic doctrinal framework as it threatens survival; the other dedicated to the belief that .another world is possible,. in the words that animate the World Social Forum,... This was the real vision that inspired the anti-war movement that developed between 9/11 and the invasion of Iraq.
Forthcoming Chomsky title: New World of Indigenous Resistance
New World of Indigenous Resistance: Voices from the Americas Noam Chomsky
With Lois Meyer, Benjamín Maldonado Alvarado
Indigenous societies today face difficult choices: can they develop, modernize, and advance without endangering their sacred traditions and communal identity? Specifically, can their communities benefit from national education while resisting the tendency of state-imposed programs to undermine their cultural sovereignty, language, and traditions? According to Lois Meyer and Benjamín Maldonado, these are among the core questions being faced by indigenous societies whose comunalidad -- or communal way of life -- is at odds with the dictates of big business and the social programs of the state.
To explore these issues in depth, Meyer and Maldonado conducted a series of dialogues with Noam Chomsky, and invited numerous organizers and intellectuals from indigenous communities of resistance to comment. In three in-depth conversations, Chomsky offers poignant lessons from his vast knowledge of world history, linguistics, economics, anti-authoritarian philosophy and personal experience, and traces numerous parallels with other peoples who have resisted state power while attempting to modernize, develop, survive, and sustain their unique community identity and tradition. Following the interviews are commentaries from more than a dozen activists and intellectuals from the Americas, who speak from their on-the-ground experiences and work with indigenous communities in Mexico, Bolivia, Argentina, Peru, and Canada. This is Chomsky at his best -- lucid, accessible and deeply informative.
Interview: Noam Chomsky Noam Chomsky interviewed by The Imagineer The Imagineer, May 19, 2009 Imagineer: Thank you for taking time out of your schedule to have this interview with The Imagineer, Professor Chomsky.
Chomsky: Good to be with you.
Imagineer: In your opinion, to what extent should the United States involve itself both militarily and diplomatically in the ongoing turmoil caused by renegade pirates off the coast of Somalia?
Chomsky: Well, the Somalia story is complex. It's a long, ugly history. I'll just keep to the present. In what must have been 2005 or 2006, as a part of the so-called "War on Terror", the treasury department's branch the Office of Foreign Assets Control, which deals with alleged transfers of money that are supposedly or may have something to do with terrorist activities, went after an Islamic charity called Al-Barakat and claimed that it was involved in financing Al Qaeda. They closed it down. There was a lot of publicity about that as a great achievement of the "War on Terror". A couple years later, they conceded quietly that it was a mistake and that they weren't involved at all. It turns out that this charity was a large part of the sustenance for Somalia, a very poor country, and that the charity was funding business activities, banks, and private enterprise. It was making a substantial contribution to the economy, and, when they closed it down, it all collapsed. It was a very fragile society, so a blow like that was quite severe. After that, it's been a very conflicted society with a lot of fighting and so on, but a group did take over called the Islamic courts; they imposed their rule over virtually all of Somalia. There's a tiny little corner near Ethiopia that was kept in the hands of the former government which the US recognized. They were doing... not badly; I wouldn't have wanted to live there. It was Islamic law, but it was quiet and controlled. The violence subsided, and people were apparently pretty happy with it; but, the US wasn't. Immediately, Ethiopia invaded with US support, and they were able to drive out the Islamic court government. They took over Mogadishu and so on, but very quickly a resistance started; the whole country just exploded into total chaos again, and it more or less remains that way. That's one aspect of what was happening.
The other aspect was that foreign states, European states, and some of the Gulf states: Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and others began dumping toxic waste in Somali waters. Since the state doesn't function really, these territorial waters are kind of like free garbage cans. So, they started poisoning it, and they also started fishing there. It's a rich fishing area, and they quickly overfished it with factory ships and so on. The Somalis don't have a coastguard, and they don't have any international clout. So, their fishing grounds are getting ruined both from overfishing by rich foreigners from Europe, Saudi Arabia, and so on - I don't know if the US was involved - and also from their waters being poisoned. These fishermen had very few options, so they started on piracy. That's the background of it.
Piracy turned out to be very lucrative. It's kind of like narco-trafficking in India with rich thugs. They expand to criminal enterprises and so on. That's the background. It didn't just come out of nowhere; if we want to understand it, we should pay attention to the background. If you want to eliminate piracy, then give the fishermen a livelihood and stop destroying their land and their waters.
Imagineer: Essentially, your contention is that the adverse effects the United States now has to combat are caused by past political decisions?
Chomsky: Yes, and not very far in the past either. I've just been talking about the past few years. You go back farther, and it gets even worse. There's a long background including the Bush-Clinton invasion and the support for Siad Barre, the brutal thug that ran the place for a long time.
Imagineer: Speaking of the current situation, on April 12, 2009, the United States Navy SEAL snipers performed an operation to rescue Richard Phillips, the captain of a US-flagged ship. During this operation, the snipers killed three pirates. These three men who had garnered respect by bringing fiscal benefits and economic opportunity back to their communities were essentially murdered in exchange for the life of one person. Is this a valid argument?
Chomsky: It's hard to talk about a particular incident. If you make the framework narrow enough - here's an American captured by pirates, and the Navy SEALs rescue him - you can give a justification within that narrow framework. When you put it in a broader framework, it looks quite different.
Imagineer: Do you find yourself sympathetic to the pirates to some extent, though?
Chomsky: I'm sympathetic to the background. I understand why they became pirates, and I understand our crucial role in that, which I think we're not taking into account when dealing with the situation and also in solving the situation. One way to deal with the situation that now exists is to kill the pirates. But, another way is to deal with the circumstances of which we share a lot of responsibility in creating. We should actually pay Somalia substantial reparations for what we've done to them, and Europe as well for overfishing and poisoning the waters.
Imagineer: Moving on to another kind of piracy, one that is much more domestic: How do you believe the United States and other industrialized nations should handle intellectual property, with specific regards to online piracy and what is called illegal online downloading? If I go to my computer and download the latest U2 album "illegally", is that justified?
Chomsky: Well, again, depending on how broadly we cast the net, in a very narrow sense I think a case can be made saying it's illegal - here's a creative artist who created a song and wants to survive, and he can't survive if people just steal. So in a very narrow sense, yes [copyright laws are] justified. As a broader question, however, why do we have copyright laws? Is that the moral way or even the economically efficient way to support the creative arts? I don't think so; there are better ways. For example, it should be, in a free democratic society, a sort of responsibility arrived at by democratic decision to maintain adequate support for creative arts as we do for science. If that were done, the artists wouldn't need copyrights to survive. That's economically more efficient, I believe, and morally more justified.
Download piracy on the internet is a very small part of the whole intellectual properties issue. The main aspect of it is the highly protectionist rules which are written into the World Trade Organization vastly beyond anything that preceded them, guaranteeing patent rights to major corporations like pharmaceutical corporations. Now, there's a lot to say about that. If that patent regime had existed in the 18th and 19th centuries and even through the early 20th century, the United States and England would not be rich, developed countries. They developed substantially by what we now call piracy. So take, say, England, which goes back farther. A large part of English wealth which helped initiate the early Industrial Revolution was derived from straight piracy. Sir Francis Drake, who provided huge sums to England, was a pirate. He was robbing Spanish ships on the high seas. He became a great hero. He contributed substantially to English economic development. Now beyond that, England did not pioneer modern industrial technology. It stole a lot of it from Ireland. They had an advanced weaving industry, and England conquered and destroyed it. It stole a lot from India. When India was conquered, it had, by the standards of the day, an advanced economy. England imposed free market principles on India, but it itself had an extremely high protection to protect early British textile industry. It also took highly skilled technicians from the Low Countries - Belgium and the Netherlands - to England to teach them technology, and the US did the same. The US, as soon as it became an independent country, imposed extremely high tariffs - this was under Alexander Hamilton's economic development program. It imposed very high tariffs to protect early American industry from superior British goods. It went through personal business textiles; then later it was steel, so Andrew Carnegie made the first billion dollar corporation. That went right up to the Second World War. Then, through the period of its major growth, the US was by far the most protectionist country. In fact, in many ways, it remains so, although it's not called protectionism. A great deal of the advanced American economy, like in other countries but strikingly here, comes straight out of the state sector: computers, internet, information technology, and so on. A lot of it is a radical violation of free trade rules which we enforce on the poor.
To get back to the intellectual property rights, as I said, if those had been placed during the period of the growth of the contemporary rich countries, they wouldn't have developed. Now we call it piracy, but then we called it development when it was for ourselves. There's a name for this in economic history. It's called "kicking away the ladder". First you use certain bits of development, and then you kick away the ladder so others can't follow you. That's what's called international economic policy in the World Trade Organization and so on. So, if there's any justification for thatÉ again, it's how broadly you cast the net. The pharmaceutical corporations, for example, insist that they need high protection in the World Trade Organization, because they need it for research and development. However, they are only responsible for a minority of their own research and development, and that part is largely more oriented toward the marketing end. A lot of risky work is done through public funds and foundations. In fact, it's in a few estimates that if the research and development budgets of the pharmaceuticals were 100 percent taken over by the public, and the corporations were compelled to function in a market society to sell for market prices, the saving to consumers would just be colossal. But, they have enough power so that they can sustain that system, and there are a lot of other examples like it. So, as always, it depends on how broadly you cast the net, and how broadly you look at the issue. From a very narrow point of view, going back to your original question, you can say yes, the creative artist is being harmed. From a broader point of view, there are a lot of other things to say.
Imagineer: So, would you say that a nation claiming to support the growth and opportunity for all people is essentially limiting growth and opportunity in exchange for their own sustained prosperity and economic prevalence with their diplomatic relations and policies, with specific regards to the World Trade Organization?
Chomsky: Well, the World Trade Organization is only in a limited way related to trade. I mean, even what's called trade is partially a fable. For example, take US trade with Mexico, which shot up after NAFTA. But, probably about half of it is not trade in any serious sense. It's just interaction as internal to a command economy. So, if General Motors makes the parts in Indiana and sends them to Mexico to be assembled because they have cheaper labor and fewer environmental constraints, and then sends them back to Los Angeles to sell the cars, that's called trade in both directions, but it's not trade in any reasonable sense. It's like an operation inside of a command economy which has to cross borders. That's a huge part of what's called trade. Aside from that, the World Trade Organization has lots of mechanisms in it which inhibit trade, like intellectual property rights and other mechanisms which it gives to corporations, trapping investor rights. They don't have anything to do with trade; they just have to do with enriching corporations. So, it's a complicated mechanism. You have to really take it apart to see what it is. It's designed by the rich and powerful primarily for their own interests.
Imagineer: Do you think we will ever be globalized enough to facilitate the use of one official global language?
Chomsky: It's sort of happening without anybody doing anything about it.
Imagineer: With English you're saying?
Chomsky: The US is by far the richest, most powerful country in the world, especially after the Second World War. It's incomparable in terms of technological development and so on, thanks in large part to the state sector. Great Britain was the most powerful country in the world, displaced by the United States. The effect of this is that English has, since the Second World War particularly, been becoming a kind of international language, just as a reflection of the distribution of power. I don't know what it has to do with globalization exactly, but yes, it has to do with power relations.
Imagineer: Okay, but the number of Chinese speakers outnumbers the number of English speakers in the world today. How would we explain that if we were to say that English would be the chosen language as a global language officially?
Chomsky: Well, China's developing. But in comparison with us, they have a very small economy. China has tremendous internal problems, apart from the fact that its economy is a fraction of ours. If you take a look at the human development index for the United Nations, it ranks about 80th I think. They have huge internal problems to deal with, which the west doesn't have. So, it just doesn't have the power to become a global language. Well, there are shifts. So take, for example, at MIT, where I teach. There are a lot of language courses for engineers and scientists who intend to go into business or international relations or something. Years ago, when I came here, they used to say French and English or French and German. That has long ago gone. Then there was a flurry of studying Japanese, and now there's increasing study of Chinese.
Imagineer: Do you think a global political union or a global currency would be a proper prerequisite to a global language?
Chomsky: No, because as I said, a global language is already developing. Well, there is a kind of global currency, and it's the dollar. For the same reasons, an official global currency might develop someday. It's unclear. It's not such a simple matter.
Imagineer: So, Do you think, officially, English will become the global language one day?
Chomsky: Not officially, but it's becoming so. Just to give you an illustration: I was talking to a Belgian scholar the other day. Belgium is bilingual. Essentially French and Dutch, but they don't call it that. He told me that in Brussels now, the people whose native language is French often are studying English instead of Dutch as their second language.
Imagineer: Thank you very much for your time. We appreciated talking to you and have a nice day.
Cuba in the Cross-Hairs: A Near Half-Century of Terror Noam Chomsky Excerpted from Hegemony or Survival, Metropolitan Books, 2003 The Batista dictatorship was overthrown in January 1959 by Castro's guerrilla forces. In March, the National Security Council (NSC) considered means to institute regime change. In May, the CIA began to arm guerrillas inside Cuba. "During the Winter of 1959-1960, there was a significant increase in CIA-supervised bombing and incendiary raids piloted by exiled Cubans" based in the US. We need not tarry on what the US or its clients would do under such circumstances. Cuba, however, did not respond with violent actions within the United States for revenge or deterrence. Rather, it followed the procedure required by international law. In July 1960, Cuba called on the UN for help, providing the Security Council with records of some twenty bombings, including names of pilots, plane registration numbers, unexploded bombs, and other specific details, alleging considerable damage and casualties and calling for resolution of the conflict through diplomatic channels. US Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge responded by giving his "assurance [that] the United States has no aggressive purpose against Cuba." Four months before, in March 1960, his government had made a formal decision in secret to overthrow the Castro government, and preparations for the Bay of Pigs invasion were well advanced.
Washington was concerned that Cubans might try to defend themselves. CIA chief Allen Dulles therefore urged Britain not to provide arms to Cuba. His "main reason," the British ambassador reported to London, "was that this might lead the Cubans to ask for Soviet or Soviet bloc arms," a move that "would have a tremendous effect," Dulles pointed out, allowing Washington to portray Cuba as a security threat to the hemisphere, following the script that had worked so well in Guatemala. Dulles was referring to Washington's successful demolition of Guatemala's first democratic experiment, a ten-year interlude of hope and progress, greatly feared in Washington because of the enormous popular support reported by US intelligence and the "demonstration effect" of social and economic measures to benefit the large majority. The Soviet threat was routinely invoked, abetted by Guatemala's appeal to the Soviet bloc for arms after the US had threatened attack and cut off other sources of supply. The result was a half-century of horror, even worse than the US-backed tyranny that came before.
For Cuba, the schemes devised by the doves were similar to those of CIA director Dulles. Warning President Kennedy about the "inevitable political and diplomatic fall-out" from the planned invasion of Cuba by a proxy army, Arthur Schlesinger suggested efforts to trap Castro in some action that could be used as a pretext for invasion: "One can conceive a black operation in, say, Haiti which might in time lure Castro into sending a few boatloads of men on to a Haitian beach in what could be portrayed as an effort to overthrow the Haitian regime, . . . then the moral issue would be clouded, and the anti-US campaign would be hobbled from the start." Reference is to the regime of the murderous dictator "Papa Doc" Duvalier, which was backed by the US (with some reservations), so that an effort to help Haitians overthrow it would be a crime.
Eisenhower's March 1960 plan called for the overthrow of Castro in favor of a regime "more devoted to the true interests of the Cuban people and more acceptable to the U.S.," including support for "military operation on the island" and "development of an adequate paramilitary force outside of Cuba." Intelligence reported that popular support for Castro was high, but the US would determine the "true interests of the Cuban people." The regime change was to be carried out "in such a manner as to avoid any appearance of U.S. intervention," because of the anticipated reaction in Latin America and the problems of doctrinal management at home.
The Bay of Pigs invasion came a year later, in April 1961, after Kennedy had taken office. It was authorized in an atmosphere of "hysteria" over Cuba in the White House, Robert McNamara later testified before the Senate's Church Committee. At the first cabinet meeting after the failed invasion, the atmosphere was "almost savage," Chester Bowles noted privately: "there was an almost frantic reaction for an action program." At an NSC meeting two days later, Bowles found the atmosphere "almost as emotional" and was struck by "the great lack of moral integrity" that prevailed. The mood was reflected in Kennedy's public pronouncements: "The complacent, the self-indulgent, the soft societies are about to be swept away with the debris of history. Only the strong . . . can possibly survive," he told the country, sounding a theme that would be used to good effect by the Reaganites during their own terrorist wars. Kennedy was aware that allies "think that we're slightly demented" on the subject of Cuba, a perception that persists to the present.
Kennedy implemented a crushing embargo that could scarcely be endured by a small country that had become a "virtual colony" of the US in the sixty years following its "liberation" from Spain. He also ordered an intensification of the terrorist campaign: "He asked his brother, Attorney-General Robert Kennedy, to lead the top-level interagency group that oversaw Operation Mongoose, a program of paramilitary operations, economic warfare, and sabotage he launched in late 1961 to visit the 'terrors of the earth' on Fidel Castro and, more prosaically, to topple him."
The terrorist campaign was "no laughing matter," Jorge Dominguez writes in a review of recently declassified materials on operations under Kennedy, materials that are "heavily sanitized" and "only the tip of the iceberg," Piero Gleijeses adds.
Operation Mongoose was "the centerpiece of American policy toward Cuba from late 1961 until the onset of the 1962 missile crisis," Mark White reports, the program on which the Kennedy brothers "came to pin their hopes." Robert Kennedy informed the CIA that the Cuban problem carries "the top priority in the United States Government -- all else is secondary -- no time, no effort, or manpower is to be spared" in the effort to overthrow the Castro regime. The chief of Mongoose operations, Edward Lansdale, provided a timetable leading to "open revolt and overthrow of the Communist regime" in October 1962. The "final definition" of the program recognized that "final success will require decisive U.S. military intervention," after terrorism and subversion had laid the basis. The implication is that US military intervention would take place in October 1962 -- when the missile crisis erupted.
In February 1962, the Joint Chiefs of Staff approved a plan more extreme than Schlesinger's: to use "covert means . . . to lure or provoke Castro, or an uncontrollable subordinate, into an overt hostile reaction against the United States; a reaction which would in turn create the justification for the US to not only retaliate but destroy Castro with speed, force and determination." In March, at the request of the DOD Cuba Project, the Joint Chiefs of Staff submitted a memorandum to Defense Secretary Robert McNamara outlining "pretexts which they would consider would provide justification for US military intervention in Cuba." The plan would be undertaken if "a credible internal revolt is impossible of attainment during the next 9-10 months," but before Cuba could establish relations with Russia that might "directly involve the Soviet Union."
A prudent resort to terror should avoid risk to the perpetrator.
The March plan was to construct "seemingly unrelated events to camouflage the ultimate objective and create the necessary impression of Cuban rashness and responsibility on a large scale, directed at other countries as well as the United States," placing the US "in the apparent position of suffering defensible grievances [and developing] an international image of Cuban threat to peace in the Western Hemisphere." Proposed measures included blowing up a US ship in Guantanamo Bay to create "a 'Remember the Maine' incident," publishing casualty lists in US newspapers to "cause a helpful wave of national indignation," portraying Cuban investigations as "fairly compelling evidence that the ship was taken under attack," developing a "Communist Cuban terror campaign [in Florida] and even in Washington," using Soviet bloc incendiaries for cane-burning raids in neighboring countries, shooting down a drone aircraft with a pretense that it was a charter flight carrying college students on a holiday, and other similarly ingenious schemes -- not implemented, but another sign of the "frantic" and "savage" atmosphere that prevailed.
On August 23 the president issued National Security Memorandum No. 181, "a directive to engineer an internal revolt that would be followed by U.S. military intervention," involving "significant U.S. military plans, maneuvers, and movement of forces and equipment" that were surely known to Cuba and Russia. Also in August, terrorist attacks were intensified, including speedboat strafing attacks on a Cuban seaside hotel "where Soviet military technicians were known to congregate, killing a score of Russians and Cubans"; attacks on British and Cuban cargo ships; the contamination of sugar shipments; and other atrocities and sabotage, mostly carried out by Cuban exile organizations permitted to operate freely in Florida. A few weeks later came "the most dangerous moment in human history."
"A bad press in some friendly countries"
Terrorist operations continued through the tensest moments of the missile crisis. They were formally canceled on October 30, several days after the Kennedy and Khrushchev agreement, but went on nonetheless. On November 8, "a Cuban covert action sabotage team dispatched from the United States successfully blew up a Cuban industrial facility," killing 400 workers, according to the Cuban government. Raymond Garthoff writes that "the Soviets could only see [the attack] as an effort to backpedal on what was, for them, the key question remaining: American assurances not to attack Cuba." These and other actions reveal again, he concludes, "that the risk and danger to both sides could have been extreme, and catastrophe not excluded."
After the crisis ended, Kennedy renewed the terrorist campaign. Ten days before his assassination he approved a CIA plan for "destruction operations" by US proxy forces "against a large oil refinery and storage facilities, a large electric plant, sugar refineries, railroad bridges, harbor facilities, and underwater demolition of docks and ships." A plot to kill Castro was initiated on the day of the Kennedy assassination. The campaign was called off in 1965, but "one of Nixon's first acts in office in 1969 was to direct the CIA to intensify covert operations against Cuba."
Of particular interest are the perceptions of the planners. In his review of recently released documents on Kennedy-era terror, Dominguez observes that "only once in these nearly thousand pages of documentation did a U.S. official raise something that resembled a faint moral objection to U.S.-government sponsored terrorism": a member of the NSC staff suggested that it might lead to some Russian reaction, and raids that are "haphazard and kill innocents . . . might mean a bad press in some friendly countries." The same attitudes prevail throughout the internal discussions, as when Robert Kennedy warned that a full-scale invasion of Cuba would "kill an awful lot of people, and we're going to take an awful lot of heat on it."
Terrorist activities continued under Nixon, peaking in the mid- 1970s, with attacks on fishing boats, embassies, and Cuban offices overseas, and the bombing of a Cubana airliner, killing all seventy-three passengers. These and subsequent terrorist operations were carried out from US territory, though by then they were regarded as criminal acts by the FBI.
So matters proceeded, while Castro was condemned by editors for maintaining an "armed camp, despite the security from attack promised by Washington in 1962." The promise should have sufficed, despite what followed; not to speak of the promises that preceded, by then well documented, along with information about how well they could be trusted: e.g., the "Lodge moment" of July 1960.
On the thirtieth anniversary of the missile crisis, Cuba protested a machine-gun attack against a Spanish-Cuban tourist hotel; responsibility was claimed by a group in Miami. Bombings in Cuba in 1997, which killed an Italian tourist, were traced back to Miami. The perpetrators were Salvadoran criminals operating under the direction of Luis Posada Carriles and financed in Miami. One of the most notorious international terrorists, Posada had escaped from a Venezuelan prison, where he had been held for the Cubana airliner bombing, with the aid of Jorge Mas Canosa, a Miami businessman who was the head of the tax-exempt Cuban-American National Foundation (CANF). Posada went from Venezuela to El Salvador, where he was put to work at the Ilopango military air base to help organize US terrorist attacks against Nicaragua under Oliver North's direction.
Posada has described in detail his terrorist activities and the funding for them from exiles and CANF in Miami, but felt secure that he would not be investigated by the FBI. He was a Bay of Pigs veteran, and his subsequent operations in the 1960s were directed by the CIA. When he later joined Venezuelan intelligence with CIA help, he was able to arrange for Orlando Bosch, an associate from his CIA days who had been convicted in the US for a bomb attack on a Cuba-bound freighter, to join him in Venezuela to organize further attacks against Cuba. An ex-CIA official familiar with the Cubana bombing identifies Posada and Bosch as the only suspects in the bombing, which Bosch defended as "a legitimate act of war." Generally considered the "mastermind" of the airline bombing, Bosch was responsible for thirty other acts of terrorism, according to the FBI. He was granted a presidential pardon in 1989 by the incoming Bush I administration after intense lobbying by Jeb Bush and South Florida Cuban-American leaders, overruling the Justice Department, which had found the conclusion "inescapable that it would be prejudicial to the public interest for the United States to provide a safe haven for Bosch [because] the security of this nation is affected by its ability to urge credibly other nations to refuse aid and shelter to terrorists."
Cuban offers to cooperate in intelligence-sharing to prevent terrorist attacks have been rejected by Washington, though some did lead to US actions. "Senior members of the FBI visited Cuba in 1998 to meet their Cuban counterparts, who gave [the FBI] dossiers about what they suggested was a Miami-based terrorist network: information which had been compiled in part by Cubans who had infiltrated exile groups." Three months later the FBI arrested Cubans who had infiltrated the US-based terrorist groups. Five were sentenced to long terms in prison.
The national security pretext lost whatever shreds of credibility it might have had after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, though it was not until 1998 that US intelligence officially informed the country that Cuba no longer posed a threat to US national security. The Clinton administration, however, insisted that the military threat posed by Cuba be reduced to "negligible," but not completely removed. Even with this qualification, the intelligence assessment eliminated a danger that had been identified by the Mexican ambassador in 1961, when he rejected JFK's attempt to organize collective action against Cuba on the grounds that "if we publicly declare that Cuba is a threat to our security, forty million Mexicans will die laughing."
In fairness, however, it should be recognized that missiles in Cuba did pose a threat. In private discussions the Kennedy brothers expressed their fears that the presence of Russian missiles in Cuba might deter a US invasion of Venezuela. So "the Bay of Pigs was really right," JFK concluded.
The Bush I administration reacted to the elimination of the security pretext by making the embargo much harsher, under pressure from Clinton, who outflanked Bush from the right during the 1992 election campaign. Economic warfare was made still more stringent in 1996, causing a furor even among the closest US allies. The embargo came under considerable domestic criticism as well, on the grounds that it harms US exporters and investors -- the embargo's only victims, according to the standard picture in the US; Cubans are unaffected. Investigations by US specialists tell a different story. Thus, a detailed study by the American Association for World Health concluded that the embargo had severe health effects, and only Cuba's remarkable health care system had prevented a "humanitarian catastrophe"; this has received virtually no mention in the US.
The embargo has effectively barred even food and medicine. In 1999 the Clinton administration eased such sanctions for all countries on the official list of "terrorist states," apart from Cuba, singled out for unique punishment. Nevertheless, Cuba is not entirely alone in this regard. After a hurricane devastated West Indian islands in August 1980, President Carter refused to allow any aid unless Grenada was excluded, as punishment for some unspecified initiatives of the reformist Maurice Bishop government. When the stricken countries refused to agree to Grenada's exclusion, having failed to perceive the threat to survival posed by the nutmeg capital of the world, Carter withheld all aid. Similarly, when Nicaragua was struck by a hurricane in October 1988, bringing starvation and causing severe ecological damage, the current incumbents in Washington recognized that their terrorist war could benefit from the disaster, and therefore refused aid, even to the Atlantic Coast area with close links to the US and deep resentment against the Sandinistas. They followed suit when a tidal wave wiped out Nicaraguan fishing villages, leaving hundreds dead and missing in September 1992. In this case, there was a show of aid, but hidden in the small print was the fact that apart from an impressive donation of $25,000, the aid was deducted from assistance already scheduled. Congress was assured, however, that the pittance of aid would not affect the administration's suspension of over $100 million of aid because the US-backed Nicaraguan government had failed to demonstrate a sufficient degree of subservience.
US economic warfare against Cuba has been strongly condemned in virtually every relevant international forum, even declared illegal by the Judicial Commission of the normally compliant Organization of American States. The European Union called on the World Trade Organization to condemn the embargo. The response of the Clinton administration was that "Europe is challenging 'three decades of American Cuba policy that goes back to the Kennedy Administration,' and is aimed entirely at forcing a change of government in Havana." The administration also declared that the WTO has no competence to rule on US national security or to compel the US to change its laws. Washington then withdrew from the proceedings, rendering the matter moot.
The reasons for the international terrorist attacks against Cuba and the illegal economic embargo are spelled out in the internal record. And no one should be surprised to discover that they fit a familiar pattern -- that of Guatemala a few years earlier, for example.
From the timing alone, it is clear that concern over a Russian threat could not have been a major factor. The plans for forceful regime change were drawn up and implemented before there was any significant Russian connection, and punishment was intensified after the Russians disappeared from the scene. True, a Russian threat did develop, but that was more a consequence than a cause of US terrorism and economic warfare.
In July 1961 the CIA warned that "the extensive influence of 'Castroism' is not a function of Cuban power. . . . Castro's shadow looms large because social and economic conditions throughout Latin America invite opposition to ruling authority and encourage agitation for radical change," for which Castro's Cuba provided a model. Earlier, Arthur Schlesinger had transmitted to the incoming President Kennedy his Latin American Mission report, which warned of the susceptibility of Latin Americans to "the Castro idea of taking matters into one's own hands." The report did identify a Kremlin connection: the Soviet Union "hovers in the wings, flourishing large development loans and presenting itself as the model for achieving modernization in a single generation." The dangers of the "Castro idea" are particularly grave, Schlesinger later 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." Kennedy feared that Russian aid might make Cuba a "showcase" for development, giving the Soviets the upper hand throughout Latin America.
In early 1964, the State Department Policy Planning Council expanded on these concerns: "The primary danger we face in Castro is . . . in the impact the very existence of his regime has upon the leftist movement in many Latin American countries. . . . The simple fact is that Castro represents a successful defiance of the US, a negation of our whole hemispheric policy of almost a century and a half." To put it simply, Thomas Paterson writes, "Cuba, as symbol and reality, challenged U.S. hegemony in Latin America." International terrorism and economic warfare to bring about regime change are justified not by what Cuba does, but by its "very existence," its "successful defiance" of the proper master of the hemisphere. Defiance may justify even more violent actions, as in Serbia, as quietly conceded after the fact; or Iraq, as also recognized when pretexts had collapsed.
Outrage over defiance goes far back in American history. Two hundred years ago, Thomas Jefferson bitterly condemned France for its "attitude of defiance" in holding New Orleans, which he coveted. Jefferson warned that France's "character [is] placed in a point of eternal friction with our character, which though loving peace and the pursuit of wealth, is high-minded." France's "defiance [requires us to] marry ourselves to the British fleet and nation," Jefferson advised, reversing his earlier attitudes, which reflected France's crucial contribution to the liberation of the colonies from British rule. Thanks to Haiti's liberation struggle, unaided and almost universally opposed, France's defiance soon ended, but the guiding principles remain in force, determining friend and foe.
Capitalism and Functioning Democracy Are at Odds By Alexi Goranov November 20, 2009
The fundamental debate is whether the right to increases in capital and property supersedes the right to equality, i.e. the right to equal access to labor and life. If the two rights are considered absolute they cannot coexist; one destroys the other (per âœWhat is Propertyâ by French anarchist Joseph-Pierre Proudhon).
If the right to collect capital at the expense of the wellbeing of others is deemed fundamental, then some form of capitalism is the answer. However, if the right to equality, meaning the right to labor and life, is fundamental, then we have to come up with alternatives, and these alternatives need to strengthen the ability of people to govern their own affairs collectively and individually.
The ability to govern oneâ™s affairs also implies that control over resources and the means of productions needs to be shared among people. The attack on property rights that is implicit in this argument is not an attack on the peopleâ™s rights to own a house, or a car, or enough land to provide for themselves. It is an attack on the rights of a private entity to exclusively own natural resources (mines, water, land) and means of production (factories and shops) at the expense of all other people who depend on those resources for existence.
For the democratic process to be meaningful, those who are affected by a decision should participate in the decision-making. Democracy and inequality are mutually exclusive. This has been argued by Aristotle, who surmised that in a functioning democracy the dispossessed masses will use the democratic process to redistribute wealth and resources more equally, something that recently happened in Bolivia.
So in a situation with rampant inequality the choices are to decrease inequality, or to restrict democracy (see Noam Chomskyâ™s Understanding Power). That was well understood by our âœFounding Fathers,â who chose the latter. They instituted different tools into the system to keep the âœless desirable elementâ (landless peasants, workers, women, slaves, Native Americans, etc.) out of most of the decision making, while keeping moneyed individuals fairly equal and protected from the mob and from each other (see The American Political Tradition and the Men Who Made It by Richard Hofstadter or An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States by Charles Beard).
These principles have been taken and perverted to an extent that even the âœFounding Fathersâ would find repulsive. The Fourteenth Amendment should protect the equal rights of freed slaves, but of the cases citing this amendment that were brought to the Supreme Court in the years 1890â"1910, 19 had to do with the rights of African-Americans and 288 had to do with corporate rights (Peopleâ™s History of the United States by Howard Zinn). That hints at what group is more capable of protecting its rights, the âœhavesâ or the âœhave notâ™s.â
Due to present and profound inequality, the ability of most people to influence the countryâ™s politics is virtually nonexistent, pressing a button every four years notwithstanding. On the other hand, corporations, with their limitless cash and influence, can buy and bully the government into passing legislation that is opposed by the majority of people.
To illustrate the point, the current health care fiasco makes a nice case study. According to a 2005 study by BusinessWeek, 67 percent of the population favors a âœsingle-payer,â aka Medicare-for-All, not-for-profit healthcare system that covers everyone (BusinessWeek, May 15, 2005). That is two-thirds of the population. Yet, in our âœdemocraticâ system, âœsingle-payerâ is not even discussed in Congress. The reason is obvious: It cuts deeply into the profits of insurance and drug companies, and since profits, in the true spirit of capitalism, are more important than people, the âœsingle-payerâ legislation (HR.676) is ignored and dismissed. Instead, after a lot of fighting to beat back any chance of a reasonable and meaningful reform, we get a bill with a very weak âœpublic option,â which is likely to be stripped down further in the Senate, a shameful anti-choice amendment. This will likely be coupled with many gifts to the drug industry, such as ensuring certain drugs will never be generic.
A study by IMS Health estimated that the new healthcare bill will bring the drug industry an increase in sales by $137 billion over the next four years (âœDemocracy Now!â November 12, 2009). Guess who will have to pay that extra $137 billion? A pretty good deal for Big Pharma, but this bill was not cheap for the insurance and drug companies. They paid Senator Max Baucus (D-Mont.), the guy in charge of drafting the legislation, at least $3.5 million. In the first quarter of 2009, Pfizer alone spent $6 million on âœlobbying,â although bribing is a better word for it (Z Magazine, October 2008). The Washington Post reports that the drug industry was spending $1.4 million per day on lobbying for the current legislation (Z Magazine, October 2008). Insurance companies also hit the mother lode: individuals and families will be forced to buy private insurance, or pay penalties.
There is nothing efficient in this process. It is wasteful and inefficient in terms of providing healthcare, but it does what it is there to do: secure profits for corporations. What capital wants, capital gets; forget about what millions of Americans actually want or need. âœPrivatize profit, socialize cost and riskâ has always been the corporate motto. The examples are limitless. Just to point to one more, as of November 2009, 58 percent of people are against the war in Afghanistan, yet the government is considering an escalation.
Under the current system, particularly when talking about corporations, people are not in control of what they produce; the corporate board of directors is. Let us take another recent example that illustrates who runs the show. In 2005, residents of a neighborhood of New London, CT were forcefully evicted from their homes after years of legal battles over the concept of âœEminent Domainâ (âœDemocracy Now!â Nov. 13, 2009). The homes were condemned to make space for a private development project, with part of the idea being to make the area more likable to the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer. The development was supposed to bring thousands of jobs. Recently Pfizer announced that it will shut down its research facility in New London and move to another town. Now the lots where people lived and children played are vacant and overgrown.
The first point is that the lives and well-being of people were sacrificed to cater to a big corporation; nothing new there. The second and more important point is that people who may be affected by a corporation have no say in what the corporation does. If a corporation wants to shut down a plant because it is not profitable to operate, or wants to shift production abroad because it is cheaper, the people in the community and the workers have no control over these decisions although their livelihoods may depend on it. Very democratic, isnâ™t it?
That efficient production is only possible under the conditions of profit-making, competition, and market discipline is a myth. Let us look at a historic example. During the Spanish Civil War, areas of the country (mostly near Barcelona) became under workersâ™ control and industry and agriculture were socialized/collectivized. Production was shifted towards what was needed, not what was profitable. What were the results? Workers put in extra effort and production in certain areas of industry increased by 10-fold (Objectivity and Liberal Scholarship by Noam Chomsky), new industries, such as optical and chemical, were developed (The Anarchist Collectives: Workersâ™ Self-Management in the Spanish Revolution, 1936â"1939 by Sam Dolgoff), and agricultural production increased by 50 percent to 75 percent (Anarchism by Daniel Guerin).
No one has the right to dictate to people how to live their lives. That is as true for totalitarian regimes as it is true for private, corporate tyrannies! Only people can collectively decide on how to organize their existence and economy. This is the meaning of democracy, and if we are to have democracy not just in form but in substance, people across all classes need to become much more involved in how the country is run. The abolition of child labor, the institution of an 8-hour working day, Social Security, the Civil Rights Act, etc. were not gifts from the government. These achievements were won by disadvantaged people refusing to be passive bystanders, and by working and bleeding together to win the rights that they deemed fair. So there are examples before us. The question is: Will we follow them?
Alexi Goranov is a postdoc at the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research.
Last broadcast yesterday, 04:32 on BBC World Service (see all broadcasts). Synopsis
Noam Chomsky is one of the world's most prominent and controversial public intellectuals. He is an internationally renowned professor of linguistics, but he is also a longstanding critic of US foreign policy and the influence of big business over the US government.
When he published his first political critique 40 years ago, he was fired up by the war in Vietnam. Today he is still raging against America's malign influence and calls the war in Afghanistan 'immoral'.
the former attorney general OF ALL PEOPLE advocated an extrajudicial sentencing WITHOUT TRIAL for khalid sheikh Mohammed and Gitmo inmates...
A SCANDAL .. unbelievable! Is this a respectable broadcaster or a right-wing lunatic talk-show?
The US system is brainwashing its sheeple to believe that justice - the basic tenet of a democracy - is not for everyone.
The real reason is that the secrets of the 9/11 inside job will be available for everyone to see in open court.
All right-wingers have been given their talking points...
Obama chose wisely to announce this while he was overseas in Korea, Japan Singapore etc. The US media is strictly corporate controlled and when you hear the media-whores scream about Obama, socialism etc, you would be excused to believe you live in a totalitarian state.
East Germany Version 2.0
Amazingly, the Alberto Gonzales (live from Lubbock, Texas) segment is mentioned nowhere.
aha, I found a mention:
No joking, I just watched Alberto Gonzales! on the Situation Room talking about how KSM is a "war criminal" b/c 3000 civilians were killed. Wolfie pooh said boo. As if the considerably larger #s of civilians US forces have killed in our endless multiplex war did not exist/did not mark our own esteemed leaders as, duh, f'ing war criminals.
jcapan November 13, 2009 at 8:36 pm Log in to Reply 20.1
That is kind of an odd argument coming from a criminal. But I guess we will ignore Gonzales many crimes none of which he will ever be tried for. gysgt213 November 13, 2009 at 8:39 pm
indefinite detention without charge or trial ....
Alberto Gonzales, a former US' Attorney General from 2005 until 2007 and currently a teacher at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, is now being featured here today for putting his home in Vancouver on the market
Former US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales lists his 2604-square-foot home in McLean, VA for $1.075M
During the controversy over the Bush administration's prosecutor purge in 2007, former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales raised selective amnesia to an art form. In one single day of Congressional testimony, Gonzales uttered some variant of "I don't recall" 64 times, including the comical, "Senator, that I don't recall remembering."
Experienced United Nations observers uniformly noted that the US crusade to bury the Goldstone report (holding Israel and Hamas accountable for war crimes) was one of the fiercest of any waged in recent years. But somehow US Ambassador Susan Rice missed the General Assembly vote. Susan Rice, known for her powerful support for accountability regarding war crimes in Darfur, regardless of potential political consequences, had of course reversed herself when the issue was accountability for Gaza. That was no surprise. The call for holding all sides accountable for human rights violations and potential war crimes in Gaza was clearly the kind of human rights issue Rice had publicly dismissed as "anti-Israel crap" just last April.
But still -- the US had invested enormous efforts to influence [read: weaken] the General Assembly resolution. So where was the US ambassador last Thursday afternoon when the Assembly culminated its intense two-day debate on the Goldstone report and accountability in Gaza? It was left to the deputy ambassador, Alejandro Wolff, to explain and cast Washington's negative vote. There was lots of speculation why Rice was not there herself - had she been called to the White House for last-minute consultations? Would her presence somehow give the resolution and thus the Goldstone report itself too much significance? Was her deputy better at playing "bad cop"? Actually, it was none of the above. The US Ambassador to the United Nations, Her Excellency Susan Rice, was indeed in New York, but not at United Nations headquarters. The defining clue came at 11 p.m. that night, when "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" came on the air. Featuring special guest Ambassador Susan Rice.
The hit show of Comedy Central, "The Daily Show" airs in the late-night slot. But it always tapes the show ahead of time, around 5:00 in the afternoon. The UN vote to endorse the Goldstone report took place at 4:45. Priorities Central.
Chomsky Kindergarten fingerpaint Commi Homo Pinko Liberal
(these are really good arguemnts! TRUST THE RIGHT WING FOX ET AL)
TODAY every news service in the world will transmit the same gratifying and facile images of the destruction of the Berlin Wall 20 years ago: a moment when -- as solemn-voiced announcers will intone in practised cadences -- not just a wall, but an entire era was ground into brick-dust.
Such commemorations are easy and agreeable because they invite us to celebrate the ending of something, without requiring us to know anything about what it was that ended. What could be more pleasant than to enjoy an obscurely heart-lifting, lung-expanding sensation of liberation without having to trouble ourselves as to what that liberation really consistedof?
The occasion is doubly gratifying because it invites self-indulgent reminiscence from the celebrity intellectuals of that era, many of whom at the time prophesied great things issuing from the wall's destruction (endless democratisation; the triumph of civil society) that never actually came to pass. In many cases they were the same people who a couple of decades earlier had prophesied great things for the workers of the world, which never came to pass, either. (By contrast, people such as Vaclav Havel who lived on the other side of the Iron Curtain, seem to have suffered no such messianic disappointments. They're just pleasantly surprised that everything has gone so tolerably well these past 20 years.)
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If there's one half-reliable lesson from the fall of the Berlin Wall it is this: that it signalled the death of grand political prophecy. With the wall went the last flickering remnants of dull heat from every radical-messianic fantasy, Left and Right, out of Europe's mad century of radical-messianic fantasies. From this point onwards we could assure ourselves, with tolerable confidence, that every glossy-eyed political evangelist promising deliverance from the manifold insufficiencies of everyday life, and from the world's harshness and injustice, was nothing more than a common-and-garden charlatan.
The clever salon Marxists, the air-castle builders, the adepts of interpersonal hatred turned into political virtue -- those people who had dominated political discussion for the previous couple of decades by the force of their political charisma -- were obliged after 1989 to re-groom and re-clothe themselves in various new guises. Henceforth soi-disant radicals would be forced to satisfy themselves with the maunderings of philosophers so artfully paradoxical that it is impossible to tell whether they are humanists or anti-humanists, foes of the West or tongue-in-cheek devotees. Or else they could swallow their dignity and pretend an interest in the political finger-painting of such kindergarten philosophers as Noam Chomsky, Michael Moore, Naomi Klein and Arundhati Roy.
Yet while the Polaroid pictures of the tumbling wall are impressed on our memories like an image from a camera obscura, almost nobody remembers an equally significant Berlin anniversary this year: of the event that, after all, made the wall necessary in the first place. In 1948 the Soviet occupation authorities in Berlin progressively shut down transport, power and communications into the western half of the city, purportedly (and what is the essence of the Soviet legacy, if not the lie told without even the pretence of conviction?) because of technical problems. And so the volunteer remnants of the former Western Allied air forces were forced to ferry in by air almost 2 1/2 million tonnes of food and essentials, along three narrow corridors, through fog and rain, and despite the harassment of Soviet fighters and searchlights, every single hour of every day for virtually a year.
Many accounts of the Berlin Airlift nowadays revel in it chiefly as a grand military-logistical enterprise, a feat of aeronautics and engineering. Yet the airlift was also our greatest enterprise in humanitarian internationalism, aimed at rescuing the brutalised population of West Berlin from the Soviet maelstrom. Pilots were forced to bring in war-weary transport planes to Berlin's battered Tempelhof airfield at roughly 30-second intervals, along a narrow avenue of trees in the centre of the city, their wing-tips below the roof level of the surrounding tower blocks. During the course of that year several dozen planes crashed and more than 100 air crew were incinerated. All of this in the relief of a population that had been warring against those same air crews a mere three years previously.
Equally salutary is this fact: the guarantors of the lives of the West Berliners were two great social democrats, president Harry Truman and British Labour's monumental foreign secretary Ernest Bevin, neither of whom hesitated before wagering their legacies on the survival of West Berlin.
All sorts of disgraceful acts were committed in the name of the Cold War and the world is still swimming in an ocean of small-arms weaponry distributed in its name. And yet this first signal moment of moral clear-sightedness -- exercised at a time when the population of Berlin must have seemed as little interesting to Westerners as the population of Bosnia in the 1990s, or that of Darfur today -- defined the moral terms. I wonder if the present occupant of the White House will ever feel that same instinctual moral call.
"Obama, Obama, ya ba oona, ya ba ma," chanted the brave and bruised youths in the streets of Tehran last week. "You're either with them or with us." There is no hint that the President was listening. Meanwhile Obama's ambassador to Sudan, Scott Gration, has explained that he wants to hand out gold stars and smiley faces to the butchers of Darfur in order to persuade them of the merits of engagement. What, I wonder, would Truman and Bevin have made of that?
In 1949 the term humanitarian intervention had barely been coined, yet it was practised when it counted. Nowadays we open our hearts, flutter our hands and talk of little else and do nothing. Or else we put on pious faces and pass unctuous resolutions, which amounts to the same thing.
DAVID BURCHELL From:The Australian November 09, 2009
(this is an embedded newspaper owned by Murdoch?)
r David Burchell, School of Humanities and Languages
Areas of Expertise: Australian politics
Bio Details: Dr Burchell is the author of several books on Australian politics and the Australian Labor Party, including: 'Western Horizon: Sydney's Heartland and the Future of Australian Politics' (Scribe Books, 2003); 'The Prince's New Clothes: Why do Australians Dislike Their Politicians?' (UNSW Press, 2002); and 'Labor's Troubled Times' (Pluto Press, 1991).
See media releases featuring Dr David Burchell: A change of heart: Western Sydney no longer ?blue ribbon? battlers? (29/10/2007) Policy makers need to do more to tackle housing pain, say UWS experts (26/07/2007) ?Fresh thinking? ALP shapes up to tackle government head-on, says UWS political expert (30/04/2007)
For interviews contact: Senior Media Officer, Paul Grocott, firstname.lastname@example.org, 02 9678 7083, 0406 429 304
Trinity gold medal for Chomsky Hundreds of students queue for hours to hear influential academic
By Thomas Molloy
Wednesday November 04 2009
It isn't every day that hundreds of students queue for up to three hours to pay their respects to a man four times their age.
Then again, American academic Noam Chomsky is one of the most influential and complex thinkers of the post-war era.
In an age of Twitter and Facebook it was somewhat comforting to think that the oldest form of communication -- the human voice -- could keep a room with 500 Trinity College students and lecturers on the edge of their seats for 90 minutes.
There was hardly a sound as the frail voice of the 82-year-old told his audience that North and South America had been "conquered by European savagery and filth" and marvelled that the United States had been led until recently by a "lunatic who is waiting for the Second Coming".
Chomsky, who resembles an elderly Woody Allen with hand gestures and a hesitant but compelling delivery, received three standing ovations when the Dublin university's oldest debating society presented a gold medal to the linguistics professor.
He received the medal for "outstanding contribution to public discourse" from the Historical Society, known to generations of Trinity students as "The Hist", amid tumultuous applause.
"Professor Chomsky's ideas have not only transformed political narrative but brought about an entirely new awareness of how the process of public discourse takes place," said 'Hist' auditor Jamie Walsh.
Chomsky, now an honorary professor of linguistics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston, spoke of familiar themes -- the abuse of power by the US and Israel and the language used by aggressors to belittle their victims -- but while the students' enthusiasm verged on the reverential, it was often difficult to follow the quietly spoken professor's talk or his answers to questions set by veteran Middle East reporter Robert Fisk and a handful of students.
Prof Chomsky also revisited another of his oldest themes, which, put at its most basic level, is that history is written by the winners. While acknowledging that the collapse of the Berlin Wall 20 years ago this week was significant, Prof Chomsky challenged his audience to also mark the 20th anniversary next week of the massacre of six Jesuit priests, their co-worker and her teenage daughter in El Salvador. Those killings, which Prof Chomsky believes to have been largely forgotten, marked the end of a revolutionary phase in the Catholic Church's history.
Dressed in a blue jacket, light blue shirt and dark blue tie, and sitting in a large wooden throne, Prof Chomsky looked like a distinguished member of the Establishment he has challenged for most of his life.
He is the author of dozens of books with titles such as 'Topics in the Theory of Generative Grammar', 'The Logical Structure of Linguistic Theory' and 'The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism', which have influenced academic and popular debate about US foreign policy.
Robert Fisk, who regularly reports for this newspaper, will also be in conversation with television presenter John Bowman in the National Concert Hall tomorrow evening.
- Thomas Molloy
the man of the week, the top, top man, was Pat Kenny. So energised is he, by Frontline, and by his emergence as the broadcaster that we always wanted him to be deep inside that vast brain of his, he was probably already preparing a few supplementary questions for his interview with Noam Chomsky in part two.
Not Peter Andre, or the stars of Emmerdale, but Mr Noam Chomsky. And Pat. Two guys who have it all figured out.