By Noam Chomsky, written following his trip to the Gaza Strip on October 25-30, 2012.
(Ashraf Amra / APA Images)
Posted Friday, December 30, 2005
Kennedy School of Government transcript of the debate with Alan Dershowitz, Israel and Palestine After Disengagement (November 29, 2005).
Ideas Network audio interview, U.S. Foreign Policy and Iraq, with Joy Cardin (October 19, 2005). An excerpt:
One of the consequences [of the US-British sanctions] was to lead to a religious revival in what had been a rather secular society, with a secular constitution in fact. But in desperation people just turn to mosques. And that has increased sharply after the invasion. The invasion just had this disastrous effect on the society. Veteran correspondent Patrick Cockburn who knows Iraq very well (and incidentally he is one of the few journalists who lives outside the protected green zone) thinks this is one of the worst military catastrophes in history, and others agree. In those conditions there has been a sharp increase in commitment to the one institution that people can sort of grab on to, which are the mosques. And in fact the voting corresponded to that. They voted the way religious parties instructed them to. [interview begins at 2:03]
Interview, On War and Activism, with Charngchi Way (December 9, 2005). An excerpt:
It was [...] murderous violence that gave Europe it's comparative advantage. Europe had developed a culture of savagery which was unknown in the rest of the world. When the Europeans then started expanding, they weren't really winning wars on the base of their military superiority, but on the base of savagery, which others didn't know how to face. In fact, if you look at military historians, they point out, British ones, main ones, they said well, for the rest of the world war was a sport, for Europe it was a science. And yes, they conquered much of the world, and attempted to impose a nation-state system on it. And you take a look at most of the horrible wars today, they are the results of the drawing of colonial boundaries in an effort to impose the nation-state system. It has almost nothing to do with people's interests and associations and commitments.
Radio Netherlands interview transcript, On the Iraq Election, with Andy Clark (December 18, 2005).
Radio Netherlands audio interview, On the Iraq Election, with Andy Clark (December 18, 2005). An excerpt:
No rational person pays the slightest attention to declarations of benign intent on the part of leaders, no matter who they are. And the reason is they're completely predictable, including the worst monsters, Stalin, Hitler the rest. Always full of benign intent. Yes that's their task. Therefore, since they're predictable, we disregard them, they carry no information. What we do is, look at the facts. That's true if they're Bush or Blair or Stalin or anyone else. That's the beginning of rationality.
NoOne's Listening interview transcript, On Fake News and Other Societal Woes, with Irene (December 7, 2005). An excerpt:
There's something we know about the country, this country, more than any other. We know a lot about public opinion, it's studied very intensively. The results are very rarely reported but you can find them. It's an open society and you can find them. What they show is remarkable. What they show first of all is that both political parties and the media are far to the right of the general population on a whole host of issues and the population is just disorganized, atomized and so on. This country ought be an organizers paradise. And that's why the media and the campaigns keep away from issues. They know that on issues they're going to lose people. So therefore you have to portray George Bush as a - look he's a pampered kid from a rich family who went to prep school and elite university, and you have to present him as an ordinary guy, who makes grammatical errors, which I'm sure he's trained to make, he didn't talk that way at Yale, fake Texas twang, and he's off to his ranch to, you know, cut brush or something.
Guardians of PowerSee also Gabriele Zamparini's interview with the authors.
Prospect article, We are All Complicit (January, 2006). An excerpt:
I turned with interest to Oliver Kamm's critique (Prospect, November 2005) of the "crude and dishonest arguments" he attributes to me, hoping to learn something. And learn something I did, though not quite what Kamm intended; rather, about the lengths to which some will go to prevent exposure of state crimes and their own complicity in them.
NoOne's Listening audio interview, On Fake News and Other Societal Woes (December 7, 2005). [interview begins at 1:48] An excerpt:
There was a period, in the mid-19th century--that's the period of the freest press, both in England and in the US. And it's quite interesting to look back at it. Over the years, that's declined. It declined for two basic reasons. One reason is the increased capital that was required to run a competitive press. And as capital requirements increased, that of course lead to a more corporatized media. The other effect is advertisement. In the 19th century, the United States had something kind of approximating a market system. Now we have nothing like a market--they may teach you in economics courses, but that's not the way it works. And one of the signs of the decline of the market is advertisment. So if you have a real market you don't advertise: you just give information. For example, there are corners of the economy that do run like markets--for example stock markets. If you have ten shares of General Motors that you want to sell, you don't put up an ad on television with a sexy model holding up then ten shares saying "ask your broker if this is good for you; it's good for me," or something like that. What you do is you sell it at the market price. If you had a market for cars, toothpaste, or whatever, lifestyle drugs, you would do the same thing. GM would put up a brief notice saying here's the information about our models. Well, you've seen television ads, so I don't have to tell you how it works. The idea is to delude and deceive people with imagery.
The Wall Street Journal article on Chomsky, The Other Chomsky, by Takis Michas (November 4, 2005). An excerpt:
What makes Mr. Chomsky unique is that his criticism of the capitalist economic order takes its point of departure from the classical liberal thinkers of the Enlightenment. His heroes are not Lenin and Marx but Adam Smith and Wilhelm von Humboldt. He argues that the free market envisaged by these thinkers has never materialized in the world and that what we have gotten instead is a collusion of the state with private interests. Moreover he has repeatedly stressed that the attacks on democracy and the market by the big multinationals go hand in hand. The rich, he claims, echoing Adam Smith, are too keen to preach the benefits of market discipline to the poor while they reserve for themselves the right to be bailed out by the state whenever the going gets rough.
Time article, What Will Turkey Tolerate?, by Maryann Bird (February 18, 2002).
BBC News article, Chomsky Publisher Cleared in Turkey (February 13, 2002).
The Speakeasy audio interview, On Imperial Ambitions (December 12, 2005). An excerpt:
If you go back to Bush's speeches, also Blair, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, and the rest, they stressed constantly what they called "the single question." The single question was: "will Saddam Hussein give up his weapons of mass destruction?" That was the "single question" on which Bush received authorization for the use of force from Congress, that was the single question that was driven home over and over in speeches, conferences, and so on, and in fact there was a government media propaganda campaign which convinced the majority of Americans that they were in imminent danger because of the threat of Saddam Hussein, his weapons of mass destruction, his ties to Al-Qaeda, his involvement with 9-11, and so on.
The Guardian comment, Open Door, by Ian Mayes (December 12, 2005). An excerpt:
It is with considerable reluctance that I return to the subject of the Guardian and Noam Chomsky and one of the most difficult complaints I have had to deal with in my eight years as readers' editor of the paper. I do so because the long correction which I and those directly involved certainly thought at the time had fairly resolved the matter, is itself now being called into question by others. [...] I am now asked to consider a complaint about the content of the correction. [...] I should say immediately that none of the material sent to me has convinced me that I should do that.
Khaleej Times article, A Dangerous Neighbourhood (December 8, 2005). An excerpt:
"How Venezuela Is Keeping the Home Fires Burning in Massachusetts," reads a recent full-page ad in major US newspapers from PDVSA, Venezuela's state-owned oil company, and CITGO, its Houston-based subsidiary. The ad describes a programme, encouraged by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, to sell heating oil at discount prices to low--income communities in Boston, the South Bronx and elsewhere in the United States-- one of the more ironic gestures ever in the North-South dialogue. The deal developed after a group of US senators sent a letter to nine major oil companies asking them to donate a portion of their recent record profits to help poor residents cover heating bills. The only response came from CITGO.
CounterPunch article, Dershowitz versus Chomsky, by John Ryan (December 7, 2005). An excerpt:
I have just watched the Chomsky-Dershowitz debate. I'm not entirely sure how debates are judged or graded, but unless one is blinded by Zionist/pro-Israel bias, there's no question that Chomsky scored a decisive victory--on a number of counts.
Hampshire College audio talk, Washington's Messianic Mission (October 11, 2005). An excerpt:
"The promotion of democracy is central to the George W. Bush administration's prosecution of both the war on terrorism and its overall grand strategy." The statement is unsurprising: it's an assertion of obvious importance, adopted with near unanimity; and when an assertion of obvious importance is adopted with near unanimity, any rational person will ask a few questions, like 'What's the evidence on which it's based?' The results of an inquiry like that tell us quite a lot about the state of democracy in the society in question. So to take an extreme case, if similar declarations are produced in North Korea, we don't even trouble to ask about the evidence. It's suffices that the dear leader declared. In a democratic culture, very substantial evidence would be demanded, along with serious argument to refute apparent counter-evidence. That's the inquiry I'd want to suggest to you. I think it's an inquiry for our society very worth undertaking, and I think its results should be quite disturbing to those who care about their country.
ZNet interview, Q/A on the Iraq War, with Anthony DiMaggio (November 29, 2005). An excerpt:
The excuses also overlook the fact that the insurgency was created by the brutality of the invasion and occupation -- which is, in fact, one of the most astonishing failures in military history. The Nazis had less trouble in occupied Europe, and the Russians held their satellites for decades with far less difficulty. It is difficult to think of an analog. A few months after the invasion, I met a highly experienced senior physician with one of the leading relief organizations, who has served in some of the worst parts of the world. He had just returned briefly from Baghdad, where he was trying to reestablish medical facilities, but was unable to because of the incompetence of the CPA. He told me he had never seen such a combination of "arrogance, ignorance, and incompetence," referring to the Pentagon civilians in charge. In fact, it was monumental. They even failed to guard the WMD sites that had been under UN supervision, so that they were systematically looted, handing over to someone -- probably jihadis --high-precision equipment suitable for producing missiles and nuclear weapons, dangerous bio-toxins, etc., which had been provided to their friend Saddam by the US, UK and others. The ironies are almost indescribable.
Petition calling for release of Christian Peace Workers in Iraq:
An Urgent Appeal: Please Release Our Friends in Iraq. Four members of Christian Peacemaker Teams were taken this past Saturday, November 26, in Baghdad, Iraq. They are not spies, nor do they work in the service of any government. They are people who have dedicated their lives to fighting against war and have clearly and publicly opposed the invasion and occupation of Iraq. They are people of faith, but they are not missionaries. They have deep respect for the Islamic faith and for the right of Iraqis to self-determination. C.P.T. first came to Iraq in October 2002 to oppose the US invasion, and it has remained in the country throughout the occupation in solidarity with the Iraqi people. The group has been invaluable in alerting the world to many of the horrors facing Iraqis detained in US-run prisons and detention centers. C.P.T. was among the first to document the torture occurring at the Abu Ghraib prison, long before the story broke in the mainstream press. Its members have spent countless hours interviewing Iraqis about abuse and torture suffered at the hands of US forces and have disseminated this information internationally. Each of the four C.P.T. members being held in Iraq has dedicated his life to resisting the darkness and misery of war and occupation. Convinced that it is not enough to oppose the war from the safety of their homes, they made the difficult decision to go to Iraq, knowing that the climate of mistrust created by foreign occupation meant that they could be mistaken for spies or missionaries. They went there with a simple purpose: to bear witness to injustice and to embody a different kind of relationship between cultures and faiths. Members of C.P.T. willingly undertook the risks of living among Iraqis, in a common neighborhood outside of the infamous Green Zone. They sought no protection from weapons or armed guards, trusting in, and benefiting from, the goodwill of the Iraqi people. Acts of kindness and hospitality from Iraqis were innumerable and ensured the C.P.T. members' safety and wellbeing. We believe that spirit will prevail in the current situation. We appeal to those holding these activists to release them unharmed so that they may continue their vital work as witnesses and peacemakers. Signed,** # Arundhati Roy, author, The God of Small Things # Tariq Ali, author, Bush in Babylon # Denis Halliday, former U.N. Assistant Secretary General and Head of the U.N. Humanitarian Program in Iraq (1997-1998) # Cindy Sheehan, mother of Casey Sheehan # Noam Chomsky, Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology # Haifa Zangana, Iraqi novelist # Kamil Mahdi, Iraqi economist and anti-occupation activist. Lecturer, University of Exeter # Mahmood Mamdani, "Herbert Lehman Professor of Government," Columbia University # Rashid Khalidi, "Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies," Middle East Institute, Columbia University # Cindy and Craig Corrie, parents of Rachel Corrie, killed by Israeli military # Hasan Abu Nimah, Permanent Representative of Jordan at the United Nations (1995-2000) # Ralph Nader, former independent presidential candidate # James Abourezk, former US Senator # Howard Zinn, historian # Naseer Aruri, Professor (Emeritus) University of Massachusetts Dartmouth # Kathy Kelly, Voices for Creative Nonviolence/Nobel Peace Prize Nominee # Naomi Klein, author/journalist # Michael Ratner, President, Center for Constitutional Rights # Rev. Daniel Berrigan, poet # Jeremy Scahill, independent journalist # Mazin Qumsiyeh, author, Sharing the Land Of Canaan, board member US Campaign to End the Occupation # Milan Rai, author, War Plan Iraq: Ten Reasons Against War on Iraq # Sam Husseini, writer # Dahr Jamail, independent journalist # Ali Abunimah & Nigel Parry, Co-founders, Electronic Iraq # Leslie Cagan, National Coordinator, United for Peace and Justice # Eve Ensler, author # Jennifer Harbury, Director, Stop Torture Permanently Campaign # Bishop Thomas J. Gumbleton, Auxiliary Bishop, Archdiocese of Detroit # Anthony Arnove, author, Iraq: The Logic of Withdrawal # Medea Benjamin, Global Exchange # G. Simon Harak, SJ, War Resisters League # David Hartsough, Co-Founder and Capacity Building Director of Nonviolent Peaceforce and Executive Director of Peaceworkers. Nonviolent Peace Force # Blase Bonpane, Office of the Americas # Carol Bragg, Coordinator, Rhode Island Peace Mission # Rev. Richard Deats, former Executive Secretary and Fellowship Editor, Fellowship of Reconciliation # Omar Diop, Président de la Coalition Sénégalaise des Défenseurs des Droits humains # Jim Forest, Secretary, The Orthodox Peace Fellowship # Thomas C. Cornell, The Catholic Worker # David Grant, Nonviolent Peaceforce # Ted Lewis, Global Exchange # Charles Jenks, Chair of Advisory Board, Traprock Peace Center # Jeff Leys, Voices for Creative Nonviolence # Andréa Schmidt, independent journalist # Michael Albert, ZNet # Richard McDowell, Senior Fellow for Iraq Policy, Friends Committee on National Legislation # Dave McReynolds, former Chair, War Resisters International # Peter Lems, Program Associate for Iraq, American Friends Service Committee # Kevin Zeese, Director, Democracy Rising # Sunny Miller, Director, Traprock Peace Center # Dave Robinson, Director, Pax Christi USA # Rev. Osagyefo Uhuru Sekou, National Coordinator, Clergy and Laity Concerned about Iraq # David Swanson, Co-Founder, After Downing Street, Board Member Progressive Democrats of America, Washington Director Democrats.com # Mary Trotochaud, Senior Fellow for Iraq Policy, Friends Committee on National Legislation # Michael Birmingham, activist # Barbara Wien, Co-Director, Peace Brigades International/USA # Bishop Gabino Zavala, President, Pax Christi USA **Organizations and institutions are listed for identification purposes onlySign the petition.
Harvard Gazette, Chomsky and Dershowitz debate Middle East peace process at Kennedy School (December 1, 2005). An excerpt:
An audience member asked Chomsky about the history of violence directed toward Jews, from the Holocaust to today. "That is half of a very important question," Chomsky said. "What is the effect of war and terrorism on the Palestinians? ... The balance of terror and violence is overwhelmingly against the Palestinians, not surprisingly given the balance of forces. That's true right to the present." Chomsky continued: "In the first month of the intifada in October 2000, 74 Palestinians were killed, four Israelis were killed. Clinton responded by sending the biggest shipment of military helicopters in a decade. The press responded too, by not publishing it, refusing to publish it."
Noam Chomsky will deliver Annual Amnesty International Lecture. An excerpt from the press release:
Described by The New Yorker as 'one of the greatest minds of the 20th century', Noam Chomsky will give the 2006 Amnesty Lecture in Trinity College Dublin on January 18th, the theme of which will be 'The War on Terror'. The lecture is open to the public, and tickets will be free. However, we anticipate there will be huge demand, and priority will be given to current members of Amnesty (Irish Section). Bookings can now be taken at the Amnesty office by calling 01 6776361 or by e-mailing us at email@example.com.