Monday, June 26, 2006

Chomsky interviewed by a Norwegian, classic Chomsky:

Danish cartoons and freedom of speech: "While defending the Danish newspaper Jyllandsposten’s legal right to publish the cartoons (“The New York Times should have the right to publish anti-Semitic Nazi caricatures on the front page.”) he argues that the Jyllandsposten’s decision to publish had nothing to do with press freedom whatsoever. “This is just ordinary racism under cover of freedom of expression,” he says, before attacking the European press in general. “In Europe freedom of speech and freedom of the press are barely protected, in fact barely understood.” Chomsky refers to the Blair government’s attempt to push a law making it a crime to glorify terrorism. “When a Muslim cleric was imprisoned recently on charges of having glorified terrorism, the London Guardian had a lead editorial praising the judicial decision because people shouldn’t be permitted to spew hatred and to glorify violent acts, they should be stopped. Under that law virtually all the British press and publishers should be closed down. Do they incite hatred and violence? Yes. Do they support invading Iraq? Yes. That is supporting hatred and violence,” he says before concluding: “Nobody cares about freedom of speech. What they care about is using state power to shut down the kind of speech they don’t like. Even Stalin would have agreed with that.”"

Bush and Iran: "The Bush administration has engaged in a policy of aggressive militarism and threat. There has been a vast increase in our offensive military capacity, even moving on towards the militarisation of space. All this generates countermeasures. The Russians have sharply increased military spending on offensive military capacity, China is doing the same and Iran may be developing nuclear weapons as a deterrent. Every one of these steps increases the threat of even accidental nuclear war. Offensive nuclear armed missiles are on computer-controlled alert. We know that our own control systems are inaccurate, the Russians are much worse. As the threat increases, as the preparation for war increases, the threat of accidental war increases."

"That is going to go a long way towards solving the problem of nuclear war. There is only one problem, the US won’t accept it. The treaty did come to a vote, at the UN, it was November 2004, the vote was 147 to one, with two abstentions: Israel, which flexibly goes along with the US, and Britain, which was more interesting. The British Ambassador explained, he said Britain is in favour of the treaty, but can’t vote for this version, because it divides the international community – namely 147 to one. In other words for Britain it’s more important to shine the shoes of their master than to save the human species from destruction, which is basically what it comes down to. If there are no controls over fissile material production the chances of human survival are negligible. That’s were it stands. Actually there is one country in the world, one that has said it accepts ElBaradei’s proposal. That’s Iran. I’m sure it wasn’t published in Norway, it certainly wasn’t published here."

Bush in Iraq: Question: I spent some time with the US marines outside Falluja, and met a soldier who was totally against the war

Chomsky: Do you know any army in history where the soldiers didn’t say that? If you had interviewed German soldiers in Norway during the Second World War, what do you think they would have said? It’s not the fault of the soldier, that’s why they didn’t try soldiers at Nuremberg. They tried Von Ribbentrop and they hanged him, for one reason, because he supported the pre-emptive war against Norway. What does that imply?

"The US has created a military catastrophe in Iraq which I think is without historic parallel, I can’t think of any. I mean, Germany had less problems running occupied Europe than the US has running Iraq, which is mind-boggling. Germany was at war, resistance in Iraq has no support from outside to speak of, it’s marginal. The partisans in Europe would have been wiped out in no time if they didn’t have British and American support."

"the nightmare in Washington, is an independent, loose Shia alliance controlling most of the world’s oil. That’s almost the worst nightmare they can think of. There is a worse one. This loose alliance might decide to turn towards to the East. To turn towards the Asian energy system which is developing basically around China, it’s the core of it. China, Russia and maybe India will go along, it’s not clear, in working on an energy security grid, if they can draw Iran into it, which is possible. By geographic accident most Middle East oil happens to be in Shia areas, and if that moves along, it is for the US an utter disaster. But you can’t talk about this in the West, for we are not allowed to admit that oil had anything to do with the invasion of Iraq. We are supposed to believe that the US and Britain would have liberated Iraq even if its main export was pickles. And that most of the oil was in the South Pacific. That’s a kind of doctrine that has to be adhered to by Western intellectuals kind of North Korean style, the Dear Leader said so, so it’s true. If anybody had one brain cell functioning, they’d know that establishing a major base in the centre of the world’s energy system was the prime reason for the invasion."

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