Interview of Noam Chomsky
Liberté 62 : «In your book What We Say Goes you declare that «the USA are the outlaw land par excellence, free from the International Law».
You called the US blockade of Cuba - over 50 years and denounced by many UN resolutions - a «strangling strategy of Cuba»
How can the USA at the same time violate the International Law AND present itself, in Latin America or in Cuba, as the champion of Law and Democracy ?»
Noam Chomsky : « The terrorist war against Cuba, which was most extreme under Kennedy, was uncontroversially in violation of international law. The explicit goal of the embargo has been to punish Cubans: in Kennedy's words, it would cause "rising discomfort among hungry Cubans" who would then overthrow the government. That appears to be a clear violation of international humanitarian law, and has been repeatedly condemned in those terms, even by the normally submissive Organization of American States. But these are only minor illustrations of Washington's contempt for international law -- shared largely by other great powers, though few are able to violate international law as brazenly as the global superpower. How can Washington present itself as the champion of justice and democracy in the face of its consistent behavior? The basic answer was given by Hans Morgenthau, one of the founders of the realist school of international relations theory. He commented on "our conformist subservience to those in power," referring to the intellectual classes. including many of those who regard themselves as courageous and independent critics.»
Liberté 62 : «You are supporting the «5 of Miami», Cuban's agents accused to have conspired against the US security. Can you explain your approach ?»
Noam Chomsky : «The prosecution made no serious effort to show that they had conspired against US security. Rather, it was conceded that they sought to undermine US-based terrorist attacks against Cuba by infiltrating the terrorist organizations in the United States. They in fact provided the FBI with extensive information about these organizations and their plans and operations. Washington's reaction was to leave the terrorist organizations undisturbed, and to arrest and imprison those who sought to expose them.»
If anyone cares, there is a "Bush doctrine," which holds that "those who harbor terrorists are as guilty as the terrorists themselves," in the President's words, and therefore should be subject to bombardment and invasion. The Bush doctrine has .already become a de facto rule of international relations,. writes Harvard international relations specialist Graham Allison: it revokes .the sovereignty of states that provide sanctuary to terrorists." Some states, that is.
It might be added that harboring terrorists is not at all concealed. Thus Bush I granted asylum to Cuban-American terrorist Orlando Bosch, over the objections of the FBI and Justice Department, who wanted him deported as a threat to US security because of the dozens of terrorist acts they attributed to him. And Bush II permitted Bosch's associate Luis Posada Carriles, another leading terrorist, to join him in Miami. These are only the most prominent examples.»
Liberté 62 : «In a chapter about Latin America of your book, you declare that «the one holding the cosh required historical amnesia ». For the 50' anniversary of the cuban's revolution and at the time where «it's the first time since the spanish conquest that the Latin America takes measures for independence and integration », how to fight against this amnesia and to support this proces ? »
Noam Chomsky : «Historical amnesia is crafted by those whom Morgenthau condemned. Overcoming it requires no magic key: just honesty and dedication to reveal the truth and to participate in popular movements to civilize the country. That has happened often in the past, including very recent years. And there is always more to do. To take a current example, in September 2008, UNASUR -- the newly formed Union of South American Republics -- met in Santiago to consider the violent acts of the US-backed movement of Bolivian elites in their efforts to overthrow the democratically elected government. The summit issued a strong statement of support for the elected Morales government. Morales thanked UNASUR for its support, observing that "For the first time in South America's history, the countries of the region are deciding how to resolve our problems, without the presence of the United States."
This is of considerable significance, and was not reported in the United States, presumably because the truth, once again, conflicts so dramatically with the doctrines of US benevolence and support for democracy that are upheld by the conformist intellectuals (including the media). But that "trahison des clercs" can be overcome, as it often has been in the past.»
By Jérôme Skalski