A Conversation With Chomsky

Isabelle Kumar of Euronews interviews Noam Chomsky on a range of topics. On the subject of Greece’s debt (and that of Portugal and Spain and others) this is what he said.

Who incurred this debt? And who is the debt owed to? In part, the debt was incurred by dictators. So in Greece it was the fascist dictatorship, which the US supported, that incurred a large part of the debt. The debt I think was more brutal than the dictatorship, and that’s what’s called in international law, “odious debt” which need not be paid, and that’s a principal introduced into international law by the United States, when it was in their interest to do so. Much of the rest of the debt, what is called payments to Greece are in fact payments to banks, German and French banks, which had decided to make extremely risky loans with not very high interest and are now being faced with the fact that they can’t be paid back.

Read the Transcript: Chomsky says US is world’s biggest terrorist | euronews, the global conversation

Here’s the video.

U.S. Backed Warlords Terrorize Afghanistan

Afghan government troops and civilian paramilitary units, trained and sanctioned by the United States, are routinely terrorizing the Afghan people, according to a Human Rights Watch report. The report indicated that the government in Kabul rules over a network of criminals on a spree of plunder, not subject to legal accountability.

…forces under the command of Hakim Shujoyi have killed dozens of civilians in Uruzgan province, yet despite a warrant for his arrest he remains at large and evidence suggests he has enjoyed the support of US forces. In Paktika province, Afghan Local Police forces under the command of Azizullah,an ethnic Tajik who, as of June 2014, was a commander of the local ALP in Urgun district, have committed multiple kidnappings and killings. Azizullah has worked closely with US Special Forces despite their awareness of his reputation for unlawful brutality.

Read the press release: Afghanistan: Abusive Strongmen Escape Justice | Human Rights Watch.

Download the report in PDF.

The Year in Killer Drones

Charles Pierson reports.

“2014 was a good year for US killer drones. In October, the US celebrated (if that is the word) its 400th drone strike on Pakistan. Unable to attend the festivities were the 2,379 Pakistanis killed by US drones since 2004. Of these, only 12% of the victims who have been identified have been linked to militant organizations, this according to a report from the British-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism.”

Read the full article: The Year in Drones » CounterPunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names.

To The Unknown Deserter

Bill Ayers considers the Bergdahl controversy.

A few years ago a group of German radicals and peace activists created a huge depiction of a soldier in profile, running hard as his helmet and rifle are flying away from him, and called it The Monument to the Unknown Deserter. They displayed their monument from town to town and city to city all over the country. We need that kind of sentiment—that monument—here, now more than ever.


Read More: Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl | Bill Ayers.

How We Almost Went To War In Syria

In a report that has been largely ignored or repressed by our corporate media, Pulitzer Prize winner Sy Hersch unravels the truth of those sarin gas attacks against innocent children that almost took us into war in Syria.

A series of chemical weapon attacks in March and April 2013 was investigated over the next few months by a special UN mission to Syria. A person with close knowledge of the UN’s activity in Syria told me that there was evidence linking the Syrian opposition to the first gas attack, on 19 March in Khan Al-Assal, a village near Aleppo. In its final report in December, the mission said that at least 19 civilians and one Syrian soldier were among the fatalities, along with scores of injured. It had no mandate to assign responsibility for the attack, but the person with knowledge of the UN’s activities said: ‘Investigators interviewed the people who were there, including the doctors who treated the victims. It was clear that the rebels used the gas. It did not come out in public because no one wanted to know.’

Read the full article at London Review of BooksSeymour M. Hersh · The Red Line and the Rat Line · LRB 6 April 2014.

New World Murder

Five years ago, on January 23 2009, a CIA drone flattened a house in Pakistan’s tribal regions. It was the third day of Barack Obama’s presidency, and this was the new commander-in-chief’s first covert drone strike.

Across Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, the Obama administration has launched more than 390 drone strikes in the five years since the first attack  – eight times as many as were launched in the entire Bush presidency. These strikes have killed more than 2,400 people, at least 273 of them reportedly civilians.

Read More: More than 2,400 dead as Obama’s drone campaign marks five years | The Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

Benghazi: The Real Scandal

Last week, I posted an update on Facebook noting that Congressional critics and the news media are fundamentally asking the wrong questions about Benghazi. Though it is obvious that the GOP’s focus on the “scandal” represents the worst sort of partisan opportunism – there is, I believe, another story here. It’s not a story about security at the compound, or the military response to the attacks, or what may have been said on television afterward. It’s a story about our government’s complicity to (and culpability for) the attacks themselves.

There is an excellent essay out today from Bill Van Auken that unpacks the situation in great detail.

In its intervention in Libya, Washington utilized Al Qaeda-linked fighters as a proxy ground force in the war to topple the secular regime of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, arming and advising them and using them to follow up the massive US-NATO bombing campaign. Christopher Stevens was very much the point man in this relationship, having carefully studied the Islamist opponents of Gaddafi before the launching of the war for regime-change. He was deployed in April 2011 to Benghazi, where he coordinated the arming, funding and training of the so-called rebels, elements previously denounced by the US as terrorists and, in some cases, abducted, imprisoned and tortured by the CIA.

So all of the reported “confusion” within the State Department and the Intelligence Community in the wake of the attacks is complete and utter nonsense, as is the portrayal of their interactions as simple bureaucratic interagency bickering. They knew from the very beginning what had happened – that their own assets were involved. The purpose of all the frantic scrambling and deception after the fact was to conceal our government’s relationships with their supposed Al-Qaeda terrorist enemies. There is simply no other way it all makes sense.

The circus sideshow being orchestrated by the GOP is not merely cynical political maneuvering. It misses the point. It helps to conceal from public view the true nature of the events at Benghazi, and ensures that there will be no discussion of the more serious and important issues involved.

READ MORE: Benghazi and the deepening crisis of the Obama administration – WSWS.