This Time Last Year
385, 13th December, 2002
Wide-Boys UK government struck by road-building frenzy
384, 6th December, 2002
Kissinger of Death - America assigns known terrorist to investigate
383, 29th November, 2002
Gone to the Dogs - Police still suppressing sabs while hunt thugs
get away with gbh...
382, 22nd November, 2002
Firebranded - the Fire Brigade Union were planning an eight
day strike over Neo Labours refusal to pay them a decent wage...
381, 15th November, 2002
Florence of Arabia - European Social Forum meeting in Florence -
another example of the growing movement against Bush and Blairs
war plans that is sweeping the US and Europe.
380, 8th November, 2002
Assault and Pepper - Police brutality in Brighton
379, 1st November, 2002
Putin the Boot In - Chechen rebels attack in Moscow...
378, 25th October, 2002
Tricky Treaty - the EU Nice Treaty is here bringing enlargement
and GATS - the green light to a neo-liberal Europe. Plus - Romanys under
eviction, McDonalds day, Sangatte and more...
377, 18th October, 2002
Sari Sight - why Australia isn't such an innocent bystander in the
Bali bombing. Also - Bougainville, Ukrainian nuclear protester murdered,
Sizewell and more
376, 11th October, 2002
Docu-mental - Bush's self interested, pre-emptive National Security
Strategy comes out as anti-war activity steps up. Also - Brazilian elections;
US dock strike and more...
375, 4th October, 2002
Acres And Pain - comparing the two marches in London last week -
Stop The War and Countryside Alliance. Also - cannabis cafes, polish
road protests, Stop The War actions and more...
373/4, 27th September, 2002
Weapons Of Mass Deception - what is this war all about? Oil. Plus
special report from Palestine, Stop The War listings, Unocal in Burma,
Porton Down and more...
372, 13th September, 2002
Silent But Deadly - a critical look at the US on the anniversary
of September 11. Also - Xenotransplantation, Brighton Peace Centre,
Lappersfort, Reclaim The Future and more...
371, 6th September, 2002
Summit Rotten - report from Johannesburg Earth Summit. Plus -
the new Criminal Records Bureau, latest from Chiapas, Meanwhile Gardens
370, 30th August, 2002
Apocalypse Soon - the suits are going to Johannesburg, as the
global environment goes south. Plus - GM in Africa and Dorset, Bhopal
and Union Carbide, Countryside Alliance...
369, 23rd August, 2002
Return To Sender - Bush boycotts Earth Summit in Johannesburg,
plus Indonesian villagers sue Exxon Mobil, Strasbourg No Borders camp
arrestee Ahmed Meguini and more...
368, 16th August, 2002
Gravy Plane - Snapshot of South Africa leading up to the Earth
Summit - privatisation and structural adjustments. Plus Uruguay in trouble,
UNICEF get together with McD's and more...
367, 9th August, 2002
It's A Nuke Out - the h-bomb in Hiroshima shares its anniversary
with another disaster - 12 years of sanctions in Iraq. Plus - airport
stopped in Mexico, Commonwealth Games...
366, 2nd August, 2002
Borderline Case - report of the No Border camp held in Strasbourg
19-28 July. Plus - anniversary of Genoa, free party bust-up near Bristol,
Brighton's Earthship and more...
365, 19th July, 2002
Beach Bummer Boozy Bottleneck - Fat Boy Slim has an abomination
on Brighton Beach, while local free parties get oppressed. Plus - oil
in Nigeria, AFC Wimbledon, Paraguay and more...
364, 12th July, 2002
Last Supper - Lip service to the starving at the World Food Summit,
Rome. Also - protests against Commonwealth Games in Manchester, oil
pipeline to Caspian Sea, and more
363, 5th July, 2002
Identity Crisis - Blair wants to introduce ID cards - called
Entitlement Cards. Plus - free parties this summer, death in Argentina,
Costa Rica resists neo-liberalism, and more
361/2, 27th June, 2002
Summit Outta Nuffin - preview of the Rio+10 Earth Summit in Johannesburg.
The multinationals have taken control. Plus - EU Summit in Seville,
Esso to sue Greenpeace and more...
| Winter Solstice 2002
| Issue 386
WAKE UP! WAKE UP! IT'S YER CHRISTMAS...
Chom'pin at the Bit | Crap
Arrest of the Week |
RIP Pete |
CHOM'PIN AT THE BIT
||Noam Chomsky first gained
academic acclaim in the 60s and 70s with his theories about how people
learn language. He then studied the workings of the US government
in all their gory detail, producing an avalanche of books, ranging
from US foreign policy and imperialism to the brainwashing role of
the corporate media. Chomsky is now known as one of Americas
leading voices of dissent. SchNEWS went to interview him on his recent
trip to London, but we didnt know what to expect. Condescending
academic? Rabble-rousing revolutionary? What we found was neither
of these, but simply an intelligent, honest man with a lot of knowledge
about the rhetoric and motives fuelling Bushs America. It was
like talking to your grandfather who just happens to have a dead-on
critique of the American war machine. So heres a partial transcript
of the interview that took place between Chomsky, SchNEWS, Comedian
Mark Thomas (who set the whole thing up) and a collection of other
British trouble makers.
Mark Thomas: If we can start with US foreign policy in relation
to Iraq and the War on Terror, what do you think is going on at the
Noam Chomsky: First of all I think we ought to be very cautious
about using the phrase War on Terror. There cant
be a War on Terror. Its a logical impossibility. The US is one
of the leading terrorist states in the world. The guys who are in
charge right now were all condemned for terrorism by the World Court.
They would have been condemned by the U.N. Security Council except
they vetoed the resolution, with Britain abstaining of course. These
guys cant be conducting a war on terror. Its just out
of the question. They declared a war on terror 20 years ago and we
know what they did. They destroyed Central America. They killed a
million and a half people in southern Africa. We can go on through
the list. So theres no War on Terror.
There was a terrorist act, September 11th, very unusual, a real historic
event, the first time in history that the west received the kind of
attack that it carries out routinely in the rest of the world. September
11th did change policy undoubtedly, not just for the US, but across
the board. Every government in the world saw it as an opportunity
to intensify their own repression and atrocities, from Russia and
Chechnya, to the West imposing more discipline on their populations.
This had big effects - for example take Iraq. Prior to September 11th,
there was a longstanding concern of the US toward Iraq - that is it
has the second largest oil reserves in the world. So one way or another
the US was going to do something to get it, thats clear. September
11th gave the pretext. Theres a change in the rhetoric concerning
Iraq after September 11th We now have an excuse to go
ahead with what were planning.
It kinda stayed like that up to September of this year when Iraq suddenly
shifted... to An imminent threat to our existence. Condoleeza
Rice [US National Security Advisor] came out with her warning that
the next evidence of a nuclear weapon would be a mushroom cloud over
New York. There was a big media campaign with political figures
we needed to destroy Saddam this winter or wed all be dead.
Youve got to kind of admire the intellectual classes not to
notice that the only people in the world who are afraid of Saddam
Hussien are Americans. Everybody hates him and Iraqis are undoubtedly
afraid of him, but outside of Iraq and the United States, no ones
afraid of him. Not Kuwait, not Iran, not Israel, not Europe. They
hate him, but theyre not afraid of him.
In the United States people are very much afraid, theres no
question about it. The support you see in US polls for the war is
very thin, but its based on fear. Its an old story in
the United States. When my kids were in elementary school 40 years
ago they were taught to hide under desks in case of an atom bomb attack.
Im not kidding. The country is always in fear of everything.
Crime for example: Crime in the United States is roughly comparable
with other industrial societies, towards the high end of the spectrum.
On the other hand, fear of crime is way beyond other industrial societies...
Its very consciously engendered. These guys now in office, remember
theyre almost entirely from the 1980s. Theyve been through
it already and they know exactly how to play the game. Right through
the 1980s they periodically had campaigns to terrify the population
To create fear is not that hard, but this time the timing was so obviously
for the Congressional campaign that even political commentators got
the message. The presidential campaign is going to be starting in
the middle of next year. Theyve got to have a victory under
their belt. And on to the next adventure. Otherwise, the populations
going to pay attention to whats happening to them, which is
a big assault, a major assault on the population, just as in the 1980s.
Theyre replaying the record almost exactly. First thing they
did in the 1980s, in 1981, was drive the country into a big deficit.
This time they did it with a tax cut for the rich and the biggest
increase in federal spending in 20 years.
This happens to be an unusually corrupt administration, kind of like
an Enron administration, so theres a tremendous amount of profit
going into the hands of an unusually corrupt group of gangsters. You
cant really have all this stuff on the front pages, so you have
to push it off the front pages. You have to keep people from thinking
about it. And theres only one way that anybody ever figured
out to frighten people and theyre good at it.
So theres domestic political factors that have to do with timing.
September 11th gave the pretext and theres a long term, serious
interest [in Iraq]. So theyve gotta go to war... my speculation
would be that they would like to have it over with before the presidential
The problem is that when youre in a war, you dont know
whats going to happen. The chances are itll be a pushover,
it ought to be, theres no Iraqi army, the country will probably
collapse in two minutes, but you cant be sure of that. If you
take the CIA warnings seriously, theyre pretty straight about
it. Theyre saying that if theres a war, Iraq may respond
with terrorist acts
US adventurism is just driving countries into developing weapons of
mass destruction as a deterrent - they dont have any other deterrent.
Conventional forces dont work obviously, theres no external
deterrent. The only way anyone can defend themselves is with terror
and weapons of mass destruction. So its plausible to assume
that theyre doing it. I suppose thats the basis for the
CIA analysis and I suppose the British intelligence are saying the
But you dont want to have that happen in the middle of a presidential
campaign... There is the problem about what to do with the effects
of the war, but thats easy. You count on journalists and intellectuals
not to talk about it. How many people are talking about Afghanistan?
Afghanistans back where it was, run by warlords and gangsters
and whos writing about it? Almost nobody. If it goes back to
what it was no one cares, everyones forgotten about it.
If Iraq turns into people slaughtering each other, I could write the
articles right now. Backward people, we tried to save them but
they want to murder each other because theyre dirty Arabs.
By then, I presume, Im just guessing, they [the US] will be
onto the next war, which will probably be either Syria or Iran.
The fact is that war with Iran is probably underway. Its known
that about 12% of the Israeli airforce is in south eastern Turkey.
Theyre there because theyre preparing for the war against
Iran. They dont care about Iraq. Iraq they figures a pushover,
but Iran has always been a problem for Israel. Its the one country
in the region that they cant handle and theyve been after
the US to take it on for years. According to one report, the Israeli
airforce is now flying at the Iranian border for intelligence, provocation
and so on. And its not a small airforce. Its bigger than
the British airforce, bigger than any NATO power other than the US.
So its probably underway. There are claims that there are efforts
to stir up Asseri separatism, which makes some sense. Its what
the Russians tried to do in 1946, and that would separate Iran, or
whats left of Iran, from the Caspian oil producing centres.
Then you could partition it. That will probably be underway at the
time and then therell be a story about how Irans going
to kill us tomorrow, so we need to get rid of them today. At least
thats been the pattern.
Campaign Against Arms Trade: How far do you see the vast military
production machine that is America requiring war as an advertisement
for their equipment?
Chomsky: You have to remember that whats called military
industry is just hi-tech industry. The military is a kind of cover
for the state sector in the economy. At MIT [Massachusetts Institute
of Technology] where I am, everybody knows this except the economists.
Everybody else knows it because it pays their salaries. The money
comes into places like MIT under military contract to produce the
next generation of the hi-tech economy. If you take a look at whats
called the new economy - computers, internet - it comes straight out
of places like MIT under federal contracts for research and development
under the cover of military production. Then it gets handed to IBM
when you can sell something.
At MIT the surrounding area used to have small electronics firms.
Now it has small biotech firms. The reason is that the next cutting
edge of the economy is going to be biology based. So funding from
the government for biology based research is vastly increasing. If
you want to have a small start-up company that will make you a huge
amount of money when somebody buys it someday, you do it in genetic
engineering, biotechnology and so on. This goes right through history.
Its usually a dynamic state sector that gets economies going.
One of the reasons the US wants to control the oil is because profits
flow back, and they flow in a lot of ways. Its not just oil profits,
its also military sales. The biggest purchaser of US arms and
probably British arms is either Saudi Arabia or United Arab Emirates,
one of the rich oil producers. They take most of the arms and thats
profits for hi-tech industry in the Unites States. The money goes
right back to the US treasury and treasury securities. In various
ways, this helps prop up primarily the US and British economies.
I dont know if youve looked at the records, but in 1958
when Iraq broke the Anglo-American condominium on oil production,
Britain went totally crazy. The British at that time were still very
reliant on Kuwaiti profits. Britain needed the petrodollars for supporting
the British economy and it looked as if what happened in Iraq might
spread to Kuwait. So at that point Britain and the US decided to grant
Kuwait nominal autonomy, up to then it was just a colony. They said
you can run your own post office, pretend you have a flag, that sort
of thing. The British said that if anything goes wrong with this we
will ruthlessly intervene to ensure maintaining control and the US
agreed to the same thing in Saudi Arabia and the Emirates.
CAAT: Theres also the suggestion that its a way
of America controlling Europe and the Pacific rim.
Chomsky: Absolutely. The smarter guys like George Kenneth were
pointing out that control over the energy resources of the middle
east gives the US what he called veto power over other
countries. He was thinking particularly of Japan. Now the Japanese
know this perfectly well so theyve been working very hard to
try to gain independent access to oil, thats one of the reasons
theyve tried hard, and succeeded to an extent, to establish
relations with Indonesia and Iran and others, to get out of the West-controlled
Actually one of the purposes of the [post World War II] Marshall Plan,
this great benevolent plan, was to shift Europe and Japan from coal
to oil. Europe and Japan both had indigenous coal resources but they
switched to oil in order to give the US control. About £2bn
out of the £13bn Marshall Plan dollars went straight to the
oil companies to help convert Europe and Japan to oil based economies.
For power, its enormously significant to control the resources
and oils expected to be the main resource for the next couple
The National Intelligence Council, which is a collection of various
intelligence agencies, published a projection in 2000 called Global
Trends 2015. They make the interesting prediction that terrorism
is going to increase as a result of globalisation. They really say
it straight. They say that what they call globalisation is going to
lead to a widening economic divide, just the opposite of what economic
theory predicts, but theyre realists, and so they say that its
going to lead to increased disorder, tension and hostility and violence,
a lot of it directed against the United States.
They also predict that Persian Gulf oil will be increasingly important
for world energy and industrial systems but that the US wont
rely on it. But its got to control it. Controlling the oil resources
is more of an issue than access. Because control equals power.
MT: How do you think the current anti-war movement thats
building up compares with Vietnam? What do you think we can achieve
as people involved in direct action and protest? Do you think theres
a possibility of preventing a war from occurring?
NC: I think thats really hard because the timing is really
short. You can make it costly, which is important. Even if it doesnt
stop, its important for the war to be costly to try to stop
the next one.
Compared with the Vietnam War movement, this movement is just incomparably
ahead now. People talk about the Vietnam War movement, but they forget
or dont know what it was actually like. The war in Vietnam started
in 1962, publicly, with a public attack on South Vietnam air
force, chemical warfare, concentration camps, the whole business.
No protest... the protest that did build up four or five years later
was mostly about the bombing of the North, which was terrible but
was a sideshow. The main attack was against South Vietnam and there
was never any serious protest against that.
This time theres protest before the war has even got started.
I cant think of an example in the entire history of Europe,
including the United States, when there was ever protest of any substantial
level before a war. Here youve got massive protest before wars
even started. Its a tremendous tribute to changes in popular
culture that have taken place in Western countries in the last 30
or 40 years. Its just phenomenal.
SchNEWS: It sometimes seems that as soon as protest breaks
out of quite narrow confines, a march every six months maybe, you
get attacked. People protesting against the war recently in Brighton
were pepper sprayed and batoned for just sitting down in a street.
Chomsky: The more protest there is the more tightening theres
going to be, thats routine. When the Vietnam War protests really
began to build up, so did the repression. I was very close to a long
jail sentence myself and it was stopped by the Tet Offensive. After
the Tet Offensive, the establishment turned against the war and they
called off the trials. Right now a lot of people could end up in Guantanamo
Bay and people are aware of it.
If theres protest in a country then theres going to be
repression. Can they get away with it? - it depends a lot on the reaction.
In the early 50s in the US, there was what was called Macarthyism
and the only reason it succeeded was that there was no resistance
to it. When they tried the same thing in the 60s it instantly collapsed
because people simply laughed at it so they couldnt do it. Even
a dictatorship cant do everything it wants. Its got to
have some degree of popular support. And in a more democratic country,
theres a very fragile power system. Theres nothing secret
about this, its history. The question in all of these things
is how much popular resistance theres going to be.
* This is an edited version. If you want to see the whole video, contact
Undercurrents 01865 203661, firstname.lastname@example.org.
* For more Chomsky stuff (theres loads of it) visit www.zmag.org/chomsky/index.cfm
or get some of his books from AK Press: www.akuk.com,
0131-5555615 for a catalogue.
Crap Arrest of the Week
For making a joke down the pub!
An American who made a remark about a burning bush was
sentenced this month to 37 months in prison for threatening
to kill or harm the president. Richard Humphreys said he got
into a barroom discussion with a truck driver in which he joked
about the biblical expression burning bush. A bartender
who overheard the conversation knew that Bush was visiting the area
the next day and so telephoned police. I said God might speak
to the world through a burning Bush, Humphreys testified during
his trial. I had said that before and I thought it was funny.
This issue is dedicated to Pete Shaughnessy who died last weekend.
Pete was one of the main instigators behind Reclaim Bedlam and Mad
Pride. He helped out with SchNEWS and Worthings Porkbolter.
His funeral takes place at 9.30am on Christmas Eve, at St Thomas
Moore Church, near the library in Lordship Lane, East Dulwich.
SchNEWS warns all readers were off to see if theres
any room at the Inn for Christmas. Dont worry if you go through
cold turkey without us, well be back with a cracker on January
10th next year. Honest.
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