Chomsky slams US, India's rights record

By Jawed Naqvi

NEW DELHI, Nov 5: American dissident and renowned scholar Prof Noam Chomsky took apart the United States and India for their human rights record on Monday , accusing one of being the world's biggest rogue state and the other of suppressing democratic freedoms in Kashmir.

Speaking at a surprisingly large non-religious anti-war congregation in New Delhi of some 3,000 students, teachers, trade union workers, social activists and intellectuals, Chomsky declared that the real terrorism was being perpetrated on innocent people of Afghanistan where he quoted UN figures to suggest a million or two could perish due to starvation induced by the US-led war against Osama bin Laden.

Chomsky's remarks came on the day visiting US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld tersely told New Delhi and Islamabad during a brief hyphenated visit to the rival capitals that there was a need to continue the war during the month of Ramazan starting later this month. While Rumsfeld refused to be publicly drawn into a discussion on Kashmir, Chomsky vented his feelings at least twice.

"How about criticizing the government for outright terrorism," Chomsky said in a comment on the role of the media in manufacturing consent on behalf of their governments. "Say for example the major international human rights groups like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have reams of material on Indian state terrorism in Kashmir and in fact elsewhere."

He linked Washington's present bombing campaigns in Afghanistan to its other foreign policy quests including the anti-missile defence programme, saying militarization of space and the assault on Afghanistan were part of a hegemonistic design.

"If you go back to the 19th century, Britain was one of the major rogue states. In the latter part of the 20th century, the US is supreme in these respects and not surprisingly it behaves like the others. I mean it could get away with it, but it can't," Chomsky told Star TV as part of a two-week lecture tour.

"The record is extremely clear on that. We can take a case that is totally uncontroversial because we can appeal to the decisions of the highest international authorities - the International Court of Justice and the Security Council of the United Nations. So this is an uncontroversial case. The world court has condemned one state for international terrorism, namely the United States. The victim - Nicaragua. This was not a minor act of terrorism. This left tens of thousands of people killed and the country virtually destroyed. It may not recover."

Chomsky told his audience at the public meeting, which included dissident author Arundhati Roy and celebrated social activist Aruna Roy, that India's decision to endorse the American missile defence project had been applauded in Washington by "a lot of hawks and jingoists for its enthusiasm to join" the only other two countries that favour militarization of space, namely Israel and the United States.

Earlier, Chomsky told a gathering including Defence Minister George Fernandes and Pakistan High Commissioner Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, that the United States was a leading terrorist country which borrowed its anti-terrorism manual from the Nazis.

The propagandist version of terrorism was as clearly defined in the United States as anywhere else as it is that which is directed against the United States, its friends and allies. Only its underlying philosophy was not entirely untainted by completely anti-democratic influences.

"The Nazis for example bitterly condemned terrorism and conducted what they 'counter-terrorism' against terrorist partisans," Chomsky said.