26 June, 2007

Czech Polish Missile Attack Enabler

Letter from Noam Chomsky to Jan Tamáš by Noam Chomsky

June 25, 2007 - No Base Initiative

(31.5.2007) The installation of a missile defense system in Eastern Europe
is, virtually, a declaration of war. Simply imagine how the US would react
if Russia or China or Iran or in fact any foreign power dared even to
think about placing a missile defense system at or near the borders of the
US, let alone carrying out such plans. In these unimaginable
circumstances, a violent US reaction would be not only almost certain but
also understandable for reasons that are simple and clear.

It is well known on all sides that missile defense is a first strike
weapon. Respected US military analysts describe missile defense as "not
simply a shield but an enabler of U.S. action." It "will facilitate the
more effective application of U.S. military power abroad." "By insulating
the homeland from reprisal, [missile defense] will underwrite the capacity
and willingness of the United States to `shape' the environment
elsewhere." "Missile defense isn't really meant to protect America. It's a
tool for global dominance." "Missile defense is about preserving America's
ability to wield power abroad. It's not about defense. It's about offense.
And that's exactly why we need it." All quotes, from respected liberal and
mainstream sources -- who favor developing the system and placing it at
the remote limits of US global dominance.

The logic is simple, and well understood. A functioning missile defense
system informs potential targets that "we will attack you as we please,
and you will not be able to retaliate, so you cannot deter us." The system
is being marketed to Europeans as a defense against Iranian missiles. Even
if Iran had nuclear weapons and long-range missiles, the chances of its
using them to attack Europe are lower than the chances of Europe being hit
by an asteroid, so if defense is the reason, Czech Republic should be
installing a system to defend the country from asteroids. If Iran were to
indicate even the slightest attention of such a move, the country would be
vaporized. The system is indeed aimed at Iran, but as a first strike
weapon. It is a component of the escalating US threats to attack Iran,
threats that are in themselves a serious violation of the UN Charter,
though admittedly this issue does not arise in outlaw states.

When Gorbachev agreed to allow a unified Germany to join a hostile
military alliance, he was accepting a very severe threat to Russian
security, for reasons too familiar to review. In return, the US government
made a firm pledge not to expand NATO to the East. The pledge was violated
a few years later, arousing little comment in the West, but raising the
threat of military confrontation. So-called "missile defense" ratchets the
threat of war a few notches higher. The "defense" it provides is to
increase the threat of aggression in the Middle East, with incalculable
consequences, and the threat of terminal nuclear war.

Over half a century ago, Bertrand Russell and Alfred Einstein issued an
extraordinary appeal to the people of the world, warning them that they
face a choice that is "stark and dreadful and inescapable: Shall we put an
end to the human race; or shall mankind renounce war?" Accepting a
so-called "missile defense system" makes that choice, in favor of an end
to the human race, perhaps in the not-too-distant future.



Since 2002, the New York Times Syndicate has been distributing op-eds
written by the pre-eminent foreign policy critic and scholar of our time,
Noam Chomsky. The New York Times Syndicate is part of the same company as
the New York Times newspaper, and while readers around the world have had
a chance to regularly read Chomsky's articles, the New York Times
newspaper has never published a single one. Only a few regional newspapers
in the US have picked up the Op-eds, such as the Register Guard, the
Dayton Daily News, and the Knoxville Voice. Internationally, the Op-eds
have appeared in the mainstream British press including the International
Herald Tribune, the Guardian, and the Independent. Now, City Lights Books
has just published a complete collection of these 1000 word Op-eds in a
single book called Interventions.

On June 1st, 2007, Noam Chomsky spoke with radio host Sonali Kolhatkar
about his new book:

Kolhatkar: In your April 2004 op-ed entitled "Iraq: The Roots of
Resistance," you describe the false pretext of democracy that the Bush
administration used to justify its war and then in March 2005 you lauded
the real success of the Iraqi elections in that the US had actually
allowed them to take place. Now a few years later what is the status of
real democracy in Iraq?

Chomsky: The elections of January 2005 were, as I probably wrote there in
my view, a real triumph of non-violent resistance. The US was trying in
every possible way to prevent elections and finally had to give in just
because it could not face a mass, popular non-violent resistance, which
was far more effective than the insurgency. So it allowed the elections to
take place but immediately moved to subvert them. And that's the situation
we're in. I mean, you can't really have a functioning democracy under
military occupation. You can have some elements of it but not much.
Military occupation is too harsh. I mean, it's hard enough to find a
functioning democratic system in a country that deprived of Democratic
elections. Paris system, for example, of military occupation, their system
has extremely serious flaws and in Iraq, it's far harsher. The elections
as they took place finally were, as many observers, have pointed out it
was kind of a census more than an election. It was sectarian voting and
the conflicts are by now so extreme that the political system is kind of a

Kolhatkar: So, when you talk about the elections themselves not
necessarily being that meaningful, what about the aspirations of Iraqis
and how do we here in the United States, who are against the war in Iraq,
count on the democratic aspirations of the Iraqis? Increasingly, it seems
as though Iraqis do not have much space to exercise their democratic

Chomsky: They do not have space under a military occupation. I mean, if
the United States was occupied by Iran, would we be able to run a
democratic society? I mean, it's not a matter of counting on Iraqis. We
have responsibilities to them and the responsibilities are clear.

The responsibilities are to, first of all, pay enormous reparations, not
just for the war but for the murderous, sanctioned regime that preceded it
and fatuous support for Saddam Hussein during the '80s. We have plenty of
obligations in that regard. We have an obligation to hold the guilty here
accountable for crimes, crime of aggression being the main one. And we
have a responsibility to pay attention to the victims and it's not a
secret what they want.

Last fall, the State Department released a poll showing that about 2/3 of
Baghdadis want the US forces out right away in fact and about 70% of the
rest of the country wanted them out within a narrow time frame, like about
a year or less. That would be beginning or even ending right now. That's
all of Iraq. If you look at Arab Iraq, the figures are much higher. The
overwhelming majority felt the US troops are increasing the level of
violence and a large majority felt that US troops are legitimate targets
of attack. And those figures are increasing, as they say, higher in the
areas where the troops are deployed in Arab Iraq. Even without such
figures, an invading army has no rights at all and as we're counting on
Iraqis we just have to give them the space to do whatever they can do with
the chaos and destruction that's been created by the invasion.

Kolhatkar: I noticed in your op-eds, and in your writing and speaking
generally, you cite the results of polls like this very often, bringing up
what exactly Iraqis want and what they have said about the occupation,
much more so than we hear in the mainstream media. Can you comment on the
mainstream media's downplaying of the aspirations of Iraqis?

Chomsky: They're available in other sources too. For example, Iraq has a
very lively, courageous labor movement which has managed to survive the
occupation miraculously. The United States, when they invaded, reinstated,
in fact imposed again Saddam Hussein's harsh anti-labor laws and Iraqi
workers have been resisting. Oil workers for example have bitterly
condemned the oil bill that the United States is trying to force the Iraqi
parliament to accept and workers' organizations are struggling elsewhere.
We can learn about that but you won't find much in the press. I think the
reason is-it's not a matter of simply not reporting this or that and if
you look carefully you can find information here and there. It's the whole
framework that's just outlandish.

All of this is based on a presupposition, which sort of determines the
entire framework of reporting. It's unspoken but it's accepted and it's
deep. The presupposition is "We own the world." Read the headlines.
They've had a lot of news about the first discussions between, meetings
between the United States and Iran. How are they framed? Well, here's one
headline that I clipped that happens to be in front of me from a national
newspaper. "After talks, US seeks action by Iran." Is that the issue in a
country that is under foreign occupation? You see action but the invaders
ask for action from someone else. That's not considered strange in the
United States. Because we're there by right. And everything we do is right
by necessity and there maybe some mistakes here and there but basically,
it's ours, we're there. And if anyone's interfering, it's their problem,
they're the ones who are the criminals.

So, whether Iran is interfering or not, who knows -- that's what the
debate is about. But that's not the right debate. And it's that framework
of interpretation and understanding that colors all commentary -- not just
the media but the journals and so on.

Kolhatkar: One of the parts of the world that we seem to be losing our
grip over is Latin America. And you talk about that in several of your
op-eds. "South America: The Tipping Point," "Latin America declares its
independence and alternatives for the Americas," etc. You talk about the
increasing independence of the Latin American countries from the US. One
of those avenues is through joining Mercosur. How optimistic are you that
Mercosur is a viable economic path for Latin America and will the United
States allow these countries to pursue their own path to shake off the
shackles of recent US imperialism?

Chomsky: Well, certainly the United States is not going to allow it easily
to happen. On the other hand, Mercosur has not very bright prospects right
now. Too much internal antagonism -- it hasn't gotten off the ground. It
might and there are steps towards it. And there are further steps.

One of the other essayists discusses a very important meeting that took
place, which I don't think we received any report in the US. At
Cochabamba, Bolivia last December, there was a meeting of Latin American
and South American leaders. [They] patched up differences, laid plans for
a kind of a European union-style federation for closer integration and
cooperation, constructive proposals. Cochabamba is more than a symbolic
place. That's the center of successful resistance against World Bank, US
corporate efforts to essentially take over the economy.

There's major struggle there over attempts by the World Bank, basically US
accessory to privatized war. I think Banktel was the company that was
involved and was in fact driven out by popular resistance. So Cochabamba
means something and the meeting means something, therefore I suppose it
wasn't reported. Can the US stop these developments? Well, you know,
things are not the way they used to be.

The US training of Latin American officers is probably at the highest --
it's gone up sharply and maybe at the highest level, even through the Cold
War. And they're being trained for what's called the "control of the
radical populism," and we know what that means in the context. But whether
they can use that weapon or not is not clear. And also the economic
weapon, the other major weapon, has been greatly weakened.

The IMF particularly, the International Monetary Fund, which is virtually
a branch of the US Treasury, has held much of the continent in a
stranglehold through-as creditor's community enforcers, one of its
directors calls it. And they're freeing themselves from that. Argentina's
president announced a year or two ago that, 'We're ridding ourselves of
the IMF, paid off the debt, restructured and paid off the debt.' The same
with Venezuela. Brazil in a different way did the same. Bolivia will do
the same. Probably Ecuador.

Country after country has simply been building up reserves, getting rid of
the debt, getting rid of the IMF. The IMF is in trouble now. That weapon
of control has greatly weakened. For Latin America to overcome 500 years
of one or another form of colonization and of internal disarticulation
between tiny, wealthy elite and the mass of impoverished people -- that's
not going to be easy. But there are steps towards it as there were in the
early '60s. And this time, the steps cannot just be crushed by force.

Kolhatkar: Finally, Professor Chomsky, these op-eds that we've been
discussing-gathered for the first time in this book "Interventions"-are
not op-eds that Americans regularly have the chance to read. But people in
other countries do. Why is that?

Chomsky: We cannot expect the media to try to destroy themselves. They'll
allow a little bit of dissent and criticism. And in fact, in
self-criticism, I could do more ...

Kolhatkar: Such as?

Chomsky: If I devoted myself to it. But there's a question of -- that
would mean I do less of this, less of speaking, less of traveling around
and so on. So you pick and choose. But in general, what you say is correct

And it's not just me. Do you read op-eds by Edward Herman, by Alex
Cockburn, by dozens of other people I could mention? No, you don't. Do you
read Robert Fisk's reporting on the Middle East? Patrick Cockburn's
reporting on Iraq? No, you don't. Occasionally, you may get a word here
and there. But that's not the picture the media want to present.

To go back to our first few moments, they do not want op-eds that will
point out that everything, all discussion that is going on in the United
States, virtually all the media, the journals, everywhere, is based on
assumptions so outlandish that if any other country produced them, we'd
collapse and ridicule or maybe nuke them or something. Namely, the idea
that we own the world. It's extremely hard to find any discussion or
commentary that does not tacitly accept that it isn't ridiculous unless
you accept that, as in the examples we mentioned. There's no interest in
having that pointed out and hammered home day after day. The media are not
monolithic. It's not a totalitarian system and you can learn a lot from
them. But you can't disregard the institutional structure that shapes
their character, and it's not just the media. The same is true with
journals, with opinion, with most academic scholarship.



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posted by u2r2h at Tuesday, June 26, 2007


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Brazil recommended to restart construction of its third reactor

The National Energy Policy Council in Brazil have recommended to President da Silva that construction should resume on the third nuclear power plant at Angra. The president will make the final decision. He has made positive statements about nuclear energy in the past. The restart of construction of Angra 3 could prove to be the start of a new programme of nuclear power construction in Brazil.

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US Regulator proposes changes that could speed new reactor construction

One of the things that slows down new nuclear build in the US is the time taken to get a combined Construction and Operating Licence. The NRC has looked at ways too speed up the licence process. They believe they cut it it down from around 42 months to between 27-36 months.

Around 27 licence applications are expected for new reactors over the next few years.

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Finns look for site for another reactor

Fennovoima, a business consortium made up of Finnish and Swedish industry and energy companies, is talking to representative from municipalities across Finland about possible sites for new nuclear reactors. Finland's fourth nuclear is currently under construction, The local government of Loviisa, already home of two nuclear plants is talking to Fennovoima. Up in Simo, in south-west Finnish Lapland, discussions are taking place as to whether a nuclear reactor could be built there. An announcement of 6-8 to potential places for new nuclear plants will probably be announced by Fennovoima in July.

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New Uranium Mine in India

India has opened a new uranium mine and a mill to process the mined uranium. India is trying to increase its domestic uranium production capacity so it is less reliant on imports. India is looking to expand nuclear generation to help meets its growing energy needs. It is also looking at developing nuclear fuel cycles based around Thorium, an alternative nuclear fuel that India is rich in.

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Tue Jun 26, 03:59:00 pm UTC  

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