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Chomsky on Prisoner Exchange, Obama’s ‘Global Assassination Campaign’

Posted on Oct 18, 2011

What happened to the vaunted American ideal of presumption of innocence? One-man think tank Noam Chomsky poses, and answers, this question in this speech he gave Monday at New York City’s Barnard College about the recent drone-assisted death of Anwar al-Awlaki and the status of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Chomsky takes aim at President Obama in the opening moments of the speech, brought to you courtesy of “Democracy Now!,” calling the Awlaki incident “another step forward in Obama’s global assassination campaign, which actually breaks some new records in international terrorism.” He also has a few questions about the Israeli-Palestinian prisoner exchange to mitigate any unchecked optimism. Take a look in the clip below.  —KA

“Democracy Now!”:


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By Haudenosaun, October 21, 2011 at 9:13 am Link to this comment

@Gerard, Shenonymous and Gabriel

Excellent and informative posts.

Thank you

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By gerard, October 20, 2011 at 8:44 pm Link to this comment

Admitting the mendacity that supports the concept of “unpeople” is vital to putting an end to war and turning that money and energy into developing democratic forms of government worldwide.
  It is doubtful whether wars could be carried on without the internalization on both “sides” of the concept of “unpeople.” Enemies must always be demonized, and the more ignorant the general population, the easier it is to demonize others as “enemies” and therefore “unpeople.”
  Fortunately, largely due to modern technologies, more and more people appearing in the news unequivocally qualify as people.  We can see, hear, almost smell their existence and vicariously experience their joy and suffering.  We can see that they often react prrecisely as we would react in the same circumstances.
  This overwhelming increase in inter-personal contact, even though frequently minimized as “only virtual”, is nevertheless real enough to have convinced a majority of the world’s population that the similarities among us are far more numerous and important than the differences. It is becoming harder and harder to “victimize” some people and “pamper” others with special privileges. We are on our way out of barbarism.
  We are, however, going to need time to complete the “univeralization” process. Those hoping that their grandchildren will be permitted to grow up had best join the forces of nonviolence and democratic justice and mutual respect, no matter who or where. The choices are limited:  Step up out of barbarism and help stabilize civilization, or step back down into barbarism and suffer the consequences.

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By Misfiteye, October 20, 2011 at 11:01 am Link to this comment

Maybe the prisoner exchange ratio has more to do with the numbers held by each side than the value of any individual prisoner.

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By Shenonymous, October 20, 2011 at 5:30 am Link to this comment

History, anthropology, that is, shows humans were tribal from
their beginning, as did their apeform prior collect in groups.  It
is a natural disposition. Humans are in the category of social
animals.  They tend to aggregate into aggregates of various sizes. 
It is more than land, it is a proprietorship of food and all property
felt as having value that has been their reason to war.  Seizing lands
is not limited to the last few centuries.  It is the history of mankind. 
Ghengis Khan, Atilla, Alexander, Charlemagne, et al.  The Dravidians
were invaded by the Aryans, Germanic tribes took over the huge
territories once held by Rome, and the Romans, well we all know the
history of the Roman Empire.  Also the Persian’s immense empire was
not given to them, they took it.  Montezuma was a conquerer before
the Spanish and Portuguese came looking for gold, not land, not food. 
It is human history everywhere.  Hunting grounds were regarded once
as common property of “a” tribe.  It is called historical materialism and
is primitive communism.  But those “lands” were always someone else’s
before…and after any current tribe.  So it should not surprise any
educated intelligence that the Western world has acted in the most
natural way to impose their way of life on the world.  In his preface to
Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, Marx said, “it is
not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but, on
the contrary, their social existence that determines their consciousness.” 
There are an untold number of proofs of this. 

The idea of sovereign state is a concept always in flux.  For the most part
it isn’t seen in the short run, but in the long run of history it is glaringly
true. That is the bigger picture. 

Haudenosaun, October 19 at 9:31 pm – You’ve said it well.  Modern
tribalism is most noticeable, and right in your face, from the Republican
primary POTUS election debates when the audience applauded and
displayed the most heinous human behaviors.  It is a disgusting and
shameful attitude of allegedly 21st century civilized human beings.  Of
course, the candidates are in the same category, some more savage than

Eventually the bitter embattlement in the Middle East will evolve away as
will who’s right who’s wrong, with many permutations in between.  As
the world shrinks in social structures, all humans will become
responsible for each other.  But it will take changes along natural lines.
Some of us may not like them or think of them as having advanced
human intelligence, and will act to influence which way it will go, but it is
unstoppable regardless of which way it will go.  As the saying goes, “And the beat goes on.”

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By Gabriel, October 19, 2011 at 11:21 pm Link to this comment

What’s missing here is the fact that this is about Land and a thing called Sovereignty. All wars for the past 8k plus yrs have been fought over these 2 main things.

More recently the Euro-US-Israel empire is trying to Steal what’s left of Indigenous Sovereign Land on this Planet. Whether you look at Africa, Americas, Asia or anywhere else, it’s the same old story.

The situation in Middle East is such that each and every house is a Sovereign State / Estate, a Castle with surrounding Land, literally it’s own Kingdom.
Most are not bound [enslaved] by any contracts such as Birth Certificates, Passports, Citizenship, Immigration, or Registration of any kind. They are still Free.

Those that have been registered have been so mostly under duress. Such as ones arrested and imprisoned. This means their contract / registration is Nul and Void.

It’s the same story for 2.5 Million US citizens now in jail for minor infractions, such as traffic tickets to cannabis and anything in between.

The plan of Corporate ownership of “slaves” is to register everyone under same banner of Euro-US-Israel Admiralty Law System. That’s why USA has over 180 military bases Planet wide.

Once this is complete they can and probably will “manage” humanity [hues of men] til they reach their goal of 500 Million as stated on Georgia Guide Stones, down from 7 Billion.

Are you starting to see the Big Picture yet?

Those crazy idiots are NOT joking. They put it right in your face and many still don’t get it. Maybe they are hoping they will be part of the 500 Million left alive, but unless you are part of their Super Mafia club you are scheduled to die.

This means that you need to be directly related, by blood, to their leaders and immediate families. If you are not, then you are scheduled to die, to be used as fertilizer for their New World Order.

Hence the 99% demonstrations and “Lawful Rebellion” against the 1% around this whole planet.

Once you realize all of this then you can clearly see what goes on behind the headlines and behind the scenes.

Much more at:

Don’t take my word for it, do your own research. You have the greatest library ever created right in front of your face.
For a start, Use google or any search engine for these: Zeitgeist documentary, New World Order, tragedy and hope, sovereign, world history, corruption, Lawful Rebellion, and anything related.

Enjoy smile

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By Haudenosaun, October 19, 2011 at 9:31 pm Link to this comment


Tribalism, or some form of it, is practiced in most societies - even in the West. 
it often hides under the cover of patriotism and religion, and is demonstrated in
scapegoating, privilege and fear of the ” other”.  The moment we think in terms
of them and us, we are being tribal.  When we insist on imposing our way of life
and beliefs on others, we are being tribal.

Rather than it being anathema to an enlightened society, it is encouraged
through manipulation.

The cheering and chanting after the assassination of Bin Laden, without trial
and contrary to international law, is an example of tribalism.  The unjust
treatment of indigenous people (unsettled land claims) and exploitation of their
land, is tribal. Most Western nations are culpable, including my own.
Colonization is tribal.

I believe that peace and cooperation will one day come to this planet. However
I don’t believe it will be achieved through government diplomatic channels or
war. it will, I think, occur through an evolutionary process in humans. 
Technology is bringing us closer together and enabling us to learn about each
others societies, bypassing information control systems.  We saw a flicker of it
in people’s support of the Egyptian revolution and the Egyptian’s support of the
Wisconsin protests.  It was demonstrated in Tahrir Square when protesters
formed a circle of protection around each others religious ceremonies. There
was no fear of ” the other” , because they understood that accommodation was
necessary to achieve their shared goals. And so it begins, around the world with
the occupy movement.

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By John Poole, October 19, 2011 at 10:23 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The ratio of prisoner exchange between Israel and the Palestinians suggests to me
a clear Palestinian inferiority complex. The “hard” bargaining was a damning
tactic- It should have been one for one. As it stands it implies to me that an Arab
is worth one one thousandth of a Jew.

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By Shenonymous, October 19, 2011 at 9:02 am Link to this comment

I welcome your very civil remarks ardee for reasons we both know.
I agree with you and understand your tempered enthusiasm about
the recent exchange, but I am at the point of grabbing at any
celebratory straw that would allow that part of the world to enter
the 21st century as a healthier whole.  Some of the Arab nations
are well integrated into modernity but most are still quite tribal
and therefore have a tribal mentality, which is conservative and
combatively protective.  I agree Israel has transforming to do to
that condition of being.  If they and the Palestinians can find a
peaceful way to work through their problems, as I think their
differences are serious problems, then those who have empathy
for both of them not as nationalists but as human beings trying to
find their way in a complex world, then I think any step towards that
result is a good step.

I for one am glad Shalit is released but also glad all the 1027 Palestinian
prisoners are and shall be also, some who were imprisoned for nearly a
quarter century, and the Israeli prisoners in the exchange.  More of these
exchange are in the plans.  This is something extraordinary to celebrate. 
These kinds of exchanges has not happened for a very long time.

Even though some Israelis voiced impassioned concern for their safety, the
CNN wire article is incredibly moving in its information.  Sometimes what is
perceived as a catastrophe will yield a benefit of a cessation of acrimony.

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By rend it, October 19, 2011 at 8:05 am Link to this comment


please define “we.” It was quite clear to me prior to the 2008 election that Obama was going to up the war efforts. How many times did he blab on about how he loved Reagan? There was no reason to vote for him except to elevate a black man to the office of President, but still not worth pulling the lever for. He never claimed to stand tall against the ills of the last 30 years since Reagan.

Please amend “we” with “I.”

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By ardee, October 19, 2011 at 7:18 am Link to this comment

Shenonymous, October 19 at 1:45 am

I am a bit more tempered in my judgment of this prisoner exchange which, by the by, is 477 for 1 with another 500 promised for later this year, for a total of 977.

This is far from the first time Israel has engaged in such swaps, so I see it in a more pessimistic light than do you apparently. When Israel gives up on its state sponsored terrorism, retreats from Palestinian land, ends its continual intentions to build ever more settlements on that land then perhaps I might engage in more optimistic reactions.

Please understand that I do not seek to quench your enthusiasm, only temper it a bit with historical fact and judgment.

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By balkas, October 19, 2011 at 7:14 am Link to this comment

the fact that chomsky denies pal’ns their ROR to their former
habitat in which they—as descendants of hamites, shemites,
hebrews, assyrians, edomites, moabites, hittites, circasians,
scythians, and the two arab peoples, the nabateans and
arameans—may have lived for at least 10 or even 100k yrs,
proves that he’s only interested in preserving israel and
ashkenazic supremacism in ex-canaan.
[btw, in u.s also?]

naturally, fearing its demise if israel continues to do so much
crime against humanities and thus is warning the world jury
about just that happening some day or in infinity of time and
because of hatred for and fear of israel by at least 70% of world

and he must know [he, too, cld be in the denial group, tho]
that ashkenazim have no connection with peoples i have [or
have, but no more than me] enumerated above.

i like the man. however, his advice to vote for ‘lesser evil’
[which i at that time strongly deemed a vote for greater evil]
was an additional piece of evidence showing-nah, proving that
he was interested only in ‘jews’ and their interests/rights and
the hell with anybody elses.

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By Shenonymous, October 19, 2011 at 1:45 am Link to this comment

Since there is no other article about it on this site, the opportunity
is being taken on this one since the topic of prisoner exchange is
written in the title.

For the first time in decades there is a single ray of hope, a sliver,
a wedge that could lead to an amazing new world for all Middle
Easterners.  Could the Arab Spring have had anything to do with
this turn of events?  This could be a most significant thing to have
been one result.  Are serious hopes too premature?

Worth shouting about and ought to have been the biggest headlines
in all the news outlets, but not one whisper on Truthdig, is Hamas’
release of the Jewish soldier, Gilad Shalit, held for 5 years as a hostage
and about 450 Israeli prisoners, noted in a brief article in the New York
Times, in exchange for over a thousand Palestinian prisoners held by the
Israelis.  It goes to show there might be in the wind a momentous event,
and a most welcome sincere effort for the Palestinians to win statehood.

As a major step in more than a half a century towards a peace effort
between these two opponents, this story is not getting much press and
don’t we wonder why?  Bloomberg is one that has printed a detalled news

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By MK77, October 18, 2011 at 9:25 pm Link to this comment

I don’t fault Chomsky for Obama’s betrayals.

I fault him for propounding the absurd logic of “strategic voting.”

He and others of similar stature have an obligation to tell people that the 2 parties are indistinguishably bad and that they should pull the lever for an independent like Nader.

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By rumblingspire, October 18, 2011 at 8:31 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)


even the wise chomsky is subject to betrayal.  we did not expect cowardice and capitulation from Obama.

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By MK77, October 18, 2011 at 5:41 pm Link to this comment

I wonder if he still believes in “strategic voting.”

In 2008 he urged people to vote for Obama and the Democrats in tightly contested states but for third-party candidates in states where the outcome was already decided.

It seems that an awful lot of people, Chomsky incuded, owe Ralph Nader an apology.

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By Joshua, October 18, 2011 at 5:05 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)
the current link is broken atm, here is a usable link through youtube.

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By Dewey, October 18, 2011 at 1:59 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

One Israeli is worth 1,000 Palestinians?

Sounds about right.

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