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EU US: Irish State may be 'guilty of war crime' - Chomsky
Via NY Transfer News Collective * All the News that Doesn't Fit
The Irish Times - Jan 19, 2006
State may be 'guilty of war crime'
by Deaglán de Bréadún
Foreign Affairs Correspondent
If Shannon was being used by the CIA for transporting prisoners then the
Government would be participating in a war crime as defined by the
Nuremberg Tribunal after the second World War, prominent anti-war
academic Noam Chomsky said last night in Dublin.
Dr Chomsky, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
(MIT) and a leading critic of US foreign policy, was responding to
questions from the floor after delivering the annual Amnesty
International lecture before 2,000 people at the RDS.
There was such demand for places that the organisers said 4,000 people
had to be turned down and the Shelbourne Hall had to used to accommodate
the crowd. The attendance included poet Seamus Heaney, Labour Party
spokesman on foreign affairs Michael D Higgins and artist Robert
Ballagh. The task of moderating the occasion was carried out by
broadcast journalist Olivia O'Leary.
During the question-and-answer session, Richard Boyd Barrett of the
Irish Anti-War Movement pointed out to Dr Chomsky that about 300,000 US
troops had gone through Shannon last year "on the way to Iraq", making
for a total of some 500,000 since the war began in 2003. He claimed that
"about 50-60 of the CIA rendition flights" carrying prisoners had also
gone through Shannon in aircraft that, he added, "the Irish Government
refused to search".
To widespread applause, Mr Boyd Barrett asked Dr Chomsky if he would
agree that, as a result, the Government was complicit with state
terrorism, war crimes and breaches of international human rights.
Secondly, he asked Dr Chomsky if he would endorse worldwide
demonstrations on March 18th-19th for withdrawal of US-led forces from
Dr Chomsky responded: "The second one is easier to answer - yes." He
said this would mean supporting "the overwhelming majority of the
population of Iraq" which, according to recent authoritative opinion
polls, wanted an end to the occupation.
Commenting on the Shannon issue, he said: "I can only respond
conditionally. I don't know the facts. But if what you say is correct,
and if in fact even a part of it is correct, yes, that's participation
in what was declared at Nuremberg to be 'the supreme international crime
which encompasses within itself all of the evil that follows'.
Participation in that is, yes, a crime. And from then on, it's your
The US embassy in Dublin has strongly denied that prisoners are being
transported through Shannon and, visiting Dublin this week, Republican
Congressman James Walsh of New York also said, "it is my understanding
they do not come through Ireland".
In an hour-long lecture entitled, The War on Terror, Dr Chomsky strongly
condemned the involvement of the Bush administration and its
"pillion-rider", the British government, in the Iraqi war which had, in
fact, exacerbated the threat of terror.
"Washington planners had been advised, even by their own intelligence
agencies, that the invasion was likely to increase the threat of terror.
And it did, as their own intelligence agencies confirm."
If reducing the threat of terror were, in fact, a high priority for
Washington or London there were ways to proceed, even apart from the
"unmentionable idea" of withdrawal from Iraq. A serious counter-terror
campaign would begin by "considering the grievances, and where
appropriate, addressing them" which gave rise to "Islamic terror".
Š The Irish Times
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