War crimes, and those who deny them
Prof. Chomsky was not among those (“Novo” of Germany and “Living Marxism” in the UK) who first proposed the idea that these camps were a fake. He was not among those who tried unsuccessfully (they were beaten back in the High Court in London, by a libel case taken by ITN) to put up grotesque arguments about fences around the camps, which were rather like [Frederick] Leuchter’s questioning as to whether the thermal capacity of bricks were enough to contain the heat needed to gas Jews at Auschwitz. But Professor Chomsky said many things, from his ivory tower at MIT, to spur them on and give them credibility and energy to spread their poisonous perversion and denials of these sufferings. To use the analogy of Holocaust denial, he was more David Irving than Leuchter - the man with academic pretentions, doing it all from a distance, and giving the revisionists his blessing. And the revisionists reveled in his endorsement. In an interview with the Guardian, Professor Chomsky paid me the kind compliment of calling me a good journalist, but added that on this occasion (the camps) I had “got it wrong”.
Got what wrong?!?! Got wrong what we saw that day, August 5th 1992? (I didn’t see him there.) Got wrong the hundreds of thousands of families left bereaved, deported and scattered asunder? Got wrong the hundreds of testimonies I have gathered on murderous brutality? Got wrong the thousands whom I meet when I return to the commemorations? If I am making all this up, what are all the human remains found in mass graves around the camps and so painstakingly re-assembled by the International Commission for Missing Persons.
The people I criticise here rightly contend that western governments and much of the western media ignore or excuse atrocities committed by the US and its allies, while magnifying those committed by forces deemed hostile. But they then appear to create a mirror image of this one-sided narrative, minimising the horrors committed by forces considered hostile to the US and its allies.
Perhaps this looks to you like the kind of esoteric infighting to which the left too often succumbs, but this seems to me to be important: as important as any other human rights issue. If people who claim to care about justice and humanity cannot resist what looks to me like blatant genocide denial, we find ourselves in a very dark place.
“at that time, when they were real, Chomsky wasn't apparently interested in Muslim grievances. He only became a voice for that when the Taliban and Al Qaeda needed to be represented in their turn as the victims of a "silent genocide" in Afghanistan. Let me put it like this, if a supposed scholar takes the Christian-Orthodox side when it is the aggressor, and then switches to taking the "Muslim" side when Muslims commit mass murder, I think that there is something very nasty going on. And yes, I don't think it is exaggerated to describe that nastiness as "anti-American" when the power that stops and punishes both aggressions is the United States.”
- Monbiot’s correspondence with Chomsky
- Ed Vulliamy “Open Letter to Amnesty International about Noam Chomsky”
- Oliver Kamm “Dangerous lies that spread from Auschwitz to Srebrenica”
- Expert assessments of Chomsky’s claims (by Adam Jones, Martin Shaw, Linda Melvern, Marko Attila Hoare).
Responses to Herman and Peterson cited by Monbiot
- Martin Shaw, September 2011. Review of The Politics of Genocide. Journal of Genocide Research, Vol.13, no.3, pp353–387. [draft in Google Docs,
- Gerald Caplan, 17th June 2010. The politics of denialism: The strange case of Rwanda: Review of ‘The Politics of Genocide’. Pambazuka Issue 486.
- Adam Jones, 16th November 2010. Denying Rwanda: A Response to Herman & Peterson.
- Nick Cohen/David Campbell “Chomsky’s Bosnian shame”
- Michael Mosbacher “Frank Furedi”
- RCP/LMwatch “RCP/LM and Occupy”
- Cedar Lounge Revolution “Left Archive: Ireland’s victory means Britain’s defeat’, Revolutionary Communist Tendency, 1980” [this is on the RCP, originally the Revolutionary Communist Tendency, and their ne plus ultra line on supporting Irish republican violence. Arguably, the Serbs played a similar role in their worldview to the IRA, although oddly they rarely write about Northern Ireland politics now]
When John Pilger was my hero; Why I hate Noam Chomsky; Why Spiked are destroying Britain. More on Chomsky, on Bosnia, on Spiked, on CounterPunch.