Via Pacific Media Watch March 20, 2014
Noam Chomsky, a US linguist, philosopher and political commentator, has supported Timor-Leste and West Papuan freedom for decades. Image: WikipediaPMW ID8517
JAKARTA (Jakarta Post / Pacific Media Watch): Leading global academic and public intellectual Professor Noam Chomsky has this week given a wide-ranging interview with The Jakarta Post, claiming that Indonesia was able to carry out “atrocities” in West Papua because of support from the US and its allies.
Chomsky spoke to The Jakarta Post journalist Prodita Sabarini in his office at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, US.
America, Britain and Australia – and the mainstream media in the US – were all guilty of supporting human rights violations and massacres in West Papua and the former East Timor.
“What happened in East Timor was because the US and its allies supported it for 25 years. West Papua is the same. As long as the US primarily and its allies as well — the Western powers — support atrocities, they are carried out with impunity, just like their own atrocities are.
“I mean, the Vietnam War was the worst atrocity in the post-World War II period but nobody’s [found] guilty for it” Chomsky told The Jakarta Post.
Chomsky has previously said that West Papuan freedom fighters are resisting “massive terror and oppression”, and that if the West faced up to its responsibilities, their resistance could result in freedom.
Meanwhile, Chomsky said that Indonesia’s upcoming election on 9 April would surely see a win for the powerful.
‘No longer useful’
He said it was important that former military dictator Soeharto had been toppled in 1998 after 31 years in power, but pointed out that this happened partially because he was no longer useful to the US.
“Madeline Albright, the [then] secretary of state at one point said that the US was dissatisfied with what Indonesia was doing and they ought to think about real change. About four hours later, Soeharto resigned. I don’t know if there was a causal connection but it was awfully suggestive. It is the great powers who decide,” said Chomsky.
In the interview, Chomsky also commented on the role of the US and China in connection with South-east Asia.
He said South-east and East Asia could become “a sort of independent bloc in world affairs, separate from China, separate from the United States”, but instead were leaning more towards supporting the US.
“They’re becoming part of the US system but that’s not good for anyone. That could lead to major serious confrontations. If East Asia and Southeast Asia move toward more independence in world affairs, they have to be careful not to be just part of a ring of military containment around China, preventing it from exercising pretty legitimate rights to have free access to its own maritime [sources] in the area,” Chomsky said.
He said people from all over the world who were longing for freedom that never seemed to come should take heart from the example of Latin America.
“Ever since the beginning, for 500 years Latin America has been under control of Western imperial power. But now, South America is pretty much liberated. Just in the last 10 years, the changes are enormous. They’ve pretty much freed themselves, not totally, but largely from imperial control”.
Chomsky said that Latin America was the only region in the world that refused to cooperate with the illegal rendition policies being carried out by “all of Europe — Sweden, France, England, Ireland — Canada and the Middle East”.
“And if you think, Latin America not long ago was just the backyard, they did whatever they were told. That’s a pretty astonishing change. I think that should be kind of a model for what could be achieved,” he said.
Here, I added interview with Noam Chomsky for West Papua from 2013. A little history for those who want to know. Please turn on the subtitle because the audio is a bit low.