19 January 2006

War crime warning

Daily Ireland

by David Lynch
19/01/2006

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usA world-renowned political activist last night warned that the Irish government could be taking part in “war crimes” if it let the United States use Shannon airport to transport prisoners.
Noam Chomsky told more than 2,000 people at a packed Royal Dublin Society in Dublin last night that, if it is found that Central Intelligence Agency detainees were being brought through the Co Clare airport as part of Washington’s “extraordinary rendition”, then the Irish government would be taking part in “war crimes”.
Replying to a question from Richard Boyd Barrett of the Irish Anti-War Movement, Professor Chomsky said that, if the CIA planes were bringing prisoners through the Irish airport, then the Republic would be involved in a “supreme international crime” as defined at the Nuremberg trials of 1945-46.
The 77-year-old professor said the use of Shannon by US troops would leave Ireland open to being involved in such crimes.
“I have to answer this conditionally because I do not know all the facts. However, if what you say is true, then it is indeed participation in a supreme international crime,” said the Philadelphia-born activist. More than 4,000 people had applied for tickets for last night’s event, which was hosted by Amnesty International.
Professor Chomsky said he supported a Dáil investigation into the alleged use of Shannon airport by the CIA.
The veteran anti-war campaigner urged Irish people to take part in the worldwide anti-war demonstrations on March 18.
“Remember when you are out on the streets, it is not just the people in the West that you are marching with but you are marching in support of the majority of Iraqis who are against it [the occupation of Iraq],” he said.
In a wide-ranging speech, Professor Chomsky argued that the so-called war on terror had begun in the Reagan White House.
He also pointed to the long-standing links between the United States and the Saddam Hussein regime.
“Saddam is at last on trial for his crimes. The first trial now under way is for crimes he committed in 1982.
“1982 happens to be an important year in US-Iraq relations. It was in 1982 that Reagan removed Iraq from the list of states supporting terror so that aid could flow to his friend in Baghdad. [Donald] Rumsfeld then visited Baghdad to confirm the arrangements,” he said.
Professor Chomsky argued that the 2003 invasion of Iraq had increase “terror” as defined by the United States.
“There is extensive supporting evidence to show that, as anticipated, the invasion increased the risk of terror and nuclear proliferation,” said the professor.
He argued that the war had helped Osama bin Laden and so the United States had become “bin Laden’s indispensable ally”.
Professor Chomsky is widely known for his linguistics work, his political activism and for his criticism of the foreign policy of the United States and other governments. He describes himself as a libertarian socialist and is considered a key intellectual figure of the US left.

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