“Nothing Can Justify Torture”
by ERIC BAILEY, Counterpunch, Dec 12, 2012
Professor Noam Chomsky is an Institute Professor and Professor (Emeritus) in the Department of Linguistics & Philosophy at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He was educated at the University of Philadelphia and at Harvard University as a Harvard Junior Fellow. He earned his PhD in Linguistics from the University of Philadelphia in 1955. He has spent the 57 years since then teaching at MIT. In addition to his academic work in linguistics, Professor Chomsky has been a noted political activist and philosopher, gaining national recognition in 1967 over his opposition to the Vietnam War and since then has regularly spoken out against US foreign and domestic policies and mainstream American mass media. Between his academic career and his work as a political activist and dissident, he has published over 100 books. On the eve of the 2012 US presidential election, he discussed with Eric Bailey of Torture Magazine America’s human rights record under the administration of President Obama and the military intervention policies that have seen increased use during the Arab Spring.
EB: The US presidential elections are almost upon us and the last four years have seen significant changes in American Federal policy in regards to human rights. One of the few examples of cooperation between the Democratic and Republican Parties over the last four years has been the passing of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2012. This bill has given the United States military the power to arrest American citizens, indefinitely, without charge, trial, or any other form of due process of law and the Obama Administration has and continues to fight a legal battle in Federal Court to prevent that law from being declared unconstitutional. Obama authorized the assassination of three American citizens, including Anwar al-Awlaki and his 16 year old son, admittedly all members of Al Qaeda, – all without judicial review. Additionally, the Guantanamo Bay prison remains open, the Patriot Act has been extended, and the TSA has expanded at breakneck speeds. What is your take on America’s human rights record over the past four years and can you contrast Obama’s policies with those of his predecessor, George W. Bush?