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In On Western Terrorism Noam Chomsky, world renowned dissident intellectual, discusses Western power and propaganda with filmmaker and investigative journalist Andre Vltchek. The discussion weaves together a historical narrative with the two men's personal experiences which led them to a life of activism. The discussion includes personal memories, such as the New York news In On Western Terrorism Noam Chomsky, world renowned dissident intellectual, discusses Western power and propaganda with filmmaker and investigative journalist Andre Vltchek. The discussion weaves together a historical narrative with the two men's personal experiences which led them to a life of activism. The discussion includes personal memories, such as the New York newsstand where Chomsky began his political education, and broadens out to look at the shifting forms of imperial control and the Western propaganda apparatus. Along the way the discussion touches on many countries of which the authors have personal experience, from Nicaragua and Cuba, to China, Chile, Turkey and many more. A blast of fresh air which blows away the cobwebs of propaganda and deception, On Western Terrorism is a powerful critique of the West's role in the world which will inspire all those who read it to think independently and critically.


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In On Western Terrorism Noam Chomsky, world renowned dissident intellectual, discusses Western power and propaganda with filmmaker and investigative journalist Andre Vltchek. The discussion weaves together a historical narrative with the two men's personal experiences which led them to a life of activism. The discussion includes personal memories, such as the New York news In On Western Terrorism Noam Chomsky, world renowned dissident intellectual, discusses Western power and propaganda with filmmaker and investigative journalist Andre Vltchek. The discussion weaves together a historical narrative with the two men's personal experiences which led them to a life of activism. The discussion includes personal memories, such as the New York newsstand where Chomsky began his political education, and broadens out to look at the shifting forms of imperial control and the Western propaganda apparatus. Along the way the discussion touches on many countries of which the authors have personal experience, from Nicaragua and Cuba, to China, Chile, Turkey and many more. A blast of fresh air which blows away the cobwebs of propaganda and deception, On Western Terrorism is a powerful critique of the West's role in the world which will inspire all those who read it to think independently and critically.

30 review for On Western Terrorism: From Hiroshima to Drone Warfare

  1. 5 out of 5

    Claudia Nugent

    I'm becoming increasingly aware of my own ignorance and internalised prejudices. Lately, I've begun the long process of analysing these feelings and considering where they've come from so that I can gradually erase them. I'm learning that much of these biases (though obviously not all) can be attributed to an overexposure to Western propaganda and media. Western and capitalist ideals pervade everything I think I know. I'm learning that cultures and events are relentlessly misrepresented in my sup I'm becoming increasingly aware of my own ignorance and internalised prejudices. Lately, I've begun the long process of analysing these feelings and considering where they've come from so that I can gradually erase them. I'm learning that much of these biases (though obviously not all) can be attributed to an overexposure to Western propaganda and media. Western and capitalist ideals pervade everything I think I know. I'm learning that cultures and events are relentlessly misrepresented in my supposedly objective news sources. My understanding of the world is tainted. After reading this conversation, I desperately want to more easily access a wider breadth of journalists and media outlets to broaden and strengthen my understanding of history and current affairs. This little book has inspired me to be more critical of my thoughts, and educate myself beyond what is comfortable and easy to comprehend. I cannot live my life blind and passive while the mass exploitation of people and environments carries on, silently and methodically, beyond my bubble.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kristine Gift

    I was really expecting more from this book. The conversation-transcript style doesn't do much for the content; their spoken words were obviously edited, so why couldn't they also add in some footnotes? Some post-conversation citations? I felt like Chomsky and Vltchek were talking a lot but saying little. And the pretentious tone of "We're the only ones who know how shitty things are" really bothered me, especially considering that the target audience of this book are probably people who are awar I was really expecting more from this book. The conversation-transcript style doesn't do much for the content; their spoken words were obviously edited, so why couldn't they also add in some footnotes? Some post-conversation citations? I felt like Chomsky and Vltchek were talking a lot but saying little. And the pretentious tone of "We're the only ones who know how shitty things are" really bothered me, especially considering that the target audience of this book are probably people who are aware of post-WWII/post-colonial problems across the globe. Additionally, though I agree that the West has done horrible things across the globe, I don't consider people in Indonesia or Chile or Somalia as "unpeople," and overall, I was offended by how stupid Chomsky and Vltchek assumed their readers would be. I also couldn't follow their jumps across time and space; I felt that they were making connections without explaining the links. Rather than learning much of anything by their examples, I was just trying to follow their seemingly arbitrary jumps from one subject to another. I really wanted to like this book, but I was not impressed.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    André Vltchek opens his book with a very sad figure: more then 50 million people died around the world as a consequence of Western colonialism and neocolonialism. This terrible reality has been, somehow, "accepted" in the Western world; Noam Chomsky borrows the expression of “unpeople” by George Orwell : the world is divided by people like us and “unpeople”- everyone else who do not matter and we are not concerned to what happens to them. Most of the book is developed over the issue of misinforma André Vltchek opens his book with a very sad figure: more then 50 million people died around the world as a consequence of Western colonialism and neocolonialism. This terrible reality has been, somehow, "accepted" in the Western world; Noam Chomsky borrows the expression of “unpeople” by George Orwell : the world is divided by people like us and “unpeople”- everyone else who do not matter and we are not concerned to what happens to them. Most of the book is developed over the issue of misinformation in the Western world. I found the arguments by the two authors extremely valuable. We should read and view non-Western sources to have a better understanding of history and the state of current global affairs, while our mainstream information is one-sided and, Chomsky and Vltcheck argue, serves as propaganda to our political establishment. There are plenty of very interesting examples over this topic. For instance, Western misinformation targets mainly countries that have refused to succumb to our dictate. That is why China keeps being vilified while India, one of the most terrible countries in the world, according to Vltcheck, is celebrated as the biggest democracy forgetting all the atrocities perpetrated there every day (see also the question of Tibet and Kashmir, how differently they are treated by Western media). And, of course, the whole narration on colonialism. However, I found Vltcheck much more radical than Chomsky and while I cannot verify the parts over South East Asia or Latin America, I must say that when he praises China as a place where he can enjoy more freedom of expression than the UK (CCTV vs. BBC) I believe he goes too far. I live here and, Mr. Vltcheck, your website is censored! I cannot open it. Of course, along with so many other websites. The journalist illustrates how Western media serve the political establishment, but he pushes too far when he says that Iran, Turkey or China run more unedited or uncensored pieces than Western mainstream media outlets. Again, I do not know about Turkey or Iran, but from my experience living in China for several years I am not sure Chinese are really luckier in accessing more reliable pieces of information. My point is: stating that the West is also a victim of propaganda… I totally agree as there are solid arguments about that. But saying that censorship in China is milder than the Western media is showing, that is making misinformation. The whole description of China by Vltcheck is quite rosey and makes me taking with a pinch of salt what else he writes during the book. I believe that a discussion on these topics (about how much misinformed we are, also in Europe even though we love to think the opposite!) is so much needed, but I did not always enjoy the absolute tones of Vltchek. While I found eye-opening, as always, the intervention of Chomsky.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ishendra Kashyap

    When I first started reading this book, I was shocked. The book claims that western terrorism has killed more than 50 million people and it quotes several historical examples which I was unaware of. I have always believed that the world is grey rather than black or white, but is the world , dominated by capitalism and liberalism ,so biased as to actually omit all these information. But when I reached pages describing India, I was relieved . The book describes India as a failed state, and as a sa When I first started reading this book, I was shocked. The book claims that western terrorism has killed more than 50 million people and it quotes several historical examples which I was unaware of. I have always believed that the world is grey rather than black or white, but is the world , dominated by capitalism and liberalism ,so biased as to actually omit all these information. But when I reached pages describing India, I was relieved . The book describes India as a failed state, and as a sad place, dominated by religious and social hatred. I am an Indian, and I can state with conviction that nothing can be farther than truth. Yes, there is poverty, and vestiges of old social system, but it is on the path of development and recovery, and general mood is of optimism Thus, I think, most of other examples too, like Indian example, are plain hyperbole. They are informed by an ideology, which has warped the actual truth. Having said this, yes, it arouses curiosity to actually find the truth regarding western terrorism.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Omar

    Even if you don't take action, even if you're a non-believer, it is absolutely for one's best interest to be informed and to be educated. Even if you don't take action, even if you're a non-believer, it is absolutely for one's best interest to be informed and to be educated.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Keen

    I’m a fan of much of Chomsky’s work and there are many well developed insights here, Chomsky makes plenty of fine and salient points like, “The idea that the US is opposed to radical Islam is ludicrous. The most extreme fundamentalist Islamic state in the world is Saudi Arabia, which is the US’s favourite.” Saying how they also choose to turn a blind eye to all the terrorists groups they have been bankrolling for years like Wahhabism. Both of them speak well on Britain and the US's shameful hist I’m a fan of much of Chomsky’s work and there are many well developed insights here, Chomsky makes plenty of fine and salient points like, “The idea that the US is opposed to radical Islam is ludicrous. The most extreme fundamentalist Islamic state in the world is Saudi Arabia, which is the US’s favourite.” Saying how they also choose to turn a blind eye to all the terrorists groups they have been bankrolling for years like Wahhabism. Both of them speak well on Britain and the US's shameful history and meddling in the Middle East, in Iran, Iraq and Israel, including Churchill eagerness to use gas on innocent civilians and children. They also speak well on the German exploits and mass killings and camps in places like Namibia and Patagonia. They bring the US government to task on their law making, like how in 2002 the US signed the Hague Invasion Act that safeguards it from being prosecuted in any international court of which the US is not a member, or “When the United States signed the Genocide Convention after 40 years it had a reservation saying it was ‘Inapplicable to the United States’” These are just some of the many rules and exemptions the US has made up for itself so it can act with impunity. Chomsky and Vltchek touch on many interesting subjects from many varied places around the world, from the devastating legacy of Colon in Panama, after US forces intervention over 25 years ago to the ridiculous nature of the so called “war on drugs” that creates more misery than it stops. Or what about the story Chomsky tells of a call he got from a friend at the ABC TV network in 1986, telling him to watch the 7 o’ clock news that night. He did and discovered that the networks were showing the live bombing of Libya. The US forces had timed the bombing for prime time TV. I have never read Vltchek before, for large parts here, he comes across like some overbearing, loudmouth backpacker from two tables down at a bar, who can’t shut up about all the countries he’s visited and how he now knows everything about everything. He says, “After living on all the continents of the world, I actually believe that the ‘Westerners’ are the most indoctrinated, the least informed and critical group of people anywhere on earth, with some exceptions, like Saudi Arabia.” I am a little confused, does this mean he believes Westerners to be the most indoctrinated or does he think the Saudis?...It cannot be both. It's this sort of scattergun approach that makes this come across like a badly photocopied, student pamphlet at times. Aside from the smug arrogance that often fills the air, what is also apparent is the total absence of reason or balance, this is why so often people on the left get such bad press, when you get this strain of extreme ranting. There is no shortage of arrogant scoffing and ridiculing of western media about their mis-reporting, bias and inaccurate figures, which made me laugh when I saw both of them being repeatedly guilty of doing exactly the same thing. At one point Vltchek says, “There is no doubt that more people were murdered during the US bombing campaigns of the Cambodian countryside than by Khmer Rouge actions.” Where did he get this idea from?...More importantly where is his evidence?...and where are the million plus bodies hiding?...It’s absolute rubbish. Chomsky claims the estimate between 25 to 30 million people were killed in Mao’s famine, when in actual fact according to Prof Frank Dikotter’s in “Mao’s Great Famine” (published two years before this interview took place) at least 45 million perished. The way China is spoken of here, you would think that they were discussing some edifying utopia. Both of them mention a handful of instances where they happened to avoid censorship in the Iranian and Chinese media and this is somehow conflated into these places being more open than in the west?...Vltchek insists, “I felt much freer in Beijing than when the BBC interviews me, because the BBC doesn’t even let me speak, without demanding a full account of what exactly I am intending to say.” This turns out to be based on one, isolated incident, he later talks about which has clearly left him bitter and so because the BBC didn’t let him speak and China did we are supposed to equate that with China being more open and free. He expands, “I find China an amazing place and I also find it a very interesting model that works very well, at least for them.” Who is them?... What about the likes of Harry Wu, Liu Xiaobo and Ai Weiwei, this is to name but a tiny example of China’s victims of appalling oppression and imprisonment. No mention of Falun Gong and the harvesting of organs, no hint of the appalling pollution that devastates the health of millions and kills at least hundreds of thousands a year. What about Tibet?...He doesn’t talk of the genocide going on in Uyghuristan, or China’s oppression and intimidation in the likes of Hong Kong and Taiwan. I also didn’t hear much being said about the millions of displaced people who made way for this “progress”. Or are all those deaths, imprisonments and forms of torture and repression just down to western propaganda?... For someone so concerned and upset about various European colonies around the globe, he suddenly gets all forgiving and forgetful when it comes to China’s current expansionism and empire building. He lays almost all the blame of the Congo wars at the feet of European/American business interest, but he doesn’t acknowledge China’s bold and surreptitious influence on the region too, not just in that area, but throughout much of Africa and beyond in places like Myanmar and Papua New Guinea, where their greed for resources and wealth, polluting of the environment and appalling treatment of locals, has made lasting damage. He certainly makes no mention of the fact that China is also the world’s biggest importers of illegal timber either. The love bombing for blatantly oppressed countries becomes nauseating, the pair turn the love beams onto Soviet era communism and they manage to discuss the Eastern bloc without once mentioning the elephant in the room, that is East Germany, which remains possibly the most heavily surveillanced and oppressive nation to have ever existed. Instead Chomsky insists, “In the post-Stalin era, East Europe’s repression was mild, In fact it’s kind of striking but the Soviet Union actually subsidized Eastern Europe so that it ended up richer than Russia.” Though later Chomsky contradicts himself, “Ceausescu who was the worst of the communist dictators but the darling of the West.” They draw a handful of first-hand accounts together from people in Afghanistan and try and equate Russia's invasion as being positive for the Afghans. They have a lot of love for Cuba too, particularly the doctors and culture. Castro did a vast amount of good in certain areas, but he also lied repeatedly breaking his promises of bringing liberty and free elections to Cuba, and so effectively what they are doing is praising and fawning over an established 50 year dictatorship. At no point do they acknowledge this and I would like to know what the thousands of Cuban boat people/refugees who risked their lives to flee Cuba would think of their homeland’s health and culture. On a lighter note, it did make me laugh when Chomsky admitted to having never heard of the word “concision” before. Yep, I thought, that would make sense. So overall, I would say I enjoyed large parts of this book and there is a lot of interesting stuff in here and much that I agree with and there were times when I got really engaged with the line of debate, learning along the way, but too often plain silliness and crass over simplification got in the way.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Nicholas

    This book is a conversation between Chomsky and Vitchek. For me, the style of the book is primarily a con, though it does make for easy reading (as far as the language goes. The content is not easy/pleasant to digest.) Because this book is a conversation between two people with a lot of shared knowledge, it is not particularly useful for those who have absolutely knowledge of the issues and conflicts that they are discussing. Statements are made and facts understood between Chomsky and Vitchek, a This book is a conversation between Chomsky and Vitchek. For me, the style of the book is primarily a con, though it does make for easy reading (as far as the language goes. The content is not easy/pleasant to digest.) Because this book is a conversation between two people with a lot of shared knowledge, it is not particularly useful for those who have absolutely knowledge of the issues and conflicts that they are discussing. Statements are made and facts understood between Chomsky and Vitchek, and, sadly, one will not come away from this book with a list for further reading, because sources are not discussed. Throughout the book there are also mentions of "a certain U.S. Company" and "a particular company," which left me wondering "which?" so that I could do further research. A few names of useful scholars as mentioned throughout, but not as many as one would hope for. I had some familiarity with these topics, so I did find the book engaging and useful, however if I had had any less familiarity, I think I would have just been annoyed. That being said, the book does raise from very important points and considerations that we should be aware of in the modern world, and it was a good read. It is not a good first book on the topic, but it is worth reading.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Matt Roberts

    Chomsky's latest book is certainly one of his most critical of US imperialism. A must-read, "On Western Terrorism" is short, matter-of-fact, and crucial. Fans of Chomsky will not be disappointed. Chomsky's latest book is certainly one of his most critical of US imperialism. A must-read, "On Western Terrorism" is short, matter-of-fact, and crucial. Fans of Chomsky will not be disappointed.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Pierre

    If you are depressed by the inhumanity and cruelty perpetrated by governments don't read this book it will not cheer you up. But if you want to know how things work in the real world then you have to read this book. Forget the conspiracy theorists read Chomsky he doesn't make unsubstantiated claims he has done the research and he has proofs. I'm amazed that he is still alive not because of his age but because he's been such a thorn for so long for so many governments. If you are depressed by the inhumanity and cruelty perpetrated by governments don't read this book it will not cheer you up. But if you want to know how things work in the real world then you have to read this book. Forget the conspiracy theorists read Chomsky he doesn't make unsubstantiated claims he has done the research and he has proofs. I'm amazed that he is still alive not because of his age but because he's been such a thorn for so long for so many governments.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ahmad M Bohindi

    Very informative, but confused and all over the place due to the dialogue, interview style. Full of "I think"s and "if my memory serves me right" and so on. This could have been corrected in the margins, as other reviewers suggested. For example, in P.74 they mention a UN women's rights representative in Afghanistan, but don't mention her name, a margin note would've been great help. The title misleadingly says Western Terrorism, while Western media bias, and propaganda are the main themes. This Very informative, but confused and all over the place due to the dialogue, interview style. Full of "I think"s and "if my memory serves me right" and so on. This could have been corrected in the margins, as other reviewers suggested. For example, in P.74 they mention a UN women's rights representative in Afghanistan, but don't mention her name, a margin note would've been great help. The title misleadingly says Western Terrorism, while Western media bias, and propaganda are the main themes. This book is more of a critique of media and public awareness than anything else. Also, the book is largely a comparison between Soviet and Chinese Communism and Western-style multi-party democracy and Capitalism. It's like two like-minded friends having a conversation about the world, shifting between subjects, some of which have nothing to do with the rest, such as Chomsky's sudden piece of travel journalism through India in Chapter 5. Not a properly organized book, yet their great knowledge and personal experiences in war-torn nations and with the deception of mainstream media makes it a great read.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Deb W

    I put this down unfinished. I don't dissuade you from reading it, but my lack of knowledge about the history of world politics kept me from being able to follow the conversation. (The book format follows a conversation between Chomsky and Vlatchek.) It did seem to me that most of Chomsky's information was dated -- not that that makes the murder of millions of people (80 - 100 million estimated) referred to as "un-people" because they are not Westerners, but according to Vltchek there are atrociti I put this down unfinished. I don't dissuade you from reading it, but my lack of knowledge about the history of world politics kept me from being able to follow the conversation. (The book format follows a conversation between Chomsky and Vlatchek.) It did seem to me that most of Chomsky's information was dated -- not that that makes the murder of millions of people (80 - 100 million estimated) referred to as "un-people" because they are not Westerners, but according to Vltchek there are atrocities happening today in Asia, Africa, and South America. I didn't see any references to specifics (reasons for conflict, aggressors/victims, etc). Instead the two float from one historic event to another with vague references. There isn't anything to use to substantiate their assertions.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Roland

    This is an interesting book with indepth analysis of the international politics and action of the West (and Japan) since WWI. This is narrated in the calm and simple style that made Chomsky so famous. Noam is always so clear sighted and Andre is more radical. Both views, from the left, are so different than what we are use to hear from our general media, that it actually feels refreshing! Who would have said that about socialism a few years back??? These guys are right, we need an alternative view This is an interesting book with indepth analysis of the international politics and action of the West (and Japan) since WWI. This is narrated in the calm and simple style that made Chomsky so famous. Noam is always so clear sighted and Andre is more radical. Both views, from the left, are so different than what we are use to hear from our general media, that it actually feels refreshing! Who would have said that about socialism a few years back??? These guys are right, we need an alternative view of the world, even-if-only to be able to compare with what we have! Focus on chapter 3 and after. Very good.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Joan

    I didn't care for the way the book was written. A conversation between two people with the same ideas, gave no reason to see their conversation from a different perspective. Who's to say they are correct? I don't like to think that the United States is guilty of so much "takeover" in the world, however history shows us that the major world powers were always in the business of taking over more and more - power. I don't recommend it. I didn't care for the way the book was written. A conversation between two people with the same ideas, gave no reason to see their conversation from a different perspective. Who's to say they are correct? I don't like to think that the United States is guilty of so much "takeover" in the world, however history shows us that the major world powers were always in the business of taking over more and more - power. I don't recommend it.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jake

    Like a lot of Chomsky books, this one is a transcription of a conversation. It's a little bit of a cop-out to have so many of his books written this way, but it's still interesting. As usual, Chomsky challenges the neoliberal conventional wisdom and helps me to think of things differently. I would like a more thorough full book reading of the ideas though. Like a lot of Chomsky books, this one is a transcription of a conversation. It's a little bit of a cop-out to have so many of his books written this way, but it's still interesting. As usual, Chomsky challenges the neoliberal conventional wisdom and helps me to think of things differently. I would like a more thorough full book reading of the ideas though.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jumana | جمانة

    I've always admired authors who make readers aware of what's going on around them in real life. I dare say that this book not only emphasized & put what I already know in order but also introduced me to facts I haven't payed attention to whatsoever. Every youth in every part of the world should read it, you know why? 'Cause they will eventually find that a piece of them was once terrorized someway or the other—or even it is continuing to be terrorized. We should be aware of this, not to spread h I've always admired authors who make readers aware of what's going on around them in real life. I dare say that this book not only emphasized & put what I already know in order but also introduced me to facts I haven't payed attention to whatsoever. Every youth in every part of the world should read it, you know why? 'Cause they will eventually find that a piece of them was once terrorized someway or the other—or even it is continuing to be terrorized. We should be aware of this, not to spread hatred, but to BE AWARE when the subject is put on the table for discussion. To be angry, so that change may happen. To have an answer when, for instance, someone attacks you saying that "your country is a terrorist!" To know who really made you homeless, who colonized you, & made you migrate, for you don't want to end up ignorantly honoring those who made you go through the struggle of it all. The authors also talked about media propaganda. This part was my favorite, because it finally gave me answers to things I've experienced first hand, such as talking about U.S & Western Europeans citizens in a way that I found so true: "Their world is mono-polar. They don't compare different ideas, ideals, & ideologies. They only have one ideology; which can be called 'market-fundamentalism,'..." Also, "After living in all the continents in the world, I actually believe that the "Westerners" are the most indoctrinated, the least informed..... But they believe the opposite: that they are the best informed & the 'freest' people." I highlighted most of this book & I plan to re-read some of its chapters, for I need to be more knowledgable in some so that I could thoroughly grasp what the authors have discussed.

  16. 4 out of 5

    S

    The title is misleading. I was expecting a discussion on the West's terrorist tactics (a la Howard Zinn's Terrorism and War), but most of the book discusses the propaganda and reality of Western imperialist maneuvering. The book could best be described as an introduction to Chomsky's political thought. Through a transcribed conversation, Chomsky and Vitchek discuss the ways through which the West — largely the United States — have managed to oppress and exploit less powerful nations, and the way The title is misleading. I was expecting a discussion on the West's terrorist tactics (a la Howard Zinn's Terrorism and War), but most of the book discusses the propaganda and reality of Western imperialist maneuvering. The book could best be described as an introduction to Chomsky's political thought. Through a transcribed conversation, Chomsky and Vitchek discuss the ways through which the West — largely the United States — have managed to oppress and exploit less powerful nations, and the ways in which propaganda covers up such abuses of power by throwing the spotlight in the traditional enemies of Russia, China, etc. Whether through media bombardment or the support of coups, Chomsky and Vitchek delineate the many instances of modern imperialism and the ways in which Western propaganda has managed to give itself the moral mandate. The book covers events from every corner of the world, serving as a great summary of the past ~50 years of American imperialism, but in doing so sacrifices a lot of the complexity that characterizes superlative intellectual thought. This is certainly no Manufacturing Consent. My issue is the way, or perhaps speed, in which certain discussion topics were brought up and subsequently dropped. Issues are broached too quickly for a neophyte to draw any meaning from them, yet the book fails to draw any new conclusions that might entertain one with a more veteran understanding of international affairs. I suppose the book is most impactful in its scope: it forces the reader to consider the extent to which the West has abused the globe for personal gain. A rather strange book, maybe not best served by its format of a transcribed discussion, but fairly edifying if nothing else.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ecoute Sauvage

    Just the facts. And the facts are devastating, especially in view of our (Western) past actions. The latest developments in the Middle East are still unfolding and will be usefully illuminated by this masterpiece. Absolutely essential reading for anyone brave enough to look beyond political propaganda. New chapters are being written every day - and the evidence is overwhelmingly supporting items which the book, published before the information was publicly released, merely lists as hypotheses, for Just the facts. And the facts are devastating, especially in view of our (Western) past actions. The latest developments in the Middle East are still unfolding and will be usefully illuminated by this masterpiece. Absolutely essential reading for anyone brave enough to look beyond political propaganda. New chapters are being written every day - and the evidence is overwhelmingly supporting items which the book, published before the information was publicly released, merely lists as hypotheses, for instance: "............what makes the single page found at the Reagan Library so explosive is that it contains the complete and unredacted portion of the intelligence estimate that details what the CIA thought it knew back in 1983 about Israel's work on chemical weapons, which the CIA's censors had carefully excised from the version released to the National Archives in 2009...." http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles... Watch this space!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Huseyin

    Not so much a book, more a well-formatted transcript. Some interesting facts to consider and reflect upon; however, the nature of the book means it is never terribly cohesive and subsequently offers a timeline of specific historical events discussed throughout.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Lasse Skou Lindstad

    Short and fairly superficial. Chomsky has far better books out there than this interview transcript.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

    Outstanding conversations and format, never heard of andre vitcek before but now i'm gonna check out the rest of his work All over Iraq, actually; in several places the radiation is supposed to be fatal. It went up to some unbelievable levels. People are remarkably credible of official propaganda in the West. As someone who was raised in Eastern Europe, I know that there was absolutely no trust amongst the population towards the official government’s story, so in a way, the awareness of the peopl Outstanding conversations and format, never heard of andre vitcek before but now i'm gonna check out the rest of his work All over Iraq, actually; in several places the radiation is supposed to be fatal. It went up to some unbelievable levels. People are remarkably credible of official propaganda in the West. As someone who was raised in Eastern Europe, I know that there was absolutely no trust amongst the population towards the official government’s story, so in a way, the awareness of the people about the world and what was happening in their country was extremely high. They knew all about the “crimes” allegedly committed by their own system; although not necessarily about much more gruesome crimes that have been committed by the West. Their views were mostly shaped by the Western propaganda, by which they were bombarded for decades, through the radio and television stations. It is worth noting that East Europeans were not brainwashed by Soviet propaganda, but by the Western one. But still, there was interest and some awareness about what’s going on in the rest of the world. When I came to the States in 1985, I was at Columbia University, at the film school, and there was the bombing of Libya. And of course Columbia University students were very critical, but then you went to the streets and what shocked me was that total lack of awareness or criticism from the general public. I found that East Europeans were much better informed about their problems, and much more critical of their own system, than the people were here in the United States or in Western Europe. After living on all the continents of the world, I actually believe that the “Westerners” are the most indoctrinated, the least informed and critical group of people anywhere on earth, of course with some exceptions, like Saudi Arabia. But they believe the opposite: that they are the best informed, and the “freest” people. The BBC was usually not jammed in any language, especially not in English. Periodically the Voice of America was jammed in the local languages, or the openly propagandist Radio Liberty/Radio Free Europe. But thinking about it, there was a tremendous thirst for information, and Western propaganda media outlets were taking full advantage of that fact. They had better packaging of their news programs; their propaganda was subtle, refined by centuries of experience. Even when honest, passionate ideological reporting was produced by East Europeans, such as the one concerning the Vietnam War or U.S.-sponsored Contras in Nicaragua, it was so clumsy compared to the refined lies coming from the West, that nobody would believe it in Prague, Budapest, even in certain circles in Moscow. When I came to the United States, I was actually shocked by how misinformed I was by Western propaganda. You see the paradox: the West which claims to be free and open and democratic had hardly any access to, and it was not influenced by, the propaganda that was created in the old Soviet Union or now in China. And not only propaganda: most Western European and U.S. citizens are not influenced by the way Soviets or Chinese see the world. They don’t know much about it. Their world is mono-polar. They don’t compare different ideas, ideals, and ideologies. They only have one ideology; which can be called “market-fundamentalism,” and is served by multi-party Parliamentary systems or by the constitutional monarchies. But the former Soviets and the Chinese were, and are, well informed about capitalism, about Western views on Communism. So who is more open and who is better informed? Look at Chinese bookstores: plenty of capitalist literature. Look at U.S. or European bookstores: hardly any Communist Chinese literature. So this is what I am arguing, when I am writing for the People’s Daily in China and for China Daily, when they interview me now, frequently, in the Chinese media. I am arguing that they should actually be very aware and very careful about the Western propaganda targeting their country. I told them, it’s not really there to inform you, it’s to break the country. And that’s why I am very, very wary about countries like Cuba or China that are under siege, fully opening their cyberspace and media. I am afraid that all this damaging Western propaganda would enter which is actually geared to break the country as it was geared to break Czechoslovakia, as it was geared to break the Soviet Union. So it’s not that I am defending censorship, but on the other hand I also know how vicious and deadly Western airwaves and websites can be. Their main goal is to hurt, to destroy, and not to inform. Whatever we read about China, whenever people go to China, they are shocked because it is a totally different country from what they imagined from reading Western reports. It is totally different from what we are being told, and what the Chinese people are being told about their own nation, by our mass media and propaganda system. It’s very complex. Regarding the U.S. phenomenon in particular, there is a good book by a literary critic, H. Bruce Franklin, who did a study of American popular literature from colonial times up to the present modern period, to include television and so on. And he’s found some quite interesting things. One thing that he found is that there is a common theme running through the literature, a little bit like what you have described: “We are on the edge of an impending catastrophe, and there is some incredible enemy who’s just about to overwhelm and destroy us. And in the last minute we’re saved by a super weapon or some superhero which rises up.” In more recent years, it is things like this that appear on television—Russians are conquering the country, high school students go to the hills and they organize and fight off the invaders and that kind of thing. And who’s the enemy? Quitetypically it’s someone we are crushing. So in the early stages it’s the Indians. In the Declaration of Independence Thomas Jefferson gives his condemnation of King George III saying he unleashed against us “the merciless Indian savages, whose known way of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.” And Jefferson was there—he knew perfectly well it was merciless European savages—but I don’t think he was lying. The conception was: “here we are peaceful . . . the merciless savages are reacting to our takeover of their lands and our driving them out and our killing them by merciless means.” The same enemy is there right throughout the conquest of the new territory. Later it becomes the fear of a slave revolt—the slaves are going to rise up, they are going to kill all the men, and rape all the women, and take over—but we are saved at the last minute. Later in the century, interestingly, it becomes the Chinese—Chinese coolies as they were called were kidnapped and brought to the United States to build the railroads and they would open laundries and things like that, and a theme in literature was: they are going to take over, they have insidious plans, hundreds of millions of them, they were planning to work themselves into American society and take it over. There was a novel, I think it may have been by Jack London, a progressive writer, saying that we should kill everyone in China with biological warfare to stop them before they take over. Later, in the 1950s, it’s the Red Chinese trying to poison American youth, pouring drugs into the country to take it over that way. During the Vietnam War, a myth developed that the army is being hooked on drugs . . . there is an element of truth to it, because they were really pretty angry about what was going on, depressed and so on, but it turns out that they were mostly taking alcohol. But what was focused on was drugs and this was an insidious Vietnamese/Red Chinese plot to turn our brave young men into hardened criminals and drug addicts. So when they came back to the United States they kind of tear the place to shreds. And that’s a large part of what lay behind the propaganda for the drug war. And it goes on like that right to the present—now it’s the Islamic fascists who may take over. Half of the people who call themselves Republicans think that Obama is trying to impose sharia law, and not just on the United States but on the entire world. There are many topics that are taboo in the West and its colonies. I will tell you one short story. I was living in Hanoi and one day an old gentleman from Afghanistan, an educator, came to visit. He was on an official visit to UNESCO. We were introduced and I spent two afternoons taking him around Hanoi. At one point we were sitting in a café and I asked him, “How was Afghanistan during the Soviet Union?” and he said, “Look, it was the only time that my country had any hope. This is when the teachers were both men and women, and women had the same rights as men; and when the country was actually developing for its people.” I said “But this is not what we read!” And he said, “Of course, it’s not what you are going to read but . . .” He gave me many examples and we ended up talking for two days. He’s not the only person who was enthusiastic about the pro-Soviet era in Afghanistan. I talked to other people later, mostly their educators, and now I am convinced that even the Soviet involvement in Afghanistan was totally different from what we are told through the mass media in the West. Chomsky, "Well, the Soviet period in Afghanistan was pretty horrible, but there is a lot more to say about it than appears here. The United Nations had a representative in Kabul in the ’80s working on women’s rights, a well-known international feminist. She was one of the women who organized International Women’s Day. Towards the end she wrote a couple of articles about the state of women in Kabul under the Russians, and it was a very positive picture. She said the only real problem they had was Hekmatyar and the rest of the U.S.-backed Islamist extremistswho were throwing acid in their faces. But other than that, they were very free. They wore what they liked, went to college and had opportunities. I think she sent the article to the Washington Post, which refused to print it. Then, more interestingly, she sent it to the major feminist journal in the United States and they refused to print it. Finally it was printed in the Asia Times, or somewhere like that." But you know when you drive down the street in India, even in New Delhi which is now a rich city by Indian standards, you stop at a light. My friend, who is a dedicated activist and gave her life to the struggle, told me “don’t give them anything.” And I said, “why not?” She said, “well, if you give them one rupee soon we will have a thousand people converging on us.” I noticed as we drove she never looked out of the window. I asked her how she could live with this all around her all the time. She said the only way is if you pretend you don’t see it, otherwise you kill yourself. You can’t survive if you look at it, and most people just choose not to. India is often described as a country with tremendous potential but it’s still a country which lives in the middle ages in many ways. No major mass media outlet in the West would criticize the Indian system, as it is some awful fusion of feudalism and capitalism, with historic anti-Chinese sentiments; exactly what we need. Their religions, caste system, clannishness, misery; all scream “failed state,” but it is never spoken of. The other day I was talking to a friend, a doctor of Indian blood and a chief physician in a large hospital in Harare, Zimbabwe. He told me: “India was recently bragging about being the first country that imposed sanctions on South Africa, during apartheid.” But knowing the structure of Indian society, can you imagine how cynical that move was? With the appalling caste system, and with the feudalism that segregates hundreds of millions of people, India itself is living under terrible apartheid. On one hand, they have great scientists, writers, and philosophers. On the other hand, that’s only a very small percentage of people. The rest is living in a totally feudal environment. I am working on a film about Dalit children inTamil Nadu. When you go down there, it’s a humbling but also a very shocking experience because you understand all this nonsense about the largest democracy in the world. It’s nothing of that nature. It is basically a country where you can still buy an entire block of households to vote in a certain way. You can buy entire villages. You can intimidate entire areas into submission. Some of my Indian friends—intellectuals— are basically there mourning that their country didn’t go the Chinese way. Although only a few are tough enough to openly describe what’s happening in their country as a total disaster. India is one of the best places to live if you are rich and of upper caste or, better still, both, but what a hell if you are poor or even belonging to what they call the emerging middle class. And there are other issues you cannot bring up, like the fascist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) or National Volunteer Organization. They have even been tailoring their clothes using the Hitlerjugend and Italian fascist uniforms as their inspiration. I was in Gujarat right after the massacres in Ahmedabad. I flew there to investigate the aftermath of the Gujarat massacres and then the Gandhinagar temple standoff. I was there for quite some time. The whole situation was extremely disturbing. I met all those right-wing Hindu elements and organizations, including leaders of the RSS. To my surprise I was warmly invited to talk to the Hindu extremists. I was invited to their homes and offices. I guess I looked sufficiently white to them; “Arian.” It felt as if they were burning with desire to share their thoughts and bigoted philosophy with an outsider. India is full of bigotry. It is also being choked by fundamentalist groups from the two major religions of the country. You cannot leave those groups, you are basically owned by them, you can’t escape. It is all endlessly sad; definitely not something that should be presented to the world as an example to follow. Three and a half thousand is increasingly the number that is agreed on. What is really interesting is how they cleaned up the whole evidence. Colón is one of the most devastated cities on earth for many different reasons: because of the gangs, because of the poverty, mismanagement. But what they managed to do was to clean up all the evidence related to the bombings and U.S. invasion. During the invasion, they even bombed the condominium, the tallest building in the city. I photographed it and there could be no mistake, they had to be aware that it was a civilian target. The invasion was obviously very brutal, but there are some things that are extremely difficult to prove, in Panama, as in El Salvador or Nicaragua or Honduras. Things were covered up. One would have to spend several years to investigate the impact on each country. Not many journalists and scientists can do that. In the case of Panama, the spite for its people goes back to the time of the construction of the Panama Canal. Apparently the place where I was staying, right near Colón, which is called the Rainbow City, was where the racial segregation was the most common. I was told that by my Panamanian colleagues, who didn’t experience it themselves, but their grandparents and their parents told them all about the bad old days when the U.S. construction crews arrived in Colón. The segregation and racism they brought with them were thoroughly shocking to the Panamanians. And so the country that has been claiming that it is defending principals and ideals of equality, freedom, and liberty and human rights, comes to Central America, starts building the canal and segregates the local population, and builds different shops and supermarkets and housing for different races. The canal, of course. The worst country in the Western hemisphere right now is Honduras, where the violence is totally out of control. There are two countries in the last decade in the Western hemisphere where the United States has been involved in successful military coups. They tried one in Venezuela, but it failed. The next one was Haiti, where the U.S. and France, the traditional torturers of Haiti, basically invaded and kidnapped a president they didn’t like, and sent him off to Central Africa, and still won’t let his party run in elections in Haiti. Third was Honduras, under the Obama administration. There was a military coup in Honduras, and the president was kidnapped. There were some ritual criticisms, but pretty soon the U.S. broke from almost the entire continent, and even Europe, and supported the fraudulent election carried out by the new military dictatorship and the atrocities that are going on right now. Like the killing of human rights activists, labor activists, extensive killings. The country is being torn to shreds. But it’s the last solid U.S. base in the hemisphere, it contains a major U.S. air base and it supports U.S. investment, so the atrocities are accepted . Actually what is happening in El Salvador right now is a perfect example of the kind of indirect destruction that you were mentioning before. So right now the current government of Salvador has tried to institute some rule of law to protect parts of the country from environmental disaster. But that was going to take away potential profits, from gold mining. Multinational gold mining is the most destructive mining there is. The multinational brought a case against El Salvador under World Trade Organization rules, charging El Salvador with taking their profits illegally by trying to protect parts of the environment from destruction by gold mining. It went to the courts, and the multinational won. The World Trade Organization rules, the international rules, are set up to permit multinational corporations to sue governments for infringing their potential profits when they destroy a country. Now, that doesn’t look like going out and killing people with a machete, but it is. And that’s built into the highly praised rules of the neoliberal system; lauded by international authorities, by economists and so on. It’s not the first such case, but it is happening right at the moment. And in fact mining throughout the world is just a horrendous disaster. I mean, half of India is at war over it. In Colombia there are struggles against it. In Australia the indigenous population is trying to block the destruction of what’s left of the country for them. Just everywhere. I thought of him as hideous, a racist, but so was the British ruling class. The British pioneered the use of aircraft against villagers. Churchill himself favored poisoned gas: not the most lethal kind, just enough to strike “lively terror” into the hearts of “uncivilized tribesmen.” After World War I, such things happened, the Royal Air Force was used to bomb Kurdish, Afghan and Iraqi civilians. Iraq was sort of created by the British in their own interests. There was a rebellion, a Shi’ite rebellion, and they crushed it with aircraft. There was a disarmament conference to bar the use of aircraft against civilians and the British succeeded in killing it. If you take a look at Lloyd George’s diary at that time, he praisedthis. He said it’s a very good thing to do because we have to “reserve the right to bomb niggers.”

  21. 4 out of 5

    Spicy T AKA Mr. Tea

    A quick transcript of Chomsky and Vltchek discussing Western Terrorism. The dialogue moves quickly. There were allusions made that I was unfamiliar with and it would have been nice to have some footnotes as reference points. Chomsky has so many books out there that I'm sure that those reference points are made elsewhere. But that's an assumption. There were some book and documentary titles dropped that I need to look at, which was helpful. I gave it three stars because I just didn't feel like th A quick transcript of Chomsky and Vltchek discussing Western Terrorism. The dialogue moves quickly. There were allusions made that I was unfamiliar with and it would have been nice to have some footnotes as reference points. Chomsky has so many books out there that I'm sure that those reference points are made elsewhere. But that's an assumption. There were some book and documentary titles dropped that I need to look at, which was helpful. I gave it three stars because I just didn't feel like there was a ton of new stuff in here. They are both well versed in human tragedy and noted several sites of catastrophe that I hadn't heard of, but it just didn't make the impact I guess I was hoping for. As always, the books ends with Chomsky noting that we, as people, have the choice of where we want this world to go and that we can change it.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Cvesperc

    Although sometimes leaning a bit too much to the left, Chomsky and Vltchek nevertheless offer a great look behind the curtain of the modern media and the role of the "West" (aka the US) on the global playground within the last 70 years of conflicts. They only further strengthen the prevailing idea that the US and its media are just a corporate tools for pushing certain agendas and that American's are the most ignorant people on the planet with the American government toying with them and the res Although sometimes leaning a bit too much to the left, Chomsky and Vltchek nevertheless offer a great look behind the curtain of the modern media and the role of the "West" (aka the US) on the global playground within the last 70 years of conflicts. They only further strengthen the prevailing idea that the US and its media are just a corporate tools for pushing certain agendas and that American's are the most ignorant people on the planet with the American government toying with them and the rest of the world to suit their needs (usually to secure a hold of oil or other natural resources in certain area and claim it all for themselves). As a Czech, reading Vltchek's opinion of how gypsies are treated in the Czech Republic made me laugh, so I recommend taking most of what is said with a grain of salt.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Reka Paul

    It started off pretty well and I would still recommend it but when it came to issues that I actually know a bit about myself such as China for example I found it rather disturbing that most of what was said was based on visits to the country as short as one day and talks with people, which I believe is not a very good reference in total. Most other issues are also covered mostly in this dialogue fashion without any references to any events, numbers or generalized issues. Hence only three stars.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Simone

    Chomsky never disappoint. I liked this book. It's not an essay, it's a talk with Andre Vltchek I never read about him, but I liked him too. This book let you understand that we are lucky to live in the "North" and we need to be more aware about what happen everyday in our world, and maybe we should be more active, to try to change this world for everyone, especially the people who are less lucky then us (us as people from Europe and USA). Chomsky never disappoint. I liked this book. It's not an essay, it's a talk with Andre Vltchek I never read about him, but I liked him too. This book let you understand that we are lucky to live in the "North" and we need to be more aware about what happen everyday in our world, and maybe we should be more active, to try to change this world for everyone, especially the people who are less lucky then us (us as people from Europe and USA).

  25. 5 out of 5

    Dean

    As always with Noam Chomsky - very interesting, non main stream views but borders on anti-western at times, although undoubtedly justified when reading some of the content. The books often make me question our governments and media but with no real substance of what to do about it. Will continue to read and be enlightened by Chomsky

  26. 5 out of 5

    Esra

    Just the truth, even if I find some of his comments like Latin America is getting better a bit too optimistic. Also I had the sensation that he is trying to curb his critique towards the US a bit too much. Otherwise finally reading on black on white what is what!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Robin McClain

    Chomsky offers good analysis of what the West considers as terrorism and what they away with because of its double standards. My only concern with this book is that it doesn't go deep enough into the discussed issues. Chomsky offers good analysis of what the West considers as terrorism and what they away with because of its double standards. My only concern with this book is that it doesn't go deep enough into the discussed issues.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Dan Goldblatt

    Must read

  29. 4 out of 5

    Megan Redfern

    This text is what they should replace high school history textbooks with. I got more out of reading this book than any courses from high school and my undergraduate degree combined.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Bella

    A good introductory book, no sources, and kind of condescending but insightful.

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