Chomsky – champion of human rights?

Without a question mark appended, the title above would be a sick joke. But an even sicker joke is that the once esteemed human rights campaigning body Amnesty International has invited Noam Chomsky to present its annual lecture. The sometime academic was also given three pages of the latest Amnesty UK magazine in which to air his views on life, the universe and stuff.

Observer journalist Ed Vulliamy is unimpressed with Amnesty’s move. Vulliamy, you may recall, was at the centre of a libel case that resulted in the Revolutionary Communist Party magazine LM folding after its contributors engaged in genocide revisionism, claiming that the well-documented concentration camps at Omarska and Trnopolje were faked by Bosniaks intent on demonising Serbia in the international court of public opinion. In March 2000, Vulliamy and his ITN colleagues sued the RCP/LM and won, only to be excoriated by the culturati of Britain for violating the Furedi cult members’ free speech.

Chomsky has described Vulliamy patronisingly as a “good journalist”, who on this occasion “got it wrong”. It would appear that opinions are sacred, and no amount of documented fact will suffice to counter the claims of those who set out to turn historical reality on its head in service of an ideological agenda that links fascism from right to left across the political spectrum.

From Ed Vulliamy’s open letter to Amnesty International…

“These people pretend neutrality over Bosnia, but are actually apologists for the Milosevic/Karadzic/Mladic plan, only too pathetic to admit it. And the one thing they never consider from their armchairs is the ghastly, searing, devastating impact of their game on the survivors and the bereaved. The pain they cause is immeasurable. This, along with the historical record, is my main concern. It is one thing to survive the camps, to lose one’s family and friends – quite another to be told by a bunch of academics with a didactic agenda in support of the pogrom that those camps never existed. The LM/Novo/Chomsky argument that the story of the camps was somehow fake has been used in countless (unsuccessful) attempts to defend mass murderers in The Hague.”

Note Vulliamy’s subtle use of “didactic agenda”. I would put it in much stronger terms.