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Chomsky Says UN Operates in US' Limits, Slams Turkey Bombing PKK

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 14 -- When Noam Chomsky came to the UN to give a speech in the General Assembly on Palestinian rights, Inner City Press asked him about UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's performance on Palestine, and about the situation of the Kurds of Kobane in Syria. Video here and embedded below.

  Chomsky said that the UN operates in limits set by the great powers, on Palestine mostly the US, and that it has been that way for 50 years. He went on to chide the BDS movement, calling it only “BD” (boycott and divestment") since sanctions “come only from states.” He said tactics about the occupation are effective, about the right to return for refugees, not so much.

  On Kobane, Chomsky called it a terrible situation, noting that Turkey had just bombed not the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant but rather the Kurdish PKK, which he called the most effective force so far in combating ISIL.

  The moderator gently chided Inner City Press, which prefaced its questions by thanking Chomsky on behalf of the new Free UN Coalition for Access, for not limited its questions to Palestine.

  But Chomsky seemed happy to answer both. He went on to talk about coming to the UN in 1978 about East Timor, “the press didn't care,” he said.

  Those attitudes remain in place in the UN, and the Free UN Coalition for Access is working to combat it. On Sri Lanka, the old UN Correspondents Association used the privileged position the UN gives it to host the Rajapaksa government's denial of war crimes.

  After Inner City Press covered this, it was told to remove the article from the Internet or it would be thrown out of the UN. Documents emerged about this after a Freedom of Information Act request, here (Voice of America), here (Reuters, and censorship), here (AFP) and on UNCA itself, here. Chomsky stands for freedom of inquiry, and there should be more of it at the UN.


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