Noam Chomsky on secret trade deals, killing polio workers, fighting for the commons in Turkey and the heroism of Bradley Manning

Laura Flanders interviews Noam Chomsky,
18 June 2013

What do Takism Square, Google Glass, the Trans-Pacific Partnership and NSA data gathering have in common? Find out in this interview with Noam Chomsky.

On the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the pending trade deal critics are calling “NAFTA on steroids”:

These are patent rules so high, if they’d existed in 19th century the US would be an agricultural producer today… What we now call “piracy” is the way the rich countries developed. There’s a phrase for it in trade theory: kicking away the ladder. First you violate all the rules, then by the time you get rich you kick away the ladder so others can’t do it too and you preach about “free trade.”

On the “war on terror”:

The way they tracked Osama bin Laden was by a fake vaccination campaign…a grotesque violation of Hippocratic oath. One of the consequences right away was attacks on polio vaccination workers… One of these days, someone’s going to point to a child sitting in a wheel chair and say “you did it to him.”

On Google Glass:

“A dream that Orwell couldn’t have concocted.”

On the Turkish protests around Taksim Square:

The very brave people in Taksim Square are trying to protect the very last remnants of the commons from the wrecking block… That’s important for Turkey but it’s more than that. It’s the commons which globally we’re destroying; the environment and the atmosphere, by the same wrecking ball.

On Bradley Manning:

He ought to be regarded as a hero…Like the trade agreement, the public has a right to know what’s being done to them by their so-called elected representatives, but there’s a principle that he’s violating, namely that power has to be protected from scrutiny…that’s the principle of every dictatorship … you can hear it from the high priests of government. Bradley Manning is violating that.

This conversation was recorded backstage at the Left Forum in New York, June 8, 2013.


Noam Chomsky is Institute Professor Emeritus at the MIT Department of Linguistics and Philosophy. He is the author of numerous best-selling political works, including recently Hopes and Prospects and Making the Future. Noam Chomsky is also a member of the IOA Advisory Board.

Back to Top

Readers are welcome to discuss IOA content on our Facebook page. To participate, please click HERE.