CHOMSKY SAYS NO MEANINGFUL EVIDENCE OF COUP AGAINST IMRAN KHAN!

The famed leftwing political activist says that using the threatening letter as evidence of a coup is “meaningless”!

I have for long admired and followed Prof. Chomsky’s work. Among the people he has never met, I am probably one of the few with whom it was Prof. Chomsky who initiated an email correspondence! Well, technically. Here’s what happened: Anyone remember ZNet? Any leftist worth her salt surely does! Back in the day ZNet was the biggest lefty online site. It had a sustainers program under which you could become a paying member and then get to ask Prof. Chomsky questions on the ChomskyChat forum/message board. Unlike today, his email address was not then widely available, and I admit I became a sustainer only to ask Prof. Chomsky questions. I was 20-21 at the time, and I remember asking him a naïve question on the forum to which Prof. Chomsky kindly replied (also on the forum). However, it was three days later that I got one of the biggest surprises of my young life. An email from Prof. Chomsky in my inbox, not on the forum! Not only had he written to me but he was asking for my help! He was due to visit Pakistan and said that he knew very little about Pakistan’s situation on the ground and wanted to “learn from my insights” on Pakistan’s then current situation. I was both excited and petrified: excited that I now had his golden email address, and petrified because I was fully cognizant of how out of my depth I was. Fortunately, I decided not to use my “infinite wisdom” and instead asked my father, Ahfaz-ur-Rahman, a senior left activist, journalist and former president of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists, to draft a reply, which I sent to Prof. Chomsky on his behalf.

Today, many years later, I decided to communicate with Professor Chomsky again. As most readers would know, there is a widespread conspiracy mania in Pakistan right now according to which Imran Khan was ousted in a US backed coup. Even some  western leftists have joined in. There are some usual suspects like Benjamin Norton but even someone like Justin Podur, whom I have always admired, has also been peddling this conspiracy theory. Naturally, Pakistani leftists are dismayed by this as the brave left activist Ammar Ali Jan tried to make clear in this Jacobin article. Of course, as expected, Prof Chomsky naturally is not among such western leftists. However, it appears to me that mainstream Pakistani journalists who are (rightly) against this conspiracy narrative have started including Prof. Chomsky among those western leftists who are claiming that there was a coup in Pakistan. This could be the reason why the popular Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir retweeted a series of smear tweets by the ugly smear artist Idrees Ahmed in which Idrees “chastised” Professor Chomsky and the western left for seeing everything through the prism of American imperialism and in doing so, as usual, misrepresented Prof. Chomsky completely. Much to my dismay, Cyril Almedia also retweeted those tweets. So the first reason that I decided to mail Prof. Chomsky was to take his views on this alleged, supposed coup, because even though he surely does not need my help, I still wanted to set the record straight on his behalf.

The second reason is anti-imperialism and how Prof. Chomsky often gets misused by rightists and centrists in Pakistan in particular, and global South in general. So it has to be conceded that many of those PTI supporters who are now chanting anti-America slogans and decrying the “American coup” have either directly or indirectly been influenced by a perceived Chomskyan worldview (which Chomsky himself rubbishes and derides) according to which the US is all-powerful and controls everything like a puppet-master. As Chomsky has said repeatedly:

“The US is powerful, but not all-powerful. There is a tendency to attribute everything that happens in the world to the CIA or some diabolical Western plan. There is plenty to condemn, sharply. And the US is indeed powerful. But it’s nothing like what is often believed.” (Emphasis added)

To set the record straight, I wrote to Professor Chomsky and in reply to my questions about the alleged “coup” against Imran Khan’s government, Professor Chomsky said that while it was not impossible, he hadn’t seen “any meaningful evidence” to support this assertion. When asked what he thought about the cable from the former ambassador to the US, Mr Asad Majeed as evidence, Chomsky said that he did not regard that as “substantial evidence“.

Finally, when asked how would he respond to people who regard the cable as solid evidence of a coup, and who could retort to him, how else does regime change work if not by issuing such threatening messages, Professor Chomsky responded:

By that logic, there are regime changes being planned constantly all over the world.  Meaningless” !!

So the centrists and rightists (and even some leftists) who take inspiration for their “anti-imperialism” from Professor Chomsky, or the perceived Chomsky (and not the actual one) should take heed that all their triumphant pronouncements of a coup, based on the “threatening letter” are deemed to be meaningless by the biggest critic of American foreign policy and one of the leading anti-imperialists in the world.

In the end I just want to note that this post is not aimed at pleasing any political party in Pakistan or the army, the so-called establishment. Our fortunes won’t change drastically under any of them. The challenge today, as Ammar Ali Jan rightly says in his above-mentioned article, is to locate an independent politics that stems from the needs of the working classes and links the struggles against authoritarianism with a social revolution against the structures of neo-feudalism and capitalism. In Pakistan, unity among trade unions, farmers associations, student activists, women, minorities, and professionals can build a strong coalition that no longer relies on support from “electables” to win elections and can pose a durable challenge to imperialism.

*For those interested, here is my Twitter handle: https://twitter.com/RRahman2022

*Update at 25/4/2022: Despite the last paragraph of this post, in fact the entire gist of this post, which kept strictly to the conspiracy narrative, I have received a slew of deranged correspondence. On the other hand, many people have asked for screenshots of the conversation. They really don’t help, as I can already see many doctored screenshots going around on Twitter. Screenshots are not going to convince anyone. However, for those willing to be convinced by screenshots of the correspondence, I present something better. Please see below (it seems people have been asking Prof. Chomsky about the veracity of his quotes in the above article:

Update at 26/4/2022: Several people have been asking to see the correspondence again. The fact is that all of Professor Chomsky’s quotes are already in the interview. The line which may have been omitted by some media outlets running the story was as follows: “It’s not impossible, but I haven’t seen any meaningful evidence” and this was reflected in the above article as follows:

Of course no sane person would reject such a serious allegation out of hand. The main point is/was that the diplomatic cable which is/was being touted as evidence of coup, is not substantial evidence and it is meaningless to tout it as such.

59 responses to “CHOMSKY SAYS NO MEANINGFUL EVIDENCE OF COUP AGAINST IMRAN KHAN!”

  1. I totally agree with you upon above mentioned commentary by professor. Actually, we shiver to face the facts.But we have to struggle for our better future. I endorse of your viewpoint about invalidity of foreign conspiracy. Actually this letter was forged by inner member of party and now they are using it as a political card

    1. Who are you to decide that it was some inner member??

      1. A phone call changed Pakistan to join a war. It does not take much for the USA to make deep changes in the Politics and establishment of Pakistan. The letter exposes the bullying attitude of cowboys.

        1. Thank you for reading. As you can see from the above, Chomsky disagrees with you given that he also knows all about such phone calls and cables. I thank you for disagreeing respectfully and I thank you again for reading!

      2. Thank you for disagreeing with the above commenter respectfully and thanks for reading!

    2. Thank you for reading

    3. Whatever happened, IK is not that substance for a conspiracy can hatched. The only enemy of IK is IK himself and what really make us worry is when we see narrative advanced by IK is accepted by some of the so-called literates – thats really unfortunate.

      We know the new government is equally corrupt like IK Govt but IK introduced the culture of disrespect, sloganizm and inefficiency and to hide all these he get help from such narratives.

      1. Thank you for your thoughtful comment!

  2. I respect a lot Chomsky as most powerful voice against American imperialism but will tend to disagree with him on degree or quality of evidence. He is right that such regime change is continuous phenomenon in US Foreign Policy but letter or cable and consequential regime change occurred which makes it enough evidence

    1. Thank you for replying respectfully. The rest of the responses from (presumably) IK supporters are totally unhinged and deranged. Thanks

  3. […] “So the centrists and rightists (and even some leftists) who take inspiration for their ‘anti-imperialism’ from Professor Chomsky, or the perceived Chomsky (and not the actual one) should take heed that all their triumphant pronouncements of a coup, based on the ‘threatening letter’ are deemed to be meaningless by the biggest critic of American foreign policy and one of the leading anti-imperialists in the world,” the blogger wrote. […]

  4. […] “So the centrists and rightists (and even some leftists) who take inspiration for their ‘anti-imperialism’ from Professor Chomsky, or the perceived Chomsky (and not the actual one) should take heed that all their triumphant pronouncements of a coup, based on the ‘threatening letter’ are deemed to be meaningless by the biggest critic of American foreign policy and one of the leading anti-imperialists in the world,” the blogger wrote. […]

  5. […] Array ArrayArray […]

  6. […] “لہذا سینٹرسٹ اور رائٹسٹ (اور یہاں تک کہ کچھ بائیں بازو) جو پروفیسر چومسکی، یا سمجھے جانے والے چومسکی (اور اصل سے نہیں) سے اپنے ‘سامراج مخالف’ کے لیے تحریک لیتے ہیں اس بات پر دھیان دینا چاہیے کہ بغاوت کے ان کے تمام فاتحانہ اعلانات، بنیاد پر۔ امریکی خارجہ پالیسی کے سب سے بڑے ناقد اور دنیا کے ممتاز سامراج مخالفوں میں سے ایک ‘خطرہ دھمکی’ کو بے معنی سمجھتے ہیں،” بلاگر لکھا. […]

  7. […] “So the centrists and rightists (and even some leftists) who take inspiration for their ‘anti-imperialism’ from Professor Chomsky, or the perceived Chomsky (and not the actual one) should take heed that all their triumphant pronouncements of a coup, based on the ‘threatening letter’ are deemed to be meaningless by the biggest critic of American foreign policy and one of the leading anti-imperialists in the world,” the blogger wrote. […]

  8. […] “لہذا سینٹرسٹ اور رائٹسٹ (اور یہاں تک کہ کچھ بائیں بازو) جو پروفیسر چومسکی، یا سمجھے جانے والے چومسکی (اور اصل سے نہیں) سے اپنے ‘سامراج مخالف’ کے لیے تحریک لیتے ہیں اس بات پر دھیان دینا چاہیے کہ بغاوت کے ان کے تمام فاتحانہ اعلانات، بنیاد پر۔ امریکی خارجہ پالیسی کے سب سے بڑے ناقد اور دنیا کے ممتاز سامراج مخالفوں میں سے ایک ‘خطرہ دھمکی’ کو بے معنی سمجھتے ہیں،” بلاگر لکھا. […]

  9. […] “So the centrists and rightists (and even some leftists) who take inspiration for their ‘anti-imperialism’ from Professor Chomsky, or the perceived Chomsky (and not the actual one) should take heed that all their triumphant pronouncements of a coup, based on the ‘threatening letter’ are deemed to be meaningless by the biggest critic of American foreign policy and one of the leading anti-imperialists in the world,” the blogger wrote. […]

  10. […] “So the centrists and rightists (and even some leftists) who take inspiration for their ‘anti-imperialism’ from Professor Chomsky, or the perceived Chomsky (and not the actual one) should take heed that all their triumphant pronouncements of a coup, based on the ‘threatening letter’ are deemed to be meaningless by the biggest critic of American foreign policy and one of the leading anti-imperialists in the world,” the blogger wrote. […]

  11. […] “So the centrists and rightists (and even some leftists) who take inspiration for their ‘anti-imperialism’ from Professor Chomsky, or the perceived Chomsky (and not the actual one) should take heed that all their triumphant pronouncements of a coup, based on the ‘threatening letter’ are deemed to be meaningless by the biggest critic of American foreign policy and one of the leading anti-imperialists in the world,” the blogger wrote. […]

  12. Has Mr Chomsky Done some investigations in this regard? It’s just a general question and equally general answer. It says nothing. Meaning of the question is intriguing. Regards

    1. The point behind the question(s) was that Chomsky has a long record of having seen all kinds of imperialistic strong arm tactics and atrocities carried out by the US govt., and he also has a long record of having examined declassified documents and cables. So his opinion counts. Of course, we are all free to disagree with him. Thank you so much for your respectful comment.

  13. Okay Noam Chomsky is just another voice out there trying to chime in on the political mess in Pakistan. Its his opinion and for some unknown reason he “asserts” I assume there was “no meaningful evidence of a coup in Pakistan”. Sure, this was not a coup in the strict meaning of a coup and I am not sure anyone is even asserting that. Yes, people insinuate a coup type initiated change in which a foreign power in this case the US (not the first time) intervened in Pakistan’s internal matters and instigated a change using the local abettors to include the always guilty Pakistan Army. Whether its Chomsky, Saul Kripke (personal favorite) or Pete Singer does not matter. They have a right to an opinion like every rat assed rascal I suppose but its their opinion and it ends right there.

    1. I would respectfully note that Chomsky is not “just another voice” given his long track record. However, I really appreciate your respectful disagreement. Thanks!

      1. And I would double respectfully retort that Noam Chomsky is just another voice. He graduated (I think) from Harvard well so did Ted Cruz? Try and understand education liberates you to think and analyze. It also compels you to not accept a word or an edict on face value and consider it the final word even religious text. Last I checked Noam chomsky had not declared prophethood? Tread with care!

        1. As I said to someone else above, the point behind the question(s) was that Chomsky has a long record of having seen all kinds of imperialist strong arm tactics and atrocities carried out by the US govt., and he also has a long record of having examined declassified documents and cables. So his opinion counts. Of course, we are all free to disagree with him, and you are absolutely correct that he is not above criticism! Thank you so much for your respectful comment.

  14. […] “لہٰذا سینٹرسٹ اور دائیں بازو کے لوگ (اور کچھ بائیں بازو کے بھی) جو پروفیسر چومسکی، یا چومسکی (حقیقی نہیں) سے اپنے ‘سامراج مخالف’ سے متاثر ہوئے ہیں، ان کے بغاوت کے تمام فاتحانہ اعلانات پر توجہ دینی چاہیے۔ امریکی خارجہ پالیسی کے سب سے بڑے ناقد اور دنیا کے سامراج مخالفوں میں سے ایک، بلاگر کتابیں. […]

  15. […] “لہٰذا سینٹرسٹ اور دائیں بازو کے لوگ (اور کچھ بائیں بازو کے بھی) جو پروفیسر چومسکی، یا چومسکی (حقیقی نہیں) سے اپنے ‘سامراج مخالف’ سے متاثر ہوئے ہیں، ان کے بغاوت کے تمام فاتحانہ اعلانات پر توجہ دینی چاہیے۔ امریکی خارجہ پالیسی کے سب سے بڑے ناقد اور دنیا کے سامراج مخالفوں میں سے ایک، بلاگر کتابیں. […]

  16. […] “So the centrists and rightists (and even some leftists) who take inspiration for their ‘anti-imperialism’ from Professor Chomsky, or the perceived Chomsky (and not the actual one) should take heed that all their triumphant pronouncements of a coup, based on the ‘threatening letter’ are deemed to be meaningless by the biggest critic of American foreign policy and one of the leading anti-imperialists in the world,” the blogger wrote. […]

  17. The professor is absolutely right. Terming some comments written by your own ambassador to another country an evidence of conspiracy is an attempt to discredit every voice that speaks about the actual conspiracies against various regimes across the world, and not just by the US. We need to choose terminology carefully. A comment on my country’s relationships with another country can’t be called a conspiracy. This is ridiculous.

  18. […] “لہذا سینٹرسٹ اور رائٹسٹ (اور یہاں تک کہ کچھ بائیں بازو) جو پروفیسر چومسکی، یا سمجھے جانے والے چومسکی (اور اصل سے نہیں) سے اپنے ‘سامراج مخالف’ کے لیے تحریک لیتے ہیں اس بات پر دھیان دینا چاہیے کہ بغاوت کے ان کے تمام فاتحانہ اعلانات، بنیاد پر۔ امریکی خارجہ پالیسی کے سب سے بڑے ناقد اور دنیا کے ممتاز سامراج مخالفوں میں سے ایک ‘خطرہ دھمکی’ کو بے معنی سمجھتے ہیں،” بلاگر لکھا. […]

  19. […] “So the centrists and rightists (and even some leftists) who take inspiration for their ‘anti-imperialism’ from Professor Chomsky, or the perceived Chomsky (and not the actual one) should take heed that all their triumphant pronouncements of a coup, based on the ‘threatening letter’ are deemed to be meaningless by the biggest critic of American foreign policy and one of the leading anti-imperialists in the world,” the blogger wrote. […]

  20. […] “So the centrists and rightists (and even some leftists) who take inspiration for their ‘anti-imperialism’ from Professor Chomsky, or the perceived Chomsky (and not the actual one) should take heed that all their triumphant pronouncements of a coup, based on the ‘threatening letter’ are deemed to be meaningless by the biggest critic of American foreign policy and one of the leading anti-imperialists in the world,” the blogger wrote. […]

  21. […] “So the centrists and rightists (and even some leftists) who take inspiration for their ‘anti-imperialism’ from Professor Chomsky, or the perceived Chomsky (and not the actual one) should take heed that all their triumphant pronouncements of a coup, based on the ‘threatening letter’ are deemed to be meaningless by the biggest critic of American foreign policy and one of the leading anti-imperialists in the world,” the blogger wrote. […]

  22. I agreed that no any conspiracy hatched against former Prime Minister. His style of governance and mismanagement became cause of his ouster. His coalition partners left him because of inflation, corruption and unemployment.
    Former PM ditched himself and no any foreign country involved.

  23. […] “So the centrists and rightists (and even some leftists) who take inspiration for their ‘anti-imperialism’ from Professor Chomsky, or the perceived Chomsky (and not the actual one) should take heed that all their triumphant pronouncements of a coup, based on the ‘threatening letter’ are deemed to be meaningless by the biggest critic of American foreign policy and one of the leading anti-imperialists in the world,” the blogger wrote. […]

  24. […] “لہذا سینٹرسٹ اور رائٹسٹ (اور یہاں تک کہ کچھ بائیں بازو) جو پروفیسر چومسکی، یا سمجھے جانے والے چومسکی (اور اصل سے نہیں) سے اپنے ‘سامراج مخالف’ کے لیے تحریک لیتے ہیں اس بات پر دھیان دینا چاہیے کہ بغاوت کے ان کے تمام فاتحانہ اعلانات، بنیاد پر۔ امریکی خارجہ پالیسی کے سب سے بڑے ناقد اور دنیا کے ممتاز سامراج مخالفوں میں سے ایک ‘خطرہ دھمکی’ کو بے معنی سمجھتے ہیں،” بلاگر لکھا. […]

  25. […] “So the centrists and rightists (and even some leftists) who take inspiration for his or her ‘anti-imperialism’ from Professor Chomsky, or the perceived Chomsky (and never the precise one) ought to take heed that each one their triumphant pronouncements of a coup, based mostly on the ‘threatening letter’ are deemed to be meaningless by the largest critic of American overseas coverage and one of many main anti-imperialists on the earth,” the blogger wrote. […]

  26. […] asked by a blogger what he thought about the cable from the former ambassador to the US Asad Majeed as […]

  27. […] asked by a blogger what he thought about the cable from the former ambassador to the US Asad Majeed as […]

  28. […] asked by a blogger what he thought about the cable from the former ambassador to the US Asad Majeed as […]

  29. Professor Chomsky is a respectable scholar. However, I think he is basing his view only on the cable and not paying attention to Imran’s statement that the opposition politicians and dissenting PTI parliamentarians had been meeting with US embassy in Islamabad.

    1. Thank you for disagreeing respectfully, and thanks for reading.

  30. […] asked by a blogger what he thought about the cable from the former ambassador to the US Asad Majeed as […]

  31. […] world’s most-celebrated intellectual made the statement during an interaction with a blogger. “The US is powerful, but not all-powerful. There is a […]

  32. […] world’s most-celebrated intellectual made the statement during an interaction with a blogger. “The US is powerful, but not all-powerful. There is a […]

  33. Hi Rrameez,

    Will u be kind enough to share the screen short of your whole correspondence with Mr. Chomsky.

    1. Hi Hammad, Thank you for reading and for being respectful. I doubt this is going to convince anyone, but please see above for the Update at 25/4/2022 at the end of the post.
      Best, Rameez

  34. […] لہٰذا سینٹرسٹ اور رائٹسٹ (اور کچھ بائیں بازو کے بھی) جو پروفیسر چومسکی، یا خیالی چومسکی (حقیقی کے بجائے) سے اپنے “سامراج مخالف” کے لیے تحریک لیتے ہیں، کو یہ بات ذہن میں رکھنی چاہیے کہ بغاوت کے بارے میں ان کے تمام فاتحانہ بیانات پر مبنی ہیں۔ دھمکیوں کے ساتھ خط “امریکی خارجہ پالیسی کا سب سے بڑا ناقد اور دنیا میں سامراج مخالف صف اول میں شمار ہوتا ہے،” بلاگر لکھتا ہے۔ میں نے لکھا. […]

  35. […] "لہذا سینٹرسٹ اور رائٹسٹ (اور یہاں تک کہ کچھ بائیں بازو) جو پروفیسر چومسکی، یا سمجھے جانے والے چومسکی (اور اصل سے نہیں) سے اپنے ‘سامراج مخالف’ کے لیے تحریک لیتے ہیں اس بات پر دھیان دینا چاہیے کہ بغاوت کے ان کے تمام فاتحانہ اعلانات، بنیاد پر۔ امریکی خارجہ پالیسی کے سب سے بڑے ناقد اور دنیا کے ممتاز سامراج مخالفوں میں سے ایک ‘خطرہ دھمکی’ کو بے معنی سمجھتے ہیں،” بلاگر لکھا. […]

  36. Dear Rehman ,
    US Seems to have been absolved by Chomsky of it’s All Crimes committed on account of CenturyOld ” Doctrine of Regime Change ” carried out World-Over.
    Regards / Hussam ul Haque

    1. Thank you for reading. I disagree that Prof. Chomsky is doing what you say he is doing. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  37. […] “So the centrists and rightists (and even some leftists) who take inspiration for their ‘anti-imperialism’ from Professor Chomsky, or the perceived Chomsky (and not the actual one) should take heed that all their triumphant pronouncements of a coup, based on the ‘threatening letter’ are deemed to be meaningless by the biggest critic of American foreign policy and one of the leading anti-imperialists in the world,” the blogger wrote. […]

  38. […] “So the centrists and rightists (and even some leftists) who take inspiration for their ‘anti-imperialism’ from Professor Chomsky, or the perceived Chomsky (and not the actual one) should take heed that all their triumphant pronouncements of a coup, based on the ‘threatening letter’ are deemed to be meaningless by the biggest critic of American foreign policy and one of the leading anti-imperialists in the world,” the blogger wrote. […]

  39. There’s a clarification in the name of Prof Chomsky going around on social media.
    “They picked one line out of a personal letter, and omitted the line that said it wouldn’t be at all surprising if there’s an American hand.”
    Can you please share your complete communication?

    1. Dear Muhammad20011990,
      Kindly see Update at 26/4/2022 above.
      Thanks for reading.
      Best Regards,
      Rameez

  40. People on the ground are not really too bothered about what America did or didn’t do,they feel that whole process through which the Government was toppled was dodgy and they are not happy about it!! As far as Left in Pakistan is concerned it is almost completely cut off from the people on the ground as it has always been! ! Thanks! !

    1. Thank you for reading. The first point you make is important and should be given due consideration. Thanks. I do not agree with your second point, given the long line of left stalwarts and left movements which were totally based on people on the ground including Hasan Nasir Shaheed, Habib Jalib, the journalists, peasants, farmers and students movement against Zia ul Haq, to name just a few. I thank you for reading and for your thoughtful comment!

  41. […] all sorts of crazies or otherwise curious souls? I asked myself this question as I realized that my blog post aimed at defending Prof. Chomsky, had gone viral–crazy viral, having been picked up by almost all mainstream Pakistani TV […]

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