Henry Kissinger

by JASON | 10:01 AM in |

Henry Alfred Kissinger (born Heinz Alfred Kissinger on May 27, 1923), pronounced /ˈkɪsɨndʒər/[1], is a German-born American political scientist, diplomat, and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. He served as National Security Advisor and later concurrently as Secretary of State in the Nixon administration.

A proponent of Realpolitik, Kissinger played a dominant role in United States foreign policy between 1969 and 1977. During this period, he pioneered the policy of détente. He negotiated a settlement ending the Vietnam war, but the cease-fire proved unstable and no lasting peace resulted beyond the retreat of US troops.

In the Nixon and Ford administrations he cut a flamboyant figure. He described himself as perhaps the only National Security Advisor to have a fan club. His foreign policy record made him a villain to the anti-war left (see the Operation Condor section below). Kissinger was the "most frequent visitor" to the George W. Bush White House as an unofficial political advisor on Israel and the Middle East—including the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Kissinger's political involvement continues—A press release issued by the 45th Munich Conference on Security Policy on February 8, 2009 declared "His voice continues to bear weight and authority throughout the globe."[2] Also at the conference National Security Adviser James L. Jones stated "I take my daily orders from Dr. Kissinger, filtered down through General Brent Scowcroft and Sandy Berger, who is also here."


VATICAN CITY - Over the course of his long and controversial career, former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has had many titles. Now he reportedly has one more - adviser to the Pope. According to the Italian newspaper La Stampa, Pope Benedict XVI has invited the 83-year-old former adviser to Richard Nixon to be a political consultant, and Kissinger has accepted. Quoting an "authoritative" diplomatic source at the Holy See, the paper reported Nov. 4 that the Nobel laureate was asked at a recent private audience with the Holy Father to form part of a papal "advisory board" on foreign and political affairs.


Henry Kissinger may have one of the most recognized faces or the planet. Born in Germany, young Henry came to the US in 1938 as Hitler's Nazi thugs were busy building the Third Reich. With his Teutonic bearing, marcelled hair and guttural, buzzsaw voice the former US official would have trouble being inconspicuous. Not that he's tried - Dr K has not exactly kept his light under a bushel since he served as US National Security Advisor and Secretary of State under Presidents Nixon and Ford between 1969 and 1977.

Now nearly 80, the ex-Harvard Prof is still full of brio and a force to be reckoned with. He is regularly invited to opine on CNN and ABC. His dyspeptic prose shows up in the pages of Newsweek and the Washington Post and his banal speeches to the corporate elite earn him $30,000 a pop. Kissinger is a man with connections and he's made them pay. The client list of his New York-based consulting firm reads like a 'who's who' of the world's major corporations: Freeport-McMoRan, Volvo, Chase Manhattan, American Express. He is feted in the salons of London and Los Angeles and has parlayed his statesmanship shtick into a nice little earner - offering to 'smooth and facilitate contact between multinational corporations and foreign governments'.

Kissinger's recent corporate whoring has been sleazy but hardly criminal. In fact, a cynic would say it's pretty routine stuff. Not so his past - and that is what's coming back to haunt him. In an era where high-ranking politicians like the Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet and the Serb assassin Slobodan Milosovic have been brought to book for their crimes against humanity, there is a growing international campaign to call Dr K to account. The case against him was recently boosted by the publication of The Trial of Henry Kissinger, journalist Christopher Hitchens' masterful account of the man's felonies.

And those there are aplenty. Evidence shows that Kissinger sabotaged the 1968 Vietnam peace talks which allowed the US -Vietnam War to drag on for another four years. Three million Vietnamese and 58,000 Americans were killed in that conflict. There is also proof that Kissinger personally persuaded Nixon to extend the war to Cambodia and Laos which led to another million civilian deaths. The secret bombing raids were given nauseating code names like 'Operation Breakfast'. After one raid, Nixon's chief of staff HR Haldeman wrote in his diary: 'Historic day, K's "Operation Breakfast" finally came off at 2:00pm... K really excited... he came beaming in with the report, very productive. 'The raids killed 350,000 civilians in Laos and more than 600,000 in Cambodia.

The truth is out there, Henry - and it's getting closer all the time. Last April, Kissinger was about to fly to London when he discovered that a Spanish judge and a French magistrate were both requesting permission from Britain to question him about 'Operation Condor'- a 19705 plan by seven South American dictatorships to wipe out leftist opposition in Latin America with behind-the-scenes support from Washington. The judges want to question Kissinger about the torture and illegal execution of French and Spanish citizens after the 1973 military coup in Chile.

Richard Nixon was especially annoyed by the 1970 election of the socialist, Salvador Allende, in Chile and assigned Kissinger the job of getting rid of him. Dr K was chairman of the Forty Committee, a CIA working group whose task was to cause chaos inside the country which would lead to a military coup. After all, quipped Kissinger: 'The issues are much too important for the Chilean voters to be left to decide for themselves... l don't see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist because of the irresponsibility of its own people.'

The first plan was to assassinate General Rene Schheider (a Chilean democrat who was opposed to military involvement in government) and pin it on the Left. Hitchens implicates Kissinger directly in this act of state terrorism. Schneider's family is now pursuing the case through the courts. And the Chilean supreme court has also requested that Kissinger answer questions about the murder of Charles Horman, an American journalist arrested by Pinochet's troops after the 1973 coup. The case was the subject of the award-wining 1983 film Missing.

And the charges don't stop there. Hitchens outlines Dr K's nefarious role in one bloodbath after another'- from Cyprus to Angola to Bangladesh to East Timor. In the last case, the day after Kissinger and President Ford flew out of Jakarta on 6 December 1975 Indonesia launched a full-scale attack on the small island which left 200,000 dead. Before leaving, Kissinger told the Indonesian leader, General Suharto, that the US would not recognize East Timor's independence claim - effectively a green light for the invasion and brutal repression that followed.


When Henry Kissinger began secretly taping all of his phone conversations in 1969, little did he know that he was giving history the gift that keeps on giving. Now, on the 35th anniversary of the September 11, 1973, CIA-backed military coup in Chile, phone transcripts that Kissinger made of his talks with President Nixon and the CIA chief among other top government officials reveal in the most candid of language the imperial mindset of the Nixon administration as it began plotting to overthrow President Salvador Allende, the world's first democratically elected Socialist. "We will not let Chile go down the drain," Kissinger told CIA director Richard Helms in a phone call following Allende's narrow election on September 4, 1970, according to a recently declassified transcript. "I am with you," Helms responded.

The "telcons"--telephone conversations transcripts made by Kissinger's secretary from audio tapes that were later destroyed--captured for posterity all of Kissinger's outgoing and incoming phone calls during his tenure as national security advisor and secretary of state. When Kissinger left office in January 1977, he took more than 30,000 pages of the transcripts, claiming they were "personal papers," and using them, selectively, to write his memoirs. In 1999, my organization, the National Security Archive, initiated legal proceedings to force Kissinger to return these records to their rightful owner--the government. At the request of Archive senior analyst William Burr, telcons on foreign policy crises from the early 1970s, including four previously unknown conversations on Chile, were recently declassified by the Nixon Presidential library.
'The Big Problem Today Is Chile'

September 15, 1970, when Richard Nixon ordered the CIA to ""prevent Allende from coming to power or to unseat him," has been considered, the starting point of the covert operations that eventually helped topple the socialist government, until now. According to the transcripts, however, Nixon and Kissinger set in motion plans to roll back Allende's election three days earlier on September 12. At noon on that day, Kissinger called Helms to schedule an urgent meeting of the "40 Committee"--an elite group that oversaw covert operations. And approximately 35 minutes later, in the middle of briefing Nixon on a major terrorist hijacking/hostage crisis in Amman, Jordan, Kissinger is recorded as telling the President: "The big problem today is Chile."

The transcript of their conversation, kept secret for 35 years, reveals just how focused the U.S. president became on overseeing the effort to block Allende. In that call, Nixon demanded to see all instructions being sent to U.S. ambassador Edward Korry in Santiago; indeed, he ordered that the State Department be alerted that "I want to see all cables to Chile."
"I want an appraisal of what the options are," Nixon told Kissinger. When Kissinger told him that the State Department's position was to "let Allende come in and see what we can work out," Nixon immediately vetoed the idea: "Like against Castro? Like in Czechoslovakia? The same people said the same thing. Don't let them do that."

But Nixon cautioned: "We don't want a big story leaking out that we are trying to overthrow the Govt."


Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger pushed for the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus and allowed arms to be moved to Ankara for an attack on that island in reaction to a coup sponsored by the Greek junta, according to documents and intelligence officers with close knowledge of the event.

Nearly 700 pages of highly classified Central Intelligence Agency reports from the 1970's, known collectively as the "Family Jewels," are slated for public release today.
However, the National Security Archive had previously obtained four related documents through the Freedom of Information Act and made them public Friday.

"In all the world the things that hurt us the most are the CIA business and Turkey aid," Kissinger declares in one of those documents, a White House memorandum of a conversation from Feb. 20, 1975. On the surface, the comment seems innocuous, but the context as well as the time period suggests Kissinger had abetted illegal financial aid and arms support to Turkey for its 1974 Cyprus invasion.

In July and August of 1974, Turkey staged a military invasion of the island nation of Cyprus, taking over nearly a third of the island and creating a divide between the south and north. Most historians consider that Kissinger - then Secretary of State and National Security Advisor to President Gerald Ford - not only knew about the planned attack on Cyprus, but encouraged it.

Some Greek Cypriots believed then, and still believe, that the invasion was a deliberate plot on the part of Britain and the US to maintain their influence on the island, which was particularly important as a listening post in the Eastern Mediterranean in the wake of the October 1973 War between Israel, Egypt, Jordan and Syria.

According to columnist Christopher Hitchens, author of the book The Trial of Henry Kissinger, "At the time, many Greeks believed that the significant thing was that [Prime Minister Bulent] Ecevit had been a pupil of Kissinger's at Harvard."

Several intelligence sources, who wished to remain anonymous to maintain the security of their identity, confirmed to RAW STORY that Kissinger both pushed for the Turkish invasion of Cyprus and allowed arms to be moved to Ankara.

However, a former CIA officer who was working in Turkey at the time, suggests that Kissinger's statement in the memorandum about Turkish aid likely means the Ford administration, following Kissinger's advice, conducted business under the table with right-wing ultra-nationalist General Kenan Evren, who later dissolved Parliament and became the dictator of Turkey in a 1980 coup.

"The implication is that the US government was dealing directly with General Evren and circumventing the [democratically elected] Turkish government," the former CIA officer said. "This was authorized by Kissinger, because they were nervous about Ecevit, who was a Social Democrat."


Some stones tossed in the pond make an amazing splash. Weight, not luster, causes the best splashes, and so it is with Christopher Hitchens' slim new volume, The Trial of Henry Kissinger, whose weight is in the gravity of the human loss it documents.

Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and East Timor stand out for the sheer casualty numbers, Chile and Cyprus for the conniving and intrigue.

Timing is everything, and Hitchens has the luck of a publication coinciding with public realization that Bill Clinton had actually signed the Rome Accord, facilitating the extradition of war criminals based in the U.S.. Although the publication date for Trial is May 2001, Hitchens serialized his book in Harpers magazine in the February and March 2001 issues, and the editions sold out.

... I saw a most remarkable interview with Henry Kissinger by Elizabeth Farnsworth on February 20, 2001 on PBS' Jim Lehrer News Hour. As part two of the Harpers series hit the newsstands, Kissinger faced a woman he had spied on in her youth and whose friends and fellow journalists were killed, imprisoned and tortured during his watch.

Farnsworth, a congenial and upbeat reporter for the most part, was extremely sober as she asked probing questions about his thoughts on the overthrow of Allende in 1973. Kissinger actually said that he and Nixon were "adolescent" and that he would not play it the same on second look.

For a man who has, to my knowledge, barely mentioned Chile in his own writings, he looked appropriately troubled as he mumbled and looked down. Ever watchful of his reputation, he would never have granted such an interview had Hitchens not pressed forward with Trial as a magazine nail-biter.

Damning though Trial is, it doesn't chronicle the true extent of Kissinger's crimes.
The U.S. was also extremely active in covert actions to stop U.S. citizens breaking out of our homegrown apartheid while we fought bloodthirsty policies. As on other continents, some paid with their lives, many with their freedom or health. There was plenty of suffering here, some having to do with Operation CHAOS, the CIA's illegal spying on domestic activists from 1967 until discovery by Congresswoman Bella Abzug in 1976. When she called the then CIA chief (later President) George Bush and challenged him about it, he admitted the CIA had over-reached its legal authority.

What about Africa? The war in Angola was a hastily manufactured war using Africans to play psychological warfare with the Soviets and to my mind cannot be overlooked. CIA Angola Task Force leader John Stockwell left the agency in disgust to write In Search of Enemies because the decision to make an illegal war was based on a Kissinger underling interpreting a grunt by the good doctor.

Some African governments implored the U.S. not to assign some of their CIA agents, because they knew what it meant to have a coup team come to town. The violent death of 21 year old student leader Steven Biko and other crimes of South African apartheid in which CIA was complicit can now be extensively explored using the South African truth and reconciliation provisions.

What about Horman v. Kissinger? Joyce Horman sued Henry Kissinger for $4.9 million and information on the murder in Chile of her husband, American journalist Charles Horman.
Joyce Horman's case against Henry Kissinger was filed in 1977 after four years searching for answers about her husband's brutal murder in 1973.

Over time, bits and pieces have come out and the picture emerged of an ugly conspiracy to silence her husband for his knowledge of U.S. involvement in the ambush killing of Constitutionalist General Rene Schneider. The Schneider assassination is the focus of the Chile section in Trial.

As told in the 1980 film "Missing," Charles Horman had only recently completed his research into the U.S. role in Schneider's killing when he was kidnapped off the street in front of neighbors on September 17, 1973. He had been on a story in Valparaiso when the coup began, and the Americans around him were a bit too forthcoming about the U.S. role, not knowing at first who Charles was.

Chile hadn't seen a political killing in a hundred years, but Charles had been a civil rights activist and an anti-war activist before his 1972 foray into Chile. He had seen the evil of the stolen vote, the abused soldier, the sinister gunman before and recognized it, with his filmmaker's nose for a story. Charles was an idealist, like many others who died that year.
Horman v. Kissinger names a number of other U.S. officials, including Nathaniel Davis, who was Kissinger's man at the U.S. Embassy in Santiago, and who was promoted after the coup to become an undersecretary of state. He was rewarded for being a coup team player, well able to come in to keep his own spoon in the pot on the old cable traffic before it might reach the inquiring mind of a congressperson.

When the D.C. District Court judge ruled in Horman v. Kissinger to dismiss without prejudice in 1980, this meant that Kissinger et al and their lawyers failed to refute the Horman family claim that the U.S. knew of the coup at least 18 hours in advance. While Joyce Horman is still seeking declassification of many of the documents from the government which are still classified almost 30 years later, the ones now declassified seem to bear out her claim.



Asked why he quit writing satirical songs, Tom Lehrer replied that after Henry Kissinger won the 1973 Nobel Peace Prize, there was nothing left to satirize. Lehrer may have underestimated Dr. K's spirited sense of irony.

This February, the former U.S. secretary of state accepted Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid's invitation to become an unpaid adviser to the Indonesian government. Kissinger accepted "out of friendship for the Indonesian people and the importance I attach to the Indonesian nation."

Twenty-five years earlier, on December 6, 1975, Kissinger-along with President Gerald Ford-paid another friendly visit to Jakarta. The next day, as Air Force One cleared Indonesian air space, President Suharto launched some 10,000 troops on a full-scale attack of East Timor. The goal was to conquer and annex the fledgling nation, which had just been granted independence by Portugal. Kissinger now calls the atrocities that accompanied and followed the invasion-200,000 dead-"regrettable."

To this day, Kissinger maintains that the timing of his 1975 Jakarta visit was a mere coincidence and the United States had no role in the invasion. But a partially declassified State Department document of the December 6 meeting, minutes of a December 18 Washington meeting with his top advisers and other documents have been enough to convince most historians that the United States was complicit in planning, arming and supporting the invasion.

As a recent editorial in the Asian Times noted, "Kissinger is an accomplished liar in the service of his nation and his personal image' Not to mention his bank account. The strength of his fellowship for the Indonesian people is at least rivaled by that of his financial ties to the world's largest gold mine, located in the remote province of Irian Jaya (now called West Papua). Kissinger sits on the board of New Orleans-based Freeport McMoRan Gold and Copper, the majority shareholder in the massive mining operation, which also happens to be Indonesia's biggest taxpayer. Friends and family of Suharto, who was ousted in 1998, still hold much of the minority stake in the mine.


In London recently to promote the latest installment of' his memoirs, Henry Kissinger stormed out of a widely heard radio interview when the questioning turned to his complicity in war crimes. Radio 4 host Jeremy Paxman had asked the former secretary of state whether he felt like a fraud for getting a Nobel Peace Prize after plotting a coup in Chile and orchestrating slaughter in Cambodia. Kissinger denied everything, of course, and said his host was woefully misinformed, yet declined to show up for a BBC roundtable discussion scheduled for later that day.

Kissinger isn't the only member of the political old guard who's nervous at the moment. As former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet fights extradition to Spain, where he may eventually stand trial for his crimes, other potential defendants fret about the precedent being set. And the Clinton administration hasn't been helping. In fact, its release of documents on Chile not only confirms what many have suspected-that the US actively promoted the coup against Salvador Allende and sanctioned the subsequent repression-it could also spark a hailstorm of damaging revelations.

The administration's motives aren't exactly pure. Bowing to pressure from the Spanish judge, human rights groups, and the families of victims, Clinton opted to "declassify what we can, so that we can say we did our share," explained one White House aide. But the potential to embarrass political opponents surely didn't escape notice. Given the status of Texas Gov. George W. Bush as Republican presidential front-runner, his father's connection to Pinochet's crimes could become a factor-or at least a useful distraction-in the 2000 election. It's never been clear precisely what Bush knew and did while CIA chief in the mid-1970s, when Chilean foreign minister Orlando Letelier and US co-worker Ronni Moffitt were assassinated in Washington and Chile's intelligence arm, DINA, was sponsoring international terror.

What we do know is this: According to declassified documents that anyone can read on the National Security Archive website, Kissinger, Nixon, and CIA Director Richard Helms ordered a coup even before Allende assumed office. Kissinger and Alexander Haig worked out the details, described in an October 15, 1970, memo. "It is the firm and consistent policy that Allende be overthrown by a coup," wrote CIA Deputy Director of Plans Thomas Karamessines, who coordinated the operation. "We are to continue to generate maximum pressure toward this end utilizing every appropriate resource. It is imperative that these actions be implemented clandestinely and securely so that the USG and American hand be well hidden."

It took two years, but the goal was achieved. In a victory report, Naval attache' Patrick Ryan called September 11, 1972, "our D-day," noting that the coup "was close to perfect." Over the next few years, the State Department received detailed reports on the escalating death toll under Pinochet. Yet, a memo has Kissinger telling the general that the US is "sympathetic with what you are trying to do here."

So, if Pinochet can be prosecuted for murder, torture, disappearances, rape, and genocide, why not the "sympathetic" Kissinger or those responsible for mass mayhem elsewhere? As more documents are declassified, the list of possible defendants could grow. Pinochet's case is slowly peeling away the veil of deniability, exposing high US officials who provided weapons, training, financial support, and even direct guidance for some of the worst modern violations of political and civil rights. It's no wonder the US opposes the International Criminal Court, which could prosecute powerful individuals when domestic courts fail to act.




The hunt is on once again for war criminals, with ongoing trials of accused Serbs in The Hague, NATO raids seizing and killing other accused Serbs, and much discussion and enthusiasm in the media for bringing Pol Pot to trial, which the editors of the New York Times assure us would be "an extraordinary triumph for law and civilization" (June 24).
The Politics of War Criminality

There are, however, large numbers of mass murderers floating around the world. How are the choices made on who will be pursued and who will be granted impunity? The answer can be found by following the lines of dominant interest and power and watching how the mainstream politicians, media, and intellectuals reflect these demands. Media attention and indignation "follows the flag," and the flag follows the money (i.e., the demands of the corporate community), with some eccentricity based on domestic political calculations. This sometimes yields droll twists and turns, as in the case of Saddam Hussein, consistently supported through the 1980s in his war with Iran and chemical warfare attacks on Iraqi Kurds, until his invasion of Kuwait in 1990, transformed him overnight into "another Hitler." Similarly, Pol Pot, "worse than Hitler" until his ouster by Vietnam in 1979, then quietly supported for over a decade by the United States and its western allies (along with China) as an aid in "bleeding Vietnam," but now no longer serviceable to western policy and once again a suitable target for a war crimes trial.

Another way of looking at our targeting of war criminals is by analogy to domestic policy choices on budget cuts and incarceration, where the pattern is to attack the relatively weak and ignore and protect those with political and economic muscle. Pol Pot is now isolated and politically expendable, so an obvious choice for villainization. By contrast, Indonesian leader Suharto, the butcher of perhaps a million people (mainly landless peasants) in 1965-66, and the invader, occupier, and mass murderer of East Timor from 1975 to today, is courted and protected by the Great Powers, and was referred to by an official of the Clinton administration in 1996 as "our kind of guy." Pinochet, the torturer and killer of many thousands, is treated kindly in the United States as the Godfather of the wonderful new neoliberal Chile. President Ford and Secretary of State Kissinger, who gave the go ahead to Suharto's invasion of East Timor and subsequent massive war crimes there, and the same Kissinger, who helped President Nixon engineer and then protect the Pinochet coup and regime of torture and murder and directed the first phase of the holocaust in Cambodia (1969-75), remain honored citizens. The media have never suggested that these men should be brought to trial in the interest of justice, law, and "civilization."


The meeting occurred at a gathering of the Organization of American States (OAS). Against the advice of most of the State Department's Latin America staff; Kissinger decided to go to Chile for the opening of the OAS general assembly. He and Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs William Rogers flew into Santiago June 7 and met with Pinochet the next day. The site of the meeting was the presidential suite in Diego Portales, an office building used during repairs on La Moneda, the presidential palace Pinochet had bombed on September 11, 1973, when he overthrew Salvador Allende. Chilean Foreign Minister Patricio Carvajal and Ambassador to the United States Manuel Trucco were also there. (I've interviewed Rogers, Carvajal, and Trucco, but not Kissinger, who has refused requests.)

Kissinger was dogged by charges he had promoted the military coup against an elected Allende government, and he sought to maintain a cool public distance from Pinochet. But at his confidential meeting, he promised warm support.

Kissinger first assured Pinochet that they had a strong bond in their overriding anti-communism. Pinochet noted that though the Spaniards had tried to stop communism in the Spanish Civil War, it was springing up again. Kissinger replied, 'We had the Spanish King recently, and I discussed that very issue with him."

Then he made clear that the U.S. government was squarely behind Pinochet. "In the United States, as you know, we are sympathetic with what you are trying to do here," Kissinger told Pinochet."l think that the previous government was headed toward communism. We wish your government well."

A little while later, he added: "My evaluation is that you are a victim of all left-wing groups around the world, and that your greatest sin was that you overthrew a government which was going Communist."

Kissinger dismissed American human rights campaigns against Chile's government as "domestic problems." And he assured Pinochet that he was against sanctions such as those proposed by Senator Edward Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, which would ban arms sales and transfers to governments that were gross human rights violators.

Kissinger joked with Pinochet, saying: "I don't know if you listen in on my phone, but if you do, you have just heard me issue instructions to Washington to make an all-out effort to defeat the Kennedy Amendment]-if we defeat it, we will deliver the F-SE's as we agreed to do." He told Pinochet, "We held up the [fighter planes] for a while in order to avoid providing additional ammunition to our enemies."


It was, take it for all in all, a near-faultless headline: HENRY KISSINGER RATTRAPE AU RITZ, A PARIS, PAR LES FANTOMES DU PLAN CONDOR. I especially liked the accidental synonymy of the verb rattraper. What a rat. And such a trap. It was in this fashion that the front page of the Paris daily Le Monde informed its readers that on Memorial Day the gendarmes had gone round to the Ritz Hotel-flagship of Mohamed Al Fayed's fleet of properties-with a summons from Judge Roger Le Loire inviting the famous rodent to attend at the Palace of Justice the following day. In what must have been one of the most unpleasant moments of his career, noted Le Monde, the hotel manager had to translate the summons to his distinguished guest. Kissinger left the hotel, surrounded by bodyguards, and later announced that he had no desire to answer questions about Operation Condor. He then left town.

Operation Condor [see Peter Kornbluh, "Kissinger and Pinochet," March 29,1999, and "Chile Declassified," August 9/16, 1999] was a coordinated effort in the 1970s by the secret police forces of seven South American dictatorships. The death squads of Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, Ecuador and Bolivia agreed to pool resources and to hunt down, torture, murder and otherwise "disappear" one another's dissidents. They did this not just on their own soil but as far away as Rome and Washington, where assassins and car-bombs were deployed to maim Christian Democratic Senator Bernardo Leighton in 1975 and to murder the Socialist Orlando Letelier in 1976. The Pinochet regime was to the fore in this internationalization of state terror tactics, and its secret police chief, Col. Manuel Contreras, was especially inventive and energetic.

Thanks to the efforts of Representative Maurice Hinchey, who attached an amendment to the Intelligence Authorization Act last year, we now know that this seven-nation alliance had a senior partner. At all material times, those directing the work of US intelligence knew of Operation Condor and assisted its activities. And at all material times, the chairman of the supervising "Forty Committee," and the key member of the Interagency Committee on Chile, was Henry Kissinger. It was on his watch that the FBI helped Pinochet to identify and arrest Jorge Isaac Fuentes de Alarcon, a Chilean oppositionist who was first detained and tortured in Paraguay and then turned over to Contreras and "disappeared." Contreras himself was paid a CIA stipend. Other Condor leaders were promised US cooperation in the surveillance of inconvenient exiles living in the United States.

Judge Roger Le Loire has had documents to this effect on his desk for some time and is investigating the fate of five missing French citizens in Chile during the relevant period. He has already issued an arrest warrant for General Pinochet. But he understands that the inquiry can go no further until US government figures agree to answer questions. In refusing to do this, Kissinger received the shameful support of the US Embassy in Paris and the State Department, which coldly advised the French to go through bureaucratic channels in seeking information. Judge Le Loire replied that he had already written to Washington in 1999, during the Clinton years, but had received no response.


Just three months after Argentina's generals took power in 1976, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger gave that country's military a green light to continue its "dirty war," according to a State Department memorandum obtained by InterNation. This document shows that in early 1977 Robert Hill, then the U.S. Ambassador to Buenos Aires, told a top Carter Administration offi- cial that Kissinger had given his approval to the repression in which at least 9,000 people were kidnapped and secretly murdered. Kissinger, he charged, put his imprimatur on the massive disappearances in a June 10, 1976, meeting in Santiago, Chile, with Argentina's Foreign Minister, Adm. C6sar Guzzetti. Both men were attending the Sixth General Assembly of the Organization of American States, whose agenda, ironically, had been dominated by the human rights issue.

Guzzetti was one of the most outspoken advocates of the dirty war. In August 1976 he told the United Nations: "My idea of subversion is that of the left-wing terrorist organizations. Subversion or terrorism of the right is not the same thing. When the social body of the country has been contaminated by a disease that eats away at its entrails, it forms antibodies. These antibodies cannot be considered in the same way as the microbes."

The ninety-minute early morning meeting, at Santiago's Hotel Carrera, across from the Moneda Palace, came just three weeks after Hill had urgently warned Kissinger of the worsening Argentine rights record. A word from the Secretary of State would have helped rein in the generals. Although a secret analysis by the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research, dated April 5, 1976, noted that "human rights could become a problem area as the military clamps down on 'terrorism, " it went on: "To date, however, the junta has followed a reasonable, prudent line in an obvious attempt to avoid being tagged with a 'Made in Chile' label. " According to the records of the Center for Legal and Social Studies, Argentina's foremost human rights group, by the time Kissinger and Guzzetti met, 1,022 people had been "disappeared" forever. At least another 7,938 met the same fate afterward.

When Kissinger arrived at the Santiago conference, Hill said, the Argentine generals were nervous about the prospect of being called on the carpet by the United States for their human rights record. But Kissinger merely told Guzzetti the regime should solve the problem before the U.S. Congress reconvened in 1977. A buen entendedor, pocas patabras ("To those quick to understand, few words are needed"). Within three weeks of the meeting a wave of wholesale executions began, and hundreds of detainees were killed in reprisal for attacks by leftist guerrillas. The memo- randum shows that Hill believed the responsibility for this ballooning state terrorism to be Kissinger's.

Hill is dead; Guzzetti suffered lasting brain damage in a 1977 attack. Kissinger referred inquiries to former Secretary of State William Rogers, who was with him in Santiago. Rogers did "not specifically remember" a meeting with Guzzetti, but added: "What Henry would have said if he had had such a meeting was that human rights were embedded in our policy, for better or worse. He'd have said sympathetic things about the need for effective methods against terrorism, but without abandoning the rule of law." But Patricia Derian, Carter's Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights, confirmed the account of Hill's charges and was "nauseated" to learn of Kissinger's role. Two former U.S. diplomats also corroborate Hill's story.

Hill's own past appears to put him above suspicion that his charges against Kissinger were politically motivated. "Hill's biography reads like a satirical left-wing caricature of a 'yanqui imperialist,"' noted the authoritative newsletter "Latin America." He was a former vice president of W.R. Grace and a former director of the United Fruit Company. Despite five ambassadorial postings to Spanish-speaking countries, he never mastered the language. Hill was directly linked in testimony before the U.S. Senate with the planning of the coup that overthrew the elected government of Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala in 1954. Before being assigned to Buenos Aires by Richard Nixon, he was Assistant Secretary of Defense responsible for international security.

Like many others, Hill had greeted the coup against the outrageously corrupt, incompetent government of Juan Peron's widow, Isabel, with relief. He was especially impressed by the military's willingness to crack down on top drug traffickers, who had been protected by Isabel Peron's inner circle. By the time of the coup, a siege atmosphere was gripping the U.S. Embassy; a U.S. honorary consul had been murdered by the left-wing Peronist Montoneros, and a U.S. diplomat had been wounded by the Marxist E.R.P. guerrillas. The Ambassador's residence was heavily fortified; Hill shuttled back and forth under a guard worthy of Al Capone. Most U.S. businessmen had fled Buenos Aires, fearful of kidnapping or death. "There are difficult days ahead," Hill warned the National Security Council in a secret Country Analysis and Strategy Paper (CASP) the day before the March 24 coup. "The strategy is essentially one of protecting our people and property from terrorism and our trade and investments from economic nationalism during this trying period."

Moreover, human rights did not immediately appear to be a problem to Hill. The April 5 Bureau of Intelligence and Research analysis concluded that "terrorism from the right will be more susceptible to control than that from than that from the left, because right-wing operatives frequently have been attached to groups now directly under military supervision."

Less than a month later events had overtaken any such wishful thinking. On May 18 two prominent Uruguayans exiled in Buenos Aires were dragged from their homes by unidentified men. Hector Guti6rrez Ruiz was a former president of the Uruguayan House of Deputies; Zelmar Michelini, a charismatic former senator. Neither was involved in armed politics, nor did they belong to the ultraradical left. Kissinger himself cabled the U.S. Embassies in Montevideo and Buenos Aires, asking for more details following reports by Amnesty International about the "brutal detention" of the pair. Two days later Hill cabled Kissinger that "such an operation would be extremely difficult if not impossible to carry out without (government of Argentina] acquiescence. "

On May 20 the politicians' bodies were found in a car with those of two other people. One of Gutierrez Ruiz's eyes was poked out, his knuckles were mangled and burns scarred his front and back. Half his face had been crushed. Michelini had a bullet through his head. Their killers left leaflets suggesting the slayings were the work of leftists angered by the victims' supposed "betrayal" of an Uruguayan guerrilla group. On May 25 Hill sent a secret cable to the Secretary of State, requesting instructions. The page-long copy made available to me was heavily excised, with only the first two and the last lines left untouched.

Hill wrote: "In view of the general worsening human rights situation here, I believe the time has come for a demarche at the highest level. Hence, I request instructions to ask for an urgent appointment with the foreign minister.... In view of the pace of developments, I would appreciate reply by immediate cable." Hill's request was approved by Under Secretary of State Joseph Sisco.

On May 27 Kissinger sent a secret cable, "Subject: Human Rights Situation in Argentina," to the embassies in Montevideo and Buenos Aires:

Acting Assistant Secretary [Hewson] Ryan called in Ambassador Vasquez May 27 to warn him about the growing concern in the US about the violence in Argentina and the reported disappearances of individuals. This concern is being expressed by major universities, the responsible press-such as The New York Times-and by members of both Houses of Congress, and is having an unfavorable impact on Argentina's image in this country. If this continues, it would make cooperation with Argentina difficult, as happened in the case of Chile.... Ambassador Ryan said there is concern in the US not only about the arrests being carried out by the [Argentines] but also about the failure of the [government] to control the activities of right-wing terrorist groups.

If Kissinger had any lingering doubts about what was happening in Argentina, they were dispelled by subordinates such as Hill. Yet his cable is noteworthy for its blandness; his rendition of Ryan's meeting shows the Argentines were told outside pressure--not U.S. policy--endangered business as usual. Two weeks later Kissinger went to Chile.

Hill had quickly realized what was occurring. The new military regime was not limiting its rampage to the guerrillas, against whom it used methods that violated every accepted convention of warfare and the treatment of prisoners. It had embarked on a crusade against anyone threatening the armed forces' version of what they called "Western Christian civilization." Hill's alarm grew as he heard of examples of the horror. Three priests and two seminarians were murdered by vengeful police; an American priest and the daughter of a U.S. missionary were tortured; a progressive Catholic bishop was killed in a staged car crash.

"Hill was shaken, he became very disturbed, by the case of the son of a thirty-year embassy employee, a student who was arrested, never to be seen again," recalled former New York Times reporter Juan de Onis. "Hill took a personal interest. " He went to the Interior Minister, an army general with whom he had worked on drug cases, saying, "Hey, what about this? We're interested in this case." He buttonholed Guzzetti and, finally, President Jorge R. Videla himself. "All he got was stonewalling; he got nowhere," de Onis said. "His last year was marked by increasing disillusionment and dismay, and he backed his staff on human rights right to the hilt." This view of events was confirmed by Wayne Smith, who was Hill's political officer at the time.

It was a troubled, angry Hill who met in early 1977 with a senior Carter Administration official, eager to unburden himself about Kissinger's role and explain why the generals were only partly to blame for the slaughter. According to the memorandum:

Hill said that he had made arrangements seven times for a Kissinger visit to Argentina. Each time the Secretary can- celled. Finally Kissinger decided to go to the OAS meeting.... In the middle of the meetings, the Secretary wanted to visit Buenos Aires. This time the Argentines refused because they did not want to interrupt OAS activities being held in a neighboring state. Kissinger and Foreign Minister Guzzetti agreed to meet in Santiago.

The Argentines were very worried that Kissinger would lecture to them on human rights.

Guzzetti and Kissinger had a very long breakfast but the Secretarv did not raise the subject. Finally Guzzetti did. Kissinger asked how long will it take you (the Argentines) to clean up the problem. Guzzetti replied that it would be done by the end of the year. Kissinger approved.
In other words, Ambassador Hill explained, Kissinger gave the Argentines the green light. [Emphasis added.]

Later (about August), the Ambassador discussed the matter personally with Kissinger, on the way back to Washington from a Bohemian Grove meeting in San Francisco. Kissinger confirmed the Guzzetti conversation. Hill said that the Secretary felt that Ford would win the election. Hill disagreed. In any case, the Secretary wanted Argentina to finish its terrorist problem before year end--before Congress reconvened in January 1977.


During his years as Richard Nixon's pet hawk, Gerald Ford's secretary of state and the New York tabloids' favorite bold-faced party animal, Henry Kissinger prosecuted private and illegal wars that cost hundreds of thousands of Cambodian, Vietnamese, Timorese and Chilean lives, and should himself be prosecuted for crimes against humanity.

Those are the contentions of journalist and Kissinger tracker Christopher Hitchens, made in a book-length pair of Harper's Magazine articles last year and reiterated and supported in the damning new BBC documentary "The Trials of Henry Kissinger."

The 80-minute film, which parades credible high-level witnesses, indicts Kissinger on at least four counts of mass murder, providing convincing evidence that Kissinger:

* Ordered the U.S. military to conduct illegal air raids in Cambodia in 1969, and to misreport the targets as Vietnamese.

* Convinced Nixon to order the 1972 "Christmas bombing" of Hanoi, which killed thousands of North Vietnamese civilians, as a political sop to weakened South Vietnam President Nguyen van Thieu.

* Got Ford to okay arms sales to Indonesian President Suharto in 1975, knowing they would be used, illegally, in the slaughter of rebels and civilians in East Timor.

* Ordered the CIA to instigate a coup of the democratically elected left-wing Chilean government of Salvador Allende, clearing the way for the murderous right-wing dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.

It's Kissinger's role in Chile's military coup that has made him a specific target of international prosecutors, who want him for questioning in Pinochet investigations in six foreign countries.

"The Trials of Henry Kissinger" serves as both a prosecution brief on the above charges and an unauthorized biography. It takes us back to his childhood as a bullied German Jew, his family's pre-war migration to New York, when he was 15, and his ascension as a renowned academic, White House top gun, statesman and international babe magnet.

"Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac," Kissinger famously said, and knew whereof he spoke.
Kissinger comes off in the film as a complex man with a fungible morality. Appearing only in news and interview clips, Kissinger defends his actions on the dubious grounds that political issues are not subject to the right-wrong judgments we make as individuals "because sometimes we're choosing between two evils."

Coming on the apparent eve of war against despot Saddam Hussein's Iraq, "The Trials of Henry Kissinger" also serves as a reminder that American foreign policy has not had anything against vicious despots per se, only those who are not acting in our interests.


The Case Against Henry Kissinger
Part One -The making of a war criminal
by Christopher Hitchens


Part Two
Crimes against humanity


Wanted - War Crimes
Henry Kissenger


Drawing on first-hand testimony, previously unpublished documentation and broad sweeps through material released under the Freedom of Information Act, Christopher Hitchens mounts a devastating indictment of a man whose ambition and ruthlessness have directly resulted in both individual murders and widespread, indiscriminate slaughter. - The trial of Henry Kissinger By Christopher Hitchens


Excerpt available on Google books...


The book is best understood as a prosecutorial document--both because Hitchens limits his critique to what he believes might stand up in an international court of law following precedents set at Nuremberg and elsewhere, and also because his treatment of Kissinger is far from evenhanded. The charges themselves are astonishing, as they link Kissinger to war casualties in Vietnam, massacres in Bangladesh and Timor, and assassinations in Chile, Cyprus, and Washington, D.C. After reading this book, one wants very badly to hear a full response from the defendant. Hitchens, a writer for Vanity Fair and The Nation, is a man of the Left, though he has a history of skewering both Democrats (he is the author of a provocative book on the Clintons, No One Left to Lie To) as well as Republicans (Kissinger).

At the root of this latest effort is moral outrage, and a call for Americans, of all people, not to ignore Kissinger's record: "They can either persist in averting their gaze from the egregious impunity enjoyed by a notorious war criminal and lawbreaker, or they can become seized by the exalted standards to which they continually hold everyone else," writes Hitchens. "If the courts and lawyers of this country will not do their duty, we shall watch as the victims and survivors of this man pursue justice and vindication in their own dignified and painstaking way, and at their own expense, and we shall be put to shame." --John J. Miller --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


The most vocal public opponent of the principles of "universal jurisdiction" is Henry Kissinger, who has a laughably selfinterested chapter on the subject in his turgid new book Does America Need a Foreign Policy? (a volume, incidentally, that if it had any other merit might be considered as a candidate for title of the year). This chapter was also solemnly recycled by the establishment's house organ, Foreign Affairs. It was utterly nauseating to see Kissinger re-enthroned as a pundit in the aftermath of September 11, talking his usual "windy, militant trash," to borrow Auden's phrase for it. I caught him talking to John McLaughlin and looking on the bright side by saying that the mass murder had strengthened something called the Western alliance. Say what you will about our Henry, he can find the joy in any nightmare.

He may also have had a personal reason to take comfort from the hideous events of that day. On September 10, he was hit with a lawsuit that was filed in federal court in Washington, DC. The suit, which is brought by members of the family of the late Rene Schneider, accuses him and his co-defendant former CIA chief Richard Helms, and some other members of the Nixon Administration, of "summary execution"-in other words, of murder and, by implication, international terrorism. (Gen. Rene Schneider, head of the Chilean General Staff in 1970, was resolutely opposed to any military intervention against the elected government of Salvador Allende. He was therefore marked for death by Kissinger and others. A fairly full account of the background to the case, and of the newly declassified documents that support and underpin it, can be found in chapters five and six of my book The Trial of Henry Kissinger.) To summarize the story briefly, Richard Nixon told Kissinger and Helms to commence the destabilization of Chile before Allende had even become President. They were instructed to employ the transition period between the 1970 election and the confirmation of the results by the Chilean Congress. They were also told not to be too choosy about methods. They selected as their proxies a militarist gang that had once tried to overthrow a Christian Democratic government from the right. Fascists, to be plain about it, and proven criminals.

The lawsuit, which will produce details of the recruiting of international death squads, the use of US diplomatic pouches to smuggle illegal arms and money, and of other terrorist techniques, made it into the Washington Post on September 11 but has gone largely unremarked since then. Let's not complain about that for now; the point is that it is in the system. It joins several other legal initiatives against Kissinger, which now include a similar complaint filed in Chilean courts, a request from the judge in the Pinochet case for information from Kissinger about the murder of the US journalist (and sometime Nation contributor) Charles Horman, a request for Kissinger's testimony from Judge Rodolfo Corral in Buenos Aires (this concerns Kissinger's knowledge of the coordination of state terrorism known as Operation Condor) and a summons issued by Judge Roger Le Loire in Paris, requesting his attendance at the Palais de Justice to answer questions about several Frenchmen "missing" from the Pinochet years. In default of a working system of international criminal law, in other words, a number of initiatives are beginning to supply a framework of precedent, of which the most celebrated is obviously the arrest of Kissinger's friend Augusto Pinochet himself.

This is good news in a dark time. It joins a number of other legal initiatives, including one for compensation in the case of Clinton's criminal rocketing of a pharmaceutical factory in Sudan in 1998. The most common objection I have met with, in my campaign to get Kissinger into the dock, is that "all this was a long time ago." I think that opportunistic, a historical objection may now dissolve. The question of international viciousness and the use of criminal violence against civilians is now, so to speak, back on the agenda. It's important that we make our opposition to such conduct both steady and consistent.

Incidentally, suing Kissinger can also be fun. Having refused comment on my book for some time, and having broken his silence only to say that it was "contemptible" and that the charges were "old," our Henry suddenly announced that I was a Holocaust denier. I was moved by this to send him my first-ever lawyer's letter. His attorneys immediately replied by saying that they would not repeat the allegation and then, after some more correspondence, sent me a very grudging and graceless but nonetheless unmistakable retraction. Since some of my more extreme ill-wishers sometimes repeat Kissinger's charge, I have amassed the whole background to it and the complete refutation, and you can visit it if you care to by directing your trusty web browser to my site at www.enteract.com/~peterk.


A joint project of the East-Timor Action Network, the International Campaign against Impunity and the Instituto Cono Sur.

To many, Henry Kissinger epitomizes the failure of the Western world to pay serious attention to the grave crimes committed by its leadership. In response, the KissingerWatch bulletin is designed to examine this specific case of impunity, to provide information about Kissinger's alleged role in the violation of human rights worldwide, to kindle debate, and to facilitate the exchange of opinions among experts and activists.


"It is firm and continuing policy that [the democratically elected government of] Allende be overthrown by a coup.... We are to continue to generate maximum pressure toward this end utilizing every appropriate resource. It is imperative that these actions be implemented clandestinely and securely so that the USG [United States Government] and American hands be well hidden." - October 1970 cable to CIA operatives in Chile from Kissinger's "Track Two" group