24/10/2013 by Don Quijones
The supposed inspiration for Stanley Kubrick’s Doctor Strangelove, few people have left quite such a mark on the global political landscape than Doctor Kissinger. Among countless other things, he is alleged to be responsible for the deaths of millions of Cambodians, laid the groundwork for General Augusto Pinochet’s bloody coup d’état in Chile and has supposedly been using his consulting firm, Kissinger Associates, as a sort of private National Security Consultancy to about 30 major corporations around the world.
In his book The Trial of Henry Kissinger, the late British-American journalist and author Christopher Hitchens called for Kissinger to be tried “for war crimes, for crimes against humanity, and for offences against common or customary or international law, including conspiracy to commit murder, kidnap, and torture.”
The following passages from Hitchens’ exposé lay out in brutal simplicity the behind-the-scenes role Kissinger played in some of the biggest and bloodiest geopolitical upheavals of the 1970s. These are just a small sample of the Nobel Peace Laureate’s many contributions to global peace and security. As Hitchens himself wrote, the list “goes on and on and on until one cannot eat enough to vomit enough.”
- “Bangladesh…. In 1971 … Kissinger overrode all advice in order to support the Pakistani generals in both their civilian massacre policy in East Bengal and their armed attack on India from West Pakistan…. This led to a moral and political catastrophe the effects of which are still sorely felt. Kissinger’s undisclosed reason for the ‘tilt’ was the supposed but never materialised ‘brokerage’ offered by the dictator Yahya Khan in the course of secret diplomacy between Nixon and China…. Of the new state of Bangladesh, Kissinger remarked coldly that it was ‘a basket case’ before turning his unsolicited expertise elsewhere.
- “Chile…. Kissinger had direct personal knowledge of the CIA’s plan to kidnap and murder General René Schneider, the head of the Chilean Armed Forces … who refused to countenance military intervention in politics. In his hatred for the Allende Government, Kissinger even outdid Richard Helms … who warned him that a coup in such a stable democracy would be hard to procure. The murder of Schneider nonetheless went ahead, at Kissinger’s urging and with American financing, just between Allende’s election and his confirmation…. This was one of the relatively few times that Mr Kissinger (his success in getting people to call him ‘Doctor’ is greater than that of most PhDs) involved himself in the assassination of a single named individual rather than the slaughter of anonymous thousands. His jocular remark on this occasion—‘I don’t see why we have to let a country go Marxist just because its people are irresponsible’—suggests he may have been having the best of times….”
- “Cyprus…. Kissinger approved of the preparations by Greek Cypriot fascists for the murder of President Makarios, and sanctioned the coup which tried to extend the rule of the Athens junta (a favoured client of his) to the island. When despite great waste of life this coup failed in its objective, which was also Kissinger’s, of enforced partition, Kissinger promiscuously switched sides to support an even bloodier intervention by Turkey. Thomas Boyatt … went to Kissinger in advance of the anti-Makarios putsch and warned him that it could lead to a civil war. ‘Spare me the civics lecture,’ replied Kissinger, who as you can readily see had an aphorism for all occasions.”
- “Kurdistan. Having endorsed the covert policy of supporting a Kurdish revolt in northern Iraq between 1974 and 1975, with ‘deniable’ assistance also provided by Israel and the Shah of Iran, Kissinger made it plain to his subordinates that the Kurds were not to be allowed to win, but were to be employed for their nuisance value alone. They were not to be told that this was the case, but soon found out when the Shah and Saddam Hussein composed their differences, and American aid to Kurdistan was cut off. Hardened CIA hands went to Kissinger … for an aid programme for the many thousands of Kurdish refugees who were thus abruptly created…. The apercu of the day was: ‘foreign policy should not he confused with missionary work.’ Saddam Hussein heartily concurred.”
- “East Timor. The day after Kissinger left Djakarta in 1975, the Armed Forces of Indonesia employed American weapons to invade and subjugate the independent former Portuguese colony of East Timor. Isaacson gives a figure of 100,000 deaths resulting from the occupation, or one-seventh of the population, and there are good judges who put this estimate on the low side. Kissinger was furious when news of his own collusion was leaked, because as well as breaking international law the Indonesians were also violating an agreement with the United States…. Monroe Leigh … pointed out this awkward latter fact. Kissinger snapped: ‘The Israelis when they go into Lebanon—when was the last time we protested that?’ A good question, even if it did not and does not lie especially well in his mouth.”
Now well into his eighties, Kissinger is unlikely to ever face the music for his crimes — at least not in this life. There may be rumours that he is wanted by a number of countries, including Spain and France, but Kissinger is nothing if not a master of evasion.
As long as our legal systems allow masters of war like Kissinger, Blair, Bush and Cheney to walk free in the lap of luxury, justice will forever remain an empty word, robbed of all meaning. But that’s not to say that we can’t keep the dark truth of these “great” men’s lives alive.
Indeed, it’s the least we can do to honour their countless victims.
[Hitchens’ painstakingly documented exposé is essential reading for anyone interested in understanding the real Kissinger. But if you don’t have time, you can still watch the gripping documentary film based on Hitchens’ book, The Trial of Henry Kissinger.]
[The above quotes came courtesy of goodreads.com]