Harper's magazine has published a two part article (in the January and February issues) written by Christopher Hitchens, entitled The Case Against Henry Kissinger. These very lengthy documents (50+ pages) outline the various nefarious activities in which Kissinger engaged during his reign as Secretary of State and thereafter, as head of Kissinger Associates. The purpose of these articles is threefold: first, to provide extensive, referenced information which could be used to begin legal proceedings against him; second, as a rebuttal of Kissinger's three volume memoirs; and third, to apply pressure to both the American political and legal system in the hopes that they may begin to investigate this man's history.

The article is broken up into sections based on the nation(s) affected by Kissinger's action or inaction. The accusations are as follows:

  • Chile: Kissinger was intimately aware and involved in the coup d'etat which resulted in the assassination of Salvador Allende and the installation of General Augusto Pinochet in 1973. Following the coup, Pinochet's thugs successfully disappeared (read: murdered) thousands of Chileans, Spaniards and Americans, all with the knowledge and tacit encouragement of Kissinger and the CIA. Money and weapons were provided at Kissinger's instructions to both the Chilean army and to various extremist terrorist factions in both Chile and the surrounding countries (Argentina, Paraguay etc.)
  • Cyprus: Kissinger was aware of the plot by the Greek military junta to assassinate the democratically elected President Makarios, and supported their activities which resulted in not only the ousting of Makarios, but also the resultant conflict between Greece and Turkey in Cyprus. Kissinger's defense publicly, during this conflict, was that the United States could not involve themselves in domestic disputes, despite the fact that practically every country in the world recognized the authority of Makarios and the statehood of the island.
  • Bangladesh: Kissinger refused to involve the United States either directly (military intervention) or indirectly (economic sanctions) in the conflict in Bangladesh, where in the days following the Pakistani invasion, at least 10 000 civilians were slaughtered. The ostensible reason Kissinger refused to interfere was to maintain positive influence in China. During the invasion and slaughter, American diplomats stationed in Bangladesh and Pakistan urged the American government repeatedly to intervene for the sake of human decency, and Kissinger reacted by (in conjunction with then-President Richard Nixon) recalling the superior American diplomats and thereafter ignoring the actions of the Pakistanis.
  • East Timor: Kissinger was intimately aware of the impending invasion by Indonesia and likelihood of genocide prior in 1975. Not only did Kissinger again not act to defend the Timorese or limit the actions of the Indonesians against an independent people, he did so in direct violation of his and the US's obligations under NATO. East Timor was a Portuguese concern, and under NATO's own rules, Kissinger was obligated to support Portugal in defending against Indonesian aggression. Instead, he continued to supply arms to Indonesia under an agreement where those arms were to be used for defensive purposes exclusively, and justified this continued support in stating that, at times, you can defend yourself in a foreign nation. In passing, even Indonesia has admitted that the death toll in the first eighteen months of the invasion was between 50 000 and 80 000.
  • Elias P. Demetracopoulos: Kissinger was not only aware of the Greek military junta's plans to kidnap and assasinate the dissident journalist (who was largely responsible for turning American public opinion against the Greeks), but even went so far as to ask the FBI to amass information that might be used to discredit Demetracopoulos and potentially extradite him back to Greece (where, Kissingner knew, he would be killed in short order). He also allowed the American authorities to surveil Demetracopoulos for nearly three years, despite the fact that they did not have the legal authority to do so, as Demetracopoulos was never accused nor suspected of a crime.
According to Hitchens, the information available in the public record is sufficient to begin legal proceedings against Kissinger, and should be more than enough to challenge his unilateral decision to conceal government property. In leaving office, Kissinger took with him all of his personal files, and deeded them to the Library of Congress on the condition that they be made public solely after his death. In doing so, he removed government property, and has managed to perform an end-run around the Freedom of Information Act, thus preventing American citizens from knowing what their own government was doing during much of the 1970s.

To conclude, I quote from Hitchens' article directly:

The burden therefore rests with the American legal community and with the American human-rights lobbies and non-governmental organizations. 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. The current state of suspended animation, however, cannot last. 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.

His last known job is hiring himself to companies. As intermediary, Kissinger's best fitting suit. His many diplomatic missions made him America's best-known politician, Nobel Peace Prize winner and most Most Popular Man of 1976. The jewish boy that fled Germany in 1938 reached stardom status in his new home country.

The success story begins in the German village Fürth. Baby Heinz Alfred Kissinger is born there in 1923. His parents are Jews and for obvious reasons they leave nazi Germany for the United States. Heinz changes his name into Henry and learns to speak English. Soon he is the best pupil in class.

During his army time, Kissinger ends up in a special highly gifted unit. In '45, Henry and his friends get orders to bring about order in devastated Germany. Eventually this means private Kissinger manages a whole village, as if he were some kind of mayor. For the first time, he has political power, which he enjoys enormously.

When Kissinger returns from Europe in 1947, he enters Harvard. For eight years Kissinger rises and shines at the top university. He gets his degree summa cum laude with a thesis on Austrian statesman Metternich, the first realpolitiker.

As chairman of a group studying the impact of nuclear weapons, Kissinger gets to meet important political people. In 1968, newly elected president Nixon offers him the opportunity of his life: he gets to be National Security Advisor. The era of the famous Kissinger diplomacy is off to a start.

Nixon's advisor operates fully independently and does not involve his boss (Secretary of State Rogers) on purpose. Diplomacy should stay secret, he thinks. Kissinger's tactics pay off. He opens China for the Americans, visits the Kremlin, is involved in the end of the Vietnam War and commits another bunch of intellectual fireworks, later on as Secretary of State. His popularity is overwhelming and surpasses that of Nixon.

Besides popularity, controversy is also a thread in Kissinger's life. The Christmas bombings on the Vietnamese cities Hanoi and Haiphong come from his sleeve. The bombs were aimed at military goals, but a hospital was hit as well and 1600 people were killed. On the other hand, the bombings resulted in a peace treaty. Typically enough later on he doesn't recall the number of people killed, but he can talk for hours to the press about the advantages of the bombings. These things led people and press to conclude he would be a hypocrite and heartless. Kissinger 'though wasn't an idealistic peace dove, but a realpolitiker as well: war means disorder and disrupts the world's power balance.

Credits to VT_hawkeye, panamaus, sekicho and fuzzy and blue for some additions. Transitional Man says: during the seventies Henry Kissinger made a name for himself using his fame to get dates with some rather hot women, most notably b-movie actress - and real life genius - Jill St. John.

Quotes from Henry Alfred Kissinger (1923-)
  • "If we do what is necessary, all the odds are in our favor."
  • "There can't be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full."
  • "Leaders must invoke an alchemy of great vision."
  • "We are all the President's men."
  • "Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac."
  • "Each success only buys an admission ticket to a more difficult problem."
  • "Even a paranoid can have enemies."
  • "I want to thank you for stopping the applause. It is impossible for me to look humble for any period of time."
  • "Moderation is virtue only in those who are thought to have an alternative."
  • "The illegal we do immediately. The unconstitutional takes a little longer."
  • "The longer I am out of office, the more infallible I appear to myself."
  • "We had been bombing the bejesus out of them since May." (on Cambodia)
  • "It is very dangerous to underestimate German shortsightedness."
  • "they shouldn't go in for slaughtering that way. It was terrible."
  • "When I speak to your Foreign Minister, he never says, 'I entirely agree.' The most I get is, 'I essentially agree with you.'"
  • "As everybody knows, the Soviet leaders belong to the most unpleasant group one can deal with. Their capacity to lie on matters of common knowledge is stupendous."
  • "They are cold, pragmatic bastards." (On China's leaders)


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