THE TRIAL OF HENRY KISSINGER, by Christopher Hitchens

"Science," the Greek word for knowledge, when appended to the word "political," creates what seems like an oxymoron. For who could claim to know politics? More complicated than any game, most people who play it become addicts and die without understanding what they were addicted to. The rest of us suffer under their malpractice as our "leaders." A truer case of the blind leading the blind could not be found. Plumb the depths of confusion here.

THE TRIAL OF HENRY KISSINGER, by Christopher Hitchens

Postby admin » Tue Sep 22, 2015 3:51 am

THE TRIAL OF HENRY KISSINGER
by Christopher Hitchens
© Christopher Hitchens 2001

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For the brave victims of Henry Kissinger, whose example will easily outlive him, and his "reputation." And for Joseph Heller, who saw it early and saw it whole.

In Gold's conservative opinion, Kissinger would not be recalled in history as a Bismarck, Metternich or Castlereagh but as an odious schlump who made war gladly. (Good as Gold, 1976)


Table of Contents:

Preface
Introduction
1. Curtain-Raiser: The Secret of '68
2. Indochina
3. A Sample of Cases: Kissinger's War Crimes in Indochina
4. Bangladesh: One Genocide, One Coup and One Assassination
5. Chile
6. An Afterword on Chile
7. Cyprus
8. East Timor
9. A "Wet Job" in Washington?
10. Afterword: The Profit Margin
11. Law and Justice
Appendix 1: A Fragrant Fragment
Appendix II: The Demetracopoulos Letter
Acknowledgements
Index
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Re: THE TRIAL OF HENRY KISSINGER, by Christopher Hitchens

Postby admin » Tue Sep 22, 2015 3:51 am

PREFACE

It will become clear, and may as well be stated at the outset, that this book is written by a political opponent of Henry Kissinger. Nonetheless, I have found myself continually amazed at how much hostile and discreditable material I have felt compelled to omit. I am concerned only with those Kissingerian offenses that might or should form the basis of a legal prosecution: for war crimes, for crimes against humanity, and for offenses against common or customary or international law, including conspiracy to commit murder, kidnap and torture.

Thus, in my capacity as a political opponent I might have mentioned Kissinger's recruitment and betrayal of the Iraqi Kurds, who were falsely encouraged by him to take up arms against Saddam Hussein in 1974-75, and who were then abandoned to extermination on their hillsides when Saddam Hussein made a diplomatic deal with the Shah of Iran, and who were deliberately lied to as well as abandoned. The conclusions of the report by Congressman Otis Pike still make shocking reading, and reveal on Kissinger's part a callous indifference to human life and human rights. But they fall into the category of depraved realpolitik, and do not seem to have violated any known law.

In the same way, Kissinger's orchestration of political and military and diplomatic cover for apartheid in South Africa and the South African destabilization of Angola, with its appalling consequences, presents us with a morally repulsive record. Again, though, one is looking at a sordid period of Cold War and imperial history, and an exercise of irresponsible power, rather than an episode of organized crime. Additionally, one must take into account the institutional nature of this policy, which might in outline have been followed under any administration, national security advisor, or secretary of state.

Similar reservations can be held about Kissinger's chairmanship of the Presidential Commission on Central America in the early 1980s, which was staffed by Oliver North and which whitewashed death squad activity in the isthmus. Or about the political protection provided by Kissinger, while in office, for the Pahlavi dynasty in Iran and its machinery of torture and repression. The list, it is sobering to say, could be protracted very much further. But it will not do to blame the whole exorbitant cruelty and cynicism of decades on one man. ( Occasionally one gets an intriguing glimpse, as when Kissinger urges President Ford not to receive the inconvenient Alexander Solzhenitsyn, while all the time he poses as Communism's most daring and principled foe.)

No, I have confined myself to the identifiable crimes that can and should be placed on a proper bill of indictment, whether the actions taken were in line with general "policy" or not. These include:

1. The deliberate mass killing of civilian populations in Indochina.

2. Deliberate collusion in mass murder, and later in assassination, in Bangladesh.

3. The personal suborning and planning of murder, of a senior constitutional officer in a democratic nation -- Chile -- with which the United States was not at war.

4. Personal involvement in a plan to murder the head of state in the democratic nation of Cyprus.

5. The incitement and enabling of genocide in East Timor.

6. Personal involvement in a plan to kidnap and murder a journalist living in Washington, DC.

The above allegations are not exhaustive. And some of them can only be constructed prima facie, since Mr. Kissinger -- in what may also amount to a deliberate and premeditated obstruction of justice -has caused large tranches of evidence to be withheld or destroyed.

However, we now enter upon the age when the defense of "sovereign immunity" for state crimes has been held to be void. As I demonstrate below, Kissinger has understood this decisive change even if many of his critics have not. The Pinochet verdict in London, the splendid activism of the Spanish magistracy, and the verdicts of the International Tribunal at The Hague have destroyed the shield that immunized crimes committed under. the justification of raison d'etat. There is now no reason why a war- rant for the trial of Kissinger may not be issued, in anyone of a number of jurisdictions, and why he may not be compelled to answer it. Indeed, and as I write, there are a number of jurisdictions where the law is at long last beginning to catch up with the evidence. And we have before us in any case the Nuremberg precedent, by which the United States solemnly under- took to be bound.

A failure to proceed will constitute a double or triple offense to justice. First, it will violate the essential and now uncontested principle that not even the most powerful are above the law. Second, it will suggest that prosecutions for war crimes and crimes against humanity are reserved for losers, or for minor despots in relatively negligible countries. This in turn will lead to the paltry politicization of what could have been a noble process, and to the justifiable suspicion of double standards.

Many if not most of Kissinger's partners in crime are now in jail, or are awaiting trial, or have been otherwise punished or discredited. His own lonely impunity is rank; it smells to heaven. If it is allowed to persist then we shall shamefully vindicate the ancient philosopher Anacharsis, who maintained that laws were like cobwebs: strong enough to detain only the weak, and too weak to hold the strong. In the name of innumerable victims known and unknown, it is time for justice to take a hand.
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Re: THE TRIAL OF HENRY KISSINGER, by Christopher Hitchens

Postby admin » Tue Sep 22, 2015 3:53 am

INTRODUCTION

ON 2 DECEMBER 1998, Mr. Michael Korda was being interviewed on camera in his office at Simon and Schuster. As one of the reigning magnates of New York publishing, he had edited and "produced" the work of authors as various as Tennessee Williams, Richard Nixon, Joan Crawford and Jo Bonanno. On this particular day, he was talking about the life and thoughts of Cher, whose portrait adorned the wall behind him. And then the telephone rang and there was a message to call "Dr" Henry Kissinger as soon as possible. A polymath like Mr. Korda knows -- what with the exigencies of publishing in these vertiginous days -- how to switch in an instant between Cher and high statecraft. The camera kept running, and recorded the following scene for a tape which I possess.

Asking his secretary to get the number (759 7919 -the digits of Kissinger Associates) Mr. Korda quips drily, to general laughter in the office, that it "should be 1-800-CAMBODIA ...1-800-BOMB-CAMBODIA." After a pause of nicely calibrated duration (no senior editor likes to be put on hold while he's receiving company, especially media company), it's "Henry -Hi, how are you? ...You're getting all the publicity you could want in the New York Times, but not the kind you want. ... I also think it's very, very dubious for the administration to simply say yes, they'll release these papers. ..no. .. no, absolutely ... no ... no ... well, hmmm, yeah. We did it until quite recently, frankly, and he did prevail. ...Well, I don't think there's any question about that, as uncomfortable as it may be. ... Henry, this is totally outrageous ...yeah. ... Also the jurisdiction. This is a Spanish judge appealing to an English court about a Chilean head of state. So it's, it. ... Also Spain has no rational jurisdiction over events in Chile anyway so that makes absolutely no sense. ... Well, that's probably true. ... If you would. I think that would be by far and away the best. ... Right, yeah, no I think it's exactly what you should do and I think it should be long and I think it should end with your father's letter. I think it's a very important document. ... Yes, but I think the letter is wonderful, and central to the entire book. Can you let me read the Lebanon chapter over the weekend?" At this point the conversation ends, with some jocular observations by Mr. Korda about his upcoming colonoscopy: "a totally repulsive procedure."

By means of the same tiny internal camera, or its forensic equivalent, one could deduce not a little about the world of Henry Kissinger from this microcosmic exchange. The first and most important thing is this. Sitting in his office at Kissinger Associates, with its tentacles of business and consultancy stretching from Belgrade to Beijing, and cushioned by innumerable other directorships and boards, he still shudders when he hears of the arrest of a dictator. Syncopated the conversation with Mr. Korda may be, but it's clear that the keyword is "jurisdiction:' What had the New York Times been reporting that fine morning? On that 2 December 1998, its front page carried the following report from Tim Weiner, the paper's national security correspondent in Washington. Under the headline "U.S. Will Release Files on Crimes Under Pinochet;" he wrote:

Treading into a political and diplomatic confrontation it tried to avoid, the United States decided today to declassify some secret documents on the killings and torture committed during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet in Chile. ... The decision to release such documents is the first sign that the United States will cooperate in the case against General Pinochet. Clinton Administration officials said they believed the benefits of openness in human rights cases outweighed the risks to national security in this case.

But the decision could open "a can of worms;' in the words of a former Central Intelligence Agency official stationed in Chile, exposing the depth of the knowledge that the United States had about crimes charged against the Pinochet Government ...

While some European government officials have supported bringing the former dictator to court, United States officials have stayed largely silent, reflecting skepticism about the Spanish court's power, doubts about international tribunals aimed at former foreign rulers, and worries over the implications for American leaders who might someday also be accused in foreign countries. [italics added]

President Richard M. Nixon and Henry A. Kissinger, who served as his national security advisor and Secretary of State, supported a right-wing coup in Chile in the early 1970s, previously declassified documents show.

But many of the actions of the United States during the 1973 coup, and much of what American leaders and intelligence services did in liaison with the Pinochet government after it seized power, remain under the seal of national security. The secret files on the Pinochet regime are held by the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the State Department, the Pentagon, the National Security Council, the National Archives, the Presidential libraries of Gerald R. Ford and Jimmy Carter, and other Government agencies.

According to Justice Department records, these files contain a history of human rights abuses and international terrorism:

• In 1975 State Department officials in Chile protested the Pinochet regime's record of killing and torture, filing dissents to American foreign policy with their superiors in Washington.
• The CIA has files on assassinations by the regime and the Chilean secret police. The intelligence agency also has records on Chile's attempts to establish an international right-wing covert-action squad.
• The Ford Library contains many of Mr. Kissinger's secret files on Chile, which have never been made public. Through a secretary, Mr. Kissinger declined a request for an interview today.


One must credit Kissinger with grasping what so many other people did not: that if the Pinochet precedent became established, then he himself was in some danger. The United States believes that it alone pursues and indicts war criminals and "international terrorists"; nothing in its political or journalistic culture yet allows for the thought that it might be harboring and sheltering such a senior one. Yet the thought had very obliquely surfaced in Mr. Weiner's story, and Kissinger was a worried man when he called his editor that day to discuss a memoir ( eventually published under the unbearably dull and self regarding title Years of Renewal) that was still in progress.

"Harboring and sheltering;' though, are understatements for the lavishness of Henry Kissinger's circumstances. His advice is sought, at $25,000 an appearance, by audiences of businessmen and academics and policy- makers. His turgid newspaper column is syndicated by the Los Angeles Times. His first volume of memoirs was part written and also edited by Harold Evans, who with Tina Brown is among the many hosts and hostesses who solicit Kissinger's company, or perhaps one should say society, for those telling New York soirees. At different times, he has been a consultant to ABC News and CBS; his most successful diplomacy, indeed, has probably been conducted with the media (and his single greatest achievement has been to get almost everybody to call him "Doctor"). Fawned on by Ted Koppel, sought out by corporations and despots with "image" problems or "failures of communication," and given respectful attention by presidential candidates and those whose task it is to "mold" their global vision, this man wants for little 'in the pathetic universe that the "self-esteem" industry exists to serve. Of whom else would Norman Podhoretz write, in a bended-knee encomium to Years of Upheaval:

What we have here is writing of the very highest order. It is writing that is equally at ease in portraiture and abstract analysis; that can shape a narrative as skillfully as it can paint a scene; that can achieve marvels of compression while moving at an expansive and leisurely pace. It is writing that can shift without strain or falsity of tone from the gravitas befitting a book about great historical events to the humor and irony dictated by an unfailing sense of human proportion.


A critic who can suck like that, as was once drily said by one of my moral tutors, need never dine alone. And nor need his subject. Except that, every now and then, the recipient (and donor) of so much sycophancy feels a tremor of anxiety. He leaves the well-furnished table and scurries to the bathroom. Is it perhaps another disclosure on a newly released Nixon tape? Some stray news from Indonesia, portending the fall or imprisonment of another patron (and perhaps the escape of an awkward document or two)? The arrest or indictment of a torturer or assassin, the expiry of the statute of secrecy for some obscure cabinet papers in a faraway country -- anyone of these can instantly spoil his day. As we see from the Korda tape, Kissinger cannot open the morning paper with the assurance of tranquility. Because he knows what others can only suspect, or guess at. He knows. And he is a prisoner of the knowledge as, to some extent, are we.

Notice the likeable way in which Mr. Korda demonstrates his broad- mindedness with the Cambodia jest. Everybody "knows," after all, that Kissinger inflicted terror and misery and mass death on that country, and great injury to the United States Constitution at the same time. (Everybody also "knows" that other vulnerable nations can lay claim to the same melancholy and hateful distinction, with incremental or "collateral" damage to American democracy keeping pace.) Yet the pudgy man standing in black tie at the Vogue party is not, surely, the man who ordered and sanctioned the destruction of civilian populations, the assassination of inconvenient politicians, the kidnapping and disappearance of soldiers and journalists and clerics who got in his way? Oh, but he is. It's exactly the same man. And that may be among the most nauseating reflections of all. Kissinger is not invited and feted because of his exquisite manners or his mordant wit (his manners are in any case rather gross, and his wit consists of a quiver of borrowed and secondhand darts). No, he is sought after because his presence supplies a frisson: the authentic touch of raw and unapologetic power. There's a slight guilty nervousness on the edge of Mr. Korda's gag about the indescribable sufferings of Indochina. And I've noticed, time and again standing at the back of the audience during Kissinger speeches, that laughter of the nervous, uneasy kind is the sort of laughter he likes to provoke. In exacting this tribute, he flaunts not the "aphrodisiac" of power ( another of his plagiarized bons mots) but its pornography.
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Re: THE TRIAL OF HENRY KISSINGER, by Christopher Hitchens

Postby admin » Tue Sep 22, 2015 3:55 am

Chapter 1: CURTAIN-RAISER: THE SECRET OF '68

THERE EXISTS, WITHIN the political class of Washington, DC, an open secret that is too momentous and too awful to tell. Though it is well known to academic historians, senior reporters, former cabinet members and ex- diplomats, it has never been summarized all at one time in anyone place. The reason for this is, on first viewing, paradoxical. The open secret is in the possession of both major political parties, and it directly implicates the past statecraft of at least three former presidencies. Thus, its full disclosure would be in the interest of no particular faction. Its truth is therefore the guarantee of its obscurity; it lies like Poe's "purloined letter" across the very aisle that signifies bipartisanship.

Here is the secret in plain words. In the fall of 1968, Richard Nixon and some of his emissaries and underlings set out to sabotage the Paris peace negotiations on Vietnam. The means they chose were simple: they privately assured the South Vietnamese military rulers that an incoming Republican regime would offer them a better deal than would a Democratic one. In this way, they undercut both the talks themselves and the electoral strategy of Vice President Hubert Humphrey. The tactic "worked," in that the South Vietnamese junta withdrew from the talks on the eve of the election, thereby destroying the "peace plank" on which the Democrats had contested it. In another way, it did not "work," because four years later the Nixon administration concluded the war on the same terms that had been on offer in Paris. The reason for the dead silence that still surrounds the question is that, in those intervening four years, some 'twenty thousand Americans and an uncalculated number of Vietnamese, Cambodians and Laotians lost their lives. Lost them, that is to say, even more pointlessly than had those slain up to that point. The impact of those four years on Indochinese society, and on American democracy, is beyond computation. The chief beneficiary of the covert action, and of the subsequent slaughter, was Henry Kissinger.

I can already hear the guardians of consensus scraping their blunted quills to describe this as a "conspiracy theory." I happily accept the challenge. Let us take, first, the White House journal of that renowned conspirator (and theorist of conspiracy) H.R. Haldeman, published in May 1994. I choose to start with this for two reasons. First, because, on the logical inference of "evidence against interest," it is improbable that Mr. Haldeman would supply evidence of his knowledge of a crime unless he was (posthumously) telling the truth. Second, because it is possible to trace back each of his entries to its origin in other documented sources.

In January 1973, the Nixon-Kissinger administration -for which Mr. Haldeman took the minutes -- was heavily engaged on two fronts. In Paris, Henry Kissinger was striving to negotiate "peace with honor" in Vietnam. In Washington, DC, the web of evidence against the Watergate burglars and buggers was beginning to tighten. On 8 January 1973, Haldeman records:

John Dean called to report on the Watergate trials, says that if we can prove in any way by hard evidence that our [campaign] plane was bugged in '68, he thinks that we could use that as a basis to say we're going to force Congress to go back and investigate '68 as well as '72, and thus turn them off.


Three days later, on 11 January 1973, Haldeman hears from Nixon ("The P," as the Diaries call him):

On the Watergate question, he wanted me to talk to [Attorney General John] Mitchell and have him find out from [Deke] De Loach [of the FBI] if the guy who did the bugging on us in 1968 is still at the FBI, and then [FBI acting director Patrick] Gray should nail him with a lie detector and get it settled, which would give us the evidence we need. He also thinks I ought to move with George Christian [President Johnson's former press secretary, then working with Democrats for Nixon], get LBJ to use his influence to turn off the Hill investigation with Califano, Hubert, and so on. Later in the day, he decided that wasn't such a good idea, and told me not to do it, which I fortunately hadn't done.


On the same day, Haldeman reports Henry Kissinger calling excitedly from Paris, saying "he'll do the signing in Paris rather than Hanoi, which is the key thing." He speaks also of getting South Vietnam's President Thieu to "go along." On the following day:

The P also got back on the Watergate thing today, making the point that I should talk to Connally about the Johnson bugging process to get his judgement as to how to handle it. He wonders if we shouldn't just have Andreas go in and scare Hubert. The problem in going at LBJ is how he'd react, and we need to find out from De Loach who did it, and then run a lie detector on him. I talked to Mitchell on the phone on this subject and he said De Loach had told him he was up to date on the thing because he had a call from Texas. A Star reporter was making an inquiry in the last week or so, and LBJ got very hot and called Deke [De Loach] and said to him that if the Nixon people are going to play with this, that he would release [ deleted material -- national security], saying that our side was asking that certain things be done. By our side, I assume he means the Nixon campaign organization. De Loach took this as a direct threat from Johnson. ... As he recalls it, bugging was requested on the planes, but was turned down, and all they did was check the phone calls, and put a tap on the Dragon Lady [Mrs. Anna Chennault].


This bureaucratic prose may be hard to read, but it needs no cypher to decode itself. Under intense pressure about the bugging of the Watergate building, Nixon instructed his chief of staff Haldeman, and his FBI contact Deke De Loach, to unmask the bugging to which his own campaign had been subjected in 1968. He also sounded out former President Johnson, through former senior Democrats like Governor John Connally, to gauge what his reaction to the disclosure might be. The aim was to show that "everybody does it." (By another bipartisan paradox, in Washington the , slogan "they all do it" is used as a slogan for the defense rather than, as one might hope, for the prosecution.)

However, a problem presented itself at once. How to reveal the 1968 bugging without at the same time revealing what that bugging had been about? Hence the second thoughts ("that wasn't such a good idea. .."). In his excellent introduction to The Haldeman Diaries, Nixon's biographer Professor Stephen Ambrose characterizes the 1973 approach to Lyndon Johnson as "prospective blackmail," designed to exert backstairs pressure to close down a congressional inquiry. But he also suggests that Johnson, himself no pushover, had some blackmail ammunition of his own. As Professor Ambrose phrases it, the Haldeman Diaries had been vetted by the National Security Council (NSC), and the bracketed deletion cited above is "the only place in the book where an example is given of a deletion by the NSC during the Carter administration. Eight days later Nixon was inaugurated for his second term. Ten days later Johnson died of a heart attack. What Johnson had on Nixon I suppose we'll never know."

The professor's conclusion here is arguably too tentative. There is a well-understood principle known as "Mutual Assured Destruction," whereby both sides possess more than enough material with which to annihilate the other. The answer to the question of what the Johnson administration "had" on Nixon is a relatively easy one. It was given in a book entitled Counsel to the President, published in 1991. Its author was Clark Clifford, the quintessential blue-chip Washington insider, who was assisted in the writing by Richard Holbrooke, the former Assistant Secretary of State and Ambassador to the United Nations. In 1968, Clark Clifford was Secretary of Defense and Richard Holbrooke was a member of the United States negotiating team at the Vietnam peace talks in Paris.

From his seat in the Pentagon, Clifford had actually been able to read the intelligence transcripts that picked up and recorded what he terms a "secret personal channel" between President Thieu in Saigon and the Nixon campaign. The chief interlocutor at the American end was John Mitchell, then Nixon's campaign manager and subsequently Attorney General (and subsequently Prisoner Number 24171-157 in the Alabama correctional system). He was actively assisted by Madame Anna Chennault, known to all as The Dragon Lady. A fierce veteran of the Taiwan lobby, and all-purpose right-wing intriguer, she was a social and political force in the Washington of her day and would rate a biography on her own.

Clifford describes a private meeting at which he, President Johnson, Secretary of State Dean Rusk, and National Security Advisor Walt Rostow were present. Hawkish to a man, they kept Vice-President Humphrey out of the loop. But, hawkish as they were, they were appalled at the evidence of Nixon's treachery. They nonetheless decided not to go public with what they knew. Clifford says that this was because the disclosure would have ruined the Paris talks altogether. He could have added that it would have created a crisis of public confidence in United States institutions. There are some things that the voters can't be trusted to know. And, even though the bugging had been legal, it might not have looked like fair play. (The Logan Act prohibits any American from conducting private diplomacy with a foreign power, but it is not very rigorously or consistently enforced.)

In the event, Thieu pulled out of the negotiations anyway, ruining them just two days before the election. Clifford is in no doubt of the advice on which he did so:

The activities of the Nixon team went far beyond the bounds of justifiable political combat. It constituted direct interference in the activities of the executive branch and the responsibilities of the Chief Executive, the only people with authority to negotiate on behalf of the nation. The activities of the Nixon campaign constituted a gross, even potentially illegal, interference in the security affairs of the nation by private individuals.


Perhaps aware of the slight feebleness of his lawyerly prose, and perhaps a little ashamed of keeping the secret for his memoirs rather than sharing it with the electorate, Clifford adds in a footnote:

It should be remembered that the public was considerably more innocent in such matters in the days before the Watergate hearings and the 1975 Senate investigation of the CIA.


Perhaps the public was indeed more innocent, if only because of the insider reticence of white-shoe lawyers like Clifford, who thought there were some things too profane to be made known. He claims now that he was in favor either of confronting Nixon privately with the information and forcing him to desist, or else of making it public. Perhaps this was indeed his view.

A more wised-up age of investigative reporting has brought us several updates on this appalling episode. And so has the very guarded memoir of Richard Nixon himself. More than one "back channel" was required for the Republican destabilization of the Paris peace talks. There had to be secret communications between Nixon and the South Vietnamese, as we have seen. But there also had to be an informant inside the incumbent administration's camp -- a source of hints and tips and early warnings of official intentions. That informant was Henry Kissinger. In Nixon's own account, RN: The Memoirs of Richard Nixon, the disgraced elder statesman tells us that, in mid-September 1968, he received private word of a planned "bombing halt." In other words, the Johnson administration would, for the sake of the negotiations, consider suspending its aerial bombardment of North Vietnam. This most useful advance intelligence, Nixon tells us, came "through a highly unusual channel." It was more unusual even than he acknowledged. Kissinger had until then been a devoted partisan of Nelson Rockefeller, the matchlessly wealthy prince of liberal Republicanism. His contempt for the person and the policies of Richard Nixon was undisguised. Indeed, President Johnson's Paris negotiators, led by Averell Harriman, considered Kissinger to be almost one of themselves. He had made himself helpful, as Rockefeller's chief foreign policy advisor, by supplying French intermediaries with their own contacts in Hanoi. "Henry was the only person outside of the government we were authorised to discuss the negotiations with," says Richard Holbrooke. "We trusted him. It is not stretching the truth to say that the Nixon campaign had a secret source within the US negotiating team."

So the likelihood of a bombing halt, wrote Nixon, "came as no real surprise to me." He added: "I told Haldeman that Mitchell should continue as liaison with Kissinger and that we should honor his desire to keep his role completely confidential." It is impossible that Nixon was unaware of his campaign manager's parallel role in colluding with a foreign power. Thus began what was effectively a domestic covert operation, directed simultaneously at the thwarting of the talks and the embarrassment of the Hubert Humphrey campaign.

Later in the month, on 26 September to be precise, and as recorded by Nixon in his memoirs, "Kissinger called again. He said that he had just returned from Paris, where he had picked up word that something big was afoot regarding Vietnam. He advised that if I had anything to say about Vietnam during the following week, I should avoid any new ideas or proposals." On the same day, Nixon declined a challenge from Humphrey for a direct debate. On 12 October, Kissinger once again made contact, suggesting that a bombing halt might be announced as soon as 23 October. And so it might have been. Except that for some reason, every time the North Vietnamese side came closer to agreement, the South Vietnamese increased their own demands. We now know why and how that was, and how the two halves of the strategy were knit together. As far back as July, Nixon had met quietly in New York with the South Vietnamese ambassador, Bui Diem. The contact had been arranged by Anna Chennault. Bugging of the South Vietnamese offices in Washington, and surveillance of the Dragon Lady, showed how the ratchet operated. An intercepted cable from Diem to President Thieu on the fateful day of 23 October had him saying: "Many Republican friends have contacted me and encouraged us to stand film. They were alarmed by press reports to the effect that you had already softened your position." The wiretapping instructions went to one Cartha De Loach, known as Deke to his associates, who was J. Edgar Hoover's FBI liaison officer to the White House. We met him, you may recall, in H.R. Haldeman's Diaries.

In 1999 the author Anthony Summers was finally able to gain access to the closed FBI file of intercepts of the Nixon campaign, which he published in his 2000 book The Arrogance of Power: The Secret World of Richard Nixon. He was also able to interview Anna Chennault. These two breakthroughs furnished him with what is vulgarly termed a "smoking gun" on the 1968 conspiracy. By the end of October 1968, John Mitchell had become so nervous about official surveillance that he ceased taking calls from Chennault. And President Johnson, in a conference call to the three candidates, Nixon, Humphrey and Wallace ( allegedly to brief them on the bombing halt) , had strongly implied that he knew about the covert efforts to stymie his Vietnam diplomacy. This call created near-panic in Nixon's inner circle and caused Mitchell to telephone Chennault at the Sheraton Park Hotel. He then asked her to call him back on a more secure line. "Anna," he told her, "I'm speaking on behalf of Mr. Nixon. It's very important that our Vietnamese friends understand our Republican position, and I hope you made that clear to them. ... Do you think they really have decided not to go to Paris?"

The reproduced FBI original document shows what happened next. On 2 November 1968, the agent reported as follows:

MRS. ANNA CHENNAULT CONTACTED VIETNAMESE AMBASSADOR BUI DIEM, AND ADVISED HIM THAT SHE HAD RECEIVED A MESSAGE FROM HER BOSS (NOT FURTHER IDENTIFIED), WHICH HER BOSS WANTED HER TO GIVE PERSONALLY TO THE AMBASSADOR. SHE SAID THAT THE MESSAGE WAS THAT THE AMBASSADOR IS TO "HOLD ON, WE ARE GONNA WIN" AND THAT HER BOSS ALSO SAID "HOLD ON, HE UNDERSTANDS ALL OF IT." SHE REPEATED THAT THIS IS THE ONLY MESSAGE. "HE SAID PLEASE TELL YOUR BOSS TO HOLD ON." SHE ADVISED THAT HER BOSS HAD JUST CALLED FROM NEW MEXICO.


Nixon's running mate, Spiro Agnew, had been campaigning in Albuquerque, New Mexico, that day, and subsequent intelligence analysis revealed that he, and another member of his staff (the one principally concerned with Vietnam), had indeed been in touch with the Chennault camp.

The beauty of having Kissinger leaking from one side, and Anna Chennault and John Mitchell conducting a private foreign policy for Nixon on the other, was this. It enabled him to avoid being drawn into the argument over a bombing halt. And it further enabled him to suggest that it was the Democrats who were playing politics with the issue. On 25 October in New York, Nixon used his tried-and-tested tactic of circulating an innuendo while purporting to disown it. Of LBJ's Paris diplomacy he said, "I am told that this spurt of activity is a cynical, last-minute attempt by President Johnson to salvage the candidacy of Mr. Humphrey. This I do not believe."

Kissinger himself showed a similar ability to play both ends against the middle. In the late summer of 1968, on Martha's Vineyard, he had offered Nelson Rockefeller's files on Nixon to Professor Samuel Huntington, a close advisor to Hubert Humphrey. But when Huntington's colleague and friend Zbigniew Brzezinski tried to get him to make good on the offer, Kissinger became shy. "I've hated Nixon for years," he told Brzezinski. But the time wasn't quite ripe for the handover. Indeed, it was a very close-run election, turning in the end on a difference of a few hundred thousand votes, and many hardened observers believe that the final difference was made when Johnson ordered a bombing halt on 31 October and the South Vietnamese made him look a fool by boycotting the peace talks the very next day. But had things gone the other way, Kissinger was a near-certainty for a senior job in a Humphrey administration.

With slight differences of emphasis, the larger pieces of this story appear in Haldeman's work as cited, and in Clifford's memoir. They are also partially rehearsed in President Johnson's autobiography The Vantage Point, and in a long reflection on Indochina by William Bundy ( one of the architects of the war) entitled rather tritely The Tangled Web. Senior members of the press corps, among them Jules Witcover in his history of 1968, Seymour Hersh in his study of Kissinger, and Walter Isaacson, editor of Time magazine, in his admiring but critical biography, have produced almost congruent accounts of the same abysmal episode. I myself parsed The Haldeman Diaries in The Nation in 1994. The only mention of it that is completely and utterly false, and false by any literary or historical standard, appears in the memoirs of Henry Kissinger himself. He writes just this:

Several Nixon emissaries -- some self-appointed -- telephoned me for counsel. I took the position that I would answer specific questions on foreign policy, but that I would not offer general advice or volunteer suggestions. This was the same response I made to inquiries from the Humphrey staff.


This contradicts even the self-serving memoir of the man who, having won the 1968 election by these underhand means, made as his very first appointment Henry Kissinger as National Security Advisor. One might not want to arbitrate a mendacity competition between the two men, but when he made this choice Richard Nixon had only once, briefly and awkwardly, met Henry Kissinger in person. He clearly formed his estimate of the man's abilities from more persuasive experience than that. "One factor that had most convinced me of Kissinger's credibility," Nixon wrote later in his own delicious prose, "was the length to which he went to protect his secrecy."

But that ghastly secret is now out. In the December 1968 issue of the establishment house organ Foreign Affairs, written months earlier but published a few days after his gazetting as Nixon's right-hand man, there appeared Henry Kissinger's own evaluation of the Vietnam negotiations. On every point of substance, he agreed with the line taken in Paris by the Johnson-Humphrey negotiators. One has to pause for an instant to comprehend the enormity of this. Kissinger had helped elect a man who had surreptitiously promised the South Vietnamese junta a better deal than they would get from the Democrats. The Saigon authorities then acted, as Bundy ruefully confirms, as if they did indeed have a deal. This meant, in the words of a later Nixon slogan, "Four More Years." But four more years of an unwinnable and undeclared and murderous war, which was to spread before it burned out, and was to end on the same terms and conditions as had been on the table in the fall of 1968.

This was what it took to promote Henry Kissinger. To promote him from being a mediocre and opportunist academic to becoming an inter- national potentate. The signature qualities were there from the inaugural moment: the sycophancy and the duplicity; the power worship and the absence of scruple; the empty trading of old non-friends for new non- friends. And the distinctive effects were also present: the uncounted and expendable corpses; the official and unofficial lying about the cost; the heavy and pompous pseudo-indignation when unwelcome questions were asked. Kissinger's global career started as it meant to go on. It debauched the American republic and American democracy, and it levied a hideous toll of casualties on weaker and more vulnerable societies.

BY WAY OF WARNING: A BRIEF NOTE ON THE 40 COMMITTEE

In many of the ensuing pages and episodes, I've found it essential to allude to the "40 Committee" or the "Forty Committee," the semi-clandestine body of which Henry Kissinger was the chairman between 1969 and 1976. One does not need to picture some giant, octopus-like organization at the center of a web of conspiracy: however, it is important to know that there was a committee which maintained ultimate supervision over United States covert actions overseas (and, possibly, at home) during this period.

The CIA was originally set up by President Harry Truman at the beginning of the Cold War. In the first Eisenhower administration, it was felt necessary to establish a monitoring or watchdog body to oversee covert operations. This panel was known as the Special Group, and sometimes also referred to as the 54/12 Group, after the number of the National Security Council directive which set it up. By the time of President Johnson it was called the 303 Committee and during the Nixon and Ford administrations it was called the 40 Committee. Some believe that these changes of name reflect the numbers of later NSC directives; in fact the committee was known by the numbers of the successive rooms in the handsome Old Executive Office Building ( now annexed to the neighboring White House ) which used to shelter the three departments of "State, War and Navy," in which it met. No mystery there.

If any fantastic rumors shroud the work of the committee, this may be the outcome of the absurd cult of secrecy that at one point surrounded it. At Senate hearings in 1973, Senator Stuart Symington was questioning William Colby, then Director of Central Intelligence, about the origins and evolution of the supervisory group:

Senator Symington: Very well. What is the name of the latest committee of this character? Mr. Colby: Forty Committee. Senator Symington: Who is the chairman? Mr. Colby: Well, again, I would prefer to go into executive session on the description of the Forty Committee, Mr. Chairman. Senator Symington: As to who is the chairman, you would prefer an executive session? Mr. Colby: The chairman -- all right, Mr. Chairman -- Dr Kissinger is the chairman, as the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs.


Kissinger held this position ex officio, in other words. His colleagues at the time were Air Force General George Brown, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; William P. Clements, Jr., the Deputy Secretary of Defense; Joseph Sisco, the Under-Secretary of State for Political Affairs; and the Director of Central Intelligence, William Colby.

With slight variations, those holding these positions have been the permanent members of the Forty Committee which, as President Ford phrased it in the first public reference by a president to the group's existence, "reviews every covert operation undertaken by our government." An important variation was added by President Nixon, who appointed his former campaign manager and attorney general, John Mitchell, to sit on the committee, the only attorney general to have done so. The founding charter of the CIA prohibits it from taking any part in domestic operations: in January 1975 Attorney General Mitchell was convicted of numerous counts of perjury, obstruction and conspiracy to cover up the Watergate burglary, which was carried out in part by former CIA operatives. He became the first attorney general to serve time in jail.

We have met Mr. Mitchell, in concert with Mr. Kissinger, before. The usefulness of this note, I hope and believe, is that it supplies a thread which will be found throughout this narrative. Whenever any major US covert under- taking occurred between the years 1969 and 1976, Henry Kissinger may be at least presumed to have had direct knowledge of, and responsibility for, it. If he claims that he did not, then he is claiming not to have been doing a job to which he clung with great bureaucratic tenacity. And, whether or not he cares to accept the responsibility, the accountability is his in any case.
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Re: THE TRIAL OF HENRY KISSINGER, by Christopher Hitchens

Postby admin » Tue Sep 22, 2015 3:56 am

Chapter 2: INDOCHINA

EVEN WHILE COMPELLED to concentrate on brute realities, one must never lose sight of that element of the surreal that surrounds Henry Kissinger. Paying a visit to Vietnam in the middle 1960s, when many technocratic opportunists were still convinced that the war was worth fighting and could be won, the young Henry reserved judgment on the first point but developed considerable private doubts on the second. Empowered by Nelson Rockefeller with a virtual free hand to develop contacts of his own, he had gone so far as to involve himself with an initiative that extended to direct personal contact with Hanoi. He became friendly with two Frenchmen who had a direct line to the Communist leadership in North Vietnam's capital. Raymond Aubrac, a French civil servant who was a friend of Ho Chi Minh, made common cause with Herbert Marcovich, a French biochemist, and began a series of trips to North Vietnam. On their return, they briefed Kissinger in Paris. He in his turn parlayed their information into high-level conversations in Washington, relaying the actual or potential negotiating positions of Pham Van Dong and other Communist statesmen to Robert McNamara. (In the result, the relentless bombing of the North made any "bridge-building" impracticable. In particular, the now-forgotten American destruction of the Paul Doumer bridge outraged the Vietnamese side.)

This weightless mid-position, which ultimately helped enable his double act in 1968, allowed Kissinger to ventriloquize Governor Rockefeller and to propose, by indirect means, a future detente with America's chief rivals. In his first major address as a candidate for the Republican nomination in 1968, Rockefeller spoke ringingly of how "in a subtle triangle with Communist China and the Soviet Union, we can ultimately improve our relations with each -- as we test the will for peace of both." This foreshadowing of a later Kissinger strategy might appear at first reading to illustrate prescience. But Governor Rockefeller had no more reason than Vice- President Humphrey to suppose that his ambitious staffer would defect to the Nixon camp, risking and postponing this same detente in order later to take credit for a debased simulacrum of it.

Morally speaking, Kissinger treated the concept of superpower rapprochement in the same way as he treated the concept of a negotiated settlement in Vietnam: as something contingent to his own needs. There was a time to feign support of it, and a time to denounce it as weak-minded and treacherous. And there was a time to take credit for it. Some of those who "followed orders" in Indochina may lay a claim to that notoriously weak defense. Some who even issued the orders may now tell us that they were acting sincerely at the time. But Kissinger cannot avail himself of this alibi. He always knew what he was doing, and he embarked upon a second round of protracted warfare having knowingly helped to destroy an alter- native which he always understood was possible. This increases the gravity of the charge against him. It also prepares us for his improvised and retrospective defense against that charge -that his immense depredations eventually led to "peace." When he falsely and prematurely announced that "peace is now at hand" in October 1972, he made a boastful claim that could have been genuinely (and much less bloodily) made in 1967. And when he claimed credit for subsequent superpower contacts, he was announcing the result of a secret and corrupt diplomacy that had originally been proposed as an open and democratic one. In the meantime, he had illegally eavesdropped and shadowed American citizens and public servants whose misgivings about the war, and about unconstitutional authority, were mild compared to those of Messieurs Aubrac and Marcovich. In establishing what lawyers call the mens rea, we can say that in Kissinger's case he was fully aware of, and is entirely accountable for, his own actions.

Upon taking office at Richard Nixon's side in the winter of 1968, it was Kissinger's task to be plus royaliste que le roi in two respects. He had to confect a rationale of "credibility" for punitive action in an already devastated Vietnamese theatre, and he had to second his principal's wish that he form part of a "wall" between the Nixon White House and the Department of State. The term "two-track" was later to become commonplace. Kissinger's position on both tracks, of promiscuous violence abroad and flagrant illegality at home, was decided from the start. He does not seem to have lacked relish for either commitment; one hopes faintly that this was not the first twinge of the "aphrodisiac."

President Johnson's "bombing halt" had not lasted long by any standards, even if one remembers that its original conciliatory purpose had been sordidly undercut. Averell Harriman, who had been LBJ's chief negotiator in Paris, later testified to Congress that the North Vietnamese had withdrawn 90 percent of their forces from the northern two provinces of South Vietnam, in October-November 1968, in accordance with the agreement of which the halt might have formed a part. In the new context, however, this withdrawal could be interpreted as a sign of weakness, or even as a "light at the end of the tunnel."

The historical record of the Indochina war is voluminous, and the resulting controversy no less so. However, this does not prevent the following of a consistent thread. Once the war had been unnaturally and undemocratically prolonged, more exorbitant methods were required to fight it and more fantastic excuses had to be fabricated to justify it. Let us take four separate but connected cases in which the civilian population was deliberately exposed to indiscriminate lethal force, in which the customary laws of war and neutrality were violated, and in which conscious lies had to be told in order to conceal these facts, and others.

The first such case is an example of what Vietnam might have been spared had not the 1968 Paris peace talks been sabotaged. In December 1968, during the "transition" period between the Johnson and Nixon administrations, the United States military command turned to what General Creighton Abrams termed "total war" against the "infrastructure" of the Vietcong/NLF insurgency. The chief exhibit in this campaign was a six-month clearance of the Mekong Delta province of Kien Hoa. The code name for the sweep was Operation Speedy Express. (See pages 30-33.)

It might, in some realm of theory, be remotely conceivable that such tactics could be justified under the international laws and charters governing the sovereign rights of self-defense. But no nation capable of deploying the overwhelming and annihilating force described below would be likely to find itself on the defensive. And it would be least of all likely to find itself on the defensive on its own soil. So the Nixon-Kissinger administration was not, except in one unusual sense, fighting for survival. The unusual sense in which its survival was at stake is set out, yet again, in the stark posthumous testimony of H.R. Haldeman. From his roost at Nixon's side he describes a Kissingerian moment on 15 December 1970:

K[issinger ] came in and the discussion covered some of the general thinking about Vietnam and the P's big peace plan for next year, which K later told me he does not favor. He thinks that any pullout next year would be a serious mistake because the adverse reaction to it could set in well before the '72 elections. He favors instead a continued winding down and then a pullout right at the fall of '72 so that if any bad results follow they will be too late to affect the election.


One could hardly wish for it to be more plainly put than that. (And put, furthermore, by one of Nixon's chief partisans with no wish to discredit the re-election.) But in point of fact Kissinger himself admits to almost as much in his own first volume of memoirs, The White House Years. The con- text is a meeting with General de Gaulle in which the old warrior demanded to know by what right the Nixon administration subjected Indochina to devastating bombardment. In his own account, Kissinger replies that "a sudden withdrawal might give us a credibility problem." (When asked "Where?", Kissinger hazily proposed the Middle East.) It is important to bear in mind that the future flatterer of Brezhnev and Mao, and the proponent of the manipulative "triangle" between them, was in no real position to claim that he made war in Indochina to thwart either. He certainly did not dare try such a callow excuse on Charles de Gaulle. And indeed, the proponent of secret deals with China was in no very strong position to claim that he was combating Stalinism in general. No, it all came down to "credibility," and to the saving of face. It is known that 20,492 American servicemen lost their lives in Indochina between the day that Nixon and Kissinger took office and the day in 1972 that they with- drew United States forces and accepted the logic of 1968. What if the families and survivors of these victims have to confront the fact that the "face" at risk was Kissinger's own?

Thus the colloquially entitled "Christmas bombing" of North Vietnam, begun during the same election campaign that Haldeman and Kissinger had so tenderly foreseen two years previously, and continued after that election had been won, must be counted as a war crime by any standard. The bombing was not conducted for anything that could be described as "military reasons," but for twofold political reasons. The first of these was domestic: to make a show of strength to extremists in Congress and to put the Democratic Party on the defensive. The second reason was to persuade the South Vietnamese leaders like President Thieu -- still intransigent after all those years that their objections to a United States withdrawal were too nervous. This, again, was the mortgage on the initial secret payment of 1968.

When the unpreventable collapse occurred, in Vietnam and in Cambodia, in April and May 1975, the cost was infinitely higher than it would have been seven years previously. These locust years ended as they had begun -with a display of bravado and deceit. On 12 May 1975, Cambodian gunboats detained an American merchant vessel named the Mayaguez. In the immediate aftermath of the Khmer Rouge seizure of power, the situation was a distraught one. The ship had been stopped in international waters claimed by Cambodia and then taken to the Cambodian island of Koh Tang. In spite of reports that the crew had been released, Kissinger pressed for an immediate face-saving and "credibility"- enhancing strike. He persuaded President Gerald Ford, the untried and undistinguished successor to his deposed former boss, to send in the Marines and the Air Force. Out of a Marine force of 110, 18 were killed and 50 wounded. Some 23 Air Force men died in a crash. The United States used a 15,000-pound bomb on the island, the most powerful non-nuclear device that it possessed. Nobody has the figures for Cambodian deaths. The casualties were pointless because the ship's company of the Mayaguez were nowhere on Koh Tang, having been released some hours earlier. A subsequent congressional inquiry found that Kissinger could have known of this by listening to Cambodian Broadcasting or by paying attention to a third-party government which had been negotiating a deal for the restitution of the crew and the ship. It was not as if any Cambodians doubted, by that month of 1975, the willingness of the US government to employ deadly force.

In Washington, DC, there is a famous and hallowed memorial to the American dead of the Vietnam War. Known as the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial, it bears a name that is slightly misleading. I was present for the extremely affecting moment of its dedication in 1982, and noticed that the list of nearly 60,000 names is incised in the wall not by alphabet but by date. The first few names appear in 1954, and the last few in 1975. The more historically minded visitors can sometimes be heard to say that they didn't know the United States was engaged in Vietnam as early or as late as that. Nor were the public supposed to know. The first names are of the covert operatives sent in by Colonel Lansdale without congressional approval to support French colonialism before Dien Bien Phu. The last names are of those thrown away in the Mayaguez fiasco. It took Henry Kissinger to ensure that a war of atrocity, which he had helped prolong, should end as furtively and ignominiously as it had begun.
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Re: THE TRIAL OF HENRY KISSINGER, by Christopher Hitchens

Postby admin » Tue Sep 22, 2015 3:59 am

Chapter 3: A SAMPLE OF CASES: KISSINGER'S WAR CRIMES IN INDOCHINA

SOME STATEMENTS ARE too blunt for everyday, consensual discourse. In national "debate," it is the smoother pebbles that are customarily gathered from the stream, and used as projectiles. They leave less of a scar, even when they hit. Occasionally, however, a single hard-edged remark will inflict a deep and jagged wound, a gash so ugly that it must be cauterized at once. In January 1971, General Telford Taylor, who had been chief prosecuting counsel at the Nuremberg trials, made a considered statement. Reviewing the legal and moral basis of those hearings, and also the Tokyo trials of Japanese war criminals and the Manila trial of Emperor Hirohito's chief militarist, General Tomoyuki Yamashita, Taylor said that if the standards of Nuremberg and Manila were applied evenly, and applied to the American statesmen and bureaucrats who designed the war in Vietnam, then "there would be a very strong possibility that they would come to the same end he [Yamashita] did." It is not every day that a senior American soldier and jurist delivers the opinion that a large portion of his country's political class should probably be hooded and blindfolded and dropped through a trapdoor on the end of a rope.

In his book Nuremberg and Vietnam, General Taylor also anticipated one of the possible objections to this legal and moral conclusion. It might be argued for the defense, he said, that those arraigned did not really know what they were doing; in other words had achieved the foulest results but from the highest and most innocent motives. The notion of Indochina as some Heart of Darkness "quagmire" of ignorant armies has been sedulously propagated, then and since, but Taylor had no patience with such a view. American military and intelligence and economic and political missions and teams had been in Vietnam, he wrote, for much too long to attribute anything they did "to lack of information." It might have been possible for soldiers and diplomats to pose as innocents until the middle of the 1960s, but after that time, and especially after the My Lai massacre of 16 March 1968, when serving veterans reported to their superior officers a number of major atrocities, nobody could reasonably claim to have been uninformed and of those who could, the least believable would be those who -far from the confusion of battle -read and discussed and approved the panoptic reports of the war that were delivered to Washington.

General Taylor's book was being written while many of the most reprehensible events of the Indochina war were still taking place, or were still to come. He was unaware of the intensity and extent of, for example, the bombing of Laos and Cambodia. However, enough was known about the conduct of the war, and about the existing matrix of legal and criminal responsibility, for him to arrive at some indisputable conclusions. The first of these concerned the particular obligation of the United States to be aware of, and to respect, the Nuremberg principles:

Military courts and commissions have customarily rendered their judgments stark and unsupported by opinions giving the reason for their decision. The Nuremberg and Tokyo judgments, in contrast, were all based on extensive opinions detailing the evidence and analyzing the factual and legal issues, in the fashion of appellate tribunals generally. Needless to say they were not of uniform quality, and often reflected the logical shortcomings of compromise, the marks of which commonly mar the opinions of multi-member tribunals. But the process was professional in a way seldom achieved in military courts, and the records and judgments in these trials provided a much-needed foundation for a corpus of judge-made international penal law. The results of the trials commended themselves to the newly-formed United Nations, and on December 11, 1946, the General Assembly adopted a resolution affirming "the principles of international law recognized by the Charter of the Nuremberg Tribunal and the judgment of the Tribunal."

However history may ultimately assess the wisdom or unwisdom of the war crimes trials, one thing is indisputable. At their conclusion, the United States Government stood legally, politically and morally committed to the principles enunciated in the charters and judgments of the tribunals. The President of the United States, on the recommendations of the Departments of State, War and Justice, approved the war crimes programs. Thirty or more American judges, drawn from the appellate benches of the states from Massachusetts to Oregon, and Minnesota to Georgia, conducted the later Nuremberg trials and wrote the opinions. General Douglas MacArthur, under authority of the Far Eastern Commission, established the Tokyo tribunal and confirmed the sentences it imposed, and it was under his authority as the highest American military officer in the Far East that the Yamashita and other such proceedings were held. The United States delegation to the United Nations presented the resolution by which the General Assembly endorsed the Nuremberg principles. Thus the integrity of the nation is staked on those principles, and today the question is how they apply to our conduct of the war in Vietnam, and whether the United States Government is prepared to face the consequences of their application.


Facing and cogitating these consequences himself, General Telford Taylor took issue with another United States officer, Colonel William Corson, who had written that "Regardless of the outcome of. ..the My Lai courts-martial and other legal actions, the point remains that American judgment as to the effective prosecution of the war was faulty from beginning to end and that the atrocities, alleged or otherwise, are a result of failure of judgment, not criminal behavior." To this Telford responded thus:

Colonel Corson overlooks, I fear, that negligent homicide is generally a crime of bad judgment rather than evil intent. Perhaps he is right in the strictly causal sense that if there had been no failure of judgment, the occasion for criminal conduct would not have arisen. The Germans in occupied Europe made gross errors of judgment which no doubt created the conditions in which the slaughter of the inhabitants of Klissura ( a Greek village annihilated during the Occupation] occurred, but that did not make the killings any the less criminal.


Referring this question to the chain of command in the field, General Taylor noted further that the senior officer corps had been:

more or less constantly in Vietnam, and splendidly equipped with helicopters and other aircraft, which gave them a degree of mobility unprecedented in earlier wars, and consequently endowed them with every opportunity to keep the course of the fighting and its consequences under close and constant observation. Communications were generally rapid and efficient, so that the flow of information and orders was unimpeded.

These circumstances are in sharp contrast to those that confronted General Yamashita in 1944 and 1945, with his troops reeling back in disarray before the oncoming American military powerhouse. For failure to control his troops so as to prevent the atrocities they committed, Brigadier Generals Egbert F. Bullene and Morris Handwerk and Major Generals James A. Lester, Leo Donovan and Russel B. Reynolds found him guilty of violating the laws of war and sentenced him to death by hanging.


Nor did General Taylor omit the crucial link between the military command and its political supervision; this was again a much closer and more immediate relation in the American-Vietnamese instance than in the Japanese-Filipino one, as the regular contact between, say, General Creighton Abrams and Henry Kissinger makes clear:

How much the President and his close advisors in the White House, Pentagon and Foggy Bottom knew about the volume and cause of civilian casualties in Vietnam, and the physical devastation of the countryside, is speculative. Something was known, for the late John Naughton (then Assistant Secretary of Defense) returned from the White House one day in 1967 with the message that "We seem to be proceeding on the assumption that the way to eradicate the Vietcong is to destroy all the village structures, defoliate all the jungles, and then cover the entire surface of South Vietnam with asphalt."


This remark had been reported (by Townsend Hoopes, a political antagonist of General Taylor) before that metaphor had been extended into two new countries, Laos and Cambodia, without a declaration of war, a notification to Congress, or a warning to civilians to evacuate. But Taylor anticipated the Kissinger case in many ways when he recalled the trial of the Japanese statesman Koki Hirota:

who served briefly as Prime Minister and for several years as Foreign Minister between 1933 and May 1938, after which he held no office whatever. The so-called "Rape of Nanking" by Japanese forces occurred during the winter of 1937-38, when Hirota was Foreign Minister. Upon receiving early reports of the atrocities, he demanded and received assurances from the War Ministry that they would be stopped. But they continued, and the Tokyo tribunal found Hirota guilty because he was "derelict in his duty in not insisting before the Cabinet that immediate action be taken to put an end to the atrocities." and "was content to rely on assurances which he knew were not being implemented." On this basis, coupled with his conviction on the aggressive war charge, Hirota was sentenced to be hanged.


Melvin Laird, as Secretary of Defense during the first Nixon administration, was queasy enough about the early bombings of Cambodia, and dubious enough about the legality or prudence of the intervention, to send a memo to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, asking, "Are steps being taken, on a continuing basis, to minimize the risk of striking Cambodian peoples and structures. If so, what are the steps? Are we reasonably sure such steps are effective." There is no evidence of Henry Kissinger, as National Security Advisor or Secretary of State, ever seeking even such modest assurances. Indeed, there is much evidence of his deceiving Congress about the true extent to which such assurances as were offered were deliberately false. Others involved, like Robert McNamara, McGeorge Bundy and William Colby, have since offered varieties of apology or contrition or at least explanation: Henry Kissinger never. General Taylor described the practise of air strikes against hamlets suspected of "harboring" Vietnamese guerrillas as "flagrant violations of the Geneva Convention on Civilian Protection, which prohibits 'collective penalties' and 'reprisals against protected persons' and equally in violation of the Rules of Land Warfare." He was writing before this atrocious precedent had been extended to "reprisal raids" that treated two whole countries -Laos and Cambodia -as if they were disposable hamlets.

For Henry Kissinger, no great believer in the boastful claims of the war- makers in the first place, a special degree of responsibility attaches. Not only did he have good reason to know that field commanders were exaggerating successes and claiming all dead bodies as enemy soldiers -- a commonplace piece of knowledge after the spring of 1968 -- but he also knew that the issue of the war had been settled politically and diplomatically, for all intents and purposes, before he became National Security Advisor. Thus he had to know that every additional casualty, on either side, was not just a death but an avoidable death. And with this knowledge, and with a strong sense of the domestic and personal political profit, he urged the expansion of the war into two neutral countries -violating inter- national law -while persisting in a breathtakingly high level of attrition in Vietnam itself.

From a huge range of possible examples, I have chosen cases which involve Kissinger directly and in which I have myself been able to interview surviving witnesses. The first, as foreshadowed above, is Operation Speedy Express.

My friend and colleague Kevin Buckley, then a much-admired correspondent and Saigon bureau chief for Newsweek, became interested in the "pacification" campaign which bore this breezy code name. Designed in the closing days of the Johnson-Humphrey administration, it was put into full effect in the first six months of 1969, when Henry Kissinger had assumed much authority over the conduct of the war. The objective was the disciplining, on behalf of the Thieu government, of the turbulent Mekong Delta province of Kien Hoa.

On 22 January 1968, Defense Secretary Robert McNamara had told the Senate that "no regular North Vietnamese units" were deployed in the Mekong Delta, and no military intelligence documents have surfaced to undermine his claim, so that the cleansing of the area cannot be understood as part of the general argument about resisting Hanoi's unsleeping will to conquest. The announced purpose of the Ninth Division's sweep, indeed, was to redeem many thousands of villagers from political control by the National Liberation Front (NLF) or Viet Cong (VC). As Buckley found, and as his magazine Newsweek partially disclosed at the rather late date of 19 June 1972:

All the evidence I gathered pointed to a clear conclusion: a staggering number of noncombatant civilians -- perhaps as many as 5,000 according to one official -- were killed by us firepower to "pacify" Kien Hoa. The death toll there made the My Lai massacre look trifling by comparison. ...

The Ninth Division put all it had into the operation. Eight thousand infantrymen scoured the heavily populated countryside, but contact with the elusive enemy was rare. Thus, in its pursuit of pacification, the division relied heavily on its 50 artillery pieces, 50 helicopters (many armed with rockets and mini-guns) and the deadly support lent by the Air Force. There were 3,381 tactical air strikes by fighter bombers during "Speedy Express." ...

"Death is our business and business is good." was the slogan painted on one helicopter unit's quarters during the operation. And so it was. Cumulative statistics for "Speedy Express" show that 10,899 "enemy" were killed. In the month of March alone, "over 3,000 enemy troops were killed. .. which is the largest monthly total for any American division in the Vietnam War," said the division's official magazine. When asked to account for the enormous body counts, a division senior officer explained that helicopter gun crews often caught unarmed "enemy" in open fields. ...

There is overwhelming evidence that virtually all the Viet Cong were well armed. Simple civilians were, of course, not armed. And the enormous discrepancy between the body count (11,000) and the number of captured weapons (748) is hard to explain -except by the conclusion that many victims were unarmed innocent civilians. ... The people who still live in pacified Kien Hoa all have vivid recollections of the devastation that American firepower brought to their lives in early 1969. Virtually every person to whom I spoke had suffered in some way. "There were 5,000 people in our village before 1969, but there were none in 1970;' one village elder told me. "The Americans destroyed every house with artillery, air strikes, or by burning them down with cigarette lighters. About 100 people were killed by bombing, others were wounded and others became refugees. Many were children killed by concussion from the bombs which their small bodies could not withstand, even if they were hiding under ground."

Other officials, including the village police chief, corroborated the man's testimony. I could not, of course, reach every village. But in each of the many places where I went, the testimony was the same: 100 killed here, 200 killed there.

Other notes by Buckley and his friend and collaborator Alex Shimkin (a worker for International Voluntary Services who was later killed in the war) discovered the same telltale evidence in hospital statistics. In March 1969, the hospital at Ben Tre reported 343 patients injured by "friendly fire" and 25 by "the enemy," an astonishing statistic for a government facility to record in a guerrilla war where suspected membership of the Viet Cong could mean death. And Buckley's own citation for his magazine of "perhaps as many as 5,000 deaths" among civilians in this one sweep -- is an almost deliberate understatement of what he was told by a United States official, who actually said that "at least 5,000" of the dead "were what we refer to as noncombatants": a not-too-exacting distinction, as we have already seen, and as was by then well understood (italics mine).


Well understood, that is to say, not just by those who opposed the war but by those who were conducting it. As one United States official put it to Buckley:

The actions of the Ninth Division in inflicting civilian casualties were worse ( than My Lai]. The sum total of what the Ninth did was overwhelming. In sum, the horror was worse than My Lai. But with the Ninth, the civilian casualties came in dribbles and were pieced out over a long time. And most of them were inflicted from the air and at night. Also, they were sanctioned by the command's insistence on high body-counts. ... The result was an inevitable outcome of the unit's command policy.


The earlier sweep which had mopped up My Lai -during Operation Wheeler Wallawa -- had also at the time counted all corpses as those of enemy soldiers, including the civilian population of the village, who were casually included in the mind-bending overall total of 10,000.

Confronted with this evidence, Buckley and Shimkin abandoned a lazy and customary usage and replaced it, in a cable to Newsweek headquarters in New York, with a more telling and scrupulous one. The problem was not "indiscriminate use of firepower," but "charges of quite discriminating use -- as a matter of policy in populated areas." Even the former is a gross violation of the Geneva Convention; the second charge leads straight to the dock in Nuremberg or The Hague.

Since General Creighton Abrams publicly praised the Ninth Division for its work, and drew attention wherever and whenever he could to the tremendous success of Operation Speedy Express, we can be sure that the political leadership in Washington was not unaware. Indeed, the degree of micro-management revealed in Kissinger's memoirs forbids the idea that anything of importance took place without his knowledge or permission.

Of nothing is this more true than his own individual involvement in the bombing and invasion of neutral Cambodia and Laos. Obsessed with the idea that Vietnamese intransigence could be traced to allies or resources external to Vietnam itself, or could be overcome by tactics of mass destruction, Kissinger at one point contemplated using thermonuclear weapons to obliterate the pass through which ran the railway link from North Vietnam to China, and at another stage considered bombing the dikes that pre- vented North Vietnam's irrigation system from flooding the country. Neither of these measures (reported respectively in Tad Szulc's history of Nixon-era diplomacy and by Kissinger's former aide Roger Morris) was taken, which removes some potential war crimes from our bill of indictment but which also gives an indication of the regnant mentality. There remained Cambodia and Laos, which supposedly concealed or protected North Vietnamese supply lines.

As in the cases postulated by General Telford Taylor, there is the crime of aggressive war and then there is the question of war crimes. (The Koki Hirota case cited above is of importance here.) In the period after the Second World War, or the period governed by the UN Charter and its related and incorporated Conventions, the United States under Democratic and Republican administrations had denied even its closest allies the right to invade countries that allegedly gave shelter to their antagonists. Most famously, President Eisenhower exerted economic and diplomatic pressure at a high level to bring an end to the invasion of Egypt by Britain, France and Israel in October 1956. (The British thought Nasser should not control "their" Suez Canal; the French believed Nasser to be the inspiration and source of their troubles in Algeria; and the Israelis claimed that he played the same role in fomenting their difficulties with the Palestinians. The United States maintained that even if these propaganda fantasies were true, they would not retrospectively legalize an invasion of Egypt. ) During the Algerian war of independence, also, the United States had repudiated France's claimed right to attack a town in neighboring Tunisia that succoured Algerian guerrillas, and in 1964 Ambassador Adlai Stevenson at the United Nations had condemned the United Kingdom for attacking a town in Yemen that allegedly provided a rear guard for rebels operating in its then colony of Aden.

All this law and precedent was to be thrown to the winds when Nixon and Kissinger decided to aggrandize the notion of "hot pursuit" across the borders of Laos and Cambodia. Even before the actual territorial invasion of Cambodia, for example, and very soon after the accession of Nixon and Kissinger to power, a program of heavy bombardment of the country was prepared and executed in secret. One might with some revulsion call it a "menu" of bombardment, since the code names for the raids were "Breakfast," "Lunch," "Snack," "Dinner," and "Dessert." The raids were flown by B-52 bombers which, it is important to note at the outset, fly at an altitude too high to be observed from the ground and carry immense tonnages of high explosive: they give no warning of approach and are incapable of accuracy or discrimination because of both their altitude and the mass of their shells. Between 18 March 1969 and May 1970,3,630 such raids were flown across the Cambodian frontier. The bombing campaign began as it was to go on -- with full knowledge of its effect on civilians, and with flagrant deceit by Mr. Kissinger in this precise respect.

For example, a memorandum prepared by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and sent to the Defense Department and the White House said plainly that "some Cambodian casualties would be sustained in the operation" and "the surprise effect of attack could tend to increase casualties." The target district for Breakfast (Base Area 35) was inhabited, said the memo, by about 1,640 Cambodian civilians. Lunch (Base Area 609) was inhabited by 198 of them, Snack (Base Area 351) by 383, Dinner (Base Area 352) by 770, and Dessert (Base Area 350) by about 120 Cambodian peasants. These oddly exact figures are enough in themselves to demonstrate that Kissinger was lying when he later told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that areas of Cambodia selected for bombing were "unpopulated."

As a result of the expanded and intensified bombing campaigns, it has been estimated that as many as 350,000 civilians in Laos, and 600,000 in Cambodia, lost their lives. (These are not the highest estimates.) Figures for refugees are several multiples of that. In addition, the widespread use of toxic chemical defoliants created a massive health crisis which naturally fell most heavily on children, nursing mothers, the aged and the already infirm, and which persists to this day.

Though this appalling war, and its appalling consequences, can and should be taken as a moral and political crisis for American institutions, for at least five United States presidents, and for American society, there is little difficulty in identifying individual responsibility during this, its most atrocious and indiscriminate stage. Richard Nixon as Commander in Chief bears ultimate responsibility, and only narrowly escaped a congressional move to include his crimes and deceptions in Indochina in the articles of impeachment, the promulgation of which eventually compelled his resignation. But his deputy and closest advisor, Henry Kissinger, was some- times forced, and sometimes forced himself, into a position of virtual co-presidency where Indochina was concerned.

For example, in the preparations for the invasion of Cambodia in 1970, Kissinger was caught between the views of his staff -- several of whom resigned in protest when the invasion began -and his need to please his President. His President listened more to his two criminal associates -- John Mitchell and Bebe Rebozo -- than he did to his Secretaries of State and Defense, William Rogers and Melvin Laird, both of whom were highly skeptical about widening the war. On one especially charming occasion, a drunken Nixon telephoned Kissinger to discuss the invasion plans. He then put Bebe Rebozo on the line. "The President wants you to know if this doesn't work, Henry, it's your ass." "Ain't that right, Bebe?" slurred the Commander in Chief. (The conversation was monitored and transcribed by one of Kissinger's soon-to- resign staffers, William Watts.') It could be said that in this instance the National Security Advisor was under pressure; nevertheless he took the side of the pro-invasion faction and, according to the memoirs of General William Westmoreland, actually lobbied for that invasion to go ahead.

A somewhat harder picture is presented by former Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman in his Diaries. On 22 December 1970, he records:

Henry came up with the need to meet with the P[resident] today with Al Haig and then tomorrow with Laird and Moorer because he has to use the P[resident] to force Laird and the military to go ahead with the P[resident]'s plans, which they won't carry out without direct orders. The plans in question, involved ... attacking enemy forces in Laos.


In his own memoirs, White House Years, Kissinger claims that he usurped the customary chain of command whereby commanders in the field receive, or believe that they receive, their orders from the President and then the Secretary of Defense. He boasts that he, together with Haldeman, Alexander Haig and Colonel Ray Sit ton, evolved "both a military and a diplomatic schedule" for the secret bombing of Cambodia. On board Air Force One, which was on the tarmac at Brussels airport on 24 February 1969, he writes, "we worked out the guidelines for the bombing of the enemy's sanctuaries." Air Force Colonel Sit ton, the reigning expert on B-52 tactics at the Joint Chiefs of Staff, noted that the President was not at the meeting but had said that he would be discussing the subject with Kissinger. A few weeks later, Haldeman's Diaries for 17 March record:

Historic day. K[issinger] 's "Operation Breakfast" finally came off at 2.00 PM our time. K[issinger] really excited, as was P[resident].


The next day's entry reads:

K[issinger]'s "Operation Breakfast" a great success. He came beaming in with the report, very productive.


It only got better. On 22 Apri1 1970, Haldeman reports that Nixon, follow- ing Kissinger into a National Security Council meeting on Cambodia, "turned back to me with a big smile and said 'Kissinger's really having fun today, he's playing Bismarck."'

The above is an insult to the Iron Chancellor. When Kissinger was finally exposed in Congress and the press for conducting unauthorized bombings, he weakly pleaded that the raids were not all that secret, really, because Prince Sihanouk of Cambodia had known of them. He had to be reminded that a foreign princeling cannot give permission to an American bureaucrat to violate the United States Constitution. Nor, for the matter of that, can he give permission to an American bureaucrat to slaughter large numbers of his "own" civilians. It's difficult to imagine Bismarck cowering behind such a contemptible excuse. (Prince Sihanouk, it is worth remembering, later became an abject puppet of the Khmer Rouge.)

Colonel Sit ton began to notice that by late 1969 his own office was being regularly overruled in the matter of selecting targets. "Not only was Henry carefully screening the raids," said Sitton, "he was reading the raw intelligence" and fiddling with the mission patterns and bombing runs. In other departments of Washington insiderdom, it was also noticed that Kissinger was becoming a Stakhanovite committeeman. Aside from the crucial Forty Committee, which planned and oversaw all foreign covert actions, he chaired the Washington Special Action Group (WSAG), the Verification Panel, which was concerned with arms control, the Vietnam Special Studies Group, which oversaw the day-to-day conduct of the war, and the Defense Program Review Committee, which supervised the budget of the Defense Department.

It is therefore impossible for him to claim that he was unaware of the consequences of the bombings of Cambodia and Laos; he knew more about them, and in more intimate detail, than any other individual. Nor was he imprisoned in a culture of obedience that gave him no alternative, or no rival arguments. Several senior members of his own staff, most notably Anthony Lake and Roger Morris, resigned over the invasion of Cambodia, and more than two hundred State Department employees signed a protest addressed to Secretary of State William Rogers. Indeed, as has been noted, both Rogers and Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird were opposed to the B-52 bombing policy, as Kissinger himself records with some disgust in his own memoirs. Congress was also opposed to an extension of the bombing (once it had agreed to become informed of it) but, even after the Nixon-Kissinger administration had undertaken on Capitol Hill not to intensify the raids, there was a 21 percent increase of the bombing of Cambodia in the months July-August 1973. The Air Force maps of the targeted areas show them to be, or to have been, densely populated.

Colonel Sitton does recall, it must be admitted, that Kissinger requested that bombing avoid civilian casualties. His explicit motive in making this request was to avoid or forestall complaints from the government of Prince Sihanouk. But this does no more in itself than demonstrate that Kissinger was aware of the possibility of civilian deaths. If he knew enough to know of their likelihood, and was director of the policy that inflicted them, and neither enforced any actual precautions nor reprimanded any violators, then the case against him is legally and morally complete.

As early as the fall of 1970, an independent investigator named Fred Branfman, who spoke Lao and knew the country as a civilian volunteer, had gone to Bangkok and interviewed Jerome Brown, a former targeting officer for the United States embassy in the Laotian capital of Vientiane. The man had retired from the Air Force because of his disillusionment at the futility of the bombing and his consternation at the damage done to civilians and society. The speed and height of the planes, he said, meant that targets were virtually indistinguishable from the air. Pilots would often decide to drop bombs where craters already existed, and chose villages as targets because they could be more readily identified than alleged Pathet Lao guerrillas hiding in the jungle. Branfman, whom I interviewed in San Francisco in the summer of 2000, went on to provide this and other information to Henry Kamm and Sydney Schanberg of the New York Times, to Ted Koppel of ABC, and to many others. He also wrote up and published his findings in Harper's magazine, where they were not controverted by any authority. Under pressure from the US embassy, the Laotian authorities had Branfman deported back to the United States, which was probably, from their point of view, a mistake. He was able to make a dramatic appearance on Capitol Hill on 22 April 1971, at a hearing held by Senator Edward Kennedy's Senate Subcommittee on Refugees. His antagonist was the State Department's envoy William Sullivan, a former ambassador to Laos. Branfman accused him in front of the cameras of helping to conceal evidence that Laotian society was being mutilated by ferocious aerial bombardment.

Partly as a consequence, Congressman Pete McCloskey of California ( a much-decorated veteran of the war in Korea) paid a visit to Laos and acquired a copy of an internal US embassy study of the bombing. He also prevailed on the US Air Force to furnish him with aerial photographs of the dramatic damage. Ambassador Sullivan was so disturbed by these pictures, some of them taken in areas known to him, that his first reaction was to establish to his own satisfaction that the raids had occurred after he left his post in Vientiane. (He was later to learn that, for his pains, his own telephone was being tapped at Henry Kissinger's instigation, one of the many such violations of American law that were to eventuate in the Watergate tapping-and-burglary scandal: a scandal that Kissinger was furthermore to plead in an astounding outburst of vanity, deceit and self-deceit -as his own alibi for inattention in the Cyprus crisis.)

Having done what he could to bring the Laotian nightmare to the attention of those whose constitutional job it was to supervise such questions, Branfman went back to Thailand and from there to Phnom Penh, capital of Cambodia. Having gained access to a pilot's radio, he tape-recorded the conversations between pilots on bombing missions over the Cambodian interior. On no occasion did they run any checks designed to reasssure themselves and others that they were not bombing civilian targets. It had been definitely asserted, by named us government spokesmen, that such checks were run. Branfman handed the tapes to Sydney Schanberg, whose New York Times report on them was printed just before the Senate met to prohibit further blitzing of Cambodia (the very resolution that was flouted by Kissinger the following month).

From there Branfman went back to Thailand and travelled north to Nakhorn Phanom, the new headquarters of the us Seventh Air Force. Here, a war room code-named "Blue Chip" served as the command and control center of the bombing campaign. Branfman, who is tall and well-built, was able to pose as a new recruit just up from Saigon, and ultimately to gain access to the war room itself. Here, consoles and maps and screens plotted the progress of the bombardment. In conversation with the "bombing officer" on duty, he asked if pilots ever made contact before dropping their enormous loads of ordnance. Oh, yes, he was assured, they did. Worried about hitting the innocent? Oh, no -- merely concerned about the whereabouts of CIA "ground teams" infiltrated into the area. Branfman's report on this, which was carried by Jack Anderson's syndicated column and also in , the Washington Monthly, was likewise uncontroverted by any official denial.

One reason that the United States command in Southeast Asia finally ceased employing the crude and horrific tally of "body count" was that, as in the relatively small but but specific case of Speedy Express cited above, the figures began to look ominous when they were counted up. Sometimes, totals of "enemy" dead would turn out, when computed, to be suspiciously larger than the number of claimed "enemy" in the field. Yet the war would somehow drag on, with new quantitative goals being set and enforced. Thus, according to the Pentagon, the following are the casualty figures between the first Lyndon Johnson bombing halt in March 1968 and the same date in 1972:

Americans 31,205
South Vietnamese regulars 86,101
"Enemy" 475,609


The US Senate Subcommittee on Refugees estimated that in the same four- year period rather more than three million civilians were killed, injured or rendered homeless. In the same four-year period, the United States dropped almost 4,500,000 tons of high explosive on Indochina. (The Pentagon's estimated total for the tonnage dropped in the entire Second World War is 2,044,000.) This total does not include massive sprayings of chemical defoliants and pesticides, the effects of which are still being registered by the region's ecology. Nor does it include the land-mines which detonate to this day.

It is unclear how we count the murder or abduction of 35,708 Vietnamese civilians by the CIA's counter-guerrilla "Phoenix program" during the first two and a half years of the Nixon-Kissinger administration. There may be some "overlap." There is also some overlap with the actions of previous administrations in all cases. But the truly exorbitant death tolls all occurred on Henry Kissinger's watch, were known and understood by him, were concealed from Congress, the press and the public by him -- at any rate to the best of his ability and were, when questioned, the subject of political and bureaucratic vendettas ordered by him. They were also partly the outcome of a secretive and illegal process in Washington, unknown even to most cabinet members, of which Henry Kissinger stood to be, and became, a prime beneficiary.

On that closing point one may once again cite H.R. Haldeman, who had no further reason to lie and who had, by the time of his writing, paid for his crimes by serving a sentence in prison. Haldeman describes the moment in Florida when Kissinger was enraged by a New York Times story telling some part of the truth about Indochina:

Henry telephoned J. Edgar Hoover in Washington from Key Biscayne on the May morning the Times story appeared.

According to Hoover's memo of the call, Henry said the story used "secret information which was extraordinarily damaging." Henry went on to tell Hoover that he "wondered whether I could make a major effort to find out where that came from. ..and to put whatever resources I need to find out who did this. I told him I would take care of this right away."

Henry was no fool, of course. He telephoned Hoover a few hours later to remind him that the investigation be handled discreetly "so no stories will get out." Hoover must have smiled, but said all right. And by five o' clock he was back on the telephone to Henry with the report that the Times reporter "may have gotten some of his information from the Southeast Asian desk of the Department of Defense's Public Affairs Office." More specifically, Hoover suggested the source could be a man named Mort Halperin (a Kissinger staffer) and another man who worked in the Systems Analysis Agency. ... According to Hoover's memo, Kissinger hoped "I would follow it up as far as we can take it and they will destroy whoever did this if we can find him, no matter where he is."

The last line of that memo gives an accurate reflection of Henry's rage, as I remember it.

Nevertheless, Nixon was one hundred percent behind the wiretaps. And I was, too. And so the program started, inspired by Henry's rage but ordered by Nixon, who soon broadened it even further to include newsmen. Eventually, seventeen people were wiretapped by the FBI including seven on Kissinger's NSC staff and three on the White House staff.


And thus occurred the birth of the "plumbers" and of the assault on American law and democracy that they inaugurated. Commenting on the lamentable end of this process, Haldeman wrote that he still believed that ex-President Nixon (who was then still alive) should agree to the release of the remaining tapes. But:

This time my view is apparently not shared by the man who was one reason for the original decision to start the taping process. Henry Kissinger is determined to stop the tapes from reaching the public. ...

Nixon made the point that Kissinger was really the one who had the most to lose from the tapes becoming public. Henry apparently felt that the tapes would expose a lot of things he had said that would be very disadvantageous to him publicly.

Nixon said that in making the deal for custody of his Presidential papers, which was originally announced after his pardon but then was shot down by Congress, it was Henry who called him and insisted on Nixon's right to destroy the tapes. That was, of course, the thing that destroyed the deal.


A society that has been "plumbed" has the right to demand that its plumbers be compelled to make some restitution by way of full disclosure. The litigation to put the Nixon tapes in the public trust is only partially complete; no truthful account of the Vietnam years will be complete until Kissinger's part in what we already know has been made fully transparent.

Until that time, Kissinger's role in the violation of American law at the close of the Vietnam war makes the perfect counterpart to the 1968 covert action that helped him to power in the first place. The two parentheses enclose a series of premeditated war crimes which still have power to stun the imagination.

_______________

Notes:

* According to Woodward and Bernstein, Watts then had a word with General Alexander Haig, who told him: "You've just had an order from your Commander in Chief. You can't resign." "Fuck you, Al," said Watts. "I just did."
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Re: THE TRIAL OF HENRY KISSINGER, by Christopher Hitchens

Postby admin » Tue Sep 22, 2015 4:00 am

Chapter 4: BANGLADESH: ONE GENOCIDE, ONE COUP AND ONE ASSASSINATION

THE ANNALS OF American diplomacy contain many imperishable pages of humanism, which may, and should, be set against some of the squalid and dispiriting traffic recorded in these pages. One might cite the extraordinary 1915 despatches of Ambassador Henry Morgenthau from his post in Ottoman Turkey, in which he employed consular and intelligence reports to give a picture of the deliberate state massacre of the Armenian minority, the first genocide of the twentieth century. (The word "genocide" having not then been coined, Ambassador Morgenthau had recourse to the -in some ways more expressive -- term "race murder.")

By 1971, the word "genocide" was all too easily understood. It surfaced in a cable of protest from the United States consulate in what was then East Pakistan -the Bengali "wing" of the Muslim state of Pakistan, known to its restive nationalist inhabitants by the name Bangladesh. The cable was writ- ten on 6 April 1971 and its senior signatory, the Consul General in Dacca, was named Archer Blood. But it might have become known as the Blood Telegram in any case. Also sent directly to Washington, it differed from Morgenthau's document in one respect. It was not so much reporting on genocide as denouncing the complicity of the United States government in genocide. Its main section read thus:

Our government has failed to denounce the suppression of democracy. Our government has failed to denounce atrocities. Our government has failed to take forceful measures to protect its citizens while at the same time bending over backwards to placate the West Pak[istan] dominated government and to lessen any deservedly negative international public relations impact against them. Our government has evidenced what many will consider moral bankruptcy, ironically at a time when the USSR sent President Yahya Khan a message defending democracy, condemning the arrest of a leader of a democratically-elected majority party, incidentally pro West, and calling for an end to repressive measures and bloodshed. ... But we have chosen not to intervene, even morally, on the grounds that the Awami conflict, in which unfortunately the overworked term genocide is applicable, is purely an internal matter of a sovereign state. Private Americans have expressed disgust. We, as professional civil servants, express our dissent with current policy and fervently hope that our true and lasting interests here can be defined and our policies redirected.


This was signed by twenty members of the United States diplomatic team in Bangladesh and, on its arrival at the State Department, by a further nine senior officers in the South Asia division. It was the most public and the most strongly worded demarche from State Department servants to the State Department that has ever been recorded.

The circumstances fully warranted the protest. In December 1970, the Pakistani military elite had permitted the first open elections for a decade. The vote was easily won by Sheik Mujibur Rahman, the leader of the Bengali-based Awami League, who gained a large overall majority in the proposed National Assembly. (In the East alone, it won 167 out of 169 seats.) This, among other things, meant a challenge to the political and military and economic hegemony of the Western "wing." The National Assembly had been scheduled to meet on 3 March 1971. On 1 March, General Yahya Khan, head of the supposedly outgoing military regime, postponed its convening. This resulted in mass protests and nonviolent civil disobedience in the East.

On 25 March, the Pakistani army struck at the Bengali capital of Dacca. Having arrested and kidnapped Rahman, and taken him to West Pakistan, it set about massacring his supporters. The foreign press had been preemptively expelled from the city, but much of the direct evidence of what then happened was provided via a radio transmitter operated by the United States consulate. Archer Blood himself supplied an account of one episode directly to the State Department and to Henry Kissinger's National Security Council. Having readied the ambush, Pakistani regular soldiers set fire to the women's dormitory at the university, and then mowed the occupants down with machine guns as they sought to escape. (The guns, along with all the other weaponry, had been furnished under United States military assistance programs.)

Other reports, since amply vindicated, were supplied to the London Times and Sunday Times by the courageous reporter Anthony Mascarhenas, and flashed around a horrified world. Rape, murder, dismemberment and the state murder of children were employed as deliberate methods of repression and intimidation. At least ten thousand civilians were butchered in the first three days. The eventual civilian death toll has never been placed at less than half a million and has been put as high as three million. Since almost all Hindu citizens were at risk by definition from Pakistani military chauvinism (not that Pakistan's Muslim co-religionists were spared), a vast movement of millions of refugees -- perhaps as many as ten million -- began to cross the Indian frontier. To summarize, then: first, the direct negation of a democratic election; second, the unleashing of a genocidal policy; third, the creation of a very dangerous international crisis. Within a short time, Ambassador Kenneth Keating, the ranking United States diplomat in New Delhi, had added his voice to those of the dissenters. It was a time, he told Washington, when a principled stand against the authors of this aggression and atrocity would also make the best pragmatic sense. Keating, a former senator from New York, used a very suggestive phrase in his cable of 29 March 1971, calling on the administration to "promptly, publicly, and prominently deplore this brutality." It was "most important these actions be taken now," he warned, "prior to inevitable and imminent emergence of horrible truths."

Nixon and Kissinger acted quickly. That is to say, Archer Blood was immediately recalled from his post, and Ambassador Keating was described by the President to Kissinger, with some contempt, as having been "taken over by the Indians." In late April 1971, at the very height of the mass murder, Kissinger sent a message to General Yahya Khan, thanking him for his "delicacy and tact."

We now know of one reason why the general was so favored, at a time when he had made himself and his patrons -- responsible for the grossest war crimes and crimes against humanity. In April 1971, a United States ping-pong team had accepted a surprise invitation to compete in Beijing and by the end of that month, using the Pakistani ambassador as an intermediary, the Chinese authorities had forwarded a letter inviting Nixon to send an envoy. Thus there was one motive of realpolitik for the shame that Nixon and Kissinger were to visit on their own country for its complicity in the extermination of the Bengalis.

Those who like to plead realpolitik, however, might wish to consider some further circumstances. There already was, and had been for some time, a back channel between Washington and Beijing. It ran through Nicolae Ceausescu's Romania -not a much more decorative choice but not, at that stage, a positively criminal one. There was no reason to confine approaches, to a serious person like Chou En Lai, to the narrow channel afforded by a blood-soaked (and short-lived, as it turned out) despot like the "delicate and tactful" Yahya Khan. Either Chou En Lai wanted contact, in other words, or he did not. As Lawrence Lifschultz, the primary historian of this period, has put it:

Winston Lord, Kissinger's deputy at the National Security Council, stressed to investigators the internal rationalisation developed within the upper echelons of the Administration. Lord told ( the staff of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace] "We had to demonstrate to China we were a reliable government to deal with. We had to show China that we respect a mutual friend." How, after two decades of belligerent animosity with the People's Republic, mere support for Pakistan in its bloody civil war was supposed to demonstrate to China that the US "was a reliable government to deal with" was a mystifying proposition which more cynical observers of the events, both in and outside the US government, consider to have been an excuse justifying the simple convenience of the Islamabad link -- a link which Washington had no overriding desire to shift.


Second, the knowledge of this secret diplomacy and its accompanying privileges obviously freed the Pakistani general of such restraints as might have inhibited him. He told his closest associates, including his minister of information, G.W. Choudhury, that his private understanding with Washington and Beijing would protect him. Choudhury later wrote: "If Nixon and Kissinger had not given him that false hope, he'd have been more realistic." Thus, the collusion with him in the matter of China increases the direct complicity of Nixon and Kissinger in the massacres. (There is another consideration outside the scope of this book, which involves the question: why did Kissinger confine his China diplomacy to channels provided by authoritarian or totalitarian regimes? Why was an open diplomacy not just as easy, if not easier? The answer -which also lies outside the scope of this book is apparently that surreptitiousness, while not essential in itself, was essential if Nixon and Kissinger were going to be able to take the credit for it.)

It cannot possibly be argued, in any case, that the saving of Kissinger's private correspondence with China was worth the deliberate sacrifice of hundreds of thousands of Bengali civilians. And -- which is worse still -- later and fuller disclosures now allow us to doubt that this was indeed the whole motive. The Kissinger policy towards Bangladesh may well have been largely conducted for its own sake, as a means of gratifying his boss's animus against India and as a means of preventing the emergence of Bangladesh as a self-determining state in any case.

The diplomatic commonplace term "tilt" -- signifying that mixture of signals and nuances and codes that describe a foreign policy preference that is often too embarrassing to be openly avowed -actually originates in this dire episode. On 6 March 1971, Kissinger summoned a meeting at the National Security Council and -in advance of the crisis in East-West Pakistan relations that was by then palpable and predictable to those attending -insisted that no preemptive action be taken. Those present who suggested that a warning to General Yahya Khan be issued, essentially advising him to honor the election results, he strongly opposed. His sub- sequent policy was as noted above. After returning from China in July, he began to speak in almost Maoist phrases about a Soviet-Indian plot to dismember and even annex part of Pakistan, which would compel China to intervene on Pakistan's side. (In pursuit of this fantasy of confrontation, he annoyed Admiral Elmo Zumwalt by ordering him to despatch the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise from the coast of Vietnam to the Bay of Bengal, while giving it no stated mission.) But no analyst in the State Department or the CIA could be found to underwrite such a bizarre pre- diction and, at a meeting of the Senior Review Group, Kissinger lost his temper with this insubordination. "The President always says to tilt toward Pakistan, but every proposal I get is in the opposite direction. Sometimes I think I'm in a nuthouse." The Nixon White House was, as it happens, in the process of becoming exactly that, but his hearers only had time to notice that a new power-term had entered Washington's vernacular of crisis and conspiracy.

"The President always says to tilt toward Pakistan." That at least was true. Long before any conception of his "China diplomacy;" indeed even during the years when he was inveighing against "Red China" and its sympathizers, Nixon detested the government of India and expressed warm sympathy for Pakistan. Many of his biographers and intimates, including Kissinger, have recorded the particular dislike he felt (more justifiably, per- haps) for the person of Indira Gandhi. He always referred to her as "that bitch" and on one occasion kept her waiting for an unprecedented forty- five minutes outside his White House door. However, the dislike originated with Nixon's loathing for her father Pandit Nehru, and with his more general loathing for Nehru's sponsorship -- along with Makarios, Tito and Soekarno -- of the Non-Aligned Movement. There can be no doubt that, with or without an occluded "China card," General Yahya Khan would have enjoyed a sympathetic hearing, and treatment, from this president, and thus from this national security advisor.

This is also strongly suggested by Kissinger's subsequent conduct, as Secretary of State, towards Bangladesh as a country and towards Sheik Mujib, leader of the Awami League and later the father of Bangladeshi independence, as a politician. Unremitting hostility and contempt were the signature elements in both cases. Kissinger had received some very bad and even mocking press for his handling of the Bangladesh crisis, and it had somewhat spoiled his supposedly finest hour in China. He came to resent the Bangladeshis and their leader, and even compared ( this according to his then aide Roger Morris) Mujib to Allende.

As soon as Kissinger became Secretary of State in 1973, he downgraded all those who had signed the genocide protest in 1971. In the fall of the next year, 1974, he inflicted a series of snubs on Mujib, then on his first visit to the United States as head of state. In Washington Kissinger boycotted the fifteen-minute meeting that Mujib was allowed by President Ford. He also opposed Mujib's main request, which was for emergency United States grain shipments, and some help with debt relief, in order to recuperate the country so ravaged by Kissinger's friend and ally. To cite Roger Morris again: "In Kissinger's view there was very much a distant hands-off attitude toward them. Since they had the audacity to become independent of one of my client states, they will damn well float on their own for a while." It was at about this time that Kissinger was heard to pronounce Bangladesh "an international basket case," a judgment which, to the extent that it was true, was also self-fulfilling.

In November 1974, on a brief face-saving tour of the region, Kissinger made an eight-hour stop in Bangladesh and gave a three-minute press conference in which he refused to say why he had sent the USS Enterprise into the Bay of Bengal three years before. Within a few weeks of his departure, we now know, a faction at the US embassy in Dacca began covertly meeting with a group of Bangladeshi officers who were planning a coup against Mujib. On 14 August 1975, Mujib and forty members of his family were murdered in a military takeover. His closest former political associates were bayoneted to death in their prison cells a few months after that."

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee was at that time conducting its sensational inquiries into CIA involvement with assassinations and sub- version in the Third World. The "two track" concept, whereby an American ambassador like Ed Korry in Chile could find that his intelligence officers and military attaches were going behind his back and over his head, with secret authorizations from Washington, and running their own show, had not become a familiar one. However, exhaustive research by Lawrence Lifschultz of Yale University now strongly suggests that a "two track" scheme was implemented in Bangladesh as well.

The man installed as Bangladesh's president by the young officers who had slain Rahman was Khondakar Mustaque, generally identified as the leader of the right-wing element within the Awami League. He was at pains to say that the coup had come to him as a complete surprise, and that the young majors who had led it -- Major Farooq, Major Rashid and four others, at the head of a detachment numbering just three hundred men -had "acted on their own." He added that he had never met the mutinous officers before. Such denials are of course customary, almost matters of etiquette. So are the ensuing statements from Washington, which invariably claim that this or that political upheaval has taken the world's largest and most powerful intelligence-gathering system completely off guard. That expected statement, too, was made in the aftermath of the assassination in Dacca.

The cover story ( one might term it the coincidence version) leaks at every joint and comes apart at the most cursory inspection. Major Rashid was interviewed by Anthony Mascarhenas, the journalistic hero of the Bangladesh war, on the anniversary of the coup. He confirmed that he had met Mustaque before the coup, and again on the days immediately preceding it. In fact, a senior Bangladeshi officer has dated meetings between Mustaque and the mutineers more than six months before Mujib's overthrow.

The United States ambassador in Dacca, Davis Eugene Booster, was aware that a coup was being discussed. He was also aware of the highly controversial congressional hearings in Washington, which had unveiled high-level official wrongdoing and ruined the career of many a careless foreign service officer. He ordered that all contact between his embassy and the mutinous officers be terminated. Thus his alarm and annoyance, on 14 August 1975, was great. The men who had seized power were the very ones with whom he had ordered a cessation of contact. Embassy sources have since confirmed to Lifschultz (a) that United States officials had been approached by, and had by no means discouraged, the officers who intended a coup and (b) that Ambassador Booster became convinced that his CIA station was operating a back channel without his knowledge. Such an operation would be meaningless, and also pointlessly risky, if it did not extend homeward to Washington where, as is now notorious, the threads of the Forty Committee and the National Security Council were very closely held in one fist.

Philip Cherry, the then head of the CIA station in Bangladesh, was interviewed by Lifschultz in September 1978. He was vague and evasive even about having held the job but did say, "There is one thing. There are politicians who frequently approach embassies, and perhaps have contacts there. They think they may have contacts." The shift from officer to politician is suggestive. And, of course, those who think they may have contacts may even act as if they do, unless they are otherwise advised.

Not only did Khondakar Mustaque think he had contacts with the United States government, including with Henry Kissinger himself, but he did indeed have such contacts, and had had since 1971. In 1973 in Washington, and in the aftermath of the unprecedented revolt of professional diplomats against the Kissinger policy in Bangladesh, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (publisher of the magazine Foreign Policy) conducted a full-dress study of the "tilt" that had put the United States on the same side as those committing genocide. More than 150 , senior officials from the State Department and the CIA agreed to be interviewed. The study was coordinated by Kissinger's former aide Roger Morris. The result of the nine-month inquiry was never made public, due to internal differences at Carnegie, but the material was made available to Lifschultz and it does establish one conclusion beyond doubt.

In 1971 Henry Kissinger had attempted the impossible by trying to divide the electorally victorious Awami League, and to dilute its demand for independence. In pursuit of this favor to General Yahya Khan, he had initiated a covert approach to Khondakar Mustaque, who led the tiny minority who were willing to compromise on the main principle. A recently unearthed "Memorandum for the Record" gives us details of a White House meeting between Nixon, Kissinger and others on 11 August 1971, at which Undersecretary of State John Irwin reported: "We have had reports in recent days of the possibility that some Awami League leaders in Calcutta want to negotiate with Yahya on the basis of giving up their claim for the independence of East Pakistan." This can only have been a reference to the Provisional Government of Bangladesh, set up in exile in Calcutta after the massacres, and could only have been an attempt to circumvent its leadership. The consequences of this clumsy approach were that Mustaque was exposed and placed under house arrest in October 1971, and that the American political officer who contacted him, George Griffin, was declared persona non grata when gazetted to the US embassy in New Delhi a decade later.

Those involved in the military preparations for the coup have told Lifschultz that they, too, had a "two track" policy. There were junior officers ready to mutiny and there was a senior officer -- the future dictator General Zia -- who was ready but more hesitant. Both factions say that they naturally checked with their United States contacts in advance, and were told that the overthrow of Mujib was "no problem." This is at least partially confirmed by a signed letter from Congressman Stephen J. Solarz of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, who undertook to investigate the matter for Lifschultz in 1980 and who on 3 June of that year wrote to him: "With respect to the Embassy meetings in the November 1974-January 1975 period with opponents of the Rahman regime, the State Department once again does not deny that the meetings took place." This would appear to be a rebuff to the evidence of Mr. Cherry of the CIA, even if the letter goes on to say: "The Department does claim that it notified Rahman about the meetings, including the possibility of a coup." If true, that "claim" is being made for the first time, and in the name of the man who was murdered during the coup and cannot refute it. The admission is stronger than the claim in any case.

Congressman Solarz forwarded the questions about CIA involvement to the office of Congressman Les Aspin of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, which committee, as he said, "has the best chance of obtaining access both to CIA cable traffic and to the relevant figures in the intelligence community." But the letter he sent was somehow lost along the way, and was never received by the relevant inquiring committee, and shortly afterwards the balance of power in Washington shifted from Carter to Reagan.

Only a reopened congressional inquiry with subpoena power could determine whether there was any direct connection, apart from the self- evident ones of consistent statecraft attested by recurring reliable testimony, between the secret genocidal diplomacy of 1971 and the secret destabilizing diplomacy of 1975. The task of disproving such a connection, meanwhile, would appear to rest on those who believe that everything is an accident.

_______________

Notes:

* In December 2000 those responsible were convicted by a Bangladeshi court and (wrongly, in my opinion) sentenced to death. Some of the accused were unavailable for sentencing because they had taken refuge in the United States: a feat not achievable by the average Bengali immigrant.
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Re: THE TRIAL OF HENRY KISSINGER, by Christopher Hitchens

Postby admin » Tue Sep 22, 2015 4:02 am

Chapter 5: CHILE

IN A FAMOUS expression of his contempt for democracy, Kissinger once observed that he saw no reason why a certain country should be allowed to "go Marxist" merely because "its people are irresponsible." The country concerned was Chile, which at the time of this remark had a justified reputation as the most highly evolved pluralistic democracy in the southern hemisphere of the Americas. The pluralism translated, in the years of the Cold War, into an electorate that voted about one-third conservative, one-third socialist and communist, and one-third Christian Democratic and centrist. This had made it relatively easy to keep the Marxist element from having its turn in government, and ever since 1962 the CIA had -- as it had in Italy and other comparable nations -- largely contented itself with funding the reliable elements. In September 1970, however, the Left's candidate actually gained a slight plurality of 36.2 percent in the presidential elections. Divisions on the Right, and the adherence of some smaller radical and Christian parties to the Left, made it a moral certainty that the Chilean Congress would, after the traditional sixty-day interregnum, confirm Dr Salvador Allende as the next president. But the very name of Allende was anathema to the extreme Right in Chile, to certain powerful corporations (notably ITT, Pepsi Cola and the Chase Manhattan Bank) which did business in Chile and the United States, and to the CIA.

This loathing quickly communicated itself to President Nixon. He was personally beholden to Donald Kendall, the President of Pepsi Cola, who had given him his first corporate account when, as a young lawyer, he had joined John Mitchell's New York firm. A series of Washington meetings, held within eleven days of Allende's electoral victory, essentially settled the fate of Chilean democracy. After discussions with Kendall and with David Rockefeller of Chase Manhattan, and with CIA director Richard Helms, Kissinger went with Helms to the Oval Office. Helms's notes of the meeting show that Nixon wasted little breath in making his wishes known. Al1ende was not to assume office. "Not concerned risks involved. No involvement of embassy. $10,000,000 available, more if necessary. Full time job -- best men we have. ... Make the economy scream. 48 hours for plan of action."

Declassified documents show that Kissinger -- who had previously neither known nor cared about Chile, describing it offhandedly as "a dagger pointed at the heart of Antarctica" -- took seriously this chance to impress his boss. A group was set up in Langley, Virginia, with the express purpose of running a "two track" policy for Chile: one the ostensible diplomatic one and the other -- unknown to the State Department or the US ambassador to Chile, Edward Korry a strategy of destabilization, kidnap and assassination, designed to provoke a military coup.

There were long and short-term obstacles to the incubation of such an intervention, especially in the brief interval available before Allende took his oath of office. The long-term obstacle was the tradition of military abstention from politics in Chile, a tradition which marked off the country from its neighbors. Such a military culture was not to be degraded overnight. The short-term obstacle lay in the person of one man -General Rene Schneider. As chief of the Chilean General Staff, he was adamantly opposed to any military meddling in the electoral process. Accordingly, it was decided at a meeting on 18 September 1970 that General Schneider had to go.

The plan was to have him kidnapped by extremist officers, in such a way as to make it appear that leftist and pro-Allende elements were behind the lot. The resulting confusion, it was hoped, would panic the Chilean Congress into denying Allende the presidency. A sum of $50,000 was offered around the Chilean capital, Santiago, for any officer or officers , enterprising enough to take on this task. Richard Helms and his director of covert operations, Thomas Karamessines, told Kissinger that they were not optimistic. Military circles were hesitant and divided, or else loyal to General Schneider and the Chilean constitution. As Helms put it in a later account of the conversation, "We tried to make clear to Kissinger how small the possibility of success was." Kissinger firmly told Helms and Karamessines to press on in any case.

Here one must pause for a recapitulation. An unelected official in the United States is meeting with others, without the knowledge or authorization of Congress, to plan the kidnapping of a constitution-minded senior officer in a democratic country with which the United States is not at war, and with which it maintains cordial diplomatic relations. The minutes of the meetings may have an official look to them ( though they were hidden from the light of day for long enough) but what we are reviewing is a "hit" -a piece of state-supported terrorism.

Ambassador Korry has testified that he told his embassy staff to have nothing to do with a group styling itself Patria y Libertad (Fatherland and Freedom), a quasi-fascist group intent on defying the election results. He sent three cables to Washington warning his superiors to have nothing to do with them either. He was unaware that his own military attaches had been told to contact the group and keep the fact from him. And when the outgoing president of Chile, the Christian Democrat Eduardo Frei, announced that he was opposed to any US intervention and would vote to confirm the legally elected Allende, it was precisely to this gang that Kissinger turned. On 15 October 1970, Kissinger was told of an extremist right-wing officer named General Roberto Viaux, who had ties to Patria y Libertad and who was willing to accept the secret us commission to remove General Schneider from the chessboard. The term "kidnap" was still being employed at this point, and is often employed still. However, Kissinger's Track Two group authorized the supply of machine guns as well as tear gas grenades to Viaux's associates, and never seems to have asked what they would do with the general once they had kidnapped him.

Let the documents tell the story. A CIA cable to Kissinger's Track Two group from Santiago dated 18 October 1970 reads (with the names still blacked out for "security" purposes and cover identities written in by hand in my square brackets -- by the ever-thoughtful redaction service):

1. [Station cooptee] met clandestinely evening 17 Oct with [two Chilean armed forces officers] who told him their plans were moving along better than had thought possible. They asked that by evening 18 Oct [cooptee] arrange furnish them with eight to ten tear gas grenades. Within 48 hours they need three 45 calibre machine guns ("grease guns") with 500 rounds ammo each. [One officer] commented has three machine guns himself but can be identified by serial numbers as having been issued to him therefore unable use them.

2. [Officers] said they have to move because they believe they now under suspicion and being watched by Allende supporters. [ One officer] was late to meeting having taken evasive action to shake possible surveillance by one or two taxi cabs with dual antennas which he believed being used by opposition against him.

3. [Cooptee] asked if [ officers] had Air Force contacts. They answered they did not but would welcome one. [Cooptee] separately has since tried contact [a Chilean Air Force General] and will keep trying until established. Will urge [Air Force General] meet with [other two officers] a.s.a.p. [Cooptee] commented to station that [Air Force General] has not tried contact him since ref a talk.

4. [Cooptee] comment: cannot tell who is leader of this movement but strongly suspects it is Admiral [Deleted]. It would appear from [his contact's] actions and alleged Allende suspicions about them that unless they act now they are lost. Trying get more info from them evening 18 Oct about support they believe they have.

5. Station plans give six tear gas grenades (arriving noon 18 Oct by special courier) to [cooptee] for delivery to [armed forces officers] instead of having [false flag officer] deliver them to Viaux group. Our reasoning is that [cooptee] dealing with active duty officers. Also [false flag officer] leaving evening 18 Oct and will not be replaced but [cooptee] will stay here, Hence important that [cooptee] credibility with [ armed forces officers] be strengthened by prompt delivery what they requesting. Request headquarters agreement by 1500 hours local time 18 Oct on decision delivery of tear gas to [cooptee] vice [false flag officer].

6. Request prompt shipment three sterile 45 calibre machine guns and ammo per para 1 above, by special courier if necessary. Please confirm by 2000 hours local time 18 Oct that this can be done so [cooptee] may inform his contacts accordingly.


The reply, which is headed "IMMEDIATE SANTIAGO (EYES ONLY [DELETED])" is dated 18 October and reads:

Sub-machine guns and ammo being sent by regular [deleted] courier leaving Washington 0700 hours 19 October due arrive Santiago late evening 20 October or early morning 21 October. Preferred use regular [deleted] courier to avoid bringing undue attention to op.


A companion message, also addressed to "Santiago 562," went like this:

1. Depending how [cooptee] conversation goes evening 18 October you may wish submit Intel report [deleted] so we can decide whether should be dissemed.

2. New subject. If [cooptee] plans lead coup, or be actively and publicly involved, we puzzled why it should bother him if machine guns can be traced to him. Can we develop rationale on why guns must be sterile? Will continue make effort provide them but find our credulity stretched by Navy [officer] leading his troops with sterile guns? What is special purpose for these guns? We will try send them whether you can provide explanation or not.


The full beauty of this cable traffic cannot be appreciated without a reading of another message, dated 16 October. (It must be borne in mind that the Chilean Congress was to meet to confirm Allende as president on the 24th of that month.)

1. [Deleted/handwritten code name Trick turn] policy, objectives and actions were reviewed at high USG [United States Government] level afternoon 15 October. Conclusions, which are to be your operational guide, follow:

2. It is firm and continuing policy that Allende be overthrown by a coup. It would be much preferable to have this transpire prior to 24 October but efforts in this regard will continue vigorously beyond this date. 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. [italics added] While this imposes on us a high degree of selectivity in making military contacts and dictates that these contacts be made in the most secure manner it definitely does not preclude contacts such as reported in Santiago 544 which was a masterful piece of work.

3. After the most careful consideration it was determined that a Viaux coup attempt carried out by him alone with the forces now at his disposal would fail. Thus, it would be counterproductive to our [deleted; handwritten insert "Track Two"] objectives. It was decided that [deleted; handwritten insert "CIA"] get a message to Viaux warning him against precipitate action. In essence our message is to state, "We have reviewed your plans, and based on your information and ours, we come to the conclusion that your plans for a coup at this time cannot succeed. Failing, they may reduce your capabilities for the future. Preserve your assets. We will stay in touch. The time will come when you together with all your other friends can do something. You will continue to have our support." You are requested to deliver the message to Viaux essentially as noted above. Our objectives are as follows: (A) To advise him of our opinion and discourage him from acting alone; (B) Continue to encourage him to amplify his planning; (C) Encourage him to join forces with other coup planners so that they may act in concert either before or after 24 October. (N.B. Six gas masks and six CS cannisters [sic] are being carried to Santiago by special [deleted] courier ETD Washington 1100 hours 16 October.)

4. There is great and continuing interest in the activities of Tirado, Canales, Valenzuela et al and we wish them maximum good fortune.

5. The above is your operating guidance. No other policy guidance you may receive from [indecipherable: State?] or its maximum exponent in Santiago, on his return, are to sway you from your course.

6. Please review all your present and possibly new activities to include propaganda, black operations, surfacing of intelligence or disinformation, personal contacts, or anything else your imagination can conjure which will permit you to press forward our [deleted] objective in a secure manner.


Finally, it is essential to read the White House "memorandum of conversation," dated 15 October 1970, to which the above cable directly refers and of which it is a more honest summary. Present for the "high USG level" meeting were, as noted in the heading: "Dr Kissinger, Mr. Karamessines, Gen. Haig." The first paragraph of their deliberations has been entirely blacked out, with not so much as a scribble in the margin from the redaction service. (Given what has since been admitted, this twenty-line deletion must be well worth reading.) Picking up at paragraph two, we find the following:

2. Then Mr. Karamessines provided a run-down on Viaux, the Canales meeting with Tirado, the latter's new position [after Porta was relieved of command "for health reasons"] and, in some detail, the general situation in Chile from the coup possibility viewpoint.

3. A certain amount of information was available to us concerning Viaux's alleged support throughout the Chilean military. We had assessed Viaux's claims carefully, basing our analysis on good intelligence from a number of sources. Our conclusion was clear: Viaux did not have more than one chance in twenty perhaps less -- to launch a successful coup.

4. The unfortunate repercussions, in Chile and internationally, of an unsuccessful coup were discussed. Dr Kissinger ticked off his list of these negative possibilities. His items were remarkably similar to the ones Mr. Karamessines had prepared.

5. It was decided by those present that the Agency must get a message to Viaux warning him against any precipitate action. In essence our message was to state: "We have reviewed your plans, and based on your information and ours, we come to the conclusion that your plans for a coup at this time cannot succeed. Failing, they may reduce your capabilities for the future. Preserve your assets. We will stay in touch. The time will come when you with all your other friends can do something. You will continue to have our support. "

6. After the decision to defuse the Viaux coup plot, at least temporarily, Dr Kissinger instructed Mr. Karamessines to preserve Agency assets in Chile, working clandestinely and securely to maintain the capability for Agency operations against Allende in the future.

7. Dr Kissinger discussed his desire that the word of our encouragement to the Chilean military in recent weeks be kept as secret as possible. Mr. Karamessines stated emphatically that we had been doing everything possible in this connection, including the use of false flag officers, car meetings and every conceivable precaution. But we and others had done a great deal of talking recently with a number of persons. For example, Ambassador Korry's wide ranging discussions with numerous people urging a coup "cannot be put back into the bottle." (Three lines of deletion follow.] [Dr Kissinger requested that copy of the message be sent to him on 16 October. ]

8. The meeting concluded on Dr Kissinger's note that the Agency should continue keeping the pressure on every Allende weak spot in sight: -- now, after the 24th of October, after 5 November, and into the future until such time as new marching orders are given. Mr. Karamessines stated that the Agency would comply.


So Track Two contained two tracks of its own. Track Two/One was the group of ultras led by General Roberto Viaux and his sidekick Captain Arturo Marshal. These men had tried to bring off a coup in 1969 against the Christian Democrats; they had been cashiered and were disliked even by conservatives in the officer corps. "Track Two/Two" was a more ostensibly "respectable" faction headed by General Camilo Valenzuela, the chief of the garrison in the capital city, whose name occurs in the cables above and whose identity is concealed by some of the deletions. Several of the CIA operatives in Chile felt that Viaux was too much of a mad-dog to be trusted. And Ambassador Korry's repeated admonitions also had their effect. As shown in the 15 October memo cited above, Kissinger and Karamessines developed last-minute second thoughts about Viaux, who as late as 13 October had been given $20,000 in cash from the CIA station and promised a life insurance policy of $250,000. This offer was authorized direct from the White House. However, with only days to go before Allende was inaugurated, and with Nixon repeating that "it was absolutely essential that the election of Mr. Allende to the Presidency be thwarted," the pressure on the Valenzuela group became intense. As a direct consequence, especially after the warm words of encouragement he had been given, General Roberto Viaux felt himself under some obligation to deliver also, and to disprove those who had doubted him.

On the evening of 19 October 1970, the Valenzuela group, aided by some of Viaux's gang, and equipped with the tear gas grenades delivered by the CIA, attempted to grab General Schneider as he left an official dinner. The attempt failed because he left in a private car and not the expected official vehicle. The failure produced an extremely significant cable from CIA head- quarters in Washington to the local station, asking for urgent action because "Headquarters must respond during morning 20 October to queries from high levels." Payments of $50,000 each to General Viaux and his chief associate were then authorized on condition that they made another attempt. On the evening of 20 October, they did. But again there was only failure to report. On 22 October, the "sterile" machine guns above-mentioned were handed to Valenzuela's group for another try. Later that same day, General Roberto Viaux's gang finally murdered General Rene Schneider.

According to the later verdict of the Chilean military courts, this atrocity partook of elements of both tracks of Track Two. In other words, Valenzuela was not himself on the scene but the assassination squad, led by Viaux, contained men who had participated in the preceding two attempts. Viaux was convicted on charges of kidnapping and of conspiring to cause a coup. Valenzuela was convicted of the charge of conspiracy to cause a coup. So any subsequent attempt to distinguish the two plots from each other, except in point of degree, is an attempt to confect a distinction with- out a difference.

It scarcely matters whether Schneider was slain because of a kidnapping scheme that went awry (he was said, but only by the assassins, to have had the temerity to resist) or whether his assassination was the objective in the first place. The Chilean military police report, as it happens, describes a straightforward murder. Under the law of every law-bound country (including the United States), a crime committed in the pursuit of a kid- napping is thereby aggravated, not mitigated. You may not say, with a corpse at your feet, "I was only trying to kidnap him." At least, you may not say so if you hope to plead extenuating circumstances.

Yet a version of "extenuating circumstances" has become the paper- thin cover story with which Kissinger has since protected himself from the charge of being an accomplice, before and after the fact, in kidnap and murder. And this sorry cover story has even found a refuge in the written record. The Senate Intelligence Committee, in its investigation of the matter, concluded that since the machine guns supplied to Valenzuela had not actually been employed in the killing, and since General Viaux had been officially discouraged by the CIA a few days before the murder, there was therefore "no evidence of a plan to kill Schneider or that United States officials specifically anticipated that Schneider would be shot during the abduction."

Walter Isaacson, one of Kissinger's biographers, takes at face value a memo from Kissinger to Nixon after his meeting on 15 October with Karamessines, in which he reports to the President that he had "turned off" the Viaux plot. He also takes at face value the claim that Viaux's successful hit was essentially unauthorized.

These excuses and apologies are as logically feeble as they are morally contemptible. Henry Kissinger bears direct responsibility for the Schneider murder, as the following points demonstrate.

1. Brian MacMaster, one of the "false flag" agents mentioned in the cable traffic above, a career CIA man carrying a forged Colombian passport and claiming to represent American business interests in Chile, has told of his efforts to get "hush money" to jailed members of the Viaux group, after the assassination and before they could implicate the Agency.

2. Colonel Paul M. Wimert, a military attache in Santiago and chief CIA liaison with the Valenzuela faction, has testified that after the Schneider killing he hastily retrieved the two payments of $50,000 that , had been paid to Valenzuela and his partner, and also the three "sterile" machine guns. He then drove rapidly to the Chilean seaside town of Vina del Mar and hurled the guns into the ocean. His accomplice in this action, CIA station chief Henry Hecksher, had assured Washington only days before that either Viaux or Valenzuela would be able to eliminate Schneider and thereby trigger a coup.

3. Look again at the White House/Kissinger memo of 15 October, and at the doggedly literal way it is retransmitted to Chile. In no sense of the term does it "turn off" Viaux. If anything, it incites him a well-known and boastful fanatic -- to redouble his efforts. "Preserve your assets. We will stay in touch. The time will come when you together with all your other friends can do something. You will continue to have our support." This is not exactly the language of standing him down. The remainder of the memo speaks plainly of the intention to "discourage him from acting alone," to "continue to encourage him to amplify his planning" and to "encourage him to join forces with other coup planners so that they may act in concert either before or after 24 October" (italics added). The last three stipulations are an entirely accurate, not to say prescient, description of what Viaux actually did.

4. Consult again the cable received by Henry Hecksher on 20 October, referring to anxious queries "from high levels" about the first of the failed attacks on Schneider. Thomas Karamessines, when questioned by the Senate Intelligence Committee about this cable, testified of his certainty that the words "high levels" referred directly to Kissinger. In all previous communications from Washington, as a glance above will show, that had indeed been the case. This on its own is enough to demolish Kissinger's claim to have "turned off" Track Two (and its interior tracks) on 15 October.

5. Ambassador Korry later made the obvious point that Kissinger was attempting to build a paper alibi in the event of a failure by the Viaux group. "His interest was not in Chile but in who was going to be blamed for what. He wanted me to be the one who took the heat. Henry didn't want to be associated with a failure and he was setting up a record to blame the State Department. He brought me in to the President because he wanted me to say what I had to say about Viaux; he wanted me to be the soft man."


The concept of "deniability" was not as well understood in Washington in 1970 as it has since become. But it is clear that Henry Kissinger wanted two things simultaneously. He wanted the removal of General Schneider, by any means and employing any proxy. (No instruction from Washington to leave Schneider unharmed was ever given; deadly weapons were sent by diplomatic pouch, and men of violence were carefully selected to receive them.) And he wanted to be out of the picture in case such an attempt might fail, or be uncovered. These are the normal motives of anyone who solicits or suborns murder. However, Kissinger needed the crime very slightly more than he needed, or was able to design, the deniability. Without waiting for his many hidden papers to be released or subpoenaed, we can say with safety that he is prima facie guilty of direct collusion in the murder of a democratic officer in a democratic and peaceful country.

There is no particular need to rehearse the continuing role of the Nixon-Kissinger administration in the later economic and political sub- version and destabilization of the Allende government, and in the creation of favorable conditions for the military coup that occurred on 11 September 1973. Kissinger himself was perhaps no more and no less involved in this effort than any other high official in Nixon's national- security orbit. On 9 November 1970 he authored the National Security Council's "Decision Memorandum 93," reviewing policy towards Chile in the immediate wake of Allende's confirmation as President. Various routine measures of economic harassment were proposed (recall Nixon's instruction to "make the economy scream") with cutoffs in aid and investment. More significantly, Kissinger advocated that "close relations" be maintained with military leaders in neighboring countries, in order to facilitate both the coordination of pressure against Chile and the incubation of opposition within the country. In outline, this prefigures the disclosures that have since been made about Operation Condor, a secret collusion between military dictatorships across the hemisphere, operated with United States knowledge and indulgence.

The actual overthrow of the Allende government in a bloody coup d'etat took place while Kissinger was going through his own Senate confirmation process as Secretary of State. He falsely assured the Foreign Relations Committee that the United States government had played no part in the coup. From a thesaurus of hard information to the contrary, one might select Situation Report #2, from the Navy Section of the United States Military Group in Chile, and written by the US Naval Attache, Patrick Ryan. Ryan describes his close relationship with the officers engaged in overthrowing the government, hails 11 September 1973 as "our D-Day" and observes with satisfaction that "Chile's coup de et at [sic] was close to perfect." Or one may peruse the declassified files on Project FUBELT -- the code name under which the CIA, in frequent contact with Kissinger and the Forty Committee, conducted covert operations against the legal and elected government of Chile.

What is striking, and what points to a much more direct complicity in individual crimes against humanity, is the microcosmic detail in which Kissinger kept himself informed of Pinochet's atrocities.

On 16 November, Assistant Secretary of State Jack B. Kubisch delivered a detailed report on the Chilean junta's execution policy which, as he notes to the new secretary of state, "you requested by cable from Tokyo." The memo goes on to enlighten Kissinger in various ways about the first nine- teen days of Pinochet's rule. Summary executions during that period, we are told, total 320. (This contrasts with the publicly announced total of 100, and is based on "an internal, confidential report prepared for the junta" to which US officials are evidently privy.) Looking on the bright side, "On November 14, we announced our second CCC credit to Chile $24 million for feed corn. Our longstanding commitment to sell two surplus destroyers to the Chilean navy has met a reasonably sympathetic response in Senate consultations. The Chileans, meanwhile, have sent us several new requests for controversial military equipment." Kubisch then raises the awkward question of two US citizens murdered by the junta -Frank Teruggi and Charles Horman -- details of whose precise fate are still, more than a quarter-century later, being sought by their families. The reason for the length of the search may be inferred from a later comment by Mr. Kubisch, dated 11 February 1974, in which he reports on a meeting with the junta's foreign minister, and notes that he raises the matter of the missing Americans "in the context of the need to be careful to keep relatively small issues in our relationship from making our cooperation more difficult."

To return, via this detour, to Operation Condor. This was a machinery of cross-border assassination, abduction, torture and intimidation, coordinated between the secret police forces of Pinochet's Chile, Stroessner's Paraguay, Videla's Argentina and other regional caudillos. This internationalization of the death-squad principle is now known to have been responsible, to name only the most salient victims, for the murder of the dissident general Carlos Prats of Chile (and his wife) in Buenos Aires, the murder of the Bolivian general Juan Jose Torres, and the maiming of a Chilean Christian Democrat senator, Bernardo Leighton, in Italy. A Condor team also detonated a car bomb in downtown Washington, DC, in September 1976, killing the former Chilean foreign minister Orlando Letelier and his aide Ronni Moffitt. United States government complicity has been uncovered at every level of this network. It has been established, for example, that the FBI aided Pinochet in capturing Jorge Isaac Fuentes de Alarcon, who was detained and tortured in Paraguay, then turned over to the Chilean secret police, and "disappeared." Astonishingly, the surveillance of Latin US dissident refugees in the United States was promised to Condor figures by US intelligence.

These and other facts have been established by the work of "truth and reconciliation" commissions set up by post-dictatorship forces in the countries of the southern hemisphere. Stroessner has been overthrown, Videla is in prison, Pinochet and his henchmen are being or have been brought to account in Chile. The United States has not so far found it convenient to establish a truth and reconciliation commission of its own, which means that it is less ready at present to face its historical responsibility than are the countries once derided as "banana republics."

All of the above-cited crimes, and many more besides, were committed on Kissinger's "watch" as secretary of state. And all of them were and are punishable, under local or international law, or both. It can hardly be argued, by himself or by his defenders, that he was indifferent to, or unaware of, the true situation. In 1999 a secret memorandum was declassified, giving excruciating details of a private conversation between Kissinger and Pinochet in Santiago, Chile, on 8 June 1976. The meeting took place the day before Kissinger was due to address the Organization of American States. The subject was human rights. Kissinger was at some pains to explain to Pinochet that the few pro forma remarks he was to make on that topic were by no means to be taken seriously. My friend Peter Kornbluh has performed the service of comparing the "Memcon" (Memorandum of Conversation) with the account of the meeting given by Kissinger himself in his third volume of apologia, Years of Renewal:

The Memoir: "A considerable amount of time in my dialogue with Pinochet was devoted to human rights, which were, in fact, the principal obstacle to close United States relations with Chile. I outlined the main points in my speech to the OAS which I would deliver the next day. Pinochet made no comment."

The Memcon: "I will treat human rights in general terms, and human rights in a world context. I will refer in two paragraphs to the report on Chile of the OAS Human Rights Commission. I will say that the human rights issue has impaired relations between the US and Chile. This is partly the result of Congressional actions. I will add that I hope you will shortly remove these obstacles. ... I can do no less, without producing a reaction in the US which would lead to legislative restrictions. The speech is not aimed at Chile. I wanted to tell you about this. 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 that was going Communist."

The Memoir: "As Secretary of State, I felt I had the responsibility to encourage the Chilean government in the direction of greater democracy through a policy of understanding Pinochet's concerns. ... Pinochet reminded me that 'Russia supports their people 100 percent. We are behind you. You are the leader. But you have a punitive system for your friends.' I returned to my underlying theme that any major help from us would realistically depend on progress on human rights."

The Memcon: "There is merit in what you say. It is a curious time in the us. ... It is unfortunate. We have been through Vietnam and Watergate. We have to wait until the [1976] elections. We welcomed the overthrow of the Communist-inclined government here. We are not out to weaken your position."


In an unpleasant way, Pinochet twice mentioned the name of Orlando Letelier, the exiled Chilean opposition leader, accusing him of misleading the United States Congress. Kissinger's response, as can be seen, was to apologize for the Congress and (in a minor replay of his 1968 Paris tactic over Vietnam) to suggest that the dictator should hope for better days after the upcoming elections. Three months later, a car bomb in Washington killed Letelier; today still it remains the only such outrage ever committed in the nation's capital by agents of a foreign regime. (This notable incident is completely absent from Kissinger's memoirs.) The man responsible for arranging the crime, the Chilean secret policeman General Manuel Contreras, has since testified at trial that he took no action without specific and personal orders from Pinochet. He remains in prison, doubtless wondering why he trusted his superiors.

"I want to see our relations and friendship improve," Kissinger told Pinochet (but not the readers of his memoirs). "We want to help, not undermine you." In advising a murderer and despot, whose rule he had helped impose, to disregard his upcoming remarks as a sop to Congress, Kissinger insulted democracy in both countries. He also gave the greenest of green lights to further cross-border and internal terrorism, of neither of which he could have been unaware. (In his memoirs, he does mention what he calls Pinochet's "counterterrorist intelligence agency.") Further colluding with Pinochet against the United States Congress, which was considering the Kennedy amendment cutting off arms sales to human rights violators, Kissinger obsequiously remarked:

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 [ defeat the Kennedy amendment]. If we defeat it, we will deliver the F-5Es as we agreed to do.


The above passage is worth bearing in mind. It is a good key for decoding the usual relationship between fact and falsehood in Kissinger's ill-crafted memoir. (And it is a huge reproach to his editors at Simon and Schuster, and Weidenfeld and Nicolson.) It should also act as an urgent prompting to members of Congress, and to human rights organizations, to reopen the incomplete inquiries and thwarted investigations into the multifarious crimes of this period. Finally, and read in the light of the return to democracy in Chile, and the decision of the Chilean courts to pursue truth and justice, it repudiates Kissinger's patronizing insult concerning the "irresponsibility" of a dignified and humane people, who have suffered very much more than verbal insult at his hands.
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Re: THE TRIAL OF HENRY KISSINGER, by Christopher Hitchens

Postby admin » Tue Sep 22, 2015 4:03 am

Chapter 6: AN AFTERWORD ON CHILE

A RULE OF thumb in Washington holds that any late disclosure by officialdom will contain material that is worse than even the cynics suspected. One need not try and turn this maxim into an iron law. However, in September 2000 the CIA disgorged the results of an internal inquiry on Chile, which had been required of it by the Hinchey amendment to the Intelligence Authorization Act for that fiscal year. And the most hardened critics and investigators were reduced to amazement. (The document was handed to me after I had completed the chapter above, and I let it stand so as to preserve the actual order of disclosure.) I reproduce the chief headings below, so as to preserve, also, the Agency's own prose:

Support for Coup in 1970. Under "Track II" of the strategy, CIA sought to instigate a coup to prevent Al1ende from taking office after he won a plurality in the 4 September election and before, as Constitutionally required because he did not win an absolute majority, the Chilean Congress reaffirmed his victory. CIA was working with three different groups of plotters. All three groups made it clear that any coup would require the kidnapping of Army Commander Rene Schneider, who felt deeply that the Constitution required that the Army allow Al1ende to assume power. CIA agreed with that assessment. Although CIA provided weapons to one of the groups, we have found no information that the plotters' or CIA's intention was for the general to be killed. Contact with one group of plotters was dropped early on because of its extremist tendencies. CIA provided tear gas, sub machine guns and ammunition to the second group, mortally wounding him in the attack. CIA had previously encouraged this group to launch a coup but withdrew support four days before the attack because, in CIA's assessment, the group could not carry it out successfully.


This repeats the old canard supposedly distinguishing a kidnap or abduction from a murder, and once again it raises the intriguing question: what was the CIA going to do with the general once it had kidnapped him? (Note, also, the studied passivity whereby the report "found no information that the plotters' or CIA's intention was for the general to be killed." What would satisfy this bizarre criterion?) But then we learn, of the supposedly unruly gang that actually took its instructions seriously:

In November 1970 a member of the Viaux group who avoided capture recontacted the Agency and requested financial assistance on behalf of the group. Although the Agency had no obligation to the group because it acted on its own, in an effort to keep the prior contact secret, maintain the good will of the group, and for humanitarian reasons, $35,000 was passed.


"Humanitarian reasons." One has to admire the sheer inventiveness of this explanation. At 1970 prices, the sum of $35,000 in Chile was a considerable sum to pay. Not the sort of sum that a local station chief could have disbursed on his own. One wants to know how the Forty Committee and its vigilant chairman, Henry Kissinger, decided that the best way to dissociate from a supposedly loose-cannon gang was to pay it a small fortune in cash after it had committed a cold-blooded murder.

The same question arises in an even more acute form with another disclosure made by the Agency in the course of the same report. This is headed "Relationship With Contreras." Manuel Contreras was the head of Pinochet's secret military police, and in that capacity organized the death, torture, and disappearance of innumerable Chileans as well as the use of bombing and assassination techniques as far afield as Washington, DC. The CIA admits early on in the document that it "had liaison relationships in Chile with the primary purpose of securing assistance in gathering intelligence on external targets. The CIA offered these service assistance in internal organization and training to combat subversion and terrorism abroad, not in combating internal opponents of the government."

Such flat prose, based on a distinction between the "external threat" and the more messy business of internal dictatorial discipline, invites the question -- what external threat? Chile had no foreign enemy except Argentina, which disputed some sea lane rights in the Beagle Channel. (In consequence, Chile helped Mrs. Thatcher in the Falklands war of 1982.) And in Argentina, as we know, the CIA was likewise engaged in helping the military regime to survive. No: while Chile had no external enemies to speak of, the Pinochet dictatorship had many, many external foes. They were the numerous Chileans forced to abandon their country. One of the jobs of Manuel Contreras was to hunt them down. As the report puts it:

During a period between 1974 and 1977, CIA maintained contact with Manuel Contreras, who later became notorious for his human rights abuses. The US Government policy community approved CIA's contact with Contreras, given his position as chief of the primary intelligence organization in Chile, as necessary to accomplish the CIA's mission, in spite of concerns that this relationship might lay the CIA open to charges of aiding internal political repression.


After a few bits of back-and-forth about the distinction without a difference (between external and "internal" police tactics) the CIA report states candidly:

By April 1975, intelligence reporting showed that Contreras was the principal obstacle to a reasonable human rights policy within the Junta, but an interagency committee directed the CIA to continue its relationship with Contreras. The US Ambassador to Chile urged Deputy Director of Central Intelligence [General Vernon] Walters to receive Contreras in Washington in the interests of maintaining good relations with Pinochet. In August 1975, with interagency approval, this meeting took place.

In May and June 1975, elements within the CIA recommended establishing a paid relationship with Contreras to obtain intelligence based on his unique position and access to Pinochet. This proposal was overruled, citing the US Government policy on clandestine relations with the head of an intelligence service notorious for human rights abuses. However, given miscommunications in the timing of this exchange, a one-time payment was given to Contreras.


This does not require too much parsing. Some time after it had been concluded, and by the CIA at that, that Manuel Contreras was the "principal obstacle to a reasonable human rights policy;" he is given American taxpayers' money and received at a high level in Washington. The CIA's memorandum is careful to state that, where doubts exist, they are stilled by "the US Government policy community" and by "an interagency committee." It also tries to suggest, with unconscious humor, that the head of a murderous foreign secret service was given a large bribe by mistake. One wonders who was reprimanded for this blunder, and how it got past the scrutiny of the Forty Committee.

The report also contradicts itself, stating at one point that Contreras's activities overseas were opaque, and at another that:

Within a year after the coup, the CIA and other US Government agencies were aware of bilateral cooperation among regional intelligence services to track the activities of and, in at least a few cases, kill political opponents. This was the precursor to Operation Condor, an intelligence-sharing arrangement among Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay established in 1975.


So now we know: the internationalization of the death squad principle was understood and approved by US intelligence and its political masters across two administrations. The senior person concerned in both administrations was Henry Kissinger. Whichever "interagency committee" is meant, and whether it is the Forty Committee or the Interagency Committee on Chile, the traces lead back to the same source.

On leaving the State Department, Kissinger made an extraordinary bargain whereby (having first hastily trucked them for safekeeping on the Rockefeller estate at Pocantico Hills, New York) he gifted his papers to the Library of Congress, on the sole condition that they remained under seal until after his demise. However, Kissinger's friend Manuel Contreras made a mistake when he killed a United States citizen, Ronni Karpen Moffitt, in the Washington car bomb which also murdered Orlando Letelier in 1976. By late 2000, the FBI had finally sought and received subpoena power to review the Library of Congress papers, a subpoena with which Kissinger dealt only through his attorneys. It was a start, but it was pathetic when compared to the efforts of truth and justice commissions in "Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay," the nations named above, which have now emerged from years of Kissinger-befriended dictatorship and sought a full accounting. We await the moment when the United States Congress will inaugurate a comparable process, and finally subpoena all the hidden documents that obscure the view of unpunished crimes committed in our names.
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Re: THE TRIAL OF HENRY KISSINGER, by Christopher Hitchens

Postby admin » Tue Sep 22, 2015 4:04 am

Chapter 7: CYPRUS

IN THE SECOND volume of his trilogy of memoirs, which is entitled Years of Upheaval, Henry Kissinger found the subject of the 1974 Cyprus catastrophe so awkward that he decided to postpone consideration of it:

I must leave a full discussion of the Cyprus episode to another occasion, for it stretched into the Ford presidency and its legacy exists unresolved today.


This argued a certain nervousness on his part, if only because the subjects of Vietnam, Cambodia, the Middle East, Angola, Chile, China and the SALT negotiations all bear legacies that are "unresolved today" and were unresolved then. (To say that these matters "stretched into the Ford administration" is to say, in effect, nothing at all except that this pallid interregnum did, historically speaking, occur.)

In most of his writing about himself ( and, one presumes, in most of his presentations to his clients) Kissinger projects a strong impression of a man at home in the world and on top of his brief. But there are a number of occasions when it suits him to pose as a sort of Candide: naive, and ill-prepared for and easily unhorsed by events. No doubt this pose costs him something in point of self-esteem. It is a pose, furthermore, which he often adopts at precisely the time when the record shows him to be knowledgeable, and when knowledge or foreknowledge would also confront him with charges of responsibility or complicity.

Cyprus in 1974 is just such a case. Kissinger now argues, in the long- delayed third volume of his memoirs, Years of Renewal, that he was prevented and distracted, by Watergate and the deliquescence of the Nixon presidency, from taking a timely or informed interest in the crucial triangle of force between Greece, Turkey and Cyprus. This is a bizarre disclaimer: the phrase "southern flank of NATO" was then a geopolitical commonplace of the first importance, and the proximity of Cyprus to the Middle East was a factor never absent from us strategic thinking. There was no reason of domestic policy to prevent the region from engaging his attention. Furthermore, the very implosion of Nixonian authority, cited as a reason for Kissinger's own absence of mind, in fact bestowed extraordinary powers upon him. To restate the obvious once more: when he became secretary of state in 1973, he took care to retain his post as Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs or, as we now say, National Security Advisor. This made him the first and only secretary of state to hold the chairmanship of the elite and secretive Forty Committee, which considered and approved covert actions by the CIA. Meanwhile, as chairman of the National Security Council, he held a position where every important intelligence plan passed across his desk. His former NSC aide, Roger Morris, was not exaggerating by much, if at all, when he said that Kissinger's dual position, plus Nixon's eroded status, made him "no less than acting chief of state for national security."

We know from other sources that Kissinger was not only a micro- manager with an eye to detail, but a man with a taste for intervention and rapid response. In the White House memoir of one of his closest associates, Nixon's chief of staff H.R. Haldeman, we learn of an occasion when Kissinger nearly precipitated a crisis because he became excited by some aerial photographs of Cuba. (The pictures showed soccer fields under construction, which he took -believing the Cubans to be exclusively interested in baseball as the sign of a new and sinister Russian design.) On another occasion, following the downing of a US plane, he was in favor of bombing North Korea and not excluding the nuclear option. The Ends of Power was Haldeman's title; it is only one of many testimonies showing Kissinger's unsleeping attention to potential sources of trouble, and therefore of possible distinction for himself.

This is a necessary preface to a consideration of his self-exculpation in the Cyprus matter, an apologia which depends for its credibility on our willingness to believe that Kissinger was wholly incompetent and impotent and above all uninformed. The energy with which he presses this self-abnegating case is revealing. It is also important, because if Kissinger did have any knowledge of the events he describes, then he is guilty of collusion in an assassination attempt on a foreign head of state, in a fascist military coup, in a serious violation of American law ( the Foreign Assistance Act, which prohibits the use of US military aid and materiel for non-defensive purposes), in two invasions which flouted international law, and in the murder and dispossession of many thousands of noncombatant civilians.

In seeking to fend off this conclusion, and its implications, Kissinger gives one hostage to fortune in Years of Upheaval and another in Years of Renewal. In the former volume he says plainly, "I had always taken it for granted that the next intercommunal crisis in Cyprus would provoke Turkish intervention," that is, it would at least risk the prospect of a war within NATO between Greece and Turkey and would certainly involve the partition of the island. That this was indeed common knowledge may not be doubted by any person even lightly acquainted with Cypriot affairs. In the latter volume, where he finally takes up the challenge implicitly refused in the former, he repeatedly asks the reader why anyone (such as himself, so burdened with Watergate) would have sought "a crisis in the Eastern Mediterranean between two NATO allies."

These two disingenuous statements need to be qualified in the light of a third, which appears on page 199 of Years of Renewal. Here, President Makarios of Cyprus is described without adornment as "the proximate cause of most of Cyprus's tensions." Makarios was the democratically elected leader of a virtually unarmed republic, which was at the time an associate member of the European Economic Community (EEC), the United Nations and the Commonwealth. His rule was challenged, and the independence of Cyprus was threatened, by a military dictatorship in Athens and a highly militarized government in Turkey, both of which sponsored right-wing gangster organizations on the island, and both of which had plans to annex the greater or lesser part of it. In spite of this, "intercommunal" violence had been on the decline in Cyprus throughout the 1970s. Most killings were in fact "intramural": of Greek and Turkish democrats or internationalists by their respective nationalist and authoritarian rivals. Several attempts, by Greek and Greek-Cypriot fanatics, had been made on the life of President Makarios himself. To describe his person as "the proximate cause" of most of the tensions is to make a wildly aberrant moral judgment.

This same aberrant judgment, however, supplies the key that unlocks the lie at the heart of Kissinger's presentation. If the elected civilian authority (and spiritual leader of the Greek Orthodox community) is the "proximate cause" of the tensions, then his removal from the scene is self- evidently the cure for them. If one can demonstrate that there was such a removal plan, and that Kissinger knew about it in advance, then it follows logically and naturally that he was not ostensibly looking for a crisis -as he self-pityingly asks us to disbelieve -but for a solution. The fact that he got a crisis, which was also a hideous calamity for Cyprus and the region, does not change the equation or undo the syllogism. It is attributable to the other observable fact that the scheme to remove Makarios, on which the "solution" depended, was in practice a failure. But those who willed the means and wished the ends are not absolved from guilt by the refusal of reality to match their schemes.

It is, from Kissinger's own record and recollection, as well as from the record of the subsequent official inquiry, quite easy to demonstrate that he did have advance knowledge of the plan to depose and kill Makarios. He admits as much himself, by noting that the Greek dictator Dimitrios Ioannides, head of the secret police, was determined to mount a coup in Cyprus and bring the island under the control of Athens. This was one of the better-known facts of the situation, as was the more embarrassing fact that Brigadier Ioannides was dependent on US military aid and political sympathy. His police state had been expelled from the Council of Europe and blocked from joining the EEC, and it was largely the advantage conferred by his agreement to "home port" the US Sixth Fleet, and host a string of US air and intelligence bases, that kept him in power. This lenient policy was highly controversial in Congress and in the American press, and the argument over it was part of Kissinger's daily bread long before the Watergate drama.

Thus it was understood in general that the Greek dictatorship, a US client, wished to see Makarios overthrown and had already tried to kill him or have him killed. (Overthrow and assassination, incidentally, are effectively coterminous in this account; there was no possibility of leaving such a charismatic leader alive, and those who sought his removal invariably intended his death.) This was also understood in particular. The most salient proof is this. In May of 1974, two months before the coup in Nicosia which Kissinger later claimed was a shock, he received a memorandum from the head of his State Department Cyprus desk, Thomas Boyatt. Boyatt summarized all the cumulative and persuasive reasons for believing that a Greek junta attack on Cyprus and Makarios was imminent. He further argued that, in the absence of a US demarche to Athens, warning the dictators to desist, it might be assumed that the United States was indifferent to this. And he added what everybody knew -that such a coup, if it went forward, would beyond doubt trigger a Turkish invasion.

Prescient memos are a dime a dozen in Washington after a crisis; they are often then read for the first time, or leaked to the press or Congress in order to enhance ( or protect) some bureaucratic reputation. But Kissinger now admits that he saw this document in real time, while engaged in his shuttle between Syria and Israel (both of them within half an hour's flying time of Cyprus). Yet no demarche bearing his name or carrying his authority was issued. to the Greek junta.

A short while afterwards, on 7 June 1974, the National Intelligence Daily, which is the breakfast/bible reading of all senior State Department, Pentagon and national security officials, quoted a US field report dated 3 June which stated the views of the dictator in Athens:

Ioannides claimed that Greece is capable of removing Makarios and his key supporters from power in twenty-four hours with little if any blood being shed and without EOKA assistance. The Turks would quietly acquiesce to the removal of Makarios, a key enemy. ... Ioannides stated that if Makarios decided on some type of extreme provocation against Greece to obtain a tactical advantage, he is not sure whether he should merely pull the Greek troops out of Cyprus and let Makarios fend for himself, or remove Makarios once and for all and have Greece deal directly with Turkey over Cyprus's future.


This report and its contents were later authenticated before Congress by CIA staff who had served in Athens at the relevant time. The fact that it made Brigadier Ioannides seem bombastic and delusional both of which he was -should have underlined the obvious and imminent danger. (EOKA was a Greek-Cypriot fascist underground, armed and paid by the junta.)

At about the same time, Kissinger received a call from Senator J. William Fulbright, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Senator Fulbright had been briefed about the impending coup by a senior Greek dissident journalist in Washington named Elias P. Demetracopoulos. He told Kissinger that steps should be taken to avert the planned Greek action, and he gave three reasons. The first was that it would repair some of the moral damage done by the US government's indulgence of the junta. The second was that it would head off a confrontation between Greece and Turkey in the Mediterranean. The third was that it would enhance US prestige on the island. Kissinger declined to take the recommended steps, on the bizarre grounds that he could not intervene in Greek "internal affairs" at a time when the Nixon administration was resisting pressure from Senator Henry Jackson to link US-Soviet trade to the free emigration of Russian Jewry. However odd this line of argument, it still makes it impossible for Kissinger to claim, as he still does, that he had had no warning.

So there was still no high-level US concern registered with Athens. The difficulty is sometimes presented as one of protocol or etiquette, as if Kissinger's regular custom was to whisper and tread lightly. Ioannides was the de facto head of the regime but technically only its secret police chief. For the US ambassador, Henry Tasca, it was awkward to make diplomatic approaches to a man he described as "a cop." But again I remind you that Henry Kissinger, in addition to his formal diplomatic eminence, was also head of the Forty Committee, and supervisor of covert action, and was dealing in private with an Athens regime that had long-standing CIA ties. The 1976 House Committee on Intelligence later phrased the problem rather deftly in its report:

Tasca, assured by the CIA station chief that Ioannides would continue to deal only with the CIA, and not sharing the State Department Desk Officer's alarm, was content to pass a message to the Greek leader indirectly. ... It is clear, however, that the embassy took no steps to underscore for Ioannides the depth of concern over a Cyprus coup attempt. This episode, the exclusive CIA access to Ioannides, Tasca's indications that he may not have seen all important messages to and from the CIA station, Ioannides' suggestions of us acquiescence, and Washington's well-known coolness to Makarios have led to public speculation that either US officials were inattentive to the reports of the developing crisis or simply allowed it to happen.


Thomas Boyatt's memoranda, warning of precisely what was to happen (and echoing the views of several mid-level officials besides himself), were classified as secret and have still never been released. Asked to testify at the above hearings, he was at first forbidden by Kissinger to appear before Congress. He was only finally permitted to do so in order that he might avoid a citation for contempt. His evidence was taken in "executive session;' with the hearing-room cleared of staff, reporters, and visitors.

Events continued to gather pace. On 1 July 1974, three senior officials of the Greek foreign ministry, all of them known for their moderate views on the Cyprus question, publicly tendered their resignations. On 3 July President Makarios made public an open letter to the Greek junta, which made the direct accusation of foreign interference and subversion:

In order to be absolutely clear, I say that the cadres of the military regime of Greece support and direct the activities of the EOKA-B terrorists. ... I have more than once so far felt, and in some cases I have touched, a hand invisibly extending from Athens and seeking to liquidate my human existence.


He called for the withdrawal from Cyprus of the Greek officers responsible.

Some days after the coup, which eventually occurred on 15 July 1974; and when challenged at a press conference about his apparent failure to foresee or avert it, Kissinger replied that "the information was not lying around in the streets." Actually, it almost was in the streets. But much more important, and much more material to the case, it had been available to him round the clock, in both his diplomatic and his intelligence capacities. His decision to do nothing was therefore a direct decision to do something, or to let something be done.

The argument can be pushed a little further. If we can show that Kissinger is speaking falsely when he says he was surprised by the July coup -and we can show this -- and if we assume that foreknowledge accompanied by inaction is evidence for at least passive approval, then we would expect to find the coup, when it came, being received with some show of sympathy or satisfaction. As a matter of fact, that is precisely what we do find.

To the rest of the world, two things were obvious about the coup. The first was that it had been instigated from Athens and carried out with the help of regular Greek forces, and was thus a direct intervention in the internal affairs of one country by another. The second was that it violated all the existing treaties governing the status of Cyprus. The obvious and unsavory illegality was luridly emphasized by the junta itself, which chose a notorious chauvinist gunman named Nicos Saropson to be its proxy "president." Saropson must have been well known to the chairman of the Forty Committee as a long-standing recipient of financial support from the CIA; he also received money for his fanatical Nicosia newspaper Makhi (Gorobat) from a pro-junta CIA proxy in Athens, Mr. Savvas Constantopoulos, the publisher of the pro-junta organ Eleftheros Kosmos (Free World). No European government treated Saropson as anything but a pariah, for the brief nine days in which he held power and launched a campaign of murder against his democratic Greek opponents. But Kissinger told the US envoy in Nicosia to receive Saropson's "foreign minister" as foreign minister, thus making the United States the first and only government to extend de facto recognition. (At this point, it might be emphasized, the whereabouts of President Makarios were unknown. His palace had been heavily shelled and his death announced on the junta's radio. He had in fact made his escape, and was able to broadcast the fact a few days afterwards -to the enormous irritation of certain well-placed persons.) Incidentally, in his 1986 memoir The Truth, published in Athens in 1986, the then head of the Greek armed forces, General Grigorios Bonanos, records that the junta's attack on Cyprus brought a message of approval and support, delivered to its intelligence service by no less a man than Thomas A. Pappas himself -- the chosen intermediary between the junta and the Nixon-Kissinger administration. (We shall hear more about Mr. Pappas in Chapter 9.)

In Washington, Kissinger's press spokesman Robert Anderson flatly denied that the coup -later described by Makarios from the podium of the United Nations as "an invasion" -- constituted foreign intervention. "No;' he replied to a direct question on this point. "In our view there has been no outside intervention." This surreal position was not contradicted by Kissinger when he met with the ambassador of Cyprus and failed to offer the customary condolences on the reported death of his president -the "proximate cause;' we now learn from him, of all the unpleasantness. When asked if he still recognized the elected Makarios government as the legal one, Kissinger doggedly and astonishingly refused to answer. When asked if the United States was moving towards recognition of the Sampson regime, his spokesman declined to deny it. When Makarios came to Washington on 22 July, the State Department was asked whether he would be received by Kissinger ''as a private citizen, as Archbishop, or as President of Cyprus?" The answer? "He [Kissinger] is meeting with Archbishop Makarios on Monday [emphasis added]." Every other government in the world, save the rapidly collapsing Greek dictatorship, recognized Makarios as the legitimate head of the Cyprus republic. Kissinger's unilateralisro on the point is without diplomatic precedent, and argues strongly for his collusion and sympathy with the armed handful of thugs who felt the same way.

It is worth emphasizing that Makarios was invited to Washington in the first place, as elected and legal president of Cyprus, by Senator J. William Fulbright of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and by his counterpart Congressman Thomas Morgan, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Credit for this invitation belongs to the above- mentioned Elias Demetracopoulos, who had long warned of the coup and who was a friend of Fulbright. He it was who conveyed the invitation to Makarios, who was by then in London meeting the British Foreign Secretary. This initiative crowned a series of anti-junta activities by this guerrilla journalist and one-roan band, who had already profoundly irritated Kissinger and become a special object of his spite. (See Chapter 9.) At the very last moment, and with very poor grace, Kissinger was compelled to announce that he was receiving Makarios in his presidential and not his episcopal capacity.

Since Kissinger himself tells us that he had always known or assumed that another outbreak of violence in Cyprus would trigger a Turkish military intervention, we can assume in our turn that he was not surprised when such an intervention came. Nor does he seem to have been very much disconcerted. While the Greek junta remained in power, his efforts were principally directed to shielding it from retaliation. He was opposed to the return of Makarios to the island, and strongly opposed to Turkish or British use of force (Britain being a guarantor power with a treaty obligation and troops in place on Cyprus) to undo the Greek coup. This same counsel of inertia or inaction -amply testified to in his own memoirs as well as in everyone else's -- translated later into equally strict and repeated admonitions against any measures to block a Turkish invasion. Sir Tom McNally, then the chief political advisor to Britain's then Foreign Secretary and future prime minister, James Callaghan, has since disclosed that Kissinger "vetoed" at least one British military action to preempt a Turkish landing. But that was after the Greek colonels had collapsed, and democracy had been restored to Athens. There was no longer a client regime to protect.

This may seem paradoxical, but the long-standing sympathy for a partition of Cyprus, repeatedly expressed by the State and Defense departments, make it seem much less so. The demographic composition of the island (82 percent Greek to 18 percent Turkish) made it more logical for the partition to be imposed by Greece. But a second-best was to have it imposed by Turkey. And, once Turkey had conducted two brutal invasions and occupied almost 40 percent of Cypriot territory, Kissinger exerted himself very strongly indeed to protect Ankara from any congressional reprisal for this outright violation of international law, and promiscuous and illegal misuse of us weaponry. He became so pro Turkish, indeed, that it was if he had never heard of the Greek colonels. (Though his expressed dislike of the returned Greek democratic leaders supplied an occasional reminder.)

Not all the elements of this partitionist policy can be charged to Kissinger personally; he inherited the Greek junta and the official dislike of Makarios. However, even in the dank obfuscatory prose of his own memoirs, he does admit what can otherwise be concluded from independent sources. Using covert channels, and short -circuiting the democratic process in his own country, he made himself an accomplice in a plan of political assassination which, when it went awry, led to the deaths of thousands of civilians, the violent uprooting of almost 200,000 refugees, and the creation of an unjust and unstable amputation of Cyprus which constitutes a serious threat to peace a full quarter-century later. His attempts to keep the record sealed are significant in themselves; when the relevant files are opened they will form part of the longer bill of indictment.

On 10 July 1976, the European Commission on Human Rights adopted a report, prepared by eighteen distinguished jurists and chaired by Professor J.E.S. Fawcett, resulting from a year's research into the consequences of the Turkish invasion. It found that the Turkish army had engaged in the deliberate killing of civilians, in the execution of prisoners, in the torture and ill-treatment of detainees, in the arbitrary collective punishment and mass detention of civilians, and in systematic and unpunished acts of rape, torture, and looting. A large number of "disappeared" persons, both prisoners of war and civilians, are still "missing" from this period. They include a dozen holders of United States passports, which is evidence in itself of an indiscriminate strategy, when conducted by an army dependent on US aid and materiel.

Perhaps it was a reluctance to accept his responsibility for these out- rages, as well as his responsibility for the original Saropson coup, that led Kissinger to tell a bizarre sequence of lies to his new friends the Chinese. On 2 October 1974, he held a high-level meeting in New York with Qiao Guanhua, Vice Foreign Minister of the People's Republic. It was the first substantive Sino-American meeting since the visit of Deng Xiaoping, and the first order of business was Cyprus. The memorandum, which is headed "TOP SECRET/SENSITIVE/EXCLUSIVELY EYES ONLY," has Kissinger first rejecting China's public claim that he had helped engineer the removal of Makarios. "We did not. We did not oppose Makarios." (This claim is directly belied by his own memoirs.) He says, "When the coup occurred I was in Moscow;" which he was not. He says, "my people did not take these intelligence reports [concerning an impending coup] seriously;" even though they had. He says that neither did Makarios take them seriously, even though Makarios had gone public in a denunciation of the Athens junta for its coup plans. Kissinger then makes the amazing claim "We knew the Soviets had told the Turks to invade;" which would make this the first Soviet-instigated invasion to be conducted by a NATO army and paid for with US aid.

A good liar must have a good memory: Kissinger is a stupendous liar with a remarkable memory. So perhaps some of this hysterical lying is explained by its context -- by the need to enlist China's anti-Soviet instincts. But the total of falsity is so impressive that it suggests something additional, something more like denial or delusion, or even a confession by other means.
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