Magazine article New Internationalist

Henry Kissinger [Worldbeaters]

Magazine article New Internationalist

Henry Kissinger [Worldbeaters]

Article excerpt

'IF killing hundreds of thousands of innocent peasants by dropping millions of tons of bombs on undefended civilian targets is not a war crime, then there are no war crimes. If Kissinger is not responsible for these crimes, then there are no war criminals.'

Fred Branfman in Salon on Kissinger's role in the bombing of Laos and Cambodia.

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

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

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

And those there are aplenty. Evidence shows that Kissinger sabotaged the 1968 Vietnam peace talks which allowed the US-Vietnam War to drag on for another four years. Three million Vietnamese and 58,000 Americans were killed in that conflict. There is also proof that Kissinger personally persuaded Nixon to extend the war to Cambodia and Laos which led to another million civilian deaths. The secret bombing raids were given nauseating code names like 'Operation Breakfast'. After one raid, Nixon's chief of staff HR Haldeman wrote in his diary: 'Historic day, K's "Operation Breakfast" finally came off at 2.00pm... K really excited... he came beaming in with the report, very productive.' The raids killed 350,000 civilians in Laos and more than 600,000 in Cambodia.

The truth is out there, Henry - and it's getting closer all the time. Last April, Kissinger was about to fly to London when he discovered that a Spanish judge and a French magistrate were both requesting permission from Britain to question him about 'Operation Condor' - a 1970s plan by seven South American dictatorships to wipe out leftist opposition in Latin America with behind-the-scenes support from Washington. …

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