June 23, 2004

Henry Kissinger

Posted in Interviews · 14 comments ·

Hear the former secretary of state Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s view on weapons of mass destruction.

Part two follows:

  1. Lydia

    Hear a longer version of this interview here

  2. Ron

    kissingers actions in south america thailand etc disgust
    me.this man has no consciousness

  3. david hartnett

    I must admit..I found this interview to be the most
    interesting that you have done so far. I think you took a
    fairly balanced questioning approach ..but on the radio
    interview I heard afterwards you seemed to be enjoying the
    whole thing!! To such an extent you could be heard
    chuckling along with some of the comments he made. It was
    like sharing a joke with Hitler.

  4. David Mc Williams

    Hi david, david here, sorry that radio interview came
    across that way it wasn’t the intention but I did find
    meeting and talking to Kissinger fascinating, regards

  5. ambassador

    Dr. Henry Kissinger brought me chocolate for escorting him
    off the plane during World Cup. As he handed them to me, he
    was drooling. Gross.

  6. Eleanor Lanigan

    What amazes me is that you are sitting across the room from
    a war criminal, a man wanted in several countries for the
    murder of millions of citizens(Chile, Vietnam) and rather
    than ask the hard questions you have him pontificating
    about WMD in other countries.

    Why didn’t you ask him about American terrorism. The trail
    of blood is endless, from the bombing of Hiroshima and
    Nagasaki, the bombing and murder of 600,000 peasants in
    neutral Cambodia, the thousands murdered in Chile with Mr
    Kissenger’s fingerprints on many.

    These double standards will continue while journalists such
    as yourself couldn’t be bothered to ask the hard questions.
    Henry Kissenger has blood on his hands and should be locked
    up for murder not sitting in a studio giving out advice on
    the ‘evil in the world’ he need only look in the mirror.

  7. liam

    its always interesting to listen to these revisionist
    historians attack a man who made difficult decisions at
    avery different time. Are these the same people who
    complain so much about America while enjoying the fruits of
    its economy and security? i hope they realise were doing
    far better out of the american empire than we did out of
    the British one

  8. Ian

    I thought that evil little man had died.
    Liam, I’m sure your BNP party place is secured, no need to over do it.

  9. Michael O'Neill

    I see the term “revisionist historian” used by people who seem to have swallowed rose-tinted propaganda whole and underneath it all are rightly disturbed when the truth of the disgraceful dealings behind the scenes is revealed by diligent investigators.

    The only “difficult decisions” Kissinger faced was how best to promote his political career in unelected office. The documents released under pressure from the National Security Archive show Kissinger’s and Gerald Ford’s briefing by and to Suharto the day before the invasion of East Timor and shed light on Kissinger the man, his ambitions, and the lengths he went to securing his aims while covering up his tracks.

    Is exposing Kissinger’s dirty hands in his dealings with Indonesia the work of a “revisionist historian”? I don’t think so. Any brief review of the work of Kissinger Associates and the controlling interests list of Freeport McRohan will also tell a story.

    Instead of throwing a hissy-fit of denial and calling these revelations “revisionist history” persons who speak as though they are blindly pro-imperialist should perhaps take a moment examine their own conscience and see where the revelations behind even recent historical events set in motion by propaganda and cover-ups lead them.

    For instance, take a look at Colin Powell’s disgracefully misleading presentation to the United Nations about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. The man later admitted that this was a black spot on his career. Not to worry Colin, it sits nicely beside that other black spot – the military “report” he produced in the 60′s which was nothing less than a whitewash of the Mai Lai massacre in Vietnam by American forces.

  10. Hopefully this will deepen the tone of the Kissinger debate – from; -


    The Case Against Henry Kissinger
    Part One
    The making of a war criminal
    by Christopher Hitchens
    Harpers magazine, March 2001

    It will become clear, and may as well be stated at the outset, that this 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, 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 1972-75, 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 presents us with a morally repulsive record and includes the appalling consequences of the destabilization of Angola. 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 adviser, 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 on 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 Alexandr Solzhenitsyn, all the while posing 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, in this installment, the deliberate mass killing of civilian populations in Indochina and 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. In a second installment we will see that this criminal habit of mind extends to Bangladesh, Cyprus, East Timor, and even to Washington, D.C.
    Some of these allegations can be constructed only 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 possibly destroyed. We now, however, 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 House of Lords’ ruling in London, on the international relevance of General Augusto Pinochet’s crimes, added to the splendid activism of the Spanish magistracy and the verdicts of the International Tribunal at The Hague, has destroyed the shield that immunized crimes committed under the justification of raison d’etat. There is now no reason why a warrant for the trial of Kissinger may not be issued in any one of a number of jurisdictions and no reason why he may not be compelled to answer it. Indeed, 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 undertook 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 politics, from Greece to Chile to Argentina to Indonesia, are now in jail or awaiting trial. 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.
    In December 2, 1998, Michael Korda was being interviewed on camera in his office at Simon & 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 Joe 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 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 that I possess:
    Asking his secretary to get the number (7597919-the digits of Kissinger Associates), Korda quips dryly, 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 don’t 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 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 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 Korda may be, but it’s clear that the keyword is “jurisdiction.” What had the New York Times been reporting that fine morning? On December 2, 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.
    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 C.l.A., 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 diplomats in Chile protested the Pinochet regime’s record of killing and torture, filing dissents to American foreign policy with their superiors in Washington.
    * The C.l.A. 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 Weiner’s story, and Kissinger was a worried man when he called his editor that day to discuss the concluding volume of his memoirs (eventually published under the unbearably dull and self-regarding title Years of Renewal), which was still in progress.
    “Harboring and sheltering,” though, are understatements for the lavishness of Henry Kissinger’s circumstances. His advice is sought, at $30,000 an appearance, by audiences of businessmen and academics and policymakers. His turgid newspaper column is syndicated by the Los Angeles Times and appears as far afield as the Washington Post. His first volume of memoirs was in 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 their 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 the second volume of Kissinger’s memoirs, 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 dryly said by one of my moral tutors, need never dine alone. 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? Any one of these can instantly spoil his day. As we see from the Korda tape, Kissinger cannot open the morning paper with the assurance of tranquillity. Because he knows what others can only suspect, or guess at. And he is a prisoner of the knowledge, as, to some extent, are we.
    Notice the likable way in which Michael 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 as Cambodia, 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. He’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 second-hand 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 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.
    There exists, within the political class of Washington, D.C., an open secret that is too momentous and too awful to tell.
    Although 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 any one 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 initiative on which the Democrats had based their campaign. In another way, it did not “work,” because four years later the Nixon Administration tried to conclude 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 years some 20,000 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 dismiss this as a “conspiracy theory.” I happily accept the challenge. Let us take, first, the Diaries of that renowned conspirator (and theorist of conspiracy) H. R. Haldeman, published in May 1994.1 choose to start with them 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 Haldeman took the minutes-was heavily engaged on two fronts. In Paris again, Henry Kissinger was striving to negotiate “peace with honor” in Vietnam. In Washington, D.C., the web of evidence against the Watergate burglars and buggers was beginning to tighten. On January 8,1973, 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 ’7I, and thus turn them off.
    Three days later, on January 11, 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 judgment 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 [Deke] 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 re’ porter was making an inquiry in the last week or so, and LBJ got very hot and called Deke 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 cipher 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 DeLoach, 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 Texas 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 presents 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 (“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 Diaries had been vetted by the National Security Council, 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,” Ambrose relays. “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 current ambassador to the United Nations. In 1968, Clark Clifford was secretary of defense and Richard Holbrooke was a member of the American negotiating team at the Vietnam peace talks in Paris.
    From his seat in the Pentagon, Clifford had 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 Maxwell Air Force Base prison camp). 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 her own biography.
    Clifford describes a private meeting at which he, President Johnson, Secretary of State Dean Rusk, and National Security Adviser 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 confidence in American 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 flatly prohibits any American from conducting private diplomacy with a foreign power.) In the event, Thieu pulled out of the negotiations anyway, ruining them just three 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 whiteshoe 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 his 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 F 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 adviser, by supplying French intermediaries with their own contacts in Hanoi. “Henry was the only person outside of the government we were authorized to discuss the negotiations with,” Richard Holbrooke told Walter Isaacson. “We trusted him. It is not stretching the truth to say that the Nixon campaign had a secret source within the U.S. 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 thwarting the talks and embarrassing the Hubert Humphrey campaign.
    Later in the month, on September 76 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 October 12, Kissinger once again made contact, suggesting that a bombing halt might be announced as soon as October 23. 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 October 23 had him saying: “Many Republican friends have contacted me and encouraged us to stand firm. They were alarmed by press reports to the effect that you had already softened your position.” The wiretapping instructions went to one Cartha DeLoach, 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 Poquer: 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 November 2,1968, the agent reported:
    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 on the other was this: It enabled Nixon 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 October 25, in New York, he used his tried-and-tested tactic of circulating an innuendo while purporting to disown it. Of LBJ’s Paris diplomacy he said, “I am also 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 adviser 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 the 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 October 31 and the South Vietnamese made him look like a fool by boycotting the peace talks two days later. Had things gone the other way, of course, 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. The only mention of it that is completely and utterly 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. l 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 underhanded means, made as his very first appointment Henry Kissinger as national security adviser. 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,” wrote Nixon later in his own delicious prose, “was the length to which he went to protect his secrecy.”
    That ghastly secret is now out. In the January 1969 issue of the Establishment house organ Foreign Affairs, published a few days after his appointment 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 a mediocre and opportunistic academic to an international 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 Iying 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.
    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. 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, and Herbert Marcovich, a French microbiologist, 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 Defense Secretary 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 détente 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 détente 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 on 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 alternative that 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 announced that “peace is at hand” in October 1972, he made a boastful and false claim that could have been made in 1968. 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 with 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 1969, 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 theater, 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 standard, 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 and 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. This does not, however, 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 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/National Liberation Front insurgency. The chief exhibit in this campaign was a six-month clearance of the province of Kien Hoa. The code name for the sweep was Operation “Speedy Express.”
    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 December 15, 1970:
    “K[issinger] came in and the discussion covered some of the general thinking about Vietnam and the F’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 t72 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 context 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 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 20,763 American, 109,230 South Vietnamese, and 496,260 North Vietnamese servicemen lost their lives in Indochina between the day that Nixon and Kissinger took office and the day in 1973 that they withdrew American forces and accepted the logic of 1968. Must the families of these victims confront the fact that the chief “faces” at risk were those of Nixon and Kissinger?
    Thus the colloquially titled “Christmas bombing” of North Vietnam, 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 ones. The first of these was domestic: a show of strength to extremists in Congress and a means of putting the Democratic Party on the defensive. The second was to persuade South Vietnamese leaders such as President Thieu-whose intransigence had been encouraged by Kissinger in the first place-that their objections to American withdrawal were too nervous. This, again, was the mortgage on the initial secret payment of 1968.
    When the unpreventable collapse occurred in Cambodia and Vietnam, 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 May 12, 1975, in the immediate aftermath of the Khmer Rouge seizure of power, Cambodian gunboats detained an American merchant vessel named the Mayague. The ship was 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 were wounded. Twenty-three Air Force men died in a crash. The United States used a 15,000-ton 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 that 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 U.S. government to employ deadly force.
    In Washington, D.C., 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. l 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 1959 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 was the public supposed to know. The first names are of the covert operatives, sent in by Colonel Edward Lansdale without congressional approval to support French colonialism. 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 to prolong, should end as furtively and ignominiously as it had begun.
    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 there was a considered statement from General Telford Taylor, who had been chief U.S. prosecuting counsel at the Nuremberg trials. 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 Yamashita Tomoyuki, Taylor said that if the standard 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 [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, that they 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, in order to make such a euphemism appear plausible. Taylor had no patience with such a view. American military and intelligence and economic and political 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 March 16, 1968, when serving veterans reported major atrocities to their superior officers, 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 still to come. He was unaware of the intensity and extent of, for example, the bombing of Laos and Cambodia. Enough was known about the conduct of the war, however, 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 F of the United States to be aware of, and to respect, the Nuremberg principles:
    “Military courts and commissions have customarily B rendered their judgments stark and unsupported by opinions giving the reasons for their decisions. 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 Dec. 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 in disputable: 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 Taylor took issue with another United States officer, Colonel William Corson, who had written that
    “[r]egardless 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 a failure of judgment, not criminal behavior.”
    To this Taylor responded:
    “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 in habitants 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 splendidIy 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 forces so as to prevent the atrocities they committed, Brig. Gens. Eghert F. Bullene and Morris Handwerk and Maj. Gens. 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, again a much closer and more immediate relationship 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 advisers 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 McNaughton (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 was noticed (by Townsend Hoopes, a political antagonist of General Taylor’s) 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 people and structures? If so, what are the steps? Are we reasonably sure such steps are effective?” No evidence has surfaced that Henry Kissinger, as national security adviser or secretary of state, ever sought even such modest assurances. Indeed, there is much evidence of his deceiving Congress as to the true extent to which such assurances as were offered were deliberately false. Others involved-such as Robert McNamara; McGeorge Bundy, national security adviser to both Kennedy and Johnson; and William Colby-have since offered varieties of apology or contrition or at least explanation. Henry Kissinger, never. General Taylor described the practice 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 adviser. Thus he had to know that every additional casualty, on either side, was not just a death but an avoidable death. 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 international law-while persisting in a breathtakingly high level of attrition in Vietnam itself.
    From a huge menu of possible examples, I have chosen cases that 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 that 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 American disciplining, on behalf of the Thieu government, of the turbulent Mekong Delta province of Kien Hoa.
    On January 22, 1968, Robert McNamara had told the Senate that “no regular North Vietnamese units” were deployed in the 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 “Vietcong” (VC). As Buckley found, and as his magazine, Newsweek, partially disclosed at the rather late date of June 19, 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 U.S. 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

  11. I found Christopher Hitchens book an excellent read, having discovered this “prequel” of sorts on the Harpers website.

    Here’s the second part of it, from


    The Case Against Henry Kissinger
    Part Two
    Crimes against humanity
    by Christopher Hitchens
    Harpers magazine, March 2001

    On November 9, 1970, Henry Kissinger authored National Security Council Decision Memorandum 93, which reviewed policy toward Chile in the immediate wake of Salvador Allende’s confirmation as president. Various routine measures of economic harassment were proposed (as per 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 among military dictatorships across the hemisphere, operated with the United States government’s knowledge and indulgence.
    The actual overthrow of the Allende government in a sanguinary coup d’etat took place on September 11, 1973, 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 No. 2, from the Navy Section of the United States Military Group in Chile and written by U.S. Naval Attaché Patrick J. Ryan. Mr. Ryan describes his close relationship with the officers engaged in overthrowing the government, hails September 11, 1973, as “our D-Day,” and observes with satisfaction that “Chile’s coup de etat [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 40 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 microscopic detail in which Kissinger kept himself informed, after the coup, of Augusto Pinochet’s atrocities. On November 16, 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, “you requested by cable from Tokyo.” The memo goes on to enlighten Kissinger in various ways about the first nineteen days of Pinochet’s rule. Summary executions during that period, we are told, totaled 320. (This contrasts with the publicly announced total of 100 and is based on “an internal, confidential report prepared for the junta” to which American 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 long-standing 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 re’ quests for controversial military equipment.
    Kubisch then raises the awkward question of two American 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 telegram, dated February 11, 1974, which reports on a meeting with the junta’s foreign minister and notes that Kubisch 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”: “Condor” was a machinery of cross-border assassination, abduction, torture, and intimidation coordinated among the secret police forces of Pinochet’s Chile, Alfredo Stroessner’s Paraguay, Jorge Rafael Videla’s Argentina, and other regional caudillos. This internationalization of the death-squad principle is now known to have been responsible 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, also in Argentina, and the maiming of a Christian Democratic Chilean senator, Bernardo Leighton, in Italy, to name only the most salient victims. A “Condor” team also detonated a car bomb in downtown Washington, D.C., 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 Alarchon, who was detained and tortured in Paraguay, then turned over to the Chilean secret police and “disappeared.” Astonishingly, the surveillance of Latin American dissident refugees in the United States was promised to “Condor” figures by American intelligence.
    Stroessner has been overthrown; Videla is in prison; Pinochet and his henchmen are being or have been brought to account in Chile. And what of Kissinger? All of the above-cited crimes, and many more besides, were committed on his “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 June 8, 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 U.S. 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 U.S. 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 U.S. . .. It is unfortunate. We have been through Viet Nam 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 hope for better days after the upcoming elections. Three months later, a car bomb in Washington killed Letelier, the only such outrage ever committed in the nation’s capital by agents of a foreign regime (and an incident completely absent from Kissinger’s memoirs). The man responsible for arranging the crime, the Chilean secret policeman General Manuel Contreras, has since stated in an affidavit 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 crossborder and internal terrorism, neither of which could have been unknown to him. (In his memoirs, he does mention what he calls Pinochet’s “counter-terrorist intelligence agency.”) Further colluding with Pinochet against the United States Congress, which was considering cutting off arms sales to human-rights violators via the Kennedy Amendment, 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 foregoing 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 & Schuster, and Weidenfeld & 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 Chile’s return to democracy 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.
    A rule of thumb in Washington holds that any late disclosure by officialdom will ,~ contain material that is worse than even the cynics suspected. In September 2000, however, 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:
    “Support for Coup in 1970. Under “Track lI” of the strategy, CIA sought to instigate a coup to prevent Allende 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 Allende 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 ClA’s intention was for the general to be killed. Contact with one group of plotters was dropped early an because of its extremist tendencies. CIA provided tear gas, submachine-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 ClA’s assessment, the group could not carry it out successfully.”
    This repeats the old canard supposedly distinguishing a kidnapping or abduction from a murder, and once again raises the intriguing question: What was the CIA going to do with General Schneider 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, $35,000 was, in Chile, a considerable sum. Not likely the sort of sum that a local station chief could have disbursed on his own. One wants to know how the 40 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 CIA 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, D.C. 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 services assistance in internal organization and training to combat subversion and terrorism from abroad, not in combating internal opponents of the government.”
    Such flat prose, based on a distinction between the “external targets” 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, Chile had no external enemies to speak of, but the Pinochet dictatorship had many, many external foes. They were the numerous Chileans forced to abandon their country. Manuel Contreras’s job was to hunt them down. As the report puts it,
    “During a period between 1974 and 1977, CIA maintained contact with Manuel Contreras Sepulveda, who later became notorious for his involvement in human rights abuses. The U.S. Government policy community approved ClA’s contact with Contreras, given his position as chief of the primary intelligence organization in Chile, as necessary to accomplish the ClA’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 U.S. Ambassador to Chile urged Deputy Director of Central Intelligence [General Vernon] Walters to receive Contreras in Washington in the interest 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 U.S. 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 “U.S. 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 40 Committee.
    The report also contradicts itself, stating at one point that Contreras’s activities overseas were opaque and at another that
    “[w]ithin a year after the coup, the CIA and other U.S. 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 American 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 40 Committee or the interagency committee on Chile, we are led back to the same source.
    On leaving the State Department, Kissinger made an extraordinary bargain whereby he gifted his papers to the Library of Congress (having first hastily trucked them for safekeeping to the Rockefeller estate at Pocantico Hills, New York) on the sole condition that they remain under seal until five years after his death. Kissinger’s friend Manuel Contreras, however, made a mistake when he killed an American citizen, Ronni Karpen Moffitt, in the Washington car bomb that also murdered Orlando Letelier in 1976. By late 2000, the Federal Bureau of Investigation 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 with the efforts of truth-and-justice commissions in Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay, which have now emerged from years of Kissinger befriended dictatorship and are seeking 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.
    In the second volume of his trilogy of memoirs, 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 Presidency” 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 and easily unhorsed by events. No doubt this pose costs him something in self-esteem. It is a pose, furthermore, that 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 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 Greece, Turkey, and Cyprus. This is a bizarre disclaimer: the phrase “eastern 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 American 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 adviser. This made him the first and only secretary of state to hold the chairmanship of the 40 Committee, which, of course, considered and approved covert actions by the CIA. Meanwhile, as chairman of the National Security Council, he held a position in which 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 one, made him “no less than acting chief of state for national security.”
    Kissinger gives one hostage to fortune in Years of Upheaval and another in Years of Renewal. In the former volume he says, quite plainly: “I had always taken it for granted that the next communal crisis in Cyprus would provoke Turkish intervention”-i.e., 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, wherein Kissinger finally takes up the challenge implicitly refused in the first volume, 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 one, 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 in an association agreement with the European Economic Community, as well as a member of the United Nations and of the Commonwealth. His rule was challenged, and the independence of Cyprus 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 chapter. 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. 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 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 American military aid and political sympathy. His police state had long since 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 U.S. Sixth Fleet, and host a string of U.S. air force 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, an American 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 Cyprus’s capital, Nicosia, which Kissinger later claimed came as a shock to him, 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 an American 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 to 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 afterward, on June 7, 1974, the National Intelligence Daily, which is the breakfast-table reading of all senior State Department, Pentagon, and national security officials, cited an American field report, dated June 3, that stated the views of the dictator in Athens:
    “loannides 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. [EOKA was a Greek-Cypriot fascist underground, armed and paid by the junta.] The Turks would quietly acquiesce to the removal of Makarios, a key enemy . . . Ioannides stated that if Makarios decides on some type of extreme provocation against Greece to obtain a tactical advantage, he (loannides) 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’ 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.
    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. According to Demetracopoulos, Fulbright 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 America’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 American 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 U.S.-Soviet trade to the free emigration of Russian Jewry. However odd this line of argument, it still makes it quite impossible for Kissinger to claim, as he still does, that he had had no warning.
    So there was still no American high-level 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 U.S. 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 40 Committee, and therefore the supervisor of American covert action, and was dealing in private with an Athens regime that had long-standing ties to the CIA. The 1976 House Committee on Intelligence later phrased the problem rather deftly in its report:
    “Tasca, assured by the CIA station chief that loannides 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 loannides the depth of U.S. concern over a Cyprus coup attempt. This episode, the exclusive CIA access to loannides, Tasca’s indications that he may not have seen all important messages to and from the CIA Station, loannides’ suggestions of U.S. acquiescence, and Washington’s well-known coolness to Makarios have led to public speculation that either U.S. 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 still have never been released. Asked to testify at the above hearings, he was at first forbidden by Kissinger to appear before Congress and was finally permitted to do so only 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.
    Matters continued to gather pace. On July 1, 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 July 3, 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 terrorist organization…. I have more than once so far felt, and some cases I have almost 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 July 15, 1974, and when challenged at a press conference about his apparent failure to foresee or avert it, Kissinger replied that “the information was not Iying around on the streets.” Actually, it nearly was. It had been available to him round the clock, in both his diplomatic and intelligence capacities. His decision to do nothing was therefore a direct decision to do something, or to let something be done.
    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 the island. The obvious and unsavory illegality was luridly emphasized by the junta itself, which chose a notorious chauvinist gunman named Nikos Sampson to be its proxy “president.” Sampson must have been well known to the chairman of the 40 Committee as a long-standing recipient of financial support from the CIA; he also received money for his fanatical Nicosia newspaper Makli (“Combat”) 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 Sampson as anything but a pariah during the brief nine days in which he held power and launched a campaign of murder against his democratic Greek opponents. But Kissinger told the American envoy in Nicosia to receive Sampson’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 afterward-to the enormous irritation of certain well-placed persons.)
    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 Cypriot ambassador 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 toward recognition of the Sampson regime, his spokesman declined to deny it. When Senator Fulbright helped facilitate a visit by the escaped Makarios to Washington, 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? “[Kissinger]‘s meeting with Archbishop Makarios on Monday.” Every other government in the world, save the rapidly collapsing Greek dictatorship, recognized Makarios as the legitimate head of the Cyprus republic. Kissinger’s unilateralism on the point is without diplomatic precedent and argues strongly for his collusion and sympathy with the armed handful 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 William J. Fulbright of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and by his counterpart, Congressman Thomas Morgan, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Credit for their invitation belongs to the above-mentioned Elias Demetracopoulos, who had long warned of the coup and who was a friend of Fulbright’s. It was he who conveyed the invitation to Makarios, who was by then in London meeting with the British foreign secretary. This initiative crowned a series of anti-junta activities by this guerrilla journalist and one-man band, who had already profoundly irritated Kissinger and become a special object of his spite. At the very last moment, and with a 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 to undo the Greek coup (Britain being a guarantor power with a treaty obligation and troops on Cyprus). This same counsel of inertia or inaction-amply testified to in Kissinger’s own memoirs as well as 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 adviser 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.
    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, 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 Turkey from any congressional reprisal for this outright violation of international law and promiscuous and illegal misuse of American weaponry. He became so pro-Turkish, in fact, 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. Even in the dank obfuscatory prose of his own memoirs, however, 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 a silent accomplice in a plan of political assassination, and when this plan went awry it 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 that constitutes a serious threat to peace a full quarter century later.
    On July 10, 1976, the European Commission of 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. This number included a dozen holders of United States passports, which is evidence in itself of an indiscriminate strategy when conducted by an army dependent on American aid and materiel.
    Perhaps it was a reluctance to accept his responsibility for these outrages, as well as his responsibility for the original Sampson coup, that led Kissinger to tell a bizarre sequence of lies to his new friends, the Chinese. On October 2, 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” (a claim 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 Greek junta for its coup plans. He then makes the amazing claim that “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 American aid.
    A good liar must have a good memory. Kissinger is a stupendous liar with a remarkable memory. So perhaps some of this hysterical Iying is explained by its context: 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.
    Cyprus was not the first instance in which a perceived need to mollify China outweighed even the most minimal concern for human life elsewhere. On April 6, 1971, a cable of protest was written 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’s senior signatory, the consul general in Dhaka, was named Archer Blood, though it might have become known as the Blood Telegram in any case. Sent directly to Washington, its purpose was, quite simply, to denounce the complicity of the United States government in genocide. Its main section read:
    This was signed by twenty members of the United States’ diplomatic equipe 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 in a decade. The vote was easily won by Sheikh 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 March 3, 1971. On March 1, General Yahya Khan, head of the supposedly outgoing military regime, postponed its convening, which resulted in mass protests and nonviolent civil disobedience in the East.
    On March 25,1971, the Pakistani army struck at the Bengali capital of Dhaka. Having arrested and kidnapped Sheikh Mujibur 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 American 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 American military-assistance programs.)
    Other reports, since amply vindicated, were supplied to the London Times and Sunday Times by the courageous reporter Anthony Mascarenhas 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 10,000 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 3 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 10 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 American 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 March 29,1971, 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 Yalya 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 crimes against humanity. In April 1971, an American 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 decorative choice but not, at that stage, a positively criminal one. To a serious person like Chou En-Lai, there was no reason to confine approaches to the narrow channel afforded by a blood-soaked (and short-lived, as it turned out) despot like the delicate and tactful Yabya 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 rationalization 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 U.S. “was a reliable government to deal with” was a mystifying proposition which more cynical observers of the events, both in and outside the U.S. 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 communications, 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.
    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 and 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.
    One small but significant territory has the distinction of being omitted-entirely omitted-from Henry Kissinger’s memoirs. And since East Timor is left out of the third and final volume (Years of Renewal) it cannot hope, like Cyprus, for a hasty later emendation. It has, in short, been airbrushed.
    The date of the Indonesian invasion of this small neighboring country-December 7, 1975-is significant. On that date, President Gerald Ford and his secretary of state, Henry Kissinger, arrived in Hawaii, having concluded an official visit to Jakarta. Since they had come fresh from a meeting with Indonesia’s military junta, and since the United States was Indonesia’s principal supplier of military hardware (Portugal, a NATO ally, had broken relations with Indonesia on the point), it seemed reasonable to inquire whether the two leaders had given the invaders any impression amounting to a “green light.” The president was evasive:
    “When he landed at Hawaii, reporters asked Mr. Ford for comment on the invasion of Timor. He smiled and said: “We’ll talk about that later.” But press secretary Ron Nessen later gave reporters a statement saying: “The United States is always concerned about the use of violence. The President hopes it can be resolved peacefully.”
    The literal incoherence of this official utterance-a peaceful resolution to a use of violence- may perhaps have possessed an inner coherence: the hope of a speedy victory for overwhelming force. Kissinger moved this suspicion a shade nearer to actualization in his own more candid comment, which was offered while he was still on Indonesian soil. He told the press in Jakarta that the United States would not recognize the republic declared by FRETILIN (Revolutionary Front for the Liberation of East Timor) and that “the United States understands Indonesia’s position on the question.”
    So gruesome were the subsequent reports of mass slaughter, rape, and deliberate starvation that bluntness fell somewhat out of fashion. The killing of several Australian journalists who had witnessed Indonesia’s atrocities, the devastation in the capital city of Dili, and the stubbornness of FRETILIN’s hugely outgunned rural resistance made East Timor an embarrassment to, rather than an advertisement for, Jakarta’s new order. Kissinger generally attempted to avoid any discussion of his involvement in the extirpation of the Timorese-an ongoing involvement, since he authorized backdoor shipments of weapons to those doing the extirpating-and was ably seconded in this by his ambassador to the United Nations, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who later confided in his memoir, A Dangerous Place, that in the matter of East Timor the initial invasion toll was “almost the proportion of casualties experienced by the Soviet Union during the Second World War.” Moynihan continued:
    “[T]he United States wished things to turn out as they did, and worked to bring this about. The Department of State desired that the United Nations prove utterly ineffective in whatever measures it undertook. This task was given to me, and I carried it forward with no inconsiderable success.”
    The terms “United States” and “Department of State” are here foully prostituted, by this supposed prose master, since they are used as synonyms for Henry Kissinger.
    Twenty years later, on July 11, 1995, Kissinger was confronted with direct questions on the subject. Publicizing and promoting his then latest book, Diplomacy, at an event sponsored by The Learning Exchange at the Park Central Hotel in New York City, he perhaps (having omitted Timor from his book and from his talk) did not anticipate the first line of questioning that arose from the floor. Constancio Pinto, a former resistance leader in Timor who had been captured and tortured and had escaped to the United States, opened the bidding:
    PINTO: I am Timorese. My name is Constancio Pinto. And I followed your speech today and it’s really interesting. One thing that I know you didn’t mention is this place invaded by Indonesia in 1975. It is in Southeast Asia. As a result of the invasion 200,000 people of the Timorese were killed. As far as I know Dr. Kissinger was in Indonesia the day before the invasion of East Timor. The United States actually supported Indonesia in East Timor. So I would like to know what you were doing at that time.
    KISSINGER: What was I doing at that time ? The whole time or just about Timor? . . . What most people who deal with government don’t understand is one of the most overwhelming experiences of being in high office. That there are always more problems than you can possibly address at any one period. And when you’re in global policy and you’re a global power, there are so many issues….We had at that time, there was a war going on in Angola. We had just been driven out of Vietnam. We were conducting negotiations in the Middle East, and Lebanon had blown up. We were on a trip to China. Maybe, regrettably, we weren’t ever thinking about Timor. I’m telling you what the truth of the matter is. The reason we were in Indonesia was actually accidental. We had originally intended to go to China, we meaning President Ford and myself and some others. We had originally intended to go to China for five days. This was the period when Mao was very sick and there had been an upheaval in China…. So we cut our trip to China short….
    Timor was never discussed with us when we were in Indonesia. At the airport as we were leaving, the Indonesians told us that they were going to occupy the Portuguese colony of Timor. To us that did not seem like a very significant event, because the Indians had occupied the Portuguese colony of Goa ten years earlier, and to us it looked like another process of decolonization. Nobody had the foggiest idea of what would happen afterwards, and nobody asked our opinion, and I don’t know what we could have said if someone had asked our opinion….
    Now there’s been a terrible human tragedy in Timor afterwards. The population of East Timor has resisted, and I don’t know whether the casualty figures are correct. I just don’t know, but they’re certainly significant, and there’s no question that it’s a huge tragedy. All I’m telling you is what we knew in 1975. This was not a big thing on your radar screen. Nobody has ever heard again of Goa after the Indians occupied it…. And to us, Timor, look at a map, it’s a little speck of an island in a huge archipelago, half of which was Portuguese. We had no reason to say the Portuguese should stay there….
    ALLAN NAIRN: Mr. Kissinger, my name is Allan Nairn. I’m a journalist in the United States. I’m one of the Americans who survived the massacre in East Timor on November 12, 1991, a massacre during which Indonesian troops armed with American M-16s gunned down at least 271 Timorese civilians in front of the Santa Cruz Catholic cemetery as they were gathered in the act of peaceful mourning and protest. Now you just said that in your meeting with Suharto on the afternoon of December 6, 1975, you did not discuss Timor, you did not discuss it until you came to the airport. Well, I have here the official State Department transcript of your and President Ford’s conversation with General Suharto, the dictator of Indonesia…. It has been edited under the Freedom of Information Act, so the whole text isn’t there. It’s clear from the portion of the text that is here that in fact you did discuss the impending invasion of Timor with Suharto, a fact which was confirmed to me by President Ford himself in an interview I had with him. President Ford told me that in fact you discussed the impending invasion of Timor with Suharto and that you gave the U.S….
    KISSINGER: Who? I or he?
    NAIRN: That you and President Ford together gave U.S. approval for the invasion of East Timor. There is another internal State Department memo…. This is a memo of a December 18 1975, meeting held at the State Department. This was held right after your return from that trip, and you were berating your staff for having put on paper a finding by the State Department legal adviser Mr. Leigh that the Indonesian invasion of East Timor was illegal, that it not only violated international law, it violated a treaty with the U.S. because U.S. weapons were used, and it’s clear from this transcript, which I invite anyone in the audience to peruse, that you were angry at them first because you feared this memo would leak and second because you were supporting the Indonesian invasion of East Timor…. If one
    looks at the public actions, sixteen hours after you left that meeting with Suharto the Indonesian troops began parachuting over Dili, the capital of East Timor. They came ashore and began the massacres that culminated in a third of the Timorese population [being killed]. You announced an immediate doubling of U.S. military aid to Indonesia at the time….
    KISSINGER: Look, I think we all got the point…
    NAIRN: My question, Mr. Kissinger, my question, Dr. Kissinger, is twofold: First, will you give a waiver under the Privacy Act to support full declassification of this memo so we can see exactly what you and President Ford said to Suharto? Secondly, would you support the convening of an international war-crimes tribunal under U.N. supervision on the subject of East Timor, and would you agree to abide by its verdict in regard to your own conduct?
    KISSINGER: I mean, uh, really, this sort of comment is one of the reasons why the conduct of foreign policy is becoming nearly impossible under these conditions. Here is a fellow who’s got one obsession . . . he collects a bunch of documents, you don’t know what is in these documents…
    NAIRN: I invite your audience to read them.
    It’s interesting to notice the final decomposition of Kissinger’s normally efficient if robotic syntax in that final answer. It’s also interesting to see, once again, the operations of his denial mechanism. If Kissinger and his patron Nixon were identified with any one core belief, it was that the United States should never be, or even appear to be, a “pitiful, helpless giant.” Kissinger’s own writings and speeches are heavily larded with rhetoric about “credibility” and the need to impress both friend and foe with the mettle of American resolve. Yet, in response to any inquiry that might implicate him in crime and fiasco, he rushes to humiliate his own country and its professional servants, suggesting that they know little, care less, are poorly informed, and are easily rattled by the pace of events. He also resorts to a demagogic isolationism. This is as much as to claim that the United States is a pushover for any ambitious or irredentist banana republic.
    This semiconscious reversal of rhetoric also leads to renewed episodes of hysterical and improvised Iying. (Recall his claim to the Chinese that it was the Soviets who had instigated the Turkish invasion of Cyprus.) The idea that Indonesia’s annexation of Timor may be compared to India’s occupation of Goa is too absurd to have been cited in any apologia before or since. What Kissinger seems to like about the comparison is the rapidity with which Goa was forgotten. What he overlooks is that it was forgotten because ( 1 ) it was not a bloodbath on the scale of Timor and (2) it completed the decolonization of India. Timor represented the cementing of colonization by Indonesia. And, quite clearly, an Indonesian invasion that began a few hours after Kissinger had left the tarmac at Jakarta airport must have been planned and readied several days before he arrived. Such plans would have been known by any embassy military attaché and certainly by any visiting secretary of state. We have, in fact, the word of C. Philip Liechty, a former CIA operations officer in Indonesia, that
    “Suharto was given the green light to do what he did. There was discussion in the embassy and in traffic with the State Department about the problems that would be created for us if the public and Congress became aware of the level and type of military assistance that was going to Indonesia at that time. . .. Without continued heavy U.S. Iogistical military support the Indonesians might not have been able to pull it off.”
    The desire to appear to have been uninvolved may-if we are charitable arise in part from the fact that even Indonesia’s ~ ~ foreign minister, Adam Malik, conceded in public a death toll of between 50,000 and 80,000 Timorese civilians in the first eighteen months of Indonesia’s war of subjugation: in other words, on Kissinger’s watch, and inflicted with weapons that he bent American laws to furnish to the killers. Now that a form of democracy has returned to Indonesia, which in its first post-dictatorial act renounced the annexation of East Timor and-after a bloody last pogrom by its auxiliaries -withdrew from the territory, we may be able to learn more exactly the extent of the quasi-genocide.
    Kissinger’s arrogance in 1975 did not dispose of two matters of legality, both of them in the province of the State Department. The first was the violation of international law by Indonesia, in a case where jurisdiction clearly rested with a Portuguese and NATO government of which Kissinger (partly as a result of its support for “decolonization”) did not approve. The second was the violation of American law, which stipulated that weapons supplied to Indonesia were to be employed only in self-defense. State Department officials, bound by law, were likewise bound to conclude that United States aid to the generals in Jakarta would have to be cut off. Their memo summarizing this case was the cause of the tremendous internal row that is minuted below:
    Participants: The Secretary [Henry Kissinger] Deputy Secretary

  12. *mheh*

    Obviously there is a character limit per post, which one might expect from good website management.

    That’s why the URLs are included – wander off to the thirdworldtraveler website and you can read the full text that has been partially quoted here.

    A partial, but compelling indictment of the man David interviewed.

    Re-reading some of the comments here, I was struck by the one that compared the light banter interview to sharing a joke with Hitler. On reflection I’ve softened my stance towards David. I’m not sure I could stand to be in the same room as Kissinger much less dissemble in front of him.

    Either way I’d like to see the “snipped” section of the interview restored.

    You know the part – David apparently says nothing to provoke Kissinger’s high dudgeon about some comment he made.

    It seems plain something, some dart David said was cut.

    Thinking about it, the video on the website must have been hacked by lawyers before seeing the light of day.

    I’d like to see the original cut, in ful, or else reveal the transcript of the questions.

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