The Latest Kissinger Outrage
Why is a proven liar and wanted man
in charge of the 9/11 investigation?
By Christopher Hitchens
Posted Wednesday, November 27, 2002, at 3:36 PM PT
The Bush administration has been saying in public for several months that it does
not desire an independent inquiry into the gross "failures of intelligence"
that left U.S. society defenseless 14 months ago. By announcing
that Henry Kissinger will be chairing the inquiry that it did not want, the president
has now made the same point in a different way. But the cynicism of the decision
and the gross insult to democracy and to the families of the victims that it represents
has to be analyzed to be believed.
- We already know quite a lot, thanks all the same, about who was behind the attacks.
Most notable in incubating al-Qaida were the rotten client-state regimes of the Saudi
Arabian oligarchy and the Pakistani military and police elite. Henry Kissinger is
now, and always has been, an errand boy and apologist for such regimes.
- When in office, Henry Kissinger organized massive deceptions of Congress and
public opinion. The most notorious case concerned the "secret bombing"
of Cambodia and Laos, and the unleashing of unconstitutional methods by Nixon and
Kissinger to repress dissent from this illegal and atrocious policy. But Sen. Frank
Church's commission of inquiry into the abuses of U.S. intelligence, which focused
on illegal assassinations and the subversion of democratic governments overseas,
was given incomplete and misleading information by Kissinger, especially on the matter
of Chile. Rep. Otis Pike's parallel inquiry in the House (which brought to light
Kissinger's personal role in the not-insignificant matter of the betrayal of the
Iraqi Kurds, among other offenses) was thwarted by Kissinger at every turn, and its
eventual findings were classified. In other words, the new "commission"
will be chaired by a man with a long, proven record of concealing evidence and of
lying to Congress, the press, and the public.
- In his second career as an obfuscator and a falsifier, Kissinger appropriated
the records of his time at the State Department and took them on a truck to the Rockefeller
family estate in New York. He has since been successfully sued for the return of
much of this public property, but meanwhile he produced, for profit, three volumes
of memoirs that purported to give a full account of his tenure. In several crucial
instances, such as his rendering of U.S. diplomacy with China over Vietnam, with
apartheid South Africa over Angola, and with Indonesia over the invasion of East
Timor (to cite only some of the most conspicuous), declassified documents have since
shown him to be a bald-faced liar. Does he deserve a third try at presenting a truthful
record, after being caught twice as a fabricator? And on such a grave matter as this?
- Kissinger's "consulting" firm, Kissinger Associates, is a privately
held concern that does not publish a client list and that compels its clients to
sign confidentiality agreements. Nonetheless, it has been established that Kissinger's
business dealings with, say, the Chinese Communist leadership have closely matched
his public pronouncements on such things as the massacre of Chinese students. Given
the strong ties between himself, his partners Lawrence Eagleburger and Brent Scowcroft,
and the oil oligarchies of the Gulf, it must be time for at least a full disclosure
of his interests in the region. This thought does not seem to have occurred to the
president or to the other friends of Prince Bandar and Prince Bandar's wife, who
helped in the evacuation of the Bin Laden family from American soil, without an interrogation,
in the week after Sept. 11.
- On Memorial Day 2001, Kissinger was visited by the police in the Ritz Hotel in
Paris and handed a warrant, issued by Judge Roger LeLoire, requesting his testimony
in the matter of disappeared French citizens in Pinochet's Chile. Kissinger chose
to leave town rather than appear at the Palais de Justice as requested. He has since
been summoned as a witness by senior magistrates in Chile and Argentina who are investigating
the international terrorist network that went under the name "Operation Condor"
and that conducted assassinations, kidnappings, and bombings in several countries.
The most spectacular such incident occurred in rush-hour traffic in downtown Washington,
D.C., in September 1976, killing a senior Chilean dissident and his American companion.
Until recently, this was the worst incident of externally sponsored criminal violence
conducted on American soil. The order for the attack was given by Gen. Augusto Pinochet,
who has been vigorously defended from prosecution by Henry Kissinger.
Moreover, on Sept. 10, 2001, a civil suit was filed in a Washington, D.C., federal
court, charging Kissinger with murder. The suit, brought by the survivors of Gen.
Rene Schneider of Chile, asserts that Kissinger gave the order for the elimination
of this constitutional officer of a democratic country because he refused to endorse
plans for a military coup. Every single document in the prosecution case is a U.S.-government
declassified paper. And the target of this devastating lawsuit is being invited to
review the shortcomings of the "intelligence community"?
In late 2001, the Brazilian government canceled an invitation for Kissinger to speak
in Sao Paulo because it could no longer guarantee his immunity. Earlier this year,
a London court agreed to hear an application for Kissinger's imprisonment on war
crimes charges while he was briefly in the United Kingdom. It is known that there
are many countries to which he cannot travel at all, and it is also known that he
takes legal advice before traveling anywhere. Does the Bush administration feel proud
of appointing a man who is wanted in so many places, and wanted furthermore for his
association with terrorism and crimes against humanity? Or does it hope to limit
the scope of the inquiry to those areas where Kissinger has clients?
There is a tendency, some of it paranoid and disreputable, for the citizens of other
countries and cultures to regard President Bush's "war on terror" as opportunist
and even as contrived. I myself don't take any stock in such propaganda. But can
Congress and the media be expected to swallow the appointment of a proven coverup
artist, a discredited historian, a busted liar, and a man who is wanted in many jurisdictions
for the vilest of offenses? The shame of this, and the open contempt for the families
of our victims, ought to be the cause of a storm of protest.