Heinz Alfred ‘Henry’ Kissinger Was A courtier To Atrocity



Sometime towards the end of 2016 the Nobel Institute and the University of Oslo decided to initiate the activity of a Nobel Peace Prize Forum. The organisers thought that Dr. Henry Kissinger and Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski would the appropriate persons to invite. It was a well considered choice, prof. Olav Njölstad, a distinguished historian at the University, serving both as head of the Nobel Institute and as secretary of the Nobel Committee. Prof. Njölstad was undoubtedly supported in his choice by the University Rector, Dr. Med. Ole Petter Ottersen.

The event was to be held in the University Aula Magna, where the Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony took place for more than forty years, from 1947 to 1989. Many constituency voices were to be attending the Forum, representing government, business and non-profit sectors. Content was to be shared with a broad audience through social media. The event was to be organised by the company InCircl in partnership with another called GoodXChange.  “It is clear that this year’s topic has implications for all of us.” said Jeff Sparrow, CEO of InCircl, sponsor of the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize Forum Oslo. “Among others, we believe it is important to encourage peace by engaging businesses in discussion platforms like this.”  InCircl is  described as “a global partnership of companies which foster the relationships of digital communication through identity management, finance technology and proximity marketing. The company’s goal is to provide clients with the best tools to invest in relationships with their consumers.  GoodXChange is a marketing affiliate of InCircl which is facilitating a digital awareness campaign in conjunction with InCircl and the Nobel Peace Prize Forum Oslo.”

The decision caused an immediate reaction.

The Nobel Peace Prize Watch objected strenuously. ‘The Watch’ was  born from the association Lay Down Your Arms, which had been founded to continue the efforts of Norwegian lawyer and author Fredrik S. Heffermehl, who in 2007 suddenly discovered that Nobel and his purpose had landed in oblivion. The Norwegian awarders of the Nobel Peace Prize had disconnected entirely from the original purpose described in the will of Nobel. In August 2007 Heffermehl published an article publicly requesting the Norwegian Nobel Committee to check its mandate and find out and respect what Nobel actually wanted. In his view what Nobel really wanted was  to liberate all nations  from weapons, warriors   –   and thus from war.

‘The Watch’ has repeatedly, and unsuccessfully, taken the view that persons responsible for the Norwegian committee and the Nobel Foundation itself have, at least since 2007, systematically shown reluctance to discuss the points raised both about Alfred Nobel’s own intention and the decisive legal importance of what Nobel really wanted. In 2007 the awarders had forgotten Nobel entirely, and the rediscovery led the awarders to offer frivolous claims to adhere to the will, but in actual practice  –  since  –  no visible interest in understanding Nobel and his actual intention. This is why the Lay Down Your Arms Association was incorporated and registered in Gothenburg, Sweden in 2014. Founding members are Tomas Magnusson and Fredrik S. Heffermehl.

On 6 December 2016 Fredrik S. Heffermehl and Tomas Magnusson wrote to Tor-Aksel Busch, the Director of Public Prosecutions, P.O. Box8002 – Dep, 0030, Oslo, Norway, and in copy to Jan F.         Glent, Head of International Prosecutions Unit for the following:


By a preliminary request of November 30 (that is hereby revoked and should be deleted) we informed the Director          of Public Prosecutions that former Secretary of State and National Security Advisor of the USA, Henry Kissinger, will be in Norway in the second week of December 2016. He is invited as an honoured guest by respected institutions, the Norwegian Nobel Committee and the University of Oslo, to share his views on US foreign policy, by all appearances not to regret or repent, or be held to account.”

The writers argued that: “The discrepancy between the world of Kissinger      and the peace by global disarmament and co-operation, the demilitarized “fraternity      of nations” ideas, the Nobel committee was supposed to promote, is so glaring that it defies comment.            The same applies to the University of Oslo. We            wish    to draw your attention to Kissinger’s comprehensive, unparalleled record of serious international crimes and the need for prosecutorial action.”

For the purpose they attached a set of documents:

“Document 1:            Invitation by the Nobel Committee and the University of Oslo: http://nobelpeaceprize.org/uploads/documents/Press_Release_Nobel_Peace_Prize_ Forum_Oslo.pdf

A book by the famous journalist Christopher Hitchens has given a  comprehensive survey     of Kissinger’s international  crimes:

Document 2: The Trial of Henry Kissinger (Verso, 2001).

A recent article in The New Yorker refers to new evidence, documents recently released under the Freedom of Information Act:

Document 3:  DOES HENRY KISSINGER HAVE A CONSCIENCE? By Jon Lee Anderson, in   The New Yorker, August 20, 2016/http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/does-henry-kissinger-havea-conscience.

TheTrial of Henry Kissinger is not available in Norwegian, but can be downloaded (Atlantic Books).           We attach a resume of some points relevant to the prosecutorial evaluation, translated into Norwegian, with some remarks. A good resume is found in the foreword to the 2002 edition.

Annex 1: In Norwegian; oversikt over omtalt kriminell virksomhet (criminal activities) i Hitchens “TheTrial…” (2001) with some remarks, p.10 below.

Annex 2: Foreword   Christopher   Hitchens, The Trial… (2002), p.14 below.

The menu of crimes ordered or organized by Kissinger, war crimes, torture, aggression, subversion, interference and interventions         in violation of international law is without end. The  cases most suited  for prosecutorial action seem to be 1) the warfare in Vietnam, 2) the “secret” bombing of Cambodia and Laos,  3) the genocide in East Timor.



It is well known that, for fear of being apprehended and tried for a unique record of serious crimes under international law, Kissinger is very careful about where he travels. See Hitchens opening chapter (Document            2) and

Document 4: Christopher Hitchens, “The  Fugitive” (The Nation, Jun 7,2001)  https://www.thenation.com/article/fugitive/

In 2001, in Paris, Kissinger  was     served with     summons        to appear before a judge the next day, and then immediately checked out of the Ritz Hotel and          left the country.  The summons       was for his role in the “Operation Condor”   in        the 1970s, a coordinated effort by the secret police forces of seven South American dictatorships. The death squads of Chile, Argentina,  Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, Ecuador and  Bolivia agreed to pool resources and           to hunt down, torture, murder and otherwise “disappear” one another’s dissidents.  They did this  not just on their own soil but as far away as Rome and Washington, where assassins and car-bombs were deployed to maim Christian Democratic Senator Bernardo Leighton in 1975 and to murder the Socialist Orlando Letelier in 1976.The            main architect and supervisor of these grave crimes was Henry Kissinger, wrote Hitchens.

Hitchens further explains that the French judge   learnt  that “the inquiry can go no further until US government figures agree to answer questions. In refusing to do this, Kissinger received the shameful support of the US Embassy in            Paris and the State Department, which      coldly  advised  the French to go through bureaucratic channels in seeking information.  Judge Le Loire replied that he had already written to Washington in 1999, during the Clinton years, but had received no response.

On the Friday immediately preceding Memorial Day, another magistrate in     a democratic country made an identical request. In order to discover what happened to so many people during          the years of Condor terror, said Argentine Judge Rodolfo Canicoba Corral, it would be necessary to secure a deposition from Kissinger. And on June 4 the Chilean judge Juan Guzmán Tapia asked US authorities to question Kissinger about the disappearance of the American citizen Charles Horman, murdered by Pinochet’s  agents in 1973 and subject of the Costa-Gavras movie ‘Missing’.  … So that, in effect, we have a situation in which the Bush regime is sheltering a man who is wanted for questioning on       two continents.”

Hitchens concluded his article by remarks on the will and the obligation to adjudicate the war crimes of Kissinger and his accomplices:  “The          seven  Condor countries, groping their way back to democracy after decades of trauma, are making brave and honest attempts to find the truth and to punish the guilty.            Time and again, commissions of inquiry have been frustrated because the evidence they need is in archives in Washington.And it is in those archives for the  unspeakable reason that    the United States was the patron and armorer  of dictatorship.”

Kissinger, his character, activities,   and the official US protection of him are well described and condemned by Fred Branfman in a 2013 Alternet article:

Document 4 B: http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/america-keepshonoring-one-its-worst-mass-murderers-henry-kissinger


Norway´s wide rules on universal jurisdiction should not pose any problem with the apprehension, questioning     and trial of Mr. Kissinger. The rules in Norwegian and international penal law defining international crimes, war crimes, torture etc. Have been thoroughly dealt with by the late professor of law at the University of Oslo, Ståle Eskeland.

Document 5: Ståle Eskeland “De mest alvorlige forbrytelser” (Cappelen Damm 2011).

On page 47 Prof. Eskeland quotes a decision in 2009,where the Norwegian prosecutors refrained from action  in a complaint citing war crimes during the 2009 war in Gaza. The prosecutors noted that Norway had a right to initiate investigation and prosecution, but not an obligation,  “and none        of the  accused have  any form of connection to  Norway and in our opinion the authority          should  exercise great caution with opening an investigation   in         cases    of alleged crimes committed abroad by a perpetrator not domiciled in Norway or having  any other form         of connection to our country.”

The case of Kissinger, however, seems very different. Several of his acts are within a category of crimes where all nations are obliged by treaty to   prosecute; they “shall” take action if such criminals come within their jurisdiction. Furthermore, Kissinger has for decades had a major influence upon Norwegian politics and foreign and military affairs, by shaping and conducting the policy of the NATO alliance of which Norway is a member.

Several of Kissinger’s crimes come  under one of the treaties where it is  mandatory for Norway to prosecute. He is complicit or main actor in many violations of the CAT, the  Convention Against Torture, and the Genocide Convention. However, we are aware     of the difficulty          that the obligation to prosecute under CAT applies only to acts after its entry into force on June 24,     1987, by which time  Henry Kissinger seems no        longer to have been in           a position to    commit war crimes    and crimes against humanity. But there            is no    time     limit     for prosecution of violations of the Genocide convention.

All nations have comprehensive obligations to protect and realize the provisions of the Geneva Conventions, enact and enforce legislation penalizing any of these crimes, and are also obligated to search for persons who commit these crimes, and to bring them to trial regardless of their nationality and regardless of the place where the crimes took place. Article            85 (1) of the first additional protocol (1977) to the Geneva Conventions extends the agreed obligation to prosecute to military strategy and warfare that cause “excessive loss” of civilian lives.

Document 2 contains ample documentation of war crimes and excessive loss of civilian lives, see some extract in Annex 1. Indeed, Kissinger has shown unparalleled cynicism and callous co-operation, he colluded and conspired with foreign despotic leaders. Human rights, international law, mass murder, loss of civilian lives, or even deceiving the US Congress and Constitution, did not  concern him if  he thought it would serve US interests to  ignore them.

Henry Kissinger is famous for communicating President Nixon’s orders for a “massive” bombing of Cambodia in 1969, having said, “Anything that flies on everything that moves”. This shows a callous and shocking insouciance about the basic rule of the laws of war, to protect civilian lives.

The responsibility of national prosecutors to take action  against the gravest international crimes     are the result of a long development where it is      seen in the interest of the world community that all countries co-operate           to end impunity. If Western political and military leaders shall continue to enjoy impunity this            is  bound to do serious harm to law and order in the world.

Nations do not commit international crimes, but persons, individuals, acting for the state do, said the post WWII Nuremberg judgment. Therefore acting     for a state or under superior order is no excuse, neither is acting under a broad national consensus.This was a major leaping global ethical awareness. History has shown what disasters can result from the judiciary failing to       stand firm against the waves of national emotions that often permeate military and international issues; war  and peace.”

At this point the writers made their specific request:

“The Director of Public Prosecutions as a high public official has an     individual and personal duty to act to uphold law and order. It is incumbent on him to live up to this responsibility also in the present case, even if it is likely to offend many, at home and abroad, in the street and in high office alike.

The leading Norwegian expert on issue of universal jurisdiction and      immunity, Professor of law Jo Martin Stigen, has written these articles:

Document 6: (2010).  Hvilken immunitet    for internasjonale kjerneforbrytelser? Retfærd. Nordisk Juridisk Tidsskrift. ISSN 0105-1121.   33 (1=128), s 57-94.

Document7: (2009).   Universaljurisdiksjon – en kritiskanalyse. Tidsskrift for rettsvitenskap. ISSN       0040-7143.22(1), s 1-46.”

The writers asked:


It is a fact that Mr. Kissinger is very careful about foreign travel. His    travel to Norway raises         an awkward question: has he decided to         go to Norway because he has been promised safe  passage, or is he so confident about Norway as a loyal subordinate that he takes it for granted? Neither alternative is very honourable to a presumed independent country. If Kissinger     will enjoy automatic impunity it stands out            in shameful contrast with denying protection to whistleblower Edward Snowden for  a stay  of         two            days    to receive the Ossietzky prize from Norwegian PEN. Can Norway really have offered            protection to   one who has committed the most    serious international  crimes and at the same time denied it to one who          has exposed grave crimes against the US Constitution?

Snowden revealed how the   US government are   guilty   of massive criminality in the form of extensive and invasive surveillance activities, infringing the privacy of people at home and abroad, including foreign governments, and putting our free societies and civil liberties at risk. Many feel that he should have won this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, [and] he is included in the         NPPW            list: http://www.nobelwill.org/index.html?tab=7#bolkovac

The late Christopher Hitchens was disgusted by the way Henry Kissinger was treated as a respected statesman and would have been appalled by Norway’s submissive attitude. “Kissinger should  have the door shut in his face by every decent person and should be shamed, ostracized, and excluded,” Hitchens wrote. “No more dinners in his honor; no more respectful audiences for his absurdly overpriced public appearances; no more smirking photographs with hostesses and celebrities; no more soliciting of his worthless opinions by sycophantic editors and producers.”

Rather            than fawning on him, Hitchens suggested, “why don’t you arrest him?”And this is an idea with wide support.

Millions of people, victims and survivors, will question or be seriously offended if Norway goes         through with     praise  and honors to a person in the top ranks in the history of callous international state criminality.            The suffering ordered or managed by Kissinger has led to         increasing insecurity and violence for which all citizens of the world          pay a high prize.

We foresee that our request will be received with the same mixture of  the surprise, rejection and incredulity that Hitchens describes in his Foreword 2002:

“When this little book first appeared, in what may now seem the prehistoric spring    of 2001, it attracted a certain amount of derision in some quarters, and on two grounds. A number of reviewers flatly declined to believe that the evidence presented against Henry Kissinger could be true. Others, willing to credit at least the veracity of the official documents, nonetheless scoffed at the mere idea of bringing such a mighty figure within the orbit of the law.” (underlinings by NPPW)

But your high            office  is obligated to rise above such an immediate  automatic reaction and has an obligation to   evaluate the case on its merits.         Some questions ought to be considered.  How would        I react    to a request for extradition, investigation or action against an individual torturer, death camp manager, killer of civilians?   Surely I would not consider acting under order an excuse. But can I then abstain from ensuring that a person who gave the orders is brought to justice?  To bow respectfully to one who, probably more than anyone in the last 70 years, pulled         the strings and managed the most and the gravest crimes against humanity and the     laws of            war, would surely not be in line       with the new level of             global ethics   reached with  the Nuremberg principles?

It was  more than a    paradox when, in her Dec.10, 1973, speech in honor of Kissinger, the Nobel chair Aase  Lionæs offered the very true comment that “peace must be based on rules to which all           states,  at any rate the great powers, adhere in their conduct.”  True, there will neither be peace nor justice if in the law between nations continues to be like cobwebs, strong enough to detain only the weak and too weak to hold the strong.

The International Criminal Court, ICC, is presently        in serious danger of being destroyed by the attitudes of hegemonic Western powers.  Its application of justice has become so lopsided that Third World countries are starting to withdraw.  They cannot be expected to accept forever the guaranteed impunity of the war criminals of powerful  nations.  A potential collapse of this essential institution ought to concern all tasked with law enforcement and            the protection of citizens all over the world against terror and lawlessness.

Many civil servants who once served their nation with     unquestioning loyalty have been harshly condemned after shifts of power and in new political settings. We trust the Norwegian prosecutors, mindful that history is watching, will act in a professional and unbiased way and give the right answer to our request.

  1. Documentation and evidence

The articles referred to above are available by links to websites. The books and legal articles are presumed to be in the possession of your office. We shall be glad to assist with further documents and information.

Sincerely yours,

Nobel  Peace  Prize   Watch

Fredrik S. Heffermehl          Tomas Magnusson

Adresser: [email protected], Nobel Peace Prize Watch, c/o Magnusson, Marklandsgatan 63, 414 77 Göteborg, Sverige.


We support and join the call for prosecutorial action by Norway:

Richard Falk,            Professor of International Law Emeritus, Princeton University, USA

Erni and Ola Friholt, Peace movement activists, Orust, Sweden

Jon Hellesnes, Professor emeritus of philosophy, Tromsoe, Norway

Jeffrey Moussaieff  Masson,            Ph.D., Author, Bondi Beach, NSW            2026, Australia

Gunnar Nerdrum, attorney-at-law,            Tromsoe, Norway

Jan Oberg, Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research, Lund, Sweden

Antonio Carlos da Silva Rosa, M.A., editor, researcher. Porto,Portugal/SãoPaulo, Brasil

Sven Ruin ,Human rights activist, Köping, Sweden

David  Swanson, author, World Beyond War, Charlottesville, Virginia, USA

Ola Tellesbø,  Attorney-at-law, Norway

Kenji   Urata, Professor Emeritus of Constitutional Law, Waseda University, Japan

Gunnar Westberg, Prof. emeritus, Sahlgrenska academy, Göteborg, Sweden. ”

As things stood, at least in the intention of the organisers, the two specialists and experts on warfare and interventionism were  –  in Orwellian style  –  to speak about “The United States and World Peace after the [2016] Presidential election.”

At the time, as well as now, the United States is the country which has used nuclear weapons without apology and owns the second largest arsenal of nuclear weapons.

Since 1980 it has intervened violently in Iran, Libya, Lebanon, Kuwait, Iraq, Somalia, Bosnia, Afghanistan, Sudan, Kosovo/Serbia, Yemen, Pakistan and Syria, that is in 14 Muslim countries.  The United States has at least some 630 base facilities in 130 plus countries. It has U.S. Special Forces (S.O.F.) in 133 countries.

The United States stands for about 40 per cent of the world’s military expenditures, is the world’s leading arms exporter and has killed more people than anybody else since 1945. It is the master of drone strikes –  despite everything said, a non-discriminating weapon. It presently supports Saudi Arabia’s  war on Yemen and conducts a military build-up in Asia and the Pacific planning, as it seems, for what looks like a future confrontation with China  –  and all that with no terribly positive results in its Middle East policies since 1945.

So with all these credentials, should that country be spoken of in association with world peace ?

The United States should be seen as quite incapable of peace-making  –   not the least thanks to Dr. Kissinger  –  now 93  –   who is associated with major “war crimes, for crimes against humanity, and for offences against common or customary or international law, including conspiracy to commit murder, kidnap, and torture” in places such as Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Timor, and Chile as stated in the classical book about his peace-making by Christopher Hitchens, The trial of Henry Kissinger.

As for Brzezinski –  now 88  –   he does not seem to have  as much blood on his hands but his hawkish “Realpolitik” contributions to U.S. foreign policy  –  including its failures  – over decades are sufficiently well described in Wikipedia.

So, undoubtedly these voices from past militarist and imperialist enterprises –   here understood as theoretical concepts, not as ideological slogans  –  were supposed to enlighten the participants in Oslo, young university students in particular, in the right teachings, in U.S. international political history and concepts, promote their surreal peace concept and present an interpretation of the  –   surely   – benign U.S. and its ‘exceptionalist’ role in the future ‘world order’.

Of course, it should be said as firmly as possible that universities should be unconditionally open to free academic debate and totally enjoying freedom of expression. Thus even the two cast-off ideologues are entitled to that, particularly in a truly peace-loving country like Norway.

But one cannot help asking a question: who would receive the same honour while holding different, opposite views, as should be the case in usual academic-intellectual settings ?

And another question arises: will the Nobel Institute and Oslo University honour intellectuals with such other values and perspectives? Would they invite victims of the policies of the U.S. under the influence of Kissinger and Brzezinski ?  And if so, when ?

And would somebody be invited to a similar high-profiled event who works with peace concepts which  –   in stark contrast with the two invitees  –   are based on conflict analysis, anti-imperialism, anti-militarism, disarmament, nonviolence, reconciliation, forgiveness and the cultures of peace including dialogue and negotiations ?

Would the two institutions be equally proud to invite scholars and diplomats who  –  in stark contrast to those two  –   stand firmly on the United Nations Charter provisions that war shall be abolished and that peace shall be established by peaceful means, meaning that all civilian means shall be tried and found in vain before the U.N. organises a military action ? In other words, supporters of international law and not violators of it ?

Still  –  while repeating a profession of absolute intellectual freedom and open debate, particularly at a university, or in association with the  Nobel Peace Prize, it would be difficult to approve of the choice of the Nobel Institute in inviting people such as Kissinger and Brzezinski. The Institute, as well as the Nobel Committee which decides who shall be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, has a mandate based upon the will of Alfred Nobel.  Nobel left written that the Prize should go to “the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.”

Clearly neither Kissinger nor Brzezinski  distinguished themselves in honouring Nobel’s assignment.

To award prizes, to honour by invitations, alleged, or plainly not-indicted, war criminals should, by simple logics, be unthinkable.

The Kissinger-Brzezinski event could only be regarded as nothing less than a slap in the face of everyone working for peace and of Alfred Nobel’s will.  It was a crystal clear violation of that will and legal authorities, and the Swedish Nobel Foundation ought to secure that nothing of the sort ever happens again. But, if words no longer count for their real meaning, so that ‘peace is war and war is peace’,  there is a high possibility that forgetful administrators, uncaring about a will and legal issues, may repeat the experience.

It would still be difficult to find experts similar to two of the oldest and worst representatives of the most militant and war-fighting country on earth to discuss the world’s future and peace.  The risk is high that other administrators of an intellectually and morally decayed country, large or small, but totally submissive to the United States, would repeat the experience.

It is not known how many people turned up to hear Kissinger and Brzezinski. What is known is that Kissinger in particular became the target of a peaceful protest outside the University building in downtown Oslo. The protesters carried a banner reading: “Kissinger krigsforbryter  –  Kissinger a war criminal”.  Another banner read “Kissinger rettssaken  –  Kissinger trial”.

One of the protest leaders, Herman Rojas, speaking to news agency NTB  – Norway Today, accused Kissinger of being a war criminal and directly responsible for Operation Condor in seven countries in Latin America.  Rojas had taken refuge in Norway from Chile in 1978, when his family had fallen victim of the Pinochet dictatorship and faced persecution.

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As the legacy of Chile’s former C.I.A.-supported dictator Augusto Pinochet still haunts the South American country ten years after his death, a grandson of assassinated President Salvador Allende called on Norwegian authorities to arrest Kissinger, during his visit to Oslo, for his support of the 1973 coup in Chile and the brutal repression it unleashed.

“Dear Norway, arrest Henry Kissinger, the man that planned the coup d’état in which my grandfather was killed.” he wrote.

Pablo Sepulveda Allende’s call joined the voices of thousands who demanded Kissinger’s arrest in Norway.  “When a government claims to defend peace and human rights like Norway does,”   –  wrote Sepulveda  –   “is it too much to ask that a war criminal with direct responsibility for genocide, torture and military coups be declared persona non grata or be detained and stand trial according to international law ?”

Sepulveda added that he was “shocked” by the “tribute” to Kissinger that he argued “belittles millions of victims” of the former secretary of state’s abuses.  He noted that Kissinger, together with the C.I.A., supported and helped orchestrate “ political terror campaigns and murder of leftist, Indigenous people, trade unionists and others who stood in the way of U.S. objectives for control of the region.” (Grandson of Chile’s Salvador Allende Demands Kissinger’s Arrest, 11 December 2016, www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Grandson-of-Chiles-Salvador-Allende …)

The protest received the support of the Socialist Youth and many Latin America groups, with more than 7,000 people calling for Kissinger’s arrest in Norway.

A campaign group called RootsAction gained more than 7,000 signatures on a petition to call upon Norway’s director of public prosecutions to arrest the former diplomat as he was “complicit or a main act in many violations of the Genocide Convention and of the Geneva Conventions.”

The protesters well remembered how in 1973 Kissinger had received the Nobel Peace Prize, a grant that many people throughout the world characterised as one of the biggest mistakes in the Prize’s history.  Kissinger never went to Oslo to collect the award that he had received together with his Vietnamese counterpart Lê Ðức Thọ, who refused to accept the award.

It was then that Tom Lehrer was brought to quip: “Political satire became obsolete when Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.”, as one would find mentioned in articles and interviews, including ‘Stop clapping, this is serious’ (See, for instance, The Sydney Morning Herald, 1 March 2003)

Two members of the Nobel Committee would resign in protest against the award.

It was bad enough that the link between the Prize Committee and the conferring Institute was Prof. Olav Njölstad  –  a historian. He relieved himself to his satisfaction by saying:  “We are very proud to make this happen. Dr. Brzezinski and Dr. Kissinger are two of the world’s foremost academic experts on U.S. foreign policy and international politics. Both of them have been political decision-makers at the highest level and know U.S. politics from the inside.”

To that the University Rector Dr. Med. Ole Petter Ottersen added:

“The University of Oslo is very pleased about this partnership. … It is important to highlight dialogues on peace and conflict issues and to discuss them from an interdisciplinary perspective. We also hope to involve students in these discussions.”

It may be worth remembering what Kissinger said when receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973 and confronting it with what he was reported as saying in 2016.

“To the realist, peace represents a stable arrangement of power; to the idealist, a goal so pre-eminent that it conceals the difficulty of finding the means to its achievement. But in this age of thermonuclear technology, neither view can assure man’s preservation. Instead, peace, the ideal, must be practised. A sense of responsibility and accommodation must guide the behavior of all nations. Some common notion of justice can and must be found, for failure to do so will only bring more ‘just’ wars.

In his Nobel acceptance speech, William Faulkner expressed his hope that “man will not merely endure, he will prevail.”  We live today in a world so complex that even only to endure, man must prevail – over an accelerating technology that threatens to escape his control and over the habits of conflict that have obscured his peaceful nature.

Certain war has yielded to an uncertain peace in Vietnam. Where there was once only despair and dislocation, today there is hope, however frail. In the Middle East the resumption of full scale war haunts a fragile ceasefire. In Indo-china, the Middle East and elsewhere, lasting peace will not have been won until contending nations realise the futility of replacing political competition with armed conflict.

America’s goal is the building of a structure of peace, a peace in which all nations have a stake and therefore to which all nations have a commitment. We are seeking a stable world, not as an end in itself but as a bridge to the realisation of man’s noble aspirations of tranquillity and community.

If peace, the ideal, is to be our common destiny, then peace, the experience, must be our common practice. For this to be so, the leaders of all nations must remember that their political decisions of war or peace are realised in the human suffering or well-being of their people.”

Kissinger’s record was brought up during the 2016 Democratic Party presidential primaries.  Long before the election,  Hillary Clinton cultivated a close relationship with Kissinger, describing him as a “friend” and a source of “counsel.”

In 2014, reviewing a recent book by Kissinger, World order (New York City, New York), Hillary Clinton stated that she relies on Kissinger for advice.  She said that, in her view,  “Kissinger’s vision is her vision: ‘just and liberal.’ ”  And again: “ …he checks in with me and gives me reports from his travels.”  Ironically, the worse things get in the world, the more Kissinger’s stock rises. He is seen with nostalgia by American political class, as a serious person who had a serious vision. The reality, of course, is otherwise.

During the Democratic Primary Debates, Clinton touted Kissinger’s praise for her record as Secretary of State. In response, candidate Bernie Sanders issued a critique of Kissinger’s foreign policy, declaring: “I am proud to say that Henry Kissinger is not my friend. I will not take advice from Henry Kissinger.”

In Oslo Kissinger, who took the occasion to plead for a chance to be given to then-President-elect Trump to develop his policies, would be reported as saying: “International debate should be over evolving American policy, not over [Trump’s]  campaign rhetoric.” …  “Before postulating an inevitable crisis, an opportunity should be given to the new administration to put forward its vision of international order.” he added.  (‘Henry Kissinger tells Nobel Peace Prize forum to give Donald Trump a chance’, The Independent, 12 December 2016)  It had become known that Kissinger was due to meet Donald Trump “for foreign policy talks.”

Initially received with considerable scepticism and incredulity, the Nobel Institute’s invitation came to be  regarded as a ‘farce’ and led to questioning the credibility of the Institute.  “Kissinger to talk about world peace ? Which Twilight Zone episode is this ?” asked one of the attendees.  “It is like inviting Hitler to a Jewish wedding.” added another.

As for Brzezinski, former National Security Advisor to President Carter and ‘mentor’ to President Obama, it was observed that he was directly responsible for the rise of Islamic terror and much of the disorder currently plaguing the Middle East through his arming of certain factions to destabilise governments for political ends. Obama, his admitted pupil, has done much of the same in Syria and Libya among other nations, despite winning the Nobel Peace Prize himself in 2009.

For a complex of reasons, some of them perhaps fruit of prejudice but many  –   most in fact –  quite justified, many people have come to believe that there is something evil around Henry Kissinger, despite his copious publications and his many speeches.

Some such attitude comes from memorable quotes, which undoubtedly help in making up a public view of the person.  Thus one would easily remember some of his most famous, and rather nasty, quotes about people and sketches of life.

Most sensible persons would regard a Nobel Peace Prize being conferred on Kissinger as the most hideous badge of murder – the mark of a satanic revelry in intent of the gravest order for humanity.

Notions set forth by Kissinger in his very many works include the idea that the elderly are useless eaters.   It would not apply now to him, although he is undoubtedly elderly  –  yet he still eats. But one would find in the book by Bob Woodward and  Carl Bernstein, The final days (Simon & Schuster,New York 1976) the following Kissinger quote: “The elderly are useless eaters.”

There may be some compensation in a more candid view about military persons: “Military men are ‘dumb, stupid animals to be used’ as pawns for foreign policy.” Those words were said by Kissinger in the presence of  General Alexander Meigs ‘Al’ Haig Jr .  –  reported in the previous source, at 208.

And again in that book, one could perceive a double meaning in the saying that “Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac.”, as quoted also in The New York Times (28 October 1973) and with a lesser known variant: “Power is the great aphrodisiac.”, as quoted in The New York Times (19 January 1971)

But there is only one way to interpret the following: “Depopulation should be the highest priority of foreign policy towards the third world, because the US economy will require large and increasing amounts of minerals from abroad, especially from less developed countries.” Which comes from National Security Memo 200, dated  24 April  1974, authored and signed by Kissinger.

And what of the following: “Today Americans would be outraged if U.N. troops entered Los Angeles to restore order; tomorrow they will be grateful. This is especially true if they were told there was an outside threat from beyond, whether real or promulgated, that threatened our very existence. It is then that all peoples of the world will plead with world leaders to deliver  them from this evil. The one thing every person fears is the unknown.  When presented with this scenario, individual rights will be willingly relinquished for the guarantee of their being granted to them by their world government.” Said at Evian, France, at a Bilderberg meeting on  21 May 1992. (Unbeknownst to Kissinger, his speech was taped by a Swiss delegate to the meeting)

For a huge variety of well justified reasons,  Kissinger is believed by millions to be one of the single most evil individuals still living, or to have ever lived.

Kissinger has a history of saying outrageous things which reveal a dark callousness and hostility to the lives of innocent civilians. Here are some of his dicta:

From his own Ph. D. thesis: “the most fundamental problem of politics, which is not the control of wickedness but the limitation of righteousness.” In A world restored: Metternich, Castlereagh and the problems of peace, 1812-22 (1957) 206, quoted by Walter Isaacson, “Henry Kissinger reminds us why Realism matters”, Time, 4 September 2014. Forty years later Kissinger would write: “Realpolitik for Bismarck depended on flexibility and on the ability to exploit every available option without the constraint of ideology.” in Diplomacy (Simon & Schuster, New York 1994)

On Dan Ellsberg: “Because that son-of-a-bitch  –  First of all, I would expect  –  I know him well  –   I am sure he has some more information   –  I would bet that he has more information that he’s saving for the trial.  Examples of American war crimes that triggered him into it … It’s the way he’d operate. … Because he is a despicable bastard.” (Oval Office tape, 27 July 1971)

On bombing Vietnam: “It’s wave after wave of planes. You see, they can’t see the B-52 and they dropped a million pounds of bombs … I bet you we will have had more planes over there in one day than Johnson had in a month … each plane can carry about 10 times the load of World War II plane could carry.”  (Telcon, The President/Mr. Kissinger 11:30   –   15 April 1972)

On his own character: “I’ve always acted alone. Americans like that immensely. Americans like the cowboy … who rides all alone into the town, the village, with his horse and nothing else … This amazing, romantic character suits me precisely because to be alone has always been part of my style or, if you like, my technique.” (November 1972, in an interview with Italian journalist/writer Oriana Fallaci), as quoted in ‘Oriana Fallaci and the Art of the Interview’ in Vanity Fair (December 2006);

On illegality/unconstitutionality: “The illegal we do immediately. The unconstitutional takes a little longer.” as quoted in The Washington Post (23 December 1973); also at a 10 March 1975 meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Melih Esenbel in Ankara, Turkey.

On possible assassination by a President of the United States:  “It is an act of insanity and national humiliation to have a law prohibiting the President from ordering assassination.” (Statement at a National Security Council meeting, 1975)

On the Khmer Rouge: “How many people did (Khmer Rouge Foreign Minister Ieng Sary) kill? Tens of thousands? You should tell the Cambodians (i.e., Khmer Rouge) that we will be friends with them. They are murderous thugs, but we won’t let that stand in the way. We are prepared to improve relations with them. Tell them the latter part, but don’t tell them what I said before.” at a 26 November 1975 meeting with Thai Foreign Minister.

On bombing Cambodia: “[Nixon] wants a massive bombing campaign in Cambodia. He doesn’t want to hear anything about it. It’s an order, to be done. Anything that flies or anything that moves.” (Phone call with Gen. Alexander Haig, 9 December 1970, The Kissinger Telcons, National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 123, Edited by Thomas Blanton and Dr. William Burr, posted on 26 May 2004)

On Soviet Jews: “The emigration of Jews from the Soviet Union is not an objective of American foreign policy. And if they put Jews into gas chambers in the Soviet Union, it is not an American concern. Maybe a humanitarian concern.” (Statement of 1973, as quoted ‘In tapes, Nixon rails about Jews and Blacks’, The New Your Times, 10 December 2010)

On Robert McNamara, former U.S. Secretary of Defense: “Boohoo, boohoo … He’s still beating his breast, right? Still feeling guilty. ” (Pretending to cry, rubbing his eyes)

On elections in Chile: “I don’t see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its people. The issues are much too important for the Chilean voters to be left to decide for themselves.” Meeting of the ‘40 Committee’ on covert action in Chile (27 June 1970) quoted in The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence(1974);https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/h/henrykissi143264.html

In the eighties: “America has no permanent friends or enemies, only interests.” Henry Kissinger, The White House Years (Simon & Schuster, New York 1979), quoted from Dinesh D’Souza: What’s so great about America. This echoes Lord Palmerston’s words: “We have no eternal allies, and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual, and those interests it is our duty to follow.”

Over the years, Kissinger has worked closely with Nelson, and then with David Rockefeller. He was instrumental in the design and implementation of the successful C.I.A. operation which installed Gen. Pinochet  (11 September 1973) as dictator of Chile, thus preserving Rockefeller business interests there.

Henry Kissinger has been an advisor (officially or unofficially) to every president since Eisenhower, except for John F. Kennedy, who did not want Kissinger near the White House. Kennedy declared that Kissinger’s policies were   –  and perhaps Kissinger himself was  –   “insane”.

Richard Nixon, however, thought he was such a great asset that he not only took Kissinger on as National Security Advisor, but made him Secretary of State as well. While Nixon and Congress were preoccupied with Watergate, Kissinger was busy running U.S. foreign policy, hopping around the globe making secretive closed-door deals with foreign countries.

When Gerald Ford took office, he drastically diminished Kissinger’s role. Ford considered this move to be his “most important contribution” to foreign policy.

Bob Woodward’s book, State of denial (Simon & Schuster, New York 2006) portrays Kissinger as the single most frequent outside adviser to President George W. Bush on foreign policy.

A master of secrecy and deception, some say it was quite logical that George W. Bush chose Kissinger to head the 9/11 investigations. Shortly after accepting the post, Kissinger resigned when a legal opinion from the Senate Ethics Committee said that all members of the commission would have to comply with Congressional financial disclosure requirements. Senator Harry Reid, Chairman of the Senate Ethics Committee, stated “There were too many conflicts of interest for him to lead this task. I knew he would never disclose that information.”

  1. Who is really Henry Kissinger ?

One could well ask.

Born as Heinz Alfred Kissinger in Fürth, Bavaria, Germany in 1923, during the Weimar Republic,  to a traditional German Jewish family, Henry’s father was a schoolteacher, and surely that was a major part of him becoming a bit of an academic.

Kissinger was not the family’s surname originally, but had been adopted many years before, in 1817 by Henry’s great-great grandfather Meyer Löb, after the Bavarian spa town of Bad Kissingen. The Kissingers could see and feel the turbulent political weather in Germany during the 1930s, and in 1938 they wisely moved to London, England, before disembarking in New York on 5 September that year.

Henry adopted the culture of the United States readily and quickly, but to hear Dr. Kissinger speak is to realise that he never lost his Frankish German accent.

After leaving high school Kissinger enrolled in the City College of New York to study accounting. Meanwhile he worked part time in an old fashioned shave brush factory to help pay his bills. He excelled academically.  However his studies were interrupted when he was drafted into the army in 1943.

In the army the future Dr. Kissinger would meet another very talented German immigrant named Fritz Kraemer, and because both of them were very fluent in German, their talents were in great demand. Kraemer was instrumental to Kissinger being re-assigned to the military intelligence of his division.  Kissinger saw combat with the division, and volunteered for hazardous intelligence duties during the Battle of the Bulge.  During the American advance into Germany, private Kissinger was put in charge of the administration of the city of Krefeld, owing to lack of German speakers on the division’s intelligence staff. Within eight days he had established a civilian administration.  There is more than an impression that he dealt with occupied Germans with a considerable degree of severity, a tinge of revenge, and at time hostility  –  which may be explained by his experience of the German regime.  Kissinger was then reassigned to the Counter Intelligence Corps, with the rank of sergeant.  He was given charge of a team in Hanover assigned to tracking down Gestapo officers and possible saboteurs. He performed with zeal and enthusiasm, and in recognition he was awarded the Bronze Star.

In 1945 Kissinger was made commandant of the Bensheim metro Counter Intelligence

Corps detachment, Bergstrasse district of Hesse, with responsibility for de-Nazification of the district.  In that position he had absolute authority and powers of arrest.  Again, it is not certain that he was fair and only took care to avoid abuses against the local population by his command.

In 1946 Kissinger was reassigned to teach at the European Command Intelligence School at Camp King, continuing to serve in this role as a civilian employee following his separation from the army.

Following his very worthy and appreciated service in the second world war,  Kissinger returned to the United States and enrolled  at Harvard College.   He received an A.B. degree summa cum laude from Harvard College in 1950.   He received an  M.A. and later a Ph.D. degrees at Harvard University in 1951 and 1954, respectively. In 1952, while still studying at Harvard, he served as a consultant to the director of the Psychological Strategy Board. His doctoral dissertation was titled ‘Peace, legitimacy, and the equilibrium (A study of the statesmanship of Castlereagh and Metternich)’.

Kissinger remained at Harvard as a member of the faculty in the Department of Government. In 1955 he was a consultant to the National Security Council’s Operations Coordinating Board. During 1955 and 1956 he was also study director in nuclear weapons and foreign policy at the Council on Foreign Relations. He published his book Nuclear weapons and foreign policy the following year. From 1956 to 1958 he worked for the Rockefeller Brothers Fund as director of its Special Studies Project.   He was director of the Harvard Defense Studies Program between 1958 and 1971. He was also director of the Harvard International Seminar between 1951 and 1971. Outside of academia, he served as a consultant to several government agencies and think tanks, including the Operations Research Office, the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, Department of State, and the Rand Corporation.

Keen to have a greater influence on U.S. foreign policy, eager to influence U.S. foreign policy which would ultimately lead to the destruction  of the  United States from within, Kissinger would team up with like minded anti American Americans such as Nelson Rockefeller, then the matchlessly prince of the Republican Party and Governor of New York.  At the time Kissinger displayed a solemn contempt for the person and policies of Richard Nixon.  He became an advisor to Rockefeller and supported his bid for the Republican nomination for president in 1960, 1964 and 1968.  Yet, after Richard Nixon won the presidency in 1968, he made Kissinger National Security Advisor. Nixon knew what he was doing: he knew that, in the future, whenever he needed a consilium sceleris Kissinger would be available, superbly qualified. Hitchens summed up the “signature qualities”: “the sycophancy and the duplicity; the power worship and the absence of scruple; the empty trading of old non-friends for new non-friends. And the distinctive effects were also present: the uncounted and expendable corpses; the official and unofficial lying about the cost; the heavy and pompous pseudo-indignation when unwelcome questions were asked.”

Kissinger was on his way to becoming the ultimate globalist philosopher   –  the kind of man who ultimately is an anti-patriot, a hater of the rights and the culture of the nation which so easily and lovingly adopted his family when they fled the Nazis.

Kissinger debauched the American republic and American democracy, and levied a hideous toll of casualties on weaker and more vulnerable societies.

As professor Grandin writes: “As a public official, Kissinger repeatedly mocked the principle of sovereignty.  It was he who said of Salvador Allende’s election: “I don’t see we need to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its people. The issues are much too important for the Chilean voters to be left to decide for themselves.” (G. Grandin, Kissinger’s shadow: The long reach of America’s most controversial statesman (Metropolitan Books, New York 2015, at 202.)

Kissinger rarely invoked democracy as a rationale for either advocating for  military intervention which resulted, either primarily or secondarily, in the death of hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people   –   in Vietnam, in Cambodia, in Laos, in Angola, in Bangladesh, in  Latin America, in Timor Leste, anywhere in the pursuit of American interests.

And in that pursuit he would feel bound by no limit. He became obsessed with the iea that Vietnamese intransigence could be traced to allies or resources external to Vietnam itself, or could be overcome by tactics of mass destructions  –   the unrelenting but unsuccessful bombing. At one point he contemplated using thermonuclear weapons to obliterate the pass through which ran the railway link from North Vietnam to China, and at another stage he considered bombing the dikes which prevented North Vietnam’s irrigation system from flooding the country, as a former aid testified: Roger Morris, Uncertain greatness: Henry Kissinger and American foreign policy (Harper & Row, New York 1977).

In his position he would betray the citizens of the United States in favour of the New World Order.

From the influence with the governor of one of the nation’s most populous and wealthy states, Kissinger would then leap into the least credible or honest presidential administration in United States history.   During the war in Vietnam Kissinger prepared the Paris peace negotiations with (North) Vietnam in Paris for President Lyndon B. Johnson, a Democrat. In the fall of 1968 Richard Nixon and some of his emissaries and underlings set out to sabotage the negotiations. Nixon’s team was led by John Mitchell, who would become his Attorney General  – but subsequently Prisoner Number 24171-157 in the Alabama correctional system. 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.

Simultaneously Kissinger involved himself  in the undermining of the Paris talks  –  had they been successful, they would have resulted in a peace treaty which would have ended the Vietnam War in 1968. That would have also meant that Vice President Hubert Humphrey would have ridden the euphoria over an end to the war to victory over Nixon in that year’s presidential election. Kissinger employed an old China tool, Mrs. Anna Chan Chennault, known to all as ‘The Dragon Lady’, a prominent Asian-American politician of the Republican Party, to persuade the South Vietnamese government not to sign the treaty.  She arranged the contact with South Vietnamese Ambassador Bui Diem whom Richard Nixon met in secret in July 1968 in New York. It was through Chennault’s intercession that Republicans advised Saigon to refuse participation in the talks, promising a better deal once elected. Records of F.B.I. wiretaps show that Chennault phoned Bui Diem on 2 November 1968 with the message “hold on, we are gonna win.” The tactic worked, the South Vietnamese withdrew from the talks on the eve of the election. On the other hand, it did not work, because four years later the Nixon administration would settle the war on the same terms which had been offered in Paris. Before the elections President Johnson “suspected … Richard Nixon, of political sabotage” and he called it treason.  Kissinger was essentially responsible for such ‘treason’; it was he the informant who passed on to the South Vietnamese the details  about the negotiations to the Nixon campaign. Richard Nixon himself provided that information in RN: The memoirs of Richard Nixon (Macmillan, South Melbourne, Vic., 1978).  (Incidentally, every beginning American law student knows that the Logan Act, enacted on 30 January 1799, was intended to prohibit United States citizens without authority from interfering in relations between the United States and foreign governments. The Act makes it a felony, punishable by a fine or imprisonment of up to three years, if an American citizen, without government authorisation, interacts “with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States.” There appear to have been no prosecutions under the Act in its more than 200-year history.The resignation under pressure on 13 February 2017  of President Trump’s national security adviser, formerly a U.S. Army lieutenant general, Michael T. Flynn, centring on the F.B.I.’s scrutiny of his phone calls in late 2016 with the Russian ambassador, Sergey I. Kislyak  reactivated for a short while an interest in the Act. How scoundrel times remain the same !)

Because of Nixon’s victory the Vietnam war was needlessly prolonged for years. Correctly Hitchens concluded: “The reason for the dead silence that still surrounds the question is that, in those intervening four years, some twenty thousands Americans and an uncalculated number of Vietnamese, Cambodian 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.” (C. Hitchens, The trial of Henry Kissinger (The Text Publishing Co., Melbourne 2001, at 7)  –   resulting in the loss of tens of thousands of more US lives – and hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese, Cambodian and Laotian lives.

Soon after Nixon won the election in 1968, Kissinger changed sides and became Nixon’s closest foreign policy adviser.  Richard Nixon must have surely seen a kindred spirit in Kissinger    –   he made him National Security Advisor in 1969. He was then elevated to

Secretary of State, and after Nixon was publicly humiliated and forced to resign in disgrace on 9 August 1974, Kissinger would remain as Secretary of State under Gerald Ford.

From 1969 to 1977 Henry Kissinger was perhaps the single most dominant individual in United States foreign policy, and he did orchestrate some nice manoeuvres to deal with the Soviet Russia and Communist China.

Kissinger had no part in starting the war in Vietnam, but he appeared to make grand efforts to end it, and for that he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, despite his orchestrated cease fire being largely ineffective.

As National Security Advisor, in 1974 Kissinger directed the much-debated ‘National Security Study Memorandum 200’   –   and this is a document and/or plan which was anything but peaceful.

If one studies the no longer classified document, one will find the policies of Nobel Peace Prize Kissinger anything but peaceful. One will rather discover the more cold and deterministic towards protecting the wealthy with their wealth, because the ultimate goal has always been a global governance ran by the super wealthy oligarchs whom Kissinger admires so much.

One should read the following passage and note the use  of the  keyword ‘exploitation’: “The U.S. economy will require large and increasing amounts of minerals from abroad, especially from less developed countries [see: National Commission on Materials Policy, Towards a National Materials Policy: Basic Data and Issues, April 1972].

That fact gives the U.S. enhanced interest in the political, economic, and social stability of the supplying countries.

Wherever a lessening of population pressures through reduced birth rates can increase the prospects for such stability, population policy becomes relevant to resource supplies and to the economic interests of the United States …

The location of known reserves of higher grade ores of most minerals favors increasing dependence of all industrialized regions on imports from less developed countries.

The real problems of mineral supplies lie, not in basic physical sufficiency, but in the  politico-economic issues of access, terms for exploration and exploitation, and division of the benefits among producers, consumers, and host country governments.” (in Chapter III-Minerals and Fuel)

There is no possible way that one could hash out all the crimes against humanity perpetrated through the ‘philosophy’ of Henry Kissinger as well as has the late Christopher Hitchens already.

“What I find very interesting is how the Jewish Dr. Kissinger regarded the plight of Jews in then Soviet Russia, On March 1, 1973, Kissinger stated,

“The emigration of Jews from the Soviet Union is not an objective of American foreign policy, and if they put Jews into gas chambers in the Soviet Union, it is not an American concern. Maybe a humanitarian concern.”

That  is merely a statement, and of course scores of persons say a thing and then their actions show another ideology altogether, but it is a very interesting statement in light of the fact that Dr. Kissinger’s deeds seem to have forever been pro Israel while at the same time being anti-American.

Perhaps Dr. Kissinger made that very cold statement in light of Richard Nixon’s handling of the U.S. policy towards Israel. Nixon had forbidden anyone Jewish from being involved in the U.S. policy towards Israel, or perhaps Kissinger is truly that cold hearted.

Henry Kissinger and his political philosophy affected not just Israel, but the entire globe, often mass murder and subversion of democratically elected governments was the order of the day, and though Henry Kissinger is no longer an active member of our official federal government, Henry lives on, as an elderly man that eats despite believing or stating that the elderly are useless eaters.

His globe expanding vision of subversive machinations in favor of oligarchy have made him infamous, and synonymous with evil.

The world is a fickle world, and the wealthy have their way always with misinformed persons in the populace.

Exploitation and subversion for oligarchy was long the ways and means of these United States under the influence of Kissinger  –  but today, the circle is complete, and the peoples of the United States are reaping their own harvest for being so blind, and today the people’ s of the U.S. are being exploited in the exact ways prescribed a couple decades ago by the tremendous Dr. Henry Kissinger.”

  1. Consigliere

In 1954 Kissinger met David Rockefeller. In time he became intimate adviser to David and the other four Rockefeller brothers. Undoubtedly he knew the history of the Rockefeller family. That relationship tells a million stories about Kissinger’s character and the company he chose.

One should begin with the recent death of David Rockefeller (1915-2017), the youngest of the five brothers, because on the occasion Kissinger displayed his servility to, more than admiration for, his all-life benefactor.  On 30 March 2017 Kissinger wrote what could be justly called a love letter for David who had died the day before.

It is dutiful and noble to honour the old saying: De mortuis nihil nisi bonum, but one should always find a limit in good taste. The praise begins with the title of the article requested of The Washington Post: “Henry Kissinger: My friend David Rockefeller, a man who served the world.” (https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/henry-kissinger-my-friend…)

The article opens with the words: “In an egalitarian society such as America, the inheritance of great wealth presents a complex challenge. In an autocratic world, status provides an automatic legitimacy.” But what matters is the title given to the tribute: “ … Rockefeller, a man who served the world.” There follows a cascade of unctuousness.

The Rockefeller fortune is based on oil around companies such as ExxonMobil, Chevron and others.

Leaving aside the grand-father John D. Rockefeller and his peculiar views on the ‘American way of free enterprise’, David and his four brothers: Nelson, John D. III, Laurance and Winthrop–David Rockefeller and their Rockefeller Foundation in 1939 financed the top secret War and Peace Studies at the New York Council on Foreign Relations, the most influential private U.S. foreign policy think-tank which also was controlled by the Rockefellers.

Up until then the Rockefeller Foundation had financed biological research at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute in Berlin. Actually, it was Nazi eugenics   –  how to breed a ‘superior race’ and how to sterilise or, better still, kill off those deemed ‘inferior.’ Eugenics, the set of beliefs and practices which aims at improving the genetic quality of the human population, played a significant role in the history and culture of the United States prior to its involvement in the second world war.

Eugenics was practiced in the United States many years before eugenics programmes in Nazi Germany, which were largely inspired by the previous American work. (History News Network, ‘The Horrifying American Roots of Nazi Eugenics’, by Edwin Black, September 2003, historynewsnetwork.org/article/1796)

The American eugenics movement was rooted in the biological determinist ideas of Sir Francis Galton, which originated in the 1880s. Galton studied the upper classes of Britain, and arrived at the conclusion that their social positions were due to a superior genetic makeup.  Eugenics was widely accepted in the American academic community. By 1928 there were 376 separate university courses in some of the United States’ leading schools, enrolling more than 20,000 students, which included eugenics in the curriculum.

After the eugenics movement was well established in the United States, it spread to Germany. California eugenicists began producing literature promoting eugenics and sterilisation and sending it overseas to German scientists and medical professionals.  By 1933 California had subjected more people to forceful sterilisation than all other United States combined. The forced sterilisation programme engineered by the Nazis was partly inspired by California’s.

The Rockefeller Foundation helped develop and fund various German eugenics programmes, including the one that Josef Mengele worked in before he went to Auschwitz.

For a long time into the second world war Rockefeller’s Standard Oil  –  today’s ExxonMobil   –  also violated American law by secretly supplying the Luftwaffe with scarce fuel. After the war the Rockefeller brothers would arrange for leading Nazi scientists involved in ghastly human experiments to be brought to the United States under  ‘new identities’  to continue their eugenics research. Many worked in the Central Intelligence Agency top secret Project MK-Ultra.

Project MK-Ultra    –    sometimes referred to as the C.I.A.’s mind control programme   –    is the code name given to a programme of experiments on human subjects, more often than not illegal, designed and undertaken by the United States Central Intelligence Agency. Experiments on humans were intended to identify and develop drugs and procedures to be used in interrogations and torture, in order to weaken the individual to force confessions through mind control. Organised through the Scientific Intelligence Division of the C.I.A., the project coordinated with the Special Operations Division of the U.S. Army’s Chemical Corps.   The Agency recruited former Nazi scientists, some of whom had been identified and prosecuted as war criminals during the Nuremberg Trials.

The third paragraph of Kissinger’s tribute to David Rockefeller opens with the words: “Character and integrity were the sources of David’s inspiration.”

A collection of American academics had gathered even before the outbreak of  the second world war to plan a post-war world empire  –   what Time-Life’s Henry Luce would later call The American Century. They made a blueprint for taking over a global empire from the bankrupt British, but carefully decided not to call it an empire. Rather they called it “spreading democracy, freedom, the American way of free enterprise.” The words may be rarely heard from Kissinger’s mouth, but he has always been attracted to what they hide.

Under that mantle the five brothers drew up a geopolitical map of the post-war world and planned how the United States would replace the British Empire as de facto the dominant empire. The creation of the United Nations was a key part of that programme of reconstruction.  So, the Rockefeller brothers donated the land in Manhattan for the United Nations Headquarters   –  and in the process made billions in the increased prices of the adjoining real estate that they also owned. The myth of the Rockefeller ‘philanthropy’ was furthered by such ‘generosity’. They probably saw themselves as modern Medici, and might have felt as spurred by the Medici’s maxim that they had made money to gain power, and from further power they could reach for more money.

After the war David Rockefeller dominated American  foreign policy and profited from the countless wars in Latin America, Africa and Asia. The Rockefeller quintet arranged for the ‘cold war’  against the Soviet Union, and was very active in the formation of N.A.T.O. in order to keep a reviving ‘western’ Europe under American vassal status. (F. William Engdahl, The gods of money (edition.engdahl, Wiesbaden, Germany 2009)

In 1952  John D. Rockefeller III, with important funding from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, set up the Population Council, a body governed by an international board of trustees,  to advance eugenics, disguised as population research into birth control.  Ostensibly, the philosophical underpinnings for the theories of the Population Council are the obsolete theses of Thomas Robert Malthus. Presently the Council board includes leaders in biomedicine, business, economic development, government, health, international finance, the media, philanthropy, and social science.

Importantly though, the Council has its roots in the eugenics movement. The Council was intended to advance eugenics, disguised as population research into birth control.  The first president of the Council was a eugenicist appointed by Rockefeller: Frederick Osborn, an American philanthropist, military leader, and eugenicist   –   in that order of presentation, it seems.  His ideas were collected in  Preface to eugenics (Harper & Brothers, New York  1940). Leader of the American Eugenics Society, and one of the founding members of the Pioneer Fund, Osborn was vice president or president of the Population Council until 1959. In 1968 he wrote: “Eugenic goals are most likely to be achieved under another name than eugenics.”  In 1983 the American Philosophical Society considered him to have been “the respectable face of eugenic research in the post-war period.”

In the 1970s David Rockefeller’s Rockefeller Foundation also financed together with the World Health Organisation the  development of a special tetanus vaccine which limited population by making a woman incapable of maintaining a pregnancy, literally influencing the human reproductive process itself   –  eugenics by any other name !

The Rockefeller Foundation financed university biology research to develop the ‘gene cannon’ and other techniques artificially to alter gene expression of a given plant. The aim of genetically modified organism, since Rockefeller sponsored the disastrous Philippine Golden Rice project, has been to use g.m.o. to control the human and animal food chain. Monsanto’s policy seems briefly expressed thus: “Control the food supply, and you control the people.” Today more than 90 per cent of all soybeans grown in the United States are g.m.o. and more than 80 per cent all corn and cotton.  The  corporation has research facilities, manufacturing plants and sales offices in more than 100 countries. It  has the largest share of the global g.m.o. crops  market.

The Rockefeller Foundation advanced the entire field of genetic manipulation through its control of Monsanto Corporation, a U.S. based agricultural and pharmaceutical monopoly with a dark history and a controversial recent past as the producer of Agent orange, widely used in South East Asia during the Vietnam war. It has had questionable relations with Dupont and Dow Chemical Company, as well a Syngenta and B.A.S.F., and recently accepted a takeover offer by Bayer another long-time associate. Of recent, Monsanto seems to have encountered several legal problems (Conflict of interest Questions dog former EPA official, taken to court, 2 May 2017, Liberalviewnews › top-news › 2017 › … › conflict-of-interest…), (Monsanto accused of hiring army of trolls to silence online dissent, 2 May 2017, encyclopedic.co.uk › monsanto-accused-of-hiring-army-of-trolls-to…), but nothing which cannot be solved with the new Administration in Washington !

The Rockefellers  –  with the Rothchilds, semble   –    control The Vanguard Group Inc. which owns over U.S. $3 trillion in investments in different companies like Monsanto. They also hold the world’s largest companies such as: JPMorgan Chase & Co., a  multinational banking and financial services holding company headquartered in New York City. (Chase used to be fully controlled by the Rockefellers.) It is the largest bank in the United States, the world’s third largest bank by total assets, with total assets of roughly U.S.$2.5 trillion, and the world’s most valuable bank by market capitalisation. Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, State Street Corporation,  Capital Research Global Investors, and FMR (Fidelity) are all the key owners of  –  well, essentially the world. One could hazard to say that just four companies control all the big banks and all the major companies on the planet.

In the 1970s Kissinger, by then head of the U.S. National Security Council,  prepared  the  National Security Study Memorandum 200: Implications of Worldwide Population Growth for U.S. Security and Overseas Interests (NSSM200).  Commissioned in substance by the Rockefeller brothers, it was completed on 10 December  1974; it was  adopted as official U.S. policy by President Gerald Ford in November 1975.  It was originally classified, but was later declassified and obtained by researchers in the early 1990s.(National Seurity Study Memorandum NSSM200, pdf.usaid.gov/pdf_docs/PCAAB500.pdf · PDF file, THE KISSINGER REPORT)

The basic thesis of the memorandum was that population growth in the least developed countries   –   and NSSM200 named 13 of them: India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, Turkey, Nigeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Mexico, Colombia and Brazil  –   is a concern to United States national security, because it would tend to risk civil unrest and political instability in countries which had a high potential for economic development. The policy gave “paramount importance” to population control measures and the promotion of contraception among those thirteen  countries to control rapid population growth that the United States deemed inimical to the socio-political and economic growth of those countries and to the national interests of the United States since the “U.S. economy will require large and increasing amounts of minerals from abroad” and those countries could produce destabilising opposition forces against, and “national security threat” to,  the United States.

The memorandum  recommended for U.S. leadership “to influence national leaders” and that “improved world-wide support for population-related efforts should be sought through increased emphasis on mass media and other population education and motivation programs by the UN, USIA, and USAID.”

The named countries were projected to create 47 percent of all world population growth.  The memorandum advocated the promotion of education and contraception and other population control: “No country has reduced its population growth without resorting to abortion.”  It also raises the question of whether the U.S. should consider preferential allocation of surplus food supplies to states deemed constructive in use of population control measures.

As F. W. Engdahl writes, the NSSM-200 prepared by Kissinger “argued high population growth in developing nations with strategic raw materials like oil or minerals were a US “national security threat” as more population demands national economic growth, using those resources internally (sic !). NSSM-200 made developing world population reduction programs a precondition of US aid.” (D. Rockefeller’s Gruesome Legacy, www.informationclearinghouse.info/46776.htm, by F. William Engdahl, The death of David Rockefeller, the de facto Patriarch of the American …)

Kissinger summed up both the ‘philosophy’ of the memorandum and David Rockefeller’s world strategy with the following tight ‘reasoning’: “If you control the oil, you control entire nations; if you control food, you control the people; if you control money, you control the entire world.”  Only Kissinger could find that an ‘elegant reasoning’.

In 1973 Kissinger secretly manipulated Middle East diplomacy to trigger an Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries oil embargo.

The ‘Arab’ Oil Shock of 1973-74 was orchestrated by a secretive organisation that David Rockefeller had suggested in the 1950s and became known as Bilderberg Group. In May 1973 David Rockefeller and the heads of the major American  and British oil companies met in Saltsjoebaden, Sweden at the annual Bilderberg Meeting to plan the oil shock. It would be blamed on “greedy Arab oil sheikhs.” It saved the falling U.S. dollar, and made Wall Street banks, including David Rockefeller’s Chase Manhattan, into the world’s largest banks. (F. William Engdahl, A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World, Pluto, London-Ann Arbor, MI 1992)

David Rockefeller controlled money alright.   He was chairman of Chase Manhattan Bank   –   the family bank. He was responsible for getting Chase Vice President, Paul Volcker, to become President Carter’s Federal Reserve chairman to make the Volcker interest rate shock that again, like the oil shock, saved the falling U.S. dollar and Wall Street bank profits, including Chase Manhattan, at the expense of the world economy.

Volcker’s October 1979 interest rate ‘shock therapy’, supported by Rockefeller, created the 1980s “Third World Debt Crisis.” Rockefeller and Wall Street used that debt crisis to force state privatisations and drastic national currency devaluations in countries such as Argentina, Brazil and Mexico. Rockefeller and friends such as George Soros then gained the crown jewels of those three countries at dirt cheap prices.

The model was much like the British banks used in the Ottoman Empire after 1881 when they de facto took control of the finances of the Sultan by controlling all tax revenues through the Ottoman Public Debt Administration. Rockefeller interests used the 1980s debt crisis to loot much of the indebted Latin America and African countries, using the I.M.F. as their policeman. David Rockefeller was personal friends to some of the more savage military dictators in Latin America including General Jorge Videla in Argentina and General Augusto Pinochet in Chile, both of whom owed their future fortune to C.I.A. coups arranged by the then-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger on behalf of Rockefeller family interests in Latin America.

As Kissinger remembered in his love letter to David Rockefeller, after having “encouraged a discussion group, which later [ in May 1954] was developed into what is now known as the Bilderberg Group, an annual meeting of European and American leaders to explore their challenges and common purposes, [a] decade later, David called on me.”  At the time Kissinger was Secretary of State, and David wanted “to inform me that, in the view of some of the colleagues he had brought with him, the scope of U.S. foreign policy needed broadening. A truly global study to include Asia was required for that challenge. His associates, in fact, included Jimmy Carter, Walter Mondale and Zbigniew Brzezinski; in other words, a government in exile waiting to replace the [Nixon] administration in which I served. But David’s combination of dedication and innocence was such that the thought never took hold. Instead, [in 1973] I became a founding member of the Trilateral Commission, which thrives to this day.”

Through organisations such as [Rockefeller’s] Trilateral Commission, ostensibly to  foster closer cooperation among North America, Western Europe, and Japan, David Rockefeller was the foremost architect of the destruction of national economies and advancing so-called Globalisation, a policy which mainly benefited and still benefits the largest banks of Wall Street, of the City of London and of select global corporations  –   the same which became funding  members of the Trilateral Commission. Rockefeller set up the Trilateral Commission in 1973 and assigned his close friend Zbigniew Brzezinski to the duty of choosing its members in those  countries.

As F. W. Engdhal concluded: “If we speak of an unseen, powerful network some call the Deep State, we might say David Rockefeller saw himself as Patriarch of that Deep State. His true acts deserve to be honestly seen for what they were  –   misanthropic and not philanthropic.” (D. Rockefeller’s gruesome legacy, 31 March 2017, www.informationclearinghouse.info/46776.htm)

Kissinger would disagree of course.  Of the “man who served the world” he would say:

“Service was one facet of David’s life. Devotion to his family was its equal. In 1979, when the Shah of Iran was being exiled, some close friends appealed to David to help find refuge for a ruler who had demonstrated his friendship with America in various international crises. David regretfully refused because of his obligation to Chase Bank.” (Not quite so, actually. Rockefeller helped the Shah, despite any negative commercial consequence to Chase Bank. What Kissinger fails to mention is a little detail: the Shah was exiled from Iran during the 1979 revolution because he was a puppet of the American administration, having been installed through a coup d’état against the government of  Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh.  Mossadegh was the head of a democratically elected government, holding office as the Prime Minister of Iran from 1951 until 1953, when his government was overthrown in the coup jointly organised by the Central Intelligence Agency and the United Kingdom’s Secret Intelligence Service.)  Undeterred by the truth, Kissinger continued and concluded: “… David assumed the task and helped the Shah find refuge, first in Mexico, then in Panama, regardless of the commercial impact of the decision.

David would often mention departed friends with whom he had shared part of his life. They would merge in his recital as if still part of a continuing, never-ending effort. Now, as he joins their number, he will be in our mind as a permanent part of our life, and to our country he will remain a reminder that our ultimate legacy will be service and values, not personal ambitions.”  One can hear in the background a noisy crescendo by a Hollywood gigantic orchestra.

The best chance to become a political adviser, and given the reputation that Kissinger built and cultivated during the following twenty years, came to Kissinger at the time of the 1968 presidential campaign. If one pays attention to the careful biography by Walter Isaacson  (Kissinger, a biography, Simon & Schuster, New York 2005) Kissinger had been openly and un-characteristically for him spoken quite scathingly about Nixon.  But he changed his mind when it appeared as though Nixon might win.  He had been until then allied with Democratic candidate Hubert Humphrey. Suddenly he began to ingratiate himself with the Nixon camp. According to Stanley Karnow’s Vietnam: A History (Penguin Books, New York 1992) he even began  clandestinely to supply the Nixon campaign with information about Humphrey’s plans.

Nixon realised that he had found his consigliere.

Once in office, Kissinger and Nixon proclaimed that they were seeking “peace with     honour.” Abandoning their South Vietnamese allies would have seemed a dishonourable betrayal and would have undermined the United States credibility in the world.  In the end there was not much honour in what followed: they did precisely the contrary of what they had proclaimed. Disregarding for a moment how events unfolded, the “peace with honour” formulation was riddled with flaws. And the South Vietnamese regime was known to have been inept and hopelessly corrupt.  Writing about the importance of his allies in South Vietnam, (Ending the Vietnam War: A history of America’s involvement in and extrication from the Vietnam War (Simon & Schiuster, New York  2003),  Kissinger gives minimal attention to the Vietnamese people but a great deal to South Vietnam’s Nguyễn Văn Thiệu   –   a general in the southern army who in 1965 became the head of a military junta, had himself elected as president and occupied that position until Saigon was liberated in April 1975.  Kissinger refers to him as ‘a great patriot’ and a ‘dauntless leader’.

Kissinger, like many of the American presidents he advised   –   and particularly Nixon,     had a myopic affinity for strongmen: the Shah of Iran, for instance, and Philippines president Ferdinand Marcos.

A student at Harvard and later on a devotee of Klemens von Metternich, the 19th-century Austrian statesman, Kissinger was a practitioner of the “realist” (or Realpolitik) school of diplomacy, which places emphasis on the state’s interests and the use of military power to achieve them; he preferred to deal with the strong leaders of nation-states who could deliver.

A favoured quotation of his runs like this: “There are two kinds of realists; those who manipulate facts and those who create them. The West requires nothing so much as men able to create their own reality.” He thought of himself as that kind of realist  –  a ‘creator of reality’.  He would find a superb imitator in today’s America.

Kissinger never missed the opportunity of accusing  the Kennedy administration of  complicity in the 1963 overthrow of South Vietnam’s leader General Ngo Dinh Diem, which conferred legitimacy on the North Vietnamese claim that the South Vietnamese government was illegitimate. It should be noted that Ngo Dinh Diem was a staunchly anticommunist Vietnamese ‘statesman’ who had refused to ally with Ho Chi Minh after the Franco-Vietnamese war. With the support of the United States, Diem led South Vietnam from 1954 to 1963, when he was assassinated alongside his brother in a military coup.

Kissinger makes almost no mention of the American lives lost while he and Nixon sought “peace with honour”, and none of the fact that the U.S. pursuit of what many saw as a patently hopeless cause may have damaged American standing in the rest of the world as much as an earlier end to the war would have.

All this is unimportant to Kissinger.

Kissinger is dismissive of leading Senate opponents of the war, including  J. William Fulbright, John Sherman Cooper, Mark Hatfield and Mike Mansfield.  He treats them as so many misguided pests. He describes the Congress elected in 1974, following Watergate criminal scandal and Nixon’s forced resignation, as the “McGovernite congress”. (Sen.  George Stanley McGovern was the American historian, author who had been the Democratic Party presidential nominee in the 1972 presidential election. He lost to Nixon, thus winning Kissinger’s ostentatious contempt.)

In a book of 640 pages there is no mention of Nixon’s “enemies list”; of the White House’s hiring a criminal squad   –  “the plumbers”  –   to carry out break-ins; or of Kissinger’s supplying names to the Federal Bureau of Investigation to place wiretaps on his own aides and on journalists, to trace leaks about the war.

A recent book, Nixon’s nuclear specter: The secret alert of 1969, madman diplomacy, and the Vietnam War (University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas 2015), throws light on the most extraordinary example of ‘Kissinger diplomacy’.  Written by William Burr, Senior Analyst at the National Security Archive and Jeffrey P. Kimball, professor emeritus at Miami University, the book shows in great detail how Richard Nixon, counselled by Kissinger, believed that they could compel “the other side” to back down during crises in Vietnam, as well as in the Middle East,  by “push[ing] so many chips into the pot” that Nixon would seem ‘crazy’ enough to “go much further.” The meaning of that expression is clarified by the  newly declassified documents  –   twenty three of them, and some in multiple parts  –    published on 29 May 2015 by the National Security Archive.

The documents include a 1972 Kissinger memorandum of conversation in which Kissinger explains to Defense Department official Gardner Tucker that Nixon’s strategy was exactly as just quoted.

Inspired by Kissinger, Nixon’s  ‘madman strategy’ during the Vietnam war included veiled nuclear threats intended to intimidate Hanoi and its supporters in Moscow. Kissinger thus found a way to put into practice the violation of national sovereignty and bloodshed in philosophical theory that he studied for his Ph.D. and later taught as a Harvard academic.

On the occasion of the publication of his recent work, Kissinger’s shadow, professor Greg Grandin, a historian at New York University, observed this much:

“Conventional wisdom has Kissinger as the supreme political realist, a realpolitiker, which means a few things: a willingness to deal with the world as it is, rather than how it should be; a belief that the “truth” of the reality is derived from a simple observation of the facts of reality; and a belief that American military and diplomatic power should service American interests. But, in fact, Kissinger believes in none of those things. Thinking about Henry Kissinger helps us think about American power because Kissinger, more than any other postwar policy maker and defense intellectual, was extremely aware of his philosophical influences, and through his career he constantly tried to justify his policies by referencing those influences. Starting with his 1950 undergraduate thesis, which I dive into in the book, Kissinger reveals himself to be a radical existentialist, a radical subjectivist. He believed that reality existed, but humans had no access to it other than through action, and that whatever meaning or truth we took from that reality was based on our lonely, individual experience.

I realize that’s a bit abstract, but the larger point I make in the book is that a consideration of Kissinger helps us situate the adventurism of George Bush’s neocons in a longer history. They weren’t an anomaly but rather reflected a deeper current in America’s imperial political culture. An implied argument of the book is that American Exceptionalism is founded on a deep, anti-rational, will-to-power subjectivism – a subjectivism that can be found in Kissinger (as that quote reveals, the idea great men “make” reality) and in the neocons. Remember that great quote by a Bush staffer given to the journalist Ron Suskind in 2004, a staffer many believe was Karl Rove: Studying “discernible reality” was not the way the world worked any more, Rove said: “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality – judiciously, as you will – we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors …” The quote circulated widely, interpreted as the blind ideology of the Bush administration taken to its conceited conclusion, the idea that reality itself could bend to neocon will.” (Mark Karlin, ‘Millions died because Kissinger prolonged the Vietnam War for years after betraying peace treaty’,  interview 8 November 2015, Truthout, www.truth-out.org/progressivepicks/item/33561-millions-died…)

Of course, there was nothing new: Kissinger had written something like that more than four decades earlier.

With ‘madman diplomacy’, Nixon and Kissinger strove to end the Vietnam war on the most favourable terms possible in the shortest period of time practicable, an effort which culminated in a secret global nuclear alert in October of 1969. Carried out between 13 and 30 October the manoeuvre involved military operations around the world: the continental United States, Western Europe, the Middle East, the Atlantic, the Pacific, and the Sea of Japan. The operations included strategic bombers, tactical air, and a variety of naval operations, from movements of aircraft carriers and ballistic missile submarines to the shadowing of Soviet merchant ships heading towards Haiphong.

Nixon and Kissinger let it be known that the United States was considering a mining readiness test intended to signal Hanoi that the United States was preparing to mine Haiphong harbour and the coast of North Vietnam. It was named ‘Duck hook’; the plan had been drafted in July 1969 as a mining-only operation, but soon evolved into a mining-and-bombing,’ shock-and-awe’ plan   –  à la Baghdad 2003  –   scheduled to be launched in early November, but which Nixon aborted in October, substituting the global nuclear alert in its place. The failure of Nixon’s and Kissinger’s 1969 ‘Madman diplomacy’ marked a turning point in their initial exit strategy of winning a favourable armistice agreement by the end of the year 1969.

Three years would pass and by 1972 Nixon had been able to reduce the number of U.S. troops in Vietnam to 150,000.

However, according to the Pentagon, between the first Lyndon Johnson bombing halt in March 1968 and the same date in 1972 the casualty of the insane war were the following: Americans 31,205, South Vietnamese 86,101, ‘Enemy’ 475,609.

The Unites States Senate subcommittee on Refugees estimated that in the same four- year period more than three million civilians were killed, injured or rendered homeless. During the same four-year period, the United States dropped almost 4,500,000 tonnes of high explosive on Indochina. The Pentagon also estimated the total tonnage dropped in entire second world war as 2,044,000. Needless to say, this destruction does not include the massive spraying of chemical defoliants and pesticides, the effects of which are still being registered by the region’s ecology. Nor does it include the land-mines which detonate to this day.

Kissinger, meanwhile, began to negotiate with senior Viet Cong official Lê Đức Thọ at secret meetings in Paris. Lê Đức Thọ had served as special adviser to the North Vietnamese delegation. He eventually became North Vietnamese leader in these talks. As the talks progressed, Lê Đức Thọ became increasingly stubborn and finally refused to negotiate, forcing Nixon and Kissinger again to change their strategy. They decided to try to improve relations with Communist China  –  which was not on good terms with the Soviet Union  –  to use as a bargaining chip to intimidate both the U.S.S.R. and North Vietnam.

Nixon and Kissinger thus began secret talks with China. This warming of relations culminated with Nixon’s high-profile visit to China in February and March 1972. As expected, the Soviet Union, concerned with the improved U.S.-China relations, moved to bargain as well. Nixon therefore visited the U.S.S.R. in May 1972.

Nixon’s trip to China succeeded in giving him an advantage in negotiations with North Vietnam. When the North Vietnamese Army crossed the demilitarised zone and entered  South Vietnam in March 1972, Nixon authorised an intense bombing campaign of Hanoi  – without fear of repercussion from Moscow or Beijing. On  23 August 1972 the last American ground combat troops departed Vietnam, leaving behind only a small number of military advisors   –  the last of whom left in March 1973. As the presidential elections of 1972 approached, Nixon clearly had the upper hand: he had warmed relations with China and the U.S.S.R., reduced the number of U.S. troops in Vietnam from 500,000 to 30,000, and halted a major North Vietnamese Army advance. And he defeated antiwar Democrat George McGovern in a landslide.

When Kissinger’s negotiations continued to be hindered by North Vietnamese obstinacy, Nixon became frustrated and authorised the ‘Christmas bombing’, an intense bombing campaign of North Vietnam to pressure the country to end the war in late December 1972. The pressure worked, and Kissinger and North Vietnamese officials finally announced a cease-fire in January 1973.

Under the terms of the agreement, Nixon pledged to withdraw all remaining military personnel from Vietnam and allow the tens of thousands of North Vietnamese Army troops in South Vietnam to remain there, despite the fact that they controlled a quarter of South Vietnamese territory. However, Nixon promised to intervene if North Vietnam had moved against the South. In exchange, North Vietnam promised that elections would be held to determine the fate of the entire country. Nixon kept insisting that the agreement brought “peace with honour,” but South Vietnamese leaders complained that the terms amounted to little more than a surrender for South Vietnam.

In July 1973 the American  Congress and the American public learned the full extent of the secret U.S. military campaigns in Cambodia. Testimony in congressional hearings revealed that Nixon and the military had been secretly bombing Cambodia heavily since 1969, even though the president and Joint Chiefs of Staff had repeatedly denied the charge. When the news broke, Nixon switched tactics and began bombing Cambodia openly despite extreme public disproval.

Angry, Congress-members mustered enough votes to pass the November 1973 War Powers Resolution over Nixon’s veto. The resolution restricted presidential powers during wartime by requiring the president to notify Congress upon launching any U.S. military action abroad. If Congress did not approve of the action, it would have to conclude within sixty to ninety days. In effect, this act made the president accountable to Congress for his actions abroad. Congress also ended the draft in 1973 and stipulated that the military henceforth consist solely of paid volunteers. Both the War Powers Resolution and the conversion to an all-volunteer army helped quiet antiwar protesters.

Despite Nixon’s landslide re-election victory, his days in office were numbered; on top of the uproar over the Cambodia bombings, the Watergate scandal had broken in late 1972. In short, Nixon had approved a secret burglary of the Democratic Party headquarters at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C., prior to the election, but the burglars were caught. Evidence surfaced that Nixon had authorised illegal measures to discredit prominent Democratic opponents and other people on his personal ‘enemies list.’ Ultimately, when it became clear that Nixon himself had broken the law by covering up the scandal, many in the United States began calling for his impeachment.

As the Watergate scandal began to envelop Nixon, North Vietnamese Communist leader Lê Duẩn assumed correctly that the United States would not likely intervene in Vietnam, despite Nixon’s earlier promises to the contrary. As a result, North Vietnamese troops began to move into South Vietnam in 1974. Nixon resigned in disgrace in August 1974 and was replaced by Vice President Gerald R. Ford.

Any hope Ford might have had to salvage Vietnam evaporated in September 1974, when Congress refused to approve sufficient funding for the South Vietnamese army. By the beginning of 1975, defeat was imminent. North Vietnamese forces launched a massive offensive in the spring of 1975, forcing the South Vietnamese troops to retreat. On 30 April 1975 Saigon was liberated by the North Vietnamese, all of Vietnam was united under Communist rule, and the Vietnam war was over.

The cost in human lives was enormous: it resulted in the deaths of between 1,156,000 and 3,207,000  Vietnamese, some 273,000 Cambodians, and  between 28,000 and 115,000 Laotians.

American casualties were 58,315 killed in action; 153,303 wounded in action; 1,614 missed in action. Of the 776-778 taken prisoners, some 114-116 died in captivity.

Involved on a lie by Prime Minister Gordon Menzies in April 1965, Australia participated in the war and lost 426 killed in action, while 74 died of other causes; 3,129 were wounded in action; 6 were taken prisoner and repatriated.

In the end, Vietnam was the catalyst for Richard Nixon’s self-induced disgrace. And it broke the three other United States leaders most associated with it: Johnson; his Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara; and  –   in a way  –   Henry Kissinger. In a way only,  because Kissinger went on to sell his name, strategic advice and access to foreign leaders, and because many political figures, businessmen and members of the news media still consider him an oracle.

There is a respectable view that the consequences of that Kissinger-Nixon enterprise are still felt in the United States.

As professor Grandin said in the already-mentioned interview, “Kissinger is also unique in that nearly every other postwar policy maker and foreign policy intellectual of his stature, such as Arthur Schlesinger, George Kennan, Hans Morgenthau, and Reinhold Niebuhr, eventually became critical, some extremely so, of American power. By 1957, Kennan was arguing for “disengagement” from the Cold War and by 1982 he was describing the Reagan administration as “ignorant, unintelligent, complacent and arrogant.”

Vietnam provoked Schlesinger to advocate stronger legislative power to rein in what in 1973 he would call the ‘imperial presidency.’ Not Kissinger. At every single one of America’s postwar turning points, moments of crisis when men of good will began to express doubts about American power, Kissinger broke in the opposite direction. He made his peace with Nixon, whom he first thought was unhinged; then with Ronald Reagan, whom he initially considered hollow; and then with George W. Bush’s neocons, despite the fact that they all rose to power attacking Kissinger. The cliché goes that in the exception, one finds the rule, which I never really understood until I started studying Kissinger: his singularity as an individual helps illuminate the larger and steady drift to the right of the US, from the 1960s to this day.”

In the already mentioned interview of professor Grandin, Mark Karlin wondered:

“In your concluding sentences, you write that Kissinger has never lost his … value [to the Washington ruling order], especially when it comes to justifying war … And after Kissinger himself is gone, one imagines Kissingerism will endure as well.”

To which Grandin responded:

“That is indeed an ominous prediction given that many critics argue that he is a war criminal. How has he managed to cultivate the image of a ‘statesman’ when so many of his policies resulted in horrific carnage, sometimes grisly torture, and frequent failure, not to mention that he is an inveterate liar – and he made a fortune through Kissinger Associates without separating his role as advisor to ongoing administrations from the interests of many of his clients?

To the degree that Kissingerism is a weaponized version of Americanism, I fear it isn’t going away. Look, last year when promoting his book World Order, Kissinger responded to questions about his bombing of Cambodia and his overthrow of democracy in Chile by pointing to Obama. No difference, he said, existed between what he did with B-52s in Cambodia and what the president was doing with drones in Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen. Chile? Look at what Obama did in Libya, he said, and what he wants to do in Syria. [Emphasis added]

It’s easy to dismiss such a defense, but, frankly, Kissinger is right in his assertion that many of the political arguments he made in the late 1960s to justify his illegal and covert wars in Cambodia, considered at the time way beyond mainstream thinking, are now an unquestioned, very public part of American policymaking. This was especially true of the notion that Washington has the right to violate the sovereignty of a neutral country to destroy enemy ‘sanctuaries.’  “If you threaten America, you will find no safe haven,” Barack Obama has said, offering Kissinger his retroactive absolution.

It’s a perfect expression of American militarism’s unending carousal. Kissinger invokes today’s endless, open-ended wars to justify his diplomacy by air power in Cambodia and elsewhere nearly half a century ago. But what he did then created the conditions for today’s endless wars, both those started by Bush’s neocons and those waged by Obama’s war-fighting liberals like Samantha Power.

Look, just this week [early November 2015], Barack Obama announced that U.S. troops wouldn’t be leaving Afghanistan any time soon and he has also just announced a deeper commitment to fighting ISIS, including the sending of the first U.S. ground personnel into that country.   And a new book by New York Times reporter Charlie Savage, Power Wars, suggests that there has been little substantive difference between George W. Bush’s administration and Obama’s when it comes to national-security policies or the legal justifications used to pursue policies of regime change in the Greater Middle East.

That’s what I mean that after Kissinger himself is gone, Kissingerism will live on.” (Mark Karlin, ‘Millions died because Kissinger prolonged the Vietnam War for years after betraying peace treaty’,  interview 8 November 2015, Truthout, www.truth-out.org/progressivepicks/item/33561-millions-died…)

Kissinger was Secretary of State between 22 September 1973 and 20 January 1977.

On 8 July 1982 a New York Foreign Business Corporation was set up and registered: Kissinger Associates, Inc., after loans had been secured from Goldman Sachs and a consortium of three other banks. These loans were repaid in two years.

Not much is known about it in addition to what is collected at chapter 10 of Hitchens’ book. The chapter is titled: ‘Afterword : the profit margin.’

Discretion is the name of the game, and that is understandable, considering that the main purpose of the corporation is that of ‘facilitating contact’ between multinational corporations and governments, both foreign and American.

Needless to say there is not knowing which are the clients but it is known that a contract with ‘the Associates’ contains a clause prohibiting any mention of the arrangements passing between them.

So one is left with what is on public sources  –  and the rest to guessing.

Clients of ‘the Associates’ seem to have been from the beginning, as mentioned by Hitchens (in Roman):

American Express

American International Group – Director, International Advisory Committee (Argentina, China and South Korea)

Anheuser-Bush, since 2008 a wholly owned subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch InBev

Atlantic Richfield

Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, (The bank was involved in  Iraqgate because in 1989 its  Atlanta, Georgia branch  was making unauthorised loans of more than US $4.5 billion to Iraq. Many of the loans that the branch made were guaranteed by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Commodity Credit Corporation programme)

Chase Manhattan Bank, (the Rockefellers bank), since 2000 known as  JPMorgan Chase – Chairman, International Advisory Committee

The Coca-Cola Company

Daewoo of South Korea, up to 2001, when it became General Motors or GM Korea

Fiat, known since 2014 as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV

Freeport-McMoRan, (already noted in East Timor/Timor Leste) – Director (Burma, Indonesia, Panama)

H.J. Heinz, (Ivory Coast, Turkey, Zimbabwe)

Hollinger, Inc. – Director

International Telephone & Telegraph (the corporation which was ‘assisted’ by Kissinger in the Chilean coup of 1973)

Lockheed, known since 1995 as  Lockheed Martin

Merck & Co, Inc.

Midland Bank, taken over in 1992 by the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation

Revlon Inc.

Shearson Lehman Brothers, Inc., later Lehman Brothers, with Kissinger (once with McLarty) Assoc. listed as a creditor in the Bankruptcy Filings.

Union Carbide Corporation, since 2001 a wholly owned subsidiary of Dow Chemical Company

Volvo cars, since 2010 it has been a wholly owned subsidiary of Geely of China

Warburg Pincus, LLC, an American private equity firm with offices in the United States, Europe, Brazil, China and India.

The list is awfully incomplete: missing, for instance, is Freeport McMoRan, which in 1989 paid Kissinger Associates a retainer of US$ 200,000 and fee of US$ 600,000, not to mention a promise of a 2 per cent commission on future earnings. (C. Hitchens, The trial of Henry Kissinger, Text, Melbourne 2001 at 124)

Other clients might have arrived later and they are recorded in italics in the preceding  list, in some cases with the indication  of the country/countries in which they operate.

Kissinger’s initial fellow ‘associates’ were General Brent Scowcroft and Lawrence Eagleburger, both of whom had worked closely in the foreign policy and national security branches of the United States Government. Just about every other ‘fellow’ had had a connection with government and/or large financial institutions.

Off-and-on some well-known public figures have been connected with the firm. Among them one should mention:

  1. Paul Bremer, former managing director. Former Iraq Director of Reconstruction

Nelson Cunningham, political advisor and managing partner at Kissinger McLarty

Lawrence Eagleburger, former United States Secretary of State

Richard W. Fisher – President, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas

Timothy F. Geithner – former United States Secretary of Treasury

Jami Miscik – President and vice chairman. Deputy Director  for Intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency

Joshua Cooper Ramo – Managing Director, former senior editor of Time Magazine

Bill Richardson, former senior managing director, former U.S diplomat and immediate past Governor of New Mexico

  1. Stapleton Roy, vice-chairman, Senior U.S. diplomat

Brent Scowcroft, former vice-chairman. Former United States National Security Advisor.

Among the directors and former directors one would find:

Lord Carrington, from 1982, former  Secretary-General of N.A.T.O.

Étienne Davignon, former European Commissioner

Gary Falle, Falle Strategies

Pehr G. Gyllenhammar, from 1982, former Chairman, Volvo

Saburo Okita, former Japanese Foreign Minister

William D. Rogers, from 1982, former Undersecretary of State for Economic Affairs under President  Ford

Eric Roll, from 1984, Chairman S. G. Warburg & Co

William E. Simon, from 1984. former  Secretary of the Treasury under President Nixon and Ford.

The secrecy of the corporate client list has caused some problems where Kissinger or a member of his staff were called to public service. In 1989, for instance, President George H.W. Bush nominated Lawrence Eagleburger as his Deputy Secretary of State. Congress required that Eagleburger disclose the names of 16 clients, with some of which he was connected through his Kissinger Associates affiliation.  Later, Kissinger himself was appointed chairman of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States by President George W. Bush. Congressional Democrats insisted that Kissinger disclose the names of clients. Kissinger and President Bush claimed that such disclosures were not necessary, but Kissinger ultimately stepped down, citing conflicts of interest,  mainly because he did not wish to disclose his financial affairs.

  1. War criminal ?

Henry Kissinger, adviser to the Rockefellers since 1954, supporter of Democrat candidate Hubert H. Humphrey early in 1968, promptly switched to Republican candidate Richard Milhous Nixon, whose  National Security Advisor he became on 20 January 1969, remaining in that position  –   after Nixon’s resignation  –   to President Ford until 3 November 1975.  Kissinger was Secretary of State between 22 September 1973 and 20 January 1977.

This period  –  January 1969 to January 1977  –   covers three ‘adventures’: Chile, East Timor  – now Timor-Leste, and Argentina. Somewhere in between those dates is the Royal Ambush of the Whitlam Government in November 1975. This should be dealt with in a separate work for all sorts of reasons, including the fact that a case which will decide whether the correspondence between the Governor-General of Australia and Queen Elizabeth II is of a private nature, or should be regarded as subtracted from public eyes. The dispute is still, by initiative of professor Jenny Hocking and friends before the Federal Court of Australia.

Incidentally, the correspondence may reveal what might have been the connection between the Governor-General  –  a well-known ‘Intelligence services’ asset and a special ‘Task Force 157’, a secret U.S. Navy ops team, directed by  Theodore George ‘Ted’ Shackley, Jr. , which is suspected of being involved in the Ambush through persons of the Liberal and National parties.

Shackley, an American C.I.A. officer was involved in many important and controversial CIA operations during the 1960s and 1970s. In the early 1960s Shackley was ‘station chief’ in Miami, during the period of the Cuban Missile Crisis, as well as of the Cuban Project  –  also known as Operation Mongoose, that he directed. He became the director of the ‘Phoenix Program’ during the Vietnam war  –  responsible for the assassination of some 40,000 ‘suspected Communists’. He was also the ‘station chief’ in Laos between 1966–1968, and ‘station chief’ in Saigon from 1968 through February 1972. In 1976 he was appointed Associate Deputy Director for Operations, in charge of the C.I.A.’s worldwide covert operations, the so-called ‘black ops’.

There are plentiful indicia that Task Force 157 was almost a personal tool of Kissinger’s power.


The first 9/11 occurred in 1973 in Santiago, Chile and places nearby. President Richard Milhous Nixon and Dr. Henry Alfred Kissinger were the instigators, General Augusto Pinochet simply the executioner.

The United States has been interfering with Chile since the arrival of Joel Roberts Poinsett as ‘special agent’ in 1811. The story of the first 9/11 began, most likely, on 15 September 1970 when Nixon and his consiglieri: Richard Helms, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and Kissinger, National Security Adviser were discussing a possible C.I.A. covert operation in Chile.

Media sources confirmed that Nixon had been nearly beside himself with rage at the thought that ‘Marxist’ Salvador Allende might win the 1970 presidential election in Chile. The very name of Allende was anathema to Nixon. He had been personally beholden to the president of Pepsi Cola from the moment he had received that corporation’s account while a young lawyer with John Mitchell’s firm in New York. In time Mitchell would share with Nixon the fate of Watergate and other crimes. But, after the ‘Watergate’ affaires, only Mitchell ended up in gaol for conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and perjury.

Pepsi Cola, along with Chase Manhattan Bank, International Telephone & Telegraph and many other corporations, but above all Anaconda Copper Mining Co. and Kennecott Copper Co., had huge investments in Chile. It is estimated that in the early seventies those two major mining corporations alone controlled between seven and twenty per cent of Chile’s Gross Domestic Product.

In 1970 Allende, who had failed in the presidential elections of 1964, ran again.  On 4 September 1970 he obtained 36.2 per cent of votes, followed by former President Alessandri with 34.9 per cent, with 27.8 per cent going to Tomic, the third candidate.

According to the Chilean Constitution then in force, if no presidential candidate obtained a majority of the popular vote, Congress would choose one of the two candidates with the highest number of votes as the winner.  Negotiations were actively being conducted during the following month and only on 24 October was Allende confirmed by Congress. He assumed the presidency on 3 November 1970.

A series of eight cables, dated between 5 and 22 September 1970 declassified in the late 1990s and now available at the National Security Archive, located within the George Washington University in Washington, D.C., written by the U.S. Ambassador to Chile, Edward Korry, records the reaction and activities of the Embassy after the election of Allende’s Popular Unity coalition. Known as ‘Korrygrams,’ the reports contain some of the most candid, and at times undiplomatic, opinions and observations ever offered by a U.S. Ambassador, until WikiLeaks arrived on the world’s scene.  With titles such as ‘No Hope for Chile’ and ‘Some Hope for Chile’, Korry provides extensive details about political efforts to block Allende’s ratification by the Chilean Congress. The cables report on the activities of Chile’s political institutions in response to Allende’s election and provide Ambassador Korry’s explicit assessments of the character of key Chilean leaders, particularly the outgoing President, Eduardo Frei.

On 5 November 1970, as it appears in another declassified cable, Richard Helms, the C.I.A. Director provided a briefing for the 6 November 1970 National Security Council on the situation in Chile, telling Nixon exactly what he wanted to hear: “Mr. President, Salvador Allende, the Chilean Marxist, has now taken office as President in that country with virtually no significant opposition to hold him in check, and with a cabinet dominated by the Communists and his own even more extreme Socialist Party.”  Apart from the obvious  –  the name, not a word of that was true.

The briefing contains details on a failed coup attempt on 22 October  –  but does not acknowledge a C.I.A. role in the assassination of General René Schneider. Helms also assessed Allende’s “tenacious” character and Soviet policy towards Chile. Despite the presence of Communists in cabinet, ‘Intelligence’ suggested that Chile’s Socialists   –   as he informed Council members   –   “will exercise restraint in promoting closer ties with Russia.”

Nixon had ordered the C.I.A. to prevent Allende’s election at all cost. He had explicitly told Richard Helms “to get rid of him”, referring to Allende.

At the time, the United States was still embroiled in Vietnam. The ‘parallel government’ of the C.I.A. was running a plan denominated Phoenix  –  a covert action programme which had been established in 1967 and would continued until 1971, at least.  The C.I.A., the U.S. Army and the Saigon police, as well as various other ‘intelligence’ organisations were seeking to identify and destroy Viet Cong leadership cadres in the south of Vietnam. Phoenix’ activities included ‘intelligence’ collection, paramilitary operations, and psychological warfare. Phoenix became infamous for the capture or killing of nearly 40,000 suspected Communists. The programme was run by William Colby, who would ultimately succeed Helms, but at the time had the cover role as Director of Civil Operations and Rural Development Support for the Agency for International Development.

Nixon’s policy for the whole of Latin America was one early ‘war on terror’. At the time ‘war on terror’ was just another pretext for the pillage of Latin America by the U.S. Government and its favoured multinational corporations with the assistance of the American Administration. The obsession then was “to prevent another Cuba.” Nixon simply could not tolerate   –   as he said   –   “that bastard Allende.”    Such animosity was probably displayed for the benefit of clients-at-large. Chile had the largest copper reserves in the world and it was suspected that Allende was about to nationalise the industry.

When preventing Allende’s election failed, the C.I.A. was instructed to destabilise the government.

A meeting of 15 September 1970, ten days after the narrow election of Allende, was to become crucial. Probably determinant to Nixon’s order to Helms to mount a full-scale operation against Allende’s prospective new government   –  including, as Helms’s notes of the meeting reflect, “to make the economy scream [in Chile to] prevent Allende from coming to power or to unseat him.”   –   was the advice given by Kissinger in his famous expression of contempt for the democratic play:  “I do not see why we need to stand by and watch a country go Communist due to the irresponsibility of its own people. The issues are much too important for the Chilean voters to be left to decide for themselves.”

That was no isolated expression of Kissinger’s Realpolitik.  The minutes of a secret 1975 meeting of the National Security Council attended by President Ford reveal Kissinger grumbling: “It is an act of insanity and national humiliation to have a law prohibiting the President from ordering assassination.”

A total lack of any moral judgment remains the mark of such cynical Realpolitik. The New York Times reported on 16 December 2010 that, according to recently released tapes of Nixon at the White House, Kissinger was heard telling Nixon in 1973 that helping Soviet Jews emigrate and thus escape oppression by a totalitarian regime    –    a huge issue at the time   – was “not an  objective of American foreign policy.”  “And if they put Jews into gas chambers in the Soviet Union,” he added, “it is not an American concern. Maybe a humanitarian concern.” Genocide was “not an American concern,” he said, but “maybe a humanitarian concern.”

As National Security Adviser and/or Secretary of State, or Assistant to the President, or simply as consigliere, Kissinger’s opinion would be sought by successive presidents: Carter, Reagan, Bush Senior, Clinton, Bush Junior, Obama   –   perhaps even Trump.

Of course, at that meeting of 15 September 1970, Kissinger knew full well that Chile had not ‘gone Communist’. Probably so did Nixon; it certainly was within Helms’ knowledge.

Allende was a cultivated man, by all definitions a  ‘bourgeois’ even though he was known as the charismatic founder of the Socialist Party. Allende in fact was a moderate, who wanted to develop “a peaceful Chilean way towards socialism.” He had been elected by workers, peasants and the marginalised, urban lower classes. Educated urban youth celebrated the “socialism of red wine and empanadas” –  stuffed pastry.

But, in the debased language which had taken place with Nixon in the White House and in the ordinary jargon which would most assuredly reach a gangster such as Nixon, Kissinger did not hesitate to use such language.  It was the advice of the consigliere to the capo-mafia. The advice was reflected in the handwritten notes taken by Helms and preserved in those declassified cables.  Taken in the presence of Attorney General John Mitchell and Kissinger, the notes read: “1 in 10 chance perhaps, but save Chile!; worth spending; not concerned; no involvement of embassy; $10,000,000 available, more if necessary; full-time job  –   best men we have; game plan; make the economy scream; 48 hours for plan of action.” [Emphasis added]

Minutes of 16 September 1970 record the first meeting between Director Helms and several high agency officials on covert operations   –   codenamed ‘Fubelt’    –   against Allende. A special task force under the supervision of C.I.A. Deputy Director of Plans, Thomas Karamessines, was established, headed by veteran agent David Atlee Phillips. The memorandum noted that the C.I.A. must prepare an action plan for National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger within 48 hours.

A ‘memorandum of conversation’ of a 15 October 1970 meeting, held at the White House between Kissinger, Karamessines and Alexander Haig, Deputy National Security Adviser and later President Reagan’s Secretary of State, records a discussion on promoting a coup in Chile known as ‘Track 2’ of covert operations to block Allende. The three conspirators discussed the possibility that the plot of one Chilean retired General, Roberto Viaux, might fail “with unfortunate repercussions for U.S. objectives.” Kissinger ordered the C.I.A. “to continue keeping the pressure on every Allende weak spot in sight.”

The day after such meeting, 16 October 1970, Karamessines passed Kissinger’s order on to the C.I.A. station chief in Santiago, Henry Hecksher. The secret cable said, at the very opening: “It is firm and continuing policy that Allende be overthrown by a coup.” [Emphasis added]  The “operating guidance” makes it clear that these operations were to be conducted so as to hide the ‘American hand’,  and that the C.I.A. was to ignore any orders to the contrary from Ambassador Korry who had not been informed of ‘Track 2’ operations.

Dated 3 November 1970 is the notice of a meeting for which Kissinger had a comprehensive secret/sensitive options paper (NSSM 97) prepared. The paper was to be submitted to the offices of the Vice President, of the Secretaries of State and Defense, and of the Director of Emergency Preparedness. It was also sent in copy to the Attorney General, the Under Secretary of State, the Chairman, Joint Chief of Staff, and the Director of Central Intelligence. Precisely on the day of Allende’s inauguration, it laid out U.S. objectives, interests and potential policy towards Chile. U.S. interests were defined as preventing Chile from falling under Communist control and preventing the rest of Latin America from following Chile “as a model.” Option C   –  maintaining an “outwardly cool posture” while working behind the scenes to undermine the Allende Government through economic pressures and diplomatic isolation   –   had been chosen by Nixon. C.I.A. operations and options were not included in the document.

Three cables dated 18 October 1970 passed between the C.I.A. headquarters in Langley, VA., and the C.I.A. Station in Santiago. They dealt with the secret shipment of weapons and ammunition for use in a plot to kidnap the Commander-in-Chief of the Chilean Army, General René Schneider. “Neutralizing” Schneider was a key prerequisite for a military coup; he opposed any intervention by the armed forces to block Allende’s constitutional election. The C.I.A. supplied a group of Chilean officers led by General Camilo Valenzuela with ‘sterile’   –   that is untraceable   –  weapons for the operation which was to be blamed on Allende supporters and thus prompt a military takeover.

Between the presidential elections and Congress confirmation of Allende two events took place in Chile. One was the kidnapping and assassination on 22-25 October of General Schneider.  Schneider was a defender of the ‘constitutionalist’ doctrine that the Army’s role is exclusively professional, its mission being to protect the country’s sovereignty and not to interfere in politics. He was shot resisting the violence by another group led by General Roberto Viaux, at the head of a crypto-Nazi gang of generals and admirals, who had been paid US$ 50,000 each.   Once hospitalised, Schneider died of his wounds on 25 October. Viaux’s kidnapping plan had been supported by the C.I.A., although Kissinger later claimed to have ordered the plans postponed at the last moment.

Correctly Christopher Hitchens, in the book by the provocative title The trial of Henry Kissinger, written in incendiary  –  studiedly defamatory   –   words, summed up the substance of the combined reading of those cables, and particularly of the ‘memorandum of conversation’ 15 October 1970: “Here one must pause for a recapitulation. An unelected official in the United States is meeting with others, without the knowledge or authorization of Congress, to plan the kidnapping of a constitution-minded senior officer in a democratic country with which the United States is not at war, and with which it maintains cordial diplomatic relations. The minutes of the meetings may have an official look to them (though they were hidden from the light of day for long enough) but what we are reviewing is a “hit” – a bit of state-supported terrorism.” (C. Hitchens, The trial of Henry Kissinger (Text, Melbourne 2001, at 57)

The other event was the appointment by the outgoing President Frei of General Carlos Prats as Commander-in-Chief of the Army to replace General Schneider.

Instead of a coup, the military and the country rallied behind Allende’s ratification by Chile’s Congress on 24 October.

The United States determination to destroy opposition to its domination in Latin America became part of a much broader plan which took the name of Operación  Cóndor  –  Operation Condor, also known as Plan Cóndor.

The murder of General Schneider was just one of the crimes of Operation Condor; by then the Plan was well on its way.

In 1975 Bush Senior   –   formerly Nixon’s Ambassador to the United Nations, and Ford’s Chief Liaison Officer to China  – was about to become C.I.A. Director. In that capacity he further developed Operation Condor.   By 1975 Bush Senior was head of the C.I.A. and working together with Kissinger and Vernon Walters, later a key adviser to Reagan, to develop Plan Condor.

Operación Cóndor was a campaign of political repression involving ‘intelligence’ operations and assassination which started in 1968 and was officially implemented in 1975 by the Right-wing dictatorships of the ‘Southern Cone’ of South America. The programme aimed to eradicate alleged Socialist and Communist influence and ideas and to control active or potential opposition movements against the participating governments’ neoliberal economic policies, which sought to reverse the economic policies of the previous era.

There being no dead bodies, the conspirators could deny everything. Due to its clandestine nature, the precise number of murders directly attributable to Operation Condor is highly disputed. It is estimated that a minimum of 60,000 murders can be attributed to Condor, possibly more. Victims included dissidents and leftists, union and peasant leaders, students and teachers, intellectuals and suspected guerillas  – even some priests and nuns.  Condor’s key members were the governments in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay. The United States government provided technical support and supplied military aid to the participants during the Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, and Reagan administrations. Such support was frequently routed through the Central Intelligence Agency. Ecuador and Peru later joined the operation in more peripheral roles. (Luiz Cláudio Cunha. Operação Condor. O seqüestro dos uruguaios. Uma reportagem dos tempos da ditadura   –  Operation Condor. The kidnapping of the Uruguayans. A story of the days of the dictatorship, L&PM, Editores, Porto Alegre 2008;  John Dinges, The Condor Years: How Pinochet and His Allies Brought Terrorism to Three Continents (The New Press, New York 2004) and  Peter Kornbluh, The Pinochet File: A Declassified Dossier on Atrocity and Accountability (The New Press, New York 2013)

In plain language, Condor was a high-level international criminal organisation in a campaign of political repression involving ‘intelligence’ operations and consequent assassination. In a 1999 book, titled Los años del lobo: Operación Cóndor   –  The years of the wolf:  Operation Condor   –   Stella Calloni, an Argentine investigative journalist spoke of anticipated revelations which pointed to the implication of Condor’s agents in the deaths of presidents Omar Torrijos of Panama and Jaime Roldós of Ecuador in 1981, who were “considered bothersome to the empire and dictatorships in secret documents that were investigated,” and possibly in the death of Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme in 1986. (Stella Calloni, Los años del lobo: Operación Cóndor   –  The years of the wolf:  Operation Condor, Editorial Ciencias Sociales, La Habana 1999, 2006)

The Grand Master, leader and adviser of such a syndicate was none other than Dr. Henry Kissinger.

On 25 November 1975 leaders of the ‘military intelligence’ services of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay met with Manuel Contreras, chief of the Dirección de Inteligencia Nacional  –  National Intelligence Directorate, D.I.N.A., which was Pinochet’s secret police.  They officially set up the Plan Condor. However, cooperation between various security services, in the aim of “eliminating Marxist subversion”, previously existed informally before that meeting and certainly before the Pinochet’s coup d’état. For example, during the Tenth Conference of American Armies held in Caracas on 3 September 1973, Brazilian General Breno Borges Fortes, head of the Brazilian Army, proposed to “extend the exchange of information” between various services in order to “struggle against subversion.” Not long after the Pinochet coup, in March 1974, representatives of the police forces of Chile, Bolivia and Uruguay met with Alberto Villar, deputy chief of the Argentine Federal Police and co-founder of the Alianza Anticomunista Argentina  –  Argentine Anticommunist Alliance, commonly known as Triple A, which was in fact a death squad, to implement cooperation guidelines in order to destroy the ‘subversive’ threat represented by the presence of thousands of political exiles in Argentina. In August 1974 the corpses of the first victims of Condor, Bolivian refugees, were found in rubbish dumps in Buenos Aires. The D.I.N.A. entered into contact even with Croatian terrorists, Italian neo-Fascists and the Shah’s Savak to locate and assassinate dissidents.

As far as the United States is concerned, and despite the fact that Operation Condor was promoted and formalised in 1975, there is no doubt as to the commitment of several American Administrations ‘to stop Chile from going like Cuba’.   The United States provided key organisational, financial and technical assistance to the Operation. The commitment was total and the purpose quite clear from the beginning: according to a 1976 F.B.I. cable sent from Buenos Aires, Condor’s ‘operatives’ were “to travel anywhere in the world … to assassinate so-called [Leftists, Communists, subversives and Marxists].”

By sheer accident, in December 1992, a human-rights activist and a judge who were looking for files on a former prisoner at a police station in Asunción, Paraguay, would come upon archives describing the fates of thousands of Latin Americans who had been secretly kidnapped, tortured and killed by the security services of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay   –  Operation Condor. The soon to be known as ‘Archivos del terror – terror archives’ listed 50,000 people murdered, 30,000 people ‘disappeared’ and 400,000 people imprisoned.  In the archives there were official requests to track suspects to and from the U.S. Embassy, the C.I.A., and the F.B.I. The C.I.A. provided lists of suspects and other intelligence information to the military states. The F.B.I. also searched for individuals wanted by D.I.N.A. in the United States in 1975.

During the 1950s and 1960s, the United States put forward a variety of programmes and strategies ranging from funding political campaigns to funding propaganda aimed at laying down the necessary conditions to prevent Allende’s accession to the presidency. Throughout this time the United States successfully impeded the Left-wing parties from gaining power. In 1958 Jorge Alessandri, a nominally independent with support from the Rightist Liberal and Conservative Parties, defeated Allende by nearly 33,500 votes to claim the presidency. His laissez-faire policies, highly endorsed by the United States, were regarded as the solution to the country’s inflation problems. Under recommendations from the United States, Alessandri steadily reduced tariffs from 1959, a policy which caused the Chilean market to be overwhelmed by American products. The government’s policies angered the working class who asked for higher wages, and the repercussions of this massive discontent were felt in the 1961 congressional elections.  President Alessandri suffered terrible blows which sent the message that laissez-faire policies were not the desired way. As the grand total of US$ 130 million from the U.S. banking industry, the U.S. Treasury Department, the International Monetary Fund and other international organisations accepted by Alessandri illustrates, laissez-faire policies only made Chile more dependent on the United States.

When Allende appeared as a top contender in the 1964 election, the C.I.A. spent three million dollars campaigning against him, in an effort to influence the outcome of the election, mostly through radio and print advertising. The American Administration viewed electing the contender, Eduardo Frei, as a must since they feared that because of Alessandri’s failures the electorate would turn to Allende as the solution. Allende had long been feared by the American Administration because of his warm relation with Cuba and his open criticism of the invasion of the Bay of Pigs. Furthermore, more clandestine aid to Frei was put forward through President Kennedy’s ‘Alliance for Progress’ programme which promised “20 billion in public and private assistance in the country for the next decade.” In direct terms the United States contributed to the campaign with 20 million dollars but they also sent in about 100 people with assigned tasks to prevent Allende’s victory. In order to influence public opinion the C.I.A. also made use of massive propaganda in the radio, television, posters, wall paintings, pamphlets with the goal of connecting ‘Communist atrocities’ with Allende. In the end the mobilisation of the American business sector in Chile, the aid of the C.I.A. and that of the American Government helped Frei’s campaign win with a clear majority over Allende.

Condor was one of the fruits of this continuing effort. The targets were officially armed groups  –  such as the Movimiento de Izquierda Revolucionaria  –  Revolutionary Left Movement, M.I.R. a Chilean political party and former Left-wing guerrilla organisation founded on 12 October 1965,  the Movimiento Peronista Montonero   –   Montoneros, an Argentine Peronist urban guerrilla group, active during the 1960s and 1970s, the Ejército Revolucionario del Pueblo  –   People’s Revolutionary Army, E.R.P. which operated across the borders in several of South American states, the Movimiento de Liberación Nacional   – National Liberation Movement, also known as the Tupamaros, an urban guerrilla organisation in Uruguay in the 1960s and 1970s   –    but in fact included all kinds of political opponents, their families and others.  The Argentine ‘dirty war’, for example, which resulted in approximately 30,000 victims according to most estimates, targeted many trade-unionists, relatives of activists, and others.

Within the Operation Condor the Chilean-destabilisation strategy, presided over in detail by Kissinger, developed into a series of programmes called ‘Track 1’ and ‘Track 2’. They represented two approaches of the U.S. Administration to fighting Allende.   ‘Track 1’ was a State Department initiative designed to thwart Allende by subverting Chilean elected officials within the bounds of the Chilean Constitution and excluded the C.I.A. ‘Track 1’ expanded to encompass a number of policies, the ultimate goal of which was to create the conditions which would encourage a coup. ‘Track 2’ was the C.I.A. operation overseen by Kissinger and C.I.A.’s Deputy Director of Plans, Thomas Karamessines. ‘Track 2’ excluded the State Department and Department of Defence. The goal of ‘Track 2’ was to find and support Chilean military officers who would support a coup.

Along the lines of ‘Track 2’, Kissinger prepared ‘Memorandum 93’, dated 9 November 1970, which summarises the presidential decisions regarding changes in U.S. policy towards Chile following Allende’s election. Kissinger sent it to the Secretaries of State and Defense, and to the Director of the Office of Emergency Preparedness and the Director of Central Intelligence. The memorandum directs U.S. agencies to adopt a “cool” posture towards Allende’s government, in order to prevent his consolidation of power and “limit [his] ability to implement policies contrary to U.S. and hemisphere interests.” The memorandum states that existing U.S. assistance and investments in Chile should be reduced, and no new commitments undertaken. Furthermore   –   according to Kissinger’s memorandum  –   “close relations” should be established and maintained with military leaders throughout Latin America to facilitate coordination of pressure and other opposition efforts.

By 18 November 1970 the C.I.A. was able to present a summary of its efforts between 15 September and 3 November 1970 to prevent Allende’s ratification as president and to foment a coup in Chile   –   according to both ‘Track 1’ and ‘Track 2’. The summary details the composition of the Task Force, headed by David Atlee Phillips, the team of covert operatives “inserted individually into Chile,” and their contacts with Colonel Paul Winert, the U.S. Army Attaché detailed to the C.I.A. for the operation. It reviews the propaganda operations designed to press President Frei to support “a military coup which would prevent Allende from taking office on 3 November.”

After all manoeuvres failed, and Allende was confirmed, as a declassified memorandum dated 4 December 1970 revealed, in response to a 27 November directive from Kissinger, an inter-agency Ad Hoc Working Group on Chile prepared a set of strategy papers covering a range of possible sanctions and pressures against the new Allende Government. These included a possible diplomatic effort to force Chile to withdraw   –   and if necessary to be expelled   –   from the Organisation of American States as well as consultations with other Latin American countries “to promote their sharing of our concern over Chile.” The documents show that the Nixon Administration did engage in an invisible economic blockade against Allende, intervening at the World Bank, at the Inter-American Development Bank, and at the Export-Import Bank to curtail or terminate credits and loans to Chile before Allende had been in office for a month.

The evidence of such ‘policy’ and much criminal activity only came to light with the work and subsequent publication in 1975-1976 of the many-volume Report of the The Church Committee  – the common term referring to the United States Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, presided by Senator Frank Church.  According to the Report, covert United States involvement in Chile in the decade between 1963 and 1973 was extensive and continuous. The C.I.A. spent eight million dollars in the three years between 1970 and the military coup in September 1973, with over three million in 1972 alone. Covert C.I.A.’s activity was present in almost every major election in Chile in the decade between 1963 and 1973, but its actual effect on electoral outcomes is not altogether clear. Chile, more than any of its South American neighbours, had an extensive democratic tradition dating back to the early 1930s, and even before. Because of this, it is difficult to gauge how successful C.I.A. tactics were in swaying voters.

Through Freedom of Information Act requests, and other avenues of declassification, the National Security Archive has been able to compile a collection of declassified records which shed light on events in Chile between 1970 and 1976. These documents include:

1) Cables written by U.S. Ambassador Korry after Allende’s election, detailing conversations with President Frei on how to block the president-elect from being inaugurated. The cables contain detailed descriptions and opinions on the various political forces in Chile, including the Chilean military, the Christian Democrat Party, and the U.S. business community.

2) C.I.A. memoranda and reports on ‘Project Fubelt’   –   the codename for covert operations to promote a military coup and undermine Allende’s Government. The documents, including minutes of meetings between Kissinger and C.I.A. officials, C.I.A. cables to its Santiago station, and summaries of covert action in 1970, provide a clear paper trail to the decisions and operations against Allende’s Government.

3) National Security Council strategy papers which record efforts ‘to destabilise’ Chile economically, and isolate Allende’s Government diplomatically, between 1970 and 1973.

4) State Department and N.S.C. memoranda and cables after the coup, providing evidence of human rights atrocities under the military regime led by General Pinochet.

5) F.B.I. documents on Operation Condor  –   the state-sponsored terrorism of the Chilean secret police, D.I.N.A. The documents, including summaries of prison letters written by D.I.N.A. agent Michael Townley, provide evidence on the car-bombing assassination of Orlando Letelier and Ronni Moffitt in Washington D.C., and on the murder of Chilean General Carlos Prats and his wife in Buenos Aires, amongst other operations.

These documents, and many thousands of other C.I.A., National Security Council and Defense Department records which are still classified secret, remain relevant to ongoing human rights investigations in Chile, Spain and other countries, and unresolved acts of international terrorism conducted by the Chilean secret police. Eventually, international pressure, and concerted use of the U.S. laws on declassification may force more of the still-buried record into the public domain   –   providing evidence for future judicial, and historical accountability.

All the documents are, expectedly, heavily redacted, including one which was prepared in August-September 1973 by the U.S. Defence Intelligence Agency with biographical data on Pinochet.  The heavy deletions are likely to conceal Chilean sources providing information on Pinochet, his own contacts with U.S. officials, and commentary on his character, reputation, political orientation and actions during his career.

Within nine months of his confirmation Allende nationalised the copper industry, the banks and other large industries, at the same time beginning land distribution. ‘Social spending’ – for health, education, housing and family assistance  –  almost doubled immediately. The Allende Government introduced ‘administrative prices’ and increased industrial wages. External boycotts and other adverse measures brought an increase in trade deficit. Exports fell and import grew to almost double. Wage increase and increased spending brought about a serious inflation, and called for protests of the usual malcontent among the people.

Against an attempt to set up a national transportation industry, a group of truckers went on strike, and this in itself caused other strikes. The year after his election Allende was battling a large inflation and a growing black market. By this time the Nixon ‘policy’ was beginning to work. Soon, small-scale businessmen, some professional unions, and student groups joined the strike. Then strikes started to spread. Industrialists sabotaged production. No one could explain how Chilean credit was suddenly cut off in international markets. Loans were suspended. The C.I.A. financed strategic strikes – doctors, bank clerks, a very long truck drivers’ strike. Conservative newspapers conducted a non-stop vicious disinformation campaign.

To appease the rich and the powerful, behind whom the C.I.A. was continuously working, Allende called into the cabinet a Right-wing military: General Carlos Prats, who had succeeded Schneider. Prats was a Right-winger but refused to join a military conspiracy against the President.

At the March 1973 parliamentary elections, Allende’s Popular Unity coalition increased its vote to 43.2 per cent, but by then the informal alliance with the Christian Democrats  –   the centrists   –   had ended, and they joined the opposition with the Right-wing National Party. Parliamentary conflict between the legislative and the executive branches paralysed the functions of  government. At this point the C.I.A. intervened more determinately with large financial support for the opposition parties, thus succeeding in generating pressures, exploiting weaknesses, and magnifying obstacles. There were coup rehearsals. A coup failed at the end of June 1973, and was followed by a general strike in July and an even more ominous one at the copper mines.

Much more seriously, on 26 May 1973 the Supreme Court had unanimously denounced the Allende Government disruption of the legality of the nation in its failure to uphold judicial decisions, and in August 1973 the Court publicly complained that the Government was unable to enforce the law of the land, and on 22 August the opposition in the Chamber of Deputies accused the Government of unconstitutional acts and called upon the military to enforce constitutional order.

On 24 August 1973 General Prats was involved in a puny but public incident whereupon he felt it necessary to hand in his resignation.  Allende at first refused to accept it.  Prats was forced by huge adverse publicity to insist, and Allende to accept.  His resignation as Army Commander-in-Chief removed the last obstacle for the Chilean coup of 1973.  General Augusto Pinochet replaced him as Army Commander-in-Chief the same day. In late August 1973, 100,000 Chilean women congregated at Plaza de la Constitución to vent their rage against the rising cost and increasing shortages of food, but they were dispersed with tear gas.

Early in the morning of 11 September 1973 the Chilean Navy occupied Valparaiso, seized the port and closed down the radio and television stations. The President went immediately to La Moneda, the presidential palace, but by 8.00 a.m. the Army had revolted and closed most radio and television stations in Santiago. The Air Force bombed the other stations.

The President had received incomplete information, and was convinced that only a sector of the Navy conspired against him and his government. President Allende and Defence Minister Orlando Letelier became unable to communicate with military leaders. The heads of the three Forces refused to return the calls from the President. When Letelier arrived at the Ministry of Defence he was arrested   –    the first prisoner of the coup d’état.

Despite evidence that all branches of the Chilean Armed Forces were involved in the coup, President Allende was so convinced of General Pinochet’s loyalty that, only at 8:30 a.m., when the Armed Forces proclaimed their control of Chile, and that President Allende was deposed, did he appreciate the extent of the coup. Allende refused to resign.  He also refused to surrender, even under the threat by the military that they would bomb La Moneda if he resisted.

By 9.00 a.m. the Armed Forces controlled Chile, except for the centre of the capital, Santiago. Colleagues in the Socialist Party offered to Allende refuge in the San Joaquín industrial zone in southern Santiago, from which he could have led a counter-coup. But Allende refused.  He refused to entertain advances from some of the military, and in one last potent farewell speech from a remaining free station explained to the nation why he would not resign but keep his oath of loyalty to the Constitution and Chile.

Pinochet ordered an assault on La Moneda, and the Air Force Commander called in a strike by planes. The President’s personal guard met the assault with armed resistance, and four aircraft bombed La Moneda all but destroying it.  Resistance lasted until mid-afternoon and Allende suicided.  Incidentally, at exactly the same time 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.

About sixty persons lost their life in the initial battle. Thousands would die during the seventeen years of the Pinochet regime.

The worst of the military’s violent purging from society of thousands of Chilean Leftists, both real and suspected    –   by killing or forced ‘disappearance’   –   occurred in the first months after the coup. The military imprisoned 40,000 of their political enemies in the National Stadium of Chile; among the tortured and killed ‘desaparecidos’ were two U.S. citizens: Charles Horman, and Frank Teruggi.

Some 130,000 people were arrested in a three-year period; the dead and ‘disappeared’ numbered thousands in the first months of the military Junta. They included persons from several countries   –   and many from Spain. Political prisoners were held in stadiums, navy ships, military bases, police stations and remote buildings. They all served as detention and many as torture centres  –  altogether more than 1,130. Now, some of these former secret detention and torture centres are being transformed into memorials and museums, so Chileans can remember the horrors of military dictatorship  –  of Nixon, and Kissinger, from 11 September 1973 to 11 March 1990. In that time up to  2,700 persons were ‘disappeared’.

After Pinochet lost the ‘election’ in the 1988 plebiscite, the Rettig Commission  –  officially ‘The National Commission for Truth and Reconciliation’, named after a former Ambassador of President Allende   –   in February 1991 submitted its Report on human rights abuses. The Report ascertained that 2,279 persons were killed for political reasons. In 641 cases the Commission could not conclusively determine that the person was killed for political reasons. It found that 508 cases were beyond its mandate, and that in 449 cases no information beyond the name of a ‘disappeared’ person could be determined.

Later the Valech Commission   –   officially ‘The National Commission on Political Imprisonment and Torture Commission’    –   submitted two Reports: one in November 2004 and another in June 2005. They confirmed the number as less than 3,000 killed and reduced the number of cases of forced disappearance; some 28,000 people were arrested, imprisoned, and tortured.  Testimony gathered by the Commission from almost 36,000 people   –   some 27,000 relied upon   –   were to be kept secret for the next fifty years. Therefore, it cannot be used in trials concerning human rights violations, in contrast to the ‘Archives of terror’ found in Paraguay and those concerning Operation Condor.

A document written on 1 October 1973, shortly after the coup, by the U.S. Naval Attaché based in Valparaiso reports positively on events in Chile during the coup. He characterises “September 11” as “our D-Day” and states that “Chile’s coup de etat [sic] was close to perfect.” The report provides details on Chilean military operations during and after the coup, as well as glowing commentary on the character of the new regime.

U.S. Ambassador Davidow was a political adviser at the U.S. Embassy in Chile from 1971 to 1974. In Santiago he was an Embassy insider when the C.I.A. and the D.I.N.A. were organising the assassination gang which later murdered leading Chilean opposition figures, Carlos Prats in Buenos Aires and Orlando Letelier in Washington.

A memorandum dated 16 November 1973, sent by the Assistant Secretary of State for InterAmerican Affairs to Secretary of State Kissinger, reports that summary executions in the nineteen days following the coup totalled 320  –   more than three times the publicly acknowledged figure.  The report also contained information on new economic assistance just authorised by the Nixon Administration.  The memorandum also provided a ‘fact sheet on human rights in Chile’, with extensive details on the number of persons arrested between 11.09.1973 and 15.11.1973: 13,500, with the breakdown of persons originally arrested, detained in the National Stadium in Santiago, released, detained, killed while attempting to escape, provided with safe-conducts, departed from Chile and dead.

Two American citizens had been listed as “dead since the coup” by the previous report.  They were Charles Horman and Frank Teruggi, and they had been executed by the military after the coup. The murders were the subject matter of a telegramme 11 February 1974, written by Ambassador to Chile David Popper in Santiago and directed to Secretary of State Kissinger. The telegramme reported on a meeting between the Assistant Secretary and the Junta Foreign Minister, General Huerta. The Assistant Secretary had raised the matter “in the context of the need to be careful to keep relatively small issues in our relationship from making our cooperation more difficult.”

A heavily excised 15 April 1975 Intelligence Report from the Defense Attaché in Santiago describes the growth of D.I.N.A.,  “the sole responsible agency for internal subversive matters.” It is possible to surmise that many of the excised portions provide details about the strained relations between D.I.N.A. and the Chilean Armed Forces because of D.I.N.A.’s exclusive power. The report states that the head of D.I.N.A., Colonel Manuel Contreras, “has reported exclusively to, and received orders only from, President Pinochet.”

The U.S. Government sponsored and collaborated with D.I.N.A. and with the other ‘intelligence’ organisations forming the nucleus of Condor, despite the fact that the military dictatorships were killing and torturing tens of thousands of people. C.I.A. documents show that the C.I.A. had close contact with members of D.I.N.A., and its chief Manuel Contreras. Contreras was retained as a paid C.I.A. contact until 1977, even as his involvement in the Letelier-Moffit assassination was being revealed.

A declassified letter dated 6 June 1975, over the signature of the Legal Affairs Attaché to the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires, and directed to General Baeza, Director General of Investigations in Santiago provides intelligence obtained through the interrogation of a captured Chilean leftist, Jorge Isaac Fuentes. The document records U.S. collaboration with Chile’s security forces, including the promise of surveillance of subjects inside the United States. Fuentes was detained through Operation Condor. It has been established that the F.B.I. aided Pinochet in capturing Fuentes, 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’.

A 1 July 1975 memorandum is among the declassified documents. It was written by a senior member of the National Security Council to President Ford’s National Security Advisor, General Brent Scowcroft, and conveys concern about wavering U.S. policy towards Chile in light of reports of human rights violations. The memorandum reveals a division within the U.S. Embassy over dealing with Chile, with a number of officials believing that all U.S. military and economic assistance should be terminated until the regime’s human rights record improved. According to the sender, by reducing aid and sending “mixed signals” to the Chileans, the United States could risk precipitating a crisis situation in Chile. The sender concludes his memorandum by recommending that Scowcroft schedule a special meeting in which U.S. agencies can “clarify guidelines for future policy.”

A subsequent memorandum 8 August 1975, by the same senior officer of the National Security Council, calls Scowcroft’s attention to Pinochet’s plans to visit the United States, and his requested meeting with President Ford. The memorandum states that the N.S.C. asked the U.S. Ambassador to Chile, David Popper, to discourage the meeting by telling the Chileans that President Ford’s schedule is full. Fearing that such a visit would “stimulate criticism” and foster embarrassment, the writer suggests an “informal talk” with Chile’s Ambassador Trucco.

Operation Condor was at its peak in 1976. Chilean exiles in Argentina were threatened again, and again had to go underground or into exile. Chilean General Carlos Prats had already been assassinated by the Chilean D.I.N.A. in Buenos Aires in 1974, with the help of former C.I.A. agent Michael Townley. President Gerald Ford publicly admitted in 1974 that the C.I.A. had covertly operated in Chile.

A declassified cable, dated 28 September 1976, and originating from the Legal Affairs Attaché in Buenos Aires, summarises intelligence information provided by a “confidential source abroad” about Operation Condor. The cable reports that Chile is the centre of Operation Condor, and provides information about “special teams” which travel “anywhere in the world … to carry out sanctions up to assassination against terrorists or supporters of terrorist organizations.” Several sections relating to these special teams have been excised. The cable suggests that the assassination of the Chilean Ambassador to the United States, Orlando Letelier, may have been carried out as an action of Operation Condor.

A long document dated 21 January 1982 provides a summary of information concerning D.I.N.A., which in late 1977 had been renamed Centro Nacional de Informaciones   – National Information Centre, C.N.I.  This report includes information not directly provided to the F.B.I. by Michael Townley, the D.I.N.A. agent responsible for the assassination of Letelier, but drawn from analysis of his correspondence with his D.I.N.A. ‘handler’; details about meetings between Pinochet and neo-Fascist Italian terrorists and spies, codenames and activities of D.I.N.A. personnel, collaboration between D.I.N.A. and anti-Castro Cubans; the creation of a fake terrorist organisation to take the blame for a D.I.N.A. kidnapping in Argentina; D.I.N.A. involvement in relations between Great Britain and Northern Ireland; and Townley’s fear that information about kidnappings and assassinations of prominent critics of Pinochet would somehow be traced back to him.

From 1976 onwards, D.I.N.A. and its Argentine counterpart, Secretaría de Inteligencia de Estado   –  S.I.D.E., were Condor’s frontline troops. The infamous ‘death flights’, theorised in Argentina by Luis María Mendía    –  which had already been used during  the Algerian war of 1954–1962 by French forces    –  were widely employed, in order to make the corpses, and therefore evidence, disappear.

Three years after destroying democracy by instigating the military coup against Allende in Chile in 1973, Kissinger was in Santiago for a meeting of the Organisation of American States. There he met the Argentine Junta’s foreign minister. Kissinger’s main concern, as reported by the U.S. Ambassador in Buenos Aires, was “how long it would take … to clean up the [terrorist] problem.” Kissinger wanted Argentina to finish its terrorist plan before year end. He gave the Argentines the ‘green light’.

The largest cache of information on Operation Condor thus far was found, as already noted, by sheer accident on 22 December 1992 in Paraguay: the ‘terror archives’.

Material declassified in 2004 showed that Secretary Kissinger was briefed on Condor and its ‘murder operations’ on 5 August 1976, in a 14-page report from Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs Harry Shlaudeman. “Internationally, the Latin generals look like our guys.” Shlaudeman noted. And he warned: “We are especially identified with Chile. It cannot do us any good.” The connection was clear, and one of Shlaudeman’s deputy later acknowledged that the State Department was ‘remiss’ in its handling of the case. “We knew fairly early on that the governments of the Southern Cone countries were planning, or at least talking about, some assassinations abroad in the summer of 1976. … Whether if we had gone in, we might have prevented this, I do not know.” he stated in reference to the Letelier/Moffitt bombing. “But we did not.”

A C.I.A. document called Condor “a counter-terrorism organization”, and noted that the Condor countries had a specialised telecommunications system named ‘CondorTel.’ A 1978 cable from the U.S. Ambassador to Paraguay, Robert White, to Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, was published on 6 March 2001 by The New York Times.  Ambassador White feared that the U.S. connection to Condor might be publicly revealed at a time when the assassination in the U.S.A. of Chilean former minister Orlando Letelier and his American assistant Ronni Moffitt was being investigated. White cabled that “it would seem advisable to review this arrangement to insure that its continuation is in US interest.”

Some of the exchange of information included up-date on torture techniques  –   waterboarding, for example, which was to be made infamous by the Bush Junior Administration, and playing recordings of victims who were being tortured to their families. The existence of such an exchange is another element of evidence suggesting that U.S. military and ‘intelligence’ officials supported and collaborated with Condor as a secret partner or sponsor.

The document which had so much worried Ambassador White was found among 16,000 on the Pinochet regime and its collaboration with the American Administration released on 13 November 2000 by the White House, the Department of State, the C.I.A., the Defense and Justice Departments.  The release, which remained selective and still incomplete, was the fourth and final ‘tranche’ of records released under the Clinton Administration’s special Chile Declassification Project.

An article in the Washington Post of 23 March 2000, titled ‘U.S. probe of Pinochet reopened’, returned to the matter of the Letelier assassination.

In May of 1978 the C.I.A.’s National Foreign Assessment Center had issued what purported to be a comprehensive analysis of the Pinochet regime’s responses to being identified as responsible for the most significant act of international terrorism ever committed in the United States    –   the 21 September 1976 car-bomb assassination of Orlando Letelier and Ronni Moffitt in Washington D.C.  This eight-page assessment, classified secret/sensitive, addressed the impact inside the regime if “proof of Pinochet’s complicity in the Letelier slaying” came to light.  At the time, the F.B.I. had identified Pinochet’s secret police, D.I.N.A, as responsible for the crime.

The C.I.A. assessment noted that Pinochet would have a difficult time disassociating himself from D.I.N.A., and its chieftain, Colonel Manuel Contreras.  “The former secret police chief is known to have reported directly to the President [Pinochet], who had exclusive responsibility for the organization’s activities.”   The report stated that Contreras’ guilt “would be almost certain to implicate Pinochet. … None of the government’s critics and few of its supporters would be willing to swallow claims that Contreras acted without presidential concurrence.”

Under United States pressure, in 1995 Contreras was tried and convicted in Chile.  In an affidavit sent to the Chilean Supreme Court in December 1997, he stated that no major D.I.N.A. missions were undertaken without Pinochet’s authorisation.

On 1 February 1999 President Clinton ordered the United States national security agencies to “retrieve and review for declassification documents that shed light on human rights abuses, terrorism, and other acts of political violence in Chile” from 1968-1990.  Until then, some 7,500 documents, mostly from the State Department, had been released as part of the Administration’s special ‘Chile Declassification Project.’

In June 1999 the U.S. State Department released thousands of declassified documents showing for the first time that the C.I.A. and the State and Defense Departments were intimately aware of Condor. One Defence Department ‘intelligence’ report, dated 1 October 1976, noted that Latin American military officers boasted about it to their U.S. counterparts. The same report approvingly described Condor’s “joint counterinsurgency operations” which aimed “to eliminate Marxist terrorist activities.”

On 30 June 1999 the National Security Archive, the Center for National Security Studies and Human Rights Watch hailed the release of more than 20,000 pages of U.S. documents on Chile. The records, estimated to total more than 5,300 in number, were declassified pursuant to the 1 February 1999 White House directive.

The Administration’s decision to undertake such a declassification review came in the aftermath of Pinochet’s arrest on 16 October 1998 in London and was prompted by international pressure, requests from Congress, and calls by the families of some of Pinochet’s most famous victims    –    including those of Charles Horman, Orlando Letelier and Ronni Moffitt.

The 30 June’s release of documents was the first ‘tranche’ covering 1973 through 1978, the Pinochet regime’s bloodiest years of repression. Thousands of other records were expected to be released before the end of 1999.

Representatives of the ‘Center’ and of the ‘Watch’, however, expressed serious concern that the C.I.A. had declassified only a fraction of its secret holdings on operations in Chile. The C.I.A., of course, had the most to offer but also the most to hide, commented the director of the Archive. He pointed to the dearth of documentation on the C.I.A.’s known ‘intelligence’ support for  D.I.N.A. and on Operation Condor.

On 8 October 1999 the U.S. Government released additional 1,100 documents on Chile.  Among them was a declassified State Department report on the case of Charles Horman, the American citizen who was killed by the Chilean military in the days following the coup.  This document was released once before in 1980, pursuant to a lawsuit filed by the Horman family.  At that time, significant portions were blacked-out.  The version released on that day revealed what was censored: the State Department’s conclusions that the C.I.A. may have had “an unfortunate part” in Horman’s death.

On 30 June 2000 the U.S. Government released hundreds of formerly secret C.I.A., Defense, State, and Justice Departments, and National Security Council records relating to the deaths of Charles Horman and Frank Teruggi.  The murders of Horman and Teruggi were later dramatised in the 1982 Costa-Gravas film Missing.  Documents on another American, Boris Weisfiler, who disappeared in Chile in 1985, were also released.

The United States provided material support to the military regime after the coup, although criticising it in public. A document released by the C.I.A. on 19 September 2000, titled ‘CIA activities in Chile’, revealed that the C.I.A. actively supported the military Junta after the overthrow of Allende and that it made many of Pinochet’s officers into paid contacts of the C.I.A. or U.S. military, even though some were known to be involved in human rights abuses. D.I.N.A. Chief Manuel Contreras was a paid asset from 1975 to 1977. The C.I.A.’s official documents state that, at one time, some members of the ‘intelligence’ community recommended making Contreras into a paid contact because of his closeness to Pinochet; the plan was rejected on Contreras’ poor human rights record, but the single payment was made due to ‘miscommunication’. C.I.A. contacts continued with him long after he dispatched his agents to Washington D.C. to assassinate former Letelier and his 25-year old American assistant, Ronni Moffitt.

The National Security Archive called on the U.S. ‘intelligence’ organisations  –  National Security Agency, C.I.A., Defense Intelligence Agency and other Defense Department bureaux at the U.S. Southern Command – to divulge in full  their files on communications assistance to the military regimes in the Southern Cone.   The Archive is still waiting, but C.I.A. censors continue to dictate what Chileans and Americans alike should know about this shameful history.

Kissinger remains a very much sought after person:  as will be seen further on, French Judge Roger Le Loire attempted to question him in May 2001 as a witness for alleged U.S. involvement in Operation Condor and for possible U.S. knowledge in connection to the ‘disappearance’ of five French citizens in Chile during the Pinochet regime. In July 2001 Chilean Judge Juan Guzmán obtained the right to question him in connection with the assassination of American journalist Charles Horman. The judge’s questions were relayed to Kissinger through diplomatic routes but were not answered. The request prompted a heated reaction from the Bush Junior’s Administration. An official condemned the Chilean Supreme Court decision to send questions to Kissinger, saying the move increased unease about the then proposed International Criminal Court in The Hague. The Administration source said: “It is unjust and ridiculous that a distinguished servant of this country should be harassed by foreign courts in this way. The danger of the ICC is that, one day, US citizens might face arrest abroad and prosecution as a result of such politically motivated antics.” In August 2001 Argentine Judge Rodolfo Canicoba sent a rogatory letter to the U.S. State Department, requesting a deposition by Kissinger to aid the judge’s investigation of Operation Condor; in September 2001 the family of murdered General Schneider filed a civil suit in Washington, D.C. On 11 September 2001, on the anniversary of the Pinochet coup Chilean human rights filed a criminal case against Kissinger, Pinochet, the Argentine dictator Videla and the former Paraguayan dictator Stroessner; late in 2001 the Brazilian Government cancelled an invitation for Kissinger to speak in São Paulo because it could not guarantee his immunity from judicial action. In 2002 Judge Baltasar Garzón of the Spanish Audiencia Nacional sought to interview Kissinger over what the United States Government knew about Operation Condor. In February 2007 a request for the extradition of Kissinger was filed in the Supreme Court of Uruguay on behalf of Bernardo Arnone, a political activist who was kidnapped, tortured and ‘disappeared’ by the dictatorship as supported by Condor and Kissinger.

Hardly any request has been successful because of the protection afforded by all United States presidents and their administrations to Kissinger.

In addition to the work with his consulting firm, Kissinger Associates Inc., Kissinger acts as some kind of ‘private National Security Adviser and Secretary of State’ to some thirty transnational corporations around the world, such as American Express, ASEA Brown Boveri, Atlantic Richfield, Banca Nazionale del Lavoro  –  the Rome bank which made illegal loans to Saddam Hussein through the now defunct Bank of Credit and Commerce International.

The ‘Bank of Crooks and Criminals International’  –  as it was nicknamed  –   because it was not squeamish in dealing with disreputable clients and funding to criminals and dictators, frequently handled money for U.S.-supported dictators such as Manuel Noriega and Samuel Doe.  Other account holders included the Medellin drug Cartel and Abu Nidal.  If ‘legal’ funds were hard to come by, the fraudulent B.C.C.I. was ready; illegal sources served, including so-called ‘Arab’ money siphoned through the courtesy of links between Bush Senior, the Saudi royal family and the Bin Laden family.

The C.I.A. held numerous accounts at B.C.C.I.  These bank accounts were used for a variety of illegal covert operations, including transfers of money and weapons related to the Iran Contra scandal.  During the Reagan Administration the C.I.A. also worked with B.C.C.I. in arming and financing the Afghan mujahideen for the Afghan war against the Soviet Union in the days when Osama Bin Laden was a U.S. hero, using B.C.C.I. to launder proceeds from trafficking heroin grown in the Pakistan-Afghanistan borderlands, boosting the flow of narcotics to European and U.S. markets. At least two former C.I.A. directors, Richard Helms and William Casey were involved in B.C.C.I. before it folded following revelations that it laundered money for the Medellin drugs Cartel.

For the past thirty years other private benefactors of Kissinger have been Chase Manhattan Bank, Coca-Cola, Fiat, Fluor, Freeport-McMoRan Minerals, Heinz, Hunt Oil, Merck & Co., Shearson Lehman Hutton, Union Carbide, Volvo and Warburg.

In a 1 February 2011 interview Henry Kissinger Nobel Peace Prize 1973 was anxious to praise 2009 Nobel Peace Prize Barack Obama for his foreign policy.  He had already said, long before the inauguration of President Obama in January 2009, that Obama’s coming into office could give new impetus to United States foreign policy, partly because “the reception of him is so extraordinary around the world.”  Kissinger spoke like an oracle when he said that “[President Obama’s] task will be to develop an overall strategy for America in this period when really a New World Order can be created. It’s a great opportunity … ” and  “[the President]  can help usher in the New World Order.”   But what kind of New World Order ? Friendly Fascism ? Or of the kind which organised Operation Menu   –  a Nixon-Kissinger innocuous name for the ‘secret’ bombing of Cambodia in early 1970, and the ‘not so secret’ invasion of Laos in 1969-1973 ?

Among the thousands upon thousands who fell victims of Condor and of the Pinochet regime were not only Chileans   –  prominent among them Victor Olea Alegria, a Socialist ‘disappeared’ by Manuel Contreras; William Beausire, a Chilean/British businessman abducted at the Buenos Aires Airport and brought to ‘Villa Grimaldi’ a notorious torture centre in Santiago and then ‘disappeared’; the already mentioned Orlando Letelier murdered in Washington with his assistant Ronnie Moffitt; and General Carlos Prats  –   but also citizens of other South American countries.

Martín Almadá, a Paraguayan educator, was imprisoned in 1974, nearly tortured to death, and kept in prison for about three and a half years. His wife was killed; Sheila Cassidy a British born but Australian educated physician was tortured but survived to tell the story: Sheila Cassidy, Audacity to believe (Darton, Longman & Todd Ltd, London 2011); two Cuban diplomats in Argentina, Crecencio Galañega Hernández and Jesús Cejas Arias transited through ‘Orletti’ detention and torture centre in Buenos Aires, were questioned by D.I.N.A. and S.I.D.E., with the knowledge of the C.I.A. and the F.B.I.  and subsequently ‘disappeared’; Zelmar Michelini and Héctor Gutiérrez Ruiz, former Uruguayan deputies, were assassinated in Buenos Aires; Juan José Torres, former Bolivian president was assassinated in Buenos Aires; Jorge Zaffaroni and Maria Emilia Islas de Zaffaroni ‘disappeared’ in Buenos Aires.

Attempts were made on the life of Andrés Pascal Allende, nephew of Salvador Allende, in Costa Rica; of Carlos Altamirano a Chilean Socialist leader, and of Volodia Teitelboim, a Chilean Communist, in Mexico; and on the life of Emilio Aragonés, the Cuban Ambassador in Buenos Aires.

Former U.S. Congressman Edward Koch became aware in 2001 of relations between 1970s threats on his life and Operation Condor. Christian-Democrat and former President of Chile from 1964 to 1970 Eduardo Frei  might have been poisoned in the early 1980s.

Ingrid Dagmar Hagelin, an Argentine/Swedish, was only 17 when she was abducted by a military command former naval officer and then ‘disappeared’. The event generated international outrage which almost led to the breaking of diplomatic relations between Sweden and Argentina.

Four French citizens fell victim of Pinochet. They were:

–  Alfonso Chanfreau, a member of the Movimiento Izquierda Revolucionaria – Revolutionary Left-wing Movement, M.I.R. On 30 July 1974 he was arrested by the D.I.N.A. His wife Erika was also arrested the next morning “so that her husband would talk.” Imprisoned for 15 days at a torture centre in the middle of Santiago, the couple were brutally tortured. Erika was transferred to other detention centres and then expelled to France with their daughter Natalia. Alfonso Chanfreau was transferred on 13 August 1974 to the ‘Villa Grimaldi’ where his legs were crushed with a vehicle, before being taken back to the previous torture centre. He ‘disappeared’ afterwards.

–  Jean-Yves Claudet was a member of M.I.R. in charge of international relations.  Arrested on two occasions in 1973, he remained in detention for one year. On his release he was taken to the French Embassy and put on a flight to France. From France, Claudet helped to set up a M.I.R. cell in Argentina. He went to Buenos Aires on 30 October 1975. He was arrested on 1 November 1975 by agents of the Argentine secret police S.I.D.E., in the framework of Operation Condor. A D.I.N.A. representative in Buenos Aires, in a memorandum addressed to his superiors, subsequently informed them that Jean-Yves Claudet “Ya no existe”   –   no longer exists.

–  George Klein was an advisor to President Allende. He was by the side of Allende when La Moneda was bombed. On 13 September he was taken away with twenty other persons in a dumper lorry and ‘disappeared’. Evidence collected during the investigation of the case relates that he might have been taken to the Peldehue grounds, where he was killed by machine gun fire.

–  Étienne Pesle was in charge of land reform at the Institute for the Development of Agriculture and Fishing in Temuco. He was arrested there on 12 September, released and rearrested on 19 September 1973. He ‘disappeared’ from that day; it was reported that he had been killed and then dumped into the sea.

Argentine poet Juan Gelman was tortured but his son and daughter were ‘disappeared’. Gelman survived to seek redress from Spanish justice.

Bernardo Leighton, a Chilean Christian Democrat was targeted by Operation Condor. According to C.I.A. documents released by the National Security Archive, in 1975 in Madrid, Italian terrorist connected with ‘Gladio’ Stefano Delle Chiaie met with D.I.N.A. agent Michael Townley and Cuban Virgilio Paz Romero to prepare, with the help of  Franco’s secret police, the murder of Leighton. He and his wife were later severely injured by gunshots while in exile in Rome.

Carmelo Soria, a Spanish born Chilean diplomat and a member of the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean in the 1970s, was assassinated by D.I.N.A. agents as a part of Operation Condor.  Pinochet will be personally indicted in this case.

The international prosecutions of human rights crimes of the military governments of the Southern Cone began in 1976, with cases brought in Spain, Argentina, Italy, and Chile against the leaders of Operation Condor. The foremost example is the Spanish case against Pinochet starting in 1996. Spain charged that the leaders of Chile and Argentina had committed human rights crimes as part of a criminal syndicate which financed their terrorist activities with the national budget, and whose victims included many Spaniards and also tens of thousands of citizens of other countries, who were kidnapped, detained, assassinated or ‘disappeared’ in actions committed in many states of America and Europe.  In Argentina the National Commission on the Disappearance of Persons, formed in 1983, began investigating Condor-related human rights abuses.

A pioneer and advocate of universal jurisdiction, Judge Baltasar Garzón of the Audiencia Nacional would gain worldwide recognition by securing the arrest of Pinochet in London in 1998 for crimes committed in Chile in the 1970s. This ushered in the heyday of international justice.

The Pinochet case inspired victims of abuse throughout Latin America to challenge transitions from dictatorship which allowed the perpetrators of atrocities to go unpunished. These temporary accommodations with the anciens régimes did not extinguish the thirst of victims and relatives to find out the truth and to bring their tormentors to justice. International and national courts ruled that amnesties could not stand in the way of a state’s duty to investigate the worst international crimes.

On 10 October 1998 Judge Garzón issued an international arrest warrant when he learned that Pinochet was in London for a medical check-up. Pinochet was arrested on 16 October. At the heart of the indictment were the deaths and ‘disappearances’ of Argentines, Chileans, Spaniards and others during Pinochet’s dictatorship.

The charges included 94 counts of torture of Spanish citizens, the 1975 assassination of Spanish diplomat Carmelo Soria, and one count of conspiracy to commit torture   – allegations of abuses had been made numerous times before Pinochet’s arrest, including since the beginning of his rule, but never acted upon. Still struggling with the conditions set by the difficult transition to democracy, the Chilean government of the Concertación   –   the Consultative Government, then headed by President Eduardo Frei, opposed his arrest, extradition to Spain, and trial.

Initially, Judge Garzón sought the indictments because of the murder of Spanish citizens, but later he broadened his jurisdiction on the basis of crimes against humanity regardless of the nationality of the victims. This was no rash decision; it was the logical result of at least two years of painstaking investigation in Spain into both the Argentine and Chilean dictatorships. Had he not investigated the crimes committed in Argentina, Judge Garzón   –   quite likely   – might not have reached Pinochet. Another judge before him had been exposed and had yielded to pressure from political, military and business circles, and placed the case aside. The Chilean case fell on Judge Garzón’s lap because of that surrender of judicial independence.

Investigation of the Argentine case led Judge Garzón to Operation Condor. Since 1996 Judge Garzón had gathered mountains of incriminating evidence on Condor, including documents from the C.I.A., D.I.N.A. and the F.B.I. Based in Santiago, Operation Condor had worked closely with the D.I.N.A., and reported directly to Pinochet.

Judge Garzón’s original extradition warrant called for Pinochet to stand trial for genocide, terrorism and torture: Art. 23.4 of the 1985 Ley Orgánica del Poder Judicial  –   Organic Law of the Judicial Power, specifically confers on Spanish courts jurisdiction for these crimes. Garzón further charged Pinochet with ‘crimes against humanity,’ as defined by the 1946 Nuremberg Principles. These ‘universal crimes against basic humane standards’   –  which include systematic torture, killings, ‘disappearance’, et cetera   –  are not subject to the statute of limitations and can be tried at any time in any nation under the principle of universal jursdiction. Judge Garzón also cited the major international human-rights treaties and conventions to which Chile, Spain and the United Kingdom are signatories.

Judge Garzón was quite familiar with the work of The [Chilean] National Commission for Truth and Reconciliation, the Rettig Commission and with the Retting Report, issued in February 1991. The Rettig Commission had strengthened the basis for the warrant, marking an unprecedented use of universal jurisdiction to attempt to try a former dictator for an international crime.

Pinochet would be held under house arrest for seventeen months in London, pending a decision on his extradition to Spain, until March 2000, when the Home Secretary of the Blair Government decided to release him on the ground that the dictator was deemed unfit to stand trial.

The British Establishment, still under the spell of Margaret Thatcher who had long been a visceral admirer of Pinochet’s ‘radical free market economic policies’ and who wrote immediately a letter to The Times demanding the release of her friend,   found itself in a political storm at home and in a diplomatic difficulty with Chile.

For seventeen months a battle would be hard-fought through the English legal system. Immediately upon his arrest Pinochet protested that Chile’s sovereignty was being violated and claimed immunity from prosecution as a former head of state under the State Immunity Act 1978. On 28 October 1998 the Divisional Court of the Queen’s Bench Division decided in his favour. Meanwhile the Chilean Government protested at the arrest.

On appeal, on 25 November 1998 the House of Lords reversed the lower court’s decision and held, by a three to two decision, that a former head of state is not entitled to immunity for such acts as illegal detention, torture and crimes against humanity committed while he was in his post.

On 10 December 1998 the Home Secretary issued an ‘Authority to proceed’ in order to allow the continuation of extradition proceedings. In so ordering he said to have had regard to such relevant considerations as the health of Pinochet, the passage of time since the commission of the acts and the political stability of Chile. While denying ‘Authority to proceed’ on the charge of genocide, the Home Secretary stated that all the other charges in the Spanish request of extradition amounted to extradition crimes and were not of a political character.

But things did no proceed that smoothly. There was a glitch. Lord Hoffman who had voted with the majority was known as a strong supporter of Amnesty International, and this was considered as a possible stain on the judgment.

Dramatically, on 17 December 1998 the Appeals Committee of the House of Lords reconsidered the decision and decided that, in the interest of transparency in justice, it was proper to set aside its prior judgment and to grant a re-hearing of the case. A new hearing before a panel of seven Law Lords was scheduled for 24 March 1999.

Immediately, the Fédération Internationale des Ligues des Droits de l’Homme   – International Federation for Human Rights, F.I.D.H., which gathers 164 human rights organisations throughout the world, expressed its disappointment about the 17 December 1998 decision by the Appeals Committee, which invalidated the previous decision taken by the members of the same Court on 25 November 1998, a decision which legitimately refused Pinochet the status of immunity.  At the same time, however, the F.I.D.H. noted that the decision was exclusively motivated by a legal irregularity consisting in a suspicion of partiality weighing on Lord Hoffmann   –   which was a debatable point seeing that Amnesty International was not a litigant in the Pinochet case, but rather auditioned as a third party during the trial. The F.I.D.H. therefore called upon the judges of the House of Lords, who were to be asked to examine the substance of the case, to uphold the previous decision and thus to confirm that it was not possible to invoke immunity status for an ex-head of state suspected of massive human rights violations  –  that he had even attempted to justify  –  and which could not, in any case, be considered as part of his functions.

In F.I.D.H.’s view British justice should play its duty to join in the struggle against a finally unsteadied impunity, which had recently  –  with the adoption of the International Criminal Court and the Pinochet case – witnessed an exceptional international movement mobilised to enable the prosecution of those responsible for the worst human rights violations.

The F.I.D.H. finally recalled that legal procedures against Pinochet had not only been undertaken by Spain, but also by other European countries, which had consequently prepared formal extradition requests. Furthermore, certain complaints, including those lodged in France, did not even raise the issue of immunity of jurisdiction since they concerned facts which occurred either before Pinochet was proclaimed as head of state, or crimes of ‘forced disappearance’ which were to be regarded as crimes of a continuous nature.

In the meantime the Chilean Government requested the release of the former dictator on the basis of various legal arguments, and stated the wish to have him returned to Chile for trial before the Chilean courts following complaints lodged against him there.

The F.I.D.H., along with its affiliated organisation in Chile, the Corporación de Defensa y Promoción de los Derechos del Pueblo   –  Commission for the Promotion of Peoples’ Rights, C.O.D.E.P.U. sent an International Mission of Enquiry to  study the present state of complaints against Pinochet and against Chilean Army officers in general. This Mission worked in Santiago from 3 to 10 March 1999. It was composed of Messrs. Claude Katz, a barrister in Paris and Secretary General  of the F.I.D.H., Antonio Donate, a Spanish judge and member of the ‘Judges for Democracy Association’, and Juan Carlos, barrister in Buenos Aires and member of the ‘Legal Action Committee’. The Mission found various obstacles to bringing a legal case against Pinochet : 1) Decree Law of 19 April 1978 granting amnesty for acts occurring from 11 September 1973 to 10 March 1978, the period in which the most serious crimes were committed by the Chilean dictatorship, 2) a full interpretation of constitutional and legal texts giving jurisdiction to military courts over civil courts, 3) the immunity enjoyed by Pinochet as Senator for life, appointed under Art.45 of the 1980 Constitution.

There was no evidence which would allow the Mission to anticipate the removal of these obstacles to allow prosecution of Pinochet. More generally, the Mission noted that out of 3,197 cases brought before Truth and Reconciliation Commission only 19 had resulted in convictions since 1990, the year of Chile’s transition to democracy. These were mainly convictions of low-level officers.

Certainly these obstacles could be formally removed, but the Constitution then in force, drawn up in 1980 by Pinochet himself, conferred a primary role on the Senate, in view of its power to nominate Supreme Court judges and to lift the immunity of Pinochet. The Mission acknowledged the important investigations accomplished by Judge Juan  Guzmán Tapia, who would gain international recognition for being the first judge to prosecute Pinochet on human rights charges after Pinochet’s return to Chile from London.  As at 16 March 1999 Judge Guzmán was in charge of 18 cases covering several thousand victims, following substantial evidence of crimes committed by Pinochet and other military officers. Judge Guzmán held that the crime of illegal detention followed by ‘disappearance’ is a crime not affected by any amnesty law.

On 24 March 1999 the House of Lords rendered its final decision on the case. By a vote of six to one it was held that Pinochet was not entitled to absolute immunity, but only as from 8 December 1988 and only with respect to some charge as brought by Spain.  The judgment held that before that date Pinochet had immunity from legal proceedings in English courts. A narrow view of an international treaty signed and ratified by several countries, including Britain, Chile and Spain, was the ground for the decision.  This invalidated most, but not all, of the charges against Pinochet; but the outcome was that extradition could proceed.

These judgments are historic and constituted a new step forward in the evolution of international criminal law and the exercise of universal jurisdiction.

The F.I.D.H. welcomed the new ruling by the House of Lords, partially confirming the preceding decision of the same jurisdiction, dated 25 November 1998, which had been invalidated the following 17 December.

The decision confirmed the advance of International Law in the fight against impunity and responded to the requirement of justice for victims.

Nevertheless, the F.I.D.H. had some reservations about  the ruling of the House of Lords in which it had restricted the extradition of Pinochet to Spain to the sole acts of torture that he committed after 1988. The F.I.D.H. considered that these acts of torture were part of a larger category of crimes against humanity, and could not be subject to any statute of limitations or amnesty. The F.I.D.H. recalled that, in any case, this restriction had no impact on the other grounds invoked by Judge Garzón, and employed to justify the extradition request with international warrants against Pinochet, in particular the crime of terrorism and the crime of ‘disappearance’, the latter being considered a continuous crime. The F.I.D.H. asked the British authorities to proceed rapidly in extraditing Pinochet to Spain, so that he could be judged following the complaints lodged against him.

The F.I.D.H. underlined, on the other hand, that several procedures had been started in other European countries in regard to Pinochet with extradition requests made, and reiterated its request to the British authorities to follow up on these demands.

In April 1999 former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and former President George H. W. Bush called upon the British Government to release Pinochet. They urged that Pinochet be allowed to return to his homeland rather than be forced to go to Spain. On the other hand, United Nations High Commissioner of Human Rights, Mary Robinson, hailed the Lords’ ruling, declaring that it was a clear endorsement that torture is an international crime subject to universal jurisdiction. Furthermore, Amnesty International and the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture demanded Pinochet extradition to Spain. Finally, in protest against Spain’s action, Chile withdrew for a time its ambassador from Madrid.

Strangely, the House of Lords’ reasoning had become quite different. Previously, they had argued that Pinochet did not have state immunity because crimes against humanity could not be regarded as the actions of a head of state; only actions of the state brought immunity with them. Since this was an argument based on the scope of immunity as such, this judgment said in effect that any former head of state lost their immunity once they engaged in crimes against humanity. Now, however, the restriction of immunity was argued for in a more clearly legally grounded way, by explicit reference to an international treaty signed, ratified and  –  in theory  –   made effective by, among others, Britain, Chile and Spain.

It followed that immunity was not recognised from crimes covered by the United Nations Convention Against Torture when the convention came into effect in Britain on 8 December 1988. Pinochet had immunity before that date but no immunity after. Therefore, most of the charges brought by Spain could not be of consequence in British courts for the extradition of Pinochet. Only two of the charges could be considered: one of torture and another of conspiracy to torture.

The case was returned to the Home Secretary, Jack Straw, so that he might reconsider his position vis-à-vis the ‘Authority to proceed’ to extradition. The ruling on the basis of which Straw had issued his first Authority had now been overruled, and therefore he would have to consider the case afresh.

Judge Garzón wasted no time in submitting further allegations to the Crown Prosecution Service which would meet the requirements laid down by the Law Lords. He proffered 43 additional charges of torture and conspiracy to torture which had taken place after 8 December 1988. He further argued that all cases of ‘disappearance’ should be considered under the 1992 United Nations Declaration on the Protection of Disappeared Persons as cases of torture.

Pinochet’s lawyers applied for a judicial review of the Home Secretary’ earlier ‘Authority to proceed’; and, further, they requested a writ of habeas corpus for the release of Pinochet from house arrest.  The Law Lords adjourned the hearings to 15 April on both requests to give time to the Home Secretary to reconsider his position.  On that date the Home Secretary anew issued an ‘Authority to proceed’, on the ground that what charges remained were sufficient for the extradition of Pinochet. There were no apparent reasons to stop extradition proceedings, either on humanitarian grounds of Pinochet alleged ill-health or on political grounds: consideration for a budding democracy in Chile and the pass-partout ‘national interest’. Pinochet’s lawyers application for a judicial review was turned down on 27 May 1999. They could have made another, similar application, but on 7 June the defence team decided against this. Extradition proceedings would finally commence.

On 8 October 1999 Ronald Bartle, Deputy Chief Metropolitan Magistrate ruled that under the 1989 Extradition Act it was clear that Pinochet could indeed be extradited to Spain, subject to the Home Secretary’s final decision. The Deputy Magistrate allowed the additional charges proffered by Judge Garzón and, importantly, decided that charges of conspiracy and of ‘disappearance’ before 8 December 1988 could be included, on the ground that conspiracy is a continuous offence and “the effect on the families of those who disappeared can amount to mental torture.”

It was clear that Pinochet’s legal defences were quickly running out. So his lawyers, citing frail and deteriorating health, asked that Pinochet be released. As evidence, they provided a report from a medical examination   –   done without the presence of physicians called by the prosecution and without the appropriate neurological, gerontological, and psychiatric specialists.

On 5 November 1999 the Home Secretary requested that Pinochet submit himself to independent medical tests to ascertain whether in fact he was as ill as he claimed to be. No specific details had been provided at this point, nor was the prosecution provided with a copy of any report.

After some medical tests, the Home Secretary ruled in January 2000 that Pinochet should not be extradited. This triggered protests from human rights non-government organisations, and led the Belgian Government, along with six human rights groups   –    including Amnesty International   –     immediately to file a complaint against Straw’s decision before the International Court of Justice.  Belgium, as well as France and Switzerland, had filed extradition requests in the wake of Spain’s request. For the first time several European judges had applied the principle of universal jurisdiction, declaring themselves competent to judge crimes committed by former heads of state, despite local amnesty laws.

On 12 January 2000 the F.I.D.H. sent an open letter to the Home Secretary. In it, it indicated that it was “extremely preoccupied by your latest decision to free the former Chilean dictator, Augusto Pinochet, for ‘medical reasons’. The F.I.D.H. finds this decision shocking as it supposes that Pinochet’s failing health condition would absolve him of any responsibility with regards to crimes committed during his dictatorship.” Furthermore, although this decision is said to be based on medical expert reports which conclude that “Pinochet would be unfit to stand trial, and that no change to that position can be expected,” the F.I.D.H. was concerned by the fact that the medical reports had been evaluated in secret by the Home Secretary, rather than by a court, and without any possibility for the prosecution to challenge the medical examinations.

“Your office  –    wrote the F.I.D.H.   –    has repeatedly maintained that the Pinochet case was a judicial matter for the courts, yet, it appears that the medical examinations and reports relating to Augusto Pinochet’s health have not been subject to judicial supervision. The F.I.D.H. thus requests that a counter medical examination be undertaken and that the prosecution be entitled to see and challenge the medical reports. Furthermore, it should be up to the courts and not a political official to decide whether Augusto Pinochet is fit to undergo trial on torture and crimes against humanity.”

Despite all that, the Home Secretary decided to release Pinochet on the ground that, according to the examination, the defendant had suffered two small strokes and would be unable adequately to manage his defence. The prosecution made a predictably vigorous appeal, asking that it also be allowed to examine the defendant. In an extraordinary action, the president of the Ethics Committee of the British Medical Association also lodged a protest, arguing that ‘medical confidentiality’ was being mis-used. As a defendant, Pinochet’s medical condition was of ‘forensic importance,’ with the public issues far outweighing concerns for personal privacy. Adding to the controversy was public disagreement among the examining physicians as to Pinochet’s condition and prognosis.

The secrecy surrounding the examination itself, and the ambiguity of the findings, tainted the proceedings, which appeared simply to collapse under political pressure.

On 3 March 2000 Pinochet flew back to Chile. While in London, he was always photographed sitting weakly in his wheelchair; on the tarmac in Santiago, he spontaneously rose to his feet, and walked to his supporters, without even using his cane. He was first greeted by his successor as head of the Chilean Armed Forces, General Ricardo Izurieta !

That very month the Chilean Congress approved a constitutional amendment introducing the status of ‘ex-president,’ which granted Pinochet immunity from prosecution and guaranteed him a financial allowance. In exchange, it required him to resign from his seat of senator-for-life. Of the legislators, 111 voted for, and 29   –   mostly, if not all, from the Left   –    against.

On 7 August 2000 the Chilean Supreme Court lifted Pinochet’s parliamentary immunity with regards to the events of the Caravana de la muerte   –   the Caravan of death case. The Caravan of death was a Chilean Army death squad which, following the coup, flew by helicopter from south to north of Chile between 30 September and 22 October 1973.

On l December 2000 Judge Juan Guzmán Tapia’s was able to charge Pinochet for the kidnapping of  75 opponents in the Caravan of death case. Judge Guzmán advanced the charge of kidnapping as the 75 were officially ‘disappeared’: even though they were all most likely dead, the absence of their corpses made any charge of homicide quite difficult. But ten days later the procedure was suspended by the Court of Appeal of Santiago for medical reasons. Beside the Caravan of death, 177 other complaints had been filed against Pinochet.

In January 2001 court-appointed examining physicians stated that Pinochet was suffering from a ‘light dementia’, which did not impede him from facing Chilean justice. Therefore, on 29 January 2001 Judge Guzmán indicted Pinochet for his responsibility as indirect perpetrator of crimes of kidnapping and murdering of 57 people and as a direct perpetrator of 18 more murders, and ordered his arrest. However, the judicial procedure was again suspended on 9 July 2001 because of alleged ill-health reasons.

In July 2002 the Supreme Court dismissed Pinochet’s indictment in the various human rights abuse cases, on the ground that he suffered with ‘vascular dementia’. The debate on Pinochet’s mental faculties continued, his legal team claiming that he was senile and could not remember, while others specialists claimed that he was only physically affected but retained all control of his faculties.

Pinochet would spend the last four years of his life in the indignity of pleading, maybe simulating, dementia and the sadness of suffering from it.

Shrewdly, he resigned from his senatorial seat shortly after the Supreme Court’s July 2002 ruling, thus benefiting from the 2000 constitutional amendment granting him some immunity from prosecution. Thereafter, he tried to live quietly   –   or so he hoped, rarely made public appearances and was notably absent from the events marking the 30th commemorations of the coup on 11 September 2003. But on 28 May 2004 the Court of Appeals overturned its precedent decision, and ruled that he was capable of standing trial. In arguing their case, the prosecution submitted a recent televised interview that Pinochet had given for a Miami-based television network, which raised doubts about his alleged mental incapacity.  The judges agreed and, on 27 August 2004   –    in a 9 to 8 vote, the Supreme Court confirmed the decision that Pinochet should lose his senatorial immunity from prosecution, this time with regards to the forced disappearances during the  Operación Cóndor.

Pinochet was charged with several crimes on 2 December of that year   –   including the 1974 assassination of General Prats, and the Operation Colombo case which cost 119 lives   –    and was again placed under house arrest. Questioned by his judges in order to know if, as President, he was the direct head of D.I.N.A., he answered: “I do not remember, but it is not true. And if it were true, I do not remember.”

On 13 December 2004 Judge Guzmán indicted Pinochet over the ‘disappearance’ of nine opposition activists and the killing of one of them during the regime. In January 2005 the Chilean Army accepted institutional responsibility for past human rights abuses. The Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals ruling in the Prats case on 24 March 2005, and thereby affirmed Pinochet’s immunity.

In the Operation Colombo case, involving the killing of 119 dissidents, the Supreme Court decided on 14 September 2005 to strip Pinochet of his immunity. The following day he was acquitted of the human rights case due to his ill-health. Late in November he was again deemed fit to stand trial by the Supreme Court and was indicted on human rights offences, for the ‘disappearance’ of six dissidents arrested by Chile’s security services in late 1974, and again placed under house arrest, on the eve of his 90th birthday.

On 9 September 2006 Pinochet was stripped of his immunity by the Supreme Court and indicted by Judge Alejandro Madrid   –  Judge Guzmán’s successor in the case   –    for kidnappings and torture at the ‘Villa Grimaldi’ detention centre  and on other grounds.

On 26 September 2006 the Inter-American Court, in the case of Almonacid Arellano confirmed the incompatibility between the amnesty decree and the American Convention of Human Rights and therefore decided that the amnesty had no legal effect.

On 18 October 2006 Judge Alejandro Solis interrogated Pinochet, who was then under house arrest for his role in the torture of 23 survivors and the ‘disappearance’ of 36 others in the ‘Villa Grimaldi’ torture centre. Furthermore, Pinochet was indicted in October 2006 for the assassination of D.I.N.A. biochemist Eugenio Berrios in 1995. On 30 October Pinochet was charged with 36 counts of kidnapping, 23 counts of torture, and one of murder for the torture and ‘disappearance’ of opponents of his regime at ‘Villa Grimaldi’.

On 27 November 2006 Pinochet was again ordered to house arrest for the kidnapping and murder of two bodyguards of Salvador Allende who were arrested on 9/11 and executed by a firing squad of the Caravan of death.  The day after  Judge Víctor Montiglio charged Pinochet in the Caravan of death case, and ordered him to house arrest.

Still charged of a number of crimes, Pinochet died on 10 December 2006   –   ironically on Human Rights Declaration Day, possibly demented, possibly unable to distinguish the time when he was pray of dementia from that when he found it convenient to simulate it, possibly unconscious, hence un-haunted by his crimes, and anyway without having been convicted in any case, at least in life.

At the end of 2010 Pinochet will be tried in absentia with 14 other Chilean officers before a French court.

In the days which followed Pinochet arrest on 16 October 1998 in London, the families of nine French citizens who had been ‘disappeared’ or were executed in Chile or in Argentina –   but for acts which could be attributed to the Chilean military Junta    –     between 11 September 1973 and 9 February 1977, filed complaints in France to obtain the truth and justice that they had not obtained in Chile. Isabelle Ropert filed the first complaint on behalf of her brother, Enrique Ropert, who was arrested on 11 September 1973 in front of La Moneda and then found dead on 20 October 1973 at the Santiago morgue.

The complaints filed by the families of Alfonso Chanfreau, Jean-Yves Claudet, Georges Klein and Étienne Pesle were the only ones to be recognised as admissible by the French courts. The courts have in fact affirmed the continuing nature of the crime of enforced disappearance, since the victims’ bodies have never been found. In French law this crime of ‘disappearance’ is categorised as arrest and illegal detention, aggravated by torture and barbarous acts.

The question emerged immediately as to the extra-territorial jurisdiction of French courts.

Based on the work of the National Commission for Truth and Reconciliation   –    the Rettig Commission, the National Reparation and Reconciliation Corporation   –   set up in 1990 and 1992 respectively and relating only to violations of the right to life, and the National Commission on Political Prison and Torture  –  set up in 2003 and known as the Valech Commission, the Chilean State officially recognised 3,197 victims of ‘disappearances’ or executions and 28,461 victims of torture.  The limited mandate of those organisations and the impossibility for many victims to appeal to them due to their feeling of insecurity, especially at the beginning of the 1990s, and their restrictive mandates, have consequently left hundreds of victims unidentified.

In February 2010 the so-called Rettig and Valech Commissions were reinstated for a very brief period to enable new victims to make themselves known during a six month period and thus benefit from certain reparation measures.  The intention of these Truth Commissions was not to establish individual responsibility, nor to render justice.

The trial in France also permitted proceedings to be brought again in Chile. By the end of the dictatorship in 1990 it had been possible to file only a few complaints and these had been discontinued through almost automatic application of the amnesty law.  And by the time of Pinochet’s return to Santiago in 2000 the dictatorship’s victims had filed 60 complaints against Pinochet. Two months later there were nearly 100 and, when he died on 10 December 2006, never having been tried, there were more than 400, especially for enforced disappearance, torture, sequestration of children and aggravated homicide. In 2001 special first instance judges were appointed to investigate these complaints, which have continuously increased since 1998. Some of these judges have done considerable work which has permitted the truth about the crimes committed to be revealed that some of them have qualified as crimes against humanity on the basis of international treaty and customary law.

To date in Chile not even 200 persons have been sentenced for crimes against humanity committed during the dictatorship, and no more than 53 have been gaoled or are under house arrest.  Slightly over 330 proceedings were still under way and of the less than 800 persons who are the subject of proceedings, no more than 56 are civilians.  The Chilean Supreme Court no longer applies the amnesty law, even though it is still on the statute book. The low sentences, in recent years applying the rule of ‘partial statute of limitations’, are absolutely disproportionate to the seriousness of the crimes.

Taking into consideration the length of time since the events and the current behaviour of the perpetrators of the crimes being tried, in very many cases this rule results in those found guilty walking away free as soon as the verdict is rendered. In addition justice is very slow: 65 per cent of the ongoing proceedings    –   often after the proceedings have lasted more than ten years   –    are still at the preliminary stage.  Very few of the civilian leaders under the dictatorship are concerned about justice. The Chilean legal system is confronted with echoes of the structure of impunity created by Pinochet and his followers in preparation for the transition.

None of the proceedings in Chile concerned those accused of acts committed against the four Franco-Chilean victims. The trial about to take place in Paris was without precedent.

The F.I.D.H. and its affiliates in Chile and in France, Corporación de Promoción y Defensa de los Derechos del Pueblo, C.O.D.E.P.U., the Ligue des droits de l’Homme, League of the Rights of Man and the Citizen, L.D.H., as well as the Association of former Chilean political prisoners in France and the Association France Latin America had joined the lawsuit as civil parties as early as July 1999, and in that capacity were appearing alongside the families of the four Frenchmen.  By intervening as a civil party in a criminal trial, a party who was not directly the victim of the crime lodges a claim for damages. Such party may take part in the trial, adducing witnesses, submitting evidence, statements and expert opinions.

As previously noted, the investigation of the case had been opened by Judge Roger Le Loire on 30 October 1998. He was the judge who had attempted to question Kissinger in May 2001 as a witness for alleged U.S. involvement in Operation Condor and for possible U.S. knowledge in connection to the ‘disappearance’ of five French citizens in Chile during the Pinochet regime.

The investigation was closed by Judge Sophie Clément, who issued an order for indictment before the Cour d’Assises  –  the highest French criminal court on 21 February 2007.

France issued international arrest warrants against 19 persons, including Pinochet. He was being prosecuted for his direct personal criminal responsibility in the torture and ‘disappearance’ of the four victims, as Commander-in-Chief of the Chilean Land Army and head of the military Junta, and fourteen formers senior leaders of the dictatorship were charged of the kidnapping, torture and ‘disappearance’ of four French and/or French/Chilean citizens: Alfonso Chanfreau, Jean-Yves Claudet, Georges Klein and Étienne Pesle.

Initially, according to a 12 February 2008 announcement by the F.I.D.H., C.O.D.E.P.U., and the L.D.H., the trial was to have taken place between 19 and 23 May 2008. It was postponed.

The proceedings were finally scheduled to take place before the Paris Cour d’Assises from 8 to 17 December 2010.

Pinochet had died just a few weeks before Judge Sophie Clément issued an order for his indictment.  The other accused were: 1) Javier Secundo Emilio Palacios Ruhmann, formerly a General of the Chilean Land Army, responsible for leading the attack on La Moneda Presidential Palace, 2) Osvaldo Romo Mena, formerly a  Land Army Commander assigned to D.I.N.A., 3) Andres Rigoberto Pacheco Cardenas, formerly an Air Force Colonel and Commander of the base at Maquehue, 4) Paul Schaeffer Schneider, formerly the head of ‘Colonia Dignidad’ and a former Nazi war criminal, 5) Juan Manuel Contreras Sepúlveda, formerly the head of D.I.N.A. and a former General of the Chilean Land Army, 6) Hermán Julio Brady Roche, formerly Commander-in-Chief of the Santiago garrison, 7) Pedro Octavio Espinoza Bravo, formerly a Colonel of the Land Army, Director of Operations and Chief of the D.I.N.A. Metropolitan Intervention Brigade, 8) José Osvaldo Riveiro, formerly a Lieutenant-Colonel of the Land Army, 9) Marcelo Luís Moren Brito, formerly a Commander of the Land Army, assigned to D.I.N.A., 10) Miguel Krasnoff Martchenko, formerly a Captain of the Land Army, assigned to D.I.N.A., 11) Rafael Francisco Ahumada Valderrama, formerly an Officer of the Tacna Regiment, 12) Gerardo Ernesto Godoy García, formerly a Sub-Lieutenant of the Land Army, assigned to D.I.N.A., 13) Basclay Humberto Zapata Reyes, formerly a non-commissioned officer of the Land Army, assigned to D.I.N.A., 14) Enrique Lautaro Arranciabia Clavel, formerly D.I.N.A. representative in Argentina, 15) Raúl Eduardo Iturriaga Neumann, formerly D.I.N.A. foreign affairs official, 16) Luís Joachim Ramírez Pineda, formerly Commander of the Tacna camp, 17) José Octavio Zara Holger, formerly a Land Army officer posted to D.I.N.A., and 18) Emilio Sandoval Poo, formerly an Air Force military reservist, at the time of trial a company director in Temuco.

Four of the listed defendants had died before the trial could begin. All the others were aged between 59 and 89.  In the absence of an extradition treaty between Paris and Santiago, France was not in a position to force the presence of the defendants. None was present at the trial, although they were summoned by the Court. They were entitled to be represented by a lawyer in application of the in absentia procedure, but all refused.

All 14 of the living defendants were tried in absentia, making the case highly symbolic.

The French and Franco-Chilean victims at the heart of the trial were:

1) Alfonso Chanfreau, a French citizen, born in Santiago in 1950. He had married Erika Hennings with whom he had a daughter, Natalia. A member of the Movimiento Izquierda Revolucionaria –  Revolutionary Left-wing Movement, M.I.R., he became a Santiago city official following the coup on 11 September 1973. On 30 July 1974 Chanfreau was arrested at his home by D.I.N.A. operatives. Gerardo Godoy García and Osvaldo Romo Mena took part in this operation. His wife Erika was arrested the next morning “so that her husband would talk.” Imprisoned for 15 days at the ‘London 38’ torture centre in Santiago, the couple were brutally tortured, by Osvaldo Romo, Miguel Krasnoff Martchencko and Marcelo Moren Brito in particular. Erika was transferred to other detention centres and then expelled to France with their daughter Natalia. Alfonso was transferred on 13 August 1974 to the ‘Villa Grimaldi’ where his legs were crushed under a vehicle, before being taken back to the ‘London 38’ centre. He ‘disappeared’ afterwards and some witnesses indicated that he was taken to the ‘Colonia Dignidad’, a place set up by Paul Schaeffer, a former Nazi war criminal, where prisoners were tortured and the agents of D.I.N.A. were trained.

2) Jean-Yves Claudet, a French citizen, born in 1939 in Maipú, a suburb of Greater Santiago, who was married to Arhel Danus, with whom he had two sons, Étienne and Roger. Jean-Yves Claudet worked as an engineer and was a member of the Movimiento Izquierda Revolucionaria – Revolutionary Left-wing Movement, M.I.R. Arrested on two occasions in 1973, he remained in detention for one year. On his release he was immediately taken to the French Embassy and put on a flight to France.  From France, Claudet helped to set up a M.I.R. cell in Argentina. He went to Buenos Aires on 30 October 1975, with microfilms in his possession. He was arrested on 1 November 1975 by agents of S.I.D.E., the Argentine secret police, in the framework of Operation Condor. A D.I.N.A. representative in Buenos Aires, in a memorandum  addressed to his superiors, subsequently informed them that Claudet “Ya no existe”   –   no longer exists.

3) Georges Klein, a French citizen, born in 1945, a psychiatrist and personal physician and adviser to President Allende. He was married to Alice Vera Fausto; they had one daughter, Vanessa.  He had been active in the Socialist Party, and then in the Communist Party. Georges Klein was by the side of President Allende when La Moneda Palace was bombed. Like other defenders of the Palace, he was taken prisoner on the same day and driven by bus, with around forty other persons, to the Tacna Regiment    –   a land army artillery regiment. The regiment was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Luís Ramírez Pineda who, together with General Javier Palacios, reported to General Hermán Brady Roche, Commander-in-Chief of the Santiago garrison. When they arrived, the 40 prisoners were taken to the stables and ordered to lie on their stomachs with their legs spread and their hands behind their neck until the following day. According to several witnesses, the prisoners were subjected to ill treatment during their transfer and at the Tacna regiment: beaten violently, forced to remain immobile in the cold, deprived of food and water, threatened with death.  On 13 September Georges Klein was taken away from the Tacna Regiment with 20 other persons in a dumper lorry and ‘disappeared’. Evidence collected during the investigation relates that he might have been taken to the Peldehue grounds, where he was killed by machine gun fire on the orders of Major Rafael Ahumada Valderrama.

4) Étienne Pesle was born in France in 1927, went to Chile in 1953 to work with the destitute, married Aydée Mendez Caceres, with whom he had two children, Roberto and Anne-Marie. Pesle was in charge of land reform at the Institute for the Development of Agriculture and Fishing in Temuco. The Institute, the goals of which were in line with the policy defined by President Allende, was to redistribute lands to the poor peasants and especially to the Mapuche peasants in the Temuco region. He was first arrested on 12 September 1973, then release, and then re-arrested on 19 September at his workplace by soldiers wearing the Chilean Air Force uniform, including Emilio Sandoval Poo, a reserve officer. The group was commanded by Miguel Manriquez, a civilian pilot and landowner against whom Pesle had led expropriation operations which benefited the Mapuche Indians.  Pesle ‘disappeared’ from that day and his fate remains unknown. There is consistent evidence that he was taken to Maquehue, the air force base south of Temuco, where torture was systematically used and also applied by civilians. Some persons reported that he was killed and that his body was thrown into the sea from the private airplane of Miguel Manriquez.

“Amongst other things, these hearings will provide an opportunity to listen to historical testimony. Pinochet is dead, but this trial of the dictator, albeit posthumous, is the only trial of the whole system of repression that he established.” wrote Maîtres William Bourdon, Claude Katz and Benjamin Sarfati and Sophie Thonon, lawyers for the victims and the civil parties.

“The detention of Augusto Pinochet in London in 1998 helped revive the procedures initiated by the victims of the Chilean dictatorship both in Chile and abroad. The current trial, because of the nature of the crimes, not eligible for statute of limitation, transcends borders and contributes to the fight against impunity worldwide. It is now expected that the truth which will come out of this trial will be heard in Chile and will facilitate recognition of the realities of these crimes which are still far too little known.” said Hiram Villagra and Federico Aguirre, C.O.D.E.P.U. lawyers in Chile.

The trial opened as planned on 8 December 2010. It was based on complaints filed in 1998 by the victims’ families, who maintain that the Chilean justice system failed fully to investigate the four disappearances.  The trial was of historic value in several respects. Beyond recognition of the individual responsibility of the accused, the trial would be the opportunity to establish and punish the system of repression set up and operated by the Pinochet dictatorship which reigned in Chile from 1973 to 1990. Furthermore, proceedings were connected to significant events at the start of the dictatorship which would throw light on the way it functioned and make its modus operandi perfectly clear:  –  the bombing of La Moneda and the arrest of the advisers of Salvador Allende; –  the systematic repression of opponents –  amongst whom were activists of the Revolutionary Left-wing movement, M.I.R. and persons linked to the former government   –  such as those involved with the great land reform embarked on by Allende;  –  the extremely hierarchical operation of D.I.N.A., the Junta’s political police force under the direct orders of Augusto Pinochet and Manuel Contreras;  – Operación Cóndor, which aimed at eliminating opponents of the region’s dictatorial regimes;  –  the crimes systematically committed under Pinochet in torture centres such as ‘London 38’, ‘Villa Grimaldi’, or ‘Colonia Dignidad’.

This trial saw a number of witnesses who travelled from Chile to appear beside the plaintiff families. There would be not only witnesses to the events, such as the arrest, abduction, detention and torture of the four victims, but also experts who would give evidence of the context of those events and the internal condition in Chile, such as the Chilean lawyer and former United Nations Rapporteur, Roberto Garretón; Martín Almada, who discovered the Operation Condor archives; the American journalist John Dinges, a specialist on Operation Condor, the French magistrate Louis Joinet, and personalities from the world of human rights.

Through the trial France did render to the victims’ families that justice which had not been rendered in Chile.

Hoping for justice, the wives, children and brothers and sisters of the four men who vanished between 1973 and 1975 attended the trial from its beginning on 8 December.  Thus, for instance, Erika and Natalia Chanfreau were there, and so were Roberto and Anne-Marie Pesle.

In an unusual move, the top State Prosecutor had intervened to tell the Court that the trial had been “indispensable and necessary” even though the accused were not present.  The trial, he said, is not meant to “move the cursor of history towards justice” but to judge men who “let their basest instincts guide them.” using torture for “power by fear.”

On 17 December 2010 the President of the Paris Cour d’ Assises announced a landmark decision on relation the ‘disappearance’ of Alfonso Chanfeau, Jean-Yves Claudet, Georges Klein and Étienne Pesle.

The Court sentenced to life in gaol Juan Manuel Contreras Sepúlveda, who at the time headed Pinochet’s political police, and Pedro Octavio Espinoza Bravo, No. 2 in the political police unit. Three others, Hermán Julio Brady Roche, Marcelo Luís Moren Brito, Miguel Kraznoff Martchenko were given 30-year prison sentences. Six were sentenced to 25 years: Gerardo Godoy Ernesto García, Basclay Humberto Zapata Reyes, Enrique Lautaro Arranciaba Clavel, Raúl Iturriaga Neumann, Luís Joachim Ramírez Pineda, José Osvaldo Riveiro. One received a 20-year sentence: Rafael Francisco Ahumada Valderama, and one 15 years: Emilio Sandoval Poo. One defendant, 77-year-old Gen. José Octavio Zara Holger, was acquitted.

The Court’s decision went beyond the request of State Prosecutor who had sought 20-year prison terms for three of the defendants and 15 years for the remaining 11.

For the first time in the history of Chile, the legal system of another country would come to identify and punish acts committed by these perpetrators.

Families of the victims nevertheless took heart in the convictions more than 30 years after the four disappeared.

Applause broke out in the court room among families of the victims after the reading of the verdicts. “Five members of the military came to get my father. They were in air force uniform.” Roberto Pesle told France-Infos radio. “They took him in front of all of his work colleagues. That is how he disappeared.”  What happened next was speculation, Pesle said. “What they often did at that time was to get rid of the bodies by tossing them into a volcano or into the ocean.” His father’s body was never found.

Natalia Chanfreau, the daughter of one of the ‘disappeared’, said that the fact that the accused were unlikely to be arrested unless they tried to leave Chile did not detract from the trial’s significance. “What is important is the symbolic value of getting international condemnation of what happened.” she said.  “It is important, too, that the guilty know that impunity is not eternal and it is not universal.  … I was one year old when my father disappeared. I am now 37, so it is an entire life without the right to justice.” said Natalia Chanfreau. …  “There are still many things to do. I would like to know where [my father] is, and of course I would also like [the guilty] to be in prison … but for the moment, I am really happy.”

William Bourdon, the lawyer representing the families of three of the victims, underlined the significance of the trial as the only major trial in contemporary times which gave an overall picture of the Pinochet regime and which was “marked by something Pinochet invented, which was to erase opponents by making them disappear.”  …  “The French judges understood very well that they were not only judges for the French victims but also judges for all of mankind.” he said.  Noting the defendants’ absences, he said countries should be obliged to extradite even their own citizens when charged with international crimes.

“We hope this decision will lead the Chilean courts to act quickly, with total transparency and independence in relation to serious human rights violations committed during the dictatorship.” said Claude Katz, attorney for the F.I.D.H. and L.D.H.

On 23 December 2010, as the International Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearances entered into force, the F.I.D.H. hailed it as a decisive step in the protection of the rights of victims of this atrocious crime.  “The phenomenon of enforced disappearances is universal, affecting all continents. These horrific crimes not only target the ’disappeared’ persons themselves, but also their families and whole societies.” said Souhayr Belhassen, F.I.D.H. president.

More than 30 years after the adoption by the U.N. General Assembly of Resolution 33/173, December 1978, which for the first time referred to the issue of ‘Disappeared persons’, the International  Convention finally came to constitute a binding instrument containing important provisions for the protection of the rights of victims.

The legal significance of the Convention is remarkable, since it not only provides a legal definition of the crime of ‘enforced disappearance’, but also establishes a set of obligations of States to prevent and prosecute this crime through concrete measures at the national level. The Convention recognises in particular the right to information, the right to know the truth, the right to justice and the right to reparation.

“The right to know is a fundamental right, as the phenomenon of enforced disappearance breaks the daily life of families.” underlined the former U.N. Special Rapporteur, Louis Joinet, during his testimony at the Pinochet trial before the Paris Cour d’Assises.

As of December 2016, 96 states have signed the Convention and 54 have ratified it.

The Convention places an obligation on State parties to take measures to prosecute the perpetrators of this crime when they are present on their territories, under the principle of universal jurisdiction, irrespective of the nationality of the victims and the alleged perpetrators, as well the country where the crime was committed. Finally, the Convention sets up a Committee which will monitor implementation by State parties.

“We now urge states that have not yet ratified the Convention to do so and encourage those that are already party to the Convention to implement its provisions, including by incorporating the crime of enforced disappearance into their national legislation.” concluded Souhayr Belhassen.

On 11 September 2013, the 40th anniversary of the coup, the National Security Archive released thousands of documents which belong to the Chile Documentation Project directed by Peter Kornbluh, author of several books on the presence of the United States in Latin America.(P. Kornbluh, The Pinochet File: A declassified dossier on atrocity and accountability, The New Press, New York, N.Y. 1989, with updated edition, 11 September 2013)

At a special ‘Tribute to Justice’ on  9 September 2013, in New York, Kornbluh had received the Charles Horman Truth Foundation Award for the Archive’s work in obtaining the declassification of thousands of formerly secret documents on Chile after Pinochet’s arrest in London in October 1998. Other awardees included Spanish Judge Baltazar Garzón, who had Pinochet detained in London; and Chilean judge Juan Guzmán Tapia, who prosecuted him after he returned to Chile in 2000.

Ten of those documents were posted on the same day. (National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 437)

They unequivocally clarify Kissinger’s responsibility for the coup.

Here is Kissinger, urging Nixon to overthrow the democratically elected Allende government in Chile because his “ ‘model’ effect can be insidious.”  The posted records spotlight Kissinger’s role as the principal policy architect of the United States’ efforts to oust the Chilean leader, and assist in the consolidation of the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile.

The documents include transcripts of Kissinger’s ‘telcons’   –   telephone conversations  –   which were never shown to the special Senate Committee chaired by Senator Frank Church in the mid 1970s which produced the United States Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, 1975.   The new documents  provide key details about the arguments, decisions, and operations Kissinger made and supervised during his tenure as National Security Adviser and Secretary of State.

“These documents provide the verdict of history on Kissinger’s singular contribution to the denouement of democracy and rise of dictatorship in Chile.” said Peter Kornbluh at the launch of his book’s new edition. “They are the evidence of his accountability for the events of forty years ago.”

The posting included a Kissinger ‘telcon’ with Nixon which records their first conversation after the coup. During the conversation Kissinger tells Nixon that the U.S. had ‘helped’ the coup. He says: “[Word omitted] created the conditions as best as possible.” When Nixon complained about the “liberal crap” in the media about Allende’s overthrow, Kissinger advised him: “In the Eisenhower period, we would be heroes.”

That ‘telcon’ appeared for the first time in the newly revised edition of Kornbluh’s book. Several of the other documents posted on 11 September 2013 had  appeared for the first time in the original edition.

Among the key revelations in the documents:

On  12 September, eight days after Allende’s election, Kissinger initiated discussion on the telephone with C.I.A. director Richard Helm’s about a preemptive coup in Chile. “We will not let Chile go down the drain.” Kissinger declared. “I am with you.” Helms reassured him. Their conversation took place three days before President Nixon, in a 15-minute meeting which included Kissinger, ordered the C.I.A. to “make the economy scream” and named Kissinger as the supervisor of the covert efforts to keep Allende from being inaugurated. Since the Kissinger/Helms ‘telcon’ was not known to the Church Committee, the Senate report on American intervention in Chile and subsequent histories date the initiation of U.S. efforts to sponsor regime change in Chile to the 15 September meeting. (Document 1, Telcon, Helms – Kissinger, 12 September 1970, 12:00 noon)

Kissinger ignored a recommendation from his top deputy on the National Security Council, Viron Vaky, who strongly advised against covert action to undermine Allende. On 14 September Vaky wrote a memorandum to Kissinger arguing that coup plotting would lead to “widespread violence and even insurrection.” He also argued that such a policy was immoral: “What we propose is patently a violation of our own principles and policy tenets.  … If these principles have any meaning, we normally depart from them only to meet the gravest threat to us, e.g. to our survival. Is Allende a mortal threat to the U.S.? It is hard to argue this.” (Document 2: Viron Vaky to Kissinger, “Chile – 40 Committee Meeting, Monday – 14 September 1970)

After U.S. covert operations, which led to the assassination of Chilean Commander in Chief of the Armed forces General René Schneider, failed to stop Allende’s inauguration on  4 November 1970, Kissinger lobbied President Nixon to reject the State Department’s recommendation that the U.S. seek a modus vivendi with Allende. In an eight-page secret briefing paper which provided Kissinger’s clearest rationale for regime change in Chile, he emphasised to Nixon that “the election of Allende as president of Chile poses for us one of the most serious challenges ever faced in this hemisphere” and “your decision as to what to do about it may be the most historic and difficult foreign affairs decision you will make this year.” Not only were a billion dollars of U.S. investments at stake, Kissinger reported, but what he called “the insidious model effect” of his democratic election. There was no way for the United States to deny Allende’s legitimacy, Kissinger noted, and if he succeeded in peacefully reallocating resources in Chile in a socialist direction, other countries might follow suit. “The example of a successful elected Marxist government in Chile would surely have an impact on   –  and even precedent value for   –   other parts of the world, especially in Italy; the imitative spread of similar phenomena elsewhere would in turn significantly affect the world balance and our own position in it.” (Document 5: Memorandum for the President, “Covert Action Program-Chile”, 25 November 1970)

The next day Nixon made it clear to the entire National Security Council that the policy would be to bring Allende down. “Our main concern,” he stated “is the prospect that he can consolidate himself and the picture projected to the world will be his success.”

In the days following the coup, Kissinger ignored the concerns of his top State Department aides about the massive repression by the new military regime. He sent secret instructions to his ambassador to convey to Pinochet “our strongest desires to cooperate closely and establish firm basis for cordial and most constructive relationship.” When his Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs asked him what to tell Congress about the reports of hundreds of people being killed in the days following the coup, he issued these instructions: “I think we should understand our policy  –  that however unpleasant they act, this government is better for us than Allende was.” The United States assisted the Pinochet regime in consolidating, through economic and military aide, diplomatic support and C.I.A. assistance in creating Chile’s infamous secret police agency, D.I.N.A.

At the height of Pinochet’s repression in 1975, Secretary Kissinger met with the Chilean foreign minister, Admiral Patricio Carvajal. Instead of taking the opportunity to press the Junta to improve its human rights record, Kissinger opened the meeting by disparaging his own staff for putting the issue of human rights on the agenda. “I read the briefing paper for this meeting and it was nothing but Human Rights.” he told Carvajal. “The State Department is made up of people who have a vocation for the ministry. Because there are not enough churches for them, they went into the Department of State.” [Emphasis added] (Document 9, Department of State, Memorandum of Conversation, “Secretary’s Meeting with Foreign Minister Carvajal, 29 September 1975)

As Secretary Kissinger prepared to meet General Augusto Pinochet in Santiago in June 1976, his top deputy for Latin America, William D. Rogers, advised him to make human rights central to American-Chilean relations and to press the dictator to “improve human rights practices.” Instead, a declassified transcript of their conversation reveals, Kissinger told Pinochet that his regime was a victim of leftist propaganda on human rights. “In the United States, as you know, we are sympathetic with what you are trying to do here.” Kissinger told Pinochet. “We want to help, not undermine you. You did a great service to the West in overthrowing Allende.”  [Emphasis added] (Document 10: Department of State, Memorandum of Conversation, “U.S.-Chilean Relations”, (Kissinger-Pinochet), 8 June 1976)

For the past two hundred years the United States has ‘maintained its presence’ in Chile and other parts of Latin America for the same ‘reasons’ as the Spanish, Portuguese, British, Dutch and French colonial ‘powers’ before them. The ‘reasons’ have remained unchanged: natural resources and cheap labour, compounded these days by neo-colonial extraction of forcibly contrived ‘debt’.

The modern methods of gaining and retaining that ‘presence’ are the myth of the free market, globalisation, privatisation, dismantling of domestic agricultural economies, and opening of markets imposed by the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other ‘international’ institutions through local clients   –    essentially to favour transnational corporations.

Leaders of those corporations, their advisers, ‘captains’, banksters, compradores are forever busy telling ‘the natives’ what to do.   But, for once, they should listen to the voice of peoples from Latin America, and that voice should, for once, come loud and clear to the people who live where those corporations reside  –   by and large in the United States.  They could hear the voice of Latin America through the words of the French philosopher Simone Weil, who once wrote that people in Europe were shocked by the Nazis because the Nazis applied to Europe the same methods European powers practiced in their colonies.


East Timor – Timor-Leste

A visit to the George Washington University’s National Security Archive would yield    Electronic Briefing Book No. 62, dated 6 December 2001 and edited by William Burr and Michael L. Evans. (East Timor Revisited: Ford, Kissinger and the Indonesian,nsarchive.gwu.edu/NSAEBB/NSAEBB62)

The work provides new evidence that President Ford and Kissinger gave ‘green light’ to Indonesia’s invasion of East Timor  –  as it as then known, now Timor-Leste  –   in 1975.  New documents detail conversations with President Suharto.

The Indonesian invasion of East Timor in December 1975 set the stage for the long, bloody, and disastrous occupation of the territory which ended only after an international peacekeeping force was introduced in 1999.  President Bill Clinton cut off military aid to Indonesia in September 1999 – reversing a longstanding policy of military cooperation  –  but questions persist about United States responsibility for the 1975 invasion and, in particular, the degree to which the American Administration actually condoned or supported the bloody military offensive.

Two newly declassified documents from the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library, released to the National Security Archive, shed light on the Ford administration’s relationship with President Suharto during 1975. Of special importance is the record of Ford’s and Kissinger’s meeting with Suharto in early December 1975.  The document shows that Suharto began the invasion knowing that he had the full approval of the United States.  Both of these documents had been previously released in heavily redacted form, but with Suharto  out of power, and following the collapse of Indonesian control over East Timor, the situation had changed enough that both documents could be released in their entirety.

Other documents found among State Department records at the National Archives elucidate the inner workings of American policy towards the Indonesian crisis during 1975 and 1976.  Besides confirming that Kissinger and top advisers expected an eventual Indonesian takeover of East Timor, archival material shows that the Secretary of State fully understood that the invasion of East Timor involved the ‘illegal’ use of U.S.-supplied military equipment because it was not used in self-defence as required by law.

Indonesia was a major site of American energy and raw materials investment, an important petroleum exporter, strategically located near vital shipping lanes, and a significant recipient of U.S. military assistance, the country   –   much less the East Timor question.  Yet it  barely figures in Kissinger’s memoirs of the Nixon and Ford administrations.  President Ford’s memoir briefly discusses the December 1975 visit to Jakarta but does not mention the discussion of East Timor with Suharto.  Indeed, as important as the bilateral relationship was, Jakarta’s brutal suppression of the independence movement in East Timor was a development that neither Ford nor Kissinger wanted people to remember about their time in power.  That the two decided on a course of action of dubious legality and that resulted in the slaughter of thousands of Timorese may well have also discouraged further reflection, at least in public.  No doubt the omissions from Ford’s and Kissinger’s memoirs also reflect the low priority which East Timor had during the Ford Administration.  For senior officials, the fate of a post-colonial East Timor paled in comparison to the strategic relationship with the anti-communist Suharto regime, especially in the wake of the American defeat in Vietnam, when Ford and Kissinger wanted to strengthen relations with anti-communists and check left-wing movements in the region. (Benedict R. Andersen, ‘East Timor and Indonesia: Some Implications’, in Peter Carey and G. Carter Bentley, eds., East Timor at the Crossroads: The Forging of a Nation (University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu 1995), 138-40)  But it is not simply a matter of omission; on several occasions Kissinger has explicitly denied that he ever had substantive discussions of East Timor with Suharto, much less having consented to Indonesian plans. At a 1995 press conference Kissinger told former East Timorese resistance leader Constancio Pinto: “Timor was never discussed with us when we were in Indonesia” and then qualified this remark by stating that he learned about the invasion plans at the airport as the presidential party was about to leave. (See “Ask Kissinger about East Timor: Confronting Henry Kissinger,” East Timor Action Network, August 1995 <http://etan.org/news/kissinger/ask.htm>)  During a radio interview in 1999, Kissinger continued to treat the discussion with Suharto on East Timor as incidental and nonsubstantive: “We were told at the airport as we left Jakarta that either that day or the next day they intended to take East Timor.” (See <http://www.etan.org/_vti_bin/shtml.exe/news/kissinger/radio.htm/map>)

The new evidence contradicts Kissinger’s statements: Indonesian plans for the invasion of East Timor were indeed discussed with Suharto, and Ford and Kissinger gave them the green light.  As Kissinger advised Suharto on the eve of the invasion: “it is important that whatever you do succeeds quickly” but that “it would be better if it were done after we returned” to the United States.

New documents shed important light on U.S. policy towards the East Timor question in 1975, but much more is yet to be known about U.S. policymaking during 1975 and 1976.  Unfortunately, most of the relevant sources are classified.  The large collection of Kissinger-Scowcroft office files at the Ford Library remains unavailable, as are the records of the State Department’s Indonesia desk and the Bureau of East Asian Affairs for the 1970s.  (Brent Scowcroft was National Security Advisor to Presidents Ford and Bush Senior between 3 November 1975 and 20 January 1977. He was preceded by Kissinger and followed by Brzezinski.)

The military revolt which overthrew Portugal’s authoritarian regime in April 1974 encouraged nationalist movements in the Portuguese colony of East Timor calling for gradual independence from Lisbon  –  a position also initially favoured by the new Portuguese government.

Two groups supported different degrees of independence: the Timorese Democratic Union (UDT) was a moderate  –   bourgeois one would say  –   force, while the  Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor (Fretilin) was for a social democratic programme.  In January 1975 the two groups formed an uneasy coalition.  Increasingly, Fretilin enjoyed the greatest public support and led the push for rapid independence.

Early signals from the Indonesian government indicated that it also was prepared to support East Timorese independence, but the Indonesians soon became interested in turning the region into the country’s twenty-seventh province.  Fears that an independent East Timor could be used as a base by unfriendly governments or spur other secessionist movements in Indonesia had convinced hardliners in the military to press for annexation of the territory.  In February 1975 the Indonesian military conducted a mock invasion of East Timor in South Sumatra.  Military hardliners also supported the pro-integration Timorese Popular Democratic Association (Apodeti) with financial assistance and launched a propaganda campaign against the pro-independence groups.  Apodeti, however, never had the popular support enjoyed by Fretilin or the Timorese Democratic Union.

The new Portuguese government was preoccupied with its own internal political controversies and could do little to ensure a steady transition towards independence.  During 1974 and 1975 Indonesian authorities hoped that the Portuguese would acquiesce in Jakarta’s plans to acquire East Timor.  At first the Portuguese seemed responsive, but by mid-1975 it had become evident that Lisbon supported self-determination for the people of East Timor.  In July 1975 Lisbon rebuffed Jakarta with the issuance of Constitutional Law 7/75, setting forth a timetable for home-rule, including the election of a popular assembly which would determine East Timor’s future, with Portuguese sovereignty ending no later than October 1978.

Events in East Timor, however, did not proceed in accordance with Lisbon’s schedule.  The delicate UDTFretilin alliance had fallen apart in May 1975, in part due to a propaganda campaign launched by the Indonesian government to inflame the Timorese Democratic Union concerns about Fretilin’s alleged communist tendencies.(Hamish McDonald, Suharto’s Indonesia (Fontana,Blackburn, Australia 1980) at 202-204)

UDT’s fears were bolstered in June when Fretilin refused to attend an all-party conference on decolonisation hosted by Portuguese officials on Macao due to the presence of Apodeti representatives.  To Fretilin the issue of independence was not up for discussion, least of all with the Indonesians.  The extent of Fretilin’s popularity   –    and thus popular sentiment for independence from Indonesia   –   became evident in July 1975 when the party won 55 per cent of the vote in local elections.  Convinced by Indonesian intelligence that Fretilin was planning a coup, the Timorese Democratic Union  staged its own in August 1975 in the capital Dili in an effort to drive out Fretilin supporters.  A Fretilin counterattack pushed the Timorese Democratic Union  forces out of the city, however, and by September Fretilin controlled nearly all of East Timor. the Portuguese administrators having fled to the island of Ataúro.

Despite having gained de facto control of the territory, Fretilin ended its call for immediate independence and now supported a plan similar to the gradual independence programme proposed in June by the Portuguese.

The Indonesian government did not seize the opportunity to move troops into Dili on the premise of restoring order.  President Suharto was still concerned about the reaction from ‘the West’ and needed more time to get the Timorese Democratic Union and other anti-Fretilin groups to support integration.  While the Timorese Democratic Union had taken refuge on the Indonesian side of Timor and, in need of food and shelter, had no choice but to sign a pro-integration petition drawn up by Indonesia,  in October 1975  Indonesian special forces began to infiltrate secretly into East Timor in an effort to provoke clashes which would provide the pretext for a full-scale invasion.  When these incursions   –   including the murder by Indonesian forces of five journalists employed by Australian television networks   –   failed to elicit any noticeable reaction from ‘the West’, Indonesia stepped-up its attacks across the border.

Indonesian airborne troops   –   outfitted with American equipment   –   prepared to take Dili. Meanwhile Fretilin petitioned the United Nations to call for the withdrawal of the invading forces.  Four days later, on 28 November, Fretilin declared East Timor’s independence   –   apparently in the belief that a sovereign state would have greater success appealing to the United Nations, but also thinking that Timorese soldiers would be more likely to fight for an independent state.  Indonesia countered the next day with a  ‘declaration of integration’ signed by Apodeti and Timorese Democratic Union representatives and coordinated by Indonesia’s military intelligence service. (H.  McDonald, Suharto’s Indonesia, 207, 210)

The invasion, originally scheduled for early December, was apparently delayed by the visit of Ford and Kissinger to Jakarta on  6 December.

Operation Komodo which had begun in October 1974 was named after the giant, slow-moving lizard found in the Indonesian archipelago, and was designed to ensure East Timor’s annexation through a covert process of slow but methodical destabilisation, turned into Operation Flamboyan (armed, covert action) and, finally, into  Operation Seroja (the full, overt invasion of East Timor).

Seroja commenced on 7 December 1975, the day after Ford and Kissinger’s visit.

In the following weeks a series of United Nations resolutions  –  supported by the United States   –   called for the withdrawal of the Indonesian troops.  An estimated 20,000 Indonesian troops were deployed to the region by the end of the month.  While casualty estimates vary, anywhere from 60,000-100,000 Timorese were probably killed in the first year after the violence began in 1975.  In 1979 the U.S. Agency for International Development estimated that 300,000 East Timorese   –   nearly half the population   –   had been uprooted and moved into camps controlled by Indonesian armed forces.  By 1980 the occupation had left more than 100,000 dead from military action, starvation or disease, with some estimates running as high as 230,000.

The National Security Archive offers seven documents.

Document 1 (5 July 1975) records a conversation between President Suharto and President Ford at Camp David on 5 July 1975, five months before the invasion of East Timor.  Speaking only a few months after the collapse of the Thieu regime in South Vietnam, the two presidents shared a tour d’horizon of East Asian political issues, U.S. military assistance to Indonesia, international investment, and Portuguese decolonisation.  Fearing greater political and ideological ferment in the region following the Communist victory in Vietnam, Suharto saw his ideological concoction ‘Pancasila’ (possibly misspelled “Pantechistita” in the document) as useful, no doubt because its emphasis on consensus excluded any oppositional political activity.  Not taking ‘consensus’ for granted, Suharto wanted American help in building up his military machine to increase its mobility for dealing with insurgent elements, noting that, “Especially at this moment, intelligence and territorial operations are very important.”  Ford proposed setting up a joint commission to scrutinise Suharto’s military request but wanted Kissinger to settle the details.

Suharto brought up the question of Portuguese decolonisation in East Timor proclaiming his support for ‘self-determination’ but also dismissing independence as unviable: “So the only way is to integrate [East Timor] into Indonesia.”  Without mentioning Fretilin by name, Suharto misleadingly characterised it as “almost Communist” and criticised the group for boycotting the decolonisation meeting in Macao.  Suharto claimed that Indonesia did not want to interfere with East Timor’s self-determination but implied that it might have to because “those who want independence are those who are Communist-influenced.”

While Lisbon still had legal sovereignty over East Timor, apparently neither Ford nor Suharto discussed the implications for Indonesian policy.  The United States had worked closely with the Salazar dictatorship which ruled Portugal for decades, but it was now deeply suspicious of the new social democratic regime in Lisbon. With its exaggerated concerns about a Communist coup, the Ford Administration considered the possibility of expelling Portugal from N.A.T.O. and supporting an independence movement in the Azores   –  where the U.S. had important military facilities.   Thus, from Ford’s and Kissinger’s perspective in 1975, Portugal’s role in the region was of little interest and did not pose an important obstacle to Indonesian action.  That some left-leaning Portuguese officers had contacts with Fretilin undoubtedly made the United States even less inclined to concern itself with Portugal’s response to Indonesian action in East Timor. (Source: Gerald R. Ford Library, National Security Adviser Memoranda of Conversations, Box 13, July 5, 1965 – Ford, Kissinger, Indonesian President Suharto)


Document 2 (12 August 1975) records that, apparently encouraged by his meeting with President Ford, President Suharto returned from Washington on 8  July  and made his first public statement suggesting that an independent East Timor was not viable.  Only days later, UDT leaders launched their coup with the hope that they could suppress Fretilin.  During a 12 August discussion of the coup,  Kissinger and his close advisers were not altogether sure what was happening, but did not disagree with Assistant Secretary Philip Habib’s statement that the Indonesians would not let a “communist-dominated group,” i.e., Fretilin, take over.  Kissinger, in particular, assumed that an Indonesian takeover would take place “sooner or later.”  Believing that Australia, a key regional ally, would feel “impelled” to support self-determination for the Timorese, Kissinger and his advisers wanted to avoid controversy over the issue.  They quickly agreed that the State Department should make no comment on the coup or related events.

A few days later, Richard Woolcott, the Australian ambassador in Jakarta, relayed a statement by the American  ambassador John Newsom which summarised the United States Government’s approach but alluded to a problem that Kissinger and his advisers had not specifically discussed on 12 August.  The message noted Newsom’s 16 August  comment that if Indonesia were to invade East Timor, it [should] do so “effectively, quickly, and not use our equipment.”  (The comment is cited in a telegram written by Australian Ambassador Richard Woolcott on August 17, 1975 (Cited in Munster, G.J. and Walsh, R. (eds), Documents on Australian Defence and Foreign Policy, 1968-75 (Sydney, 1980) 200)

The American ambassador recognised that there was a congressional prohibition on Indonesia’s use of military gear financed by United States aid for anything but defensive operations.

Kissinger would have come to understand the problem, if he did not already, but as document four suggests, he was not willing to let it tie Jakarta’s hands. (Source: National Archives, Record Group 59, Department of State Records, Transcripts of Staff Meetings of Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, 1973-77, box 8)

Document 3 carries a memorandum “to President Ford from Henry A. Kissinger, ‘Your Visit to Indonesia,’ ca. 21 November 1975.”  The document attaches an enclosure (document 3A) referring to the same subject.

The Kissinger memorandum, prepared for President Ford some two weeks before the two were to visit to Jakarta, indicates that the Administration’s larger strategic interests in Indonesia made it unlikely that Washington would make a fuss over East Timor. The eventual fate of East Timor was evidently a relatively low priority for Kissinger and his staff  –  it was the twelfth and final item mentioned in the memorandum.  While Kissinger, in the memorandum, acknowledged that the Indonesians have been “maneuvering to absorb the colony” through negotiations with Portugal and “covert military operations in the colony itself,” he apparently did not expect an overt invasion using United States-supplied military equipment.  Indeed, his memorandum and the briefing paper on “Indonesia and Portuguese Timor” both indicated that to do so would violate U.S. law, suggesting that this consideration had induced “restraint” on the part of Jakarta; moreover, and in contrast to Habib’s view, that Fretilin was “Communist-dominated.” Actually the author of the  briefing paper more accurately characterised Fretilin as “vaguely left-wing.” But, to Kissinger, that would turn out as ‘Communist’. (Source: National Archives, Record Group 59, Department of State Records,  Executive Secretariat Briefing Books, 1958-1976, Box 227, President Ford’s Visit to the Far East – Indonesia Nov-Dec. 1975)

On the eve of Indonesia’s full-scale invasion of East Timor, President Ford and Secretary Kissinger stopped in Jakarta en route from China where they had just met with Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping.  During his meeting with President Suharto, Ford emphasised America’s continuing commitment to Asian affairs despite the “severe setback of Vietnam.”  Document 4 contains the text referring to the Ford-Kissinger-Suharto conversation (See: Embassy Jakarta Telegram 1579 to Secretary State, 6 December 1975, Secret/Nodis (which means “no distribution”)    Discussion then turned to the problem of Communist influence in the Non-Aligned Movement and the insurgency movements in Thailand and Malaysia.  Ford told Suharto that he would be “enthusiastic” about building an M-16 plant in Indonesia to provide small arms to help Southeast Asian governments counter regional insurgency movements.  Kissinger also approved of the proposed arrangement “because of its indication of wider cooperation.”

On 4 or 5 December 1975, while still in Beijing, Kissinger had received a cable from the State Department suggesting that the Indonesians had “plans” to invade East Timor.  Thus, Ford or Kissinger could not have been too surprised when, in the middle of a discussion of guerrilla movements in Thailand and Malaysia, Suharto suddenly brought up East Timor.  Suharto noted that while Indonesia “has no territorial ambitions,” Fretilin has not cooperated with negotiations and has “declared its independence unilaterally.”  The current situation, he said, “will prolong the suffering of the refugees and increase instability in the area.”  Suharto then assured the Americans that “the four other parties” favour integration, with the apparent implication that a mere majority among the “parties” to the conflict  –  absent a popular referendum  –  alone constituted an act of self-determination.  “We want your understanding,” Suharto continued, “if we deem it necessary to take rapid or drastic action.”

Ford and Kissinger took great pains to assure Suharto that they would not oppose the invasion.  Ford was unambiguous: “We will understand and will not press you on the issue.  We understand the problem and the intentions you have.”  Kissinger did indeed stress that “the use of US-made arms could create problems.” but then added that, “It depends on how we construe it; whether it is in self defence or is a foreign operation.”  Thus, Kissinger’s concern was not about whether American  arms would be used offensively  –  and hence illegally  –  but whether the act would actually be interpreted as such, process he clearly intended to manipulate.     Indeed, later that month Kissinger asked his advisers whether “We can’t construe a Communist government in the middle of Indonesia as self-defense ?”  (See Mark Hertsgaard, “The Secret Life of Henry Kissinger; minutes of a 1975 meeting with Lawrence Eagleburger,” The Nation, October 29, 1990, at <http://etan.org/_vti_bin/shtml.exe/news/kissinger/secret.htm>)

In any case, Kissinger added: “It is important that whatever you do succeeds quickly.” [Emphasis added]

Indeed, timing and damage control were very important to the Americans, as Kissinger told Suharto: “We would be able to influence the reaction in America if whatever happens happens after we return . . .  If you have made plans, we will do our best to keep everyone quiet until the President returns home.”  Kissinger also asked Suharto if he anticipated a “long guerilla war,” apparently aware that a quick military success would be easier to spin than a long campaign.  Suharto acknowledged that there “will probably be a small guerrilla war” but he was cagey enough not to predict its duration.  Nevertheless, his military colleagues were optimistic; as one of the architects of Indonesian policy, General Ali Murtopo had explained to an American  scholar some months before the invasion, “the whole business will be settled in three weeks.”(M. Andersen, ‘East Timor and Indonesia: Some Implications,’ in P. Carey and G. Carter Bentley, eds., East Timor at the Crossroads: The forging of a nation (University of Hawaii Pess, Honolulu 1995, at 137)

With the U.S. position on the East Timor ‘business’ settled, Suharto turned to economic problems, especially petroleum  investments.  With the then recent bankruptcy of the state oil company, the regime needed more revenue and Suharto wanted to get it from the oil companies which invested in Indonesia.  Noting that the oil companies were sharing larger shares of their profits with Middle Eastern states than they were with Indonesia, Suharto told Ford and Kissinger that he wanted to negotiate an “understanding” with them.  Both Americans were sympathetic and said that he would have their support.  Kissinger, however, noted carefully that whatever Suharto did he should “not create a climate that discourages investment.”  The possibility that the East Timor affair could prove to be a disaster for Indonesia and someday impair the “climate for investment” never seems to have occurred to either Kissinger or Ford.( Source: Gerald R. Ford Library, Kissinger-Scowcroft Temporary Parallel File, Box A3, Country File, Far East-Indonesia, State Department Telegrams 4/1/75-9/22/76)

Document 5 (5 and 6 December 1975) contains brief schedule details of Secretary Kissinger’s two-day visit to Indonesia with President Ford. But there is no record of Kissinger’s meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Adam Malik. (Source: National Archives,  Record Group 59, Department of State Records,  Executive Secretariat Briefing Books, 1958-1976, Box 227, President Ford’s Trip to the Far East (Follow-Up) Nov-Dec. 1975)

The last document, No. 6, is the transcript of Staff Meeting of Secretary Kissinger with personnel at the Department on 17 June 1976. It is only by excerpts, most it being secret.

The document records that the United States’ initial response to the invasion was to delay new arms sales to Indonesia pending an administrative review by the State Department, ostensibly to determine whether Indonesia had actually violated the bilateral agreement stipulating that U.S.-supplied arms could only be used for defensive purposes.  Military equipment already in the pipeline continued to flow, however, and during the six-month review period the United States made four new offers of military equipment sales to Indonesia including maintenance and spare parts for the Rockwell OV-10 Bronco aircraft, designed specifically for counterinsurgency operations and employed during the invasion of East Timor.  The administrative delay and the subsequent offers had been the subject of an 18 December 1975 meeting between Secretary Kissinger and his advisers in which he chastised his staff for writing a memorandum  recommending that arms sales to Indonesia be cut off for violating the end-use agreement.  While the memorandum was not widely distributed, Kissinger was angry that word might leak about how “Kissinger overruled his pristine bureaucrats and violated the law.”  Kissinger told his staff that he “took care of it with the administrative thing by ordering [the Under Secretary of State for Security Assistance] not to make any new sales.”  If Congress asked about the policy, Kissinger said, “We cut it off while we are studying it.  We intend to start again in January.”(Mark Hertsgaard, “The Secret Life of Henry Kissinger; minutes of a 1975 meeting with Lawrence Eagleburger,” The Nation, October 29, 1990. <http://etan.org/_vti_bin/shtml.exe/news/kissinger/secret.htm>)

Six months later, and exactly one month before the formal annexation of East Timor by Indonesia, the subject of East Timor again came up during a staff meeting between Secretary Kissinger and his State Department bureau chiefs.  The question was raised as to whether or not the United States should send a representative to accompany an Indonesian parliamentary delegation to East Timor   –   an invitation declined by most other countries.  Robert H. Miller, an adviser from the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, recommended against accepting the invitation, suggesting that “broader objectives with respect to Indonesia    –   including overall support to Timor,” would be better served “if we don’t have high-profile participation.”  Miller hoped to prevent “Congressional [sic] sentiment with regard to Indonesia from being rekindled.”  Philip Habib, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, agreed: “There’s no need to take this action . . . Let them go ahead and do what they’ve been doing.  We have no objection . . . They’re quite happy with the position we’ve taken.  We’ve resumed, as you know, all of our normal relations with them; and there isn’t any problem involved.”  In apparent reference to the continuing arms sales, his deception of Congress, or possibly to Indonesia’s bloody invasion and occupation, Kissinger responded: “Not very willingly.  Illegally and beautifully.” [Emphasis added] (Source: National Archives, Record Group 59, Department of State Records, Transcripts of Staff Meetings of Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, 1973-77, box 9)

Henry Kissinger has a personal, financial involvement with Freeport-McMoRan, still the largest investor in Indonesia and well known for a long time for its very close connection with the Indonesian government. He is a consultant of the corporation. Between 1988 and 1995 Kissinger was on the board of directors, at different times with such well known corporation men as John Hay Whitney, Kidder, Peabody & Co., Chauncey Stillman, Augustus Long, Robert A. Lovett, Jean Mauzé, and Godfrey Stillman Rockefeller of the Rockefeller clan  –  the grand-son of  William Rockefeller, brother of John D. Rockefeller, the co-founders of Standard Oil.

Freeport-McMoRan Inc., often called just Freeport, is a multinational  mining corporation headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona. It has operations in North and South America, as well as in Europe, Indonesia and other locations.  Freeport employs 34,500 workers for the production of copper, gold and molybdenum and the extraction of petroleum. In Indonesia it employs 19,500 workers at the Grasberg mine which is the largest gold mine and the third largest copper mine in the world. It is located at about 4,200 metres above sea level  in the province of Papua in Indonesia near Puncak Jaya, the highest mountain in Papua. Shares in PT Freeport Indonesia, the principal operating subsidiary in Indonesia,  are mostly owned   by Freeport-McMoRan Inc. (90.64 per cent) the remainder (9.36 per cent)  being owned by the Indonesian Government through PT Indocopper Investama.

The Grasberg mine has been a frequent source of friction in Papua.

The concentrator’s tailings, generated at a rate of 230,000 tonnes per day, are the subject of considerable environmental concern, as they wash into the Aikwa  river system and Arafura Sea.

In 1995 the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) revoked Freeport’s insurance policy for environmental violations of a sort that would not be allowed in the United States.

While landscape reclamation projects have begun at the mine, environmental groups and local citizens are concerned with the potential for copper contamination and acid mine drainage from the mine tailings into surrounding river systems, land surfaces, and groundwater. Freeport argues that its actions meet industry standards, and have been approved by the requisite authorities.

In 2005 The New York Times reported that Freeport paid local military and police generals, colonels, majors and captains, and military units, a total of nearly US$ 20 million between 1998 and 2004. The payments were meant to secure the reserve. Freeport responded that the payments were not for individuals, but rather for infrastructure, food, housing, fuel, travel, vehicle repairs and allowances to cover incidental and administrative costs. An employee is said to have worked on a programme to monitor environmentalists’ e-mails and telephone conversations, in cooperation with Indonesian military intelligence officers.

During the past fifteen years there have been disturbances of all kind in an around the mine. Workers and assailing policemen lost their lives in armed confrontations.

In May 2013 a training facility tunnel collapsed trapping at least 33 workers underground. A mine official at the mine said three workers were killed, but the main office in Arizona said there were no fatalities.

Understandable causes of friction are the mine’s environmental impact on Papua, the perceived low share of profits going to local Papuans (Freeport’s annual report shows it made $4.1billion in operating profit on revenue of $6.4billion in 2010) and the questionable legality of the payments made to Indonesian security forces for their services to guard the site and the frequent accidents and incidents.  There have been strikes and a blockade.

A one week strike in July 2011was for the increase of wages up from the hourly rate of US $ 1.50 an hour.

In September 2014 four workers died in  an accident; on 1 October miners blocked the entrance to the mine demanding more safety.

In 2015 a five-day strike halted production at the mine as around 100 employees demanded bonuses as an incentive for not participating in a work stoppage during 2014.

Papua is also the home of Free Papua Movement, a revolutionary organisation the purpose of which is to overthrow the current government of Papua and West Papua. The organisation has been blamed for some of the attacks which occurred near the mine.

Christopher Hitchens, who devoted chapter 8 of his book to East Timor, had quite a lot to say on the subject  –  something even about Freeport-McMoRan.

On 11 August 1995 Henry Kissinger was on a lecture tour, sponsored by the Learning Exchange at the Park Central Hotel in New York.  Kissinger was publicising and promoting his then-latest book Diplomacy, in which  –  interestingly  – he made no mention whatsoever of East Timor.

He was questioned by investigative reporters Allan Nairn and Amy Goodman:

“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. [See: Gerald R. Ford Library, Kissinger-Scowcroft Temporary Parallel File, Box A3, Country File, Far East-Indonesia, State Department Telegrams 4/1/75-9/22/76]

It was obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. 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 US …

Kissinger: Who? I or he?

Nairn: That you and President Ford together gave US approval for the invasion of East Timor. There is another internal State Department memo which is printed in an extensive excerpt here which I’ll give to anyone in your audience that’s interested. 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 advisor Mr Leigh that the Indonesian invasion was illegal, that it not only violated international law, it violated a treaty with the US because US 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, and you did not want it known that you were doing this contrary to the advice of your own people in the State Department. [See: Mark Hertsgaard, “The Secret Life of Henry Kissinger; minutes of a 1975 meeting with Lawrence Eagleburger,” The Nation, October 29, 1990. http://etan.org/_vti_bin/shtml.exe/news/kissinger/secret.htm>]  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. You announced an immediate doubling of US military aid to Indonesia at the time, and in the meantime at the United Nations, the instruction given to Ambassador Daniel Patrick Moynihan, as he wrote in his memoirs, was to, as he put it, see to it that the UN be highly ineffective in any actions it might undertake on East Timor …

[shouts from the audience] Kissinger: Look, I think we all got the point now …

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 UN 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’s got one problem, he collects a bunch of documents, you don’t know what is in these documents …

Nairn: I invite your audience to read them.

Kissinger: Well, read them. Uh, the fact is essentially as I described them [thumps podium]. Timor was not a significant American policy problem. If Suharto raised it, if Ford said something that sounded encouraging, it was not a significant American foreign policy problem. It seemed to us to be an anti-colonial problem in which the Indonesians were taking over Timor and we had absolutely no reason at that time to pay any huge attention to it.

Secondly you have to understand these things in the context of the period. Vietnam had just collapsed. Nobody yet knew what effect the domino theory would have. Indonesia was . . . is a country of a population of 160 million and the key, a key country in Southeast Asia. We were not looking for trouble with Indonesia and the reason I objected in the State Department to putting this thing on paper; it wasn’t that it was put on paper. It was that it was circulated to embassies because it was guaranteed to leak out. It was guaranteed then to lead to some public confrontation and for better or worse our fundamental position on these human rights issues was always to try to see if we could discuss them first, quietly, before they turned into a public confrontation. This was our policy with respect to emigration from Russia, in which we turned out to be right, and this was the policy which we tried to pursue in respect to Indonesia and anybody can go and find some document and take out one sentence and try to prove something fundamental and now I think we’ve heard enough about Timor. Let’s have some questions on some other subject. [applause from audience]

Amy Goodman: Dr Kissinger, you said that the United States has won everything it wanted in the Cold War up to this point. I wanted to go back to the issue of Indonesia and before there’s a booing in the audience, just to say as you talk about China and India, Indonesia is the fourth largest country in the world. And so I wanted to ask the question in a current way about East Timor. And that is, given what has happened in the twenty years, the 200,000 people who have been killed, according to Amnesty, according to Asia Watch, even according to the Indonesian military. … Do you see that as a success of the United States?

Kissinger: No, but I don’t think it’s an American policy. We cannot be, we’re not responsible for everything that happens in every place in the world. [applause from audience]”

Ms. Goodman persisted:

“Goodman: Except that 90 percent of the weapons used during the invasion were from the US and it continues to this day. So in that way we are intimately connected to Indonesia, unfortunately. Given that, I was wondering if you think it’s a success and whether too, with you on the board of Freeport McMoRan, which has the largest gold-mining operation in the world in Indonesia, in Irian Jaya, are you putting pressure, since Freeport is such a major lobbyist in Congress on behalf of Indonesia, to change that policy and to support self-determination for the people of East Timor ? [Emphasis added]

Kissinger: The, uh, the United States as a general proposition cannot fix every problem on the use of American weapons in purely civil conflicts. We should do our best to prevent this. As a private American corporation engaged in private business in an area far removed from Timor but in Indonesia, I do not believe it is their job to get itself involved in that issue because if they do, then no American private enterprise will be welcome there anymore.

Goodman: But they do every day, and lobby Congress.” (C. Hitchens, The trial of Henry Kissinger (Text, Melbourne 2001 at 95-98)

Hitchens commented: “It is interesting to notice, in that final answer, the final decomposition of Kissinger’s normally efficient if robotic syntax.” and sent the reader to chapter 10 of his work, dealing in more detail with Kissinger’s “involvement with Freeport McMoRan, and his other holdings in a privatised military-political-commercial complex.”, money received by him and by Kissinger Associates as retainer, commission on future earnings and down-right payola for lobbying Congress and influencing federal agencies.(Id. 120-126, especially 124-125)

In February 2000, as Hitchens was writing, Kissinger accepted Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid’s invitation to become an unpaid adviser to the Indonesian government. Kissinger accepted “out of friendship for the Indonesian people and the importance I attach to the Indonesian nation.”  Clearly, Tom Lehrer may have underestimated Dr. Kissinger’s spirited sense of irony. (Terry J. Allen, ‘With friends like these; Kissinger does Indonesia’, In these times, 17 April 2000)

No sooner the appointment had come than Kissinger took advantage of the new position to call on the Indonesian government to honour its contract with PT Freeport Indonesia, of the parent of which  –   Freeport McMoRan   –   he was then a director. The newly appointed advisor  warned that any violation of the contract would have an impact on the flow of foreign investment into the country.

“The contract should be respected because it is in the interests of Indonesia since you want investment from all over the world.” Kissinger told reporters at the State Palace after a meeting with President Abdurrahman Wahid.

“The existing contract will be honored. But Abdurrahman asked Freeport to have a sort of understanding of the people’s aspirations. There won’t be any change made to the contract, but (Freeport) needs to give a special concession.”  The Minister of Foreign Affairs Alwi Shihab  said without elaborating.

Kissinger agreed that Freeport should pay attention to ‘some special concerns’ in its operation.

And what were those concerns ? Example, the destruction by the company around the Grasberg area of  some 13,300 hectares.  (Kissinger calls on RI to honor Freeport deal,  The Jakarta Post, 29 February  2000)




On 24 March 1976 a right-wing coup d’état overthrew María Estela Martínez (popularly known as Isabel)  de Perón as President of Argentina.  President Juan Perón  had died on 1 July 1974. He was ‘succeeded’ by his wife. Despite her claim as the country’s rightful ruler, Martínez de Perón  rapidly lost political influence and power. A group of military officials, chosen by Perón himself to aide Isabel, took control in an effort to revitalise Argentina’s deteriorating political and social climate. This shift in governance paved the way for the ensuing coup.

A military Junta was installed to replace her; this was headed by General Jorge Rafael Videla, Admiral Emilio Eduardo Massera and Brigadier-General Orlando Ramón Agosti. The Junta took the official name of ‘National Reorganization Process’, and remained in power until 10 December 1983.

The coup had been planned since October 1975, and the United States Department of State learned of the preparations two months before its execution. At the time the American Secretary of State was Henry Kissinger. He would meet on several occasions with Argentinian military leaders after the coup, urging them to destroy their opponents quickly before outcry over human rights abuses grew in the United States. (Kissinger approved Argentinian ‘dirty war’, The Guardian, 6 December 2003)

On 5 February 1975 Operativo Independencia was launched. This action aimed to eliminate the guerrillas in the Tucumán jungle, who had maintained strongholds in the area as early as May 1974. In October the country was divided into five military zones, with each commander given full autonomy to unleash a carefully planned wave of repression.

On 18 December 1975 a number of warplanes took off from Morón Air Base and strafed the Casa Rosada in an attempt to overthrow Isabel Perón. The rebellion was brought to a halt four days later through arbitration by a chaplain.

However, the military did succeed in removing the only officer remaining loyal to the government, Air Force commander Héctor Fautario. Fautario drew harsh criticism from the Army and Navy owing to his vehement opposition to their repressive plans, and for his refusal to mobilise the Air Force against the guerrillas’ strongholds in the north. Fautario was Videla’s final obstacle in his pursuit of power.

By January 1976 the guerrilla presence in Tucumán had been reduced to a few platoons. In the meanwhile, the military, fully supported by the local élite and the United States, bided its time before ultimately seizing power. (‘Kissinger approved Argentine ‘dirty war’ ’, supra and Transcript: U.S. OK’d ‘dirty war’, The Miami Herald, 4 December 2003)

Shortly before 01:00 am of 24 March 1976 President Martínez de Perón was detained and taken by helicopter  to the El Messidor residence. At 03:10 all television and radio stations were interrupted. Regular transmissions were cut and replaced by a military march, after which the first communiqué was broadcast:  “[…] People are advised that as of today, the country is under the operational control of the Joint Chiefs General of the Armed Forces. We recommend to all inhabitants strict compliance with the provisions and directives emanating from the military, security or police authorities, and to be extremely careful to avoid individual or group actions and attitudes that may require drastic intervention from the operating personnel. Signed: General Jorge Rafael Videla, Admiral Emilio Eduardo Massera and Brigadier Orlando Ramón Agosti.”

A state of siege and martial law were proclaimed, as military patrolling spread to every major city. The morning was seemingly uneventful, but as the day progressed, the detentions began. Hundreds of workers, unionists, students, and political activists were abducted from their homes, their workplaces, or in the streets.

Human rights activists testify that in the aftermath of the coup and the ensuing ‘dirty war’ some 30,000 people, primarily young opponents of the military regime, were ‘disappeared’ or killed. Military men responsible for the killings often spared pregnant women   –   for a while anyway, keeping them in custody until they gave birth, before killing them and giving their infants to childless military families: the ‘dirty war’.

The ‘dirty war’ has longstanding roots. There is a disquieting hypothesis that as long as the ‘Argentine question’ remains unsettled the military may intervene again, the resistance movement will remain strong, and violence may continue even under a democratic government (Donald C. Hodges, Argentina’s ‘dirty war’: an intellectual biography (University of Texas Press, Austin, Texas 2011)   Secretly Kissinger had assured the planners of the coup that they would have the full support of the United States government in their war and associated actions  –   a commitment which was opposed by the U.S. Ambassador to Argentina at the time, Robert Hill. (Kissinger approved Argentinian ‘dirty war’, The Guardian, 6 December 2003)

The 24 March anniversary of the coup is now designated the Day of Remembrance for Truth and Justice.

Much has been written on the subject, but very little was proved by the release of relative documents  –  until recently.

On 20 August 2002 the State Department authorised the opening of files on Argentina’s ‘dirty war’. The newly disclosed documents described the activity of a key death squad under the command of the former Chief of the Army General Leopoldo Galtieri.

More than 4,600 previously secret U.S. documents on human rights violations during the period 1976-1983 were rendered public. under the 1976-83 military dictatorship in Argentina.

George Washington University’s National Security Archive and its Argentine partner, the Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales, praised the State Department’s declassification.

“The State Department under Secretary Powell – and previously under Secretary Albright – deserves credit for this historic release, which demonstrates again that openness serves our national security interest in democracy and human rights.” said Thomas S. Blanton, Archive director. Victor Abramovich, director of the Centro de Estudios,  said that the 10 July  arrest of former Argentine dictator Galtieri and 40 other military veterans on human rights charges from the ‘dirty war’ period made the State Department declassification even more urgent: “The documents will help clarify this case of great public importance, as well as the whole period of military rule.”

The State Department had already shipped copies of the documents to the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires for distribution to the Argentine government and the groups of survivors and families of the ‘disappeared’   –  almost exactly two years after then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright promised the families to open U.S. files: 16 August 2000. The  State Department undertook  to post the full set on its website <http://www.foia.state.gov> and the National Security Archive posted on that 20 August a selection of the most important new documents, with analysis by the Archive’s Southern Cone project director Carlos Osorio, at http://www.nsarchive.org/NSAEBB/NSAEBB73>

There is a document containing excerpts from the memorandum of conversation and a chronology of events surrounding the 10 June 1976 meeting between Kissinger and former Vice-admiral César Augusto Guzzetti, who after the coup had become the first  foreign minister of the military government presided by Lieutenant General Jorge Rafael Videla.

Excerpts from the meeting are quite informative.

“Guzzetti: Our main problem in Argentina is terrorism. It is the first priority of the current government that took office on March 24. There are two aspects to the solution. The first is to ensure the internal security of the country; the second is to solve the most urgent economic problems over the coming 6 to 12 months. Argentina needs United States understanding and support…

The Secretary [Kissinger]: We have followed events in Argentina closely. We wish the new government well. We wish it will succeed. We will do what we can to help it succeed. [Emphasis added]

(At a time when the international community, most American media, universities and scientific institutions, the United States Congress, and even the U.S. Embassy in Argentina were clamouring about the indiscriminate human rights violations against scientists, labour leaders, students and politicians by the Argentine military), Secretary Kissinger told Guzzetti:

We are aware you are in a difficult period. It is a curious time, when political, criminal, and terrorist activities tend to merge without any clear separation. We understand you must establish authority.” [Emphasis added]

Guzzetti: The foreign press creates many problems for us, interpreting events in a very peculiar manner. Press criticism creates problems for confidence. It weakens international confidence in the Argentine government…

The Secretary: The worst crime as far as the press is concerned is to have replaced a government of the left. [Emphasis added]

Guzzetti: It is even worse than that.

The Secretary: I realize you have no choice but to restore governmental authority. But it is also clear that the absence of normal procedures will be used against you.

Guzzetti [on thousands of refugees in Argentina]: They have come from all our neighboring countries: Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, as well as Chile… Many provide clandestine support for terrorism. Chile, when the government changed, resulted in a very large number of leftist exiles. The Peronist government at the time welcomed them to Argentina in large numbers.

The Secretary: You could always send them back. [Where ‘back’ meant to Pinochet’s Chile] [Emphasis added]

Guzzetti: For elemental human rights reasons we cannot send them back to Chile… No one wants to receive them. There are many terrorists.

The Secretary: Have you tried the PLO? They need more terrorists. Seriously, we cannot tell you how to handle these people. What are you going to do?

The Secretary: I understand the problem. But if no one receives them, then what can you do?

Guzzetti: We are worried about their involvement in the terrorism problem. But many fear persecution, and do not want to register.

The Secretary: And how many of these do you feel are engaged in illegal activities?

Guzzetti: It is difficult to say. Perhaps 10,000. Only 150 Chileans are legal. We have no names. Only the refugee committees know something in detail. But their problems create unrest, and sometimes even logistic support for the guerrillas.

The Secretary: We wish you success.

Guzzetti: The terrorist problem is general to the entire Southern Cone. To combat it, we are encouraging joint efforts to integrate with our neighbors… All of them: Chile, Paraguay, Bolivia, Uruguay, Brazil. (This collaboration would be codenamed ‘Opration Condor’.  At the time of the meeting, the Department of State suspected that the Southern Cone military regimes were carrying out a coordinated attack against refugees in Argentina; indeed Kissinger received a special telegramme from Washington briefing him on this issue just before he met with Guzzetti on 10 June 1976. But the memorandum of conversation contains no reference by Secretary Kissinger regarding the human rights concerns posed by the Southern Cone security cooperation.

By the end of 1976, 10,000 Argentines had been ‘disappeared’ or assassinated by the Argentine security forces; half a dozen American citizens had been kidnapped and tortured. On the international front, the cooperation between Argentine military and intelligence forces and other Southern Cone militaries would leave hundreds of Bolivians, Brazilians, Chileans, Paraguayans and Uruguayans ‘ disappeared’, tortured, and/or dead.)

The Secretary: I take it you are talking about joint economic activities?

Guzzetti: Yes. Activities on both the terrorist and the economic fronts.

The Secretary: Oh. I thought you were referring only to security. You cannot succeed if you focus on terrorism and ignore its causes.

The Secretary: Let me say, as a friend, that I have noticed that military governments are not always the most effective in dealing with these problems… [Emphasis added]

So after a while, many people who don’t understand the situation begin to oppose the military and the problem is compounded.

The Chileans, for example, have not succeeded in getting across their initial problem and are increasingly isolated.

You will have to make an international effort to have your problems understood. Otherwise, you, too, will come under increasing attack. If there are things that have to be done, you should do them quickly. But you must get back quickly to normal procedures. [Emphasis added]

The Secretary: It is certainly true that whatever the origin, terrorism frequently gains outside support. And this outside support also creates pressures against efforts to suppress it. But you cannot focus on terrorism alone. If you do, you only increase your problems.

Guzzetti: Yes, there is a need for balance between political rights and authority.

The Secretary: I agree. The failure to respect it creates serious problems. In the United States we have strong domestic pressures to do something on human rights.

Guzzetti: The terrorists work hard to appear as victims in the light of world opinion even though they are the real aggressors.

(Only two weeks earlier,  on 28 May, the U.S. Ambassador Robert Hill had presented a démarche on human rights to Vice-Admiral Guzzetti. The Embassy was deeply concerned about the kidnapping and torture of three American women, among them the Fulbright coordinator for Argentina, Elida Messina, and the wave of attacks against political refugees from the country.)  In contrast to Hill’s efforts, Secretary  Kissinger told Guzzetti:

“In the United States we have strong domestic pressures to do something on human rights …

We want you to succeed. We do not want to harrass [sic] you. I will do what I can…”  [Emphasis added]

[At 9:10 the Secretary and Guzzetti leave for a word alone. At 9:14 they re-emerge, and the meeting ends.]”

Another document (Secret meeting chaired by Kissinger, declassified, Authority NND 989505, NARA, 6/11/01) recently unearthed by the National Security Archives shows that on 9 July 1976, Secretary Kissinger was explicitly briefed on the rampant repression taking place in Argentina: “Their theory is that they can use the Chilean method,” Kissinger’s top aide on Latin America Harry Shlaudeman informed him, “that is, to terrorize the opposition – even killing priests and nuns and others.” [Emphasis added] (National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 133, Edited by Carlo Osorio and Kathleen Costar, posted on 27 August 2004)

Documents published earlier by the National Security Archive show that in September 1976 Ambassador Hill complained again to Guzzetti about the astounding human rights violations occurring in Argentina. Guzzetti rebuffed him saying that, “When he had seen Secretary of State Kissinger in Santiago, the latter had said he hoped the Argentine Govt could get the terrorist problem under control as quickly as possible.’ Guzzetti said that he had reported this to President Videla and to the cabinet, and that their impression had been that the [United States Government’s] overriding concern was not human rights but rather that [the Government of Argentina]  ‘get it over quickly’.”

Kissinger reiterated this message during another meeting with Guzzetti in New York on  7 October 1976. telling him “the quicker you succeed the better.” Later, Ambassador Hill sent a bitter complaint to the Department of State that Guzzetti had returned to Argentina in a “state of jubilation” after meeting the Secretary. (See: National Security Archive, Electronic Briefing Book No. 104, Edited by Carlos Osorio, Assisted by Kathleen Costar, posted 4 December 2003)

After a second meeting between Kissinger and Guzzetti in Washington, on 19 October 1976, Ambassador Robert Hill wrote ‘a sour note’ from Buenos Aires complaining that he could hardly carry human rights démarches if the Argentine Foreign Minister did not hear the same message from the Secretary of State. “Guzzetti went to U.S. fully expecting to hear some strong, firm, direct warnings on his government’s human rights practices, rather than that, he has returned in a state of jubilation, convinced that there is no real problem with the [United States Government] over that issue.” wrote Hill.

The U.S. Embassy also disagreed with the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence 19 July 1976 assessment that there was a “murderous three-cornered battle going on in Argentina amongst left-wing terrorists, government security personnel and right wing goon squads.” On 23 July 1976 Deputy Chief of Mission Maxwell Chaplin cabled Washington that “The battle is a two-sided affair, not tri-cornered” since “the only ‘right-wing assassins’ operating in Argentina at this point, however, are members of the [Government of Argentina] security forces.”(See: National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 73 – Part II, 21 August 2002, and the thirteen documents released on 20 August 2002)

The 10 June 1976 memorandum of conversation between Kissinger and Guzzetti  explains why the Argentine generals believed that they had received a clear message from the Secretary that they had carte blanche for the ‘dirty war.’

There is not much on the record  –  except for the following notation:  “Kissinger to Argentines on dirty war: “The quicker you succeed the better.” Newly declassified documents show Secretary of State gave green light to junta, Contradict official line that Argentines “heard only what [they] wanted to hear.”

While military dictatorship committed massive human rights abuses in 1976, Kissinger advised: “If you can finish before [the American] Congress gets back, the better.”


Between 8 and 10 December 1977 Azucena Villaflor de Vicenti, along with eleven members and friends of the Asociación Madres de Plaza de Mayo –  Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo were kidnapped by Argentine government forces and never seen again. (The Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo is an association of Argentine mothers whose children were ‘disappeared’ by the military dictatorship. They organised while trying to learn what had happened to their children, and began to march in 1977 at the Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires, in front of the Casa Rosada presidential palace, in public defiance of the Junta’s terrorism intended to silence all opposition.)  De Vicenti had helped found the group of mothers of victims precisely because of this new type of atrocity: those kidnapped and then ‘disappeared’ by security forces.

A review by the National Security Archive of the Department of State’s documents on Argentina declassified around 2001-2002 revealed that as early as ten days after the ‘disappearances’ the U.S. Embassy intelligence sources started reporting on the involvement of the Argentine Navy, the Army First Corps, and later the Presidential State Intelligence Service and a military detention facility in the crime and cover up.

On 30 March 1978 the U.S. Embassy informed having “[c]onfidential information obtained through an Argentine government source (protect) that seven bodies were discovered some weeks ago on the Atlantic beach near Mar del Plata. According to this source, the bodies were those of the two nuns and five mothers who disappeared between December 8 and December 10, 1977. Our source confirmed that these individuals were originally sequestered by members of the security forces…”

It is known that the twelve ‘disappeared’ victims were detained and tortured at the Navy Mechanical School. One of the most dramatic documents in this selection is an eyewitness’ detailed description and sketches of the unit’s clandestine centre, torture chambers, and chain of command. A detainee himself, the eyewitness also reported seeing and talking to one of the French nuns who were part of the Mothers group. The document was circulated to foreign press and the Embassies in 1977.

The string of numerous cables between December 1977 and March 1978 attests to the U.S. Embassy’s considerable efforts to find and protect the kidnapped Mother’s group members.

“We have tried hard to clarify the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of two French nuns and some 11 other Argentine citizens in a series of abductions December 8-10. Our findings are contradictory and inconclusive, and the fact remains that at this writing we have no sure knowledge regarding the nuns’ abductors or their – present whereabouts -our sources generally agree that the operation was carried out by some arm of the security forces…” (Document 5, 20 January 1978, Disappearance of French Nuns and Mothers’ Group Supporters, Telegram from Ambassador Castro to Department  of State)

The documents also show that Embassy staffers were split on whether to blame the Argentine Military. In one memorandum, a political officer in charge of human rights at the Embassy, frustrated at the Embassy’s failure to blame the Military Junta for the crime, wrote:

“I presented a full description of what had happened to [the mothers].  This was voted down by the country team as being mere speculation and the Embassy once again stated that we continued to be puzzled by the disappearance of the nuns… Although the country team is puzzled regarding the nuns disappearance, based on the facts presented it is clear by [blank] of the circumstantial evidence that this is not an out of control operation… I have done a number of cables which tied in reported events to targeting by the Argentine security forces of individuals for intellectual subversion.  This has been taken out of all of messages going out.  Just this week one of our military attaché had one of his reports turned back by the front office … “ (Document 16, 31 May 1978 – [Human Rights Overview] Transcription of cassette audio report from Political Officer Tex Harris to Assistant Secretary of State Pat Derian)

On learning from the U.S. Embassy of the heinous death of the Mothers, the Department of State instructed the Embassy to present a démarche before President Videla.

“Department believes we must act forcefully now to make [the Government of Argentina] aware of our outrage at such acts… Ambassador should continue presentation by suggesting that [the Government of Argentina] consider actions which can be taken against the people who committed this crime.  They should be brought to trial and if some in authority winked at the crime those involved should be disciplined.” (Document 10, 7 April 1978 – Report of Nuns Death, Telegram from Secretary of State Cyrus Vance to Ambassador Castro)

The United States Ambassador Raul Castro did present a démarche but then the U.S. followed the path of the French and the Catholic Church, as well as Ambassador Castro’s suggestions of not pressing for accountability of the ‘disappeared’. The declassified documents show that the issue of finding and punishing those responsible for the mothers’ and nuns’ assassination was dropped from further human rights discussion between the United States and Argentina.

In Document 8, dated 28 March 1978, Ambassador Castro foresaw what would happen after the Argentine government issued a final list of detainees which did not account for thousands of ‘disappeared’:

“The one-issue groups, such as the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, will clamor for the government to make an accounting for the missing. The issue will be increasingly and dramatically reported internationally… [But] We should avoid… demanding accountability for the disappeared, since that does nothing directly to eliminate further abuses.”

Document 8 is part of a set of 16 documents, dated between 19 December 1977 and 31 May 1978, concerning human rights violations in Argentina which were selected from the 4,700 declassified by the U.S. Department of State in August 2002 and which were rendered public on 8 December 2002.

The documents were published on the twenty fifth anniversary of the ‘disappearance’ of leaders of the internationally renowned civil disobedience group the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo. The documents show that the Embassy in Buenos Aires had evidence of the Argentine Military Junta’s responsibility in the crime. The United States dedicated substantial resources to establish the whereabouts of the victims and protect their lives, but once it learned they had been killed, it dropped the demand to the Junta to find and punish the perpetrators and discipline officers condoning it.

Declassification and release of documents would continue. On 28 May 2003 another, and this time quite lengthy, document was placed on the website.  Titled “The Pentagon and the CIA sent mixed message to the Argentine military”, the Argentine generals were “told by U.S. government officials” that Washington was “not serious and committed” to human rights.

A two page summary introduces the fifteen documents attached.

The documents clearly show that “the Argentines received mixed signals from us on human rights, in effect giving the [Government of Argentina] the impression that it had carte blanche to pursue terrorism,” in the mid 1970’s, and that in order to convince the Argentine military of Washington’s commitment to human rights, “there must be cooperation from [Department of Defense] and CIA.”

On that 28 March 2003 the National Security Archive at George Washington University published declassified U.S. documents showing that “the Argentines received mixed signals from us on human rights, in effect giving the [Government of Argentina] the impression that it had carte blanche to pursue terrorism,” in the mid 1970’s, and that in order to convince the Argentine military of Washington’s commitment to human rights, “there must be cooperation from [Department of Defense] and CIA.”

The revelations were contained in a series of the already mentioned fifteen documents made public by the National Security Archive at a panel featuring former Assistant Secretary of State Patricia Derian and U.S. and Argentine researchers at the Latin America Studies Association conference in Dallas, Texas. The panel, ‘Declassification on Argentina: A Contribution to Truth and Justice’, looked at how the 4,677 documents declassified by the Department of State in August 2002 shed new light on key U.S. policy decisions and critical information on the chain of command and responsibility for gross human rights violations under the military dictatorship in Argentina.

The documents (1 to 13) are dated from early April 1977, and with some degree of continuity semble, to 1 October 1979, covering the period of the Carter Administration (1977-1981), when Cyrus Vance was the Secretary of State. He had succeeded Kissinger who held that position between September 1973 and January 1977. Document 14 and 15 are dated 28 April 2003 and 9 May 2003, respectively. George W. Bush was in the White House during that time, and his Secretary of State was Colin Powell.

Telegrammes included in the selection report how Mrs. Derian both confronted and tried to reason with the Argentine Generals. “You and I both know that as we speak, people are being tortured in the next floors.”  Derian told Admiral Massera in 1977. To Interior Minister Haguindeguy: “Mrs. Derian said that the instinctive reaction to terrorism is to do what the [Government of Argentina] had done and that it makes the people victims of the state.”

The documents are complemented by Mrs. Derian’s notes, as Assistant Secretary for Human Rights, when she wrote: “Through these [U.S. military and intelligence] agencies the United States government is sending a dangerous and double message. If this continues, it will subvert our entire human rights policy.”

The documents also show how, despite strong language and action on human rights, the Carter Administration entered into secret negotiations with Junta President Rafael Videla and Army Chief Roberto Viola trading U.S. military transfers for human rights improvements. In September 1978, after Vice-President Walter Mondale met Videla in Rome, U.S. Ambassador Raul Castro reported that

“General Viola received me smiling broadly and immediately volunteered the observation that he believed the Rome meeting had gone very well … Viola clearly indicated he had received some positive signals from the [U.S. government] referring to the release of  [Foreign Military Sales] purchases.”

A 1979 telegramme reveals how U.S. policy placed U.S. officials in a moral and political predicament while dealing with those responsible for human rights atrocities. At a meeting with General Viola, then-U.S. Ambassador Raul Castro asked him to help clarify the fate of two recent ‘disappeared’ Montonero insurgents, Mendizabal and Croatto. Viola responded without hesitation, “Mendizabal and Croatto were terrorists … who were eliminated … with my authorization.”

Finally, the selection includes U.S. Embassy reports showing early military efforts to preclude civil courts and avoid accountability for the thousands of disappeared during the military regime. In 1983 the U.S. Embassy received a document from an intelligence source which emanated from the Staff of the Commander-in-Chief outlining its policy towards the issue of the disappeared during the dirty war. The document states that “[u]nder no circumstances will a review of what was then done be allowed, since it is the competence of military justice to investigate infractions that may have been perpetrated.”

Organised by the National Security Archive and sponsored by the Latin America Studies Association, Southern Cone Section, the panel ‘Declassification on Argentina: A Contribution to Truth and Justice’ gathered Assistant Secretary Derian; professor and journalist John Dinges, who described his findings about the double message sent by the Kissinger Department of State (See: Argentine Military believed U.S. gave go-ahead for dirty war, National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 73 – Part II, Edited by Carlos Osorio); researcher Valeria Barbuto of the Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales in Buenos Aires, who talked about the Centro’s work to provide selections of declassified documents to judges and ongoing judicial cases defying current amnesty laws in Argentina; journalist Noga Tarnopolsky, whose cousins, uncle and aunt disappeared in 1976 and who worked with her surviving cousin to win a $1 million suit against Junta member Admiral Emilio Massera;  and the Archive’s director of the Southern Cone Documentation Project, Carlos Osorio, who has published numerous briefing books and prepared analyses of declassified documents on behalf of judges and human rights groups in Argentina, Uruguay and Europe.

Some excerpts from the documents must be quoted  –  if at length  –  to understand the extent of human rights’ violations during the years 1976-1983 in Argentina.

As Document 1 (early April 1977) records, returning from a week-long visit to Argentina where she was to impress on Argentine officials the seriousness of the Carter Administration’s human rights policy, then recently appointed Coordinator for Human Rights Patricia Derian realised that there was work to be done at home too, for  –  she would write  –   “[i]t is widely believed by our military and intelligence services that the human rights policy emanates only from the Department of State…”    Furthermore, she noted that “[t]hrough these agencies the United States government is sending a dangerous and double message. If this continues, it will subvert our entire human rights policy.”

In Buenos Aires, Mrs. Derian met with Argentine human rights activists, journalists, businessmen and government officials, and the U.S. Embassy Country Team. These are some excerpts from Derian’s conclusions:

“The [Argentine] government method is to pick people up and take them to military installations. There the detainees are tortured with water, electricity and psychological disintegration methods. Those thought to be salvageable are sent to regular jails and prisons where the psychological process is continued on a more subtle level. Those found to be incorrigible are murdered and dumped on garbage heaps or street corners, but more often are given arms with live ammunition, grenades, bombs and put into automobiles and sent out of the compound to be killed on the road in what is then reported publicly to be a shootout or response to an attack on some military installation.

With reference to the United States military and American intelligence agencies, she would write: “Through these agencies the United States government is sending a dangerous and double message. If this continues, it will subvert our entire human rights policy.

It is widely believed by our military and intelligence services that the human rights policy emanates only from the Department of State, is a political device and one with a short life due to its wide impracticality, the naiveté and ignorance of individuals in the Administration and to the irresponsible headline grabbing of members of Congress.

This is the signal problem our government has in human rights. The only hope we have to gain support for our initiatives and to advance the cause of human rights is to make sure that governments understand that we are serious, and committed to our human rights policies.

If they believe and are told by U.S. government officials that we are not serious and committed, they are going to try to wait us out.”

Mrs. Derian recommended:

1- That the President as Commander in Chief send a message to all branches of the armed forces stating unequivocally the human rights policy of the U.S. government, which outlines the duty of the military in this regard.

2-That the President instruct the C.I.A., the F.B.I, and all other intelligence agencies on the human rights policy of the U.S. government.

3-That courses in Human Rights be designed and implemented at once in all service academies, military training institutes and intelligence schools, including all purely domestic as well as those with international participants.

4-That those members of the armed forces and intelligence services who cannot comply with U.S. government policies on human rights be immediately separated from their services.”

Document 2 (4 May 1977) contains a memorandum prepared in preparation for a trip
to Argentina by the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs Terence Todman, to outline the U.S. government’s stand on the human rights issue. The memorandum echoes Mrs. Derian’s concerns about past “mixed signals from us on human rights.”

The following are some excerpts:

“The human rights situation in Argentina bedevils our relations, with the possibility that we may soon have to treat Argentina like Chile or Uruguay. The [Government of Argentina] refuses to acknowledge the names of thousands of political prisoners under detention; disappearances, prolonged periods of incommunication, intimidation of lawyers, instances of anti-Semitism, and the harassment of foreign refugees are undeniable. Summary executions of prisoners were reported as recently as early 1977; torture has been brutal, wide-spread and generally unpunished.

Earlier, the Argentines received mixed signals from us on human rights, in effect giving the [Government of Argentina] the impression that it had carte blanche to pursue terrorism. Repeated representations on behalf of human rights were, therefore, not taken very seriously. It is important to persuade the [Government of Argentina] that the [United States Government] is serious about such rights – and there must be cooperation from [Department of Defense]  and CIA.”

Document 3 (11 August 1977) records that, as he arrived in Buenos Aires, Embassy political officer Franklyn Allen (Tex) Harris launched an aggressive research effort to inform the Department of State of the scale of human rights violations in Argentina. For the next two years, Harris’ human rights office would report on thousands of victims, as well as on the structure of the repressive apparatus and the perpetrators.

He would ask such questions as: “The following are among the officers of the First Army Corps located in Palermo with responsibilities for PEN [Prison Writing Programme] detainees and missing persons: Lt. Col. Roarte, Lt. Col. Gatica, and Padre Monson, Chaplain of the First Army Corps. Does anyone know or have any information on these persons?”

As Document 4 (15 August 1977)  attests the Assistant Secretary for Inter-American Affairs Terence Todman and the Human Rights Coordinator Mrs. Derian, Derian were parties to a new mission to meet top Argentine military and security officials. On 10 August, in separate meetings, Mrs. Derian confronted the Minister of the Interior Harguindeguy and the Junta Member and Navy Commander Emilio Massera, on the situation of human rights in Argentina.  Here is part of the record:

“Mrs. Derian started by explaining to the Minister [Harguindeguy] that she was very concerned with the enormous number of people who had disappeared, the number in jail without charges, the number who are simply lost and the number found innocent who remain in jail… She explained that the chief obstacle for returning to normal relations with the US is our concern for the mass of people caught in the system.”

“Mrs. Derian said that the instinctive reaction to terrorism is to do what the  [Government of Argentina] had done and that it makes the people victims of the state.”

Mrs. Derian paid a visit to  Admiral Emilio Eduardo Massera, a leading participant in he the coup.  In 1981 he was found to be a member of P2 9a neo-Fascist secret organisationon set up in Italy.  Massera was regarded by the Junta as essential to the ‘dirty war’ st against political opponents. Document 5 (15 August 1977)  records Mrs. Derian as  in saying, in conversation with Massera,

 “that many people in the Argentine government had told [the United States Government] representatives that the Navy is responsible for abuses which occur when people are taken into custody and interrogated… Mrs. Derian said that on her prior visit she had been told that one of the worst interrogation centers was the Navy Mechanical School in Buenos Aires.”

In a personal interview at the  Archive, Mrs. Derian recalled telling Massera: “You and I both know that as we speak, people are being tortured in the next floors.” According to Mrs.  Derian, the American note-taker had missed this in the memorandum of the conversation.

Document 6 (27 September 1977) contains a report from the  Assistant Secretary Todman to Secretary of State Vance on what follows: in early September President Carter had met with Junta President Videla in Washington and initiated secret negotiations on the human rights issue. Videla would release most of the 4,000 prisoners held under executive order by Christmas 1977, but it is not known what the U.S. would have given the Argentines in return.

The minutes of the meeting are still classified. A few days later after the encounter, according to the heavily redacted memorandum, written by Todman, the Administration  recommended supporting Videla and the document carries a scribble on the side with the words: “File Arms Transfers” and the acronym for the Defense Attaché, “DAO” suggesting that the U.S. was considering supplying Argentina with military equipment. At about the same time, the U.S. quietly approved “export licenses for submarine periscopes and advisory opinions for the sale of three Chinook helicopters and two Lockheed KC-130 tanker aircraft” to the Argentine military. (See: Department of State Document, 2 November 1977)

The newly appointed Ambassador Raul Castro reported (Document 7, 7 December 1977) to the Secretary of State Vance about his first meeting on  5 December 1977 with Army Chief of Staff General Viola.  Viola had  suggested to Ambassador Castro that he [Viola] could serve as a direct access channel to Junta President Videla. In the future Ambassador Castro might have  sought such a high-level access regularly to solve critical diplomatic issues. The Ambassador wrote:

“Looking back on the meeting, it appears that his main objective was to impress upon me the close relationship which he enjoys with president Videla and to offer himself as a conduit to the president.  This channel will be useful for expressing many of our concerns, beginning of course with human rights.”

By the middle of 1978 the Argentine Junta had not complied with releasing thousands of prisoners, stopping the ‘disappearances’, and inviting the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, as promised in secret negotiations with the Carter Administration in exchange for a discreet relaxation of the military transfers’ embargo against the Argentine military.

As Document 8 (9 August 1978) shows, Assistant Secretary Derian testified on the subject before Congress as the Department of State decided to withhold a credit of more than US$ 200 million for the Yacyreta dam project in Argentina.

In a testimony for the Subcommittee on Inter American Affairs, Committee on International Relations, House of Representatives Mrs. Derian said:

“The reason for our advice was the continuing violation of basic human rights by Argentina. The systematic use of torture, summary execution of political dissidents, the disappearance and the imprisonment of thousands of individuals without charge, including mothers, churchmen, nuns, labor leaders, journalists, professors and members of human rights organizations, and the failure of the government of Argentina to fulfill its commitment to allow [a] visit by the Inter American Commission on human rights.”

Document 9 (8 September 1978) records that in early September 1978 Vice-President Walter Mondale and Argentine Junta President Videla  met privately in Rome and reached a new agreement whereby Argentina would make substantial steps towards decreasing the number of prisoners held without charge   –  then at almost 3,000 , stopping the ‘disappearances’ and allowing an inspection visit by the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights in 1979. For its part, the United States agreed to release hundreds of millions of dollars in credits to finance the Yacyreta dam project and ease its embargo on military transfers to the Argentine military. In a memorandum  collected in Document 9 (8 September 1978) the United States Ambassador Raul Castro reported on his exchange of impressions on the Rome meeting with Argentine Army Chief Roberto Viola.

“General Viola received me smiling broadly and immediately volunteered the observation that he believed the Rome meeting had gone very well and that he now believed that the US does value its relations with Argentina. I assured him that this has always been the case but that our efforts had not always been well understood. I assured him that we also were delighted with the Rome meeting.”

Viola clearly indicated he had received some positive signals from the [United States Government] referring to the release of Foreign Military Sales purchases. He said that this was some indication that the US was serious about wishing better ties with Argentina. He then observed that we would definitely see changes and improvements in the human rights field soon. (We understand another list of about 65 prisoner releases is scheduled for this weekend and that Viola is personally clamping down on counter- terrorist operations in the 1st corps.)”

According to a cable dated 26 September 1978 (Document 10), from Ambassador Raul Castro to the Secretary of State, Argentine Army Chief Viola reportedly ordered orally that “independent operations, unless specially authorized, were to end.” The ambiguity of the oral orders reveals a key mechanism used later on by commanders and subordinates to deny responsibility for human rights violations during the ‘dirty war’. Several declassified documents mentioned this characteristic of counter-insurgency in Argentina where intelligence and security units were officially granted ample autonomy, thus clouding authorities’ and individuals’ responsibility for operations.
As the Document recites: “A senior Army intelligence source (protect) confidentially informed emboffs that army commander-in-chief Viola orally instructed Army corps commanders and intelligence services that henceforth all arrests of non-terrorist subversives were to be carried out in accordance with existing laws and that “independent” operations, unless specifically authorized, were to end.”

Assistant Secretary Derian’s up-front stand before the Junta’s generals gained her the respect and affection of many Argentines.

In a memorandum dated 18 April 1979, Patrick Flood, an official in Mrs. Derian’s Human Rights Bureau visiting Argentina, writing to Mrs. Derian, described how after joining a march of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, he struggled to explain whom he worked for.  He said “‘I work with Patricia Derian.’ That did it. Everyone suddenly smiled, repeated your name, said ‘she is our saint, she is our hope’, and burst into applause.”

Here are some extracts from Document 11.

“Each Thursday afternoon, the Mothers gather in a different church, say the Rosary, and march briefly around the nearest plaza or park. They met in a church near the Embassy during my stay in Buenos Aires. I was told that they had chosen it because of my presence in town. (I had planned to join them anyway, and this made it convenient.) I broke free from an Embassy meeting just in time to see them streaming out of the church. I introduced myself to some of the marchers, and all at once they gathered around me asking questions and telling me about the agony they and thousands of other Argentines are experiencing as a result of the disappearances. Pretty soon all 120-150 marchers (including a few men) had surrounded me, everyone talking at once. Some people assumed I was from the [Latin American Human Rights Commission], or from the Embassy.

I said, no, I am from the Department of State in Washington; I work in the human rights office. Some still seemed to have a little trouble placing me, so I said ‘I work with Patricia Derian.’ That did it. Everyone suddenly smiled, repeated your name, said ‘she is our saint, she is our hope’, and burst into applause.


I told them I had not come with answers to all of their questions, but had come to express in this public way our solidarity with their cause and our sharing of their grief, and our commitment to do all in our power to advance the cause for which they marched and prayed every week.”

The visit in September 1979 by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights had a tremendous impact within the Argentine military. (Document 12, 11 September 1979) The visit was seen as a step towards bringing Argentina under democratic rule of law. But the process stirred fears among those involved in the ‘dirty war’ that the rule of law might bring accountability for human rights violations. In a memorandum for the files by Townsend Freeman, the U.S. Embassy Political Officer, an Argentine intelligence source had informed ‘as a U.S. Embassy official’  that “those most deeply involved in the ‘dirty war’ are terribly frightened that as the climate returns to normality, they are being moved closer to the time when they must account for their acts and suffer retribution,” and that there was talk “about the institution of some sort of amnesty for the security forces–a ‘ley de olvidos’.” (a law to forget).

The following are some excerpts from that memorandum:

“The source of the following report is a fairly senior member of a major Argentine military intelligence organization

The Fundamental Problems:

My source said that he had little hope for Argentina getting permanently out of its current mess barring some major changes in what he affirmed were three fundamental, and in effect structural, problems: a) the police and security forces are untrained in sophisticated investigative practices and think only brutality gets results ; b) the courts are ineffective, corruptible and mediocre. The security forces   –   like the general public  –   have no confidence in the rule of law; c) the military has a grossly simplistic attitude towards Marxism. Anybody who criticizes the government is a Marxist.
At least as important, he said, is that some of those most deeply involved in the ‘dirty war’ are terribly frightened that as the climate returns to normality, they are being moved closer to the time when they must account for their acts and suffer retribution. On the other hand, if the ‘dirty war’ can be kept going they are protected–and besides, he said, in some cases doing what they like best.

[M]y source was talking about the institution of some sort of amnesty for the security forces–a ‘ley de olvidos.’ We know that several old-time politicians have discussed the need for a ‘ley de olvidos’ to help open the road for the eventual return to democracy. In addition reported that some military men are speaking about ‘1ey de olvidos’ as a condition precedent for the military’s withdrawal from power.”

Document 13 (1 October 1979) records, for the benefit of the Secretary of State,  a conversation  between the U.S. Ambassador  and Army Chief Viola at a meeting on 25 September dealing with human rights matters. The Ambassador asked about a recent spate of disappearances, in particular one involving two Montoneros, Mendizabal and Croatto. Viola responded,  “Mendizabal and Croatto were terrorists… who were eliminated   –  with my authorization.”

The visit in September 1979 by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights marked the culmination of a series of steps in the human rights arena that the Argentine military had promised to the U.S. The Embassy and Department of State congratulated themselves for this accomplishment. In addition to the visit the U.S. Embassy reported that a great numbers of prisoners had been released through the year and that ‘disappearances’ had practically stopped.

But, as the Commission visit proceeded ‘disappearances’  began again.

“This document shows the moral and political predicament in which Ambassador Castro is placed in dealing with the Argentine military hierarchy. There are no other declassified documents showing the Department of State’s response to Viola’s revelation.
“Disappearances: The ambassador tackled Viola on the remarkable number of disappearances in the past six weeks. Viola responded directly to only three cases. Mendizabal and Croatto were terrorists, he said, who were eliminated – ‘with my authorization,’ Viola added — in the course of their attempts to carry out ten assassinations in Argentina. Others of this ilk could expect the same treatment.”

No other documents, dated between October 1979 and April 1983, were made available to the public.

The next declassified documents are dated, respectively, 28 April and 9 May 1983.

Document 14 (28 April 1983) contains a cable from U.S. Ambassador Harry Schlaudeman to th Secretary of State. The English summary is titled ‘Argentine Government’s Report on the Dirty War; the full original is in Spanish, and has a much more precise title: ‘Documento Final de la Junta Militar Sobre la Guerra Contra
la Subversión y el Terrorismo
   –  Final document of the Military Junta on the war against subversion and terrorism.’

“Summary: the Junta released its ‘final’ report on the ‘dirty war’ against subversion on April 28. The report was less than most people expected, being unremorseful in tone and providing no new material. Of course, it also ducked important issues such as who was responsible for the admitted excesses committed while combating terrorism. The report also stated that the armed forces would not give out any more information, that the actions of members of the armed forces during operations conducted in the war shall be considered as ‘acts of service’ and that ‘it was the constitutional government of former president Maria Estela Martínez de Perón which in 1975 granted the military the power to carry out whatever action was necessary in order to annihilate subversive elements nationwide.’ Reaction to the report was overwhelmingly negative… Human rights organizations, other politicians, and trade unionists also harshly criticized the report. We believe that the report was issued now in an attempt to calm concern in military ranks, where there is considerable fear of possible punishment under a civilian government. To take care of such concern, an “institutional act” was also issued on April 28 which may be used to make case for giving military courts exclusive jurisdiction over all military personnel accused of crimes committed during the ‘dirty war’.”

A few months before handing over power to a civilian government in December 1983, the Army high command had decided that there would be no accountability for thousands of human rights violations during the ‘dirty war’.

“Under no circumstances will a review of what was then done be allowed” says this internal Argentine Army memorandum obtained by the U.S. Embassy through an intelligence source. Document 15, 9 May 1993 is a U.S. Embassy ‘cover memo’; it was prepared by U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires for the benefit of the Secretary of State: ‘[Argentine] Army Views on Foreign Policy and Accounting for the Disappeared’, and accompanies excerpts  of the internal Argentine Army document  ‘Temas Políticos’  –  the full original being in Spanish.

While acknowledging institutional responsibility, the document shows the military’s attempt to exculpate and rationalise the actions of hundreds of perpetrators.

The military decided to lay responsibility on the previous Junta Chiefs and high command of the armed forces: “Operations carried out in the struggle against subversion and terrorism were executed in conformity with plans approved and supervised by the chain of command of the armed forces and the military Junta.”

In the years which followed Argentina prosecuted, condemned and pardoned former Junta leaders and passed laws shielding perpetrators for having received orders and proscribing further prosecutions on the ‘dirty war’.

As the document concludes:

“A regular contact of this mission who has proven reliable in the past provided us with a document which he claims was prepared by the army. We think it is probably the work of the Army Secretary General’s office, the political advisory staff of the Commander-in-Chief.
Excerpts of the report, which is a schematic outline, follow: quote:

Sequel to the struggle against terrorism   –  the disappeared … The stance of the institution is clear:

– Operations carried out in the struggle against subversion and terrorism were executed in conformity with plans  approved and supervised by the chain of command of the armed forces and the military Junta,

– Under no circumstances will a review of what was then done be allowed, since it is the competence of military justice to investigate infractions which may have been perpetrated in this struggle by military, security, police or penitentiary personnel,

– Insisting on the issue of the disappeared will disturb the normal evolution of the institutionalization process.”



The ‘dirty war’

As already seen,  President   Isabel Martínez de Perón  was ousted  in 1976 by a Junta of the three armed forces, led by Army General Jorge Rafael Videla. They initiated the National Reorganisation Process, often shortened to Proceso.

The Proceso shut down Congress, removed the judges of the Supreme Court, banned political parties and unions, and resorted to the forced ‘disappearance’ of suspected guerrilla members and of anyone believed to be associated with the left-wing. 1976-1983      –  although some would say that the period of state terrorism began in 1969  or later in 1974  –   was one of the darkest periods in Argentine history. During such period military and security forces and right-wing death squads in the form of the Alianza Anticomunista Argentina, Argentine Anticommunist Alliance, A.A.A. hunted down and killed left-wing guerrillas, political dissidents, and anyone believed to be associate with socialism.  From 1976 to 1983 a sequence of three brutal military Juntas ruled Argentina in what was called ‘the dirty war’.

The Juntas, led by Jorge Rafael Videla until 1981, and then by Roberto Viola and Leopoldo Galtieri until 1983, organised and carried out strong repression of political dissidents  –   and perceived dissidents, through the government’s military and security forces. They were responsible for the illegal arrests, tortures, killings and/or forced disappearances of an estimated 30,000 people. Assassination occurred domestically in Argentina by mass shootings and the throwing of live citizens from airplanes to death in the South Atlantic. Additionally, 12,000 prisoners, many of whom had not been convicted through legal processes, were detained in a network of 340 secret concentration camps located throughout Argentina. These actions against victims called desaparecidos, because they simply ‘disappeared’ without explanation, were confirmed by Argentine navy officer Adolfo Scilingo, who has publicly confessed his participation in the ‘dirty war’, stating, “…we did worse things than the Nazis.” (Horacio Verbitsky, The Flight: Confessions of an Argentine Dirty Warrior, The New Press, New York, 1996, at 7). The victims not only included armed combatants of the Ejército Revolucionario del Pueblo  – People’s Revolutionary Army,  E.R.P. and Montoneros and their large civilian support base, but also trade-unionists, students and left-wing activists, journalists and other intellectuals, and their families.

Each Junta referred to its policy of suppressing opponents as the Proceso de Reorganización Nacional – National Reorganisation Process. However, the result of these ‘disappearances’ was not submission of the opposition; it later led to a subversion by the military Junta in conjunction with other causes. Argentine military and security forces also created paramilitary death squads, operating behind ‘fronts’ as supposedly independent units. Argentina coordinated actions with other South American dictatorships, as in Operation Condor. Accounts by ‘dirty war’ survivors indicate that the Argentine government commonly seized innocent people who witnessed the capture of targeted individuals which occurred in public places; physicians’ reports confirm the torture endured by survivors.

The number of the victims of such violence is not certain: there is an approximation of 15,000 to 30,000 including trade unionists, students, journalists, left-wing activists and militants, Marxists, Peronist guerrillas and alleged sympathisers. Some 10,000 of the ‘disappeared’ were believed to be guerrillas of the Montoneros, and the People’s Revolutionary Army. The guerrillas were responsible for causing at least 6,000 casualties among the military, police forces and civilian population. The ‘disappeared’ ones were considered to be a political or ideological threat to the military Junta and their ‘disappearances’ an attempt to silence the opposition and break the determination of the guerrillas.

Declassified documents of the Chilean secret police cite an official estimate by the Batallón de Inteligencia 601 of 22,000 killed or ‘disappeared’ between 1975 and mid-1978. During this period, it was later revealed, 8,625 ‘disappeared’ were apprehended under the Poder Ejecutivo Nacional  –  National Executive Power.

In 1982 the then head of the Junta General Leopoldo Galtieri launched Operation Rosario, which escalated into the war with Britain over the Islas Malvinas/Falkland Islands; within two months Argentina was defeated.

Reynaldo Bignone replaced Galtieri and began to organise the transition to democratic rule.

The military leaders stepped down; the general election on 30 October 1983   –   and the surprising defeat of the Peronist party   –   marked the return of constitutional rule.

Raúl Alfonsín won the 1983 elections campaigning for the prosecution of those responsible for human rights violations during the Proceso: the trial of the Juntas and other martial courts sentenced all the coup leaders but, under military pressure, Alfonsín also enacted the Ley de punto final  –  Full Stop law and the Ley the obediencia debida  –  The Due Obedience law, which halted prosecutions further down the chain of command.

The worsening economic crisis and hyperinflation reduced his popular support and frequent riots would later force Alfonsín to an early resignation.

The government of Raúl Alfonsín (December 1983-July 1989) began to develop cases against offenders. Three days after his inauguration, on 13 December 1983, President Alfonsín signed Decree No. 158, which mandated the opening of legal proceedings against the nine military officers of the first three Juntas, but not the fourth   –  ruled by General Reynaldo Bignone. The National Commission on the Disappearance of Persons was established two days later to collect testimonies from thousands of witnesses, and presented 8,960 cases of forced ‘disappearances’ to the President on 20 September 1984. Following the refusal of a military court to try former Junta members, on 14 October 1984 Alfonsín established a National Criminal Court of Appeals for the purpose. In addition to trying military officers, the government prosecuted those leading members of the Montoneros and of the guerrilla groups of the People’s Revolutionary Army responsible of crimes. Numerous men were convicted and sentenced.

The trial began on 22 April 1985. The main prosecutors were Julio César Strassera and his assistant Luis Moreno Ocampo,  who was to become the first Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in The Hague. The trial was presided over by a tribunal of six judges.

The dictatorship had been a series of four military Juntas. The fourth Junta, before calling for elections and relinquishing power to the democratic authorities, enacted a Self-Amnesty Law on 18 April 1983, as well as a secret decree which ordered the destruction of records and other evidence of their past crimes.

This trial is so far the only example of such a large scale procedure by a democratic government against a former dictatorial government of the same country in Latin America. It was the first major trial held for war crimes since the Nüremberg Trials in Germany following the second world war, and the first to be conducted by a civilian court. It succeeded in prosecuting the crimes of the Juntas, which included kidnapping, torture, forced ‘disappearance’, and murder of an estimated 15,000 to 30,000 people during what was called the ‘dirty war’. Opposition to the trial was largely limited to critical commentary by politicians, lawyers, and media figures sympathetic to the dictatorship. Some protest became violent: during the sentencing phase of the trial, 29 bomb threats were made to several Buenos Aires schools, and a number of bombs were detonated in key government installations, including the Ministry of Defence. On 25 October President Alfonsín was forced to declare a 60-day state of emergency.

The prosecutors submitted 709 cases, of which 280 were heard. A total of 833 witnesses testified during the cross-examination phase, which lasted until 14 August. Witnesses included former President Alejandro Lanusse, writer Jorge Luis Borges, Estela Barnes de Carlotto, President of the Asociación Civil Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo  –   Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo;  Pablo Díaz, a survivor and the author of La Noche de los Lápices   –  The night of the pencils; Patricia M. Derian, Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights in the Carter Administration; Dutch jurist Theo van Boven, and renowned forensic anthropologist Clyde Snow.

Closing arguments were heard on 18 September. Chief prosecutor Strassera concluded by declaring that:

“I wish to waive any claim to originality in closing this indictment. I wish to use a phrase that is not my own, because it already belongs to all the Argentine people. Your Honours: “Nunca mas !” – Never again !”

Sentencing was read on 9 December: General Jorge Videla and Admiral Emilio Massera were sentenced to life imprisonment; General Roberto Viola to seventeen years, Admiral Armando Lambruschini to eight years, General Orlando Agosti to four and a half years.

Air Force officer Omar Graffigna, General  Leopoldo Galtieri, Commander-in-Chief of the Argentine Navy Jorge Anaya and Air Force officer Basilio Lami Dozo were acquitted, though the latter three were concomitantly court martialed for malfeasance in waging the Malvinas/Falkland war of 1982.

The original video tapes of the trial have been in Norway since 1988. All of the trial’s judges travelled to Oslo on 25 April  of that year with 147 VHS tapes which were given to the Norwegian Parliament in order to keep them safe and avoid any commercial use. They are kept next to the original text of the Constitution of Norway.

Charges against 600 others were brought to court, but these lawsuits were hampered by the Ley de punto final  –  Full stop law of 1986, which limited suits to those indicted within sixty days of the law’s enactment, and the Ley de obediencia debida   –  Law of due obedience of 1987, which effectively halted most remaining trials of ‘dirty war’ perpetrators.

The top military officers of all the Juntas were among the nearly 300 people prosecuted, and the top men were all convicted and sentenced for their crimes.

Threatening another coup, the military opposed subjecting more of its personnel to such trials. In 1986 it was able to force through passage by the legislature of Ley de punto final   –  Full stop law, which ‘put a line’ under previous actions and ended prosecutions for crimes under the dictatorship. Fearing military uprisings, Argentina’s first two presidents favoured the sentencing only the two top ‘dirty war’ ex-commanders, and even then, very conservatively. Despite President Raúl Alfonsín’s 1983 establishment of CONADEP  –  the  National Commission on the Disappearance of Persons, to investigate the atrocities of the ‘dirty war’, in 1986 the Ley de punto final  provided amnesty to ‘dirty war’ acts, ‘recognising’ that torturers were doing their ‘jobs’ !  Indeed, Alfonsín’s successor, President Carlos Menem (July 1989-July 1995), a Peronista, praised the military in their “fight against subversion.”

Menem embraced neo-liberal policies: a fixed exchange rate, business deregulation, privatisations and dismantling of protectionist barriers ‘normalised’ the economy for a while. He pardoned the officers who had been sentenced during Alfonsín’s government. The 1994 Constitutional Amendment allowed Menem to be elected for a second term. The economy began to decline in 1995, with increasing unemployment and recession.

In 1997 Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzón issued orders for the arrest of former Argentine military officers on charges of participating in the kidnapping and killing of Spanish citizens during the ‘dirty war’. Argentine amnesty laws protected the accused.

In 1998  Argentine judges ordered arrests in connection with the abduction of hundreds of babies from women detained during the ‘dirty war’.  The trial began on 28 February 2011.   The prosecution aimed to prove that the “abduction, detention, hiding and changing of identities of newborn babies” was a clandestine and routine way of dealing with the problem of mothers who gave birth while being held in detention centres. The trial dealt with 34 of the estimated 500 cases. General Jorge Rafael Videla was found guilty and sentenced to fifty years in gaol. The other defendant General Reynaldo Bignone, also was convicted to fifteen years in gaol.

In December 1999 Fernando de la Rúa of the Unión Cívica Radical/Alianza was elected president, during a period which was tormented by financial as well as order problems.

De la Rúa kept Menem’s economic plan despite the worsening crisis, which led to growing social discontent. A massive capital flight was responded to with a freezing of bank accounts, generating further turmoil. In December 2001 a series of riots forced him to resign. Congress appointed Eduardo Duhalde as acting president, who abrogated the fixed exchange rate established by Menem. By the late 2002 the economic crisis began to recess, but the assassination of two piqueteros by the police caused political commotion, prompting Duhalde to move elections forward.He offers the disquieting hypothesis that as long as the “Argentine Question” remains unsettled the military may intervene again, the resistance movement will remain strong, and violence may continue even under a democratic government.He offers the disquieting hypothesis that as long as the “Argentine Question” remains unsettled the military may intervene again, the resistance movement will remain strong, and violence may continue even under a democratic government.show less He offers the disquieting hypothesis that as long as the “Argentine Question” remains unsettled the military may intervene again, the resistance movement will remain strong, and violence may continue even under a democratic government.show less He offers the disquieting hypothesis that as long as the “Argentine Question” remains unsettled the military may intervene again, the resistance movement will remain strong, and violence may continue even under a democratic government.show less

In 2003 the Argentine Congress, under the presidency of Néstor Kirchner (2003-2007), repealed the longstanding amnesty laws, also called the Leyes de perdón  –   the ‘pardon laws’, and in 2005 the Argentine Supreme Court ruled that they were unconstitutional. The government re-opened investigations and began prosecutions again of the war crimes committed by military and security officers.

Kirchner was a member of the Partido Judicialista  –  Justicialist Party, the largest component of the Peronist movement.

In 2006, 24 March was designated as a public holiday in Argentina, the Day of Remembrance for Truth and Justice. That year, on the thirtieth anniversary of the coup, a huge crowd filled the streets to remember what happened during the military dictatorship, and ensure it did not happen again.

Also in 2006 the government began its first trials of military and security officers since the repeal of the ‘pardon laws.’ Miguel Etchecolatz, the police commissioner of the province of Buenos Aires in the 1970s, faced trial on charges of kidnapping,  illegal detention, torture and homicide. He was found guilty of six counts of murder, six counts of unlawful imprisonment, and seven counts of torture, and sentenced in September 2006 to life imprisonment. The tribunal condemned the 1970s government’s crimes as crimes against humanity and genocide of political dissidents.

From then through October 2011, 259 persons were convicted for crimes against humanity and sentenced in Argentine courts, including former naval officer Alfredo Astiz, a notorious torturer and eleven other former members of the security forces were given life sentences for crimes against humanity committed during the 1976-1983 period of Juntas’ rule.

In February 2006 some former Ford Argentine workers sued the U.S.-based company, alleging that local managers worked with the security forces to detain union members on the premises and torture them. The civil suit against Ford Motor Company and Ford Argentina called for four former company executives and a retired military officer to be questioned. According to Pedro Norberto Troiani, one of the plaintiffs, 25 employees were detained in the plant, located sixty kilometres from Buenos Aires. Allegations have surfaced since 1998 that Ford officials were involved in state repression, but the ompany has denied the claims. Army personnel were reported to have arrived at the plant on the day of the military coup, 24 March 1976, and ‘disappearances’ immediately started.

Since her succession to office in 2007, President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner (December 2007 – December 2015)  the prosecution continued of military and security officers responsible for the ‘disappearances.’ The effort to prosecute junior officers has divided Argentine politicians.

In February 2010 a German court issued an international arrest warrant for former dictator Jorge Videla in connection with the death of 20-year-old Rolf Stawowiok in Argentina. He was a German citizen born in Argentina while his father was doing development work there. Rolf Stawowiok disappeared on 21 February 1978, after leaving the Argentine factory where he was working as a chemist. His father, Desiderius Stawowiok, said that Rolf was not active in the Argentine underground but was a sympathiser of the urban Montoneros guerrillas. They were largely destroyed under Videla. In earlier cases, France, Italy, and Spain had requested extradition of the Navy captain Alfredo Astiz for war crimes related to his work with the Escuela Superior de Mecánica de la Armada, ESMA  –   the Higher School of Mechanics of the Navy, but were never successful. ESMA was the place where most enemies of the Junta were taken –   to be imprisoned without hope, tortured, killed and occasionally live-disposed off by helicopter in the Rio de la Plata  –  River Plate or in Atlantic Ocean.

On 22 November 2015, after a tie in the first round of presidential elections on 25 October, Mauricio Macri won the first ballotage in Argentina’s history, over the Frente para la Victoria  –  Front for Victory candidate Daniel Scioli, and becoming president-elect. Macri is the first democratically elected non-radical or Peronist president since 1916. He took office on 10 December 2015. In March 2016 President Barack Obama intended to honour the victims of the ‘dirty war’ and ordered the declassification of thousands of military and intelligence documents related to the period.

Argentina’s main human rights groups announced that they would boycott President Obama’s visit to the country, which coincided with the fortieth anniversary of the coup which led to the deaths of thousands of people.

On the previous day Obama had repeated a pledge to declassify United States  military and intelligence documents about America’s role in the military dictatorship.  “I hope this gesture helps rebuild trust that may have been lost between our two countries.” said Obama.

But the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo were not convinced. “I don’t believe there will be anything in those documents  –   they always black out the names and the important parts.” said a spokesperson.

In the morning of 24 March President Obama and President Mauricio Macri commemorated the anniversary at a ceremony in the Parque de la memoria  –   Remembrance park, a memorial park for victims of the dictatorship built alongside the coast of the Rio de la Plata.

Both the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo and the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo associations, who continue to search for missing victims and babies born to their imprisoned daughters, announced they would not be present at the ceremony.   “It is a provocation, it is our date.” said the same spokesperson.  The two groups, together with other human rights groups, instead had  organised what they expected to be massive marches in Buenos Aires and across the country for  the afternoon of 24 March.

In April 2016 the Macri Government introduced austerity measures intended to tackle inflation and public deficits.   Clearly the causes of much revolt during the decades preceding the taking of power by the military have not been removed, yet.

In some Latin American countries which suffered under military rule during the 1970-1980s the Catholic clergy was often a source of resistance, comfort and protection. Against the dictatorship of General Pinochet some local priests defended human rights and called for the account of the ‘disappeared’ ones.

In Argentina the coup had much more savage consequences. There the Church  –   as an institution  –  was comparatively passive when not collaborating with the Juntas.

Church leaders never confronted the military regime the way their counterparts in Chile did; nor did they encourage or even permit grass-roots activism at the parish level, as developed in Brazil. On the contrary, the church allowed Argentina’s ruling generals and admirals to cloak themselves in religiosity and claim that somehow, in their sinister rampage, they were serving God’s will.

There was at least one clamorous example of such complicity.

In October 2007 former Argentina-born Roman Catholic police chaplain Christian Federico Von Wernich was convicted of collaborating in the murder and torture of prisoners during the ‘dirty war’. He was thirty eight at the time of the coup, was attached to the Buenos Aires Province Police, and ‘worked’ with the rank of inspector in the notorious Miguel Etchecolatz’s Direction of Investigations of the provincial police. His reputation reached beyond Argentina in 2006 after being indicted for murder and kidnapping in aid of the military Junta. He was sentenced to life imprisonment.

In 1985, two years after the restoration of democratic institutions, von Wernich was accused of collaboration by torturing political prisoners. He proclaimed himself innocent and was temporarily saved by the Argentine Congress passing of the Ley de punto final,  intended to ‘draw a line’ under all that had happened until then.

The country struggled to restore democratic institutions and rule of law.

In 2003 Congress repealed the 1986 Ley de punto final and the government re-opened prosecution of cases of crimes against humanity committed during the ‘dirty war’. In a court challenge, the Argentine Supreme Court would rule in 2005 that the law was unconstitutional.

New evidence was collected against von Wernich and the priest, then living under assumed name in  Chile, was arrested in September 1983 and indicted on charges of conspiracy to illegal detention, torture and murder. He had taken part in mock executions during which he ‘counselled’ the victims and urged them to confess and name other people. He had been no ‘man-of-god’, but had violated the sacraments of his own Church.

Von Wernich’s trial began on 5 July 1987. The charges were: forty one instance of kidnapping and torture and seven murders. He had denied all charges before the trial; at the trial he would exercise his right to silence.

On 9 October 1987 the court found him guilty of 42 kidnappings, 32 instances of torture and complicity in 7 murders, and sent von Wernich to life imprisonment.

Was the case of von Wernich exemplary of the Catholic Church in Argentina’s collaboration with the Junta ? Hard to say. But all circumstantial elements incline for a ‘yes’.  Outwardly indifference could be a better descriptor.

All the Church would do or say on von Wernich’s conviction was to apologise for his being “so far from the requirements of the mission commended to him.”

Two years after conviction von Wernich was still, with the knowledge and permission of the Church, officiating as a priest in the prison.

Perhaps the only thing which may be said is that the Catholic Church proceed through life sub specie aeternitatis  –  from the perspective of the eternal: an explanation, not a justification. And that calls for elucidation  –  by questions.

Sure, they may be regarded as impolite, even offensive, because they concern the head of sovereign state  –  the Vatican.  Yet, here they are:

What did Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio know about Argentina’s brutal ‘dirty war’ against suspected leftists in which thousands were tortured and killed ? When did he know it ?

More important, what did the present Pope Francis do ?

When the  Junta seized power in 1976, Bergoglio   –  elected on 13 March 2013  by the College of Cardinals as the first Latin American to become Pope   –   was the head of the Jesuit order in Argentina. His elevation to the papacy occasioned great joy and national pride in his homeland   –  but also, for some, brought back memories of Argentina’s darkest and most desperate days.

The Church in Argentina was comparatively passive in the face of the Junta’s horrors.  Some would say complicit. Church leaders never confronted the military regime the way their counterparts did in Chile; nor did they encourage or even permit grass-roots activism at the parish level, as developed in Brazil. On the contrary, the Church allowed Argentina’s  generals and admirals to cloak themselves in religiosity and claim that somehow, in their sinister rampage, they were serving God’s will.

In 2005 Ms. Myriam Bregman, an Argentine human rights lawyer, activist and politician and now member of Congress, filed a criminal complaint against Bergoglio, as the Provincial of the Society of Jesus of Argentina, accusing him of involvement in the Navy’s kidnapping and ‘disappearance’ of two priests in May 1976.  In his position Bergoglio removed (equal to expulsion) religious licence to the priests Francisco Jalics and Orlando Yorio, two subordinates  in the Society of Jesus who had made the call ‘option for the poor’.

Both priests were young and followers of the progressive ‘liberation theology’ movement; Bergoglio was not. As their superior, he had told them to cease the work they were doing in a slum neighbourhood on the outskirts of Buenos Aires.

Jalics and Yorio preached in the ‘shanty town’ of the neighbourhood poor, while Bergoglio sympathised with the group the Guardia de hierro, the Iron Guard a right-wing supporter of Peronism, according to writer and journalist Horacio Verbitsky  –  a view which was subsequently confirmed by a prestigious Argentine newspaper in 2010 (El número uno de la Iglesia Argentina, sospechoso de colaborar con la dictadura, El  mundo, 8 November 2010)  –   The number one of the Argentine Church, suspected of collaborating with the dictatorship)

The allegation is that Bergoglio, knowing the men were in danger of being targeted by the military, withdrew the Jesuit order’s protection from them because of their disobedience   –   effectively leaving them to the Junta’s tools.

Days after losing the protection of the Society of Jesus, a group of the E.S.M.A. (Escuela Superior de Mecánica de la Armada – Navy Petty Officers School
of Mechanics) kidnapped Jalics and Yorio and several other catechists, who would frequent the cells of ‘killing Centre’. The priests, according to Verbitsky, always suspected that Bergoglio had betrayed them.

Of that group of kidnapped and tortured, the Catechist Mónica Maria Mignone is still missing. Her father, Emilio Mignone, a well-known lawyer, author and ultimately  university rector,  founded the humanitarian organisation Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales. In his 1986 book Iglesia y dictadura, Mignone told Bergoglio was one of “those shepherds who handed over their sheep to the enemy without defending them or rescuing them”. (E. F. Mignone, Iglesia y dictadura: el papel de la Iglesia a la luz de sus relaciones con el régimen militar, Ediciones del Pensamiento Nacional, Buenos Aires 1986, Church and dictatorship: the role of the Church in the light of its relations with the military regime)

This charge was first made in 1986 by Mignone, one of Argentina’s most respected human rights activists, and was repeated in a book about the relationship between the Church and the dictatorship. The highly-respected journalist Horacio Verbitsky took up the charge in his 2005 book El silencio. (El silencio: de Paulo VI a Bergoglio: las relaciones secretas de la Iglesia con la ESMA, Sudamericana, Buenos Aires 2005, The silence: from Paolo VI to Bergoglio, the secret links between the Church and the Navy Mechanics School)

Bergoglio consistently denied the allegation. He told a biographer that the priests left the Jesuit order voluntarily and that he appealed privately to leaders of the Junta for the priests’ release  –   an intervention of the kind which might have saved their lives.  Bergoglio also told the biographer that he often allowed people sought by the military to hide on Church property. In testimony before an official tribunal in 2010 he said he was unaware of the Junta’s worst excesses until after the fact. He specifically denied knowing that babies born to pregnant detainees were forcibly taken from their mothers and given to politically connected families for adoption   –    although there is evidence suggesting he did know about this practice. And so much for pastoral care of the unfortunate families.

In 2012 Argentina’s bishops   –   under Bergoglio’s leadership   –   issued a blanket apology for having failed to protect the Church’s flock during the dictatorship. That the Church was tragically remiss is no longer in question, if it ever was.

Now that Bergoglio is Pope Francis, his record and recollections of nearly 40 years ago are important not so much because of what he did or did not do but because of what lessons he did or did not learn. There were Catholic prelates who openly collaborated with the Junta and some of those who openly opposed them. Bergoglio might have been somewhere in the middle.

The lawyer’s complaint did not specify the nature of Bergoglio’s alleged involvement; Bergoglio’s spokesman flatly denied the allegations. The lawsuit was ultimately dismissed. The priests, Jalics and Yorio, had been tortured, but found alive five months later, drugged and semi-naked. Yorio accused Bergoglio of effectively handing them over to the death squads by declining to tell the authorities that he endorsed their work. Yorio, who died in 2000, said in a 1999 interview that he believed that Bergoglio “did nothing to free us, in fact just the opposite.” Jalics initially refused to discuss the complaint after moving into seclusion in a German monastery. However, two days after the election of Pope Francis (13 March 2013), Jalics issued a statement confirming the kidnapping and attributing the cause to a former lay colleague who became a guerrilla, was captured, and named Jalics and Yorio when interrogated.  The following week, Jalics   –   probably by now in his mid-sixties  –   issued a second, clarifying statement: “It is wrong to assert that our capture took place at the initiative of Father Bergoglio … the fact is, Orlando Yorio and I were not denounced by Father Bergoglio.” (Pope Francis did not denounce me to Argentinian junta …, www.theguardian.com › World › Pope Francis , 21 March 2013)

Not denounced  –  alright; but abandoned ?  Hmmm.

On 9 April 2013 the Vatican was not changing its position: in the 1970s it had  dismissed reports of bloodshed of the ‘dirty war’ as “communist propaganda.” (Peter Finocchiaro, ‘WikiLeaks: Vatican dismisses Pinochet massacre reports as ‘communist propaganda’, 9 April 2013 informationclearinghouse.info › article34547.htm)

Time to sum up.

The wave of document disclosure has continued during the past thirty years. The latest

release occurred almost accidentally by initiative of the Trump Administration.  (Trump Leaks Operation Condor-Era Declassified Docs to Argentina, 27 April 2017,

www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Trump-Leaks-Operation-Condor-E…) The resulting story runs as follows.

Just three months after the Argentine generals’ coup on 24 March 1976, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger gave that country’s military a ‘green light’ to continue its ‘dirty war’, according to a State Department memorandum. It is contained in a document which clearly shows  that in early 1977 Robert Hill, then the U.S. Ambassador to Buenos Aires, told a top Carter Administration official that Kissinger had given his approval to the repression in which up to 30,000 people were kidnapped and secretly murdered.  Kissinger, he charged, put his imprimatur on the massive ‘disappearances’ at a 10 June 1976 meeting in Santiago, Chile, with Argentina’s Foreign Minister, Admiral Guzzetti, both men being in attendance of the Sixth General Assembly of the Organization of American States, the  agenda of which, in tragic irony, had been dominated by the human rights issue. Guzzetti was one of the most outspoken advocates of the ‘dirty war’. In August 1976 he told the United Nations: “My idea of subversion is that of the left-wing terrorist organisations. Subversion or terrorism of the right is not the same thing. When the social body of the country has been contaminated by a disease that eats away at its entrails, it forms antibodies. These antibodies cannot be considered in the same way as the microbes.”

The ninety-minute early morning meeting, at Santiago’s Hotel Carrera, across from La Moneda Palace, came just three weeks after Hill had urgently warned Kissinger of the worsening Argentine rights record. A word from the Secretary of State would have helped rein in the generals. A secret analysis by the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research, dated 5 April 1976, had noted that “human rights could become a problem area as the military clamps down on terrorism.” It went on: “To date, however, the Junta has followed a reasonable, prudent line in an obvious attempt to avoid being tagged with a ‘made in Chile’ label.” According to the records of the Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales, Argentina’s foremost human rights group, by the time Kissinger and Guzzetti met, 1,022 people had been ‘disappeared’. At least another 7,938 met the same fate afterward. According to Hill, when Kissinger arrived at the Santiago conference the Argentine generals were nervous about the prospect of being ‘floored’ by the United States for their human rights record. But Kissinger merely told Guzzetti that the regime should solve the problem before the United States Congress reconvened in 1977.

Within three weeks of the meeting a wave of wholesale executions began, and hundreds of detainees were killed in reprisal for attacks by leftist guerrillas. The memorandum shows that Hill believed the responsibility for this ballooning state terrorism to be Kissinger’s.  Hill  died in 1978; confirmation is impossible. Guzzetti was to suffer lasting brain damage in a 1977 attack. Kissinger referred inquiries to former Secretary of State William D. Rogers, who was with him in Santiago. Rogers did “not specifically remember” a meeting with Guzzetti, but added: “What Henry would have said if he had had such a meeting was that human rights were embedded in our policy, for better or worse. He’d have said sympathetic things about the need for effective methods against terrorism, but without abandoning the rule of law.” But Ms. Patricia Derian, Carter’s Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights, confirmed the account of Hill’s charges and was ‘nauseated’ to learn of Kissinger’s role. Two former American diplomats also corroborated Hill’s story. Hill’s own past appears to put him above suspicion that his charges against Kissinger were politically motivated. “Hill’s biography reads like a satirical left-wing caricature of an imperialist.”  noted the authoritative Latin America newsletter.

Despite five ambassadorial postings to Spanish-speaking countries, he never mastered the language. Hill, a former director of the notorious United Fruit Company, was directly linked in testimony before the U.S. Senate with the C.I.A. planning of the coup which overthrew the elected government of Jacobo Árbenz Guzmán in Guatemala in 1954. Before being assigned to Buenos Aires by Richard Nixon, he was Assistant Secretary of Defense responsible for international security. Like many others, Hill had greeted the coup against the outrageously corrupt, incompetent government of Juan Perón’ s widow,   Isabel Martínez de Perón, with relief. He was especially impressed by the military’s willingness to crack down on top drug traffickers, who had been protected by Isabel Peron’s inner circle. By the time of the coup, a siege atmosphere was gripping the U.S. Embassy; a U.S. honorary consul had been murdered by the left-wing Peronist Montoneros, and a U.S. diplomat had been wounded by the guerrillas of the Ejército Revolucionario del Pueblo.

“There are difficult days ahead.” Hill warned the National Security Council in a secret Country Analysis and Strategy Paper the day before the 24 March coup. “The strategy is essentially one of protecting our people and property from terrorism and our trade and investments from economic nationalism during this trying period.” Human rights did not immediately appear to be a problem to Hill. The 5 April  Bureau of Intelligence and Research analysis concluded that “terrorism from the right would be more susceptible to control than that from the left, because right-wing operatives frequently have been attached to groups now directly under military supervision.” Less than a month later events had overtaken any such wishful thinking. On 18 May two prominent Uruguayans exiled in Buenos Aires were taken from their homes by unidentified men.  Héctor Gutiérrez Ruiz, a former president of the Uruguayan House of Deputies, was  assassinated in pursuance  of Operation Condor on 20 May 1976; on the same day and in the same ‘operation’ Zelmar Michelini, a charismatic former senator, was assassinated. Neither was involved in armed politics, nor did they belong to the ultra-radical left.

On 25 May Hill sent a secret cable to Secretary of State Kissinger, requesting instructions. The page-long copy is heavily redacted but it is still possible to read: “In view of the general worsening human rights situation here, believe the time has come for a demarche at the highest level. Hence, I request instructions to ask for an urgent appointment with the foreign minister. …  In view of the pace of developments, I would appreciate reply by immediate cable.” Hill’s request was approved by Under Secretary of State Joseph Sisco.  On 27 May Kissinger sent a secret cable: ‘Subject: Human Rights Situation in Argentina’, directed to the embassies in Montevideo and Buenos Aires: “Acting Assistant Secretary [Hewson] Ryan called in Ambassador Vasquez May 27 to warn him about the growing concern in the US about the violence in Argentina and the reported disappearances of individuals. This concern is being expressed by major universities,   the responsible press  –  such as The New York Times – and by members of both Houses of Congress, and is having an unfavorable impact on Argentina’s image in this country. If this continues, it would make cooperation with Argentina difficult, as happened in the case of Chile.  … Ambassador Ryan said there is concern in the US not only about the arrests being carried out by the [Argentines] but about the failure of the [government] to control the activities of right-wing terrorist groups.”

If Kissinger had any lingering doubts about what was happening in Argentina, they were dispelled by subordinates such as Hill. Yet, his cable is noteworthy for its blandness; his rendition of Ryan’s meeting shows the Argentines were told outside pressure  –  not U.S. policy  –  endangered business as usual. Two weeks later Kissinger went to Chile to meet Guzzetti.

Hill had quickly realised what was occurring. The new military regime was not limiting its rampage to the guerrillas, against whom it used methods which violated every accepted convention of warfare and the treatment of prisoners.

It had embarked on a crusade against anyone threatening the armed forces’ version of what they called ‘Western Christian civilisation.’ Hill’s alarm grew as he heard of examples of the horror. Three priests and two seminarians were murdered by vengeful police; an American priest and the daughter of a U.S. missionary were tortured; a progressive Catholic bishop was killed in a staged car crash.

“Hill was shaken, he became very disturbed by the case of the son of a thirty-year embassy employee, student who was arrested, never to be seen again.” recalled former New York Times reporter Juan de Onis. “Hill took a personal interest.”

He went to the Interior Minister, an army general with whom he had worked on drug cases, saying, “Hey, what about this? We’re interested in this case.’’ He then went to Guzzetti and, finally, to President Videla himself.

“All he got was stonewalling; he got nowhere.” de Onis said. “His last year was marked by increasing disillusionment and dismay, and he backed his staff on human rights right to the hilt.” This view of events was confirmed by Wayne Smith, who was Hill’s political officer at the time.

It was a troubled, angry Hill who met in early 1977 with a senior Carter Administration official, eager to unburden himself about Kissinger’s role and explain why the generals were only partly to blame for the slaughter. According to the memorandum: “Hill said that he had made arrangements seven times for a Kissinger visit to Argentina. Each time the Secretary cancelled. Finally Kissinger decided to go to the [Organization of American States] meeting.

In the middle of the meetings, the Secretary wanted to visit Buenos Aires. This tine the Argentines refused because they did not want to interrupt O.A.S. activities being held in a neighbouring state. Kissinger and Foreign Minister Guzzetti agreed to meet in Santiago.

The Argentines were very worried that Kissinger would lecture to them on human rights.  Guzzetti and Kissinger had a very long breakfast but the Secretary did not raise the subject. Finally Guzzetti did.  Kissinger asked how long would it take [Argentines] to clean up the problem.  Guzzetti replied that it would be done by the end of the year.  Kissinger approved.

Later, in about August, the Ambassador discussed the matter personally with Kissinger, on the way back to Washington from a Bohemian Grove meeting in San Francisco. Kissinger confirmed the Guzzetti conversation.  Hill said that the Secretary felt that Ford would win the election. Hill disagreed. In any case, the Secretary wanted Argentina to finish its terrorist problem before year end   –   before Congress reconvened in January 1977.  In September, Hill prepared an eyes-only memorandum for the Secretary urging that the U.S. vote against an [Inter-American Development Bank] loan on Harkin [human rights] grounds. Hill felt that he would strengthen his hand in dealing with the Argentines. The memorandum was given to Assistant Secretary [Harry] Shlaudeman. The latter asked the Ambassador personally if Hill really wanted to send the memorandum to the Secretary, who had already decided to vote for the loan. Shlaudeman suggested that the Secretary might fire Hill. Hill told Shlaudeman to send the memo Hill’s I.D.B. memorandum was ignored. The United States voted for the loan, warning the Argentines, however, that America might not be able to support future Argentine projects in the I.D.B. unless the human rights picture changed.

When asked about what transpired in Santiago, Kissinger’s spokesperson  said that Kissinger “doesn’t have a great deal of memory about events in 1975” and that Kissinger expressed “a great deal of affection for Ambassador Hill.” Asked about whether they shared the trip back from the Bohemian Grove retreat, the spokesperson replied: “Yeah, I guess he was on the plane.” Yet, Kissinger had spoken at the O.A.S. conference on “Human rights in the Western Hemisphere.”

On that occasion, Kissinger had proclaimed: “One of the most compelling issues of our time, and one which calls for the concerted action of all responsible peoples and nations, is the necessity to protect and extend the fundamenta1 rights of humanity.”

The rhetoric, however, was at variance with accounts of Kissinger’s meeting with Guzzetti, with the background to the O.A.S. speech itself and with the Secretary of State’s attitude once he was out of public office. A U.S. diplomat who asked to remain anonymous told Hill he had been told of Kissinger’s green light by Argentine military sources.

Wayne Smith, Hill’s political officer, was to confirm: “Kissinger told Guzzetti in Santiago, Look, we have to do these things [speak out publicly on the rights issue], but don’t take it too seriously.” [Emphasis added]  Certainly some of the Latin Americans at the O.A.S. remained unimpressed by Kissinger’s speech. “He said genocide gets you ‘adverse international judgment’ ” said one Venezuelan representative of the social democratic government of Carlos Andrés Pérez. “Has he forgotten where he comes from ?”

There was a further suggestion that Kissinger’s commitment on human rights was meant for public consumption only. Robert White, who later became Ambassador to El Salvador, was deputy representative of the delegation at the Santiago conference. He had made a public statement there on human rights, based on a position paper approved by the State Department. Kissinger sent him a telegramme of reprimand, although he later retreated after former Representative William Mailliard, the head of the delegation, sent his own sharp reply to Kissinger. White also had a report from what he regarded as a reliable Chilean source of a meeting between Kissinger and Chilean dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet. “Kissinger told Pinochet he would have to make reference to human rights in his speech.” White said that “that’s all he would hear on the subject.”

In 1978, long after the Argentine military’s policy of arranging massive ‘disappearances’ had been conclusively demonstrated, turning the country into an international pariah, Kissinger was the guest of Argentine President Videla during the World Cup soccer competition. The generals used the visit to show they enjoyed the sympathy of the onetime superstar of U.S. diplomacy. At the end of the tournament Kissinger held a news conference in which he criticised the Carter Administration for not understanding that human rights were a necessary casualty in the battle against terrorism.

He also spent much time in public in the company of the Junta’s Minister of the Economy-and David Rockefeller’s friend   –   José Alfredo Martínez de Hoz   –   better known as ‘the Wizard of Hoz.’ His policies were the ideological framework for the murder of hundreds of labour activists unconnected to the guerrillas.

A firm, principled word from Kissinger in June 1976 might have stopped the bloodbath in the making. In the early months of military rule, the armed forces were quite aware of international pressure for human rights. Even as late as the end of 1976, U.S. diplomats learned, Argentina’s top military leaders were still debating the international consequences of the repression. By the time President Carter took office, however, the killing had gone too far for the generals to turn back.

Hill returned to Buenos Aires from the United States in early September 1976. “The Argentine press had been saved for him and he sifted through stacks of newspapers” the Hill memorandum reads. “He saw that the terrorist death toll had climbed steeply. The Ambassador said that he wondered   –   although he had no proof  –   whether the Argentine government was not trying to solve its terrorist problem before the end of the year.”

As Hill suspected, the mass execution of prisoners and suspects became a generalised phenomenon only after the Kissinger-Guzzetti meeting. More than seventy people, including the three priests and two seminarians, were murdered in reprisal for the 2 July bombing of a police headquarters by the Montoneros in which a score of people were killed. On 20 August thirty people were executed and their bodies blown up in reprisal for the assassination of retired Gen. Omar Actis. More than fifty were executed in response to the bombing of a police station in the provincial capital of La Plata. Thirty others were slain in reprisal for an attack on the Ministry of Defence. Forty more died over the New Year’s holiday in retaliation for the killing of a colonel.

“It sickened me” said Patricia Derian “that with an imperial wave of his hand, an American could sentence people to death on the basis of a cheap whim. As time went on I saw Kissinger’s foot prints in a lot of countries. It was the repression of a democratic ideal.” (Martin Edward Andersen, Kissinger and the ‘dirty war’,The Nation, 31 October 1987)

In 2000, on the occasion of a visit to Buenos Aires, President Clinton’s Secretary of State  Madeleine J.K. Albright promised that more documents, part of thousands pages from secret archives on American-Argentine diplomacy, would be release. So they were.

The documents, which cover events between June and October 1976, the time of the most frequent ‘disappearances’ in Argentina, show that the Junta regime was convinced that there was no real problem with the United States over the issue of human rights. The Argentine foreign minister, Admiral Guzzetti, drew that conclusion after meetings in October 1976 with Kissinger, Vice President Nelson A. Rockefeller and other highly positioned State Department officials, according to an American embassy cable from Buenos Aires.

The new documents provided a detailed insight into the bitter dispute about U.S. support for a military dictatorship and include a rare example of an ambassador daring directly to oppose the very powerful Kissinger.

Ambassador Robert Hill described Guzzetti as “euphoric” and “almost ecstatic” and “in a state of jubilation” after returning from Washington to report on the meetings to Argentine President Videla. According to Hill, “[Guzzetti] said the vice president urged him to advise President Videla to ‘finish the terrorist problem quickly.’ ”  [Emphasis added]

In his three-page cable, Hill showed barely concealed outrage that his superiors in Washington were undercutting his efforts to encourage human-rights improvements. The cable, dated  19  October 1976, had the effect of putting “bitter criticism” of Kissinger’s handling of the meetings with Guzzetti on the record, according to a memorandum by another U.S. official who recommended an immediate response.
Hill quoted Guzzetti as saying that Kissinger had assured him “that the United States ‘wants to help Argentina.’ ” Kissinger told Guzzetti “that if the terrorist problem was over by December or January, he [Kissinger] believed serious problems could be avoided in the United States.” A reply to Hill from Kissinger’s chief Latin American officer claimed that Guzzetti “heard only what he wanted to hear” and had arrived at his interpretation “perhaps [because of] his poor grasp of English.”
Hill, in a carefully phrased  ‘comment’ ending the cable to Washington, disguised his criticism of Kissinger by limiting to speak only about Guzzetti’s impressions of the meetings. Nevertheless Hill emphasised that Guzzetti received the same message fromBut, significantly, Hill seems to stress that Guzzetti received the same message from at last five other highly-placed American  officials on four separate occasions. Hill did not consider the possibility that Guzzetti misinterpreted what he heard at those meetings.

Guzzetti’s meetings in Washington, coming just six months after the coup, took place at a critical time in Argentina. Before Guzzetti travelled to the United States, Hill forcefully told him that the continuing atrocities could not be defended. In the view of the United States, Hill recalled in a subsequent cable to the State Department, dated 20 September 1976, having told Guzzetti that “murdering priests and dumping 47 bodies in the street in one day could not be seen in context of defeating the terrorists quickly; on the contrary, such acts were probably counterproductive. What the [United States Government] hoped was that the [Government of Argentina] could soon defeat terrorists, yes, but do so as nearly as possible within the law.”


Guzzetti went to the United States “fully expecting to hear some strong, firm, direct warnings on his government’s human-rights practices,” Hill wrote after meeting with the Argentine leader upon the latter’s return to Buenos Aires. “Rather than that, he has returned in a state of jubilation, convinced that there is no real problem with the United States over this issue. Based on what Guzzetti is doubtless reporting to the [Government of Argentina], it must now believe that if it has any problems with the U.S. over human rights, they are confined to certain elements of Congress and what it regards as biased and/or uninformed minor segments of public opinion.”

Hill closed the cable with a pessimistic note: “While this conviction exists, it will be unrealistic and ineffective for this Embassy to press representations to the [Government of Argentina] over human-rights violations.”

Kissinger became increasingly concerned as to Hill’s attitude to the events in Argentina,  particularly since Hill had been known to have said, quite firmly, that he would tell all he knew to Congress had he been put on the stand under oath. “I am not going to lie” he openly told several of his colleagues. There was a threat to Kissinger position in those words.

Still, Kissinger continued to refer only fleetingly to Argentina, mch as he had done and would continue to do with dirty deeds  in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, East Timor, Chile or anywhere else he had acted as an enabler for the kind of endeavours which cost the life of many thousands, millions of people. (David Corn, New memo: Kissinger gave the ‘Green Light’ for Argentina’s dirty war, 14 January 2014, www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/01/new-memo-kissinger-gave-green…)

More declassified documents were published on 8 August 2016. They showed how Kissinger’s close relationship with the Juntas hindered President Carter’s attempts to influence the Argentine regime during is years 1977-1981 presidency.

Carter’s officials were infuriated by Kissinger’s attendance at the 1978 World Cup in Argentina as the personal guest of President Videla, the general who was responsible for oversaw the forced ‘disappearance’ of some 30,000 persons regarded as enemies of the regime.

In 1978 Kissinger was no longer in office after Carter defeated Gerald Ford in the 1976 presidential election, but the documents reveal that American diplomats feared his praise for the Junta’s behaviour would encourage further bloodshed.

Carter had made human rights a cornerstone of American foreign policy and was exerting pressure on Argentina’s regime by withholding loans and sales of military equipment.

The newly declassified cables would show how Kissinger lauded Videla and other officials for their methods during his 1978 visit. “His praise for the Argentine government in its campaign against terrorism was the music the Argentine government was longing to hear.” reads one of the documents.

Another diplomatic cable describes how, during a lunch with Videla, “Kissinger applauded Argentina’s efforts in combatting terrorism” and lamented that “it was unfortunate many Americans thought Argentina was a soft drink. He said this indicated that Americans are not aware of Argentine history nor of its struggle against terrorism.”

Kissinger even held a private meeting with Videla without the presence of the American ambassador to Buenos Aires, Raúl Castro, at which human rights and Carter’s foreign policy were discussed. “Videla prearranged it so Kissinger and the interpreter would meet with him privately half an hour before ambassador’s arrival.” one cable shows.

In another off-the-record meeting with the Argentine Council of International Relations   –  a group of conservative and highly influential Argentine diplomats   –   Kissinger went even further, saying that “in his opinion the government of Argentina had done an outstanding job in wiping out terrorist forces.”

The American ambassador was shocked by Kissinger’s behaviour. “My only concern is that Kissinger’s repeated high praise for Argentina’s action in wiping out terrorism … may have gone to some considerable extent to his hosts’ heads.” the ambassador said in a lengthy cable to Washington.  “There is some danger that Argentines may use Kissinger’s laudatory statements as justification for hardening their human rights stance.”

The documents’ release    –   which had been announced by President Obama during a visit to Argentina in March 2016  –   was welcomed by Argentina’s human rights secretary, Claudio Avruj. “There is no doubt about the participation of the United States in Argentina’s bloody 1976-1983 military dictatorship, Human Rights Secretary Claudio Avruj said following the news that Washington announced it will declassify military and intelligence files from the Dirty War period ahead of Barack Obama’s visit to the country.”   (C. Avruj: There’s no doubt about US involvement in Argentina’s coup, Buenos Aires Herald, 18 March 2016,


“We’re surprised by the speed with which the United States has delivered this documentation.” he told reporters. “We thought it would take longer.”(Uki Goñi,  ‘Kissinger hindered US effort to end mass killings in Argentina, according to files’, The guardian, 10 August 2016, www.theguardian.com › World › Argentina)

Meeting Argentine President Mauricio Macri on 27 April 2017, President Trump handed over 931 declassified Department of State records related to Operation Condor, the cold war-era campaign of violence across Latin America which brought death to thousands of activists.

Trump’s delivery falls in line with President Obama’s promise to release intelligence documents about human rights abuses committed by the Argentine Juntas during the 1970s and 1980s.

Under the title ‘Secret/Exdis’ the declassified documents provide new insight into United States  support for human rights abuses in Argentina and neighbouring countries.

The documents describe Operation Condor as a trans-border, multinational effort by ‘Southern Cone’ secret police services to ‘track down and liquidate’ regime opponents, the National Security Archive reports.

They detail the role played by the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and other intelligence agencies in purposefully ignoring human rights abuses committed by the Juntas.

The documents reveal that the orchestrators of Operation Condor considered establishing ‘field offices’ in the United States and Europe.

They provide information on relationship between  President  Carter and General Videla in 1977.

They do more: they confirm that Orlando Letelier, chief economist for former Chilean President Salvador Allende, was killed by members of Chile’s intelligence service under the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship and, more importantly, they include details about the censorship of the U.S. Buenos Aires embassy human rights officer Tex Harris, who tried making human rights abuses public.

The declassification and release of other top secret documents from the records of fourteen intelligence agencies are expected to occur before the end of the year. (Trump leaks Operation Condor-era declassified docs to Argentina, 28 April 2017,


It cannot be said that Kissinger has not suffered some consequences of his Realpolitik.

And the best one can say is that such ‘hiccups’ go with the position.

As Secretary of State in the Nixon and Ford administrations, Kissinger was closely involved diplomatically with the Southern Cone governments at the time and well aware of the Operation Condor. According to the French newspaper L’Humanité, the first cooperation agreements were signed between the C.I.A. and anti-Castro groups, and the right-wing death squad of the Alianza Anticomunista ArgentinaArgentine Anticommunist Alliance, set up in Argentina by Juan Perón and Isabel Martínez de Perón’s ‘personal secretary’ José López Rega, and Rodolfo Almirón Sena, who was to be arrested in Spain in 2006.

On 31 May 2001 French judge Roger Le Loire called for a summons be served on Kissinger while he was staying at the Hôtel Ritz in Paris. Judge Le Loire wanted to question Kissinger as a witness regarding ‘alleged’ United States involvement in Operation Condor and for possible U.S. knowledge concerning the ‘disappearance’ of five French nationals in Chile during military rule. Kissinger left Paris that evening, and Le Loire’s inquiries were directed to the U.S. State Department.

In July 2001 the Chilean Supreme Court granted investigating judge Juan Guzmán Tapia the right to question Kissinger about the 1973 killing of American journalist Charles Horman.  (His execution by the Chilean military after the coup was dramatised in the 1982 Costa-Gavras film Missing.) The judge’s questions were relayed to Kissinger via diplomatic routes but were not answered.

In August 2001 Argentine Judge Rodolfo Canicoba sent a letter rogatory to the U.S. State Department, in accordance with the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty between the two countries, requesting a deposition by Kissinger to aid the judge’s investigation of Operation Condor. (Operation Condor: Deciphering the U.S. Role, https://www.globalpolicy.org/component/content/article/168/28173.html)

On 10 September 2001 a civil suit was filed in a Washington, D.C. federal court by the family of Gen. René Schneider, the murdered former Commander-in-Chief of the Chilean Army, asserting that Kissinger ordered Schneider’s murder because he refused to endorse plans for a military coup. Schneider was killed by coup-plotters loyal to General Roberto Urbano Viaux Marambio in a botched kidnapping attempt. As part of the suit, Schneider’s two sons filed a claim for civil damages against Kissinger and then-CIA director Richard Helms, quantified in US$ 3 million.  (‘Kissinger sued over Chile death’, The Guardian, 12 September 2001; Schneider v. Kissinger, U.S. Department of Justice, 28 June 2005.)

On 16 February 2007 a request for the extradition of Kissinger was lodged with the Supreme Court of Uruguay by Cristina Mihura, wife of Bernardo Arnone, a political activist who was kidnapped, tortured and ‘disappeared’ by the dictatorial regime in 1976. (Piden extraditar a Kissinger por Operación Condor, in La Jornada, 16 February 2007; see also: Operation Condor: Latin-American Heads of State condemned by Rome (Italy) Tribunal, Nexusnewsfeed › article › … › operation-condor…,globalresearch.ca; January 21, 2017; http://tinyurl.com/jrpuud7)

The editors of The New York Times defended Henry Kissinger, arguing that he should be given a pass for his role in Condor and other dirty works because “the world was polarised, and fighting communism involved hard choices and messy compromises.” (‘Henry Kissinger: Haunted by his past.’ BBC News, 26 April, 2002.)

But these are minor ‘professional accidents’   –   in the great scheme of things simply embarrassments for statesmen of the calibre of Henry Kissinger.

Every once in a while, in that great firmament which is the law a grand mind comes to bring light and dignity to the profession. One such star was Telford Taylor, an American lawyer.

In 1945 the Allied nations agreed on a judicial process, rather than summary execution, to determine the fate of the Nazis following the end of the second world war. At Nuremberg, a significant place because it was the ceremonial birthplace of the Nazi Party, the American, British, French and Soviet leaders contributed both judges and prosecutors to the series of trials which would deal with  some of the most prominent politicians, military leaders and businessmen in Nazi Germany. In a work of ‘personal memoir’, Taylor, who had distinguished himself as Counsel for the Prosecution  at Nuremberg,  agonised about putting on trial people for crimes which have not strictly been defined, and legislated,  before their commission. In his view a charge of ‘crimes against peace’ would be contrary to the fundamental principle of common law   –  also enshrined in Article 1 of the United States Constitution  –  that no one should be tried for ex post facto crimes. Against that was the murderous fact that “People whose nations had been attacked and dismembered without warning wanted legal retribution, whether or not that was a ‘first time’ ”, as he wrote in his The anatomy of the Nuremberg trials (Knopf, New York 1992).

But after Nuremberg one could rely on The Charter of the International Military Tribunal, also known as the Charter of the Nuremberg Tribunal, which was signed in London on 8 August 1945.

One could find there:

“Article 6.

The Tribunal established by the Agreement referred to in Article 1 hereof for the trial and punishment of the major war criminals of the European Axis countries shall have the power to try and punish persons who, acting in the interests of the European Axis countries, whether as individuals or as members of organizations, committed any of the following crimes.

The following acts, or any of them, are crimes coming within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal for which there shall be individual responsibility:

(a) CRIMES AGAINST PEACE: namely, planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression, or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances, or participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the foregoing;

(b) WAR CRIMES: namely, violations of the laws or customs of war. Such violations shall include, but not be limited to, murder, ill-treatment or deportation to slave labor or for any other purpose of civilian population of or in occupied territory, murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war or persons on the seas, killing of hostages, plunder of public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity;

(c)CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY: namely, murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, and other inhumane acts committed against any civilian population, before or during the war; or persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds in execution of or in connection with any crime within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal, whether or not in violation of the domestic law of the country where perpetrated.

Leaders, organizers, instigators and accomplices participating in the formulation or execution of a common plan or conspiracy to commit any of the foregoing crimes are responsible for all acts performed by any persons in execution of such plan.”

In January 1971 Taylor, then professor of law at Columbia University, while reviewing the legal and moral basis of the Nuremberg hearings, as well as the Tokyo trials of Japanese war criminals and the Manila trial of General Yamashita, said that if the standards of Nuremberg and Manila were applied evenly, and applied to the American statesmen and bureaucrats who designed the war in Vietnam (aggression on Afghanistan, Iraq and many others places, too were still to come) then “there would be a very strong possibility that they would come to the same end [Yamashita] did.”

As Hitchens observed: “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 hooked and blindfolded and dropped through a trapdoor on the end of a rope.” (C. Hitchens, The trial of Henry Kissinger, Text, Melbourne 2001 at 25)

5. Mentor

Operation Condor

On 11 December 1959 Colonel J. C. King, chief of C.I.A.’s Western Hemisphere Division, sent a confidential memorandum to Allen W. Dulles, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency. King argued that in Cuba there existed a “far-left dictatorship, which if allowed to remain will encourage similar actions against U.S. holdings in other Latin American countries.”

As a result of this memorandum Dulles established Operation 40. It obtained this name because originally there were 40 agents involved in the operation. Later this was expanded to 70 agents. The group was presided over by Richard Nixon, then Vice President of the United States between 1953 and 1961.  On 4 March 1960 La Coubre, a ship flying a Belgian flag, exploded in Havana Bay. It was loaded with arms and ammunition which had been sent to help defend Cuba’s revolution from its enemies. It was later claimed that this was the first successful act carried out by Operation 40.

Operation 40 was not only involved in sabotage operations. In fact it evolved into a team of assassins. One member, Frank Sturgis, who was one of the five Watergate burglars whose capture led to the end of the Presidency of Richard Nixon, claimed: “this assassination group (Operation 40) would upon orders, naturally, assassinate either members of the military or the political parties of the foreign country that you were going to infiltrate, and if necessary some of your own members who were suspected of being foreign agents … We were concentrating strictly in Cuba at that particular time.”

Others, such as E. Howard Hunt, would join Sturgis in operations such as Watergate. They were all under the directive of Nixon, before and during his presidency.

Michael  V. Townley, the son of an American business executive who wound up as general manager of the Ford Motor plant in Santiago, Chile,  was another C.I.A. agent who was involved in organising  –  as well as personally performing  –  assassinations of political opponents.

The C.I.A. also used the International Development’s Office of Public Safety –  O.P.S. to help establish right-wing military dictatorships.

In 1969, with Nixon in the White House flanked by Kissinger as his personal consigliere,  the Uruguayan government was led by the very unpopular Colorado Party. Nixon and the C.I.A. feared a possible victory during the elections of the Frente Amplio, a left-wing coalition, on the model of the victory of the Unidad Popular government in Chile, led by Salvador Allende.

In the same year  the C.I.A. arranged for Michael Townley to be sent to Chile under the alias of Kenneth W. Enyart. Townley passed under the control of David Atlee Phillips who had been asked to lead a special task force assigned to prevent the election of Salvador Allende as President of Chile. This campaign was unsuccessful and Allende gained power in 1970, the first ‘Marxist’ to gain power in a free democratic election. Townley continued to try and undermine the government of Salvador Allende. The C.I.A attempted to persuade Chile’s Chief of Staff General René  Schneider to overthrow Allende. He refused and on 22 October 1970 his car was ambushed. Schneider drew a gun to defend himself, and was shot point-blank several times. He was rushed to hospital, but he died three days later. Military courts in Chile found that Schneider’s death was caused by two military groups, one led by Roberto Viaux and the other by Camilo Valenzuela. It was claimed that the C.I.A. was providing support for both groups.

David Atlee Phillips set Townley the task of organising two paramilitary action groups Orden y Libertad   –  Order and Freedom and Protecion Comunal y Soberania   –  Common Protection and Sovereignty. Townley also established an arson squad which started several fires in Santiago. Townley also mounted a smear campaign against General Carlos Prats, the head of the Chilean Army. Prats resigned on 21 August 1973. His replacement as Commander in Chief was General Augusto Pinochet.

In September ‘the first 9/11’ took place in Santiago.  Soon afterwards Townley was recruited by General Juan Manuel Contreras, the head of D.I.N.A., the Chilean secret police.  Townley’s main task was to deal with those dissenters who had fled Chile after General Augusto Pinochet gained power. This included General Carlos Prats who was writing his memoirs in Argentina. Donald Freed argues in Death in Washington: The Murder of Orlando Letelier that: “On September 30, 1974, shortly after the first anniversary of the violent overthrow of the Allende government, Townley and a team of assassins murdered Carlos Prats and his wife in Buenos Aires. Their auto was exploded by a bomb.” (D. Freed, Death in Washington: The murder of Orlando Letelier (Lawrence Hill, Chicago. 1980)

The C.I.A. continued to fund the activities of agents like  Townley. Promoted to the rank of major by General Juan Manuel Contreras, Townley made regular visits to the United States in 1975.  In September 1975 Townley’s death squad struck again. Former Chilean vice-president Bernardo Leighton and his wife were gunned down in Rome by local fascists working with D.I.N.A.

On 25 November 1975 leaders of the military intelligence services of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay met, with Juan Manuel Contreras in Santiago de Chile. The main objective was for the C.I.A. to coordinate the actions of the various security services in “eliminating Marxist subversion.”

Operation Condor (named after Chile’s national bird)   –   Operación Cóndor, also known as Plan Cóndor in Spanish, and Operação Condor in Portuguese  –   was given tacit approval by the United States which feared a ‘marxist’ revolution in the region. The United States government provided technical support and supplied military aid to the participants during the Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter and Reagan administrations.  Such support was frequently routed through the Central Intelligence Agency. Ecuador and Peru later joined the operation in more peripheral roles. These efforts, such as Operation Charly, supported the local juntas in their ‘anti-communist’ repression.

According to professor J. Patrice McSherry, based on formerly secret C.I.A. documents from 1976, in the 1960s and early 1970s plans were developed among international security officials at the United States Army School of the Americas and the Conference of American Armies to deal with perceived threats in South America from political dissidents. A declassified C.I.A. document dated 23 June 1976, explains that “in early 1974, security officials from Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay and Bolivia met in Buenos Aires to prepare coordinated actions against subversive targets.”

Condor was an operation similar to Operation Gladio, the ‘strategy of tension’ used in Italy in the 1970s, of which one old tool of the fascist regime, Licio Gelli was a member. (J. Patrice McSherry, Predatory States: Operation Condor and Covert War in Latin America, Rowman & Littlefield, Washington, D.C. 2005 at 78)

French journalist Marie-Monique Robin explained how General Rivero, intelligence officer of the Argentine Armed Forces and former student of the French, developed the concept of Operation Condor. (Marie-Monique Robin, Escadrons de la mort, l’école française  –  Death squads, The French School, Découverte, Paris 2004)

The programme was developed following a series of government coups d’état by military groups, primarily in the 1970s: 1) General Alfredo Stroessner took control of Paraguay in 1954; 2) the Brazilian military overthrew the president João Goulart in 1964; 3) General Hugo Banzer took power in Bolivia in 1971 through a series of coups; 4) a civic-military junta seized power in Uruguay on 27 June 1973; 5) forces loyal to General  Pinochet bombed La Moneda,  the presidential palace in Chile on 11 September 1973, overthrowing democratically elected president Salvador Allende; 6) a military Junta headed by General Jorge Rafael Videla seized power in Argentina on 24 March 1976.

Operation Condor’s targets were officially leftist guerrillas but in fact included all kinds of political opponents. For example, in Argentina an estimated 30,000 persons were murdered by the Juntas.

Kissinger would be Nixon’s National Security Advisor from 1969 to 1974, then briefly to Ford until 3 November 1975, and Secretary of State under Nixon and Ford between 22 September  1973 and 20 January 1977.  George H.W. Bush was director of the C.I.A. between 30 January 1976 and 20 January 1977.

On 18 September 1976 Orlando Letelier who served as foreign minister under Salvador Allende, was travelling to work at the Institute of Policy Studies in Washington when a bomb was ignited under his car. Letelier and Ronni Moffitt, a 25 year old woman who was campaigning for democracy in Chile, both died of their injuries.

George H. W. Bush was quickly told that D.I.N.A. and several of its contract agents were involved in the assassination. However, he leaked a story to members of Operation Mockingbird which attempted to cover-up the role that the C.I.A. and D.I.N.A. had played in the killings. Jeremiah O’Leary, a journalist,  wrote: “The right-wing Chilean junta had nothing to gain and everything to lose by the assassination of a peaceful and popular socialist leader.”  (The Washington Star, 8 October 1976) To which a well-known periodical added: “The CIA has concluded that the Chilean secret police was not involved.” (Newsweek, 11 October 1976).

In 1976, when George H.W. Bush was C.I.A. director, the American government tolerated right-wing terrorist cells inside the United States and mostly looked the other way when these killers topped even Palestinian terrorists in spilling blood, including thr Letelier/Moffitt assassination. It soon became clear to the F.B.I. and other federal investigators that the attack likely was a joint operation of Pinochet’s D.I.N.A. and U.S.-based right-wing Cuban exiles.

But Bush’s C.I.A. steered attention away from the real assassins towards leftists who supposedly had killed Letelier to create a martyr for their cause. Eventually, the C.I.A.’s cover story collapsed and,  during the Carter Administration, at least some of the lower-level conspirators were prosecuted, though the full story was never told.

A subsequent de-classification of documents, as well as notes of an American prosecutor involved in counter-terrorism cases made clear that the connections among Bush’s C.I.A., D.I.N.A. and the Cuban Nationalist Movement  –  which supplied the assassins  – were closer than was understood at the time.

D.I.N.A. provided intelligence training for the Cuban terrorists who acted like a ‘sleeper cell’ inside the United States; federal prosecutions of right-wing Cuban terrorists were routinely frustrated; and the C.I.A. did all it could to cover for its anti-communist allies who were part of a broader international terror of Operation Condor.

William F. Buckley, the well-known American conservative author and commentator, also took part in this disinformation campaign and on 25 October wrote: “U.S. investigators think it unlikely that Chile would risk with an action of this kind the respect it has won with great difficulty during the past year in many Western countries, which before were hostile to its policies.” According to Donald Freed, Buckley had been providing disinformation for the Pinochet Junta since 1974. He also unearthed information that William Buckley’s brother, James Buckley, met with Michael Townley and another asset in New York City just a week before the Letelier/Moffitt assassination.

In October 1976 the midair explosion of Cubana Flight 455 flying out of Barbados killed all 73 people aboard.  Police in Trinidad arrested Herman Ricardo and Freddy Lugo, two Venezuelans. Ricardo worked for the security agency owned by one Luis Posada in Venezuela. He admitted that he and Lugo had planted two bombs on the plane. Ricardo claimed the bombing had been organised by Posada and another. When Posada was arrested a map of Washington showing the daily route to work of Orlando Letelier was found in his possession.

It later emerged that George H. W. Bush warned U.S. Congressman Edward Koch, in October 1974, that his sponsorship of legislation to cut off United States military assistance to Uruguay on human rights grounds had provoked secret police officials to “put a contract out for you.” According to documents and interviews obtained by John Dinges for his book, The Condor Years: How Pinochet and his allies brought terrorism to three continents, The New Press, New York  2004), the C.I.A. station chief in Montevideo received information in July 1976 that two high-level Uruguayan intelligence officers had discussed their ability to have D.I.N.A.,  Chile’s secret police,  send agents to the United States to kill Koch.

The station chief, identified in the book as Frederick Latrash, reported the conversation to C.I.A. headquarters but recommended that the Agency take no action because the officers had been drinking at a cocktail party when the threat was made.

Only after the assassination of Letelier did the C.I.A. warn Edward Koch about the planned assassination and share the intelligence with the F.B.I. and the Department of State.

From 1976 onwards, the Chilean D.I.N.A. and its Argentine counterpart, S.I.D.E., were the Operation’s front-line troops. The infamous ‘death flights’, theorised in Argentina by Luis María Mendía, the Argentine Chief of Naval Operations in 1976-77 with the rank of vice-admiral,  and previously employed during the Algerian war (1954-62) by French forces, were widely used. Government forces took victims by plane or helicopter out to sea, dropping them to their deaths and planned disappearances.

In a 3 August 1976 report written from Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs Harry W. Shlaudeman to Kissinger it was amply explained that the military regimes in South America were coming together to join forces for security reasons.









The subsequent pages of the report dealt with specific problems concerning Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay (page 9), examined whether the organisation would evolve into a political bloc (page 10), and if so in which form (page 11), whether there was a chance of serious world-scale trouble (page 12), and what should be the United States attitude towards the organisation (pages 13 and 14). (Shlaudeman, Harry (August 3, 1976). “Department of State, Report to Kissinger, SECRET, ‘The Third World War and South America,’ August 3, 1976” (PDF). National Security Archive. Archived (PDF) from the original on April 28, 2015)

Recently released documents show that the C.I.A. had close contact with members of the Chilean secret police, D.I.N.A., and its chief Juan Manuel Contreras, who was the head of Operation Condor. In fact, Contreras was on the C.I.A. pay-roll (It was later stated this was an administrative mistake).

A 1978 cable from the U.S. ambassador to Paraguay, Robert White, to the Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, was released in November 2000 by the  Clinton Administration under the Chile Declassification Project. In the cable Ambassador White reported a conversation with General Alejandro Fretes Davalos, chief of staff of Paraguay’s armed forces, who informed him that the South American intelligence chiefs involved in Condor kept “in touch with one another through a U.S. communications installation in the Panama Canal Zone which covered all of Latin America.” White feared that the United States connection to Condor might be publicly revealed during the investigation into the murder of Letelier.

John Dinges argues that “The paper trail is clear: the State Department and the CIA had enough intelligence to take concrete steps to thwart Condor assassination planning. Those steps were initiated but never implemented.” Hewson Ryan, who worked for Henry Kissinger, later admitted that: “We knew fairly early on that the governments of the Southern Cone countries were planning, or at least talking about, some assassinations abroad in the summer of 1976 … Whether if we had gone in, we might have prevented this, I don’t know. But we didn’t.”

The F.B.I. eventually became convinced that Michael Townley had organised the assassination of Orlando Letelier. In 1978 Chile agreed to extradite him to the United States. Townley confessed he had hired five anti-Castro Cubans exiles to booby-trap Letelier’s car. They were eventually indicted for the crime.

Townley agreed to provide evidence against these men in exchange for a guilty-pleading to a single charge of conspiracy to commit murder and was given a ten-year sentence.

On 9 January 1979 the trial of three of the five co-conspirators Guillermo Novo, Ignacio Novo and Alvin Ross Díaz began in Washington. All three were found guilty of murder: two to life imprisonment, and the third to eight years in gaol.  General  Pinochet refused to allow the other two, two D.I.N.A officers, to be extradited.  Soon after the trial Townley was freed under the Witness Protection Program.

On 22 December 1992, torture victim Martín Almada and José Agustín Fernández, a Paraguayan judge, visited a police station in the Lambaré suburb of Asunción to look for files on a former political prisoner. They found what became known as the ‘Archives of Terror’, documenting the fates of thousands of Latin American political prisoners, who were secretly kidnapped, tortured and killed by the security services of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay. The archive has a total of 60,000 documents, weighing four tons and comprising 593,000 microfilmed pages. The archives provided details of 50,000 people murdered, 30,000 ‘disappeared’ and 400,000 imprisoned.

Operation Condor  –   Operación Cóndor: in numbers


Some of these countries have relied on evidence in the archives to prosecute former military officers.

According to these archives, other countries, such as Peru, cooperated by providing intelligence information in response to requests from the security services of the Southern Cone nations. While Peru had no representatives at the secret November 1975 meeting in Santiago de Chile, there is evidence of its involvement. For instance, as late as June 1980, Peru was known to have collaborated with Argentine agents of ‘601 Intelligence Battalion’ in the kidnapping, torture and ‘disappearance’ of a group of Montoneros living in exile in Lima.

The ‘terror archives’ also revealed a degree of cooperation by Colombia and Venezuela. (For instance, Luis Posada Carriles was probably at the meeting which organised Orlando Letelier’s car bombing. A Colombian paramilitary organisation known as Alianza Americana Anticomunista may have cooperated with Operation Condor.  Brazil signed the agreement later, in June 1976, but refused to engage in actions outside Latin America.  Mexico, together with Costa Rica, Canada, France, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom received many people fleeing as refugees from the terror regimes. Operation Condor officially ‘ended’ in 1983, when Argentina returned to democracy.

On 6 March  2001 The New York Times reported the existence of a recently declassified State Department document revealing that the United States facilitated communications among South American intelligence chiefs who were working together to eliminate left-wing opposition groups in their countries as part of a ‘covert programme known as Operation Condor’.

The document, a 1978 cable from Robert E. White, the U.S. ambassador to Paraguay, was discovered by professor J. Patrice McSherry, who had published several articles on Condor. She called the cable “another piece of increasingly weighty evidence suggesting that U.S. military and intelligence officials supported and collaborated with Condor as a secret partner or sponsor.”

In the cable, Ambassador White relates a conversation with General Alejandro Fretes Davalos, chief of staff of Paraguay’s armed forces, who told him that the South American intelligence chiefs involved in Condor “keep in touch with one another through a U.S. communications installation in the Panama Canal Zone which covers all of Latin America.” This installation is “employed to co-ordinate intelligence information among the southern cone countries.” White, whose message was sent to Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, is concerned that the U.S. connection to Condor might be revealed during the then ongoing investigation into the deaths of former Chilean foreign minister Orlando Letelier and his American colleague Ronni Moffitt who were killed by a car bomb in Washington, D.C. “It would seem advisable”   –  he suggests  – “to review this arrangement to insure that its continuation is in U.S. interest.”

The document was found among 16,000 State, C.I.A., White House, Defense and Justice Department records on the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile released the previous November, and the American Administration’s role in the coup which had  brought his Junta to power. The release was the fourth and final ‘tranche’ of records released under the Clinton Administration’s special Chile Declassification Project.

“This document opens a Pandora’s box of questions on the U.S. knowledge of, and role in, Operation Condor.” said Senior Analyst Peter Kornbluh, director of the National Security Archive’s Chile Documentation Project.

The Archive published a second document  –   a page from a C.I.A. cable regarding Brazil’s role in Operation Condor  –   that Kornbluh said contained information that could shed light on the issue. The undated page refers to ‘CondorTel’ – the ‘communications network established by the Condor countries.’ Kornbluh pointed out that the entire next line has been censored by the C.I.A.

The National Security Archive called on the U.S. intelligence community – National Security Agency, C.I.A., D.I.A. and other Defense Department bureaus at the U.S. Southern Command –  fully to  divulge their files on communications assistance to the military regimes in the Southern Cone.

Operation Condor was active in complete secrecy, even to the exclusion of some of the participants. Its goal, as mentioned, was to seek and kill ‘enemies’ of the ‘Revolutionary Coordinating Committee’.

Thus, for instance, a special force was sent to  Buenos Aires from Uruguay to kill the remaining members of a group called OPR-33 who had taken refuge in Argentina. The details of that ‘operation’ came to light on the thirtieth anniversary of the coup, when new declassified elements of the repression by, and American support for, the Argentine Junta  were posted by the National Security Archive. The S.I.D.E also assisted Bolivian General Luis García Meza Tejada’s Cocaine Coup in Bolivia, with the help of the Italian Gladio operative Stefano Delle Chiaie and fugitive Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie.

General Carlos Prats González, a Chilean Army officer and minister in the Salvador Allende’s government, went into voluntary exile in Argentina after the coup. The following year, he and his wife were assassinated in Buenos Aires by a car bomb, revealed as committed by the D.I.N.A. D.I.N.A. civil agent Enrique Arancibia Clavel, who was prosecuted in Argentina for crimes against humanity in 2004, was sentenced to life imprisonment for his part in the murder of the Prats. It has been suspected that Delle Chiaie was involved in the murder as well. He and his co-conspirator Vincenzo Vinciguerra testified in Rome in December 1995 before Argentine federal judge María Servini de Cubría that D.I.N.A. agents Clavel and Townley were directly involved in this assassination.

When Pinochet was arrested in London in 1998 in response to Spanish judge Baltasar Garzón’s request for his extradition to Spain, additional information concerning Condor was revealed. One of the lawyers seeking his extradition said there had been an attempt to assassinate Carlos Altamirano, leader of the Chilean Socialist Party. He said that Pinochet met Italian neo-fascist terrorist Stefano Delle Chiaie during Franco’s funeral in Madrid in 1975 and arranged to have Altamirano murdered.  But the plan failed.

In June 1999, by order of President Bill Clinton, the State Department released thousands of declassified documents revealing for the first time that the C.I.A. and the State and Defense Departments were intimately aware of Condor. One Department of Defense intelligence report dated 1 October 1976, noted that Latin American military officers bragged about it to their U.S. counterparts. The same report described Condor’s “joint counterinsurgency operations” which aimed “to eliminate Marxist terrorist activities”; Argentina, it noted, created a special Condor team “structured much like a U.S. Special Forces Team.”

A summary of material declassified in 2004 states that “The declassified record shows that Secretary of State Henry Kissinger was briefed on Condor and its ‘murder operations’ on August 3, 1976, in a 14-page report from [Harry] Shlaudeman [Assistant Secretary of State]. ‘Internationally, the Latin generals look like our guys’. Shlaudeman cautioned. ‘We are especially identified with Chile. It cannot do us any good.’ Shlaudeman and his two deputies, William Luers and Hewson Ryan, recommended action. Over the course of three weeks, they drafted a cautiously worded démarche, approved by Kissinger, in which he instructed the U.S. ambassadors in the Southern Cone countries to meet with the respective heads of state about Condor. He instructed them to express ‘our deep concern’ about ‘rumors’ of ‘plans for the assassination of subversives, politicians and prominent figures both within the national borders of certain Southern Cone countries and abroad.’ ” (See the already reported 3 August 1976 briefing of Henry Kissinger by Harry Shlaudeman, State, National Security Archive)

Ultimately, the démarche was never delivered. Kornbluh and Dinges suggest that the decision not to send Kissinger’s order was due to Assistant Secretary Harry Shlaudeman’s sending a cable to his deputy in Washington which states “you can simply instruct the Ambassadors to take no further action, noting that there have been no reports in some weeks indicating an intention to activate the Condor scheme.” Professor J. Patrice McSherry adds: “According to [U.S. Ambassador to Paraguay Robert] White, instructions from a secretary of state cannot be ignored unless there is a countermanding order received via a secret (CIA) backchannel.” (J. Patrice McSherry,The Undead Ghost of Operation Condor’, Logos: a journal of modern society & culture. Logosonline (Spring 2005)

Kornbluh and Dinges conclude that “The paper trail is clear: the State Department and the CIA had enough intelligence to take concrete steps to thwart Condor assassination planning. Those steps were initiated but never implemented.” Shlaudeman’s deputy Hewson Ryan later acknowledged in an oral history interview that the State Department was “remiss” in its handling of the case. “We knew fairly early on that the governments of the Southern Cone countries were planning, or at least talking about, some assassinations abroad in the summer of 1976. … Whether if we had gone in, we might have prevented this, I don’t know.” he stated in reference to the Letelier-Moffitt bombing. “But we didn’t.”

According to reports which appeared in 2006, resulting from trials of top officials in Argentina, Operation Condor was at its peak in 1976 when Chilean exiles in Argentina were threatened; many went underground or into exile again in other countries. Chilean General Carlos Prats González had been assassinated by D.I.N.A. in Buenos Aires in 1974, with the help of former C.I.A. agent Michael Townley. Cuban diplomats were assassinated in Buenos Aires in the Automotores Orletti torture centre, one of the 300 clandestine prisons of the Junta. These centres were managed by the Grupo de Tareas 18, headed by former police officer and intelligence agent Aníbal Gordon, earlier convicted of armed robbery, who reported directly to General Commandant of the S.I.D.E., Otto Paladino.

Automotores Orletti was the main base of foreign intelligence services involved in Operation Condor. José Luis Bertazzo, a survivor of kidnapping and torture who was detained there for two months, identified Bolivian, Chilean, Paraguayan and Uruguayan nationals held as prisoners and who were interrogated by agents from their own countries. The 19-year-old daughter-in-law of  Argentine poet Juan Gelman was tortured at ‘Orletti’  along with her husband, before being transported to a Montevideo prison. There she delivered a baby that was immediately stolen by Uruguayan military officers and placed for illegal adoption with friends of the regime. Decades later, President  Jorge Luis Batlle Ibáñez ordered an investigation and, finally, María Macarena Gelman was found and recovered her identity.

According to Dinges, Chilean prisoners in the Orletti centre who had been members of the Movimiento de Izquierda Revolucionaria –  The Revolutionary Left Movement,  told José Luis Bertazzo that they had seen two Cuban diplomats, 22-year-old Jesús Cejas Arias and 26-year-old Crescencio Galañega Hernández, tortured by Gordon’s group. They were interrogated by a man who had travelled from Miami to interrogate them. The Cuban nationals had been responsible for protection of Cuban ambassador to Argentina, Emilio Aragonés. They were kidnapped on 9 August 1976 by 40 armed S.I.D.E. agents, who blocked the street with their cars. (John Dinges, The Condor Years: How Pinochet and his allies brought terrorism to three continents, The New Press, New York 2004)

Thirty years after the coup another document was seen for the first time.  Dated 26 March 1976, two days after the coup in Buenos Aires, it contains the transcript of a staff meeting under the chairmanship of Kissinger. Pages 1 and 19-23 regard Argentina.

They show that two days after the military coup, Secretary of State Kissinger convened his weekly staff meeting. In this declassified secret transcript of the first conversation on Argentina, Assistant Secretary for Latin America, William D. Rogers informs Kissinger that for the Argentine generals’ government to succeed, they will make “a considerable effort to involve the United States – particularly in the financial field.” Kissinger responds “Yes, but that is in our interest.”

Rogers advises that “we ought not at this moment [to] rush out and embrace this new regime” because he expects significant repression to follow the coup. “I think also we’ve got to expect a fair amount of repression, probably a good deal of blood, in Argentina before too long. I think they’re going to have to come down very hard not only on the terrorists but on the dissidents of trade unions and their parties.” But Kissinger makes his preferences clear: “Whatever chance they have, they will need a little encouragement … because I do want to encourage them. I don’t want to give the sense that they’re harassed by the United States.” (On 30th Anniversary of Argentine Coup: New Declassified …nsarchive.gwu.edu/NSAEBB/NSAEBB185) [Emphasis added]

On 5 March 2013 twenty-five former high-ranking military officers from Argentina and Uruguay went on trial in Buenos Aires, charged with conspiracy to kidnap, ‘disappear’, torture and kill 171 political opponents during the 1970s and 1980s. Among the defendants were former Argentine ‘presidents’ Jorge Videla and Reynaldo Bignone, from the period of El Proceso. Prosecutors were basing their case in part on U.S. documents declassified in the 1990s and later, and obtained by the National Security Archive.

Chilean judge Juan Guzmán Tapia eventually established a precedent concerning the crime of ‘permanent kidnapping’: since the bodies of victims kidnapped and presumably murdered could not be found, he deemed that the kidnapping was thought to continue, rather than to have occurred so long ago that the perpetrators were protected by an amnesty decreed in 1978 or by the Chilean statute of limitations.

New information on Operation Condor appeared on 6 May 2015 when the National Security Archive released more documents.  Documents revealing Condor precedents were produced for the first time in a court of law.

In a historic trial in Buenos Aires of former military officers, Carlo Osorio, analyst in charge of the Southern Cone research project, submitted one hundred documents into evidence for the court proceedings. His testimony was profiled on 3 May in a major feature article published in the Buenos Aires daily, Pagina 12. (Alejandra Dandan, Director del prestigioso Proyecto Documentación Cono Sur del Archivo de Seguridad Nacional en Washington, habló en el juicio en Buenos Aires, Pagina 12, 3 May 2015)

Among the 25 high-ranking officials originally charged were former Argentine presidents Jorge Videla (subsequently deceased) and Reynaldo Bignone.

The 25 defendants had been charged with conspiracy to kidnap, ‘disappear’, torture and kill 171 opponents of the regimes which dominated the Southern Cone in the 1970s and 1980s. Among the victims were approximately 80 Uruguayans, 50 Argentines, 20 Chileans and a dozen others from Bolivia, Ecuador, Paraguay and Peru who were targeted by Condor operatives.

The Federal Tribunal No. 1 requested Osorio’s testimony, which took place over two days on  6 and 8 March 2015, and included presentation of an Excel data base of 900 documents drawn mostly from United States government sources and from the ‘Archive of terror’  in Paraguay.  Osorio focused on 100 declassified records selected for the tribunal, which was presided over by Judge Oscar Amirante.

The National Security Archive had obtained the U.S. documents through the Freedom of Information Act.  The documents were coming primarily from the Central Intelligence Agency, Defense Intelligence Agency and the State Department. Other notable records had originated from the Chilean former secret police, D.I.N.A. (National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 514)

“We have been working on Operation Condor for years,” Osorio said “sifting through archives in many continents and building a body of knowledge and a trove of documents.”

The Pagina 12 feature entitled ‘The Evolution of Condor’, described Osorio’s presentation of ‘dozens’ of documents to the Tribunal, and the contribution the documents made in educating the judges on the genesis and evolution of coordinated repression in the Southern Cone. Osorio’s testimony covered a range of topics including the breadth of Condor operations, the United States knowledge of those operations and the authenticity of the records being introduced into evidence.

The Pagina 12 article highlighted one document Osorio presented which revealed the bilateral precedent for what would become a multilateral system of regional repression: a secret accord between the Argentine and Paraguayan military intelligence services to “Collaborate in the struggle against subversion…” and the  “… internment [of dissenters]…”  The agreement was dated 12 September 1972 and signed by Paraguayan intelligence officer Col. Benito Guanes Serrano. (Document 1. Asunto: Acuerdo Bilateral de Inteligencia FF.AA. PARAGUAY/Ejército ARGENTINO, September 12, 1972)

Three years later, Guanes would also be one of the five original signatories of the secret Condor accords. Osorio discovered the document in the ‘Archive of terror’ in Paraguay.

In September 1975 an assessment by a United States State Department intelligence analyst had concluded that “The national security forces of the southern cone surpass the terrorists in cooperation at the international level …”  (Document 2. Department of State, Ninety-first Meeting of the Working Group/Cabinet Committee to Combat Terrorism, Confidential Minutes, September 5, 1975 [Source: Digital National Security Archive, Argentina, 1975-1980: The Making of U.S. Human Rights Policy, document no. AR00087.])

Six weeks later, in Santiago, Chile, intelligence chiefs from Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay signed an ‘Acta’ officially establishing Operation Condor. Osorio introduced that pivotal document  –   provided to the Archive by a source in Chile  –   into evidence as well. (Document 3. Acta de Clausura de la Primera Reunion InterAmericana de Intelligencia Nacional   –  Minutes of the Conclusions of the First InterAmerican Meeting on National Intelligence. Secret,  28 November 1975)

Two declassified U.S. documents presented to the Tribunal underscored the contradictory response of high U.S. officials as they became aware of Condor operations in the summer of 1976. One was the well-known 13 page memorandum of conversation between Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and Argentine Foreign Minister Admiral César Guzzetti date 10 June 1976, which revealed Kissinger’s endorsement of the regional collaboration to repress people of ‘the Left’.  After Guzzetti informed Kissinger that the Southern Cone regimes were engaged in “joint efforts” to fight “the terrorist problem”, Kissinger essentially supported this approach: “If there are things that have to be done, you should do them quickly. But you should get back quickly to normal procedures.”

“We want you to succeed. We do not want to harrass [sic] you.” Kissinger concluded. “I will do what I can … ” (Document 4. Department of State, Memorandum of Conversation between Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and Argentine Foreign Minister Adm. Cesar Guzzetti, Secret, June 10, 1976, obtained through Freedom of Information Act upon request filed by Carlos Osorio)

After a C.I.A. briefing to Kissinger’s top aides in late July 1976 on the Condor countries’ plans to send assassination teams around the world to eliminate opponents, the Secretary of State authorised a démarche to General Augusto Pinochet in Chile, General Jorge Videla in Argentina, and other military leaders in the region calling on them to cease and desist. “Government planned and directed assassinations within and outside the territory of Condor members has [sic] most serious implication which we must face squarely and rapidly.” stated the secret 23 August 1976 cable to U.S. ambassadors in those nations. But the démarche was never delivered to any of the Condor regimes. (Document 5. Department of State, “Operation Condor”, secret cable, August 23, 1976. [This was obtained through a  Clinton Administration special declassification on Chile])

The U.S. ambassadors raised objections about presenting the démarche to the generals, on 16 September 1976.  Kissinger rescinded it, and ordered “that no further action be taken on this matter.”  Five days later, former Chilean Ambassador Orlando Letelier and his colleague, Ronni Moffitt, were assassinated in Washington D.C. by a car bomb planted by Condor operatives.

In addition to Osorio, the National Security Archive’s Chile Documentation Project director, Peter Kornbluh, had testified in the Operation Condor trial for five hours in December 2014. Archive Advisory Board member John Dinges had presented evidence in April 2015.

In November 2015 the Chilean government acknowledged that Pablo Neruda might have been murdered by a person calling himself Dr. Price, but in fact impersonated by the professional assassin Michael Townley, acting upon commission by the Pinochet regime.

On 27 May 2016 fifteen ex-military officials were found guilty. Reynaldo Bignone was sentenced to 20 years in gaol. Fourteen of the remaining 16 defendants were sentenced to eight to 25 years. Two were found not guilty. Luz Palmás Zaldúa, a lawyer representing victims’ families, declared that “this ruling is important because it is the first time the existence of Operation Condor has been proved in court. It is also the first time that former members of Condor have been sentenced for becoming part of this criminal organisation.”

In conclusion, as prof. McSherry succinctly put it: “Operation Condor also had the covert support of the US government. Washington provided Condor with military intelligence and training, financial assistance, advanced computers, sophisticated tracking technology, and access to the continental telecommunications system housed in the Panama Canal Zone.” (J. Patrice McSherry, Chapter 5: ‘Industrial repression and Operation Condor in Latin America”, in  Marcia Esparza, Henry R. Huttenbach, Daniel Feierstein,  State violence and genocide in Latin America: The cold war years (Critical terrorism studies). Routledge, London 2011 at 107)

  1. Consultant

It may appear as paradoxical by Henry A. Kissinger and Donald  J.  Trump have something in common: they both see themselves as superb achievers, skilful originators  –  better still: creators, albeit in different ways.

Kissinger thinks himself as a well-deserving successor in the reputation of a Robert Stewart, Viscount Castlereagh, Prime Minister Pitt’s Secretary of State for War and the Colonies, combined with Klemens Wenzel Nepomuk Lothar, Prince von Metternich-Winneburg zu Beilstein, Austrian Empire’s Foreign Minister and later Chancellor. Nothing less.

Kissinger condescension to deal with crooks like Nixon or non-entities like Ford comes from his boundless view of himself and a feeling that ultimately he will triumph  –  no matter how vulgar or ignorant the person he advises.

Dr. Henry A. Kissinger meets President Donald J. Trump at the White House 10 May 2017
Dr. Henry A. Kissinger meets President Donald J. Trump at the White House
10 May 2017


When it comes to Trump, Kissinger might have a problem, because the ‘qualities’ of the man in the White House are such as well deserving the thoughtful characterisation by professor the Hon.  Gareth Evans, AC QC: “Donald Trump –  [is] manifestly the most ill-informed, under-prepared, ethically-challenged and psychologically ill-equipped President in US history. Personally driven by instinct and impulse, unhampered by knowledge or judgment, he has led an administration acting so far on the basis of postures rather than policies.” Evans was especially qualified in speaking at the launch  of a book by  Allan Gyngell, Fear of Abandonment: Australia in the World Since 1942 (LaTrobe, Melbourne 2017), at the National Press Club, Canberra, on 13 April 2017.

Donald J Trump, too is a creator  –  but a creator of Reality, that  genre of television programming which  tends to be on drama, personal conflict, and entertainment rather than educating viewers.

Kissinger has been on scene  –  or behind it  –  for the past sixty years, since he joined the Rockefeller clan as an adviser. Except for the short period during which he was Secretary of State (September 1973-January 1977) he has acted as a consultant.  He began in fact while still in that position, for how else would he earn the appointment to adviser to the Indonesian government and the subsequent retainer of US$ 200,000 and fee of US$ 600,000, not to mention then position as director and a promise of a 2 per cent commission on future earning by Freeport McMoRan in 1989   –  and all that three years before establishing Kissinger Associates ?

Kissinger was a member of the Banca Nazionale del Lavoro International
Advisory Board since 1985, and the Banca was later reported as being a client of Kissinger Associates. It was a client between 1986 and 1988.  Kissinger was paid US$ 10,000 for appearing at an Advisory Board meeting and he was paid extra for
speaking at Banca’s functions. It is important to bring these facts out
because the Banca is owned by Italian entities and under the control of the Italian government. In effect,  Kissinger’s fees were indirectly paid for with Italian taxpayer money.

The Banca had been involved in a major political scandal   –   referred to as ‘Iraqgate’ by the media   –    when it was revealed in 1989 that the Atlanta, Georgia branch of the Banca was making unauthorised loans of more than US$ 4.5 billion to Iraq. The Banca had its U.S. offices at the posh ‘Peachtree Center’ in Atlanta, where the Bank of Georgia was also another client of Kissinger Associates.  Many of the loans that the branch made were guaranteed by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Commodity Credit Corporation programme. The loans were originally intended to finance agricultural exports to Iraq, but were diverted by Iraq to buy weapons.

In an article published in The Financial Times on 26 April 1991 Kissinger was quoted as saying that he had resigned from the Banca’s \Advisory Board on 22 February 1991.  Apparently he said: “I resigned earlier this year because I don’t want to be connected, I don’t want to be asked about this sort of thing.”

But it should be noted that  Kissinger supposedly did not resign his Banca post until over 18 months after the Banca scandal became public in August 1989.

Another interesting point to note is the timing of  Kissinger’s supposed resignation from the Banca  on 22 February 1991. That date is just days before the Justice Department announced a 347 count indictment against the former employees of the Banca  after an exhaustive 18-month investigation.  There one could observe both a discrepancy and a coincidence.

There was a more sinister connection between the Banca and the Bank of Credit and Commerce International, B.C.C.I., the bank which would be used by numerous drugs and arms traffickers around the world (b. 1972-d. 1991). B.C.C.I. helped Gerald Bull, the designer of  the Project Babylon ‘supergun’ for the Iraqi government, smuggle propellant for his superguns from Belgium to Iraq and loaned US$ 72 million through Bank of America to Space Research financier Banca Nazionale del Lavoro.  Between 1983 and 1989 the Banca busied itself financing Saddam Hussein’s arms procurement efforts in tandem with the Iraqi Central Bank and Rafidain Bank of Iraq, which had numbered accounts at Bank of America, Bank of New York, Chase Manhattan and Manufacturers Hanover Trust. The Banca’s clearing agent on all transactions was Morgan Guaranty Trust.  When Saddam defaulted on the loans, the US multinationals which benefited were paid in full, while U.S. taxpayers were charged US$ 347 million. (Jim Donahue, ‘Bankrolling the War’, Multinational Monitor. March 1991 at 6)

The Banca often transferred funds to Iraq using B.C.C.I., where Saudi intelligence officers laundered drug money for the Medellin Cartel.

The Banca’s Advisory Board for International Policy included Kissinger and his patron David Rockefeller, until before his death chairman of the Rockefeller Group.  In 1984 the United States/Iraq Business Forum was established in Houston, Texas with the assistance of Kissinger Associates. The group had had the blessing of former British Foreign Secretary Lord Carrington, former Secretary General of N.A.T.O., president of both the Royal Institute of International Affairs and Bilderberger Group.  Carrington was on the board of the now defunct Hollinger International Corporation, once the world’s third-largest English-language newspaper empire, which was controlled by Conrad Moffat Black, also known as Baron Black of Crossharbour,  a Canadian-born British former newspaper publisher and author. Black was at the time one of the wealthiest Canadians. Kissinger sat on the board of Hollinger. In a 2004 shareholder-initiated prosecution before an American court Black was convicted as a fraudster for stealing from the Corporation and for having obstructed justice, and sentenced to six and a half years’ in gaol. He managed to have the sentence reviewed, thus serving only 37 months.  Black was a Bilderberger insider, along with Kissinger.

The Banca was a Kissinger Associates client from 1986 to 1988, as was National Bank of Georgia, that B.C.C.I. investor and  agent Ghaith Rashad Pharaon, a Saudi businessman, helped  Thomas Bertram ‘Bert’  Lance, an American businessman who served as Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Carter in 1977, slide out from under.  Kissinger is a good friend of Pharoan and an even better friend of his father, who was an adviser to the House of Saud.

Several clients of Kissinger Associates, including Chase Manhattan, Asea Brown Boveri, Fiat, Volvo, Hewlet Packard, Lumnis Crest and Midland Bank (now H.S.B.C.) received the Banca’s favourable financing for Iraqi projects.  In time two directors of Kissinger Associates, Lawrence Eagleburger and Brent Scowcroft would become members of President George H. W. Bush’s cabinet, respectively as undersecretary of state and chairman of the National Security Agency. Both had worked on the Banca account, which was funnelling taxpayer-guaranteed money to Saddam Hussein so that he award contracts to US/Iraqi Business Forum members. (Kissinger Associates, Scowcroft, Eagleburger, Stoga, Iraq and BNL’. Chair Henry Gonzalez. H2694. United States Senate House Banking Committee. 28 April 1982)

Eagleburger, a long time Kissinger deputy, had been on the board of International Telephone & Telegraph which had financed the Pinochet coup and was president of Kissinger Associates between 1984 and 1989 and in 1983 joined the board of Dresser Industries, a subsidiary of Halliburton, which was the domain of  Richard Bruce ‘Dick’ Cheney.  Prescott S. Bush Jr. , George Sr.’s brother, was an executive at Dresser. All in the very large and very powerful family !

Scowcroft joined Kissinger Associates as vice-chairman in 1982.  He owned stock in many of the multinationals which were members of the American/Iraqi Business Forum. They included A.T.&T., General Motors, Hewlett Packard, I.T.&T. and Westinghouse.  These five behemoths were granted 100 of the 800 export licenses that the United States government approved for sales to Iraq.   Scowcroft was consultant to Lockheed, which in 1995 merged with Martin Marietta to form Lockheed Martin, an American global aerospace, defence, security and advanced technologies corporation with worldwide interests.

Scowcroft and Eagleburger led the charge in the Bush White House to sell arms to Iraq and any other country that would buy them.  Under pressure from the Aerospace Industries Association and the CEOs of Grumman, I.T.&T. Defense, L.T.V., Lockheed Martin, Raytheon  and United Technologies, Eagleburger and Scowcroft lobbied to change the name of the State Department’s Office of Munitions Control in to Center for Defense Trade.  American Embassies worldwide were put in charge of aiding U.S. defense contractors, turning into sale representatives.

Chief economist and Managing Director of Kissinger Associates between 1984 and 1996 was  Alan Stoga, formerly an official of the U.S. Treasury.  He continued to be a director and consultant to the firm, while still powerfully connected with the First National Bank of Chicago.

At the time the First National Bank of Chicago’s Chairman was Robert Abboud, who was subsequently and until early 1991  chairman and chief executive of the First City Bancorporation of Texas. He continued to be  the chairman of the U.S./Iraqi Business Forum.  The port of Houston was then supplying the brunt of Saddam Hussein’s needs, including twenty per cent of the American rice harvest.  Abboud was also president of Kuwaiti-owned Occidental Petroleum.  In the fall of 1989 Stoga met several times with B.C.C.I. officials, who had a year earlier been indicted in Tampa on money laundering charges.

In October 1988 Kissinger joined the board of Continental Grain, the French Fribourg family-controlled private firm which grew in time to become the second largest grain company in the world until its 1999 merger with Cargill. Cargill, Inc. is an American privately held global corporation based in Minnetonka, Minnesota, but incorporated in Wilmington, Delaware. Kissinger was on the board of directors. It is now the largest privately held corporation in the United States in terms of revenue. If it were a public company, it would rank, as of 2015, number 12 on the Fortune 500, behind McKesson and ahead of A.T.&T. Cargill is privately held by the Minneapolis-based Cargill and MacMillan families.  Cargill Inc. controls over fifty per cent of the world’s grain trade.  It is one of four giant privately held companies which have quietly monopolised the world’s grain business since the mid 1800’s.  Cargill Continental, the French Louis Dreyfus, the Brazilian Bunge and the Swiss Andre constitute the Four Horsemen of grain.  Dan Morgan’s Merchants of Grain: The power and profits of the five giant companies at the center of the world’s food supply (iUniverse Inc., Lincoln, Nebraska 1979) is an excellent exposé of these grain dynasties.

In 1989 Bush Secretary of State James Addison ‘Jim’ Baker III ordered Secretary of Agriculture Clayton Keith ‘Clay’ Yeutter to increase credits to Iraq through the Commodity Credit Corporation, C.C.C. after Eagleburger, Robert M. Kimmitt   and Iraq’s C.C.C. lobbyist and C.I.A. agent Kevin Kattke lobbied for a US$ 1 billion C.C.C. loan.  Kattke received help from Lieutenant Colonel Oliver Laurence North and T.G.S. International, an Arlington, Virginia firm named from C.I.A. asset Theodore George ‘Ted’ Shackley, Jr., encountered in previous pages.

Continental Grain and Cargill Continental were in ferocious competition with the Australian Wheat Board.  A scandal would follow.

The Australian Wheat Board oil-for-wheat scandal refers to the payment of kickbacks to the regime of Saddam Hussein in contravention of the United Nations Oil-for-Food Humanitarian Programme. A.W.B. Limited was a major grain marketing organisation based in Australia. For much of the twentieth  and early twenty-first century, it was an Australian Government entity operating a ‘single desk regime’  –  monopsony over Australian wheat, meaning it alone could export Australian wheat,  for which it paid a single price. In the mid-2000s, it was found to have been, through middlemen, paying kickbacks to the regime of Saddam Hussein, in exchange for lucrative wheat contracts. This was in direct contradiction of United Nations Sanctions, and of Australian law.

A.W.B. delivered ninety per cent of the Iraqi wheat market, before its practices were questioned in 2005. United Nations investigator Paul Volcker found that the Australian Wheat Board, and later A.W.B. Limited, were not the only, but certainly the largest source of kickbacks to the Iraqi regime. The Australian Government also launched a Royal Commission, which recommended that criminal proceedings commence against 12 people. Ultimately, criminal charges were dropped by the Australian Federal Police. Several Australian civil cases were however successful. Since the payments were discovered, A.W.B. Limited underwent a major restructuring, losing its monopoly supply of Australia wheat exports, and appointing an entirely new management. However, its profitability continues to suffer.

A.W.B. and by extension the Australian Government were not the only entities to be implicated in the Oil-for-Food scandal and the event earned a place in Australian political consciousness.  Perhaps !  John Winston Howard, Australian Prime Minister at the time, Alexander John Gosse Downer, Foreign Minister, and Mark Vaile, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade and Investment were involved in the scandal down to their respective neck.  Uh ?

The A.W.B. was finally taken over by Agrium Inc. in December 2010 and delisted from the Australian Securities Exchange.

In 1995 Kissinger was rewarded for much of his efforts when Queen Elizabeth II bestowed upon him the title of Honorary Knight Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael & St. George   –  the highest honour conferred by the House of Windsor to a non-British subject.

There might have been some unpleasant surprises on the way to such fame, but one should expect them  –  just, par for the course.

Certainly, Kissinger must have been displeased by the publication on 7 April 2013 of a sheer avalanche of confidential, or formerly confidential, diplomatic communications. It was the work of Wikileaks: 1.7 million records were released. The documents, dating from 1973 to 1976, were obtained from the National Archives and Record Administration –  N.A.R.A. and collated through a year’s painstaking work into a digital format for public access.

205,901 documents from 1 January 1973 to 31 December 1976 are linked to Secretary of State Kissinger, who is the author of many of the cables. A WikiLeaks statement said that the cables contained “significant revelations about U.S. involvements with fascist dictatorships, particularly in Latin America, under Franco’s Spain   –  including about the Spanish royal family, and in Greece under the regime of the Colonels.” The documents could shed blinding light on previously shrouded aspects of United States history. “While several of these documents have been used by U.S. academic researchers in the past, the Kissinger Cables provides unparalleled access to journalists and the general public.” a statement from WikiLeaks informed.

In an early teaser of the documents’ contents, WikiLeaks had drawn attention to the chilling comment made by Kissinger in 1975 during a conversation with the then-U.S. ambassador to Turkey and two Turkish and Cypriot diplomats. Kissinger had quipped: “Before the Freedom of Information Act, I used to say at meetings, ‘The illegal we do immediately; the unconstitutional takes a little longer.’ [laughter] But since the Freedom of Information Act, I’m afraid to say things like that.” The dictum is at Henry A. Kissinger, US Secretary of State, March 10, 1975: http://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/P860114-1573_MC_b.html#efmCS3CUB.

WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange, who has taken refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London in August 2012 after losing legal attempts to avoid extradition to Sweden, stated of his organisation’s newest release: “The collection covers U.S. involvements in, and diplomatic or intelligence reporting on, every country on Earth. It is the single most significant body of geopolitical material ever published.”

Announcing the ‘Special Project K’, The Kissinger cables, Assange said that from 8 April 2013 the cables would become part of the WikiLeaks Public Library of U.S. Diplomacy   –  PlusD.   It would hold the world’s largest searchable collection of United States confidential, or formerly confidential, diplomatic communications   –  in total some 2 million records.

Of course, there are more of such pearls or irritations among the more than 1.7 million U.S. diplomatic records for the period.  They cover a variety of diplomatic traffic including cables, intelligence reports and congressional correspondence. They include more than 1.3 million full diplomatic cables and 320,000 originally classified records. These include more than 227,000 cables classified as ‘confidential’ and 61,000 cables classified as ‘secret’. Perhaps more importantly, there are more than 12,000 documents with the sensitive handling restriction ‘nodis’ =  ‘no distribution’, and more than 9,000 marked ‘eyes only’.

WikiLeaks’ media partners would have been reporting throughout the subsequent week on their findings.

The documents also contain hourly diplomatic reporting on the 1973 war between Israel, Egypt and Syria –  the ‘Yom Kippur war’.

While several of these documents have been used by American academic researchers in the past, the Kissinger Cables provide unparalleled access to journalists and the general public.

Most of the records were reviewed by the United States Department of State’s systematic 25-year declassification process. At review, the records were assessed and either declassified or kept classified with some or all of the metadata records declassified. Both sets of records were then subject to an additional review by the National Archives and Records Administration, N.A.R.A. Once believed to be releasable, they were placed as individual PDFs at the National Archives as part of their Central Foreign Policy Files collection. Despite the review process supposedly assessing documents after 25 years there are no diplomatic records later than 1976. The formal declassification and review process of these extremely valuable historical documents is therefore currently running 16 years late.

The form in which these documents were held at N.A.R.A. was as 1.7 million individual PDFs. To prepare these documents for integration into the PlusD collection, WikiLeaks obtained and reverse-engineered all 1.7 million PDFs and performed a detailed analysis of individual fields, developed sophisticated technical systems to deal with the complex and voluminous data and corrected a great many errors introduced by N.A.R.A., the State Department or its diplomats, for example harmonising the many different ways in which departments, capitals and people’s names were spelt. All such corrective work is referenced and available from the links in the individual field descriptions on the PlusD text search interface: https://search.wikileaks.org/plusd.

The C.I.A. and other agencies attempted to reclassify or withhold sections of the United States National Archives. Detailed minutes of U.S. State Department meetings show that these attempts, which originated with the G. W. Bush Administration, have continued on through until at least 2009. A 2006 analysis by the U.S. National Security Archives at George Washington University, found that 55,000 pages had been secretly reclassified.  Assange commented: “The US administration cannot be trusted to maintain the history of its interactions with the world. Fortunately, an organisation with an unbroken record in resisting censorship attempts now has a copy.”

Media organisations throughout the world were given advanced access to the records.  In Australia this was granted to Fairfax Media Limited for The  Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Canberra Times and The Australian Financial Review.

Kissinger reaction to the disclosure is not known.

And now, introducing Frederick William Engdahl. He is an AmericanGerman historian, economic researcher and freelance journalist. He  grew up in Texas and, after earning a degree in engineering and jurisprudence from Princeton University in 1966 and having pursued graduate study in comparative economics at the University of Stockholm from 1969 to 1970, he worked as an economist and freelance journalist in New York and in Europe. He now lives, and works from, near Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

Last January, in a very interesting article, Engdahl came up with a suggestion that he translated into an interesting question: “Is Trump the Back Door Man for Henry A. Kissinger & Co ?

Readers may not be familiar with Willie James Dixon.  He was a black-American blues  musician  –  in fact ‘the poet laureate of the blues’  –   vocalist, songwriter, arranger and record producer, born in Vicksburg, Mississippi. He became famous for many works, including ‘Back door man’.

In Southern American ‘culture’, the words ‘back-door man’  refer to a man having an affair with a married woman, using the back door as an exit before the husband comes home.

He sang:

“I am, a back door man
I am, a back door man
Well the, men don’t know, but the little girls understand

When everybody’s tryin’ to sleep
I’m somewhere making my, midnight creep
Yes in the morning, when the rooster crow
Something tell me, I got to go

… ”

The promiscuous ‘back-door man’ is a theme of many blues songs.

As Engdahl noted, during the Gerald Ford presidency, ‘back-door man’ was applied to ‘Dick’ Cheney as Ford’s White House Chief of Staff and his ‘skills’ at getting what he wanted through opaque means. More and more as Cabinet choices are named, it looks like the entire Trump presidency project is emerging as Kissinger’s ‘back-door man’ in the Cheney meaning of the term.

Engdahl was referring, early this year, to the combination of rich billionaires and narrow-minded extremists, similes really, whom Trump was choosing for his cabinet.

As one would remember, Trump had boasted in October 2016 that  “Decades of special interest dealing must come to an end. We have to break the cycle of corruption … It is time to drain the swamp in Washington, D.C.  … That is why I am proposing a package of ethics reforms to make our government honest once again.

Less than three months since Trump’s campaign rhetoric about ‘draining the swamp’ was about to become a long-forgotten affair. Trump’s cabinet was about to come out from the backwoods of American politics and the centres of financial power.

In this miasmatic cabal one could not miss the shadowy role of former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger, who was emerging as the unofficial and key foreign policy adviser of the Trump Administration.

On 26 December 2016 the German daily Bild or Bild-Zeitung, literally Picture Newspaper – described as “notorious for its mix of gossip, inflammatory language, and sensationalism” but as having a huge influence on German politicians, similar to a ‘Murdoch-stable product’  –     published what it said was a copy of an analysis by members of the Trump Transition Team which revealed that, as President, Trump will seek “constructive cooperation” with the Kremlin. That, if true, would signify a dramatic contrast to Obama confrontation and sanctions policies.

The newspaper went on to discuss the role of the former Secretary of State, Kissinger as Trump’s leading, if unofficial, foreign policy adviser.  The report stated that Kissinger is drafting a plan to bring Putin’s Russia and Trump’s Washington to more ‘harmonious’ relations.  These would include the United States’ official recognition of Crimea as part of Russia and lifting of American economic sanctions that Obama imposed after the Crimea annexation in 2014, among other steps.

What could be the aim of Kissinger ? Simply, Kissinger’s aim is subtly to erode the growing bilateral relationship between China and Russia which threatens America’s global hegemony.

The trend of the last several years since Obama’s ill-fated coup d’état in Ukraine in early 2014, threatened to jeopardise Kissinger’s lifetime project, otherwise called David Rockefeller’s “march towards a World Government,” a World Government in which “supranational sovereignty of an intellectual élite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national auto-determination practiced in past centuries”, to use Rockefeller’s words to one of his select groups during the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. According to the Bild-Zeitung Trump-Kissinger manoeuvre would advance the project of warming up to Russia with a view to offsetting China’s military build-up.

Kissinger is one of the few surviving practitioners of historical British ‘balance of power’  –   or ‘divide and rule’ geopolitics. This has been British policy for some eight hundred years and it always involved Britain making an alliance with the weaker of two joined rivals to defeat the stronger and in the process, so as to be able in the end to overcome the remaining power. It helped Prince von Metternich-Winneburg zu Beilstein in building the Austrian Empire to the end of the first world war, as it had helped  Viscount Castelreagh  in building the British Empire all the way to the end of the second world war.

This had been the subject of Kissinger’s Ph.D. thesis that he wrote at Harvard in the 1950s, and which became a book in 1957 (H. A. Kissinger, A World Restored: Metternich, Castlereagh and the Problems of Peace, 1812-1822, Echo Points Books & Media, Brattleboro, Vermont 1957)

That work was at the foundation of Kissinger’s ‘Machiavellian’ strategies. It won the admiration from, and employ with, the Rockefellers  –  particularly David.  The gist of the main view is totally a-moral: “Diplomacy cannot be divorced from the realities of force and power. But diplomacy should be divorced … from a moralistic and meddlesome concern with the internal policies of other nations.” because “The ultimate test of a statesman, then, is his ability to recognize the real relationship of forces and to make this knowledge serve his ends .”

Kissinger would become the Rockefellers’ core strategist, the aim being a ‘world government above nation states’   –  as predicated by David Rockefeller in the early  nineties.

That explains Kissinger’s role with the Bilderberg Meetings, with David Rockefeller’s Trilateral Commission, and right down to the present. It explains Kissinger’s approach to China in 1971, the weaker of the two adversaries facing the United States.

Now China, the stronger of the two adversaries, stands in the way of the realisation of a World government as David Rockefeller understood and promoted. Russia is the weaker and next to the two is the emerging power of Iran.  Such is the panorama in military and geopolitical terms.

Kissinger has connections and ties with too many of the Trump cabinet not to think of him as the consultant behind the curtains, the personal adviser to nominally Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, formerly ExxonMobil head.  ExxonMobil is after all the largest direct descendant of John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Company, which was at the centre of the Rockefeller family wealth.  (It should be remembered that both Tillerson and Kissinger are trustees of the very influential Washington Center for Strategic and International Studies  –  incidentally, along with such as Zbigniew Brzezinski.)

And if ‘the diplomatic game’ were to demand, in a thorough mis-understanding of Machiavelli, a bit of courtier’s sycophancy what would stop Kissinger from saying, as he did on  CBS’s Face the Nation on 18 December 2016, that “Donald Trump is a phenomenon that foreign countries haven’t seen.”   and seconds later  “I believe he has the possibility of going down in history as a very considerable President.” adding that, because of perceptions that Obama weakened America’s influence abroad, “one could imagine that something remarkable and new emerges” out of a Trump administration ?

That could become “an extraordinary opportunity.” Kissingerism in its purest form ! (Face the Nation Transcript December 18, 2016 … – CBS News Cbsnews › news › face-the-nation-transcript-conway-kissinger…)

In February 2016 Kissinger went to Moscow privately to meet with Putin. More significantly, on 2 December 2016 Kissinger was ‘personally invited’ by China President Xi Jinping to meet in Beijing to discuss the prospects for China of the Trump presidency. (F. William Engdahl, Is Trump the Back Door Man for Henry A. Kissinger & Co?, 9 January 2017, Williamengdahl ›) englishNEO9Jan2017.php)


No doubt he would have had the opportunity to broach his plan: in Moscow officially to recognise Crimea as part of Russia and lift the Obama administration’s economic sanctions.

The plan fits into Kissinger’s overall strategy. But there would be more, much more.  The strategy consists in seducing the alleged weaker top ‘threat’ –  Russia away from the ‘stronger’  –  China, while keeping on antagonising/harassing the third and weakest pole, Iran.

Kissinger is certainly more sophisticated than to attempt to demolish the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, one of elements of the Russia-China strategic partnership. The Organisation has been active for more than ten years. Iran, which is only an observer, will soon become a full member, as will India and Pakistan. Turkey is being courted by Russia.

If Kissinger’s Metternichian approach would include some degree of ‘harmonisation’ with Russia, how will a Trump presidency then manage to contain the powerful ally which is Germany ?  After all, a key priority for German industrialists, who  incidentally do not like sanctions, is to expand business with Russia  –  and as largely as possible.

Kissinger’s strategy essentially represents improvements to the early 1970s Trilateral Commission, largely advanced by  Zbigniew Brzezinski, according to whom geopolitics is to be managed by North America, Western Europe and Japan.

It is essential to identify the priorities. For Russia, they are N.A.T.O. encroaching on its western borderlands.  For China, the priorities are Taiwan; the South China Sea; and those uninhabited and fiercely disputed islands that China calls Diaoyu Islands, Taiwan calls Diaoyutai Islands and Japan calls Senkaku Islands.

But Kissinger’s strategy will run into a solidified Russia-China strategic partnership  already manifested in several aspects of their relationship: the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation,  the co-operation within the Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa block, the supply of enormous quantities of oil and gas, the exchange of cutting-edge military technology, the reciprocal security agreements, the inevitable interlocking of the New Silk Road   –   rather, Roads  –   and the emergence of the Eurasian Economic Union.


When the New Silk Roads reach the next level, by the start of the next decade, the Eurasian heartland, as well as the rimland, will be deeply immersed in a connectivity frenzy.

All of the above points to a very unusual situation: the death of ‘made in China’, replaced by a ‘globalised’ China which exports business as well as job to ‘the West’. Trump will do business and clinch deals with China, and while his Deep State-tinged cabinet barks the usually explosive national security rhetoric, Kissinger will plot a Russia-China split, to which Russia and China will react defensively and quite likely successfully. (Pepe Escobar,AllPast 24 hoursPast weekPast month

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  1. Trump, Kissinger and Ma playing on a crowded chessboard …, 14 January 2017, Atimes › article › trump-kissinger-ma-playing-crowded-chessboard)

But  serious problem remains:  if Kissinger’s “Metternichian approach would include some degree of ‘harmonisation’ with Russia, how will a Trump presidency then manage to contain the re-engineered ally Germany?” one may ask again.

Speaking to the participants in the closing session of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting held in Davos, Switzerland from 17 to 20 January 2017on the theme ‘Responsive and responsible leadership’, Kissinger said:

“President Trump will have to find a definition of the American role that answers the concern in many parts of the world that America is giving up its indispensable leadership role and define what and where America can lead, where it must contribute, and in that process help in the creation of an international order.” He was addressing the Forum as Chairman of Kissinger Associates.  And he added: “Trump will need to reshape ties with China and Russia and recast the transatlantic alliance with Europe.”

He praised the Chinese President Xi Jinping’s speech at the opening session of the Meeting as “of fundamental significance.”

According to Kissinger, “Xi laid out a concept for globalisation and its challenges. It was an assertion by China of its participation in the construction of a new international order. One of the key problems of our period is that the international order with which we are familiar is disintegrating and new elements from Asia and the developing world are entering.”

Describing the United States transatlantic partnership with Europe, Kissinger stressed: “I don’t think it is obsolete; it is vital. What needs to be re-examined is the relevance of the institutions. A transatlantic partnership needs to be reconstructed, but it is a key element of American and European policy.”

Kissinger and Brzezinski are the two foremost, self-described puppet masters in the geopolitical arena. In opposition to Kissinger, Obama’s foreign policy mentor Brzezinski, true to his Russophobia, proposed a ‘divide and rule’ policy centred on seducing China.

But there are still powerful, and powerfully differing, voices. According to one of them, who wishes to remain anonymous,

“It is important not to attribute too much importance to either Kissinger or Brzezinski as they are merely fronts for those who make the decisions and it is their job to cloak the decisions with a patina of intellectuality. Their input means relatively nothing. I use their names on occasion as I cannot use the names of those who actually make the decisions.”

And he went on: “Trump was elected with the support of the ‘Masters of the Universe’ to tilt towards Russia. The Masters have their tools in the media and Congress maintaining a vilification campaign against Russia, and have their puppet Brzezinski also come out against Russia, stating that America’s global influence depends on cooperation with China. The purpose is to threaten Russia to cooperate and place these chips on the negotiating table for Trump. In a traditional ‘good cop-bad cop’ approach, Trump is portrayed as the good cop wanting good relations with Russia, and Congress, the media and Brzezinski are the bad cops. This is to aid Trump in the negotiations with Russia as Putin sees the ‘precarious’ position of his friend and should be willing to make major concessions as the line goes.”

Following this line of thought one should expect China   –   as “not too much importance” Kissinger prescribed    –  to be under incessant scrutiny: “The Masters have decided to re-industrialise the United States and want to take jobs back from China. This is advisable from the Chinese viewpoint; for why should they sell their work to the United States for a dollar that has no intrinsic value and get really nothing back for the work. China should have a car in every Chinese worker’s garage and they will become a larger producer of cars than the European Union, the United States and Japan combined, and their own nation will keep their wealth in their own country.”

So, why should China be preferred to Russia? “Russia in this sense being a natural resource country with a gigantic military industrial complex   –   the latter being the only reason she is secretly respected   –    is exempt from any tough trade talk as they hardly export anything but natural resources and military equipment. The Masters want jobs back from Mexico and Asia including Japan, Taiwan, and other countries, and one can see this in Trump’s attack on Japan. The main underlying reason is that the United States has lost control of the seas and cannot secure its military components during a major war. This is all that matters now and this is the giant story behind the scenes.”

In only a few words this views expresses the reversal of an economic cycle: “The Masters made money out of transfer of industry to Asia.  (One should consider the rapid rising and development of Bain Capital, the global alternative investment firm based in Boston, Massachusetts. With a rapidly expanding net, moving from Boston to Chicago, Dublin, Hong Kong, London, Luxembourg, Melbourne, Mumbai, Munich, New York, Palo Alto, San Francisco, Shanghai, and Tokyo, it specialises in private equity, venture capital and credit products. Bain Capital invests across a range of industry sectors and geographic regions. Two years ago the firm was managing more than US$ 75 billion of investor capital across its various investment platforms.)  Additionally, Wall Street   –   the Masters’ Valhalla  –   made money from the lower interest rates on the recycled dollars from the trade deficits. But now the issue is strategic; and the Masters will make money on the return of industries scaling down their investments in Asia and returning them to the United States as we rebuild production here.”

It seems that at the moment, regardless of whether Kissinger or Brzezinski is right  –   or wrong,  President Trump is in deep trouble.

And the next, looming question then is: what can Kissinger teach Trump about surviving an impeachment ?

The answer to such question belongs to history professor Greg Grandin of New York University.

Grandin quipped: “It’s all showbiz   –   that’s how Henry [Kissinger] escaped the Watergate dragnet.”

About two years ago, prof. Grandin published a book: Kissinger’s Shadow: The Long Reach of America’s Most Controversial Statesman, Metropolitan Books, New York, 2015.  In it, Grandin  argued that Kissinger is good to think with, by which he meant that his long career   –   as an early Cold war defence intellectual, a top foreign-policy maker, a consigliere to the world’s élite, and a hawkish pundit   –    combined with his very self-aware philosophy of history, helps illuminate the contours of post-war militarism, tracing a bright line from the disastrous war in Southeast Asia to the catastrophic one in the Persian Gulf.2

Prof. Grandin’s  book came out long before Trump appeared a serious possibility, when everyone thought an autumnal Kissinger’s last act would be to bask in the warmth of neoliberal love offered by Democrats such as aspiring Hillary Clinton and Samantha Power, the former United States Ambassador to the United Nations from 2013 to 2017. Its conclusion focused on the ways in which President Obama’s pragmatic, managerial militarism echoed Kissinger’s earlier justifications for interventionism and war, and the way Kissinger used Obama’s disregard of national sovereignty, in his reliance on drones and bombing campaigns, as an ex post facto absolution of his own past actions.

When asked about the devastating and illegal bombing of Cambodia and Laos, or his encouragement in the assault by Pinochet on President Allende, Kissinger found a ready rejoinder: Obama does it. He was pointing to President  Obama hailing the lifting of the “dark tyranny” over Libya after the new government confirmed Colonel Muammar Gaddafi had been killed in Libya in October 2011, and to Obama’s drone programme.

So here was Kissinger invoking today’s open-ended war in a cynical, totally immoral attempt ‘to justify’ what he did in South East Asia and Chile   –   and in other places, too   –  nearly half a century ago, even as what he did over forty years ago were to help creating acceptable circumstances for today’s endless wars.3

In time Kissinger would portray the 1970 incursion into Cambodia as a symptom of Nixon’s supposed instability.  The ‘madman strategy’ might have been used by Nixon, but it was Kissinger’s child, and Kissinger has been writing about someone very much like Trump nearly his whole life.

It turns out Kissinger’s shadow needs an epilogue, for Trump vindicates its argument in a different way. There are materialist explanations for Kissinger’s affinity with Trump. Kissinger has long called on Washington to work closely with Moscow, to create a new axis of global stability. And the portfolio of Kissinger Associates Inc., among the world’s premier neoliberal consulting firms, will benefit from access to the Trump Administration and, were relations to improve, to Russia.

“The West requires nothing so much as men able to create their own reality.” is one of Kissinger’s favourite dicta.

Kissinger has been writing about someone very much like Trump nearly his whole life. Great statesmen, he said in the 1950s, need to be “agile”, and must learn to thrive on “perpetual creation, on a constant redefinition of goals.” And how appropriate such thought to an ignorant, narcissistic psychopath such as Trump !

Great statesmen, ‘men of Providence’, great minds such as the Führer, god-sent such as the Caudillo  need to avoid the paralysis generated by thinking too much about the consequences of policy, about the “pre-vision of catastrophes” which often beset diplomats and regional specialists, and Great Leaders, too. “There are two kinds of realists.” Kissinger wrote in 1963, “those who manipulate facts and those who create them. The West requires nothing so much as men able to create their own reality.” That requirement has been met with Donald Trump, whom in the weeks leading up to his inauguration Kissinger enthusiastically embraced. Kissinger defined Trump as a “phenomenon” saying that “something remarkable and new” might emerge out of his presidency. Trump would have the “opportunity of going down in history as a very considerable president.”5

Will Kissinger, one may just wonder, help Trump broker one of his famous ‘deals’ with Putin? As if by describing sheer magic the already mentioned Bild-Zeitung wondered whether “Kissinger soll neuen Kalten Krieg verhindern” –   Kissinger is designed to prevent a new cold war. Magic ! Miraculous !

At every single one of America’s post-second-world-war turning points, moments of crisis when other policy and opinion makers of his stature   –   people such as George Kennan or Arthur Schlesinger   –   began to express doubts about American power, Kissinger never showed any doubt about his policies, programmes, counselling skills   –  and results.

Switching   –   quite adroitly, he might have thought  –   from right-wing Nelson A. Rockefeller to Richard M. Nixon, by way of Hubert H. Humphrey, he moved to Ronald W. Reagan, and later to George W. Bush.  That they all rose to power by attacking him, did not bother Kissinger. And that he thought of the first ‘shallow’, of the second ‘unhinged’, of the third ‘unworthy’, of the fourth ‘hollow’, and of the last ‘a man in contact with god’ did not faze Kissinger.

He was convinced that victory belongs to him.  Immer, ohne Zweifel  !  –   always without doubt !   With Teutonic thoroughness.

Why, had he not written in his 1954 doctoral dissertation: “Those statesmen who have achieved final greatness did not do so through resignation, however well founded ”?   For “It was given to them not only to maintain the perfection of order but to have the strength to contemplate chaos, there to find material for fresh creation.”

And so now Kissinger moved to Trump, who is always looking for new material.7  How perfectly timed that Kissinger should see Trump  –   officially anyway, he might have been there before   –   on a day when everybody was talking about Watergate, possible impeachment, things like that.

Offering consultations to Nixon, Reagan or Bush Junior might have been easier than tackling any problem with Trump. The incumbent president of the United States remains a real estate developer with connections as described by Sidney Blumenthal, in A short history of the Trump family (London Review of Books, Vol. 39 No. 4 · 16 February 2017, lrb.co.uk › v39 › … › sidney-blumenthal): a brutal father, a life of boasting, a Jewish anti-Semitic gay adviser-lawyer  –  later to be disbarred, victim of an unrelenting homophobia and who died of Aids, a fortune made through bankruptcies, surrounded by gangsters and a fairly ‘tempestuous’ life with the other sex, whom he formally joined three times  –  and the rest.

At  the time of ‘Watergate’   –   which really started about the White House engulfed in lying over the ‘secret bombing’ of Cambodia and Laos   –    Kissinger survived very well.  It does not matter that he should have followed J. Dean, J. Ehrlichman,  H.R. Haldeman, J. N. Mitchell and R. M. Nixon.

Trump may be showbiz   –   although not to everyone’s taste.  Kissinger deserves recognition for many talents  –   so long as it has nothing to do with the Nobel Peace Prize. 13 (Greg Grandin, ‘What Kissinger Can Teach Trump about Surviving an Impeachment, It’s all showbiz  –  that’s how Henry escaped the Watergate dragnet’, 11 May 2017,  What Kissinger Can Teach Trump about Surviving an …, The nation › article › what-kissinger-can-teach-trump…)

Kissinger was previously a secret national security consultant to President George W. Bush, and under Obama was directly involved in the US National Security Council’s chain-of-command. He also frequently advised Hillary Clinton during her term as Secretary of State.

His influence in the Trump Administration is also visible through his former acolyte, K.T. McFarland, who is now Trump’s deputy national security advisor, and who previously served under Kissinger in the 1970s in his National Security Council.

  1. Conclusion

Todd Gitlin is an American sociologist, political writer, novelist, and cultural commentator.   He has written widely on the mass media, politics, intellectual life and the arts, for both popular and scholarly publications.

After teaching part-time 1970–77 at the New College of San Jose State University and the Community Studies programme at the University of California, Santa Cruz, he served for sixteen years as professor of sociology and director of the mass communications programme at University of California,  Berkeley, then for seven years as a professor of culture, journalism and sociology at New York University. Since 2002 he has been a professor of sociology and journalism at Columbia University.

This long introduction is worthy, because prof. Gitlin has offered the shortest, lapidary almost, biography of Heinz Alfred ‘Henry’ Kissinger.

“Henry Kissinger –   he wrote   –  rose to power as a banal, obsequious and sometimes hysterical cold warrior whose leap into the front ranks of America’s higher courtiers was launched by his advocacy of preparation for a nuclear war in central Europe   –   a “limited” one, in the perverse locution of the time, since in his scenario America would deploy ‘battlefield nuclear weapons’ of 500 kilotons, or 25 Hiroshimas   –   each.”

That he, a Jewish refugee from Hitler’s Germany, should second and promote the ‘selective’ thoughts of David Rockefeller   –  and of the family, too   –   on eugenics,   may be astounding.  What is not surprising is that he found the comfort of his position as Éminence grise at the Nixon White House. He had nothing but contempt for the parvenu from the rarefied air of Yorba Linda, California.  Bu he served him well, and in the process served himself even better.

He was given an opportunity to put into practice his resurrected view of the world  as an opportunity to ‘divide and rule’. The British had done that for quite some time with an imperially successful result, and the Austrians would follow. Kissinger saw himself as nothing less than Castelreagh + Metternich.

To that end,  he cried wolf over Soviet power in a conception of international relations which would leave no room for mixed colours. Everything would be black and white, with the alarming result that America was in mortal danger of a surprise Soviet attack. There was no time, certainly no inclination, to think about the enormous sacrifices of a country which was trying to reconstruct after the loss of twenty five million lives and the destruction of thousands of kilometres of the mother land.

Perhaps not out of feelings, which would not have made such an attitude justified, but would have gone a long way in explaining it, Russia was a ‘new threat’ to America.

Such hysteria moved the world to within a hair’s breadth of not-so-limited war during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.

A cruel, dispirited, surprisingly crude view of humanity and its aspirations prevented Kissinger from seeing and understanding that Communist-led insurgencies like Vietnam’s were crucially nationalist and anti-colonial.

Kissinger offered his services for an adventure which propelled him into the heights and depths of a career as courtier-in-chief. It culminated in his partnership with Nixon in conducting the last six years of the Vietnam var.  And that in the process  more than 21,000 Americans died in those six years, along with up to 1.5 million Vietnamese, mattered not. But in the process there developed a little secret between Kissinger and Nixon. In Nixonian terms it was traduced to a matter of ‘deniability’, of keeping from the Americans, indeed the world’s public the ‘secret war’ and the consequent bombing of Cambodia and Laos. That they became the most heavily-bombarded countries in history, that they had for no reason   –   except the ‘madman strategy’  –    to suffer the United States’ air power was a ‘secret’ between two brigands, tactically obtuse, morally unjustifiable. Kissinger dealt with that as a ‘sideshow’, with people expendable in the great game of large nations.

There followed the new, ‘peace-time enterprises’: genocide in Bangladesh, East Timor now Timor-Leste, Chile, Argentina, Cyprus   –  other places (Australia ?). Christopher Hitchens has dealt with those subjects with clarity and great empathy in his book  –  and a sense that not much is left meaningfully to add.

Quite recently, Zach Dorfman, who is a  senior fellow at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs, was scavenging through documents at the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace at Stanford University, California. By accident he came upon a six-page memorandum of a conversation between the Chilean  Junta’s Foreign Minister  Hernán Cubillos Sallato and Kissinger. On 3 October 1979 Kissinger was making a private visit to those he had so actively assisted in taking power in Santiago.

The document is, of course, in Spanish, but a translation would appraise the reader about Kissinger’s opinion of personages and events of the time.

At the time President Carter had been in the White House since January 1977, when Kissinger had lost his position as Secretary of State under President Ford.


In August 1978, after a long and tortuous investigation, United States federal prosecutors had indicted three Chilean intelligence agents for masterminding the assassination, in Washington, D.C. on 21 September 1976 of Orlando Letelier, former ambassador to the United States and a refugee from the Junta and his assistant Ronnie  Moffitt. Among the three were the former head of Pinochet’s intelligence services, Juan Manuel Guillermo Contreras Sepúlveda  and his director of operations, Pedro Espinoza Bravo. President Carter’s Administration had formally requested that Chile extradite the three men to the United States to stand trial.

Just two days before the Cubillos-Kissinger conversation, the Supreme Court of Chile, yielding to intimidation by the Junta, had rejected the American extradition request.

President Carter was unsure on how to react. Some suggested that the United States should break diplomatic relations with the Junta, others proposed a nicer treatment of the Junta.    Among the latter was Kissinger, of course. He had contributed, while Nixon’s Secretary of State, to the success of the coup against Allende. Kissinger had no time for Carter.

On 3 October 1979 Kissinger hosted the Junta’s foreign minister  at his flat, at ‘River House’, 435 E 52n Street, New York, just next to the hoity-toity River Club, where one can rub shoulders with celebrities such as Sir Evelyn de Rothschild.

According to the record, that the Foreign Minister sent back to the Acting Minister, Digen-Diplan, in Santiago from the Chilean Delegation at the United Nations in form of a ‘secret’  diplomatic cable No. 678, 03 October 1979, Cubillos and Kissinger took breakfast and in seventy minutes made a kind of  ‘world tour’, as it were.  What follows is a translation of some passages of that cable.

Kissinger, who displayed “great affection for our country, and great admiration for what is being done there.” then moved on to express his opinion on Pope John Paul II: “I do not understand,” he said, “whether he is trying to manage the left,” or to “control the left.” Therefore, he added, “I am not completely convinced he will be good for humanity.” He added that he was suspicious of Cardinal Casaroli, who in order to save the Church was willing to compromise with communism.”

On Carter’s speech on Cuba, Kissinger “told [Cubillos] that he considered it a ‘disaster.’  He added that he found it unbelievable that a country with the power of the United States had been the first to say it would not accept Soviet presence in Cuba, and later ended up accepting it. He mentioned that  Carter had called him to ask his opinion, but that what he decided did  not correspond to his advice and for that reason he had criticised the measures taken.”

On his (Kissinger’s) memoirs: “ … to be published [the following] week, [they] will cause great discomfort among liberal circles in the United States, and among communists and their friends.” And when Kissinger mentioned the aspects of the memoires which touch on the Chilean situation, he said ironically that it was a dishonour to Allende that he should continue to be known as democratic, when in truth he was really a communist.”

On Chile-United States relations: “ … I asked him how we should handle our relationship with the United States. He said that was a very difficult question to answer, since the Carter government has “begun making enemies of all its friends and making friends of all its enemies.”

When the foreign minister mentioned the Letelier case and indicated the Junta’s puzzlement at the fact that the United States did not respect Latin America’s legal institutions, “[Kissinger] admitted we were right: that the Chilean legal decision was correct, but this was not a legal problem so much as a political one. “It needs to be managed,” he said. “with political criteria.”  Apologising for his frankness, he said that this was a bad case for us, and had been badly managed politically.”

At this point Kissinger “added that his own advice was that we treat the current U.S. administration with ‘brutality.’  He suggested that “this is the only language they understand.”  [Italics added] He repeated this same suggestion several times during the conversation.  He later said that we should make our positions public, and move forward decisively.  However, he emphasised that until the election process was complete in the United States and a new administration elected, there was nothing we could do to improve our relations with the United States, given that the problem was being treated as a political one.”

The foreign minister noted: “ … He said, and I quote, ‘You will have to tough it out until then.’ “

“Regarding Pat Derian, in charge of humanitarian matters in the State Department,, he said that she was “stupid” and should receive a tough treatment.  He also spoke harshly about [a former colleague] and the State Department bureaucracy, which makes statements and sends cables with no control from above.”

“Of Brezinski (then an adviser to President Carter) he said that “if he worked with me he would be a good element, but I do not trust him by himself.”  In any case, he promised to speak with him favourably about Chile.  He later said he considered it a disgrace that the United States had helped Allende’s government more than the current Chilean government.”

“Next, Kissinger gave me some advice about the responsible U.S. organisations, with which it would be convenient to increase our contacts for the sake of future Chilean-U.S. relations, and indicated the names of some of the people in them: Institute for Strategic Studies, American Enterprise Institute, and Council on Foreign Relations.”

“Furthermore, Kissinger spoke harshly of the United States government’s approach in Latin America, where, he said, Carter insisted on eliminating military regimes, without understanding that elections should only be held when the political situation has matured, thus preventing the left from winning.  ‘What do we achieve,’ he said, ‘by replacing the military if the communists are going to be left in power ?’ ”

According to Cubillos’ recounting, the two men also discussed the Letelier case extensively. First, Kissinger told Cubillos he believed that the Chileans made the “correct” decision in rejecting the U.S. government’s extradition request. And then, Kissinger went on to advise the Pinochet Junta on how to get what he wanted from Carter. You have to be tough, he told Cubillos  –  in fact, you must treat the Carter administration “with brutality.” This, Kissinger said, “is the only language they understand.” This was no idle slip of the tongue; according to Cubillos, Kissinger “repeated this same idea several times during the conversation.”

So, here was an American citizen of some weight, inciting the representative of those who had murdered President Allende and installed a military dictatorship to treat President Carter’s administration  with ‘brutality’, for that was “the only language they understand.”

As the meeting ended, Cubillos invited Kissinger to visit Chile, and Kissinger volunteered to continue the conversation through the Chilean ambassador in Washington.  All in all, Cubillos concluded, his meeting with Kissinger was a “fruitful and interesting” one.

In November 1979, the Carter Administration announced that it would punish Chile for its intransigence by banning trade assistance to the country through the Export-Import Bank. This was a far weaker response than many had hoped for, given the seriousness of the crime, and the thoroughness of the obstruction on the part of the Junta.

Hanging over the conversation between Cubillos and Kissinger was the unspoken implication that Kissinger himself might soon regain his old job as secretary of state, where he would once again be in charge of shaping American  foreign policy towards Chile. (Zach Dorfman, How Henry Kissinger Conspired Against a Sitting President …, 6 January 2017, Politico › magazine › … › henry-kissinger-jimmy…)

Kissinger predicted  –  wrongly in  fact   –   that Ford would have won the 1980- election.  Ronald W. Reagan did.   Never mind.  Before the election took place Kissinger had succeeded in a ‘deal’ whereby Ford would have become vice-president to Reagan and he, Kissinger, would have returned as secretary of state.

Over thirty years later, Kissinger was back to the same  –   if more elaborate  –  game, admired by Hillary Clinton and, semble, secretly advising Trump.

 Since Trump’s election Kissinger has come close to the new president, first offering his opinion on key appointments and praising him in public  –  as he did in Oslo   –   while at the same time positioning himself as a reliable intermediary between the Kremlin, where he has close ties with President Putin, and the White House.


Not for the first time since November 2016 Kissinger has warned against expecting too much from Trump’s words.

Kissinger had previously said that he believes people should not expect Trump to stand by all of his campaign positions. During the Nobel Peace Prize Forum  in Oslo in December 2016, Kissinger said that Trump is “a personality for whom there is no precedent in modern American history.” One wonders what Kissinger really meant by that.

He added then, in a rather sybilline way, “Before postulating an inevitable crisis, an opportunity should be given to the new administration to put forward its vision of international order.” Whose vision ?

Not for Trump to stop and try to think how inappropriately anti-American had been Kissinger’s counsel to Cubillos. Not only did he praise Chile’s decision to stymie a murder trial related to a major act of international terrorism carried out in the American capital, but the former secretary of state also actively encouraged the Junta which had mandated that crime to take a hard line with the United States government, in order to hamper American prosecutors.

And one should wonder: would Kissinger or any of his Associates give similar kind of advice to a client ? And could that not be obstruction of justice ?

During the fifth Democratic presidential debate, on 4 February 2016, Hillary Clinton boasted that she was supported by former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.  She was obviously totally oblivious of the accusations laid against Kissinger of being a war criminal who oversaw policies which led to the deaths of millions of people.

“I was very flattered when Henry Kissinger said I ran the State Department better than anybody had run it in a long time.” she said.

While on one hand Clinton boasted openly of her close relationship to Kissinger, on the other another aspiring candidate, Senator Bernard ‘Bernie’ Sanders, used that relationship to criticise Clinton as a ‘warmonger’: “I am proud to say that Henry Kissinger is not my friend. I will not take advice from Henry Kissinger. And in fact, Kissinger’s actions in Cambodia, when the United States bombed that country, overthrew Prince Sihanouk, created the instability for Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge to come in, who then butchered some 3 million innocent people, one of the worst genocides in the history of the world. So count me in as somebody who will not be listening to Henry Kissinger.”

Clinton did not reply effectively, resorting instead to saying that as Secretary of State “you listen to all kinds of people.”

Sanders continued the ‘warmonger’ accusation:

“Now I think an area in kind of a vague way, or not so vague, where Secretary Clinton and I disagree is the area of regime change. Look, the truth is that a powerful nation like the United States, certainly working with our allies, we can overthrow dictators all over the world.

And God only knows Saddam Hussein was a brutal dictator. We could overthrow Assad tomorrow if we wanted to. We got rid of Gadhafi. But the point about foreign policy is not just to know that you can overthrow a terrible dictator, it’s to understand what happens the day after.

And in Libya, for example, the United States, Secretary Clinton, as secretary of state, working with some other countries, did get rid of a terrible dictator named Gadhafi. But what happened is a political vacuum developed. I.S.I.S. came in, and now occupies significant territory in Libya, and is now prepared, unless we stop them, to have a terrorist foothold.”

Sanders even went back to the C.I.A. overthrow of the Iranian nationalist prime minister, Mohammad Mosaddegh, in 1953.

In another sally, almost as if it were one last coup de grâce,  Sanders berated Clinton for saying that she appreciated the foreign policy mentoring she received from Kissinger. “I happen to believe,” retorted Sanders, “that Henry Kissinger was one of the most destructive secretaries of state in the modern history of this country.”

Clinton went on to defend Kissinger, using the example of China. “His opening up China and his ongoing relationships with the leaders of China is an incredibly useful relationship for the United States of America.” she insisted. Maybe.

But Sanders responded that Kissinger scared Americans about communist China, then opened up trade so that American corporations could dump American workers and hire exploited, repressed Chinese. “First he warned us about the terrible, authoritarian, Communist dictatorship.” groaned Sanders. “Now he is urging companies to shut down and move to China. Not my kind of guy.”

In January last year thousands of emails released from Clinton’s time as Secretary of State for the Obama Administration exposed the very close ties between Clinton and Kissinger. One of the emails suggests that Clinton saw Kissinger as her role model.

Kissinger met regularly with Secretary Clinton, and applauded enthusiastically her hawkish foreign policy on many occasions, well beyond what an Anglophone would call chivalry or gallantry, of which Kissinger may be capable if the price is right, or better still Gemütlichkeit = peace of mind, which in the case of Kissinger seems an impossibility.

In a 7 February 2012 letter Kissinger wrote to Clinton:


The best one can make of such Chinoiserie is a compliment between hawks.

Whatever the reason   –  or the expected reward, Hillary Clinton was able to write in a review to Kissinger then latest work: World order, that “Kissinger is a friend, and I relied on his counsel when I served as secretary of state. He checked in with me regularly, sharing astute observations about foreign leaders and sending me written reports on his travels. Though we have often seen the world and some of our challenges quite differently, and advocated different responses now and in the past, what comes through clearly in this new book is a conviction that we, and President Obama, share: a belief in the indispensability of continued American leadership in service of a just and liberal order.”

Clinton’s abstract and fatuous rhetoric exemplifies the bipartisan, imperialist agenda formulated and propagated by the Council on Foreign Relations. There ‘humanitarianism’ is a guise for the ruthless pursuit of United States political and economic hegemony across the world. The people who belong to this élite club have internalised the imperialist worldview that America is an ‘indispensable nation’  which upholds ‘a just and liberal world order’, and uses this belief to rationalise its ‘Machiavellian’ exertions of power abroad.

The club is the equivalent of the ‘American Establishment’. The American Establishment which matters most is not limited to any one party, gender, or government organisation. It is limited to people who are involved, directly or peripherally, in formulating and carrying out the plans of a tiny élite class – plans which ignore the 99 per cent of the Americans in whose names they act, and the billions of people whose lives their decisions impact. Clinton, because of her professional career and her social relationships, is the embodiment of that Establishment.

The fact of the matter is that, whether one observes either the master-magician  or the apprentice  at work, one is entitled to draw the conclusion that, when it comes to applying rules of international law and ethics, the United States government, its statesmen   –   rather, statespersons. and its mainstream media operate with stunning hypocrisy   –  what might be called “moral idiocy.”

History professor Lawrence Davidson has provided a neat explanation of what he meant by combining those two words,  as now chosen because applicable to Kissinger and Clinton.

Moral idiocy is not something that Davidson had simply made up. “It is a real concept in psychology that has been around for over a century. However, in our increasingly relativistic societies, it has fallen into disuse.

Briefly, it means the “inability to understand moral principles and values and to act in accordance with them, apparently without impairment of the reasoning and intellectual faculties.” The key word here is “understand.” It is not that moral idiots do not know, intellectually, that something called morality exists, but rather they cannot understand its applicability to their lives, particularly their professional lives. [Italics in original]

At best they think it is a personal thing that operates between friends or relatives and goes no further  –    a reduction of values to the narrowest of social spaces. This is paralleled by the absence of such values as guiding principles for one’s actions in the wider world.”

There are innumerable examples of such apparent moral idiots acting within the halls of power. The following short list specific to the U.S. reflects Davidson’s opinion: George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, John Bolton, Oliver North, Richard Nixon and, his favourite, Henry Kissinger. “Those reading this” Davidson continues “both in and outside of the United States can, no doubt, make a list of their own.”(L. Davidson, ‘America and the Plague of ‘Moral Idiocy’ – Consortiumnews, https://consortiumnews.com/2016/09/06/america-and-the-plague-of…)

Yes, thank you professor Davidson.  From Australia the list could be completed with  John Winston Howard, and from Britain with Anthony Charles Lynton Blair.

Throughout this essay evidence has been offered, and abundantly at that, of Kissinger’s moral failing, callousness, perhaps better still: indifference. Some of it is as inexplicable as it is shocking. There is a macho swagger in some of Kissinger’s remarks.  It could, perhaps, be explained away if he had never wielded power, just as the world has been exposed to the gratuitously offensiveness of Donald J. Trump, forever presidential  candidate. And one is fully  aware that Kissinger, the longest-lasting and most frequently observed pariah figure in modern American history, is but one of a line of men held in fear and contempt for the immorality of their services rendered and yet protected by the Establishment in recognition of those same services. William Tecumseh Sherman, Curtis LeMay, Robert McNamara, and, more recently, Donald Rumsfeld all come to mind.

Errol Mark Morris is an American film director primarily interested in documentaries examining and investigating, among other things, authorities and eccentrics. He is perhaps best known and most revered for his 1988 documentary The thin blue line, commonly cited among the best and most influential documentaries ever made. In his remarkable 2003 documentary The fog of war: Eleven lessons from the life of Robert S. McNamara one saw that the protagonist, who was an octogenarian at the time, was a tormented man who was attempting to come to terms, unsuccessfully, with the immense moral burden of his actions as the U.S. Secretary of Defense during the Vietnam war. McNamara had recently written a memoir (In retrospect: The tragedy and lessons of Vietnam, Times Books, New York 1995) in which he attempted to grapple with his legacy. He would conclude, well before leaving his post, that the war was a futile. But he did not share that insight with the public until late in life.  In 1995 he was able to confess that the adventure was “wrong, terribly wrong.”  He was full of remorse and feelings of guilt for his behaviour while in office.   In return, he faced a ‘firestorm of scorn’ at that time.

Around that time, Stephen Henderson Talbot, a journalist and documentary producer interviewed McNamara, and then also secured an interview with Kissinger,  who had been Richard Nixon’s Secretary of State and National Security Advisor during the Vietnam war’s hopeless, final years.

As he later wrote about his initial meeting with Kissinger, “I told him I had just interviewed Robert McNamara in Washington. That got his attention. …  and then he did an extraordinary thing. He began to cry. But no, not real tears. Before my eyes, Henry Kissinger was acting. ‘Boohoo, boohoo,’ Kissinger said, pretending to cry and rub his eyes. ‘He’s still beating his breast, right?  Still feeling guilty.’ He spoke in a mocking, singsong voice and patted his heart for emphasis.”

McNamara died in 2009, at the same age Kissinger is today   –  ninety-three   –   but his belated public struggle with his conscience helped leaven his clouded reputation. Now that he is nearing the end of his life, Kissinger must wonder what his own legacy is to be. He can rest assured that, at the very least, his steadfast support for the American superpower project, no matter what the cost in lives, will be a major part of that legacy. Unlike McNamara, however, whose attempt to find a moral reckoning Kissinger held in such scorn, Kissinger has shown little in the way of a conscience. And because of that, it seems highly likely, history will not easily absolve him.

But would Kissinger care ?

Kissinger obviously held McNamara and his feelings of guilt in utter disdain. Regret ? Was is das ?, remorse ? What is it ?

Kissinger had actually committed greater crimes than McNamara  –  crimes documented in Hitchens’s 2001 book, The trial of Henry Kissinger  – and yet apparently felt no remorse at all. How does one get like that ?

In his book Hitchens argued that Kissinger should be tried  “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.”

The former secretary of state, whose ‘mentorship’ Hillary Clinton boasted during the last Democratic debate, is not just a poor choice of foreign policy adviser. He is an authentic war criminal.

Hitchens presents Kissinger as a master of “depraved realpolitik” with “a callous indifference to human life and human rights,” who was behind American-sponsored and financed atrocities in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Bangladesh, Chile, East Timor –  as it then was, Argentina,  Cyprus, Kurdish Iraq, Iran, South Africa, Angola and more.

Despite the alleged crimes he oversaw, Kissinger was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize. Or should it be ‘Nobel Peace Prize for War’ ?

Kissinger’s intimate handwritten note is just one sign of the close ties between the accused war criminal and Clinton, who is herself notorious for advocating a similarly aggressive, hawkish foreign policy. Will she be remembered for twisting Julius Ceasar’s  “Veni, vidi, vici” into “We came, we saw, he died”, on hearing of the death of Gaddafi  ?

At age 93, Kissinger is one of the longest-serving public men in United States history. Since 1969, the accused war criminal has played an important role as a foreign policy adviser in most, if not all United States presidential administrations. Having just finished his assignment with Obama is now sucking-up to Trump.

Thanks to the work of historians, however, we now know much more about the atrocities Kissinger oversaw while in office.

As just some of the myriad examples of his crimes, in ‘The trial’ Hitchens documented Kissinger’s implications in the following:

  1. The deliberate mass killing of civilian populations in Indochina.
  2. Deliberate collusion in mass murder, and later in assassination, in Bangladesh.
  3. The personal suborning and planning of murder, of a senior constitutional officer in a democratic nation – Chile  –  with which the United States was not at war.
  4. Personal involvement in a plan to murder the head of state in the democratic nation of Cyprus.
  5. The incitement and enabling of genocide in East Timor – Timor-Leste.
  6. Personal involvement in a plan to kidnap and murder a journalist living in Washington, D.C.

That could be a good starting point for a bill of indictment. Yes, of course, it  only scratches the surface. It is for specialists, criminologists and international lawyers to meat-up those initial charges.

There are problems of course.

Kissinger has evaded questions and legal summons by investigators in Argentina, Chile, France, Italy, Spain and Uruguay. They sought answers about his involvement in ‘disappearances’ of citizens in the United States and other countries in regard to Operation Condor. On 10 September 2001 the family of General Schneider initiated a civil action in federal court in Washington, D.C., claiming that Kissinger gave the agreement to murder the general because he had refused to endorse plans for a military coup in Chile.

On 13 November 2002 eleven individuals brought suit against Kissinger for human rights violations following the coup. They accused him of forced disappearance, arbitrary detention, torture and wrongful death. The suit claimed that Kissinger provided practical assistance and encouragement to the Chilean Junta with reckless disregard for the lives and well-being of the victims and their families.

Both cases were dismissed on the ground of sovereign and diplomatic immunity.

The nearest justice got to a result was when, in 2001, the French Judge Roger Le Loire issued a warrant to have Kissinger appear before his court to account for his actions. When Kissinger received the summons at the Ritz Hotel in Paris, he fled the country.

If he were to show up in Australia, which is a member of the International Criminal Court, there would be further problems: the prosecutorial branch of Australian justice –   absit injuria verbis   –   was unable to find satisfaction in evidence proffered about the criminality of the Howard Government in the assault on Iraq in 2003.

And the ‘reason’ ? The bill of evidence was not satisfactorily drafted. That an eminent Senior Counsel was the author did not matter.

The last words belong to Hitchens: “Kissinger’s 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 to take a hand.”

Dr. Venturino Giorgio Venturini, formerly an avvocato at the Court of Appeal of Bologna, devoted some sixty years to study, practice, teach, write and administer law at different places in four continents.  He may be reach at  [email protected]

Correct as at 25 May 2017 


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