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COLUMN SIXTY-TWO, AUGUST 1, 2001
(Copyright © 2001 Al Aronowitz)
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AMERICAN WAR CRIMINALS
Milosevic & Kissinger
Date: Fri, 6 Jul 2001 18:51:35 -0700 (PDT)
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Milosevic Shouldn't Be Alone
Chileans Call on Kissinger for Answers About Killing
Shouldn't Be Alone
Slobodan Milosevic, the former President of Yugoslavia, appears before the
United Nations International Criminal Tribunal at The Hague, he ought not stand
alone. General Wesley Clark (retired), commander of the NATO air war against
Serbia, should be up there with him. And since there is no statute of
limitations on war crimes or crimes against humanity, it would seem in order to
bring former Senator Bob Kerrey and Henry Kissinger to the docket as well.
first of these defendants will probably stand trial. The next three will be
unlikely ever to see the inside of an international court of justice, but all
have almost certainly violated the 1949 Geneva Convention. And in Clark and
Kerrey's case, the U.S. Uniform Code of Military Justice. As for Kissinger, the
start with Clark. The Geneva Convention prohibits bombing that is not clearly
justified by military necessity, and the protocols specifically bar targets that
have a civilian function. But NATO aircraft bombed railway stations, bridges,
power stations, communication networks, factories, petrochemical refineries,
warehouses, sewage and water-treatment plants, hospitals and schools, killing
almost 2,000 civilians in the 78-day bombing campaign. In the words of Phyllis
Bennis of the Institute for Policy Study,
past April, U.S. troops helped arrest Dragan Obrenovic, the Bosnian Serb
commander of the brutal assault on Srebrenica in July 1995, and hauled him to
the night of Feb. 24-25, 1969, then Lt. Bob Kerry and his U.S. Navy Seal team
assaulted Thanh Phong hamlet in the Mekong Delta. The mission was part of
claims his unit was fired on when it approached Thanh Phone, and that the
villagers were killed when his squad returned fire. Even if his story were
true---and the Vietnamese survivors dispute it---his Seals had already slit the
throats of the first civilians they had come upon.
there are three surviving witnesses to the massacre at Thanh Phong, doesn't this
incident belong in a court? Let Kerrey present his witnesses, let the Vietnamese
present theirs, and let the judges decide. Isn't this "the rule of
does one begin with Henry Kissinger, former Secretary of State, National
Security Advisor, and serial killer extraordinaire? Let's list just a few of the
things he did while in charge of U.S. foreign policy:
He ordered the Christmas bombing of Hanoi that killed over 2,000 civilians and
flattened Bach Mai hospital.
He organized the secret bombing of Laos and Cambodia that killed almost a
million civilians, and resulted in the reign of Pol Pot, who killed another
He facilitated the Phoenix program which systematically murdered at least 70,000
civilians from June 1967 through 1970. In 1970, a U.S. Congressional
He aided Operation Condor, where the military dictatorships of Brazil, Chile,
Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, Argentina, and Ecuador assassinated, tortured and
murdered political opponents throughout South America. Kissinger was chair of
the Interagency Committee on Chile at the time when Condor operatives arrested
and murdered American Charles Horman in Chile. State Department documents
released in 1999 indicate that the U.S. fingered Horman.
He endorsed Indonesia's 1975 genocidal invasion of East Timor. The day before
the attack, Kissinger, then Secretary of State, was in Jakarta telling the press
a certain numbness creeps into your soul when you start totting up Kissinger's
crimes, those abominations should hardly paralyze the wheel of law. Three
countries are already after the man. In May, French magistrate Roger Le Loire
subpoenaed Kissinger to testify about the murder of five French civilians by
Operation Condor. Kissinger fled Paris the next day. Then in June, Argentine
judge Rodolf Canacoba Corral issued Kissinger a summons to answer for the
disappearance of its citizens. Chilean judge Juan Guzman Tapia is also seeking
to question Kissinger concerning the murder of Charles Horman.
a sense, the problem is deciding where to stop the list of potential war
criminals. Kissinger certainly engaged in war crimes in Vietnam, but so did
General William Westmoreland and a host of other commanders---the "I was
just following orders, and it was a complex war" gang---who created
free-fire zones, imprisoned civilians in strategic hamlets, and released troops
to take part in Operation Phoenix. And what do we do about the civilian leaders
who knew exactly what was going on in places like Thanh Phong, but saw it as a
country has never acknowledged that Americans can commit war crimes. Indeed,
while we may arrest Serbs and send them to The Hague, the U.S. does not
recognize the jurisdiction of the United Nations International Criminal
Tribunal. Congress only passed a law against war crimes in l996.
we are still bound by the Geneva Convention, which recognizes no statute of
limitations on war crimes and allows those so charged to be tried in other
countries. Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet dodged just such a trial in England
by pleading ill health, and recently, several Catholic nuns were convicted in
Belgium of crimes against humanity for their participation in the 1994 genocidal
rampage against Tutsis and their Hutu allies in Rwanda.
U.S. may never bring its rogues gallery to trial, but if I were Messrs. Clark,
Kerrey, and Kissinger, I would be mighty careful which countries I traveled to
in the coming years.
Call on Kissinger for Answers About Killing
reopens case of US writer murdered during
Julian Borger in Washington and Jonathan Franklin in
Guardian of London
judge in Santiago has drawn up a list of questions for the US statesman and
Nobel laureate, Henry Kissinger, about the 1973 killing of the American
journalist Charles Horman, whose execution by forces loyal to General Augusto
Pinochet was dramatized in the Hollywood film, Missing. The questions, drawn up
by the investigating magistrate Juan Guzman and lawyers for the victims of the
Pinochet regime, were submitted to Chile's supreme court, which must now decide
whether to forward them to the US.
See: U.S. Victims of Chile's Coup: The Uncensored File
<../headlines/021300-01.htm> <<...OLE_Obj...>> by Diana Jean
Schemo, New York Times 2/13/00
list is under seal but it is thought to cover the extent of Mr Kissinger's
knowledge of the Horman case. Horman's family have repeatedly claimed that the
Nixon government, in which Mr Kissinger was national security advisor and
secretary of state, knew more about what happened when the journalist was
murdered in Chile than it has ever admitted.
Kissinger, awarded the Nobel peace prize for his role in bringing the Vietnam
war to an end, is now under increased scrutiny for his leading role in a number
of controversial US actions abroad, including the bombing of Cambodia and
Washington's support for authoritarian rightwing governments such as Gen
Horman's widow, Joyce, said yesterday that Mr Kissinger was "ultimately the
one who has to answer the questions for the disappearance of my husband".
added: "He was really calling the shots, as far as I'm concerned, in
questions of state and the CIA, with regard to the protection and knowledge of
what happened to Americans there."
by the success of international human rights cases against Gen Pinochet and
Balkan war crimes suspects, human rights activists have recently drawn up
allegations against Mr Kissinger. While visiting Paris in May, Mr Kissinger was
subpoenaed by a French judge to answer questions about the death of French
citizens under the Pinochet regime. Mr Kissinger refused to
year, a Washington-based British journalist, Christopher Hitchens, published The
Trial of Henry Kissinger, in which he accused the veteran proponent of
realpolitik of conspiring to sabotage 1968 Vietnam peace talks and pursuing an
illegal war in Cambodia, among other charges. Mr Kissinger called the book
an Argentinian judge is seeking his testimony on Operation Condor, a CIA-backed
scheme in the 70s in which rightwing Latin American regimes shared information
in order to track down leftwing dissidents.
the late 70s, Mrs Horman launched a civil action against Mr Kissinger and other
US officials, charging them with negligence, collusion and a cover-up of her
husband's death. However, she withdrew the case on the grounds that the US
government was withholding the documentation necessary to pursue it.
large quantity of CIA and Pentagon documents about the 1973 coup in Chile and
its aftermath were released last year, but human rights activists say vital
information is still being withheld. A recently declassified US state department
memo dated August 1976 expressed concern that US intelligence had played a role
in Horman's death, passing information and possibly "doing nothing to
discourage the logical outcome of [Chilean government] paranoia".
Corvalan, a lawyer involved in the case, said: "[Kissinger] has never
answered to justice and he had an important role in the coup in Chile and an
influence in the Chilean military government."
Pinochet is currently facing charges in Chile of covering up the actions of a
military death squad, but his lawyers are claiming he is suffering from dementia
and is unfit to stand trial. A judge is expected to
Guardian Newspapers Limited 2001 ##
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