Head investigator of 911






























Henry Kissinger

Kissinger, 79, is one of the best-known and most controversial figures in 20th-century diplomacy. He was both Secretary of State and National Security Adviser to Republican presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford.

He was the architect of a secret bombing of Laos, and a secret war involving 3,630 American bombing raids over the nation of Cambodia.

He has fought battles in and out of office to keep the public from knowing things.

In his memoirs, Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, former commander of naval forces in Vietnam, wrote of his frustration with the efforts of Kissinger and Nixon “to conceal, sometimes by simple silence, more often by articulate deceit, their real policies about the most critical matters of national security.”

The man who once confided, “The illegal we do immediately. The unconstitutional takes a little longer,” is regarded by many outside the US as a war criminal. There are countries he can’t travel to for fear of arrest.


Kissinger participated in a GOP plot to undermine the 1968 Paris peace talks in order to assist Richard Nixon’s presidential campaign. As co-architect of Nixon’s war in Vietnam, Kissinger oversaw the secret bombing campaign which reached into neighbouring Cambodia, an arguably illegal operation estimated to have claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of civilians. During the first 30 months of the Nixon-Kissinger administration, the US counter-insurgency “Phoenix Program” was responsible for the murder or abduction of 35,708 Vietnamese civilians. According to the US Senate sub-committee on refugees, from March 1969 to March 1972, in excess of three million civilians were killed, wounded or made homeless. Also during this period, the US launched approximately 4.5 million tons of high explosives on Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, which was 200% more than all of the bombs used during the entire period of World War II. The peace settlement that Kissinger negotiated in 1973 approximated what the Johnson Administration could have gotten four years earlier if Nixon and Kissinger hadn’t sabotaged the effort.


In 1971, Pakistani General Yahya Khan, armed with US weaponry, overthrew a democratically elected government in an action that led to a massive civilian bloodbath. Hundreds of thousands were killed. Kissinger blocked US condemnation of Khan. Instead, he noted Khan’s “delicacy and tact.”

East Timor

In 1975, President Gerald Ford and Kissinger, still serving as Secretary of State, offered advance approval of Indonesia’s brutal invasion of East Timor. One-third of the East Timorese population was exterminated during the subsequent 20-year occupation, but this had little impact on continuing US and western arms shipments to the regime in Jakarta. For years afterward, Kissinger denied the subject ever came up during the Dec. 6, 1975, meeting he and Ford held with General Suharto, Indonesia’s military ruler. But a classified US cable obtained by the National Security Archive shows otherwise. It notes that Suharto asked for “understanding if we deem it necessary to take rapid or drastic action” in East Timor. Ford said, “We will understand and will not press you on the issue. We understand the problem you have and the intentions you have.” The next day, Suharto struck East Timor. Kissinger is an outright liar on this subject.



Kissinger is the target of two lawsuits, and judges overseas have sought him for questioning in war-crimes-related legal actions. On Sept. 9, two days before the Sept. 11 attacks, the family of Chilean General Rene Schneider sued Kissinger. Schneider was shot on Oct. 22, 1970, by would-be coup-makers working with CIA operatives. These CIA assets were part of a secret plan authorized by Nixon—and supervised by Kissinger—to foment a coup before Salvador Allende, a socialist, could be inaugurated as president. Schneider, a constitutionalist who opposed a coup, died three days later. This secret CIA program in Chile—dubbed “Track Two”—gave $35,000 to Schneider’s assassins after the slaying. Every single document in the prosecution case is a US-government declassified paper.

Michael Tigar, an attorney for the Schneider family, said at the time the lawsuit was filed, “Our case shows, document by document, that [Kissinger] was involved in great detail in supporting the people who killed General Schneider, and then paid them off.”

“The United States did not want Allende to assume the presidency, and my father was the only political obstacle for a military coup,” said Schneider’s eldest son, also named Rene Schneider.

The family chose to sue after carefully reviewing the materials that became public in the past two years, Schneider said. A Senate committee in 1975 found evidence that US officials hoped to instigate a coup to stop Allende and did in fact provide arms and encouragement to those plotting the general’s kidnapping. According to the Schneider family, the materials show that the CIA continued to encourage a coup in the days leading to the kidnapping.

“Every single factual assertion in this complaint is based on a document that has been furnished by the US government,” said Tigar.

Allende remained in power until a 1973 military coup that was supported by the CIA. Gen. Augusto Pinochet then began a 17-year reign in which thousands of people were killed or tortured. Before the coup, Kissinger had remarked: “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.” On June 8, 1976, at the height of Pinochet’s repression, Kissinger had a meeting with the Chilean dictator and behind closed doors told him that “we are sympathetic to what you are trying to do here.”

Pinochet was arrested in London in 1998 and indicted in Chile last year. But an appellate court recently suspended the legal proceedings because of concerns about his mental fitness for trial.

But Kissinger has more trouble than lawsuits. The Chilean Supreme Court sent the State Department questions for Kissinger about the death of Charles Horman, an American journalist killed during the 1973 coup. (Horman’s murder was the subject of the 1982 film Missing.) A criminal judge in Chile has said he might include Kissinger in his investigation of Operation Condor, a now infamous secret project, in which the security services of Chile, Uruguay, Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Argentina worked together to kidnap and murder political opponents. Judges in France, Spain and Chile have requested that Kissinger answer questions about the deaths of their citizens in Operation Condor, but Kissinger, so far, has not been cooperative.

On Memorial Day 2001, Kissinger was visited by the police in the Ritz Hotel in Paris and handed a warrant, issued by Judge Roger LeLoire, requesting his testimony in the matter of disappeared French citizens in Pinochet’s


Kissinger chose to leave town rather than appear at the Palais de Justice as requested.

In late 2001, the Brazilian government canceled an invitation for Kissinger to speak in Sao Paulo because it could no longer guarantee his immunity. Earlier this year, a London court agreed to hear an application for Kissinger’s imprisonment on war crimes charges while he was briefly in the United Kingdom.

Head 9/11 Investigation Director
Appointed veteran Henry Kissinger to head commission to investigate the Sept, 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington.


Sources: BBC News, Boston Globe, CBSNews.com,
Financial Times (UK), Guardian (UK), The Nation, New York Times, Newsday, Pan-African News Wire, Reuters, Washington Post

Further reading