- ���� ���� ���� The following forum was held on February 22, 2001, at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The conversation was moderated by Lewis H.Message 1 of 55 , Nov 29, 2002View Source�
The following forum was held on February 22, 2001, at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The conversation was moderated by Lewis H. Lapham, editor of Harper's Magazine, and was broadcast live by C-SPAN. For more information on the Kissinger debate, please visit Britannica.com.
is the Executive Director of The Information Trust and founder of The National Security Archive.
is the author of "The Case Against Henry Kissinger" (Harper's Magazine, February and March 2001) as well as When the Borders Bleed: The Struggle of the Kurds (Random House, 1997), Blaming the Victims: Spurious Scholarship and the Palestine Question (Verso, 1986), and No One Left to Lie To: The Triangulations of William Jefferson Clinton (Verso, 1999).
Stanley I. Kutler
is the E. Gordon Fox Professor of American Institutions at the University of Wisconsin and the author of Abuse of Power: The New Nixon Tapes (The Free Press, 1997).
is a former member of the National Security Council under presidents Johnson and Nixon, and the author of Partners in Power: The Clintons and Their America (Henry Holt & Co., 1996) and Uncertain Greatness: Henry Kissinger and American Foreign Policy (HarperCollins, 1977).
Alfred P. Rubin
is the Distinguished Professor of International Law at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, and the author of The Law of Piracy (Transnational Publishers, 1998) and Ethics and Authority in International Law (Cambridge University Press, 1997).
Lewis Lapham: You can begin, Christopher.
Christopher Hitchens: Thank you, Lewis. And thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for coming. I'm acutely conscious of having already had my say, so to speak, at some length. And acutely conscious also of being the only one who stands between you and people who have greater expertise than I do.
But I thought I would offer you a play on some recent words you may have been made to memorize. These words are: peaceful, orderly, democratic transition. You may have heard these words recently uttered in a self-congratulatory, not to say self-regarding, manner. You may have had the opportunity to tire of hearing the words peaceful, orderly, democratic transition. You may have wondered why you are so often assured that the great distinction of the United States is what it does, or has, or can boast of. You may even think that it's slightly sinister that you keep being told that you have a peaceful, democratic, orderly transition. You may even wonder why, if it was so obvious, it had to be restated so often. So I'll stop saying it myself, hoping I've made my play on words direct your attention to two elements of my folio on Mr. Kissinger.
The first is the election of 1968 in these United States. If I can make a claim to-not to originality, perhaps, but to a certain synthesis in what I've written-it would be this: I think that I can say that Harper's has published for the first time the summation of all the available evidence of how that election was undermined, distorted, and fixed by a most appalling piece of cynicism by Richard Nixon and others, who negotiated secretly with a foreign military dictatorship to undermine the position of the United States government and its legal and visible negotiators in Paris. They made an illegal and immoral pact that this foreign military dictatorship would get a better deal from an incoming Republican administration. And in making this pact they took out what one might euphemistically describe as a mortgage or lease on another four years of an already proven immoral and atrocious war.
The combination of the subversion of that election and the extension of that war is the price of the bargain, which qualifies, I think, to be termed, without any other statement, the single wickedest act in the history of this republic. And it may be doubted whether it quite qualifies under the tradition of a democratic, peaceful, and orderly transition. Of the four people who concerted that policy-Richard Nixon, Attorney General John Mitchell, Vice President Spiro Agnew, and Henry Kissinger-only one has escaped any kind of indictment so far. John Mitchell was the first attorney general to go to jail. Richard Nixon had to accept a pardon in order to avoid indictment and impeachment. And Spiro Agnew had to publicly resign. There's only one unindicted co-conspirator still on the loose. I suggest that's a reproach to a country that considers itself to be bound by law and bound by justice.
Democratic, peaceful, orderly transition was also the great boast, and rightly so, of the people of Chile, our southern neighbor-a country that has never offended or threatened to offend (or had the capacity to offend or threaten) the United States. Chile was distinguished among its hemispheric neighbors precisely by the fact that when its people voted their choice for the next government, the armed forces or the police or the oligarchy didn't determine the outcome and couldn't intervene. And that would remain the state of affairs until 1970, when it was coldly decided at a meeting in Washington held by Mr. Kissinger that there was to be no peaceful, democratic, orderly transition in Chile; that the 60-day constitutionally mandated waiting period between the election of the president-in this case Salvador Allende-and his inauguration would be used for a campaign of murder and subversion in order that that transition not occur.
And this involved the cold-blooded planning of the murder of General Ren� Schneider, the head of the Chilean armed forces, an honorable, conservative, and constitutionally minded officer in a country which, I repeat, was a democracy that had opened diplomatic and trade relations with the United States and posed no threat to it. And that murder is now what a lawyer could decently call a lay-down case. A lay-down case from soup to nuts: we know who commissioned it, who paid for it, who organized it, who shipped the illegal money, who shipped the dirty weapons to Chile to have this done, and who paid the murderers after the crime had been committed. And the same name and the same face recurs throughout. We charge Henry Kissinger with murder for that, and we say that the society that tolerates it is tolerating murder, too. And that's, therefore, a big reproach to a society that claims to be bound by law and responsive to justice. And of course, it�s an utter cynical negation of all the claims that have been made about democratic, peaceful, orderly transition.
As I said of the four people who conducted the election subversion in 1968, only one remains unindicted. If you, now, look at the international scene and see the people with whom Dr. Kissinger was in business during his tenure in office, you will find that almost all of them are also in jail in their own countries, or are going there. Of Mr. Kissinger's business and political partners, Mr. Suharto, General Pinochet, General Papadopoulos in Greece, the brigadiers in Bangladesh who committed the assassination of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and quite a number of others are in jail, I'm glad to say-tried in public courts in their own countries and condemned to life imprisonment.
Once again, the grand exception is the man who made their political or military careers possible. That he dwells as an honored citizen among us is a reproach to any society that considers itself bound by international law or responsive to the claims of justice on an international scale. So let that be my opening bid and let me accept counter offers for more enlargements or undercuts from these distinguished gentlemen. Thank you.
Copyright � 2001 Harper's Magazine Foundation. All rights reserved.
- Dear MuktoChinta Readers, A very sad story indeed, but one that has happened many times in the past as well. In our great desire to recieve the blessings ofMessage 55 of 55 , Dec 1, 2002View SourceDear MuktoChinta Readers,
A very sad story indeed, but one that has happened many times in the past as
well. In our great desire to recieve the blessings of Allah during this
festive season, we give hardly any importance to issues like public safety
and stampedes. It is time some law came into effect to ensure a more secure
way of handling Zakat clothes for distribution to the poor.
The New York Times
1st December 2002
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Filed at 4:56 a.m. ET
GAIBANDHA, Bangladesh (AP) -- At least 30 women and children were killed and
hundreds injured in a stampede when thousands of poor people scrambled for
clothes being handed out as charity in a northern Bangladesh town Sunday,
The stampede happened outside an abandoned jute mill, where the distribution
was planned. The crowd surged into the compound as guards opened its gates,
causing the stampede.
``We have found the bodies of 26 women and four children. And that's the
confirmed death toll right now,'' said Faridul Islam, a police official at
Gaibandha, a northern town where the stampede occurred.
The unofficial death toll was earlier put at 47.
United News of Bangladesh and ATN Bangla television earlier reported that 33
victims, including five children, died instantly and another 14 people
succumbed to injuries on the way to hospital in Gaibandha, 120 miles north
of the capital, Dhaka.
The reports said at least 200 people were injured, many of them
The stampede occurred after more than 10,000 people, mostly women and
children, gathered to get clothes distributed by a local businessman ahead
of the Islamic Eid Al-Fitr festival next week.
Zobaida Khatun, 30, was in the crowd carrying her 1- year-old son. Khatun
tossed her son into the hands of her mother, Sahera Begum, before she was
buried under dozens of women and children who fell on her.
Hours later Begum found her daughter's body hidden under several other
``I saw my daughter falling on the ground and buried under the crowd,'' said
Begum, 50, one of the survivors. ``But I could do nothing to save here,''
she said wiping off the dust from her grandson's face.
Most of the charity seekers were women as Sunday was the day set for handing
out saris which women in Bangladesh wear. The women were from the poor
families of rickshaw-pullers and farm workers. Many of them had brought
their children along.
The organizers said they had wanted the crowd to stand in a line.
But the women, who had waited for hours, some of them from before dawn,
began scrambling forward as the organizers handed out first of the few
``At first, a couple of women fell. Others went down trying to save them,''
said Abdul Latif, a witness. ``Soon I heard screaming and saw many women
falling onto each other.''
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