Kissinger under fire
- Daily Telegraph, Aug 1, 2001
US angry as Chile asks Kissinger about death
By Toby Harnden in Washington
WASHINGTON reacted furiously yesterday to a request by Chilean judges for Henry Kissinger, the former secretary of state, to answer questions about an American journalist killed during the 1973 coup in Chile.
A Bush administration official condemned the Chilean supreme court decision to send questions to Dr Kissinger, saying the move increased unease about the 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."
Dr Kissinger, 78, who was secretary of state from 1973 to 1977, has acted as an informal adviser to President Bush and is still heavily involved in American foreign policy issues.
In its ruling, Chile's supreme court said a list of questions should be sent to the US supreme court with regard to Dr Kissinger's knowledge of the circumstances surrounding the death of Charles Horman, a journalist arrested by troops loyal to General Augusto Pinochet. His body was identified in a mortuary weeks later.
The case was made famous by the 1982 film Missing. Mr Horman's family believes that Dr Kissinger and US diplomats in Chile knew of his detention, but did not press for his release.
The Chilean order came less than two months after French detectives delivered a court summons to Dr Kissinger, who was visiting Paris, asking him to testify about the disappearance of French nationals in Chile.
In another case, a judge in Argentina has ordered Dr Kissinger to testify in a human-rights trial about a 1970s plan by South American governments to kidnap and kill Left-wing critics.
Mr Horman's widow, Joyce, filed a civil lawsuit against Dr Kissinger in the 1970s, but it was dismissed due to lack of evidence. She has now instigated legal action in Chile against Gen Pinochet and several other army officers.
Dr Kissinger's office declined to comment about the Chilean request, but sources have said he is "considerably irritated" by it.
When he was in Paris, he said he was too busy to speak to a French judge and the US embassy said the information being sought was confidential. A request for similar information was sent to the State Department during the Clinton presidency, but did not receive a response....
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Note from Russ: To see the overwhelming evidence--including Kissinger's and Nixon's own words--that Kissinger was complicit in atrocities in Chile and elsewhere, read The Trial of Henry Kissinger by Christopher Hitchens (Verso, 2001).