This blistering account of the alleged crimes of Dr. Henry Kissinger, former National Security Advisor and Secretary of State for both the Nixon and Ford administrations, opens with a revealing bit of videotape. Shot soon after the arrest of the former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet for crimes against humanity, the tape shows Simon and Schuster editor Michael Korda taking a call from an apparently distraught Dr. Kissinger, who's just heard that the Clinton administration is about to declassify secret U.S. documents on the killings and tortures committed during the Pinochet regime. Korda tries to assure Dr. Kissinger that he has nothing to worry about or does he? According to political commentator Christopher Hitchens, who, in 2001, published a short, brutal book pointedly titled The Trials of Henry Kissinger, the 1973 Nobel Peace Prize winner is a liar and a war criminal whose rightful place is in the dock, right alongside General Pinochet. Not for the shadow diplomacy and shady foreign policy that was the order of the day during the Nixon years, but for outright crimes against humanity that, like Pinochet's, fall under the rubric of "universal jurisdiction." Using Hitchens as a guide, filmmakers Alex Gibney and Eugene Jarecki clearly and cogently present the case against Kissinger and the evidence much gleaned from recently declassified official documents that supports it. The accusations are disturbing, to say the least. It's alleged that Kissinger, while acting as an advisor to President Lyndon Baines Johnson, conspired with the Nixon campaign to subvert the 1968 Paris Peace Talks on Vietnam. The talks collapsed, Nixon was elected, the war dragged on for four more senseless years and some 30,000 additional U.S. soldiers and untold thousands of North and South Vietnamese died. The "secret" bombing of Cambodia probably won't come as news, but Kissinger and Ford giving the nod to Indonesia to use U.S. weapons against East Timor in a horrific act of genocide might. And the deliberation with which Kissinger and the CIA paved the way for Pinochet's eventual coup in Chile by arranging for the kidnapping of the chief of the Chilean General Staff, Rene Schneider an attempt that ended in his murder is simply shocking. The film doesn't quite match the scope of Hitchens's book (no mention of genocide in Bangladesh, the coup in Cyprus, or the kidnapping plot in D.C.), but the film goes way beyond mere muckraking or partisan hyperbole. The case is a convincing one, and should give anyone with a conscience reason to pause.
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- Released: 2002
- Rating: NR
- Review: This blistering account of the alleged crimes of Dr. Henry Kissinger, former National Security Advisor and Secretary of State for both the Nixon and Ford administrations, opens with a revealing bit of videotape. Shot soon after the arrest of the former Chi… (more)