FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Don’t Sue Henry!

by Alexander Cockburn And Jeffrey St. Clair

Christopher Hitchens writes in Harper’s, and in his new book The Trial of Henry Kissinger, that Kissinger is a war criminal. Kissinger responds to a Detroit radio talk show host, Mitch Albom, that Hitchens had “denied the Holocaust ever took place.” Does that mean that Kissinger accepts he’s a war criminal? Now Hitchens tells the New York Post that he and his wife Carol are Jewish and that “Mr. Kissinger will be hearing from my attorney, who will tell him two things he already knows — what he said is false, malicious and defamatory, and if he says it again, we will proceed against him in court.”

That’s a mistake, surely. It makes Hitchens sound defensive. It also changes the subject from Kissinger’s blood-stained rampages through the late twentieth century to what precisely Hitchens wrote about David Irving, and what he may have said to Edward J. Epstein. (Back in Clintontime Epstein (partisan of Sidney Blumenthal in the latter’s face off with Hitchens) told the New York Observer that during dinner at Elaine’s Hitchens had told him and boon companions that actual evidence of six million Jews dead in gas ovens was in short supply. Hitchens adamantly denied Epstein’s recollection.)

The idea may be to get HK into a libel action and then see what can be dragged out of the monster’s archives in the discovery process. But such a suit would cost a fortune, and even though CH is surely well paid by Vanity Fair for his monthly column, we doubt he wants to see $200,000 end up in a lawyer’s back pocket (unless he has a Magic Christian or Magic Jew ready to finance the whole enterprise.) Better, surely, to make a joke about Kissinger’s counter-slur and then refocus public attention on the desirability of putting HK on trial.

In the wake of Hitchens’s two articles in Harper’s on Kissinger’s war crimes, magistrates in three countries — Chile, Argentina, and France — have summoned Kissinger to answer questions. Le Monde reported earlier this month that when French Judge Roger Le Loire had a summons served on Kissinger on May 31 at the Ritz Hotel in Paris, Kissinger fled Paris. The judge wanted to ask Kissinger about his knowledge of Operation Condor, the scheme evolved by Pinochet and other Latin American proconsuls of the American Empire to kill or “disappear” their opponents.

Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman, who put out the excellent Naderite publication, Multinational Monitor, wrote up an interesting account of Kissinger’s recent appearance at the National Press Club in Washington DC.

“Scattered throughout the ballroom at the Press Club were little white note cards for questions, and it appeared that perhaps 100 questions were scribbled and sent up to the moderator, Richard Koonce, a member of the Press Club’s book and author committee.It was Koonce’s job to sift through the questions, pick out some interesting ones, and ask Henry some probing questions.”.

Mokhiber and Weissman say they wrote down six questions — about the report in the Times, Kissinger’s interview with Albom, the incident at the Ritz Hotel in Paris, Hitchens’s articles in Harper’s, about the three magistrates and simply this one: “If you are indicted for war crimes, will you defend yourself in court?”

The fix was in. Koonce “lofted six or seven puff balls
about Kissinger in China, about Kissinger on Nixon, about
his generic views of foreign policy. Nothing about war
crimes, nothing about operating outside the law, nothing
about Hitchens.”

After the event, Mokhiber and Weissman confronted Koonce.

“Was there an agreement with Dr. Kissinger not to ask
questions related to Christopher Hitchens and allegations of war crimes?”

Koonce did not deny it.

“There was a definite sensitivity to that,” Koonce said. “He
[Kissinger] was afraid that if we got into a discussion of
that, for the vast majority of people that, it would take so
much time to explain all of the context, that you know, he
preferred to avoid that, and so . . .”

And so Kissinger’s wishes were accommodated and the
questions were avoided.

Be it noted, as journalists and editors of, CounterPunch, we’re generally opposed to libel actions. But before anyone heaps libelous mud upon our good names, they should be aware that we might make an exception if the suit stands a good chance of extorting large sums from bad people, or represents the only avenue of successful counter-attack against aforementioned bad people. We should mention that after we wrote in CounterPunch some years ago that Kissinger tried to make off with a vase from his Chinese guest house during his first trip to China, lawyers for HK wrote to us in threatening terms. Fearing protracted and costly litigation we promptly retracted the slur, noting that in the same item we had described HK as a war criminal, and Kissinger’s lawyers had not contested this description as inaccurate or libelous. CP

Jeffrey St. Clair is editor of CounterPunch. His new book is Killing Trayvons: an Anthology of American Violence (with JoAnn Wypijewski and Kevin Alexander Gray). He can be reached at: sitka@comcast.net. Alexander Cockburn’s Guillotined! and A Colossal Wreck are available from CounterPunch.

Weekend Edition
May 27, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
Silencing America as It Prepares for War
Rob Urie
By the Numbers: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are Fringe Candidates
Paul Street
Feel the Hate
Daniel Raventós - Julie Wark
Basic Income Gathers Steam Across Europe
Andrew Levine
Hillary’s Gun Gambit
Jeffrey St. Clair
Hand Jobs: Heidegger, Hitler and Trump
S. Brian Willson
Remembering All the Deaths From All of Our Wars
Dave Lindorff
With Clinton’s Nixonian Email Scandal Deepening, Sanders Must Demand Answers
Pete Dolack
Millions for the Boss, Cuts for You!
Gunnar Westberg
Close Calls: We Were Much Closer to Nuclear Annihilation Than We Ever Knew
Peter Lee
To Hell and Back: Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Karl Grossman
Long Island as a Nuclear Park
Binoy Kampmark
Sweden’s Assange Problem: The District Court Ruling
Robert Fisk
Why the US Dropped Its Demand That Assad Must Go
Martha Rosenberg – Ronnie Cummins
Bayer and Monsanto: a Marriage Made in Hell
Brian Cloughley
Pivoting to War
Stavros Mavroudeas
Blatant Hypocrisy: the Latest Late-Night Bailout of Greece
Arun Gupta
A War of All Against All
Dan Kovalik
NPR, Yemen & the Downplaying of U.S. War Crimes
Randy Blazak
Thugs, Bullies, and Donald J. Trump: The Perils of Wounded Masculinity
Murray Dobbin
Are We Witnessing the Beginning of the End of Globalization?
Daniel Falcone
Urban Injustice: How Ghettos Happen, an Interview with David Hilfiker
Gloria Jimenez
In Honduras, USAID Was in Bed with Berta Cáceres’ Accused Killers
Kent Paterson
The Old Braceros Fight On
Lawrence Reichard
The Seemingly Endless Indignities of Air Travel: Report from the Losing Side of Class Warfare
Peter Berllios
Bernie and Utopia
Stan Cox – Paul Cox
Indonesia’s Unnatural Mud Disaster Turns Ten
Linda Pentz Gunter
Obama in Hiroshima: Time to Say “Sorry” and “Ban the Bomb”
George Souvlis
How the West Came to Rule: an Interview with Alexander Anievas
Julian Vigo
The Government and Your i-Phone: the Latest Threat to Privacy
Stratos Ramoglou
Why the Greek Economic Crisis Won’t be Ending Anytime Soon
David Price
The 2016 Tour of California: Notes on a Big Pharma Bike Race
Dmitry Mickiewicz
Barbarous Deforestation in Western Ukraine
Rev. William Alberts
The United Methodist Church Up to Its Old Trick: Kicking the Can of Real Inclusion Down the Road
Patrick Bond
Imperialism’s Junior Partners
Mark Hand
The Trouble with Fracking Fiction
Priti Gulati Cox
Broken Green: Two Years of Modi
Marc Levy
Sitrep: Hometown Unwelcomes Vietnam Vets
Lorenzo Raymond
Why Nonviolent Civil Resistance Doesn’t Work (Unless You Have Lots of Bombs)
Ed Kemmick
New Book Full of Amazing Montana Women
Michael Dickinson
Bye Bye Legal High in Backwards Britain
Missy Comley Beattie
Wanted: Daddy or Mommy in Chief
Ed Meek
The Republic of Fear
Charles R. Larson
Russian Women, Then and Now
David Yearsley
Elgar’s Hegemony: the Pomp of Empire
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail