In an action that has already made headlines around the world, Code Pink stole the show yesterday with an attempted citizen’s arrest of Henry Kissinger for War Crimes committed during his tenure as Secretary of State from 1973-1977.
As the 91 year old Kissinger took to his seat at the witness table alongside former Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright and George Shultz for a hearing by the Senate Armed Services Committee on global threats and national security strategy, chants of “Arrest Henry Kissinger for War Crimes, arrest Henry Kissinger for War Crimes, arrest Henry Kissinger for War Crimes” began pulsating throughout the chambers. Press hovered over the scene, and Code Pink co-founder Medea Benjamin began speaking for the voiceless, calling for the citizen’s arrest of Kissinger for war crimes:
In the name of the people of Chile
In the name of the people of Vietnam
In the name of the people of East Timor
In the name of the people of Cambodia
In the name of the people of Laos
Activists then read aloud a citizen’s arrest (text below). Senator John McCain, chairman of the Armed Services Committee (currently facing charges of being a “war monger” himself from critics in his own party) bent to the microphone and announced that in all his years on the committee he had “never seen anything as disgraceful, and outrageous, as despicable”. Then he told Code Pink protestors to “get outta here” and called them “you low life scum.”
Do we worry about that invective? Heck no! Take a look at that iconic photo at the top of the page. The die was cast a long time ago: Kissinger’s legacy, his complicity in crimes against humanity, is what he will be remembered for, from his service as Secretary of State and national security advisor.
“Henry Kissinger is responsible for the deaths of millions,” Benjamin said in a press release issued by Code Pink. “He’s a murderer, a liar, a crook, and a thug, and should be tried at the Hague.” CP action organizer Anna Kaminski called Kissinger “The great American villain.”
“CODEPINK is really proud of our action in the Senate today, speaking out on behalf of the people of Indochina, China, East Timor and peace-loving people everywhere,” said CODEPINK co-founder Medea Benjamin, “Henry Kissinger is responsible for the deaths of millions. He’s a murderer, a liar, a crook, and a thug, and should be tried at the Hague.”
“I chose to speak out during the Senate Arms Committee because I’m appalled that the Senate would bring in a war criminal to testify about ‘American leadership’ when the only things Henry Kissinger and Madeline Albright have shown leadership in is wreaking destruction upon other countries and murdering countless innocent civilians,” said 26-year-old CODEPINK National Coordinator Alli McCracken. “Is that the leadership we want to uphold as a nation and use to determine our current and future foreign policies? We need to stop rehashing these tired old war criminals and come up with a new foreign policy based on diplomacy and compassion –– two things Kissinger knows nothing about.”
“Henry Kissinger is one of many representatives of the culture of impunity which still dominates American leaders’ approach to foreign policy. While he has been continually criticized by activists for his orchestration of or support for egregious crimes, he is regarded as a bulwark for global diplomacy by those who walk the hallowed halls of congress. His true legacy is that of destruction. He is the great American villain, Kissinger’s agent orange in Vietnam is Bush’s Depleted Uranium in Iraq, the time to end impunity is now,” said Anna Kaminski, a CODEPINK organizer.
The Citizens’ Arrest warrant denounced Henry Kissinger for complicity in the bombings in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos; the overthrow of the Allende government in Chile and the Indonesian invasion of East Timor. “Democracies should hold their officials accountable for their acts. That’s why we demand that Kissinger be arrested for crimes against humanity and tried at the Hague,” the warrant concluded.
Maybe McCain thinks his rebuke of Code Pink will whitewash the harsh public scolding he got from members of his own party last weekend. Check out the loud boos coming from the audience as McCain takes to the stage at the annual statutory meeting of the State Committee of the Arizona Republican party:
Here’s text from the Citizen’s Arrest Warrant calling for the arrest of Henry Kissinger for War Crimes:
Vietnam: From 1969 through 1973, Kissinger, working for Richard Nixon, oversaw the slaughter in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, which led to the deaths of millions of people. Many thousands more died from the affects of massive doses of Agent Orange and from unexploded US bombs that cover the countryside.
Chile: Henry Kissinger was one of the principle architects of the coup in Chile on September 11, 1973, a coup that overthrew the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende. Sixteen years of repression, torture and death followed under the rule of Kissinger’s friend, the fascist Augusto Pinochet.
East Timor: In 1975, while working for President Gerald Ford, Kissinger pre-approved the Indonesian dictator Suharto’s bloody invasion of the small island of East Timor. This illegal act of aggression was carried out with weapons furnished by the US. By the time the Indonesian occupation finally ended in 1999, 200,000 Timorese – 30 percent of the population – had been wiped out.
This is Kissinger’s legacy. Death. Destruction. Suffering. Misery. Dictatorships. His is a murderer, a liar, a crook, a thug.
Democracies should hold their officials accountable for their acts. That’s why we demand that Kissinger be arrested for crimes against humanity and tried at the Hague.
CODEPINK, January 29, 2015