Henry Kissinger or CODEPINK: Who’s the “Low Life Scum”?


 January 30, 2015

Alli McCracken, a peace activist with CODEPINK, shows former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger a pair of handcuffs during a protest at a Senate hearing on Thursday. If there was justice in this world, argue human rights activist, Kissinger would be in prison for his role in perpetrating war crimes as opposed to sitting before the Senate Armed Services Committee to offer his assessment of world affairs. (Photo: Courtesy of CODEPINK)

A very angry Senator John McCain denounced CODEPINK activists as “low-life scum” for holding up signs reading “Arrest Kissinger for War Crimes” and dangling handcuffs next to Henry Kissinger’s head during a Senate hearing on January 29. McCain called the demonstration “disgraceful, outrageous and despicable,” accused the protesters of “physically intimidating” Kissinger and apologized profusely to his friend for this “deeply troubling incident.”

But if Senator McCain was really concerned about physical intimidation, perhaps he should have conjured up the memory of the gentle Chilean singer/songwriter Victor Jara. After Kissinger facilitated the September 11, 1973 coup against Salvador Allende that brought the ruthless Augusto Pinochet to power, Victor Jara and 5,000 others were rounded up in Chile’s National Stadium. Jara’s hands were smashed and his nails torn off; the sadistic guards then ordered him to play his guitar. Jara was later found dumped on the street, his dead body riddled with gunshot wounds and signs of torture.

Despite warnings by senior US officials that thousands of Chileans were being tortured and slaughtered, then Secretary of State Kissinger told Pinochet, “You did a great service to the West in overthrowing Allende.”

Rather than calling peaceful protesters “despicable”, perhaps Senator McCain should have used that term to describe Kissinger’s role in the brutal 1975 Indonesian invasion of East Timor, which took place just hours after Kissinger and President Ford visited Indonesia. They had given the Indonesian strongman the US green light—and the weapons—for an invasion that led to a 25-year occupation in which over 100,000 soldiers and civilians were killed or starved to death. The UN’s Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation in East Timor (CAVR) stated that U.S. “political and military support were fundamental to the Indonesian invasion and occupation” of East Timor.

If McCain could stomach it, he could have read the report by the UN Commission on Human Rights describing the horrific consequences of that invasion. It includes gang rape of female detainees following periods of prolonged sexual torture; placing women in tanks of water for prolonged periods, including submerging their heads, before being raped; the use of snakes to instill terror during sexual torture; and the mutilation of women’s sexual organs, including insertion of batteries into vaginas and burning nipples and genitals with cigarettes. Talk about physical intimidation, Senator McCain!

You might think that McCain, who suffered tremendously in Vietnam, might be more sensitive to Kissinger’s role in prolonging that war. From 1969 through 1973, it was Kissinger, along with President Nixon, who oversaw the slaughter in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos—killing perhaps one million during this period. He was gave the order for the secret bombing of Cambodia. Kissinger is on tape saying, “[Nixon] wants a massive bombing campaign in Cambodia. He doesn’t want to hear anything about it. It’s an order, to be done. Anything that flies on anything that moves.”

Senator McCain could have taken the easy route by simply reading the meticulously researched book by the late writer Christopher Hitchens, The Trial of Henry Kissinger. Writing as a prosecutor before an international court of law, Hitchens skewers Kissinger for ordering or sanctioning the destruction of civilian populations, the assassination of “unfriendly” politicians and the kidnapping and disappearance of soldiers, journalists and clerics who got in his way. He holds Kissinger responsible for war crimes that range from the deliberate mass killings of civilian populations in Indochina, to collusion in mass murder and assassination in Bangladesh, the overthrow of the democratically elected government in Chile, and the incitement and enabling of genocide in East Timor.

McCain could have also perused the warrant issued by French Judge Roger Le Loire to have Kissinger appear before his court. When the French served Kissinger with summons in 2001 at the Ritz Hotel in Paris, Kissinger fled the country. More indictments followed from Spain, Argentina, Uruguay—even a civil suit in Washington DC.

The late Christopher Hitchens was disgusted by the way Henry Kissinger was treated as a respected statesman. He would have been appalled by Senator McCain’s obsequious attitude. “Kissinger should have the door shut in his face by every decent person and should be shamed, ostracized, and excluded,” Hitchens said. “No more dinners in his honor; no more respectful audiences for his absurdly overpriced public appearances; no more smirking photographs with hostesses and celebrities; no more soliciting of his worthless opinions by sycophantic editors and producers.”

Rather than fawning on him, Hitchens suggested, “why don’t you arrest him?”

Hitchens’ words were lost on Senator McCain, who preferred fawning to accountability. That’s where CODEPINK comes in. If we can’t get Kissinger before a court of law, at least we can show—with words and banners—that there are Americans who remember, Americans who empathize with the man’s many victims, Americans who have a conscience.

While McCain called us disgraceful, what is really disgraceful is the Senate calling in a tired old war criminal to testify about “Global Challenges and the U.S. National Security Strategy.” After horribly tragic failed wars, not just in Vietnam but over the last decade in Iraq and Afghanistan, it’s time for the US leaders like John McCain to bring in fresh faces and fresh ideas. We owe it to the next generation that will be cleaning up the bloody legacy left behind by Kissinger for years to come. Source

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Dec 17: Peace Activists Take Shoes to White House in Solidarity with Shoe-Throwing Iraqi Journalist

Peace Activists Take Shoes to White House in Solidarity with Shoe-Throwing Iraqi Journalist
Call for his release and tribute to Iraqis who have suffered under US occupation

WHAT: Peace activists to gather with shoes in solidarity to Iraqi journalist
WHEN: 11 a.m., Weds. Dec. 17
WHERE:  In front of White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

WASHINGTON, D.C.

In solidarity with an Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at George W. Bush at a Baghdad press conference Sunday, peace activists will gather outside the White House with bags of shoes representing Iraqis and U.S. soldiers who have died since the Bush Administration’s illegal invasion of Iraq.

They aim to show support for Iraqi journalist Muntader al-Zaidi, who hurled his shoes at President Bush while he spoke at the conference on his “surprise” visit to discuss the war. Al-Zaidi is currently being held by Iraqi police and questioned on his actions. The peace activists are calling on the Iraqi government to release al-Zaidi without charges and have set up a fund to support him and his family.”

“It’s outrageous that al-Zaidi could get two years in prison for insulting George Bush, when Bush is directly responsible for the deaths of 1.5 million Iraqis and 4,200 U.S. troops, and 5 million displaced Iraqis,” says Medea Benjamin of CODEPINK. “The one who should be in jail is George Bush, and he should be charged with war crimes.”

The gesture of throwing shoes is considered a major insult in Arabic culture.

“Al-Zaidi’s act of civil disobedience expresses the disgust that so many Iraqis and Americans feel towards a man who has caused so much pain and suffering,” says Anas Shallal of Iraqi Voices for Peace. “It is indeed a fitting tribute to the end of the Bush reign of terror.”

U.S. veterans who served in Iraq will also participate in the shoe action at the White House.

“Having one shoe thrown at George Bush pales in comparison to the suffering that veterans and Iraqis go through everyday,” says Geoffrey Milliard of Iraq Veterans Against the War. “Perhaps if Bush can see some more of these shoes before he leaves office, he will feel some of our pain.”

For more information, please call Medea Benjamin at 415-235-6517.

Source

Farewell Kiss: Show Soles of Shoe Solidarity Stand
Wednesday, December 17th 2008 8:00am
Bush Farewell Kiss: Shoes in Solidarity with Iraqi Journalist al Zaidi Wednesday; CodePINK calls for his release and tribute to Iraqis who have severely suffered under US occupation

WHAT: CodePINK anti-war activists and allies to march holding shoes in the air around Marine Recruiting Station in solidarity with Iraqi journalist and all civil disobedience against war and torture
WHEN: 8 a.m., Weds. Dec. 17
WHERE: MRS/Marine Recruiting Station, 64 Shattuck Square, Berkeley

BERKELEY – In solidarity with an Iraqi journalist, Muntader al Zaidi – who hurled his shoes at George W. Bush during a Baghdad press conference Sunday – CodePINK activists and allies will gather outside the Marine Recruiting Station (MRS) holding shoes in the air and lining them up around the station Wednesday.

In addition to representing support for al Zaidi’s act of civil disobedience, the shoes will embody the Iraqi people who have been killed, tortured, maimed and U.S. soldiers who’ve died since the Bush Administration’s illegal invasion of Iraq, said CodePINK.

Showing the soul of shoes to someone is a symbol of extreme disrespect in Arab countries; throwing shoes is an even stronger statement. As he hurled his shoes at Bush, al Zaidi shouted “This is your farewell kiss, you dog”. He is currently being held, questioned, and tortured in jail.

Activists are calling on the Iraqi government to release al Zaidi immediately without charges and have set up a fund to support him and his family. They are also demanding Bush intervene for al Zaidi’s immediate release.

“It’s outrageous that al-Zaidi could get two years in prison for insulting George Bush, when Bush is directly responsible for the deaths of 1.5 million Iraqis and 4,200 U.S. troops, and 5 million displaced Iraqis,” said Medea Benjamin of CodePINK. “The one who should be in jail is George Bush, and he should be charged with war crimes.”

“Al-Zaidi’s act of civil disobedience expresses the disgust that so many Iraqis and Americans feel towards a man who has caused so much pain and suffering,” added Anas Shallal of Iraqi Voices for Peace. “It is indeed a fitting tribute to the end of the Bush reign of terror.”

CodePINK activists will bestow the “Farewell Kiss” on Bush, on Recruiting our Youth, and on Invading Afghanistan as well.

Source

What has not been so widely reported are the words Muntadar al-Zaidi, a correspondent for Cairo-based al-Baghdadiya TV, shouted out. As the first shoe was thrown at Bush, he said: “This is a goodbye kiss from the Iraqi people, you dog.” And with his second shoe, which the president also dodged,  al-Zaidi said: “This is for the widows and orphans and all those killed in Iraq.”


Story and Petitions to sign for his release.

Join the Calls to release Iraqi Journalist Muntadhar Al-Zaydi

Published in: on December 17, 2008 at 2:46 pm  Comments Off on Dec 17: Peace Activists Take Shoes to White House in Solidarity with Shoe-Throwing Iraqi Journalist  
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