In his 99th year and with his 19th book, Henry A. Kissinger repeats the same deceitful accounts regarding his dangerous use of military power, including nuclear threats. In the 1970s as the national security adviser and secretary of state for presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, Kissinger occupied an unusually powerful position in the national security arena. His newest book, “Leadership: Six Studies in World Strategy,” is valuable because of his experiences in the political and academic communities, but it must be read carefully in view of the self-aggrandizing nature of his self-promotion.
Kissinger, who believed in the possibility of limited nuclear war in the 1950s, favored the use of a nuclear card in the war between India and Pakistan in 1971, and the October War in the Middle East in 1973. On an earlier occasion, in 1970, when the Nixon administration was faced with a threat about the Soviet construction of a submarine repair facility in Cuba, Kissinger wanted to send a strong military signal to the Soviets. Nixon wisely said, “I think we can resolve this with diplomacy.” Nixon was right.
The following year, during the Indian-Pakistan War, Kissinger feared that the Soviet Union would use the war to “move against” the Chinese and that if “we don’t do anything, we’ll be finished.” Nixon wanted to know if Kissinger meant that we should “start lobbing nuclear weapons in, is that what you mean?” Kissinger made it clear that he meant must just that, referring to it as the “final showdown.” (I was an intelligence analyst at the Department of State in the early 1970s, a period when Kissinger and his director of the Bureau of Intelligence, William Hyland, were convinced that the Soviets were prepared to go to war against China. There was no intelligence to support their obsession.)
The White House tapes reveal both Nixon and Kissinger at their worst during the crisis in South Asia. In addition to Nixon’s typical vulgarity and his contempt for Indian President Indira Gandhi, the president told Kissinger that the Indians needed a “mass famine.” Kissinger sneered at people who “bleed” for the Bengalis of East Pakistan. Nixon and Kissinger moved to gratuitously deploy an aircraft carrier into the Bay of Bengal, which angered the Pentagon because of the danger of escalation and caused a great deal of nervousness throughout the military chain of command. They also approved a covert supply of sophisticated U.S. fighter aircraft via Jordan and Iran, despite explicit warnings from the Department of State and the Department of Defense that such arms transfers to Pakistan were illegal under U.S. law.
Like his earlier memoirs, Kissinger says almost nothing about the slaughter of Bengalis in East Pakistan, insisting that Pakistan’s atrocities were “clearly under its domestic jurisdiction.” He also sanitizes Nixon’s racial animus toward Indians, and makes no mention of the unusual “dissent cable” that was signed by 20 foreign service officers who condemned Kissinger’s willingness to ignore the “selective genocide” that was taking place in East Pakistan. Kissinger mocked the cable’s author, Archer Blood, the U.S. Consul General in Dacca, as a “coward.”
It is noteworthy that in a conversation with Nixon regarding Soviet Jews, Kissinger displayed a similar lack of concern about the plight of Soviet Jews and remarked that “if the Soviets put Jews into gas chambers in the Soviet Union, it is not an American concern. Maybe a humanitarian concern.” Nixon agreed: “I know. We can’t blow up the world because of it.” Nixon and Kissinger catered to the world’s dictators in Brazil, Greece, Portugal, Indonesia, Iran, Spain, and South Korea, and in the case of Pakistan, they catered to that country’s murderous generals.
The October War found Kissinger essentially in charge of national security policy. These were the worst days of the Watergate crisis for Richard Nixon, and his use of anti-depressants and alcohol often placed him hors de combatin the fall of 1973. This was certainly true on the evening of October 24, when Kissinger illegally called a meeting of the National Security Council (NSC) and elevated the nuclear alert system to DefCon III, signifying a serious crisis short of preparing for nuclear war. The National Security Act of 1947 explicitly states that only the president or the vice president could run an NSC meeting, although the president could provide written authorization for another individual to chair the meeting. Nixon was not at the meeting just before midnight, and General Al Haig refused Kissinger’s request to awaken the president. Gerald Ford had not been confirmed as vice president; he was not at the meeting. There is no record of any written authorization.
THE UNITED STATES played an unacknowledged role in the 2017 bombing of an internally displaced persons’ camp in Nigeria that killed more than 160 civilians, many of them children.
A surveillance plane circled above the Rann IDP camp, which housed 43,000 people and was controlled by the Nigerian military, before a jet arrived and bombed the area where people draw water from a borehole, survivors of the attack said. The jet then circled and dropped another bomb on the tents of displaced civilians sheltering there.
The Nigerian air force expressed regret for carrying out the airstrike, which also killed nine aid workers and seriously wounded more than 120 people. But the attack was referred to as an instance of “U.S.-Nigerian operations” in a formerly secret U.S. military document obtained exclusively by The Intercept.
Evidence suggests that the U.S. launched a near unprecedented internal investigation of the attack because it secretly provided intelligence or other support to the Nigerian armed forces, a contribution hinted at by Nigerian military officials at the time. The U.S. inquiry, the existence of which has not been previously reported, was ordered by the top American general overseeing troops in Africa and was specifically designed to avoid questions of wrongdoing or recommendations for disciplinary action, according to the document.
Conducted as part of a long-running counterinsurgency campaign against the terrorist group Boko Haram, the January 17, 2017, attack on the camp, located in Rann, Nigeria, near the Cameroonian and Chadian borders, also destroyed at least 35 structures, including shelters for war victims who had been forced from their homes.
The top Ukrainian official who was fired for spreading misinformation has admitted that she lied about Russians committing mass rape in order to convince western countries to send more weapons to Ukraine.
Lyudmila Denisova, the former Ukrainian Parliamentary Commissioner for Human Rights, was removed from her position following a vote of no confidence in the Ukrainian parliament which passed by a margin of 234-to-9.
Parliament member Pavlo Frolov specifically accused Denisova of pushing misinformation that “only harmed Ukraine” in relation to “the numerous details of ‘unnatural sexual offenses’ and child sexual abuses in the occupied territories, which were unsupported by evidence.”
In an interview published by a Ukrainian news outlet, Denisova admitted that her falsehoods had achieved their intended goal.
“When, for example, I spoke in the Italian parliament at the Committee on International Affairs, I heard and saw such fatigue from Ukraine, you know? I talked about terrible things in order to somehow push them to make the decisions that Ukraine and the Ukrainian people need,” she said.
A Ukrainian government official frequently cited as a source by western news media for her allegations of atrocities committed by Russian troops has been fired by the Ukrainian parliament, in part because of the unevidenced nature of those claims.
A Ukrainian official has been relieved of her duties over her handling of reports detailing sexual assault allegations made against Russians in Ukraine.
On Tuesday, the Ukrainian parliament, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, removed Lyudmila Denisova, the parliament’s commissioner for human rights, from her post, according to Ukrainska Pravda. No new appointment has been made to fill the role.
The move to dismiss Denisova came after outrage about the wording used in public reports about alleged sexual assaults committed by Russians, as well as the alleged dissemination in those reports of unverified information. Despite accusations from Ukraine, the Kremlin has repeatedly denied that Russian soldiers have committed war crimes or sexual assaults during the invasion.
As it happens, Newsweek is one of the many western outlets who have uncritically cited Denisova’s unevidenced claims in their reporting of events in Ukraine. She was the “Ukraine official” in Newsweek’s incendiary April headline “Russians Raped 11-Year-Old Boy, Forced Mom to Watch: Ukraine Official,” an article whose entire first half featured unevidenced claims by Denisova.
The Ukrainian government is quickly learning that it can say anything, literally anything at all, about what’s happening on the ground there and get it uncritically reported as an actual news story by the mainstream western press.
The latest story making the rounds is a completely unevidenced claim made by a Ukrainian government official that Russians are going around raping Ukrainian babies to death. Business Insider, The Daily Beast, The Daily Mail and Yahoo News have all run this story despite no actual evidence existing for it beyond the empty assertions of a government who would have every incentive to lie.
“A one-year-old boy died after being raped by two Russian soldiers, the Ukrainian Parliament’s Commissioner for Human Rights said on Thursday,” reads a report by Business Insider which was subsequently picked up by Yahoo News. “The accusation is one of the most horrific from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but is not unique.”
At the end of the fourth paragraph we get to the disclaimer that every critical thinker should look for when reading such stories in the mainstream press:
“Insider could find no independent evidence for the claim.”
In its trademark style, The Daily Beast ran the same story in a much more flamboyant and click-friendly fashion.
“The dead boy is among dozens of alleged child rape victims which include two 10-year-old boys, triplets aged 9, a 2-year-old girl raped by two Russian soldiers, and a 9-month-old baby who was penetrated with a candlestick in front of its mother, according to Ukraine’s Commissioner for Human Rights,” The Daily Beast writes.
The one and only source for this latest spate of “the Russians are raping babies to death” stories is a statement on a Ukrainian government website by Ukraine’s Human Rights Commissioner Lyudmyla Denisova. The brief statement contains no evidence of any kind, and its English translation concludes as follows:
I appeal to the UN Commission for Investigation Human Rights Violations during the Russian military invasion of Ukraine to take into account these facts of genocide of the Ukrainian people.
I call on our partners around the world to increase sanctions pressure on russia, to provide Ukraine with offensive weapons, to join the investigation of rashist crimes in our country!
The enemy must be stopped and all those involved in the atrocities in Ukraine must be brought to justice!
This is what passes for journalism in the western world today. Reporting completely unfounded allegations against US enemies based solely on assertions by a government official demanding more weapons and sanctions against those enemies and making claims that sound like they came from an It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia bit.
Oh my God. It happened. I can’t believe it really happened.
During a speech in Dallas at Southern Methodist University’s George W Bush Presidential Center on Wednesday, the man himself, George W Bush, did the best thing ever. I am pretty sure it is the single best thing that has ever happened. I do not believe I am exaggerating when I say that.
While criticizing Russia for having rigged elections and shutting out political opposition (which would already be hilarious coming from any American in general and Bush in particular), the 43rd president made the following comment:
“The result is an absence of checks and balances in Russia, and the decision of one man to launch a wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq. I mean, of Ukraine.”
And then it got even better. After correcting himself with a nervous chuckle, Bush broke the tension in the empire-loyal crowd with the words, “Iraq too. Anyway.” He then quipped that he is 75 years old, leaning harder on his “Aw shucks gee willikers I’m such a goofball” persona than he ever has in his entire life.
And Bush’s audience laughed. They thought it was great. A president who launched an illegal invasion that killed upwards of a million people (probably way upwards) openly confessing to doing what every news outlet in the western world has spent the last three months shrieking its lungs out about Putin doing was hilarious to them.
There are not enough shoes in the universe to respond to this correctly.
As comedian John Fugelsang put it, “George W. Bush didn’t do a Freudian slip. He did a Freudian Confession.”