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Pittsburgh Demonstrates against Henry Kissinger
October 26, 2011

May 30, 2011, NYC. Photo by John M. Miller/ETAN

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Hold Kissinger Accountable leaflet distributed at these demonstrations (PDF). Download and print out to spread the word.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                         
Contact: David Hughes, 412/421-4163

October 26, 2011

Protesters prepared to make a citizen's arrest

PITTSBURGH, October 26-Members of Pittsburghers for World Peace and the Antiwar Committee of the Thomas Merton Center will protest the visit of Henry Kissinger on tonight at  the Carnegie Music Hall in Oakland. Mr. Kissinger's talk, scheduled for 8pm, is the culmination of a day-long business conference organized by the Pittsburgh Middle East Institute (PMEI).

Protest organizers recently learned of Kissinger's visit and decided that it was a moral responsibility to not let his presence in Pittsburgh go unchallenged.

The protest organizers are extremely disappointed that the PMEI has chosen Kissinger as its conference closer given the former Secretary of State and National Security Advisor's role in multiple international war crimes. Kissinger has refused to disclose information in his possession to defend against charges that he was either the chief architect or a participant in the following:

*         1968   On behalf of Richard Nixon's candidacy for president, Kissinger is alleged to have secretly scuttled the Paris peace agreement reached by the Johnson Administration to end the war in Vietnam, thus leading to a continuation of that war for 7 more years and the deaths of 32,000 US military personnel and millions of Indochinese.
*         1969   As Nixon's National Security Advisor, Kissinger suggested and oversaw the illegal bombing of Laos and Cambodia and the gassing of thousands of civilians.
*         1970   Kissinger headed the '40 Committee' which used illegal and clandestine means to destabilize the Chilean economy. The plan included the kidnapping and murder of the president's chief military advisor General Rena Schneider and eventually the overthrow of the democratically elected government and the assassination of president Salvador Allende on September 11, 1973.
*         1971   Kissinger refused to stop the Pakistani invasion of East Pakistan, resulting in hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths.
*         1974  Kissinger refused to intervene to halt the plot by the ruling fascist Greek generals to overthrow Archbishop Mihail Makarios, the democratic leader of the unarmed republic of Cyprus.
*         1975   Kissinger secretly supported and illegally armed Indonesian dictator Suharto's invasion of East Timor which resulted in the massacre of an estimated 200,000 civilians.
*         1976   Kissinger was involved in 'Operation Condor,' a project of the military governments of Chile, Uruguay and Argentina to conduct targeted assassinations of opponents throughout Latin American, Europe and the US, the most famous of which was the murder of the former Chilean Ambassador to the US Orlando Letelier and his wife in a car bomb in Washington DC in September 1976.

            "It is incredible how this war criminal keeps avoiding accountability for his crimes," said David Hughes, protest organizer. "Obviously, the PMEI's members' interest in business deals trumps their concern about being associated with this supreme international terrorist."

"Instead of being given an invitation to speak, Henry Kissinger should be given an arrest warrant for his role in war crimes that span nearly a decade" said Pete Shell, organizer with Thomas Merton Center's antiwar committee.

Protesters plan to be peaceful despite the deep emotions felt in connection with what Kissinger did in so many corners of the world. However, if the opportunity presents itself they are prepared to conduct a citizen's arrest of Kissinger.


Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Protesters resurrect claims of Kissinger's war crimes

Thursday, October 27, 2011

By Taryn Luna, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Local activists protested Henry Kissinger's keynote lecture of the Pittsburgh Middle East Institute's Fourth Annual Conference at the Carnegie Music Hall in Oakland on Wednesday night.

The protesters, about 20 members of Pittsburghers for World Peace and the Thomas Merton Center Anti-War Committee, say the 88-year-old former secretary of state and 1973 Nobel Peace Prize recipient is responsible for "heinous war crimes," including but not limited to the extension of the Vietnam War, the 1969 bombings of Laos and Cambodia and arming Indonesian dictator Suharto when he invaded East Timor in 1975.

"Emotions are very high, and people are livid about this," said protest organizer David Hughes, 65, of Squirrel Hill.

The activists, who were mostly men over the age of 50, said it was their moral responsibility to not let Mr. Kissinger's presence in Pittsburgh go unchallenged.

Simin Curtis, founder and president of the Pittsburgh Middle East Institute, said the fact that Mr. Kissinger drew a packed crowd to the 2,000 capacity Carnegie Music Hall proves that the protesters and their beliefs are not strongly represented in Pittsburgh.

"I think that Americans know very little about their history, and I think it's important for them to hear of great men from history whether they agree with them or not," said Ms. Curtis, 51, of Shadyside. "We learn about history from different points of view. So get out of your comfort zone."

Ms. Curtis -- whose institute was formed four years ago with the aim to foster educational, business and cultural ties between the Middle East and the United States -- said Mr. Kissinger was selected to speak on Wednesday night because he is "a brilliant man and an icon of foreign policy of the last century."

Mr. Kissinger served as assistant to the president for national security affairs from 1969 to 1975, a post he held throughout controversial President Richard Nixon's tenure in the oval office and as the Vietnam War waged on.

Mr. Kissinger also served as secretary of state from 1973 to 1977 under Gerald Ford. He won the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in negotiating peace in Vietnam and signing a cease-fire agreement in 1973, even though violence continued in the region until the fall of Saigon in 1975.

Mr. Kissinger has never stood trial for any claims of war crimes against him and has publicly defended some of his political policies.

Brian Johnston, a 79-year-old emeritus professor of dramatic literature at Carnegie Mellon University, said he joined the protesters to remind people of Mr. Kissinger's history so it doesn't get repeated.

"Henry Kissinger is involved in the worst part of American history," he said.

Mr. Hughes hoped the protest would served as a message to future leaders.

"Don't think that eventually you'll get away with it, because people won't give up," he said.

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