Archive for June, 2011

Bonnie on the Street Protesting Kissinger Event: When Will the US Confront its War Criminals?

June 3, 2011

“I spent two hours last night protesting Henry Kissinger’s appearance at the 92nd St. Y in NYC. Kissinger is hawking his new 600-page book on American Chinese relations and in which he assuredly buffs, revises and rationalizes his lengthy and deadly role in global history.  Hawking is the right verb for the aged but dangerous Mr. Kissinger.

World Can’t Wait at the protest

“There were about 60 of us. We caused a bit of a stir on a refreshingly mild and busy Tuesday evening as the pedestrian and vehicular traffic streamed along Lexington Avenue.

“I held a sign that read ARREST KISSINGER and wore the small square orange pin IMPEACH THE WAR CRIMINALS that the back flap of my knapsack usually sports.

“Some of our protesting chants decried Kissinger as a war criminal. Some chants decried the 92nd St. Y for enabling him with their celebrity speaker’s forum.

“I am old enough to have demonstrated against Kissinger and his international war criminal cronies during the Vietnam War era. As did another then idealistic boomer, ambitious college woman Hillary Rodham. She has certainly changed her tune about Kissinger, now as Secretary of State and a colluding crony of Kissinger’s original playbook of American hegemony. Secretary Clinton, now full out participant in an administration that uses the same deranged “bomb the shit out f” countries M-O, defying their sovereignty and the safety of civilians for global control and resources. An administration willing to unleash the deadly military industrial security complex killing machine to satisfy its “addicted to killing for profit” realpolitik group-think, enabled by the jingoism-spinning ever-disinforming corporate media.

“So 40-plus years later I am demonstrating against Kissinger again. He is the biggest and oldest living war criminal. Only now, with heartbreakingly far fewer Americans who are even conscious of let alone willing to protest the dark and powerful impact of his theories of relentless and amoral global military gamesmanship.”

Bonnie goes on to reference at length, quoting Fred Branfman, the crimes for which Kissinger should be investigated and prosecuted:

“the most massive bombing in world history dropping 3,984,563 million tons on an area inhabited by some 50 million people, twice the 2 million tons dropped on hundreds of millions through Europe and the Pacific in World War II. He dropped 1.6 million tons on South Vietnam, as many as Lyndon Johnson at the height of U.S. involvement; quadrupled the bombing of Laos, from 454,200 to 1,628,900 million tons; initiated widespread bombing of previously peaceful Cambodia, including B52 carpet bombing of undefended villages, for a total of 600,000-1 million tons; and vastly expanded the bombing of civilian targets in North Vietnam. Much of this bombing struck civilian targets throughout Indochina.

” … Two million people in Khmer Rouge zones, as estimated by the U.S. Embassy, were driven underground by massive U.S. bombing that featured regular B52 carpet-bombing of undefended villages.

“In North Vietnam, Kissinger conducted the most savage B52 bombing of urban targets in history, as the New York Times reported in 1972: “United States military leaders are being permitted to wage the air war as they want in Indochina. There appears to be less concern with the civilians this time in view of the freedom given the air commanders and the attempt to cut off food, clothing and medical supplies.”

She continues, “Human lives, even American soldiers’ lives, obviously had little priority in Kissinger’s arrogant sense of illegitimate patriarchal colonialism.”

Like so many of us who protest on the streets, Bonnie is not unaware of the possible dangers to peaceful demonstrators in the US today.  She says:

“I was relieved that there were not more of the hard-faced police present. They were dressed in regular blue uniforms. No intimidating Star Wars paramilitary gear. I remembered how alarming it was when paramilitaries with AK-47s turned up at the front of the 92nd St. Y during that year after 9/11. So many NYC institutions put in scanning devices and set up vigilant security entry rituals.

“Before I arrived the cops had attempted to move the protest area across the street in front of Dunkin’ Donuts, but the protesters held their permit-legal mid-block ground. I hadn’t known what to expect as I hastened to the demonstration. These are unpredictable times. The recent youtube videos I recently blogged about, of the hard-armed police force on a flash mob event at the Jefferson Memorial, or a paramilitary force over-reaction and rough treatment of Daniel Ellsberg, Retired Lt. Col. Ann Wright and demonstrators for Bradley Manning had been chilling and worrisome. Apparently their assembling to protest the denial of Manning’s due process, his enforced-nudity ritualized torture and, the apparent huge trigger, their wanting to lay commemorative flowers on a public-accessible Iwo Jima statue at the entrance of Quantico were too great threats for our nation’s security.

“It seems whistleblowers and protesting people of conscience are now regarded as true domestic enemies of the Obama state. The people who call out criminality happening in the corporate or military worlds a/k/a accountability-free zones, thanks to this and the last president and a corporate-captured U.S. Congress.

“Ellsberg, once heralded as the most feared man in America by Frontline, now ignored by the corporate media. Even or especially when roughed up by overzealous US paramilitaries.”



Photo from Democracy Now

Of her fellow New Yorkers whom she saw passing by Bonnie remarked:

“Most people in the cars looked rather blankly on the bunch of us as they drove by. Once in a while a foreign-looking cab driver honked at us and nodded, which made a fellow protester remark that most of the foreign cabbies undoubtedly knew first-hand the devastating power of Henry Kissinger on their homelands.

“No longer a driver since living in Manhattan, it was novel to take serious notice of the cars passing. So many were upscale. There seemed a lot of limos mixed with the yellow taxis and buses. I assumed one of those limos had recently left off Mr. Kissinger at a side entrance down 92nd St. I thought of the cost in human lives to empower all those cars whizzing by with gasoline. How irrelevant or unconsidered that was to the vast majority of their owners or passengers. Dots that never get connected by us citizen benefactors of US hegemony.

“When I moved nearer to the sidewalk to hold up my sign to the pedestrians I found it hard to discern which of them might soon turn right up the steps into the 92nd St. Y. Most people looked confused or deliberately dog-faced blank as they passed us. The New York standard-operating-posture, unless one is on a cell-phone in his or her own little animated orbit. A few faces were clearly annoyed and contemptuous. Not many nods or thumbs up. Especially among the young people. One protester implored the younger pedestrians to google Kissinger and read about his history.”

Bonnie also drew the dots between Kissinger and the US corporate media for all of his career.

For myself I am grateful for Bonnie’s astute and skillful writing about this event and about other important issues of the day.  You can read her entire article here on the Corrente Wire where she is a frequent contributor.