Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger came under protest Tuesday at a public event in New York City. A coalition of progressive groups organized the rally to call for Kissinger’s arrest for war crimes. Activist Richard Marini was ejected from the event after attempting to carry out a citizen’s arrest on Kissinger.
Richard Marini: "When he got up on stage, I stood up and tried to place him under citizen’s arrest for the murder of innocent civilians in Cambodia, Vietnam, Chile, Iraq, east Pakistan, East Timor. The list just goes on. I said he was convicted of war crimes, and I was placing him under arrest. Security then yanked me by my arm over three other people. People like this need to be confronted, so people need to get out in the streets and demand that war criminals like him and war criminals of the Bush administration are prosecuted. I mean, even today, these war crimes still continue. Obama is still continuing it. People need to demand that these criminals are prosecuted."
By Stephanie Rugoff
Coordinator of War Criminals Watch
Kissinger was greeted respectfully by the audience as was his interviewer Leslie Gelb. It was explained by Gelb, or the Y representative who introduced them, that Gelb was Kissinger’s student in college and they have maintained their friendship and discourse for some 50 years.
Right near the beginning of the event Richie Marini, a World Can't Wait activist, called out Kissinger, in the balcony, as a war criminal for deaths and destruction in VietNam, Cambodia, Chile, East Timor, etc. He was booed by a good part of the audience. Kissinger said nothing – and never reacted to any of the loud commentary about him by the three protesters up to when I left – but Gelb said how rude this person is, why doesn’t he just protest outside and let them get on with their discussion.
A little further into it another man in the balcony again loudly described Kissinger as a war criminal and was treated to the same booing and similar commentary by Gelb.
Gelb and Kissinger were having a discussion of the history of the Chinese empire and what types of foreign policy China has had through history, embellished by tidbits of Kissinger’s personal interactions with Mao and other important Communist Party and Chinese government figures.
They then began a discussion of human rights and how Kissinger was able to interact with Mao and what he was able or unable to do to influence Mao on his human rights policies.
The whole thing was rather surreal. It was at this point that I interrupted to say that something was really wrong with this picture. How could someone be up there on the stage – Kissinger – talking about human rights who is responsible for millions of deaths, how could they be having this polite discussion when the real discussion should be held in a court where Kissinger should be questioned about his role in tremendous war crimes.
Of course, then people started booing and telling me to leave, to get out of there. I said there is no reason why I should leave, I am not a criminal. It’s Kissinger who should leave. I pointed out that Mladic has been arrested and Kissinger should be too. As this discussion was going on, the police reached over (I was way in a corner of a rather long row), told me I’d have to go and began to guide me out.