He spoke at the Pittsburgh Middle East Institute and according to the press coverage, there were protests.
Mike Wereschagin of the Trib:
Fifteen protesters, most of them carrying signs accusing Kissinger of war crimes for, among other things, his role in advising Nixon during the Vietnam War, lined the sidewalk outside the museum. Kissinger called Vietnam "a painful subject" and said "nobody could have had a greater incentive to end the war" than Nixon's incoming administration. Nixon decided the United States could not abandon a government that a previous administration had committed to.Taryn Luna of the P-G:
"Serious people on both sides were arguing a question that really depended on an assessment of the role of America in the world," Kissinger said. "That was the underlying issue, and it is often the underlying issue now."
One protester interrupted Kissinger, yelling down from the balcony that he was a murderer and saying he "doesn't deserve a voice."
Once security escorted the protester out, Kissinger said, "I certainly don't leave them indifferent."
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.About those protestors,
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.
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.Ms Curtis, this is not about a simple disagreement, it's about war crimes. However brilliant Kissinger is, he is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of human beings. It's not a matter of a "comfort zone" or whether the protesters agree with him or disagree. There's blood on his hands. Lots of it.
"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."
And you (or at least the institute for which you speak) invited him to Pittsburgh.
What are the crimes Dr Kissinger's been accused of?
Glad you asked. I wrote about it here. It was almost exactly 2 years ago and Mike Wereschagin covered the visit for the Trib, then too! Small world. In that blog post, I linked to this 2002 piece by Christopher Hitchens. In it he writes:
Here are some snapshots from the recent career of Henry Kissinger. In May last year, during a stay at the Ritz Hotel in Paris, he is visited by the criminal brigade of the French police, and served with a summons. This requests that he attend the Palais de Justice the following day to answer questions from Judge Roger Le Loire.And that's just this brilliant and foreign policy icon's involvement with the Pinochet regime. Then there's the massacre of East Timor. In 1975, East Timor was invaded by Indonesia in December of 1975. Hitchens, writing in The Nation in 2002:
The judge is investigating the death and disappearance of five French citizens during the rule of General Pinochet in Chile. Kissinger declines the invitation and leaves Paris at once.
In the same week, Judge Rodolfo Corrall of Argentina invites Kissinger's testimony in the matter of "Operation Condor" - codename for a state-run death squad, operated by the secret police of six countries - Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay and Ecuador - during the 1970s and '80s.
Its central co-ordination was run through a US base in Panama when Kissinger was the national security adviser and secretary of state (and chairman of the committee overseeing all US covert operations). Again, Kissinger declines to answer written requests for information.
Later in the year, Judge Guzman in Santiago, Chile, sends a written summons to the State Department requesting Kissinger's testimony about the death and disappearance of an American citizen, Charles Horman, in the early days of the Pinochet dictatorship..
Kissinger, who does not find room to mention East Timor even in the index of his three-volume memoir, has more than once stated that the invasion came to him as a surprise, and that he barely knew of the existence of the Timorese question. He was obviously lying. But the breathtaking extent of his mendacity has only just become fully apparent, with the declassification of a secret State Department telegram. The document, which has been made public by the National Security Archive at George Washington University, contains a verbatim record of the conversation among Suharto, Ford and Kissinger. "We want your understanding if we deem it necessary to take rapid or drastic action," Suharto opened bluntly. "We will understand and will not press you on the issue," Ford responded. "We understand the problem you have and the intentions you have." Kissinger was even more emphatic, but had an awareness of the possible "spin" problems back home. "It is important that whatever you do succeeds quickly," he instructed the despot. "We would be able to influence the reaction if whatever happens, happens after we return.... If you have made plans, we will do our best to keep everyone quiet until the President returns home." Micromanaging things for Suharto, he added: "The President will be back on Monday at 2 pm Jakarta time. We understand your problem and the need to move quickly but I am only saying that it would be better if it were done after we returned." As ever, deniability supersedes accountability.Long Hitchens short, Kissinger gave Indonesia the OK to invade East Timor.
And then what happened?:
An even more sinister note was struck later in the conversation, when Kissinger asked Suharto if he expected "a long guerrilla war." The dictator replied that there "will probably be a small guerrilla war," while making no promise about its duration. Bear in mind that Kissinger has already urged speed and dispatch upon Suharto. Adam Malik, Indonesia's foreign minister at the time, later conceded in public that between 50,000 and 80,000 Timorese civilians were killed in the first eighteen months of the occupation. These civilians were killed with American weapons, which Kissinger contrived to supply over Congressional protests, and their murders were covered up by American diplomacy, and the rapid rate of their murder was something that had been urged in so many words by an American Secretary of State.Do you understand now, Ms Curtis?