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"The Rials of Henry Kissinger"

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The “issues” beyond everyday Chileans, the filmmakers argue, amounted to copper ore: Chile had it; we wanted it. Renowned journalist Seymour Hersh calls the Chile coup of 1973 (when Allende was supplanted by the brutal regime of Augusto Pinochet) the worst of Kissinger’s offenses, but it certainly wasn’t the only one. First there was Vietnam, where Kissinger cut his foreign-policy teeth threatening nuclear strikes and sabotaging peace talks for political gain. Then there was East Timor, where Kissinger, by then working for Ford, arranged for the wholesale slaughter of the island’s people by neighboring Indonesia using weapons purchased from the United States. (George H.W. Bush was appointed the director of Central Intelligence as the invasion started.)

“Trials” is based on “The Trial of Henry Kissinger,” a book by independent journalist Christopher Hitchens, who is interviewed extensively in the film. Kissinger has managed to deflect his accusations in the past by calling Hitchens things like a Holocaust denier. Others are not so easily brushed aside. People such as Hersh, former top Pentagon officials and members of Kissinger’s own staff form a unimpeachable chorus of criticism, and it is a credit to this film that it manages to enthrall the viewer while maintaining an integrity for detailed evidence and even rebuttals from Kissinger supporters and apologists. “The Trials of Henry Kissinger” is gripping, necessary viewing, if you can stand the shame. — Wayne Melton

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