New documents link Kissinger
to two 1970s coups
Release of CIA’s
‘Family Jewels’ provides insight into political juggernaut and
Bush Administration adviser
Former Secretary of
State Henry Kissinger pushed for the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus and allowed arms to be moved to
Ankara for an attack on that island in
reaction to a coup sponsored by the Greek junta, according to documents and
intelligence officers with close knowledge of the event.
Nearly 700 pages of
highly classified Central Intelligence Agency reports from the 1970's,
known collectively as the "Family Jewels," are slated for public
However, the National
Security Archive had previously obtained four related documents through the
Freedom of Information Act and made them public Friday.
“In all the world
the things that hurt us the most are the CIA business and Turkey aid,” Kissinger declares
in one of those documents, a White House memorandum
of a conversation from Feb. 20, 1975.
On the surface, the comment seems innocuous, but the context as well as the
time period suggests Kissinger had abetted illegal financial aid and arms
support to Turkey for its 1974 Cyprus invasion.
In July and August of
1974, Turkey staged a military invasion
of the island nation of Cyprus,
taking over nearly a third of the island and creating a divide between the
south and north. Most historians consider that Kissinger – then Secretary
of State and National Security Advisor to President Gerald Ford – not
only knew about the planned attack on Cyprus, but encouraged it.
Some Greek Cypriots believed then, and still believe, that the invasion was a
deliberate plot on the part of Britain and the US to maintain their
influence on the island, which was particularly important as a listening
post in the Eastern Mediterranean in the wake of the October 1973 War between
Israel, Egypt, Jordan and Syria.
According to columnist
Christopher Hitchens, author of the book The Trial of Henry Kissinger,
"At the time, many Greeks believed that the significant thing was that
[Prime Minister Bulent] Ecevit had been a pupil of Kissinger's at
sources, who wished to remain anonymous to maintain the security of their
identity, confirmed to RAW STORY that
Kissinger both pushed for the Turkish invasion of Cyprus and allowed arms to be moved to
However, a former CIA
officer who was working in Turkey at
the time, suggests that Kissinger's statement in the memorandum about
Turkish aid likely means the Ford administration, following
Kissinger’s advice, conducted business under the table with
right-wing ultra-nationalist General Kenan Evren, who later dissolved
Parliament and became the dictator of Turkey in a 1980 coup.
is that the US government was dealing directly
with General Evren and circumventing the [democratically elected] Turkish
government,” the former CIA officer said. “This was authorized
by Kissinger, because they were nervous about Ecevit, who was a Social
cut off military aid for them,” the officer added, referring to an
arms embargo passed by Congress after the invasion.
“Technically… technically, but this would imply that the
military and/or probably CIA aid continued even after the aid was cut off
by Congress. This may substantively be what led to the overthrow eventually
According to the former
CIA officer, Turkey’s democratically elected
President Ecevit had good relations with the Johnson administration, but
the Nixon administration, where Kissinger served as National Security
Advisor and Secretary of State, had issues with Ecevit.
“I don't remember
now what all the issues were,” the source said. “But I remember
that the White House did not like Ecevit.”
Kissinger could not be
reached for comment Monday.
and Cheney, then and now
Though no longer a
government official, Kissinger remains a powerful force in Washington – particularly within the
Bush Administration. Dr. Kissinger was the first choice by President Bush
to lead a blue ribbon investigation into the attacks of September 11, 2001. However, he resigned shortly
after the 9/11 Family Steering Committee had a private meeting with him at
his Kissinger and Associates Inc. New York
office and asked him point blank if he had any clients by the name of Bin
According to Monica
Gabrielle, who lost her husband Richard in the attacks and who was present
as part of the 12-member 9/11 Family Steering Committee during the private
meeting, the White House seems to have overlooked Dr. Kissinger's apparent
conflict of interest.
"We had the
meeting with him... the whole Steering Committee, all 12 of us. Because we
are basically doing our due diligence and asking for his client list to be
released to see if there was a conflict of interest between his client list
and potential areas of investigation," said Gabrielle during a Tuesday
morning phone conversation, recounting the events of December 12, 2002. "We went back and forth
with him, discussing his client list... asking him who was on it, if there
were conflicts and so forth," she continued.
"Lorie [Van Auken]
asked, do you have any Saudi clients on your list? And he got a blank look.
Then Lorie asked, do you have any clients by the name of Bin Laden? And he
was stuttering and mumbling, and finally said he would maybe, possibly
consider releasing the client list to an attorney but not for the
Dr. Kissinger did not
reveal his client list but withdrew his name the next day without public
In Bob Woodward’s
State of Denial, Kissinger says he met
regularly with Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney to offer advice about
the war in Iraq. “Victory over the
insurgency is the only meaningful exit strategy,” Kissinger said.
Cheney, along with
former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, first came to prominence during
the administration of President Ford. Rumsfeld had served in various posts
under Nixon before being sent to Europe as the US ambassador to NATO in 1973, a
period that included the Cyprus
coup. When Ford became president on August 9, 1974, immediately preceding the
second wave of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, Rumsfeld returned to Washington to serve as his chief of staff, while Cheney became
deputy assistant to the president.
Rumsfeld and Cheney
gained increasing influence under Ford, reaching their apex of power in
November 1975 with a shakeup that saw Rumsfeld installed as Secretary of
Defense, Dick Cheney as White House chief of staff, and George H.W. Bush
replacing William Colby as CIA director.
Together, Rumsfeld and
Cheney created a bubble
not unlike the one that has enveloped President George W. Bush’s
White House, surrounding Ford with a close knit group of advisors who
worked to head off any possibility of openness about past misdeeds and to
turn the administration sharply to the right.
The aid to Turkey referenced in Kissinger’s
cryptic remark was precisely the subject of Congressional oversight on the
Executive Branch in 1974-75. In a foreshadowing of how Iran Contra would
play out a decade later, the White House violated both US and international
law in providing arms and financing to the Turks for the Cyprus invasion.
The CIA, through
various spokespeople, would not comment on how much additional information
with regard to Kissinger, the attack on Cyprus, and the events leading up to the 1980 coup in Turkey with US support would be part of the
declassified documents to come out this week. The only thing the agency
would say is that “this was a different CIA at a different
time,” and “people need to remember that.”
The Chile Coup
Around the time of
President Nixon's resignation in August 1974, investigative reporter
Seymour Hersh started hearing accounts of illegal foreign and domestic CIA
activities. On December
20, 1974, Hersh
confronted CIA Director William Colby and received confirmation of everything
he had learned. Two days later, Hersh went public with the story.
The Family Jewels were
described in a New York Times front page article titled “Huge C.I.A.
Operation Reported in U.S. Against Antiwar Forces, Other Dissidents in
Nixon Years.” According to Hersh, James Schlesinger, who served
briefly as CIA director in 1973, had ordered the report in response to the
crimes collectively known as Watergate.
Hersh's article stated, “An
extensive investigation by the New York Times has established that
intelligence files on at least 10,000 American citizens were maintained by
a special unit of the C.I.A. that was reporting directly to Richard Helms,
then the Director of Central Intelligence and now the Ambassador to
William Colby's initial impulse was to reveal everything in order to give
the CIA a clean slate, but President Ford and Kissinger disagreed. By January 3, 1975 when Colby was summoned to the
White House for a briefing, they had decided to keep the lid on by forming
a blue ribbon commission under Vice President Nelson Rockefeller.
The "memorandum of conversation"
document released by the National Security Archive, dated January 4, 1975, transcribes portions of a
follow-up meeting between Ford and Kissinger the next day.
Kissinger complains to
President Ford about Colby's urge to come clean, saying, "You will end
up with a CIA that does only reporting, and not operations ... He has
turned over to the FBI the whole of his operation."
Former CIA Director
Helms "said all these stories are just the tip of the iceberg,”
Kissinger continues, adding “If they come out, blood will flow."
After offering a few examples, Kissinger concludes by remarking
mysteriously, "The Chilean thing -- that is not in any report. That is
sort of blackmail on me."
The meaning of this
remark is far from clear, suggesting as it does that the 693 pages of the
Family Jewels were only "the tip of the iceberg" and that among
what was left out was a "Chilean thing" that Kissinger perceived
as having the potential for blackmail on himself.
It has been known since
the revelations of the 70's that prior to Chile's 1970 presidential
elections, President Richard Nixon, Kissinger and Helms actively pursued
ways to head off the victory of leftist Salvador Allende, including
sponsoring an abortive military coup.
"I don't see why
we need to stand by and watch a country go Communist because of the
irresponsibility of its own people,” Kissinger famously said at the
After Allende was
democratically elected and became president, the US put economic pressure on Chile and encouraged further military
plots -- a two-pronged strategy
similar to that currently being employed against Iran -- while Kissinger a continued
to press for stronger action.
The CIA's Directorate
of Operations was particularly active in Chile in 1972-73, the period leading up to Allende's violent
overthrow in September 1973 in a military coup led by General Augusto
Pinochet. Following the coup, Kissinger strongly supported the new
After Helms left the
CIA in 1973 to become ambassador to Iran, he offered a series of vague denials when asked about CIA
involvement in Chile. Among Helms' claims
were "that the CIA hadn't given money directly to Allende's opponents,
that the CIA didn't try to fix the vote in the Chilean Congress because
investigation had shown it couldn't be arranged, that the CIA didn't try to
overthrow the Chilean government because the Agency failed to find anyone
who could really do it."
In 1977, Helms was
convicted of perjury for his statements and given a two-year suspended
sentence and a fine that was paid by his friends from the CIA. As with the
more recent perjury of Vice President Cheney’s former chief of staff
Scooter Libby's concerning the outing of a CIA officer, Helms' had lies
served the purpose of protecting his superiors, notably Kissinger.
However, in Prelude to
Terror, historian Joseph Trento offers a somewhat different account of
Helms' actions, suggesting a deeper Kissinger involvement.
"From Iran, Helms heard enough about the
criminal investigation to issue a threat through his old colleague Tom
Braden,” Trento writes. “Braden
remembered Helms saying, 'If I am going to be charged, then I will reveal
Kissinger's role in these operations.'" Trento adds in a footnote that "Helms himself confided to
old friend and CIA colleague (from Iran) Tom Braden that he would resort to [revealing embarrassing state
secrets] and 'bring down Henry Kissinger' in the process."
Even apart from Trento's assertions, Kissinger's
concern with "the Chilean thing -- that is not in any report"
hints at involvement in the 1973 coup. But if Trento's claims are accurate,
Kissinger might also have been referring to a threat by Helms to bring him
down, both in his remark that "Helms said all these stories are just
the tip of the iceberg. If they come out, blood will flow," and in his
cryptic description of "the Chilean thing" as "sort of
blackmail on me."
Larisa Alexandrovna and Muriel Kane
The Raw Story
June 26, 2007