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Henry Kissinger is Dead but Conspiracy Theories about him Remain

Unfounded conspiracy theories about the famous diplomat seem unlikely to go away any time soon

Henry Kissinger, April 29, 1975 (credits: David Hume Kennerly/National Archives and Records Administration).

Henry Kissinger, who died Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2023 at the age of 100, was arguably the best known and most controversial western diplomat of the twentieth century. Born into a German Jewish family, he escaped Nazi persecution by fleeing to the United States as a teenager in 1938, then rose to become a celebrated international statesman.

An advocate of realpolitik or realist foreign policy at the height of the Cold War, Kissinger championed détente with the Soviet Union and rapprochement with Communist China. He served as national security adviser and secretary of state under US presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. Some of his biggest strategic achievements included negotiating nuclear arms control agreements with Moscow, and successful "shuttle diplomacy" mediation between Israel and Egypt after the Yom Kippur War in 1973. For his efforts in trying to end the Vietnam War he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Highly contentious for the secret US bombing campaign in Cambodia during the conflict in Vietnam, and support for dictatorships such as Chile under Pinochet, and Suharto’s Indonesia, Kissinger was also a relentless target of conspiracy theorists. Lyndon LaRouche, Alex Jones, Jeff Rense, Webster G. Tarpley, and the French political activist Thierry Meyssan (the author of the discredited 2002 book "The Horrifying Fraud") all spread disinformation about the foreign policy practitioner and intellectual.

Like George Soros and David Rockefeller, Kissinger was accused of working towards the establishment of a shadowy "New World Order" (he wrote a critically acclaimed book called The World Order in 2014), and participating in a criminal project to reduce the population (see: Depopulation). He was a member of the Trilateral Commission, the Bilderberg Group, and the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), forums regularly targeted by conspiracists obsessed with bogus claims of sinister "globalist" plots. His name also appeared several times in conspiracy theorists' writings accusing him of playing a role in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

Several apocryphal quotes have been attributed to Kissinger. One of these false statements about Greece, endorsed by the Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis was allegedly uttered in 1973, 1974, or 1994. In reality, the quote first appeared in February 1997 in The Turkish Daily News before being repeated in August that same year by the Greek magazine Oikonomikos Tachydromos (The Economic Courier). And this despite the fact it had been denied by Kissinger in The Turkish Daily News two months earlier.

"The Greek people are anarchic and difficult to tame," the attributed statement began. "For this reason, we must strike them at their cultural roots: maybe then we can force them to submit. I mean, naturally, to attack their language, their religion, their cultural and historical resources, so that we can neutralize their ability to develop, to stand out, or to prevail; which will eliminate a major obstacle to our vital strategic projects in the Balkans, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East.”

The conspiracy sphere’s obsession with Kissinger has received a fresh impetus since his death. Unfounded theories for so long attributed to the archetypal diplomat and geopolitical power player, still circulating on social media, are therefore unlikely to go away any time soon.

For sixteen years, Conspiracy Watch has been diligently spreading awareness about the perils of conspiracy theories through real-time monitoring and insightful analyses. To keep our mission alive, we rely on the critical support of our readers.

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