Dr. Henry A. Kissinger abruptly resigned last December as chairman of a commission investigating the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, just two weeks after his appointment. The 79-year-old Kissinger cited demands by some Democratic lawmakers that he make public the names of all of his business clients.
Some see Kissinger's secrecy as a long-life habit, part of the working style that won him the Nobel Peace Prize and made him one of the most famous American diplomats in history.
But a disturbing documentary, "The Trials of Henry Kissinger," paints a darker picture of the man who was national security adviser and then secretary of state under Presidents Nixon and Ford.
"I believe he's a war criminal, a liar, responsible for kidnapping and murder," declares journalist Christopher Hitchens, who wrote a book critical of Kissinger on which this 2002 film, by Eugene Jarecki and Alex Gibney, is based.
Making its TV debut on the Sundance Channel Monday at 9 p.m. EST, "The Trials of Henry Kissinger" presents official transcripts and interviews with former U.S. diplomats to back up contentions that Kissinger orchestrated secret and illegal U.S. bombing in Cambodia that prolonged the Vietnam War.
The film links Kissinger to Indonesia's use of U.S.-supplied weapons in the 1975 invasion of East Timor, in which 100,000 people died. And he is portrayed as having encouraged the kidnap and killing of a Chilean general who stood in the way of a CIA-backed coup against leftist President Salvador Allende.
Kissinger declined to be interviewed for "Trials," but he appears in several film clips disputing the accusations.
Should he be brought to trial, as Hitchens and others argue? A verdict, of sorts, can be handed down by each viewer of this remarkable film, which repeats through the month on Sundance.
Other shows to look out for:
- Viewers are invited to serve as matchmaker on Fox's "Married By America," which pairs off singles who only then are allowed to meet - after which each twosome is invited to wed. But will viewers say "I do"? The two-hour premiere airs Monday at 8 p.m., with another hour-long edition Wednesday at 9 p.m.
- Anna Nicole Smith, the former plus-size Playboy Playmate, is back for season 2 of her alternate-reality show. Live on E! Entertainment, Sunday at 10 p.m., "The Anna Nicole Show" returns with a "super-sized" premiere weighing in at 35 minutes. Nuff said. No - too much.
- You've heard a court proceeding described as a "witch trial"? See a real witch trial when CBS presents a miniseries about justice succumbing to prejudice and fear. "The Salem Witch Trials" tells the true story of a small Puritan community in 1692 in which a group of girls seemed to be experiencing demon-induced fits. Their explanation: "affliction" by alleged witches in the community, which led to a year of trials in which 156 people were accused, 30 convicted and 20 executed. The film's strong cast includes Kirstie Alley, Shirley MacLaine, Gloria Reuben, Rebecca De Mornay, Jay O. Sanders and Sir Alan Bates. It airs Sunday and Tuesday at 9 p.m.
- Will you go for what's behind the door? Will you go for "Let's Make a Deal" (born in 1963) in its new incarnation? Billy Bush takes over as master of ceremonies from the original host, Monty Hall, as "Deal" returns on NBC Tuesday at 8 p.m.
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