On Wednesday 28th May 2008, George Monbiot, columnist and author, attempted a citizen’s arrest of John Robert Bolton, former Under-Secretary of State, US State Department, for the crime of aggression, as established by customary international law and described by Nuremberg Principles VI and VII.
He was unsuccessful, having been stopped by Bolton’s security detail.
Mr Monbiot, however, encourages people everywhere to attempt a citizen’s arrest of the principal instigators of the Iraq war; Bush, Cheney, Rumsfelt, Bolton, Rice, Wolfowitz, Powell, Blair, et al. for the supreme international crime: a war of aggression. Even though the arrest itself may not be successful, the action would draw attention to the issue of holding these greedy, soulless bastards to accounts for their deeds.
In an interview with Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!, Mr Monbiot outlined his plan and the reasoning behind the charges he was planning to file against Mr Bolton. He states that the war was not simply errors in judgment but rather were calculated steps to deceive the world in an attempt to justify a war of aggression against a much weaker nation.
“This is not an ordinary political mistake which was committed in Iraq. This was the supreme international crime, which led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. Those people were not killed in the ordinary sense; they were murdered. And they were murdered by the authors of that war, who are the greatest mass murderers of the twenty-first century so far.”
The video and the complete text of the interview are at the following link.
Here are the charges he was planning to file against Mr Bolton. They can also be read at Mr Monbiot’s site.
These state the following:
The crimes hereinafter set out are punishable as crimes under international law:
(a) Crimes against peace:
(i) Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances;
(ii) Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the acts mentioned under (i).
Complicity in the commission of a crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity as set forth in Principle VI is a crime under international law.”
The evidence against him is as follows:
1. John Bolton orchestrated the sacking of the head of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Jose Bustani. Bustani had offered to resolve the dispute over Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction, and therefore to avert armed conflict. He had offered to seek to persuade Saddam Hussein to sign the Chemical Weapons Convention, which would mean that Iraq was then subject to weapons inspections by the OPCW. As the OPCW was not tainted by the CIA’s infiltration of UNSCOM, Bustani’s initiative had the potential to defuse the crisis over Saddam Hussein’s obstruction of UNMOVIC inspections.
Apparently in order to prevent the negotiated settlement that Bustani proposed, and as part of a common plan with other administration officials to prepare and initiate a war of aggression, in violation of international treaties, Mr Bolton acted as follows:
In March 2002 his office produced a ‘White Paper’ claiming that the OPCW was seeking an “inappropriate role” in Iraq.
On 20th March 2002 he met Bustani at the Hague to seek his resignation. Bustani refused to resign.
On 21st March 2002 he orchestrated a No-Confidence Motion calling for Bustani to resign as Director General which was introduced by the United States delegation. The motion failed.
On 22nd April 2002 the US called a special session of the conference of the States Parties and the Conference adopted the decision to terminate the appointment of the Director General effective immediately. Bolton had suggested that the US would withhold its dues from OPCW. The motion to sack Bustani was carried. Bustani asserts that this ‘special session’ was illegal, in breach of his contract and gave illegitimate grounds for his dismissal, stating a ‘lack of confidence’ in his leadership, without specific examples, and ignoring the failed No-Confidence vote.
In his book Surrender is Not an Option Mr Bolton describes his role in Bustani’s sacking (pages 95-98) and states the following:
“I directed that we begin explaining to others that the US contribution to the OPCW might well be cut if Bustani remained”.
“I met with Bustani to tell him he should resign … If he left now, we would do our best to give him ‘a gracious and dignified exit’. Otherwise we intended to have him fired”.
“I stepped in to tank the protocol, and then to tank Bustani”.
Bolton appears, in other words, to accept primary responsibility for Bustani’s dismissal.
Bustani appealed against the decision through the International Labour Organisation Tribunal. He was vindicated in his appeal and awarded his full salary and moral damages.
2. Mr Bolton helped to promote the false claim, through a State Department Fact Sheet, that Saddam Hussein had been seeking to procure uranium from Niger, as part of a common plan to prepare and initiate a war of aggression, in violation of international treaties.
The State Department Fact Sheet was released on the 19th December 2002 and was entitled ‘Illustrative Examples of Omissions From the Iraqi Declaration to the United States Security Council’ . Under the heading ‘Nuclear Weapons’ the fact sheet stated –
“The Declaration ignores efforts to procure uranium from Niger.
Why is the Iraqi regime hiding their uranium procurement?”
In a US Department of State press briefing on July 14th 2003 the spokesman Richard Boucher said “The accusation that turned out to be based on fraudulent evidence is that Niger sold uranium to Iraq” .
Bolton’s involvement in the use of fraudulent evidence is documented in Rep. Henry Waxman’s letter to Christopher Shays on the 1st March 2005. Waxman says “In April 2004, the State Department used the designation ‘sensitive but unclassified’ to conceal unclassified information about the role of John Bolton, Under Secretary of State for Arms Control, in the creation of a fact sheet distributed to the United Nations that falsely claimed that Iraq sought uranium from Niger”.
“Both State Department intelligence officials and CIA officials reported that they had rejected the claims as unreliable. As a result, it was unclear who within the State Department was involved in preparing the fact sheet”.
Waxman requested a chronology of how the Fact Sheet was developed. His letter states –
“This chronology described a meeting on December 18,2002, between Secretary Powell, Mr. Bolton, and Richard Boucher, the Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Public Affairs. According to this chronology, Mr. Boucher specifically asked Mr. Bolton ‘for help developing a response to Iraq’s Dec 7 Declaration to the United Nations Security Council that could be used with the press.’ According to the chronology, which is phrased in the present tense, Mr. Bolton ‘agrees and tasks the Bureau of Nonproliferation,’ a subordinate office that reports directly to Mr. Bolton, to conduct the work.
“This unclassified chronology also stated that on the next day, December 19, 2003, the Bureau of Nonproliferation “sends email with the fact sheet, ‘Fact Sheet Iraq Declaration.doc,’” to Mr. Bolton’s office (emphasis in original). A second e-mail was sent a few minutes later, and a third e-mail was sent about an hour after that. According to the chronology, each version ‘still includes Niger reference.’ Although Mr. Bolton may not have personally drafted the document, the chronology appears to indicate that he ordered its creation and received updates on its development.”
Both these actions were designed to assist in the planning of a war of aggression. The International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg ruled that “to initiate a war of aggression … is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime”.