Arresting John Bolton

On Wednesday 28th May 2008, I will attempt 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.

These state the following:

“Principle VI
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).

. . .

“Principle VII

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 Organization 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 Labor Organization 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.”

George Monbiot is the author of the best selling books, The Age of Consent: A Manifesto for a New World Order and Captive State: the Corporate Takeover of Britain; as well as the investigative travel books Poisoned Arrows, Amazon Watershed and No Man’s Land. He writes a weekly column for the Guardian newspaper (UK). Read other articles by George, or visit George's website.

16 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Edwin Pell said on May 28th, 2008 at 9:36am #

    In which nation state is this going to happen? If it is the U.S. you will be in jail. So what is the point?

  2. Don Hawkins said on May 28th, 2008 at 9:43am #

    Good luck George and may the force be with you.

  3. Gerard Coleman said on May 28th, 2008 at 9:46am #

    I commend you for your efforts and hope you are successful. Best of luck to you, sir. There are many here among us that feel that our government (U.S.) has not only ignored the will of The People but that this administration has broken international laws to commit war crimes in service to corporate greed. They should be held accountable, yet they have corrupted the very justice system that should be trying them in federal courts across the land. Let us know how it goes.

  4. Phil said on May 28th, 2008 at 11:20am #

    I wish I could wish you luck. However – first off, there’s no such thing as a ‘citizen’s arrest’ in real life. Second, with a gang of over a dozen war criminals, why pick out one? Third, Bolton’s abuse of UN authority to shield/support and thus exacerbate Israeli war crimes probably counts as more of a crime against humanity than his helping facilitate the Iraq abomination.

    Good article and the facts still need to be much more widely publicized, but let’s not forget just how wide the net needs to be cast.

  5. James said on May 28th, 2008 at 11:32am #

    You have to admire a person who wastes time in a nonconstructive way

  6. Giorgio said on May 28th, 2008 at 12:35pm #

    Nail the Bastard! It’s a good start. GOOD LUCK!

  7. Hue Longer said on May 28th, 2008 at 2:50pm #

    Bolton does suck and I concur that he needs to be arrested…any chance of doing the same to Dan Rather? Without knowing why, Republican voters might actually go along with it long enough to get it done

  8. Giorgio said on May 28th, 2008 at 7:45pm #

    I’m sure, would support G Monbiot.
    There is a new article in Counterpunch,
    ” An Exclusive Interview with Ron Paul
    The Libertarian Dark Horse is Still Kicking
    By WAJAHAT ALI ” which should dispel any doubts
    about this fascinating man!

  9. Hue Longer said on May 29th, 2008 at 3:06am #

    if Ron Paul wants to imprison Rather and Bolton, I’ll overlook his zany Ayn Randish beliefs

  10. mary said on May 29th, 2008 at 4:04am #

    Attempt failed sadly. The private security contractors employed by the Guardian Newspaper Group who stage the Hay Book Festival ruled and there was too much advance notice.'s-arrest-at-Hay-Festival.html

    Shame on the Guardian for inviting him and also for inviting Cherie Blair, the wife of another war criminal, who was flogging her dreadful book ‘Speaking for Myself ‘ recently published but already half price.

  11. Liam McNulty said on May 29th, 2008 at 8:19am #

    “However – first off, there’s no such thing as a ‘citizen’s arrest’ in real life.”

    Under the Serious and Organised Crime Act 2005 in the UK there is!

  12. hp said on May 29th, 2008 at 9:54am #

    How about…Bang! Stop or I’ll shoot?

  13. Arch Stanton said on May 29th, 2008 at 12:03pm #

    “… but let’s not forget just how wide the net needs to be cast.”

    Indeed. And pursuant to Articles I through IV (quoted below) I’m providing some additional examples of just how fucking huge that net really is.

    Principle I
    Any person who commits an act which constitutes a crime under international law is responsible therefor and liable to punishment.

    Principle II
    The fact that internal law does not impose a penalty for an act which constitutes a crime under international law does not relieve the person who committed the act from responsibility under international law.

    Principle III
    The fact that a person who committed an act which constitutes a crime under international law acted as Head of State or responsible Government official does not relieve him from responsibility under international law.

    Principle IV
    The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him.

    Those who may be included under such guidelines:

    Every member of the Bush administration, past and present, down to the lowliest intern.
    Every executive in every company with US military contracts since 2002.
    Every member of the Pentagon working in any kind of executive capacity.
    Every journalist in every major news organization in the US reporting on Iraq on any topic since 2002.
    Every officer in every branch of the US armed forces currently active or served since 2003.
    Everyone who voted for Bush and/or voted republican in 2004.
    Everyone who voted republican in 2006.
    Everyone who votes republican and/or democrat in 2008.

    “You know, it’s ugly business doing one’s duty… but just occasionally it’s a real pleasure.”

  14. Capt. Spastic said on May 29th, 2008 at 3:58pm #

    When you get a plan of action to go after the 2 most heinous criminals worldwide today, George W. Bush and Richard Cheney, let me know.

    Of all the topics being discussed in election year politics in this country, that’s the question I want the answer to. Of the likely and probable candidates, who is going to have the courage to step up, and on January 20th 2009, launch a serious investigation and issue indictments against those 2 for the crimes they have committed against the American government, and against the American people.

    That should be THE question on every Americans mind. PERIOD.

  15. mary said on May 30th, 2008 at 2:17am #

    Another war criminal here. Warning photos may shock you.
    Tony Blair accused of War Crimes

  16. mary said on May 30th, 2008 at 1:25pm #

    One more link where Amy Goodman speaks to George Monbiot on Democracy Now.