News Release

Chemical Weapons Agency “Coup”?

On Monday evening, the U.S. government succeeded in ousting Jose Bustani, the director-general of the international Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. In today’s Christian Science Monitor, a French ambassador says that a potential “chain reaction risks leading to the destruction of the multilateral system.” The following analysts are available for interviews:

GEORGE MONBIOT
In a column published by the British Guardian newspaper on April 16, Monbiot wrote: “On Sunday, the U.S. government will launch an international coup … to unseat the man in charge of ridding the world of chemical weapons.” Monbiot, author of Captive State and visiting professor of politics at the University of Keele in England, said today: “Two weeks ago, the U.S. Ambassador to the UN in Vienna failed, for the first time, to attend a meeting of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty…. A week ago, the Washington Post revealed that the Pentagon had told the CIA to investigate Hans Blix, the chief UN weapons inspector, in the hope of undermining his credibility. When the CIA failed to discover any evidence of wrongdoing, the deputy defense secretary is reported to have ‘hit the ceiling’…. On Monday, the U.S. government forced the departure of Jose Bustani, director-general of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons…. These recent attempts to undermine international treaties are being pursued with an eye to the impending war with Iraq…. The U.S. justification for war is that Saddam Hussein may possess weapons of mass destruction. So the two foremost obstacles to war were Blix and Bustani, who have proposed nonviolent methods of getting rid of these weapons…. The ousting of Bustani was done in an illegal manner — there is no provision for removing the head of such an agency in midterm.”
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IAN WILLIAMS
Author of UN for Beginners, Williams said today: “The administration accused Bustani of ‘ongoing financial mismanagement, demoralization of the Technical Secretariat staff, and ill-considered initiatives.’ The main accuser is John Bolton, Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security. Bolton used to be the in-house UN-basher for the right-wing Heritage Foundation…. Ironically for someone who spent years saying that the U.S. should get out of the United Nations, Bolton was recently revealed as taking money from Taiwan to advise them on how to get into the organization…. Bustani’s biggest ‘crime’ was trying to persuade Iraq to sign the [chemical arms] convention, which could mean that OPCW inspectors would inspect Iraqi facilities.”

NICOLE DELLER
Principal editor of the recent report “Rule of Power or Rule of Law? An Assessment of U.S. Policies and Actions Regarding Security-Related Treaties,” Deller said today: “The U.S. has undermined the chemical weapons treaty by passing legislation that conflicts with the terms of the inspection provisions of the treaty…. This is part of a pattern, as our report found that the U.S. has violated, compromised, or acted to undermine in some crucial way every treaty that we have studied in detail.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167