News Release

Bolton’s Falsifications for War

Juan Cole writes: “Let’s Call Bolton What He Is: A War Criminal with Terrorist Ties, Not Just ‘Hawkish.’

Trump tweeted in 2013: “All former Bush administration officials should have zero standing on Syria. Iraq was a waste of blood & treasure.”

In an Institute for Public Accuracy news release earlier this year — “‘Fire and Fury’ — New Reports Thicken Trump-Israel Plot,” Ali Abunimah noted that author Michael Wolff “recounts an early January 2017 dinner in New York where Bannon and disgraced former Fox News boss Roger Ailes discussed cabinet picks.

“Bannon observed that they did not have a ‘deep bench,’ but both men agreed the extremely pro-Israel neocon John Bolton would be a good pick for national security adviser. ‘He’s a bomb thrower,’ Ailes said of Bolton, ‘and a strange little fucker. But you need him. Who else is good on Israel?’

“‘Day one we’re moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. Netanyahu’s all in,’ Bannon said, adding that anti-Palestinian casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson was on board too.

“‘Let Jordan take the West Bank, let Egypt take Gaza. Let them deal with it. Or sink trying,’ Bannon proposed. ‘The Saudis are on the brink, Egyptians are on brink, all scared to death of Persia.’

“Asked by Ailes, ‘Does Donald know’ the plan, Bannon reportedly just smiled.

“Bannon’s idea reflected ‘the new Trump thinking’ about the Middle East: ‘There are basically four players,’ writes Wolff, ‘Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Iran. The first three can be united against the fourth.’ Egypt and Saudi Arabia would be ‘given what they want’ in respect to Iran, and in return would ‘pressure the Palestinians to make a deal.'”

PHYLLIS BENNIS, pbennis at ips-dc.org
Bennis directs the New Internationalism Project at the Institute for Policy Studies. She noted that Bolton’s explicit derision for international law goes back decades, saying [in a debate with Bennis] in 1994: “There is no United Nations. … When the United States leads, the United Nations will follow. When it suits our interest to do so, we will do so. When it does not suit our interests we will not.”

See “War criminals must fear punishment. That’s why I went for John Bolton.” by George Monbiot: “The Nuremberg principles, which arose from the prosecution of Nazi war criminals, define as an international crime the ‘planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances.’ Bolton appears to have ‘participated in a common plan’ to prepare for the war (also defined by the principles as a crime) by inserting the false claim that Iraq was seeking to procure uranium from Niger into a state department factsheet. He also organised the sacking of José Bustani, the head of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, accusing him of bad management. Bustani had tried to broker a peaceful resolution of the dispute over Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction.”

Greg Thielmann, a 25-year veteran of the Foreign Service, serving two tours in the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research, writes in “Bolton: A Prime Mover Of The Iraq WMD Fiasco,” that: “I was a firsthand witness to the negative consequences of Bolton’s style and substantive approach while serving as director of the office in the State Department’s intelligence bureau (INR/SPM) responsible for monitoring Iraqi WMD issues. As my office delivered to him the heavy volume of sensitive information provided by the intelligence community, he demonstrated a penchant for quickly dismissing inconvenient facts and rejecting any analysis that did not serve his policy preferences.”

Investigative reporter Gareth Porter writes in The American Conservative, in the piece “The Untold Story of John Bolton’s Campaign for War With Iran,” that: “Bolton’s high-profile advocacy of war with Iran is well known. What is not at all well known is that, when he was under secretary of state for arms control and international security, he executed a complex and devious strategy aimed at creating the justification for a U.S. attack on Iran. Bolton sought to convict the Islamic Republic in the court of international public opinion of having a covert nuclear weapons program using a combination of diplomatic pressure, crude propaganda, and fabricated evidence.”

MITCHELL PLITNICK, plitnickm at gmail.com
Plitnick wrote the piece “John Bolton: The Essential Profile,” which states: “Bolton served as UN ambassador from August 2005 — when President Bush gave him a recess appointment after the Senate blocked his nomination — to January 2007. His resignation, announced in December 2006, came at the end of a controversial tenure marked by severe criticism from U.S. senators and international diplomats. His resignation also came less than three weeks after President Bush resubmitted Bolton’s nomination for Senate confirmation — the second time in six months.

“During his first confirmation hearings, Bolton’s record as undersecretary of state came under intense criticism, particularly regarding his contacts with Israel. According to The Forward and other news sources, Bolton had met with officials of Israel’s intelligence agency, the Mossad, without first seeking ‘country clearance’ from the State Department. …

“Speaking before an audience at the Heritage Foundation in May 2002, Bolton argued that Cuba should also be included among the ‘axis of evil’ countries because of its alleged development of bio-warfare capacity. Cuba is world-renowned for its biomedical industry, but Bolton claimed that the industry was concealing a WMD project. Providing no evidence, he insisted that Cuba was involved in the sales of illicit bio-warfare technology to boost its cash-short economy. Other administration officials declined to support Bolton’s accusations. A congressional investigation of Cuba’s alleged WMD program found no evidence supporting Bolton’s assertions. …

“As an assistant attorney general under Edwin Meese, Bolton thwarted the Kerry Commission’s efforts to obtain documentation, including Bolton’s personal notes, about the Iran-Contra affair and alleged Contra drug smuggling. Working with congressional Republicans, Bolton also stonewalled congressional demands to interview Meese’s deputies regarding their role in the affair.” Mitchell Plitnick is former vice president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace.