6/05/2005

Bolton actively blocked sending weapons inspectors to Iraq

Bolton & The Downing Street Minutes
by ElGringo
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Sun Jun 5th, 2005 at 06:48:50 CDT

There's an interesting new Bolton story which goes far beyond Bolton's nomination as the next Ambassador to the UN and which strengthens the suspicion that the White House did everything in its power to block UN efforts to a peacefull solution regarding Iraq.

According to a June 5 Associated Press Special Report, in early 2002 Bolton, then US undersecretary of state for arms control, orchestrated an unlawful firing of the head of the U.N global arms-control agency who wanted to send UN weapons inspectors to Iraq.

Below the fold a couple of excerpts.

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"A former Bolton deputy says the U.S. undersecretary of state felt Jose Bustani "had to go," particularly because the Brazilian was trying to send chemical weapons inspectors to Baghdad. That might have helped defuse the crisis over alleged Iraqi weapons and undermined a U.S. rationale for war.

Bustani, who says he got a "menacing" phone call from Bolton at one point, was removed by a vote of just one-third of member nations at an unusual special session of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), at which the United States cited alleged mismanagement in calling for his ouster.

The United Nations' highest administrative tribunal later condemned the action as an "unacceptable violation" of principles protecting international civil servants. The OPCW session's Swiss chairman now calls it an "unfortunate precedent" and Bustani a "man with merit."

"Many believed the U.S. delegation didn't want meddling from outside in the Iraq business," said the retired Swiss diplomat, Heinrich Reimann. "That could be the case."

"In a March 2002 "white paper," Bolton's office said Bustani was seeking an "inappropriate role" in Iraq, and the matter should be left to the U.N. Security Council - where Washington has a veto."

Former Bustani aide Bob Rigg, a New Zealander, sees a clear U.S. motivation: "Why did they not want OPCW involved in Iraq? They felt they couldn't rely on OPCW to come up with the findings the U.S. wanted."

"The United States went public with the campaign in March 2002, moving to terminate Bustani's tenure. On the eve of an OPCW Executive Council meeting to consider the U.S. no-confidence motion, Bolton met Bustani in The Hague to seek his resignation, U.S. and OPCW officials said.

When Bustani refused, "Bolton said something like, `Now we'll do it the other way,' and walked out," Rigg recounted.

[Emphasis Added]

Update [2005-6-5 8:16:16 by ElGringo]: Already in July 2002, "Le Monde Diplomatique" addressed the real reason of Bolton's efforts regarding Bustani, which the british newspaper 'The Guardian' had labelled as a "Chemical Coup".

"Bustani’s fall is the result of Washington’s desire to take control of the OPCW while it seeks a policy of confrontation with respect to Saddam Hussein. Bustani’s mistake was to attempt to persuade Baghdad to sign the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). As soon as he took office, Bustani began lobbying Iraq, Libya, Syria and North Korea to join the OPCW. Bustani believed that if Iraq became a member, it would then be subject to the organisation’s regular inspections of chemical plants already happening in nearly 50 countries." [T]he Republican administration of President George W Bush refused to accept closer ties with Iraq since Iraqi membership in the OPCW would deprive Washington of a compelling reason to launch a military strike against Saddam Hussein.

[Emphasis added]

Although the information on Bolton's illegal interference with a UN Institution has been widely known and written about in 2002, it never came up during Bolton's confirmation hearings, despite the fact that it once again stresses the suspicion that the Bush Administration did not seek a peacefull solution to the Iraqi crisis.

Update [2005-6-5 10:54:45 by ElGringo]:

Ian Williams , U.N correspondant for The Nation, wrote an interesting article on this whole issue in May 2002:

"Earlier this year, the Bush administration asked Brazil to recall Bustani—but he was elected and not a Brazilian appointee. Then Bolton personally asked Bustani to resign. When he refused, the United States attempted to have the OPCW Executive Council sack him. Failing that, Washington called for a special session of member states to fire him, threatening that the United States would not pay its dues if he were reappointed. Faced with losing an effective and popular disarmament agency, a majority of states succumbed to this blackmail."

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