Monday, August 01, 2005

Boltonfest 2005

It's summer, and that means repeats. So since I've been away and need time to catch up, it's as good a time as any to pull up 2 more older posts which remain uncannily timely. Yes, this is what comes from being cursed with a gift for prescience: one becomes a veritable Cassandra, wailing into the void months before the shit flies, and then when it does, no one remembers you. Ah, well. Put it this way: the man is not only a depth charge unleashed by Bush on one of his most hated enemies, multilateralism, but he also played a part in the WMD scam that helped his master lie us into this goddamned illegal, immoral, and totally useless bloodbath. In an honest world he would be in jail. But neither the government nor the American people have much stomach for honesty these days.

So thus I give you a couple of Bolton pieces: the first, below, from The American Street in March, and the second one from Corrente in June.

Yet Another Bad Accident

There's been something fascinating about watching Bush extend his ideological hegemony since he arrived in office courtesy of the Supreme Court---fascinating like experiencing the shock of a gory accident. As he continues to nominate cabinet members and appointees, he exhibits an almost supernatural ability to pick the worst possible candidates, people who may not only be incompetent or baldly partisan, but even deliberately antithetical to the missions for which their posts exists. And each time the news arrives, it feels like another slap across the face. We've seen this in his appointments of Gale Norton, John Ashcroft, W. David Hager, Michael Powell, Henry Kissinger (short-lived though it was), John Negroponte, ad nauseum.

His nomination of John Bolton, a truly tactless and pugnacious character, to be Ambassador to the United Nations, exeplifies this fuck you attitude almost more than any of the others. This is just the person to persuade and conciliate with the world community. The Times Online notes the Bizarro World element in this move:
"Mr Bolton has made clear he is no friend of the UN. He once said: “There is no such thing as the United Nations. There is only the international community, which can only be led by the only remaining superpower, which is the United States.” He also said: “If the UN Secretariat building in New York lost ten storeys, it wouldn ’t make a bit of difference."
Did he say "only" enough times there? Indicating a tendency to "be alone"? As in, "my nation is an island"? As in, "who gives a damn what you think"? Nice prep for playing with others in the international Wall of Death, eh? A story run by Salon back in July of 2003 (sit through a Cadillac plug first) reveals a wealth of detail on Bolton that may be of use in predicting what impact he'll have if successful---which, given the Dems' astonishing display of belly-crawling in previous like hearings, can hardly be in doubt. Just a sample of the reading pleasure that awaits you:
  • "The administration pulled back Bolton after the CIA and other agencies strenuously objected to its assessment of the threat posed by Syria's weapons of mass destruction."
  • "Christian Westermann accused Bolton of trying to pressure him on intelligence estimates of Cuba's biological weapons capabilities -- coinciding with charges that intelligence data about Iraq had also been cooked."
  • "Bolton has played an important role in strengthening the crucial alliance within the Bush administration between the Christian right and the neoconservatives"
  • " (of) former Chilean President Augusto Pinochet against the international courts that hope to bring him to trial on charges of gross human rights violations."
  • "With Bolton's tireless leadership and assistance, the Bush administration has undermined the International Criminal Court, the Antiballistic Missile Treaty, the Biological Weapons Convention, and a potential international treaty on small arms trafficking -- while also opposing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. "
  • Keep your eye on Syria if he gets in. A repeat of the run-up to the Iraq War looks like the least of our possible worries.

    More Salt In The Wound

    bolton-150 Via Buzzflash, an interesting development in the Bolton force-feed: in 2002 he engineered the removal of a UN family agency head whose actions threatened to expose Bush's allegations of Iraqi weapons for the sham they were, and whose proposed plan to send chemical weapons inspectors to Iraq could have ruined the intelligence fakery on which the eventual invasion depended:

    "John R. Bolton flew to Europe in 2002 to confront the head of a global arms-control agency and demand he resign, then orchestrated the firing of the unwilling diplomat in a move a U.N. tribunal has since judged unlawful, according to officials involved.
    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."
    Bustani himself revealed some interesting, and by now familiar, Bolton tactics:

    "In June 2001, Bolton "telephoned me to try to interfere, in a menacing tone, in decisions that are the exclusive responsibility of the director-general," Bustani wrote in 2002 in a Brazilian academic journal.
    He elaborated in an interview with the French newspaper Le Monde in mid-2002, saying Bolton "tried to order me around," and sought to have some U.S. inspection results overlooked and certain Americans hired to OPCW positions. The agency head said he refused. "
    In March 2002 the US went public to get rid of Bustani, and succeeded in April by threatening the OPCW with the withholding of operating funds. All this, mind you, at a time when Bush repeatedly assured the American public that he was doing everything possible to get Iraq to comply with weapons inspections and to avoid having to go to war. And only 3 months later, the Downing Street memo stated that the US saw "war as inevitable".
    Later, when Bustani appealed the termination to the Administrative Tribunal of the International Labor Organization in Geneva, where UN agencies go with personnel issues, the tribunal ruled in Bustani's favor, stating his removal was unlawful and awarding him damages.
    So Bolton was complicit in the warping and cover-up of information related to the invasion of Iraq in order to facilitate the Bush administration's plans to wage an illegal war, and he used his by now well-known bullying tactics to accomplish that, against a head of an agency that is a family member of the UN, where Bush now wants to appoint him as the representative of our nation.

    Do I have it right?

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