Associated Press Smears John Bolton, Bush
The latest Associated Press push to discredit John Bolton is one of the sleaziest, most biased pieces of work I’ve read in quite some time: Bolton Said to Orchestrate Unlawful Firing. (Hat tip: zombie.)
The point of this article is that John Bolton was the Bush administration’s bully boy, helping them mislead the noble United Nations into war with Iraq by undermining the work of UN weapons inspectors. It’s amazingly full of distortions and sneaky tricks; one of the worst is near the beginning:
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.
Obviously, the Associated Press wants you to believe that this “menacing phone call” was part of Bolton’s bullying over the Iraq War. You’ll have to read carefully down to the bottom to find out that the call took place in June 2001—long before the September 11 attacks—and even this information is surrounded by misdirection:
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.”
Bustani and his aides believe friction with Washington over OPCW inspections of U.S. chemical-industry sites also contributed to the showdown, which went on for months.
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.
Read the whole thing; this is by no means the only distortion in the piece.