George Monbiot attempts to arrest John Bolton

By Ben Cohen

Environmental journalist and activist George Monbiot attempted to make a citizen’s arrest of former U.N Ambassador John Bolton at the Hay Festival in England. He failed in his attempt, being blocked by security guards as he confronted Bolton with a list of accusations.

Said Monbiot:

“I’m aware that I’ve made what I believe is the first attempt ever to

arrest one of the perpetrators of the Iraq War, and I believe that is a

precedent and I would like to see that precedent followed up.”

Monbiot’s charges were as follows:

We are conducting a citizen’s arrest for the crime of aggression, as

  established by customary international law and described by Nuremberg

  Principles VI and VII.

These state the following:

“Principle VI

The crimes hereinafter set out are punishable as crimes under international


(a) Crimes against peace:

(i) Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a

  war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances;

(ii) Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of

  any of the acts mentioned under (i)

“Principle VII

Complicity in the commission of a crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime

  against humanity as set forth in Principle VI is a crime under international


The evidence against you is as follows:

1. You orchestrated the sacking of the head of the Organisation for the

  Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Jose Bustani. Bustani had offered to

  resolve the dispute over Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction, and

  therefore to avert armed conflict. He had offered to seek to persuade Saddam

  Hussein to sign the Chemical Weapons Convention, which would mean that Iraq

  was then subject to weapons inspections by the OPCW. As the OPCW was not

  tainted by the CIA’s infiltration of UNSCOM, Bustani’s initiative had the

  potential to defuse the crisis over Saddam Hussein’s obstruction of UNMOVIC


Apparently in order to prevent the negotiated settlement that Bustani

  proposed, and as part of a common plan with other administration officials

  to prepare and initiate a war of aggression, in violation of international

  treaties, you acted as follows:

In March 2002 your office produced a ‘White Paper’ claiming that the OPCW was

  seeking an “inappropriate role” in Iraq.

On 20th March 2002 you met Bustani at the Hague to seek his resignation.

  Bustani refused to resign. (Charles J Hanley, Associated Press, 5 June, 2005)

On 21st March 2002 you orchestrated a No-Confidence Motion calling for Bustani

  to resign as Director General which was introduced by the United States

  delegation. The motion failed.

On 22nd April 2002 the US called a special session of the conference of the

  States Parties and the Conference adopted the decision to terminate the

  appointment of the Director General effective immediately. You had suggested

  that the US would withhold its dues from OPCW. The motion to sack Bustani

  was carried. Bustani asserts that this ‘special session’ was illegal, in

  breach of his contract and gave illegitimate grounds for his dismissal,

  stating a ‘lack of confidence’ in his leadership, without specific examples,

  and ignoring the failed No-Confidence vote.

In your book, Surrender is Not an Option, you describe your role in Bustani’s

  sacking (pages 95-98) and state the following:

“I directed that we begin explaining to others that the US contribution

  to the OPCW might well be cut if Bustani remained”.

“I met with Bustani to tell him he should resign … If he left now, we

  would do our best to give him ‘a gracious and dignified exit’. Otherwise we

  intended to have him fired”.

“I stepped in to tank the protocol, and then to tank Bustani”.

You appear, in other words, to accept primary responsibility for his


Bustani appealed against the decision through the International Labour

  Organisation Tribunal. He was vindicated in his appeal and awarded his full

  salary and moral damages.

  • (The tribunal ruling can be foundhere


2. You helped to promote the false claim, through a State Department Fact

  Sheet, that Saddam Hussein had been seeking to procure uranium from Niger,

  as part of a common plan to prepare and initiate a war of aggression, in

  violation of international treaties.

The State Department Fact Sheet was released on the 19th December 2002 and was

  entitled ‘Illustrative

  Examples of Omissions From the Iraqi Declaration to the United States

  Security Council
’ . Under the heading ‘Nuclear Weapons’ the fact sheet

  stated –

“The Declaration ignores efforts to procure uranium from Niger.

Why is the Iraqi regime hiding their uranium procurement?”

In a US Department of State press

  briefing on July 14th 2003
  the spokesman Richard Boucher said “The

  accusation that turned out to be based on fraudulent evidence is that Niger

  sold uranium to Iraq” .

Your involvement in the use of fraudulent evidence is documented in Henry

  Waxman’s letter
  to Christopher Shays on the 1st March 2005.

  Waxman says “In April 2004, the State Department used the designation

  ‘sensitive but unclassified’ to conceal unclassified information about the

  role of John Bolton, Under Secretary of State for Arms Control, in the

  creation of a fact sheet distributed to the United Nations that falsely

  claimed that Iraq sought uranium from Niger”.

“Both State Department intelligence officials and CIA officials reported that

  they had rejected the claims as unreliable. As a result, it was unclear who

  within the State Department was involved in preparing the fact sheet”.

Waxman requested a chronology of how the Fact Sheet was developed. His letter

  states –

“This chronology described a meeting on December 18,2002, between Secretary

  Powell, Mr. Bolton, and Richard Boucher, the Assistant Secretary for the

  Bureau of Public Affairs. According to this chronology, Mr. Boucher

  specifically asked Mr. Bolton ‘for help developing a response to Iraq’s Dec

  7 Declaration to the United Nations Security Council that could be used with

  the press.’ According to the chronology, which is phrased in the present

  tense, Mr. Bolton ‘agrees and tasks the Bureau of Nonproliferation,’ a

  subordinate office that reports directly to Mr. Bolton, to conduct the work.

“This unclassified chronology also stated that on the next day, December

  19, 2003, the Bureau of Nonproliferation “sends email with the fact

  sheet, ‘Fact Sheet Iraq Declaration.doc,'” to Mr. Bolton’s office

  (emphasis in original). A second e-mail was sent a few minutes later, and a

  third e-mail was sent about an hour after that. According to t=987e

  chronology, each version ‘still includes Niger reference.’ Although Mr.

  Bolton may not have personally drafted the document, the chronology appears

  to indicate that he ordered its creation and received updates on its


Both these actions were designed to assist in the planning of a war of

  aggression. The International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg ruled that “to

  initiate a war of aggression … is not only an international crime; it is

  the supreme international crime”.

Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.