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January 3, 2009

Bolton's Still Bonkers


by Gordon Prather

As 2009 dawns, there is some good news.  For example, Bonkers Bolton is no longer, officially, in a position to precipitate an illegal (under international law) attack by the Bush-Cheney Administration on certain Iranian facilities. 

Those facilities being subject – as required by the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons  – to frequent inspections whereby the International Atomic Energy Agency ensures that no NPT-proscribed "nuclear materials" have been diverted to a military purpose. 

Having returned to his civilian perch at the American Enterprise Institute, Bolton is now reduced to attempting, unofficially, to precipitate an illegal (under international law) attack by someone – anyone – on those Iranian IAEA-Safeguarded facilities. 

In a lengthy op-ed harangue just published by a complicit Wall Street Journal, Bolton begins by urging President-Elect Obama to put "pressure on China" to clean up the mess on the Korean peninsula.  

A mess Bolton largely created, by falsely charging in 2002 that Kim Jong-Il's regime was in flagrant violation of an agreement, concluded in 1994 by the Clinton-Gore administration, and since continuously monitored by the IAEA.

Without question, the Bush-Cheney-Bolton unilateral abrogation of that Agreed Framework led North Korea to withdraw from the NPT, to chemically separate weapons-grade plutonium from spent-fuel elements previously under IAEA lock and seal, and to construct perhaps a half-dozen nuclear weapons. 

So, in what cuckoo-land has Bolton been residing for the past year or so? Almost the last thing Obama should do upon taking office is to put pressure on the Chinese – who literally hold America's financial future in their vaults – to do anything, much less clean up Bolton's mess. 

Almost.   

You see, Bonkers Bolton goes on to urge Obama to do absolutely the last thing he should do: assist Israel, "should it decide to strike Iran's nuclear facilities"! 

Recall that in his first State of the Union address, President Bush essentially accused North Korea, Iran and Iraq of having clandestine nuclear weapons programs. 

    "States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world.  

    "I will not wait on events, while dangers gather. I will not stand by, as peril draws closer and closer. The United States of America will not permit the world's most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world's most destructive weapons."  

But – at that time – North Korea, Iran and Iraq were NPT signatories, their facilities and activities subject to regular IAEA inspections.   

The principal mission of the IAEA is to facilitate "the contribution of atomic energy to peace, health and prosperity, throughout the world." 

But the IAEA – in carrying out its principal mission – "shall ensure, so far as it is able" that materials and activities under its "supervision" are not "diverted" so as "to further any military purpose." 

Whenever IAEA inspectors detect possible "diversion," the Director-General reports that to the IAEA Board of Governors. The Board can then decide – by a two-thirds majority – whether or not the "diversion" furthers "any military purpose" and should be reported to the UN Security Council for possible action. 

Since 2003, IAEA Director-General has been regularly reporting to the IAEA Board of Governors and to the Security Council that there are no "indications" that any NPT-proscribed materials have been so "diverted." 

Nevertheless, after several years of concerted effort, Bush-Cheney-Bolton got the UN Security Council – allegedly "Acting under Article 41 of Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations" – to "reaffirm" its previous "decision" that Iran "shall, without further delay, suspend:

    "a) all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, including research and development, to be verified by the IAEA; and

    "(b) work on all heavy water-related projects, including the construction of a research reactor moderated by heavy water, also to be verified by the IAEA" 

Which prompted the Iranians to send a March 25, 2008 letter to the UN Secretary General, explicating the largely successful efforts of Bush-Cheney-Bolton to not only corrupt the IAEA Board of Governors and UN Security Council, but to undermine the IAEA Statute, the NPT and UN Charter, itself. 

In particular, Iran correctly noted that:

    "Involvement of the Security Council in the Iranian peaceful nuclear program is in full contravention with the organizational, Statutory and safeguards requirements governing the IAEA practices and procedures.

    "Furthermore, the substantive and procedural legal requirements, that are necessary for engaging the Security Council in the issues raised by the Agency, have been totally ignored in this regard. 

    "The Security Council has never determined Iran's Nuclear Program as a threat to international peace and security under Article 39 of the UN Charter and, thus, it could not adopt any measures against the Islamic Republic of Iran under Chapter VII of the UN Charter."

That Iranian letter was followed by a statement from the Ministerial Conference of the Non-Aligned Movement – which includes Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bolivia, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, et al. – wherein the Ministers  

  • "reaffirmed the basic and inalienable right of all states" – including, by name, the Islamic Republic of Iran – to the use of atomic energy for peaceful purposes, "without discrimination"

  • "recognized the IAEA as the sole competent authority for verification of the respective safeguards obligations of [NPT] member states"

  • "reaffirmed the inviolability of peaceful nuclear activities," whether operational or under construction, against "attack or threat of attack," either of which "constitutes a grave violation of international law, principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations and regulations of the IAEA."  

Okay, the rest of the world is in Iran's corner on this issue. So, the question is what will happen if the paranoid Israelis attack Iran and "we" are viewed as having – as Bonkers Bolton urges – enabled them? 

Try to have a Happy New Year. 


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Physicist James Gordon Prather has served as a policy implementing official for national security-related technical matters in the Federal Energy Agency, the Energy Research and Development Administration, the Department of Energy, the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Department of the Army. Dr. Prather also served as legislative assistant for national security affairs to U.S. Sen. Henry Bellmon, R-Okla. -- ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee and member of the Senate Energy Committee and Appropriations Committee. Dr. Prather had earlier worked as a nuclear weapons physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California and Sandia National Laboratory in New Mexico.

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