A letter to John Bolton
Dear Mr Bolton,
Please excuse me for using the blunt instrument of the Amnesty International blog to reply to your opinion editorial in yesterday’s Guardian. In your piece you accuse President Obama of a “lack of leadership” for his refusal to thwart the possible prosecution of six of the lawyers who gave legal advice condoning the use of “harsh interrogation techniques”. Let us call torture by its real name. Torture is illegal under international law and the defence of superior orders was established not to be a defence at Nuremberg in 1947. It is therefore the responsibility of all those signed up to the Conventiona Against Torture to bring torturers to justice.
You call upon President Obama to insist that Spain intervenes to stop the prosecution of these six lawyers, because you rightly identify that they are only the tip of the ice-berg. It is those that shaped the policy and pressured the lawyers to rule the actions legal who may well be next. You feign concern that those six technocrats and their families are “left twisting slowly in the wind”. Yet I see no compassion for the Uigars, Azerbaijanis, Yemenis and many others, who have "twisted in the wind", been tortured and forgotten about and left to rot in Guantanamo Bay for the past seven years through the Bush Administration's failed policies.
Your characterisation of Balthazar Garcon as an attention seeking and vindictive, unaccountable Walter Mitty character akin to Torquemada; shows just how rattled you Bush officials must be. This man of great integrity, who made legal precedent by indicting one of South America’s cruellest dictators, is the true defender of freedom. It is human rights defenders such as Garcon who will ensure that those who rip up human rights conventions will never sleep easily in their beds at night, and indeed may have to cancel all foreign holidays.
Mr Bolton, throughout your long and (not very) distinguished career you have shown yourself not to be the defender of freedom and justice which you clearly delude yourself that you are. But its very antithesis. You were clearly implicated in the election swindle of Miami-Dade. You attempted to sideline and destroy the UN under the guise of reform throughout your tenure as the US ambassador to the UN and this is in addition to wrecking every non-proliferation treaty drafted during the Bush presidency. You have been the architect of disinformation campaigns against states who you perceive to be hostile such as Syria and Cuba, and called for the bombing of Iran. No wonder you believed the false intelligence on which the invasion of Iraq was based you probably helped make it up!
You clearly feel that the ends justify the means at all costs, and even more perversely continue to defend the indefensible even when all the evidence proves you wrong. Your legacy has been the opposite of what you attempted; not the consolidation of the US as the greatest superpower but if anything the diminishing of this power. The US which has so much to offer the world has now lost all its moral authority and lets hope that President Obama can undo some of that damage. He could start to do this by showing he means business by prosecuting Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice and of course yourself in US courts, but failing that let Spanish justice run its course.
A concerned citizen of the world.
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.