Aletho News


Bolton’s Act of Sabotage

By David Macilwain | American Herald Tribune | March 8, 2019

Across the Western world, there has been discussion and argument and consternation over the apparent failure to make progress on disarmament at the recent talks in Hanoi. Examination of the reasons for that failure has been replaced by speculation about the DPRK’s next move and suspicions about its motives, without any similar skepticism or doubts about the US intent and strategy. But such speculation is entirely misguided, and only possible because of ignorance of one key detail in the discussions in Hanoi.

Thanks mostly to the efforts of Australia’s former ambassador to South Korea and Vietnam, Richard Broinowski, whose diplomatic contacts in Canberra relayed inside information about the discussions, the alarming truth on why the talks suddenly fell apart was revealed to the SBS TV network, and to its listeners in the evening news broadcast on March 1st.

While media around the world, apparently including those not allied to the US, broadcast the press briefing by Donald Trump and Mike Pompeo laying the blame on North Korea for demanding all the sanctions be lifted, only SBS listeners got to hear what really happened, and thenceforth to see things in an entirely different light. As Richard Broinowski explained several days later writing on John Menadue’s influential blog Pearls and Irritations :

… “a well-informed senior Asian diplomatic source in Canberra has added another reason for the Summit’s breakdown: that Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, persuaded Trump to add another demand, without notice, that led to North Korean refusal and a premature end to the summit even before negotiations had begun.”

“The Asian diplomat recalled that John Bolton had been scheduled to visit Canberra at the end of February. But the visit was cancelled when he suddenly went to Hanoi instead, whether at Trump’s directive or on his own initiative being unclear. The diplomat’s understanding is that Bolton suggested to Trump that as well as demanding a complete inventory of North Korea’s nuclear weapons and delivery systems, Trump should also request details of the country’s chemical and biological arsenal, a demand Kim found unexpected, and for which he was unprepared, and refused. Trump then broke off the meeting before substantive negotiations had even begun.”

We may all too easily forget the anticipation before these crucial talks between Trump and Kim Jong Un, where it at least looked possible that Trump might “do a deal” on a basis that the North Koreans could accept. The early signs were more than promising, with Kim Jong Un assuring that he would not have been there had he not sought progress on denuclearisation, and Trump prepared to take him at his word. While “substantive negotiations” had not begun, the North Koreans had already suggested they would make very significant concessions in return for the lifting of some sanctions and some other commitments by the US to reduce tensions – “security guarantees” in other words.

It’s worth noting in this context that Sergei Lavrov, speaking at a parallel meeting of the Valdai Club in Ho Chi Minh city had stated quite clearly that the US must make significant concessions, rather than demanding that the DPRK completely denuclearise before lifting sanctions. As always it’s worth reading Lavrov’s wide-ranging and straightforward remarks on the poor state of the world and the destabilizing and destructive role being played by the US.

The necessity for lifting some sanctions on the DPRK is further emphasized by the news that their food production this year is severely restricted by the worst climatic conditions for a decade, making food imports and relief urgent. Their demands for sanctions relief in Hanoi concerned this issue rather than anything connected with the nuclear program.

The truth of the story of Bolton’s demands, which look very much like a planned act of sabotage, is beyond doubt and endorsed in statements from South Korea’s former unification minister Chong Se-Hyun published in Korean newspapers and reported elsewhere. The Sydney Morning Herald and the Australian also covered the story on the following Monday, but this was a temporary blip on their normally unchallenging sympathy for the official US viewpoint. Australia’s other State broadcaster the ABC, however, made no mention of it, simply repeating Trump’s cover-up claim on the sanctions removal.

These media along with their Western partners in officially approved disinformation are now once again adding to the rumor mill on “North Korea’s ongoing nuclear threat” with suspect stories about the renewal of a missile launching site. Satellite photos taken only hours after the failure of the talks claim to show such activity.  The Australian Strategic Policy Institute, which has close links to government, has meanwhile warned that moves to scale down the annual war games proposed belatedly as a “goodwill gesture” by the US, are “dangerous and will embolden the North”.

Putting things into a wider perspective, former Australian ambassador to the UN and nuclear disarmament negotiator Richard Butler added his weight to the subject the following day with this footnote on Broinowski’s article:

“This report has now been confirmed by a report published in the March 4th edition of The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which cites a statement by the DPRK Foreign Minister, Ri Yong-Ho, in Hanoi, that “John Bolton disrupted the talks by demanding that North Korea disclose its chemical and biological arsenal as well as its nuclear arsenals”. This would seem to answer the question I posed in my article on whether or not a spanner had been thrown into the works and if so, by whom? Not unusually, there seems to have been no report of this highly salient fact by western mainstream media.”

What matters here however is not simply to expose the misinformed and fraudulent claims made about the failure of the Hanoi talks. Bolton and his allies – whoever they are – evidently sought to sabotage the talks and the possibility of agreement and détente, against the intention of Donald Trump. The last thing they want is to lose the pretext for maintaining and expanding missile systems in the region aimed at threatening or “countering” China. An informative report from the East Asia Forum think-tank also makes this suggestion:

For many in the US security community the ‘no deal’ comes as a relief. There were concerns that Trump would be eager to rush into a deal, no matter what the costs of the concessions, to claim the diplomatic achievement for his administration. This seemed an over-urgent goal due to the impending report by FBI special prosecutor Robert Mueller on the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia and possible obstruction of justice, as well as the heat on Trump from his former fixer Michael Cohen’s damning testimony last week to Congress.

So far from returning to the US with an extra feather in his golden cap, Donald Trump came home to face the music, and not just from the Russia-gate witch-hunt. Even though he had called off the talks with Kim Jong Un, he had already engaged in friendly exchanges and pleasantries that some found offensive, inviting media to repeat the tired nonsense about his dealings with President Putin – that “Trump takes the advice of “dictators” over that of his own intelligence community”. (perhaps not an unwise move under the circumstances!)

The story of his brief meeting with Kim then immediately focussed on how Trump had “taken Kim’s word” over the case of Otto Warmbier, the detained American student allegedly killed by mistreatment in a North Korean hospital. The grotesque demand of the DPRK for $500 million compensation for his death from a US court illustrates the problem that many in the US seem to have in relating to those with a different viewpoint and different attitude. If similar suits were brought against the US government by relatives of the millions of North Koreans who have died over the last sixty-five years as a direct or indirect result of US aggression and sanctions, the US would be bankrupted.

It’s hard not to conclude that the man who was considered “too extreme” to join the regime of George W Bush because of his preference for armed attacks and even nuclear strikes over diplomacy has now launched a soft coup against his own President. Immediately following the Vietnam venture, Bolton was making threats of military action against Venezuela’s President Maduro which had a strange resonance. The demand that Venezuela’s democratically elected President be replaced by an unknown and unelected puppet selected and launched like a missile into Caracas by the US and its European allies is now being copied by the self-selected “Interim President of the United States”, John Bolton.

And a world under this new de facto President with his choice of puppet might just make us look back on the Golden Age of Trump if we are lucky enough to survive it.

March 8, 2019 - Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , ,


  1. “If similar suits were brought against the US government by relatives of the millions of North Koreans who have died over the last sixty-five years as a direct or indirect result of US aggression and sanctions, the US would be bankrupted”.

    Most people’s recollections today about the “Korean War” are confined to episodes of MASH, which made the War almost look like ‘lots of fun was had’

    The reality was not even close. “We destroyed 90% of the buildings(in Korea) and killed 20% of the population”….U.S. Colonel Curtis(Bombs Away) LeMay. Vietnam was not the first country to be Carpet Bombed by the U.S, Air Force(LeMay also wanted to use Nuclear Weapons in Vietnam and Bomb the country back to the Stone Age). He died in 1990 of a heart attack.
    From what I can gather, he was quite probably a psychopath, but hey, the Pentagon is full of psychopaths….


    Comment by Brian Harry, Australia | March 8, 2019 | Reply

    • Bolton and LeMay would probably have been similar, personality wise. Bolton is also deranged, just like LeMay..


      Comment by Brian Harry, Australia | March 8, 2019 | Reply

  2. Great report. Effin’ Revoltin’ Bolton…please, God, give the ba*tard an especially searing place in the eternal fires of Hell.

    Note, with my great suspicion of what might be ERB’s underlying motive beyond his general psychopathy: the DPRK has been and surely remains a harsh and unfearful critic of the Ziomonster’s war crimes and crimes against humanity perpetrated against the tortured-but-always-steadfast Palestinians by one of the two most-feared/-hated regimes on the planet…with the complicity and active support of the second.


    Comment by roberthstiver | March 9, 2019 | Reply

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