Former US national security advisor John Bolton has poked fun at the constitution’s First Amendment rights after a journalist was hastily arrested for questioning his hawkish positions and “covering up [US] war crimes in Afghanistan.”
The incident came during Bolton’s speech at the Texas-based ultra-right-wing Institute for Policy Innovation (IPI) think tank on Thursday when he was interrupted by journalist Tayler Hansen, who stood up and accused the long-time neo-conservative war-hawk of lying about Iraq possessing weapons of mass destruction prior to the US military occupation of the Arab country in 2003.
“You essentially genocided the Iraqi people,” Hansen shouted at Bolton, adding, “And you covered up war crimes in Afghanistan, sir.”
“Why did you celebrate the arrest of Julian Assange?” Hansen then asked. “Why do you think that’s acceptable, sir? Is celebrating war crimes acceptable?”
Hansen was then swiftly arrested and handcuffed by security agents and removed from the conference’s venue, but as he was being led away, Bolton drew applause from participants when he mockingly stated, “that’s another example of the First Amendment at work,” referring to the US Constitution’s guarantee of “free” speech.
At an event about current National Security threats—— Tayler Hansen (@TaylerUSA) November 10, 2022
I asked @AmbJohnBolton why he lied about WMD’s in Iraq, covered up war crimes in Afghanistan, and celebrated when Julian Assange was arrested.
I was immediately detained and removed from the event. pic.twitter.com/zctfbORghW
Bolton, who has served Republican administrations in numerous positions for the past four decades, has advocated for US military intervention in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Venezuela, and most recently Russia.
He joined the hawkish administration of former US president Donald Trump in 2018 as the national security adviser. He was sacked by Trump in 2019 after advocating “regime change” in the Islamic Republic of Iran as well as impeding potential “peace talks” with North Korea.
“We would be in World War Six by now” if I listened to Bolton’s advice, Trump said of Bolton after he dismissed him from his cabinet.
Bolton has also threatened to sanction the International Criminal Court in The Hague if it prosecuted Americans for alleged war crimes in Afghanistan, and last month he told the wife of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange that he hopes Assange “gets at least 176 years in jail” for publishing evidence of US war crimes.
A day after his arrest at the IPI event, Hansen posted a Twitter message blasting the entire US national security establishment, saying: “Most notable people that work in the National Security Apparatus are psychopathic criminals with no moral compass. I’m not sure what ‘National Security’ has to do with it, but there is definitely a pattern.”