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Does the United States really care about human rights in other countries?

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(14) Alexander Finnegan's answer to Does the United States really care about human rights in other countries?

Let’s look at actions and forget its words:

Note: In its 200 year history, the USA has intervened in, invaded or militarily occupied the following Western Hemisphere nations:

Canada, Confederate States of America, Mexico, Cuba, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Colombia, Panama, Venezuela, Surinam, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, Chile, Argentina, Puerto Rico, Grenada.

While the dates most associated with the Central Intelligence Agency are the 1953 coup against Iran’s Mohammed Mossadeq and the following year against Guatemalan President Jacobo Arbenz, the world’s most notorious–and possibly ignoble–spy agency actually was chartered on this day, 18 September, in 1947.

Since then, the CIA has played a role in hundreds of assassinations, military coups, and rebellions around the globe, from Argentina to Zaire.

Despite it’s championing of freedom, the CIA’s true objective has always been imperialist in nature. Whether oil in Iran or bananas in Guatemala, the U.S. has a material interest in every country in whose affairs it has meddled.

In order to meet its goals, the CIA recruits influential, intellectual and charismatic personalities. The agency also resorts to threats, kidnappings, torture, enforced disappearances and assassinations. The organization incites violence, uprisings and military rebellion, and causes economic chaos and misery to the people through scarcity of basic foods, etc..

The CIA has been exposed on a number of occasions through documented evidence, leaks of information and whistleblowing by active and former agents.

Che Guevera, the revolutionary face of resistance against U.S. homicidal interventions. Two years after leading a rebellion against Washington’s intervention in Bolivia, Che was murdered.

1. 1954 – Guatemala

In 1944, the violent U.S.-backed dictatorship of Jorge Ubico was overthrown by a popular uprising. The people of Guatemala were sick and tired of the brutal injustices of his regime, although in reality Ubico was merely a puppet of The United Fruit Company, which obeyed Washington’s orders. They basically enslaved the population. They stripped campesinos and Indigenous people of their lands and forced them to work their own parcels and paid them bread crumbs. Those who dared to disobey were brutally punished by a police force working for the U.S. fruit company.

The victory of the uprising brought peace to the country but it only took 10 years for U S President Dwight Eisenhower (and two of Ike’s cabinet members [who were also United Fruit Company insiders] Secretary of State John Foster Dulles and CIA Chief Allen Dulles) to implement a plan to overthrow the government.

In 1954, (US President Dwight Eisenhower’s) CIA launched the so-called Operation PBSuccess. The country’s capital, Guatemala City, was bombed by U.S. warplanes. The young Ernesto “Che” Guevara was there and witnessed the ordeal first hand. Hundreds of campesino leaders were executed and many campesino and Mayan Indigenous communities were completely wiped out. The brutal CIA intervention wasn’t complete until 200,000 had been killed. U.S. companies were again enjoying huge profits in the Central American country and Washington was happy.

U.S.-backed and financed military tyrants of Guatemala 1954

2. 1959 – Haiti

Haiti is equally strategic to the United States as are the Dominican Republic and Cuba. So, Washington doesn’t hesitate when their brutal control appears to wane in the Caribbean. Under no circumstance, would the U.S. allow governments in the region to lean to the left, and if they dare to, (US President Dwight Eisenhower’) CIA steps in to push them back to the right. Of course, Cuba is a rare example of resilience to U.S. efforts to achieve hegemony in the area. Since 1959, the Cuban revolution of Fidel Castro has repealed the relentless U.S. attacks.

But in Haiti, the story is different. In 1959 as well, popular discontent rose against the brutal puppet of the U.S., Francois Duvalier. The CIA stepped in and stopped it immediately. With the help of the intelligence agency, Duvalier wasted no time and created an army to violently repress all those who rose up against him. He and his heir to the regime, Jean Claude Duvalier, ordered massacres that were so horrendous they defy words. Over 100,000 people were murdered. And in 1986, when a new but uncontrollable rebellion took over, a U.S. Air Force plane rescued Jean Claude and took him to France so he could live in peaceful luxury.

U.S. puppet Francois “Papa Doc” Duvalier—a CIA murderer

3. 1964 – Brazil

The year of 1964 was one of incredible transformation in Brazil. Democratically-elected President Joao Goulart implemented his “Plan of Basic Reforms.” Even though the U.S. had exerted much of its power through ensuring people weren’t lifted from ignorance and illiteracy, Brazil implemented real changes that made Washington very uncomfortable. Firstly, a tax reform was put in place that would hugely carve into the profits of the multinational corporations of the United States and its allies. Washington was also very unhappy with a reform by which land would be given back to their legitimate owners and would redistribute other lands to poor people.

It was now time to send in (US President Lyndon Johnson’s) CIA to take action against the government of Goulart, which they did in 1964. They put in power a brutal dictatorship that lasted 19 years. During this regime, thousands were tortured and hundreds executed. The CIA also made sure all those leaders who had leftist tendencies were eliminated, particularly Marxists.

4. 1969 – Uruguay

During the sixties, revolutionary movements spread through Latin America. Uruguay was drowned in crises. United States saw influential socialist leaders emerge in this South American nation. For example, the urban revolutionary guerrilla known as the Tupamaros. Jose “Pepe” Mujica was part of it, and so was his wife Lucia Topolansky. Washington became obsessed with eliminating them, fearing the influence and power they were achieving.

Nelson Rockefeller went to Uruguay to observe first-hand how they were, generating a growing anti-Yankee sentiment. He returned to Washington to alert authorities that something needed to be done urgently.

Of course, (US President Richard Nixon’s) CIA responded immediately. They sent their special agent Dan Mitrione. He trained security forces in the art of torture and other highly macabre practices that are indescribable in nature. And then the CIA put in power Juan Maria Bordaberry and his military dictatorship. He ruled under direct order from Washington the next 12 years, during which he killed hundreds of people and tortured tens of thousands more. Repression was so brutal and Uruguayans were so traumatized and fearful they no longer carried out their traditional dances, which symbolize happiness and victory.

5. 1971 – Bolivia

The vast Latin American natural resources are the envy of the greedy and powerful politicians of the United States, who resort to any means to control them for their own benefit, and never for the people and countries they brutally exploit. During decades, U.S. multinational corporations enslaved people in vast regions of Chile, Bolivia and Peru. When those living under slavery conditions dared to rebel against their oppressors, they were annihilated in bulk. Che Guevara felt compelled to go to Bolivia and help the people rise in revolution.

This was 1967. By then, U.S. mining companies had enslaved entire communities, including children, who they banned from school. Two years later, Che Guevara was murdered by (US President Richard Nixon’s) CIA. Once out of their way, CIA officials established a military regime.

However, the people again turned on Washington. General Juan Jose Torres took power and implemented reforms to benefit workers and those living in poverty. Hope returned to Bolivia and its people, but the CIA would not allow this to continue. The agency recruited General Hugo Banzer. He led the coup against Torres and in 1971, he kicked off his violent dictatorship. He ordered the torture of a number of opposition leaders and the execution of hundreds of influential political leaders. He sent about 8,000 other leaders to jail. Washington was happy.

6. 1973 – Chile

Chilean President Salvador Allende was just another of the many victims of the many coups on democracy carried out by the United States (Note the date: 9/11/73)

Chile was another country brutally exploited by U.S. corporations.Washington (US President Richard Nixon and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger) made sure the people lived in utter misery. The CIA used different tactics but the results were the same. The agency led a smear campaign against the government of Chile, as it is currently doing in Venezuela. They used national and international media to demonize President Salvador Allende. They made sure people who had once been loyal to him because of his benevolent way of governing turned on him.

How you ask? The same way they’re doing it in Venezuela. By causing scarcity through extortion, through torture, imprisonment, enforced disappearances and by assassinating all those who refused to bow to them. Washington was irritated beyond control after Allende nationalized natural resources. They were also annoyed because Allende built houses for those who couldn’t afford homes. He made sure his people had access to education. When Allende’s popularity was successfully undermined, the next step was to plan a coup against him. It would now be easy. And on September. 11, 1973, Gen. Augusto Pinochet led the military all the way to the presidential palace with the backing of the CIA, who provided him with all the necessary weapons and armored vehicles.

War planes dropped bombs on the palace. Before he died, Allende told his people: “I will not give up! Placed in a historic transition, I will pay for the loyalty of the people with my life. And I tell you with certainty that that which we have planted in the good conscience of thousands and thousands of Chileans will not be shriveled forever. They are strong and they may be able to dominate us, but the social processes cannot be halted nor with crime nor by force.”

Pinochet ruled for 17 years. He jailed 80,000 people, tortured 30,000 and murdered 3,200.

7. 1976 – Argentina

The Argentine people endured arguably the bloodiest dictatorship of South America. It was so terrible that reading about it can be traumatic. Concentration camps, torture centers, massacres, massive rape of women and children, the beating of pregnant women, and the execution of boys and girls. In total, 30,000 people were executed. Behind it all: the CIA.

In 1973, Argentina was going through a political crisis so grave that President Juan Peron collapsed and ultimately died of a heart attack in 1974. His wife, Eva Peron, took power only to confront conflicts everywhere, even within her own Peronist party.

The CIA waited like a cat hunting its prey until 1976, when the situation they themselves provoked was so bad their intervention would be a walk in the park. Of course, as usual, a key recruitment was in order. The right-wing military dictator-to-be was Gen. Jorge Rafael Videla. The next step – a coup d’etat in yet another Latin American nation, and again another dictatorship at the service of the United States.

This time, (US President Richard Nixon’s) nefarious Henry Kissinger would be in charge of supervising the brutal regime. The rest is history: genocide, massive human rights violations, enforced disappearances, child theft, among other heinous crimes. All this, with the approval of the hypocritical and shameless owners of power in Washington.

8. 1980 – El Salvador

Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero broke with Catholic tradition by caring for the poor. He paid for it with his life.

The people of this Central American country suffered no less than Argentina under the U.S. intervention that was carried out by you know who: the CIA. Washington had already backed a brutal dictatorship that lasted 50 years from 1931 to 1981. Campesinos and Indigenous were smashed without mercy. More than 40,000 were massacred.

Things were so bad a rare incident occurred. The Catholic church tried to intervene in favor of the poor and oppressed. At this point in time, El Salvador was controlled by 13 mafia-style families who had expropriated about half of the national territory. The 13 families were closely linked to Washington. And (US President Jimmy Carter’s and later US President Ronald Reagan’s) CIA, just in case, made sure the military was very well trained in everything horrific.

They were provided with all the right lethal equipment. And when the CIA found out that Jesuits were helping out the masses, they made sure they were killed. They also asked Pope John Paul II to speak to Archbishop Óscar Romero to try to persuade him to desist. Romero refused to comply and so they murdered him when he was officiating mass in 1980. When the U.S. intervention was over, 75,000 people were reported murdered, but the U.S. was at peace.

9. 1989 – Panama

CIA agent and Washington-backed drug trafficker Manuel Noriega enraged the U.S. when he refused to obey their orders, prompting an invasion that left 3,500 innocent civilians dead.

Another unprecedented incident occurs in this Central American country. A (US PresidentGeorge H. W. Bush’s) CIA agent rises to power as a dictator in the form of Manuel “Pineapple Face” Noriega. Washington’s interest here, among others, is the inter-oceanic canal.

When President Omar Torrijos tried to take over control of the Panama Canal, the CIA planted a bomb on his plane and that was the end of that.

In 1983, Noriega took power. He was a drug trafficker for the CIA. He had been for some 30 years. That was fine with Washington. He was of huge service to them. In fact, he was instrumental in the Iran-Contra affair, by which the CIA circumvented Congress’ prohibition to provide the Nicaraguan contras with weapons to be used against the leftist Sandinista movement.

Noriega helped with cocaine to be sent mainly to Los Angeles, California, where it was sold in form of crack and served to poison vast Black communities, another of the devious objectives of the CIA. The money was used to buy arms in Iran to provide the contras with them.

Money and power transforms the weak and devious. Noriega wasn’t exempt. It went to his head. He now believed he was untouchable and felt he could ignore Washington’s orders and instead of helping the U.S. place Guillermo Endara in power in Nicaragua, he decided he would impose a president of his own choosing: Francisco Rodriguez. Noriega also began harassing U.S. military bases in Panama. The U.S. was not about to put up his unruly behavior. Washington deployed troops to invade Panama in December 1989.

They captured Noriega and locked him up in a Miami jail, but before that, they killed 3,500 innocent civilians and displaced 20,000 more… (The CIA called the operation against Panama « Operation Just Cause.”)

10. 1990 – Peru

Finally, we arrive at Peru (and US President George H. W. Bush’s CIA). First we need to understand that this list by no means represents the end of U.S. interventions worldwide. The CIA continues to cause havoc across Latin America and the rest of the world. However, these 10 cases may enlighten those who refuse to believe that the United States is responsible for death and destruction. It also serves to show how they operate and can be easily detected in places where there is instability, hunger and chaos. Instability, hunger and chaos is their specialty.

In Peru another CIA agent rose to power. Alberto Fujimori was elected president in 1990. The reason why his election is highly suspicious is because he was a mediocre person with no education and no charisma. He had no political influence, and he was known to nobody but his family.

But he did show some intelligence when he asked Vladimiro Montesinos to be his associate. Montesinos was a lawyer and a very intelligent person with above average strategic thinking. He was also a CIA man.

Fujimori named him National Intelligence Service director. A paramilitary group was created only to murder leftist and Marxist leaders. Fujimori dissolved Congress and locked up all the members of the Supreme Court of Justice. The CIA helped him with his plan, they financed him and supervised all his atrocities. Today, Fujimori is in jail.

Note: The 10 sovereign Latin American nations that were discussed in some detail above were just the Ten Most Lethal CIA-led Coups. The article did not include the militarily-invaded Latin American nations of Mexico, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Colombia, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Venezuela, Surinam, Paraguay, Puerto Rico and Grenada. – GGK[1]




Elliot Abrams, a convicted war criminal who was hired by the Reagan administration to help support the death squads which terrorized and murdered people who resisted the right wing factions in Latin American nations, including El Salvador and Nicaragua. Abrams is now responsible for trying to overthrow the democratically elected government of Venezuela so U.S. oil companies can plunder the massive oil reserves for profit.

The liberal American elites love the war criminal Elliot Abrams

Practically the entire American political establishment and corporate press are repeating the Trump administration’s claims to have humanitarian motives in Venezuela. As that administration inches closer to full-blown military invasion, whether direct or by proxy, it behooves us to look into the track record of the officials steering this so-called “humanitarian policy.” None other are more deserving of scrutiny than Elliott Abrams, whose crimes have spanned the globe, from El Salvador to Nicaragua to Iraq.

Before this month, Elliott Abrams was likely glad to have been largely forgotten by the U.S. public. When the Trump administration announced Abrams’ appointment as U.S. Special Representative in Venezuela in late January, the news caused some ripples on the Left, but across mainstream media outlets, the reaction was mostly sedate.

Politico described Abrams as “a somewhat controversial figure,” while Bloomberg focused on his criticisms of Trump. In the wild world of Trump appointees, this was hardly exciting stuff. While Abrams has been associated with some of the darkest moments in American foreign policy over the last 40 years—from death squads in Central America to the Iran-Contra affair to the invasion of Iraq—his appointment failed to resonate with the media obsessions of the moment. This history was simply too long ago to generate much controversy today. A relic from another era, Abrams was on the verge of ascending to the coveted position of “elder statesman.”

All of that changed February 13, when Rep. Ilhan Omar subjected Abrams to a withering interrogation. Citing his conviction in 1991 of withholding information from Congress concerning the Iran-Contra affair, Omar declared “I fail to understand why members of this committee or the American people should find any testimony that you give today to be truthful.” When Abrams, incensed, replied, “If I could respond to that,” Omar casually informed him “It wasn’t a question.”

She went on to question Abrams about his record, from supporting U.S.-backed military dictatorships in Central America in the 1980s to his recent role in promoting right-wing coup-plotters in Venezuela. Throughout, Abrams protested again and again about the unfairness of her line of questioning. This was simply not how things were done in polite society.

Immediately following this exchange, Abrams and his record began attracting significantly more attention than they had when his appointment was first announced. Prodded by Omar, media outlets across the country suddenly remembered the El Mozote massacre in El Salvador, committed by the right-wing military forces that Abrams and the Reagan administration were backing.

Yet even this rude intrusion of history into the public sphere only hinted at the full extent of the blood on Abrams’ hands. In her five minutes of questioning, Omar could merely reference his record in shorthand. Yet Abrams’ full career, and its memory in public life, are worth considering in further detail, as they reveal important truths about how foreign policy is made in America.

Despite his bloody history, in the aftermath of Omar’s interrogation, a number of mainstream liberal commentators such as the Center for American Progress’s Kelly Magsamen and prominent Joe Biden ally Dave Harden jumped to Abrams’ defense. This exculpation by a sector of the liberal intelligentsia also reveals the continuity of U.S. foreign policy across political parties, and the threat posed to this consensus by Omar’s inquiry.

A young counter-revolutionary

Though the famous novelist Thomas Pynchon once made reference to “Schachtmanite [sic] goons like Elliott Abrams,” Abrams, like most neoconservatives, had actually never been on the Left. His career as a counter-revolutionary began in college, when, as an undergraduate at Harvard, he openly opposed Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and other campus leftists, whom he despised as spoiled children of the elite. When SDS members shut down Harvard in the student strike of 1969, Abrams helped found (with fellow student Daniel Pipes, son of Harvard reactionary Richard Pipes, and later an Islamophobe of some note in his own right) the Ad Hoc Committee to Keep Harvard Open. On the furthest right flank of cold war liberalism, Abrams backed Democratic presidential nominee Hubert Humphrey, who was running on the platform of continuing the Vietnam War, in 1968, and worked closely with AFL-CIO operatives to combat the left-wing insurgency developing in the Democratic primaries.

At Harvard, Abrams received his law degree and in 1975 he briefly worked for the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, the same committee from which Joseph McCarthy prosecuted his anti-communist crusade in the 1950s. When Abrams got there, the committee was headed by Henry “Scoop” Jackson, also known as “the Senator from Boeing” for his service to the defense industry. Jackson formed a pole in the 1970s around which the most bellicose and bloodthirsty voices in the Democratic Party gathered, figures who were obsessed with not “losing” Vietnam, no matter the price in lives. When Jackson ran for president in 1976, Abrams worked on his campaign.

The Reagan years

Abrams first came to major prominence in the Reagan administration, where, in late 1981, he was appointed Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs. However, Abrams was not the administration’s first choice. Reagan had previously nominated the conservative political thinker Ernest W. Lefever, but his nomination had not gone smoothly. In 1979, Lefever had testified before the House that all human rights standards should be repealed. Questioned about this statement in 1981, he admitted that he had “goofed.” His nomination was finally sunk, however, when two of his brothers claimed that Lefever believed black people to be genetically inferior. This was too big a goof even for the Reagan administration, and in October, Abrams’ nomination was announced.

Abrams started his career at the State Department with a lot to do. The day before he came on board, U.S.-trained forces had committed a massacre in the town of El Mozote, El Salvador, torturing, raping and slaughtering over 800 civilians. The killing was performed by the Altacatl Battalion, assembled and trained at Fort Bragg, and later described by the New York Times as having been “the pride of the United States military team in San Salvador.”

The El Mozote massacre was but one moment in the Central American civil wars of the 1980s, when in country after country, poor peasants confronted their countries’ traditional military and economic elites, who responded with savage, American-backed violence. Abrams played a key role in directing American support for these regimes as well as running interference when evidence of their atrocities became too obvious for the corporate media to ignore. The main sites of action were as follows:

El Salvador

In 1979, amid mounting protests against an undemocratic government, El Salvador’s military leaders dispensed with the fig leaf of civilian rule and installed a military junta to crush the rising left-wing insurgency. The result was a civil war in which some 80,000 people died in a country with a population of less than 5 million. Later, a United Nations investigation estimated that 85 percent of civilian killings in the war were perpetrated by the military and its death squads. Atrocities such as El Mozote were commonplace. Less than a year later, the military killed over 200 civilians at El Calabozo.

One of Elliott Abrams’ main jobs was to deny, distract from, or excuse these atrocities. When news of El Mozote reached the United States, Abrams testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that there was reason for doubt, claiming “We find … that it is an event that happened in mid-December [but it] is then publicized when the certification comes forward to the committee.” Even a decade later, after irrefutable evidence had accumulated about the scale of the horror in El Mozote, Abrams still tried to obfuscate the truth, protesting, “If it had really been a massacre and not a firefight, why didn't we hear about it right off from the F.M.L.N.? I mean, we didn't start hearing about it until a month later.”

When questioned by Rep. Omar last week, Abrams defended his record in El Salvador, proclaiming, “From the day that President Duarte was elected in a free election to this day, El Salvador has been a democracy. That’s a fabulous achievement.” Indeed, in 1984, José Napoleón Duarte became president after elections in which parties of the left could not campaign for fear of assassination. He defeated death squad leader Roberto d’Aubuisson. Though Washington supported Duarte in that election, Abrams had previously defended D’Aubuisson, contending that he was not an extremist and claiming that “anybody who thinks you’re going to find a cable that says Roberto d’Aubuisson murdered the archbishop [Oscar Romero] is a fool,” when in fact, cables showing precisely that had arrived in Washington from the U.S. embassy almost immediately after the assassination.

Nonetheless, d’Aubuisson was indeed an embarrassment to the United States as it attempted to defend Salvadoran oligarchs. Along with his extravagant brutality in El Salvador, he was also far too undisciplined in talking to the press, telling some European reporters, “You Germans were very intelligent. You realized that the Jews were responsible for the spread of communism, and you began to kill them.” This kind of language was an embarrassment, and so Washington judged that Duarte would be a more effective point man for coordinating the war on the Salvadoran peasantry. Duarte’s verbal promises to restrain the excesses of the military, for Abrams and company, counted as a win for human rights, even as his “moderation” provided a fig leaf that would allow the U.S. government to continue backing the Salvadoran military until the Left had been sufficiently exterminated that “normal” politics could resume.

Despite Abrams’ theatrics, the truth of the American intervention in El Salvador was told in rather plainer terms by the liberal New Republic in 1984, which explained that “there are higher American priorities than Salvadoran human rights,” and that “military aid must go forth regardless of how many are murdered, lest the Marxist-Leninist guerrillas win.”

Nicaragua

To El Salvador’s southeast, Nicaragua was also going through a political transformation in the early 1980s. In 1979, the Sandinista National Liberation Front overthrew the notoriously corrupt U.S.-backed dictator Anastasio Somoza. The coalition government the Sandinistas created immediately undertook vigorous campaigns in the areas of literacy and healthcare, expanding social service access to the Nicaraguan poor to an unprecedented degree. The government also provided aid to the peasant revolutionaries in El Salvador, and quickly established a close alliance with the Soviet Union and Cuba.

This the Reagan administration could not abide. Shortly after coming into office, Reagan officials invited anti-Sandinista exiles to a meeting in Honduras, where the administration forced anti-Somoza opponents of the government to submit to the leadership of elements of the dictator’s hated National Guard. Troops were immediately assembled across the border in Honduras, with U.S. aid helping to put everything in motion. The anti-Sandinista army, popularly known as the Contras, soon accosted government targets, with special attention reserved for government social service locations, like schools and hospitals. Soon, evidence of Contra atrocities began to accumulate.

In 1982, this evidence was so abundant that the U.S. Congress become convinced that funding for the Contras needed to be cut off. Abrams, fulminating over the tying of the United States’ hands in its battle against communism, immediately began looking for ways to overcome the ban on funding. One avenue came through soliciting funds from the Sultan of Brunei, whom Abrams convinced to donate $10 million to stopping communism in Nicaragua. But Oliver North’s secretary at the time fudged the transaction by copying the wrong numbers for the Swiss bank account to which the funds would be transferred, and the money ended up in the hands of an unusually virtuous Swiss businessman, who returned it, with interest.

For the rest of the 1980s, Abrams essentially ran interference for Oliver North and the other Iran-Contra spooks. For this role, he was eventually indicted, and plead guilty to withholding information from Congress in 1991. At a time when the drug war was in full swing, and draconian sentences were all the rage, Abrams was sentenced to 100 hours of community service. President George H.W. Bush then pardoned him, completing Abrams’ official redemption.

After the fall

By the time Abrams was pardoned, the world had changed considerably from the one in which he had been a leading cold warrior. The Soviet Union was no more, and Bill Clinton’s election had ended 12 years of Republican rule. Abrams needed a home in this new wilderness, and found one, ironically, in Ernest Lefever’s Ethics and Public Policy Center, which provided him with a comfortable sinecure. If Lefever’s views on racial fitness ever troubled Abrams, he didn’t comment on it.

As the locus of American geopolitics shifted from Central America to the Middle East, Abrams reoriented his concerns accordingly. He was a signatory (along with assorted neocons from Paul Wolfowitz to Francis Fukuyama) to the Project for the New American Century’s infamous 1998 letter to Bill Clinton urging regime change in Iraq. The letter helped inspire the Iraq Liberation Act, which Clinton signed that same year and helped initiate the bipartisan consensus for the eventual war on Iraq.

When George W. Bush was elevated to the presidency, Abrams found himself back on the inside. He was appointed to the National Security Council, and helped shape the administration’s Middle East strategy. He reportedly “lost” an Iranian peace proposal in 2003, and in 2006, helped shape the Fatah putsch against the democratically elected Hamas government in Palestine that helped lead to the current division between Gaza and the West Bank.

During Trump’s rise, in 2015 and 2016, Abrams was a reliable “never-Trumper,” backing Marco Rubio’s doomed candidacy. In early 2017, Abrams was under consideration to be number two in the State Department under Rex Tillerson. However, the Trump team, under Steve Bannon, reportedly got Elliott Abrams confused with Eliot Cohen, a different hardcore neoconservative, and blocked his appointment.

Now, thanks to Mike Pompeo’s appointment of Abrams as point person for the U.S. intervention in Venezuela, he’s back.

Liberal enablers

As Rep. Omar dragged Abrams’ ugly past into the spotlight, millions of Americans were alerted to the country’s bloody footprints in Latin America. The El Mozote massacre in particular received renewed attention. Yet even as Americans heard about this record for the first time, a number of voices spoke up to defend Abrams’ honor.

Some of these, like the neocon-turned-“resistance” member Max Boot, or the radical-turned-neocon Ronald Radosh, were predictable and uninspiring. Boot warned that Omar showcased the dangers of the “uber-progressive wing” of the Democratic Party, while Radosh compared her to white supremacist Rep. Steve King. National Review’s Jay Nordlinger put a bit more effort in, tweeting that “I’ve come back to my phone to find about 5,000 tweets libeling the great Elliott Abrams as a war criminal….I feel like I’m back in the dorm, listening to stoned undergrads repeat what they recently read in In These Times.” (Any stoned undergraduates reading this are invited to subscribe here).

More surprisingly, Abrams also found a number of liberal defenders. Kelly Magsamen, Vice President for National Security and International Policy at the Center for American Progress, called Abrams “a fierce advocate for human rights and democracy” who had made “serious professional mistakes.” Dave Harden, a former USAID administrator (and Biden 2020 supporter), agreed, describing Abrams as “a kind, thoughtful, non partisan mentor” and exhorting his followers to “see the best—rather than the worst—in people.” R. Nicholas Burns, a diplomat and Trump critic, also chimed in, declaring “It’s time to build bridges in America and not tear people down.” Edward Luce, the British liberal journalist and author of The Retreat of Western Liberalism, offered his support for poor beleaguered Abrams as well.

Abrams’ liberal defenders were, thankfully, met with a tidal wave of condemnation on Twitter, as hundreds of thousands of tweets denouncing Abrams filled their mentions. Harden petulantly told “the 170k twitter responders who pillared [sic] me as a war criminal in the last 24 hrs” that he’s “doubling down.” The impact Omar’s questioning had in galvanizing opposition to the bloody track record of American imperialism could hardly be clearer.

But why were there liberals defending Abrams in the first place? And not merely any liberals, but highly-credentialed figures in the liberal foreign policy establishment. The answer to this question reveals no small amount about the American foreign policy intelligentsia.

As several of Abrams’ defenders stated, they had worked directly with him. Whether at the State Department or the National Security Council, they had been part of the same body making and carrying out American foreign policy. But even outside of government, Abrams rubbed shoulders with establishment liberals in plenty of capacities. At the Council on Foreign Relations, a premier centrist foreign policy think tank, Abrams is an accredited CFR “expert” along with Clinton Administration officials Martin Indyk and Robert Rubin. On the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Committee on Conscience, he serves with liberal academics like Deborah Lipstadt and Timothy Snyder (as well as Nicholas Burns).

This latter appointment is particularly ironic, given Abrams’ lies on behalf of an outright fascist like d'Aubuisson. But Abrams made a habit of associating with truly despicable racists. As mentioned above, he worked for Ernest Lefever after his Iran-Contra disgrace. Abrams even married a particularly unhinged racist, the stepdaughter of neocon Norman Podhoretz. Rachel Abrams, who died in 2013, maintained a blog, “Bad Rachel,” where she offered reflections on the War on Terror such as the following:

[T]his is where I have begun to wonder whether it is possible to help these benighted forgeries of humanity save themselves from themselves—for after all, isn’t that the point, once we’ve beaten our enemy, of continuing the fight?—and, more to the point…whether the attempting to do so has been worth the lives…of all those great, valiant, heroic, wonderful, Americans who’ve given them for that cause.

Abrams’ links to disreputable characters like these, however, weren’t enough to disqualify him from association in the eyes of elite liberals. Once he made it inside the clubhouse gates, he established himself as a Serious Person, deserving of respect from the plebs. Foreign policy has always been the most mandarin wing of the U.S. state, and when elite liberals saw a properly credentialed and accomplished fellow of theirs under attack from the plebeians, they reacted quickly.

Analysts like Noam Chomsky have long insisted that there is more continuity than discontinuity when it comes to foreign policy in the United States. The bonhomie liberal elites exhibit towards Abrams is what this continuity means on the level of personnel. It’s the same people, working together, who carry out American foreign policy. This placid continuity, the disruption of which by Trump is a chief reason for the enmity he has earned from this camp, helps ensure that the ship of state remains on a steady course.

But Ilhan Omar’s refusal to let Abrams’ bloody past rest threatened that continuity. It suggested that the new generation of progressives and socialists will not be content to let their revolution stop at the nation’s borders. Much like Bernie Sanders’ declaration in a 2016 presidential debate that he was proud Henry Kissinger was not his friend, Omar’s questioning of Abrams signaled a radical break with the traditional etiquette of deference in foreign policy.

If this is the type of direct challenge to U.S. foreign policy that left-wing elected officials like Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sanders have planned, establishment liberals are right to be nervous.[2]


During Operation Condor the CIA supported right wing dictators who brutally killed tens of thousands of people, for the alleged purpose of “defeating communism.”[3] In actuality the purpose of Operation Condor was all about money. Right wing dictators were open to the neoliberal capitalist model the U.S. wanted so large U.S. corporations could make money exploiting new markets, cheap labor, and cheap natural resources.

Alexander Finnegan's answer to What was the most overlooked event of the Cold War?

Footnotes
 

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(14) Alexander Finnegan's answer to Does the United States really care about human rights in other countries?

Let’s look at actions and forget its words:

Note: In its 200 year history, the USA has intervened in, invaded or militarily occupied the following Western Hemisphere nations:

Canada, Confederate States of America, Mexico, Cuba, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Colombia, Panama, Venezuela, Surinam, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, Chile, Argentina, Puerto Rico, Grenada.

While the dates most associated with the Central Intelligence Agency are the 1953 coup against Iran’s Mohammed Mossadeq and the following year against Guatemalan President Jacobo Arbenz, the world’s most notorious–and possibly ignoble–spy agency actually was chartered on this day, 18 September, in 1947.

Since then, the CIA has played a role in hundreds of assassinations, military coups, and rebellions around the globe, from Argentina to Zaire.

Despite it’s championing of freedom, the CIA’s true objective has always been imperialist in nature. Whether oil in Iran or bananas in Guatemala, the U.S. has a material interest in every country in whose affairs it has meddled.

In order to meet its goals, the CIA recruits influential, intellectual and charismatic personalities. The agency also resorts to threats, kidnappings, torture, enforced disappearances and assassinations. The organization incites violence, uprisings and military rebellion, and causes economic chaos and misery to the people through scarcity of basic foods, etc..

The CIA has been exposed on a number of occasions through documented evidence, leaks of information and whistleblowing by active and former agents.

Che Guevera, the revolutionary face of resistance against U.S. homicidal interventions. Two years after leading a rebellion against Washington’s intervention in Bolivia, Che was murdered.

1. 1954 – Guatemala

In 1944, the violent U.S.-backed dictatorship of Jorge Ubico was overthrown by a popular uprising. The people of Guatemala were sick and tired of the brutal injustices of his regime, although in reality Ubico was merely a puppet of The United Fruit Company, which obeyed Washington’s orders. They basically enslaved the population. They stripped campesinos and Indigenous people of their lands and forced them to work their own parcels and paid them bread crumbs. Those who dared to disobey were brutally punished by a police force working for the U.S. fruit company.

The victory of the uprising brought peace to the country but it only took 10 years for U S President Dwight Eisenhower (and two of Ike’s cabinet members [who were also United Fruit Company insiders] Secretary of State John Foster Dulles and CIA Chief Allen Dulles) to implement a plan to overthrow the government.

In 1954, (US President Dwight Eisenhower’s) CIA launched the so-called Operation PBSuccess. The country’s capital, Guatemala City, was bombed by U.S. warplanes. The young Ernesto “Che” Guevara was there and witnessed the ordeal first hand. Hundreds of campesino leaders were executed and many campesino and Mayan Indigenous communities were completely wiped out. The brutal CIA intervention wasn’t complete until 200,000 had been killed. U.S. companies were again enjoying huge profits in the Central American country and Washington was happy.

U.S.-backed and financed military tyrants of Guatemala 1954

2. 1959 – Haiti

Haiti is equally strategic to the United States as are the Dominican Republic and Cuba. So, Washington doesn’t hesitate when their brutal control appears to wane in the Caribbean. Under no circumstance, would the U.S. allow governments in the region to lean to the left, and if they dare to, (US President Dwight Eisenhower’) CIA steps in to push them back to the right. Of course, Cuba is a rare example of resilience to U.S. efforts to achieve hegemony in the area. Since 1959, the Cuban revolution of Fidel Castro has repealed the relentless U.S. attacks.

But in Haiti, the story is different. In 1959 as well, popular discontent rose against the brutal puppet of the U.S., Francois Duvalier. The CIA stepped in and stopped it immediately. With the help of the intelligence agency, Duvalier wasted no time and created an army to violently repress all those who rose up against him. He and his heir to the regime, Jean Claude Duvalier, ordered massacres that were so horrendous they defy words. Over 100,000 people were murdered. And in 1986, when a new but uncontrollable rebellion took over, a U.S. Air Force plane rescued Jean Claude and took him to France so he could live in peaceful luxury.

U.S. puppet Francois “Papa Doc” Duvalier—a CIA murderer

3. 1964 – Brazil

The year of 1964 was one of incredible transformation in Brazil. Democratically-elected President Joao Goulart implemented his “Plan of Basic Reforms.” Even though the U.S. had exerted much of its power through ensuring people weren’t lifted from ignorance and illiteracy, Brazil implemented real changes that made Washington very uncomfortable. Firstly, a tax reform was put in place that would hugely carve into the profits of the multinational corporations of the United States and its allies. Washington was also very unhappy with a reform by which land would be given back to their legitimate owners and would redistribute other lands to poor people.

It was now time to send in (US President Lyndon Johnson’s) CIA to take action against the government of Goulart, which they did in 1964. They put in power a brutal dictatorship that lasted 19 years. During this regime, thousands were tortured and hundreds executed. The CIA also made sure all those leaders who had leftist tendencies were eliminated, particularly Marxists.

4. 1969 – Uruguay

During the sixties, revolutionary movements spread through Latin America. Uruguay was drowned in crises. United States saw influential socialist leaders emerge in this South American nation. For example, the urban revolutionary guerrilla known as the Tupamaros. Jose “Pepe” Mujica was part of it, and so was his wife Lucia Topolansky. Washington became obsessed with eliminating them, fearing the influence and power they were achieving.

Nelson Rockefeller went to Uruguay to observe first-hand how they were, generating a growing anti-Yankee sentiment. He returned to Washington to alert authorities that something needed to be done urgently.

Of course, (US President Richard Nixon’s) CIA responded immediately. They sent their special agent Dan Mitrione. He trained security forces in the art of torture and other highly macabre practices that are indescribable in nature. And then the CIA put in power Juan Maria Bordaberry and his military dictatorship. He ruled under direct order from Washington the next 12 years, during which he killed hundreds of people and tortured tens of thousands more. Repression was so brutal and Uruguayans were so traumatized and fearful they no longer carried out their traditional dances, which symbolize happiness and victory.

5. 1971 – Bolivia

The vast Latin American natural resources are the envy of the greedy and powerful politicians of the United States, who resort to any means to control them for their own benefit, and never for the people and countries they brutally exploit. During decades, U.S. multinational corporations enslaved people in vast regions of Chile, Bolivia and Peru. When those living under slavery conditions dared to rebel against their oppressors, they were annihilated in bulk. Che Guevara felt compelled to go to Bolivia and help the people rise in revolution.

This was 1967. By then, U.S. mining companies had enslaved entire communities, including children, who they banned from school. Two years later, Che Guevara was murdered by (US President Richard Nixon’s) CIA. Once out of their way, CIA officials established a military regime.

However, the people again turned on Washington. General Juan Jose Torres took power and implemented reforms to benefit workers and those living in poverty. Hope returned to Bolivia and its people, but the CIA would not allow this to continue. The agency recruited General Hugo Banzer. He led the coup against Torres and in 1971, he kicked off his violent dictatorship. He ordered the torture of a number of opposition leaders and the execution of hundreds of influential political leaders. He sent about 8,000 other leaders to jail. Washington was happy.

6. 1973 – Chile

Chilean President Salvador Allende was just another of the many victims of the many coups on democracy carried out by the United States (Note the date: 9/11/73)

Chile was another country brutally exploited by U.S. corporations.Washington (US President Richard Nixon and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger) made sure the people lived in utter misery. The CIA used different tactics but the results were the same. The agency led a smear campaign against the government of Chile, as it is currently doing in Venezuela. They used national and international media to demonize President Salvador Allende. They made sure people who had once been loyal to him because of his benevolent way of governing turned on him.

How you ask? The same way they’re doing it in Venezuela. By causing scarcity through extortion, through torture, imprisonment, enforced disappearances and by assassinating all those who refused to bow to them. Washington was irritated beyond control after Allende nationalized natural resources. They were also annoyed because Allende built houses for those who couldn’t afford homes. He made sure his people had access to education. When Allende’s popularity was successfully undermined, the next step was to plan a coup against him. It would now be easy. And on September. 11, 1973, Gen. Augusto Pinochet led the military all the way to the presidential palace with the backing of the CIA, who provided him with all the necessary weapons and armored vehicles.

War planes dropped bombs on the palace. Before he died, Allende told his people: “I will not give up! Placed in a historic transition, I will pay for the loyalty of the people with my life. And I tell you with certainty that that which we have planted in the good conscience of thousands and thousands of Chileans will not be shriveled forever. They are strong and they may be able to dominate us, but the social processes cannot be halted nor with crime nor by force.”

Pinochet ruled for 17 years. He jailed 80,000 people, tortured 30,000 and murdered 3,200.

7. 1976 – Argentina

The Argentine people endured arguably the bloodiest dictatorship of South America. It was so terrible that reading about it can be traumatic. Concentration camps, torture centers, massacres, massive rape of women and children, the beating of pregnant women, and the execution of boys and girls. In total, 30,000 people were executed. Behind it all: the CIA.

In 1973, Argentina was going through a political crisis so grave that President Juan Peron collapsed and ultimately died of a heart attack in 1974. His wife, Eva Peron, took power only to confront conflicts everywhere, even within her own Peronist party.

The CIA waited like a cat hunting its prey until 1976, when the situation they themselves provoked was so bad their intervention would be a walk in the park. Of course, as usual, a key recruitment was in order. The right-wing military dictator-to-be was Gen. Jorge Rafael Videla. The next step – a coup d’etat in yet another Latin American nation, and again another dictatorship at the service of the United States.

This time, (US President Richard Nixon’s) nefarious Henry Kissinger would be in charge of supervising the brutal regime. The rest is history: genocide, massive human rights violations, enforced disappearances, child theft, among other heinous crimes. All this, with the approval of the hypocritical and shameless owners of power in Washington.

8. 1980 – El Salvador

Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero broke with Catholic tradition by caring for the poor. He paid for it with his life.

The people of this Central American country suffered no less than Argentina under the U.S. intervention that was carried out by you know who: the CIA. Washington had already backed a brutal dictatorship that lasted 50 years from 1931 to 1981. Campesinos and Indigenous were smashed without mercy. More than 40,000 were massacred.

Things were so bad a rare incident occurred. The Catholic church tried to intervene in favor of the poor and oppressed. At this point in time, El Salvador was controlled by 13 mafia-style families who had expropriated about half of the national territory. The 13 families were closely linked to Washington. And (US President Jimmy Carter’s and later US President Ronald Reagan’s) CIA, just in case, made sure the military was very well trained in everything horrific.

They were provided with all the right lethal equipment. And when the CIA found out that Jesuits were helping out the masses, they made sure they were killed. They also asked Pope John Paul II to speak to Archbishop Óscar Romero to try to persuade him to desist. Romero refused to comply and so they murdered him when he was officiating mass in 1980. When the U.S. intervention was over, 75,000 people were reported murdered, but the U.S. was at peace.

9. 1989 – Panama

CIA agent and Washington-backed drug trafficker Manuel Noriega enraged the U.S. when he refused to obey their orders, prompting an invasion that left 3,500 innocent civilians dead.

Another unprecedented incident occurs in this Central American country. A (US PresidentGeorge H. W. Bush’s) CIA agent rises to power as a dictator in the form of Manuel “Pineapple Face” Noriega. Washington’s interest here, among others, is the inter-oceanic canal.

When President Omar Torrijos tried to take over control of the Panama Canal, the CIA planted a bomb on his plane and that was the end of that.

In 1983, Noriega took power. He was a drug trafficker for the CIA. He had been for some 30 years. That was fine with Washington. He was of huge service to them. In fact, he was instrumental in the Iran-Contra affair, by which the CIA circumvented Congress’ prohibition to provide the Nicaraguan contras with weapons to be used against the leftist Sandinista movement.

Noriega helped with cocaine to be sent mainly to Los Angeles, California, where it was sold in form of crack and served to poison vast Black communities, another of the devious objectives of the CIA. The money was used to buy arms in Iran to provide the contras with them.

Money and power transforms the weak and devious. Noriega wasn’t exempt. It went to his head. He now believed he was untouchable and felt he could ignore Washington’s orders and instead of helping the U.S. place Guillermo Endara in power in Nicaragua, he decided he would impose a president of his own choosing: Francisco Rodriguez. Noriega also began harassing U.S. military bases in Panama. The U.S. was not about to put up his unruly behavior. Washington deployed troops to invade Panama in December 1989.

They captured Noriega and locked him up in a Miami jail, but before that, they killed 3,500 innocent civilians and displaced 20,000 more… (The CIA called the operation against Panama « Operation Just Cause.”)

10. 1990 – Peru

Finally, we arrive at Peru (and US President George H. W. Bush’s CIA). First we need to understand that this list by no means represents the end of U.S. interventions worldwide. The CIA continues to cause havoc across Latin America and the rest of the world. However, these 10 cases may enlighten those who refuse to believe that the United States is responsible for death and destruction. It also serves to show how they operate and can be easily detected in places where there is instability, hunger and chaos. Instability, hunger and chaos is their specialty.

In Peru another CIA agent rose to power. Alberto Fujimori was elected president in 1990. The reason why his election is highly suspicious is because he was a mediocre person with no education and no charisma. He had no political influence, and he was known to nobody but his family.

But he did show some intelligence when he asked Vladimiro Montesinos to be his associate. Montesinos was a lawyer and a very intelligent person with above average strategic thinking. He was also a CIA man.

Fujimori named him National Intelligence Service director. A paramilitary group was created only to murder leftist and Marxist leaders. Fujimori dissolved Congress and locked up all the members of the Supreme Court of Justice. The CIA helped him with his plan, they financed him and supervised all his atrocities. Today, Fujimori is in jail.

Note: The 10 sovereign Latin American nations that were discussed in some detail above were just the Ten Most Lethal CIA-led Coups. The article did not include the militarily-invaded Latin American nations of Mexico, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Colombia, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Venezuela, Surinam, Paraguay, Puerto Rico and Grenada. – GGK[1]




Elliot Abrams, a convicted war criminal who was hired by the Reagan administration to help support the death squads which terrorized and murdered people who resisted the right wing factions in Latin American nations, including El Salvador and Nicaragua. Abrams is now responsible for trying to overthrow the democratically elected government of Venezuela so U.S. oil companies can plunder the massive oil reserves for profit.

The liberal American elites love the war criminal Elliot Abrams

Practically the entire American political establishment and corporate press are repeating the Trump administration’s claims to have humanitarian motives in Venezuela. As that administration inches closer to full-blown military invasion, whether direct or by proxy, it behooves us to look into the track record of the officials steering this so-called “humanitarian policy.” None other are more deserving of scrutiny than Elliott Abrams, whose crimes have spanned the globe, from El Salvador to Nicaragua to Iraq.

Before this month, Elliott Abrams was likely glad to have been largely forgotten by the U.S. public. When the Trump administration announced Abrams’ appointment as U.S. Special Representative in Venezuela in late January, the news caused some ripples on the Left, but across mainstream media outlets, the reaction was mostly sedate.

Politico described Abrams as “a somewhat controversial figure,” while Bloomberg focused on his criticisms of Trump. In the wild world of Trump appointees, this was hardly exciting stuff. While Abrams has been associated with some of the darkest moments in American foreign policy over the last 40 years—from death squads in Central America to the Iran-Contra affair to the invasion of Iraq—his appointment failed to resonate with the media obsessions of the moment. This history was simply too long ago to generate much controversy today. A relic from another era, Abrams was on the verge of ascending to the coveted position of “elder statesman.”

All of that changed February 13, when Rep. Ilhan Omar subjected Abrams to a withering interrogation. Citing his conviction in 1991 of withholding information from Congress concerning the Iran-Contra affair, Omar declared “I fail to understand why members of this committee or the American people should find any testimony that you give today to be truthful.” When Abrams, incensed, replied, “If I could respond to that,” Omar casually informed him “It wasn’t a question.”

She went on to question Abrams about his record, from supporting U.S.-backed military dictatorships in Central America in the 1980s to his recent role in promoting right-wing coup-plotters in Venezuela. Throughout, Abrams protested again and again about the unfairness of her line of questioning. This was simply not how things were done in polite society.

Immediately following this exchange, Abrams and his record began attracting significantly more attention than they had when his appointment was first announced. Prodded by Omar, media outlets across the country suddenly remembered the El Mozote massacre in El Salvador, committed by the right-wing military forces that Abrams and the Reagan administration were backing.

Yet even this rude intrusion of history into the public sphere only hinted at the full extent of the blood on Abrams’ hands. In her five minutes of questioning, Omar could merely reference his record in shorthand. Yet Abrams’ full career, and its memory in public life, are worth considering in further detail, as they reveal important truths about how foreign policy is made in America.

Despite his bloody history, in the aftermath of Omar’s interrogation, a number of mainstream liberal commentators such as the Center for American Progress’s Kelly Magsamen and prominent Joe Biden ally Dave Harden jumped to Abrams’ defense. This exculpation by a sector of the liberal intelligentsia also reveals the continuity of U.S. foreign policy across political parties, and the threat posed to this consensus by Omar’s inquiry.

A young counter-revolutionary

Though the famous novelist Thomas Pynchon once made reference to “Schachtmanite [sic] goons like Elliott Abrams,” Abrams, like most neoconservatives, had actually never been on the Left. His career as a counter-revolutionary began in college, when, as an undergraduate at Harvard, he openly opposed Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and other campus leftists, whom he despised as spoiled children of the elite. When SDS members shut down Harvard in the student strike of 1969, Abrams helped found (with fellow student Daniel Pipes, son of Harvard reactionary Richard Pipes, and later an Islamophobe of some note in his own right) the Ad Hoc Committee to Keep Harvard Open. On the furthest right flank of cold war liberalism, Abrams backed Democratic presidential nominee Hubert Humphrey, who was running on the platform of continuing the Vietnam War, in 1968, and worked closely with AFL-CIO operatives to combat the left-wing insurgency developing in the Democratic primaries.

At Harvard, Abrams received his law degree and in 1975 he briefly worked for the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, the same committee from which Joseph McCarthy prosecuted his anti-communist crusade in the 1950s. When Abrams got there, the committee was headed by Henry “Scoop” Jackson, also known as “the Senator from Boeing” for his service to the defense industry. Jackson formed a pole in the 1970s around which the most bellicose and bloodthirsty voices in the Democratic Party gathered, figures who were obsessed with not “losing” Vietnam, no matter the price in lives. When Jackson ran for president in 1976, Abrams worked on his campaign.

The Reagan years

Abrams first came to major prominence in the Reagan administration, where, in late 1981, he was appointed Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs. However, Abrams was not the administration’s first choice. Reagan had previously nominated the conservative political thinker Ernest W. Lefever, but his nomination had not gone smoothly. In 1979, Lefever had testified before the House that all human rights standards should be repealed. Questioned about this statement in 1981, he admitted that he had “goofed.” His nomination was finally sunk, however, when two of his brothers claimed that Lefever believed black people to be genetically inferior. This was too big a goof even for the Reagan administration, and in October, Abrams’ nomination was announced.

Abrams started his career at the State Department with a lot to do. The day before he came on board, U.S.-trained forces had committed a massacre in the town of El Mozote, El Salvador, torturing, raping and slaughtering over 800 civilians. The killing was performed by the Altacatl Battalion, assembled and trained at Fort Bragg, and later described by the New York Times as having been “the pride of the United States military team in San Salvador.”

The El Mozote massacre was but one moment in the Central American civil wars of the 1980s, when in country after country, poor peasants confronted their countries’ traditional military and economic elites, who responded with savage, American-backed violence. Abrams played a key role in directing American support for these regimes as well as running interference when evidence of their atrocities became too obvious for the corporate media to ignore. The main sites of action were as follows:

El Salvador

In 1979, amid mounting protests against an undemocratic government, El Salvador’s military leaders dispensed with the fig leaf of civilian rule and installed a military junta to crush the rising left-wing insurgency. The result was a civil war in which some 80,000 people died in a country with a population of less than 5 million. Later, a United Nations investigation estimated that 85 percent of civilian killings in the war were perpetrated by the military and its death squads. Atrocities such as El Mozote were commonplace. Less than a year later, the military killed over 200 civilians at El Calabozo.

One of Elliott Abrams’ main jobs was to deny, distract from, or excuse these atrocities. When news of El Mozote reached the United States, Abrams testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that there was reason for doubt, claiming “We find … that it is an event that happened in mid-December [but it] is then publicized when the certification comes forward to the committee.” Even a decade later, after irrefutable evidence had accumulated about the scale of the horror in El Mozote, Abrams still tried to obfuscate the truth, protesting, “If it had really been a massacre and not a firefight, why didn't we hear about it right off from the F.M.L.N.? I mean, we didn't start hearing about it until a month later.”

When questioned by Rep. Omar last week, Abrams defended his record in El Salvador, proclaiming, “From the day that President Duarte was elected in a free election to this day, El Salvador has been a democracy. That’s a fabulous achievement.” Indeed, in 1984, José Napoleón Duarte became president after elections in which parties of the left could not campaign for fear of assassination. He defeated death squad leader Roberto d’Aubuisson. Though Washington supported Duarte in that election, Abrams had previously defended D’Aubuisson, contending that he was not an extremist and claiming that “anybody who thinks you’re going to find a cable that says Roberto d’Aubuisson murdered the archbishop [Oscar Romero] is a fool,” when in fact, cables showing precisely that had arrived in Washington from the U.S. embassy almost immediately after the assassination.

Nonetheless, d’Aubuisson was indeed an embarrassment to the United States as it attempted to defend Salvadoran oligarchs. Along with his extravagant brutality in El Salvador, he was also far too undisciplined in talking to the press, telling some European reporters, “You Germans were very intelligent. You realized that the Jews were responsible for the spread of communism, and you began to kill them.” This kind of language was an embarrassment, and so Washington judged that Duarte would be a more effective point man for coordinating the war on the Salvadoran peasantry. Duarte’s verbal promises to restrain the excesses of the military, for Abrams and company, counted as a win for human rights, even as his “moderation” provided a fig leaf that would allow the U.S. government to continue backing the Salvadoran military until the Left had been sufficiently exterminated that “normal” politics could resume.

Despite Abrams’ theatrics, the truth of the American intervention in El Salvador was told in rather plainer terms by the liberal New Republic in 1984, which explained that “there are higher American priorities than Salvadoran human rights,” and that “military aid must go forth regardless of how many are murdered, lest the Marxist-Leninist guerrillas win.”

Nicaragua

To El Salvador’s southeast, Nicaragua was also going through a political transformation in the early 1980s. In 1979, the Sandinista National Liberation Front overthrew the notoriously corrupt U.S.-backed dictator Anastasio Somoza. The coalition government the Sandinistas created immediately undertook vigorous campaigns in the areas of literacy and healthcare, expanding social service access to the Nicaraguan poor to an unprecedented degree. The government also provided aid to the peasant revolutionaries in El Salvador, and quickly established a close alliance with the Soviet Union and Cuba.

This the Reagan administration could not abide. Shortly after coming into office, Reagan officials invited anti-Sandinista exiles to a meeting in Honduras, where the administration forced anti-Somoza opponents of the government to submit to the leadership of elements of the dictator’s hated National Guard. Troops were immediately assembled across the border in Honduras, with U.S. aid helping to put everything in motion. The anti-Sandinista army, popularly known as the Contras, soon accosted government targets, with special attention reserved for government social service locations, like schools and hospitals. Soon, evidence of Contra atrocities began to accumulate.

In 1982, this evidence was so abundant that the U.S. Congress become convinced that funding for the Contras needed to be cut off. Abrams, fulminating over the tying of the United States’ hands in its battle against communism, immediately began looking for ways to overcome the ban on funding. One avenue came through soliciting funds from the Sultan of Brunei, whom Abrams convinced to donate $10 million to stopping communism in Nicaragua. But Oliver North’s secretary at the time fudged the transaction by copying the wrong numbers for the Swiss bank account to which the funds would be transferred, and the money ended up in the hands of an unusually virtuous Swiss businessman, who returned it, with interest.

For the rest of the 1980s, Abrams essentially ran interference for Oliver North and the other Iran-Contra spooks. For this role, he was eventually indicted, and plead guilty to withholding information from Congress in 1991. At a time when the drug war was in full swing, and draconian sentences were all the rage, Abrams was sentenced to 100 hours of community service. President George H.W. Bush then pardoned him, completing Abrams’ official redemption.

After the fall

By the time Abrams was pardoned, the world had changed considerably from the one in which he had been a leading cold warrior. The Soviet Union was no more, and Bill Clinton’s election had ended 12 years of Republican rule. Abrams needed a home in this new wilderness, and found one, ironically, in Ernest Lefever’s Ethics and Public Policy Center, which provided him with a comfortable sinecure. If Lefever’s views on racial fitness ever troubled Abrams, he didn’t comment on it.

As the locus of American geopolitics shifted from Central America to the Middle East, Abrams reoriented his concerns accordingly. He was a signatory (along with assorted neocons from Paul Wolfowitz to Francis Fukuyama) to the Project for the New American Century’s infamous 1998 letter to Bill Clinton urging regime change in Iraq. The letter helped inspire the Iraq Liberation Act, which Clinton signed that same year and helped initiate the bipartisan consensus for the eventual war on Iraq.

When George W. Bush was elevated to the presidency, Abrams found himself back on the inside. He was appointed to the National Security Council, and helped shape the administration’s Middle East strategy. He reportedly “lost” an Iranian peace proposal in 2003, and in 2006, helped shape the Fatah putsch against the democratically elected Hamas government in Palestine that helped lead to the current division between Gaza and the West Bank.

During Trump’s rise, in 2015 and 2016, Abrams was a reliable “never-Trumper,” backing Marco Rubio’s doomed candidacy. In early 2017, Abrams was under consideration to be number two in the State Department under Rex Tillerson. However, the Trump team, under Steve Bannon, reportedly got Elliott Abrams confused with Eliot Cohen, a different hardcore neoconservative, and blocked his appointment.

Now, thanks to Mike Pompeo’s appointment of Abrams as point person for the U.S. intervention in Venezuela, he’s back.

Liberal enablers

As Rep. Omar dragged Abrams’ ugly past into the spotlight, millions of Americans were alerted to the country’s bloody footprints in Latin America. The El Mozote massacre in particular received renewed attention. Yet even as Americans heard about this record for the first time, a number of voices spoke up to defend Abrams’ honor.

Some of these, like the neocon-turned-“resistance” member Max Boot, or the radical-turned-neocon Ronald Radosh, were predictable and uninspiring. Boot warned that Omar showcased the dangers of the “uber-progressive wing” of the Democratic Party, while Radosh compared her to white supremacist Rep. Steve King. National Review’s Jay Nordlinger put a bit more effort in, tweeting that “I’ve come back to my phone to find about 5,000 tweets libeling the great Elliott Abrams as a war criminal….I feel like I’m back in the dorm, listening to stoned undergrads repeat what they recently read in In These Times.” (Any stoned undergraduates reading this are invited to subscribe here).

More surprisingly, Abrams also found a number of liberal defenders. Kelly Magsamen, Vice President for National Security and International Policy at the Center for American Progress, called Abrams “a fierce advocate for human rights and democracy” who had made “serious professional mistakes.” Dave Harden, a former USAID administrator (and Biden 2020 supporter), agreed, describing Abrams as “a kind, thoughtful, non partisan mentor” and exhorting his followers to “see the best—rather than the worst—in people.” R. Nicholas Burns, a diplomat and Trump critic, also chimed in, declaring “It’s time to build bridges in America and not tear people down.” Edward Luce, the British liberal journalist and author of The Retreat of Western Liberalism, offered his support for poor beleaguered Abrams as well.

Abrams’ liberal defenders were, thankfully, met with a tidal wave of condemnation on Twitter, as hundreds of thousands of tweets denouncing Abrams filled their mentions. Harden petulantly told “the 170k twitter responders who pillared [sic] me as a war criminal in the last 24 hrs” that he’s “doubling down.” The impact Omar’s questioning had in galvanizing opposition to the bloody track record of American imperialism could hardly be clearer.

But why were there liberals defending Abrams in the first place? And not merely any liberals, but highly-credentialed figures in the liberal foreign policy establishment. The answer to this question reveals no small amount about the American foreign policy intelligentsia.

As several of Abrams’ defenders stated, they had worked directly with him. Whether at the State Department or the National Security Council, they had been part of the same body making and carrying out American foreign policy. But even outside of government, Abrams rubbed shoulders with establishment liberals in plenty of capacities. At the Council on Foreign Relations, a premier centrist foreign policy think tank, Abrams is an accredited CFR “expert” along with Clinton Administration officials Martin Indyk and Robert Rubin. On the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Committee on Conscience, he serves with liberal academics like Deborah Lipstadt and Timothy Snyder (as well as Nicholas Burns).

This latter appointment is particularly ironic, given Abrams’ lies on behalf of an outright fascist like d'Aubuisson. But Abrams made a habit of associating with truly despicable racists. As mentioned above, he worked for Ernest Lefever after his Iran-Contra disgrace. Abrams even married a particularly unhinged racist, the stepdaughter of neocon Norman Podhoretz. Rachel Abrams, who died in 2013, maintained a blog, “Bad Rachel,” where she offered reflections on the War on Terror such as the following:

[T]his is where I have begun to wonder whether it is possible to help these benighted forgeries of humanity save themselves from themselves—for after all, isn’t that the point, once we’ve beaten our enemy, of continuing the fight?—and, more to the point…whether the attempting to do so has been worth the lives…of all those great, valiant, heroic, wonderful, Americans who’ve given them for that cause.

Abrams’ links to disreputable characters like these, however, weren’t enough to disqualify him from association in the eyes of elite liberals. Once he made it inside the clubhouse gates, he established himself as a Serious Person, deserving of respect from the plebs. Foreign policy has always been the most mandarin wing of the U.S. state, and when elite liberals saw a properly credentialed and accomplished fellow of theirs under attack from the plebeians, they reacted quickly.

Analysts like Noam Chomsky have long insisted that there is more continuity than discontinuity when it comes to foreign policy in the United States. The bonhomie liberal elites exhibit towards Abrams is what this continuity means on the level of personnel. It’s the same people, working together, who carry out American foreign policy. This placid continuity, the disruption of which by Trump is a chief reason for the enmity he has earned from this camp, helps ensure that the ship of state remains on a steady course.

But Ilhan Omar’s refusal to let Abrams’ bloody past rest threatened that continuity. It suggested that the new generation of progressives and socialists will not be content to let their revolution stop at the nation’s borders. Much like Bernie Sanders’ declaration in a 2016 presidential debate that he was proud Henry Kissinger was not his friend, Omar’s questioning of Abrams signaled a radical break with the traditional etiquette of deference in foreign policy.

If this is the type of direct challenge to U.S. foreign policy that left-wing elected officials like Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sanders have planned, establishment liberals are right to be nervous.[2]


During Operation Condor the CIA supported right wing dictators who brutally killed tens of thousands of people, for the alleged purpose of “defeating communism.”[3] In actuality the purpose of Operation Condor was all about money. Right wing dictators were open to the neoliberal capitalist model the U.S. wanted so large U.S. corporations could make money exploiting new markets, cheap labor, and cheap natural resources.

Alexander Finnegan's answer to What was the most overlooked event of the Cold War?

Footnotes
Well...they may not be the perfect in all aspect but they are still the best if we compare it rest of the nations around the world...So now, the question would be to you, are you comparing US with Norway/Sweden kind of developing country or you are comparing with China?
 

vi-va

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Well...they may not be the perfect in all aspect but they are still the best if we compare it rest of the nations around the world...So now, the question would be to you, are you comparing US with Norway/Sweden kind of developing country or you are comparing with China?
upload_2020-4-14_8-36-37.png
 

Kaniska

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Again, you did not respond to my question...But i understand your point...

Human right issues is always used by a powerful nation to abuse and get control of their resources...And in specific, you can name it as USA...But it is also true that all these episodes happened outside of their own countries...In US itself, we have the legal and institutionalized protection where i have to confidence to fight against any kind of harassment being done to me, being a minority of this country...

China has a lot of great attributes...Many peoples, including Indian posters too, admire your rise to the world stage. The greatness of your rise is attributed to the hard work and determination of your people, unlike British who stole all the money and resources around the world....But every success has a dark underbelly too. You may have been developed and one of the rich nations of the world.....But your human right situation is questionable...Your media is officially restricted and it is impossible to even access whatever your claims about the situation of people is factually correct or not...Again, it is your country and your rule, you have every right to decide your destiny...But love and respect are not demanded...It is earned....For the time being, West will still be the leading nations who will be loved/respected for their stand with respect to human rights across the globe.
 

vi-va

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Again, you did not respond to my question...But i understand your point...

Human right issues is always used by a powerful nation to abuse and get control of their resources...And in specific, you can name it as USA...But it is also true that all these episodes happened outside of their own countries...In US itself, we have the legal and institutionalized protection where i have to confidence to fight against any kind of harassment being done to me, being a minority of this country...

China has a lot of great attributes...Many peoples, including Indian posters too, admire your rise to the world stage. The greatness of your rise is attributed to the hard work and determination of your people, unlike British who stole all the money and resources around the world....But every success has a dark underbelly too. You may have been developed and one of the rich nations of the world.....But your human right situation is questionable...Your media is officially restricted and it is impossible to even access whatever your claims about the situation of people is factually correct or not...Again, it is your country and your rule, you have every right to decide your destiny...But love and respect are not demanded...It is earned....For the time being, West will still be the leading nations who will be loved/respected for their stand with respect to human rights across the globe.
You simply can NOT declare human right while keeping killing and bombing innocent people everyday.
The basic human right is alive, food, clean water, air, security and personal safety, electricity, education, good living.

Dead man is dead man, no human right.

The western value brain washed Indians and the world so deep, they think something else is higher than basic human right, that's what we are today, chaos, wars, drugs, prostitutes, thieves, robbery, guns, everywhere.

You can claim whatever you want, China and Chinese are no fools.
 

tower9

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Again, you did not respond to my question...But i understand your point...

Human right issues is always used by a powerful nation to abuse and get control of their resources...And in specific, you can name it as USA...But it is also true that all these episodes happened outside of their own countries...In US itself, we have the legal and institutionalized protection where i have to confidence to fight against any kind of harassment being done to me, being a minority of this country...

China has a lot of great attributes...Many peoples, including Indian posters too, admire your rise to the world stage. The greatness of your rise is attributed to the hard work and determination of your people, unlike British who stole all the money and resources around the world....But every success has a dark underbelly too. You may have been developed and one of the rich nations of the world.....But your human right situation is questionable...Your media is officially restricted and it is impossible to even access whatever your claims about the situation of people is factually correct or not...Again, it is your country and your rule, you have every right to decide your destiny...But love and respect are not demanded...It is earned....For the time being, West will still be the leading nations who will be loved/respected for their stand with respect to human rights across the globe.
The communication skills of the Chinese people and Chinese government are terrible. I would classify it as Down Syndrome tier when you compare it to the Western world or even Russia.

I would say this is mostly an East Asian problem. I don't know if China can ever really fix this. Maybe they should hire some Jews.
 

Yankee-stani

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The communication skills of the Chinese people and Chinese government are terrible. I would classify it as Down Syndrome tier when you compare it to the Western world or even Russia.

I would say this is mostly an East Asian problem. I don't know if China can ever really fix this. Maybe they should hire some Jews.
You got me there till you said Jews,dont think Chinese Merchant qualities will make you equal to a Jew to them you are goyim
 

tower9

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You got me there till you said Jews,dont think Chinese Merchant qualities will make you equal to a Jew to them you are goyim
No doubt about that. I meant if China wanted to build a capable media presence, they'd probably need the mind of Jews to do it for them. LOL But that will come with a price. Haha
 

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