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Posts Tagged ‘Elliot Abrams’

The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity : Pompeo’s Iran Failures Make War More Likely

Posted by M. C. on August 24, 2020

Unfortunately for America, he followed through with this policy in 2018. Though he promised that by pulling out of the deal the US would get a far better deal in its place, the truth is Trump’s Iran policy has produced nothing but negative results. The Iranians have not knuckled down under the weight of Pompeo’s pressure, and putting regime change specialists like Elliot Abrams in charge of Iran policy has just moved us closer to an unnecessary war.

Iran is not a threat to the United States, no matter what lies the neocons put forth.

http://ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2020/august/24/pompeo-s-iran-failures-make-war-more-likely/?mc_cid=2556336bb2

Written by Ron Paul

The US foreign policy establishment has for decades been dominated by neoconservative interventionists and falsely-named “humanitarian” interventionists. These people believe that because the United States is the one “exceptional nation,” no conflict anywhere in the world could possibly be solved without our butting our noses into it.

One of President Obama’s few foreign policy successes was to work with European countries on a deal that would see a reduction of sanctions on Iran in exchange for a series of Iranian moves demonstrating its abandonment of a nuclear weapon.

The American neocons as well as the hardliners in Saudi Arabia and Israel were furious at the compromise, but for a couple of years it showed real promise. Trade between Europe and Iran was increasing and there was no evidence that Iran was reneging on its obligations. Even American companies were looking to Iran for business opportunities. Whenever goods flow between nations, war becomes less likely.

President Trump has had problems with policy consistency throughout his first term in office. But, unfortunately, his few policy consistencies have been the most ill-advised ones. On the campaign trail Trump relentlessly attacked Obama’s Iran policy and promised to pull the US out of the JCPOA Iran agreement.

Unfortunately for America, he followed through with this policy in 2018. Though he promised that by pulling out of the deal the US would get a far better deal in its place, the truth is Trump’s Iran policy has produced nothing but negative results. The Iranians have not knuckled down under the weight of Pompeo’s pressure, and putting regime change specialists like Elliot Abrams in charge of Iran policy has just moved us closer to an unnecessary war.

Iran is not a threat to the United States, no matter what lies the neocons put forth.

These past two weeks the weakness in the US “maximum pressure” policy toward Iran has been exposed for the world to see. First, Pompeo spent the summer lobbying European nations to support a US motion in the UN Security Council to extend an arms embargo against Iran. As Iran has been judged in compliance with the Iran deal, the arms embargo is scheduled to be lifted in October. Pompeo’s diplomatic skills did not produce the desired results: not a single party to the Iran nuclear deal voted with the US to extend the embargo.

Undeterred, the Trump Administration is now determined to trigger the “snap-back” sanctions on Iran, which means if Iran is judged to be in violation of the Iran nuclear agreement all the previous sanctions would snap back into place.

But there’s a problem with this: because the US has formally withdrawn from the Iran agreement it has no legal standing to trigger the “snap-back” of UN sanctions on Iran. If you take your marbles and go home, you don’t get to still dictate the rules of the game.

Last week Pompeo attempted to trigger the “snap-back” and was laughed out of the room by the countries who have remained in the deal.

US policy toward Iran is an unwise consistency and the Trump Administration is hopelessly floundering on the bad advice of the neocons. They want nothing more than war on Iran. But the American people do not. It’s time to end this failed policy of confrontation with Iran.


Copyright © 2020 by RonPaul Institute. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.
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‘Zombie Neocon’: How This Iran Contra Architect Is Leading Trump Policy | The American Conservative

Posted by M. C. on May 16, 2020

A little background on Abrams: when he served as Reagan’s assistant secretary of state for human rights, he concealed a massacre of a thousand men, women, and children by U.S.-funded death squads in El Salvador. He was also involved in the Iran Contra scandal, helping to secure covert funding for Contra rebels in Nicaragua in violation of laws passed by Congress. In 1991, he pled guilty to lying to Congress about the America’s role in those two fiascos—twice.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/zombie-neocon-how-this-iran-contra-architect-is-now-leading-trump-policy/

Hawk Elliot Abrams, reborn as a U.S. envoy, is at the spear point of recent aggressive moves in Venezuela.

US Special Representative for Venezuela Elliot Abrams addresses the Atlantic Council on the future of Venezuela in Washington, DC, on April 25, 2019. (Photo credit NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images)

As we await answers on who funded the plot to use a handful of mercenaries and ex-Green Berets to oust Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, it’s worth taking a closer look at the man behind regime change policy, the special envoy on Venezuela, Elliott Abrams.

Called the “neocon zombie” by officials at the State Department, Abrams is known as an operator who doesn’t let anything stand in his way. He has a long history of pursuing disastrous policies in government.

“Everything Abrams is doing now is the same thing he was doing during the Reagan administration. He’s very adept at manipulating the levers of power without a lot of oversight,” a former senior official at the State Department told The American Conservative. The official added that Abrams is “singularly focused” on pursuing regime change in Venezuela.

A little background on Abrams: when he served as Reagan’s assistant secretary of state for human rights, he concealed a massacre of a thousand men, women, and children by U.S.-funded death squads in El Salvador. He was also involved in the Iran Contra scandal, helping to secure covert funding for Contra rebels in Nicaragua in violation of laws passed by Congress. In 1991, he pled guilty to lying to Congress about the America’s role in those two fiascos—twice.

But then-president George H.W. Bush pardoned Abrams. He went on to support “measures to scuttle the Latin American peace process launched by the Costa Rican president, Óscar Arias” and use “the agency’s money to unseat the Sandinistas in Nicaragua’s 1990 general elections,” according to Brian D’Haeseleer.

Under President George W. Bush, Abrams promoted regime change in Iraq.

Abrams was initially blocked from joining the Trump administration on account of a Never Trump op-ed he’d penned. But Secretary of State Mike Pompeo succeeded in bringing him onboard last year, despite his history of support for disastrous regime change policies.

It’s no surprise that with Abrams at the helm, U.S. rhetoric and actions towards Venezuela are constantly “escalating,” Dr. Alejandro Velasco, associate professor of Modern Latin America at New York University, said an interview with TAC.

In just the last month, Washington has placed bounties on the heads of President Nicolás Maduro and a dozen current and former Venezuelan officials. The U.S. also deployed the largest fleet ever to the Southern Hemisphere.

Meanwhile, Abrams announced the “Democratic Transition Framework for Venezuela,” which calls on Maduro’s government to embrace a power-sharing deal. The plan doesn’t explain how Venezuelan leaders with bounties on their heads are supposed to come to the table and negotiate with Juan Guaido, whom the U.S. recognizes as Venezuela’s legitimate leader. Abrams has also said that the U.S. does not support a coup.

A few days after recommending a power-sharing arrangement, and 18 years after the U.S. backed a putsch against Hugo Chavez, Abrams warned that if Maduro resisted the organization of a “transitional government,” his departure would be far more “dangerous and abrupt.” To many, Abrams’ aggressive rhetoric against Maduro made it sound like the U.S. was “effectively threatening him with another assassination attempt,” like the one Washington had “tacitly supported” in 2018.

Two weeks after Abrams’ warning, Operation Gideon began. Jordan Goudreau, an American citizen, former Green Beret, and three-time Bronze Star recipient for bravery in Iraq and Afghanistan, along with Javier Nieto, a retired Venezuelan military captain, posted a video from an undisclosed location saying they had launched an attack that was meant to begin a rebellion that would lead to Maduro’s arrest and the installation of Juan Guaido.

In a public relations coup for Maduro, the plot was quickly foiled. Given that American citizens were involved and have produced a contract allegedly signed by Guaido, the incident has severely harmed the reputations of both the U.S. and the Venezuelan opposition.

Both President Trump and Pompeo have denied that the U.S. had any “direct” involvement with Goudreau’s plot.

However, the Trump administration has given billions of dollars from USAID to Venezuela, and that money is largely untraceable due to concerns about outing supporters of Guaido.

“With all the cash and arms sloshing around in Venezuela,” it is not hard to imagine how U.S. funding could inadvertently wind up supporting something like this, said Velasco.

There are other signs that the U.S. may have been more involved in the plot than they are saying publicly.

For one, American mercenaries don’t carry passports identifying themselves as American nor do they return to the U.S. where they can be brought up on charges for their work, said Sean McFate, professor of war and strategy at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and the National Defense University.

In order to sell weapons or training to another nation, it is necessary to receive permission from the State Department. It’s unclear whether Goudreau and his band did so. But Goudreau’s social media posts look like a pretty “clear cut” violation of the International Convention Against the Recruitment, Financing and Training of Mercenaries and the U.S. International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR) said Peter Singer, a senior fellow at New America.

We know that months before the fated coup, the CIA met with Goudreau in Jamaica and allegedly warned him off the project. According to the AP, Goudreau is now under investigation for arms trafficking. Members of Congress have asked the State Department what they knew of Goudreau’s plans. Given the illegal nature of the supposedly unauthorized project, it’s very strange that the ringleader is at present in Florida, talking to the press and posting on social media.

Besides that warning, it seems no one in government tried to stop this calamitous operation.

And it’s not just regime change. Last year, Abrams advocated granting special immigration status for the 70,000 Venezuelans residing illegally in the U.S. as a way to “pressure Maduro” even though Trump ran on the promise to severely limit the number of people granted Temporary Protected Status.

It was in pursuit of special status for Venezuelans that Abrams showed himself to be “incredibly pompous, bull-headed, and willing to destroy anyone who opposes him, in a personal way, including by trashing their reputations in the media,” another senior State Department official told TAC. Abrams is not above hiding policy options he doesn’t like and offering only those he favors to Pompeo to present to Trump, sources said.

Abrams ultimately prevailed and Venezuelans received refugee status from the Trump administration, despite the fact that it betrayed Trump’s campaign promises.

According to Velasco, there are some people in the administration who believe that Venezuelans are the “new Cubans”—that they will become a solid, loyal Republican vote in the swing state of Florida if they’re granted special status. They also believe that Venezuelan expats want to see the U.S. remove Maduro. There are “many Cold Warriors” who believe all it will take is a “little push” for Venezuelans to rise up and take out Maduro, said Velasco.

The State Department did not respond to a request for comment on whether Abrams is pursuing a military confrontation in Venezuela.

“Cold Warrior” beliefs are dangerous. While “Operation Gideon” was especially clownish, had it been more sophisticated, it could have easily sparked a world war. The Russians, Iranians, and Chinese are all operating in Venezuela.

That specter is even more concerning now that Russia’s Foreign Minister Lavrov has said that Russian special services are on standby to help Venezuela’s investigation of the mercenaries.

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The US Tried to Isolate Venezuela. It has Only Isolated Itself | Venezuelanalysis.com

Posted by M. C. on March 5, 2019

https://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/14359

Alan MacLeod examines how Trump team’s increasingly hare-brained schemes at trying to overthrow the government are backfiring.

By Alan MacLeod – Venezuelanalysis

It is no secret that the United States has long been plotting regime change in Venezuela. For over 18 months President Trump has been publicly floating a military invasion of the country. At a speech in Florida President Trump recently announced “the days of socialism and communism are numbered in Venezuela” ominously stating “one day soon we are going to see what the people will do in Caracas.” Vice President Mike Pence declared President Nicolas Maduro a “dictator” and reiterated that self-declared president Juan Guaidó had the “unwavering support” of the American people. In an attempt to destroy the economy and force Maduro out of power, the US has leveled multiple rounds of punishing (and illegal) sanctions on the country, and encouraged and intimidated others to do the same in an effort to isolate Venezuela politically and economically.

The US managed to convince a number of Western European and Latin American states to back their version of events. However, despite the best attempts from an extraordinarily compliant international media to present Venezuela as an isolated nation on the brink of collapse, the US plan is failing badly.

In reality, the international community has rejected the US and its candidate Juan Guaidó, with around 75 percent of countries expressing support for Maduro. Completely unreported in the media was the decision by the UN Human Rights Council to unequivocally condemn the US sanctions, noting that they are targeted at the poorest and most vulnerable Venezuelans. The UN called on all member states to break them and even discussed the reparations the US should pay to Venezuela. The American Special UN Rapporteur Alfred de Zayas described the sanctions as akin to a medieval siege and accused the US of possible crimes against humanity. This startling news has been widely reported internationally but has been virtually completely ignored by the mainstream Western press. The New York Times, CNN, Washington Post nor any other national American publication has reported it.

Trump’s regime change strategy has been nothing short of comically incompetent. Marco Rubio’s constant calls for the Venezuelan military to defect and overthrow Maduro have fallen completely flat as the military has remained steadfastly loyal. The UN and Red Cross refused to participate in the charade of American “humanitarian aid” to Venezuela, noting it did not meet the minimal requirements to be considered aid while Maduro’s government has been only too happy to work with those agencies to receive genuine assistance. The US attempt to force its “aid” through the border and provoke a bloodbath failed, as the supposedly pro-democracy aid workers appear to have set fire to their own aid trucks. Meanwhile, billionaire celebrity Richard Branson’s Venezuela Aid Live concert, headlined by massive stars like Luis Fonsi and Maluma garnered an attendance of barely a few thousand. Read the rest of this entry »

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Forever War, Evermore: The Congressional Left Saves NATO, Trump Goes Empire First – Antiwar.com Original

Posted by M. C. on February 1, 2019

Abrams is among the most rabid neocon interventionists to ever ply his trade in Washington and was one of the chief architects of the disastrous US invasion of Iraq in 2003. In a national capital that was not obsessed with the business of Empire, Abrams would not be given the time of day.

So there you have it. The progressive Left is now defining the nitwit warmongering neocon, Nikki Haley, as a hero!

https://original.antiwar.com/david_stockman/2019/01/31/forever-war-evermore-the-congressional-left-saves-nato-trump-goes-empire-first/

by 

The past week has brought still more evidence that America is fiscally doomed owing to the twin burdens of the Welfare State and Warfare State. The latter, of course, is demographically and politically immovable owing to the coming tsunami of Baby Boom retirements and the absolute cowardice of the GOP when it comes to curtailing the social security and medical entitlements and performing its job as the tribune of fiscal rectitude in American democracy.

But the Warfare State’s grip on the nation’s finances is no less forbidding, as we learned from two new outbreaks of Empire First in Washington. That is, the Donald’s embrace of gung-ho interventionism in Venezuela and the 100% vote of the newly elected liberal firebrands in the U.S. House for preservation of NATO… Read the rest of this entry »

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