12 Reasons to Try Elliott Abrams in the International Criminal Court

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In January 2019, Donald Trump appointed Elliott Abrams as “Special Envoy to Venezuela” to help facilitate regime change in that country by the United States. This nod marks Mr. Abrams’ third assignment in U.S. Republican administrations. The following is a brief background of his career, summarized from the article by Jon Schwarz “Elliott Abrams, Trump’s pick to bring ‘democracy’ to Venezuela, has spent his life crushing democracy” (Jan 30 2019, The Intercept) Adapted by Rachel Bruhnke, Witness for Peace Southwest

Elliott Abrams, CODEPINK

US Special Representative for Venezuela Elliott Abrams testifies as demonstrators protest behind him during the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee hearing on Venezuela at Capitol Hill in Washington, February 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

12 Reasons Elliott Abrams should be tried by the International Criminal Court, Not appointed by the Trump Administration as Special Envoy to Venezuela

1. Elliott Abrams, as assistant secretary of state for human rights and humanitarian affairs (1981-1995) in the Reagan administration:

  • Supported “Mafia-like oligarchies” in El Salvador and elsewhere and was directly complicit in “the methods of Heinrich Himmler’s extermination squads,” as stated in the Los Angeles Times.
  • Covered up the massacre of 800 Salvadorans in the village of El Mozote. The Salvadoran military unit was created and trained by the U.S. Army.
  • Called what he and the others in the Reagan administration had done as “a fabulous achievement.”

Elliott Abrams is a clear and present danger to Peace, Truth and Democracy.

2. Elliott Abrams was Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American affairs (1985-89) in the Reagan Administration:

  • Provided State Department cover-up of illegal funding of the U.S.-created Contra war against the Sandinistas in Nicaragua.
  • Lied voluminously to Congress during the Iran-Contra hearings on U.S. illegal involvement and funding of the Contra War against Nicaragua.
  • Later pled guilty to two counts of withholding information from Congress. He was unrepentant about his acts and about lying to Congress, and instead wrote that his prosecutors were “miserable, filthy bastards” and “bloodsuckers.”
  • Was pardoned by George H.W. Bush of lying to Congress about U.S. involvement in war crimes in Central America.

STORY: Pushing Back Against the Venezuela Coup-Plotters

Elliott Abrams is a clear and present danger to Peace, Truth and Democracy.

4. Elliott Abrams worked in the George W. Bush administration as senior director for democracy, human rights, and international operations for the National Security Council (2001-05), again providing cover for the U.S. war against Iraq.

  • Abrams played a key role in squelching a peace proposal from Iran in 2003, just after the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

Elliott Abrams is a clear and present danger to Peace, Truth and Democracy.

5. Elliott Abrams worked for George W. Bush administration as deputy national security adviser for global democracy strategy (2005-09):

  • Shored up the illegal U.S. pillaging of Iraqi wealth during the U.S. war against that country.
  • Attempted to thwart the outcome of the Palestinian elections in 2006. He hatched a plan to form a Fatah militia to take over the Gaza Strip in order to crush Hamas, who had won the elections. This involved a great deal of torture and executions. The Palestinian civil war split the West Bank and Gaza, weakening the Palestinian’s ability to negotiate peace and to advocate as a united people for their sovereignty and their rights under international law.

Elliott Abrams is a clear and present danger to Peace, Truth and Democracy.

7. Elliott Abrams called for the lifting of an embargo on U.S. arms shipments to Guatemala, defending Efraín Ríos Montt as having “brought considerable progress” to the war. Ríos Montt, who served as Guatemala’s president in the early 1980s, was found guilty in 2013, by Guatemala’s own justice system, of committing genocide against the country’s indigenous Mayans.

STORY: Coup Redux in Venezuela: ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised’

Elliott Abrams is a clear and present danger to Peace, Truth and Democracy.

8. Elliot Abrams was unrepentant about his lies and support of violent acts, and instead, referred to his prosecutors as “miserable, filthy bastards” and “bloodsuckers.” He was sentence of 100 hours of community service and later pardoned by President George H.W. Bush, himself a War Criminal.

Elliott Abrams is a clear and present danger to Peace, Truth and Democracy.

9. Elliott Abrams argued against hearings and covered up crimes of torture and mutilation by the Noriega Government in Panama, as Noriega was “being really helpful to us” with the Contra War, and was “really not that big a problem.”

Elliott Abrams is a clear and present danger to Peace, Truth and Democracy.

10. Elliott Abrams has in 1986 purposely endangered the life of Colombian journalist Patricia Lara by stating, with no evidence, on “60 Minutes” that Lara was a member of the “ruling committees” of M-19, a Colombian guerrilla movement. This painted a target on Lara’s back as right-wing paramilitary violence against Colombian reporters, was rampant and well-known.

Elliott Abrams is a clear and present danger to Peace, Truth and Democracy.

11. Elliott Abrams’s never-ending, shameless deceptions to the U.S. public wore down reporters, and as such, has weakened the press corps. Many journalists quit the profession in disgust because of the Reagan Administration’s lies under Abrams, leaving the public vulnerable to continued lies of subsequent administrations.

Elliott Abrams is a clear and present danger to Peace, Truth and Democracy.

12. Elliott Abrams was a co-conspirator of U.S. involvement in the 2002 coup against Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. As reported by the London Observer, “the crucial figure around the coup was Abrams” and he “gave a nod” to the plotters.


Ilhan Omar and Elliott Abrams have fiery exchange at House Foreign Affairs hearing

Elliott Abrams is a clear and present danger to Peace, Truth and Democracy.

Rachel Bruhnke is an urban farmer, mom, Latin America solidarity worker, Teacher.

Updated 16 February 2019

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