CNN reports that President Biden has nominated criminal neocon Elliott Abrams for a position on the United States Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy, which according to the US State Department is responsible for “appraising activities intended to understand, inform, and influence foreign publics” and pays “acute attention” to the US government’s official foreign propaganda arm, the US Agency for Global Media.
Usually when you hear someone called a “neocon” it’s not a strictly accurate description from a technical point of view and is frequently used to just mean “warmonger”, but Abrams is actually a proper PNAC neoconservative ideologue with deep ties to the old-school neocons of the 1970s, and has helped promote violent US imperialism in Latin America and the Middle East for decades.
In addition to serving as the Trump administration’s special representative for both Iran and Venezuela (two of the nations where Trump’s foreign policy was at its most murderous), Abrams is probably best known for confessing to his role in the criminal coverup of Iran-Contra during the Reagan administration. CNN — notoriously reluctant to criticize both US foreign policy and Democratic presidential administrations — was surprisingly critical on this point in its report on Biden’s nomination of Abrams to the position.
In an article titled “Biden nominates controversial former Trump-appointee to Public Diplomacy Commission,” CNN’s Jack Forrest writes the following:
Elliott Abrams, who has served in three Republican administrations, most recently acted as the Trump administration’s special envoy to Iran and Venezuela where he was tasked at the time with directing the campaign to replace Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro.
The Republican insider’s long history in foreign policy is marked by a 1991 guilty plea for withholding information about the Iran-Contra affair that earned him two misdemeanor counts, two years probation and 100 hours of community service — though his crimes were later pardoned by President George H.W. Bush.
The secret Iran-Contra operation, which took place during Abrams’ time as an assistant secretary of state in the Reagan administration, involved the funding of anti-communist rebels in Nicaragua using the proceeds from weapon sales to Iran despite a congressional ban on such funding.
Again in his role under former President Ronald Reagan, Abrams was also blasted by a Human Rights Watch report for his attempts in a February 1982 Senate testimony to downplay reports of the massacre of 1,000 people by US-trained-and-equipped military units in the Salvadoran town of El Mozote in December 1981 — the largest mass killing in recent Latin American history. He insisted the numbers of reported victims were “implausible” and “lavished praise” on the military battalion behind the mass killings — stances he doubled down on when they were put on display during a 2019 House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing by Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Minnesota Democrat, who used his history in Latin American to call into question his credibility.
When you’re so gross that even CNN is disgusted by you, you’re a special kind of gross.
As Forrest noted, this would be the fourth presidential administration that Abrams has been a part of, despite being a confessed crook and despite pushing for bloodshed at every opportunity in some of the US empire’s most notorious criminal actions. Abrams is such a cold-hearted killer that he openly admitted during a 1985 conference that the purpose of aiding the Contras in Nicaragua was “to permit people who are fighting on our side to use more violence,” and has promoted US military violence against Iraq, Syria and Iran with remarkable forcefulness throughout his career. The fact that someone so tyrannical, so corrupt and so unscrupulous keeps getting appointed to positions involved with US foreign policy tells you everything you need to know about the nature of US foreign policy.
It’s actually a damning indictment of our entire civilization that swamp monsters like Elliott Abrams remain esteemed members of society instead of reviled outcasts who can’t safely show their faces in public. They should be driven from every town they try to enter and unable to secure even entry-level jobs working for minimum wage, but instead they’re employed as high-profile pundits, think tankers and political officials providing expertise on some of the most consequential matters in the world.
To paraphrase a quote often attributed to Jiddu Krishnamurti, it is no measure of health to be well-rewarded in a profoundly sick society. Because our society is so profoundly sick, one of the fastest ways to fortune and esteem is to be as gross as Elliott Abrams. That’s how messed up you have to be inside to rise to prominence within the US power structure: willing to say and do whatever needs to be said and done in order to secure the continued dominance of a global empire that is sustained by human blood.
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Categories: Anti-Imperialism/Foreign Policy