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OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 3/2/19

Russia, China veto US Venezuela Resolution in Security Council; Elliott Abrams' role in the 1981 Massacre El Salvador

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"More than 900 peasants were murdered in and around several villages in the eastern province of Morazan. Most were old men, women, and children. At the Roman Catholic church in El Mozote, soldiers separated men from their families, took them away, and shot them. They herded mothers and children into the convent. Putting their American-supplied M-16 rifles on automatic, the soldiers opened fire. Then they burned the convent. Some 140 children were killed, including toddlers. Average age: 6.

My reporting and Susan's pictures appeared in the New York Times, and Alma's reporting in the Washington Post, in January 1982.

Immediately, the administration attacked us and sought to deny the stories, calling them guerrilla propaganda. The reports were not credible, Abrams said.

As Abrams put it, El Mozote "appears to be an incident that is at least being significantly misused, at the very best, by the guerrillas." So the murder of hundreds of children became a mere "incident."

A few months after the Archbishop Romero killing, a Salvadoran soldier had gone to the American embassy and told a young political officer, Carl Gettinger, that D'Aubuisson had presided over a meeting at which the assassination was plotted and soldiers had drawn straws to see who would carry it out.

This had been duly reported to Washington, and other intelligence placed D'Aubuisson "at the center" of death-squad activity, as a senior diplomat in El Salvador put it at the time. In this period, El Salvador was the top foreign-policy issue, and Abrams was a senior State Department official.

Years later, he called U.S. policy toward El Salvador a "fabulous achievement."

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Who, precisely, is Elliott Abrams?

He was a former U.S. diplomat convicted in the Iran-Contra scandal, mostly recently appointed as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's new special envoy for Venezuela. From a Reuters story last Friday: Pompeo told the press: "Elliott will be a true asset to our mission to help the Venezuelan people fully restore democracy and prosperity to their country."

Pompeo said Abrams would accompany him to the United Nations on Saturday for a Security Council meeting on Venezuela. According to Reuters, Abrams told reporters the current situation in Venezuela-where current President Nicolas Maduro faces massive opposition protests-"deep, difficult and dangerous."

Going back a few years, Abrams was convicted of two counts of "withholding information from Congress" during the Iran-Contra scandal while working as assistant secretary of state in the Reagan administration. He was later pardoned by President George H.W. Bush, and worked for President George W. Bush as a national-security advisor.

This, despite his complicity in the destruction of so much in El Salvador in that troubled time in 1981, replete with right wing death squads killing whole villages, and leading up to the (probably US sanctioned) assassination of Archbishop Romero while he was saying Mass, and that led to full scale Civil War.

Earlier this week, in discussions leading up to today's vote, speaking for the US, Elliott Abrams, the Trump administration's special representative for Venezuela, called on the members of the Security Council to "pressure the illegitimate regime to peacefully step down", accusing Maduro of preferring to "block and burn donated medicine and bread than see it in the hands of Venezuelan children."

Russia's representative to the United Nations, Vassily Nebenzia, countered by painting US-backed efforts to deliver aid at the weekend as "an attempted illegal state border crossing for the delivery of unknown cargo", adding that the aid had not been requested by the Venezuelan government.

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