Posted: 3:04 am EST
Via Japan’s The Asahi Shimbun:
Posted: 3:04 am EST
Via Japan’s The Asahi Shimbun:
Posted: 2:45 am EST
After thirty or so years, Elliot Abrams is back at the State Department. This time as the Trump Administration’s Special Envoy for Venezuela (see @SecPompeo Appoints Elliott Abrams, Iran-Contra Figure to “Help” Restore Democracy in Venezuela).
On February 13, together with Sandra Oudkirk, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Energy Resources at the State Department and USAID’s Steve Olive, the Acting Assistant Administrator for the Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean, Mr. Abrams appeared before the House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) to talk about Venezuela at a Crossroads.
Note that the State Department’s WHA’s Deputy Assistant Secretary in charge of Venezuela did not testify at this hearing.
Protesters interrupted Mr. Abrams testimony, and the grilling he received from Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn) received much commentary. For those too young to remember the old times, see Brown University’s Understanding the Iran-Contra Affairs, a project developed from its applied ethics and public policy course on Good Government.
It is likely that this is not an isolated incident; that every time Mr. Abrams appear before a committee in Congress, or before the media that his past will never be too far away; he may have been pardoned but he has not been forgotten. Even when he is there to talk about Venezuela, people will ask him questions about Iran-Contra, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, human rights, El Mozote, etc. etc. etc.
Which makes one wonder why he was appointed to this job in the first place. Whatever message there is will pale in the presence of the messenger.
On February 14, Cuba accused the U.S. of moving special forces in preparation for a Venezuelan intervention under the pretext of a humanitarian crisis. Reuters reported that that Special Envoy Elliott Abrams was asked about the Cuban statement at an event in Washington, and he said “it is a new lie.”
Besides Mr. Weinberger, the President pardoned Robert C. McFarlane, the former national security adviser, and Elliott Abrams, the former assistant Secretary of State for Central America. Both officials had pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of withholding information from Congress about support for the contras.
But not since President Gerald R. Ford granted clemency to former President Richard M. Nixon for possible crimes in Watergate has a Presidential pardon so pointedly raised the issue of whether the President was trying to shield officials for political purposes. Mr. Walsh invoked Watergate tonight in an interview on the ABC News program “Nightline,” likening today’s pardons to President Richard M. Nixon’s dismissal of the Watergate special prosecutor, Archibald Cox, in 1973. Mr. Walsh said Mr. Bush had “succeeded in a sort of Saturday Night Massacre.”
Democratic lawmakers assailed the decision. Senator George J. Mitchell of Maine, the Democratic leader, called the action a mistake. “It is not as the President stated today a matter of criminalizing policy differences,” he said. “If members of the executive branch lie to the Congress, obstruct justice and otherwise break the law, how can policy differences be fairly and legally resolved in a democracy.”
The main supporters of the pardon were Vice President Quayle, the Senate Republican leader, Bob Dole, and Mr. Gray, one senior Administration official said today. The decision, discussed in private, seemed to coalesce in the last three weeks although Mr. Bush was said to believe that Mr. Weinberger had been unfairly charged ever since the former Reagan Cabinet officer was first indicted in June.
Throughout the deliberations, Mr. Bush consulted with Attorney General William P. Barr and Brent Scowcroft, the national security adviser, who had sat on a Presidential review panel that examined the affair in early 1987.
— CSPAN (@cspan) February 13, 2019
Exchange between Rep. @IlhanMN and Elliott Abrams: "I fail to understand why members of this committee of the American people should find any testimony that you give today to be truthful." pic.twitter.com/n8aMbH1g3G
— CSPAN (@cspan) February 13, 2019
It's really something to watch Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) go after Elliott Abrams. She was 6 years old, and in Somalia, when he was first in the State Dept, coordinating U.S. involvement in El Salvador & Nicaragua; she was 11 when he was pardoned. And now: https://t.co/OZdNqci8kJ
— Dan Zak (@MrDanZak) February 13, 2019
Elliott Abrams’s most notable lies came during an exchange about his actions as assistant secretary of state in the 1980s during the Reagan administration. https://t.co/9fiiyYGXF7
— The Intercept (@theintercept) February 14, 2019
On October 3, the International Court of Justice, the principal judicial organ of the United Nations issued a ruling on the Alleged Violations of the 1955 Treaty of Amity, Economic Relations, and Consular Rights (Islamic Republic of Iran v. United States of America). Excerpt via:
(1) unanimously, that the United States of America, in accordance with its obligations under the 1955 Treaty of Amity, Economic Relations, and Consular Rights, must remove, by means of its choosing, any impediments arising from the measures announced on 8 May 2018 to the free exportation to the territory of the Islamic Republic of Iran of (i) medicines and medical devices; (ii) foodstuffs and agricultural commodities; and (iii) spare parts, equipment and associated services (including warranty, maintenance, repair services and inspections) necessary for the safety of civil aviation;
(2) unanimously, that the United States of America must ensure that licences and necessary authorizations are granted and that payments and other transfers of funds are not subject to any restriction in so far as they relate to the goods and services referred to in point (1);
(3) unanimously, that both Parties must refrain from any action which might aggravate or extend the dispute before the Court or make it more difficult to resolve.
MULTIMEDIA: photos and videos of the delivery of the #ICJ Order on the Request for the indication of provisional measures submitted by Iran in the case of the Treaty of Amity (#Iran v. #UnitedStates) https://t.co/50nOLqVFUO pic.twitter.com/D7RZYrmHqw
— CIJ_ICJ (@CIJ_ICJ) October 3, 2018
The Trump Administration responded by pulling out the United States from the 1955 Treaty of Amity with Iran (PDF) and from the 1961 Optional Protocol on Dispute Resolution to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (PDF). The latter in connection with a case that challenges the USG’s move of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, according to NSA John Bolton. Per transcript of the WH Briefing, Mr. Bolton said that “The United States remains a party to the underlying Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and we expect all other parties to abide by their international obligations under the Convention.”
National security adviser John Bolton says the Trump administration would review all accords that might subject the U.S. to prosecution by international courts or panels. On Wednesday, the U.S. pulled out of two such pacts, including one with Iran. https://t.co/2w15cbjqgr
— AP Politics (@AP_Politics) October 4, 2018
.@SecPompeo: In light of how #Iran has abused the @cij_icj as a form for attacking the United States, I am therefore announcing today that the United States is terminating the Treaty of Amity with Iran. pic.twitter.com/AlPqUswsBC
— Department of State (@StateDept) October 3, 2018
In somewhat of a Freudian slip, the DoS tweets that the US is withdrawing from the "Treaty of Enmity" instead of the "Treaty of Amity". They have since corrected the tweet. pic.twitter.com/8AbiLPVBqK
— Ala Hashemi-Haeri (@AlaHashemi) October 3, 2018
John Bolton: Pres. Trump has decided U.S. "will withdraw from the optional protocol and dispute resolution to the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations."
Bolton says the move is in connection with case "brought by the so-called state of Palestine" challenging embassy move. pic.twitter.com/9spQojmQen
— ABC News (@ABC) October 3, 2018
yes, one of the most widely accepted treaties, and critical to diplomacy. In fact, the US used it to sue Iran over the taking of hostages. https://t.co/KvYp77zfuh Bolton has a plan, which he is executing, to systematically undermine multilateralism. Yo, @SenBobCorker !!!
— james gibney (@jamesgibney) October 4, 2018
Big news, even though some would be surprised to learn we've even had a Treaty of Amity with #Iran all this time. Two #ICJ suits recently brought by Iran vs. US under the Treaty, although US has also brought suit vs. Iran in the past, notably w/r/t Teheran hostage crisis. https://t.co/1yGqKXzrnh
— Chimene Keitner (@KeitnerLaw) October 3, 2018
Scrapping the Treaty of Amity is one thing–long contemplated, and perhaps overdue. VCDR Optional Protocol is another issue altogether. Can't overstate reciprocity implications. This is other shoe dropping post-VCCR Optional Protocol withdrawal in 2005. h/t @eliavl
— Chimene Keitner (@KeitnerLaw) October 3, 2018
I see this as an important symbolic and practical safety net for ensuring proper treatment of US diplomats. I'm open to persuasion that a careful cost/benefit analysis shows we lose more than we gain overall from the OP, but I see Bolton as a wrecking ball, not a careful analyst.
— Chimene Keitner (@KeitnerLaw) October 3, 2018
ICYMI, read the following from Chimène Keitner who previously served as Counselor on International Law in the State Department:
Sovereignty on Steroids: International Institutions and the Trump Administration’s “Ideology of Patriotism” https://t.co/pI2fDthhIB
— Diplopundit (@Diplopundit) October 4, 2018
Ambassador Prudence Bushnell’s book, Terrorism, Betrayal, and Resilience: My Story of the 1998 U.S. Embassy Bombings will be available on October 1. On October 2, ADST-DACOR will hold a book launch at the DACOR Bacon House. This is the 65th volume in the ADST-DACOR Diplomats and Diplomacy Series.
Date: October 2
Time: 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
To RSVP please email: email@example.com if you plan to attend the reception (free of charge)
Via Amazon: On August 7, 1998, three years before President George W. Bush declared the War on Terror, the radical Islamist group al-Qaeda bombed the American embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, where Prudence Bushnell was serving as U.S. ambassador. Terrorism, Betrayal, and Resilience is her account of what happened, how it happened, and its impact twenty years later.
When the bombs went off in Kenya and neighboring Tanzania that day, Congress was in recess and the White House, along with the entire country, was focused on the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Congress held no hearings about the bombings, the national security community held no after-action reviews, and the mandatory Accountability Review Board focused on narrow security issues. Then on September 11, 2001, al-Qaeda attacked the U.S. homeland and the East Africa bombings became little more than an historical footnote.
Terrorism, Betrayal, and Resilience is Bushnell’s account of her quest to understand how these bombings could have happened given the scrutiny bin Laden and his cell in Nairobi had been getting since 1996 from special groups in the National Security Council, the FBI, the CIA, and the NSA. Bushnell tracks national security strategies and assumptions about terrorism and the Muslim world that failed to keep us safe in 1998 and continue unchallenged today. In this hard-hitting, no-holds-barred account she reveals what led to poor decisions in Washington and demonstrates how diplomacy and leadership going forward will be our country’s most potent defense.
“Ambassador Prudence Bushnell is a true professional with the toughness, grit, courage, and compassion that marks the kind of superb leader you want in charge during a crisis. I witnessed her remarkable composure, even when personally injured, and her take-command leadership style. This book is important for many reasons. It vividly presents a profile in courage; an understanding rarely appreciated about our foreign service men and women working in difficult assignments; a set of valuable lessons learned; and a case study in leadership during crisis. Every American should read this book.”—Gen. Anthony C. Zinni, U.S. Marine Corps (Ret.)
A follow-up to Trump-Putin Summit Fallout: POTUS Entertains Proposal For Russia to Question Ex-US Amb Mike McFaul. The Senate has just passed a 98-0 resolution against making available for Russian questioning current or former diplomats as well as other officials of the United States Government. The White House has now released a statement about Putin’s proposal that the President of the United States purportedly disagreed with but had previously called “an incredible offer.”
See July 19 update below via VOA with Secretary Pompeo saying “It’s not going to happen,” then added that “”President Trump was very clear – we’re not gonna force Americans to go to Russia to be interrogated by the Russians.”
BREAKING: Senate unanimously PASSES (98-0) a resolution expressing opposition to allowing Russia to interview US diplomats and agents, a proposal offered by Putin on Monday and rejected just this afternoon by the White House.
Here's the text of the resolution: pic.twitter.com/oB6aTxnYts
— Frank Thorp V (@frankthorp) July 19, 2018
Adopted, 98-0: S.Res.584, Questioning of US officials by Putin government (Schumer Resolution)
— Senate Cloakroom (@SenateCloakroom) July 19, 2018
98-0. Bipartisanship is not dead yet in the US Senate. Thank you all for your support.
— Michael McFaul (@McFaul) July 19, 2018
The White House cannot let another day pass without unequivocally rejecting Russia’s absurd request to interrogate @McFaul and other officials. Merely entertaining this idea betrays our diplomats, undermines our interests, and hands Putin yet another propaganda victory.
— Madeleine Albright (@madeleine) July 19, 2018
The administration needs to make it unequivocally clear that in a million years this wouldn't be under consideration, period. Full stop. Not something that should require a half second of consultation. Dangerous. https://t.co/5smobXDnkc
— John Kerry (@JohnKerry) July 19, 2018
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) July 19, 2018
For the third consecutive day, another walk back from the White House@PressSec now says @realDonaldTrump disagrees with Putin's proposal to have Russians interview the 12 indicted Russians.
The president had called it "an incredible offer"
Here's the statement just released pic.twitter.com/ifCSoB65a4
— Cecilia Vega (@CeciliaVega) July 19, 2018
The notion that this proposal was made in “sincerity” by President Putin, and that President Trump disagreed with it is actually laughable. Were that true, the Press Secretary could have said immediately that the president pushed back hard against that proposal. This White House must really think we’re all dumb as rocks.
This was a no brainer. Ambassador McFaul, and the other officials that Russia wanted to question may not have been employees of this president, but they were employees and representatives of the United States of America, not of the Democratic Party (despite what this president might think or believe). The fact that this was even offered as a proposal tells us just what Putin think of this President. And the fact this President Trump did not push back and even appeared to consider it is horrifying.
So instead, the Press Secretary announced from the podium that the president “would work with his team” — excuse me, to do what exactly? And now the Press Secretary is saying that while President Trump disagreed with Putin’s proposal, “hopefully President Putin will have the 12 identified Russians come to the United States to prove their innocence or guilt.” That proposal was supposedly in exchange for the questioning of USG individuals. And now all they have left is “hoping” that Putin will go ahead with the proposal anyway?
Holy caramba! No wonder Putin is laughing his head off; he’s playing chess against our White House playing find the shortest toothpick.
— Steve Herman (@W7VOA) July 19, 2018
"Work with his team"means he's considering it? Well, that's just outrageous and super bonkers! https://t.co/iPHWtRzd67
— Diplopundit (@Diplopundit) July 18, 2018
“If the U.S. would make a former diplomat avail for questioning by a foreign government without evidence of wrongdoing, then that would be quite horrifying” —former ambassador to Afghanistan and current president of the American Academy of Diplomacy https://t.co/IUW2Vvi7Oe
— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) July 18, 2018
Question U.S. citizens in Russia's crosshairs for exposing a massive money-laundering scheme and its deadly cover-up, sparking legislation (The Magnitsky Act) and federal prosecution (Prevezon case).
Trump won't rule out endangering those who advanced U.S. policy to aid Putin's. https://t.co/JUorwPGO3L
— Adam Klasfeld (@KlasfeldReports) July 18, 2018
A reminder that the context in which Putin is proposing questioning McFaul is retaliation at Bill Browder over the Magnitsky Act. Here's how Putin put it in Helsinki. pic.twitter.com/hiYjHbKeMj
— Spencer Ackerman (@attackerman) July 18, 2018
For those keeping score at home, this means Putin asked the President to let him get his hands on a former US ambassador to Russia, @McFaul, and man who successfully lobbied for one of the primary sanctions against Russia. And the WH can’t say how POTUS responded. Remarkable. https://t.co/Ly3vPuP2vS
— David Sanger (@SangerNYT) July 18, 2018
I am not an "associate" of Bill Browder. I am the former US ambassador to Russia. Putin is seeking to arrest a former Ambassador. Please understand how outrageous this act is, discussed no less between our two presidents https://t.co/A1pPQZr9dJ
— Michael McFaul (@McFaul) July 18, 2018
VIDEO: @StateDept spokesperson Heather Nauert calls Russian request to question former US Ambassador to Russia Michael @McFaul and other American citizens "absolutely absurd."
View the full video via State Dept. Youtube channel:https://t.co/KbD6nzIKvq pic.twitter.com/B2GHYLbDJJ
— Mike Carter-Conneen (@MikeCConTV) July 18, 2018
summit meeting between President Trump and Russian President Putin finally happened today in Helsinki with no American officials in attendance as observers or notetakers, only interpreters. The interpreter for the USG side is Marina Gross.
After a whole morning trapped in the vomitorium, we finally surfaced for air and some coffee. That joint press conference frankly was more bonkers than the SBC show we watched last night. After picking up our jaw from the floor, we saw that the Department of Justice this morning also unsealed a criminal complaint in the District of Columbia charging Maria Butina, a Russian national residing in Washington, D.C. with conspiracy to act as an agent of the Russian Federation within the United States.
I’m still sick to my stomach. We’ll remember this Helsinki moment in the future.
Lavrov, asked how the summit went, responds:
"Fabulous…better than super." https://t.co/Ah7IbiWit0
— Anton Troianovski (@antontroian) July 16, 2018
Trump and Putin entered their one-on-one meeting two hours ago. It was scheduled to last 1.5 hours but is still ongoing,a Finnish official says. There are no other advisers or note-takers in the room, other than two interpreters. pic.twitter.com/ur9YIqKg6A
— Jeff Mason (@jeffmason1) July 16, 2018
Reporter to @POTUS: Just now, President Putin denied having anything to do with the election interference in 2016. Every U.S. intelligence agency has concluded that Russia did. My first question for you sir is, who do you believe? https://t.co/ayZoKGvWxk pic.twitter.com/b5ad79963g
— CBS News (@CBSNews) July 16, 2018
Trump was asked if he would, “with the whole world watching,” denounce what Russia did in 2016 and warn Putin to never do it again.
He did not. pic.twitter.com/j1GDAUGgHz
— VICE News (@vicenews) July 16, 2018
AP's @JonLemire: "Do you, does the Russian government have any compromising material on President Trump or his family?"
— Richard Hine (@richardhine) July 16, 2018
Reporter: Did you want Trump to win the election, and did you direct any officials to help him?
— TicToc by Bloomberg (@tictoc) July 16, 2018
bbc homepage pic.twitter.com/FKoeaPcOAF
— Philip Gourevitch (@PGourevitch) July 16, 2018
"I think it's a good start. A very, very good start for everybody," said Pres Trump of his one-on-one with Pres Putin. US delegation includes @SecPompeo, WH Chief of Staff John Kelly, US Amb to Russia Jon Huntsman, NSC Dir of Russian Affairs Fiona Hill, interpretor Marina Gross. pic.twitter.com/oFqhEaxIjM
— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) July 16, 2018
— Mark Stone (@Stone_SkyNews) July 16, 2018
Former U.S. Ambassador to Russia William J. Burns doesn't mince his words on the Trump/Putin summit: "I think that press conference was the single most embarrassing performance by an American president on the world stage that I've ever seen." https://t.co/tQzciloNCn
— Christiane Amanpour (@camanpour) July 16, 2018
"Never before have I seen an American president consistently, repeatedly, publicly, and shockingly advance the interests of another country over those of his own government and people," writes @JamesFallows: https://t.co/3yVghW9q9K
— TheAtlanticPolitics (@TheAtlPolitics) July 16, 2018
— David Frum (@davidfrum) July 16, 2018
Brushback pitch from DNI Dan Coats saying IC had “been clear in our assessments of Russian meddling in the 2016 election & their ongoing, pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy & we will continue to provide unvarnished & objective intel in support of our national sec.” pic.twitter.com/F5JaLnlpD6
— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) July 16, 2018
WATCH: U.S. Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman says the Trump-Putin meeting "isn’t a summit" #MTP #IfItsSunday@jonhuntsman: "You don't know what's going to come out of this meeting" with Putin pic.twitter.com/OrS2vEMqA7
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) July 15, 2018
As part of the "low expectations" that Pres Trump says he has for the Putin summit, US officials are admonishing reporters not to call it a "summit." US Amb to Russia Jon Huntsman told @MeetThePress "it isn't a summit. It's a meeting."
— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) July 15, 2018
Heading to Helsinki, Finland – looking forward to meeting with President Putin tomorrow. Unfortunately, no matter how well I do at the Summit, if I was given the great city of Moscow as retribution for all of the sins and evils committed by Russia…
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 15, 2018
Trump says it never occurred to him to challenge Putin on election hacking and the indictment of 12 Russian spies during Helsinki talks. https://t.co/BRp7t1jyV2
— Jim Roberts (@nycjim) July 15, 2018
VIDEO: More than 2,000 people protest in Helsinki denouncing attacks on human rights, press freedom and dissent as the city prepares to host an historic US-Russia summit where Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin are to meet pic.twitter.com/3TpqCIOKjO
— AFP news agency (@AFP) July 15, 2018
— Bernd Thomas Riegert (@RiegertBernd) July 15, 2018
Pres. Trump and Russian Pres. Vladimir Putin will meet Monday at Finnish presidential palace in Helsinki that overlooks the Baltic Sea — the same venue where two of their predecessors met in 1990. https://t.co/TqBvEuLSGn pic.twitter.com/D871SFX9ia
— ABC News (@ABC) July 14, 2018
Ahead of the Trump-Putin meeting here, Finland’s largest newspaper has put up ads around Helsinki which are less than complimentary about the visiting leaders. The sign in Russian says: “Putin is trying again to bring the media to heel.” pic.twitter.com/Oy89XnP2WJ
— Steve Rosenberg (@BBCSteveR) July 15, 2018
— Bloomberg Politics (@bpolitics) July 15, 2018
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) July 13, 2018
— AFP news agency (@AFP) July 15, 2018
Prepare to be surprised, Donny… https://t.co/y7wq2MdbZk
— Larry the Cat (@Number10cat) July 12, 2018
— UK Prime Minister (@10DowningStreet) July 13, 2018
— NBC News (@NBCNews) July 13, 2018
Welcome to England, Donald.
— Stefan Simanowitz (@StefSimanowitz) July 12, 2018
— Peter Brookes (@BrookesTimes) July 14, 2018
— cassandracarolina (@cassandra17lina) July 13, 2018
photo from London today pic.twitter.com/8n2RyBtWZd
— Edel Rodriguez (@edelstudio) July 14, 2018
Naked baby Donald Trump, we love you – cartoon https://t.co/odM1MrOFx9
— The Guardian (@guardian) July 14, 2018
— The London Economic (@LondonEconomic) July 13, 2018
— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) July 13, 2018
AND THEN THIS —
— David Schneider (@davidschneider) July 13, 2018