Neocon Elliot Abrams, Trump’s envoy to Venezuela, held a press conference on Tuesday to give updates on his failed coup in Venezuela. It is important to keep in mind that Abrams was convicted of lying to congress over the Iran-Contra affair in 1986 when listening to him speak.
Since opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself interim president of Venezuela back in January, there have been several failed coup attempts and increased pressure from the U.S. for Maduro to step down. The Venezuelan military has stood by president Maduro in every attempt, with just a few defectors.
Special Representative for #Venezuela Elliott Abrams: We support Interim President @jguaido’s efforts; the barrier to a peaceful resolution remains Maduro’s refusal to step aside. pic.twitter.com/yxwLJe2fDk
— Department of State (@StateDept) June 25, 2019
Humanitarian aid has been politicized in this conflict, most notably the standoff at the Colombia-Venezuela border in February. USAID was trying to force aid trucks over the border that Maduro did not want, since he has his suspicions of USAID being a CIA front. This was a perfect way for U.S. media outlets to portray Maduro as a monster, but he has accepted aid from his allies, China and Russia.
A Russian military aircraft reportedly landed in Caracas on Monday. Abrams said the plane was carrying, “technicians to service previously sold arms systems.” Abrams then smugly pointed out how the U.S. Navy is sending a hospital ship to the Caribbean to help displaced Venezuelan refugees, while Russia is sending military equipment.
Abrams went on to praise Guaido, “Interim president Juan Guaido continues to travel throughout the country distributing humanitarian assistance, organizing health clinics and spreading an important message that he seeks a peaceful democratic transition.” But there have been recent corruption charges within Guaido’s circle.
A recent scandal involving members of Guaido’s opposition group came out last week. They have been accused of spending funds raised by a concert for humanitarian aid on luxury hotels, clubs, designer clothes and cars. The concert was put on by Virgin CEO and billionaire Richard Branson in Colombia, around the time of the humanitarian aid stunt on the border.
Venezuela’s government has also claimed the U.S. Justice Department will be opening an investigation into an alleged accounting fraud that may have stolen $70 million of Citgo assets, since the opposition has taken over the board of directors.
Venezuela’s vice minister of communications said, “It seems like the person directly involved in having pocketed those $70 million in excesses, due to cooking the books, is Mr. Carlos Vecchio.” Carlos Vecchio is a former Exxon-lawyer and the opposition’s appointed diplomat to Washington.
Of course, Abrams did not mention any of these scandals in his remarks on Tuesday, just continued his Maduro bashing and Guaido praising. He also called the idea of a peaceful democratic transition under Maduro “laughable”. The opposition and Maduro representatives have recently held talks in Norway, although the U.S. said the talks must focus on ousting Maduro, in effect sabotaging any real progress.
It seems Washington has not given up its regime change efforts in Venezuela. Crippling U.S. sanctions are still in effect, a report by the Center for Economic and Policy Research entitled, “Economic Sanctions as Collective Punishment,” that came out this year, determined U.S. sanctions are responsible for 40,000 deaths in Venezuela.
Regardless of Maduro’s corruption, this U.S. intervention is doing nothing but making the Venezuelan economy scream even more. The collapse of Venezuela’s economy can be blamed on oil prices, rampant inflation, price control, socialism, U.S. sanctions or a combination of these things. But the U.S. and its allies seizing any Venezuelan assets they have control of is nothing short of criminal and it needs to stop.
The next time Eliot Abrams walks up to the podium, remember he was convicted of lying to congress over Iran-Contra. Also remember how he downplayed the El Mozote Massacre in El Salvador in 1981, where 800 civilians were massacred by a U.S. backed military unit. Abrams told the Senate the reports of the massacre were “not credible” after it happened. As recently as 2001 Abrams said U.S. policy in El Salvador at the time was a “fabulous achievement.” So, when Abrams says Guaido is “distributing humanitarian assistance,” it should be taken with a grain of salt.
High School Football Players Suspended for Carrying Thin Blue, Thin Red Line Flags Before 9/11 Game
High School football players in Florida have been suspended from their team for carrying Thin Blue Line and Thin Red Line flags during their football game on 9/11 to honor the first responders who died during the attack on the World Trade Center.
One of the young men on the Little Miami High School football team is the son of a police officer, another, the son of a firefighter.
“Were you trying to make some kind of a political statement here?” a Local 12 reporter asked Brady Williams, a senior cornerback, who carried the Thin Blue Line flag.
Two Little Miami football players pay the price for civil disobedience. They were told not to carry onto the field thin blue line and thin red line flags at their 9/11 game. They did anyway. The school has now suspended them from the team indefinitely. #ThinBlueLine #ThinRedLine pic.twitter.com/19y9GAvaxr
— David Winter (@DavidWinterTV) September 14, 2020
“No,” he answered quickly. “Not at all. I was just doing it to honor the people that lost their lives 19 years ago.”
Jarad Bentley, whose father is a firefighter, carried the Thin Red Line flag.
“I was all for it,” he said. “Because my dad is a firefighter, and if it had been him killed on 9/11, I would have wanted someone to do it for him.”
The young men had asked the school for permission to carry the flags on to the field before the game, and the school refused. They were told that if they did, there would be consequences.
Still, the boys did it anyways.
“Listen,” Williams said. “I don’t care what my consequences are. So long as my message gets across, I’ll be happy.”
Local 12 reports that “Williams and Bentley heard from the athletic director Monday afternoon and received an indefinite suspension.” The station said that they had called the superintendent about the boys a few hours prior.
Superintendent Gregory Power claimed that they denied the boys’ request because they don’t want to “set a precedent” for “political” flags being carried out on the field.
“We did not want to place ourselves in a circumstance where another family might want a different flag to come out of the tunnel, one that may be [one that] many other families may not agree with from a political perspective,” Power claimed.
DC Police Helicopter Hit With Lasers By Rioters Forced to Make Emergency Landing — Crew Member Hospitalized
One of the crew members had to be hospitalized due to vision loss in one eye.
A DC Metropolitan Police helicopter had to make an emergency landing on Saturday night as it was hit by laser pointers shined at it by rioters.
A law enforcement source tells the District Herald that one of the crew members had to be hospitalized due to vision loss in one eye.
Rioters were also shining the blinding lasers in the eyes of officers on the ground.
In July, it was revealed that federal officers in Portland may have been permanently blinded by the lasers, that are becoming increasingly common at the riots.
“When officers responded to put out these fires, glass bottles were thrown and lasers – which can cause permanent blindness – were shined in their eyes,” Federal Protective Service (FPS) Deputy Director of Operations Richard Cline said at a press conference at the time. “We have three officers who currently have eye injuries and they may not recover sight in those eyes from those laser attacks.”
There were multiple helicopters circling throughout the area all evening to keep track of the rioters.
— Wyatt Reed (@wyattreed13) August 30, 2020
Rioters from all over the nation, including many familiar faces from the Portland riots, have been causing chaos throughout the city for several days.
Whoa the remaining window of that BLM van has just been smashed in by police officers as they move the crowd further back through BLM Plaza in DC pic.twitter.com/lOOx9Je6tu
— Shelby Talcott (@ShelbyTalcott) August 30, 2020
The riot escalated when the militants began to throw bricks at police officers.
Domestic terrorists are now threatening the White House and police lives… pic.twitter.com/DC7DWtXc7T
— Raheem Kassam (@RaheemKassam) August 30, 2020
Earlier in the evening, a speaker in the newly named “Black Lives Matter Plaza” asserted that “I’m at the point where I’m going to put the police in a f*cking grave. I’m at the point where I want to burn the f*cking White House down!”
There were multiple arrests for assaulting police officers, but it seems as though rioters are being quickly caught and released the next day by the US Attorney’s Office.
The riot in DC is currently ongoing and the District Herald will be continuing to provide updates as the situation progresses.
BREAKING: Member of Patriot Prayer Fatally Shot in Portland
The rioters also attacked the founder of Patriot Prayer, Joey Gibson.
A member of the Pro-Trump organization Patriot Prayer has been shot and killed in Portland amidst the riots.
Early reports on social media had claimed that a black male was shot by a “Trump supporter,” but that was not the case.
The victim was a white male who was reportedly wearing a hat with the Patriot Prayer insignia on it.
“A Patriot with camouflage gear with infidel and thin blue line patches, was shot and killed during pro-Trump car caravan through downtown Portland at around 8:45pm,” independent reporter Andrew Duncomb tweeted.
A Patriot with camouflage gear with infidel and thin blue line patches, was shot and killed during pro-Trump car caravan through downtown Portland at around 8:45pm.
— Black Rebel (Andrew Duncomb) (@SpaceForceUSA_) August 30, 2020
“Just heard that the man killed is affiliated with my group. Just had drinks with him last Saturday,” Duncomb added.
Speaking to the District Herald, Duncomb said that “all I got to say right now is he was a good Patriot and this news has hit my group of friends pretty hard. It’s time for Trump to hear our cries and clean up Portland. We will not let them kill us anymore.”
Duncomb added, “shame on Ted Wheeler and Kate Brown. His blood is on their hands. They allowed this violence to happen for over three months. How many people need to die before the elected officials will do their job to protect its citizens?”
Warning Graphic: Here's the only angle of the shooting in Portland that I have found so far. pic.twitter.com/CXPGplYzNb
— Brett MacDonald (@TweetBrettMac) August 30, 2020
(Real) Medics tried to save the shooting victim in downtown Portland. It is a white male contrary to what antifa journalists and accounts said about it being a black victim. pic.twitter.com/jzE2ffqN73
— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) August 30, 2020
Following the fatal shooting, rioters also surrounded and assaulted Patriot Prayer founder Joey Gibson. When Gibson retreated into a gas station, rioters broke the windows and threatened the owner.
— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) August 30, 2020
— Darth Crypto – The Sith Jew (@ToolFree2point0) August 30, 2020
The shooting victim’s name has not yet been released, though it is known, to allow time for the family to be notified.
Duncomb, clearly outraged, tweeted a call for patriotic Americans to come to Portland on September 19 to stand against the rioters.
— Black Rebel (Andrew Duncomb) (@SpaceForceUSA_) August 30, 2020
The situation in Portland is ongoing. The District Herald will be providing updates as they become available.