People are loving a clip from a recent hearing in which Ilhan Omar, the first Muslim congresswoman in the history of the U.S., enraging a life-long Republican who oversaw and lied about a civilian massacre in El Salvador. Elliot Abrams, who was convicted in 1991 for twice unlawfully withholding information from Congress about the Iran-Contra scandal but was later pardoned by George H.W. Bush, was brutally grilled by Omar over another “scandal” in Abrams’ history.
This Trump adviser helped cover up U.S. involvement in the largest mass killing in modern Latin American history — and Rep. llhan Omar isn’t letting him forget it pic.twitter.com/rKIO22ylKy
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) February 15, 2019
In 1982, the U.S. media got ahold of reports of a massacre of hundreds of civilians by the El Salvador government forces that had been supported and trained by the U.S. In response, while he was Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs for Ronald Reagan, Abrams testified to the Senate that the reports were “not credible” and were simply propaganda by the guerilla forces in the country. Eleven years later, more reports surfaced confirming that nearly 1,000 people were indeed murdered by forces associated with the government of El Salvador and that some of the soldiers had bragged about raping 12-year-old girls.
At the time of the massacre, the Reagan administration was attempting to convince American and the world that the human rights situation in El Salvador was better than it was as the U.S. was sending financial aid to their government. Abrams has been accused of not only covering up the El Mozote massacre, but of hiding other human rights abuses committed by the U.S.-trained forces.
This was part of a series of interfering actions taken by the U.S. to support coups or crush opposition uprisings in Latin American nations. The latest has been the role of the U.S. in Venezuela, of which Omar has been a vocal critic.
Abrams has remained unrepentant in his role of the coverup and has repeatedly called what happened in El Salvador a “fabulous achievement.” In one 1998 interview, he actually admitted that it was more about the Red Scare than anything else.
“While it was important to us to promote the cause of human rights in Central America it was more important to prevent a communist takeover in El Salvador,” he said.
Cut to 2019, and Abrams has been appointed as the United States’ Special Representative for Venezuela. Congresswoman Omar has some thoughts on that.
“Mr. Abrams, in 1991 you pleaded guilty to two counts of withholding information from Congress regarding the Iran-Contra affair, for which you were later pardoned by President George H.W. Bush,” she starts out. “I fail to understand why members of this committee or the American people should find any testimony you give today to be truthful.”
What gets Abrams’ blood going is not so much the reminder of his crimes, but the fact that Omar cuts him off when he says he wants to “respond to that.”
“It wasn’t a question,” she says. When Abrams stutters in protest, Omar declares, “I reserve the right to my time.”
Someone is clearly not used to being told “no,” especially by a certain type of person.
Omar then begins her questions, and she does not hold back. She brings up Abrams’ characterization of the events in El Salvador as a “fabulous achievement” and repeatedly asks him if he still thinks so, even though hundreds of random peasants were massacred under his watch. Abrams repeatedly attempts to refuse to answer the question, whining about being attacked, then attempts to dodge by saying that “to this day, El Salvador has been a democracy. That’s a fabulous achievement.”
Whether El Salvador has really been a democracy since the U.S. interfered in the Salvadorian Civil War is debatable. But perhaps the best part comes next, when Omar rephrases the question in simpler terms, punctuating the word “massacre” with a pause and the most deliciously condescending smile, in order to force Abrams to answer the actual question she was asking.
“Yes or no, do you think that massacre was ‘a fabulous achievement’ that happened under our watch?”
Abrams, visibly upset, refuses to answer, calling Omar’s question “ridiculous.”
She then asks him if he would again support things like massacres or genocidal actions in Venezuela “as you did in Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua.”
“Whether, under your watch, a genocide will take place and you will look the other way because American interested were being upheld is a fair question because the American people want to know that any time we engage a country, that we think about what our actions could be, and how we believe our values are being furthered.”
Omar doesn’t let Abrams off the hook in spite of further fussiness and answering questions she didn’t ask. She finally asks if it’s the position of the United States to uphold human rights and preventing genocide. Abrams finally answers in the affirmative — an answer that rings hollow after all that Omar had just laid bare.
This kind of hard-hitting questioning is a breath of fresh air to many viewers, who are absolutely loving Congresswoman Omar right now.
Well done Ms Omar, this was the most brave and satisfying thing done in the us Congress since Maxine Waters CIA questioning.
— Daniel Finn (@edgeofempire) February 15, 2019
— Otto (@secure_bits) February 15, 2019
Rep. Omar cannot be thanked enough for standing up to this cruel war criminal.
— CarolM (@c_midgette) February 15, 2019
— Anarcho Doge (@NotAFurry666) February 15, 2019
I wish she kept antagonizing him. He looked like the vein in his head was about to burst
— Jim L (@GreenNewDeal4NJ) February 15, 2019
Finally someone who doesn't shy away from asking the real questions. Congress needs this.
— Souleymane Bah (@souleymanebah12) February 15, 2019
Poetic justice. A young refugee girl from an imposed war questioning and reminding a genocidal war maker under oath…God is great!
— Sgitessatani (@gitesatani) February 16, 2019
The grill is strong and the man is charred as if in a grave with a denier and a nuker
— Lazhar (@Lazhaf1) February 15, 2019
Like most with blood on their hands, Abrams is made uncomfortable by the truth.
— Robert Kinoy (@RobertKinoy2) February 15, 2019
Murderers are ALWAYS indignant, when faced with their atrocities.
Profiteers seeking resources to exploit, always use genocide by proxy as a tool of oppression. ‘To protect our interests’ is the standard lie of resource thieves. ‘ALWAYS deny everything’ is their S. O. Procedure.
— A. Hardy (@AHardy73312470) February 15, 2019