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Nauert: State Dept. demands access to American held captive 17 months in Venezuela

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A State Department spokeswoman released an update on Joshua Holt, a 25-year-old Utahan who has been detained in Venezuela nearly a year and a half.

“Dec. 12, U.S. citizen Joshua Holt was charged after more than 17 months of detention,” said Heather Nauert, who before joining the administration was a reporter and presenter for Fox News.

U.S. Embassy personnel were not permitted to attend Holt’s court hearing, she said.

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“The United States remains extremely concerned for Mr. Holt’s health and welfare, which continues to deteriorate under the custody of SEBIN, the Venezuelan intelligence agency,” she said.

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The saga began in early 2016 when Holt, a Mormon, traveled to Venezuela to marry a fellow Mormon Thamara Candelo, whom he met on the internet. Shortly after his arrival, the couple was arrested and Holt was accused of stockpiling weapons.

After rescheduling the preliminary hearing five times, the Venezuelan court finally ordered Holt to stand trial on ambiguous weapons charges, said Holt’s attorney Carlos Trujillo, Holt’s Salt Lake City-based attorney, according to a report in the Salt Lake City Tribune.

Trujillo said that the motive for the Venezuelan government’s detainment of Holt may be using Holt as a bargaining chip after theU.S. leveled economic sanctions against the nation.

Two nephews of Venezuelan First Lady Cilia Flores were also recently sentenced to 18 years in federal prison for drug trafficking, the lawyer said.

In her statement, Nauert said the Venezuelan government must grant immediate consular access to Holt, and reminded the Venezuelan government that pursuant to its international obligations, Venezuela must grant Holt fair trial guarantees.

Holt’s life should not be jeopardized under SEBIN’s custody, she said.

Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, (R.-Utah), also posted an update on Holt’s situation to his to his Facebook page:

Our beloved Holt family in Riverton continues to get bad news out of Venezuela. As we keep Josh and his family in our prayers, I’ve called on the President, Vice President, State Department, and UN Delegation to redouble our efforts to bring Josh home, and I’ve had my staff working to explore new avenues to work with the Venezuelan government and their neighbors to secure Josh’s release on humanitarian grounds.

We will not give up. #JusticeForJosh

 

Big League National Security

Biden Shadow Secretary of State Urged Support of Iraq War in 2002

Meet the new boss, the same as the old boss.

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Joe Biden is yet to be certified as the President-elect, but that hasn’t stopped from from touting tentative cabinet picks.

Without exception, his cabinet appears to be largely liberal globalists with a lengthy track record of supporting the failed policy proposals of the 2000’s and 1990’s.

Biden’s Secretary of State pick, Antony Blinken, urged the then-Delaware Senator to support the disastrous Iraq War as a policy advisor to Biden in 2002.

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Blinken would go on to create an establishment political consulting company that secured cozy lobbying deals with Big Tech and a pharmaceutical giant during Donald Trump’s presidency.

Journalist Glen Greenwald pointed to Blinken as a textbook example of a neoliberal corporate Democrat, infamous for touting a Beltway elite agenda largely disliked by the general public. In similar fashion to neocon warhawk John Bolton, it appears that Blinken’s support for the most disastrous foreign policy mistake in American history isn’t going to prevent him from sauntering into the avenues of power, if he ends up getting confirmed as a President Biden’s Secretary of State.

Blinken would go on to support Barack Obama’s disastrous regime change operation in the 2011 Libyan Civil War, setting up the North African country for a decade of instability and eventually becoming a trafficking hub for exploited migrants seeking to reach Europe. Blinken was a National Security Advisor to the Vice President at the time.

If Biden ends up getting inaugurated, President Donald Trump will become the first US president in decades not to engage the United States in a new foreign conflict in office. (Bill Clinton and Barack Obama instigated US involvement in wars in Yugoslavia and Libya respectively.

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