The forces of tyranny are strong around the world, as Chavez completed his crackdown on the independent media with the arrest of the President of Globovision Television. Globovision was Venezuela's equivalent of CNN, the country's first 24 hour news network. Chavez had previously shuttered Radio Caracas Televisión, resulting in student protests and a violent crackdown that foreshadowed the actions taken by Chavez's Iranian ally, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Unsurprisingly this hasn't resulted in much in the way of media coverage. Apologists for the Chavez regime typically claim that the stations being targeted were engaging in attempts to overthrow the regime (while naturally ignoring the fact that Chavez had been doing the same thing). This was the same defense used by liberals who defended Stalin's Moscow Trails.
Meanwhile the same Western media which gave extensive coverage to the non-coup in Honduras against Chavez ally Manuel Zelaya, and sympathetic coverage to the struggles of the radio station of Zelaya's political ally, David Romero Ellner, who had a Marxist terrorist past, had molested his own daughter and said that Hitler was justified in carrying out the Holocaust. Despite all this hundreds of stories were filed on David Romero Ellner's heroic struggle against censorship. The arrest of Guillermo Zuloaga will naturally not get this kind of publicity, because he isn't a left wing terrorist.
And of course it gets so much worse in Chavezstan,
Chávez’s crony courts have charged Álvarez Paz with conspiracy, “public instigation of criminality” and “spreading false information”–crimes that could draw sentences of 13 to 27 years. Álvarez Paz was indicted for televised statements on March 8 acknowledging the fact that Venezuela has become a haven for drug trafficking and citing accusations by a Spanish court that the Chávez regime supports Basque and Colombian terrorists.
Álvarez Paz’s real crime is that of being the clear-headed conscience of Venezuela’s opposition. The 67-year-old former governor of the State of Zulia who sought his party’s presidential nomination in 1993, Álvarez Paz has gained notoriety for his weekly columns in which he chronicles his country’s tragic, inexorable march to dictatorship under Chávez.
But the same people who go mad every time Israel puts up a house, have very little interest in actual left wing tyranny. Much like the liberals who weekly denounced British warmongering in the 30's, while Stalin was butchering people wholesale. But the left must have its socialist heroes such as Stalin and Chavez, all the more heroic for the atrocities they commit that shore up their revolutionary credentials.
When left wing activist and sometime actor Sean Penn called for reporters who call Chavez a dictator to be jailed, he got to the root of the left's support for Chavez. Chavez does what they only wish they could do here. What they wish Obama would really do.
This is what they want for America. This is what America would look like if they had their way.
The Judiciary in Venezuela is made up of Chavez loyal followers, named directly by the regime, in open violation of the constitution. Just to give readers an example of the low ethical quality of these magistrates I enclose a video in which the members of the Supreme Tibunal of Justice, dressed in full regalia, when opening sessions sometime ago, stood up and sang: “Uh, ah, Chavez no se va”…. (Chavez is not going) as if they were members of a cheer leader team.
Can you imagine this happening in the U.S. Supreme Court?
In these videoclips an assembly of the judicial power, led by the Chief Justice of the Venezuelan Supreme Court, chants political party slogans. President Chávez refers to Venezuelan federalism and states that any local authority figure that does not follow his lead is engaged in "disloyalty" and "treason." He also states that approaching the judiciary to oppose his decisions is treason against the people and against the revolution.
One of the main members of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice, Luis Velazquez Alvaray, was accused of thievery by other members of the regime. He had proposed a modification of the Constitution to name Hugo Chávez president for life. Ater being accused of corruption, he counter attacked, calling the Tribunal "a nest of drug traffickers," adding: "they should put a bomb in that place."
More recently, a female judge, Maria Lourdes Affuni, who decided very correctly the freedom of a Chavez poliical prisoner, was immediately sent to jail without being tried. Chavez said: “She should stay in jail for 30 years”. She has been in prison since last year, simply on orders from the dictator.
Remember this the next time a liberal like Sean Penn praises Chavez. He isn't ignorant. He knows exactly what he's doing and what he wants done here.
The Cato Institute has a video message from Zuloaga here.
Meanwhile the Iraqi election featured a Baathist going up against a Shiite, and we actually have to breathe a sigh of relief that the Baathist won. To be fair Allawi is a longtime opponent of Saddam Hussein, but essentially it's as if the USSR had been liberated only to nearly fall into the hands of Communist China, forcing us to actually be relieved when a more moderate dissident Communist won the election. That's essentially what just happened in Iraq with the Maliki vs Allawi showdown.
For all the positive media spin, Maliki served as the secretary-general of the Islamic Dawa Party, a group with Sadrist ties and rivalries, as well as close ties to Iran. The Dawa Party has murdered Americans and was against the liberation of Iraq. You can of course read through the Taqiya on their official "English" site in which Islamic is painted as the wellspring of freedom and equality, but the reality is that the Islamic Dawa Party stands for the supremacy of Islamic law, and only such freedoms as are compatible with Islam. Which is unsurprising as the Dawa Party was essentially a clerical attempt to combat the rise of Arab Socialism by repackaging some of that same appeal in Islamic language.
In the case of al-Da'wa, al-Sadr laid out four mandatory principles of governance in his 1975 work, Islamic Political System. These were:
1. Absolute sovereignty belongs to God.
2. Islamic injunctions are the basis of legislation. The legislative authority may enact any law not repugnant to Islam.
3. The people, as vice-regents of Allah, are entrusted with legislative and executive powers.
4. The jurist holding religious authority represents Islam. By confirming legislative and executive actions, he gives them legality.
Mind you this was considered fairly progressive by Islamic legal standards, mainly because of 3, in which the people, rather than the Caliph or other rulers were considered the vice-regents of Allah.
But this only seems progressive when taken out of context. This is the kind of thing that Western apologists for Islam routinely seize on as proof that Islam is progressive. Never mind for the moment that this is not actual popular sovereignty, under this arrangement the Koran serves as the Constitution and the Clerics as its Supreme Court.
But this embrace of populism was developed in 1975 at a time when Grand Ayatollah Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr (Yes the terrorist hive Sadr City was named after him) was trying to organize a popular uprising against Baath Party rule. Which meant that he developed a code in which the people (only believing Shiite Muslims of course), not Saddam Hussein, held legislative and executive powers, which would conveniently provide religious justification for an armed popular uprising. Two years later he was sent to jail and later executed by Saddam Hussein for supporting Iran.
The story gets even better because Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr's son in law, who runs Sadr City and the terrorist Mahdi Army, which is backed by Iran, is Muqtada Al Sadr. When the Sadrists oversaw the execution of Saddam Hussein on Maliki's watch, they chanted Muqtada and Long live Mohammed Baqir Sadr. (Just to make the internal politics of this more convoluted however, the Sadr's and the Dawa Party had actually parted ways a while back, and Maliki's people blamed Allawi's people for orchestrating the whole thing.)
The Maliki vs Allawi showdown is yet another episode in the drawn out battle between Arab Socialism and Islamism. The US has tended to back the socialists on the grounds that they seem more moderate and committed to some kind of democratic society. This is generally a fallacy, but the Islamists are also a good deal worse. This however has served as an excuse for too long to back Arab Socialists, even when they're still terrorists. Fatah vs Hamas is a case in point. As was Saddam Hussein vs the Mullahs.
Allawi and Maliki are both representatives of political elements that go back a century in Iraqi life, through families and factions that may have been fighting for even longer than that.
Meanwhile Allawi's actual victory was a very narrow one, which will require him to form a coalition. And Maliki might have done much better if Muqtada Al Sadr's openly terrorist Iraqi National Alliance which included the local version of Hezbollah hadn't stolen a lot of the Shiite vote.
What that means is that the Islamic Dawa Party will have to become even more extreme to sideline the Iraqi National Alliance, or unite with it. Either way the result will be a more Islamist and Iranian dominated future for Iraq. Allawi's victory is likely to prove very fleeting and a breakup of Iraq may yet be inevitable. To survive Allawi has to bring together Kurds and at least some Shiites. Meanwhile Iran will be funding terrorist acts to destabilize the country.
Allawi forms a delicate balance as a Shiite who is secular enough and with enough of a Baathist past to reassure Sunnis, but thus far he has done much better at picking up the Sunni vote. While some media outlets are trying to spin it as another Orange Revolution, it's essentially another bump in the road.
The failure to remove the likes of Muqtada Al Sadr from the equation will haunt America for some time to come. But for now an Anti-Iranian leader in Iraq may help check the Iranian takeover of Iraq.
In a quick blog roundup, Robert Spencer at Jihad Watch continues covering the farce of Khaddafi's supposed abandonment of terrorism.
Israpundit has an interview with Italian politician Fimma Nirenstein, courtesy of Pajamas Media.
The Italian politician and author talks about the East Jerusalem flap and makes some startling statements about the similarity of views between the European left and jihadists.
The Italian journalist Fiamma Nirenstein is the author of numerous books on anti-Semitism, Israel, and the Middle East conflict, including (in English) Israel is Us and Terror: the New Anti-Semitism and the War against the West.
In April 2008, she was elected to the Italian Chamber of Deputies as a member of Silvio Berlusconi’s People of Freedom (PDL) party. She is presently the vice-president of the chamber’s Committee on Foreign Affairs. In February, she accompanied Prime Minister Berlusconi on a three-day visit to Israel.
Gateway Pundit has video and photos of the Cuban Freedom Rally in Miami.
Dan Friedman sends along a satirical little piece about the traditional Pesach proclamation "Next Year in Jerusalem" and our New Pharaoh Obama.
Obama: Passover Wrap Up, "Next Year In Jerusalem ," Deemed "Provocative"
By Shana Habbab (AP White House Correspondent)
(AP) — An unidentified Israeli official has confirmed that private discussions between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu included an urgent request from the President that the traditional closing refrain “next year in Jerusalem” be deleted during the upcoming Passover holiday, calling the ancient passage provocative and unhelpful for the future of peace talks. Calling it “an easy fix,” Obama strongly urged the Jewish People to replace it with “next year in peace” or “next year in Tel Aviv,” leaving the exact wording to final status talks between Israelis and Palestinians.
Netanyahu is said to have balked at the request, indicating that the refrain dates back well before the UN Partition of 1947 and well before the U.S. Declaration of Independence, for that matter. The Prime Minister reportedly attempted to diffuse the situation by offering to remove it from the conclusion of the lesser-known Yom Kippur service, and suggesting the phrase was defunct anyway since Jews have controlled all of Jerusalem since 1967. However, a visibly irritated President Obama flatly rejected the compromise, adding it was another indication the “stiff-necked” Prime Minister did not appear “serious about peace.”
Shortly after the meeting, both sides issued a terse statement saying that no agreement had been reached on the matter.