Saturday, August 1, 2009

Venzuela's Chavez, America, and Freedom: It Could be Worse

For those whose preferred reality does not include viewing Venezuela's Hugo Chavez in anything but a favorable light, this article can be called some kind of plot:
"At least 34 private radio stations in Venezuela were closed indefinitely Friday, and 206 more were at risk of being shut down, a government official said.

"The stations were closed for various reasons, including expired permits and operation by unauthorized personnel, said Diosdado Cabello, minister of Public Works and Housing...."

"...A few hours before, the government raided the home of Globovision President Guillermo Zuloaga, an avid hunter, to see whether he had killed any protected animals. It was the second raid on Zuloaga's home in two weeks...."

"...Venezuelan officials have repeatedly denied any political motives. Chavez has labeled as "terrorists" any TV station owners who criticize the government."
Globovision is affiliated with CNN - and it's 'obvious' that CNN is just trying to embarrass Chavez - and probably slaughter endangered species, too.

Criticism is not Terrorism

When people with sincerely-held beliefs get into positions of authority, it seems very easy for them to forget that those who don't agree with them are not necessarily 'against' them. At least not in the same sense that Al Qaeda is against contemporary Western civilization.
Chavez the Sensitive
Venezuela's Chavez has, I think, shown a great deal of sensitivity in avoiding the appearance of stamping out people with unwanted views. As the CNN article points out, each radio station was put off the air for legal reasons - and not, officially, because they don't approve of Venezuela's leader.

My guess is that eventually Venezuelan' authorities will find evidence that a creature resembling a member of some endangered species was killed by Globalvision's head. And, again officially, Globabvision will be shut down - but not because they criticize Chavez.
Iran: Criticizing Our Election is War Against God
In sharp contrast to Venezuelan leaders' efforts to keep up appearances, Iran's Ayatollahs are somewhat more forthright: Criticizing their election results is waging war against God. According to one of them. Others seem to have taken a more practical approach: judging from the number of disappearances and shooting deaths in Iran lately.
Criticism is Not Terrorism
I suppose terrorists could be considered an extreme sort of political activist, but I think there's a big difference between writing your Senator, carrying a sign, and blowing up a federal building. I'm not all that pleased with American police, foreign or domestic, but I'm not a terrorist.

Unless "terrorist" is defined as anyone who is not completely aligned with the approved positions as defined by a nation's leaders.

It Can't Happen Here, Right?

America has a pretty good track record, on average, of allowing people to speak their minds and then keep breathing. I sincerely hope that things stay that way.

Some disturbing ideas came down the pike this year, from government-sponsored organizations. Ron Paul supporters, pro-life people, and American veterans have been identified, by various authorities, as potential terrorists.

I'm grateful for the "potential" part of these goofy accusations: but it's still disturbing.

Related posts: In the news:

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.