This item is available on the Militant Islam Monitor website, at http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/4092
September 16, 2009
Hugo Chávez And Iran - A Remarkable Leftist-Islamist Alliance Against Freedom
By EMERSON VERMAAT
September 16, 2009 - San Francisco, CA - PipeLineNews.org - Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez was one of the first to congratulate Iranian president and Holocaust denier Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on his fraudulent election victory. "The victory of Dr. Ahmadinejad in the recent election is a win for all people in the world and free nations against arrogance," Chávez told Ahmadinejad in a telephone conversation on June 13. Already before the election, Chávez expressed the hope that Ahmadinejad would win. Speaking to supporters on Thursday, June 11, Chávez called the Iranian president "a courageous fighter for the Islamic revolution, the defense of the Third World, and in the struggle against imperialism." After election day, though, dismayed and shocked Iranians inside and outside Iran said Mr. Ahmadinejad was a dictator and a Fascist. And they, not Chávez and his ilk, are right.
Take the issue of press freedom. It was under Hugo Chávez en Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that the Venezuelan and Iranian peoples were confronted with serious limitations of press freedom. Let me quote someone: "Gentlemen: In liberal countries the vocation of the press is conceived in such a way that the saying goes: Press and people against the leadership. And in our country it has to be: Leadership and propaganda and press, and so on, appearing before the people! All that is in fact leadership of the people." Who was the man who said this? Ahmadinejad? Chávez? Another "anti-imperialist" who claims to speak in the name of the people? No, this remarkable quote is from Adolf Hitler's secret address to the representatives of the German Press in Munich on November 10, 1938, one day after the "Night of Broken Glass" ("Kristallnacht"), the infamous anti-Semitic pogrom. Yet, these words could very well have been uttered by Hugo Chávez who introduced a law in 2004 banning the dissemination of information which damages "national security." Another new law from Chávez makes it punishable to "insult" the president. While Chávez reserves the right to insult anyone he doesn't like, he – just like Hitler – silences his critics or even puts them in jail. Last July, Venezuela's Attorney General announced a law against so-called "media offenses" ("Ley Especial de Delitos Mediáticos"). This reminds me of Hitler's notorious Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels, who, back in 1933, introduced a similar "Press Law" ("Presse Gesetz," a law meant to curtail press freedom). One year later, Dr. Goebbels attacked "liberal" journalists who were unwilling to adapt to the new circumstances. After all, Nazism was a revolution, too, and the leaders of that revolution felt they were entitled to imprison anyone who opposed them. Indeed, such is the nature of all totalitarian revolutions, be it in Russia, Nazi Germany, Iran, or Venezuela for that matter. (Chávez's so-called "Bolivarian Revolution" is just an excuse for totalitarianism, caudillism and ruling "indefinitely".)
Silencing the critics is what matters. Take general Raúl Isaías Baduel who was a former former Defense Minister and a former Chávez ally. Two years ago, in 2007, he had the audacity to call the Venezuelan president a "neo-populist" who, contrary to all his fine promises, did not help the poor at all but whose policies led to inflation instead. General Baduel's website was equally critical of Chávez. Where is Baduel now? In prison! In front of that prison a poster shows the following text: "Patria, Socialismo or Muerte!" ("Fatherland, Socialism or Death!"). An ominous threat, no doubt, to political dissidents. Baduel saved Chávez's presidency once, he helped him to survive a coup, now he is a doomed man. Long live press freedom under the anti-imperialist Iran friend Hugo Chávez! I repeat: Just like the Nazi rulers before, Chávez persecutes his opponents, putting them in jail.
Just like in Hitler's and Stalin's time, there are lots of fellow travelers who admire the dictator. Former London mayor Ken Livingstone, for example, is a "consultant" for Chávez. "They share similar socialist views," the BBC reported on August 28, 2008. A big smiles picture might suggest that they are about to marry, although they are not gays (Chávez is rather a typical Latin American macho.) One year later, a BBC reporter confronted Livingstone with a highly critical Human Rights Watch Report on Venezuela, saying Chávez's rule is increasingly totalitarian. In an attempt to sow doubts over the credibility of Human Rights Watch, Livingstone's lame response was: "Human Rights Watch is an American organization!" "Human Rights Watch is entirely independent of the American government," the reporter said. "I'd prefer Amnesty International," Livingstone replied. Livingstone failed to mention, though, that Amnesty International reports are equally critical of his friend Mr. Chávez.
Just like Ken Livingstone, American filmmaker Oliver Stone considers Chávez to be an enlightened man, indeed a fellow socialist. Both recently showed up at the Venice Film Festival on the occasion of Stone's new film "South of the Border," an hommage to Chávez and his socialist friends. "Chávez is an extraordinary man who succeeded in cutting poverty in half," Stone lied. He was just reiterating official state propaganda disseminated by Venezuelan embassies abroad. In reality, "the average share of social spending has actually decreased during the Chávez administration," says Francisco Ridríguez in "Foreign Policy." "The biggest challenge to evaluating Chávez's success in poverty reduction is disentangling fantasy from reality in official announcements and data." In an article on "An Empty Revolution" published in "Foreign Affairs" in March/April 2008, Francico Rodríguez says: "I quickly discovered how large the gap was between the government's rhetoric and the reality of its political priorities." "Official statistics show no signs of a substantial improvement in the well-being of ordinary Venezuelans, and in many cases there have been worrying deteriorations."
In a recent speech Robert M. Morgenthau, NY County Dictrict Attorney, said that "Hugo Chávez leads not only a corrupt government but one staffed by terrorist sympathizers. The government has strong ties to narco-trafficking and money laundering." "With Iranian assistance, Venezuela is bound to become a destabilizing force in Latin America." Hezbollah presence in Venezuela and other Latin American countries has increased in recent years. The Lebanese terrorist militia is taking advantage of Chavez's ties to Hezbollah's chief ally Iran.
Ahmadinejad's view on "the wicked victors of World War II"
Two days before he traveled to Venice to be lauded by Oliver Stone, Chávez happened to be in Tehran. Take note of the fact that it was his seventh visit to Iran. Bosom friends Ahmadinejad and Chávez signed a number of cooperation agreements and appeared before the press with arms around each other's shoulders. Ahmadinejad later reiterated once again that Iran would never give up its "legitimate right" to nuclear power.
It was the same President Ahmadinejad who wrote a letter to German Chancellor Angela Merkel in May 2006 saying that "the wicked victors of World War II had terrorized, degraded and humiliated Germany. They had then invented the Holocaust to hold Germany to ransom." This is an Islamist fanatic who obviously sides with the defeated Nazis in World War II calling the victors "wicked." Chávez's Iranian friend and "strategic ally" (words chosen by Chávez) is also a notorious Holocaust denier who in December 2006 invited neo-Nazis to Tehran to attend "An International Conference to Review the Global Vision of the Holocaust." There is a saying which applies very well indeed to both Chávez and Ahmadinejad: "Show me your friends and I'll tell you who you are."
I am currently writing a well documented study on Heinrich Himmler, the Nazi architect of the Holocaust and leader of the so-called SS or "Schutzstaffel." It may not be generally known, but Himmler was one of the first high ranking Nazis to court and financially support extremist Muslim leaders. He was one of the first to invite extremist Muslims to fight in the ranks of the SS. And believe it or not, that same Himmler was also the very first Holocaust denier. He told a group of high ranking SS-officers in Posen, Germany, on April 4, 1943 that "the extermination of the Jewish race... is a page of glory in our history which has never been written and is never to be written." "We shall never speak of it in public." "I would do it again, if ordered to do so," Himmler added. That is why the Nazis referred to mass murder as "evacuation to the East" ("Evakuierung nach dem Osten"), "special treatment" ("Sonderbehandlung"), "Final Solution" ("Endlösung"), etc. At the end of the war, Himmler desperately tried to erase all traces of the death camps ordering his SS-men to destroy any evidence of the genocide. The victors of World War II prevented this just in time and the Neuremberg, Auschwitz and Nazi Doctors Trials showed that some day war criminals will be held accountable for their horrendous crimes. Yet, a fool like Iranian president Ahmadinejad calls the victors of World War II "wicked."
A veiled threat to silence me?
It was just before the Iranian elections that a Dutch expert of the so-called "Clingendael Security and Conflict Programme" (CSCP) called for a dialogue with Iran. In a column on "Talking to Iran, the sooner the better," published in Clingendael's "Internationale Spectator," Mr. Sicco van der Meer claims that Iran's "national pride" is an important factor to take into account. Is that so? A critical review of Ahmadinejad's poor human rights record and his flirtations with neo-Nazis in Germany, Australia and the United States who equally deny the Holocaust, and his disastrous economic policies would have been much better. Some experts and prejudiced editors at the "Clingendael Institute" should not be taken seriously anylonger. The newly established "Hague Center of Strategic Studies" (HCSS) might be a better alternative for real experts who want to study international affairs. At least, HCSS experts don't call on God to the stop the sale of a book – as a "Clingendael" book reviewer did last May. (I could hardly believe it myself!)
What happened? Well, Internationale Spectator editor in chief Gerard Telkamp previously instructed the reviewer of my recent Dutch book "Nazis, Communists and Islamists: Remarkable Alliances between Extremists" that it wouldn't be poper to just ignore this book, "because it might have an impact on public opinion in the Netherlands." This reviewer, a Dutch UN employee named M.G. Barends, decided to write in the last lines of his really hysterical review of my book: "May God prevent this from happening." A veiled threat to silence me uttered in an officially non-religious, secular, academic and non-partisan scholarly journal on foreign affairs?! I have never been threatened by anyone, and now suddenly some obscure UN employee calls on God to stop me from making an impact on Dutch public opinion. Press freedom and the freedom to publish books – is it not an essential human right guaranteed by the UN? Yet, UN employee Mr. Barends would probably be the first to burn my book(s) if he had the chance to do so. If someone calls for divine intervention to stop an author like me from making an impact on public opinion, well, that's not very nice for a UN employee, is it? That's what is happening in totalitarian states like Iran, is it not?
The same reviewer also ridicules my publishing house. This is a veiled attack on my publisher, Dr. Perry Pierik, a young Dutch historian specialized in World Wars I and II as well as in Nazi Germany. Dr. Pierik's doctoral dissertation on Karl Haushofer and his other books on Nazi Germany and the World War have received good reviews. Some of his books have been published in English. So far, no one ever ridiculed these scholarly publications. My own book was reviewed quite well by Dr. Bomers, the reviewer of the leading Dutch library association.
More than half of my book deals with anti-Semitism in Nazi-Germany, Russia, Iran and the Arab world (notably Syria, Lebanon, Egypt and the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem). All my quotes are from serious sources. But the "Clingendael" reviewer clearly and deliberately ignored the distinction between "Islamists" (see the title of my book) and other Muslims, accusing me incorrectly of linking "all" Muslims to "Nazism." Nor does the reviewer distinguish between "Islam" and "political Islam." It is common knowledge among the experts that political Islam or Islamism is an intolerant, anti-Western, totalitarian and radical branch of Islam. (See, for example, the many articles writtten by Dr. Daniel Pipes and Prof. Dr. Afshin Ellian.) It is this kind of Islam that I am writing about in my book – a book that describes in detail the "remarkable alliances" between extremists – people like Ahmadinejad and Hugo Chávez, Adolf Hitler and Grand Mufti Haj Amin Al-Husseini, an Islamist who allied with the Nazis in World War II. It is precisely this kind of Islam that Dutch columnist Prof. Dr. Bob Smalhout refers to in the preface of my book.
In addition, I deal extensively with the silly 9/11 conspiracy theories shared by a motley crowd of neo-Nazis (Pierre-Henry Bunel, Horst Mahler), Islamists (Hezbollah, Hamas, Ahmadinejad), liberal theologians (William Sloane Coffin, David Ray Griffin) and leftist socialists (Thierry Meyssan, Andreas von Bülow). Or should I, in view of the foregoing, assume that Mr. Barends agrees with those whom I critisize in my book? Rest assured that neither Hugo Chávez nor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will be very happy about my book should it ever come out in English. That's why their opponents read my articles on the internet. In none of my numerous books, articles, TV programs, comments on the radio and speeches have I ever sought to betray freedom. Indeed, freedom and anti-totalitarianism are central themes in my work as a journalist and writer.
Finally, my book decribes the temporary alliance between Stalin and Hitler after the infamous Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact (1939-41). These chapters are largely based on German Foreign Office files as well as communist party documents (PCF, CPN, KPD, CPUSA, Communist International, etc.). Is it entirely wrong to assert that Nazi-Soviet relations between 1939-41 were the result of temporary alliancies between extremists? Why, then, does Mr. Barends accuse me of writing "incoherent chapters"? Apart from the fact that Mr. Barends fails to give any examples to make his point, I must conclude that he is not familiar with historical analysis and parallels nor with history itself (Europe, former Soviet Union, role of Grand Mufti of Jeusalem, etc.). My whole book is about freedom and those who seek to destroy it, then and now.
As to the cover, there is nothing wrong with that either. It shows a small Muslim crescent, a small Nazi swastika and an equally small communist hammer and sickle. Covers are often the product of free expressions of artists and sometimes more outspoken than the contents of the book itself. I do not want to influence this kind of free expression. Michael Baigent recently published the book "Racing towards Armageddon. The 3 great religions and the plot to end the world" (Harper: New York/London, 2009). His book cover shows the Muslim crescent, the Christian cross and the Jewish star of David. No one was insulted by it. Nor was anyone insulted by the cover of my book – except UN employee Mr. Barends, of course. Muslims did not write critical articles about me on the Internet or in scholarly journals asking God to stop the distribution of my book. They know I never compared the Koran to Hitler's Mein Kampf. My name is not Geert Wilders.
Two previous books written by me have also been reviewed by the Internationale Spectator, but I cannot escape the impression that, for some reason, Mr. Telkamp invariably selects and subsequently instructs hostile and biased reviewers who hardly read my books. One of them incorrectly claimed, for example, that I condemned the use of condoms in Africa. In fact, I called it a crime to prohibit the use of condoms in often promiscuous African societies. Another reviewer incorrectly claimed that professor Bob Smalhout was a member of the Pim Fortuyn party (LPF). One would and should expect better editorial policies from a journal that pretends to be a scholarly one. Reviewers, just like writers and journalists, have the right to freely express themselves, provided they make assertions that are not false and do not call on God to stop an author from making an impact on society.
Emerson Vermaat, a law graduate of Leiden University, the Netherlands, is a Dutch investigative reporter. He is the author of the Dutch book "Nazi's, Communisten en Islamisten: Opmerkelijke Alllianties tussen Extremisten" (Aspekt Publishers, Soesterberg, Netherlands, 2008). He is currently writing a book on "Heinrich Himmler and the Cult of Death." Website: emersonvermaat.com.
For a recent American review of "Nazis, Communists and Islamists. Remarkable Alliances between Extremists," see ME Quaterly Online, Summer 2009, http://www.meforum.org/2430/nazis-communisten-en-islamisten (review by Beila Rabinowitz who reads Dutch).
Ultimosegundo.ig.com.br, June 13, 2009 ("Chávez felicta Ahmadinejad pelo vitória").
Press TV (Iran), June 13, 2009 ("Chávez congratulates Ahmadinejad").
Z.A.B. Zeman, Nazi Propaganda (Oxford/London/New York: Oxford University Press, 1973), p. 224 (Full text of Hitler's 1938 speech against "liberal" press freedom.)
El País (Madrid), August 1, 2009, p. 3 ("Chávez prepara una 'ley mordaza' para castigar a la prensa critica"). Luisa Ortega Díaz: "Un proyecto de Ley Especial de Delitos Mediáticos para sancionar aquellas radios, televisiones, diarios y paginas webs que con sus informaciones generaban zozobra y panico entre los ciudanos." A law against media that "are spreading anxiety and panic among the population."
El País, August 1, 2009, p. 24 (Editorial article "Venezuela amordazada"): "Chávez quiere encarcelar a quienes divulguen notocias contrarias al catecismo del régimen."
Helmut Heiber (Ed.), Goebbels Reden 1932-1939, vol. I (Munich: Wilhelm Heyne Verlag, 1971), p. 174 (Nazi Propaganda Minister Goebbels on curtailing press freedom.)
Washington Post, March 28, 2005, p. A17 ("Chávez censorship: Where 'disrespect' can land you in jail.") Emerson Vermaat, Nazi's, communisten en islamisten. Opmerkelijke allianties tussen extremisten (Soesterberg: Aspekt Publishers, 2008), p. 199, 200 (Chávez curtailing press freedom and parallels with Goebbels' Nazi "press law" of October 1933.)
Raúl Isaías Baduel, Por qué me separé de Chávez, in: El Mundo (Madrid), December 2, 2007, p. 34; Texto completo de la Posición de Raúl Isaías Baduel sobre la Reforma Constitucional, November 5, 2007 (www.raulbaduel.blogspot.com).
Der Spiegel (Hamburg, Germany), August 8, 2009, p. 95-98 ("Der Erdöl Messias"). Baduel's prison. An excellent German article on Chávez.
BBC News (Internet), August 28, 2008 ("Livingstone to be Chavez advisor").
BBC Hard Talk, August 10, 2009 (Ken Livingstone's criticism of a Human Rights Watch report on Venezuela, saying Human Rights Watch is "an American organization.")
Amnesty International (London), Venezuela; President Chávez must recognize and respect legitimate human rights work, February 18, 2004; see also: Amnesty International's Annual Report 2008.
Robert M. Morgenthau, The links between Iran and Venezuela: A Crisis in the Making? Brookings Institution, September 8, 2009 (www.gfip.org).
El País (Madrid), September 8, 2009, p. 38 ("Vuestro rey debería callarse"). Oliver Stone and Chávez in Venice. "Oliver Stone carga contra al jefe del Estado y contra la prensa por su trato a Chávez."
Francisco Rodríguez, Why Chávez Wins, in: Foreign Policy, January 2007 (Internet edition).
Francisco Rodríguez, An Empty Revolution, in: Foreign Affairs, March/April 2008, p. 50, 53.
Press TV (Iran), September 5, 2009 ("Chávez on his 7th visit to Iran").
El País, September 8, 2009, p. 8 ("Ahmadinejad se niega a negociar sobre el programa nuclear iraní").
Kasra Naji, Ahmadinejad. The secret history of Iran's radical leader (London: I.B. Taurus, 2008), p. 181-183 (Ahmadinejad's letter to Angela Merkel.).
File: Himmler Posen Speech Extermination of the Jews Excerpt, October 4, 1943.ogg, wikipedia.org (with featured sound file).
Sicco van der Meer, Praten met Iran: hoe sneller, hoe beter, in: Internationale Spectator (The Hague, Holland), juni 2009, p. 1, 2.
M.G. Barends' ("M.G.B.") review of my book "Nazis, communisten en Islamisten" in: "Internationale Spectator," May 2009, p. 287: "Een signalement is volgens de eindredactie van de Internationale Spectator echter toch op zijn plaats 'vanwege de mogelijke invloed van het boek op het publieke debat in Nederland.' Moge God ons daarvoor behoeden!" A former Dutch intelligence expert from the General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD) who read my book was surprised about these laughable comments.
Emerson Vermaat, Luchthartig heenstappen over fouten in Christendom?, in: Internationale Spectator, 2006, nummer 2 (Internet). My response to an unfair and critical review of my book on crime published in 2004.
This item is available on the Militant Islam Monitor website, at http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/4092