Larry Klayman vs Hugo Chavez: Return of the Right-Wing Attack Fruit-Cakes

May 14, 2009

This should be fun.

A right-wing campaigning group, which fears that the “Obama-Clinton regime…is using the economic crisis as an excuse to turn our nation into a socialist Euro-style welfare state” is suing the Venezuelan government (or at least Citgo, its oil company) for alleged “human rights abuses” and supporting terrorism.

Freedom Watch is the name, and lunacy’s the game. The group also believes that “the United Nations is a bastion for terrorist nations bent on destroying our western and Judeo-Christian lifestyle and culture,” and wants to extricate the U.S. from its clutches. It rages against “secularists” who “believe that we should worship at the alter of big government, which to them is ‘God'” while it warns that “living in our midst are persons from the Middle East and elsewhere who are advancing the goals of Al Quaeda [sic] and other terrorist interests” many of whom are “so called “respected” leaders in our communities.”

“Freedom Watch will not stand idly by and watch our health care system be socialized in the Canadian and European models” – but enough of such nuttery.

No,wait. Just a little more. Amidst the standard litany of conservative/libertarian gripes against “big government” and “socialized” healthcare, there is at least one gem. I kid you not:

There is much evidence that our country has been visited from time to time from “persons” from other solar systems and galaxies. But the government does not want to reveal what it knows about this. Great Britain, on the other hand, has come clean with evidence of extraterrestrial visits. It is important for our citizens to know the truth so we can prepare for the day when this openly occurs, to prevent worldwide panic.

Anyhow. Freedom Watch also claims to maintain a “Latin American Strike Force,” which worries that “from the Castro Brothers of Cuba to Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, to Lula of Brazil, to Kirchner of Argentina, to Ortega of Nicaragua and a host of others, our Southern Hemisphere has turned sharply left, headed toward a return to Communism or extreme socialism.”

All of this means that “freedom must come to Latin American, politically, socially and economically and Freedom Watch will play a substantial role in this endeavor” – whether through democracy or not.

The first strike will be a lawsuit being prepared against Citgo, as mentioned above. As AFP reports, Freedom Watch has partnered with a Venezuelan exile called Ricardo Guaripa (who worked as a journalist for the U.S.-funded Radio Marti) to demand $5 billion in damages from Caracas.

As the group’s Chairman, Larry Klayman, says, “The people of Venezuela and the world have been terrorized by Chavez and his communist/terrorist henchmen for too long” and “all the while he continues, through oil revenues and other means, to support terrorist countries and groups bent on destroying capitalism and the West in general.”

Heres Larry!

Here's Larry!

This comes as relations between Washington and Caracas appear to be improving. Obama shook hands with an ebullient Hugo Chavez at a recent hemispheric summit, while White House press officer Robert Gibbs has floated the idea of a face to face meeting.

Anything that brings the two governments closer together would be anathema for the Right – and Freedom Watch in particular – not least because of Chavez’ courageous stance on Israel-Palestine.

It’s possible that Obama could see Chavez as a useful go-between to establish relations with Hamas and Hezbollah, as his Middle Eastern strategy develops. Few world leaders have warm relations with both the Palestinian Authority under Mahmoud Abbas and with Hamas as well. Chavez does, and can be instrumental in achieving a peace accord during Obama’s presidency.

Apparently “Freedom Watch” isn’t very keen on seeing that materialize.

In fact, Larry Klayman – who runs the organization – has a long record of using the courts to attack Democrat politicians, filing suit after suit in the 1990s against the Clinton administration.

As Slate’s Jacob Weisberg put it in 1998, “Klayman is financially supported, praised, and frequently cited by the wider conservative movement..he isn’t just a nutter who gets right-wing foundation money and gets on television. He’s a nutter with a law degree who takes advantage of the courts to harass his political opponents.”

Expect a slew of suits stemming from Freedom Watch in the next few years. It should be amusing.

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