Editor’s note: This piece originally appeared in The Huffington Post. It was written by Thor Halvorssen, the President and Founder of the Human Rights Foundation, and is reprinted here with his permission.
Last week, the Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly voted on a special resolution addressing extrajudicial, arbitrary and summary executions. The resolution affirms the duties of member countries to protect the right to life of all people with a special emphasis on a call to investigate killings based on discriminatory grounds. The resolution highlights particular groups historically subject to executions including street children, human rights defenders, members of ethnic, religious, and linguistic minority communities, and, for the past 10 years, the resolution has included sexual orientation as a basis on which some individuals are targeted for death.
The tiny West African nation of Benin (on behalf of the UN’s African Group) proposed an amendment to strike sexual minorities from the resolution. The amendment was adopted with 79 votes in favor, 70 against, 17 abstentions and 26 absent.
A collection of notorious human rights violators voted for the amendment including Afghanistan, Algeria, China, Congo, Cuba, Eritrea, North Korea, Iran (didn’t Ahmadinejad tell the world there were no gays in Iran?), Egypt, Malaysia, Pakistan, Russia, Sudan, Uganda, Vietnam, Yemen, and Zimbabwe.
Add to this Bahamas, Belize (where you get 10 years for being gay), Jamaica (10 years of hard labor), Grenada (10 years), Guyana (life sentence), Saint Kitts and Nevis (10 years), Saint Lucia (10 years), Saint Vincent (10 years), South Africa (Apartheid? What apartheid?), and Morocco (ruled by a gay monarch!). They are all on the list of nations that do not think execution of gays and lesbians is worthy of condemnation or investigation. (The full vote tally is published beneath this column.)
To its shame, Colombia was among the 16 nations who abstained.
Those against the amendment include every European nation present, all Scandinavian countries, India, Korea, most of Latin America, all of North America, and only one Middle Eastern nation: Israel. In most countries in the Middle East, it is a crime to be gay–in some, like Saudi Arabia, it is punishable by beheading and in others, like Iran, by hanging.
The UN has a remarkable track record of doing virtually nothing when presented with mass killings or genocide. “Never again!” was the cry after the holocaust. Since then, the world has witnessed a dozen more never agains with strong condemnation from the UN coming after the corpses pile up. A resolution of the sort that was voted on in the General Assembly is significant for its clarity of message: “It’s okay to kill the gays.”
â˜› For more on this topic, read, “UN General Assembly Votes To Allow Gays To Be Executed Without Cause,” and â€œUN Vote Allowing Gays To Be Executed Result Of Political, Religious Fundamentalism.â€
The British government had pleaded: “The subject of this amendment–the need for prompt and thorough investigations of all killing, including those committed for … sexual orientation–exists in this resolution simply because it is a continuing cause for concern.”
Not a single African nation voted against the amendment. This is not surprising. Homosexuality is illegal in most of Africa. So acceptable is the notion of extra-judicial killings of gay men and women for their consensual private conduct that one of these countries, Uganda, is considering legislation making homosexuality (not the behavior, just being gay) punishable with death. The proposer of the bill, David Bahati, and the Ugandan “Minister for Ethics and Integrity,” Nsaba Buturo, have vowed the bill will pass before parliament dissolves on May 12, 2011.
Uganda is not a Muslim nation. It is a Christian country. And it was American evangelical preachers in Uganda who fanned the flames of what could turn into mass executions in a continent that has seen genocidal murder occur numerous times in the last two decades on the basis of religious belief, ethnicity, and membership in a linguistic minority (Burundi, Darfur, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Somalia, Zimbabwe…).
I had the opportunity to meet one of the courageous individuals in the struggle against this potential mass killing in Uganda. Her name is Kasha Jacqueline and she was one of the presenters at this year’s Oslo Freedom Forum. Jacqueline was concerned for her safety when she made her way to Oslo given that she could have been the subject of retaliation upon her return.
Upon arriving in Norway, she was approached by several members of one of Oslo’s gay and lesbian organizations who urged her not to speak at the Oslo Freedom Forum because they disagreed with our inclusion of several speakers who were outspoken critics of left-wing dictatorships. Sadly, some people in Oslo believe that only those on the left can call themselves human rights defenders — their double standard usually will manifest itself when they ignore the crimes of the governments they favor.
Kasha Jacqueline was quick to tell them that she was using us, and not the other way around. Her speech was so powerful that she was invited to stay an extra day and give the same speech at an event open to the public. She kindly accepted.
Just days later, the inclusion of Kasha Jacqueline in the program of the Oslo Freedom Forum was one of the subjects of public condemnation by an American pro-life activist. The irony was excruciating. Here was a man who devotes his life to what he describes as stopping the mass killings of babies chastising an event for including someone in our program who wants to stop the mass killings of gays and lesbians. My response to his jeremiad, which was never published, concluded: “There is nothing to discuss in a circumstance like the one faced by Ms. Jacqueline and those affected by this legislation other than to offer: ‘Ms. Jacqueline, how can we help you and your organization prevent what could become a horrific massacre?'”
Thus the left, dear reader, thus the right. They deserve each other.
Thor Halvorssen is president of the Human Rights Foundation and founder of the Oslo Freedom Forum.
In favor of the amendment to remove sexual orientation from the UN resolution on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions (79 nations):
Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belize, Benin, Botswana, Brunei Dar-Sala, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, China, Comoros, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uzbekistan, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Opposed to the UN amendment to remove sexual orientation from the resolution on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions (70 nations):
Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bhutan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Micronesia (FS), Monaco, Montenegro, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Samoa, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela
Abstain (17 nations):
Antigua-Barbuda, Barbados, Belarus, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Colombia, Fiji, Mauritius, Mongolia, Papau New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Vanuatu
Absent (26 nations):
Albania, Bolivia, Central African Republic, Chad, Dominica, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Honduras, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Marshall Island, Mauritania, Nauru, Nicaragua, Palau, Sao Tome Principe, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, Togo, Tonga, Turkey, Turkmenistan
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Watchdog Reports Trump ‘Credibly Accused’ of ‘Staggering’ List of 55 Criminal Offenses – Urges DOJ to Prosecute
A nonpartisan federal government watchdog has updated its list of “uncharged” criminal offenses it says Donald Trump stands “credibly accused” of committing, and is urging the Dept. of Justice to prosecute them, warning that “the rule of law is not self-enforcing.”
“As of September 2022, Donald Trump has been credibly accused of committing at least 55 criminal offenses since he launched his campaign for president in 2015,” reports Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, better known as CREW. “That total only reflects allegations relating to his time in or running for office and omits, for instance, Trump’s criminal exposure for fraudulent business dealings.”
The lengthy list includes numerous allegations of campaign finance crimes and coverup, destruction of presidential records, obstruction of the Russia and Special Counsel Investigations, attempts to steal the 2020 election, false public financial disclosure reports, attempts to get Ukraine to interfere in 2020 election, profiting off of post-election lies, and unlawful post-presidency possession of government records.
CREW says its update includes “seven offenses we have added since we published the first version of this table in March 2022,” including “three criminal offenses relating to the investigation of election fraud and related crimes in Fulton County, Georgia; one offense relating to potential wire fraud stemming from fraudulent representations made to solicit PAC contributions after the 2020 election; and three offenses relating to Trump’s unlawful possession of government records at Mar-a-Lago after leaving office.”
“The updated tracker likely understates Trump’s legal exposure because the high volume of sensitive records discovered at Mar-A-Lago suggests that he could be indicted for multiple counts of willfully retaining without authorization government records containing national defense information, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 793(e)), even though it is only listed once on CREW’s tracker.”
CREW is not the only one keeping track of Trump’s misdeeds, criminal civil, or ethical.
McSweeney’s published a list of 1056 “atrocities,” it calls “horrors,” titled: “A Catalog of Trump’s Worst Cruelties, Collusions, Corruptions, and Crimes.” It stopped updating on Jan. 20, 2021.
Civil liberties and national security journalist Marcy Wheeler on Wednesday published her “Trump Document Theft Resources,” a timeline of events surrounding the former president’s unlawful retention and refusal to return classified documents, complete with numerous links.
For those who’ve missed it: I have put together a post with links to all MY posts on the Trump Espionage case, as well as the public docs, statutes, and some other key reports. Not entirely up-to-date and a work in progress, though. https://t.co/1xpy6I5ine
— emptywheel (@emptywheel) September 28, 2022
Christian Nationalist GOP Nominee Doug Mastriano Calling for ‘40 Days of Fasting and Prayer’ to Help Campaign
The far-right Christian nationalist and state lawmaker who is the Republican Party’s nominee to become governor of Pennsylvania is so extreme and has been performing so poorly in the polls it took the media two days to learn of his latest plan to win election: 40 days of fasting and prayer.
State Sen. Doug Mastriano, who led a Zoom meeting days before the January 6 insurrection praying his fellow Trump supporters would “rise up” and overthrow the government, on Monday posted to Facebook a call for “40 Days of Fasting and Prayer.”
To date it has received little attention, a mere 10 comments, 46 shares, and 156 various likes. That’a after one news outlet, The Philadelphia Inquirer, published an article on Mastriano Wednesday afternoon.
“The Republican gubernatorial candidate is losing some support among GOP allies as his cash-strapped campaign turns to Twitter memes and, apparently, divine intervention,” the Inquirer reports.
A mere “few dozen supporters joined the Republican state senator on the steps of the Capitol building in Harrisburg — some of them members of a local militia group,” for campaign rally last weekend, adding that “Mastriano hasn’t run or booked any TV ads in response. He doesn’t do interviews with most media outlets, and won’t agree to a standard format debate.”
Mastriano recently made headlines over previously unreported remarks showing he supports criminal murder charges for women who violate a 6-week abortion ban.
It seems likely Mastriano will lose the election. FiveThirtyEight gives the far right Republican state lawmaker just seven chances in 100 to win the governorship. His opponent, Democrat Josh Shapiro, has spent millions more that Mastriano, who the Inquirer notes has spent just $6300 on TV ads.
Some are highlighting bigger, more longterm concerns, noting that Mastriano is helping to expand the Christian nationalism and fascism his ideologies represent.
Media Matters for America’s Eric Hananoki on Wednesday reveals: “Mastriano announced that he’s holding a rally with Jack Posobiec this weekend. Posobiec has collaborated with white nationalists and neo-Nazis and has targeted Jewish people with antisemitic hate.”
Doug Mastriano announced that he’s holding a rally with Jack Posobiec this weekend. Posobiec has collaborated with white nationalists and neo-Nazis and has targeted Jewish people with antisemitic hate, as the @splcenter has documented. https://t.co/V4xQeohozl
— Eric Hananoki (@ehananoki) September 28, 2022
“Mastriano is a QAnon conspiracy theorist and a January 6 insurrectionist,” Media Matters report adds. “He has also shared toxic commentaries about Muslims; abortion; and gun safety; along with making other inflammatory remarks.”
“He has surrounded himself with numerous extremist media figures in his campaign for Pennsylvania governor. They include: antisemitic Gab CEO Andrew Torba; QAnon and antisemitic conspiracy theorists Allen and Francine Fosdick; “prophet” Julie Green, who has promoted an antisemitic conspiracy theory; and QAnon supporter and 9/11 conspiracy theorist Toni Shuppe. Mastriano also recruited Jenna Ellis, who has a history of anti-LGBTQ remarks and election denialism, as a senior adviser.”
The New York Times last month reported Mastriano “speaks almost exclusively to far-right podcasters like Stephen K. Bannon, conservative talk radio hosts and Fox News. On a recent swing through northwest Pennsylvania, he brushed off a Pittsburgh TV station that sought to interview him, and even the small-circulation Meadville Tribune.“
Don’t Call Us ‘Fascists’: Marjorie Taylor Greene Blasts News Media After Criticism Over Her Feral Hog Hunting Stunt
U. S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) is furious at the entire news industry, and especially HuffPost, after it published a report highlighting her latest stunt: a video portraying her as some kind of lighting-powered superhero with a helicopter and an AR-15 shooting a feral pig and criticizing Democrats.
In the video, posted to Facebook, she claims there is “skyrocketing inflation, high diesel fuel, and America last policies.”
“Democrats aren’t the only ones destroying farmers’ ability to put food on the table. We’ve got wild hogs destroying farmers’ fields,” says Greene, who has nearly no responsibilities as a Member of Congress. “So we decided to go hog hunting.”
Greene takes a large AR-15-styled assault weapon into a helicopter so she can shoot and kill a feral hog from the air. She later poses with the dead carcass on the ground.
Her stunt does nothing to help farmers, but it does help her image with the pro-gun right and serves as a fundraising stunt — she uses the video to announce a contest for supporters to join her in a helicopter hog-shooting trip.
Wednesday morning HuffPost published a story titled, “Marjorie Taylor Greene Likens Dems To Hogs, Wants Help Shooting Them Dead.”
The report notes Greene had “been stripped of her House committee assignments over her use of violent rhetoric, including toward Democrats,” and says the “extremist Republican’s announcement of a competition to hunt feral pigs did not go over well.”
Greene was outraged.
In a seven-part Twitter thread directed at HuffPost she writes, “I demand you change this headline and your lies about me immediately. Your freedom of press is not freedom to lie about me. I NEVER said anything like this and did NOT call for violence on Democrats.”
She calls for the reporter and editor to be fired, and then goes off on the entire news media.
“You don’t get to lie about me and many of my colleagues calling us Nazis, fascists, and any other nasty label you type up and get away with it,” she tweeted.
“There is not one single Republican that has ever aligned with Nazism, fascism, Marxism, socialism, communism, or any other awful political ideology,” she says in carefully-chosen rhetoric.
There are Republicans today exhibiting fascistic behaviors and promoting fascistic ideology. President Joe Biden has clearly criticized the ideology of “MAGA Republicans” as “semi-fascism.”
In late August the White House singled out Greene to defend President Biden’s “semi-fascism” criticism, saying: “Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green has publicly expressed support for shooting prominent democratic elected officials and suggesting physically assaulting transgender school officials.”
Greene this week celebrated Italy’s election of a new neo-fascist prime minister.
On Wednesday, in her indictment of the entire news media, across all points of view including the right, she asks: “Does America have any journalist of such high character and moral ethics that can resist the powerful temptation to lie, abusing their power of freedom of the press, in order to serve their political party?”
“Tragically, we do not,” she concludes.
Watch Greene’s video below or at this link:
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