U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Health and Human Service Secretary Alex Azar joined representatives from Brazil, Egypt, Hungary, Indonesia, and Uganda Thursday in a virtual ceremony to launch the “Geneva Consensus Declaration on Promoting Women’s Health and Strengthening the Family.”
During the Obama administration, U.S. foreign policy supported reproductive rights and LGBTQ equality, while resistance and backlash to those principles were being led by religious-right advocacy groups, often in partnership with the world’s most repressive regimes. But during the Trump administration, the U.S. government has been mobilizing the reactionary forces. Pompeo and Azar have been working for at least a year and a half to mobilize Thursday’s signing of the Geneva Consensus.
The anti-abortion and anti-choice language of the declaration is explicit while wrapped in broad language about supporting women’s health. It draws language from other international agreements about the need to provide children with “special measures of protection” and “safeguards … before as well as after birth.” Speakers from the sponsoring nations all insisted that they would oppose any effort by any United Nations body to assert that access to abortion is recognized in international human rights law. Pompeo praised the Trump administration’s “unprecedented defense of the unborn abroad” and said he hoped that the declaration’s “moral clarity” will embolden others.
The anti-LGBTQ agenda of the coalition is less explicit in the language of the declaration itself—which draws on language from the U.N.’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights to reaffirm that “the family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the state.” But Hungary’s Minister of State for Family, Youth and International Affairs Katalin Novák was more explicit, denouncing international forces that she charged were trying to “weaken the traditional family” through a “culture of indoctrination and preaching” at the U.N. and the promotion of “gender ideology,” “ideological neocolonialism,” and sex education.
Novák said that the right-wing anti-LGBTQ governments of Hungary and Poland are playing a leading role in promoting and strengthening the “traditional family.” Uganda’s health minister, Jane Aceng, criticized international pressure to support policies that “may be contrary to our values” and called for “due respect for our values and sovereignty.”
Notably, the document affirms that “universal health coverage is fundamental” in achieving the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals while recognizing that governments will “determine their own path towards achieving universal health coverage”—in the U.S., that path seems headed in the opposite direction as the Trump administration urges the Supreme Court to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and strip health care coverage from millions of Americans during the coronavirus pandemic.
18 Months in the Making: Pompeo and Azar Organizing at the United Nations
The Geneva Consensus Declaration event was a culmination of the Trump administration’s intensive efforts to build opposition to any international recognition of a right to abortion—and Pompeo and Azar’s zeal to undermine international recognition of the rights of LGBTQ people while celebrating governmental enforcement of “traditional” religious values on gender, sexuality, and family. They’ve been working on developing this new coalition for about a year and a half.
Last July, Pompeo and Azar sent a letter to foreign governments asking them to “join the United States in ensuring that every sovereign state has the ability to determine the best way to protect the unborn and defend the family as the foundational unit of society vital to children thriving and leading healthy lives.” The letter warned that “ambiguous” terms like “sexual and reproductive health and rights” are associated with “anti-family and pro-abortion policies.” The July letter built on a statement distributed in May by the governments of the U.S., Brazil, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Haiti, Ghana, Nigeria, and Iraq making the same argument. Since then, the U.S. has been working to expand this coalition.
In September 2019, on the eve of Trump’s address to the U.N. General Assembly, Azar released a similar statement, this one endorsed by a larger number of nations: United States of America, Bahrain, Belarus, Brazil, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Guatemala, Haiti, Hungary, Iraq, Libya, Mali, Nigeria, Poland, Republic of the Congo, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.
Just a month later, the U.S. issued a statement arguing that governments could better worktogether to improve access to health care if they avoided “divisive” topics. “The United States firmly believes that we can do more for people by coming together on those broad areas of agreement on which we can achieve genuine progress, rather than pursuing divisive policies that promote abortion, diminish the role of the family, and compromise the sovereignty of nations by focusing on sensitive issues where we know consensus is not possible,” the U.S. statement said in part.
Comprehensive sex education, a target of the World Congress of Families and right-wing culture warriors around the globe, was also singled out by the U.S. government. “We remain deeply concerned that comprehensive sexuality education programs undermine the protective role of the family in such education and condone harmful sexual risks for young people,” the U.S. statement said. “We continue to be a stalwart defender of all women, men, children, and families and support programs to improve their health, life, dignity, and well-being.”
The Trump team’s organizing continued with a November session and statement released during the Nairobi Summit on the 25th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development, which was first held in Cairo in 1994. And in December, the Department of Health and Human Services and the governments of Hungary and Brazil sponsored an “International Conference on Family Policy” that was attended by White House domestic policy director Joe Grogan. The event also featured anti-choice and anti-marriage-equality activists from the U.S. religious right.
In December, Hungary and Brazil cosponsored a public gathering at which HHS Special Representative for Global Women’s Health Valerie Huber—an abstinence education advocate—thanked countries that have demonstrated “political will” and “moral courage” and acted to “preserve our countries and this civilization as it should be.” Azar singled out Huber for praise at Thursday’s ceremony.
This year, on Jan. 16, Azar addressed a closed-door meeting of 35 nations at Blair House, on the other side of Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House. “Together, we built a pro-life, pro-family, pro-sovereignty coalition that is a force to be reckoned with,” Azar declared of the 2019 organizing efforts. But, he added, “our informal coalition needs to grow and be more active.”
Joining Azar in January were Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway and representatives of two authoritarian leaders compared to and praised by President Donald Trump: Hungary’s Novák and Brazil’s deputy chief of mission] in Washington, Minister-Counselor Fernando Pimentel. Azar also read a letter from Uganda’s Aceng, whom Azar called “one of our strongest and most reliable partners.”
At that event, Azar encouraged countries to continue to build momentum by attending “an upcoming global women’s health conference” in Geneva, Switzerland, in May, just before the start of the World Health Assembly. That is where the consensus declaration was to be finalized, but COVID-19 derailed that gathering. Presumably with an eye on the U.S. elections, sponsors decided to push forward with the release of the statement before the group meets next year.
All this official business builds on the work being done by an extensive network of religious-right legal and political groups. Hungary’s Novák has met with representatives of the Alliance Defending Freedom, the religious-right legal giant that opposes LGBTQ equality in the U.S. and has defended criminalization of homosexuality in other countries. “We agree that there is a great need for closer cooperation among international pro-family stakeholders in defending #family values,” Novák tweeted last November.
C-FAM, which works relentlessly to promote anti-choice and anti-LGBTQ policies at the U.N., cheered Azar’s January remarks. And C-FAM’s Austin Ruse, was quick to put out a statement Thursday “heartily” congratulating the Trump administration and the 32 nations that have signed the new declaration.
This article was originally published at Right Wing Watch and is republished here by permission
Image: Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex M. Azar participate in signing ceremony of the Geneva Consensus Declaration. State Department photo by Ron Przysucha via Flickr
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‘Attacking God’: QAnon Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene Rants ‘Disgusting’ LGBTQ Equality Act is ‘Evil’
The legislation, which will receive a vote on Friday in the House, “has nothing to do with equality,” Greene insisted in a series of tweets.
“I WILL BE VOTING NO TO THE DISGUSTING, IMMORAL, AND EVIL #EqualityAct!!!” tweeted the Georgia lawmaker, dubbed the “QAnon Congresswoman” for her support of the dangerous anti-Semitic cult whose followers also profess a large number of prominent Democrats cut the faces off babies, wear them, and drink their blood and eat them, in a Satanic ritual.
“It has nothing to do with stopping discrimination against the LGBT community, that could be done easily without this,” she claims, again, falsely. “It has everything to do with attacking God & believers.”
“It virtually destroys women’s rights and religious freedom,” she said, without elaborating.
“The so called #EqualityAct is evil,” Greene continued. “Disguised as #LGBT rights, it expands governmental regulatory reach that destroys women’s rights, religious rights, and rights of the unborn,” which is false.
“It is a direct attack on God’s creation,” she added, again, falsely. “He created us male and female.”
Greene is co-sponsoring anti-transgender legislation that would ban transgender girls from sports in schools. On Monday she also tweeted this attack:
“If you perform a mastectomy in the case of breast cancer, you will have to perform one on the teenage girl identifying as a boy.
All in the name of equality…
The act treats any refusal to offer abortion as “pregnancy” discrimination.”
Doctors & Nurses will have no choice.
— Marjorie Taylor Greene 🇺🇸 (@mtgreenee) February 22, 2021
Pro-Trump Attorney Lin Wood Doxes Georgia Officials Seeking Disciplinary Action, Calls on Supporters to Dig Up Dirt
Lin Wood—the pro-Trump attorney turned far-right conspiracy theorist and QAnon celebrity—has called on hundreds of thousands of his supporters to dig up dirt on Georgia officials involved in a disciplinary case against him.
Wood also doxed the officials by posting their addresses on his Telegram channel, where they can be accessed by more than 800,000 followers.
“I could use the help of an Army of Patriots due to the time limitation,” Wood wrote on Telegram last Saturday. “If you have any information that might impact the ‘competency, qualifications or objectivity’ of any members, would you email the information to me? Their social media posts, political affiliations, representative clients (for example, what if one or more of them represent Dominion), lawsuits filed against them, etc. would all potentially provide me with relevant information that could form the basis of a challenge.”
The State Bar of Georgia proceeded with an inquiry into Wood after receiving information that Wood “may have violated one or more of the Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct.” The grievance, dated Feb. 5, 2021, was uploaded by Wood to Dropbox.
Wood, who first gained notoriety when he represented Richard Jewell, a security guard falsely accused of planting the bomb in Centennial Olympic Park during the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia, has since reinvented himself as a pro-Trump advocate. Along with fellow attorney Sidney Powell, Wood filed lawsuits seeking to undo the 2020 presidential election results in several swing states, which made him a celebrity in the far-right QAnon conspiracy movement.
Wood’s infamous lawsuits with Powell were referenced in the 1,600-page complaint filed against him.
“After the presidential election, Mr. Wood and his co-counsel, Sidney Powell, filed four frivolous lawsuits in swing states, Georgia, Wisconsin, Arizona, and Michigan, where they falsely claimed voter fraud and sought to overturn the election results,” the complaint read. “Each of these cases was dismissed as Mr. Wood and his co-counsel could not even state a legally cognizable theory, let alone provide evidence, for their unsupported claims.”
The complaint further alleges that Wood has “shown that he either cannot or will not comply with his professional obligations. Indeed, in the January 11 conference before this Court, he defended his actions, falsely claiming that there was ample evidence of fraud to support the allegations universally rejected by multiple courts.”
Wood, who previously called for the arrest and execution of former vice president Mike Pence and who continues to push baseless conspiracy theories about Chief Justice John Roberts and Hillary Clinton, refused to undergo a mental health assessment requested by the State Bar of Georgia last month. At the time, he stated that “despite some personal difficulties with my family in February of 2020, my physician found that I was of sound mind and was not ‘crazy’.”
Wood also argued that his unfounded ramblings are not reason enough to threaten disciplinary action against him.
“I do not deserve to have my license threatened and possibly revoked because I support President Trump, fight for the Bill of Rights, fight for honest elections, fight against pedophilia and child sex trafficking, and stand against corruption in high government officials,” Wood said on Telegram.
This article was first published at Right Wing Watch and is republished here by permission.
Lead ‘Stop the Steal’ Organizer Promises to Restart Rallies, Punish Enemies, Build New Society for Trump Supporters
Ali Alexander, the lead organizer of the so-called Stop the Steal campaign, has resurfaced after going into hiding following the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Streaming on Trovo Wednesday night, Alexander claimed that while he has been licking his wounds, he has been plotting to restart rallies in March, abolish the media, and build a separate society for Trump supporters.
As former President Donald Trump faces an impeachment trial this week for inciting an insurrection with his speech at the Stop the Steal rally the morning of Jan. 6, it appears Alexander has yet to face charges for his role. Alexander rebooted the so-called Stop the Steal campaign the day after Election Day, when Trump’s lead began to slip as mail-in ballots began to be counted. He pushed voter fraud conspiracy theories, embraced QAnon conspiracy theorists and far-right activists in his campaign, claimed to be doing God’s work, and organized three massive rallies in Washington, D.C., that featured the Proud Boys hate group, paramilitary groups like the Oath Keepers, and other extremists.
Following Jan. 6, Alexander was booted off most major social media platforms and, as a result, is now streaming on Trovo, a gaming platform that appears to be growing in popularity among far-right actors kicked off other platforms. On Wednesday night, Alexander lamented the “racist, bigoted, anti-Christian, anti-Southern, anti-Republican, anti-conservative, anti-human smear machine” that he says targeted him, and he promised to create chaos. “We’ve got to get back in the driver’s seat,” he added.
“They’ve done a great number on my life, they’ve cost me tens of thousands of dollars, they’ve really destroyed parts of my life, but in a lot of ways, I have no other choice but to announce that I’m building the future, so I’m making strategic investments in tools that fight deplatforming and to create chaos on existing platforms,” Alexander claimed.
“America is going to have a choice, and I promise you that, between going onto this dystopian future or fighting in what I’m calling the American sovereignty movement,” he said. “And I’m gonna get back, and I’m going to do rallies again starting in March, I’m gonna have indoor gatherings in March, in Michigan, in Arizona, in Georgia, in Texas. I’m going to do a media tour.”
Alexander said he had been plotting how to do away with the free press and other “systems that control us”: “So I want you guys to know that I’ve been licking my wounds, but I’ve been plotting, I’ve been planning, I’ve been scheming because we have to do away with this whole system. The free press is not free, and they’re not the press, they need to be abolished. The systems that control us have to be abolished.”
“I’m going to create a society, and a community, and a culture, and a language for [Trump supporters], and there are tens of millions of us. … Winning can just be 10 million people creating a new megacity,” he mused. “Let’s build our own city, let’s seriously build our own city, let’s build a back-up city in South America.”
This is Ali Alexander, leader of the so-called Stop the Steal campaign, saying: “I don’t disavow this. I do not denounce this.” pic.twitter.com/0mP0xThAYP
— Kristen Doerer (@k2doe) January 6, 2021
Alexander also didn’t miss the opportunity to push the claim that the insurrection was a “premeditated psyop.”
“Like everyone is saying the impeachment trial is proving that there was a premeditated psyop against both Trump and Stop the Steal, so how could we incite an insurrection that was premeditated by people we don’t know?” he said. “And yet, are there big platforms welcoming me back saying we treated a Black man wrong because we wanted to pretend he was leading a white supremacy movement? No. These people are evil. And we will make lists of them, and they will not be welcome in this new society, they won’t be welcomed on new platforms, those people who have tried to force Marxism and thought control on us.”
Alexander said that if the “deep state” charges him with a fake crime, he’d be prepared to fight: “If they want to charge me with a fake crime, if they want to martyr me, then I will meet them on that battlefield. I’m not somebody, I’m not somebody that talks a talk or tweets a tweet.”
“I’ve licked my wounds, I’m pissed off. I’m more pissed off than I was the night of the election I created Stop the Steal. We win. They lose. To God be the glory,” he said in closing.
Ahead of the Capitol insurrection, Alexander embraced increasingly violent rhetoric, calling for revolution and rebellion. A short distance away from the White House the day before the insurrection, Alexander started a “Victory or death!” chant at a Stop the Steal rally. “Our government is only our government if it is legitimate,” he declared at that rally. “1776 is always an option.”
After the violence at the Capitol, Alexander posted a since-deleted video of himself saying “I don’t disavow this. I do not denounce this.” He encouraged viewers to tune into his Stop the Steal website, which he called “the home of the rebellion against an illegitimate government.”
This article was originally published at Right Wing Watch and is republished here by permission.
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