Connect with us

RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

18 Months in the Making: Trump Admin Launches Extremist Manifesto With Coalition of Anti-Choice, Anti-LGBTQ Regimes

Published

on

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

Continue Reading
Click to comment
 
 

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. The New Civil Rights Movement depends on readers like you to meet our ongoing expenses and continue producing quality progressive journalism. Three Silicon Valley giants consume 70 percent of all online advertising dollars, so we need your help to continue doing what we do.

NCRM is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. From unflinching coverage of religious extremism, to spotlighting efforts to roll back our rights, NCRM continues to speak truth to power. America needs independent voices like NCRM to be sure no one is forgotten.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure NCRM remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to NCRM, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

GOP Congressman: FBI ‘Participated’ in Insurrection to ‘Entrap’ Harmless Protestors and ‘Frame the MAGA Movement’

Published

on

U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) is demanding the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Dept. of Justice tell Congress what they know about their own alleged “participation” in Donald Trump’s January 6 insurrection, which led to at least seven deaths. Gohmert falsely claims the attack on the U.S. Capitol – which in reality was an attempted coup designed to overturn a free and fair election – was instead a “monumental entrapment scheme used as a pretext to imprison otherwise harmless protestors” and used to “frame the entire MAGA movement as potential domestic terrorists.”

News organization The Recount calls Gohmert’s assertions “a bullshit baseless conspiracy theory.”

The Texas Republican congressman, explained on Thursday on the floor of the House that his “friend,” Fox News white supremacist host Tucker Carlson “covered this last night,” called the conspiracy theory “really disturbing… because we don’t like to see government agents stirring up trouble or find that there are criminal acts that would not likely have occurred had not the federal government been participating.”

Having no evidence that January 6 was an “inside job,” which is what Gohmert is asserting, he goes on to make up possible scenarios, again, without any basis in fact.

“Whether they were actual agents, or an undercover agents, or informants that were working for the federal government. But this is scary stuff this is, This is kind of third world stuff, this is not only third world stuff but this is like Putin-like kind of activity. So, if there were federal agents that were involved on January 6, we really need to know what the FBI knew and when they knew it, and not only that, we need to know how much participation did any of our federal friends either at DOJ, FBI, or any of the Intel Community, what kind of role were they playing?”

It’s almost like he is demanding Speaker Pelosi form a Special Committee to investigate the January 6 insurrection.

 

Continue Reading

RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Jerry Falwell Jr.: I Had No Responsibility to Tell Liberty University About My Personal Life

Published

on

Jerry Falwell, Jr. is asking  a court to dismiss a multi-million dollar lawsuit filed against him by his former employer, Liberty University, the Christian conservative evangelical college founded by his father.

The suit, worth more than $40 million, is merely a tool to embarrass and publicly shame him, Falwell says. He claims university officials are using it as a vehicle to keep his affairs in the public eye.

The lawsuit, Falwell claims, according to the Lynchburg News & Advance, focuses “in large part on an affair between Falwell’s wife, Becki, and a young man named Giancarlo Granda that Jerry Falwell Jr. has made public statements about.”

Granda has repeatedly claimed that not only did Falwell know about his wife’s affair with Granda, often described in the  media as their “pool boy,” Falwell Jr. participated in some of the liaisons, as a voyeur.

Falwell Jr. “has claimed Granda — once a pool boy, business partner and friend to the family — had extorted the couple, which Granda has denied.”

Related: ‘Pool Boy’ Breaks Down Jerry Falwell Jr’s ‘Predatory Behavior’ in CNN Interview

Liberty University “honed in on those claims in its lawsuit, stating Falwell breached his fiduciary duty to the school by not disclosing ‘Granda’s extortive threats’ while negotiating a 2019 employment agreement that included a $1.5 million raise and a $2.5 million severance package. Beyond that, it alleges Falwell damaged the school’s reputation and donor base through a series of ‘indiscretions’ in recent years, along with his ‘personal impairment by alcohol.'”

Falwell in his court filing says the “rehashing of these events and protected defamation of Falwell through litigation serves one mission — ruining Falwell’s reputation through mischaracterization of events and public shaming through out-of-context pictures filed in a public complaint.”

His “response to the lawsuit states he had no duty to tell the university about private matters and the university failed to prove legal elements of the business conspiracy it alleged against him.”

 

Image via Shutterstock

Continue Reading

RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Leaked Messages Implicate White Nationalist Rep. Paul Gosar in Plot to Disrupt Biden Arizona Win Using Proud Boys

Published

on

Messages leaked to the Washington Post implicate Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) in a plot to create a so-called “Brooks Brothers Riot” in his home state to block President Joe Biden’s victory.

Woodrow Johnston, the vice president of political consultancy McShane LLC, told an undercover liberal activist posing as a Trump supporter that Gosar wanted to use the far-right Proud Boys gang to disrupt the certification of the 2020 election in Arizona.

“We might need to do the same here in Nevada,” Johnston added in his message.

The protests that Johnston organized remained peaceful and did not actually disrupt vote counting.

Even so, Johnston’s boss, Rory McShane, distanced his consulting firm from efforts to organize protests against certifying the election.

“I was unaware of these texts, but I know Mr. Johnston was not working on behalf of any client or organization,” he said. “Our management team has met with Mr. Johnston. I’m confident he sees the error of what he did.”

Gosar’s office claimed that the Trump-loving Arizona congressman was not in contact with Johnston and denied coordinating any election-related protests.

The original “Brooks Brothers Riot,” which took place in Florida more than two decades ago, was organized by Republican campaign operatives who successfully disrupted the vote recount in the Miami-Dade County election office after the 2000 presidential election.

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2020 AlterNet Media.