WASHINGTON – Leftist website MoveOn.org has replaced a petition supporting the terrorist group that kidnapped hundreds of girls in Nigeria with a scathing attack on Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, for telling the world about the petition.
This is just the latest in a series of abrupt and contradictory changes MoveOn has made in less than 24 hours.
Early Friday evening, WND reported MoveOn still had an active petition calling on the U.S. government not to designate the jihadist group Boko Haram a terrorist organization. Boko Haram is the very same radical Muslim group that has enraged the world by kidnapping more than 200 schoolgirls in Nigeria and threatening to sell them into slavery.
Shortly after WND posted its story exposing the petition, MoveOn added a disclaimer to its website reading: "MoveOn volunteers reviewed this petition and determined that it may not reflect MoveOn members' progressive values. MoveOn will not promote the petition beyond hosting it on our site. Click here if you think MoveOn should support this petition."
Two hours later, the petition was yanked and the page where it had been for two years suddenly read: "Petition Not Available. The content of this petition is under review."
By Saturday morning, the page featured an assault on Stockman's character written by an Anna Galland, who said, "Rep. Stockman’s ‘MoveOn supports terrorists' attack is ridiculous on its face. This kind of dishonest attack is exactly the reason Steve Stockman has zero credibility."
The statement condemned Stockman's defense of traditional marriage, his criticism of the General Motors bailout and his questioning the authenticity of President Obama's birth certificate.
Galland also claimed that MoveOn really condemns Boko Haram and prays for the speedy return of the kidnapped girls, while noting that anyone may post a petition on its website.
However, something caused MoveOn to change its mind about hosting the petition overnight.
At about 6:00 p.m. ET on Friday, MoveOn felt compelled to respond to Stockman's charge by posting the disclaimer that it was reviewing the petition.
After a few years of hosting the petition, MoveOn had suddenly decided that calling for a terrorist group to not be labeled a terrorist group "may not reflect MoveOn members' progressive values."
Then, a few hours later, MoveOn removed the petition entirely. The next morning, Galland's attack on Stockman appeared.
The petition – which received its first signature on June 20, 2012, and continued to be signed by Friday evening – was uncovered by Stockman, who asked MoveOn to apologize for hosting an online petition opposing a terrorist designation for Boko Haram, whose name translates as "western education is a sin."
Before it was yanked, the petition had well more than 100 signatures, with more than a dozen people signing it just on Friday.
MoveOn did not feel compelled to review the petition and whether it reflected progressive values after Boko Haram murdered up to 50 Nigerian boys on February 25, slitting their throats, gunning them down or burning them alive.
MoveOn also did not feel compelled to condemn Boko Haram or remove the petition after the jihadists had killed 1,000 people by March.
MoveOn only removed the petition after condemnation of Boko Haram became a cause celebre this week among liberal politicians such as Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, feminists such as film star Anne Hathaway and First Lady Michelle Obama.
In fact, the petition reflected the same apparent stance Hilary Clinton had taken until a few days ago, when she, too, suddenly joined the chorus condemning the terrorists.
Before that, the former secretary of state had steadfastly refused to designate Boko Haram as a terrorist group, even after it bombed United Nations headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria, in 2011. Only under John Kerry did the State Department designate the group as a terrorist organization, in November 2013.
“Boko Haram has murdered thousands and kidnapped hundreds of little girls to sell into sexual slavery. It is beyond despicable for Democratic Party groups to support a terrorist organization,” Stockman said.
Even though MoveOn.org did have a disclaimer stating it does not necessarily endorse the contents of petitions posted on its site, Stockman was amazed the group still had not taken down the petition, saying, "The Democratic Party group MoveOn should apologize for hosting supporters of kidnappers and terrorists."
Stockman said the petition, “Reject ‘Terrorist’ Designation for Boko Haram,” posted in 2012, began gaining more signatures from Democratic Party activists after the group kidnapped 230 Nigerian girls to sell into sexual slavery.
According to Stockman's office, MoveOn.org is one of the biggest bankrollers of Democratic Party campaigns, spending $21.6 million on its programs in 2012, with 100 percent of its PAC contributions going to Democrats.
Here's what the petition said before MoveOn.org took it down:
Reject "Terrorist" Designation for Boko Haram
Petition by AfricaFocus Bulletin (William Minter)
To be delivered to Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State, Eric Holder, Attorney General, Rep. Henry Waxman (CA-33), Rep. Bennie Thompson (MS-2), Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-4) and 6 other targets (click here to see more)
Petition to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Attorney General Eric Holder, President Barack Obama and Members of Congress
We urge you not to support the formal designation of Boko Haram in Nigeria as a "Foreign Terrorist Organization" (FTO). Such a move would be a counterproductive mistake with far-reaching negative consequences for both Americans and Nigerians.
It is correct for the United States to join the vast majority of Nigerians in condemning the group for the brutal violence it has inflicted on innocent civilians in Nigeria and their threats to national unity and security in that country.
But U.S. government designation of the group as a FTO, as currently proposed by several Members of Congress and some officials in the the Department of Justice, would increase rather than diminish the threat from Boko Haram. It would give the group additional visibility and credibility among international terrorist networks. It would increase the chances that the group would direct its attacks against U.S. targets.
Most significantly, it would reinforce militarization of Nigerian government actions against the group. Repressive actions by Nigerian security forces in the past have already contributed to increasing support for Boko Haram among those affected. What is needed instead is a multifaceted strategy. Such a strategy must include not only security measures to protect civilians but also flexible diplomacy and serious attention to development issues, particularly in the disadvantaged North of Nigeria where Boko Haram finds support.
FTO designation would also cause enormous collateral damage, making it difficult for both the U.S. government and non-profit groups to address humanitarian and development issues, particularly in the North. It would hamper any efforts by third parties to encourage dialogue and it would introduce new tensions into U.S.-Nigerian relations. It would also pose serious bureaucratic obstacles to travel and family remittances for Nigerian Americans and other Nigerians resident in the United States.
The Nigerian government is well aware of the counterproductive effects of a FTO designation for Boko Haram and has expressed its opposition. So have more than 20 of the top U.S. scholars on Nigeria. We urge you to heed their informed advice.
To endorse this petition as an organization, please send the name of your organization and contact details to [email protected]. For more information, visit http://www.africafocus.org/docs12/mil1206.php#bh
There are currently 110 signatures. NEW goal - We need 200 signatures!