By Zoe Alsop
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
A Kenyan Web site exposing pro-choice and LGBT activists to intimidation tactics claims to be homegrown. But it has the hallmarks of a notorious U.S. site for anti-choice extremists and is registered in Georgia.
NAIROBI, Kenya (WOMENSENEWS)--After answering the first anonymous call one night, Walter Odhiambo stopped picking up the phone.
"He said 'you are the one promoting abortion,'" said the deputy director in Kenya for Marie Stopes, the U.K.- based provider of international reproductive health services. "I was very frightened. I had seen stories about these groups in the U.S. and I knew how dangerous they were."
The calls began to appear after the launch of a website called ProjectSEE, which features pictures, addresses and contact details of supporters of abortion and gay rights in Kenya. Most are shown under the heading "not wanted." Odhiambo's picture is captioned "Baby-Killer."
A Kenyan who helped found ProjectSEE says the site is homegrown.
"ProjectSEE is 100 percent Kenyan," said Robert Wakhu, a part-time research assistant. "What we are trying to do is create awareness of some dangers lurking in our society."
Wakhu said he had MET Jonathan O'Toole, an American anti-abortion activist who has been arrested for photographing U.S. women as they entered clinics that offer abortion services.
Wakhu denied O'Toole was behind the project and described the American, whose name and phone number are listed among the contacts for ProjectSEE, as "one of our brothers."
In a message on the ProjectSEE site, anti-abortion activist Neal Horsley describes O'Toole as having married into a Christian Kenyan family connected to "a vital Christian community in Kenya willing to do what was necessary to thwart the homosexual agenda in Africa."
ProjectSEE's U.S. registration ties it to a Georgia address for Horsley, who in the late 1990s helped launch a notorious site called the Nuremberg Files, where the faces of abortion providers were presented inside FBI-style "wanted" posters, along with detailed personal information, and crossed out after they'd been killed. Critics called it a hit list.
After the 1998 murder of Dr. Barnett Slepian, a Buffalo physician listed in the Nuremberg Files, Planned Parenthood brought a suit against the site's backers saying it constituted "force or threat of force." A federal appeals court found the site to be protected under the First Amendment.
Horsley continues to administer the site today, according to the site's registration. Photos of people that the site describes as linked to the "baby butchery business" can still be found on the site. Although the "wanted" phrasing is gone, they are echoed in the "unwanted" posters on ProjectSEE.
The sentiment expressed on the Kenyan site also sounds familiar. "We advocate that abortionists and women determined to murder babies be driven back into filthy back alleys like other murderers," reads a statement on the Kenyan site. It goes on to advocate that "homosexuals be likewise driven back into the closet, arrested and prosecuted for sodomy according to God's law."
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