Thursday, January 23, 2014

Human Rights Campaign's Chad Griffin Heading to Sochi Olympics?

(Today in Davos, from the left, Fareed Zakaria host a panel with Elliott Management Corporation founder Paul Singer, Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin and Third Point founder Dan Loeb. Credit: Huffington Post.)

Recent history may provide clues about a potential action or two in the near future for the Human Rights Campaign and its new-found interest in global LGBT affairs, especially in Russia.

In November, HRC's well-oiled PR machine touted their Russian "Love Conquers Hate" tee shirt effort, then announced in December a $100,000 donation to Russian LGBT groups and this month we see that HRC president Chad Griffin is in Davos, Switzerland, for the economic summit organized for the 1 percent of the world's richest 1 percent club members.

HRC presence, along with that of LGBT leaders from countries other than the USA, is being underwritten by corrupt hedge fund financiers Paul Singer and Dan Loeb. Here at home, HRC still refuses to address the plight of low and moderate income LGBT Americans fighting for a raise of the minimum wage, restoration of cuts in food stamps, creation of housing we can afford to rent, and I'm sure none of these economic justice issues are discussed when Griffin hobnobs with the financiers.

Let's connect the visible dots. HRC and its funders are staging actions on a monthly basis involving gay Russians and my gut says that in February we will see HRC and friends staging attention-grabbing events in Sochi at the Olympics or at last in Moscow or St. Petersburg.

I wanted to give HRC leaders a chance to address my hunch about where they may be headed next month, or maybe right after Davos, after all Griffin is already so close to Russia, and sent this note twice to them:

I am curious to learn if you have plans to organize any events, such as press conferences or vigils etc, in Russia leading up to or during the Olympic. Will you have any HRC folks from America on the ground at Sochi or in Moscow? Given all the advocacy and money-raising you are doing for gay Russians, including heading to the Davos economic summit to participate in panels, it seems very much within the realm of potential that HRC would have a presence in Russia in February. If you're inclined to respond, please do so by noon, SF time, on Thursday.

The response from HRC? A big silence. I guess we'll all just have to wait and see what HRC gets out of Davos, and what PR events they stage as we more closer to the opening of the Olympics. Questions must be raised about HRC getting in bed with Singer and Loeb, attending Davos, the concerns I raised recently regarding their grants to Russians, and what their plans are during the games.

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