Richard Swier, vice president of The United West, posted an article on the group’s website highlighting the anti-Agenda 21 movement here in Florida. His piece calls upon fellow “agenders” to ask local officials whether they plan on “having government agents come into [their] homes.”
The United West is the current incarnation of the Florida Security Council, an anti-Sharia group that was founded by U.S. Senate candidate Adam Hasner and Tom Trento.
Swier, a figure in the anti-Sharia movement in Florida, has embroiled himself in controversy over a Muslim leader in South Florida who tried become a member of the Broward Republican Executive Committee in order to create a Muslim Republican Club. The man, Nezar Hazme, was eventually denied membership.
Salon’s Justin Elliott reported that Swier questioned Hazme’s religious convictions during the controversy. Swier wrote in a blog post published on Tea Party Nation that if Hazme was a “true believer … [he] would not embrace the U.S. Constitution as supreme because it is accepted Islamic doctrine, under shariah, that the Qur’an must supersede any document written by man.”
Swier’s latest post touts “a growing movement in Florida” aimed at fighting “sustainable development” projects in local communities.
Agenda 21 is a non-binding United Nations program that provides local communities that seek to grow in a manner that is kind to the environment with resources such as grant and conference announcements. The organization that provides the resources is the International Council for Local and Environmental Initiatives (known as ICLEI). Almost 600 cities all over the United States are “global members” of ICLEI, including more than 30 cities, municipalities and counties in Florida.
Right-wing groups are convinced ICLEI is secretly aiming to subvert property rights and U.S. sovereignty.
Swier writes that local officials taking part in ICLEI “are in fact implementing the ICLEI agenda.”
“ICLEI sustainable development rules are designed to implement globally a new system of justice and a new system of economics,” he writes, “while pretending to use the environment as every society’s central organizing principle.”
The conspiracy theory is one that has even been extolled by GOP U.S. Senate candidates in Florida. Several weeks ago, Senate candidates George LeMieux, Mike McCalister, Craig Miller and Adam Hasner took part in a debate hosted by the Central Florida Tea Party and the Florida Family Policy. Each candidate stood behind the tea party’s anti-sustainable growth stance, because they say they want to protect the country’s “sovereignty.”
Now “agenders” are convinced their movement is gaining speed, citing Plantation’s recent decision to not renew its ICLEI contract as evidence.
But Plantation Mayor Diane Veltri Bendekovic tells The Florida Independent the city’s membership was canceled due to “budgetary reasons.” She says the $1,200 subscription become too expensive for the city.
She also says she was not influenced by members of the community that have been protesting ICLEI. She says the protesters who discuss ICLEI typically spout radical ideas.
“It’s always the same four people,” she says. “They are regulars. If it’s not taking back the Panama Canal, it’s something else.”
Swier urges “agenders” to continue “educating” local officials to “question how they intend to enforce [ICLEI] policy (such as having government agents come into your home).”
“Knowledge is power and understanding what sustainable development really means is critical,” he writes. “Educate, motivate and activate your local elected officials. Ask them to stop the taking of your and my property rights. Instead ask them to protect our unalienable right to do with our property as we, not they, will.”