Public Reaction to Rep.
McKinneyпїЅs Call for 9-11 Investigation Quashes Intended
by Michael Davidson, FTW
May 6, 2002,
-- It's not a good idea to go up against the powers that
be with an idea that calls into question generally accepted
wisdom. Galileo contradicted the Roman Catholic Church when
he said the Earth revolved around the sun. He was put in
jail, and it took a few
hundred years for the church to exonerate him and admit
he was correct.
Hopefully, a fate similar to Galileo's will not befall
the representative from the 4th district of Georgia. The
district includes Decatur,
just outside Atlanta.
a Democrat, black, and, obviously, a woman. Three strikes
in an area that has sent the likes of Newt Gingrich and
Bob Barr to Congress.
On March 25 McKinney
was interviewed by telephone on Flashpoints, an independent
radio program produced and hosted by Dennis Bernstein and
broadcast on Pacifica
station KPFA in Berkeley,
Calif. The congresswoman
read a roughly 10-minute statement, then answered questions
and chatted with Bernstein for another 16 or so minutes.
A major portion of McKinney's
statement concerned U.S.
actions in Africa, and contained
stinging attacks of the Clinton
administration, particularly former Secretary of State Madeleine
Albright. She also discussed the high incarceration rate
of blacks, their treatment by the police, and the actual
mechanics of the massive voter fraud in Florida
that benefited George W. Bush during the 2000 presidential
election. Rep. McKinney also pointed out how the current
administration has created a climate in which elected officials
need to censor themselves lest their patriotism be questioned.
Only a few sentences in the almost 30-minute segment were
her comments about the need for an investigation into what
the Bush Administration knew prior to the events of 9-11.
Two-and-a-half weeks later on April 12, an article appeared
in the Washington Post about McKinney's
appearance on Flashpoints. The article was written by Juliet
Eilperin, a Post staff writer who says a colleague received
the show's transcript in an anonymous e-mail, and passed
it along to her. Eilperin's article was headlined, "Democrat
Implies Sept. 11 Administration Plot."
actually said was the American people deserve a full, complete
and no-holds-barred investigation of the events involving
9-11, and what the Bush administration knew and when they
knew it.пїЅ Every single question McKinney
raised was based on information readily available from mainstream
media sources. Among the issues McKinney
raised regarding 9-11 were:
- The warnings from several foreign governments to the
highest levels of the U.S.
government that were ignored;
- The huge profits made in sophisticated stock transactions
involving several airlines, brokerages and insurance firms
whose stock prices were affected dramatically by 9-11;
- The relationship between the oil company Unocal and the
Taliban rulers of Afghanistan;
- The relationship between the administration and the Carlyle
Group, an investment firm with major
defense holdings for whom the president's father works;
- The requests by both the president and vice president
that any congressional investigations into 9-11 not be particularly
intense or lengthy;
- The huge profits persons close to the administration
will make thanks to increased defense spending.
Let the games begin
Almost immediately after the Washington Post article, the
administration, the mainstream media and its pundits shifted
into overdrive, floored the pedal, and wound the smear engine
right to the redline. Interestingly, no one has challenged
the accuracy of a single word McKinney
said. What has been said, in a variety of ways, is that
her call for a complete investigation is an indication that
either "crazy" or "treacherous."
In the original Washington Post article, Bush spokesman
Scott McLellan was quoted as saying "The American people
know the facts, and they dismiss such ludicrous, baseless
views." Carlyle Group spokesman Chris Ullman posed
the question "Did she say these things while standing
on a grassy knoll in Roswell, New Mexico?"
That same day, April 12, "Representative Awful" was
posted on National Review Online by Jonah Goldberg, son
of Lucianne Goldberg -- literary agent, Linda Tripp crony,
and former Nixon dirty trickster. National Review was founded
by William F. Buckley, whose family fortune was made in
the oil business. Goldberg dismissed McKinney's suggestion
for an investigation, saying "I am not aware of any
evidence that Ms. McKinney has murdered several children
or that she personally profited from sleeping with the entire
defensive squad of the Atlanta Falcons." He then goes
on to say that the congresswoman is suffering "paranoid,
America-hating, crypto-Marxist conspiratorial delusions."
Anyone who remembers the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings
will remember Anita Hill was described as "a little
bit nutty, a little bit slutty." Apparently, Goldberg
has learned some big words to repeat the easy smear used
against any black woman to the left of Condoleezza Rice.
Keep in mind that in an Oct. 29 attack piece on McKinney
Goldberg wrote, "Taking black politicians seriously
pays them a compliment."
Next, McKinney's hometown newspaper took up the charge.
An April 13 Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) article by
staff writer Melanie Eversley reported that Democratic Georgia
Sen. Zell Miller issued a "bristling" statement
saying her on-air comments were "dangerous and irresponsible."
Not being content to dismiss the legitimate, American ideas
of dissent and question, Miller made a sarcastic comment
about McKinney attempting to get kissed by President Bush.
Bush's press secretary, Ari Fleischer, is quoted: "All
I can tell you is the congresswoman must be running for
the hall of fame of the Grassy Knoll Society." Interesting
that the "grassy knoll" allusion was made twice
by people connected to the administration, yet they will
not dispute her facts.
The AJC article also quotes Emory University political
scientist Merle Black: "It reinforces the view among
serious people in her district that she's a very ineffective
representative if this is how she chooses to spend her political
capital." Apparently there are very few "serious"
people Black will be able to "reinforce" with
his totally "unscientific" opinion, as McKinney
has won five elections in a row, with her lowest margin
of victory being 58 percent.
Along with Eversley's article, AJC put up a poll on its
website asking the question, "Are you satisfied the
Bush administration had no advance warning of the Sept.
11 attacks?" A visitor could vote "Yes,"
"No, I think officials knew it was coming" or
"I'm not sure. Congress should investigate."
Within hours, the "No, I think officials knew it was
coming" vote led the "Yes" vote 51 percent
to 47 percent, with two percent "Not sure." The
ultra-conservative website FreeRepublic.com alerted its
viewers and encouraged them to vote against McKinney, to
no avail. The vote seesawed back and forth across the 50
percent mark, each side holding a slim lead at various points
throughout the day. By mid-afternoon 23,145 people had voted.
"Yes" (anti-McKinney) had 52 percent, "No"
(pro-McKinney) had 46 percent, and "Not sure"
had one percent. Forty-seven percent of voters do not believe
the story the world has been told by the Bush Administration.
Then, the poll vanished. Gone. Disappeared. Not there.
People signed on to vote, but there was no poll to vote
at. The article was there, but the poll was gone. There
was no explanation.
On April 21, AJC columnist Mike King explained what happened.
"The responses broke down the tabulator we use to keep
track of the votes." So can we assume, then, when Mr.
King gets a flat tire he throws the entire car away and
abandons his trip?
King goes on at great length to inform the reader that
even if the poll had not been taken down due to "mechanical
problems," the poll was meaningless anyway because
"groups and people who believe there is evidence of
a conspiracy in the attacks urged friends to vote on ajc.com
to send Congress a message of the need to investigate."
This undoubtedly occurred, as did urging from the other
side which King makes no mention of. He also says that voters
were not "scientifically" chosen to represent
a broad cross-section of views and that "most online
polls are really just opportunities
to register an opinion." How registering an opinion
differs from a vote will be left for Noah Webster to explain.
Another online poll has been running regarding McKinney's
call for a thorough investigation. This one is at truthout.com,
an online digest of articles being published in the mainstream
media. While truthout readers are undoubtedly more open
to McKinney's ideas than the general public, at press time,
the poll shows 5,616 supporting the congresswoman versus
80 opposing her. Truthout also reports McKinney's call for
a 9-11 investigation is supported by two additional members
of the House -- Democrats Loretta Sanchez of California
and Major Owens of New
Interestingly, while truthout is a non-profit organization
entirely dependent on donations, it has had no problems
keeping its poll functioning, while the Atlanta Journal-Constitution,
a major for-profit entity,
claims they could not.
WHERE ARE THE CLOWNS?
With the AJC poll having turned into a debacle, the forces
arrayed against McKinney became desperate, and the smear
became vicious. On April 16, the Southeastern Legal Foundation
(SLF) released a report claiming 21 percent of McKinney's
1999-2000 campaign contributions of over $101 came from
Arab or Middle-Eastern-connected individuals and organizations.
The report states among the organizations donating to McKinney's
campaign are "the American-Muslim Council and the Council
on American/Islamic Relations, both of which maintain ties
or have expressed support for terrorist organizations."
Phil Kent, SLF president, is quoted in the report: "If
we are to give any credence to her baseless claims, the
American people deserve to know that McKinney's financial
'relationships' -- her campaign contributors -- are heavily
represented by Arab and Middle Eastern-connected individuals,
as well as organizations which have expressed sympathy for
terrorist organizations." Here we have examples of
how McKinney's call for an investigation morphs into "claims,"
and how an investigation into her is acceptable, while one
into the Bush Administration is not. The SLF report flew
around the Internet, and was posted on several conservative
websites. It was generally headlined to the effect, "McKinney
Supported by Terrorists."
SLF was founded in 1976 and has received major
financial support from Richard Mellon Scaife, the billionaire
reactionary who funded the 10-year effort to destroy President
Bill Clinton. In 2000 the Democratic National Committee
accused the SLF of sending a quarter-million deceptive pieces
of mail designed to interfere with that year's census and
result in inaccurate congressional representation. In issue
after issue during its 26 years, SLF has consistently taken
vehement anti-black, anti-environment, anti-worker, anti-gay,
and anti-public education positions. They are currently
preparing litigation to invalidate portions of the Bush-signed
McCain-Feingold/Shays-Meehan campaign reform legislation.
Some in the Atlanta area believe SLF's long-range goal is
overturning the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
SLF describes itself as "an Atlanta-based public interest
law firm which advocates limited government, individual
economic freedom, and the free enterprise system in the
courts of law and public opinion." SLF's website includes
links to other reactionary groups including the Heritage
Foundation, the Hudson Institute, Federalist Society, and
the Conservative Caucus Foundation. Along with links to
expected conservative media outlets such as WorldNetDaily,
Drudge, and the Conservative News Service, SLF links itself
to Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, C-SPAN, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Matthew Glavin was SLF president and chief executive from
1994 to 2000, and devoted a tremendous amount of energy,
and Scaife's money, trying to get Bill Clinton disbarred
in Arkansas for his alleged perjury
in the Paula Jones sexual harassment case. Glavin, however,
was forced to abandon these efforts, and resign after he
was arrested for fondling himself in public. According to
an Oct. 4, 2000 report on CNSNEWS.com, an affiliate of the
above-mentioned Conservative News Service, an undercover
federal officer found Glavin masturbating near a parking
lot in the Chattahoochee National River Park in Atlanta,
an area said to be popular with homosexual cruisers. The
arresting officer says that he, himself, was fondled lewdly
when he spoke to Glavin on Oct. 13, 2000. The AJC reported
Glavin had pled guilty and was sentenced to a year's probation.
On April 22 SLF sent a letter to House Minority Leader
Richard Gephardt demanding McKinney be removed from
her seats on both the House Armed Services
and International Relations committees, citing the above-mentioned
campaign donations from Middle Eastern contributors. That
same day, an identical request using virtually identical
language was made by the African-American Republican Leadership
Council (AARLC). Like SLF, AARLC also requested an ethics
investigation of McKinney. Additionally, AARLC has also
asked the chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus,
Rep. Eddie Bernie Johnson,
D-Texas, to suspend McKinney from that group. This is a
transparent ploy to intimidate and divide black members
of Congress, lest their patriotism be questioned.
Also on April 22, an article was posted on the website
of Human Events, the National Conservative Weekly. Written
by David Freddoso, it's headlined "Feds Searched Offices
of Seven McKinney Donors." Many Arab names are listed
as well as several organizations, some of which have names
with Arab or Islamic references. Going into excruciating
detail, Freddoso lists names of individuals, organizations,
dollar amounts, dates of search warrants, judges
signing search warrants (interestingly, copies of search
warrants were allegedly obtained by Human Events), and the
connections between all these details. Then, Freddoso writes,
"None of the McKinney contributors has been charged
with any crime, a Customs spokesman said." Apparently,
Freddoso finds not being charged with a crime to be news.
BritainпїЅs The Guardian reported March 25 on a recent FBI
raid. The Republican Party was accepting sizeable donations
to a political action committee called The Islamic Institute
from an alleged terrorist support group, the Safa Trust.
It seems that the Safa Trust had been sending money to both
the Republican Party and to terrorist groups at the same
time. This reported direct linkage between terrorist funding
and the Republican Party was conveniently ignored, while
McKinney was attacked with much weaker allegations. These
SLF's report, AARLC's letter, and Freddoso's article all
specifically discuss donations to McKinney from Abdurahman
Alamoudi, founder and executive director of the American
Muslim Council (AMC). According to an April 24 article at
supported George W. Bush in the 2000 campaign and donated
money to him. Bush also invited Alamoudi to the Sept. 14
prayer service for the 9-11 victims at the National Cathedral.
Additionally, long-time Bush associate Grover Norquist has
been doing business with Alamoudi, and is a registered lobbyist
for the Islamic Institute. According to the Oct. 4 issue
of the Boston Phoenix, Norquist's firm, Janus-Merritt Strategies
LLC, has been paid over $20,000 by Alamoudi.
Despite Alamoudi's Republican connections, his donation
to McKinney is used as the "smoking gun" in the
April 22 column by nationally syndicated columnist Kathleen
Parker. Parker has been one of the most prolific members
of the "get McKinney" team, jumping
into the smear campaign with all four paws. Parker wrote
about McKinney's radio comments on April 17 and 22. She's
very upset. In the April 17 column, Parker dreams of inaugurating
"The McKinney Award -- for people too stupid to serve
in public office." Further on, Parker, like everyone
participating in the smear campaign, claims that McKinney
said Bush knew of the impending 9-11 attacks, and accused
the president of mass murder. She also picks up Jonah Goldberg's
pathetic attempt at sarcasm, writing "A complete investigation
also might prove that McKinney has been dropping acid and
living with cross-dressing dental hygienists under the Brooklyn
Bridge." What is it about outspoken black women that
makes right-wing nut jobs
attribute unusual sexual behavior to them?
In her April 22 column, Parker reiterates her lie as to
what McKinney actually said. She goes on: "She's black,
which means people give her a pass lest they be perceived
racist."пїЅ Parker quotes an unnamed "e-mailer"
who quotes a friend in Ramallah: "If you see 'Cynth,'
kindly tell her that Arab TV networks appreciate her comments
for they now have the needed 'proof' that their paranoia
is rational." Parker closes: "None of which is
to suggest that Cynthia McKinney is a terrorist, or a terrorist
sympathizer, or even a socialist rabble-rouser who despises
her own country. On the other hand, using McKinney's own
talent for inferential dot-connecting, she just
Despite finding nice ways to call McKinney a terrorist
and traitor, Parker strenuously defends her independence
and complete lack of bias. In her April 24 column, which
is about so-called "conspiracy theories," Parker
wrote, "I'm told, for instance, that I'm paid by the
right-wing propaganda machine, given my support of most
Bush policies in the wake of 9-11 and my rejection
of current conspiracy theories.пїЅYou're being paid to lie
to the American people,' wrote one of my new friends. Here's
the truth: I know of no reporter, editor or columnist in
the Western hemisphere who wouldn't sell his mother's honeymoon
pictures for a good story, no matter whose life gets ruined.
No one, especially a president, is off limits when truth
is at stake, not to mention Pulitzers." Perhaps Parker
found a new dedication to Truth after writing two consecutive
columns filled with lies, innuendo and character assassination.
The story about McKinney's comments on the Flashpoints
radio show traveled around the media for about 12 days,
then just petered out.
Several newspapers ran editorials condemning her, including
the AJC and the New York Post. Comments and asides were
made about her on CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News. Generally, she
was described as crazy, pro-Iraqi, a conspiracy theorist,
irresponsible or dangerous, but it didn't seem to work.
The public wasn't responding with the sense of outrage the
media is used to being able to create.
On April 17 ABCNews.com ran a piece by Dean Schabner headed,
"What Consensus? Conspiracy Theorist Immune to the
Widespread Support For War on Terror." First line:
"When the government said evidence pointed to Islamic
fundamentalist terrorists, other voices wondered why investigators
weren't looking in other directions." The article,
about three pages, lays out many of the beliefs that, apparently,
a lot of people have, and discusses them in a calm, measured
manner. While Schabner does eventually get around to dismissing
everything but the official story as "conspiracy theories,"
his words and the words of the "experts" he quotes
don't have the wild-eyed hatred and anger that the stories
about McKinney generally do. Schabner comes close to giving
the "non-believers" a degree of respect.
The acceptability of alternate explanations for 9-11 may
be growing for a very simple reason. According to a poll
taken in late-April by Scott Rasmussen Public Opinion Research,
36 percent of Americans believe Al Gore won the 2000 presidential
election. Over a third of America's citizens believe the
man occupying the White House to be a fraud! With such a
large portion of the country believing George W. Bush is
not really the president, it's not hard to understand why
almost half of the voters in the AJC poll indicated they
do not believe the Bush Administration's story about 9-11,
and support McKinney's call for a full investigation.
Whenever Bush allies try to impose new police-state tactics
on Americans, such as warrantless searches, random drug
tests, racial profiling, or stop-and-frisk laws, they always
say, "If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing
to worry about. It's just
a minor inconvenience for the public good." If the
Bush Administration keeps repeating that mantra, then they
should have no trouble supporting McKinneyпїЅs call for a
full and complete investigation into 9-11.