The Final Call Online Edition


April 23, 2002

The courage of Cynthia McKinney

( McKinney, the honorable congresswoman from Georgia, has set herself apart from members of the Congressional Black Caucus with her tendency to address issues and make statements that rub the status quo against the grain.

For example, last year McKinney chaired a hearing titled "Covert Action in Africa: A Smoking Gun in Washington, D.C.," and led the voices of castigation that claimed the U.S. Government, the UN, private militias and western economic interests possessed complete knowledge of pending civil unrest in Africa and fed the fray between African nations, leading to the loss of millions of Black lives.

She was criticized for writing a letter scolding former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani for returning a Saudi prince’s $10 million check for Sept. 11 victims. The former mayor—whose stock with the people in the city skyrocketed with his handling of the city’s response to the attack on the World Trade Center—returned the check because Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, while in New York, had suggested U.S. policies toward the Middle East were partly to blame for the attacks.

Most recently, she questioned the Bush administration about the Sept. 11 attacks. She’s not the only one raising these sensitive questions—whether or not the Bush Administration had forewarning of an impending attack and whether his business interests profited from it—but she is perhaps the highest ranking government official to openly raise them. And she’s calling for an investigation.

Given that there were evidently indications of an impending attack on America, McKinney says: "If the American people deserve answers about what went wrong with Enron … then we deserve to know what went wrong on September 11 and why.

"How much of a role does our reliance on imported oil play in the military policies being put forward by the Bush Administration? And what role does the close relationship between the Bush Administration and the oil and defense industries play, if any, in the policies that are currently being pursued by this Administration?" she asks.

McKinney acknowledges that she is not aware of any evidence showing that President Bush or members of his administration personally profited from the attacks. But she does note that "corporations close to the administration have benefited" from increased defense spending and skyrocketing stock prices.

The questions she raises are not unfair, but they have yielded the congresswoman snide remarks from some of her peers and media analysts that portray her as a conspiracy theorist.

Conservative Georgia Senator Zell Miller (D) said her statement was "loony,’’ also "dangerous and irresponsible.’’ Bush spokesman Ari Fleisher said McKinney "must be running for the Hall of Fame of the Grassy Knoll Society,’’ a reference to the claim by some that a shot the killed President Kennedy was actually fired from a grassy knoll along the route he was traveling in Dallas.

But the U.S. Government is not beyond conspiring to overthrow governments or even bring drugs into the Black community. Remember Iran-Contra. Also, were those American students in Grenada really in danger that prompted a U.S. invasion on that tiny Black Caribbean island and resulted in the overthrow and death of the leader Maurice Bishop? How many defenseless Black Panamanians really died in the U.S. attack there where new weapons—including the Stealth Bomber—were tested? Some say it was thousands, not a few hundred. Didn’t the Gulf of Tonkin lie by the U.S. Government pull America into the Vietnam War?

For Rep. McKinney to raise the questions and call for an open investigation on a possible government role, or negligence, in Sept. 11 is credible. If nothing else, President Bush could tell McKinney that the government knew nothing, that’s why it did nothing.

Then we can hope Bush is telling truth. But, given the history of this government’s actions, that would be a bit tough to swallow.

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